This love.

There is a love.  It’s a love that’s hard to fathom, until you know it.  It seems out of reach, until you’ve attained it.  It appears surreal, until you’ve experienced it.  Yes, there is a love like no other.  It’s unconditional, unearned, unfailing, unending.  It is freely given, but at a high cost – a cost that has already been ransomed.  This love.  There is nothing like it.


 

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

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

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

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

2020, A year of… Grace

Grace.

I could never have enough of it; I can’t live without it. God’s grace sustains me.  As I prayerfully considered what God would have me share in this new year, He led me to share a few, “2020, A year of…” words of encouragement.  This one, “grace,” is the one that resonates with me the most right now.  I’m at a place in my journey where it is only by His grace that I press forward.  For those like me who day by day lean on His grace, I encourage you, we are at a good place.  Relying completely on God and the strength and grace He provides is the best posture we could be in.  As we keep seeking His grace, we will keep finding His grace. We must keep our eyes always fixed on Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  He fulfills, He heals, He makes whole.

Lord, Thank You for Your unfailing love and for Your never ending mercy and grace.  For all those who need Your grace in this new year, I pray that you would pour it out in abundance.  Thank You that You never leave us; You never forsake us. With You by our side we will never fall.  You uphold us and strengthen us.  God, You have shown us so much grace!  Thank You, Lord!  May we experience more and more of Your grace as we press forward, keeping our hope and trust always in You.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)

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, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” (2 Corinthians 1:12)

“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

2020, A year of… Breakthrough

Breakthrough.

To the one who needs breakthrough, Keep pressing forward in the strength and grace God gives. You are not in this alone and you will experience the breakthrough you need.  There is always so much more going on than meets the eye.  We can only see what is in front of us, but God can see the whole picture and He knows exactly what needs to be lined up and how to make your miracle happen.

Lord, I pray for whoever is reading this and needs breakthrough.  God, may they feel your love and presence in a fresh way as we enter into the new year. I pray You would give them strength and that they would recall Your faithfulness, how You’ve always been there for them.  You’ve been faithful before, You will be faithful now, and You will be faithful always!  I pray you would give them strength to press forward and endure and to take any needed steps of faith.  May they trust in You, Lord, with all their heart and lean not on their own understanding, in all their ways submit to You, knowing You will direct their paths. You are a good and faithful God. To You be all glory! In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

“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)

“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)

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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

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