Resentment Has Been Knocking…..

“I will protect them from those who malign them.”…. (Psalm 12:5).

Resentment has been knocking at my heart. How could they have done that? Why did things go that way? God, how was that ok? Over and over again my heart is stirred with the injustice that I felt was impressed upon me. Yes, resentment has been knocking at the door of my heart and if I could be quite honest, I have invited it in for a time because of my limited understanding of the sovereignty of God.
 
Maybe you’ve been deeply hurt by someone, betrayed or misunderstood. It’s quite possible their actions, coupled with your insecurities thrust you into a desert season, as it did mine. I am learning, through life experiences that it’s not always, or rarely is, just the other person’s issues at fault. For me, it was fear, fear played a great role in my life keeping me from living in wisdom and freedom. Fear kept me in bondage, as I allowed others to do things that were hurtful. Fear was my issue and now because of it, I feel resentment knocking.
 
How do we find freedom from resentment?
 
We let it go.
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Yes, set it free, stop keeping yourself chained to the wounds of your past. Stop demanding things to be fixed the way you want them to. Set your past, your hurt, and your pain free. God is knocking on your heart too. He holds nothing in His hands because they are wide open, ready to receive you. Won’t you fall into His arms and let Him embrace you in His love?
 
Then, we must pray for the person who hurt us. Yes, that’s right, pray for them. Pray for God’s blessings and for God’s healing in their own life. You see, there are not the enemy, but you keep pointing the finger as if they were. We are all sinners, we all need the grace of God. We are all going to fail others because of our insecurities, pride, and selfishness. Just as you would want someone to pray for your freedom, do the same for the person who has hurt you. Pray for their growth in Christ and for their freedom. Set resentment aside and welcome grace into your heart as you release that which the devil has continually tried to set up in your heart to steal your joy in Christ.
 
Lord, I know that resentment has been knocking. Yet, you offer me freedom because of Jesus. Yes, I am a child of God. Yes, I am free from the past. Lord, forgive me for how I’ve hurt others. May I walk in freedom and in humility. God, be my joy, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Throwing Out the Plastic Shell to Show the Real Me

These people are springs without water and…. (2 Peter 2:17).

There are many people who are “springs without water.” Their lives are characterized by outward appearances. They live for the praise and approval of people. Their lives are an empty, plastic shell. There is no depth to their lives because they would never dare to take you beyond their plastic shell and into the depths of their real self.
 
Sometimes, even though I know I am filled with the love of Christ, I live like this. My heart feels tempted to impress others, so I don’t share my own brokenness for fear of judgment or looking “less Christian.” There have been seasons in my life when I have lived not in the deep end, but in the shallow end where it feels safe. The area where I can project to others an image instead of a person with real issues, pain, and struggles.
 
Yes, this is me, a woman who desires to be made new in Christ, living a life of transparency, who also struggles with wanting people to like me. Thinking the way to do it is by becoming an attractive person. Yet, what I have found what draws people in is not an outward appearance, but a beautiful heart. The only way to show others your heart, with all its scars that are being redeemed, is by removing your shell and sharing your life.
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This doesn’t mean that we share so that we can get people to coddle us and make us feel better about our messed up lives. This is hidden pride wrapped up in a low-self image. No, we share so that we build bridges between others and us. We share because as we do the spark of the gospel lights within our hearts, drawing others in as they see a real person, not a plastic image. A real person with issues, who desperately wants to be made more like Jesus, but doesn’t always get it right.
 
So, how are you coming off to people? Are you living a plastic life? Are you acting as a spring without water, making sure your outward appearance looks good when inwardly you’re struggling deeply? Maybe its just me, but the older you get, as you grow closer to the Lord, you can spot a plastic person. We all struggle daily against sin. We are not exempt just because we claim the name of Christ. Yes, we have the Spirit who gives us victory as we overcome, but we are foolish and prideful to think that we’ve got this thing all figured out.
 
What the world needs is not one more Christian acting as though their life is all put together, but a redeemed sinner who shows the love of God through their heart that is being made new. Yes, a heart that is still messy. Yes, a heart that still struggles against sin. No one is above the rest. We all are in desperate need of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Lord, why do I sometimes live as a plastic person? Why do I live in the shallow end instead of showing my true self? A redeemed sinner, being made into the image of God who struggles daily against sin? Yes, I know in you I have victory, so please, in my struggle against sin, show me where I am not walking in victory, so that I might allow you to prune me so that greater fruit can abound, in Jesus name, Amen.

But, God….Why Does Everything Seem to Go Right For Others But Not Me?

The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the Lord….Proverbs 16:33
 
It is easy to covet the lives of others. Having thoughts like, “but God why do they have the child, the job, the car, the promotion, the recognition, the_______________. I’ve been quick to ask, why not me? As if my journey was supposed to work on the same path as theirs.
 
Life can very easily feel unfair if we set our gaze on our immediate circumstances and the cup in our lives that has yet to be filled the way we’ve been asking God to fill it. Many of us have walked very frustrating and difficult journies. Journies where the cries of our hearts seem met with discouragement and a continual, no, not yet. I hate that. I really do and I hate that you’re walking that too, but I know one thing is certain. We can trust and believe that God is always working things together for our good. Yes, He is a mighty God. His love for us is great. His hand brings good things into our lives. Things that we cannot see in our limited understanding.
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Sometimes we have let go of what we’ve been begging for to receive something better from God. If we truly trust God we can believe with all hope that every no is because God has a better yes. As we submit ourselves to His yes we can rest in His promises for our lives. Submitting our wants and desires to Him, we can live in the freedom of knowing that every time our cup isn’t filled with what we’ve been asking for, we can receive the grace of God to fill our heart and mind instead.
 
Yes, the peace of God is what we need. If you’re like me, you need God to do something. To work on your behalf and to clear the path before you. To make His will known and to tear down walls that only He can tear down. Maybe it’s for the reconciliation of a relationship, the healing of a physical malady, a job, or a dream in your heart that has never died. Pray, trust, and believe. Walk in faith, knowing that your Father has good things in store for you.
 
Lord, I believe in your greatness. I do not understand this journey sometimes, but I know that you are good. Make clear the path before me. Forgive me when I allow my worries to keep me from pursuing your greatness. Jesus, be my eternal joy, I pray, I trust you, Amen.

Become Just Like Your Rabbi…Now, Go and Change the World

but the life he lives, he lives to God…. (Romans 6:10). 
 
In Judaism to follow your rabbi meant something radical. It meant that you gave up everything to become just like your rabbi. You didn’t want to just know what your teacher knew, you wanted to become just like them so that you would start to think, and act just like them. Our rabbi, Jesus committed HImself to a life of faithful living to God. He obeyed the commandments of God and lived out His word with obedient passion and faithfulness. His purpose on this earth was not for Himself, but truly for others.
 
As a first-century itinerant teacher, Jesus called people to follow HIm. To let go of everything and take up a brand new life. To walk with Him along paths unknown to discover treasures hidden along the journey. Yes, treasures that unlock our understanding of who God is. Treasures that take our heart and shape them to be more like our rabbi, Jesus.
 
Jesus is asking us to do what He did. To make more talmidim (disciples) to live a life so radically devoted to God that everything about us speaks about the greatness of His glory so that others will want to know our rabbi as we know Him because they see Him in us.
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The Jews understood that following a certain rabbi meant following that rabbi’s “yoke,” and more specifically, their, “yoke of Torah.” This was their rabbi’s understanding of Scripture and how he interpreted it. Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Yes, this is His yoke of Torah- love. Self-less, sacrificial, life-giving love.
 
As you consider becoming like your rabbi today. Consider taking up His greatest commandment, to give love to everyone you meet. To grow in your understanding of His word, so that it burns with a fiery passion inside of your soul. Yes, this is your destiny, to become just like your rabbi. To give love as He has and to live not for yourself but for others so that they might taste and see that the Lord is good.
 
Lord, you have a great purpose for our lives. It is to become just like you. To extend your love to the world. To bring your shalom to the ends of the earth. To give love, yes, real, selfless, sacrificial love. Lord, use my life to do that. I want to be a Kingdom worker for you. I want to become just like you, please forgive me when I stray and make life about me, in Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Dance in the Father’s Love

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us…. (Romans 5:8).

This is the wonderful truth of the gospel, is it not? That you and I have been set free from the weight of sin! We have been brought out of darkness and into the Kingdom of light through the perfect work and resurrection power of Jesus Christ.
 
For all who would call on HIs name in repentance and believe in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead! Yes, you and me, all our sin, is forgiven through Christ. We hold within our hands the victory of Christ. No weapon can be formed against us and if we have salvation through the cross of Christ than we have joy at our fingertips. Yes, a joy that is without limit. Joy that frees us our hearts from anxiety. Joy that fills our lives with purpose and peace. Joy that makes our faces radiant as we extend the love of Jesus to a world that is desperately in need of His saving power.
 
No heart is too dirty for the risen Lord to set free and no past too far from redemption. This is the wonderful truth of the gospel. That God doesn’t just set sinners free, but that He propels them onto a brand new purpose. A purpose that is blessed by the work of His hands. A purpose that takes our brokenness, and our failures and gives us new opportunities for ministry. That my friends is the grace of God for you and me.
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When I approach God with a heart of thankfulness I can rest assured that HIs love is deep and wide for me. When I place myself in the bosom of His tender care I can no with full assurance that I am deeply loved. I am totally forgiven. I am safe in the hands of a gracious, good Father. Yes, He is mine and I am His. You and I can dance with victory, because we know that nothing in this life can keep us from the grace of our heavenly Father. Dance in that love today.
 
Yes, Lord! I will rejoice! You are gracious and merciful! Truly, you are a mighty God! I can trust you because your heart is for me. I can say thank you because although I could do nothing for you, you died so that I could be set free! Yes, Lord, I just want to thank you, in Jesus name, Amen.

Outward Appearances Can Impress, But the Heart is What Changes Us and Others

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation….. (Galatians 6:15).

I remember as a teenager how I would spend countless hours in the mirror, trying to make my outward appearance appealing to others. Then, when I became a Christian, I focused on making it seem as though I had noteworthy gifts or an impressive ministry to show off. Then, God stripped me of the things I trusted in, to take me down a path of great humility. To become nothing so that He could display His power.
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I still struggle at times with feeling I need to project a certain image before others. There’s still this voice that tells me not to be so transparent because in doing so I’m just showing how weak my faith truly is. Yet, I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness so that Christ’s power may rest upon me. I am fully persuaded that there is a real spiritual battle going on with us, nearly, moment by moment. If we do not take our thoughts captive, making them obedient to Christ, surely we will fall into patterns of sin and self-righteous behavior. We will never walk in freedom because we’ll continue to live in our insecurity.
 
Jesus offers freedom for people weighed down by appearances. His mercy sets us free from the need to impress and instead He places us in His hands where He impresses His love upon us. Yes, I want the hand of God filling my heart with HIs love. Yes, I need the mercy of God taking my heart of stone and making it a heart of flesh. Yes, I need the Lord Jesus to breathe new life into me through His resurrection power.
 
What draws people to Jesus is not impressive Christians, with impressive clothes, bright big stages, and a trendy lifestyle. No, what draws them is love and love can only be grown in us inwardly as we surrender our lives to the Lord Jesus. As the world sees His love lived out in us, yes, then they are drawn to the overwhelming love of God.
 
Lord, thank you that I don’t have to be a super impressive person. Thank you that I can just live as a new creation. Yes, fill my heart with your love so that I can pour that out to others. Jesus, be my eternal joy I pray, in your name, Amen.

God Uses Failures…Yes, Even You and Me.

being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised…. (Romans 4:21).
 
Before Abraham followed God in faithfulness, he failed miserably. Yet, this did not keep God from fulfilling His promise to Abraham. God was still faithful to Abraham even though Abraham was not.
 
I know what you’re thinking, I have failed, God could never use me again or, look at my past, what could God do with a past like this? I have found the best way to set the past free so that the devil doesn’t hang it over our heads any longer is to approach it with humility and share it. Yes, share it. Even though fears rise up inside of us trying to convince us that people will judge us or not want someone who has been through what you’ve been through.
 
I have found that the best life, is a transparent life. We all come with our baggage and our failures. Abraham’s just happens to be written all over Genesis 16 and if someone wrote some chapters on us in the Bible we’d fill a few chapters with the stories of our failures too, but thanks be to God that He holds the pen. He continues to write our story.
 
In our pride and lack of self-awareness we’re quick to say, “Don’t be like Abraham, look how he screwed up,” but can I just be really honest? I’m a lot like Abraham. I am Abraham- impatient and sometimes a bit impulsive. I have a hard time trusting in God’s timing, so I’ve been quick to plow forward without listening because my fears of what God might not do start directing my heart and mind.
 
The great news is that God is not finished with people like you and me. Indeed, there is grace for us. God uses failures every day. That’s what He’s working with, a bunch of people, full of insecurities and fears who are longing to be made more like Jesus. Don’t believe the lie that says, “God could never” or “God can’t redeem that.” Stand fast in the promises of God for your life which reminds you that God is for you. Yes, He can use you and all of your junk to put His glory on display. Keep trusting Him and don’t give up on the journey. He’s still writing your story.
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Lord, I am a lot like Abraham. I want to trust you, but sometimes I don’t. I want to walk in faithfulness, but somethings I walk in fear. Lord, sometimes I get angry at the wrong things. Be my eternal joy. I long to walk in faithfulness. Father, use my life to put your glory on display, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.