Please Pray

31 08 2015

Many of you read this blog regularly. You find encouragement and strength to live out the will of God in your life through the words written here – to resolve to look like Jesus.

Today, as you decide to make Jesus a priority in your life, please pray for the author of this blog. She is currently very ill – it may be some time before she will be able to return to writing this blog or other study material.

Pray for her complete healing.

Pray for her family that they may find peace, joy, and rest during this difficult struggle.

Pray that God will be praised at all times.

Pray that others will see Jesus in you.

This blog will be suspended, hopefully for only a short time. It will be left with these very insightful words from her last blog…

My Jesus Resolution today is to remember what I know about God. Sometimes the future looks scary. It is easy for me to get overwhelmed, over-worried, and overwrought. Instead of creating a list of all of the might-happens, what-ifs, and I-don’t-knows, I am going to recite all the reasons I have to trust my God. He is faithful, good, true, holy, loving, and full of mercy. He was that yesterday and today. He will be the same again tomorrow.





The Unknown

24 08 2015

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie Ten Boom

What we know about God shapes how we face the future. Our faith and our fears are both defined by what we believe about the One who holds us in His hand. Everybody’s tomorrows are uncertain, but we can be certain about the heart of God. Here are ten things you can be certain about even in the face of an uncertain tomorrow.

  1. God loves you. Period. No matter what.
  2. He has more than enough grace. You can’t, won’t, be able to exhaust His supply.
  3. He has a purpose for you.
  4. The cross and the empty tomb are unbreakable, unshakable realities.
  5. You are not alone. Ever.
  6. We are weak, but He is strong.
  7. God is bigger than _______________. No matter what you put in the blank, God is still bigger.
  8. Mustard seed faith is more than enough.
  9. His peace and power are a prayer away.
  10. Jesus really is the answer. No matter your question.

My Jesus Resolution today is to remember what I know about God. Sometimes the future looks scary. It is easy for me to get overwhelmed, over-worried, and overwrought. Instead of creating a list of all of the might-happens, what-ifs, and I-don’t-knows, I am going to recite all the reasons I have to trust my God. He is faithful, good, true, holy, loving, and full of mercy. He was that yesterday and today. He will be the same again tomorrow.





Loved

21 08 2015

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” – Ephesians 4:18-19

Some days it is hard to believe God loves us. We struggle with our circumstances, how we feel, and the reflection we see in the mirror. We hear a thousand voices telling us how we fall short, mess up, fail miserably, are not quite good enough, or are just shy of what is desired. Sometimes that voice is my own. We catalog our shortcomings with the thoroughness of a museum curator, ruthless and merciless of anything less than what we see as perfection. We carry a secret ache to be loved, but put up barriers to fully experiencing that love.

Here is the soul-freeing, guilt-releasing, shame-reducing, smile-inducing truth – we will never be worthy of God’s love. Before you shake your head, think about it. This is Good News! God loves you. Period. Not because you are good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, do enough, know enough, or are worthy enough. He loves you because you are His. He set His heart on loving you, and nothing is going to change His mind. Nothing! You can’t mess it up or talk Him out of it. He is willing to wade into our struggles and love us right where we are. He longs to unleash the power of His love to help us move, heal, worship, change, and grow. Living loved isn’t about being perfect. It is about choosing today to live in His presence.

My Jesus Resolution today is to soak in the truth that I am deeply, passionately, wholly, unconditionally loved. The world will tell me that I am unworthy, broken, dejected, hopeless, unlovely, and unfit for such a love. The truth is that God takes what is broken and makes it whole. He transforms what is unworthy into something beautiful and holy. He holds the dejected and hopeless and infuses new life and peace into each moment. God meets me where I am, in whatever state I am, and loves me. He longs for that love to change my thoughts, my eyes, my hands, my feet, my mouth, my ears, and my heart. When I hear the broken record of the world tell me that I am rejected and unwanted, I am going to sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ at the top of my lungs. He does, and He always will.

 





Strength

19 08 2015

Where do you get your strength? There are days when we all must reach deep for the strength to go on. The world encourages us to lean on wealth, success, work, people, or our own ability to relax. These things provide some measure of strength, but in the end, do not provide the deep strength we need to face life’s struggles.

I love the words that Nehemiah and Ezra use to teach the people about God. In the latter part of Nehemiah 8:10, these men of God remind the people, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I am not sure that we usually connect joy and strength. Joy seems more of a result word while in our minds strength is a process word. Here we learn that joy is fundamental to having the strength to move forward. Finding His joy launches us past our pain. Investing ourselves in His joy provides the fuel we need to face our daily struggles and difficult circumstances. Celebrating His joy is what makes our lives a testimony to the world that God’s promises are possible even when things look impossible. God encourages us to start with joy. His joy has the power to ignite the His power in our hearts. When we do, we will have the strength we need to face whatever today brings.

My Jesus Resolution today is to depend on His joy for my strength. Too many times I rely on the world’s answers. As a result, I let pain, problems, and struggles define my perspective. God wants me to allow His joy to be my strength. When I do, I can face my daily challenges strong because of His presence and power.





Change

17 08 2015

Mention change and people get a little wary. Change is inevitable, but it is amazing how we fight it, get frustrated by it, try to forego it, or feel intimidated by it. Change makes us uncomfortable because it requires a step into the unknown. Even when it is a change we know is good for us, we tend to drag our feet just a bit, make excuses, and look for alternate paths. We are addicted to comfort.

God is in the change business. He changes hearts, changes lives, changes minds, changes attitudes, changes circumstances, changes perspectives, and ultimately, changes our realities. He changes us from being sin-infected, guilt-encrusted, and shame-saturated souls to being people of abundant joy, light, peace, grace, and purpose. Transformation is at the center of how God wants to work in our lives, but, like all change, we hesitate before surrendering.

My Jesus Resolution today is to embrace the change God wants to work in my life. It won’t all be easy. I have a stubborn soul. Learning to look like Jesus is a transformation that will take a lifetime. God’s patience, grace, and faithfulness will continue to shape me and draw me deeper into His presence. I am profoundly thankful that He doesn’t give up on me when I stumble and struggle. God is committed to change me for His glory. Today I renew my commitment to trust God and open my heart to His change.





Wallpaper

13 08 2015

The wallpaper had to go. Outdated and showing the signs of being the backboard for any number of boys’ balls, it was time for the baseball-inspired wallpaper to rest in peace.

I gathered my tools, climbed the ladder, and began the process of “off with the old, and in with the new.” As I started, my creativity took flight as I imagined fresh paint, warm colors, and beautiful charm taking shape in the space.

That lasted about six minutes.

The wallpaper didn’t want to come down. The old adhesive proved more durable than I imagined. I peeled, scraped, scored, and sprayed in an effort to expose this section of the wall to something more desirable, but it resisted transformation. I finally succeeded in getting a corner loose and, with some sense of satisfaction, yanked the piece of stubborn paper from the wall. Progress, I thought. But there, under the baseballs, was another layer of wallpaper. Spaceships, this time. I had forgotten.

Standing on the ladder, peeling away layers of glue, I saw a picture of my soul. Transformation always sounds appealing in the beginning. But looking like Jesus  always involves the hard reality of stripping away the old in order to make way for the new. But my sin is stickier than I realize. It is more durable, more tenacious, and more comfortable than I would like to admit. And just when I think that maybe I am making progress, another layer of selfishness, coat of pride, or sign of shame peeks out from underneath.

My Jesus Resolution today is to watch my Savior and redouble my surrender. His blood is the perfect antidote for sin’s sticky residue. His power can pull away the guilt that clings to my soul. He is not discouraged by the layers of old, worn-out, stained, and tacky that too often seems to define who I am. He wants me to look like Jesus. He can see the beauty and potential of what lies deep inside, and He delights every time I open my heart, inviting His transformation to unfold in me.





Silence

12 08 2015

“But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” – Habakkuk 2:20

It is a busy day. Each of us is blessed with jobs to do, family to care for, laundry to fold, groceries to buy, houses to clean, and dinners to fix. There are people to be taking care of, deadlines to be met, service to be poured out, and agenda items to be completed. It is easy to let the pace of the world become the pace of our hearts. Sometimes it seems impossible to stop and let the presence of God soak into the cracks in our souls.

In the midst of our struggles and schedules, God’s Word reminds us to be silent before the majesty of the Lord. He calls for our hearts and prepares a way for us to walk close to His side. Today is a day for measuring beauty, discovering purpose, and resting in peace. God has a plan for each of our lives. It is a plan that is designed to ignite our faith, strengthen our dependence, and transform us into the image of Jesus. Sometimes His plan has us going to unknown places and fighting big battles. Sometimes He asks us to be still in the small moments of our days and wait for Him. Whatever He has planned for you today, rest assured in His rich goodness, unending faithfulness, and matchless love. He has big dreams for you and they all revolve around you looking like Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to take a moment to be silent and enter into His presence. I am going to let worship fill my heart. I want to let the noise of the world fade away as I gaze upon His glory. For just for a moment, I am going to let the splendor of His majesty take my breath away. It will infuse all the earthly things that hold my attention with the wonder of heaven.

 








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