Start Seeing Yourself How God Sees You

Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”….(Matt 13:52).

You are a treasure to behold. Yes, that’s right, you are one of God’s treasures. He longs to show you off to the world as His handiwork, made in His image for the purpose of shining His light and reflecting His grace.
 
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I don’t always believe that truth. That I am a treasure of God. That He sees me and is well pleased. More often than not I feel like a disappointment to God and the problem child.
 
Until we fully embrace the reality that we are a treasure, made by God, we will always live out of what we believe is wrong with us, instead of all the things Christ has said about us. We’ll live in our bankruptcy instead of our sufficiency in Christ. We’ll live trying to prove ourselves instead of trying to project Christ. We’ll live believing the lies that tell us we’re not good enough, we’ll never measure up and God could never use someone like us.
 
Don’t you see though, God has made you with His hand. He knows the numbers of hairs on your head. He knows when you sit and when you rise. He knows you. Isn’t that a wonderful truth? That you are known by God and He doesn’t turn His face away from you, but continues to shower His love upon you?
 
Yes, you my friend are God’s handiwork. A messy piece of art who is being refined day by day under the power of His grace. Let Him show you off today so that you can, with great joy, show others just how God great is, because of who He is making you into.
 
Lord, I am one of your children. What a wonderful truth! You love me deeply. You pull me out of the pit of discouragement. I am your handiwork. May I live in that truth today for your glory, in Jesus name, Amen!

When Life Has Just About Snuffed You Out

 A bruised reed he will not break,

and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out… (Matt 12:20).

Have you ever felt like you were on your last leg? Like maybe life was about to snuff you out as you sat at the bottom of the pit? I’ve been there. When life stopped making sense and one thing kept compiling on another. Life kept sending me one crushing blow after another. I felt like Job, sitting in the dust, wondering what God was doing.
 
Thankfully, even in our deepest moments of pain, Jesus does not snuff us out. The flame of His love for us continues to burn within our hearts if we are wiling to sit in the comfort of His grace. There is good news for the heart that feels done with life. There is even greater news for the life of one who has learned to find their joy and contentment in the Lord Jesus, despite difficult circumstances.
 
You see, we must remember that even though we are but a measly flickering flame, we are still a flame. We are still burning with light. We still have life in Christ and for that, we can praise Him. As we submit ourselves to the giver of life, the breathe that comes from His lungs starts to awaken new life in us. Eventually, overtime, God will restore the broken pieces of our lives. It’s just, sometimes we have to stay a flickering, tiny candle, because He’s still at work.
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Don’t believe that lie that tells you this is it. This is the end and life as you know it is over. In Christ, there is always hope. Even in our dying breathe new life awaits us on the other side.
 
On this side of heaven we will experience much pain and great difficulty, but you see, what God is looking for is not flames constantly on fire for Him, always joyful, always assured, always on it, burning as though they’ve caught the world on fire. No, what He’s looking for are little flames who will trust Him when they are at the end of their rope. Those are the flickering flames He can breathe new life into. Those are the flames whose stories are still being written. Yes, those are the flames who have a story to share with others about what God did in their life when it felt like life was about to give out. They are the true champions for Jesus as they trust Him in some of life’s darkest hours.
 
Be reminded, that there is still life in you as you walk with Christ. No journey is too dark for HIs love to penetrate and no circumstance is too great for His love. You can do this, because of Christ. Press into His grace, it’s awaiting you.
 
Lord, you have never failed me. You are always with me. You see me, you know me and you love me. Even in some of my most painful moments, I was still a little flame burning for you. Thank you for not snuffing me out, but for sticking with me by your grace. May I offer that same grace to others today, through the power of your love, in Jesus name, Amen.

Replaying Your Hurt is Only Stealing Your Joy in Christ

If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you… (Matt 10:13).

Sometimes I allow my thoughts to rest on places that steal away my joy and sufficiency in Christ. I’ll let my thoughts wander to the places and the people in my life who’ve hurt me. I’ll sit for far too long in that moment, which only causes my heart to be carried away towards a place of defeat and negativity.
 
Jesus, quite simply says to His disciples, If a home doesn’t receive you than let your peace return to you. Maybe that’s something you need to hear today, I’m not sure. Maybe, if you’ve been like me, you need to stop going back to that moment in time or season in life when things didn’t go right. When someone hurt you or betrayed your trust. Maybe they said something or said nothing at all and it cut you deep. Look, I get it, but replaying that moment will only steal the peace you have in Christ who makes all things new.
 
Instead of looking outside myself and towards those times I’ve been hurt I must focus my attention inward. To the person of Jesus who lives inside of me. I must choose to rest with Him. For truly, He dwells inside of me. As I sit with Him, under the comfort of His shade, the pain of the things that happened are washed away in the grip of His perfect love that dances over me.
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Lord, I surrender. Forgive me when I look outward and not inward to your love that dances over me. I claim the victory that I have in you Jesus and ask for your love and peace to fill my heart, in Jesus name, Amen.

Church Can Be a Very Lonely Place

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love… (Galatians 5:6).

Have you ever sat in a bible study or church service and felt absolutely unknown or unseen? I have. Have you ever wondered if a place like this was safe to share your pain and since you weren’t quite sure it was, you kept silent? Yeah, that’s been me too.
 
Can we all just have a really honest moment together? Sometimes the loneliest places are the ones that are supposed to be the places we are known the most. Except for the fact that sometimes, those places don’t see people, because what they’re looking for is results. When results and “something to show” for itself become the driving force for its purpose for existence, hurting people, whose stories need to be heard get left in the dust.
 
Yes, of course, we have a personal responsibility to open up and be brave enough to share in our brokenness, but the question is, are our church settings providing an open door for others to do so?
 
I can recall sitting in church and bible study on different occasions feeling like my heart was going to run out of my chest because it was screaming from within, “If you only knew my pain! If you only knew what was going on in my life!” You see, I wanted others to know, I just didn’t believe it was welcomed or safe to share. So I would retreat to the bathroom or to some other private place to cry and weep with the Lord over how desperately I wanted to share my story.
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I think pride sometimes gets in the way of our ability to lead in a way that opens the floodgates of transparency in our church settings because brokenness is not something we welcome. Brokeness might keep us from climbing our way to the top and slow us down. But you see, if we as leaders don’t share, it is highly unlikely that those whom we are shepherding will do so.
 
In the book of Galatians Paul reminds the church in Galatia of this one simple truth, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” That’s it, bottom line. This is the most important thing. It’s not our programs. It’s not our sound system, coffee bar or stellar mission trip we run each year. It’s faith, expressing itself through love. Yes, we can have a coffee bar, a sound system, and a stellar mission trip, but if faith expressing itself through love are not the driving forces behind those ministries than we are wasting our time and making church all about us.
 
Selfishness, personal preference, and shallow church have to die if we truly want to be an expression of God’s love to a hurting and dying world. Until we do, the lonely will stay lonely. The hurting will self-medicate and the broken will find healing elsewhere, outside of God’s church. Until we open the floodgates of transparency, we will push people who are hurting away to make room for our climb to the top.
 
Lord, forgive us for making church about us. Forgive us for caring not about people, but about numbers. Forgive us for finding our identity in how great our church programs are, instead of caring well for the people in them. Help us to love the hurting. I know I need your help in that. Help us to make time and create the space for others to share in their brokenness, in Jesus name, Amen.

Impatience….The Result of a Heart that Doesn’t Trust God

but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise…. (Galatians 4:23).

Just be patient, God is working. I know that’s easy for me to say and trust me, I have been the queen of impatience in my life. In fact, I’m fairly certain I’ve got the crown somewhere hidden in a box. Throughout my journey of impatience, I have learned, many, many hard life lessons. Some of those lessons, unfortunately, I had to learn more than once. Mostly because I was too stubborn to actually repent and fully embrace God’s will over my own.
 
Sin has a way of doing that though, doesn’t it? Catching us like a hook and keeping us captive. Instead of practicing patience and waiting upon the Lord we follow the deceptive words of deceit and take the bait. Whenever we take the bait it simply reveals an unsubmitted area of our lives. An area we have believed something wrong about the character of God and about ourselves. You see, if I trust myself more than God, oh boy….I’m in a heap of trouble.
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If I place my own understanding on a higher plane than the King of Kings, well, lets just put it this way, I’m in for a rude awakening. I don’t say this because God is seeking to punish me. I say this because sin naturally leads towards consequences and any consequence I receive in my impatience is all on me. But, that’s such a humbling place to be, isn’t it? The place where I have to face my issues, own them and repent of them. It’s much easier to hide my failures, blame them on something else and press on.
 
One of the most healing things I can do for myself is to own my failures so that I can disown myself and find my true identity in Christ. It’s His character that I need, but I’ll never find it if I’m not willing to grow in humility. I’ll always find myself confident and capable without Him. Until I repent of my self-righteousness I’ll never experience the life-changing power of the gospel over my own self-sufficiency.
 
Be encouraged to wait upon the Lord. He knows what He’s doing and trust me, you don’t want to get into a situation like me where it’s almost like you’re challenging God to prove it to you. He’ll prove it and you’ll be left with a very humbled life and let me tell you, that is painful. Sometimes we get mad at God for screwing up our life, when in reality, we were the ones screwing it up all along through our self-sufficiency and need for control. Now that things have exploded, it’s really a question of will we repent and actually start trusting God?
 
Lord, it took me a really long time to get here, but I think I can say, “I trust you.” I trust you with my life, my future, my hopes, and my dreams. I release them all to you and thank you that you are working on my behalf, in Jesus name, Amen.

Find Your Purpose

and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it…. (Matt 10:39)

Have you ever gone searching for your purpose? Wondering what was supposed to become of your life? I have. This has sent me looking for something to do, instead of someone to become. I think we have a gross misunderstanding in the church of what it really means to find our purpose. You see our purpose is not something we do, it’s found in someone we come to know. Yes, that is where our purpose is found, in knowing Jesus.
 
I’ve chalked up a pretty good resume, accomplished some fairly impressive things and have a few pieces of paper that say I’m qualified to do this thing or that. But you see, Jesus took 12 disciples of little repute, who lacked higher education, and the impressive lives we often strive for and invested so deeply into their lives that they changed the world. If you notice, for quite some time, the disciples aren’t actually doing any ministry as they follow Jesus. They are simply getting to know who He is and after doing so, then He sends them out.
 
If you’ve ever wondered what your purpose is supposed to be, stop looking for something to do and start pursuing someone to become in Christ. It took me a long time to get to this place, but I’m recognizing that, truly, my greatest joy and purpose isn’t found in what I do, my bucket list or my great accomplishments for God. No, my greatest joy and purpose is found in being God’s child. This is where truly delight is found as I rest in the Father’s love for me. Yes, love for a redeemed sinner like me who doesn’t always get it right but who is unconditionally loved by her Father.
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Just like the disciples, I want to get to know Jesus first, before I go seeking to find my purpose in the things I do. I want to know Him like a best friend so that I can understand His heart for others and live out of the fullness of His love for me.
 
Lord, you love me, what a wonderful truth. You died for me, what a glorious thing. I don’t deserve it, but you love me still. Jesus, I want to find myself in you. Truly, knowing you are my greatest purpose in this life. For someone who finds too much satisfaction in the things she does, this has been a hard, but wonderful truth for me to embrace. Thank you, Father, for showing me this truth, in Jesus name, Amen.

When My Doubt and Fear is Greater Than My Trust in God

According to your faith let it be done to you…. (Matt 9:29).

I am truly astounded by the simple, yet profound faith of so many people I see in the gospels. With a childlike faith, they believed in the healing power of Jesus and He responded with action to their requests of Him.
 
If I could be quite honest, more often than not, I feel a lot more like Thomas, who doubted, than much of these people who practiced simple faith. I doubt if God can pull through. I press into comforts I’ve always known and I slow my own process of sanctification because I just can’t see how God’s going to make a way, so I delay in responding with a child-like faith.
 
Maybe you can relate with my struggle. The struggle of believing that God is really who He says He is. The struggle that God can really move mountains, raise the dead and conquer my fears. This is where the rubber meets the road in my faith and if I could be quite honest, sometimes I go into panic mode instead of child-like faith mode.
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Especially when things are outside of my control. The Lord is taking me on a deep journey into my heart where I’m being challenged to let go of what I’ve always known to trust Him. Can I be really honest? Some issues of control I’ve held onto so tightly in my life that trusting God with them feels scary or maybe even foreign, because I’ve never truly trusted Him with them. It feels like I’m giving something up that He might not hold with loving care. It’s like I’m believing that maybe He’ll mess it up if I let go of it too much. This is sinful behavior at its worst at work in my own heart and mind that I desperately need God’s grace to free me from.
 
The problem is, I start to feel held captive to my control over these issues in my life and I don’t like it, but since its all I’ve ever known its hard to begin something new. Yet, that’s what I want, because I want to be free in the Lord. I want a renewed heart and mind over these issues of control in my life. I want to see the Lord high and lifted up. I want to trust Him and believe that He is good.
 
I’ve noticed, over these past couple of days that as I reach out for prayer and ask others to pray for me in my struggle, I sense a renewed freedom. I don’t feel held captive to my fear and need for control when I live a life of honest transparency. Here’s why I think so many of us aren’t transparent, because, maybe just like me, you wrestle with these thoughts of,” I can’t share that, it makes me look like a failure in the eyes of God and others.” Instead of sharing, for the purpose of our own hearts renewal, we stay silent in the halls of our own darkness.
 
If we want to be free we just can’t live this way. We must be wiling to practice a simple, child-like faith, before God and others. Every child, if they have someone they can trust, shares their fears with them. Let’s be like children today and be willing to do the same.
 
Lord, forgive me for not trusting you. Forgive me for thinking that if I’m in control, everything will be alright. Lord, you hold my life, every part of it. Today, I choose to walk by faith and not by my own need for control. I yield every part of me to you and press into your grace because I need it desperately. Renew me in your love, in Jesus name, Amen.