He rejoices over you.

Perhaps it is because I am a “performance-based” individual. I thrive on accomplishing my goals, doing my best, receiving compliments, excelling in presentation, and so on.

I care. I care about what I do, how I present myself, what to say, how to live. That’s not all bad, if I keep it in check and maintain a healthy balance.

But, you know just as well as I do that success isn’t continual. I don’t always succeed. I don’t always say the right thing. I don’t always receive compliments for the good and helpful things I do. I sometimes fall short of doing my best. And, furthermore, some of my dreams and goals still seem so far off.

Why can’t I get there? Why can’t I just live in a state of success?

I know, I know. Life doesn’t work that way.

Life instead looks like this: Trying, living, failing, questioning, and getting back up.

Oftentimes, we get discouraged. We get weary. We get frustrated. When we don’t measure up to our own requirements, we somehow love ourselves a little less. That’s not right, nor is it OK.

My Daddy, my hero, has always said this: “It’s not about where you are — it’s about where you are going.”

Right now might not look exactly like you want. Your job might not be perfect. Your family might be falling apart. Your laundry might need folded. Your heart might be broken.

Life, though, is SO MUCH more than just RIGHT NOW.

Don’t make the “snapshot” of what is today the cover for the “album” of what your life has been, is, and is going to become.

Don’t lose heart. Don’t quit trying. Don’t love yourself less. 

In these moments – the less than perfect ones – hold on tightly to the only thing that ALWAYS succeeds and NEVER fails – God.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

~ Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

When you can’t stand where you are in life, when you can’t handle failing again, when you can’t imagine another hurt coming your way. . . Think on this.

Our crazy, awesome Heavenly Father is sitting up in His Heaven. He is delighting over you. He is celebrating you. He is right beside you. He won’t let you go. He never loves you less. He longs to quiet your spirit. He desires to calm your anxious spirit. He is singing about you. You’re his favorite.

You might not be happy with yourself. You might not have much to rejoice about right now.

No worries. . .

God is rejoicing just because you are, and He made you that way.

 

Photo by Leon Biss on Unsplash

Prone to wander.

To the wanderer. To the one who is low in spirit. To the one who is confused. To the one who is weary.

To you. To me.

It’s so easy to lose our way. It’s so easy to get lost. It’s so easy to just give up. Or, at least, want to stop trying.

Life is too much, too heavy some days. We get caught up in our work, our busy schedules, our “to-do” lists, our frustrations, our disappoints, and our pain.

We start questioning God. We start forgetting the progress we have made. We start floundering. We start questioning. We start dwelling in the past.

We wander from our Heavenly Father. We wander from spending time in His Word. We wander from our core beliefs. We wander from our family and their love for us. We wander from our friends who want the best for us. We wander from our dreams and plans.

Before long, we find ourselves far from where we used to be, far from where we want to be, and far from where we meant to be.

We don’t normally mean to wander. We don’t purposely set out to do the wrong thing. We don’t mean to settle for good instead of best.

Stop. Take a deep breath.

It’s not too late, my friend.

God doesn’t give up on you. On me. Our God is a God of Reckless Love.

The LORD’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The LORD is all I have, and so I put my hope in him.

~Lamentations 3:22-24 GNB

God’s desire is to hold you close, to bring you home. To show you NEW mercies, NEW truths. He sent His Son, Jesus. . . because He wants you to live the life you were meant to live. An abundant, overflowing life. Here’s the words that Jesus, himself, said.

The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all it’s fullness.

~John 10:10 GNS

If you are wandering today. If you are lost. If you are trapped. Trapped in sin, trapped in bitterness, trapped in disbelief, trapped in busyness, trapped in hurt, trapped in fear, trapped in confusion.

Don’t stay there.

Don’t let the devil control you or convince you. The devil doesn’t have your best interest in mind. He wants you to wander; he doesn’t want you to be settled. Wandering leads nowhere good. The devil, in all actuality, wants you to spend an eternity away from God and His magnificent heaven. It’s not worth it. You don’t have to stay lost.

God’s plan for you is perfect. God’s plan for you does NOT entail wandering away from Him.

All of us need to wake up to the reality that if we are lost, if we are wandering, we are NOT in harmony with our Savior. Heaven is for the found, not the lost.

Do you need finding today? Do you need to come back home?

It’s never too late.

God is waiting for you with His open arms. He is faithful, even when we are not.

Come back home to stay.

 

 

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

~Robert Robinson

 

Photo by Markus Gempeler on Unsplash

Chrestotes.

I am a Follower of Jesus.

Jesus calls me to live in Him and His truth. Jesus calls me to show the world that He is the message of Hope. Jesus calls me to a life of fruitfulness. As a Follower of my Jesus, my life should showcase the Fruits of the Spirit to those around me.

Here are a couple scriptures to think about. . .

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 15:5b

Without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:8

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

What are the fruits that I should be bearing/showing if I want to be a Follower of Jesus?

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness (Integrity), Faithfulness, Meekness (Humility), and Self-Control.

I live in the real world. So do you. When I think about this Checklist titled “Fruits of the Spirit,” I cringe just a little bit. That’s a lot. Some days, especially, it feels overwhelming. I get so busy, so frustrated, so impatient, so snippy, so tired.

As Followers of Jesus we WANT to follow His Word, so – you might be thinking  – “How can I make this Fruit-Bearing seem more manageable?”      I am so glad you asked! 😉

Let’s take them one at a time, shall we?

Chrestotes

Chrestotes is the Greek word for kindness.

So, what exactly is kindness?

If you check any dictionary, it will state something like this for kindness: “The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”

I found a great definition for kindness from Tim Keller @ J.D. Greer Ministries (https://jdgreear.com/blog/kellers-definitions-of-the-fruit-in-galatians-5/).

(Warning: It’s pretty radical, but it got me to thinking. . .)

What Kindness Is

Practical kindness with vulnerability out of deep inner security

What Kindness Isn’t

Envy. Unable to rejoice in other’s joy.

What Kindness Morphs Into

Manipulative good deeds. Self-congratulation and self-righteousness.

If our world needs anything these days, it would be kindness.

I must admit for myself that I get so wrapped up in my own world & schedule that I forget to be kind. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t go around being “mean” or “rude.” I definitely don’t put much effort into being “kind,” however.

I don’t for a moment think that mediocre kindness is what Christ has called us – His Followers – to.

It’s time I start being more aware of the world around me. It’s time I start realizing that I might be the only picture of Jesus some people see. It’s time I start owning up to being a Follower of Jesus.

I should be bearing the Fruit of Kindness at a much quicker rate than I am currently.

I must not mask kindness by doing things just for praise. That’s not true kindness.

I must not be kind just to make myself feel better. That is selfish.

Instead . . .

I must be secure in who I am & what I have in order to treat others with genuine kindness in my thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

I must guard my heart from selfishness and discontentment. Instead of envying others, I should work to rejoice in their blessings and triumphs!

I must look for ways to practice kindness. Every day.

Now, listen — In part of my desire to blog about authentic living, I promise that I practice what I write about. The past two weeks my Bible Study ladies & I practiced thankfulness, this week we are practicing kindness. Each day we are endeavoring to go out of our way – and purposefully look for – an opportunity to bless someone with an act of kindness. We then keep each other accountable by sharing in our group chat!

Most of my acts of kindness this week have been small. Doesn’t matter. Purposefully looking for a way to be kind to others has helped me be more aware of the needs around me and the opportunities I usually pass up.

People sometimes need a smile, a note, a hug, a helping hand, a visit, a gift. . . a friend!

Sometimes this looks like putting my husband’s laundry away. Sometimes this looks like helping a coworker out with a task that needs accomplished. Sometimes this looks like gathering all the carts in the parking lot for the cashier at the Dollar Tree who looks incredibly busy and flustered.

Find a way to be kind. Get out of your comfort zone.

I challenge you to join me in this endeavor! One purposeful act of kindness a day – for at least a week.

I truly think that working on showing kindness each day will help us toward the end goal.

What is that end goal, again?

Following Jesus and His teachings. Living a Spirit-filled life. Bearing fruit.

Kindness is a lifestyle, friends.

May we work on kindness, practice kindness, and become kindness.

Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash

Truths for your Monday blues.

  1. God’s strength is made perfect in your weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
  2. If you are a child of God, all things in your life – no matter how impossible they seem – are working together for GOOD. (Romans 8:28)
  3. When you just don’t know how to pray or what to say, the Spirit is making intercession to the Father for you. (Romans 8:26)
  4. God promises His peace. Perfect peace. Claim it! (John 14:27; Isaiah 26:3)
  5. The God of the Universe – the One who controls the Angel Armies (Hosts) – is on YOUR side! (Psalm 46:7)
  6. Your enemies are nothing compared to your big God. God’s got you! (Psalm 18:2-3)
  7. God’s love and compassion for you lasts forever. (Psalm 136)
  8. Don’t let the devil hold your past sins over your head. As far as the sky stretches from east to west – that’s how FAR God has removed your sins from you! (Psalm 103:12)
  9. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, your mansion in heaven is being prepared for you… right now! Jesus is going to come back and get you to spend forever with him! (John 14:1-3)
  10. You serve the living God.. the Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and the End. Read the back of the Book – God wins! (Revelation 22:13)

(Photo creds: unsplash.com)

Face another day…

Gentle Shepherd

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us,
For we need You to help us find our way.
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us,
For we need Your strength from day to day.

There’s no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day.
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us,
For we need You to help us find our way.

(G. Gaither)

 

Face another day…

 

Sometimes life gets so busy that I forget… I forget the pain. I forget the rough days, the horrible nights. Those nights when I was scared to fall asleep because Satan had confused my mind so much. Those times when I cried myself to sleep because of the fear inundating my very soul. Those days when I struggled to even want to pray because I felt that I was always messing up. Those chains that held my soul. Those moments when I was overcome with grief – the loss of a best friend. Those valleys that seemed so dark. Those hurts that were more than real. Those heartbreaks – big or small – that left me feeling lonely, confused, battered, and bruised.

I forget. And, to be honest, I am thankful that I forget. I am thankful that Christ has offered me His peace in contrast to my fear, His deliverance in contrast to my bondage, and His healing for my aching heart.

Every once in a while, though, my eyes fill with tears and my heart tugs as my soul remembers the moments of pain and hurt and fear – the times I did not want to face the next day – the times I wanted to give up. And, I believe God gives me these times to remind me of where I have been and what He has brought me through so that I could be the (perhaps) stronger, braver, and wiser person that I am today.

Trust me, friend. With Jesus – no matter how dark the day – you can face it. Don’t stop fighting your battles. You’ll come out on top.