Tag Archives: growth

5 Life-Changing Lessons

A few mornings ago, while sitting on my couch chatting with the Lord, I came across truths that I had never seen before in His death on the cross. May we glean from His example as we also choose to “deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him“.

These are the points the Holy Spirit revealed to me during our time together:

1. Leading up to His death, Jesus intentionally invested into the lives of those He dearly loved as His close friends.

“When the hour came, Jesus and His apostles reclined at the table. And He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God’.” Luke 22:14-16

This is an invaluable lesson in demonstrating how we should wisely invest our time to build and maintain relationships. The Kingdom of God is about people, not works or titles. And one of the best places for building relationships (including evangelism) is the dinner table – an intimate setting where people come together to enjoy a common meal and engage in deep conversation.

2. In approaching His time of suffering, Jesus ran to the Father for help. In the presence of the Everlasting Father, Jesus was strengthened to endure the cross and fulfill His will.

“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:41-44

As we go through hard times, just as Jesus faced more than we could ever imagine, we must turn to God and ask for help. In the Lord we find the real strength that we need to endure whatever is laid out before us. We will often need the Lord’s divine intervention in many of our life circumstances. Therefore, we cannot afford to forsake humility in an effort to be self-reliant. Draw close to the Father because He waits for us, just as He waited for Jesus in the garden of  Gethsemane.

3. Jesus made the choice to confront His close friend, Judas, on the night He was betrayed by him.  Jesus didn’t go into denial, pretending nothing happened and suppressing His feelings. Nor did He curse Judas in an outburst of rage, only to later regret the words He had spoken. Nope. This Holy King boldly confronts the wrong done against Him in absolute gentleness. Gentleness. He makes the point that what was done to Him was not okay, that Judas had crossed His personal boundary line.

“While He was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss Him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss’?” Luke 22:47-48

If someone has hurt us (because it will happen), may we take on the yolk of Christ and gently confront them with the offense in love. Confrontation is not something to be avoided, but embraced. Jesus set the perfect example of how it should be done.

4. Jesus carried the cross (the very means by which he would die)  to be crucified (a death for the worst of sinners) by the human race (those He created in His image). In meek boldness He shook the very core of mankind when He proclaimed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Forgiveness is what Jesus chose to bestow upon those who unjustly hurt Him. Pay attention to this statement, beloved. If the Son of God (with all power and glory) experienced unjust pain and heartache while living here on earth as part of the human race, then we (without power and glory) will also experience unjust grief and sorrow. What are we to do in these unfortunate situations? Forgive them. Run to the Father to draw the strength to forgive their wrong doing. He will be faithful to honor you by honoring Him.

5. Even in the midst of the most uncomfortable situation (hanging on the cross in extreme pain and fatigue), Jesus still chose to evangelize and encourage a soul that was lost.

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him, ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and save us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23: 39-43

Talk about not losing sight of a goal. Jesus makes it very clear that despite Him being in His last hour, His heart was still for the lost. And make no mistake, beloved. Jesus never recounts the sins of this man, but lovingly welcomes him into His kingdom. If we are serious about following after Jesus, shouldn’t we also have a heart for those that do not know Him? And not to judge or criticize the way they live their lives, but to love them?

May we recount the decisions Jesus made during His last hours here on earth, and through His grace apply them to our own lives. Praise be to this great King of glory!

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Waiting for a Season

This post from last year is a great reminder (for me personally) that God’s timing is ultimately the best – even if it means that we must wait much longer for His promises to transpire than what we expect. May you be encouraged today, beloved. He is faithful!

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4

Have you ever casually been driving in your car, only to slam on your brakes suddenly because of unexpected roadwork? Or maybe the traffic light had just turned from yellow to red while you were approaching the intersection? Many of us can relate to the feelings of frustration, the sweaty palms, the spastic heart rate, and that sigh of relief that arise from narrowly missing the car ahead.

Yet regardless of the reason, we are stopped.

Our journey is delayed. Or so we think.

Waiting for God is hard. We want to follow Him and seek His direction while at the same time keeping our foot firmly on the gas pedal. We want to go, while He wants us to stop.

Yesterday I came to a new conclusion about my faith in God.

I expect Him to be patient with me (because He’s love and love is patient), but I don’t always feel the need to reciprocate the effort.

Recently, I began badgering God about how His timing (and forcing me to wait) is causing me to suffer, yet I had never realized that I caused Him pain simply by not believing enough in Him (by deliberately choosing not to trust).

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:4-5

I am the one who’s been selfish and arrogant, not God. Who was I to think that I could actually help God? That I could move things along by speeding up His pace so I could enjoy what He promised? What foolishness to try and manipulate God, yet I did it. We as humans are the ones who make a mess of our lives, not God.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

We’ll always settle for mediocre if we’re not willing to wait for His best.

I haven’t given God the space to be God, nor thought enough of Him to allow Him to be God.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

I’ve been rushing to get my foot back on the gas and push through the delay. What I did not realize was that if He’s caused me to stop and wait, then it must be for my own good. This red traffic light is actually His way of protecting me and preparing me for what lies ahead.

Waiting on God is choosing to be intentionally patient with Him. It’s giving Him space to be God and to perform wonderful acts in our lives. And it is tremendously wise to do so.

King David waited years before He became the King of Israel, even after God had faithfully spoken this promise to Him.

Sarah waited decades before she received the son God promised to her (which then became the blessed nation of Israel).

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14

God always delivered. He always provided at the exact time that was best for the individual. If God has made a promise to you, remain firm in what He’s told you. He is faithful, beloved.

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Psalm 119:18

In His goodness, He will not only prepare the circumstances (so they will be the absolute best), but He will prepare your heart to fully receive (and appreciate) what He has promised to you. He’s just that good.

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:13-14 

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose today! To God be the glory!

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The Gift of Grace

An unknown author once stated, “Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours if you’ll reach out and take it.”

Imagine waking up one morning to a shiny, wrapped package with curly ribbons resting on your doorstep. It’s been delivered to you. Especially for you. And inside this beautiful gift awaits an assortment of treats; a holy provision in order that you might fully experience and enjoy the day ahead of you.

The gift of grace.

Delivered overnight by a Holy courier and left on the doorstep of our hearts.

The question is not whether the gift exists, Jesus is the gift. Jesus is grace. But, the question is rather “will we accept the gift He gives each day and will we open the surprise?”

I’m not talking about salvation here.

I’m talking about breathing in deeply and exhaling out slowly, while fully relying on the ability of Christ to help us complete our day. And the ability to extend grace to others and to ourselves when we make mistakes.

Grace causes us to relax and refocus. It gives us permission to be who we truly are and to enjoy complete freedom from perfectionism.

(sigh) What a relief for our lives!

How is grace defined?

According to Websters it is: unmerited divine assistance, ease of movement or bearing, mercy, charity, kindness, and tenderness.

Let’s glance at what the Word says:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Grace is undeserved. We can’t earn it, because we’re never worthy of it, no matter how hard we try. And in this case, it’s a great thing to not measure up, because it cultivates a sweet dependency in our hearts towards our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yesterday while reading an article on “Codependent Behaviors” (any therapist out there knows this term very well), I was intrigued by the fact that many of us don’t know how to extend grace to ourselves. I am one of them.

Grace opposes performance. And I have found that God’s expectations are generally much lower than the ones I place on myself. I strive when I need to abide.

If Jesus (The Lord over all creation) freely extends grace to us, shouldn’t we also model His behavior by extending grace to ourselves? 

And what does grace look like in our lives?

This is what the Holy Spirit has been teaching me this week:

  • Each day acknowledging this gift of grace from Jesus, and then applying the contents in order to meet the demands and decisions I face throughout my day.
  • Giving myself permission to be weak, so He can be strong.
  • Forgiving myself and others when mistakes are made (critical in marriage, and any relationship involving other human beings).Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
  • Allowing people to be who they are, even if I disagree with them.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
  • Enjoying my day while allotting time just for me. Have FUN.The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
  • Laughing A LOT. Laughter is an amazing preventative measure to combat stress.A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
  • Focusing on the best qualities about myself and those around me. Jesus sees me as a new creation, He focuses on the positive, I must also do the same.Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

His grace abounds. Will we accept the gift He gives each day?

Do you know someone who would be encouraged by reading this message today? Please share it through our various outlets below. And thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! To God be the glory!

Are you currently a subscriber? If not, we would love to have you! Just click HERE to begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox each morning. Thank you!

 

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