Focus Forward

photo (25)We can drive a car and only use the rear view mirror, however if we do we are absolutely headed for a crash. To get to where we need to go, we need to focus forward and only look back once in a while to see how far we’ve come.

We were made for growth. We were made in the image of God and blessed to multiply and flourish. Everything in us is created for progress.

Even when we lost our way, God couldn’t leave us to wither and decay. He sent His precious only son to earth to rescue, redeem, restore and reconnect us back to the Father.

Now through Jesus and His finished work on the cross we can receive the gift of righteousness and the abundant supply of grace which causes us to reign in life. Now as we focus forward and steer towards our goal, our Beautiful Lord and Savior, we will be led into our destiny and purpose.

Hebrews 12:1 (MSG) – When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

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Elements to Thrive

Flower field at sunset.We can become very frustrated in life when things take longer than we expect. When we try to force results it can lead to burnout. However, if we focus on making things healthy, then we will see growth because healthy things grow.

When a seed is planted in the ground it is important that the soil be healthy and that the seed gets plenty of water. Once it breaks the surface it will need sunlight too. When the plant has the right elements it will begin to flourish and bear fruit.

As we plant our lives in the church, the community of believers, we are planting in good soil. As we seek our Lord Jesus in prayer we are being watered by the Spirit of God, and when we meditate on the Word of God we are being exposed to the light of the Gospel.

These elements cause us to flourish and prosper in life. We can’t force ourselves to grow but the more time we spend with our Lord Jesus in prayer and in the Word, the more we will transform from the inside out into all we are designed to be and step into all that we are called to do.

John 15:5 (MSG) – I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.

Diversity Strengthens

iStock_000006014401Small1 Corinthians 3:9 – …You are the vineyard, the garden, the house where God dwells.

One lesson I learned in gardening is to plant a variety of plants for a healthy strong crop. If you plant only one crop it is much more susceptible to predators and disease.

Today we are God’s vineyard, His garden, and He is the good gardener. As He brings us together as His spiritual house, He brings a diverse group because diversity strengthens us.

As Jesus builds the community of believers, He brings us together with our varied backgrounds, cultural identities, economic status, gifts, talents, strengths and personality bents. Where one of us is weak, the other is strong. As we bring our unique giftings and talents, God plants a unique flourishing beautiful garden of His purpose and plans.

As we rest in our loving relationship with our Heavenly Father, we will find that He leads us to plant our lives in the spiritual house of God, the church. As we dwell in His house, we will find that our cup runs over so much that we have to give it away. We will see mercy and goodness radically pursue us all the days of our lives and whatsoever we do will prosper.

Flourish

Lavender flowers1 Corinthians 3:9 – …You are the vineyard, the garden, the house where God dwells.

We can feel as if we are decaying in areas of our lives, but that is not God’s plan or will for us. He created and called us to flourish and multiply. He made the earth and us in His image. He gave us our purpose, stewardship over His garden.

Somewhere along the way we lost our way and we lost our purpose. God looked to us in love and He could not leave us that way. He sent His precious son to earth to save us. Love Incarnate became flesh and dwelt among us. He embraced us, healed us and set us free.

Jesus gave His life at the cross for you and me, so we could receive His identity as the ‘Beloved Child of God’ and be restored to Him and our original design. Today we are God’s garden that He tends to lovingly and delights in.

As we allow our Father God to cultivate the soil of our hearts and sow the seeds of purpose in us, we will begin to dream new dreams. As we remain in the presence of God, He will shine His light on us and pour out His Spirit to drench and hydrate our soul. We will transform from the inside out into the person we were designed to be and do the things we were created for as we flourish in every realm.

The New Thing

821a8785In life we can find that we are too busy, too consumed with deadlines and too focused on getting everything on our plate done. If we are always moving on to the next thing we might miss the new thing.

God makes all things new. He created the heavens and earth. He created us for connection, relationship and mission. He plucked us from eternity and placed us in our time and location to flourish.

Even when we got lost along the way, God never abandoned us. He sent His son Jesus to rescue, redeem and restore us. Jesus gave His life for ours so we could be children of God.

Now as we cultivate our relationship with Jesus daily in prayer and abide in Him, we will find the unforced rhythms of grace. We do not have to be led by a long to-do list, instead we can be led by God’s Spirit. We will be led into the new things that God is doing, the open doors of opportunity and the purpose and destiny for which we were made.

Revelations 21:5, Genesis 1:26-28, John 3:16, John 15:5,

Psalm 23:5-6, Psalm 1:3

 

Step Out

FXP18968We can try to be like everyone else. We give up the dream in our heart and try our best to blend in, but the truth is we are not a dime a dozen, we are a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

We are God’s image bearers and intrinsically valuable. We have our own individual DNA and intricately detailed fingerprints for a reason. We are made for a unique purpose.

Even when the world became upside down and we became separated from God, He never gave up on us or our purpose. He loved us so much that He sent His beloved precious son to earth for us.

When Jesus walked the earth He invited all of us who were weary and burned out to come to Him. He offered us His easy and light yoke in exchange for our heavy weights and burdens. Jesus gave His life for us at the cross so we could have God’s continuous endless life.

We can bring our fears, disappointments, flaws and shortcomings to Jesus and receive His peace, righteousness, wholeness and restoration. Now we can begin to dream again and start to step out in faith.

The more we focus on the Altogether Lovely One the more we will transform from the inside out into who we really are designed to be. The more we know that we are deeply loved and highly favored, the more we will relax into our own skin, and step out in faith into our unique calling and purpose.

Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 139:13-15, John 3:16, Matthew 11:28, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Ephesians 3:18-20

Love Permeates

iStock_000026288818SmallIn life we can question our worthiness. We can wonder why we are here on planet earth and what value we bring. If we believe the lie that we are a mistake or we have nothing of substance to contribute, we will give up on the incredible destiny and purpose we were made for and simply resign to exist.

We were not created to just exist but to grow, develop, flourish and thrive. We were made in the image of the infinite God of the Universe. He created each and everyone of us marvelously unique. We all have our own fingerprints and individual DNA. God created us with all of our strengths and preferences in mind. He made each of us a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

Even when we were disconnected to God, He made a way for each and every one of us to be reconnected to Him. God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to earth to save us not condemn us. Jesus lived a perfect life for us, died on the cross as us and was raised from the dead for our justification.

As we receive Jesus into our heart we can be connected to the source of endless life. We can find our intrinsic value and our unique purpose in the arms of our loving Father God. As we spend time in prayer, we will begin to really know unconditional love. We will begin to experience unconditional love. We will see this unconditional love permeate our core.

The more love we allow ourselves to receive, the more we will appreciate our own value and purpose. We will begin to step into the purpose and plans we were made for; and our Father God will weave our life with others into a beautiful tapestry of His destined plans. As our lives of purpose intertwine with others on this destiny road, we will see the Kingdom of Heaven taking ground on planet earth.

Psalm 139:13-22 MSG – 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! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea.

Ephesians 2:10 NIV – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 3:18-20 MSG – I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

LIFE

iStock_000016010984SmallIn life we can lose our enthusiasm. We can go through the motions half-heartedly. However, we are not mindless machines created to exist but organic beings designed to flourish and thrive.

We are made in the image of the infinite God of the Universe. We were fashioned and shaped with our unique fingerprints and individual DNA. We are not an accident, we were made on purpose for a purpose. We have been plucked from eternity and placed in our time and location for a special purpose.

God loves us so much that even when we were far from Him, He sent us Jesus in the flesh. Christ Jesus lived a perfect life because we could not, He died on the cross for all of our sin: past, present and future; and then God raised Him from the dead so we could be raised to new life with Him.

As we receive Jesus into our heart, we can live this resurrected life in Christ. There is nothing dull or tame about this new life, because the source of it is God’s endless life. As we spend time communing in prayer with our Father God our spirits will align with His, we will find passion for our specific call; and we will be fueled and energized for every good and noble work.

Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

John 10:10 (NLT) – The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

iStock_000026100334SmallWe can try to do everything to get ahead, run as fast as we can, step on people, compete, only to find that if we reach our goal, it is awfully lonely at the top. Winning the rat race just means you are number one rat.

When Jesus walked the earth, He was never in a hurry. He was as willing to stop and focus on the one person as He was with the multitude. Even when He heard Lazarus was dying, He stayed where He was two more days before He went to see His friend.

Jesus told a story about a man who had been robbed and left for dead. Two religious men were in such a hurry to get to the temple that they couldn’t help the man bleeding to death on the side of the road. Jesus made the hero of the story another man, an outcast from Samaria, who made the time to attend to the man’s wounds.

When we spend time in communion with the Lord in prayer, we will learn the unforced rhythms of grace. We will begin to flow in God’s perfect timing and get on His timetable and in His purpose. Jesus did go see Lazarus and not only did He raise him from the dead, in the process He revealed to his sisters, Mary and Martha, that He was not only the son of God but the Resurrection and the Life.

The Good Samaritan was not hindered by overcommitment. He stopped and helped the man who was beaten and broken. He put him on his donkey and brought him to shelter, he anointed and wrapped his wounds and paid for him to stay at an inn until he recovered.

The Good Samaritan is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came from Heaven to earth and was not too busy with religion to rescue us. He anoints our wounds with healing balm, and restores our lives. He brings us to the  House of God, His people, paid for by His precious blood.

As we take the time to stop and rest in the beautiful presence of God, we will find that our priorities are readjusted, our true purpose made clear, and we become more aware of the suffering and need that surround us daily.

Matt 11:29 (The Message) – Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

A Masterpiece

Beautiful sea landscapeSometimes we can wonder why we are here on planet earth. We do our best to make it through but we lack a sense of purpose. We weren’t created just to take up space, we were created to reign.

We are made in the image of the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent infinite God of the Universe. Nothing about us is boring and ordinary. Every single one of us is a unique masterpiece with our own DNA and individual fingerprints. God has put His signature on every single one of us.

Each of us bears a small reflection of God’s magnificent glory. God created us to shine! As we grow in knowing Him as our Father, we will begin to grasp how truly amazing we are. We are wonderfully made for God’s unique purposes that He prepared for us beforehand.

As we receive everything won for us from Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection, we will begin to step into our destiny and purpose. As a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly, we too will transform into all that we were created to be, defying gravity in the process.

Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.