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What we all need to know the very most

There are a thousand things that are true and a thousand more that are not, and we'll spend every day of our life choosing which we will believe between the two. 

We have this sort of invitation waiting for us from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the second our eyes close again that night. 

This invitation is to believe something, and there isn't a single moment in your day that you aren't believing something.

Our minds just don't work that way, there isn't any empty space, whether it be the truth or a lie, we've all chosen to believe something today. 

If we don't make the effort to filter through what we're choosing to believe today, our minds will go on a sort of auto-pilot and believe me, it won't be of any help to you and me.

See, our default in our beliefs is usually far from right. AS human beings with hearts that are prone to wander, we always wander when we're not making a conscious choice.

So choose today.

Don't let it slip on by. 

Choose today which side you will fall on and make it your hearts ambition to engage in this task of believing.

Because though you hear a thousand lies each day, lets remember what is true for us today.

- Your debt has been paid, finished and satisfied. You're no longer among those who still owe, but now moved over to the crowd of those who have received this beautiful gift of everlasting life, and these are the words that light a flame inside of our lives.

- Your life is brand new, a clean start every day, because there's a whole ocean of grace that's now been made open to the heart that believes in Christ's finished worked.

- You're set free from shame, no more to be cast down, your heart is wiped clean and that means that there's nothing that an enemy can hold against you anymore.

- Your life has a plan, you're not hear for some lost purpose. You were crafted and designed with the purpose of glorifying Christ. There's a will for your life that goes deeper than you can imagine.

-Your hope is secure, not changing with different seasons. His promise of an eternal home in heaven will forever remain unshaken. Your end is already planned and your destiny made sure, so no matter what you face here on this earth, you've still got all of heaven waiting for you.

So, this is what's true, what our soul really needs to know, in the midst of a world that will try and lie to us about a thousand things.

Let's make the choice today to believe in what is right.

What exactly brings you peace?

I stepped into this brand new year with a few little word written deep into my heart.

You know how it goes, there are just those times when you can't even try to hide away the fact that God's speaking deep and clear to your own beating heart.

He's got a message for you and He wants it to be heard, and you just know that you'd better sit and here His every word.

Yes, that's about how it all started. And what were these words, what lesson needs to be learned? It's the art of lingering, the art of living at peace.

It's this lesson of lingering when there's another heart in front of you, whether they're speaking of their hurts or their joys, you're ready to hear what they really need to say. It's the lesson of lingering in silence when other voices need to be heard clearer and louder than your own.

It's the lesson that discloses the beauty of a heart that lingers long and deep in the presence of the only One who's deserving of our every single second, rather than only keeping busy with doing things for God. For it's a grand and glorious combination when a heart learns the order of listening and then doing, and the grand partnership that the two we're always meant to have.

It's the lesson of a heart that rests fully on the grace and strength of a love-filled, faithful God.

Yes, this is what my rapidly-beating, hurried-living kind of heart needs to learn.

That real peace is found in the beauty of Christ, not in the beauty that appears to only exist in another season of life that's further ahead and somehow never present.

And what's at the very core of a heart that's found at peace? What's the root of this grand ability to linger and be still?

There's really just a one word answer that's to be found by us all, and it's the simple little word- trust. 

Trust in something greater than yourself.

Because friend, when your trust is anchored in something solid, then your heart is fixed no matter the waves that toss you. When your trust relies on the Perfect, Faithful One, then your heart is made a steady ground, a place of infinite peace. Because this Perfect Faithful One will remain just that way through all of our final days, and that means that our lives are fixed in a sacred solace each and every day that we give up our hold and learn to trust.

Trust brings about peace, and with peace comes the ability for you and I to linger long in the arms of our Savior.

Sure, your life might just be falling apart in every earthly, worldly sense. Your heart might very well have been smashed into an entire heap of pieces at different seasons of life. The road you now walk might just be going another direction than what you designed for yourself and your left here wondering why you can't have what you want for just once in your life.

But when your entire life is placed in the arms of Christ, when you've given up on your own way and trusted in the One who brought all things to be, then your life has a guaranteed source of never-ending peace, because Christ is incapable of ever failing you. The Perfect One isn't even able to ever make a mistake.

Peace comes from a daily choice to trust.

A heart that has peace will be ready to be His hands and feet.
A heart that has peace won't be ruffled when things don't go your way.
A heart that has peace will be ready to leave behind all that's ever brought earthly joy to their heart, when called to live a different way.

Peace comes from a deep well of trust, and trust lies among the essential rocks to each of our lives of faith.

What if you looked at what you really can do?

Hey, so you've got a heart for ministry, and that's a beautiful thing, but your looking around and wondering how? How on earth will you ever make it work? Your heart is wrapped up tight, just waiting for when you make it to another point in life.

You might be saying something along the lines of, "Well, one day when I have a home of my very own." Or, "One day when the kids have all gone and grown."

Maybe it's gotten to the point where, yeah, you know that God can really use you for His gloriously big plan, but your season of life just isn't quite right for it yet. You've got to reach a little further, or wait a little longer and then, then you'll be able to do something, anything, for the Kingdom of Heaven.

You're stuck here waiting for a someday, and then when that someday comes and turns into your today, then you'll be free to live out the ministry that you've been dreaming up inside your mind.

But did you know that one of the greatest ways that the advancement of His great Kingdom can be stopped is through the words of "I'll do that someday."

Because the truth of it is, perfect never really will come to you until the day you step onto Heavens shores. Perfect never will arrive for you as long as your home is an earthly floor.

Yeah, it’s true, you really were made to do something, and not some distant day in the future, but every day that you are here on earth for.

So what is it that I'm trying to say here? That you should forget the responsibilities that are closing in around you every long, and tiring day? That you should do your best to do it all, and while you're at it, be sure to do it now.

If that were to be true, then you and I would be set up for nothing else but a whole lot of failure.

There are limits we face and there's a real release when we come to terms with each and every one of those limits and give them to a limitless God. 

So what do we do with the tension in our soul, the longing to be a Kingdom builder-and the reality of where we're at in life?

Well, can I just encourage you to start asking God the question of, "what can I do?"

Because sure, there might just be a hundred different things that you really just can't do today, but I bet you right here and now, that there are at least just a few things that you surely can do.

Yeah, so it might not be what you had in mind. But ministry can come in a variety of shapes. Who’s to say you know just the right one, after all?

And friend, when you learn to just begin there's beauty unlimited that is about to explode right there within your mundane looking life.

We trap ourselves unnecessarily when we think in only our own little human terms. We limit our already limited beings to a much higher level when we sit and do nothing when really we could at least go and do something.

So you don't have a home of your own to invite another in, then find another little place that is "less than ideal", but will actually make things work out quite nice.

So you've got kids running crazy and a mess in every room, so bless another mom that's feeling run down and invite her to join you right there in that mess, because she's more than likely just as desperate for encouragement as you are today.

A whole world of opportunities begins to open wide when we ask ourselves what it is that we can do today instead of getting hung up on all that we can't do. When we take our eyes off of the no's and the restraints-when we're willing to lay down what is ideal and learn to do what works well right here and now, we begin to breath a little more free and live a beautiful reality.

This world is in need of changing, and there are countless hearts that need another's cheering, so don't leave it all for someday when our today's could work as well.

You have something worth giving

I know it just as well as you probably do-there's an overwhelming amount of need that covers every part of this world.

You probably want to do something about it just as badly as I do, and yet how often we try our best to shut it out of our heads. And why? Why do we try so hard to turn a blind eye to the needs that seem to be out to overwhelm us?

Well, I can really only answer this for myself, but maybe you can also relate. You see, when I think about the need I see my inadequacies all staring right back at me. I see my shortcomings and my lack of ability. I see my humanity and incapability, and it doesn't take all that long for it to completely paralyze me. 

But did anyone ever do any good by doing nothing instead?

If your life is redeemed and your heart is restored by the Love and Grace of a good God up above, then friend can I remind you, you have more than enough to give! 

You have life everlasting to share with the world. You have hope that's eternal, the kind that nothing can steal.

So why, do we fall for the lie that we don't have an amount that is worth it to give?

What if you and I did a switch and instead of seeing our lack of ability, we saw only our riches from eternity?

Dream a little with me- what would be the difference if every heart that believed in a Savior who redeems, took the tools that they have and turned them into a daily gift of love?

Sure, we might just be dirt poor at this very moment, but if we've been given the ability to speak, then why not go and use that to fill another person's desperate need for encouragement?

We might be trapped in by a family to care for, but don't we have a pen and paper and just a few  minutes to spare? Then why not turn it into the filler for another souls need, and write out a letter that speaks life into their broken world?

We might have the earthly resource and no time left in our day, except to right a check for the amount that's extra this month. Then send it off to someone who's coming up short and is in need of a little extra today.

And no matter what can't we always, always pray for another human being?

So, what's your greatest source of means today? Whatever it is go ahead and turn it into a tangible form of Christ's love.

Send an invite or make a gift. When you love much through word and deed, you'll find that love comes spilling right over you from the Source of Love Himself. 

Our live's are meant to be overflowing, but you and I have to start giving in order to open up those endless streams of heaven's grace.

If each of us gathered up our little amount of ability, and put it into a daily use, we might find that changing the world isn't so far out of our reach. If each of us lifted even our emptiest of hands up to a Father who loves to transform, can't we believe that He's going to enable us to give out His love?

Be a giver of life out of what you hold in your own hands right now-no matter how small. You hold the treasures of heaven inside of you and that gift of His life has the ability to take on a thousand different forms.

When we live a life that gives out His love in countless ways, we begin to see it running in deeper streams within us today. 

"My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." 

{  1  J o h n  3 : 1 8  }

If you'd like to dig into this a little deeper, click the "Join Me" tab and enter your email.
 I've got lots of ideas that I'd love to talk about with you! 

Where do you belong?

There's one word that keeps coming to my mind, one theme of continuous learning right now, and it's the idea of really belonging. 

This word belong, I'm guessing that we all tend to like the sound of it. It's a concept that we all want for our own and would give up all we've got at times, just simply to say that we too belong.

It deals with our identity and who we're really meant to be. It deals with heart issues and sometimes even the scared parts of bent up lives.

It affects us at the very center of our being, this whole idea of belonging. So, let's go ahead and ask the question, what does it really mean to belong? Why does the word bring a stir of desire and an ache for possession?

The meaning of the word runs along two parallel tracks, two different ways of looking at this grand idea of belonging. It means to have a close or intimate relationship, and doesn't the whole world want more of a relationship, more of that love and attention that we are all longing for? 

And then there's the second view on what it means to really, truly belong. The second look will show us that it also means to be a possession- to simply be someone's. 

We might wonder at that, and ask ourselves if that's something good, and something worth wanting after all? We might ask ourselves if we really do want to be a possession? 

And yet, all along isn't there this craving in each of us to know just exactly where we fit? To know we have a place and a space that's made just for us?

This idea of belonging means to be just exactly where you are meant to be, and in a world that's often gone crazy, doesn't every single beating heart just want to know where they're meant to be? Doesn't every running, confused soul just want to know what they are really meant to do? Don't we all ache deep down to simply know where we belong?

And yet, in order to belong you've got to accept that you are owned. You've got to accept not only the belonging, but also the idea of being another's possession.

There's one fact in all of this that will make a world of difference to what our belonging really means. Perhaps you've already asked the question, but let's spell it out right here in case you haven't- 

Who do you belong to?

After all, there has to be an owner to every thing that is marked "owned". There has to be a possessor that goes along with every possession. 

So, who? Who is it that you and I belong to? 

There is a God who desires to have you. Yes, the same God who hung stars in the sky and formed each and every mountain peak. There's a God and He has a desire to have you and I.

He wants us to belong, not only amongst His acquaintances, but among those that are the very closest to Him.

Remember? To belong means a close and intimate relationship. That's what He's holding out to each and every one of us- this invitation for each and every weary heart to finally belong.

He gave everything that He could possibly give just to be able to offer the very greatest invitation. He spent and spilled His very own blood on a cross in order to reach you with His most important question, "Will you belong to me?"

How can any searching, human heart overlook the grandness of this offer? 
An offer from the Author of Life.
An offer from the only One who could ever redeem you, remake you, restore you and free you.
The only One who breaks every human chain and sets every prisoner free. 
The only one who loves you everlastingly.
The only One who never leaves.
The only one who is righteous, holy and perfect.
The only one who is deserving of worship wants you to be forever found in His closest presence.
And if that doesn't bring your heart low in a humble, holy adoration, then friend, I don't know what on earth ever will. 

And yet, there's this part of the belonging that you and I don't often take time to consider. It's like we're reaching up for all of the treasure without counting in the fact that there's a real cost. 

You see, you are truly His possession. A prized possession. And when a prized possession leaves it's rightful owner, there is a vast amount of trouble. When a a prized possession takes a look at the empty treasure of this world, it pains the One who paid such a high and costly price simply to call you His.

See, we like to make it light. We like to skip over what we're actually doing when we take a little break to fit in with the world. But how in heaven's name do we ever turn our eyes away from perfect, eternal love? And when we take our eyes off of His holy perfection, what are we really trading it all in for? A cheap and deadly counterfeit. A shadow of light in a world of dark, when Heaven's light has already been opened up to us. 

We're His. We're forever belonging to Him. We've got a place that's made especially just for us at the greatest table your eyes ever could dream up.

We've got more love flowing down and over us than any of us knows exactly what to do with. And don't let us kid ourselves on thinking one drop of it is deserved by us. Undeserved and Unreserved it all flows down on us.

Our hearts are fragile and our hearts are quick to turn away. But I ask you today, won't you look at the Master of your life and see once more the love in His eyes?

Don't go and trade in the only real reason for hope in your life, for a moment of the world's cheap and fleeting version of a treasure. 

You've got something eternal. You belong to a Forever King. Stay in your place of belonging.

"You are not your own, for you were  b o u g h t  with a price. 
So  g l o r i f y  God in your body."
- H E B R E W S  6 : 1 9 - 2 0 - 

Because we all have our own list of distractions

I bet you know just what it's like, that feeling of trying to get something done and getting everything else done that wasn't meant to be done instead. You get a hundred distractions through the form of mental lists or screens lit up, and pretty soon you're caught wondering where the time's gone since it isn't showing up in the project you were meant to complete.

A world of distraction, that's where you and I live. A world that seems to make it easier to do everything you never intended to do and harder to to what you set out to accomplish. 

Distraction can take on just about any type of form. It can come as a need for constant communication or news, it can come in the form of keeping up a certain appearance, making sure you've got a top-notch reputation. These days it seems to come at us ten thousand times through the form of a lit up device.

We can even be distracted by our games or our hobbies, the things that were only meant for fun all along. 

You and I can be terribly quick to give away every ounce of precious time to something that will never even give a drop back to us.

Time is precious and comes with a limit for each of us. So why are we so eager and quick to spend it on the trivial?

If it can't possibly bring glory to our worthy and great God, then why do we have such a pull to give it our all? 

If it isn't capable of bringing about real community and creating gospel-love opportunities, then why do we invest so much of ourselves into it?

When it's all said and done, how much of your life will you hold in your hands once all that is earthly has been drained away from it? 

How much of our lives have we invested in what will last?

I am guilty of giving in to a thousand distractions from how I ought to live. I'm guilty of a thousand investments in the unneeded and unimportant. 

Cutting out distractions doesn't cut out all the joy. It's more like cutting out more space in life to fully enjoy your time. Cutting out all of those distractions cuts out enough space for a greater amounts of peace. 

There's something beautiful that happens after we learn to invest well. After we've given our all to what really matters most, we begin to receive in multiplied form. We gain greater treasures and deeper amounts of riches when we invest our time into those most-important things.

And just what is it that you and I gain when we put down the distractions and live fully invested? We gain back treasures such as the beauty of friendship gained, experiences fully enjoyed, and a life full to the brim of well-lived days. 

The truth of it is friends, you and I have been given a task to do, live well and live fully for a King who deserves glory. We're never going to get far in our goal if we spend all our time in trivial things. 

Invest well today, friends. You'll never regret the time you give to loving the lives around you.

We've all got a list of distractions, start by naming yours. Once you've named it, you'll sooner recognize it and you'll learn to turn away from it, because nothing that distracts from Christ is ever worth your time. 

"Is anything you're doing here adding up to anything that matters? 
And in the end, is what you've chosen ultimately about Christ and His kingdom?"
- A N N  V O S K A M P -

If you’re feeling a little lost in life

Have you ever felt lost in life? Maybe you've been going for awhile, just doing your very best to stick with the plan and get to the end. You think you've got it set in your head, just what will be ahead, and then life goes and takes a turn and you're left somewhere else instead.

You know, it doesn't take some great big catastrophe to knock us down off of our feet and remind us that we're little more than a frail human life.

No, sometimes all it takes is the reminder that we can't see what's coming ahead in the days that are yet un-lived.

You don't have to have an earth shattering event take place in your life, for you heart to suddenly flounder into what-if's and what-am-I-doing-here-in-life?

Sometimes all it takes is a moment's pause and a little reflection.

Chances are, if you're human than you know well how it feels to sense that you are lost.

You've come to crossroads that don't seem to come with any direction. You've come to seemingly blank spaces that don't seem to have any form of progression.

You've up and lost your way, without one bit of your own trying. You've simply come face to face with the fact that you are a limited human.

You're dealing with the reality that you don't have all the facts in life, and you're dealing with the idea that you're less than qualified to live out this life.

But friend can I remind you that there's a God up above who isn't ever capable of becoming lost.

Right now you're going back and forth on what you ought to do. Right now you're searching far and wide for whatever is the best choice. And friends did you know that there's a God up above who really does know it all?

He knows the options that you can't even see yet. He knows the end destination of every road that you could end up walking down, and He cares enough about you to never leave you in your lost and sorry state.

He's a God of direction and a God who has order, and He'll never leave you stuck to figure it out all on your own.

And yet friends, did you know that this God who loves to lead, can also see the value of a much needed wait.

He'll always lead you on, but He won't ever rush past the treasure gained through a little bit of a wait.

So, let your disorder and your confusion be organized into peace and submission, as you look up above to the only Perfect One.

Give yourself over to the One who knows the inner workings of your heart and is the only One capable of following a perfect plan.

Maybe the truth of it is that in all of those times that we've begun to feel lost, is when we're really the most found. Because there's nothing greater than coming to terms with the reality of your own inability.

Maybe the sooner we each come to grips with our great weakness, means the sooner we can reach our hands up to the sky for His unfailing wisdom.

So, to every lost and weary heart out there in this vast and beautiful world, hold on tight to the One who sees every moment. Hold on tight to the One who holds you the closest. Hold on tight to the One who goes before your every step. Hold on tight to the only One who was able to pay the ultimate price to set your life completely free.

When you don't know where on earth you're meant to go in life, place yourself right there in front of His light, and trust that in His time, He'll always lead you right. 

Soon you are going to find that the greatest lamp is His Word, and the greatest Light is now yours when you walk ever and only in the presence of your Lord.