I don’t know about you, but nighttime is the worst for me. All the fears, shortfalls, failure, what-ifs, uhoh’s love to come out as soon as my head hits the pillow. I’m good at stuffing and distracting during the busy day, but when all is dark and quiet, it explodes.
So here’s a little reminder for us...
In case no one has told you today, you are strong, smart, beautiful, fully equipped for good works, created in the image of perfection, and an heir to the most amazing kingdom.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
For my fellow often anxious, hot mess, usually scared, trying to figure it all out as we go, falling short more than we like friends...I saw this quote from @incourage and I’ve been thinking about it ever since...
“Most days I’m a hot mess trying to manage the chaos of life and hoping I don’t ruin anything. But there He is, Jesus Christ, leaning in to the Father saying: ‘She’s mine. That one, with all the fears and anxieties, all the falling and fumbling, My blood was shed for her.’” Teri Lynne Underwood 🧡
Where we are weak, there He is strong. And He loves us the same regardless of our feelings or performance.🧡
Background Photo: Hope Coffee
I think sometimes we get so hung up on our BIG assignment in life. We start off with such a passion to serve God and tell everyone what we love about Him, but the devil is good about distorting it and slowly making it more about us and less about God. Our job is actually simple: love God, love people...and never let us get in the way of Him.
THIS! All of it. Scroll and read. And then read it again. God is so good. He’s a good good Father, protector, judge, defender, listener, care giver, friend, provider of hope and love.
I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:... Lamentations 3:19-21
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left... Lamentations 3:22-24
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times... Lamentations 3:25-27
When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst... Lamentations 3:28-30
Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way:... Lamentations 3:31-33
Stomping down hard on luckless prisoners, Refusing justice to victims in the court of High God, Tampering with evidence— the Master does not approve of such things. Lamentations 3:34-36
God, change my want to.
Sometimes this is as close as my heart seems to be able to get. I can’t even pray for the thing my want-to’s are colliding over ... I need to pray for my heart to change; to want the kingdom of God more than the kingdom of man. Whether more peace, patience, grace, humility, courage.
I want to want to do things differently, or say things differently, or see things differently, or prioritize things differently. But the want-to of control, self interest, comfort, desires seem to always win.
It’s not about trying harder. It’s a heart issue, and my heart needs to change. So God, please change my want-to’s. Help me want what you want. See what you see. Love what you love. Seek what you seek.
Do you ever feel like you fall short because you just don’t have enough faith? You try and try, but you think you must be falling short because of your small faith.
I think we often try to muster faith in ourselves...our ability, our accomplishments, our strength. Big faith is us doesn't get us far.
But even small -- mustard seed size -- faith in a BIG God is where its at. It isn't us. It is Him.
My natural tendency is to think easy is better. I spend so much time and energy orchestrating easy. But we grow and learn in the hard.
We will never know how strong we are in the easy. We will never truly depend on God in the manageable. We will never know the victory of overcoming in the safe places.
The alternative is clinging in fear to our own control...never living in freedom because we know it is “this close” to falling apart. How is that better?
The most amazing people I know have faced crazy hard trials. I can’t get enough of their stories and how God did the impossible...and it wasn’t always a cure or neat solution, but it was His presence in it. And it changed them.
And sadly, deep down I hope their stories will change me. But it isn’t their stories that will change me...it is my own.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Historians will probably call our era “the age of anxiety.” Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us. —Billy Graham
Billy Graham said these words in 1965. I think the current climate might be the age of “even more” anxiety. We are literally making ourselves sick.
Striving for and putting hope in anything other than God will only bring anxiety. For those of us who struggle with anxiety we hear things like this so often, we tend to gloss over the words with a, “yeah, yeah, I know attitude.” But read them again. Focus on this truth: Striving for and putting hope in ANYTHING OTHER THAN GOD will only bring anxiety. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. And God will never be disappointed in us. He already knows. He loves us anyway. He cheers on our baby step progress even with many steps backward. He doesn’t fight us or compete with us or compare us to anyone or anything; He supports and equips us. Nothing in Him wishes us to fail in our pursuit of Him. He will never put us down or let us down. He created us...our personality, our gifting, our wiring, our blueprint. The Creator alone knows what we were created for; where the collision of passions and pursuits and callings and needs melt into perfect peace. And it is rarely where we think it is when our eyes are fixed elsewhere.
Below are nine lockscreen passages to quiet the anxiety & fear. Feel free to copy and save on your phone as a reminder. May they become more than words to us. May we know in our heart and soul what we know in our head. May they bring peace and a renewal of the mind and spirit and heavenly facing posture.
Rush to judgment. Default to defensiveness. Assume the worst. Easily annoyed. Quick to anger. Blah....
Ever have one of these days... ”For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate...For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7:15, 18-19
When I don’t renew my mind, my feelings will always take me back to what I got delivered from.
”Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24b-25a
Who can help me? I can't do the impossible without God, that's for sure! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Time to recast my gaze, reset my focus, and renew my mind.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
IF you are in Jesus, NOW there is no condemnation. Not when you figure things out. Not when you pull it all together. Not when all the messes are cleaned up. NOW. NOW.
If you are looking for a sermon podcast to accompany your walks or carpool drive time or any time you can slip away for an hour, I highly recommend the @coe22 @jobypmartin current Romans series. #truth #gospel
Incredibly four women are named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, which is so unusual for this time when women were of little value. And these women had tough stories and checkered pasts. But they are not only part of God’s redemption story, their names ae preserved in God’s Word -- the most read book of all time -- for millions to read and KNOW THEM.
First up, Tamar. Tamar was married to Judah’s oldest son, Er. When Er died, the Jewish custom would have been for one of Er’s brothers to redeem her by caring for her, marrying her and having a child with her to preserve the family name. Judah doesn’t keep his promises to Tamar to provide for her so she takes matters into her own hand. She disguises herself as a prostitute and Judah takes the bait. She gets pregnant and has a child. Tamar is both the daughter-in-law of Judah and the mother of his child. Oh my!
Continuing with Jesus’ messy family tree, we meet Rahab. A prostitute from Jericho, the corrupt city God calls the Israelites to fully destroy as they begin their entry into the Promised Land.
Next up, Ruth. She was a loyal & honorable woman, but also a helpless widow and Moabite, a people hated by the Israelites.
Finally, we see Bathsheba (listed as Uriah’s wife). She had an affair with King David which resulted in David having her husband killed in battle.
Don’t be afraid to say it or think it…some of these are terrible stories. None of the evil behavior is directed or approved of by a holy God. But despite unholy people, God’s forward-looking plan continues. God still makes a beautiful pathway to our salvation, despite our actions. We don’t need to be born into the “right” family, fully understand all of the laws and customs, or even be “good enough.” We only need to step into the arms, under the wings, of the Redeemer. We are never too far away to be saved if we are willing. All things, even those not condoned by God, can be used by Him. There is no condemnation or shame for those who are in Christ Jesus. That, my friend, is Good News.