Tag Archives: faith

Equipped

I watched a squirrel in amazement this morning as he walked a limb with his hind paws holding a walnut with his front paws chewing away the covering as he went along.  Amazing to me God equipped even the critters around us to survive many of their circumstances.  We know they’ll eventually die (as will we) but in the right now they have all the instincts and abilities to survive…and thrive!

God gives humans amazing abilities to survive our circumstances as well, even more so than animals.  Humans were created by God to be houses for the Holy Spirit and afterward, being instilled with all the power He used to create this beautiful planet, hang the stars in the sky (and name them) and the power to raise the dead Jesus after He was crucified to eternal life.  Think about that.  If you’ve surrendered to the authority of personal relationship with Jesus you have all that power inside you. Right now!

Not only do you have physical attributes of survival and provision for the same, you have God’s spiritual dynamite inside of you right now.  You’re thoroughly equipped to live a life honoring Him thanks to Him.  You’re not a victim; you’re not a prisoner to your circumstances (or you don’t have to be).  You’re not a less than, overlooked or discounted IF you believe God’s word and take Him up on His promises.

The “seed” of the Holy Spirit was planted in you when you accepted the Savior-hood of the person of Christ.  However, it’s up to us to “grow” the seed.  “Work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) means we grow through a relationship with Jesus – getting to know Him and what His death and resurrection means to us personally because that’s where the power is.  We grow up and into all the fullness of God and all the promises that relationship brings to us when we learn to trust Him and live like we do.

The closer we get to God and the more we come to believe Him, we see He has equipped us with amazing gifts for every area of our lives – for us and for others.  It’s easy to believe that when paths are smooth but when the way gets rocky do you still believe?

No matter what we face the key to surviving it, overcoming it and being victorious through it is found in God and accessed only through Jesus.  He is the only way.  Pray and ask God to show you WHO is inside of you and believe.  You – through Jesus – got this!

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Like Everyone Else

1st Samuel 8:5:  “and said to him, “Look you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways.  Now appoint us a king to judge us [and rule over us] like all the other nations.””

While driving around town or sometimes talking to old friends, I listen to all their accomplishments and see the fruits of their lives of labour.  Their material possessions speak highly of what they’ve done with their lives. Then I think of mine.  I compare myself to others and what I see and sometimes feel I have nothing to show for my life.  I so want to be like everyone else.  Can you relate?

The Israelites had the same problem.  They compared themselves to other nations and wanted to be just like them forgetting and not realizing the Lord was their King Himself without a go-between.  His intention for His people was to lead them personally but the Israelites wanted to be just like everyone else.  They missed the blessing and significance of what they had and Who they had so granting their wishes Saul was anointed king.

Why can’t we just be satisfied and content with where we are and what we have?  What is it about us that we constantly compare ourselves to everyone else and worse, work so hard to become like everyone else then when we do, find ourselves discontented with trying to be something we’re not and have what may not be ours to have?

Here’s the thing. God didn’t intend for Israel to be just like everyone else (Deuteronomy 14:2)! He didn’t intend for us to be either!

If your life doesn’t look like anyone else’s maybe it was never intended to be. What if everything you’ve gone through – all the hurt, loss, devastation, trials, etc., were all custom designed so you could learn to depend on God and know Him more intimately?  Look back, do you see it?  Do you see His hand in everything and see that what you have had to come solely from His hands?  He helped us survive when there was no one else.  He put food on our tables when there was no other way to have it.   He supplied the clothes on our backs, the shoes on our feet, the cars we drive because looking back, we see there was NO OTHER explanation for it!

I don’t want to be like everyone else.  Although my life looks significantly different than most everyone I know, I know this.  Had it not been for Lord on my side.

Choose to be thankful for where you are and what you have, be it little or much.  Truth is as we’ve seen a lot lately, in the blink of an eye it can all be gone; health can change rapidly and circumstances can, too.  Thank God for His hand in your life and keep walking with Him, regardless of where you are. With Him, little is much.  Believe in the you God created you to be, His child, trusting Him regardless.  He wants you to be who He created you to be – His child, unlike anyone else.

There’s A Reason

Suffering seems to never stop; as a matter of fact, it seems to be amping up.  Remember 9/11?  We watched horrible things happen right before our eyes, things we never thought we would see outside of a movie theater.  Remember Katrina?  Many of us had never seen such a catastrophic event…and here we are at this moment crying over the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the thousands of lives disrupted.  We comment on things on the horrible things we’ve never seen before and think we never will again, then comes something else…then something else.

What about things in your life?  How many times have you thought you’ve lived the worst day or the worst time in your life then something else happens.  Life seems to keep throwing us blindsided punches doesn’t it?

With “Harvey” on my heart this morning, I listened to my tunes this morning while walking Sampson and heard this one and felt I needed to share some of the words with you.  I first heard this song by Echoing Angels “Give You Peace” several years ago (during one of those times in my life).  It hit the nail on the head for me then and it still rings true today.  I hope you find the song on YouTube and listen.  Here are some of the words that jumped out at me this morning:

“For such a time as this I have you here…”

“HERE”.  Right where YOU are.  After all you’ve been through, HERE you are.  Right where God needs you to be.  Be a blessing in that very spot.  Be a person committed to love, to pray and look for God’s presence and what He wants you to see.  Chances are you’re right “here” for someone other than yourself.  Look for that person who needs to be encouraged and lifted up.

“Chosen for the lost to show I’m near…”

“CHOSEN”.  You’re hand-picked and strategically placed where God wants you to be, to show others how to live this life for Him.  The hardships you face could be the same ones those around you face.  Maybe someone right next to you is going through what you’ve just come out of.  Look for who needs to know what God’s brought you through.

“Through your brokenness My glory Shines…”

THROUGH what you’re going through He can shine through if You let Him.  Broken, hurting, hopeless eyes are watching you weather your storm.  Don’t be ashamed to let them know the battle you’re in so when it’s over and they find your kindness and smile are intact and your faith stronger when they ask you how you do it, you can tell them about your “secret weapon”.

“Through your frailty My strength will rise…”

I’m praying for you.  I’m praying through your weakened and broken state, those around you see where your strength really comes from.  I pray they’ll know without a doubt how it’s possible to smile through the tears and not be insensitive and cold.  I’m praying for you that you’ll see through every single pain and heartache there’s a God-purpose and on that alone, you’ll walk through all of it with your chin up and your head held high.  I’m praying His peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind and when through it – no matter what it is – you’ll be closer to God and more willing with the next trial to come on out with it to help someone else.

There is a reason for it all and although often unclear to us, it’s crystal clear to Him. Let’s believe that. Otherwise it just wouldn’t be worth it.

He’ll give you peace through it all.  Every time.

Believe, Live and Love

Today’s my 59th birthday.  Honestly I didn’t think I would live to see it.  The majority of my family didn’t live to see 59, including a 35-year-old brother (died on his birthday) and a 47-year-old younger sister, all pretty good reasons to think I wouldn’t.  But here I am, the first day of my 59th year.  I’m thinking…well knowing…there’s a reason I’m still here.  I asked God what He wanted me to do with this year and this is what I felt Him say:

Believe. Believe that I am good.  Believe I have your best interest in my heart.  Believe I control everything concerning you, even the bad stuff.  Believe I have a good plan.  Believe the enemy is still very much working in everything (and lots of those around you) and he’s a worthy opponent for you…but no match for Me.  You’ll witness and experience bad, heartbreaking things you don’t understand and when you do…believe.

Live.  Not just breathe; not just do the thing but live each moment knowing I’m in you and around you.  Even in the mundane, remember?  How many things have I shown you in the everyday moments of your life (?remember The Last Mile Home?).  If you search for Me in everything, every day, I promise, you’ll find Me, you’ll hear Me and you’ll experience Me.  No matter where you are, what you’re doing, look for Me.  I give life…even in the most ordinary things of life…its true and fulfilling meaning.

Love.  The greatest thing you can do, is to intentionally be a person who exhibits love for Love is the one thing…the greatest thing…that shows others who I am.  I know your world, it’s not very easy to be kind with so much meanness and ungratefulness but I called you to be different.  You’re not supposed to act like you’re lost because you’re not!  I called you to be light in all that darkness.  You’re alive for My glory and good pleasure “for a time such as this”.  Don’t waste it.  Don’t think love is a waste of time or not worth the effort.  What if I had felt that way about you?  Remember where I found you!!! Do the same for others.  Don’t fret over their response, I’ll see to that.  Do what I called you to do; do what only you can do – be you – for My Glory.

How easy it is to get caught up in our lives, thinking we’re just here to make money, buy the things we want and do what we enjoy.  God wants so much more for us.  His ultimate will is to know Him and love Him.  My greatest fear is to leave for heaven and never know I’ve fulfilled His purpose for my life.  What a regret that would be!  I want His will in my life so I’m going for it and doing exactly what He told me to do: Believe, Live and Love.

Colossians 3:23  “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…”

Witness Protection Program

Close your eyes and think of the most unthinkable thing you’ve been through.  Remember it.  Feel it.  Got it?

Tell me why it happened.  Can you? You never saw it coming, right? Never in a million years would you have even conceived the thought that it may happen…but it did.

I know from experience God can use anything – ANYTHING for His good.  After all, if we’ve professed our loyalty to Him it’s ultimately His goodness and character that are at stake – not just our reputations, feelings or plans.  Ultimately it’s His love for His child that you and those around you will see.  It isn’t always pretty or comfortable and certainly it’s not what we expect as His beloved!  We expect wonderful, good things – we’ve somehow convinced ourselves bad things shouldn’t happen to us because we’re His!

What if we changed our focus to try to see through the pain in a godly perspective?  What if what we’ve been through or going through has very little to do with us?  What if God CHOSE you to suffer just so you can show the lost ones around you that no matter what He’s good? He’s faithful?  He won’t abandon us when we’ve messed up, fallen short or been devastated by events we had nothing to do with?  What if there’s someone in our lives who needs to see someone they love and admire handle things with faith in Him when everything else has been torn away?

We’re called to be witnesses – not just to the corners of the world but right in our neighborhoods!  That’s our Jerusalem; that’s as real as it gets.  When we dare to swallow our pride, to stop worrying how we’ll be thought of or talked about and live out our faith, God will bless us. He’s the ultimate witness protection program – you’re being used to show Him and share Him with someone else.  If He allowed it to happen, how can there not be good come from it?

Maybe we’ve been selected to suffer for His glory. If so, we can believe He will protect, comfort and heal us all the way through it.  Do we dare trust Him that much?

 

“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.” Isaiah 43:10

Is It Bad Enough Yet?

Some doctors wait to treat an ailment when the pain becomes so severe the patient can’t tolerate it anymore. If a patient comes in knowing something’s wrong but can carry out their normal activities of daily living, sleep uninterrupted they’re told to come back when they can’t bear the discomfort any more.  The tests prove there’s a problem but sometimes that’s not enough.  Some doctors choose no treatment until the pain literally changes a person’s life.

You would think the opposite would be true.  You go to a professional because you know something’s not right and you want something done to prevent the problem from disrupting your normal life and leave frustrated because you’re told your pain – your inability to function – is what will bring relief.  “Come back when you can’t stand it anymore.”  Wait.  Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid?

Some doctors want to jump right in and fix a problem before it gets to the point of altering our lives and we’re hesitant to move forward.  We talk ourselves into living with it.  “It’s not that bad; I’ve had it this long, I can stand it until, well, I can’t stand it anymore”, and we leave in the same condition we came in.

We deal with something as long as we can then we ask for help (from God, friends, etc), sometimes wanting someone (or something) to relinquish us from what we know is going to happen – yet we find ourselves, sometimes for years, dealing with the same thing, day after day, year after year and nothing changes.  It’s manageable; it’s not perfect but it hasn’t killed me…yet.  So we muddle on sometimes grabbing for spontaneous relief for the moment until the next time…and the next…

Do things have to be ‘that bad’ before we deal with them?  No. More often than not, we try everything (and everyone) leaving God as our last resort.  Need produces necessary action; that alone is often the “why” of why it’s happening.

Is ‘it’ bad enough yet?  Are you sick of the pain, frustration, depression, inaction, nothing ever changing?  Situations beg the question – “is it bad enough to turn to God”? Like doctors, sometimes He allows us to get to that unbearable place of no relief before we turn to him.  Why?  Because He knows sometimes we’ll only look to Him when our feet are inches from the cliff.  We can submit any time – way sooner than we do – and relinquish our pain and burden to Him.  Is it bad enough yet to give it to God?  It doesn’t have to be.  Let’s do it.  Now.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Make Your Own Beautiful

IMAG0790I hope I’ve learned a thing or two from this season of my life.  I sure wouldn’t want to repeat it.

When things are dark and ugly sometimes we have to dig deep to find the good.  Sometimes we instantly see it but more often than not we must wait.

One of the most recent lessons is becoming so precious to me. I looked for blessings and kind of expect people to make an ugly time in my life more palatable and easier to swallow.  (Is that you I hear laughing?) I didn’t realize it at first but now I see that in addition to very tough circumstances, my disappointment worked extremely hard to make me discontented.  Then I got it.

Sometimes it’s got to be just you and God.  No one else.  No resources.  No explanations.  No Band-Aids.  Just you and Him.  I think He brought me to that place to allow me the choice to be content with Him and only Him. When everything and everyone I looked to, to make me feel more secure and content – job, home, stuff, car, people, etc,…vanished,  “Barbie, will I be enough?”  was the reverberating question on my heart.

When life gets ugly that’s where the rubber meets the road. We’re left with both decisions and changes to make.  When all you see is ugly, we can choose to make our own pretty.  Staying content in a troubling and discontented world is very hard work!  That’s when we learn to appreciate what we have and make the most of it.

I took some hand-me-down vases, some Salvation Army plates and paints I already had to make these.  I made my own beautiful.  So many stories and devotionals…so many personal lessons from God have come through the process of making them.

Trust God through the process.  That’s what I’m learning.  Trust He’s making something beautiful in you and most often when He’s through with that part, what you’ve been through will serve at least two purposes:  1) to teach you something and, 2) to bless someone else!  In the meantime, work with Him to create your own beautiful.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”   Ephesians 2:10