Refocus

Focusing on what the difficult circumstances facing you may cost, or what damage they could do, puts fear in charge of your thinking, and gives them more power over your life.

So, shift your focus. Not in your own strength—you’re already exhausted. But by spending enough time with God to let him renew your heart, mind, and energy. Even if you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, here in his presence, you’ll see how much bigger his grace is than any difficulty in front of you, and how much greater his love is for you than anything trying to hurt you. You’ll see your circumstances and relationships as he does, and deal with them in confidence, wisdom, joy, and grace.

The enemy may be trying to use this situation to drain and destroy you, but God’s provision is so much greater than any problem. Rather than being sucked into a black hole of what’s been lost, or could be, your Father is walking forward with you, on paths that bless and upgrade your life.

“When Elisha’s servant went outside, there were soldiers everywhere. He cried out in fear, ‘Oh, sir, what will we do now?’

Elisha responded, ‘Don’t be afraid. There are so many more on our side than theirs.’ Elisha prayed, ‘Lord, open his eyes.’ The young man looked up, and saw the hills around them were filled with horses and chariots of fire” (2 Kings 6:15-17).

Advertisements

Love Letter

I am healing you. I am restoring you. Some of the discomfort you feel is me dealing with where these wounds and lies came from. I know they’ve been painful, but if you’ll trust me, if you’ll not hold back any pieces of your heart and mind, I will take them all and make you whole. I will take your pain and turn it into joy. Real joy.

I love you more than you can imagine. You are more valuable to me than any human words can describe. When I look at you, I don’t see faults and failures. I see you as my completely brilliant child. I’ve known you long before you were born, and have been so excited for you to be here. Regardless of all that’s happened to you, know you’re not out of place. You’re here at the perfect time, a brilliant and powerful representation of my love, a unique expression of me that is so needed on the Earth right now.

Let me keep healing you. Let me restore your identity. Let me lead you from surviving to thriving. Let me teach you to stand, to walk, to run, and to fly.

All my love,

Jesus

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Not so Heavy Armor

Sometimes what we call spiritual armor is really the numbness we hope will shield us from being hurt again. But instead of protecting, it insulates us from truth and love, and actually attracts more offense and wounding.

“Put on the whole armor of God.” The language used in Ephesians 6 means to sink into your armor like you’re wrapping yourself in a blanket, or putting on your most comfortable clothes. Your armor isn’t some weird religious concept or ritual, it’s a description of God’s presence in your life, a manifestation of His grace. It protects you from the enemy’s lies, empowers you to be who God sees you as, equips you to accomplish your heart’s desires, and envelops you in His love.

Wear your armor well today.

Warrior Poets

James 1:22 reads, “be doers of the word, and not just hearers, deceiving yourselves.” The author could have chosen from several different words for “doer” that mean work, achieve, or accomplish. But he chose “poietes,” the word for poet.

Does that change how you see this verse? Your life is an epic, a song. Every day you get to add to the verses with God. Like David, the warrior–poet, who conquered giants and kings, liberated the oppressed, and wrote love songs to the Lord. That’s what you get to do, and more.

God is inviting you to live His word, not just have an opinion about it. “Be poets of the word, not just spectators, cheating yourselves.” You cheat yourself by agreeing with the lie you deserve a lesser life than the epic adventure Jesus has won for you.

Every day is a blank page, ready for a new chapter or verse. Write a good one today.

Deer Me

“He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. You have enlarged my steps, to keep me from slipping”(Psalm 18:33, 36).

Many English translations say “You have enlarged my path,” but the word used there most often means a step taken. The difference is, though none of us like the difficult parts of the journey, God doesn’t want you to focus on praying for the circumstances to change nearly so much as he wants you to focus on how he’s transforming, empowering, and equipping you to deal with them.

When you can’t see anything but how hard the path is, you feel alone, and your steps are shaky and insecure. But you aren’t alone. You’re learning to walk with Jesus in this place. With every purposeful step you take with him, you’re becoming more peaceful, joyful, wise, and powerful. You’re moving ahead with confidence, leaving fear far behind, and able to handle anything along your way.

A Living Trust

“Trust is earned.” I understand why you think that. You’ve been wounded, abused, rejected, and betrayed. You’re determined to protect yourself. You’re not going to put your heart in someone else’s hands. Never again.

I’m so sorry you’ve gone through that, and I’d never tell you to go back and put yourself at the mercy of someone else’s self–centeredness and sin. Even when healthy boundaries are established, I realize trusting anyone after being hurt is difficult. In your own strength, nearly impossible.

But unless you’re planning to live in a cave, you’re going to have to deal with how you’re going to build, or rebuild, relationships. Whether it’s someone you have history with, or someone you’ve just met, if you believe the other person must earn your trust, your approval, you’ve made yourself a god. The other person will never be able to measure up to the requirements your fear and pain demand. You’ll judge every word, action, and inaction through them, and they’ll never be satisfied—only placated through control and punishment.

You can’t trust anyone if your own heart is still broken. You’re right to not let anyone else determine who you are, but Jesus isn’t just anyone. You can make yourself vulnerable to Him. No matter what’s happening around you, or what anyone else is doing, you can trust Him with every thought in your head and every feeling in your heart.

Stop seeing trust from the point of view of the old you. The damaged you. That version of you sees trust as a limited resource to be protected. But the new you, the redeemed you—the person God sees when He looks at you—knows trust is the state of joyful confidence in which you can boldly engage life. Not because you can’t be hurt, but because you’re certain of the unceasing love and grace God has for you. In that grace, you can see others as God does—looking beyond what they’ve done, and treating them as the person He’s showing you they can become in His forgiveness, mercy, joy, peace, kindness, and healing.

Ask God for grace. You don’t have to earn it or beg for it. You just need to recognize He’s already made it available for you. Grace to hear God clearly. Grace to heal. Grace to be free of needing others to act a certain way for you to be okay. Grace to live in confident joy. Grace to trust—to see others as He does, not as your past wants to.

Your love, joy, and peace are no longer dependent on what someone else does or doesn’t do. You are complete and secure in Jesus no matter what’s going on around you. From that place, you can do what seemed impossible on your own —forgive the ones who have hurt you. Bless them. Let them go. It doesn’t mean you have to let them hurt you again, it means you’re free from everything they’ve done. You’re free to be all God says you can be. You’re free to trust again.

God is Bigger

God’s peace in you is infinitely greater than the chaos around you. Don’t let anyone’s negativity bully you into putting up walls to protect yourself. Never let someone else’s insecurity drain your intimacy with God.

Even if someone—or everyone—around you is in a foul, overbearing state, when you’re aware of what God is saying and doing, you’re the most powerful person in the room. Your overflowing peace, joy, kindness, hope, wisdom, and grace can change the atmosphere, and transform the grumpy.

“Don’t be anxious and afraid. The world may abandon you, but I never will. In fact, I’m imparting My peace to you, so you’ll always be aware of My presence” (John 14:27).

Overcoming Hate

There are two ways to defeat hate. The first is to dominate it. Depending on your resources and influence, you may have some success containing, controlling, and coercing it for a while. But persecution often makes hate stronger. Eventually, you’ll have to kill it. To eliminate it completely, you must be willing to become your own version of it, because nothing less than hate can devalue a life enough to condemn it. Which means at some point, you’ll have to defend yourself against those who want to destroy your brand of hate.

The second? To genuinely love the hell out of people. That is, to love them so well, the enemy has no power over you, and loses control over those you unyieldingly love. That doesn’t mean submitting yourself to their abuse. It means submitting yourself to God’s grace. A grace so great, it empowers you to become a living demonstration of the love which makes hate run in fear.

At its root, that’s what hate is—fear. Hate is the un-renewed mind’s reaction to fears of failure, loss, rejection, and pain. Hurt people submit to hate to fight the fear of being hurt again. And this love in you—the love with which the Father gave us his son, the love with which Jesus chose the cross, the love with which the Holy Spirit comforts, guides, and blesses you—this love overcomes all fear.

“‘You’ve been taught to love those who are like you, and to hate those who aren’t. But I say, love your enemy. Bless those who curse you, do something wonderful for those who hate you, and respond to those who persecute you by praying for them. That’s what brings forth your true identity as children of God’” (Matt. 5:43-45).

5/5

In the book of Zechariah, the high priest was completely overwhelmed with the task of rebuilding the temple. An angel tells him it can’t be accomplished by wealth or power, but by the Holy Spirit. He says to speak “Grace, Grace” over all they’re doing as a reminder of that, and as encouragement to live each day in the strength, wisdom, and love of God.

The number five is believed by many to represent grace in the Bible. Today is 5 May, or 5/5. Let’s call it “Grace, Grace Day.”

This is the day you stop stressing about what everyone is and isn’t doing, and speak grace to every person in your life. It’s the day you stop over–analyzing your circumstances, and listen to how God wants to deal with them in His grace. It’s the day you let go of the fear of failure, and embrace the grace to succeed.