“I Am”

In one statement, Jesus is the doorway into the Kingdom of God and redemption. He is how you get in the door.

In another statement, Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd. He is the one responsible for all the sheep in His flock. He’s been directed to them by the Father and it is His job to take care of them. To keep them safe, by any means necessary – including caring for them when they are ill and disciplining them when they wander.

Now the third statement: Jesus is not only the way into the flock of God and the Caretaker of them, He is the path they walk on through the seasons. He is the way – the straight, narrow to stay safe and thriving in the flock. It’s a simple idea with profound implications. We talk so much about giving, teaching, preaching, service, prayer, worship. We want to do it all. We want to get it right because we want to connect with Him. It is only by a focus on walking with Him, daily, in a cycle of repentance and compassion for others, that we can become realized.

I’m convicted enough to say something because I know the difference between His way and my way. Over and over, I find rest and joy when I turn to God. But I also listen to God and thank Him for the friends and family He puts before me. My friends and God are a comfort to me. When things get ugly, I praise God for His comfort and for putting special people in my life to weather the storm. I think we forget that God works in many different ways. Yes, we are to trust in God and cast aside others for comfort. However, God can comfort us and He may send others to do so as well.

Spiritual and physically health are arguably important. Some argue that spiritual health is more important. But the Kingdom of God is inside us. Our bodies are the temple. I believe that we must be strong in faith, spirit, and health. These are essential elements of living true lives. We can be spiritually healthy, but physically destroyed and therefore diminishing the temple within us.

I try to live a well balanced life. Recently I’ve been asking myself these questions:

1. What is God doing in my life right now?

2. What prayers of mine, big and small, has God answered recently? 

3. What am I doing for the betterment of myself and others?

Just admit it to Him and you are back on the right path, freshly washed. Seek up-to-date answers and He won’t fail to provide. If you are good to go – keep going! Make each an attempt at the start of a new beginning. God’s grace is one addiction we are supposed to have. Keep seeking it, hungering and thirsting for Him above. He will lead you, guide you, heal you, put hope in you.

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The Beggar in Us All

Why do we pray? If everything we need has already been provided, shouldn’t we just live in that?

A few years ago I toured our nations capital, the seat of power for all Western nations. I toured the National Archives, Lincoln Memorial, and American Museum of History. I watched dozens of people take shots of the White House, Congress, and the National Mall. Yet, each of them, myself included, ignored the homeless and beggars on the street. I watched as people looked over them.

No one saw him.  My heart was suddenly heavy with the irony. Here I was in our nations capital and a hungry man was lost. I believe that sometimes we may be in that very place. We are surrounded by the exterior (and beautiful) trappings of our faith, but we fail to see the poverty of our own need.

We are those beggars. We are living in hidden spiritual poverty. How do we fill up? We fill up in His presence. In Romans 8:5, Paul says, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

Three questions to ask ourselves:

1. If your palms were held up, what does Jesus pour into them today?

2. What might it mean to come confidently into God’s presence?

3. What would it look like to empty yourself, so that Jesus can pour in?

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. —Ephesians 3:12

Turn for the Better through Praise

God’s glory is revealed in the praises of His people. When we lift our voices of praise to God, He is honored and we are blessed.

However, God’s blessings are not always material in nature. The richest people are those who have developed an intimate relationship with the Savior through personal prayer and praise.

Christ knows when we rise in the morning and when we lie down to sleep at night. He is the revelation of our heavenly Father — the one person who knows us completely and loves us unconditionally.

Perhaps you feel as though you have come to a dead end in your career, a relationship or your spiritual life, and there is no way for your life to make a turn for the better. Maybe you think that God has forgotten you. Lift your eyes up to the Lord. Praise Him! He is your salvation, and He indwells the praises of those who love Him. God will not forget you or the promise He made.

Praising God should be a blessing, not an obligation. When we praise God, we deepen our fellowship with Him, are empowered to overcome temptation, and are strengthened to face difficulties. Praise does this by honoring God and aligning us with His desires.  “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” —Psalms 63:3-4

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You know me so deeply; I want to know You like You know me. I thank You for Your presence that never leaves me, but enables Your will to be done in my life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.