Category: desperate for God

Fortify Your Faith

Do you ever marvel at the countless times our heart and soul need encouragement, reassurance or a simple reminder of God’s faithfulness? I do. The baffling truth is—human nature always causes us to forget God’s faithfulness and revert to old thought patterns of doubt and self-reliance. This is one reason we must daily fortify our faith. We don’t read our Bible and pray everyday out of religious routine, we do it because we need continual downloads of truth that strengthen our belief—drawing us nearer to Jesus.

I’ve been in a huge battle, a battle that’s generations old, not just on my side of the family but on my husband’s side as well. I mentioned in a recent blog, the victory I’ve had over the fear of lack and lack its self. I truly believe it’s been defeated, but of course it regularly tries to remind me otherwise. This week is one of those times.

What did I do?
First, I ‘ll tell you what I didn’t do, I did not agree with it—I’m choosing not to listen to lies and accusations.
Second, praying and reading the truth and choosing to believe it!
Third, asked for help. I have two friends who live hundreds of miles away—they always have my back. With assurance I sent out an email asking for prayer. We never have to fight our battles by our self. Both replied with encouragement, one friend sent the following response. With her permission I’m sharing it with you, it was too good not to!

As you read it let your faith be fortified. It’s written by Cathy Brookshire, my friend, sojourner, mentor and sister.

“Remember – Jesus asks you to find Him today – in the moment and to be thankful – right now – for His presence and His provision.

It is always when we start living in the past or the future when “old friends” [fear, worry, doubt] come to visit.

Is the manna He has given enough for today? Will He provide the necessary manna tomorrow? The Israelites didn’t know. . . so they had to put their trust in God, believe God, rest in today’s provision and trust if there was no manna in the morning then God was going to do a new thing.

Their trust could not be in the manna – the provision – the whole reason manna was provided was so their trust would be placed on God and God alone and they would find everything they needed in life right there, right in the middle of nothing, right in the middle of the desert.

The Israelites did not need one thing added to their lives because they had the very presence of God. All God wanted them to do was to see Him, know Him, love Him receive His love for themselves and to be satisfied in Him to taste and see that He is good.

God is asking us the same question: “Am I enough?” My circumstances do not ever have to change – only my heart – only my perspective – if God is with me then I am satisfied. I am whole. I am healed. I am provided for. I am cared for. I am loved. I can not stay the same if I choose to sit in His presence. I am changed. I am transformed. I have no need. Everything that is not of Him has to flee.

Today I choose God. Today I choose satisfaction in Jesus. Today I choose rest in His presence. Today I choose peace that surpasses understanding, as I hand over every prayer/need. Today I choose to be loved and to have His love fill me, heal me make me whole.

God is looking for His people to put their trust in Him and Him alone. . .come Lord and may Your presence be enough to satisfy our souls.”

Please be encouraged today to make Jesus enough—to trust in Him—not in what He provides!

Romans 4:20-21 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Change of Season

When the beautiful leaves of fall begin to flood the ground—my heart twinges—it’ll soon be winter. Of all the season changes this one causes me—the born and raised southern California girl, to have to mentally prepare.

My heart and life are experiencing an even vaster season change. Just the term used to describe it sounds wrong. Empty nest.

Truly, it’s not the fact that the kids grew up that aches my heart—it’s the rending—the separation—the change of season it self.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m over being sad, excited for the next season and I am gladly letting go of last season, ready to move forward—I just didn’t realize the ache would be so deep.

Two weeks ago today we packed up our youngest child and moved him to California, where he will begin fulfilling his God designed destiny. Before we left I went into his room to make sure nothing was forgotten—just the sight of the emptiness brought tears. I said oh God—I’m in trouble—it’s not even 6 AM on the first day of the trip and I’m crying! Ten minutes later with tears in his eyes my husband asks if I’ll be okay—more tears—this only lasted a few hours—thankfully our son was in a different car than us!

The day before the trip I sat at mid-day, amongst the chaos of preparations, in my chair needing my Father to hold me. In His faithfulness and this is the gist of what I want to share with you, He showed me that my heart is securely in His hand and He is massaging it. He knows the ache, He understands the season change and He’s put my heart in his tender care.

How faithful is God that He would accept the gift of our heart and take charge of it? I’m so grateful to be in a relationship with the One who knows and understands the smallest to the largest of heartache. He knew this time would come—this ache—and He knew just what to do.

This was an anticipated season change—every parent knows its coming, at times we even long for it. We prepare our children for adulthood—we teach them to walk, talk, feed themselves, use the potty,  get dressed on their own, read and write, take chances, speak out, be who God created them to be—that’s what we do as parents—every step of the way teaching them to be independent of us. By the grace of God we teach them to be excellent, strong, mature, loving, kindhearted, God filled—world changers.

Why then are we so taken off guard when those taught excellence, walk in excellence?

Because we have dared to love.

Dared to take God’s charge of carrying, giving birth to, training and finally releasing—yet again into God’s loving hands.

Letting go—always letting go—such is life.

The night before we said goodbye we were at his new church where he will start an internship, I looked over at my man-child—so handsome and so grown. He was worshiping the Lord—just as I taught him to do—giving God his all. As I wiped my tears the Lord softly said “He also is in my Hand.”

Everyone—everything—every season—always in His faithful hand.

Life—but a vapor is always bursting with season changes—no need to fear, be encouraged in knowing—your heart is being held by the heartbeat of heaven Himself.

Isaiah 43:13 Indeed before the day was, I am He And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand, I work, and who will reverse it?”

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Apology: The advertisements on my page are allowed by the blog site WordPress, I personally have nothing to do with them…sorry for any inconvenience.

 

What Mountain?

Have you ever found yourself facing a mountain in life? A mountain of trail so vast—discouragement immediately sets in?

But what if your mountains could simply melt like wax?

Metaphorically speaking Psalm 97:5 says just that!

“The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.”

In order for the mountains we face to melt, we have to realize what exactly the mountains are. Take a look at the following scripture in Mark 11:20-23.

“In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!’ ‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.”

Essentially Jesus is saying, if we do not doubt—but believe His Word with our whole heart—mountains, the minute they present themselves can be tossed into the sea—just like that! And we can confidently live our life saying “What Mountain?”

Question, why would Jesus answer Peter’s remark about the fig tree “Have faith in God?” Jesus is always teaching us something bigger than what our eyes see. He must have known Peter’s (and our) biggest struggle was faith in God—alone.

Our faith has to be about Him alone, therefore; “Have faith in God.” Faith is not about our works or the methods we use to get God to move on our behalf. It’s about simple truth in the only One who never lies.

The mountains are not the things that we face at all.

A troubled marriage, finances, rebellious children, depression, addictions, impossible circumstances, grief, illness—depending on our faith—these feel as enormous as Mt. Everest.

But in all reality the mountain we face is unbelief.

Everything in life that would present itself as a mountain originates from unbelief. Therefore, if we have true faith in God, there would not be mountains to face, because true faith in God believes He is bigger than any problem or trial that tries to rise against us. True faith in God does not worry or fret wondering if God will perform—true faith in God knows God can and will come through. True faith in God rests in thy will be done and does not try to manipulate Him to do what we want Him to do. Accordingly, if we have true faith in God everything that appears as a mountain melts like wax before the Lord our God.

You’ve got to love this!

The mountains we face are not objects of opposition at all. The mountain is what’s in us—it is what we believe or do not believe about God.

Our Christian mindset is not exactly faith in God. It is faith in God and me. When our faith is divided between God and self, or God and methods, faith becomes diluted, therefore making faith weak, becoming unbelief and is rendered ineffective.

The mountain of unbelief that resides in people is the most difficult to move. Why? Because the battle is no longer God and me against adversity—but our soul against our spirit, (Gal. 5:16-18) “Me” against God. It’s easy to look at the attack of the devil against us, but when the battle lays within, it is a different story because to win, self must decrease.

In regard to overcoming unbelief—follow the methods mentioned in my last blog: Fully Convinced (click to read).

Most importantly what we must recognize about mountain moving faith is that it’s about relationship with God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. We must live a Christ centered life where Jesus is enough. Remembering God is not a genie. In this setting—as we spend time with Him, our faith increases and the mountains melt like wax before the Lord our God.

Please be encouraged to make your new saying “What mountain?”

Apology: The advertisements on my page are put up by the blog site WordPress, I personally have nothing to do with them…sorry for any inconvenience.

Fully Convinced

Do you ever wavier in your belief?

Are you fully convinced God will do all He’s promised? I’m not sure why this is such a tall order—but it is.

Romans 4:20-22

He [Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

What has God promised? Well, the entire Bible is promise after promise. And we must be fully convinced that God will do all He’s promised. Fully convinced—no doubting.

A doubting person is said to be double minded and unstable in all their ways. It’s crucial to fully believe so we are not unstable in all our ways

James 1:6-8

Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Remember God’s Faithfulness is Not On Trial (click to read). He is faithful—He can be trusted. No matter what hasn’t happened in the past, it’s essential to take God at His Word—understanding, He’s not a man that He would lie (Num. 23:19). Every Word is truth—every Word can be believed.

Recently I experienced a crisis of belief. The story unfolds as this…it was an extremely windy, cold day and I was at my son’s soccer game. I was working on being thankful for the weather and felt as if the Lord asked “why don’t you pray and ask for the wind to stop?” So I did—I prayed and asked Him to please stop the wind. After praying I looked around, semi waiting for it to stop and when it didn’t I just shrugged. I got what I expected—nothing.

Then my other son, who was hunkered down next to me, asked “why don’t you ask God to stop the wind.”  I responded “I did.”

What he spoke next stabbed deep—as if God Himself were asking. He said, “Did you believe it when you asked? I truthfully had to say “no.”

My crisis of belief was that I didn’t even expect God to answer. I just routinely asked Him. It was true lip service—not heart knowing belief.

Yes, I have faith for a lot of things but that just won’t do, I’m thirsty for more and on a quest to become a whole hearted believer, fully convinced that every promise in His Word is true!

In the world of Christ centered people fractional faith should not exist. It’s imperative that we be fully convinced He answers prayers. We need to want to be the kind of people who ask without doubting—just as the Word says.

How do we move from half-hearted belief to fully convinced?

Romans 4:20-21 says [1] He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, [2] but was strengthened in faith, [3] giving glory to God.

1.      We don’t wavier

·         Determine to believe—Isaiah 50:7

2.      We get strengthened in faith by

·         Repenting and asking forgiveness for  unbelief—Acts 3:19

·         Submit unbelief to God, resist the devil—James 4:7

·         Pray asking God to heal unbelief—Mark 9:24, John17:5-6

·         Exchange unbelief for faith—Isaiah 53:3-6, Galatians 3:13–14

·         Read, hear and obey the Word of God—James 1:22-25, Romans 10:17

·         Worship—Luke 4:8

·         In everything give thanks—1 Thessalonians 5:18

·         Fast—Mark 9:29,

·         Invite the Holy Spirit into the empty place of unbelief in our heart and life—Galatians 5:22-25

·         Wait on the Lord—Psalm 27:14

3.      We give glory to God

·         Humbly acknowledge God, giving Him glory for everything—John 7:18

Please join me in my quest to become a whole hearted believer.

Be encouraged to set your heart and soul to be fully convinced that what He promises He is also able to perform—and your faith will be accounted to you as righteousness!

 

Romans 4:19-25

Abraham didn’t focus on his own inability and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.

Apology: The advertisements on my page are put up by the blog site WordPress, I personally have nothing to do with them…sorry for any inconvenience.

Avoiding Relationship Failure

Relationships come in many shapes and sizes. From intensely deep to causal. No matter the relationship—the concept of preferring one another always applies.

This morning as I was preparing a word for a friend whose marring later today, the Lord dropped the word preference into my heart, along with Romans 12:10,

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Following is a re-post of a blog written about this time last year. This concept is timeless. Pleaseenjoy and apply!

Just the other day, I had a great conversation with a young bride to be. I was reminded of an amazing concept the Lord deposited in my heart years ago regarding relationships.

This approach to relationships is especially ideal when it comes to marriage.

Before I share this amazing secret with you, let me ask you a question. What do you think is the leading cause of any relationship malfunction and divorce?

Granted, I’m no expert but what God has shown me, is that selfishness and pride are the number one culprits of relationship failure.

I call it, “The Me factor.”

The secret  to relationships is “Preference.” Defined as: to value more highly, to hold before or above; and to give priority to.

Our example is found in Jesus. At the cross He preferred you and me. He knew it would be a brutal endeavor to go through, yet He chose God’s will over His. (Luke 22:42)

The concept unfolds as this—if each person in the relationship/marriage prefers and thinks more highly of the other, caring for the needs of the other person over their own needs, then all needs will be met.

Living a life of preference takes the focus off of our self; what I want—what I need and puts the emphasis on the other person in the relationship. We move out of the selfishness of concentrating on our own wants, needs and desires and tune into what will bless the other person.

Is this an easy way to live? No.

Why? Because in order to be like Jesus we must die daily—we must decrease so He can increase.

The fear to this lifestyle is; what if the other person in the relationship doesn’t want to live a preferring life style? What about Me? How will my needs be met?

Valid concern. The answer—Jesus.

Since He really is, the only one who should or could, complete, fulfill or meet our needs—then He is the answer.

This was a difficult concept to grasp, mainly because it opposed my flesh. But once I submitted to the Lord in thisit changed my life, not to mention all my relationships!

In my marriage I stopped choking the life out of my husband trying to get him to meet my every need. Essentially I discovered that Jesus really is enough for me.

This concept brings freedom. It frees you to go deeper in relationship with God, making Him all you need. It frees you to love others, love your spouse, parents, children and siblings without putting the heavy burden of meeting your needs on them. Basically you are free to love without unreasonable expectations on either party.

I have found such joy and depth in my relationship with God since He asked me to live life in this manner of preference.

I invite you to go deeper. To relinquish your wants, needs and desires to God and let Him be “The One” to complete you. You seriously won’t be sorry—just free. Free to love and be loved!

Divine Rearrangement

cs lewis

I was recently reminded of a time in my life where the landscape of my heart and soul were rearranged. Prior to this divine rearrangement I was unsatisfied with my life and my simple Christianity, I knew there had to be more.

In my thirst I cried out to the Lord asking for His rain, fire, wind and flood. I did this with an unpretentious understanding that He would come and bring something fresh. What I didn’t realize was that it would rearrange my entire life.

When we think of the rain of God—we picture Him showering us with His love, the fire of God is pictured as His intense presence, the wind—His Spirit flowing through us, the flood—an abundance of refreshing.

That’s very poetic, but in all reality when those four elements arrived they overwhelmed everything I knew, and when they left I was rearranged. Rearranged for the better of course—and in the end that’s all that really mattered.

I was reflecting on hurricanes and tsunamis, or storms of any kind—after their initial devastation the landscape, to say the least, is rearranged.

Most times we don’t understand why hardships are allowed to interrupt our life—but what I do know is—God is constantly good, and always has a beautiful purpose for divine rearrangement.

Even the simplest most sought after situations bring rearrangement. Take marriage for example—the young couple so excited to finally live together, embark on their new life and suddenly reality hits—they have to learn to live their life in a whole new manner. It’s no longer about one person, but about selflessly giving your whole self to the person who just invaded your space! Now life is rearranged.

Or how about having a new baby? The couple has hoped and prayed and imagined how wonderful this new precious life will be. And yes, this baby is the most perfect gift. But truth be told—this tiny, adorable child has many needs! And life as you know it is divinely rearranged!

In all situations it’s our heart that matters. We must keep a soft, pliable heart towards God. Embracing the good and the bad—seeking His divine, sovereign purpose—even in rearrangement.

Please be encouraged knowing that if God be for you who can be against you!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3

Marry a Prostitute?

I’m engulfed in an amazing novel titled Redeeming Love. It’s a work of fiction based on the true account of Hosea in the Bible.

The book of Hosea is about God’s restorative love for His people and the unique method He chose to reveal it. Essentially it’s a prophetic statement—God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. He doesn’t argue with God, but I wonder what he was thinking?

It was a harsh demonstration of loving the unlovely.

God wanted His people to know how much he loved and cared for them, that they were His beloved. He wanted to be known not as master, but as a loving husband. A loving husband that unconditionally loves His beloved, no matter the state of her heart and life.

As I’m reading this novel I’m praying and putting myself in two places, one—as the prostitute herself (Gomer in the Bible and Angel in the book) and two—as Michael Hosea, the man who loves the hurting, miserable prostitute.

Honestly, I can relate to both. Not that I’ve ever prostituted (thank God!) But in her, I see the person I used to be, one who self protects and is afraid to dream or imagine anything different for her life. A wounded person petrified of true love.

Sadly, I also see the person I am now. One who has experienced God’s immeasurable, healing, redeeming love—yet still hesitates—at times—to surrender my whole heart and soul in complete submission—for fear of pain.

I can relate to the man in this because He represents God. Scripture says to imitate God in all we do. I want to patiently love as He does. Even when the person you’re trying to love and help; can’t receive or won’t reciprocate, even if that person hurts you. Loving the unloveable is what Hosea did as he prophetically demonstrated how God loves us.

It’s interesting how the two personalities in the books, though they be so opposite, relate to each other. In order to love as God does, we have to experience it for ourselves. We must allow this unconditional love to penetrate our very heart and soul, therefore bring change to the way we give and receive love.

At some point in our life we have to surrender to God’s love and learn to walk in obedience. Knowing, His ways are much better than ours. Unfortunately,  some will wait so long that it will be too late.

How do we surrender when we can’t trust love? Surrendering is an act of the will. Youwill yourselfover to love and relationship, as painful as it may be—you choose love.

You will yourself to believe that God’s love is good and trustworthy. His love is evident in all He does, just read the book of Hosea…the book of John…all the books in the Bible! For God so loved the world, even though the world didn’t love Him, He gave Jesus.

I want to leave you with a quote from the book Redeeming Love. It’s found at the top of chapter 7, it’s a quote from a poem written in the 1400’s, by Charles D’Orleans.

I am dying of thirst by the side of a fountain

This appropriately describes a hurting person. Though they sit right next to The Fountain, they will die, for they refuse to drink.

Be encouraged—surrender to love—so you can be love.

Hosea 10:12  “Sow for yourselves according to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God); reap according to mercy and loving-kindness. Break up your uncultivated ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, to inquire for and of Him, and to require His favor, till He comes and teaches you righteousness and rains His righteous gift of salvation upon you.”

Sober

When you read the word sober what’s your first thought?
The sober that I’m referring to is found in 1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Possessing a sober attitude about life will free us from foolishness and heartache. It will cause us to be vigilant, discerning and intentional with our life. Not only will we be aware of the devil’s schemes but we will be able to live lives that function with purpose.

When I was a new wife and mom I never really thought much about being intentional. In fact it was not until I had my first teenager that I realized being intentional in life is critical.

We can’t just let life happen and expect all will turn out well. No, because if we do our adversary the devil, will devour us and all that we hold dear. It’s pure stupidity to think our enemy won’t do his job—steal—kill—destroy.

When we live sober and intentional we live knowing what we want to accomplish in life. It’s as I tell my kids, “Make a good choice and stick with it, then let every decision support that one choice.”

If we intend to know and love God, living our life in His presence, then we must make every choice in accordance to our first choice to know and love Him.

Being a Christian does not just happen. If we want our kids to love and obey God then we have to intentionally raise them with such a purpose.

Purity does not just transpire. If we desire purity and if we long to raise our kids to be pure, then we need to make deliberate life choices as to what we will teach, how we will live and what we will allow in our personal life and in our family.

Careers, success, financial gain, a good marriage, obedient children, good health—the list is endless—none of these just appear. Accomplishment in any area of life has to be intentional.

This means having a sober/seriousness in the manner in which we live our life.

I’m not talking about being a prude and living a religious life, void of fun—no, not at all.

I’m referring to living a deliberate, calculated life style led by the Holy Spirit, where we make every choice in life in alignment with our first choice.

We love God this way; love our spouse, raise our kids, look for a spouse, we spend our money, guard our words, minister, and love our family and friends—all in this manner.

Please be encouraged—by the grace of God to love and live your life with vigilance, intention and with a sober heart and soul.

The Thirsty Will Be Filled

If you are thirsty you will be filled. No matter where you are in your relationship with God you can know Him deeper. Once again I was looking through the archives of my blogs, searching for something to re-post while I’m on vacation. This post on acquiring a thirst for God jumped out, begging me to re post it! Please read and allow the Holy Spirit to give you a deeper thirst for God.

Acquire a Thirst

Water and food are two necessities we cannot live without. It’s not a coincidence that Jesus is equated to both water and food. Essentially we cannot survive without Jesus, the living water—the bread of life.

Someone who is thirsty can be described as desperate, parched, desirous, eager and with a craving for liquid. The truly thirsty practically go insane longing for water.

Isaiah 44:3 says,

“I will pour water on him who is thirsty and floods on the dry ground”

If you are thirsty you will be filled.

God promises to quench the thirst of those who are thirsty. The significance here is; of those who are thirsty, we must have a desire—a longing, to be filled by Him.

Do you ever feel complacent, with no real ambition or thirst for God? Interesting enough, God is the one who will help us overcome the complacency we are feeling towards Him. If we do not have a thirst—or a yearning for God, or for a deeper relationship with Him—we need to ask Him to make us thirsty.

One of the main reasons complacency sneaks its way in, is because we are not desperate enough for God. When we are not thirsty we usually don’t drink.  Complacency is defined as extremely self satisfied—just the opposite of what the Bible calls us to.

Psalm 42:1-2

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”

As much as God loves us He gave us a free will. He wants us to come to Him.

In John 7:37 Jesus said

“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!”

His desire is that we desire Him, that we love and seek Him by our own free will.

In James 4 it says, if we draw near to God He will draw near to us, not when He draws near then we draw near. We have to make the first move. If we seek Him we will find Him—the key is we must seek Him.

God delights in our enthusiasm to love Him. The truth is, when we are in love with someone we will do whatever we have to just to be with that person. If seeking God is not a thirst—maybe love is waning.

The answer? Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Since love is a fruit of the Spirit—to acquire it we must be filled with the Holy Spirit—the living water.

Water sustains life, likewise Jesus and the Holy Spirit sustain our heart, spirit and soul.

Be encouraged to acquire a greater thirst for God and don’t be surprised when He floods your dry ground!

“Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat.”  Isaiah 55:1