Grace

6 07 2015

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8

Grace is a great mystery. We don’t deserve it. We can’t earn it. We will never be worthy of it. It is a deep, rich, extravagant gift. It comes straight from the heart of God. His love shapes it. His holiness empowers it. His faithfulness extends it. Grace has the power to overwhelm us, cleanse us, refresh us, and transform us. There is not another force like it.

Through grace, God reaches through our sin and touches our hearts in order to change them for His glory. His grace draws us close when our sin has built a barrier. His grace makes us family even when we were strangers. His grace fills us with light in the midst of our darkness. Grace allows us to breathe, encourages us to grow, and helps us imagine what is possible because of His love.

My Jesus Resolution today is to immerse myself in His grace. Down on my knees, I know I don’t deserve it, but He gently washes away my guilt and covers me with grace. He moves in to fix what is broken, heal what is wounded, and comfort what aches. At the heart of grace is transformation. Encountering His grace will never leave me the same. The mystery of grace is God’s willingness to meet me in my sin and envelop me with His love.





Believe

3 07 2015

“We are what we believe we are.” – CS Lewis

If you had to make a list of ten words that would best describe you, what would they be? When you are talking to yourself, how do you speak to the person in the mirror? Most of us have a list of things we wish we could be. Too many times, however, we treat ourselves critically, allowing guilt, shame, and unrealistic expectations to shape what we believe about our hearts, our abilities, and our potential.

A big part of the transformation God is working within us is a change in the way we see ourselves. Sin warps our self-perception. The cross has the power to redefine the substance of who we are.

Here are ten things God says you can believe about who you are in Christ:

  1. Treasured
  2. Courageous
  3. Loved
  4. Able
  5. His Child
  6. Beautiful
  7. Forgiven
  8. Holy
  9. Chosen
  10. Free

My Jesus Resolution today is to believe that I am all God tells me I am. The world is an expert at pointing out all the ways I fall short, don’t measure up, or don’t have what it takes. I really don’t need anybody to tell me where I fail. I’m good at zeroing in on those things all by myself. God wants me to change my focus. He wants my potential to speak louder than my problems. When I choose to believe God’s truth about who I am, Jesus begins to take fuller shape in my life.





Progress

1 07 2015

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” – CS Lewis

We worry about the world. We stand in a moment in which it seems that morals, common sense, and integrity have given way to violence, prejudice, and sin. The tide of selfishness and evil leaves us breathless as it crashes into our lives, attempting to uproot our homes and values. It is overwhelming. It is so tempting to draw a protective circle around our families and position ourselves far away from the battle. But, silence means Satan wins. Christians are never called to hide. Today, more than at any other time, we have the privilege and responsibility to speak healing truth into an increasingly fractured society.

Here are four truths that Christians need to speak with one voice into our neighborhoods, offices, towns, and families.

With respect, gentleness, and love:

  1. God is God. You can deny him. You can revile Him. You can ignore him, but God is God. He is sovereign. He is holy. He is loving, and He is good. He is for us. He is pursuing each one of us. He sacrificed everything so we might be His.
  2. Sin is sin. There is such a thing as right and wrong, good and evil, darkness and light. No matter what others might tell you about finding your own “truth”, there is an absolute standard that, like the North Star, helps us find our way through the darkness of this world.
  3. The Gospel is grace. God’s goodness runs deeper than the world’s evil. No matter how bad it is, God is ready and willing to extend mercy and grace.
  4. Jesus is the answer. We have a myriad of problems, but there is only one answer that will bring soul-deep healing to our hurts, anxieties, questions, divisions, and heartaches – Jesus. The cross is proof of not only His love, but His willingness to enter into the depth of our experience and open a way into joy.

My Jesus Resolution today is to speak truth and embrace progress. By necessity, I have to start with myself. No one needs to do an about-turn more than me. I need to humble myself before God. I need to acknowledge my sin. I desperately need grace. More than anything, I need Jesus. As God works on me, I am going to stand up and speak His truth into the frantic, hurting, even belligerent places of this world with words, actions, and presence. Here is the truth I want to proclaim with my life – Progress = Looking more like Jesus.





Under Attack

29 06 2015

Do you ever just feel like you are under attack? It seems like no matter which way you turn, there is a fight that has to be fought, an attack to be endured, or an enemy to be faced. It makes your soul weary.

I opened my Bible looking for anything that would help me hang on for another day. Today, my weariness lifted as I read 2 Corinthians 10:3-4. Ready? This is blow your socks off stuff. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” Do you see it? Do you feel the weight lifting off your shoulders? Everybody has days, circumstances, relationships, and struggles that just feel like a battle zone. But in the midst of our battles, we have been given a secret weapon. God has given us divine power in order to face the enemy, stand in the battle, and destroy strongholds.

I love that picture. The battle in your life that looks undefeatable, overwhelming, and too big to fight – it is toast. You can’t defeat it on your own, but with divine power you can be confident that victory is not only possible, but assured. The end of 2 Corinthians 10:5 reveals the key – take every thought captive to obey Christ. Changing the way we think by filling it with His Word, investing in joy, and surrounding yourself with His people is key to living in His divine power and defeating what keeps you from looking like Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to take courage and face the battle. I am not alone. I don’t have to have the strength to defeat the enemy on my own. His divine power will help me destroy the stronghold that has a hold of my heart. There is an enemy pressing hard, but I have a Savior who has the power to make His victory a reality in me.





Celebrate

26 06 2015

Today is special. No, there isn’t a holiday that you missed, a celebration you forgot, or an anniversary you overlooked. Today is special because God is present. He created this day for your delight. He handcrafted every piece as an invitation for you to enter His deep joy.

Here are ten ways you can celebrate today:

  1. Breathe. God is in control…of everything.
  2. Rejoice. All really is forgiven.
  3. Rest. God is watching over you.
  4. Enjoy. God created chocolate.
  5. Smile. You are never alone.
  6. Pray. God is listening to every heartbeat.
  7. Sing. Worship is the antidote to worry.
  8. Look. See the beauty in the ordinary.
  9. Listen. He is calling your name.
  10.  Be brave. Jesus is always the right answer.

My Jesus Resolution today is to celebrate. I am going to take a minute to stop and celebrate the beauty He has planted in my path. I am going to look for an opportunity to smile at His handiwork. I want to pause in praise, and bow in worship. Today, I am going to sing a song that reminds me of His goodness and enjoy this special day.





Bread

24 06 2015

“I am the bread of life.” – Jesus, John 6:48

I just pulled fresh bread out of the oven. I made it from a recipe passed down to me from my mother-in-law. For years, my husband raved about the bread his mom used to make when he was a kid. My sister-in-law was able to dig out the recipe and now the delicious aroma fills the house, drawing hungry tummies to the table.

Bread nourishes and satisfies. It helps us to have energy, health, and the building blocks for growth. Bread also feeds connection. When we eat bread together, it sparks laughter, conversation, and deeper love. Bread inspires gratitude. It draws our eyes to heaven and helps us trace the Father’s fingerprints on our days.

Something as simple as a loaf of bread holds a myriad of pictures of Jesus. As the Bread of Life, His sweet aroma calls us to inhale deeply and breathe Him in. His presence nourishes our souls. His power fuels growth, abundance, and fruitfulness. His nearness draws our eyes to the Father, inspiring praise, thanksgiving, and joy. Sharing His life and His heart binds us together, igniting laughter, encouragement, prayer, and deep love.

My Jesus Resolution today is to eat a piece of bread and be thankful. In one slice of bread, I get to celebrate family and see my Savior. So many times God plants His love in the most ordinary things. I want to have open eyes to see each gift He brings my way. Will you join me? Walk through a bakery. Share a sandwich with a friend. See Jesus in the bread and smile.





Under Construction

22 06 2015

I like to watch those home renovation shows. It is always fun to see how drab and dreary becomes bright, functional, and beautiful.

My favorite moment is “the reveal.” That is when the designer takes the family into the home and unveils the finished project. The family has been a part of the process from the beginning. They examined the plans, got covered in dust, and have tired muscles from moving and lifting. Yet in the end, they are always surprised. There is a look of wonder on their faces as they soak in the entirety of the renovation.

Watching one of those shows with my daughter, we listened to the home owners complain about the debris, doubt the designers’ know-how, and question the value of the project. They whined about the wait, and were grumpy about unexpected hitches on the way. I turned and looked at my daughter. “Don’t they watch this show? The designer always makes it turn out beautiful in the end.”

I put my head in my hands and repented right there on the couch.

We are all under construction. God is working an extreme makeover in my heart. He is tearing out old motives, mismatched attitudes, broken dreams, and sin-stained perspectives. The Master Designer is realigning priorities, laying a solid foundation, cleaning out my junk, and installing new … everything. And just like those people on the show, I complain during the construction, doubting His wisdom, questioning His design, and grumbling about the timeline.

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” – 1 John 3:2

My Jesus Resolution today is to trust my Designer. He has a vision for my life. He has a plan for my heart. He is taking the old, making it new, filling it beauty, and bringing to life His desire for my soul. Standing in the middle of the dust and debris, it is sometimes hard to see how His plan is unfolding. Instead of progress, I often see problems. But my Designer knows what He is doing. He has everything under control. There is often a mess before marvelous. I can’t wait for the big reveal.








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