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Carl Simmons's Blog (51)

Walk It Out

All of our lives, when lived rightly, are a journey into trust. A few days ago, I mentioned one prayer I’ve been repeatedly lifting up to God. In fact, there’s another particular prayer I’ve been praying for quite a while, and I think (and hope) that the development of this prayer has been reflected in these pages.

At first, and for a long time, it went like this: “Lord, help me to learn to trust you more deeply.” However, over the last several weeks, I’ve felt the need to add this:…

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Added by Carl Simmons on April 6, 2016 at 10:34am — No Comments

Put on Your New Self

Whatever we truly do for God, it is Christ in us. Whatever holiness we have is not ours to take credit for, but Christ’s to be glorified with. Even then, it is not what Christ does, but who Christ is—and how he is being formed in us.

Slowly, we are becoming the people God created us to be. Slowly, the new life Christ has in us is growing outward. However, it’s not all about waiting for things to happen. We can begin, even now, to put on our new identities in…

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Added by Carl Simmons on April 3, 2016 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Pick Up Your New Life

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose (Galatians…

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Added by Carl Simmons on March 16, 2016 at 4:52pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Life

Death is not just the end of life—it is the returning of life to its Creator. It is not a loss, but a fulfillment. All the laying down of all the pieces of our lives are but a rehearsal for that moment.

No wonder Paul says, “[W]e would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Sometimes we just want to jump to the end. Even for a coward like…

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Added by Carl Simmons on February 17, 2016 at 10:44am — No Comments

Lay Down Your Dreams

I am becoming increasingly convinced, as I get older, that God does not demand our obedience simply because it honors him. That is, of course, a true and healthy reason to do it; and I wouldn’t even bothering arguing with someone who insists that it is the primary reason. Still, as I come to more deeply experience God’s love, I’d suggest that God demands our obedience because he wants us to become the people we were truly created to be.

Because only God sees the final…

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Added by Carl Simmons on February 13, 2016 at 11:17am — No Comments

Lay Down Your Crown

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12).

Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life (…

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Added by Carl Simmons on February 3, 2016 at 10:17am — No Comments

Lay Down Your Gifts

Let’s start today by revisiting Jesus’ commissioning of the seventy-two from a few weeks ago. The seventy-two certainly had something to rejoice in when they used the gifts they had received: “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:17). And because of that, we tend to read Jesus’ response, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (…

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Added by Carl Simmons on January 28, 2016 at 9:37am — No Comments

Lay Down Your Blessings

Our new lives in Christ are just beginning. We are changed; but we are eternally far from finished. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). We will not be finished until even our new lives are fully laid down before Christ; and that cycle of blessing, crucifixion, and resurrection will continue until the day we meet Christ face to face.

More often than not, I value my…

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Added by Carl Simmons on January 20, 2016 at 10:27am — No Comments

Lay Down Like a Lion

“He crouched, he lay down like a lion and like a lioness; who will rouse him up? Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you” (Numbers 24:9).

As I first pulled together the ideas for this book, I came across this passage from Numbers, which is part of Balaam’s prophecy over the nation of Israel. (By the way, it’s also a reprise of the man Israel’s [Jacob’s] prophecy over Judah in Genesis 49:9.) It’s a curious…

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Added by Carl Simmons on January 8, 2016 at 11:34am — No Comments

Lay Down in Peace

We can get so worked up whenever someone criticizes God or Christians. We want to run to God’s defense—or honestly, much of the time, our own—and say just the right thing that will shut that other person up (in love, of course). But God can defend himself far better than we can. We are called to stand and deliver, then take what comes—just as Jesus did.

Let’s consider that for a few more moments. Take off the table the idea that Jesus was the Son of God—that Jesus is God.…

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Added by Carl Simmons on December 30, 2015 at 1:14pm — No Comments

Lay Down in Safety

As we walk according to the Spirit, we do not fully know where we he is taking us. But we do know that the Spirit is in front of us, leading us, and ready to guide and protect us as we travel in his wake. If we don’t expect to find freedom and protection within the kingdom of God, where would we expect to find it?

However, as we’re sent we’re also very much, in a human sense, taking the lead. We’re leaving the security of the known, the tangible, the familiar, and…

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Added by Carl Simmons on December 23, 2015 at 10:56am — No Comments

Lay Down in Silence

As we examined last week, we’re often slaves to our own agendas without even realizing it. We can become so paralyzed by self-analysis and self-inflicted hurry that we forget how to simply be obedient in the things God’s already called us to—and to realize that is all God asks of us.

And as last week’s assignment suggested—and you’re doing it, right?—we’re going to spend much of this week practicing the discipline of silence, and in a variety of venues. Because…

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Added by Carl Simmons on December 16, 2015 at 12:43pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Agenda

We’ve had to lay down a lot so far. Some of it has no doubt been difficult; maybe it’s even felt unnecessarily negative to some. But we have a much longer journey ahead, and we need to travel light—especially since our journey takes us even further upward.

So when I encourage you to “lay down the law—and leave it there,” I’m not just asking you to admire my mild attempt at cleverness. What I really intend to encourage you to do here is live a life where you’re not only walking in the…

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Added by Carl Simmons on December 9, 2015 at 11:35am — No Comments

Lay Down Your Fears

A great deal of the sin in our lives is little more than a lame attempt to protect ourselves from the possibility of being sinned against. Whether it’s a preemptive strike or a full-scale retreat, we’ll do just about anything to avoid the hard work of loving others. But the way to God is through loving others. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). We…

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Added by Carl Simmons on December 4, 2015 at 5:13pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Expectations

Rather than attacking today’s idea from the front—and our previous rumination on goals and plans hit on many of the ideas inherent in this next idea already—I’d like to approach today’s meditation from a different angle.

Over the last several years, and from multiple sources, God has reinforced the importance of expectancy in my life. Meaning: When we lay down our time, our possessions, our attitudes, whatever, to actually give God something to work with in our lives, do we truly…

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Added by Carl Simmons on November 18, 2015 at 11:38am — No Comments

Lay Down Your Doubt

Our anxiety expresses itself through doubt. And our doubt expresses itself by taking things into our own hands. Whether we say it or even consciously think it, trying to make things happen on our own says, at best, “God’s not giving me what I want when I want it, so I’d better make it happen myself.” And despite what seventy-five percent of Christians believe (Barna, 2005), the phrase “God helps those who help themselves” does not come from the Bible.

In this season of my…

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Added by Carl Simmons on November 4, 2015 at 1:25pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Anxiety

Let’s begin our exploration of our future at its most immediate location: Today.

My dad has a phrase I’ve used a lot in the past couple decades: “He’s the God of 11:59.” In other words, God intervenes in our lives when he’s supposed to, at our time of deepest need—not when we think he ought to show up, or when it would be easiest for us. Those who constantly take…

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Added by Carl Simmons on October 28, 2015 at 1:26pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Self-Consciousness

Today’s devotional is noticeably longer—and for that matter, noticeably ornerier—than usual. If you disagree with my opening views, or at least feel I could be a bit kinder, fine. But bear with me, and try to hear the point behind the point, because the more important issue will be bringing up the rear:

There’s a huge preoccupation in the American church right now with cultural relevance—which, in many cases, could just as easily be read as “being indistinguishable from the rest of…

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Added by Carl Simmons on September 16, 2015 at 12:05pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Weakness

So, let’s get back to our weaknesses. (I’m sure you were looking forward to that.) Most of us are well aware of how we fail to measure up to our own standards, let alone God’s. But again, Jesus knows this, too. And again, his concern is not with our failures but with our willingness to follow. He will attend to the things he’s called us to. We simply need to show up, and follow.

Sounds simple enough. The problem is, we don’t do it. We don’t think Jesus will do what he’s…

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Added by Carl Simmons on September 9, 2015 at 12:34pm — No Comments

Lay Down Your Boundaries

We now turn from the things we desire to do, to the things we don’t desire to do—and thus, from the question “Lord, why won’t you help me do this?” to “Lord, why (and how) do you expect me to do that?”

Often without even realizing, we place limitations on what God wants to do in our lives, who we’ll reach out to, when we’ll make ourselves available, where we’re willing to go for his sake. Once God’s done laughing at our plans, he gently—or sometimes quite…

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Added by Carl Simmons on September 2, 2015 at 10:22am — No Comments

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