Tomorrow was on the horizon. Another disruption to what I really wanted to do. I knew I had no choice. There were children and obligations. If I chose not to, our lives wouldn’t be covered. I questioned God. I considered calling in sick. None of it produced good. I took a deep breath, put on my determined face and drove to the warehouse. I thought, “I can do this, if He does it with me.”
I believed it was true. I believed Jesus was sitting in the passenger seat as I delivered groceries, door to door, for a year. My body groaned and ached. There were rainy days and icy roads. Long hours and rush hour traffic. But I had Jesus and that is what brought a seemingly unimportant job to life. Working with Jesus gave me a new perspective on work.
In the past, it seemed like my jobs were ill-fitting. I often hated going to work. In that state, I under performed. Comments regarding my accomplishments were that I lacked effort, organization and consistency. Not surprising since I didn’t want to be there in the first place. Now, I have a new life in Christ. The position of my heart is toward Him. Because my heart is changed, my perspective has to change.
Inviting Jesus into my work helped me understand that everything I put my hand to has meaning. Work is purpose. I was able to connect work with helping others. This fulfilled my desire to have meaning associated with the function of my job. Showing up for work became worth while. In addition, my job was helping me! Jesus showed me that my work is a provision. If I chose not to have an occupation, provision would cease at some point. God grew me through the work I did when I included Him in it.
Do you think I made a mistake with the title? You might be remembering Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” From cleaning our own home without pay to working a job for another with pay, all of it is supposed to be done for the Lord. What happens when we work without Him? The complaining “why?” starts to manifest in our soul, leaving us powerless. Where does our strength and help come from? Psalms 28:7 says, “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” If our only conclusion about work is that we have a job to get a paycheck, it is lifeless. The key to seeing all of life’s activities as purpose is to not only do it for Him but to do it with Him. It is in this place where work comes alive.
Have you ever heard that Jesus is life? He is! His life is the example we follow. His teaching is the Way we follow. His voice is the Word we follow. His resurrection gave us life so that we could bring Him into the world. Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
John 8:12 AMP
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Have you ever heard that God’s love is infinite? Romans 8:38-39 is the scripture that reveals this truth. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ. I believe that this love offers us a security to choose the good life. God’s love destroys the grip of sin. (Song lyric reference to Bethel Music, “There’s no other Name”.)
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Hope asks us to look beyond what we see to what we long for. If we can fix our eyes on Jesus when sorrow and fear enter our circumstances, we will be lead into hope. Can you envision the restoration coming your way? He is riding on a white Horse toward you. In His eyes is peace. In His hands is rest. Restoration is His speciality. Be patient, brothers and sisters, He is on His way!
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We all want to be free. Our soul desires it. Yet we have a hard time living our lives without trying to follow a set of rules in order to be loved. Religion left me guilty, condemned and ashamed. Jesus freed me. Walking in freedom is often what we want but don’t really know how to do. Living guilt free, condemnation free, and shame free is the beginning. Entering into moment to moment relationship with God is the ultimate goal. The example of Jesus only doing what the Father was doing and saying what the Father was saying is our inheritance and where freedom lies. We never live our lives separate from God. Because the veil was torn, this life of freedom is ours. It cannot be taken from us. So, go be who God created you to be and enjoy your life!
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The Word is alive, active, and powerful. When God’s words are used in prayer with faith, it has the power to transform. Scripture has the authority to do miracles. By the power of the Holy Spirit living in you, the Word is also alive in YOU! Let it speak to you as you live life. It will change you from the inside out.
I purposely arrived at the meeting 5 minutes late. To my surprise, no one was sitting down. There was no food out. People were still trickling in. I felt myself start to sweat. My body was beginning to shake internally. I was having a mini anxiety attack. A voice told me to turn and run. “Get out of here, you don’t belong at this meeting.” I couldn’t believe it. That old orphan voice was trying to take over my heart. It almost worked. I was embarrassed that I was sweating. I quickly walked to a private place. Trying to escape notice.
I thought to myself, “I am employed at this church. I can’t believe I actually feel out of place! This is ridiculous.” I started to wipe the sweat off my face. I took a deep breath and started to pray. As I prayed, the voice of truth took it’s place. The truth is that I am accepted. God, through Jesus, has adopted me and made me whole and holy. The NKJV says that Jesus made us accepted in the Beloved. This was God’s great pleasure. If you feel like you don’t belong, I promise it is the wrong voice trying to take hold of your heart. You are accepted always. Let it be your security.
A treasured possession. Wow, God considers YOU a treasured possession. Whenever I think of being a special possession, I think about Linus from the Peanuts gang. He has a blue blanket that he takes everywhere with him. The blanket is used for comfort, companionship, protection, costume… you name it; Linus uses his blanket for everything. It is the greatest example to me of how God feels about me and how I feel about God. It is a true “I am yours and you are mine” relationship. We are a treasured possession indeed.
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I am tired of mediocrity, how about you? We were created for something! Father, thank you that you chose me and created me for a purpose only I can bring to this world. God show me what I was created to do! I say yes! Thank you for your Amen!
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When I think back to my first couple of years as a Christian, I felt a lot like a baby learning to walk again. I was changed in the midst of some pretty frightening circumstances. My new self on the inside was trying to emerge while the outside still looked toxic. Paul says that we work out our salvation. It’s worked out over our lifetime and in all of the circumstances we find ourselves. As I was working the other day I kept getting an image in my head. Remember the body snatcher in Men in Black? The “bug” who killed a farmer and stole his body to use it as a disguise? I was recalling how he looked while he walked and talked and functioned in a body that wasn’t his, it made me laugh. I see the comparison though. When you are baptized and made new, your new self is foreign. You come in under the wing of God with all that protection and affection but walking in your new self can be awkward.
When you are working out your salvation, God reveals to us the things in our lives that hold us back. As I walked and talked, I had competing voices in my head. One said, “you are messed up, you have nothing to contribute, and no one likes you.” The other said, “I love you, you have confidence because of that, and I forgave you once and for all.” The voice of the Holy Spirit was competing with the voice of shame. I had to choose which one I would believe. There are a lot of ways to define shame. The one I identify with most is: shame says, “my circumstances define who I am.” It is a lie declared by the enemy over your life. Shame makes us want to hide. It silences our testimony. It stifles worship. It keeps us from sharing life with believers and unbelievers. It denies the work of the cross, claiming humility but cowering in pride. Why? Because shame says, “no one can know that and no one can see that.” Shame is the stop sign we sit at, wanting traffic to break long enough so we can resume travel on freedom road. The truth is, you are forgiven of whatever you are hiding and nothing can change the fact that you are forgiven. Because you are forgiven, you are free. You are free to participate in the Christian life, you are free to enjoy your life (thank Beth Moore for that anecdote) and you are free to stand before the Lord.
Shame also keeps us in condemnation. Condemnation at it’s best is walking with a crutch, at it’s worst it leaves us bed ridden. I think that we focus a lot on how we are sinners rather than saints. The longer we believe we are constantly missing the mark the longer it takes to walk in pure love and freedom. Our purpose lies somewhere out there, while we believe that what we desire will never come to pass. It’s all a lie constructed to keep us from living a full life in Christ. We are missing out because we don’t believe in the radical love of a triune God. One that sees your completed self, the fruition of your salvation worked out. You are forgiven past present and future. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus! It’s time for us to shed our shame and put on our confidence in God and who He says He is. The forgiveness of God through His Son Jesus is so radical that it is only supernatural. The truth is, your sins are forgiven. The ones in the past, the ones you think you may have committed today, and the ones you might possibly commit in the future. It is all covered. PERIOD! End of story. Look up because His light shines on you! Yes, you. All the time, everyday. Whether you believe it or not. That is the radical love of Jesus for you. You’re just working it all out, claiming your identity, standing firm on that cornerstone, while the wind tries to blow you over. The awesome thing about that wind…oh, yeah, it’s defeated.