Category: Large faith

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.

 

 

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.

God’s Faithfulness is Not On Trial

The bottom line is—God’s faithfulness is not on trial, nor should it ever be. God is faithful.

If we ever doubt His faithfulness—it’s not God who needs to be questioned—quite the contrary—we have only to look at our own heart and soul—questioning ourselves about our unbelief.

God continuously comes through—maybe not always when or what we want, but He does come through.

I know there are times when we can’t see or feel God’s faithfulness, but that does not contradict the truth about who He is.

If we ever find our self pummeled by the unforeseen—in a place of suffering—that leads to questioning His trustworthiness—we must simply believe what we can’t see—but know to be true.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us,

 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

We step into God’s faithfulness by faith—faith is believing what we cannot see. We trust what we know is truth—the Bible says God is faithful—therefore by faith—I believe.

It takes faith to apprehend God’s faithfulness.

The evidence of what we believe is seen in who God is and in what He has done for us and others.

God is not human therefore He is perfect.

Numbers 23:19 says,

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?

Have you ever met anyone so faithful? Humans lie and change their mind—humans disappoint—God never does.

James 1:17 expresses truth,

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

Psalm 121 straightforwardly states the God who watches over us never slumbers or sleeps.  Hebrews 13:8 says, He’s the same yesterday today and forever!

Be encouraged to seek and rest in God’s faithfulness—you will never be disappointed.

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:4

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.”

The Prayer of Relinquishment

Letting go is rarely easy or desirable. However life is made up of numerous “letting go” sessions. I use the word sessions because the act of letting go usually requires more than just a simple release. The release typically comes at the end of a wrestling session.

Similarly, the prayer of relinquishment can be likened to a wrestling match. A match of the will, God’s will vs. our will.

Sometimes when we pray and ask God for something, we will give Him all the reasons why He should answer our prayer in the manner we want Him to. This is a sort of genie mentality. I rub the lamp and He gives me my heart’s desire—no questions asked. Prayer should be birthed out of relationship with God; if it’s not then we are in genie status.

In the blog post prior to this, titled The Power of Relinquishment, surrendering self-will is said to be the first step in relinquishment. Self-will has to be exchanged; our will for God’s will (for more on the subject read the post). Surrendering requires trust, therefore it moves us into relationship status with God.

Grasp the truth of Galatians 2:20,

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

At the cross we relinquish our rights—exchange our will, just as Jesus did. The words “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live” translate to “my life is no longer identified as mine—I give up my rights.” That’s the premise to the Christian life and to living in relationship status; the promise is “Christ lives in me.” Remember we can’t have the promise without the premise.

This brings us to the wrestling match, otherwise known as the prayer of relinquishment.

The foundation for the prayer of relinquishment is trust and love. We give up our hold, no matter the reason for our prayer. This is where the wrestling takes place, we wrestle to give up what we want or what we think is best. Human reasoning grapples with our faith in God and His Word. Then we relinquish.

Why relinquish? Because we understand and know that God will answer our prayer from His all-knowing, all-loving stance of wisdom and care for us. Principally we trust Him to do His best for us.

Another very crucial point to the prayer of relinquishment is—do we want the answer to the prayer more than we want God? If so then we are in danger of idolatry.

The essence of the relinquishment prayer, must be that we want God more than anything else. If it’s healing we are praying for, do we want the healing more than we want God? If it’s a wayward child, is our desire for our child more than our desire for God? If it’s for a broken heart, do want to be pain free more than go through the process of finding God for our relief? If it’s for financial breakthrough, relationships, peace or a myriad of other reasons—what is our real heart’s desire? God? Or whatever will make us feel whole? The truth is, God is the only one who can complete us, so we must start there. If we don’t, even when the prayer is answered, we will be left wanting.

Following is a very simple example of a recent prayer of relinquishment. Here’s the scenario, I was praying about going on a trip. I kept feeling as if maybe it was the wrong timing, but not quite certain—something felt out of alignment. After weeks of not being sure, I get my answer, yes I can go. But I still have a slight problem; I don’t have the finances for the plane ticket and no matter how hard I try they just are not materializing.

Finally, I relinquished the trip. (I believe what felt out of alignment earlier was my desire, I was asking out of wanting my will.) My relinquishment prayer went something to the effect of— “Lord I really want to go to California for my birthday, but I’m done trying to make it happen. I want this trip way too much, I let it go. If it happens it happens, I give my will up, I trust your will; do what’s best for me.” And I basically walked away from the whole idea.

The next day my husband calls me and says “Are you ready to book your flight” I answer “Yes, but how?” When he walked into work that day, he found an unexpected bonus check waiting for him. I let go and God made a way—that’s how!

My illustration is on a matter of small importance, but I have heard of bed ridden people praying for healing, years upon years, that finally relinquish. Changing their prayer to, “God I want you more than I want healing and I’m tired of the wrestle, what’s your will? Healing came after they gave up their will. In essence getting their way was held in higher esteem than God.

A huge component to the prayer of relinquishment is that when we relinquish our will to God, we settle and live in peace, allowing the outcome of our circumstance to be well with our soul.

Please be encouraged to learn the life-style and prayer of relinquishment. In doing so, the peace and rest of God will be your portion!

The Power of Relinquishment

Have you ever held on to something for dear life? Afraid to let it go, dreading your worst fears would come to life? Holding on so tight for fear you won’t get want you really want or deserve?

Not letting something go, does not necessarily guarantee you won’t get hurt or that you’ll get what you want. Truthfully, faith in God should override the “holding on” mentality or life style.

One of the stumbling blocks to having true faith in God is that we no longer can be in control. This is where relinquishment makes an entrance.

The dictionary definition of relinquishment: to renounce or surrender a possession or right. To give up; put aside or desist from: to relinquish a plan. To let go; release: to relinquish one’s hold.

Relinquishment is so powerful because it is an absolute act of faith. It is how we let God know we explicitly trust Him. Faith may seem complex, but in its simplest form genuine faith basically means to actively trust God. To relinquish the reigns of our life and let God be in charge.

The first step in relinquishment is to surrender our own self-will: what we want, what we will do, what we think and feel. God gives us self-will and He will not override it. Self-will has to be handed over—let go of—relinquished to God, it really is the only thing He can’t change in us unless it is given over to Him.

The power of relinquishment is fluid in our life through humble faith. Jesus had to relinquish His self-will to the Father. If precious Jesus exchanged His will for God’s will, then why would we entertain ideas that our self-will is something we are master over?

John 5:30 says this about Jesus’ self-will,

“I do not seek or consult My own will (I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose) but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.”

Self-will can be problematic and persuasive, if not surrendered, that’s why God wants it. Not because He is this huge task Master, wanting all the control for His own benefit, but because He loves us and wants what’s best for us. God knows our life from beginning to end and He is the only One who can ultimately give us what’s best.

Relinquishing is a trust issue. Do we trust God enough to let go of our heart and life—of our self-will and let God have His way in our life?

I once felt very powerless to pray for people in my life who suffer from un-relinquished self will issues. I asked the Lord, how do I pray for my loved ones who clearly live their life in throws of selfish self-will? He told me, only love can break an obstinate self-will. I now pray that the sledge hammer of God’s love would crush stubborn self will in the lives of those I love. That they would get a revelation of the depth of God’s love for them.

God’s love changes everything. If we know that we know, that He loves us then relinquishing will not be a problem.

The following quote is from Oswald Chambers, I love the way he says to deal with the difficulty of relinquishment.

“If you are up against the question of relinquishing, go through the crisis, relinquish all, and God will make you fit for all that He requires of you.”

Be encouraged to go through the crisis of relinquishing your will—the God of infinite wisdom loves you and wants to make an exchange with you—your will—for His. In the exchange, the power of relinquishment will be released in your life!

The next blog post, titled: The Prayer of Relinquishment, will change your prayer life! Don’t miss it!

Skillful Living 101—8 Wisdom’s Excellence

The Excellence of Wisdom

Wisdom, insight and understanding sound their request. Let all who have a heart to hear—pay attention to the excellence of wisdom.

What is the excellence of wisdom? Nothing less than Christ.

As we read Proverbs 8, it’s as Christ Himself is calling to the very core of our being, saying listen—my words are plain, give ear to understanding, use good judgment, do not be foolish, but embrace Me—behold wisdom and live.

Wisdom’s value is priceless, of more worth than gold, silver and precious jewels.

What do you desire most? Proverbs 8:11 shamelessly states, nothing we desire can compare with wisdom. That’s a huge declaration, one to ponder.

Take that which is of greatest desire to you, feel its worth—and know that the scripture says wisdom is of greater value.

Be stirred to make an exchange with God—that which you desire, for that which God desires for you—Christ the excellence of wisdom and the fruit of His righteousness.

Proverbs 8:17-18 coincides with Matthew 6:33, they pronounce;

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me. Riches and honor are with me, enduring riches and righteousness.”

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

It really is simple, but most difficult for our flesh; seek Him first and He adds all things, according to His will, to you. Our human mind wants to reason how can this simple daily choice of seeking God first help me?

Listen…wisdom is calling…instructing us to choose to seek Him first.
Hear with faith…tune your spiritual ears.

Proverbs 8:19 articulates that the profit of choosing Him first is superior over any other choice.

“My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, and my revenue than choice silver.”

Verse 34 offers a nugget of truth on seeking Him—that will change your life.  It says, watch daily at His gates and wait at His door post.

Watch for the Lord—wait for Him, He will come. Jesus is the wisdom of God, He fills every need—every day!

If you want blessings, favor and life from the Lord, simply keep His ways, hear His instruction and make your heart His home.

Proverbs 8:33-36 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord; but he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death.”

Be encouraged to read Proverbs 8 with the perspective of wisdom being Christ—it will bless you!

Check out the skillful Living Tool Box (updated weekly) at the top of this page.

Skillful Living Tools:

  • Ask for the revelation of Christ as the wisdom of God
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
  • Keep His ways
  • Listen to instruction and be wise
  • Watch and wait for the Lord

Skillful Living 101—3 Bow to Relationship

Applying wisdom requires faith. It’s necessary to shift our thinking and believe that the wisdom of God can live in us and yes, we can make deliberate wise decisions.

On that note—I made a decision to restructure the way I write the Skillful Living series. I was trying to make it real short but it lacked depth. I realize even though our culture wants microwave answers to life, I can’t short change God’s Word. Skillful living is worth the time it takes to download the information into our heart and soul so we can apply it to our life. I rewrote Skillful Living 101-3—sorry about how shallow the last one was. The “Tool Box” will have its own blog page…coming soon! I hope you enjoy this series, (I know I will) as together we learn how to live skillfully!

Have you ever heard people talk about choosing the right spouse? Job, house or church? These decisions although very important—are not rocket science. Making right choices takes wisdom; not the wisdom the world or culture has to offer but God’s wisdom—big difference!

The question that always arises is; how do we actually apply the words on the page to our heart and life? How do we make the right decisions?

The answer is not illusive but rather opposing to our human nature. Everything that has to do with the Word of God is in contrast to human nature. Why? Because to apply God’s Word we have to bow our heart, our desires and our soul to it—causing them to take the back seat, letting God take the driver’s seat.

We can read all the Proverbs we want, but if we do not bow to God as Lord of our life we will not live skillfully. The amazing thing about making God Lord of our life is that it’s not this rigid dictatorship but rather an intimate, personal, love relationship with God!

Proverbs 3:6 indicates personal relationship; it reads “In all your ways acknowledge Him” The word acknowledge in the Hebrew is “yada” translated as know, referring to direct intimacy as in marriage. In regards to God the meaning of this word suggests, direct relationship with Him through prayerful conversation. Developing a close personal bond where trust & love abound and are reciprocated.

The word ways in this passage means in all our days. In essence Proverbs 3:6 instills the truth that we should have intimate relationship with God in all our days and in doing so He will direct our path.

You’ve got to love this! The answer to how to live skillfully, to parent wisely, how to find a good spouse, how to avoid pitfalls—is by living in close relationship with God!

The beginning of Proverbs 3 gives skillful living advice for parenting, stating that parents need to use the Word of God to establish good ground rules for their home. It encourages us to engrave His Word on our heart, and to trade our own understanding and wisdom in for God’s infinite knowledge.

Moreover verses 9-10 give financial counsel. As believers we need to recognize giving is not to be a burden, but we are told to honor God with our giving, making it a form of worship not duty. That’s the premise; the promise is—we will have plenty of overflow!

Very crucial guidance for skillful living is found in Verses 11-12; telling us not to despise or reject God’s discipline. A pliable heart and soul that welcomes correction is something we can never outgrow—not if we want to live wisely.

The benefits of wisdom by far out weigh the consequences of stupidity! (Trust me on this one—I have some experience!) Verses 13-18 reveal the treasures of wisdom.

A breath of fresh air is found in verses 21-26. They relay the message that sound wisdom and discretion are life to our soul. Discretion is defined as; the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid embarrassment or distress, good judgment, caution, prudence. I need life to my soul, what about you?

Verses 27-30 basically reiterate the Golden Rule…Do unto others as you would have them do to you!

I love verse 32, it says it all “For the perverse are an abomination [extremely disgusting and detestable] to the Lord; but His confidential communion and secret counsel are with the [uncompromisingly] righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him).”

He offers His friendship to the godly! An amazing promise—one to grab a hold of!

Please read and apply Proverbs 3, it can change and enhance your life!

Thanks for reading, comments are always welcome—please share with those who need skillful living advice!

Reposition Your Faith

Do you ever feel as if you are alone in your battle? As if it’s yours, just yours, and no one can help? Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have family and friends who stand with you. Yet at times the battle that stands before you seems enormously threatening and lonely.

In 2 Kings 18 and 19 the people felt the same way. Listen to 2nd Chronicles 32:7-8, as it gives the account.  King Hezekiah encourages them saying, “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”

I love the analogy—even though the enemy’s army had a multitude more of soldiers, it was viewed only as an arm of flesh. What’s an arm of flesh compared to the strong right arm of the Lord? Nothing, right?

Hezekiah was helping the people shift their point of view.

Similarly, to put our battle in the proper perspective, we have to alter our viewpoint. We have to reposition ourselves to look at our battle from the view of faith. Faith believes what it cannot see. Hence as we take the stance of faith we will be able to believe what we can’t see.

Imagine you are a small child standing in a crowd of people, watching as a parade passes and all you can see is the backside of the people in front of you. Then the big strong-arm of your father lifts you up above the crowd. Now your whole point of view has changed. You are no longer small, alone or vulnerable.

Likewise small faith causes us to see our life—our battles, from a small viewpoint. Large faith causes us to be lifted higher and gain the perspective of our Father. Allows us to see and know the strong right arm of the Lord our God.

Change your view, shift and move so you can gaze through the eyes of faith. Knowing that whatever stands against you—no matter the size—is only an arm of flesh. But what holds you—is the strong right arm of the Lord your God!

I pray the next twelve months of your life will be filled with large, extreme faith.

Happy New Year!