Have you ever wanted to give up on parenting, spousing, leading or serving? Do you know what God says? “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial,” (James 1:12) “Persevere, dad, when you can’t process one more thought.” “Persevere, mom, when the toddler is making you scream.” “Persevere, husband, when you don’t feel like loving her.” “Persevere, wife, when he is never home.” “Persevere, leader, when your team isn’t getting it.” “Persevere, servant, when you’re killing it but nobody’s noticing.” Persevere! GOD declares that when you do…you will be blessed! One of my favorite quotes is, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” (Charles Spurgeon). Through every parenting, spousing, working day, you scoot! Even if it’s one slow & wobbly scoot. Because with each scoot, the snail DID get closer to the ark. And with every scoot, you get closer to your blessing. And dad, that thought you couldn’t process? Was replaced by a comforting notion that God loves you. And mom, the toddler who made you scream? Made you melt when he only wanted to be held by you. And husband, when you didn’t feel like loving her? Your feeling to love was replaced with your action to show it. And wife, to the husband who is never home? Comes home one day, broken, only wanting you. And to the leader whose team isn’t getting it? One day, their lightbulb goes off & they blow you away. And servant, your service that’s gone unacknowledged? Is getting a standing ovation by thousands of angels in Heaven. Friend, be the snail. Persevere. Scoot. And be blessed!
One time I heard Julie Richard say the only secret we should have in our marriages is a surprise birthday party! That is SO good! But even if we aren’t married, we can have a secret we are keeping. And not the surprise-birthday-party kind. The kind I’m talking about will keep you up at night. It will preoccupy your conscience during the day. This kind of secret can make you feel “yucky” on the inside. Something won’t feel right in your heart or gut. This kind of secret has a way of whispering, “you can fix this yourself.” When in reality, God’s saying we need Him (and others) to help us with it. A secret is kept in the dark–but confession ushers us into light. God is light. And light is good because God is good. The antidote to a secret is a confession. Will there be consequence with a confession? Probably. But the blessing of turning a secret into a confession is turning ourselves over to God and God eradicating the prison the secret built around us. The “yucky” starts to go away. The restlessness returns to rest. It’s no longer being hostage to Satan–but kicking him where it counts because you chose light. If there’s a secret that needs to be confessed, there is a freedom awaiting on the other side. I hope this encourages someone today.
This verse is often used during the holidays. I love it when little Linus recites it in the Charlie Brown Christmas movie. Today, are you confused? Are you at a circumstantial fork in the road? This verse says: He is your Wonderful Counselor. He can counsel you in your confusion and set you on the right path. Today, are you weak? Do you feel like if any more weight is put on your back, you will break? This verse says: He is your Mighty God. He will hold you up with His right hand, you may tremble on the rock, but the rock will never tremble on you. Today, are you lonely? Do you have crowds but no companionship? This verse says: He is your Everlasting Father. He wants you to come to Him, and He will be your friend, your father, your family. You will never feel alone when He walks beside you. Today, are you disheartened because there is nothing but turmoil on your calendar? Are you discontent at night? This verse says: He is your Prince of Peace. He is the designer of a peaceful heart. And since peace is His–if He is a part of you–His peace is too. I pray this Christmas verse becomes a daily verse….for where you are today, and what you need.
God can handle what you can’t handle.
God can carry what you can’t carry.
God can heal what you can’t heal.
God can forgive who you can’t forgive.
God can rest what you can’t rest.
God can raise who you can’t raise.
God can love who you can’t love.
God can manage what you can’t manage.
God can forget what you can’t forget.
God can move what you can’t move.
God can accept what you can’t accept.
God can deliver what you can’t deliver.
God can free what you can’t free.
God can resurrect what you can’t resurrect.
God can lift what you can’t lift.
God can mend what you can’t mend.
God can believe who you can’t believe.
God can save who you can’t save.
You can’t. I can’t. But God can.
If I tried, could I find 26 letters worth of thanksgiving? I shall try! And, hey, if you find yourself down this Thanksgiving, this is a good thing for you to pen on paper. The cloud may be over your head, but there is still has a silver lining in it. There is always something to be thankful for…
A – Amazing Grace ; B – Boys; C – Comebacks; D – David and Lisa; E – Endless Energy; F – Fozzy; G – Gods House; H – Hope; I – Ice Cream; J – Jouraling; K – Keurig; L – Life; M – Magnolias; N – Newspapers; O – Otis; P – Parents, Rob and Rach; Q – Quiet moments; R – Raul; S – Sunrises, Sunsets; T – Tall Trees; U – United States; V – Victories; W – Workouts; X – healthy X-rays; Y – YouVersion; Z – Zoos!
I carried around this one regret for far too long. It was a stupid thing I did in my 20s. After finding my way back to God, I could forgive myself for the small sins, but this one? No way. It was a BIG sin. In my estimation, worthy of 5-10 years of carrying it on my back. And it was heavy. But then, I read this: “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” The point? The east and the west never intersect. In other words, it’s an impossible act. And so it is with God. It is IMPOSSIBLE for Him to hold onto our sin. It just doesn’t happen. When we screw up, we go to God in prayer and we ask for forgiveness because Jesus already paid the price for it. Then, we throw out the sin with the garbage. And garbage does not find its way back into a house. I hope this encourages someone to stop hoarding what needs to be tossed. And that, IN Christ, you CAN stand up straighter because WITH Him, you are no longer weighed down.
Sheep are protected IN the valley BY the shepherd. And so are we. Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” We will get weaker, stray often, grow desperate…but God will not. His power and protection never weakens, though we do. Will God shield us FROM the valley? Not always. But nothing can separate you from God when you’re in it; and it’s God, alone, who allows what happens through it. I know dark valleys. Even with God, it stunk to be in them. But it would have stunk more to be in it without Him. Some of you are going through difficult circumstances. The pain is legit–but the fear is not! Jesus said, “don’t be afraid, little flock…” We don’t need to fear the valley if God is with us. We ONLY need to fear the valley if He isn’t. I hope this encourages someone today.
On many famous accounts, God displayed his love in big things: parting a sea in half, ingesting a human in a whale, raising Jesus from a tomb. But is God’s love in small things? Yes. God’s love is often in insignificantly-small people: a deaf man, a paralyzed man, a girl in adultery, a virgin carrying His son. Have we ever realized the insignificance of these people? Rather, do we realize their significance to God? He didn’t pick Hollywood celebrities to perform these mighty miracles. He didn’t pick the ones with the most “likes” and “follows.” Out of 22 miracles Jesus performed, 20 came from insignificant backgrounds. In the world, we often have to be “somebody.” But in Christ, we already…are. every. thing. You don’t need to beef up, clean up or puff up. You show up. And God loves you right from there. I was never popular as a kid. I don’t know what it’s like to be “most likely to succeed” or nominated to prom court. But I do know what it’s like to be recklessly, unconditionally, emphatically loved by God. You may feel small in your corner of the world, but to God? You’re an heir He’s proud to show you off. If you were the only small, insignificant one on Earth, you would have been worth dying on the cross for. You may feel small in your eyes, but you are the biggest focus of His. I hope this encourages someone today.