“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 20:42
You do a lot of good that nobody sees, but what you do makes a difference. The world applauds massive deeds of goodwill and they should; however, your small deeds matter just as much to those you serve. Sometimes the ones you do for may forget to thank you or they cannot seem to thank you enough. Either way, God sees and will not let a single act of kindness or care escape the “Well Done” file He keeps on you.
Fill that file today for the glory of God!
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
We have all been there; heart burning from a disappointment or loss, standing in a place of worship, and having lips that do not want to sing. Fresh wounds try to distract us from acknowledging the goodness and faithfulness of the God Who let this happen. Natural and faulty reasoning ask angry questions and ugly words bubble to the surface of your heart, begging to jump out of your mouth. Yet, something stronger overrides the raw emotions and the simplistic questions. Though buried under the rubble of disillusionment, your faith rises with supernatural force and ignites hope. You remember that pain happens to everyone just like Jesus said it would; this is your turn. Though feelings contradict it, you know without a doubt that He is going through the pain with you. Relief seems far off, but you trust it will come simply because He said it would. In the darkness of your night season, you catch shooting-star glimpses of God’s goodness and gratitude moves your lips to utter a “thank you.” As others sing around you, a word or phrase highlights a truth your pain clouded. Even when the emotion is not there, the will to worship takes over because the truth is enough. The acknowledgement of one truth awakens remembrance of others and your heart worships through the tears.
The presence of God is constant and so is His worthiness of worship. May He give you the strength you need when you are hurting and when your offering is a struggle. In every season of your life, may you declare, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
“Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10
Rejection hurts! It tells you that you are insufficient in some way, that you do not have what it takes. How do you handle it?
You cannot let it cut away at the real you. Whatever ways you fall short in life, never let the fire of rejection burn into the most precious part of you, your worth. Always know that God made that part of you fireproof by blood. The blood of Jesus Christ, when you let God slather it over all your sins, settled the question of your value, your importance, and your dignity. Rejection has no jurisdiction in the realm of the soul. Hurtful words try to climb and destroy you, but no ladder can ever reach heaven and change the mind of the One Who declares you complete (Colossians 2:10). Treat the sharp bite of an ugly remark or a condescending look as a mere flesh wound, My Friend, because immunizations of God’s grace are standard for daughters of the King! Let them treat you like you are invisible, they are the blind ones who have no clue that you are His masterpiece created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10).
No, you cannot let rejection get you down. Handled properly, rejection can divert you to the truth and make you dance to the song of the One Who sings over you (Zephaniah 3:17).
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
Planning is a necessary part of life; it helps you to organize and maximize how you spend your time. God delights when you channel your efforts to keep your priorities straight. Have you ever been sure you were doing what you were supposed to be doing only to feel like God dropped a giant “DETOUR” sign in your path? Maybe it was an unexpected pregnancy, a financial crisis, or a health issue you did not see coming. Life interruptions take all forms and it is natural for a little confusion or anxiety to set in as you try to make sense of them.
As a follower of Christ, you have a marvelous place to unload and to make sense of these divergences: the sovereignty of God. The truth is, you can do your best to follow what you believe is God’s plan, but you never have it down to a science. Because you are in a relationship with the Omniscient One, you will never be privy to all the information you need. You have something better: the knowledge that He is in complete control, that He loves you, and that His plan is always best. Never forget that the Almighty has the right to change your plans in any way He deems best. This is the way of the blood-bought believer. The true servant of God has no greater agenda than to carry out the program of the Master which may mean an unexpected change of plans.
Question: In what way has God changed your plans? How did you feel at first? What did you learn from the experience?
Cast all your anxiety upon him for he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
What is bothering you, My Friend? What in your life is weighing you down and clouding your heart? In the few quiet moments of your day, what keeps coming to the forefront of your mind and making you sigh with discouragement or worry or concern?
Jesus Cares. Maybe you already know that, but you need to hear it again. Jesus cares.
The cross was not just for your salvation, it was and still is a place to hurl off your burdens. This does not mean that the burden disappears, it just shifts to His capable shoulders. He wants to make a trade with you: your heavy burden for His light one, your anxiety for His peace, and your discouragement for His hope.
“How do I do that,” you may be asking. The transaction involves an honest prayer. It helps to remind yourself of the power and authority and majesty of your Burden-Bearer. Recount His love for you and then intentionally shift your heart’s heavy cargo to Him. Consider it now His problem to solve, His assignment to guide you out of the fog while you walk with the lightness and trust of a child.
If the heaviness returns, do it again. Got it?
Pray. Hurl. Repeat.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Yes, you read that right: do less this year. You stand a better chance at success if you do only a few things well than too many things poorly. God is a God of order and His agenda can be a lot to do, but He gives strength to do only what He calls you to do. Perhaps in the past you (like me) have misappropriated that strength on good things at the expense of the best. The new year is a perfect opportunity to look at your list of goals and shave them down. No need to worry about what that means for the the things that end up on the shaving room floor. God is capable of assigning someone else to those things, and you both can be ok with some things being incomplete. Excluding things from your life does not mean you will never be able to do them; they just need to bow to other things right now. If your goal is to glorify God with your life, prioritizing is a must. Even Jesus did it (John 5:19).
How can you know what God wants you to do and what He wants to eliminate? Ask Him. Watch His activity in your life and keep your spiritual ears open when you read His Word. Do not make this a painstaking activity, hearing from God is a natural part of walking with Him. Keep your heart yielded, and He will show you what to do and what not to do.
Doing less is not being lazy, it is allowing space for God to do much as you abide in Him. Jesus said you bear much fruit as you abide in Him (John 15:5).
As the year wears on, other things may try to crowd out God’s priorities. Consider writing down what needs to have top rank and putting it in a place you will see everyday. Distractions are like pests: the best way to combat them is through daily maintenance.
May this be a year of watching God do amazing things in you, for you, and through you, My Friend. May you look back and marvel at how much you accomplished by doing less compared to what your natural self and the world around you demands.
Happy New Year!
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45
I am intrigued at how faith raised the eyebrow of Jesus like nothing else. The Canaanite woman believed He would heal her daughter even after Jesus blew her off. Jesus marveled at her faith and granted her request (Matthew 15:28). Then there was the centurion soldier who told Jesus He did not even need to be in the same room to heal his suffering servant, that all He needed was to speak and the sickness would obey the command to leave. The Bible says Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith (Matthew 8:10).
Is He amazed by your faith in Him?
The Christmas story has no lasting impact on your life if you don’t believe it. Christ was born, crucified, and resurrected for more than a warm, fuzzy, and positive feeling this time of year. Christmas is about God coming for you. It is deeply personal. The only way to lay hold of all Christ intended for you is to believe (John 6:47). Believe not just with your mind, but with your heart. Put your full weight of faith in Who He is (the Messiah, the Promised One) and what He promises (eternal life for all who believe).
When Mary went to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth spoke the words in our verse for today. She spoke of her belief bringing blessing. May your belief in Christ as the Savior of the World unleash the mountain of gifts that were in the heart of the One Who sent Him.
Christ the Savior is born! Believe and be blessed!