trust

Plans to Prosper

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah 29:11 is the most tattooed verse in the Bible. In fact, I’m confident that many of us who’ve spent time in church can recite this amazing promise by heart, and a lot of us would even call it our favorite verse. That said, it’s incredible how many Christians don’t truly believe what it says. It’s written in black and white that the Lord wants to prosper us, which means that He wants us to flourish, thrive, and be successful, yet we often doubt His goodness. Interestingly, God gave this promise to His covenant people, the Israelites, after they were exiled to Babylon. Though they were captured and carried away to a foreign land so things looked bleak,

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Jesus Wants to Bless You!

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” – Psalm 27:13 If there’s any truth I want you to internalize this year, it’s that God wants to bless you! Many of us who were raised in church, especially in legalistic environments, wrongly believe that our Lord is a killjoy and that we should expect nothing more from Him than our salvation. That said, we approach Him with fear and an underlying conviction that He will bring calamity upon us if we don’t “measure up” to His standards. Thankfully, this is not the truth! In fact, David wrote in the Psalms that although we endure difficulties and hardships, we can be confident that we will see His goodness manifest in our lives on this earth. Though our outcomes may not always be what we want them to be, because the

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Actions Before Feelings

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” – James 2:14 January is a time we often spend setting goals, working toward resolutions, and trying to become the best version of ourselves. To that end, I want to give you an important tip today that I believe applies in many different areas of life, but especially where it concerns carrying out our calling as disciples of Christ: actions overcome feelings. As we resolve to walk out our identity as God’s temple, or the vessels in which He dwells, we will be required to step out of our comfort zone to minister to others. Whether this means putting aside our own schedule to help a friend, giving of our resources to assist someone who is going through a rough time, or simply taking a few moments

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God’s Construction Project

“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:9 Yesterday, we talked about how God’s temple is in us. To further expound on this thought, today, I want to share another analogy. Our experience last year may have made us a bit “trigger shy” when it comes to fully embracing what’s ahead. After all, none of us could have seen what was coming, and if we could have, we might not have set our expectations so high. However, as Christians, I don’t think there’s any compelling reason to pull back our hopes and dreams for 2021. Even if the coming months bring disappointment or loss, we can adopt an attitude of courageous faith which trusts that everything that happens is part of the Lord’s construction project in our lives. I love C.S. Lewis’ analogy in Mere Christianity in which he explains that

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A Peace that Overcomes

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 We’re down to the last two days of 2020, and while there are a few clear hallmarks of this year, I would say that fear has been an ongoing theme. This unfortunate fact has arisen out of many different circumstances — a pandemic, an unknown virus, and political unrest to name a few — but it’s been heightened and intensified by a constant stream of negative messages. Never in the history of our world have we been inundated with information like we are today, and while having instant access to the most up-to-date headlines can be a blessing, it also has some major drawbacks. A barrage of bad news preys upon the fear that inherently lurks in human

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A Glory Greater Than Gold

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’” – Matthew 2:1,2 The Christmas story is full of unexpected encouragement, and though it’s become almost too familiar, its many truths take on new meaning in seasons of testing like the one in which we’re living. I believe this is especially true as we examine the gifts the Magi brought to Jesus — each one of them has the potential to help us as we sort through the 2020 experience. To offer some background, unlike traditional depictions of the nativity, there were probably a lot more than three “wise men.” In fact, the party that traveled from the east was more like

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