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Category Archives: How Is Your Faith

Stand up and walk

Stuck. Sometimes we just get stuck. I don’t mean like in the mud, or in an elevator-although we can certainly feel at times that we are stuck and not going anywhere. Like everything else is passing us by. Like everyone else is being blessed, healed, whatever. And we are not moving at all.

A man was lying there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw the man and knew he had been sick for such a long time, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, there is no one to help me get into the pool when the water stops moving. While I am coming to the water, someone else gets in before me.” John 5:5-7

We can sound a little like this sick man at times. Someone always gets the promotion over me. Everyone else is being blessed and I am still waiting for my prayers to be answered. Why hasn’t God called me? Why is no one helping me?

Sound familiar?

You are stuck in comparison. Stuck in complaints. Stuck in doubt. And sometimes downright fear of simply trusting Him. Waiting for someone. Anyone. Heck, the very first one-you don’t even care who it is or what they have to offer-to come and save you.

Then Jesus said,”Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8

He already saved you. He is just simply waiting for you to walk like it.

Walk in acceptance. Leaving comparison behind, because He has accepted you as you are. In all you uniquely have to offer.

Walk in forgiveness. Leaving behind guilt and shame for the mistakes you have made, because He already took all that away.

Walk in strength. Knowing that days will be hard. The road will be bumpy, but He provides the endurance to keep climbing over the bumps, through the pools, to your purpose.

Walk in purpose. Not looking around at the victories and blessings of others, and having a pity party. But continuing to show up, keep going and keep pursuing all that He has for you. In His timing. His way.

Walk in love. Knowing that He loves you. Even if today it feels like no one does. He does. All the parts you deem unworthy. He believes they are enough.

Stop waiting. Stop looking around. Stop wondering if you are good enough.

Stand up and walk.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2019 in How Is Your Faith

 

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God of the harvest

Waiting on the Lord versus just giving up. Listening to Him to tell me when to move versus acting based on my desires, wishes, or what I think God should do. That is how my prayer life and spiritual walk has been for some time now. Praying for light, but seeing darkness among the very crops for which I have been praying. Continuing to plant seeds here, but looking around to see them wither and die in front of me.

There is a lot in the passage from Isaiah 30:18-26 that mirrors my walk right now. As I sat reflecting on its truth today, I could not help but see the parallels.

He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries (v 19).

And cried I have. I have laid before my prayer wall with tear-stained cheeks wondering why God keeps directing me to do something. To pray continuously. To keep trying. To not give up. And feeling like those pleas are not reaching past the ceiling. Feeling like, maybe, that still small voice I heard was my own, and not His at all. That maybe this is not His will at all, but all my own. I have pleaded for Him to “just fix it.” I have said the same prayer over and over and over until I have wanted to rip it off the wall and burn it.

I’ve called for help.

I’ve heard nothing.

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (v 20).

I’ve called for help and heard nothing. And I have certainly suffered for what He has asked of me. Hurt. Rejection. Criticism. Discouragement and disappointment. When the way I was told to go doesn’t produce the fruit I hoped I would find.

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you he will say, “This is the way you should go.” (v 21). 

This is the hardest part-surrender.

To a will that is not my own. To an outcome I may not like. One I definitely cannot see. It’s teaching me to wait. And I’m not so patient. It’s teaching me to relinquish control, when I want to be in control. It’s teaching me to trust, but I have soul deep trust issues.

It’s teaching me that it’s not my will, but His. And isn’t His always better than mine?

I may cry now. I may feel I am surrounded by darkness, and that all these seeds of grain I am planting are returning void and useless.

But there is a purpose in this season of suffering. While God harvests this turmoil here in my heart, he is also harvesting a victory:

Then the Lord will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock (v 23). 

There will be reward for your obedience, January.

There will be fruit for your labor, January.

Don’t give up now. Your tears mean something. They are not wasted. Your prayers are heard. Your work is not in vain.

I’ll show you if you just let me do the work.

If you just trust me with this harvest, I’ll show you what those tear-stained prayers will produce.

Don’t give up. Keep praying. Keep listening. God will do the rest.

He is the God of the harvest.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2019 in How Is Your Faith

 

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Move, girl!

Hmmmmm……looks like they finally moved that thing. How many times did I ask for that very same thing to be done?

Wow! Really? I put that request in years ago, and now it’s finally important to someone?

This is how it begins. A blast into the past. Recounting all the hurdles I had to jump. Lamenting over things He had already gotten me through. Just not in the way I wanted. Then wondering why in the world that “assignment” was so hard for me?

In high school for two spring seasons, I decided to join the track team. Somehow, during that first season this short girl was encouraged to try the 100 meter hurdle race.

In high school I was also persistent. I didn’t give up easily, and even though I trained painfully to clear that bar, I missed it each race. Tumbling to my feet, onto the ground. Humiliated and defeated.

I needed a new assignment. A different race. I needed to move.

My perseverance and persistence has not faded since high school. Which means I still painfully work to clear hurdles from my path. In ministry. At work.

I get frustrated each time I don’t clear that bar. Upset each time I fall. Each time I hit a road block. Crying out for help in my suffering because surely if He called me here…well, I should not be set-up just to be knocked down. Humiliated. Defeated.

They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas. That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over the Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew for sure God had called us to preach the good news there. Acts 16:6-9, MSG

Move, girl! This isn’t the place for you. You belong in Philippi.

I had to move.

He had a different place for me. A different assignment. And, he set up some roadblocks where I was for a purpose. Just like he prevented Paul and Silas from preaching in Galatia and Bithynia.

He had to get me to Philippi.

And if I stayed comfortable where I was. If I stayed happy where I was. If I never fell over another hurdle, or had someone or something block my path-I never would have moved.

Move, girl!

So, I did.

Which means…who cares who moved those darn pictures? It was not my assignment. Who cares who blocked the way at work? I was never meant to stay where I was. It was no longer His place for me.

He gave me a new assignment. He sent me to a new place. To tumble over some different hurdles I am sure. But…when he says, “Move, girl!” He will also provide the way for me to clear them, too.

Move, girl!

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2018 in How Is Your Faith

 

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And I know He watches me…

I don’t like birds. May seem like a random bit of information. And, it could even seem a little strange, since as a child I used to watch them. Study them. Wonder where they were going. Had been. What their behavior said about them. However, I also remember walking to the school bus and getting pooped on by a bird. I remember getting attacked by one as my brother and I walked through our neighborhood as kids. I don’t really like the gulls who think I packed all those sandwiches on the beach for them.

No. I don’t like birds.

Yet, a bird is the subject of one of my favorite songs when I used to sing in high school…before I ever knew God. Two are tattooed on my hand to remind me of this song, and it’s corresponding verse:

“What is the price of two sparrows-one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Matthew 10:29

But, I hate birds.

God. He has a sense of humor.

For two summers, I found the time to enjoy my front porch. I wrestled with some hard stuff there. I cried many a tear. Screamed many times at God.

And, was visited each summer by a bird. Tiny little sparrows. No. I ain’t lying.

Yes, during those times when I felt distant from Him-much like a forgotten sparrow that had fallen to the ground-I have watched one of these lonely birds calling to someone in the distance. Pleading desperately on my porch railing, as I pleaded desperately for it to just fly away. For any ole bird out there to hear its call. To come help him so he can fly home, to where he or she was going. Or was supposed to go.

Two years later. I sit again. On this porch. Watching this squeaky little bird That I just want to go away. And, I stop for a minute and remember God’s promise in Matthew 10:29. In that song I used to sing so long ago: His eye is on the sparrow. And I know He watches me. 

See, I had just asked Him: What is the point of all this? Why did all this happen, and when the heck are you going to give me any answers? Are you ever going to listen? 

I had been wounded. I had been attacked. I had felt abandoned, like a lost bird, and I didn’t understand it. And I needed his help, and I felt like he was silent.

Sometimes I feel like a wounded sparrow desperately calling out, and no one hears me. Yep…not even Him. He won’t give me the directions, and sometimes He isn’t telling me where to go.

When, in fact…He does. His Word. The very One that said I would never be forgotten in the first place. So, I opened my Bible, turned to a page at random and read Jeremiah 30 and 31 finding some of His promises:

“I have wounded you cruelly, as though I were your enemy. I will give you back your health and heal your wounds. In the days to come you will understand all this.” Jeremiah 30: 14,17,24

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3

Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble.”  Jeremiah 31:9

He is telling me to trust Him. To stop worrying, and he promises he won’t leave, He won’t drop me on my face, even though it feels like I am suffering down here.  He will pick me up when I fall, and he won’t ever let me go. He loves me.

I may feel like a lost bird some days. I may feel like that sparrow on my porch howling for someone to please come get me. To hear my little shriek down here below.

I may “feel” like he isn’t listening, but just like he gives flight to those birds. Gives them a place to land. Watches them, and won’t let them fall. He won’t let me either.

His eye is on this little sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2018 in How Is Your Faith

 

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Need an answer? Don’t Google it…

“I saw it on the internet.”

“I don’t know. I googled it.”

This. This is how we get our answers to many of life’s problems. To the things we don’t know.

I am of the generation who had to research via encyclopedia. Trying to find out information on anything took more than 30 minutes; sometimes even days, and if the World Book didn’t write about it, well you had to trek to your local library hoping to find an actual book that was written about it. Then read it.

These days you can pick up your trusty phone, ask Google and she (or he) will come back with a number of “hits” all about your chosen topic in a matter of seconds. Problem is…most are not based on fact. And, many…many are definitely not family dinner conversation worthy.

We decide what’s right or wrong based on what we read on websites, or see on YouTube.

We can determine our level of “cool” based on what everyone else is doing on social media, or what our friends tell us.

We look for “signs” from Insta-worthy quotes.

We can even ask our “friends” for recommendations on the best places to go, the best movies to see, even the best way to handle a nasty co-worker, or a salty spouse; and get a ton of advice. Some probably really great. And none at all the same.

Instead, we either listen to the wrong voice, or simply just give up.

Rarely do we dial up God about something. You don’t hear in our daily conversations “Oh, I read the Word, and this is what it said about that.”

I have asked God recently over a number of months the same question. I have prayed the same prayer over and over. I have come away not hearing the answer.

Searching instead for a sign on the internet to solve my problem. Hoping Google will provide me with some answer. Ready to give up, because I came up empty each and every time.

Until, I opened up His Word, and was given the answer that I needed.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. Psalm 23:1-2

See, I had been hanging on to the past. To the hurts of the past. To those who had harmed me. To those who had mistreated me. Used me. Manipulated my compassionate nature.

I was no longer in that place physically. Yet I was still living there in my mind and heart. Looking for answers and healing from worldly devices.

When it was right here in His Word all along.

Those people are not here, where I can rest in a green meadow if I so please. Walk across a bridge, through a path, and meander by a rock-strewn stream if I desire. Those people didn’t come with me.

But, He sure did.

He had never left me. He had come with me. He was simply waiting for me to let all that other stuff that I left behind go, so He could do something greater here.

I didn’t find that answer on the internet. Because it wasn’t going to give it to me.

I found it by looking around at the beauty He had placed around me. The place He had put me. I found it by praying. By listening. By surrendering my need to fix the past, and focusing on one truth: His Word.

Which provides the answer every time. Google can’t hold a candle to that.

So, need an answer today? Don’t Google it, or expect Facebook to provide it…ask God. Or even better-open up His Word, and read what He has to say about it.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2018 in How Is Your Faith

 

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Me, of little faith

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me! Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:29-31

“Are we walking on the ocean?”

“Well, not ON the ocean…unless we are Jesus.”

Of course at the time I thought I was pretty witty. Until I was schooled by an even sassier, younger version of myself who broke it down for me…like only a preteen girl can do!

“Um, no honey! Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such little faith, Peter?’ Don’t you know we can walk on water, too!”

Me of such little faith. Without even knowing it, my sassy eleven-year old had gotten it right. I was like Peter. Not convinced I could walk on water.

There have been times recently when my faith has been fleeting. When I have fought battles, convinced that God had stopped fighting for me.

When I thought the waves were going to take me under, and I have also cried out, “Save me, Lord!” Hearing. Feeling nothing. Doubting that He was going to deliver me from my mess. From chaos.

Like Peter, I have ventured out at His leading, and become discouraged when things didn’t turn out the way I hoped. Started sinking in doubts if I faced opposition, discouragement, or hurdles along the way.

I began to drown out His purpose and His mission in my doubt.

Me, of such little faith. “Just like Peter, Momma!”

I don’t know what boat you need to get out of today, but I do know this-He is there to save you. To guide you out on the water. He won’t leave you. He won’t let you drown. He won’t let you rock around helpless in the waves. Being blown over by the wind.

He will help you. He only asks you step out of the boat in faith, so that you can walk on that water to the place He is leading you, too.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2018 in How Is Your Faith

 

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A rainbow, a promise

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“For even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, My love won’t walk away from you, my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.” Isaiah 54:10

It seemed to be a morning like most. While I was in a different zip code, state, and porch, my morning routine had not changed. Wake up. 7AM. Make coffee. Then head outside for time with God and the Bible.

Except this morning was a bit different. I had not woken up in the greatest of spirits.

Maybe it was that paper I had turned in the night before. The one that I knew I had not put my best into, that was also 2 days late to boot. And even though I had just declared I was giving this “no” thing a shot, and letting go of whatever had me needing to achieve so much (I’ll get to that at another time), I still had a ways to go.

Because, there was still a ton I just didn’t understand.

Still a lot of “why’s” God still had not answered.

“When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last thing on Earth.” Genesis 9:16

Then a rainbow appears. Out of no where, really. Right before the clouds descended over that same water. The same clouds that had seemed to match my mood the last few days.

But, He sent a rainbow, nonetheless.

To remind me that I may not have all the answers right now. I may still wrestle in my spirit over things I cannot understand. Things I can’t fix (and probably never will, because gee, January…only He can!).

To remind me that He keeps His promises, and He promises this:

“For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvesting, cold and heat; Summer and winter, day and night will never stop.” Genesis 8:22

He will provide all I need.

There may be seasons of suffering. Seasons of delight. Oh…definitely seasons of darkness, but in every season there is a purpose.

The nights may be tough to get through, but joy comes in the morning.

And, some mornings, He sends rainbows to remind this weary heart that He is a God who keeps promises. And, He promised He may not give me the answers until it’s time, but He sure won’t leave me struggling alone.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2018 in How Is Your Faith

 

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