Would You Like a Fresh New Start in Life?

“It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.”  (Galatians 6:15, NLT)

Have you ever had times you thought, “Man, I’ve blown it now.  God will never forgive me?”

I have, more than once—in an hour.

Then you continue to beat yourself up running through your mind all the “If only’s”.

Yet in reality, we don’t get Mulligan’s like in golf do we?  As our moms used to say, “You’ve made your bed now you get to live in it.”

Yet, God does offer us do-over’s.  Oh, you may still wrestle with natural consequences but God offers a fresh beginning.

It doesn’t depend on following religious rules.  It comes as we turn to God and say, “Ok, I want to walk with you in the daylight.”

Then he forgives your stumbles, picks you up out of the mud and tells you, “You are my child.”

He forms in you new desires and leads you by the hand out of the chaos into the light.

I’ve seen it in my own life and in the lives of others.  And it’s offered to you as well.

Oh, and sorry Mom for not making my bed.

How to Find Confidence When Bombarded by Crises

Another text message another crisis last night.

I said to Jennifer, “I don’t know if it is our age, but it seems like it’s been non-stop lately.”

From her look, I could tell she didn’t appreciate the age part much.

Friends suddenly losing loved ones, other friends facing health crises, some personal challenges.  It’s been a run lately.

That’s why when I read a promise of Jesus I suddenly stopped and thought, “Yes, that’s it.”

Jesus said, “It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega the Beginning and the End.”

Think about that.  He says, “I’ve completed all my plans since before creation.”

Then he promises, “I am first and last.  I created the beginning and I’ll create the end.”

So no matter what you face Jesus promises he is with you.

He knew you before you were born.  He’ll meet you when you leave this earth.  And he’s with you in the midst of this crazy thing called life bringing his power every day.

Do we question his plans sometimes?  Of course.  Often I’ve wondered, “God, could I vote on this?”

Yet, I’ve also seen God work difficult circumstances into amazing blessings.   And in the midst find comfort knowing he’s with me.

Oh and seriously, I’m not answering my phone right now.

*Revelation 21:6 (NIV)

Are You Feeling Smashed? Time to Unleash Power?

Most everyone I know feels smashed.

We’re called the sandwich generation.  I’d call us the flat tire generation.  We have a crisis blowout concerning our kids and before we get it fixed another happens with our parents.

Friends have said, “We’ll get together when things settle down.”  Two years in we’re still waiting.

But it can leave you feeling crushed with no ounce of reserve left.

I was refreshed though last night when I read a favorite verse again.

Zechariah writes, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Wow!  All my chasing and crashing often accomplishes little more than stress.  But when I settle back into trusting that God will accomplish everything I need I find his power again.

No matter what crunch you’re facing right now, just take the time to give it back to God.   Settle down into the rest he wants to give you.

Then you’ll discover a peace in your heart and mind that will help you think clearly.  You’ll find renewed strength in your body.  And you’ll see God’s power enter into your pressure cooker life and release the steam.

Personally, I think I’ll go sailing.  I’m going to let God have his shift for a while.

*Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)

How to Unleash an Incredible Life Everyday

At a friend’s Super Bowl party, he and I were chatting over a glass of wine.  I’ve known him since high school which is, shall we say, a while.  He said, “You know, this is no dress rehearsal.  So enjoy life every day.”

It perhaps seemed more philosophical because we’d both had a couple of glasses of wine, yet it caused me to think.

See, sometimes it’s easy to put off living.  We keep waiting to be happy.  Yet, today is the only day we really have.

One of the most encouraging promises to me is that God will make our lives rich and full.

David writes, “”He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”

I find that incredibly encouraging.  Even when I fail, which happens on occasion, and no don’t ask my wife.   Yet, even then he promises a life that’s rich and fruitful.

He says as you trust in God to bring you that life he does.  Not because you worked out all the kinks in the dress rehearsal.  But simply because you chose to walk with the one who brings that fruitfulness.

Rehearsal is over!

*Psalm 1:3 (NIV)

How Do You Find Comfort When Blindsided with Losing a Loved One?

One more phone call from a dear loved one who suddenly, unexpectedly lost a dear loved one.  She feels crushed as we do for her.  Words fail and no actions can fix the hurt.

I’ve been there as I’m sure you have too.  The world stops and it seems impossible to go on.

Yet in time after enough tears it does.

It caused me, once again, to think about how short and fragile and beautiful and wonderful life is.  We hurt because we love yet love makes life magical.

Jennifer and I spent a marvelous day skiing yesterday on a perfect blue sky day.  Yes, the only kind I go up on now.  I’m a card carrying wuss and don’t care.

Last night as I read my Bible I came across a verse that gives the most important answer.

God promises, “I will gather you . . . . I will bring you home.”

In the end that’s really all that matters isn’t it?  That God promises to bring us home.

When you simply trust in him as his child you’ll be with those you love forever where there will be no more tears only love.

Oh, and I hope some blue sky skiing days too.

*Zephaniah 3:20 (NIV)

How to Discover Unexplainable Joy In the Midst of Sorrow

We’ve gotten besieged with sorrow over the last few weeks.  Loved ones of our loved ones suddenly, without warning, passing away.

I told Jennifer, “If the phone rings at 1:00 a.m. again don’t answer it.  Nobody’s calling to tell us we won the lottery at 1:00.”

I know I’m not alone.  I’m sure you can relate.  You haven’t even worked through all 12 steps of the grief recovery program before it starts all over.

Yet, this morning as I fixed breakfast, I thought how God’s grace and healing springs fresh as the new day begins.

David sings, “Weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Somehow after finally sleeping and then seeing the sun shining I feel God’s presence renewed.  I believe he has a way out of the darkness and I feel his unexplainable joy filling me again.

It comes not because you worked through all 12 steps successfully, good luck with that project.  But rather because you took the most important step.  You rested in the love of the one who can see the end from the beginning and promises, “I am with you always.”

Then the sun rises in the morning beaming light through your windows and into your soul.

*Psalm 30:5 (NIV)

Stop Worrying and Get Some Sleep!

Have you ever had those times when you were so consumed with worry you couldn’t sleep?  Pressures and the challenges kept you staring at the ceiling most of the night?  And the longer you stayed awake the more frustrated you became?

I have more than a few times.  But see I was raised by a family of worriers.  They perfected worrying to an art.

Yet really, there’s always something to worry about isn’t there?

I discovered a promise though that shocked me and helped calm those sleepless nights.

Solomon writes, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to those he loves.”

Wow!  He says you can strive and worry if you want to.  Or you can rest in God’s care and enjoy a good night sleep.  It’s up to you, whatever floats your boat.

See God enjoys giving that gift to those he loves.  No special formulas required.  Simply when you come to the end of your abilities and say, “Ok God, I’m tired.  It’s your turn now.”

Then, with that minuscule seed of faith, God works his miracle and you find peace again.

So have a good night sleep.  Let’s talk further tomorrow.

*Psalm 127: 2 (NIV)

How to Unleash a Joyful Day Every Day

I have a special gift.  I can wake up to a fresh new day and crash into the dumps even before breakfast.  And if I’m not careful it can carry over making for a marvelous day.

I’d guess you’ve perhaps had a couple of those yourself.

Yet, I’ve discovered an antidote which helps transform my outlook.

I pause long enough to remember that God created this new day just for me and choose to start it in joy.

David wrote, “This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.”*

I love that verse.  I don’t memorize well but that verse I have and it can transform my attitude in an instant.

This morning when you woke up God had already pulled the night shift creating this new day just for you.

Sure, it might have some challenges, maybe some heartache.  Many days do.

But God also promises a blessed day.  A day to see his miracles, feel his love and enjoy his beauty.

Wow!  I don’t think it gets much better.

And imagine if you started every day with that focus.

Heck, I’m smiling just thinking about it.

So have a blessed day today!  Oh, and tomorrow too.

*Psalm 118: 24 (NIV)

How to Discover a Life Beyond Your Dreams

So many people live as Thoreau described, “Lives of quiet desperation.”

They desperately race to give themselves happiness, chasing down blind alleys that lead nowhere except to frustration.

I think about what a friend said, “This isn’t a dress rehearsal. This is our lives.”

So what makes the difference?

I don’t have all the answers.  But I do know the trajectory of my life changed when I stopped running and asked God to lead me into his amazing life.

The journey has been filled with detours and storms.  Yet, also an incredible life I never could imagine.

Paul promises, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”*

God has planned for you a life beyond what you can even imagine. Even if you’ve missed some of it, it’s never too late to experience it.

It starts when you say, “God give me your unimaginable life.”

And then it grows each day.

*1 Corinthians 2: 9 (NIV)

How to Uncover the Miracle Life

I’m amazed at the miracle of my life.

I think back to the dead end road I walked in college.  Frustrated, alone, depressed, running chaotically to find elusive happiness.

Yet, out of that confusion to find my wife and be blessed with our children astounds me.  The prosperity we’ve been blessed with even after so many years of financial struggle amazes me.  And to think that after all these years the journey today is the best and keeps growing better.

The miracle began when I stopped running away from God and chose to walk to him.

The Psalmist wrote, “You have made known to me the path of life, you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”*

He offers you a clear path even when life seems confused.  Joy when it makes more sense to feel depressed.  His presence when you feel most alone.  And the comfort that all of this grows better not only now but forever.

*Psalm 16: 11 (NIV)