The Presence!

sun glare poppiesLife can be hard when we feel we are all on our own. We can question whether we are qualified, or equipped to do what is in our heart to do. We can draw back from our dreams because we are afraid to go it alone.

There is at least one being in this universe who is with each and everyone of us always. He’s never left us and He never will. We may not sense Him at times but God is omnipresent. He is always everywhere and He is one prayer away from helping us with our needs.

Only God knows us inside and out. He designed us from the beginning. He placed all our strengths, abilities and preferences in us to fulfill our destiny and purpose. He has marked us with our own individual fingerprints and unique DNA. Only we can fulfill what God has called us to do.

As we cultivate the presence of God, we will begin to sense the Glorious King of the Universe in our midst. We will sense that peace that transcends understanding, we will experience fullness of joy and we will feel a sense of well being. It is in God’s presence that we find rest for our soul, transformation for our heart and abiding unconditional love.

Matthew 7:7 – Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you…

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The Best!

Flower field at sunset.We can come to a place in life where we feel hopeless. The same situation rears its ugly head again and again, and we just can’t see how it can possibly change. It can cause us to draw back and retreat from life. However, we were never created to just exist, we were created to flourish and thrive.

No matter how hopeless a situation may seem, we can bring it to the God of Hope. When Jesus walked the earth He revealed to us the Father’s Heart. He said ‘ask and receive,’ ‘knock and the door will be opened,’ ‘seek and find.’

God’s love is unconditional. He makes the first move towards us when He sent His only son Jesus to earth for us on a search and rescue mission. As we receive Jesus into our heart, we receive His identity as the ‘beloved child of God.’

Now we can go boldly to the throne room of grace and ask for what we need: provision, peace, protection, help, grace, mercy, love, wholeness, health, restoration, joy, salvation. It is the heart of our Heavenly Father to give us the good things of the Kingdom.

The more we come to our Father God in prayer the more we will see change. We can stop trying to make things happen on our own. Instead we can ask, and know that God is at work in us, through us and all around us to bring about His good purposes and plans for our lives. We can rest in knowing that the best is yet to come.

Job 8:7 – Then what you had in the past will seem small compared with the great prosperity you’ll have in the future.

This Current Called Grace

iStock_000026288818SmallWe can find ourselves in seasons of life swimming up current. We feel the resistance all around us and we press, we swim harder, we do everything in our power to get where we think we need to be.

Sometimes we need to re-evaluate just what current we are in and exactly why we want to go in that direction. Life can be hard and its consequences even harder, but there is a current called grace that we simply rest in.

Jesus came to earth for each and every one of us to reconnect us to the Father God. Because of Jesus’s finished work on the cross we exchange our identity as ‘separated from God’ to His standing as the ‘beloved child of God.’

Now instead of fighting our way through this upside down world we can rest in the unforced rhythms of grace. Jesus will not lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on us, for His yoke is easy and HIs burden light. As we float down this current called grace, it will lead us exactly where we were supposed to be: on time, in season and fully equipped for every good work.

Matthew 11:28 – “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

The Ease of the Beautiful!

Sunset on the beachThere is something in all of us that longs for the perfect. We want others to be perfect, situations to be perfect, circumstances to be perfect and ultimately ourselves to be perfect.

God has put eternity in our hearts, even though our minds cannot fathom it. So we long for perfection in an upside down imperfect world. Unfortunately we will not find perfection on planet earth at the moment but there is beauty all around us. We simply need to open our eyes to it.

We can make a conscious decision to focus on the positive and not the negative. Once we were separated from God and everything that was beautiful and perfect, but God did not leave us that way. He sent Jesus who made the way for us to have open access to the Father God again.

Now because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross we can come boldly to the throne room of grace. We can receive all that has been won for at the cross of Calvary.

We may never be perfect on this side of eternity, but we can grow up into full maturity in every realm of life. We can blossom, flourish and thrive as we step out of striving for perfection and into the ease of the beautiful.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 – He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet, no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Inside Out

iStock_000006014401SmallThere is so much pressure around the holidays that we can feel stressed out. The true meaning of a holiday can get lost because we are so consumed with what we have to do and buy.

“Holiday” is derived from the words ‘holy and day.’ God created the seventh day, a holy day, to show that rest, not work, was holy. However, the rest in the new covenant is not about a ceasing of physical labor, it is about a ceasing of internal labor: worry, fear, stress, turmoil. God desires to give us rest for our souls.

Jesus called to the crowds “Come to me.”  He invited all those who labored and were heavy burdened to receive His rest. The people He spoke to were driven to try to work to fulfill the law of God and to impress the religious elite. However, the law was given to ultimately reveal to man that we could not possibly keep it without Him. It was given to us to reveal that not one of us is perfect and that we all need a savior.

Jesus offered the people Himself when He offered them rest. He said in Him there was rest and an easy and light yoke. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s law, which summed up is ‘Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ Jesus fulfilled the law when He lived a perfect life for us, died on the cross as us and was raised from the dead for our justification.

Jesus is love incarnate and in Him we receive His rest on the inside. In Him there is peace that transcends understanding, fullness of joy and a sense of well-being. As we learn to live and move in grace and rest, we will see the transformation of our soul from the inside out.

Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Lightly and Freely

Magic pink rhododendron flowers on summer mountain.We can feel the demands and pressures of life, and allow ourselves to be crushed under them. We were not made to carry the weight of life’s burdens.

God made us to be light and free. He created us for love, relationship and mission. Even when the world became upside down He made a way for us to be back in relationship with Him.

Jesus came to earth for us, so He could take our burdens in exchange for His right standing with God. There is nothing heavy or burdensome about Jesus. He brings light to darkness, and ease to heaviness.

As we receive Jesus into our heart, we receive his light and easy yoke. We trade our trauma, burdens, worries and fear for His joy, peace, hope and sense of well-being. In the great exchange we receive everything He deserved, because two thousand years ago He received everything we deserved.

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message) – Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Be You!

grass and sunsetIn life we can get caught up in appearances. We worry what others think, so we try to impress them by pretending to be someone else. If we pretend to be anybody but just ourselves, we will have to keep up the pretense to continue appeasing others. If we live life behind a mask for too long, we can become a stranger even to ourselves.

We were all made wonderfully unique. No one has our DNA or our fingerprints. God shaped each one of us in a slight reflection of His infinite glory. There is no reason to try to fade into someone else’s reflection when our real selves were made to shine

God desires intimate communion with us. To have that union with Him, we have to drop the mask and fear of rejection. There is no intimacy with falsehood. God already knows who we are, all of our strengths and weaknesses, all of our successes and failures, and yet He loves us anyway unconditionally. He loves us so much that He didn’t even spare His best for us, His only begotten son Jesus Christ.

As we grow in knowing our creator, we will grow in knowing who He is and who He has fashioned us to be. Jesus is the exact representation of the glory of God, and as we look to Him, we will find ourselves at rest with who we are.

We’ve been made by an infinite creator for love, relationship and mission not for unrealistic standards or others’ approval. We can feel free to shed the pretense, the masks and the falsehood; and be everything we’ve been created to be. As we relax into our own skin, we will figure out that the real us was actually pretty awesome all along.

Psalm 139:9-112 (The Message) –

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!

Made Perfect!

iStock_000007440404SmallWe live in an upside down world that can be difficult to navigate at times. When we make decisions based on avoiding difficult circumstances, we can find ourselves always running. We long for the perfect situation, but perfection is still an illusion on planet earth.

We were made by a perfect God for love, relationship and mission. God created us on purpose for a purpose and ordained us to flourish and thrive. Even though we were made in perfection somewhere along the way we lost our perfect standing with God.

However, God was not willing to leave us separated. He sent Jesus to earth to live a perfect life for us, die on the cross as us, and then He raised Him from the dead so we could be justified before Him forever.

Now instead of looking for the perfect on the outside, we can look for it on the inside. As we receive Jesus into our heart, we receive all that was won for us on the cross at Calvary: holistic salvation, victory, success, health, wholeness and full restoration. Now we have an internal guiding force leading us on to safe paths and a bright future.

2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we live by faith, not by sight.

 

The Set Up!

many daisy flowers at sunset in summerWe can live completely obsessed with the conditions surrounding our lives. When something goes wrong, it can leave us upset and distraught. Sometimes circumstances may not look like they seem. What may seem like the worst can be a set up for the best.

Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday. The disciples who had believed that He was the Messiah were devastated. Saturday they mourned in disbelief; and then Sunday two of the disciples walked along the road to Emmaus with a stranger who revealed Christ to them in the Old Testament.

The two eventually realized they had walked with the risen Christ and did not even know it. Everything Jesus had told them before about dying for humanity’s sins and being raised from the dead had been the truth. What looked like a devastating end on Friday became a victorious beginning on Sunday.

Now because of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross we can have right standing with God by faith. Even when things look as though they are falling apart, we can rest in Jesus’ promise to never leave us nor forsake us. We can rest in God’s unfailing love. He is with us, for us and on our side and He will work everything out for good.

2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we live by faith, not by sight.

The Exchange

iStock_000033541504SmallIn life we can carry burdens that we were not design to carry. Guilt, condemnation, shame, fear, worry and trauma are much too burdensome for our soul to bear.

God loved us so much that He made a way so we would not have to carry these burdens anymore. He sent Jesus, the exact representation of His glory, His very best, to earth for each and every single one of us.

Jesus lived a life of perfection for us, He died on the cross for our sins as us and He was raised from the dead for our justification. Now in the great exchange we can give all of our burdensome weights to Jesus and receive His wholeness and righteousness.

Now we can leave our times of prayer with Jesus lighter and freer, full of joy, the peace that transcends understanding and a sense of well being and excitement for the future.

 

1 Peter 5:7 – Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.