The thing that breaks my heart the most is rejection because nothing cuts the heart like rejection. With everything in me, if you are feeling left out, this one’s for you…
Jesus didn’t get to be on the panel;
Jesus didn’t get to be nominated;
Jesus didn’t get to be treated as VIP;
Jesus didn’t get to be popular by the popular.
He was here to fulfill heaven’s vision and because He was faithful…
Jesus DID get to be seated at the Father’s right hand;
Jesus DID get to conquer the grave;
Jesus DID get to make the biggest kingdom-difference;
Jesus DID get to reach His eternal potential.
When you get passed by, looked over, rejected or misunderstood, remember the things that Jesus DID get to do, and let that be your fire to keep doing what you’re doing.
I was in middle school, and my mom had just dropped me off to youth group. When I walked in, I noticed a strange arrangement on the stage: basins with water and towels. As our pastor shared the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, I sat unmoved and unimpressed. When he concluded, he asked us to come forward to have our feet washed by him and his wife. So I got up and walked to the back of the sanctuary and crouched in the last pew. As the guitarist played, my peers engaged in this somber act of worship. Not me. I was too cool. ::: It’s hard to be humble when you think you offer, have or are the best. It’s hard, but it’s right and not impossible. Jesus proved that. Jesus offered us the best: eternal life, but he was humble enough to suffer for it. Jesus had the best: Heaven, but he was humble enough to come to Earth. Jesus was the best: sinless, but he was humble enough to wash the dirty feet of sinners. I’ve had many hard-to-be-humble moments. Along comes something that gives me a “one-up” on those around me. And it’s not that I take pride in it, it’s that I take pride too far. It was hard to be humble in that youth group service, but as I confess this, it’s hard to be proud. This post begs a question: if I’m gonna let pride take me to the top, am I gonna let humility bring me back down? (Proverbs 16:18) God, forgive me for ever being too proud to be humble. Your entire life was a display of humility. In your greatest display of humility, you suffered and died in real flesh, real pain for our sins. Lord, help me to be humble. Help me be more like you. Amen.
I’ve heard people say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” A few years ago, when I felt like God was giving me more than I could handle, I thought I’d look for that verse. But I couldn’t find it. I found, “he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear,” but that didn’t seem to infer, “more than you can handle.” I did, however, come across this verse in 1 Corinthians, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure.“ I’ve lived forty years now. I’d sum it up like this: at times, God HAS given me more than I could handle, and with Him, I handled it. The debt, the broken relationship, the fear, the rejection, the addiction, the grieving…whatever we are facing, yes, to each of us, it can feel like it is more than we can handle. That is a VALID feeling. But Jesus is a valid Savior, provider, healer and friend. And with Him, we CAN handle it. Even if you’ve let go of God, it’s OK. God can handle that too because He held on to you. He can handle all of it. Let’s let him.
How many times would you pray for something? If you are single, how many times will you pray for a spouse? If you are unemployed, how many times will you pray for a job? If you are in a fading marriage, how many times will you pray for a spark? If you are depressed, how many times will you pray for joy? If you are confused in your parenting, how many times will you pray for wisdom? Since last summer, I’ve prayed every day for something–that’s almost 365 days, so that’s almost 365 prayers. It hasn’t been answered. So at what point do I stop praying for this? At this point, I don’t. The bible doesn’t quantify prayer. It doesn’t give us a list of how many times, based on how big the need. The bible does say, “Never stop praying.” As long as I have this prayer, I will keep praying for it. Why not? I don’t believe in wishing on a star. I do believe in God, who answers prayers. So I’ll keep giving this to Him. Have you been praying a long time for something? Let’s keep praying, together.
Be not afraid, only believe Mark 5:36
When you have children, you have scary moments. They get hurt, lost, sick, bullied. Maybe your experience has been one of these. If not, whatever that scary moment was, nobody knew fear in that moment more than you. What do we do in such moments with the lives God’s entrusted to us? First, if we subscribe to God’s word, we can ‘believe.’ What we do second, third, and fourth depends on personality, past and situation. But the first thing, is to tell ourselves: “(Your name here) do not be afraid, only believe.” So what are we believing? Believing that in some moments, our child may have passed through our hands, but our child has not passed through God’s. When we feel out of control in an unpredictable moment with our child, we believe that nothing is unpredictable with God. We believe that the Almighty who created our child is almighty enough for them. I recently had a mom-fear with one of my boys. So I guess I’m preaching to the choir. But I tried to believe in God, and not believe my fears. I prayed the whole day. This took my focus off my fears, and on the One who was with my son. I hope this encourages someone today. Especially moms.
There are many comforting bible verses that help us with fear. One that’s grown on me lately is Luke 12:32, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” This fear-verse speaks to me because of two seemingly insignificant words embedded in it: “little,” and “kingdom.” First, God knows I feel little when I am afraid or anxious. The big fear has outgrown my littleness and this should not be. God knows we feel little when we’re afraid. But God is not little. God is big. God is bigger than you, your fear, and the person or circumstance causing it. The other word I like in this verse is “kingdom.” You’ve been afraid? You feel little? Shouldn’t we be condemned for this? Shouldn’t our Dad discipline us for this lack-o-faith? Well, this verse tells me that God’s gonna GIVE me something. What?!?! Yes. And not only is He gonna give me something, He’s gonna give me something BIG…a kingdom! So if you feel afraid, and your fear is making you feel little, take heart. God’s got you, and He’s gonna GIVE you something BIG. Hang on, hold on, don’t give up. You’ve got a kingdom waiting for you!
It is time. The Cuban and I have discussed this and we feel it is time to come out of the closet with who dresses him. Drumroll, please… I do. I buy all his clothes; I lay out his workout clothes; I lay out his office clothes; I decide when he retires his clothes. When he travels, I’ve twisty-tie outfits together; attach notecards to each hanger, take photos of each pre-assembled outfit and store them in his iPhone. It’s sick, I know. But Raul hates to dress himself and doesn’t care; I like to dress him and do care. So this works for us. From the belt to the socks to how to tuck in his shirt–I take care of it. There isn’t one part of his entire attire I don’t get involved in (and I mean ENTIRE). I’d like to say one last thing: it’s really cool when you and your mate can mesh. What one hates, the other loves, everybody wins. Just ask the Cuban! We’ve been doing this for 15 years and we both wouldn’t change a thing.
Fear is a legitimate feeling. It is fear that keeps us from jumping out of a moving car, touching fire, etc. When DJ was 6 years old, he didn’t know he had a fear of public speaking, until he walked out on stage for a school performance, and threw up. Was a fear, born? Depends on who you ask. Nonetheless, DJ hadn’t participated in public speaking since. Until last spring, when DJ learned he’d be competing in sectionals for a spelling bee. This meant he’d have to public speak. And to public speak, he’d have to conquer a fear. I’m proud of DJ for doing well at the bee. But I’m more proud of him for revisiting a fear from five years ago, and having the courage to conquer it. At the sectionals, DJ kept his iphone in his pocket with a bible verse. DJ recounts, “my legs were shaking like an earthquake, but this helped a lot: ‘Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’” DJ walked onto that stage and spelled his words without me, his friends, or his teachers. But he did it–because he knew who walked up there with him. God is BIGGER than our fears. God can hold our fears between his thumb and pinky. Wherever you are today, you may have fear, but your fear doesn’t have you. God does. God’s got you. And you’ve got this.
It’s time for honesty! Today, I am worried about ___________. OK, now that you dumped your worry onto the blank, what do you do? When you dump a worry from your mind, it leaves a space in its place. What do we fill that space in, so worry doesn’t creep back in? In Philippians 4:6-8, Paul gives us 7 worry-fillers! Paul tells us to replace worry with truth, like, “Jesus is the Truth!” or replace worry with something noble, like, “I will donate something” or something right, like “I will pray for my enemy,” or something lovely like, “I will tell someone I love them, or something admirable, like, “I will take the high road at work,” or something “excellent,” like, “I will give today everything I’ve got” or something “praiseworthy,” like “I will worship God while driving in my car.” Many of us have become victims of worry. But we do not have to stay victims of it. Worry is a condition; it’s not part of God’s creation. Just because we have fearful thoughts, doesn’t mean we have to listen to them. Today, I pray you dump the worry and fill it in with the goodness of God’s substance.
You can go anywhere from nowhere if you believe God is everywhere. Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unattractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, David had an affair, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, John the Baptist was weird, Peter was hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, The Samaritan woman had several failed marriages, Zacchaeus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul helped murder Christians. BUT they had a relationship with God, and if you do, you can go anywhere from nowhere too. Where’s your nowhere? Where you given up by your original parents? Were you born into poverty? Were you raised around drugs, crime, sex? Are you addicted to something? Are you laden with guilt over something you’ve done? Have you done the worst thing ever? Did someone take you and break your heart? The bible is a comeback story. All those heroes I mentioned have their names in the Book of Life, because even though they came from their nowhere they went somewhere because they believed in God, who is everywhere. so…can…you.