We can get caught up trying to make a name for ourselves, trying to keep up with the Joneses. We look to increase our status, our name recognition, earn a new title and ultimately we look everywhere and anywhere for validation. We can be addicted to the praises of people and the approval of others.
The truth is that all of that validation is shaky. People’s opinions change, titles come and go, our status rises and falls and everything and anything that we put our security in will be shaken if it’s not eternally secured in God.
When we come to God by accepting Jesus into our hearts, we come to solid unshakable ground. When we spend time with the eternal God of the universe we spend time with our maker and designer, our author and finisher.
God designed us for relationship with Him. He shaped us for specific purpose and plan from the beginning. He thought about us and placed us from eternity into the year we were born. He marked us with our unique DNA and fingerprints and as we spend time with Him, we get a greater glimpse of who we are and what we are created for. As we spend time immersed in His love, we grow more confident and secure; and our desire for other’s approval and validation wanes.
Nothing in this world compares with God’s love and acceptance. As we become rooted in this love we begin to really know who we are in Christ. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we are able to step more fully into our destiny, live a wide open life of generosity and blessing and leave a legacy so that others will be introduced to God’s infallible, unfailing, and unconditional love.
Sometimes in life when we are hurting, we feel like we are all alone. When we experience pain and sorrow, we can wonder where God is. We feel that He has left us but that is just a feeling and nothing could be further from the truth.
When we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, we enter into an everlasting love relationship with the Creator of the Universe. God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten son to earth for us (John 3:16), so that we would have life, a fresh start and eternal right standing with Him.
Now when we face obstacles, difficulties and hardship, we can boldly come before the throne room of Grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We can cast our cares upon the Lord because He cares for us ( Peter 5:7) and we can place our fears, worries, and disappointments at the foot of the cross and receive Jesus’s comfort, joy, and peace.
We freely can come to God in our times of prayer, worship and reading the Word and know that He is there for us with arms wide open. We can receive His unconditional, unfailing and extravagant love and allow Him to remind us that we have been forever accepted and are now never alone through Christ Jesus our Lord.
As we go through life we can go through busy seasons that are full of heavy demands and impending deadlines. We begin to think that everything depends on us. However, if we have accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts, then we have God’s constant abundant supply of grace to help us.
The more responsibility we take on, the more we can lean upon the Lord. As we come to Him in our prayer and devotional times, we can come to a place of rest and receive from Him. When we lay every burden and every care at the foot of the cross, we can exchange them for God’s supernatural rest, peace and well-being.
The Bible says that Jesus’s yoke is light and easy. A yoke, in agricultural terms, is a device or harness for joining together a pair of animals such as oxen. This device would join them together so they were heading in the same direction and the burden was shared. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we will go His direction; and the more we will begin to learn to live lightly and freely and experience the unforced rhythms of grace (Matthew 11:28). The more we spend time with Jesus, the more people should leave our presence lighter and freer as well.
Life can be difficult, work can be burdensome, relationships can be hard but Jesus’s yoke is always easy and light. As we spend time with Him in our prayer time, worship, reading and meditating on the Word, we will find that our tensions will wane, peace will rise and we will be filled with the supernatural joy of the Lord which is our strength.
In life when we encounter rejection we can find ourselves hurting and in pain. Relationships have the seed for great blessing or cursing. The truth is we can avoid all pain in relationships by simply creating walls to keep rejection out. However, when we do this we also keep love out.
God is relational. God is one. God has three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and God is one. God is in constant state of fellowship. We are created in God’s image. We are created to be relational people. We will never know true joy, love or fulfillment by shutting out people. We will never know love by closing the door to relationships.
So the answer to our relational problem is not to stop having relationships. The answer is to maintain priority on the most important relationship, our relationship with God. When we daily come to God in our devotions of prayer, worship and reading and meditating on the Word, we will be cultivating intimacy with the only one who will never leave us, reject you or abandon us.
As we grow in this relationship we will discover our true identity, calling and purpose. God will lead us into His divine relationships and connections. And now when we experience rejection, we will know that even if someone rejects us, that we are still accepted forever by the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Almighty Creator of the Universe.
As we allow the walls to crumble and vulnerability to rise, we still may be hurt from time to time but now we can come to the throne room of Grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16) and receive help, healing, hope, restoration, joy and peace. We now bring to our relationships a confidence, and a knowledge that we are forever accepted.
Ephesians 1:6 – to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
In life when we take a risk, apply for a job or follow a dream, there is always a chance we can find ourselves hurt and disappointed if things do not go the way we hoped. When situations come to an end badly we often wonder why we even tried in the first place.
The truth is we can keep ourselves from a lot of pain and rejection by never trying anything new. However, once we stop taking risks, we stop really living. When an exciting opportunity comes our way, instead of worrying about past mistakes or what will happen if we fail, we can come to God in prayer for wisdom, direction and guidance. During these times of prayer we can bring to God our past disappointments, those times we’ve been hurt or rejected; and we can receive His healing, hope and restoration.
The most thrilling and exciting times of our lives will be the God adventures that He brings us. To be ready to live this life, we have to be open and ready for new things. This is the key to staying young.
As we daily spend time in the presence of God, we can allow Him to heal us, to remind us that we are His beloved child, and to restore us so we are ready for the next exciting exploit or God-opportunity that is coming our way.
Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
When we have a dream in our heart, we often look at all the pros and cons and then proceed with extreme caution, with back up plans and safety nets in place. When God puts a dream in our heart, it is impossible to play it safe, because His dreams are always bigger than those we can accomplish on our own.
There was a time during Jesus’s three year ministry that He sent the disciples ahead of Him in a boat to the other side of the Lake and He went to the mountain top to pray. By the time He was ready to meet up with the disciples, they were quite a distance away.
Now, on the lake the wind had risen and the boat began to be battered by the waves. During this time the disciples saw a figure on the water and were terrified. They thought it was a ghost. Jesus calmed them by letting them know that it was He and not to be afraid.
There was one disciple who saw Jesus on the water and was not satisfied by staying in the boat and watching Him. Peter called to the Lord and said “If it is you, command me to come to You on the water.” Peter did not make a pros and cons list. He did not put on an innertube or floaties. Peter simply needed to know that it was Jesus and that was enough for him to get out of the boat. Peter walked on the water. He is the only disciple recorded to have completely defied gravity.
As Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to keep walking on the water. However, when he turned his eyes to the wind, he began to sink. Jesus extended His arm and lifted Peter out of the water and placed him back in the boat.
When it comes to the God dreams in our hearts, we need to keep our eyes steadfast on Jesus. Even if everyone else stays safely in the boat, we can jump wholeheartedly into all God has for us and know that if we begin to sink, the Lord is always there to lift us up and get us back on track towards our destiny.
We can go through life with feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth. We can believe that for some reason we are not worthy of the best. We may not know exactly where we picked up these feelings but they can limit us from reaching our full potential and keep us from following our dreams.
When we come into relationship with the creator of the universe by accepting Jesus into our hearts, we come into the unconditional, unfailing, radical, relentless love of the Father. As we spend time with God in our devotions of prayer, worship and meditation on the Word, we will find ourselves steeped in the presence of the Altogether Lovely One.
It’s during these times with Him, that we are reminded of who we actually are. God designed us from the beginning of time for a purpose and a destiny. He has marked us with our unique DNA and fingerprints. He has created us in His image and fashioned us for a unique calling. We are God’s own precious child and our destiny is limitless.
The more we spend time with God, the more we will begin to believe the truth that we were made for an incredible future. We were made to reign in life (Romans 5:17). We were made to live above not below. The caterpillar may spend a good deal of its life crawling on the ground but after a cocooned season it emerges ready to fly; and as we spend time bathed in the presence and love of God, we will emerge daily ready to defy gravity.
Psalm 139:13 – Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
Sometimes when we fail, we are our worst critic. We try to do everything in our power to do and be the best we can, and when we do not measure up we beat ourselves up. We hate failing or missing the mark. The truth is we are finite beings in need of an infinite savior. The beauty of failing is it reminds us that we have a God in Heaven with arms wide open, always ready to embrace us, dust us off, and cheer us back in the race.
When we come into relationship with God by accepting Jesus into our hearts, we get an endless clean slate. In this great exchange we bring all of our unrighteousness, sin, failures and flaws and exchange them for Jesus’s righteousness, perfection, well-being and wholeness.
Now we can rest fully in Jesus’s finished work at the Cross and learn to live lightly and freely (Matthew 11:28). The Bible says that as we receive the abundant supply of grace and the gift of righteousness, we reign in life (Romans 5:17). The more we receive God’s righteousness, the more we are able to rise above life’s circumstances, problems and even our own failures.
It is when we are established in love that we will stop trying to measure up to perfection. Paul the apostle said that those who try to be justified by the law have fallen from grace. It is not those who are imperfect who fall from grace but it is those who are trying to measure up that become estranged from Christ (Galatians 5:4).
Each day as we spend time with God in prayer, worship, and meditation on the Word, we are fixing our eyes on Jesus. Corinthians 3:18 says that as we behold the glory of the Lord, He is transforming us by His Spirit from glory to glory. Our job is not to be perfect but to gaze upon and behold Jesus; allowing His beautiful Spirit to mold, shape and transform us every day more and more into the likeness of the Altogether Lovely One, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:5-6 – For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
We can struggle in life for a sense of belonging and a feeling of acceptance. We strive to make a name for ourselves and try to prove to the world that we are somebody. However, it is not everyone else or even we ourselves who determines who we are, it is the one who designed and marked us for a purpose and a destiny that ultimately determines who we are.
The Bible mentions repeatedly that Jesus during His three years of ministry would go spend time alone in prayer. He would often leave the multitude to go to the mountain top and spend time in prayer with the Father. There really is not a time that is recorded of Jesus’s alone time with the Father God, but there is one time recorded in the Bible when Jesus went to the mountaintop and invited three of his disciples, Peter, James and John to accompany Him.
This time on the mountain top, Jesus would be transfigured. A cloud would envelop Him, His face would shine brightly and His clothes would become filled with light. During this time a voice from Heaven would say that this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.
There is another time, recorded in the Bible that the Father’s voice said the same thing about Jesus, when He was baptized in the River Jordan. As the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove and rested on Him, the Father said audibly that this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.
Could it be that this was a common theme during Jesus and the Father’s alone time together? Paul tells us who believe in Jesus, that we have been accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6), so we are “in” Him who is God’s own son, in whom the Father is well pleased.
As we spend time communing with the Holy Spirit in our devotions of prayer, meditation on the Word, and worship, we can enter in the presence of our God and sense the Father’s acceptance and love. We can be infused with His strength, empowered by His Spirit and equipped for life and ministry to conquer all that life would throw at us.
As we spend alone time with God, we will begin to live lives of purpose that are steeped in destiny; and we will step into our calling as His beloved children in whom He is well pleased.
Ephesians 1:6 – to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
The truth is, there is one being in the universe who is captivated by you. God will move heaven and earth to get to you. When Jesus walked the earth, there was a particular time that He was ministering to the multitude. It would have been an amazing sight, Jesus, the best preacher of all time, teaching and preaching, thousands of people being restored, healed and set free.
Then all of a sudden Jesus says farewell to the crowd and He and the disciples get into a boat to go to the other side of the Lake. On the lake the boat encounters a terrifying storm. Jesus is asleep in the stern and the disciples fear that they will drown. They wake Jesus who simply calms the storm and reminds them who they have in their boat.
When they arrive on the other side of the lake, Jesus gets off the boat to the shore. There is one man there. This man is bound by chains, naked and tormented. This man is the reason Jesus left the multitude and willingly went through the storm. After the man encounters Jesus, he is completely whole, free and clothed.
Jesus also left Heaven to come to earth for you and me. The darling of Heaven came to earth to be born as a human being, to live a sinless life, to die a criminal’s death and be raised from the dead. He did all this for you and me. As we receive Jesus into our hearts, we carry His beautiful presence with us. So now, we get the charge to leave the multitude on Sunday and search for the one: the one who does not know the incomprehensible, reckless, radical, infaillible, unfailing, consuming, relentless love of God. Now we get the honor to be God’s messenger of love to others.
Mark 6:45 - Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.