joy

The Norm of Being in Need

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8 Did you know that the default in our culture is to be afraid and in need? It’s the norm to be hurried and to have a life characterized by worry; in fact, this is one of the ways people manage you. By playing into your fear and leaning into your lack, you can be controlled by those who promise to relieve it. If it’s with the next great product, book, or career opportunity, culture has made an art out of getting you to do what you’re supposed to do, whether it’s buying a product, pursuing an appearance, or working tirelessly at a job.  Because of society’s mentality of lack, it’s actually weird to say and believe that you

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Live Life With Open Hands

“The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.” – Deuteronomy 28:12 Here are some encouraging thoughts to dwell on as you start your day: God is all sufficient; He’s all joyous, all powerful, and all loving. In fact, there is no more joyful being in the world than the Lord. Even better, He is thinking about you, He knows you by name, and He knows how many hairs are on your head! Wow! I know my kids and I love them immensely, but I guarantee you I don’t know how many hairs are on their heads. Nevertheless, Jesus takes the time to notice these things. He’s near, not far, and He has all the time, energy, and power that

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Your Life is Full; You Lack Nothing

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” – Psalm 23:1 In today’s worry-laden culture, many of us have shrinking worlds. Let me explain to you what I mean by that. Because we exist in a society that is laden with fear, we tend to see our life and its possibilities through a lens of scarcity; and a sense of lacking what we need. But what are we so afraid of? Many of us are in a kind of vortex of worry and we don’t even realize that we are. We are rushed, hurried and driven not by our true desires, but by our feelings of never having enough, whether it’s time, money, opportunities, friendship, or freedom. When we focus on everything we don’t have, our lives begin to lose its luster and dreaming becomes nearly impossible.  The fruit of this mentality of scarcity is that we become protective of

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You are Rewarded in His Likeness

“The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good rewarded for theirs.” – Proverbs 14:14 What do you want in life? What would you say if we were sitting by a lake together, staring at the water and being contemplative, and I asked you that question? Do you think it’s money? Maybe. Do you think it’s glory? Maybe. Given enough time to think and contemplate, I believe you would say something along the lines of wanting to live a life that matters, wanting to belong, or wanting your friends and family to be healthy and happy. These things are your life and reward in the Kingdom of God, which is the wonderful news I want to share with you right now!  These gifts — purpose, health, peace, and passion — come as a result of the power that comes from exercising specific aspects of our walk with

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The Blessings in Secrecy

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:5,6 Today, let’s dive into the importance of rewards. The notion of doing good with the desire of being rewarded appears throughout Scripture, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. Unlike modern Western culture, Jews at the time of the Bible’s authoring fully embraced the power of receiving gifts from God as motivation to do the right thing, especially when it came to relating to Him and doing things in His name.  Surprisingly, secrecy is consistently

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Our Hidden Self

“For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.” – Mark 4:22 Every person has aspects of themselves that they do not naturally reveal to others. We all have layers, and we choose how, where, and with whom we peel them away. This is a normal element of life and relating, and it’s not a terrible thing in general. Clients see the completely covered version of us, our friends see a little more, and our family — usually those we live with and who know us best — see the truly hidden version of ourselves. And then there’s God… There are elements of our soul and parts of ourselves that no one knows about and that we sometimes can’t describe, whether we understand them or not. These are the innermost secrets that only God can see. They

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The Opposites of Winter

“Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:3 Today, as we continue our examination of cold seasons, I’d like to point out that they can be lonely. Maybe you went from a position of leadership or connection to one of isolation, and you no longer feel connected to the people who used to bring you joy. Whether it was a move, the loss of a job, a funeral, or a disagreement with relatives, loneliness may plague you and distort your perspective on life and situations. For instance, a place or pastime that used to bring you joy can now serve as a painful reminder of what you’ve lost. It’s excruciating. Yosemite is one of my favorite locations

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The Possibilities in God

“Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’” – Luke 18:27 Today, I want to persuade you that if you work with God, anything is possible in your life. Above all, I want you to believe one simple truth: if you live your life with Jesus, He can accomplish anything. That is something I firmly believe. God enjoys doing impossible things with unlikely people and using imperfect people to accomplish incredible exploits for His Kingdom. I am confident that if you live your life by faith, He will do amazing things in your life. Although it’s easy to fall into a pit of despair and believe that God has abandoned you, that God is angry with you, that your life is finished, or that your future is bleak, I want to encourage you to believe that with the Lord, something better is always on the horizon! His

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Provide for Your Neighbor

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38 We’ve talked a lot about how to become a person of Kingdom generosity, especially when it comes to tithing, or giving the first 10% of our income to God’s cause. Today, I’d want to offer some specifics on how this manifests itself in our lives, particularly during this holiday season, which is so focused on giving. When you tithe, I believe you make your church your default. This means that if you’re not sure what to give to, you give the entire 10% to your home fellowship. It’s fine to give to something else if the Lord puts something else on your heart or places someone in your path who has

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You Attract Goodness and Love!

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalm 23:4-6 Today, we continue our verse-by-verse exploration of Psalm 23, examining and reflecting on the sufficiency we have in Jesus. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. You have nothing to fear, no matter what you go through, even if death is hovering above you, as the King James Version explains. There is no place you can go where you will not be in contact

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