Rhythm Of Grace…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

I love this version of this verse.

If you are weary, tired, and burned out…rest in Christ. He will take and lift your cares and your worries. He will give you peace. The more you rest in Christ, the more we will learn the unforced rhythms of grace, and that is how we can not only just bear with what life throws at us, but actually thrive in this life.

Find peace, find strength, find hope, find love, and find your rhythm of grace.

I Dare You To Give…

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10 

I love this verse. It comes with a mighty promise and if there is one thing that is certain about Christ, it’s that He keeps His promises.

Money definitely has a big hold on our hearts and God definitely knows this. Especially as Americans, it seems doubly harder to be generous and to trust someone other than ourselves with our money. But the truth is:

Our money is not ours!

Everything belongs to God. So if it is His anyways, who are we to feel like we are entitled to it and somehow have control over our finances? There is no doubt, though, it is a hard process.

That’s why I love this verse. It is as if God is daring us to trust Him. It’s a divine provoke and He is saying, “I dare you to give. I dare you to be faithful and trust me with your money and see if I don’t open a floodgate of blessings on you.” 

It’s definitely a process and it doesn’t happen over night, but my prayer is that I become a person who joyfully gives and whole-heartedly trusts God with my finances knowing that He will come through on His promise.

No More Losing Sleep…

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.” Psalm 127:1-2

Have you ever had sleepless nights? Have you ever been restless because of too much worry on your mind? Has the stress of life, bills and your career left you feeling exhausted in the morning?

Well there is relief! God grants those he loves with sleep!

The truth is, we need to trust him. Look at verse one of the verse up above. Unless the Lord build the house…Unless the Lord watches over the city…We don’t have control over this life. We all love to think that we can control our circumstances, finances, etc…but we simply cannot.

So let’s let God control our lives. Let’s not lose sleep because of worry and stress. Let God control your future. Let God watch over your family, your career, and your finances.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Lay your concerns on Christ and enjoy a peaceful, restful night sleep!

 

 

You Need Only To Be Still…

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

This is a cornerstone verse for me. Whenever life becomes overwhelming or difficult, I often turn to this verse. Moses is the one who said this verse, and at the time, the Israelites had fled Egypt and were being pursued by the Egyptian army; and they were now trapped with the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them. They started to panic. They lost their calm and became scared, confused, and fearful. This is when Moses said, The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

This is the perfect verse to me because it starts with a promise and ends with instructions. The Promise: The Lord will fight for us. The Instruction: Be still.

Basically God is saying, “all you have to do is trust me and I’ll come through for you.” or “you believe, and I’ll achieve.”

Think of it like hang gliding. If you were to go hang gliding for the first time, you would go with an instructor. That instructor is like God. Whether it is God telling you to run and jump off that cliff or your circumstances making you feel like you are falling off a cliff, you are not alone. Your instructor is there. You may be scared and you may feel like the situation is spinning out of control, but it’s not. Your instructor will safely guide you, he may allow you to feel like you are in the driver seat, but he is never out of reach. He is the one in control making sure no harm comes before you. He will navigate your path with you and make sure you arrive safely and successfully.

The same goes with God. He is always right there. His perspective is not our perspective. He vantage point is much higher than ours. We may feel like we are falling down, headed for disaster, but we are never farther than His arms can reach; things are never out of His control.

Do not let your fears and insecurities get in the way of trusting in God. He has a covenant with His children. A covenant of health, protection, provision, and favor…but you need to accept it. It is there and yours for the taking.

Trust.

Believe.

Be still.

He will come through for you.

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Made In God’s Image…

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

Today if you are battling self-doubt, feeling like you are not good enough in some way, or don’t have what it takes… let me encourage you:

You do.

You are made in the image of Christ. He made no mistake. Don’t compare yourself by the world’s standards, making you act and feel a certain way. But instead, know who you are in Christ and let that be the basis for your whole outlook on life.

You are a child of God. You are redeemed and set free. All the blessings and promises in Scripture are yours.

We are God’s masterpiece!

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

Today, silence the voices of self-doubt and opposition. Know that you are a masterpiece and a perfect creation in his eyes.

Do You Like You?

I have a simple yet very profound question to ask you today:

Do you like who you are becoming?

Think deeply on that for a moment. . .

If the answer is no, you may want to check what has the greatest hold on your heart. What holds greatest value and importance in your life is what you end up worshipping. If you are a Christian or not, we all worship something or someone. It could be money, relationships, materialism, ourselves, etc. The list goes on…

All of those things, at the end of the day, will not bring you fulfillment. They will leave you feeling empty. We all desire fulfillment. We all have a thirsty soul longing to be quenched. The answer is not found in things or stuff. 

If you want to like who you become. . . pursue Christ. He only can meet and surpass all your needs, desires, hopes and dreams.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV

I really love this verse, but to give it new life, here is The Message version:

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with gettingso you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Do you like who you are becoming?

What Are Your Stones?…

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:1-7

God has surely done amazing things in your life. I know He has in mine. I know when life gets challenging, one of the ways to help you through is remembering what God has done in your life.

When you look back at what God has done in your life, it will boost your faith. It will help you through the tougher times and help you realize that through your toughest moments, God has always been faithful.

This is what the Lord told Joshua to do. He told them to take stones and place them in the river to serve as a reminder for the future of what God had done for them. That way, no matter what, they could look and know that God has come through for them.

So what are your stones? Maybe God has healed or restored you in some way, maybe he gave you a breakthrough in your finances, or maybe he restored your marriage…Don’t forget those moments.

Remember.

How has God come through for you? How are you remembering it?

What are your stones?

The Obstacle of Faith…

Trust is tough.

I sometimes go back and forth between trusting God blindly, knowing he has my best interests in mind, and then saying I trust him, but deep down I want Him to show me a sign that he’ll come through for me…to basically prove it.

Unfortunately, I think this is one of the biggest obstacles of faith. This idea of believing without seeing. The idea of trusting without knowing for sure. The idea of wholeheartedly trusting God that He knows best for us and has our best interests in mind.

There are areas in my life right now where I would love to see a sign, where I would love for God to prove to me that He is God. But truthfully, he shouldn’t have too. He is God. And even if He technically never did another thing “for” me, He is no less loving and He is no less God. Shouldn’t that be enough? Shouldn’t we be able to love and worship God solely for who He is and not how it personally affects us?

Let me expand on that. When Jesus went into the desert for 40 days, he was tempted 3 times by Satan. I believe Satan’s second test on Jesus will help illustrate my point. Let’s pick the story up in Matthew 4, verse 5…

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”

You may be wondering how this plays into our biggest obstacle of faith. Satan, you see, wasn’t just testing Jesus to show how much power he had, he was asking Jesus to jump to prove that God would save him…that God did indeed loved Him. Satan tempted Jesus right where we all have this innate, fundamental human longing… the need to be loved. The desire to be cared for. But Jesus knew better and so can we. Jesus knew that God loved him and so there was no need for proof…He knew. Scripture confirmed what Jesus believed deep down. Without a shadow of a doubt Jesus fully, wholeheartedly just knew.

That’s why in our own lives, our faith in God shouldn’t be just about the signs that we see. I mean, if we are worshipping God just to see what we can get out of it, how genuine is that worship? We should have faith in Christ because he is worthy of it…He is worthy of our trust, our desires and our hearts. And there are a lot of reasons why we don’t see the “signs” when we want too.

For starters, our timing simply isn’t Gods timing…this is a tough one to grow comfortable with, but He will come through for us when the time is right. Also, sometimes we need to reach a place of absolute surrender…a place where we know that there is no other way out of a situation but through Gods movement. This is the hardest place to be but this is where growth happens…this is where trust grows. This is how our faith gets bigger.

And I think a funny thing happens when we reach a place of genuine trust and faith in God. When we reach that place that our worship and our desire to be with God is based purely on the fact that He alone is worthy and deserving of our devotion. And when we reach that place where we don’t need proof because we just know…

We’ll get our sign.

“A miracle will always happen on the other side of obedience.” ~Pete Wilson

Help Me Know Me…

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” ~Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

This is such a great prayer to have in your life. Asking God to search your heart and help you change things that need to be fixed so that you can live a more pleasing life for the Lord. But a funny thing happens when you pray this prayer…you end up learning a whole lot about yourself.

The truth is, God already knows your heart. He knows everything about us. So when we pray for God to search our hearts, it’s actually more about helping us learn more about ourselves.

Ruth Haley Barton adds, “[this verse] may point to the fact that the real issue in self-examination is not that I am inviting God to know me (since he already does) but that I am inviting God to help me know me.”

I think that is so true. This relationship with Christ isn’t about letting God know more and more about ourselves…He created us. He already knows all there is to know about us. This relationship is about us getting to know ourselves better and then allowing the grace and spirit of God to help line us up to the character of God.

For the next few days (weeks and years) allow God to search you; but not so that he can know you more, but so that you can learn something about yourself, and through that, become more like Christ.

 

We Are Far Too Easily Pleased…

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, rolling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ~C.S. Lewis

I think is an incredibly true quote. As I grow in my faith and start to understand the awesome grace that we have received from Christ, I am realizing just how far too easily we are pleased. Honestly, as Christians, I feel we settle for second best too often. We believe too many lies and pursue too many empty promises from the world about success, fulfillment, happiness, etc.

God makes some incredible promises to us and it’s up to us to truly believe Him. Do we really believe that God has something better for us than what the world can offer us? If your answer is yes, then it’s time to start knowing those promises, confessing them, and believing that they are real for your life.

No more settling for second best. It’s time to truly believe that promised of God are for us today and enjoy them.

Don’t be too easily pleased. Be picky in this area.

Only accept the best!