In Case You Didn’t Know

The other day I was driving in my truck listening to the radio and the new hit song by Brett Young called “In Case You Didn’t Know” came on. The song revolves around a guy reminding the woman in his life that he loves her just in case she didn’t know that he did. He wants to make sure that she truly knows how he feels about her.

I was reminded that this is how God feels about us. He wanted to make sure we knew how much he truly loves us. So much so that He sent His only son to die for us. God loved us before we loved Him. His love is unconditional. And He wants to make sure we know that.

So why do we have to be reminded of God’s love for us? Because sometimes the circumstances and situations in our lives cause us to have short term amnesia. Our attention gets focused on what we are experiencing and we quickly forget all God has done, all He is doing, and what He is going to do. We look at how big our problems are and we lose sight of how big God’s love is for us.

So in case you didn’t know, nothing can separate you from God’s love (See Romans 8:38-39). In case you didn’t know, God doesn’t condemn you (See Romans 8:1). In case you didn’t know, you are a masterpiece (See Psalm 139:14 and Ephesians 2:10). In case you didn’t know, God’s love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on you (See Psalm 136 and Psalm 57:10).


Walk A Mile In My Shoes

It is very easy to look at someone else and be highly critical of them. We have no problem in our world today to sit in our high and lofty judge’s seat and wave our mighty gavel. It’s easy to give an opinion on what someone should do from afar.

You’ve heard the saying “Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.” Jesus said it this way “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) He goes on to say that before you try to fix other people’s problems, you should first focus on your own issues. In other words, take that finger and point it right back at yourself.

You never know what people have been through that have led them to where they are now. Nobody has it easy. Everyone of us has issues. So take a step back before you start criticizing and judging others. Everybody is fighting their own unique war. 

Instead of fighting against one another, we should come along side each other and fight with them. Instead of judging one another, we should defend each other. Instead of looking down on one another, we should lift each other up. Instead of being critical of one another, we should commend each other for getting this far. 

Get to know the other person before you take a look at them and think that you know them. Let’s get down from our high horses and get on each other’s level so we can begin to see one another differently. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and see if your perspective doesn’t change.

When the Going Gets Tough

We have all experienced at least one tough moment in our lives. Sometimes the moment comes with a warning, other times life hits you out of nowhere. 

Tough times produce tough people. You know the saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Tough times don’t define you, they refine you. Just like how gold is purified by being put through the fire, our imperfections are stripped away after going through tough times.

But tough times don’t only make us stronger, tough times prove to us who in our lives really have our backs. I believe the philosopher, Tracy Lawrence, said it best in his song “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” Not everyone who shouts the loudest will stick with you when you’re at your lowest. You really find out who’s who when the rubber meets the road.

Even Jesus experienced desertion when the going got tough. (See John 19:25-27) Crowds of people followed Jesus when he was preaching, teaching, and healing but not even a handful of those people were there when he was hanging on the cross. People who barely knew Jesus were there with him when he was on the mountain, but even close family and friends deserted him when he was in the valley. The crowds shouted him down when he was on top, but disappeared in silence when he hit rock bottom.

The truth comes at you quick when tough times hit you hard. Remember those people who were with you when you were in the fire and helped you get through the tough times in life. Because those are the people in your life you need to hold onto.

Do You Have An Umbrella?

 A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it! ~Proverbs 13:16

My wife is a huge planner. She has plans for us 10 years down the road while I am only focusing on the here and now. She has already picked out names for our kids, planned vacations, and has even mentioned about doing a living will. 
You’ve probably heard the saying “Save up for a rainy day.” In other words, make sure you are prepared for what life may throw at you. In more practical terms, if you know that the weather forecast is calling for rain, it would be smart to bring an umbrella with you. You wouldn’t want to be caught in the rain without an umbrella, especially when you knew that it was going to rain.

Jesus told us in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus warns us that we are going to face some hard times in this life. Not everything is going to be peaches and creame. There are going to be some stretches of rocky road. So it would be wise of us to be prepared for those times.

Now I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer” or be all doom and gloom, that is not the point of this blog post. The take away from this is, just like you wouldn’t want to be caught in the rain not holding an umbrella, you wouldn’t want to be blindsided by hardship in life without being prepared for it.

There is a story in Genesis where the king of Egypt, Pharoah, had a dream that warned him there was going to be 7 years of abundance followed by 7 years of famine. Now Pharoah’s initial reaction was like ours and he only focused on the famine. But one of his advisers, Joseph, quickly diverted that attention and came up with a plan to save during the time of abundance in order for there to be more than enough to get them through the years of famine. The morale here being that when you prepare during the feast you will be able to outlast the famine.

So I leave you with this question: Do you have an umbrella?

The Problem With The Other Side

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a period of transition? You weren’t where you used to be, but you’re not where you need to be. You’re stuck in the middle. You know you’re going to get to where you’re going, but you don’t know what the other side looks like.

In Mark 4:35-41, we see a story of Jesus telling His disciples to get in the boat and set off to the other side of the sea. There are a few problems that stand out to me while examining this story a little deeper. 

The first problem is the uncertainty of the other side. When Jesus told the disciples “Let’s go to the other side” there was a certain element of the unknown.

The comfortability of the known holds us back from experiencing what God has for us on the other side. There is security on the shore. There is stability while standing on the shore. We have control over our situation when we stay on the shore. The enemy of the uncertainty of the unknown is the certainty of the known. In order to overcome this fear is to come to this realization: “I might not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” The disciples didn’t know what was waiting for them on the other side, but they had enough faith in Jesus to get in the boat. If we truly believe that Jesus holds our future nothing will hold us back from getting into the boat.

The other problem is the uncertainty of the journey. There was no way of the disciples knowing that they were going to experience a storm while they were trying to get to the other side. The same holds true for us. When we are in a transition period, there is no way of knowing what we are going to experience when we are trying to go from here to there. In order to overcome this fear is to come to this realization: “There may be uncertainty in the journey but there is certainty in the One I am traveling with.” The disciples had no way of telling what lied ahead of them on their journey to the other side but they did know Who it was that was going with them to the other side. We may not know what the journey has in store for us but we do know that Jesus will be right there with us every step of the way. He promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. He didn’t promise that we wouldn’t experience some tough times in life but He did promise that He would be right there with us the whole way through.

The next time you find yourself in a transition period and you’re fearful of the uncertainty of the journey and the unknown of the other side, remember that you’re not alone in the journey and that the one who is with you is the one who knows what lies ahead of you on the other side.

From the Heart to the Head

Have you ever been in a situation where you believed in your heart that everything was going to be alright but your head hadn’t quite begun to think like that? Of course you have. It’s called going through life. As sure as you have breath in your lungs, you have experienced a situation before just as I have described.

As I am writing this, I am going through a situation in my life just like I mentioned above. I was let go from my job after working for the company for about 4 years. My heart believes that everything is going to be alright because God is still in control but my head is still trying to understand it all. My head is looking at the reality of losing an income but my heart believes that God will supply all my needs. My heart is trusting and asking “What now God?” but my head is troubling and asking “Why now God?”. 

The longest distance in the world is the 18 inches from the head to the heart. The reason for this vast chasm is because your heart is believing in the truth of God’s word while your head is focusing on your current reality. Your heart is full of faith while your head is full of facts. This is why the writer of Hebrews says “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

So how do you bridge the gap between your head and your heart? Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” When we try to use our head knowledge to make sense of our situation, we will fall victim to our reality. But if we will trust that everything is going to be alright, even though we can’t see it in the moment, because God is in control, then and only then, will our head align with our heart.

So the next time you come across a situation where your heart is pulling you in one direction while your head is pushing you the other way, trust that God is still on His throne. Continue to believe in your heart until the reality that your head sees starts to align with the truth in God’s word.

What is Love?

What is love? That is a tough question to answer in our world today. Because of all the hatred portrayed in front of us, but also because of how watered down love has become in our culture. 

We throw love around casually in conversations. We toss the word love loosely in our everyday interactions. We have TV shows, like the Bachelor and Bachelorette, that tells us love is the fantasy suite or love is a rose. We have songs that tell us that love is a secondhand emotion. The definition of love has become so construed because everywhere we turn we are shown love is this or we are told love is that.

What is love? Love is not a feeling because feelings can come and go. Love is not an emotion because emotions change more often than the four seasons. Love is not a verb because it is not some action that can be performed. Love is not the fantasy suite because fantasies soon fade away. Love is not a rose because rose petals fall off and die.

What is love? In 1 Corinthians 13, which has been famously coined “The Love Chapter,” the apostle Paul pens the true meaning of love as defined by the One, God, who is love. Now love isn’t something God feels, love isn’t an emotion that God has, love isn’t something God does; love is who He is. Love is His character. Love is His make up. Love is the very essence of His being. Love is His DNA. And this is what the One who is love says love is “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

You see we wouldn’t pass the word love around like it’s going out of style when we know what love truly means. You see our relationships would remain strong when we define love like that. You see our marriages wouldn’t fail when we see each other with eyes of love like that.

A love like that is all we need to keep our lives from falling apart. A love like that is what holds our world together. And a love like that is all it took for Jesus to give his life for you and for me.

So I ask you again. What is love?

Not Enough to More Than Enough

Not Enough

There is a story of a little boy who only had five loaves of bread and two fish. Probably enough food to make some fish sandwiches for him and his family but not nearly enough food to feed five thousand people, which it did and then some. You ask how is that possible? How is it possible for that small amount of food to feed that vast amount of people and even have leftovers? Glad you asked. Well, the little boy took what wasn’t enough, put it in the right hands, and it became more than enough. You ask whose hands did the little boy put them in? Glad you asked. Well those hands were the hands of Jesus.

It’s crazy what can happen when you take what you have, which seems like not enough at all, and you place it in the hands of Jesus. You will soon realize that what you thought was not enough, once you let go and let God, becomes a lot more than you could have ever imagined it would be.

For the past few years, my wife and I have been working on getting out of debt. When we first looked at the amount of debt that we had compared to the amount of income we had, it was extremely overwhelming. But a funny thing happened once we decided to let go of the money that we had and let God take control of it. What we thought was not enough at all, started to be more than enough. The debt that felt so overwhelming and looked as if it was going to take a lifetime to payoff, will be gone in only a few more months. We can’t really explain it. The only explanation is that we took what we had, which wasn’t nearly enough, we placed it in the right hands, and just like the loaves and the fish, it became more than enough.

Are you finding yourself stuck in the land of not enough? Can you relate to the story of the little boy? Are you in a place where you are overwhelmed like my wife and I were? Do you want to go from not enough to more than enough? Take what you have, which you think is not enough, place it in the hands of Jesus and see if it doesn’t become more than enough to meet all your needs.

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