Almost

Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong.
It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.

– C. H. Spurgeon

On Suffering

If you have a God great and transcendant enough to be mad at because he hasn’t stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have (at the same moment) a God great and transcendant enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can’t know. Indeed, you can’t have it both ways.

– Tim Keller, Reason for God (Isaiah 55:9)

Unseen

The times that you feel that you deserve God the least are the times where you need His presence the most.

It’s so important that you pray when you’re struggling.

– Steven Furtick (Luke 15:15-19)

Goes Before You

And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.

– Exodus 23:28-30

Sometimes you’re waiting for God to show up. But He’s waiting for you to grow up.

– Steven Furtick

The Grind

I’m on my grind; serving God more than all of them. And the reason I’m serving God more than all of them is because I needed more grace than any of them. All the undeserving people, give God a shout of praise!

– Steven Furtick (1 Corinthians 15:8-10)

Him First

Yet Jesus only requires that we make sure our heart is good, our motives are pure, and our basic direction in life is right, pointing toward the “true north” of the kingdom of God. We can, in good conscience, choose from among any number of reasonable alternatives and continue to do the will of God. In the end what matters most is that we seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.

– Jerry Sittser (from the book, The Will of God as a Way of Life)

Blessing of Both

It’s pain and purpose. It’s both. And we keep waiting. To this day, waiting for when everything in our lives will be stable and all of our relationships will be harmonious. And God said, I need to you to learn to celebrate the wheat even when you’re looking at the weeds.

Even the enemy serves a purpose. Even the devil works for God. The devil’s not in charge of what happens in my life. God doesn’t do everything that happens to me. But He uses everything that is happening to me.

— Steven Furtick (Matthew 13:27-30, Ecclesiastes 11:6)

Saved

We are saved by faith alone [not our works], but not by faith that remains alone. – Martin Luther

If we say “I believe in Jesus” but it doesn’t affect the way we live, the answer is not that now we need to add hard work to our faith so much as that we haven’t truly understood or believed in Jesus at all.

– Tim Keller (Ephesians 2:8)

Fading Faith

God will meet you at the depths of your doubt.

Three things He will do to heal a fading faith:

  1. He will do something tangible.
  2. He will do something visible.
  3. He will do something that is personal.

– Mike Todd (John 20:26-27)

Seek and Find

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

– Jeremiah 29:11-13

Everything I Have

I found out a long time ago that if He doesn’t breath out, then I don’t breath in.

– Steven Furtick (Romans 11:36, James 1:17)

Harvest

Any process that does not start with God ends in disappointment.

There is no significance to any process that God is not the center of.

– Steven Furtick (Haggai 1:1-10)

Outcomes

God’s love language is trust. How does God receive love? He loves to be trusted. More than He loves to hear you sing, more than He loves when you come to church, He loves to be trusted.

We often equate love with comfort while God equates love with trust. If you look to the circumstances of your life for proof of God’s love, then you are looking for love in all the wrong places.

God’s job is outcome. Your job is process. The longer you that you think you can control outcomes in your life, the more frustration you’re going to experience in this journey of faith.

And many of us were taught starting out that faith was a way of controlling outcomes. If you pray this, then do that, then you can expect this. Everyone has a Lazarus. The Lazarus Factor is the thing in your life that made the formula fall apart. The Lazarus Factor is the thing in your life that caused you to question the very nature of faith.

Faith is rarely a form of manipulation by which we get God to keep our schedule. God will not be manipulated. God will not be moved because we get uncomfortable in a situation.

Faith is a not a means of manipulation. It is a patience with mystery. The kind of mystery that says on one hand “God can do anything”, but in that very same breath there is something in your life right now that God will not do, that you see in His word that he did for somebody else, but He has not done for you yet.

We confuse God’s love with proof in circumstantial evidence. The love of God is not always proven by the way I feel His presence. The love of God is proven by the way I deal with His perceived absence. The love of God is not only proven in the times when I thank Him for my blessings. The love of God is proven in my life when I cannot feel him but, by faith I praise Him because He is God, even when I don’t sense God, He is God.

They say you got to see it to believe it. God says you got to believe it to see it.

– Steven Furtick (John 11:1-45)

His Role

I believe in Christianity (God) as I believe that the sun has risen;
not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

– C.S. Lewis

Holy Holy Holy

In respect to God, holiness means not only that He is separate from all that is unclean and evil,
but also that He is positively pure and thus distinct from all others.

– Charles Ryrie (Isaiah 6:3)

Omnipotence

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

– Ephesians 3:20-21

King of My Heart

Let the king of my heart,
be the mountain where I run,
the foundation I drink from,
He is my song.

Let the king of my heart,
be the shadow where I hide,
the random for my life,
He is my song.

Let the king of my heart,
be the wind inside my sails,
the anchor in the waves,
He is my song.

Let the king of my heart,
be the fire inside my veins,
the echo of my days,
He is my song.

– John Mark McMillan & Sarah McMillan

Trust Me

Father,

I was afraid for so long, and I was overcome by my guilt - so much that I couldn’t stand to be in the same room as You. I was tainted. Dirty. Impure. I didn’t believe that after what happened to me I could be worth anything to You. I didn’t believe that You could love me. How could someone as perfect and lovely as You love something like me?

But You came where I fled. You pulled me into your chest and cried with me. You knew my hurt. You knew my pain. You loved me even though I wasn’t even whole enough to love You back. There in your arms, I began to heal. I stopped running. I started to believe that You weren’t going to leave me just because I failed. You prove Yourself over and over again.

You fight the shame of my mistakes with me, and You believe that I can be better - not because You’re disappointed with who I am, but because You know that who I am is better than who I am pretending to be. I’ve been growing with You for sometime, but God…

I am holding on to my anxiety, my need to control my future, to have my life planned out. I don’t even realize I’m not trusting You, but when I think of just letting it go, I’m untrusting. I have no reason to not believe You. But every time I’ve trusted someone they let me down. Every time I give my heart, it gets broken. I’m afraid without foundation, but I cannot continue under the stress I feel. I cannot keep walking alone. I cannot face tomorrow without help.

Lord, I am crying out to You. Heal the broken places. Fill the emptiness. Help me trust You with all of it. All of my heart.

My child,

Trust Me. I’m never going to let you down. I’m never going to leave. When you feel unloved, I love you. When you feel alone, I am with you.

I know you, and I’ve known you, and I will always know you like I know the days of this earth, like I know the number of stars in your night’s sky, like I know the past present and future. I know your heart’s secret whispers in the places of longing. I know the things you’re afraid of, the things that cause you grief, the things that plague you with guilt.

Nothing is hidden from my sight. I know the lies spoken to you in the darkness of your mind. The lies that eat your insides, spoken by the one I condemned in the garden. The lie that you are not beautiful. The lie that you are unworthy. The lie that you aren’t enough. The lie that I could never love someone like you.

Oh my precious child. Turn your ear from the voice of hatred and fear and Listen to the warmth of my words. Let My sound fill you in those broken places. Let My light wash over your scars like a healing balm. Hear Me. Hear Me now in the depth of your desire, in the drought of your hope, in the emptiness of your soul. Hear my voice and know Me. Know that I am good, and I will never let you down.

I am not a river that runs dry. I am ever flowing. I do not withhold my love. I do not ration my forgiveness. I am constant, and I do not fail.

I did not fail when I created your form, I did not fail when I created your heart, I did not fail when I created your gifts, I did not fail when I created My life in you, and I fought death to reclaim you from evil. I do not fail. I do not lie. I do not fight for anything I deem unworthy.

I fought for you not because you earned it or you deserved it, but because you are mine, and I love you.

I see you struggling to trust Me. You don’t feel like you can give up your anxiety, worries and future to Me. You try to carry your own burdens on your fragile back. You cripple and buckle at the weight and my enemy loads you down with more.

But child, why are you still trying to stand when you know the weight is too great? Why do you fight when I am standing right here? Why do you try to pave a path that is already paved? Trust Me. Oh my child, trust Me, and I will never let you down.

No stones or gems or material things amount to the value of your heart and life to Me. Nothing can compare to the love I have for you, and nothing can compare to the joy you bring Me when you love Me back.

Let go. Take my hand. Let me cradle you in my arms. I, your loving Father, want to take care of you. I can do all things, conquer all things, and redeem all things. Trust Me with all you are.

– Laura Bone, a love letter from God to her

Tainted

I cannot stop seeing the flame of the Lord. It’s the whitest, brightness, hotness flame. And it’s burning in our hearts.

And it’s a vehement flame. It’s His jealous love, and it is consuming.

But very specifically the Holy Spirit was saying that there are some that feel tainted by human love, worldly love. And they feel stained and they’re bearing pain. And I see this fire, this flame of God’s love.

It’s so holy. It’s such a holy love. And it’s so pure. And it’s so perfect. And it’s purifying. And it’s healing the memories and the pain. And it’s totally consuming the stain.

So that the Lord does not see you with any spot or wrinkle from anything in the past: any experience, any relationship. Any way you’ve been touched by love that wasn’t the holy love of God. Even if it was human love and the best that it could be. There is something in there, some feel that they’ve been tainted and they’ve been stained and they’re somehow not acceptable in the Beloved. In the eyes of the Beloved I see this fire burning like this flame.

It’s more jealous than the grave. It’s so vehement. And the Lord is healing, right now. And it’s going into places and spaces way back in your life. Some just yesterday. Some over a decade ago. And this flame is consuming and it is pure.

Pure, holy, perfect love.

And it’s totally consuming you. It is totally healing you. It is totally freeing you.

And so the Lord says,
“I want you to know beloved, my bride, my child, my son, I do not see any spot or wrinkle in you.
I only see through the eyes of my pure, holy, perfect love.
And you are perfect to me.
You are perfect in me.
You are perfect because of my love consuming you.”

– WorshipMob

Precious

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
     he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
     I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
     and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
     and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
     the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
     Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
     and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
     peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
     I will bring your offspring from the east,
     and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
     and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
     and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
     whom I created for my glory,
     whom I formed and made.”

– Isaiah 43:1-7

You Are Not Forgotten

The pain and absence of that love has spoken and informed a lot of what we have done, what we have expereienced, and how we have expierenced it. But God is saying that even if a mother forgets, even if your parent forgets, even if they fail, He cannot. He cannot forget. He is not able to forget you.

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:16)

God says, “I can’t do anything with these hands without thinking of you, without seeing your name, without you crossing My mind. I don’t act without thinking of you.”

Your walls are forever before me. Like Jerusalem, Israel is not out of His sight. You too, are never out of His sight. There’s nothing He can do where He doesn’t see you. There’s nowhere you can go where He can’t see you. There’s no time that God acts when he’s not thinking of you, when your name doesn’t cross His mind. There’s no time when you shed tears that He didn’t witness it and wasn’t grieved with you. There’s no time that you were out of His view and away from His sight.

You are not forgotten. In fact, you are unforgettable.

The God of all creation says that you are unforgettable.

You might think that you have made too many mistakes, that too many things have happened, that you can’t undo some of the things that have happened in your life, that you’ve already built your life around other things that you can’t untangle.

I want to tell you that there’s no mistake that’s been made, no sin too great, no issue you might have that’s too much for God to handle. He specializes in cases like yours. There’s no case too hard for Him.

This is the gospel. He didn’t act without thinking of you. God cannot forget you and He proved it on the cross.

– Sherin Swift

Believe and Receive

Some of you may believe, but you are not sure if you have ever received. You come to a place like this and you hear people talk with such passion about their relationsip with God.

They have a personal, authentic, deep relationship with God; you hear them talk this way and in the back of your mind you’re thinking, “Why is it not like that with me? Why does God seem so distant from me?”.

Could it be that you believed the right stuff (which is great), but there’s never ever really been a point in time where you have received Jesus as your forgiver and leader; received His free gift of His grace?

And thus, according to John 1:12, become an authentic child of God.

– Lee Strobel

On Being Offended

Never project the nature of man onto the character of God.

Just because they forsake you doesn’t mean He will forsake you.

Just because they were wrong doesn’t mean that God is wrong.

– Robert Madu (Matthew 15:22-28)

Extremes

Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace.

And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.

– Jerry Bridges (John 1:15-17)

Too Good to Be True

What blocks forgiveness is not God’s reticence, but ours. God’s arms are always extended, we are the ones who turn away.

We are accustomed to finding a catch in every promise, but Jesus’ stories of extravagant grace include no catch, no loophole disqualifying us from God’s love. Each has at its core an ending too good to be true—or so good that it must be true.

– Philip Yancey (Luke 15:20)

Way Maker

You are here, moving in our midst.
I worship You.

You are here, rearranging destiny.
I worship You.

You are here, turning lives around.
I worship You.

You are here, working miracles.
I worship You.

Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper,
Light in the darkness, my God,
That is who you are.

– Sinach (Psalms 119:140)

Identity

There’s three things no person can ever fill.

No person can ever give you identity.
No person can ever give you purpose.
No person can ever accept you.

God’s already done all of those things.

And if you do not know that, you will inadvertently put that pressure on somebody else and always be disappointed because they can never ever fulfill a God hole.

– Mike & Natalie Todd

Amazed

Faith that amazes Jesus emerges from a person amazed by Jesus.

– Rich Villodas (Luke 7:1-10)

Everlasting

I will remain confident in this I will see the goodness of the Lord
The Lord’s my light and salvation
Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I be afraid?

I will wait on You
I will trust in You

We set our hope on You
We set our hope on Your love
We set our hope on the One
Who is the Everlasting God

– William Murphy (Romans 15:13)

Eat

And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him. - 2 Samuel 5:10

“And God was with David.”

And one day I asked, “God, why are you always with David?”. And He said, “Because David was always with Me. He made time for Me. He didn’t work Me out of his schedule. He came to Me. He wasn’t trying to look so busy like ‘he made it’ that he cut me out of his life.” And He said, “That’s why I always went before David, because I had David’s heart.”

And this is why it is so important that we pray and read our word everyday.
How often do you eat physical food? Everyday.
How often should you eat spiritual food? Everyday.

When you open that Bible, it’s the one book you read, that will read you right back.

– Mike Todd