Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Rabbit in the Weeds

My neighbor’s overgrowth of weeds has reached nearly 3 feet. It is a perfect hiding spot for a rabbit, that is, until my Labrador decides he wants to retrieve him. I keep him from having any success; however, this morning he did shock the rabbit he uncovered with his keen abilities. The rabbit, stunned and not really able to evaluate his options, ran right towards a pack of German Shepherds. He rebounded and finally found an escape route.

Watching the frazzled rabbit run from one point to the next haphazardly reminded me of how easy it is to get comfortable and feel safe somewhere only to find yourself under attack. This can happen in a relationship, at a job, in a circle of friends, and even at church. It is usually the people closest to us that hurt us most. We get comfortable. We feel safe. Then something happens. We all have moments, situations, events, etc. in life that shock us, open our eyes, hurt us, change us as people. We have the option to respond in whatever way we see fit. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we deny. 

When we run, like the rabbit, we are running from something, and there’s always a place we are running toward. Maybe we attempt to nurse our brokenness with some self-soothing methods that are almost second-hand nature. Remember the Golden Girls moments when the cheesecake came out of the fridge? Perhaps your soothing is going to the gym, taking a shopping trip, having a few (or more) drinks. We all have our vices; some of us have multiple vices.

Whatever your situation may be, spend time with God. Take refuge in Him. People change; God is unchanging. People are unfaithful; God is faithful. People are broken, not-perfect, and many times selfish; God’s love is unfailing, His ways are perfect, and He pours out His blessing in abundance. As you cling to Him, may you realize you were never meant to hide in the safety of the overgrowth—you were made to soar! The people in your life are not to be your safety net, but they are part of your life to love, to encourage, to serve. The financial security of a good job and money in the bank is not for you to sit back and coast through life, but to glorify God. Often, when you are chased from the overgrowth, you are led to right where you are meant to be at this very moment. Let the Spirit guide your steps from the weeds to all that He has awaiting. It might not appear to be better than the pile of weeds, but you can trust that God has a great plan. In faith, in obedience, in love – press onward and soar!

“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” – Psalm 143:8 [NLT]

“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” – Psalm 25:5 [NLT]

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Curb Cut

Until recently, I never knew what a curb cut meant. I actually have two curb cuts that I clear of snow and ice every winter season. Over the years, I have called them ramps as I tried desperately to ensure that the winter mayhem was removed from their presence. The main objective in my mind was to ensure that those who needed to use the ramp to get onto the pavement or to cross the street were able to do so with no restrictions or limitations. Trust me, the winter slop did not make it an easy task. The curb cut on the west side seems to flood more often than not.

This week, as I was walking my dogs, I came upon something new on a curb cut. Someone decided to place a portable basketball hoop directly in the middle of the passageway. It made using the ramp to get on and off the pavement impossible. The passage was completely blocked so the dogs and I had to navigate another way. 

In life, there are always many ways to navigate. As Christians, we are to ensure that the passageway to Jesus is open. We are not meant to allow our pride, our egos, our pharisaical beliefs and judgments, our personal agendas, our sinful nature, or anything for that matter, to block a child from returning to the Father through Jesus. Sadly, this is where we oftentimes fall short.

Today, ask the Spirt if you have become a stumbling block or if you are a bridge. Are you pointing people to Jesus or have you become a portable basketball hoop blocking the way? How can you be more of a bridge to Jesus? How can all that you do and say point to Him? Lean into Him and trust Him to keep the path clear as you seek His will. May all you do glorify Him!

“Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.” – Proverbs 3:6 [CEV]

“When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 [CEV]

The Journey

Life is a journey. Over the years, I learned that a journey isn’t the same during each part of the journey. There are highs and lows, good times and bad times. There are moments of rejoicing, and moments of sorrow and tears. When one sets out on a journey, so often the sojourner thinks the steps have been set, the days are fixed, and there is a great picture of what will result at the end of the journey. Consider a trip to an amusement park. You know stops along the way for refreshments and bathroom visits are likely. You know that fun will be had with rides and games. You may even have an itinerary in place. In the end, you know you will leave with a collection of photos, overly hyper children overcome by sugar and fast food, and perhaps a slight case of dehydration from the heat of a sunny day. 

Life isn’t like that though. No matter how much you plan, how much you think that the steps have been set in place, that the days are fixed, life does not come all beautifully packaged. Yes, each of your days is written in the Book. Yes, all of your tears are caught in His bottle. Yes, He has a plan and a purpose for your life. Yes, there is a narrow path that few will choose. Yes, there is an end to the journey which culminates with the New Heaven and New Earth as we worship our King. But the journey—the journey is a journey of faith. And when you step forth in faith, you can only cling to the promises of God, lay everything down before Him, and trust that when the journey gets difficult, when the road gets hard, when people turn their backs, when eyes are opened, when jobs are lost, when health deteriorates, when the puzzle isn’t coming together like the picture on the box—that God is Sovereign, that God has everything beautifully orchestrated, and that nothing can snatch you from His hand.

As I sit here today, in the middle of turbulent part of my journey in life, I can certainly say that my mom never warned me of these days. There are days no one can prepare you for except for a life long journey filled with experiences—a journey filled with triumph and loss, pain and suffering, truth and lies. The scars of life, they sometimes feel as if they cover us completely—as if they will have the last say. But it is in the ashes, that we are reminded of God’s love for His children. We are reminded of the price that was paid. We are reminded that we will rise—that even when the days of this journey can be hard, and dark, and painful—that even when these days come—that God, in His infinite wisdom and His unfailing love, has victory. He has overcome. Now in Him, in Him we are washed. In Him, we find peace. In Him, we are made new. Over and over again. And one day, one day when our Lord returns, all will bow and confess, all will see His glory, and all things will be new.

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.” – Psalm 37:23 [ESV]

“Even a courageous person’s steps are determined by the LORD, so how can anyone understand his own way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [CSB]

Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise)

Restores and Revives

On a Saturday morning, I find myself sleeping in and spending more time in the Word. It is certainly a time of refreshment for me—the sleep and the time with God. We need rest. We need God.

Today’s verse speaks about how God restores and revives. The actual word translates to mean restore, refresh, renew, or revive. When you take a closer look, the Hebrew word “shub” means to turn back or return. This return is to a state you were once in, and this return is not from an occasional nap or reading the daily verse of the day. Shub points to a revival of your life, your strength, your energy. This is something God offers you daily, but it cannot happen if we are not staying connected and being mindful of His presence every day as we go through our day.

If you are feeling tired or drained or if you would like to sleep the next week of your life away, perhaps it is a good time to for shub, to turn back to Him and allow Him to pour into you. What is needed for shub? You simply return. Be intentional about prayer and reading your Bible. As you lean into Him in prayer, as you dig deeper into His Word, you will be restored and revived. Remember this shub isn’t a cat nap that gets you to finish your day with no major issues—there’s so much more! I pray this return to your first love will restore and revive you. The fruit of this revival points to the fullness of God.

“That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name. – Psalm 23:3 [TPT]

 

My Delicious Feast

I love food. I love cooking food. I find myself often planning a new experimentation for dinner. I roam through the produce aisle looking for ingredients. I consider what I want for the finished product. I imagine what I could create by mixing everything together. I look forward to the plate at the end of the experiment. More importantly, I look forward to the finished product on the plate.

When you get to sit down for a delicious meal that you thoroughly enjoy from start to finish, it becomes more than a meal – it is a feast! Each of us likely envision a different type of feast. For me, a feast is ordering three different types of egg rolls and spring rolls from my favorite Chinese restaurant and eating them in consecutive order. It is my favorite lunch feast. It is celebration for no particular reason except to enjoy what God has provided.

The Bible speaks of a delicious feast—a delicious feast of God. He is our celebration. He is the One Who truly satisfies. He gives us all that we can drink, and it overflows. We have the opportunity to partake of Him. We are invited to draw near, to approach His Table. We are encouraged to be refreshed by His Word, to eat of His daily bread. He can be your delicious feast – Your Joy, Your Song, Your Salvation. You can find comfort in His presence as you sit down and partake of Him. Too often, we settle for crumbs and miss out on the feast He provides. Drink deep my friend. When you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him!

“You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit; you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.” – Psalm 23:5 [TPT]

 

What is Love Series – Love Always Outline

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  1. Love is Patient… fill in gaps with GRACE
  2. Love is Kind… do GOOD & be GENEROUS to all
  3. Love Rejoices with Truth… DELIGHT in truth
  4. Love Always

“Love Always”… used to use this as my signature for cards and letters

Realized that I do not “Love Always.” 

Always means ALL THE TIME

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 Living Bible (TLB)

If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

 

1 Corinthians 13:7 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.

 

Love BEARS all things – Love BEARS always

 

YOU WILL BE LOYAL TO HIM NO MATTER WHAT THE COST

YOU WILL NEVER STOP BEING PATIENT

LOVE COVERS… PROTECTS

 

1 Peter 4:8 (NASB)

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

 

Charles Spurgeon noted that… “This love both covers and bears all things. It never proclaims the errors of others. It refuses to see faults unless it may kindly help in their removal. It stands in the presence of a fault with a finger on its lips.”

 

Love BELIEVES all things – Love BELIEVES always

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE IN HIM

Expect the best of others (of what’s in them now)

You recognize they are made in the image of God — you see the very best in them now

You believe in someone until you are shown otherwise – give benefit of the doubt

 

Romans 12:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Faith in what God has made available now

 

Love HOPES all things – Love HOPES always

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS EXPECT THE BEST OF HIM

Expect the best of others (of what is to come)

You recognize that God has a greater purpose in a person’s life, a plan & purpose of His design — you see what God wants to do in a person’s life.

Love looks forward with confidence & grace

Trust that expects fulfillment of the future promises of God

 

1 Timothy 4:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

 

Romans 8:24 The Passion Translation (TPT)

24 For this is the hope of our salvation.

 

But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have?

 

Love ENDURES all things – Love ENDURES always

 

YOU WILL ALWAYS STAND YOUR GROUND IN DEFENDING HIM

YOU WILL NEVER GIVES UP

To endure – To remain under

Perseveres despite situations / circumstances

No matter what!

 

1 Corinthians 9:12 (NASB)

12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

 

In Closing, look to God to understand what it means to LOVE ALWAYS…

Love Bears… God bears… He pours out grace & mercy despite your sins and shortcomings. Your sins cannot stand up to His grace.

Love Believes… God believes the best in you – God designed you for His good purpose & God sees you as His Son. 

Love Hopes… God has your future beautifully orchestrated & God sees who you will be – the beautiful masterpiece

Love Endures… God loves NO MATTER WHAT… He truly LOVES ALWAYS!

What is Love Series – Love Rejoices With Truth Outline

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

alétheia: truth

Phonetic Spelling: (al-ay’-thi-a)

Usage: truth, but not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness…. REALITY… WHAT IS REAL, WHAT IS GENUINE

 

WE HAVE A GUIDE TO TRUTH – THE HOLY SPIRIT

John 16:13 English Standard Version (ESV)

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

 

Holy Spirit reveals truth… guides.. opens eyes to what is real

True love rejoices in the truth… in what is right & good.

… Justice

… Righteousness

True love is unhappy about sin, injustice, & wrongdoing.

 

YOU ARE BLESSED TO DELIGHT IN HIS TRUTH

 

Psalm 1:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

 

Psalm 1:1-2 New Century Version (NCV)

Two Ways to Live

1 Happy are those who don’t listen to the wicked,

who don’t go where sinners go,

who don’t do what evil people do.

2 They love the Lord’s teachings,

and they think about those teachings day and night.

 

… Think about it day and night

… Live in Truth

… Delight in Truth

… Blessed

 

THE TRUTH IS PURIFYING – IT SETS YOU APART

 

John 17:17 English Standard Version (ESV)

17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

True love has no need to hide anything. The truth is reality. Real love doesn’t hide.

… Convicts

… Stretches

… Restores

… Grows

 

THE TRUTH IS FREEING

John 8:31-32 English Standard Version (ESV)

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

… Abide in Truth

… Know Truth

… Free because of Truth

 

When you look at your walk, remember that….

True love does not rejoice over the sins of others. True love wants to best for others. True love speaks truth in love to others. True love desires what is good and pure. True love even wants enemies to discover the truth and receive God’s mercy and grace— not for a person’s destruction.

Two Leashes

This morning in my pre-coffee daze, I neglected to grab my dual leash for my dogs. Instead, I grabbed them each their separate personal leashes and got them ready for their morning walk. I always use the dual leash for walks; if you ever tried to walk two dogs without one, you’d easily figure out why it is nice to have a dual leash.  No tangles. No tripping. Smooth sailing with the canines and God.

As I walked to the next block, I realized that I had forgotten the dual leash, but I also realized that the dogs were still walking as if they were using the dual leash. In using the dual leash for years, they developed a habit. They were trained. The dogs knew the path to walk. They knew their limitations. They knew the distances they needed to be located. They had it all memorized. It became a way of life.

In this same way, as we continue to drown ourselves in the Word of God and aim to live it out, we find ourselves not having to think so much on some things. It becomes second nature. Spending time daily in the Word helps us navigate our day better understanding true obedience and better discerning the will of God.

Continue to add more time with God and His Word as you go through the week. Start a YouVersion reading plan. Pick up a daily devotion book. Download the Dwell app. Do whatever works for you to hear and read more of God’s Word. Take small bites. Enjoy big feasts. Remember, God’s Word always produces fruit.

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” – Isaiah 55:11 [NLT]

 

 

Stooping Down in Gentleness

We live in a broken world, a world filled with pain and suffering and things that are not right. From the very beginning, when God created the world, He foreknew that sin would enter the world. He knew that brokenness would be a way of life for us. He knew that nothing could be done to save the brokenness without Him moving in a mighty way.

God sent His one and only Son to save us, to redeem us, to pay a price we could not pay. He reached out to restore us and bring us back into a relationship with Him. Every day we have the opportunity to enjoy a relationship with our heavenly Father. Because Jesus suffered the wrath that was to be our punishment, we can enjoy His “wrap-around presence.” This is because God has stooped down to us to bring us back into His holy presence.

When the world is beating you down, when you are lost in your brokenness, be reminded of the stooping down gentleness of God. Who am I that He would even consider me? Yet, our God moves through the brokenness with gentleness. He does not attack our brokenness, but beautifully works through it and makes us new. Strange enough, when we take something broken and try to repair it, the end result is never something better. Superglue and duct tape only go so far. But we serve a God of the impossible. With God, we are a masterpiece. He makes us great—better than we ever were. With Him moving through us, navigating through the brokenness, each day we are made more into the image of His Son. All because He has stooped down in gentleness.

“You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great!” – Psalm 18:35 [TPT]

 

My Forever Firm Fortress

Life is uncertain. It seems that at the moment you think you have everything together, something else is just around the corner to show you otherwise. You may plan for a “good day” but other things come up. You may think work is going well, your relationships are solid, finances are good, and one thing happens to change your situation. Life is comprised of seasons. Every day brings changes. Some you celebrate; some you grieve. Thankfully all is in God’s hands.

He is a forever firm fortress. May you declare Him your forever firm fortress. While the world is spinning out of control, while people come and go, while nothing seems solid, we can rest in knowing that He is a bedrock. He is a firm fortress. He is a mountain, a pathway, a tower. No matter what comes your way, when you are in His hands, you are safe and secure. In His hands, in His refuge, He is your secret strength and your shield.

No matter what comes your way today, remember that God, the Creator of all, the Maker of heaven and earth, is the champion of your cause. He is your forever firm fortress. There is no better place to be than in His embrace.

“You’re as real to me as bedrock beneath my feet, like a castle on a cliff, my forever firm fortress, my mountain of hiding, my pathway of escape, my tower of rescue where none can reach me. My secret strength and shield around me, you are salvation’s ray of brightness shining on the hillside, always the champion of my cause.” – Psalm 18:2 [TPT]