“Lay it all down!”

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

Lay those burdens down!  Give yourself permission to release it, and let it all go.  Grab hold of the confidence of His Word, and cling to it for dear life.

This world is raging.  Things we’ve never seen before are unfolding at a frightening rate.  Hurts are dissimulating families.  Distresses are speaking despair into lives.  Lay it all down!

Refuse to pick it up today!  That fear; that feeling – refuse it space in your world today.

Who does God say I am?  What does His Word speak over my life?  That’s what I choose to pick up today.  That’s what I am choosing to carry with me.  Not these burdens.  Not these worries.  They are hindrances to my progress.  They’re deflating my steps.

I want to run!  I want to run for You, Jesus!  I want to run my race well and effectively.  But, in order to run, I have to release some things that’s been holding me down.  I must cast disappointment aside.  I have to get rid of any sin that’s stopping me from running full speed ahead for the Lord.  I have to throw away everything that’s not working for my heavenly good and trust in God the Father who is.

Lay it all down, dear friend, lay it down.  The heaviness it holds it’s not worth it.  Don’t coddle it.  Don’t get comfortable with it.  Don’t declare this is how it is now.

No, get rid of it.  By faith, be determined.  By faith, walk in the confidence of the God who has spoken beautiful things over your life.  By faith, don’t just claim His peace – live it, because it’s already yours!

The weight is not yours to carry, but His peace is.  Run your race with Him and be blessed.

“God Has the Power to Help!”

 

We quote it, sing songs about it, outwardly rejoice in it; but, how much do you really believe it or apply it to our lives, circumstances, and troubles?

If we were to review some of the marvels of God as we know it, we would see out of nothing a world being brought into existence.  We would see where there is no life, the dead have been raised to life.  We would see on the strength of nothing but His command, stars and planets being suspended in midair, hanging on absolutely nothing, as if an invisible hook were holding them in place.

All of these events testify to His power and strength to do what we readily admit is the impossible.  But, God’s power goes beyond Creation, performing miracles, and shocking us with the impossible that becomes very possible in His hands.  God’s power is also alive and very available to help each and every one of us in our lives today, as well.

And, here is the beauty in that.

His power to help is not contingent on anything we bring to the table.  It does not matter our skills or abilities, our wealth or the lack thereof.  It doesn’t even matter the number of this or that that we try to bring into the mix of everything He wants to do in our lives.

In 2 Chronicles 14:11, we see where it says, “And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee,” (emphasis mine).  This Scripture prayer has often been my own that I have personally prayed and incorporated in my requests to God when I felt totally overwhelmed.  For many of times I know I had nothing to offer.  I know I had no power to personally make a change in a certain circumstance.  I didn’t have the numbers that would chalk up to win on my behalf.  There were times when I know I didn’t have the experience that says I was qualified to do this or that.  I had absolutely nothing to add to the mix to benefit me for a positive outcome.  Yet, it is nothing for God to still step in and help and to show His power strong in my life and yours.

If you are struggling with the same feelings or dealing with a daunting situation, know that God’s power can and will still work for you today.  What we have is not as important as what God has, and what He can do in our lives today.  He is the one who has the power to help!

“The Lord is on my Side!”

 

Oh, the grace of another day.  Yet, every day is not peachy, rather often with it comes turmoil, upset, and unrest.  Sometimes, battling the seen and the unseen.  Sometimes, fighting to keep one’s spiritual head above the waters of this life that seek to take you under.  Oh, the peace to know that despite it all, the Lord is on my side.

If you’ve ever gone to the circus, one of the most impressive feats to witness in the performances there are the trapeze acts.  It never seems to lose its awesomeness as we watch men and women fly through the air with what appears to be a complete disregard for life and limb.  Actually, it is quite the opposite.  They fly through the air with abandon because of the trust they exhibit in their partner to be by their side and to catch them at that pivotal moment; to catch them when it matters most.  There is an awesome relationship of trust that goes on between the two.  One that neither can doubt in lest the outcome be less than desirable.

What about our relationship with God?  Do we exhibit the same trust in Almighty God that these acrobats seem to place in human confidence?  Do we sport the confidence that He is by our side to catch us when we need Him the most?

Sometimes it may feel like you are in the boxing ring alone.  Well, you’re not!  Sometimes it may appear that you are fighting armies that encamp against you by yourself.  You’re not!  God is on our side and He promised to never leave us nor forsake us, Hebrews 13:5.

Daily, we are upheld by Him!  Our lives are not in our own hands rather in the hands of Him that never fails!  We may swing to and fro, sometimes feeling up and sometimes down, yet He is the ever-present strength that keeps us flying high above all these adversities, above all these troubles, above all these trappings of this world.

Difficulties will arise.  Oh yes, they will.  But, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.  In other words, He is on our side.  He is our overcomer.  He is our victor.  He is our deliverer that will see us past all that is presently before us that we might experience the peace that He so offers.

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” John 14:27.  Some may say this is easier said than done especially when the upsets of life seem to be all around and the strength to carry on, well, it’s just plain hard to find.  You’re exhausted!  I get it.  God gets it.

That’s why His Word declares and reminds every one of us, we don’t have to carry on on our own.  The Lord is on your side.  You are not in this alone.  This is the message of the whole Bible.  No matter how dim, gloomy and bleak it may seem, we are not in this alone.  We have a Strength that is beyond our human capabilities.  We have a Force fighting for us that cannot be reckoned with by human standards.  We have the one and only true God and He is on our side!

Who are you flying with today?  Secure your life in Him, let go and know that “The LORD is on my side,” Psalm 118:6.  Trust Him, He will catch the life that honestly reaches out for Him, trusts, and believes.

“Hard times do not have the final say!”

HARD TIMES DO NOT HAVE THE FINAL SAY! Hard times may leave one feeling helpless, with the wondering thought of how long? How long is this going to go on? How long do we have to endure this mess? How long will this struggle last? Rest assured, dear friends, you are not forgotten in the midst of the struggle. God knows when His people are facing difficult days and hard nights. But even in those dark hours, His people can be reassured there is a reason to rejoice. It might not always be clear at that moment, but we are promised that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” (Ps. 30:5). God is the one that can work a new work that will blow people’s minds away. Keep your hope steadfastly planted in Him. He is our deliverer! He is our miracle worker yesterday, today, and forevermore!

“Think of His Grace!”

It amazes me how quickly we, as humans, and operating in our human nature, want to write things in the story of others that God never intended, nor did it come to His mind.  We tend to write negative responses in the lives and the stories of others while forgetting that the very grace that was poured into our life, can be poured in another as well.

When we were in our messes; when we, as individuals, were outside of the will of God, God didn’t give up on us.  He didn’t give things in our story that were not going to work out for our own good.  Rather, in His grace, He made a way for our personal redemption.  In His grace, He wrote a better ending to our story than we could ever imagine.

Before you judge another or look down on someone because the season they are in right now doesn’t look right to you, remember the grace that was once shown to you, and freely extend that same grace to another.

God’s grace is a beautiful thing and without it, none of us would be here today, and none of us could make it.  None of us had the power to save ourselves.  None of us was capable of doing for us what Jesus did.  But God’s grace stepped in our lives and He raised us out of the muck and mire of our sins.  He lifted us out of our personal ruts and restored us to something wonderful and with purpose.

Think on God’s grace today.  Let it be that gentle reminder of what God has done for you, and let that motivate you to share this same grace toward another.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Ephesians 2:8.

“God’s Got You Covered!”

 

Do you ever feel opened and exposed during the trials of life?  Do you ever feel that the enemy has free pickings when it comes to your heartache?  Well, he doesn’t!  The enemies of this life may chase you, hunt you down and all together seek to make your life miserable, but the enemies do not have the last say over anything.  God, in His complete sovereignty, has you covered!

If anybody knew about being constantly chased by enemies seeking to take their life it was David.  Saul, in a jealous pursuit, saw something special in David, the favor of God, and wanted to destroy David.  There were days when David may have felt like giving up.  There were days of hiding in caves and pretending to be a mad-man to seek solitude in other countries.  But, through it all David dealt best with his enemies through prayer.  He declared who his God was and committed his trust to Him.  In Psalm 140:7, “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.”

To be covered means to be concealed and to be protected.  The battles of this life may at times make us feel that we are an open target to everyone who can’t stand the favor of God on us, but be of good cheer, God’s got us covered!  “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever,” (Psalm 125:2).  And, if God is like a mountain surrounding us then there is no adversary that can break through the covering He has over us.  It may feel like we are on the run sometimes but God is still that protecting force that “covered my head in the day of battle.”  Commit your heartaches, your battle and your enemies to God and let Him be your covering today.

“God, I need help.”

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Do me a favor.  Right where you are, close your eyes and think of something you are dealing with, going through, or praying for.  Utter these words before God in prayer” “God, I need help.”  And then, proceed to tell Him what you need help with.

Sometimes we make things more complicated than they need to be.  So it is true when it comes to our prayer life.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have times when I spend a great deal of time before the Lord in prayer.  But I have also learned that sometimes I need to stop over-spiritualizing my prayer, and simply ask God for help in doing or going through what I am involved in at that particular moment.

Those four words, prayed with a sincere heart before the Lord, can change the scope of everything.  Whatever is before you, don’t be afraid or hesitant to pray, “God, I need help.”  God is there as your “very present help in trouble.”  He’s there for you.  All you need to do is ask for help.

“May I help you?”

“After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet …” John 13:5

 I wonder if anyone in our day and age really understands the concept of service.  Does anyone really grasp the meaning of what it is to serve another?  If you’ve recently gone to a fast-food restaurant or a big box store or any consumer outlet where things are acquired, purchased or eaten, you know what I mean.  The lack of good customer service drives me away from some establishments regardless of how cheap their prices are.

I remember when one of my daughters, who was a teenager at the time, was working her first job in a national fast-food chain, and how much the idea of good customer service rang out to me by what I witnessed there.   At this establishment where she worked,  they would take servicing the customer very seriously.  If it was raining outside, some of the employees were on post at the front door, umbrellas in hand, waiting to assist patrons to and from their cars who didn’t have one.  This company did many small things and details that let people know that they mattered to them and they were important.

Although things like this are considered uncommon in our day, what those employees did really spoke to the fact that they were at that place of employment to work according to that company’s standards.  Every day they were urged to step outside of themselves to assist others.  Oh, if more would catch on to this concept!  But, the infectious, self-serving mentality, which permeates this world’s culture doesn’t allow people to see or even consider others over themselves.

That is far from the teaching Jesus laid out for those who would follow Him.  He has given us many examples to follow but the one that really sticks out to me  is Jesus stooping to the level of the lowliest servant in the house and performing duties that were detested by all in that day,  “He began to wash the disciples’ feet.”  Can you imagine what those feet must have looked like after walking many miles in sandals?   Can you imagine what they must have smelled like?  Yet, He took a towel and wrapped it around His waist, took feet in hand and began to carefully administer this duty to them.

We all know that Jesus always considered and worked for the betterment of those around Him.  He did this to the point of laying His life down on the cross for the sins of the world.  But, what Jesus showed them on this occasion, was a one on one lesson with those who would be responsible for carrying the gospel to the world.  He showed them that there are everyday occurrences where one can serve, where one can put another before themselves.

We are so thankful for the many areas of missionary work that go on throughout the world.  Those who render themselves to such service are able to reach the unreachable and set up foundations for Christ in far off lands. But every day, right where you are, there are opportunities to let the love of Christ shine in this dark world.  The world is already used to seeing the inconsiderate side of man, so now it’s time for the church to rise up and show them the loving side of God.  How?  Through our service to them.  Through everyday occurrences where you show somebody that you value them.  Oh, how would that make them feel?  I’ll tell you.  It would make them feel loved!

It makes people feel as if they matter also.  That someone cares enough to let them go first in line, or take your right-of-way in traffic.  These are little things – but, can I tell you, little things done in great numbers make a great impact.  If each of us would show the character of Christ’s service and stop placing so much focus on other things, I think we could make a tangible difference in this world.  It would still be an infectious cycle. Instead of the world’s disease permeating the church, the church could infect the world and really show them how much Christ loves them.