Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Have you asked yourself 'who am I really?'
I think it's a question that everyone has had to work through, and maybe numerous times, and maybe even on an ongoing manner. And it can become quite a depressing journey, especially if you see your shortcomings and can't seem to change your habits.
I titled this little message 'pseudonym' because it has something to say about our identity. A pseudonym is a name that a person picks for themselves that isn't their real name. Authors are often times the ones that use this for a variety of reasons. For example, in the early 20th century, female authors would sometimes choose a male name in order for their books to gain a wider readership. Their writing was their own, truly from them, but their public identity was not really who they were.
If you are a follower of Jesus then you need to hear this because you might be struggling to know who you really are. You have a public life. . the life that includes your choices, your habits, your vocation, your accomplishments and your failures. All the things that go into what you present to the world. . .in your mind, this is really YOU. But that isn't really who you ARE.
You see, what you do is not the foundation of who you are. Why? Because Jesus has changed all that.
Galatians 2:20 says: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in my body, I live by faith in the Son of God. . ."
When you allowed Jesus to forgive your sins He did that but so much more. He also made you someone entirely different. When scripture says that you are made as a new creation in Christ, it is meant to be taken literally and seriously.
So what should you take from this that would be helpful today?
Maybe just this one thing: Your fundamental identity in Jesus is not based on your choices, your habits, your desires, your life-path, your win/loss column, your successes/failures, your public standing/stumbling, your healthy self-image or your self-loathing. These things are the sum total of your pseudonym life. Your real identity is now Jesus. Note I didn't say that your life is now found in
Jesus, but your life is Jesus. His identity is now your identity.
Jesus is stable, righteous, dependable, able to walk the path of true life, discerns and judges everything in the right way that makes room for good and goodness. He is everything right and just and loving. And His identity is now your identity.
Just let that sink in for you. . .your fundamental identity is no longer based on all those things that you feel you have to present to the world around you, but is instead established in the One Who is entirely good and desires for you to live in that goodness.
What a feeling.
I hope that today you see and experience the freedom of coming out from behind your pseudonym life and embrace your true identity in Christ. When you do, you will live freedom like never before!
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Have you ever felt compelled to do something?
I’m talking about the every-bone-in-my-body-is-screaming-to-do-this kind of compelled?
I don’t think this happens very often in life but I do remember a time when I felt like this.
It was 1988, the Oilers were winning, the Roughriders were losing (we didn’t expect to win the next year against the juggernaut Eskimos. Gotta have faith!), and I was in love. This gorgeous little Norwegian had stolen my heart and I was at the point that I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I simply MUST propose to her. My love for her went so deep that I truly didn’t feel I had a choice. Why?
Because I was compelled.
It’s an otherworldly sensation when you feel you must do something and there is not even a shred of doubt in you. Mountains move, and you feel that if a mountain got in your way it wouldn’t stand a chance.
The Apostles Peter and John felt like this in their relationship with Jesus. They were so captivated that their view of life reduced down to this one thing; their love and gratitude toward Jesus had filled them so utterly and completely that no matter the consequences or threat to their life they simply HAD to tell the world about him.
Standing before those who had the power to snuff out their life if they continued to speak about Jesus publicly they said this: “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen or heard.”
Those two were compelled by the love of heaven that made their decision to follow Jesus regardless of circumstance a no-brainer!
I want to say two things to you: Jesus was compelled by his love for you to sacrifice himself for your freedom. And second: He is still moving heaven and earth in order for you to experience his compelling love!
If you let that sink in for moment you may feel some of those mountains weighing you down start to shift....
Freedom. Love. No doubts. Sounds compelling.
Saturday, April 11, 2020
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."
I think these words describe exactly what is going on for us in these strange and tumultuous days.
We are being forced to simplify. Our lives are being changed through reduction that is leading to simplification. It can really hurt but it can also be a thing of incredible liberation.
Because we are being offered an unprecedented opportunity to hear the necessary as all the unnecessary is taken away.
Just look at the picture above. . .do you see the still calm water? Do you see how there isn't even a ripple, and how the boats are serenely floating in that stillness?
I chose this image intentionally because it represents how our souls can become calm in this time when our lives are being simplified. And instead of fighting it, I want to encourage you to embrace it.
Just listen to the heart of God reaching out to you today in Psalm 23:1-3 "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul."
When I think about how life is being simplified for me; about how attractive still waters in my soul sounds; about how my Lord Jesus is actively leading me to sit down with Him in this simple and quiet place with Him, I can begin to feel my soul being restored. . .and it is so very good.
Today the Lord is inviting you to sit with him beside the waters that He has stilled just for you, so you could freely enjoy His voice that is speaking the most necessary words you need to hear: "I love you. I've got you. Enjoy your soul being restored with Me here, right now."
My prayer for you is that you will be filled with peace that literally passes all of your ability to understand.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
It takes great courage to let someone see your heart, and to pursue someone else's.
It takes immense compassion to allow another person's heart to find a home in yours.
It takes intense desire to pursue connection with others when it can seem like connection hurts.
My mom was a woman that lived with the courage to love me even when I didn't deserve it. She modeled compassion toward me when I was hurting and didn't feel like I had many options. And she did this through the best way imaginable: hugs. She always had a hug ready for me and it always made a difference.
My mom was a wholehearted person, and I was supremely blessed by her because of it.
I'm not sure I'm living up to my mom's standard of wholeheartedness, but I do know that I strive to live that way. And I am confident that this is a good life goal because I know firsthand how it brings hope and healing for others.
Maybe you have someone in your life that lived wholeheartedly and loved you with courage, compassion and connection. If you do, take some time to thank them for this immense gift.
Or maybe you haven't experienced this and desire to but it seems absolutely impossible. Well, I want to let you in on a little secret: my mom could only do this because someone did it for her, and that someone was Jesus.
Jesus is the ultimate example of wholehearted living. And He promises to reach into our lives with the kind of love that brings the blessing of courage, compassion and connection as no one else can.
So I pray for you today: "Jesus, I ask that you reach into the life of that one who is reading this right now and begin to pour out your courageous, compassionate and connecting love. May it overwhelm them and show them just how much you they mean to you. Jesus, lift them out of despair or frustration or loneliness and fill them with your presence. Draw them close to you I pray. Amen."
We are in this together friend. . .
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Brene Brown has studied thousands of people and how they respond to love. She said that you can generally divide people into two groups: 'those who feel a deep sense of love and belonging, and those who struggle for it.' She goes on to say that the only real significant difference between them is this: those who feel a deep sense of love and belonging 'believe they are worthy of love and belonging.' (Daring Greatly, pg 11)
Do you believe you are worthy of being loved?
I am going to say something to you and I really want you to hear it. . .you, not somebody else but you, are worthy of being loved.
I say this with every confidence that Jesus is saying exactly the same thing to you because He made you in His image and wants you to be free to enjoy all the benefits of what that means. Experiencing His love and feeling His acceptance will set you free to live wholeheartedly. It means that you no longer have to fight for your place in the world or in other people's lives, because He has already established you in wholeness in Him.
Living wholeheartedly means that you are able to bring love to others out of a place of fullness. There is such a beautiful strength and peace about people who live like that. They are able to calmly express this love in a harsh and wrestling world. They are the ones who can take a hit and still love.
And that is what you are invited into as well.
In 1 Corinthians 13:8 we here this short yet powerful statement: "Love never fails."
Maybe you need to feel the power of Jesus' love for you? Well, I'm here to tell you that His love will never fail you.
May you live wholeheartedly in a struggling world, and may you be filled with the love of Jesus so you can love everyone else around you like crazy.