Category: faith in God

Ignore Almost Everything

True faith ignores everything . . . except God’s Word and its truth.

This one statement will change the way we do life.

I know you might be thinking this is so elementary, but that’s just the point—it’s so easy—so fundamental that we forget to make it the standard we choose to live by.

All day—every day, words and thoughts flood our mind, emotions and heart. I challenge you to consider this one thought and to make it your standard.

Standard? I understand this is a huge statement but if we intentionally apply this concept to our life everything will transform. The way we perceive God and our self, will take a turn, and we will begin to walk out the life Jesus died to give us (John 10:10).

Words like destiny and purpose will begin to have real meaning. We can stop listening to words from our past. Negative people and their opinions will fade. We will control our emotions—they will stop controlling us. Our heart will swell with possibilities and dreams—we will no longer just read about the impossible—but we will do the impossible.

Mark 4:37-41 recently arrested my heart. The story is—Jesus and the disciples (my catechism teacher used to call them the dirty dozen) anyway, they are on the ocean, in a boat and a horrible storm hits. The disciples are really scared and begin to panic. Jesus on the other hand is asleep, on a pillow, in the stern of the boat. In their anxiety they wake Him saying “Don’t you care that we are perishing?”

Who can relate to this story? I sure can! We get all worried and call out to Jesus . . . JESUS!! There’s a storm! Where are you???

Awesome, peaceful Jesus wakes up and says to the wind and sea “Peace be still.” The wind ceased its threats, and a great calm settled on them.

The disciples’ fear began to drain away and a new sort of fear arose—The Fear of the Lord—an awe, a wonder and the reality of who this amazing man—Jesus, really was. “Who can this be, even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

But that’s not the end of this story. No, Jesus now turns to the disciples and says “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” In other words “Why did you panic? After all you have seen me do—you still don’t believe? ”

I would have been thinking “No faith? Jesus—I turned to you, called on you to rebuke the storm” forgetting to mention I called to Him in panic!

In this faith strengthening journey, that I’m on, Jesus is making it clear—relationship is my base—calling on Jesus is always the bottom line. The shift that’s happening for me is realizing this relationship empowers me (and you) with faith and if we will choose not to waver—our possibilities are endless.

So instead of our first reaction to a storm being fear and calling on Jesus in worry, we can stand in the face of the storm and do business with it—this act of obedience is a display of our faith in who Jesus is. And it releases Him to do His part—calm the storm.

This is where ignoring everything but God’s Word comes in. We must ignore our feelings, disregard nay sayers, shut the mouth of the lying accuser and listen to Gods Word only.

We have been commanded to rebuke storms (hardships), speak to mountains (obstacles), and lay hands on the sick. And when we obey and do acts of faith such as these, we must expect the storms to calm, the mountain to be cast into the sea and the sick to be healed.

Power to impact the natural realm has been given to us—we do it by taking direct authority in the spiritual realm.

Simple.

Some of you might need a paradigm shift to live this way (I did), or maybe just a nudge to your faith—a reminder of your authority and position in Christ. Because Jesus overcame—we are over comers.  He’s victorious—we are victorious. Because Jesus was beat and crucified we are healed and saved.

Be encouraged today to strengthen your faith and to ignore everything except—God’s Word.

John 14:12
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.

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Don’t Sit on the Sidelines

Do you ever find yourself sitting on the sidelines in life? What makes people sit on the sidelines? For me it was fear—it kept me at a distance from life and from living a faith dominated lifestyle.

The opposite of fear is faith…ponder this a moment—if in any area of our life we are fearful—it’s a trust issue and the antidote is faith. The bottom line is—when we have true faith in God there is no room for fear.

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been on a giant (wonderful and sometimes painful) journey to strengthen my faith. The amount of fear in my life was the tell-tale sign that lead me on this expedition in search of unmovable—relentless faith.

On this mission I first had to come to a major conclusion, which was God’s Faithfulness is Not On Trial  nor should it ever be. Yes, I have walked through many heart breaking adventures in my life, but God was never to blame.

Oh but the enemy of my soul was ever present to accuse God with subtle allegations, that unfortunately over time created a bed of comfort for me—a place in the midst of pain where I found a bit of shelter.

The bad news is when we agree with the devil it never turns out good! The good news is when we wander from truth, our gracious; long suffering shepherd always provides a way for us to return.

A good thing to realize about lack of faith is that it’s a heart issue—it’s a place in our heart needing to be perfected in His love. A place that simply needs to be let go of—a place where we make a beautiful exchange—our fear, pain and doubt for His unrelenting love and freedom.

Who wants to be partnered with fear anyway?

The Bible tells us,

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

I started off this blog intending to write about my big adventure this past weekend, but ended up writing about the my bigger adventure of acquiring deeper faith. The two adventures really do go hand in hand and the lesser of the two would not have been possible without the first…

One way fear effected me was that physically I was not very courageous. My husband and kids they are beyond courageous—they are borderline thrill seekers! And I normally just sit, watch (pray) and take pictures, but not this weekend!  Well…a third of this weekend—they participated in three courageous events and me—only one (maybe next year)!

I found myself fearless when on our family vacation, I decided to make the one hundred foot rock climb to a beautiful crystal clear waterfall. Yes friends I did it without hesitation!

waterfall

Each step upward was made rock by rock. And when the climb got intense my husband and sons were before and behind me, ever faithfully holding out their hands, and pointing out the best places to next set my foot. Even when a snake popped his head out of a crack in the rocks and when another slithered on top of one sons foot, I kept going—even when spider webbed rocks where unsecured and shaky, yes even when the moss was slippery and the freezing waterfall pounded on my head and shoulders as I maneuvered across a one foot  wide, one hundred foot high ledge—I, by God’s grace, simply choose not to give fear a second thought!

The climb reminded me of my journey—my life. There always has been and always will be reasons to fear, but God in His unending faithfulness is right behind me—right behind you—and He’s ahead of us, holding out His hand, pointing out the best way to go. Encouraging us to take life one step (rock) at a time, never allowing us to fall—even when our feet land on unstable ground. And when the devil (that snake) rears his ugly head threatening us, we must realize all we have to fear is fear itself. And fear is really nothing but a facade. God’s the real deal and if we allow Him to perfect us in His love we can walk in the freedom He gave His life for, we can get off the sidelines and we can experience the waterfalls of life—crystal clear and refreshing.

Please be encouraged to strengthen your faith (click here to read how: Fully Convinced)—to say no to fear and all its restrictions and yes to God’s faithfulness!

waterfall2 Simply beautiful—so glad I did’t miss out by sitting on the sidelines!

Here are some pictures of my family doing what they do…being adventurous! These are the ones I didn’t participate in!

rock       oasis
The kids climbing down huge rocks leading into a vast canyon and beautiful oasis.

mr bridge  Girls jumping off a bridge.

bridge 2
My husband and son sitting on top of this bridge before jumping off.

 

sunset
God doing what He does best…just being Himself.

 

 

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.

What’s Dead in Your Life?

In this season of renewed faith, my heart is stirring—swelling with the possibilities of the concept found in Ezekiel 37. It by no means is a new idea, but as we know, the distractions of weak faith can cause a forgetfulness to settle on us—keeping us from remembering the tools God has provided for us to live successfully. And seriously, if we will apply these concepts—our life will change.

First let me give you a little insight as to what’s happening in Ezekiel 37. God takes Ezekiel to a valley of dry dead bones—this was not just a few dead bodies but a whole valley full, and asks him a question, He says, “Can these bones live?” What God is really asking Ezekiel is “Do you believe—do you have the faith to believe what’s dead can come to life?”

Such a simple question, but so deep and personal.

God is looking into our eyes—into our heart—asking you and I “Do you believe the dry bones in your life can live?”

Ezekiel’s answer to God’s question is an awesome response of faith—he turns the responsibility of such a miracle back to the Miracle Maker Himself and says “Only you know, sovereign Lord” Essentially “I trust in You and your sovereignty—you are good—you can do anything—just say the word—just look in that direction and it’ll be done.”

When our faith in God takes the hand of expectancy and partners with the truth of His Word—we’d better brace our self, because that’s all it takes for mountains to move—for miracles to happen. Faith stemming from a relationship of complete dependency on God—will bring breakthrough.

Whenever God asks us a question like this it’s rhetorical—He’s not searching for an answer, but stirring our hope—nudging our belief and expectancy—arousing our faith!

Next, God lets Ezekiel know what is required of him. Yes, we must do our part—faith is an action word. The Lord God instructed him to prophesy and say “Oh dry bones hear the Word of the Lord” I love this! All we have to do is first believe, then speak/pray God’s Word to the things in our life that are dehydrated, empty or dead. Tell the dry bones to give heed to the truth—tell them how big our God is.

Ezekiel writes, “So I prophesied as I was commanded” and when he did there was a noise, a rattling as the bones came together, as sinew and flesh covered them.

But that was not all, the bones came together but they were still void of life. This is the picture of believers today—lots of movement, but no life—a lot of information—tons of knowledge, but no knowing of God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This is the cause of the dehydration—this is why faith is weak—we need to put away our rules and come into relationship.

In verse 9, the Lord tells Ezekiel

“Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, ‘God, the Master, says, Come from the four winds. Come, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies. Breathe life!’”

The meaning of the word breath is spirit. We must speak to the Spirit of God—inviting Him to come breathe life into lifelessness.

Lastly Ezekiel responds to the Lord (a response on our part is always necessary) he says So I prophesied, just as he commanded me.” And when he did what was commanded the breath entered the dead and they came alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army!

Everyday, all day we are faced with something or someone needing life. We can speak, pray and prophesy into our own personal life, our spouse and marriage, our kids, family and churches, into those who need God, into our businesses and work place, into hopes and dreams that are dormant. We can breathe words of life into relationships, finances, health, bad character, weaknesses and addictions—the possibilities are endless!

When we speak life and when the Holy Spirit breathes His breath into a person or situation it’s the act of inflating what was deflated. What’s deflated and dead in your life?

Will you prophesy and speak to your circumstances—will you tell the Breath of God to breathe His life to those situations around you—as commanded? It would be crazy not to!

What would stop you?

Fear of disappointment?

Weak faith?

If so—be encouraged to stir yourself—start by prophesying to your thirsty faith! Speak the Word to your unbelief and watch it form—speak to the Breath of God to invade your faith and heart—then listen for the signs of life!

As you listen for the signs of life keep three things in mind…

1. Seek Him first—eyes on the Miracle Maker not the miracle

2. Patience—don’t waste the wait with worry

3. Remember—the devil’s main objective is to rob you of your faith—resist him!

Ezekiel 37:1-10,  The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”  Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Our Current Trial

What trial are you currently in? I want to share with you the one I just went through. As I eluded in my last blog Embrace the Unknown, God was calling me to step out onto the waters of the unknown. He wasn’t calming the storm before me—He wasn’t changing my circumstance then asking me to come. No, the wind was blowing and the waves were tossing!

The funny thing (it’s funny now) is the trail I was in was nothing I hadn’t experienced before. I’ve been in literal devastation—and lived tell of God’s faithfulness. In one summer not only did my childhood hero—my brother—die, but my two-year old daughter as well (read about it here Hero of Grace—Finding Treasure). Many times my marriage dangled by a mere thread. I’ve had three miscarriages, and been on the verge of death myself. We’ve lost our home and our business-starting over many times. I’ve had three of my dear sons walk away from the Lord—very heartbreaking—to say the least. I’ve been disowned by my family. And these are just the major events after marriage.

So I’m no stranger to suffering, what was so different about my current trial? I believe it was different because this time I knew (sort of) what I was fighting for. And as I look back over all the years, I see I was always fighting for the same thing.

It was a fight for my faith.

Your current trial is a fight for your faith.

For about the last year I’ve been in a season of purposefully strengthening my faith—my goal is to be fully convinced without wavering, (Romans 4:20). Therefore in this trial I was fighting to believe God’s Word and the devil was fighting for his ground of unbelief in my heart. God was purposing to remove a deeper layer of fear in my life—namely the fear-of-lack. Fear rooted it’s self in my life when I was a child. It makes sense—God’s plan for my life is that I’d be a person of deep, unwavering faith—the devil’s plan—just the opposite—fear.

Throughout my years of suffering I could feel God’s comfort, and even when the sea of the unknown tossed, as I remember it now, I felt I was in the boat. This time He stood out on the frenzied ocean, extending His hand, asking me to step out on a sea of unknown waters—to trust Him even as it raged.

I’m sure He’s always wanted this scenario and every battle I’ve fought has brought me nearer to this. And while I’m embarrassed to just now, decades after becoming a Christian, come to this place, on the other hand God is ecstatic with me!

I really thought I failed in this current trial, because my head continually bobbed in and out of the water. The heavy hand of the enemy’s oppression—the spirit of unbelief—continually tried to push my head under. I couldn’t sleep and when I did, I’d wake in panic. Worry overwhelming me like never before. The difference was—I fought tooth and nail to believe God’s promises. The harder I fought the heavier it got. Some days I sat all day just reading the Word or listening to worship music, continually praying—determined to own what I claim to believe.

I felt like I wavered, (I’m always way harder on myself than God is). He told me I won the battle the moment I determined to believe—the moment I chose to sit all day reading His Word instead of escaping by sleeping or watching a movie.

The bummer to pressing in while in battle with the enemy is that he presses harder. But God came running to save me the moment I began to falter. And in His faithful love He waited, watching and interceding for my success, holding back breakthrough—until just the right hour, knowing stronger unwavering faith was my real need.

What’s your real need? Breakthrough or stronger faith?

Have you ever read the book of Job? God allowed catastrophes (plural) to strike him. In it the enemy of his soul had a plan, which was to steal Job’s faith and get Him to curse God. God’s plan for Job was that he would not just know about Him but for Job to actually know Him, making God Lord of all—this meant Job’s faith would have to be foolproof.

Over the years God has delivered me from many aspects of fear and I’m very happy to say I am now on the other side of this battle—the fear-of-lack and the spirit of lack its self are broken off my life! You have got to love the faithfulness of God!

This is my song of thanksgiving to God! Psalm 34:1-7,

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

Please be encouraged in your current trial to understand it’s more about your faith than your need.

James 1:2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Embrace the Unknown

Do you ever find yourself facing the unknown? For people who live by faith this really is the norm. Whether we like it or not, no matter how much we think we are in control, we never know what’s around the corner.

When we embrace the unknown of tomorrow, we are in essence accepting the out stretched hand of God as Peter did (Matthew 14:22-33). He’s saying “come with Me” He’s inviting us to dwell on the sea of the unknown—inviting us to live a life of audacious faith.

In following God the one decision we are always faced with is trust. Will we trust even when we can’t see? Will we embrace the unknown with fully abandoned trust in God—releasing our life into His hands, believing He has good planned for us, or will we worry about tomorrow?

Will we say no to fear and yes to stepping out of our comfort zone and be the people God has called us to be?

When Peter accepted God’s invitation the wind was blowing and the sea tossing. And yes—the unknown looks a lot like that sea, and the question “What if I sink” always arises. Likewise the temptation to shrink back into the familiar, even if it’s not ideal, continually tries to threaten us.

The unknown that God is calling us to is a deep sea, and our feet will slip and sometimes we will be overwhelmed and even begin to sink—but if we keep our focus on Jesus and not our circumstances—we will never drown.

The beauty of the unknown is that though it be a deep sea—this sea is where the depth of God’s grace abounds, the place we experience His glory—where our faith is made stronger—this place in which His presence dwells.

What unknown is God asking you to embrace?

As for me it’s a deeper level of submission along with new levels of trust. And I honestly have to say I’m being stretched way beyond my comfort levels. But as I speak God’s word to my soul and allow Him to change my heart, I am certain I will prosper in this new season.

No matter what our unknown may be, at the end of the day we are all faced with the same question—will we rest and find our peace in God’s sovereignty?

Please be encouraged to ask God to change your heart so that you may embrace the great unknown—living a life of reckless faith.

Move Forward

Sometimes moving forward feels like you’re wading through thick mud—slow and tedious movements wear on you—making advancement seem purposeless.

I have five clues to help us move forward a lot quicker in life—finding purpose for all our efforts.

These clues are found in Philippians 3:12-15. I know this is a familiar passage of scripture to most, so please don’t discard it too quickly but let God speak to you through it.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

Clue #1—Don’t be a know it all.

If the apostle Paul says he doesn’t know everything and he hasn’t attained it all—then for sure we haven’t!

Clue #2—Lay Hold of what Christ has chosen for you.

What has Christ laid hold of you for? In other words what is the purpose of your life? Why has God called you? First and foremost we are created to have relationship with Him. Start therethen realize you are created for good works in Christ. Seize every opportunity God creates for you!

Clue #3—Forget the past.

Whether your past is good bad or ugly—it has past by you already—just let it go and live in the here and now of life. Smile at the futureembracing it!

There was a time in my life when marital issues and the untimely death of my two year old daughter, caused me to sink really lowI was terrified to move forward. The fear of my future resembling my past—incapacitated me—making it very difficult to live in the present.

We can’t give fear any place in our heart and life—by faith we overcome our past and accept the futurebelieving in God’s goodness knowing if He leads us by suffering or by joy it’s all well with our soul.

To quote my Pastor “Don’t live life looking in the rear-view mirror” Have you ever tried to drive forward while looking in the rear-view mirror? Try it sometime—or maybe not—it would be way too dangerous! This is true not just in driving but life in general—especially where our relationship with God is concerned.

Clue #4—Reach forward to what is ahead of you.

If we don’t press forward, by faith, with expectation of the goodness of God—life will be pointless.

Determine to believe God has good plans for you—whether they be hard or easy He wants to give you a future and a hope, reach forward and grasp those plans! Jeremiah 29:11 is not just some cute saying we quote—no, these words are alive and active they are creative—we only have to believe and let them create a new hope in us.

Clue #5—Mature.

Let’s grow up already! Maturity in Christ is essential for moving forward. We must read, learn, speak, obey and apply the Word of God and it’s principles to our life.

Life in Christ, by grace—is equal to walking on solid rock. Life outside of Him is equivalent to thick mud we must trudge through.

Please be encouraged to be found in relationship with Him—putting one foot in front of the other—ever trustingever moving forward.

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Not Just for Kids

Have you read the story of Jonah lately? Every time my grandson and I read the Bible together, we read about Jonah—how he didn’t obey God, fled and got swallowed up by a whale. Read Jonah to get the whole story—it’s not just for kids!

Today I read the book of Jonah on my own. What caught my attention was his faith in God.

In Jonah 4:2 he says this about God;

I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, One who relents from doing harm

Jonah knew the character of God and had faith that He wouldn’t be anything but faithful. Why then did Jonah disobey God and run the other way?

Basically, Jonah did not let his faith in God change him.

He lived a life where He knew all about God but didn’t actually know Him.

I’ve lived this lifestyle and understand how comforting it can be. But the truth is—in living this lifestyle we miss the whole point.

Our faith in God must rearrange our life—transform us—causing us to become who we know God is. It must also draw us near to Him—where we actually know Him and experience what we believe. Knowing God causes personal relationship—relationship leads to obedience—the more we are with Jesus the more we become like Him.

Our goal in life is to live and be like Jesus. Please be encouraged to let your faith in God transform you.

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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.

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Suddenly Moments

What do you do when you are having a bad day? Do you ever just worship God? Give thanks, glory or praise? Understandably being the humans that we are—this is not always our default reaction.

But I want to challenge you to step out of your normal default box and into the realm of suddenly moments—that result in God shaking our life to its very core and bringing about change.

I heard an amazing message—totally worth repeating—on Acts 16. Follow along with me as I reiterate what was happening and how God—our Knight in shining armor suddenly comes to save the day.

Paul and Silas, in the will of God—directed by Him—went to Macedonia. As they were lingering in Philippi, they met a God-fearing woman named Lydia who on hearing the Word of the Lord believed with all her heart, as a result she and her household were baptized and insisted the men stay at their home. At this point all is going well, Paul’s preaching—God’s moving and they are invited to stay and be cared for, in a rather nice place. Acts 16:6-15

One day on the way to prayer a demon possessed psychic, slave girl, started following them around, drawing attention to them by yelling out “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!”

Paul, not wanting to be in agreement with her or to be identified as being with her, ignored her for a few days then finally when too annoyed he cast the demon out of her. The slave girl was suddenly free and her owners very upset—their lucrative little business had come to an end. Consequently, Paul and Silas were dragged into the market place—they were lied about and accused, causing the crowd to turn into an angry gang. Their clothes were torn off and they were ordered to be severely beaten and thrown into prison, under high security wearing leg irons.  Acts 16:16-24

Paul and Silas—bloody and beaten, sit chained in prison. Would you say they were having a bad day? Absolutely!

What did they do? Did they accuse God of unfaithfulness by whining and complaining?

No—just the opposite! Paul and Silas were found praying and worshipping.

What would you do?

I love how Paul and Silas handled the situation! Their default heart and soul reaction was to pray and worship God—in doing so they were giving thanks.

I pray our default heart reaction would be to silence the mouth of the accuser and give thanks by worshipping God.

How? Why? Because the truth is—He is always good. We must train our heart and soul to worship and give thanks according to truth—not circumstance.

This is when the suddenly moments of God’s faithfulness rule our life.

What happens next in Acts 16:25-26 is the cry of our heart.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake! Paul and Silas’ worship caused God to shake the very foundations and set the prisoners free—the scripture says immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Not just our own freedom from the prisons we find ourselves inoccurs when we worship, but freedom for others as well.

I don’t know about you but I need and want God to suddenly shake the foundation of various situations in my life and in the life of those I love and care about.

This Word from the book of Acts has brought fresh understanding to the scripture in 2 Thessalonians 5:18

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Please be encouraged to grab ahold of and own this concept. Worship God, giving Him thanks in every situation—lifting our eyes from life and circumstances to the God of the impossible—the One who can suddenly shake any situation and change the landscape of impossible surroundings.

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