"The Lord is by your side wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

That is a powerful message that is sometimes hard to grasp, especially if you have been left by someone you love. Be it divorce, emotional neglect, or the betrayal of a friend, it is difficult to go through life without experiencing some form of abandonment.

Have you ever felt like you just keep letting God down over and over? Maybe it is a habitual sin you keep returning to or maybe you feel stuck in a spiritual rut: you are not losing ground but not improving. If that is you, God has good news for you today. He is never giving up on your success. God's love is far more patient than any human love we could ever encounter. Even if people in your life have left you and given up on your progress, God will never give up on you.

God promises to show us the way of life, if we trust Him and follow Him. The beautiful thing about God is He gave us everything we need in His word. If you are looking for a renewed sense of direction or searching for your purpose in life, turn to the pages of scripture. Let the Truth wash over your soul and sink into your heart. God's plan for you is good. Your future is in His hands.

Amazing grace. The song could not be more true, especially when pondering everything God's amazing grace can accomplish. It is God's amazing grace that pulls you from your sin and seats you on the throne of redemption. It is His amazing grace that strengthens you to resist the enticing calls of the sins you struggle to reject. Amazing grace frees you in your most broken place to forgive abusers, abandoners, neglectors, intimidators, bullies, thieves, and friends.

Jesus has called us to serve - to be His hands and feet here on earth. This is a privilege and a calling. With Christ as our role model, we see that loving service is the epitome of Christianity. Jesus, the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, chose to come to earth to serve His creations. His life was marked by bold humility.
May we be bold enough to stop for the one. May we be brave enough to pause for the forgotten. May we be humble enough to look for the lost. May our lives be marked by the same humility, compassion, and service as our Savior's.

Do you ever feel like you cannot do anything right? Like no matter how hard you try, you keep tripping up and failing? It's easy sometimes to magnify our sins in our eyes and allow shame and guilt to ascend the throne of our hearts. Shame is tricky, because it can masquerade as "conviction" or "humility", when really shame is a lie from the enemy that attempts to keep us bound in sin and false mindsets from which Jesus died to set us free. One of the best ways to tell if you struggle with shame is to examine your thought life.

Do you struggle with fear? To some degree we all dealt with bouts of fear in our lives that come in different shapes and sizes. Today, no matter what kind of fear you face, remember that all fear shares one thing in common: It cannot stay in the presence of love. As we invite the love of God to invade our hearts, even to places we have long barricaded, fear must  leave. Instead of listening to the voice of fear, brooding over negativity, simply ask the Father to pour out His lavish love on you! You are His beloved, and when you ask Him to come, He always does.

All around us the earth declares the glory and majesty of our Creator. Pause to drink in the wonder of a pink and red sunset streaking across the sky. Take a moment and notice the twisted branches of the trees lining the street on your way home from work. Marvel at the miracle of creation.  God delights in creativity. He created 9,500 different species of birds, 30,000 different species of fish, and over 400,000 kinds of flowers. Let His creativity be your inspiration as you create and work and live. Let even your mistakes, your imperfect plans bring glory to the Lord.

Abandonment can look like many things from being picked last on the playground to a father that left and never came back. Whatever it looks like, the pain of abandonment is one of the worst in the world, and it is a feeling God never meant for us to feel.  In His last moments on Earth, Jesus ensured His disciples one thing: "I will not leave you orphaned. I'm coming back... I don't leave you the way you're used to being left- bereft. So don't be upset" (John 14:18, 27). And today, Jesus says the same thing to your heart.

In Micah 5:2, Jesus is called the peacemaker of the world. It is ironic that what has become one of the most stressful times of the year is the time we celebrate the grand arrival of the Greatest Peacemaker ever born. Today, no matter what kind of stress you are facing as we approach Christmas, gaze upon the face of the One True Peacemaker. He is the one who can bring you an inner peace that cannot be shaken.