Tag Archives: faith

How Are You Finding Joy?

Psalm 9:2
I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

To continue on with my theme for the week, I want to continue thankfulness even when we think things are not as they should be.  Take for instance getting a new home and you were hoping for 3 bedrooms and God provides a more than sufficient home according to His promise of provision but the home only has 2 bedrooms and you really wanted the third one for a new office.  Did you really need a new office?  Is there somewhere else in this home where you could fit an office?  Often times we are just not happy with what God gives us and we complain and are ungrateful because it does not have all the bells and whistles we wanted. We should be thankful in the end for the roof over our heads. God knows what we need and He will not give us more than we can handle.  And I know for sure He provides for our needs at just the right timing.

Let’s take a closer look at misunderstood provision as it played a huge role in my life.  Here I was in the middle of relationship with my husband that was growing darker and darker every day.  My typical day towards the end of my disaster consisted of:  getting the kids ready, going to work for 9 hours, finding money for dinner and kerosene, finding my husbands next fix, endless trips to the emergency room and so much more.  This happened over and over again and as I cried myself to sleep each night, I laid there wondering when the end would come.

Then, in the scheme of things and my bewilderment God stepped in and took my husband from the scenario.  He freed me from the hell I was operating out of on a daily basis and do  you know as I sat in that hospital room I still did not want to let anyone know about what was happening everyday in my life?  I was literally afraid of how I was going to make it if my husband was not in the picture any more?  Now I look back and just shake my head and giggle to myself , “oh ye of little faith.”

God had given me an out and I still was not happy it seemed.  Now I would have to raise two teenagers alone on  the salary of just me.  Here I was with no gas on at the trailer, no working appliances and a van that just did not run right and my husband was the one who did most of the cooking and the fixing of anything broken. I was in a panic because I did not know how to cook on a an outside grill. I just could not see it at the time the wonderful provision God had already in motion because I just wanted Him to fix my husband.  Now I look back and as I can see more of the bigger picture, I see what God had in mind all along and in order for these things to happen, there had to be a separation.

Next Blog:  more on the separation and how it has drawn me ever so close to God

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Bigger Than the Storm

Proverbs 10:25
When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.

How many of us our consumed by the storms of our lives?  How many live in needless fear of being tossed in the wind or drowned by the rain when a storm comes into their life?  What if we knew we were bigger than the storm?  Perhaps if our strength is strong enough we will weather the storm and come out unharmed but what if our strength fails us.  What if we had enough faith that it didn’t matter if it was storming at all?

I pondered this yesterday as I was taking some pictures after a recent storm.  As you can see the one I posted is composed mostly of “popcorn” like clouds and then are these two little black clouds just passing by.  What if we thought of the white as faith and the black as life storms.  If our faith is big, then the storms appear to be nothing.  We tower over them with this confidence some others just cannot see.  They stand bewildered as to how we can be calm in the midst of storm, to me it’s all about perspective and where we stand in our faith.

I have been through some pretty rough storms, ones where there was more black than white and as I look back on those moments in my timeline, I can clearly see I was not filled with faith.  In fact mostly it was times when I was wondering where God was in my life.  It was points in my life when I was not trusting God to take care of my storms.  Now I can clearly see how the above picture fits into my life much better.  My faith is much larger and I no longer fear the storms when they come.

How I desire for your storms to be small.  I pray you can have enough faith to rise above your storms as they arise in your life.  I pray your faith is strong enough to weather anything that comes at you and that you will be able to trust God to take care of your storms.  I also hope that after going through your storm and seeing how God took care of things for you that your faith will grow so strong that nothing will knock you down.

If right now your storms seem so overwhelming, try to find the white in it and start building your faith so that you will begin to overcome.  Press into God and ask Him to show you how He handles the storm.  Glean from it what you will need to pass through the next one.  I promise you will begin to get stronger and your faith will soon become so great a storm will have no meaning to you.  Trust God, follow after love and soon storms may become something you welcome into your life.

Love Poured +Faith = Hope

Matthew 21:21
Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.

“Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people.” Amos 5:14-15 NLT

Had another awesome Saturday night at church.  It seems when many choose to go and party on the weekends, I end up at the Fathers house and find much going on.  Tonight was kinda spectacular.  Let me set the scene for a typical Saturday at church.  We come in and just listen to the music which is playing for about an hour, during this time I journal, read the Bible or just sit and soak.  Then there is a teaching time followed by prayer if anyone needs it.  Sometimes things do not go as “we” plan but rather the Holy Spirit changes the line-up.  Tonight I felt compelled to draw a bit and hence came the drawing above.  This also sparked a few things in my thinking and I came away well refreshed and seeking God even more.

My life, as with any Christian should be, is built upon faith.  During the recent revival I learned many things about faith.  I discovered I really did not have much until about three years ago when God pulled me out of the mess I was in and began to set my life apart from the destruction it had previously known.  My finances were looking better, I was writing more than ever, I was healing and I was beginning to finally believe God for things in my life.  Through this faith I acquired a good running van, kept my job, learned how to budget my money and recently getting my teeth fixed.  Faith is that thing which we cannot see and that is where the difficulty lies.

Take getting this house I want for instance.  People are telling me it is just not possible.  My credit rating says it will difficult to get an interest rate I can afford.  My flesh is telling me I am going for the impossible, yet all the while my faith is letting me pursue this dream.  If you read my blog Deer in the Front Yard, then you already understand just how perfect this house is and how much of a God thing it is for both parties involved.  I am acting on faith as I begin to search out my options for purchasing this home.  I have even begun a work in my current trailer to set things in motion.

As I sat in church tonight, journaling to God, I begin to see a different side of faith like I had not know before.  As the music was playing I began to see this pitcher as it was being filled with water and it was overflowing.  Now I am a writer and drawing is not my expertise, however I began to draw out what I was seeing.  I now have my vision for 2012 which is centered around hope and God just took it a few steps farther for me.  As indicated in the picture, water is flowing from above and this represents the Father’s love for us.  As it pours into the pitcher, which represents us, it mixes with our faith.  It is then when we begin to pour into the lives of others that it turns into Hope.

Another angle too is that when God is pouring love into our lives and we are filled with faith then the hope just begins to pour out as in a continuous stream from above. Just like Peter we must activate our faith if we want things to happen.  Once we are walking by faith on the water before us we must then keep our eyes on Jesus so as not see the circumstances below our feet for surely we will falter. So my focus in 2012 is to be filled up with Jesus so that my faith will remain activated.  By allowing this to happen, faith can arise and be seen causing others to have hope for their lives as well.

Nothing is too big for God and even when others in our lives say we cannot attain our goals, we know when we are operating out of faith, nothing is impossible.  We need to daily renew our minds so that our focus will remain on Jesus and our faith will grow stronger.  I have seen God do so many things already in my life, I find it hard not to have faith.  As I have grown stronger, knowing God is in control, I am able to press forward into other venues of life knowing that if God desires it for my life than it shall be.  As I am finishing the very last chapter of my book, I look forward to taking it to an editor and beginning the process of getting it published with the faith that God is in control.

Blowing In the Wind

Matthew 8:26
Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

It has gotten very windy here in Michigan as a winter storm looms ahead of us and as I saw this tree rolling in the wind down the street it gave me pause to reflect upon how I was feeling last night as I looked through all the news-feed statuses on Facebook. I saw every range of emotion from happy to sad, ecstatic to depressed and laughter to pure anger at the world.  So many different views of the year ahead of us and of the one left behind.  For those of who are dwelling in Christ, we know that a new year brings new challenges but also new blessings.  As I look forward to moving into a new home, I know the only way I will obtain it is through faith in God.  Nothing is too big for God and even though I cannot see a way right at the moment, surely Daddy has a plan.  The main thing I felt as I read through some of the statements and knowing who had written them, I sighed, knowing how much more God has for them if they would only lay it all down and call out to Him in faith.

As in the last two things I needed to move through in my life, getting my smile remodeled and getting a new home, I had to go through a period of letting God know how I felt and then letting it go.  Yes I screamed into the darkness.  I lost my temper and just let it all out.  I begged and pleaded.  I did everything but bargain with God (I know that is not how it works) and now in the moment where I am just letting things go and my focus in only on God in my life, things are happening.  Know how I did it?  Once I stopped complaining, God could hear my true pleas.  I was living under my circumstances and not above,  I seemed to have just assumed my position as the victim and accepted my surroundings.  Um, excuse me?  Who was I fooling?  I am a child of the King and He wants the best for me but if I keep SPEAKING myself into this pit, this is where I will stay.

I am not sure where I am going with this blog at the moment, as it has taken a turn from where I thought I was going, must be a God thing.  We have all lost hope at some point or another and allowed ourselves to just blow along with the wind.  We play the “woe is me” game everyday and begin to speak “unlife” into our situations.  Gee, every time I go to get gas they raise the prices.” Every time I check my bank account there is less money than I think.”  “The gas bill will be too much to pay.”  “Every time I go to the store I don’t have enough money.”  “I get sick every time I go to that restaurant.”  ON and ON, day after day, we speak life right out of our lives.  Aren’t you tired of that?  Am I speaking to anyone?

Okay, true example of a lesson I learned about speaking the “every time” phrase, well actually two of them.  One was at work concerning the computer.  When our boss would go out of town the first thing out of our mouths would be, “there goes our computer” and I am not kidding, something major would happen.  As soon as I learned the principal of not speaking such things, our computer has been fine. My other life example concerned our cars.  The first time my husband totaled one of our cars was just after we had filled the tank completely full.  Not having a lot of money we never filled the tank to full. Well, the next time he crashed, guess what?  It was just after we filled the tank to full.  After that we NEVER filled any of our cars to full.  I lived under this “curse” until I separated from my husband when I had run out of gas because I was too afraid to put a full tank in. I learned to rise above this and have since been filling my gas tanks without hesitation because I have learned how not to speak such things into existence.

I am praying for a change of some minds in 2012.  Nothing is impossible even though the world would like you to believe so.  I challenge you this year to speak LIFE where once you were cursing your life.  Stop yourself the next time you begin to say, “Every time…..” and evaluate what you are about to speak into your life.  As for me and my family, we ARE moving this year.  We WILL be turning our finances around.  We WILL be healthy.  We WILL have enough of everything because God will provide just as He promises in the Bible.  Will you choose to live above your circumstances or stay blowing in the wind?  Now I am not promising you a bed of rose or an easy road, but I know for sure God wants you to have abundant life in Him and the only way it will happen is if you start to speak life not death in your very existence.

Start today.  Don’t know how to start? A friend of mine had a very good idea of starting a Thanksgiving Journal.  Begin to write down the things you are thankful for.  Be basic.  Your car, your house, your wife, your clothes, your food….anything God has provided for you.  Do this everyday.  Today the pastors wife shared she is writing on the calendar each day “Today is a Good Day”, this is a great way to start claiming life!  Whatever you choose to do, do it with prayer.  Begin to rebuild your relationship with God.  I know you will see a difference in your life in a very short period of time.  Just keep in mind it will take discipline to accomplish this and that’s where it all begins.  Faith leads to renewed hope and I have enough faith that those who need to read this blog are reading it right now and God is stirring up some emotions and desires to change.  I pray each of you find something in every moment of life to be thankful for.

 

Day 25: The REAL Meaning of Christmas

Matthew 12:21
And his name will be the hope of all the world.”

John 1:14
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

Here we are!  It is Christmas and I will now share what I believe to be the real meaning of Christmas.  Now I assure you this is my own opinion and after having traveled the road to the manger with me, I hope you will come to your own conclusion of what the real meaning of Christmas is in your lives.  I feel on this day, Hope was born.  Now we have discovered that our Father has not given us any specific date for celebration and this brings me to a place where I have decided this truth for my current journey of faith:  The birth of the Jesus is a cause for celebration but then also of equal importance is His death.  Since a date for neither is provided, should we not celebrate DAILY the manger and the cross? The birth and the death?

Every day we should wake up and thank God for Jesus and this means the birth and the death for without either, we would be in quite a predicament.  If we were to celebrate each day this awesome Gift, it would be open to all religions and there would not be a need for all the disagreements of how it should be celebrated.  If we took the time to celebrate every day, gift giving or giving of ourselves would be a daily occurrence.  We could surprise someone with a love gift and not have to say, “tis the season”, it would just be the right moment.  Can you imagine for a moment what it would be like to have “Christmas” or “Easter” every day?  It would remove the stress and the planning and make the moment of giving so much more rewarding because the gift would be spontaneous and not planned out.

If we spent more time just sharing love instead of planning for these holidays, we could reach so many more hearts.  For some, these holidays are the ONLY time they spend with Jesus.  For others, it is the ONLY time spent with certain family members and sometimes that is only because it is “required” because of the “Holidays”.  I mean no offense by this blog, I am simply showing a side that even I have not really seen before now.  I think sometimes our focus is so far off base we cannot see the real meaning of the birth or the death.  Everyday is a gift from God, why should we not be of the same attitude towards others?  I love the idea of the holidays, do not get me wrong but at the heart of today, there was love.  I spent time with family and enjoyed just being with them.  I gave gifts to my children and I did this out of love, not obligation.  I feel as though I would like to spend more of these days together.

Jesus was born to give us Hope and if we are following in faith, the love God intended can emerge into this fallen world but it will be difficult if we continue to focus on these things only twice a year.  Jesus needs to be an everyday of presenting ourselves to be used by God so that the Gift of His son will have relevance in the lives of those who do not yet know Him as their savior.  As we followed the star and listened to the shepherds, saw the wise men in search of a King, our faith was ignited that hope was laying in a manger.  We finally had a moment to hold onto, a place in time where life could begin to make sense.  This birth of Hope is eternal and so is the death.

I pray all will find peace on earth as they seek Jesus first in their lives.  I Hope your Merry Christmas will be bright as you follow the star in faith.  May your Season Greetings become , “How can I help you today?”.  Perhaps your Happy Holidays will turn into days of celebration.  Hopefully Tis the Season will fashion itself into days of thanksgiving and a willingness to give to others.  Let’s make Christmas and Easter a part of everyday for as a very wise teacher taught me once upon a time, it is always today.  Today is the day Jesus is born.  Today is the day Jesus died. Today is the day when all things are possible.  Why not make today count so God may be glorified, today.

So as I conclude this 25 day blog on the REAL meaning of Christmas, I hope I have inspired some changes in the perspective of why we celebrate the way we do.  Maybe this is a moment in time where we can all just take a few moments and reflect upon what it all means in our lives.  Being a believer in Jesus means we are here to deliver hope to the hopeless and love to the lost.  We are to be about the Fathers’ business everyday of our lives.  Surely Santa was a grand idea, but a fairy tale for sure.  Some say Jesus is a fairy tale too, but I beg to differ.  The Happy Ending I am seeking is in heaven, a place of peace and tranquility, the purpose of my journey as a Christian, a daughter of the King.  May your heart be touched forever by the hope found in the manger, because when all that has been prophesied is said and done, will we be in our mansions in heaven or left behind?  The choice is up to each of us.  Who will receive your utmost attention?  Jesus or worldly traditions?  Use your faith to choose.  Be Blessed!

Days 17 & 18: What IS the Real Meaning?

Christmas Cookies and Cards

Proverbs 15:30
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.

I find it funny the Lord brings me to these two items today as we are continuing our journey to discover the real reason we celebrate Christmas, especially with the verse He led me to post.  Sorry I missed posting yesterday but with work and some things I needed to do, I simply ran out of time.  Anyway, cookies and cards are very important ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I personally love getting cards in the mail and well, I have never a met a cookie I could say no to.  I have for the past several years made card lists and bought cards to give to my friends and family.  I make a unique angel ornament every year also to attach to the cards, however, this year I have done neither.  Not sure why, perhaps too busy and then this digging deeper into the real meaning of Christmas has just brought me to a place of resting in Him and not getting over worked with the tediousness of the holiday season.  But just as I am NOT making angel type gifts, God gave me one yesterday.

A friend of mine has been inviting me to a live nativity which her church puts on every year and I always seem to have to work.  I went this year and it took my daughter and I down a journey much like the path Mary and Joesph would have traveled so many years ago.  The tour highlighted so many of things I have already discovered through this blog.  Of course the tour ended at the stable with Mary and the baby.  Tears filled my eyes as I reflected on that wonderful birth and as we made our way to leave they handed us each a card and a gift.  As I unwrapped my gift I discovered an angel ornament wrapped inside.  Mine said Faith and my daughters said Hope.  How appropriate God would give us such gifts?

I think with the cards and cookies we give during the holiday season, we can open the doors to faith and hope.  With every Christmas card sent out or handed to someone, there is faith in God that we are giving hope to someone else.  I know the cards and cookies cannot be traced back to the birth, however it is a fitting gesture in a modern day senario.  God wants us to share our faith so that hope can begin to rise up and conquer the fears which have plagued this world.  What if we all sent out one or two extra cards this year to random people that maybe we picked out of a phone book?  Possible it could make a difference?  Reaching out is something we should be doing as Christians and I can almost bet you if I was not a Christian and received a card from someone, I would pay attention.

Not sure if I will get to any cards this year for my regular list, however I think I will make time to send a card or two out to someone God leads me to.  So as you are baking your special cookies and sealing the cards this year, remember to add a little faith and hope to all you do.  As we get closer to the end of our journey towards the real meaning of Christmas I think these will be very important aspects.

Day 2: What IS Christmas Really About?

Luke 2:1-5

1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.

So on this, day two of my journey towards what Christmas means, I have felt an urge to speak on the donkey.  My original thought process on this was imagining Mary very pregnant riding on a donkey all the way to Bethlehem.  What an uncomfortable ride it must have been.  I was contemplating how much we complain about our modes of transportation and how our cars break down; the costs involved with keeping up with the maintenance of the vehicles.  When in all reality we should be so grateful for what we have considering the ways of the past.

Well, as I was looking up the story of how Mary and Joseph and looking for the verse that describes how they rode into town on a donkey, I could not find such words.  This makes me think we as a society just made the interpretation of the riding on a donkey part, which is fine, it was the main mode of transportation of the day, but it somehow took out some of the magic for me.  What if they just walked the whole distance?  What if they rode a horse or a camel?  Does that mess with anyone else’s vision of the journey?

Also as I was searching for donkey in the New Testament the first mention of a donkey is when the disciples were sent to get the one tied up in a nearby village.  Then a donkey was used to carry the man the Samaritan rescued.  The final mention of the splendid animal was when one carried Jesus into Jerusalem right before His crucifixion.  After studying this a bit I found it ironic that Jesus started out in Jerusalem, perhaps by riding on a donkey while in Mary’s womb and thus also ending up on a donkey towards the end of His lifetime here on earth.  Coincidence?  I fear not.

God uses the unlikely sometimes to make His point known.  He loves us all the same, it matters not what we look like or what car we drive or if we own a big fancy home.  He often uses the broken and the avoidable people to make His greatest testimonies.  Most would view the donkey as a low animal in the scheme of things, but it is the one animal which carried a King.  Whether or not Mary rode on a donkey is not the question, it is the journey that really is what is important.  The whole trip to Bethlehem had to be a journey of faith.  Even though they were decreed to go on this trip, somehow I just feel Mary and Joseph had an inkling of what would happen when they got there, after all they were bringing the Son of God into the world, I am sure the Father would keep them informed.