Has your life changed because of Jesus?
I wonder if we sometimes resist growing closer to Jesus because we don’t like the idea of change.
I bought our dog, Sadie, new dog dishes the other day because I was told that the ones that are elevated off the floor are healthier and better for their spines. But Sadie hates change. And she refused to eat or drink until I put her food and water back into her old bowls.
The truth is, many of us hate change because we’re well aware of the fact that it can be wonderful but it can also be uncomfortable, uncertain, uncontrolled, and undesirable. And personally, I am not of fan of the “un”s.
But Scripture is clear. A personal relationship with Jesus changed people’s lives!
The Amplified Version of the Bible translates Matthew 4:17 this way…
Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Although that verse challenges me, it’s the following one that I found downright hard to even think about…
He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].Luke 9:23 (AMP)
For years, fear and that one verse kept me from fully surrendering my heart to Jesus and allowing Him to change me. I wanted control and I was terrified of the possible uncomfortable changes or cross carrying I might have to face.
I wanted to believe that if I controlled everything I could experience easy, smooth water comfort. I wanted happiness with just enough faith to assure my salvation and go to heaven but not so much that satan targeted me with Job-like pain or problems.
But there’s a question that always presents itself with that kind of thinking…
“How much faith is just enough?“
Big faith? Little faith? Somewhere in the middle?
Whatever the size of our faith—eventually life will confront us with cross-carrying. Everyone’s life will at some time or another include changes that are challenging and difficult. No matter how hard you and I try life simply isn’t going to always be the safe and comfortable easy walk we want.
God taught me something very important during one of my difficult times of challenging change.
Those are the times when God’s miraculous work of grace happens.
When God pours His grace over a time of challenging change, you and I learn to trust Him and with His Spirit’s help we start to surrender our fear of cross-carrying and experience His better blessings.
♥ Freedom from fear.
♥ Peace beyond understanding.
♥ Hope for the future.
♥ Love that forgives.
♥ Joy and courage and strength and hope and so much more.
Things I’d always wanted but always denied myself because of my fear of change and cross-carrying.
It’s hard to explain, but living through the very things I feared allowed God to turn them into some of my life’s greatest blessings. I learned through change and challenges that God is always greater than our circumstances. And He is always faithful to His promises to be with us, to strengthen us, and to give us everything we need when we trust His love and surrender our lives to Him.
“Be sure of this: I [Jesus] am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20Matthew 28:20
And Paul wrote…
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it.1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG)
This life will have changes that challenge us and like it or not, some will even feel like cross-carrying. But God is greater! I promise! If He can transform and change me for the better, He is able to transform and change you for the better, as well.
You can trust Him . . . His perfect love for you will never fail!
I’d like to tell you I never have lapses—that I trust perfectly 24/7 and that the enemy never tempts me with fear but that wouldn’t be true. I still want life to be easy, calm, and without challenges.
That’s why I have to stop and surrender my life to the Lord every single day.
I recently wrote the 52-WEEK DEVOTIONAL JOURNAL FOR WOMEN, a book filled with short devotions and journal and prayer prompts to inspire you to trust God with your life and the changes that challenge you.
And I thought it might be fun to share WEEK 1 with you here:
IN HIS PRESENCE
My heart has heard you say, Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8
I once asked a group of friends, “How do you picture Jesus when you pray?”
Some said they pictured themselves sitting at Jesus’s feet. Others said they imagined Him sitting on the throne or saw themselves kneeling before Him. There were those who held His hand as they took walks with Him, and a few leaned into Him with their head on His shoulder.
I sometimes picture Him sitting quietly in a beautiful field with a smile on His face, inviting me to simply “come and talk.” He knows I’m tired and worn out. He knows I’ve messed up a million times. He knows my weaknesses and failures. And He says, “Let’s talk.” No judgment. No disappointment. No guilt. Just an invitation to be in His presence.
It’s so easy to get lost in the busyness of life, isn’t it? Jesus understands. He was constantly surrounded by people asking Him to tell another story, feed another hungry stomach, or perform another miracle. But He also got away to sit and talk with His Father.
He knew the blessings of comfort, peace, and strength that could only be found in those quiet conversations.
I hope this book encourages countless encounters with your Savior this year. Take a moment each day this week to hear Him say, “Come and talk with me.” Then picture yourself responding, “Lord, I am coming,” as you enter His presence and talk about life.
How do you picture Jesus when you pray?
How does it make you feel that Jesus wants you to “come and talk” with Him? Joyful? Humbled? A little intimidated? Write about it.
Make a list of times and places you can add prayerful, quiet conversations with Jesus to your day (in the car, in the shower, while you’re doing laundry. etc.)
Jesus loves you so much that He wants to hear from you in good times or bad. Write a prayer thanking Him for always wanting you to be in His presence.
Jesus Has What You Need to Change Your Life
I wrote this Devotional Journal and filled it with personal stories because loving Jesus changed my life and I believe He has what you need to change your life, too!
No, my life isn’t free of challenges or of cross-carrying . . . but my weaknesses are forgiven and by God’s grace, I have what I need each day to surrender everything to the Lord trusting Him to give me the peace, joy, hope, strength, and love I need moment by moment.
And those blessings have made my life so much better!
My prayer for you is that you will discover the better blessings of trusting God and completely surrendering your life to Him. I want you to KNOW that—He is who He says He is and He always keeps His promises!
I would love for you to take a journal journey with me and connect your heart to the One who…
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)
I am so excited to tell you that my book releases tomorrow, December 22nd. But you can preorder your copy today. So, if you’d like to learn more head on over and check it out here: https://amzn.to/2Jfu3nM
May your week overflow with God’s blessings and love as you celebrate Jesus the One who loves you more than you can imagine!
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