Excuses or Praises

Don’t look back, you’ll miss the road ahead.
I was taught a golden rule from the very beginning of my mountain biking experience: where your eyes go, so goes your front wheel. The bike will go where you’re looking – either into the ditch you want to avoid or the trail you want to take.
So keep your eyes on the trail if you want to enjoy the ride!
In one area of my life, the Lord has been making huge progress in changing me. Yet, I found myself saying, “I can’t go back!” I knew where I had come from and didn’t want to go back there.
I was enjoying the ride of Spirit empowered life-change. Yet where were my eyes? Looking back!
I needed to make an attitude adjustment. Instead of focusing on where I’d been, I should’ve been focusing on where Jesus was taking me – toward Himself.
Excuses. We make them. But guess where excuses focus us? Backward to where we’ve been, not to where we want to go.
Learn to exchange those backward excuses with forward looking praises. Focus on wherever Jesus is leading you by focusing on the truth about Him that will get you there. Then praise Him for it even if you land in the ditch!
Praises keep you focused on where you want to be – more like Jesus, all of Who you want to be and all of what you want out of life.

Sometimes Less is More

You become what you focus on; and, what you focus on only gets bigger.
Jesus is the First and the Last. This truth goes along with what Jesus has been showing me: slow down, so I can experience more of Him.
I’ve been training hard for a program in which I sense the Lord wants me to take part. Yet, at almost every turn, I’ve been injuring myself.
After talking with a physical therapist, I’ve learned that by exercising less, I will in fact be able to do more. By alternating hard days with slow days, I will greatly reduce my injuries and still reach my target goals. It’s working.
This same principle works for our walks with Jesus.
Sometimes we believe that we have to do more for Jesus. But in reality, Jesus has already done it all. He is the first, meaning He’s at the head of the line. There is no one who’s done, doing or will do more than Him. In fact, He said on the cross, “It is finished!” He is the author and the finisher of our faith, not us.
But, you might ask, “What happens when I slow down?” Jesus is there too, as He is the Last.
You know that Jesus is always with you, no matter what you’re doing. But do you believe or practice it? You can’t do more to get more of Jesus. You can’t do less and have less of Jesus.
You have all of Jesus, right now! He doesn’t need you to do anything for Him, but everything He’s asked you to do with Him.
If we focus on doing more, we can get so distracted that we can’t hear His voice and follow where He’d have us go to experience what He wants us to know about Him.
He is the First and the Last. Practice listening to and then following Him. And sometimes this will mean doing less, which will actually mean doing more with a whole lot less injuries to yourself and others!

When a Watch is More Than a Watch

The present is the only time in which any duty may be done or grace received” – C.S. Lewis.
In Numbers 15:37-41, the LORD told the Israelites to make tassels on the ends of their garments containing one blue thread. The purpose was to remind both men and women of who they were – nobility, a kingdom of priests; and who they were to love – the LORD.
Their garments or coverings in those days would go almost to the ground. Thus, they had to be careful where they stepped or their tassel might get dirty.
This, then, became a visual reminder to love the LORD their God through obeying His commands in their daily decisions. As they did, they’d continue to experience the freedom He had given them from slavery in Egypt. It also gave them freedom from having to wash their tassels and get forgiveness through making a sacrifice.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” And as His followers do this, we will continue to experience the freedom He gave us.
My tassel is my watch; and, freedom in this case is from stress as the Spirit has been asking me to slooooowww waaaayyy doooowwwwn.
Psalm 46:10 has been memorized, but been tough to live out. “Be still (stop trying to make things happen) and know that I am God (only God is God and can do what only God can do).”
So now my watch is more than a watch. It’s a reminder to not let time dictate my decisions or attitudes. Instead, I need to slow down and listen to Jesus before I do or say anything. In this way, He can do what only God can do in my life, relieve my stress.
What will your reminder tassel be in order to follow what Jesus has been saying to you?

Stay in Alignment

The only way to be where Jesus wants you to be tomorrow, is to be with Him where you are today.
Funny how things work out.
I went to speak at a conference to encourage other Jesus followers to walk into their calling; and lo and behold, God spoke to speak to me.
A brother was sharing how he’d been going through quite a few life changes over the past couple of years. Each time, this brought much anxiety with it.
And yet, as he stayed in “alignment with Jesus” (his words), God always brought the right person or right situation to ease him into the next phase of where God wanted him to be.
He got to the next phase of his life by being in and with Jesus in the current one.
Jesus “ended” up on the cross and walked out of that tomb, which was the Father’s ultimate plan for His life, because Jesus was in constant connection with His Father with each step He took.
Be encouraged! God will get you right where He wants you to be. So, take off the load of tomorrow’s anxiety by being aligned with Jesus today.

No Surprises Here

Pain – use it as a motivation to grow closer to Jesus.
Scripture tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). How do you actually do that? You focus on the truths about Him. And then make choices using those truths.
Truth: Jesus, as our High Priest, keeps us in connection with the Father, no matter what we face each day.
Truth: He is the only and final sacrifice that makes us holy now, despite how we feel; and will also make us holy later (Heb. 10:14) – no matter what situations we currently face.
Truth: Jesus, in the midst of these potentially painful challenges, will forgive us if we mess us.
We are to focus on and believe in these truths, if we are to face what we all encounter each and every day – challenges.
Scripture tells us that the stark reality of life on this planet means we will struggle. Some of which are self-inflicted and some are allowed or brought by the Father. Either way, He will use them to make us more like Jesus. This is called loving Fatherly discipline. Therefore, challenges shouldn’t surprise us one tiny bit.
Yet, these challenges are filtered through the Father’s love, and lubricated with the truths that Jesus keeps us connected to Father in them, enables us to make the right choices during them while giving us a loving hand up if we fall because of them.
This is probably why Paul tells us to rejoice while facing challenges rather than get freaked out by them. Use them to motivate you to become more like Jesus.
Expect them and grow closer to Jesus through them.