You Already Matter

Colossians 2:10 “…and you are complete in Him…”

You don’t have to accomplish anything, make something of yourself, or be more of anything else for your life to matter. Our culture has an impossible list of requirements before they deem you acceptable. Because of Christ’s finished work, God has no such list. He came looking for you while you were at your worst for no other reason but that He loved you. It may take a lifetime to grasp that concept, but your joy will increase with every handful. He loves you because of Who He is, not because of what you are, what you offer, or even what you will become. He doesn’t need anything from you. He just wants you! He wants to restore what you lost before you were even born.

Come closer, My Friend, drop that heavy load of pretending to have it together, peel off that mask with the painted-on smile. You can rest that dragon-slayer look you hide behind for protection. Kick off the blistering shoes of perfection and let the weighty wig of insecurity fall at His feet. This nakedness can be a dangerous vulnerability in front of others, but never before your Redeemer. He knows the worst of you so hiding is ridiculous. Oh, but the love, once you dare to embrace it, has great power! It can saturate and heal the wounds left on your spirit by words and deeds designed to destroy you. It infuses supernatural steel in your spine where fear once coursed.(1 John 4:18). It gives your complexion that glow of joy like no cosmetic can. It sucks the darkness out of your future and though you still can’t see it clearly, you know He’s already there, making it bright with His presence.

When you let Christ in, His love changes you for the better. With your cooperation, His love transforms you into the better person you never knew you could become. He loves you as you are now and He will love you at every stage of growth. It will take time to believe it isn’t too good to be true. He’ll wait. The best way to expedite the process is to park the deepest part of you in the wonderland of His Word where daily He loads you up with truth about his feelings for you. Some days it will be so sweet you can hardly stand it. It will make you want to love Him back through some form of service. That service will not be earning His love or securing a fickle favor. It will be an offering you can’t help but bring out of gratitude that His great heart thinks you matter and you always have.

Question: What area of your life causes the most struggle in believing you matter? Who or what do you think is behind this idea? What truth do you need to embrace to break out of this struggle?

How to Encourage Yourself

Discouragement happens to all of us. It can feel like a pit too deep to scale and can lead to despair if you don’t know how to climb out.

All of David’s friends blamed him for the kidnapping of their children. They wanted to stone him, and friendless David fell into a pit of discouragement. The Scriptures say he encouraged himself “in the Lord His God.” (1Samuel 30:6) What does that mean? What would that look like for you?

Discouragement is like an old lady with bad breath, amnesia, and terrible vision. The bad breath represents negative talk. Discouragement tends to speak in extremes, “It’s ALWAYS going to be this bad. I’m NEVER going to get better.” In the face of an omnipotent God, extreme statements like those are inappropriate. Hannah, barren and bullied, chose to believe neither of her disadvantages was permanent because she knew Someone greater than both of them ( 1Samuel 10-18). Back to David, Can you hear him reminding himself that even though all his buddies were against him, God tipped the scales in David’s favor? God is always greater than any odds stacked against you. To encourage yourself in the Lord, speak the opposite of what your negative thoughts say.

Old Lady Discouragement has a sort of amnesia, forgetting all God has done in the past. Your present situation may be pitiful, but it’s just a set-up for what God wants to do. Going for a walk to clear his head and to save it from the threat of stoning, I imagine David reminded himself of God’s power through the lion-and bear-killing infusion of his youth and the countless rescues from King Saul’s spear. Perhaps the psalmist dusted off an old hymn stored in the back of his mind and hummed, then whistled, then shouted it so loudly that the mice of discouragement scuttled back to the dark pit from which they came. To encourage yourself in the Lord is to itemize what God has done in your past and to recognize He has not yet finished your story!

Finally, Discouragement wears dark glasses with dirt on the lenses and only sees darkness when she looks to the future. Her problem is that she views everything as if God is dead. You can remove the dirty sunglasses of doubt when you remind yourself that God’s presence fills every corner of your future with hope and that He’s making good plans for you! (Jeremiah 29:11) Encourage yourself in the Lord ‭by switching on the blazing light of His promises and letting them lead you out of the darkness of your discouragement (Psalm 27:13).

God has an antidote for every poisonous drop of discouragement, but you must reach for it. Do away with Old Lady Discouragement. Be like David and encourage yourself in the Lord!

Sing Your Song

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. Psalm 40:3

God has put a song in your heart. Sing it! He’s done what you struggled to believe He would, and He’s begun changing you into someone you’re proud to be. You can’t keep that song to yourself. Sing it!

This singing has nothing to do with pushing air through your vocal chords in partnership with music; no, it’s narrating in your everyday voice what the Lord has done. People are waiting and desperate to hear it. Someone’s out there surrounded by the dead silence of hopelessness, waiting for your song to fill it.

You’re tempted to keep quiet because you’re not sure they won’t judge you. Don’t shy from your song because you’re not proud of the bad parts. You’d be surprised how much those parts resonate with people and remind them they’re not alone. The bad parts are what make the good parts so beautiful. They tell people they can get where you are because you’ve been where they are. Sing it!

How you sing it will be unique to you; maybe by writing a book, sending a note to someone needing encouragement, volunteering, baking, cleaning, or literally singing. God has given you your own style and method, and it’s beautiful. In your eyes, your song’s not perfect, but it is to those who need it. It will bring glory and pleasure to God, joy and purpose to you, and inspiration to many. Sing it!

A Prayer of Faith When Life Is Hard

This is the last of the top blog posts. Be blessed!

Oh, God, I’m hurting. I know You are the Great Healer of hurts. Please heal me. Dry my tears and hold me. You’ve done it many times before. Do it again, Lord!

I wish for relief today. I desire an end to all that’s uncertain, for the light to be turned on in those places dark with uncertainty. I know you can do it, Lord, all power is in Your mighty hand.

But…

I also know Your ways are higher than mine, and You want me to trust You. I understand You are at work when I don’t understand. Your power doesn’t just work to fulfill my desire; it fulfills Your divine purpose, and I bow my heart and will to Your desire above my own.

I choose to trust Your timing, Your agenda, Your love. As hard as my current hurt is, I submit to Your schedule for its relief. You are a Healer, no doubt, but You are also a Vinedresser, a Cultivator of character.( John 15:1) Cut, snip, prune, and take away according to Your wisdom. Only preserve my mind. Don’t let me lose heart or sight of what is important since trouble tends to be a great liar when I’m hurting.

Thank You that You care enough for me to give me what I need instead of what I want. Take my hand and lead me on into the uncertainty that lies ahead. Whisper words of love and hope to me in the dark. Thank you in advance for what I will become and the heightened beauty I will see in You when we both come out on the other side.

How To Wait On God Well

I am not surprised this was one of my most viewed posts. Everyone is waiting on God for something, right? This provides encouragement on how to do it the right way. Enjoy!

How To Wait On God Well

Psalm 40:1-3

1. I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

2. He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

3. He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the Lord

and put their trust in him.

Waiting on God is not always easy, is it? Sometimes it feels as if He’s forgotten you’re standing there in His waiting room. My Friend, be confident that He knows exactly where you are. He will not keep you there any longer than necessary. You are not forgotten. Do you trust Him?

How do you wait well in your holding place? Today’s passage gives some insight. Come with me and let’s explore it.

I waited patiently for the Lord— you and I are to wait patiently. That means not trying to rush things. Remember when Sara came up with the impatient idea to have her husband Abraham conceive a son with Hagar instead of waiting on God? Enough said.

he turned to me and heard my cry– waiting well is possible when you remind yourself that God’s ear turned in your direction the moment you called on Him. Just because He has not answered in your timing doesn’t mean He didn’t hear and doesn’t care. Remember when Lazarus died and his two sisters called for Jesus? Did He come right away? No. Would they have traded their experience of witnessing their brother resurrected? I don’t think so. Waiting on God is an opportunity to see some amazing things. You really don’t want to miss what God wants to show you, My Friend.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand– did you notice all of those verbs are in the past tense? Yours will change tenses too. Whatever you are asking God to do now will turn tenses and transform into a testimony. Do you believe this? Waiting well means waiting in faith.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.: oh, a new song is a beautiful thing! It sings about something God has done that He hasn’t done in your life before! It’s a new entry on God’s resume in your story. It’s notes birth a strapping stronger faith that looks like Jesus. Waiting well can mean singing about what He will do as if He’s already done it. Try it!

Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.-your time of waiting is about more than getting what you want. It is divinely orchestrated for those around you too. They see your distress, your longing, and sometimes your tears. They are waiting on God with you and for their own requests as well. When God comes through, your story will boost and encourage THEIR faith. It’s a sometimes uncomfortable way to be used by God, but why not set a good example of waiting well while they watch? It makes the answer so much sweeter!

Wait for God patiently, knowing He’s heard you and has not forgotten your request. Wait for God believing He will do just what He said He will. Wait valiantly, My friend, not complaining or pouting but soberly, knowing you are setting an example for others who are watching and waiting too.

One more thing: A good waiting room always has good magazines to occupy you while you wait. May I suggest you pick up a copy of His Word and read what God did for others while they waited on Him? Hebrews 11 is a good place to start. Perhaps a good Christian biography can while away the time and remind you of His faithfulness in the lives of others who have been in the waiting room just like you! Please let me know what YOU’VE learned about waiting on God!

You Have Worth Because He is Worthy

I hope you are being encouraged by my top blog postings this week. Encouragement is meant to be shared. Who do you know that could use today’s encouragement? Pass it on!

You Have Worth Because He is Worthy

“and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” Colossians 2:10

One of the enemy’s favorite spots for punching is that soft place where you question your value. He likes to put on his spiked brass knuckles and continually pummel you with thoughts like, “You are not good enough, and you never will be,” or “However bad anyone else is, you’re worse.” Maybe you’ve heard, “If anybody knew the real you, they’d reject you.”

He throws your past in your face to darken your present and to blind you to any hope for your future.

To make it worse, you and I respond by covering up and pretending to be someone else. That’s not the right way to fight, My Friend, because you are agreeing with those lies. No, you must dig out this poisonous core or your spirit will remain sick and weak and hinder you from flying. Yes, I said flying. What better way to combat a fist than to fly above it?

How do you dig out the core? With a sword–the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God! How does this work? All three of those lies I mentioned can be knocked out by today’s verse. People often quote the first part but miss the second. You are complete in Christ, yes, but it’s because of Who He is: the head over all rule and authority. His most powerful position makes whatever He says the final word on your worth, My Friend. You don’t have to makeshift your worth through your bank account, your bra size, your zip code, career, comparison, or credentials. If Christ says you have value, you can’t add anything else to that to make it more true. Know this! Believe this!

When the enemy corners you with those self-defeating thoughts, fight like a girl–a girl who knows who she is because her Daddy told her. This means that, um, you gotta know what your Daddy told you. You won’t know if Facebook gets more of your time than His book. Am I right? Invest the time each day getting in His Word because it informs you of your worth, and because of Who He is. He. Is. Worthy!!

Nobody Like Him!

Today I am continuing with my most popular posts….

” To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.” Isaiah 40:25

There’s nobody like Him! To whom are you gonna compare Him? Anything you line up next to Him is ridiculous. He’s in a class all. by. Himself.

He makes claims nobody else can, and He backs up every one of them. EVERY one! No one else can claim to never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 11:25b) and then have the omnipresence to keep that promise. (Psalm 139:7-10)

All others say “Work your way up to me, appease me.”

Our wonderful God says, ” You don’t have what it takes to make it to Me. How about I come to you instead? You don’t have enough good in inventory to appease Me. Let me provide that too. Let me grant the very righteousness I require so we can be together.” (Romans 8:3-4) Who does that!? Our merciful God, that’s Who! Nobody like Him!

Then He has the glorious nerve to provide this to everyone. No special license, background, education, pedigree, skin color, or credit check required. Whosoever will may come. ( Romans 10:13) Nobody like Him!

Then there’s the love. He’s more than a God Who’s bigger than you, requiring whatever tribute the King of the Universe has every right to demand. He is relational, personal, compassionate, and intimately acquainted with all your ways…not a dry, mute statue to bring incense to, but a living, concerned, and conversational God. (1John 3:1; Psalm 145:8; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 138:3) Nobody like Him.

I wouldn’t dare leave out the resurrection. Nobody else has the patent on that but our God. Death was a snarling, ferocious, and carnivorous beast whose dungeon was the grave. Our Mighty God defeated that beast and turned that very dark dungeon into a doorway to Heaven.

Can anyone be silent about such a God as He? Let the idols of the earth be satisfied with incense and fearful appeasement. A God as mighty and unique as ours deserves so much better. Reserve your worship, best love, and service for Him precisely because there is nobody like Him. (Romans 12:1)