The Paradox of Gratitude

Something destructive happens when you choose to focus on what you don’t have – the right job, house you want, car of your dreams or financial security – because it makes you more resentful, self-centered and entitled. And this pushes God out of your life. However, when you decide to focus on what you already have that truly matters most – God’s grace in Jesus, people who love you, the reality that you have more than enough stuff and eternal hope – your relationship with God begins to grow immensely. And this takes you into an ever-deeper relationship with God. It’s the paradox of gratitude. The more you make it about you, the more bankrupt your life becomes. The more you make it about God, the more you experience abundant life.

Be God’s Light

Look carefully at the people you encounter today and you’ll be amazed at how many of them go through every day of their lives without much hope. They may have a great job – but they don’t have much hope. Or lots of money – but not much hope. Or seem to have the ideal life – but not much hope. While you can’t give them the hope they need, God can. And God does it in a very unexpected way – by using you to be a bearer of the hope God gives you. It’s that whole being a light in the darkness thing. And whether you’ve realized it yet or not, God’s calling you to be God’s light in the darkness of someone’s life. So if you’re wondering whether you can make a difference, remember that a little light goes a long way when it’s dark.  

God’s New Life is Real

God offers the gift of new life. Not just at some point in the future, but here and now in real ways in real life. This new life is a gift. It’s forgiveness that changes people. Healing that gives new life. Transformation that fundamentally changes people. Hope that is in every nook and cranny in life. And here’s the truly amazing thing – it’s so real you can start experiencing the power of this new life in your life right now. So are you ready – really ready – to experience God’s new life? If so, just go to God who is waiting. Do it now. Do it in good times and bad. Do it when it’s easy and hard. Do it when you are confident and not sure. Do it with every breath you take. And do it forever.

Feeling Like a Prisoner?

There’s a pretty good chance you sometimes feel imprisoned in a jail built of financial problems, depression, a dead-end job, chronic physical illness, family struggles, lingering questions about God, guilt about something you’ve done or hopelessness about the future. But just because you feel like a prisoner doesn’t mean you have to keep feeling that way. That’s because one of God’s greatest gifts to you is freedom. Freedom rooted in God’s unconditional love. Freedom that comes from God’s forgiveness, healing and transforming power. Freedom that grows through compassion, generosity and hope. Freedom that is experienced when you trust that nothing can ever separate you from God’s love in Jesus Christ. And here’s the best news of all about this gift of freedom. You don’t have to wait for something in your life to change to experience it. You can receive it right now.

A Sunday Prayer 1/22/17

Lord,

Every single day of life is a gift. I know this. I really do. But I don’t always act like it. In fact, I take Your gift of life for granted way too often. By wasting time. Wasting opportunities. And wasting Your grace.

I don’t ever want to do that again. And I know I don’t want to do that today. So I’m going to do my best to focus on what’s most important. Giving thanks to You. Spending time with You. Doing everything with gusto. Striving to act more humbly. Loving with abandon. Serving extravagantly. And expecting the miraculous every moment.

Sure, it’s a big order, Lord. But I’m confident because I don’t have to do it alone. You are with me. Molding and shaping me. And, most importantly, filling me with Your Holy Spirit.

So here I am – ready to fully embrace Your gift of today.

Amen.