“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” – The Apostle Paul, The Bible (Philippians 4:6-8 NLT)
Here is the prayer that closed this morning’s leadership huddle at the incredible hospital where I am so blessed to work:
This is the day that You have made – Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Each person gathered here is a masterpiece designed by You.
Help us to remember our worth when challenging situations arise. Should we feel depressed or lacking joy in our lives, help us to remember we are fearfully and wonderfully made in Your image.
Our worry does us no good and only limits us, and You do more with worry than we ever could. So help us turn our anxious thoughts and situations over to You and trust that You are working. You work all things for our good because You love us. May we always be mindful that You are working in ways that we cannot comprehend, as Your ways supersede ours. And in this working You are continuing to mold us into masterpieces that fulfill Your purpose.
For the unseen, the increasing of our faith and our capacity to love, we give thanks in Your Holy Name. Amen.
The following is from “Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God” devotional reading plan on the YouVersion Bible App by Mark Batterson (Day 4). This reading encouraged me so very much today. Too good not to share! You aren’t the mistakes you’ve made. You aren’t the labels that have been put on you. And you aren’t the lies the Enemy has tried to sell you. You are who God says you are.
You are a child of God.
You are the apple of God’s eye.
You are sought after.
You are more than a conqueror.
You are a new creation in Christ.
You are the righteousness of Christ.
All our identity issues are fundamental misunderstandings of who God is. Guilt issues are a misunderstanding of God’s grace. Control issues are a misunderstanding of God’s sovereignty. Anger issues are a misunderstanding of God’s mercy. Pride issues are a misunderstanding of God’s greatness. Trust issues are a misunderstanding of God’s goodness. If you struggle with any of those issues, it’s time to let God be the loudest voice in your life!
God doesn’t love us because of who we are. God loves us because of who He is.
When we succeed, God says, “I love you.”
When we fail, God says, “I love you.”
When we have faith, God says, “I love you.”
When we doubt, God says, “I love you.”
Love is His answer to everything. Why? Because He is love. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you any more or any less. God loves you perfectly. He loves you eternally.
God wants us to hear what He’s saying, and we must heed His voice. But much more than that, He wants us to hear His heart. So He whispers softer and softer so that we have to get closer and closer. And when we finally get close enough, He envelops us in His arms and tells us that He loves us.
We’ve been deafened by the voice of conformity, the voice of criticism, and the voice of condemnation, and the side effects include loneliness, shame, and anxiety.
The good news? You not only bear God’s image but you know His voice. It’s His voice that knit you together in your mother’s womb. It’s His voice that ordained all your days before one of them came to be. It’s His voice that began a good work and His voice that will carry it to completion.
Where is God leading you? How is God talking to you?….
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”- Philippians 1:6
My friend, Keisha, likes to name the days with alliteration and encouragement. Well, today, I’ll follow her lead and call this a Moving-forward Monday! Let’s throw off the heaviness of past regret and take the next best step forward!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2
When I “get” this at the beginning of my day and don’t forget it throughout the day – I am most definitely going to have a good day. I am learning to find my identity and worth in my Maker, the Unchanging One, rather than the ever-changing people and situations around me.
This important shift in mindset frees me to do all I am called to do today fearlessly.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17
So… I have been thinking a lot about why we in our abundance-filled Western culture seem to be unhappy and struggling much of the time.
A couple things have recently helped me wrap my head around this a little bit more and got me thinking maybe we become so miserable because we are simply living life out of order.
We are designed to be still and centered on the inside (spirit and emotions) while being busy and productive on the outside (physical realm) in order to create more beauty in this world our Good Father God has left in our hands. The way I have gotten this beautifully-designed order all mixed up is by living much of my life with a busy mind and spirit (filled up with chatter, clatter, and worry) while my body has been motionless (stuck in the bed or on the couch practically paralyzed from stress and fear. Now I am learning the importance of staying spiritually and mentally in a state of rest, stillness, and “centeredness” while staying in a strong forward-press with the rest of me!
So what has been helping me learn recently to “flip-flop” my life operations back to a pattern of peace on the inside and productivity on the outside?
First, Derrick Golden, Pastor of my Amazing Church (yes, that’s really my church’s name – and for good reason!) in my beautiful city McKinney, Texas, has been teaching a series called Intentional Faith University (simply click the link to listen to the teaching) which has served as a timely reminder for me to focus on the faithfulness of my Father, God, rather than the seeming impossible obstacles that sometimes seem to close in on our lives.
Next, I make a point to surround myself with those who inspire and motivate me rahter than those who fill me with negativity that contradicts the truth my Father, God, has laid out in His Word (a.k.a. The Bible). And that includes being very selective about what I read and follow on social media.
But some social media contributors can be a very positive influence in your life. One of my favorite Instagram pages is @PlanetBossThings from the owner of Boss Things Apparel. And today this picture was shared on that page which went right along with all the motivation and inspiration Holy Spirit has been pricking my heart with lately.
So, I challenge you… I challenge me… let’s make our tomorrows different and better than our yesterdays by working hard to be still and settled on the inside while active and productive on the outside. I know it won’t be easy because it’s a new way of living and thinking. But I know it will be worth it.