Tag Archive | faith

But Why?

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 (NIV)

I was talking to my oldest daughter this morning before she went on a photo shoot. She is just beginning a photography business and does amazing work. While she is starting to get leads and line up work, she is young and still in college. She has not quite made the transition to the adult, working world.

One of the people who she was “shooting” was someone from her day job. They know each other well and have seen each other in various states of being “put-together” and completely falling apart. It was an early appointment so she was going to get up, throw herself together and go.

Before jumping in the shower, she asked me about her attire for the morning. I gave my input and watched her cringe in disappointment.

She told me what she planned to wear and why. I let her know that it didn’t matter who it was, the goal was to look professional whenever possible. She wants her clients to know she is capable and trustworthy with their memories.

While we shouldn’t judge others on looks, it is one way we can influence the relationship from the first moment of meeting. Regardless of our desire to not judge, often we have an initial reaction to what we see.

As she tried to convince me of why it should be okay to wear what she had first chosen, I told her, “You obviously questioned your choice of clothing or you wouldn’t have asked me. I simply confirmed what you already knew. Stop fighting it and do what you know it right.”

And with that she picked out different clothes and went to get ready.

And I smiled as I watched the Holy Spirit direct her in the way she should go.

Does the Holy Spirit, God, really care what we wear? Is it that big of a deal? Who cares? We already know people shouldn’t judge us so shouldn’t they just accept us as we are regardless of what we look like, clothes and all?

I admit, I don’t know to what extent God cares but here is what I do know: We have the ability to influence. Our appearance may matter, it may not. If God knows our appearance may make the difference, He will let us know. I don’t think He will tell us to buy clothes we can’t afford just to look good. He won’t tell us to use our looks to get what we want. But He does know what is best in every situation and since He is working in all things, He knows and cares about every detail.

For my daughter, this may have been the beginning of a lead to something more. There were others involved, not just her co-worker. While that was the relationship she was thinking of, it may not have been the one God was orchestrating.

“The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should.” Galatians 5:17 (CEV)

Stop fighting God and do what you know is right.

As God speaks to you through the Holy Spirit, stop fighting His direction, guidance and counsel. Be willing to submit to His will and His way because everything He does leads to His love.

To finish the story, as my daughter left the house, she had a bounce in her step, a smile on her face and she carried herself with confidence. God is good indeed!

Something to Consider:

Is there something God is asking you to do and you are fighting it because you don’t understand why it matters? Do you find yourself struggling with what you want versus what God is telling you to do?

Seek God’s guidance and counsel. Step out in faith doing what He asks even if when you don’t understand. Jesus has made a way for us to have direct access to the Father through His Spirit; choose to listen, learn and live out what He tells you.

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Remember

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (ESV)

I email with a friend regularly. We talk about things going on in our lives, problems and joys. They might include political or just news worthy tidbits of information we come across and think are interesting. We joke and laugh, cry and love.

Often, we email about things in need of prayer. Whether it’s for our self or someone else, there is almost always prayer involved. We also rejoice together over what God is doing in response to those prayers. Or maybe He’s given us a revelation about His word, His nature, His character; He’s given us a glimpse into what He’s doing in us or those around us. It is such a joy to share with another person what God is doing in our life!

My friend is a saver. She picks out those things I say that touch her and saves them. Sometimes it’s Scripture; sometimes it’s an insight or thought. Then, out of nowhere, we will be emailing back and forth and she will just drop one of my encouragements to her from, say one year ago, back on me.  Or maybe it’s something I’ve said I’m waiting on and praying for. It’s like she’s saying, “Remember who you are. Remember whose you are. You are not who or where you use to be. God is still at work!”

See, she knows I know it. I just don’t always remember it. She reminds me of what I already know. We all need that encouragement from time to time. Perhaps, all the time!

God does that same thing throughout the entire Bible. He continuously reminds us of who He is, who we are, what He’s done for us and what that means going forward. We may think, “He just said that!”, so we skim over those parts that sound familiar. While everything God says matters, when He repeats Himself we should sit up and take notice. It’s really important!

We are His and He loves us. He has done wonderful things already and it doesn’t stop there. Because He has been faithful, He will continue to be faithful. We do not need to wonder who God is or what He wants. We many not know all the details of how it will happen, but it will happen if He says so.

Our Heavenly Father continuously encourages us to keep following, keep trusting, keep believing – have faith!

 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Something to Consider…

Do you already know Jesus? Do you know what He has done for you? As you read His Word, know that His promises are not just for those in the Bible, they are for the whole world and that includes you!

Are you plugged in with other Christians who encourage you in your walk with Him? Do you need to be reminded of the hope you have in Christ? It’s important to do life with others who are walking with Jesus.

Join a small group or Bible study. Don’t worry about what you know or don’t know. God is always teaching us something new and we are here to encourage each other to always remember the hope we have in Him!

The Gift of Salvation

“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:9-11 (NIV)

Hallelujah! We’ve been found! In the Old Testament, God was preparing His people for the coming Messiah. The day has finally come! Jesus the Christ is here!

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:11

How do we truly begin to understand the depth of God’s love for us? That is what this is all about; God’s great love for us. That is after all why He created us. To know, love and live with Him forever. Imagine that! The Creator of the universe – all that was, is and ever will be, wants us to know Him. He wants to have a relationship with us!

He has never hidden himself from us; we have tried to hide ourselves from Him. We continue to look away from Him and when we chose to go our own way, because of His great love for us, He made a way for us to be right with Him again.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

As we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus, the beginning of God’s plan, we celebrate the entire gift of Jesus – a reconciled relationship with the one who created us!

We celebrate new life through the gift of His birth. God is doing a new thing. He is making a way for us to be right with Him, not by our own works so that we can boast about ourselves but through Jesus so that we would boast in God.

We celebrate the example Jesus gave us during His lifetime. He taught us how to love unconditionally, serve with humility, and persevere while suffering. He had peace and joy because He loved, trusted and obeyed His Father. His life did not end in death but in life and victory over the grave. And because we have faith and believe in Him, we can have that same peace, joy and victory.

We celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus explains that the Counselor, the Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of everything Jesus has said. He will guide us in all truth and will bring glory to Jesus by revealing the truth to us.  Through faith in Jesus, we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and guaranteed of our salvation.

We don’t have to wonder if or how this baby will save us, we know with certainty! Our redemption, our reconciliation with God, has been guaranteed through our faith in Jesus.

Something to Consider…

The gift of Jesus was meant for all people. It was not meant for us to keep to ourselves.

How can you be intentional about sharing the gift of Jesus and His salvation with others, not just at Christmas, but all year through?

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

The Gift of a Baby

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 (NIV)

Do you know someone, a friend or your children perhaps, who won’t take your advice? They continually do their own thing even though you’ve been there, done that, and have great words of wisdom for them on how to avoid the mistakes you’ve made. Do you ever want to throw your hands up and walk away? “Do whatever you want. I don’t care. It’s your life!”

I’ve been there many times. Oh, how the anger and frustration can rise! But then, I remember God’s grace and love for His people who have done this very thing over and over again. They weren’t just going through a phase or having a little pity-party, they were down-right rebelling against God and His commandments. If He can offer grace and move forward in love, shouldn’t I?

And just as my children argue with me, I argue with God.

There is something about the peace we have when making up after an argument. We know we don’t want to be mad, not talk, or feel tension and stress when we are around the other person so we choose to make it right. We apologize, offer forgiveness, and reconcile. The best though is when we fully acknowledge the truth of the situation and our part in the problem. We don’t always do this when we apologize…it’s like we say we’re sorry with our fingers crossed behind our back. “I’ll apologize but it’s still really his fault.”

There is a difference when fully acknowledging what we’ve done, why we did it and what it will take to make things right again regardless of what the other person has to say. I know when I’ve been able to do this there is a feeling of relief, but also a bit of fear that my efforts to reconcile will be rejected. Maybe they will agree that it is all my fault and take no ownership in their part of the problem. What if they don’t want a real relationship with me? What about me do they not find acceptable or worthy of a relationship?

God’s ways are right and true. He has nothing to apologize for yet He wants to be reconciled; He longs for a relationship with you.

While God’s people were continuing to do their own thing, living their own life, God was making a way for them to be reconciled to Him. While they were arguing with God, He was thinking of the day when there would be peace. Jesus would bring that peace.

Grace and truth, the heart of our loving Father, has come through Jesus Christ. We can turn from the truth and reject God’s plan for reconciliation; God does allow us to do that. But how much better it is when we accept His gift of grace and embrace His truth.

Something to Consider…

God sent His Son as a gift for me and for you. Have you accepted, unwrapped and embraced this gift?

At Christmas, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Through faith we have been made right with God and it starts with the birth of this baby. Choose to thank Him today for this new way He has made.

The Lighter Side of LYF – Tebow-mania: What’s the problem?

I recently wrote a devotion titled: Where is Your God?

“My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?’” Psalm 42:10 (NIV)

My husband, Craig, reads Sports Illustrated. I often peruse the stories and really do enjoy the articles; although I admit I go through streaks so I in no way claim to be a “sports” person. Of course, as a Christian, how do I not pay attention to the stories about Tim Tebow? The last story I read was about Tebow-mania. Players and opponents’ fans were mocking his prayer, praise and outspoken love for his God. When they made a tackle, they would taunt him with his own stance of prayer. They were not thanking God for having made their own tackle; they were basically saying “Where is your God now?”

Even other Christian players and fans have been telling him to cool it. We all expect people like Billy Graham or Rick Warren to thank God at all times, but a football player, at ALL times? I was listening to the local Christian radio station and they asked people to call in and share what they thought of all the hubbub. One woman thought the prayer was okay but maybe he shouldn’t pray to win.

Not pray to win? That’s like telling a salesman not to pray to get the sale! Maybe we should tell the cab driver not to pray he doesn’t hit any traffic jams. Or maybe we should tell doctors not to pray they get the entire tumor. Okay, so that sounds extreme but here’s the point – each person has a job to do and to have success in any profession is to “win”. He could have great stats and his team still lose, but how does that help his organization, his company?

When Tim Tebow started this season, the Broncos were 1-4 and in 4th place. They are now 8-5 and in 1st place having gone 7-1 with Tebow as quarterback. Does God help Tim Tebow win games? I believe, in some way, He helps Tebow be successful in what he does. There is an entire team of players who are responsible for their own performance, who help win or lose games. Tebow was not on the field when either of the final two field goals were kicked to win the game against Chicago. He did his part when needed as did the rest of the team.

A friend of mine confessed that during the last Superbowl, it didn’t really matter to him who won the game. He prayed that the team who would bring the most glory to God would win. That’s a cool prayer just as it is, but it gets better. Green Bay won and some of the first words from player, Greg Jennings, were, “To God be the Glory.” I do believe that if there is any reason for a team to win a game, the idea that those words would be spoken over national television is a good one.

God has given Tim Tebow a platform and he has taken it and run with it…no pun intended. (Tebow is not a passer. He often hands off or runs the ball himself.) As a successful football player, and to be successful as a quarterback is to win games, Tebow has proclaimed God’s name and Word every chance he gets. His faith in God is not just seen on the field but off through his service and outreach. Through his fame, his platform, he has been able to create his own foundation, been invited to various speaking opportunities, and even has players and sportscasters quoting Scripture. He has no idea how long God will give him this football platform from which to speak but this is true: God is pleased when He is praised from a heart that is right with Him. (Romans 8:5-8)

People are talking about faith. And while people talk about having faith in Tim, Tim talks about having faith in Jesus. To God be the Glory.

Something to Consider…

Regardless of our faith, we all hold certain beliefs. We live a certain way, doing or saying things that should agree with our beliefs. Does what you say or do give an accurate picture to others about what you believe?

What platform have you been given to do God’s will and proclaim His name? It may feel like a small platform right now, but God’s Word says to he who is faithful with a little will be given much. (Matthew 25:23)

The Straight Path

Path“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6(ESV)

What are you passionate about? Have you always had the same passions? Are you doing the work and living the life you have always expected you would?

We are to trust in the Lord with our whole heart, our whole being. Life so often feels like it twists and turns and we are rarely on a straight path. Sometimes that’s our own doing. Sometimes it’s because we don’t see what God is doing.

Personally, I had to accept that God’s purpose and plan for me and my family included a 2,000 mile move to California (which, by the way, is one place I said I would never move) and then back again in order to move us only 20 miles from where we started. Why? We had something to learn and gain in the move and different paths to cross. We would not be where we are or who we are if not for that move.

When we don’t trust God during the twists and turns, we end up relying on our own understanding. Because we are not leaning on God’s understanding, we don’t see how in order to fulfill God’s will, His purpose for us, sometimes we need to change jobs, move across the country, pursue a different career, leave a group of friends, or step out of our comfort zone into an unknown territory. We can get fixated on our existing passion and desires rather than following God’s will for us to grow in His passion and purpose for us. We settle into what feels like a safe, easy and comfortable life. We think, “This is good, it must be God’s will for me.”

But then something changes. Sometimes the desires and passions God gives us fulfill a specific purpose for a specific time. As we seek God’s will in our lives, we begin to realize that sometimes we need to give up a certain dream or desire and step into a new calling.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (ESV)

As we acknowledge the Lord, delighting in His truth and right ways, we let go of our ways. His desire becomes our desire. As we lean into His understanding, we trust His path will really get us where He wants us and somehow our hearts desire will still be fulfilled.

Something to Consider…

Does your life feel like it’s in the middle of a twist or has just taken an unexpected turn? Are you trying to figure out your next step? Consider the twists and turns your life has already taken. What relationships or situations would not have happened without an unexpected turn? Be willing to trust that God is bringing you to the next thing He has for you even though you can’t see it.

Is the old passion and desire safe, easy or comfortable? Does this new thing God is calling you into feel like a dangerous place where you have to trust Him with your whole heart, whole being because it’s way out of your comfort zone? As you look at your life today, decide to delight in the Lord first. Acknowledge Him and that He knows best. Give Him the desires of your heart, your passions and step out in faith following His straight path.

Where is Your God?

“My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” Psalm 42:10 (NIV)

“Why is God silent? Why won’t He intervene and do something to change this situation?”

Sound familiar? There are so many times we may wonder where God has gone. We’ve asked Him to do something, yet we wait and wait; and nothing for what seems like so long.

Daniel, a young man of noble birth, a captive in Babylon, was greatly concerned for the future of his people. He prayed faithfully for twenty-one days; then an angel of the Lord came to him. He prayed three full weeks, never giving up…faithfully. How soon do you get frustrated and want to give up? Assume the answer is no and move on? Maybe you keep it up a couple of days, a week; but three full weeks? What if it had been longer? It could’ve been you know. Some of us have been trying to stay faithful for years.

There are times when I wonder if in my waiting, in my impatience, I made a decision out of frustration rather than faith. Or maybe, I was too hesitant to step into what God had for me. We can pray for an answer – for God to do something; but sometimes we need to step out in faith first.

We never know the day or hour God will answer the prayer we pray with the deepest longing for a desired outcome. When the answer finally comes, we look back and can think it really wasn’t so long but in the middle of it all, it feels like forever. We can wonder why we ever doubted.

When a messenger finally comes with the answer to Daniel’s prayer, he fills Daniel in on what’s been going on.

“Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.’” Daniel 10:12 (NIV)

While Daniel prayed and fasted, the Prince of the Persian kingdom resisted the angel. There is a battle going on around us all the time. We don’t always know what other circumstances are holding up our answer. Others decisions and actions affect our circumstances as well. We can’t see it and we don’t understand it but we can often feel and see the results.

The message of hope in this passage is since the first day Daniel set his mind to gain understanding and humble himself, his words were heard. From the very first moment he turned to God in his situation, God heard him and began to work. While we may feel alone in the battle with nothing to do but wait, God hears us. He is responding in ways we don’t see and don’t  understand. When we set our mind to gain understanding, it means we want to understand God’s plan, not our own. When we humble ourselves, we give up our will for His.

What do you have your mind set on? Is your attitude one of humility or pride? Are you able to trust in and wait on the Lord knowing He is at work?

Something to Consider…

Are you waiting on God to answer a long felt prayer? Is He asking you to step out in faith to set your answer in motion? When praying, choose to remain faithful, seek God’s understanding of the situation and humble yourself to His will.

Where is your God? Remember, He is with you always, He hears you and He is at work in ways you can’t comprehend.