“Be yourself, not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” – Henry David Thoreau
This quote from Thoreau inspires something deep inside of me. I am more than I imagine myself to be. I move through each day governed by motivations that I experience consciously as an after thought. They are real and powerful… these motives.
Like the world around me, I am always interacting with forces around me. As a human being, I have the unique skill of self-awareness. God has blessed me with the capacity to make choices.
Like you, I have a love-hate relationship with my God-designed function of choosing how I will work on my life today. The vineyard awaits me every day. Our father instructs me to work in his vineyard today and every day. Yesterday’s work may or may not feel the same as today’s. But it will be unique because this is always a new day… a day of renewal.
Thoreau’s coaching tip to be myself, not my idea of someone else’s idea… intrigues me. It does inspire me to humble myself in the presence of God (who actually is present with us), and place “myself” under his mighty hand. He promises to lift me up in the right way and the right time.
Prayer: God, being myself is so core to my sense of well-being. It is too much for me to leave to an afterthought. Help me to get better at surrendering every day to your amazing invitation to work creatively in your vineyard. This is your world and you have a concept of me in the midst of its pulsating life of renewal. You see me as more than any human’s idea including any of my own. Why wouldn’t I trust you? Inform my being today with your thoughts about me. Through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.
I have learned that God’s agenda for me is freedom. Legit freedom that breaks every restricting chain of control away from me. There are weapons forged against me. But, in Christ, those weapons are not effective. My defense is the vindication that Jesus provides by his presence in me and with me. Vindication is the action of clearing someone of blame or suspicion. The prophet, Isaiah wrote, “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17) In Christ, I am cleared of blame and suspicion.
Jesus is present in me according to his promise to come in, stay with me and to do life with me. (Revelation 3:20) His presence with me governs me. I have been captured by the goodness of his kingship over me.
He trains me day by day to freely surrender to his ways. There are days when I cooperate well with the training and others when I tend to resist. Jesus disciplines me and calls me higher on those days. A good day is not always a fun day with Jesus. But, he reminds me endlessly that in him I am vindicated (cleared of blame and suspicion).
I am learning to trust his vindication of me more every day. He is showing me the ways I foolishly take that vindication and use it to get what I want. Freedom doesn’t work that way. The more I let him govern me from the inside-out, the more I experience his release from fears of blame and suspicion. The more I trust his vindication of me and not my own, the more courage I find to live in true freedom.
I pray the same for you in Jesus’ name.
In Christ, you are a blessing!
King Jesus is revealed as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He sent his followers intentionally as sheep among wolves in order to display the glory of the kingdom of God on earth. Somehow, the presence of sheep who are filled with the Spirit of the Lamb of God provokes and exposes the deadly wolf-like ways in the world.
As in the days when the New Testament was written, the good news about the arrival of God’s kingdom still causes upheaval. It is good but usually not predictable or pristine. God’s presence exposes everything that is against the New Creation and anti-renewal. In the end, the wolves are seen for who they are in the presence of the Lamb of God.
As I meditate on my life of identifying as a child of God in life-union with Jesus, I need to make a confession. My experience is that the Lamb of God has to expose the ways that I am a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That is the way to enter into eternal life. There is no other way.
The beautiful, overwhelming truth is that my sins have been forgiven and I live in Christ for God’s glory. But, the place of connection is agreeing with his assessment of my ways, even when he exposes what is out of line with His heart in me.
It is a profound thing to invest our lives in God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. We do that only by God’s grace. As we live in the Spirit, the wolf-like ways in the world will come to light. We can’t allow that to discourage us. Instead, we must focus on Jesus, the Lamb of God and trust His presence more than ever. Somehow, He uses our lives in those moments as evidence of His kingdom’s life and resilience. Don’t lose heart!
(Inspired by Matthew 10)
God, I come before you through faith in Jesus. You have taught me to believe in my heart that I have been rescued out of a dead, meaningless existence. My sins have been forgiven because of your faithfulness expressed in Jesus. I do freely and willingly confess that you are King of heaven and earth. Your kingdom is present everywhere and the increase of your government will never end.
At the beginning of a new decade, I pray that the eyes of my heart would be healed, restored and renewed. I long to see with 20/20 vision on earth as it is in heaven. King Jesus, I long for you to help me admit my blindness in any form and to receive your healing touch. In your mercy, touch my spiritual eyes so that I will see what you see, go where you send me, and say what you want me to say.
May the year 2020 mark a shift in my perception of your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven here and now. By your grace, I admit my need for gold refined in the fire, purified clothes from heaven to cover my shame, and healing ointment for my eyes. These things can only come from you. (Revelation 3:17-18)
Prepare me to serve in your overwhelming season of harvest in all nations. In a fresh way, help me see how you are manifesting the glory of your Name as you flood all creation with your Presence. I hear your knock at my door and your voice asking to come in. In the fear of the Lord, I gladly throw the door open again trusting you to come renovate, restore, and transform my life as a living temple in all that I say and do.
At the start of a new year and a new decade, this is my prayer.
Holy Spirit, reside in me, in us.
In Jesus, I am in heaven. Because Jesus is in me, heaven is on earth.
It is a “right here, right now” thing. The living, breathing, moving union of heaven and earth is overflowing with the glory of God.
Somehow to live every moment in the faith that in Christ, heaven and earth have been joined.
Transformation happens at the pace of a plant growing. And it grows up out of the mess and chaos of our lives.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you, Jesus, for your faithful, undying, life infusing presence in us and with us especially when we think we are at our worst.
Teach us to see in every moment at least a hint of your kingdom flowing on earth as it is in heaven.
Your life is not a test. In Christ, it is a masterpiece that God is creating. Your calling is to surrender and discover that God is good regardless of your circumstances. If we will trust in the resilience that only Jesus can bring, the potential of what can happen through us in His name is mind-blowing. We would not need His perseverance if living for God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven was easy. God wants you to know that he is crafting an incomparable work of art with your life. That is not the same as creating a life of ease for you. This is not easy to accept. But, it is the truth. You and I were created for more than a life of ease. Left to ourselves, we would never fulfill our calling as God’s image-bearers. But, in Christ, we have joy in any circumstance because we know we are a part of his story, his workmanship. (inspired by Ephesians 2:10)
I was reaching out to friends of mine this morning with a “stirring up” word. After I sent the message to them, I realized that it is an important word for all of us. We have come into a time of unprecedented harvest around the world. We have been sent as his children to do the harvest work. We HAVE TO get it done with Christ.
Wherever you place your feet, Christ in you is also placing his feet. Because he is in you and you are in him every place you walk is a place that the kingdom intends to show up. The Spirit has me contending for greatly improved vision for the eyes of your heart.
You and I can’t let the stubborn resistance of the rebellious world we are living in outwit us as children of God. It will submit to us in Christ if we remain present and enforce the kingdom (in love of course) wherever we go. The very places that resist us or that we don’t feel we belong are places that will be transformed by the kingdom soon! Jesus intends to do this with us as his family if we will keep showing up.
In Christ, you are a blessing!
King Jesus did SOMEthing that changed EVERYthing. What he accomplished re-launched creation. He gave up his life for us.
But, don’t let that overshadow the greater glory he achieved by rising again from the dead. By giving up his life, he actually opened a massive door for heaven to mesh with the earth that will never be closed. When he rose again, the life he had surrendered began to multiply. As a result, the increase of his government will never end.
What is our call… our response to this? God is awakening people and nations because King Jesus gave up his life. For all of us who say yes to becoming God’s daughters and sons, there is an expectation. It is more than an expectation… it is a fire that we fan with the wind of the Holy Spirit.
Because Jesus gave up his life, we must also give up our lives. It is time for us to blow up the myth that Jesus gave up his life so that we are free to live for ourselves. You and I actually get to give up our lives to increase the legacy of King Jesus… now and for generations to come!
Whatever it costs you today to give your life to what matters, it won’t go unnoticed in heaven. We praise God for you and for the life you are living for the glory of Jesus.
In Christ, you are a blessing!
Every November I ask God to give me a word, a focus for the coming year. It stirred in me this morning that I would love for the Spirit of God to bring healing to the eyes of my heart in 2020. I know that seeing everything more clearly as he aligns my vision will call for greater courage and surrender.
Over the next week, I will be crafting my word from the Lord for my life as it relates to 2020. My tradition is to have it ready for my birthday on November 13. I then submit it to King Jesus and surrender it to him as I start on another trip around the sun.
Maybe you would like to ask the Lord about 2020? If you feel like it is a year for him to heal the eyes of your heart, your inner vision, you are welcome to join me in that focus.
As children of God in Christ, we are prophetic people. The Church is called to be a prophet to all nations. May we surrender our vision to King Jesus over and over again so that He will be happy in his Church and his heart will overflow with blessing!
One of the keys to the unprecedented renewal movement of God on earth is surrender to the ruling presence of God. I have done a lot of wrestling with religious rules and standards over the past 50+ years… both breaking them and keeping them.
In great frustration, as an eighteen-year-old boy, I came to a crisis moment of surrender. I prayed a simple but gut-level honest prayer; “Lord Jesus, I don’t know if this pleases you or not, but you are stuck with me because I can’t live without you.” I didn’t realize it at the time but from that moment, the Holy Spirit was able to establish God’s authority in my inner world. My allegiance shifted from a set of earthly, religious rules to a living, moving “alignment” with God’s presence.
Do you trust God’s presence to govern and renew all things including your being and doing?
Following Jesus means allowing the living, dynamic presence of God to rule in your heart. It means that your whole being and doing is governed by the peace and message of Christ. You will be forever blessed by both the expanse and the limits of God’s judgments. (inspired by Colossians 3:15-16)