Coronavirus – Faith, Not Sight.

Well, this is definitely a different time for all of us.  This day ends and I know I’m not the only one thinking, “this has been surreal.”  Having to hunt down usually basic groceries such as toilet paper, rice, canned goods etc., as it was announced schools will be closed for at least a month, gatherings of 250 people or more not allowed, and other closings.  There’s such uncertainty about where this is headed and the affect it could have.

I have strong faith.  Two years ago I faced a lot of trials in a small period of time and one thing that season did in me was give me a lesson in God’s faithfulness and in trusting Him beyond what we see in the natural. “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. (Psalm 36:5)

We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

In any given moment there is so much we can see or perceive in the natural, but there is also so much we cannot see.  As children of God, we have to trust His ways. As He says in His Word, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)  His Word says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” We will not always have understanding, but we can always trust.  

We know God numbers our days and that we have an eternity to look forward to with Him, we know that He is in control and that His Word is truth. We know, as His Word says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Yes, we know these things and we have to stand firm on these truths.  God is faithful! We can trust Him!


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. (Hebrews 10:36)

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Psalm 91:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.

He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;

For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

If but only one…

“If but only one.”  This is a phrase God spoke to my heart as He started giving me more and more assignments which involved stepping out of my comfort zone and being bold.  This phrase has been a continual encouragement for me as the Holy Spirit leads me to offer words of encouragement to others or to engage in acts of generosity.

When the Lord first started giving me assignments I felt uncomfortable and I felt insufficient.  I felt like words of encouragement or acts of generosity coming from me would have no significance in reaching someone.  I thought if the same words or acts would be coming from someone else they would be well received, but from me they wouldn’t have significance.  Obviously, this was lies the enemy had fed me that left me in bondage to my insecurities and prevented me from being able to be used by God to reach others in a way He wanted me to.  Praise God that I am no longer in bondage to those insecurities!

For anyone who feels led to encourage others in any way, you have to operate in the peace of trusting that God has purpose in every single thing He calls you to do, even when you won’t  always see the fruit of it.  Sometimes you will have opportunity to see the fruit of it unfolding before your eyes, and that is an amazing thing, but other times your role in encouraging is to plant a seed that you will not be able to see the outcome God has planned.  Find peace in being obedient.  As you are obedient to anything He calls you to do, you can trust that He has amazing purposes attached to every willing act of obedience.

In all that you do, “if but only one” is reached that has to be enough!  If you are in a room of people and He gives you a word to speak for someone, speak it out!  It may make absolutely no sense to everyone else in that room, but if it reaches that one person He intended it to reach, there is so much power in that!

I’m going to give an example of this in my own life that happened right after He started to speak to me about reaching “if but only one.”  The Lord put it on my heart to put together this small event for single moms and their kids who had been connected in my small group at one point or another.  He put it on my heart to invite all of them, even if they had only come to one meeting and never returned.  First, let me just say, event planning is something I’ve never done and never been interested in doing; the thought of it gives me anxiety.  But, this was different.  The Lord placed it on my heart and I was willing, and as a result the Holy Spirit led me in every detail.  I even found myself designing invitations and special name badges and ordering medals for the moms and kids.  I’m just saying it was His strength and power at work in me!

So the day came and went and I had my “if but only one” moment where the Lord blessed me with opportunity to see the fruit.  There was this one lady in particular who had only come to one small group the summer before and didn’t come back.  In that one small group meeting she had come to, she expressed that she had some social anxiety.  I really felt a strong push to invite her and to remind her of the event as it neared.  She made a last minute decision the night before the event that she would attend.

I could tell some moms and kids enjoyed the event more than others.  For some moms and kids, being outdoors and having friendly competition was not their thing (I’m sure you all know the type of kid who can’t handle losing so throws the monopoly game when they lose — hopefully not your own little angel)!  So, by the end of the event some had left early and some got enjoyment out of the time.  No matter how much anyone enjoyed it or didn’t I knew it was all worth it as God showed me the “if but only one.”

At home settling down for the night, I received a text from this lady who had expressed before to having social anxiety and had never came back to group after one meeting.  She sent me several pictures she had taken of her kids, who looked as happy as if they were at Disney, and she said these words, “Thank you for today. I needed it.”  After giving God glory and sharing with her that God had led every detail of the event, including who to invite, she responded, “He really guided me there today through you.”  I  don’t know all the details of what this lady struggled with and what all she was set free from that day,  but I’m telling you God did a powerful work!  He blessed me with the opportunity, in this instance, to have a glimpse of the fruit that came out of my obedience.  We won’t always see the fruit, but I know He showed me it that day to remind me the importance of “if but only one” being reached as we step out in obedience to all He calls us to do.

So, I encourage you, whatever God places on your heart to do, you do it!  Step out of your comfort zone when its required, climb over your walls, speak when you think you’re not sufficient, pray when you worry your words won’t flow, give when you don’t see the impact it could make!  Step out and do all He calls you to do!  Let His power flow through you!  If but only one person is reached, if but only one person is healed, if but only one person experiences freedom, if but only one person is saved!

Praise God!



But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak because we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to Himself.  All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:13-15)

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

The Faith, Works, Salvation Connection

I am finding more and more that a major gap in someone’s ability to come into to God’s loving arms is that they have a misperceived idea that there is a to-do list that would have to be perfectly completed before trying to do so.  I wrote the below last year and shared with a group of friends who were trying to understand how works tie to faith and salvation.


A question was posed among friends today regarding the connection between taking action in our faith through works, i.e., how doing works is connected to faith and, also, how doing works is connected to salvation.

I’ve spent some time finding applicable scriptures and looking up the Hebrew/Greek definitions of the words “works” or “deeds” (depending on the translation you read from) in hopes that it will help anyone reading to grasp a little better.  Here’s my best attempt at connecting the dots….

One note, where you see […..], that is my personal commentary as to something really sticking out to me or just commentary as to the way I’m interpreting something (as with behind the Hebrew/Greek definitions).

Let’s start by reading these scriptures:

Romans 3:28: For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

  • Hebrew/Greek definition of the word “works” in this scripture: “Of the works of men in reference to right and wrong as judged by the moral law: Generally”  [as in doing what is morally right from what is morally wrong].

Galatians 2:16: …know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

  • Hebrew/Greek definition of the word “works” in this scripture: “Of works of the law, meaning works required or conformable to the Mosaic moral law and required by this law.” [as in following Old Testament law (rules & regulations)]

Ephesians 2:8-9 8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9. not by works, so that no one can boast.

  • Hebrew/Greek definition of “works” in Ephesians 2:9: “Of works of the law, meaning works required or conformable to the Mosaic moral law and required by this law.” [as in following Old Testament law (rules & regulations)]

Galatians 2:21: I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Romans 5:1-2: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Ephesians 2: 4-5: But because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.

Colossians 2:13: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

2 Timothy 1: 9: He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.

John 3: 17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Titus 3: 4-: But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

John 6:28-29: Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”  Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.

I’m hoping that in reading the above scriptures, that they come to life for you and you are gaining greater understanding of God’s grace and of what Jesus has done for us.  Think of it, we didn’t have to complete a list of to-dos before we were saved.  We didn’t have to have to be graded on how well we were following rules or regulations before we were saved.  We didn’t have to have been “doing morally good” for a certain length of time before we were saved.  But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). While we were still sinners.

When we received Jesus as our Savior, it may be that the day before or even the minute before, we were living in sin; we were separated from God.  But, when we made the decision to believe in Jesus and make Him Lord of our life, it was our faith in Him that saved us, not a list of to-dos or that we had followed rules or regulations or that we had been a good enough person.  If our salvation was based on such things we would not make it, not one of us.  We would all fall short.  It was in an instant and only by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus that we were saved.  Combine all of the scriptures above.  You can see by the Hebrew/Greek definitions of works, that these scriptures were touching on all types of works.  It is not by any type of works that we can be saved.  Repeating Ephesians 2:8-9 again, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works…

 

Ok, so that covers the connection between works and salvation… at least the initial connection.  We have been justified by faith, we believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Our sins which were like scarlet have been made as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions for us (Psalm 103:12).  Now that we have faith, where do works fit in to the picture?  Several scriptures in the Bible reference works related to faith.  I am going to only share one scripture on this as I feel it, with the emphasis of the Hebrew/Greek definition, sums it up pretty well.

James 2:14-22: What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith [note the words “claims to have faith”] but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.  You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

  • Hebrew/Greek definition of the word “works” or “deeds” (depending on the translation you’re reading) in this scripture:  Of works of faith, meaning springing from faith, combined with faith. [as in these types of works are a complete result of faith]

When we have a true, solid faith in Christ, this will coincide with works (or deeds).  I think sometimes when people read the word “works,” they immediately think of super big and impactful to-dos (actions), and yes, works can include some large to-dos, but also smaller ones.  As you can see with Abraham, his type of “works” were based on having complete faith and trust in God.  His “works” were a complete obedience to God, and He was able to do this as a result of his faith.  Obviously Abraham’s was a pretty large to-do.  He could do it because he had large faith.

Keep in mind the process of sanctification (the process of being conformed to the image of Christ)… Remember, justification happens immediately when we are saved.  I’ve heard it referred to “just as if I’d never sinned.”  Sanctification, on the other hand, takes a lifetime.  As developing fruits of the Spirit can be a part of sanctification, so can developing faith be a process of sanctification.  I’m saying you can have enough faith to be saved, but it is still being developed to a level where you will start displaying more works as a result of your faith — be it the type of works where you are doing good for others, the type of works where you are hearing from God and being obedient, and so on.  I’m just trying to say, if you are questioning yourself because you feel you aren’t doing the right “works,” please don’t, because your salvation was never based on works, nor will it ever be, but as your faith grows, doing works will become a part of who you are.  If you have faith, you will have works.

In my own personal experience, God would give me small nuggets of works to complete.  For example, it may be something so small as ‘you should give that girl who sits next to you at work a scripture card (seemingly small, but that is a work and it requires faith for you to complete it and you never know what seed has been planted in your coworker as a result of you acting in faith).  Another example could be that you are driving home, feeling exhausted from a long day at work, and hear from God to stop in to a store, even though you do not need anything there and it makes no sense to you.  Out of obedience, as a result of your faith, the work occurs when you are obedient and you do it. Though it doesn’t make sense in your mind at the moment, you stop in that store out of obedience.  Sometimes there is a clear outcome; maybe you’re in that store and God shows you a family who could use the clothes you’ve been carrying in your trunk for months to drop off at a charity, so if He speaks to you to give them those clothes, you complete another work out of obedience and faith.  Or maybe nothing tangible comes out of it that you can reason, but God was testing your obedience (and possibly doing something behind the scenes that you’ll never know). Works can be something such as serving, giving and so on, but sometimes the work is  just being obedient.  He can grow us in this way.  For me, God would give small nuggets and then maybe a little bit bigger, requiring me to exercise more faith.  I have found that He grows my faith in the process, and as my faith grows, the works grow too.

Well, I’m going to call that a wrap for tonight.  Hopefully this is received well and helps you in your understanding.   I wasn’t intending on writing a book, but there it is…

Be blessed!

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

Trusting God’s way, not our own…

God could have immediately delivered the Israelites from their enemy (the Egyptians).  He could have done this in an instant, in the same fashion He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in an instant, but instead He worked their deliverance in such a way that they had to face hardship in the process.

When Moses and Aaron first told the Israelites that God saw their turmoil in Egypt and would deliver them, they bowed down and worshiped the Lord.  Isn’t that quite often our response when God reveals to us He is about to make a powerful move in our lives?  We praise Him and worship Him and are excited about what He is going to do.  Then, somewhere along the way, while God is still actively working behind the scenes making the move He said He would, we get discouraged in the waiting and so often trials come against us.

Right after Moses and Aaron revealed to the Israelites they would be delivered and right after they had worshiped the Lord, the Egyptians increased their workload and beat them for not meeting quota.  Then they questioned Moses and Moses in turn questioned God, “Why have You brought trouble on this people?”  We so often question God when we see things aren’t going the way we, in our narrow mindedness, thought would be the best case scenario; all the while amidst our questioning, God is still at work beyond what we can see.

We have to trust God’s way and God’s timing. Yes, He could deliver us from all our troubles in an instant, but there is so much more at stake, so much more than meets the eye, so often a powerful work being done within us through the troubles we face.

I can personally say I look back on all of my trials I have faced since knowing the Lord and I can see much needed growth that God did in me through each and every one.  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.  I’m thankful for the trials!  Part of our testimony which leads others into the loving arms of our Savior is the troubles we’ve been through and how we have overcome them by God’s grace and love.

We know that after the Israelites went through much trial and tribulation, God delivered them from the Egyptians just as He said He would.  He could have delivered them in a moment, but would they have known their need for God in the long run; would they have appreciated the depth of it, or would they have seen it as a simple thing?  God was growing their faith in Him through their adversity, just as He grows our faith in Him.

If you are facing trials, I encourage you that God’s Word is true and that includes for you.  His Word never fails!  You can walk by faith, not by sight, knowing He is working all things for your good!  We have an eternal home and the trials we face in this life are not only growing us to be able to accomplish the plans and purposes God has for us here, but also preparing us to be ready to step into eternity with Him someday.  Keep pressing forward.  God is faithful!

 


By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:24-26)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the l hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:1-4)

For we live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:1-3)

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me. (Psalm 50:15)

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

Facing a fork in the road?

You’ve felt a stir within you and you know God is getting ready to make a move in your life; you just don’t know when and where.  Then it happens!  You see a path in front of you with a fork in the road. You can go left or right; both paths are uncertain. Which do you choose?

I’ve come across several people lately who are facing this scenario.  It’s a tough one.  Sometimes God lays the path right in front of you and you just have to keep stepping, but sometimes there’s a fork and you have to make a decision one way or the other.  As I so often say, if you are submitted to and trusting God, you can be assured that you are right where you need to be at any given moment.  You just have to be willing to take any step He leads you to take.

When there’s two promising but uncertain paths presented before you, the best response you can take is to pray, pray, pray.  As you pray it is going to settle on your heart which path you are to take.  Whichever path you choose will be the right one.  His Word is true; He’s directing your path so you have nothing to fear in making the decision.  Take the step you feel most led to take and you can have peace as you trust that God is truly directing your path and since He is you know that He will present a closed door if you’re starting to take a wrong step.

So, prayerfully make the decision and don’t be afraid to take the step!  As you are trusting Him and submitting to Him, you can be assured He will not let you go any way that is outside of His will for you.

Be blessed!


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

God’s great love!

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” (Psalm 27:10)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

“The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.” (Psalm 33:13-15)

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)

God’s truth about His love for YOU. Straight from the Word.

Praise God for His unfailing love!

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

As He leads

I have pondered some big questions lately.  What is my place in this world? How can I help the hurting?  What does God have for me to accomplish?  I am different than the average; how can I really be used?

As I have pondered all this, There is one solid conclusion I have come to.  Jesus.  Jesus is the only answer.  He defines my place in this world, He is the only answer for the hurting, God has much for me to accomplish because of my faith in Jesus and He has led me to embrace my differences and realize that my differences equate to Him being able to use me in a different way.  God wired me the way I am and He has purpose in the way He designed me.

I dont know exactly what all He will call me to do, but He has been lovingly revealing to me over the past few years that I am someone He can and will use to accomplish His purposes.  He once told me, “what you see as your weaknesses, I see as your strengths.”  He has been growing my faith tremendously over these past few years as I have stepped out in faith and obedience and as I have realized my complete dependence on Him.  I’m not afraid because I know He is with me.  I have complete trust in Him and He gives me strength.  When I face worries and uncertainty, I know that because I am submitted to and trusting Him everything is working out for good.  I walk by faith and not by sight.

When I was just starting my faith journey, a little over five years ago, He gave me a vision of how my journey would look and He gave me a ‘life scripture’:

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I saw a vision of an incomplete brick path in the process of being laid.  It looked rather rough as if it had been there waiting to be worked on a while.  At the time I received the vision, I was having worry over stepping outside of His will – of missing it or taking a wrong step.  He told me that I do not have to fear taking a misstep because, while a step off the path would cause delay, as I focused on Him and trusted Him He would rework the path so my feet would be on it once again.  He showed me my feet on the incomplete path and I saw my foot take a step and as I took the step He laid a brick below it before my foot hit the ground.  As I took the step, the path no longer looked old and abandoned!  He was completely directing and establishing my path as I took a step.

I have been seeing this vision take place in my life.  He speaks something to me and as I take a step in faith and obedience, He truly directs my path.  I see good come out of these steps of obedience.  I see His strength overcoming my weaknesses in these steps of obedience.  I see His purposes being accomplished in these steps of obedience.

I just recognized this right now, seeing that unfinished path that hadn’t been worked on in a while was an invitation.  It was an invitation for me to be a willing servant, for me to be obedient in lifting my foot to take any step He calls me to take.  Over these past few years, I’ve had to overcome some worry and I’ve had to allow Him to do some much needed growth in me, and now I’m at that place where nothing holds me back.  I am willing to step as He leads.

May His good, pleasing and perfect will always be done in me and through me. For His glory!

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

Thankful

It’s that time of year again where everyone is asked the question, “what are you thankful for?”  Hopefully whenever you ponder that question, you have a hard time answering – not for lack of things to be thankful for, but because there’s an immeasurable amount to be thankful for!  I couldn’t answer that question in simplicity; I’d have to write a book and it would be incomplete.  I hope that you feel the same way!  We are so blessed!

So instead of asking, “what are you thankful for,” here’s my question:  “When you think of this past year and all you have to be thankful for, what is one thing this year that has really stood out among the immeasurable list of what you have to be thankful for?”

Here’s my answer:

Last year was a year of many trials, but also a year of growth.  In a span of four months, my sister was in the hospital for over a month with life threatening injuries, the home I lived in had a house fire, I moved in to my own place with my son for the first time in his life, my grandma had a stroke that left her in an alzheimers state, my grandpa died after a long battle with cancer, I was in a hit and run car accident (the guy later turned himself in) that totaled my car and left me in a very long and frustrating process, the car I replaced it with broke down, my super sweet and loved boss passed away after a short battle with cancer.  It was a lot of trials, but also a lot of growth and a lot of blessing in response to the trials.

I share this because it was the beginning process of what I am most thankful for this year.  Last year when I was facing trial after trial God placed the word “preparation” on my heart.  This gave me hope in the midst of what I was facing.  I really was able to keep my eyes on Jesus through it all.  At the beginning of this year God placed the word “growth” on my heart, and that is what I have experienced this year.  What stands out to me this year in particular to be most thankful for is that God has been growing me in my relationship with Him and He has been growing me as a whole, helping me to discover who I am in Him and to find complete fulfillment in Him.  As I have given over control to Him over these past two years, submitting to and trusting Him, He has truly directed my every path, led me in the way I should go, and established my plans — just as His Word promises to do (see Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 32:8, Proverbs 16:3).  It is this growth, in dependence on Him, in faith and trust in Him, in fulfillment in Him, in completeness in Him, that I am most thankful for this year.


Someone shared this fabulous idea and my son and I started a “Grateful Jar” at the end of summer.  We write down one thing we are grateful for in the morning before we start our day and drop it in the jar.  It has been wonderful to reflect on all God has done and continues to do for us!

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Be blessed!

Keep enduring, keep pressing forward; your breakthrough is coming.

When God is about to do something big in or through our lives, there is a real enemy who will try and come against it.  I once heard someone put it this way, “God has defeated the enemy, but the greatest way the enemy can get to God is to stop one of His kids from fulfilling His purpose for them.”  The enemy can see when we are growing closer to God and the enemy can see when God is aligning things for victory in our lives or when God is aligning us in a position to be used by Him to let Him bring victory into the lives of others.

God’s plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future.  God’s plans are to work all things for our good and turn what the enemy meant as harm to us to be used for good.  God’s plans are for us to come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved.  God’s plans are for us to share Him with others and bring glory to Him.

The enemy does not like any of it and will do anything to stop God’s plans for us.  The Bible says the enemy comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  We have to be on our guard with an awareness that as we are pressing forward in God’s will for us, we will face opposition.  I have experienced this time and time again in my own life, and right before I have experienced the greatest growth or breakthrough, I faced a tremendous amount of opposition.

Don’t be afraid of this opposition because God is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.  His word says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)  Keep enduring, keep pressing forward.  Breakthrough is coming!  Victory is near!

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Be blessed!


“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy ; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

To the one who feels like giving up…

If you feel alone and like nobody understands and like nothing will ever change, I’m here to tell you that you are wrong!  I’ve been in that same place before, having those feelings, and I know how burdensome each day can be.  I know what it feels like to want it to all end.  I also know what it feels like to give up and give in when you don’t know any other way.

I feel led right now to reach out to anyone who may be in that place.  Don’t give up.  You may not understand what I’m saying right now, but I promise you that there is hope for you.

Go back 6 years ago and I wouldn’t say such a thing, but here’s what I have to say to you, Jesus is real.  At a time when I had no belief or consciousness of Him, He did a work that led me from the darkest of places I could have been.  When I was in my darkest place, no one ever expressed this to me, what I am saying to you right now.  No one mentioned Jesus; no one told me there was hope in this life.  But, thank God He had His way of reaching me and He didn’t leave me in that dark place.  I’m begging you, please don’t blow this off.  This can be a starting point for you, that’s what I’m hoping and praying.  If you’re seeing this then I believe God led you to see it (or He led you to share it with someone you know who needs to read it).  My stats on this blog are not many as I do not put in effort to share it (God will lead who needs to see it here), so if you’re reading this then I believe you are at a first step.  I would not be able to say all this if I hadn’t experienced it personally.

When I was at my darkest I had no real understanding of what unconditional love is.  I felt unwanted and I felt like I had no purpose in this life.  I reached a point where I felt stuck and I really wanted it to just end.  That’s when God began to do a work that led me to Him and changed my whole future.  What He did for me He will do for you. He loves you.  He knows you, everything about you – your good, your bad, your ugly – and with everything He knows He wants you so much. He loves you unconditionally and He wants to be in a relationship with you.  He wants to show you just how loved you are.  Though people may let you down, He never will.  He has plans for you – to prosper you and not harm you, to give you hope and a future.  He has His eye on you, yes you.  He sees you and He has a special plan for you.  Yes, these words are really true for you.

There is nothing complicated about having a relationship with God.  It starts with a desire.  When I first had a curiosity and a desire to have this hope that I was seeing as a possibility in Jesus, I went through several weeks of pondering and the biggest question I struggled with was, “Will He really forgive EVERY sin?”  To save you all that pondering, the answer is yes.  The Bible says,  ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ” (Isaiah 1:18) “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)  He will forgive your EVERY sin.

Read this and accept it. It was God’s heart for me and it is His heart for YOU too:

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders  and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

He cares that much for YOU.  The Bible says that nothing can separate you from His love!

I pray that you have a glimpse of hope and that there is a desire in you for what I now have in Jesus.  It starts with a desire and telling Him you want to know Him.  It’s your own words from your heart, nothing fancy.  It can be as simple as, “Jesus, I realize there is nothing in this life that completely satisfies and I’d like to get to know you. Reveal yourself to me. I want to know what it means to know you. I want to surrender to you and have a relationship with you. I am a sinner and I need a Savior. Jesus, cleanse me of me of my sin. I believe in you. I believe you died for me and rose again so that I could have life in you. I surrender to You as my Lord.  ”

If you prayed this today, I am so excited for you.  There is rejoicing in heaven right now!  If you need any prayer or if you need further direction, dont hesitate to reach out!

Be blessed!


 

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ” (Isaiah 1:18)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Psalm 37: 23-24)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson