He Is Preparing Us For A Place

Bad circumstances, bad people and bad news make me want it. The more I survey the landscape of the sinfulness and brokenness we are all a part of, I look forward to our eternal heavenly home that Jesus is preparing for us so we can be with Him forever.  A place where there will be no more sorrow, suffering or sin.  A place where bad things will be eliminated, good things will be perfected and the best things will be unveiled.  Our citizenship is in heaven, and God has put a longing in us for our homeland.  When it’s hard here, let’s take heart and remember:  He is preparing a place for us, and preparing us for a place.

Count It As Joy

Christians should count the various trials in our lives as joy. Not as defeat.  Not as pleasant.  Not as punishment.  Not as meaningless.  Not as insignificant.  Not as a reason to complain.  Not as a lack of God’s care.   Trials can be many things, but they cannot be joy-stealers unless we let them. While it may feel like trials are breaking you today, you can be sure that God is building you up through them in ways that are going to be amazingly good in the days to come.   Your faith muscle becoming stronger.  Your deliverance becoming sooner.  Your witness becoming louder.  Your homecoming becoming sweeter.

Shine His Light In Your Heart

Darkness isn’t just the time between dusk and dawn; it’s also any time you are facing the unknown.  This is especially true of those seasons of suffering when the light at the end of your tunnel is nowhere to be seen.  It is during those times that you must not give up hope.  For even on those dark days when you can’t see what is up next, what step to take next or how anything good will come next, hope remains. Jesus is still there and Jesus still cares! Ask Him to give you the faith and inner strength that is needed to endure. And though the outer darkness may yet linger, the Son will rise and shine His light in your heart.

The People You Invite Into Your Life

You are greatly influenced by the people you invite into your life.  You start to act and speak and think and live and become like them.  The question is:  are you becoming more like Jesus by becoming more like them?  It is important that we carefully choose who we allow to get close enough to us to begin to change us.  While we should love and serve people who are far from God, we should not take our cues for how to live from them.  Instead, we imitate those who are imitating Jesus.  As much as possible, surround yourself with people who exemplify Him and encourage you to become more like Him.

We Can Have Courage

The gospel emboldens us to not draw back when others push back against our countercultural loyalty to God and His ways.  Because Jesus has overcome sin, Satan and death, we can have courage; the kind of courage that does not shrink back from saying and doing the right things no matter what people might think of us, what might happen to us, and what it might cost us if we remain faithful to Jesus.  Our courage and encouragement are based on this truth:  Jesus has overcome all the tribulations, troubles, trials, tests, and temptations of this world!  And… He is for us.  He is with us.  He is coming to get us.

God Never Freaks Out

God never freaks out.  There is never panic in heaven.  Things never start to unravel in such a way that even a single situation in all of the universe is beyond His sovereign rule.  Even the evil things done by His enemies to His people will be turned around to serve His purposes. No matter what we face today, let us remember that what happens in our lives is not ultimately decided by chance or luck, humans or demons, Satan or self, but rather there is a good, wise, powerful, loving King who reigns over all for the good of all those who trust Him.  Things are often out of our control, but they are never out of His.

God Will Provide For Your Every Need

It’s a fact.  It’s a certainty.  It’s a promise.  God will provide for your every need.  But He often won’t do this in the way you think He will. Instead, He will astonish you with a “didn’t see that coming” choice of the 81st way you might have thought He’d come through for you.  It may come through a shepherd boy instead of a warrior, an ark instead of fair weather, a few fish instead of ample supplies, a manger instead of a throne.  But it will come exactly when it is needed to accomplish exactly what is needed.  Today, expect God to work in your life for good.  Just don’t expect Him to do it like you think He will.

His Grace Is Sufficient For You

No matter who you are.  No matter what you’ve done.  No matter how big your need.  There is grace for you!  God’s grace is sufficient for every situation, every location, every imperfection, and every opposition.   It. Will. Never. Run. Out. Even though there are moments when your sin, your struggles and your situation may get the best of you, if you are trusting in Jesus, it is simply impossible for you to out-sin, out-run, out-last, out-need, or out-hope God’s grace.  It is always there and always enough! You will never find yourself in a place where God has not already plastered, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

When We Listen To Him

You can talk yourself into just about anything.  Other people will try to talk you into something.  Only God will talk to you truthfully about everything.  There are many voices that speak into our lives such as family and friends, news and social media, advertising and entertainment, and especially ourselves … but the loudest (most influential) should be God.  We are being shaped by influences all around us which is why it is essential that each day we read God-breathed words in the Bible and listen to God-sent voices who speak His truth to us.  When we listen to Him… He won’t just tickle our ears; He will delight our souls.

Never Forget In The Dark

Defeat doubt by preparing for battle in advance by filling your heart with the truth of God’s Word.   In advance, because doubt appears without warning.  With the truth of God’s Word, because doubt arrives with lies.  The enemy will attack you in times of darkness because it’s hard to see him coming, and it’s hard to see the situation for what it really is.   So, start your day in the light by saturating your heart with a good and accurate picture of God’s graciousness and faithfulness so you can remember those truths and promises when darkness falls.  Never forget in the dark what God has shown you in the light.

Sacrificing For Someone Else

When was the last time you gave up something for the sake of someone else? In other words, their gain required your loss because in order to help them you had to… Sacrifice money.  Sacrifice time.  Sacrifice sleep.  Sacrifice comfort.  Sacrifice plans.  While it’s good to do good at any time, there are many times that in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we will also need to have the self-giving heart and mind of Jesus too.  We are to show up and speak up for others not just when it’s easy, convenient and fun, but also when it’s hard, troublesome and unpleasant.  This is how we are loved.  This is how we are to love.

We Must Encourage Each Other To Follow Jesus

Every Christian faces the ever-present danger of distraction, frustration, and temptation to become preoccupied with things that don’t matter, things that don’t satisfy and things that don’t last.  That’s why Christian community is so important in helping each other keep the faith and keep our focus.   Let us… Spur each other on to good works for Jesus.  Strengthen each other with good news about Jesus.  Support each other with good deeds like Jesus.  By His grace and in His love… We must continually encourage each other to follow Jesus because the world is continually encouraging us not to follow Him.

Happy In Ways That Will Not Be Regretted

Loving others includes being happy that they are happy … unless the source of their happiness is sin.  People can find happiness in things ranging from cheating on a test to cheating on a spouse, hurting themselves through addictions to hurting others through mistreatment, and ignoring family needs to ignoring God.  This is not the time to be happy for them; it is the time to help them. We should support: Godly ambitions, but not selfish ones.  Godly affections, but not sinful ones. Godly actions, but not senseless ones.  Let us encourage each other to be happy in ways that will not be regretted in the end.

Battling Unbelief

There are days when our biggest battle is against unbelief.  We start to doubt that God cares about what is happening to us and that He is going to do anything about it.  To battle unbelief, we must remember God’s faithfulness in the past and remember God’s promises for the future.  He has always taken care of us, He is taking care of us, and He will continue to take care of us.  Defeat your doubts by remembering today that He has a good reason for what He has allowed into your life and that He is actively working it out for your good. God cares about what is happening to you, and God will show His care for you.

You Are Never Helpless Against Temptation

Every day there is a tug-of-war for your thoughts, feelings, motives, attitudes, words and actions, pulling you in the opposing directions of what sin entices you into and what God invites you into.   Look to Jesus for help and look for His help to arrive as a way to leave the temptation, the power to say “no” to the temptation, a divine removal of the temptation, the arrival of someone to help you through the temptation, and / or a promise of something worth waiting for that is better than the temptation.  Rejoice!  You are never helpless against temptation for there is a throne of grace you can run to for help.

When Reading The Bible

When reading the Bible, if you don’t experience both conviction and celebration, you’re not reading it correctly.   On one hand, we should not ignore the places where God’s words challenge and correct the way we are living if we are disobedient to His commands.  On the other hand, we should not isolate the places where God issues His commands so all we have is a list of “dos and don’ts.”  A proper reading and understanding of the Bible should equip us to joyfully do as God intends and encourage us with all that Jesus has done, is doing and will do for us.  His doing makes our doing possible and makes it worth it.

He Didn’t Get You This Far Just To Get You T …

In this world, we will have tribulation.  Trouble has either already made its way into your life, or it is on its way.  But…  Jesus has overcome the world.  His power is greater than our enemies, His sovereignty rules over our battles, His promises reside in our hearts, His forgiveness ensures our futures, His presence empowers our lives, and His grace provides for our needs.  Though He doesn’t always remove the threats from our lives, He does render them powerless to do anything that would prevent us from joyfully enduring and prevailing in the end.  Take heart! He didn’t get you this far just to get you this far.

Beloved Sons And Daughters

The One who knows us most is also the One who loves us most.  He sees every sin, every shortcoming, every struggle … and He sets His affections upon us anyway. God loves us just as we are, but He loves us enough not to leave us as we are.  When we put our faith in Jesus, God begins to transform us into people who both hide less and less and have less and less to hide.  He doesn’t expect us to change our lives before He welcomes us into His family, but rather He welcomes us into His family and then He begins to change our lives.  Remember today: We are not fully changed, but we are fully loved sons and daughters.

No Matter What Others Say Or Don’t Say

We often place too much value on the value that other people place on us.  While it matters what others think of us as it relates to being the hands and feet of Jesus, it doesn’t matter at all what they think of us as it relates to our true worth in the eyes of Jesus. When you are approved by Jesus, you don’t have to be appreciated by everyone else.  When you are invited in by Jesus, you don’t have to be included by everyone else. When you are loved by Jesus, you don’t have to be liked by everyone else.  No matter what others say or don’t say about you today, remember what really matters:   You are precious to God.

Cheering Others On To Serve Jesus

When was the last time you took the time to encourage someone else to keep serving God with his or her life? Not only should we actively do good works for the kingdom of God ourselves, we should actively spur on others to do good works for His kingdom as well.  One of the reasons why people give up and give out when they serve is because no one is there to verbally cheer them on as God has commanded us to do. Therefore, speak up often because God may intend to use your words to prevent someone from quitting.  Remember: It matters today that you encourage others to keep going and keep doing for Jesus.