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)
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)
Today I was drawn into thoughts about moving forward in spite of challenges. I remembered that Jesus said something about the narrow path. One of the more difficult realities we face is that freedom is a narrow path. The most empowered people are wise enough not to demand their own way.
I decided to search “the narrow way”. I landed in Matthew 7:12-14. There, Jesus taught us about a narrow path and a small gate that only a few even find. THAT sounds hard. He explained that life involves choosing which path you will walk… same circumstances, same challenges, different paths.
What is the mindset of someone who is on the narrow path? Well, first of all, it is tough-minded. It is intentional and pre-meditated. According to Jesus, it is all about staying awake to the way you want to be treated and then giving others what you want for yourself. He said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
My mind goes to another place where Jesus said that loving others as you love yourself and loving God with your whole being sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40) I am left with this; The life I am starving for is a narrow path, the narrow path is love, love is DOING to others what I would have them DO to me.
Or… I can shut my eyes, block my ears and take the broad path and be a trainwreck.
Considering my choices, once again I realize how grateful I am for the sound of the Spirit of God knocking on the door of my life, asking to come in and join me. Every day is about grit, grind, and grace. And because of all that Jesus has done, we have access to everything we need for the narrow path.
So, my friend, if the only option you see in front of you is either blind and deaf denial of reality or facing the narrow path, don’t buy the lie that you have uniquely broken your life, that everyone else is on the better path, or that there is no hope.
Instead, join those who have discovered deep friendship with the only One who can provide all that I need to make it all the way through… Jesus!
Have you taken the time to write your life mission statement? I am referring to a one or at the most two-sentence statement that answers the question, “Why do I exist?”. If not, please make it a priority to ask the Lord about it. In Christ, you have access to come before the throne of grace and ask for revelation on why you were created. God longs for you to see and know His design in you. As you ask him for help in knowing what you were created to do, listen and begin to write out what you hear. Let it unfold even as you write. Eventually, you will be able to get it into one or two sentences (preferably one sentence that is easy to repeat and share.)
Recently I was remembering my mission statement. I wrote it a few decades ago. Here it is… “I exist to help young people discover their God-designed life mission and give their whole lives in order to see it fulfilled”.
With some coaching, I began to envision what that would look like, praying for God’s help in order to get it done. It is amazing to me how that small beginning as marked my journey from then until today.
Writing down and pursuing my mission statement locked me into a partnership on earth as in heaven with the Holy Spirit. It broke up the ground in my life so that the prophetic could be planted and nurtured in me. I am eternally grateful for the grace released to my life story through that one important exercise.
Maybe it is your time to beginning asking the Father to show you your mission. If so, do yourself, all of us, and all of creation a favor and mark it down, covenant with the Lord over it, don’t change it, live into it, and we will all glory with you as God produces heaven’s fruit through you as a result.
In Christ, you are a blessing!
I’ve been doing some intense personal work lately. Over the past few years, I have been introduced to the Enneagram. It has been a great discovery. I am a Type 9 with a Self-preservation instinct. Basically, an Adaptive Peacemaker whose instinct is survival, physical safety, material security, wellbeing, and comfort.
God knew what he was doing when he created me. He was intentional and I first existed in God’s mind before I was even conceived. (Psalm 139)
I’ve been working on paying attention to my feelings of anger, dissatisfaction, and frustration. My go-to behavior in life has been to numb out to those feelings as quickly as possible. But, with the Holy Spirit’s help, I am learning more about what I actually believe in my heart and allowing the word of Christ to reform me.
There is a calling in the Bible that has for a long time pursued me. It is to “…live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…” (Colossians 1:10)
This morning I was pressing in on the challenge of stoking my desire to live a life worthy of Jesus’ name. The jarring and fearsome truth is that because I have entrusted my life by faith in him, the Spirit of God now lives in me as spiritual fire. I don’t actually provide the fire.
My job is to fan it into flame. So, for me, my daily work has to include going to the desire that dwells in me because of Jesus. Honestly, if I hadn’t started this habit a few decades ago, I would still be numb and asleep to the furnace room of God’s desire deep in me. I realize now more than ever my need to shoulder my responsibility to do whatever it takes to craft a life worthy of the Lord.
Don’t hear me wrong, it is totally in submission and profound partnership with Christ who lives in me. But, there is no other human that is going to do my personal work for me. You and I are here, alive in this era, to go today to our plot of land in our Father’s vineyard and work it on earth for the glory of heaven. And, it begins in our hearts.
God sees you as worth every effort because of the One in you.
In Christ, you are a blessing!
Have you considered why God pursues us? He is making all things new… restoring everything. You are worth restoring. In Christ, you are eternal and ultimately unstoppable. Nothing can separate you from his love. You are a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit… designed to host God’s presence. You have a problem, however. Your heart lies to you. It is easily distracted. Whenever the immensity of living on earth as in heaven feels too big or the cost seems too much, you distractyourself. Your distraction may even seem innocent, but it is a roadblock designed to avoid the challenge of the glory of Christ in you. Don’t lose heart, though. This is a new season for you. King Jesus is incomparably persistent in pursuing us… his Eternal Love and Companion. We are his Body, the fullness of him who is our Head. So, it is time for you to renew your trust in how the Father sees you. If you will daily surrender your heart to him, that same heart that is prone to telling you lies, the Spirit of Truth will speak messages to you that can only come from heaven. And hearing him will keep changing you from glory to ever-increasing glory. He is faithful and you can rest in his promises. You may never understand why God pursues you. But, you can, by faith, experience the incomparable journey of restoration. He has chosen you as worthy of knowing him.
In Christ, you are a blessing!
The Holy Spirit has been reminding me that I have the ability to either let my light shine before others or hinder it. We all tend to act like we don’t really have much to say about whether or not the light of the world will break out from within us to the world. But, that is not what Jesus has said.
This morning, I was reading Matthew 5:14-16. A mentor of mine recently suggested to me that I imagine Jesus sending me a note in order to encourage me. They asked, “What might he say to you?”
As I wrote in my journal, I realized that I should share it with you too. Let it encourage you as you start into your week. Read it as a message from King Jesus to you.
My joy is to shine with you and through you… as you. I am not playing games with your life, identity, or your well-being. Your place of security is always in life-union with me… “I in you and you in me”. You will feel much better in every way if you will forget about being safe as the world defines it. And embrace security as heaven sees it.
When you allow your light (actually my light in you and for you) to shine in front of everyone all of the time, my security will overwhelm and empower you.
The religious spirit tells you that you are offending me when you don’t hold back and instead let your blazing light fully shine. You have been deceived for too long that you are kept safe by shading your light. If you would only rest in knowing that I love you and I love shining with you and as you. The unique way we shine together is so fun for me. I do see your struggle to trust me. But, I won’t coddle you and let you stay shaded in your fears. I will keep insisting that you let your light shine. You were designed to let your light shine because your light is my presence in you.
So here is my invitation… Make this day a fresh start. Own your ability to open up in my name and “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
You are a blessing!
What happens in your inner territory when all you have left to go on is your agreement with God? The Spirit loves to lead you to that place because God’s joy over that territory is all that truly matters. You in Christ and Christ in you… life-union with Jesus… receive his joy over you.
I believe we are in a season right now when unprecedented demonstrations of God’s kingdom are breaking out into the open on earth. If we will continue to humble ourselves, He will lift us up in his way and his time.
The following message rose up in me today and I want to encourage you with it… The Veil is Removed: The compassionate works of the Holy Spirit are overflowing with glory. There is nothing as amazing as God’s glory. The veil is removed because of Jesus. He removes whatever hinders our seeing and hearing as well as our speaking and revealing his glory in us, around us, and through us. (A word from the Lord this morning as I was meditating on 2 Cor 3:12-18)
You are a blessing!
The living word of the Lord changes everything. Everything about God speaks. His word is like a fire. It is also like a hammer. (Jeremiah 23:29) He speaks and a new creation comes into being… YOU come into being.
The most elemental truth concerning you is identifying as God’s creation… craftsmanship… artistry… design. Through life-union with Jesus, the dead imposter you used to be is buried and your true self is breaking out as you are pulled into the future by grace. With every new day in Christ, you are becoming more of who really are. God has promised never to abandon you.
Surrender to the Holy Spirit’s current that longs to take you through that open door in front of you into the New Year. His desire is to change things through you this year. His creative power belongs to you in Christ. You have the authority in the name of Jesus to declare new things with your life and your voice. Because you are in life-union with Jesus and He is in you, your life speaks. (John 15:1-8 TPT)
In 2019, may you embrace your calling to declare the amazing news of God’s new
You are a blessing!
When a child of God sins, their identity does not change. Becoming an orphan again is not an option… only role-playing. True change has come to us once we have opened the door to Jesus. We become daughters and sons at that moment. Untold damage is done when we keep the old familiar orphan self-perception around like a musty costume in the back closet. When you are a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ, you are never an orphan again. It’s just an old, dead, musty, role-playing disguise… Burn it!
You are a blessing!