Shine His Love

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. -1 Peter 4:8

Are you so caught up in the busyness of life and the world that you are forgetting to let your love shine? If we aren’t careful, we can easily get swept up in the day to day, overlooking and missing the most important opportunities to give and show the love of Christ. These moments are everywhere. And if there’s one thing we could all use, it’s little (or a lot) more love. Sometimes, spreading that love can be as simple as a smile. Let’s be the light that brightens and changes lives. And let’s make sure that everything we do and say, is done in love.

Dear Lord, let us keep our eyes and hearts open to these moments and remember why we were put on this earth. I pray that we can be a vessel of your love, shining bright for those who need it most.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -Matthew 5:16

Rest in the Most High

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. -Psalm 62:1

In God alone, is where true peace and security is found. Step out of the storm and rest in Him. Let Him be that shelter. For the rest He gives, is like no other. This peace seeps deep down into our bones deeply and completely. It’s not just surface-y. No, it’s the real deal. This peace and security cannot be found in distractions or at the bottom of a bottle. It cannot be found by running or in a bag of potato chips. This peace is found in His presence, and when we dwell in Him, we will experience this profound rest-a rest only He can provide. It can’t be shaken or moved. And no one can take it away. This gift is ours for the keeping.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. -Psalm 91:1

Trust Fall

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to my Father, the Creator of everything on heaven and on earth.-Ephesians 3:14

Are you weary? Are you carrying heavy burdens right now, like I am? Are you struggling with stress or anxiety, even when you try so hard to keep your eyes fixed on Him? Tonight, as I listened to some Christmas music while completing the day’s homeschool tasks, these words spoke to my heart-“fall on your knees”. Fall on your knees, loved one, and come to Him. He wants to fill you with His peace so you can carry on. Take a few moments to bow down and breathe. Press pause. Drop to your knees and spill out your heart. He is the Great Comforter and His ear is all yours.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” -James 4:10

Fasten Yourself and Do Good

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap the harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

Have you ever had one of those really bad weeks? I’m not talking about one day, but rather, a few. Each day you peel yourself out of bed and put one foot in front of the other, hoping the day will be better, but it ends up seeming like each day just crashes into the next until BAM! you just want to give up? That’s been my week, y’all. It’s been tough. I don’t think I’ve been walking in His strength. He is renewing me day by day, but the truth is, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what walking in His strength looks like and how to do this all the time.

In my time in the Word tonight though, God spoke to me in 1 Peter 4:19, telling me to commit myself to Him and continue to do good. There are several definitions for the word commit, but what stood out when I looked it up on Oxford Languages was the meaning-to pledge or bind to a certain course; to be dedicated to; and the synonym devoted. I then looked up the word bind and the word fasten spoke to me. When I looked up the definition of the word devoted, the words that popped off the page were- to give all or a large part of one’s time or resources (to Him). What does this all mean?

When we feel like giving up, let’s devote ourselves more fully to Him. Let’s spend time with Jesus, giving Him the opportunity to fill and refresh our souls. Not only that, let’s give our time to Him-both in the physical sense, and by putting time in His hands, letting Him order our days. Do you ever find that there’s just not enough time in the day? Then, why don’t we allow Him to help us? In our own strength, we can quickly burn out. Yet, by fastening ourselves to Him, we can walk alongside Him in each and every moment. We fix our eyes intently on Him, knowing He is beside us-because He is. Intently is the key word here, folks-we eagerly and earnestly keep our focus on Jesus because when we take our eyes off of Him, how easy it is to do on our own.

And speaking of do-maybe your week was like mine, or even your day, and you experienced lots of hurts and hangups. Despite these, let’s continue to do good. Let’s serve others-even if they’ve hurt us, but with the strength He provides, so He can be glorified because that is His will. And His will be done, not ours. Stand firm in the faith because after we have suffered a little while, He will restore us making us strong, firm and steadfast.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. -1 Corinthians 15:58

Be Still

Do you ever get to the point where you are feeling so burnt out? I’m talking really, really tired? Today, the stress didn’t even come knocking. Instead, it slipped right in the front door without me being aware. By the time I realized it, I was drained. I wasn’t walking in the Spirit. Thoughts of daily tasks and chores needing to be completed, along with the extra Christmas planning, were running through my mind. This evening, I took a few minutes to myself and God spoke to my heart. During that time, He told me to be still.

Are you too, needing rest this Christmas season? If so, we need only be still. Be still and soak up His presence, His peace and His love. Let’s draw on the One that will replenish us. Are you weary and carrying heavy burdens tonight? We can lay them all at the feet of Jesus-all the overwhelming thoughts, all those to-do’s that we desperately want crossed off our lists, tomorrow-all of it. Lay it all at His feet and immerse yourself in Him. We can lean on Him and we can lean into Him, we need only be still. Ask Him tonight to help you quiet all those thoughts and to fill you with His peace, then wrap yourselves in His everlasting arms. Resting in Him, He will lead us beside still waters.

He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. -Psalms 23:2-3 (AMP)

One Big Package

For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances. -Philippians 4:11

Let’s talk about being content. How can we be content when we are in situations or circumstances that make us feel otherwise?

We do it with through Him. In Philippians 4:13, Paul explains that he is able to be content no matter the circumstances through him who gives me strength. When we prayerfully present our requests to God and ask for the strength, He will empower us. He wants us to be content and we can, in His strength.

I recently came across a quote by BJ Thompson that I’ve been pondering: “Until Jesus is enough nothing else will be.” Maybe the reason we aren’t content is because we weren’t created to be content without Him. Without Him, we are restless. Nothing in this world will ever satisfy us like He does. And until we let Him fill us, we will never be wholly content. We must drink from the water, in order to never be thirsty. If we are thirsting, we aren’t replenishing our souls. If we are reaching for earthly distractions to give us pleasure, we aren’t knocking back enough of Jesus. If we are looking for love or other people to meet all of our needs, we aren’t consuming enough of Him. If we are grasping at the next big toy or gadget we think will fulfill us, we aren’t drinking from the Well. Only He can fill us the way that we truly desire. And what is it that we truly desire? To fill that God-shaped hole-that void that only He can.

I was in the Word again tonight, reading Psalm 16 and what spoke to me immediately was in your presence there is fullness of joy. In His presence, there is joy. There’s not a little, there is fullness. He will fill us up to the brim with joy! What an incredible blessing! In His presence, we can be content because He is all we need. When we continually set the Lord before us, and we walk in His presence through every circumstance, we can have that joy. It’s ours and it’s His gift to us. Not only that, but we can know that He is right there with us in every situation and we need not be moved. In fact, Psalm 16 says we shall rest and confidently dwell in safety. We can breathe, and rest assured that He’s got us-no matter what life tosses us. We can be still and know that He is God. And when we remain in His presence, there is joy and contentment waiting there for us. We just need to grab hold of Him and hang onto Him through it all because He will never leave or forsake us.

What else can we do? Luke 12:15 says to watch out and be on guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in abundance of possessions. Truly living life is being in the present, in His presence, wherever we are because our abundance will only be found in Him. It’s not found in possessions. Possessions are of this world and His followers are not.

So this Christmas season, let’s remain in His presence, remembering that He is our present. He is the only One that can fill us with the contentedness we wholeheartedly yearn for. And no matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in, we will not be shaken if we have Him by our side. For He is our peace, hope, and joy all wrapped into one big package. He is the ultimate gift.

But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God].-1 Timothy 6:6 (AMP)

Built to Dwell

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. -Colossians 2:6-7

Where is your dwelling place? I’m learning where mine needs to be. A few days ago, while I was in the Word, the phrase “dwell in Him” leapt off the page. He was speaking to me and I wanted to know more, so I looked up the definition of the word dwell, as I often do when I’m reading scripture. (It helps to break verses down and really clarify what He is saying to me). One definition stated that it meant to live in or at a specified place. Another meaning for dwell was: to live as a resident. A resident is someone who lives somewhere permanently or on a long-term basis. Yet, another site defined dwell as meaning: to remain for a time. My take away from this was that He wants me to remain in Him, to live in Him-to live in the Spirit at all times. But how do we do this?

Today I was really struggling with grumbling and acceptance. I continued to complain about my frustrations throughout the day, knowing full well that God doesn’t want me to to do that. I asked Him for help but I continued to wrestle with these shortcomings. Then, of course, as the evening drug on, I felt worse about myself for sinning. I realized I wasn’t really dwelling in Him today. Sure, I read my devotion and my Bible this morning, but for me, this isn’t enough to flourish. I must dwell in Him. I must reside in Him. The decisions I make throughout the day, the anger and impatience I feel, all of it-I must take to Him. This is living in the Spirit. This is dwelling and abiding in Him.

And it’s something we must be doing continually if we want to experience the fullness and richness of life that He has for us-the abundance. Our Father must be our foundation. Like a house, in order to dwell in it, has to first be built. And to start the building process, it needs to have a strong foundation. The foundation is the first thing that must be constructed.

And we build up from the foundation. But we need to do it carefully, taking our time. If we slap it up swiftly and haphazardly, it’s not going to last or be very sturdy. Just like if we rush our time with Him and our time in the Word, we aren’t going to have a very strong relationship with Him. On the other hand, if we don’t get around to building quickly enough and our supplies are laying out in the open for when we decide to finally get to work, we risk the wood molding and rotting-which also won’t last or will make us ill. When we don’t make time to be in scripture regularly and abide in Him constantly, our lives slowly begin to crumble and we become spiritually sick. I once heard someone say-our actions either point us towards our faith or away from it. We need to build a structurally sound dwelling by putting forth the effort to do it right while making it a priority to do it, period. The same goes for building our relationship on Him.

And we need to start first thing upon waking. We must begin each day laying the foundation by deepening our relationship with Him, thanking Him for our blessings, feeding on the Word, listening, and then obeying what He is telling us. Brick by brick or board by board, We need to build our days on Him-no, our moments on Him. Moment by moment needs to be built on the Rock that He is. We fix our eyes and thoughts on Him. And each decision we make throughout the day, each negative feeling that arises in us, each plan we make is like a brick or a board that is built on the Rock to make our dwelling place solid. We take it all to Him and He helps us forge a life grounded in Him where we are fully residing in the Spirit. When we reside in the Spirit, we are unshakeable and not able to be moved.

To be immovable though, we need to be rooted and firmly planted in Him. And in order to grow those roots, we must feed them daily. He is the living water that will quench the thirst of those roots so they can grow deep down.

So let’s construct our lives, brick by brick, moment by moment, stacking every care, every frustration, every struggle, on the One who upholds us. He wants it all, but most importantly, He wants us. Why not dwell on Jesus, while we dwell in Him, and always be overflowing with Thanksgiving, even in the toughest of circumstances? It will only make our relationship that much stronger.

But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts]. -Galations 5:16 (AMP)

In Christ, I am.

I caught myself striving the other day. It’s what I’ve always done and when life kicks up the dust, I’m right there taking it in the face and fighting back in a futile attempt to prove to myself that I’m enough. But this is a form of self-will and what I need to do instead, is remind myself of who I am in Christ and that His yoke is lighter. I mentioned in a previous post that for years, I found my worth in my accomplishments-until one day, my achievements failed me. I no longer had my health, so none of it mattered anymore. I’ve known that I need to find my identity in Christ, but knowing and actually believing who I am in Him are two totally different ball games, so I’m working on this and He is working on me. Well, who are we in Christ, anyway?

If you are a believer, you are CHOSEN. CHOSEN ya’ll! This means that we were hand picked by our Father to be His followers. In Jeremiah 1:5, He says “before you were born you were set apart”. Before we were born, we were His. And His Word tells us in Deuteronomy 14:2, “for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” Treasured means highly valued and precious. That is who we are to our Father. We belong to Him and we were set apart for His purpose. He has a plan for us and it’s big. And this plan includes being the salt and light of the earth.

In Matthew 5:14, He says that we are “the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” We were meant to shine for Him-to bring light and hope to others in need and through us, He will be glorified. This is another massive undertaking that He granted us. We are a vessel that He fills and uses to bless others. What a magnificent responsibility He has endowed us with! We must remain connected to Him though, in order to fulfill His purpose for our lives.

Jesus says, in John 15:5, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.” This means that we are an extension of Him, our God Almighty. We are a part of Him and we were made to bear fruit and serve Him with it. As we continue to seek Him, He will keep sprouting more fruit to do His will, which is good and perfect. Our Father made us in His image, His likeness. He is a creative God and we are a marvelous work.

Ephesians 2:10, says that He made us a masterpiece. A MASTERPIECE! The Oxford dictionary defines masterpiece as-a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship. We aren’t an amateur’s sculpted lump of clay that sits on a basement shelf. No. We were created by the God of the universe Himself, and we are His own master work to be used for good works that He entrusted us with, because we are that loved and important to Him.

We were worth dying for! How loved we are. Let that sink in. Let that really sink in. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He gave His own life because He loved us that much and wanted us to live. Nails were driven into His hands and feet. He died an agonizing death, for you and me-because He loves us beyond what we can fathom! This wasn’t a quick shot to the head and bam! It’s over. He suffered unimaginably during this prolonged death, and that’s not it. He was humiliated during the process. So when we struggle with our worth, let’s remind ourselves of all that He sacrificed for us.

Now let’s talk about those times when we get still get down on ourselves and beat ourselves up because we don’t think we measure up. Who’s really doing the measuring here, Him or you? If we get out of the way and make it our goal to live and love for Him, He will fill us with what we need. And we will feel more positive about ourselves because we are doing what we were created to do and who we were meant to be in the first place. We can’t forget WHOSE we are and that we were made for a purpose-to further His Kingdom. This is huge! This isn’t just a side job, and this is far more important than any earthly career. This is a soul-saving, life-restoring duty. This is ginormous! And He CHOSE us to do it. If you are glorifying Him in everything you do, how can you not feel good about yourself?

So let us make it our mission to become more Christlike, serving Him in all ways, always. Let us remind ourselves that we are not our accomplishments because our accomplishments can’t even begin to compete with who He wants us to be. And let us not lose sight of the fact that we are not of this world, but instead, He created us to help change and light up the world. It’s easy to sometimes let the thought of-I’m not enough, slip in, but His Word tells us differently. The Truth is, my friend, you and I are more than enough in His eyes.