Without Faith

Out of “Experiencing God Day by Day”:  The writer of Hebrews reminds us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).  Whenever God reveals something, He expects us to believe Him and adjust our lives accordingly.  What does this mean?  It means we trust Him implicitly for all of our needs because He says He will provide (Phil. 4:19).

Are you trusting God?  I don’t know about you, but I struggle with this at times.  Oh, it’s pretty easy to trust God when things are going OK.  It’s when things get sticky that my faith can go right out the window!

I had a realization today.  Years and years ago, I had a dream.  My dream came about when I was a little girl.  Some 20-plus years later, my dream came true.  But in the interim, my faith flagged and actually failed.  I didn’t believe anymore that the dream was possible.  The interesting part as I thought about this today is that the dream was actually a catalyst to remove me from a very dangerous period in my life!  Even though I had given up on the dream, God hadn’t.  And the dream I wanted in my future was able to catapult me into a new reality.  God used the dream to remove me from a dark future and place me in new surroundings with a fresh outlook.  That was all it took and my life was forever changed.

Romans 14:23 says, “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”  What has God planted in you?  What dreams did he plant in you years ago?  Are you allowing the enemy of your soul to cause you to sin by not putting your faith in God?  I’m guilty of this but I’m getting stronger and stronger in believing that God will do all that God says He will do.

All things are possible is more than a scripture to me these days…I realize that the strength I carry and walk in is not of my own anymore.  He is able, He goes before me, and He will see me through it all!  Blessings on you this day and may the Lord increase your faith to astounding levels of new joy!

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I’m Walking with God

I’ve arrived at a place in my life that I’m more and more in awe of God.  I have struggled with the fact that God loves me.  I could think of thousands of ways that I’ve disappointed, disobeyed, and otherwise disengaged myself from the Lord.  Oh yes, I knew that the Word, His Word, says that He remembers my sins no more as soon as I repent of them.  I’ve had plenty of practice with that.  But I’ve never truly gotten it that God loves me with a love so huge, so all encompassing.  Something always fell short inside.  “Oh, I’ve messed up again.  God can’t be very happy with me again.”

You see I was having a love affair with a God that I didn’t really understand.  He’s for me, not against me.  He’s always urging me on.  He’s used me in times when I figured I wasn’t very usable.  I always looked past what the Word said, and configured in my own mind this God who couldn’t possibly be happy with me and if He wasn’t happy with me, then He must not love me.  Unfortunately, these feelings come from our circumstances rather than truth.

Last week I had an experience that helped me see, I mean really see, just how much God loves me.  I was in a situation where folks around me were talking in a critical and judgmental way.  I recognized it immediately and decided that I didn’t want to go there.  Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to remove myself.  The next day, the same thing happened, but this time I joined in with the criticism and gossip that followed.  Just that quickly I slid into sin.

Later in the evening, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my mistake.  It was as if I heard Him tell me, “Linda, you saw it yesterday, identified it correctly, and chose not to participate.  Yet, today you joined in the fracas.  Why?”  The conviction cut me to the quick.  I was so quickly filled with remorse and sorrow.  I prayed, asking God’s forgiveness of my sin, and that He help me in the days to come not to succumb again.  And do you know what?  He answered my prayer!  The situation didn’t change much over the following days and yet God helped me to simply sit back and not participate.  It was absolutely stellar!

I’m beginning to see that the shift I’ve mentioned before has to do with my perception of God and His position in my life.  I’ve followed the Lord for a good many years now.  In spite of the fact that I feel so many of those years were for naught, God is showing me new things about myself.  He’s showing me that He loves me in spite of myself.  I honestly don’t know what has kept me following Him all these years, but I’m so glad I never gave up.  My understanding of who God is and what He’s about in my life is shifting from head knowledge to heart knowing.  I never before quite got it what loving God was all about.  I wanted it, I just didn’t know how to do it.

I’m coming to a new understanding about God’s promises for my life and where I stand in His eyes.  He loves me with a love beyond anything I can think or imagine.  He knows I sin, and yet He loves me anyway.  He uses me in circumstances where I feel I’ve completely failed and yet, I can look back and see situations now where I know He used me to change something in someone else’s life.  Guess what?  He loves you the same way.

Take a moment today and consider what your thoughts are about God and your love of Him.  You may not be able to quite say that you know He loves you completely and unabashedly and, you may not be able to say that you love Him in the same way.  That’s OK.  As long as you keep on the road, as long as you confess your sins as soon as you become aware of them and ask Him for His forgiveness, as long as you keep trying to follow Him the best you know how at any given moment…well, God will continue helping you grow and moving you along the continuum.  How do I know?  Because that’s exactly what He did for this woman who didn’t understand His love and yet kept walking with Him.

Many years ago, not long after I was saved and asked Jesus into my heart, I heard someone talking about the fact that “they walked with God.”  That statement astounded me.  I didn’t get it and I’d never heard of such a thing before.  But do you know what?  Thirty-five years later, I understand that statement completely.  I’m walking with God.  I pray you will continue walking with Him too…He really is crazy about you!  And if you’ll keep walking, He’ll keep moving in your life.  I pray your journey won’t take 35 years like mine did to get the fact from your head to your heart.  Why don’t you talk if over with God today?  He’s waiting to hear from you…

Look up!

When does it happen, the transition from glory to glory?  You know, that place where you don’t exactly understand how God does what God does in your life.  Does anyone else have moments when you wonder just exactly how God transforms you?  Have you had experiences in your past when you were doing something that you didn’t want to do, you prayed and prayed about it, seemingly praying to an unhearing Lord?  And then one day, when you least expect it, you realize you’ve  changed.  It’s like looking up into a July 4th night and suddenly out of the darkness shoots this unbelievably beautiful burst of color and sound that you can feel way down in the pit of your stomach.  Wow, where did that come from?

A number of years ago I decided to quit smoking…yet again.  I’d quit numerous times before.  I had begged God to deliver me from this habit.  I cried.  I bargained.  I did everything I could think of but no matter how hard I tried, I could not quit smoking.  To say I felt like a failure is the understatement of the century.  I struggled with smoking for almost the entire time I smoked, all 25+ years (unbelievably I didn’t keep track of when I finally quit!).

One day, I decided this was it, I was trying yet again.  A number of co-workers in my office had quit smoking recently and I figured this was a perfect time to jump on the bandwagon too.  With them not running outside at break time to have a smoke, I knew there would be others I could commiserate with.  I have to admit that I used a nicotine patch to help me, but at this point in my life, I figured that anything that might help would be just fine.  There were struggles some days, but somehow it happened.  I quit smoking!  It’s been about 15 years now and I’m astounded when I think back on this.  After struggling for over 25 years, I was finally a non-smoker.

As I think back on this, I realize that I finally surrendered to God about my smoking habit.  I quit bargaining.  I quit trying to muster my willpower.  I quit trying to make God guilty for not answering my prayers.  I quit being mad at God for not helping me.  I quit.  Period.  And although I never heard the words, I figure God said something like, “well, I’ve been waiting for this day Linda, for a long time.  Now I can help you.”  And it was about that easy.  Only it was hard!

I think I’m in another of those places.  Thankfully this isn’t such a gut-wrenching place as that was, but this place in my life has been no less frustrating.  This one has had to do with my purposes.  You know, the scripture a lot of us cherish; Jeremiah 29:11, all about God’s plans for us, to give us a future and a hope.  I’ve hung my hat on this scripture for many years.  It’s been prophesied over me, prayed over me, and used as encouragement for me.  And I’ve been waiting.  Patiently (most of the time).  “I want a future and a hope Lord.  Can we get on with this please?  I’m not getting any younger you know!”

I’m finding myself in this place of transition.  I didn’t see it coming and I’m not quite sure when it started.  But I’ve been writing a lot about waiting, expecting, surrendering.  And today, I can see something has changed.  The recent dream of giving birth to triplets (December) seems to have broken something loose in the heavenly realm and I can sense shifting going on in my life.  To say I’m excited doesn’t quite cover it.  No, I’m more in awe of what is happening.  I feel more like the clay that the potter is molding and a sense of the vase or vessel is beginning to take shape in my mind.

I learned quite awhile ago that when I hear from the Lord or when something happens in my life that I’m certain the Lord has orchestrated, I’m obligated to share with others.  God has been teaching me that movement or change in me is a sure signal that movement or change is happening in the lives of others too.  Why?  Because we’re all a family and when God is transforming, He’s moving in all our lives in one way or another.  So, I want to encourage you to look up!  God is at work in your life.  He’s all about wanting to transform us, moving us from glory to glory.  If you’re struggling right now, know that He’s working on the solution, the provision, the change.  It’s happening, whether you’re aware of it or not.  Maybe tomorrow you’ll realize that something is shifting in your world too.  I hope so.  I’m praying so.  If you see it, write about it here.  Let’s confirm that God is at work in our lives!

I’m Posting Every Week!

I’m Posting every week in 2011…well, almost every week, I’ve actually skipped one already!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once a week for all of 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.

Signed,

Linda

Impossible? Not with God…

Blogging has its issues.  Like you have to do it.  The last couple of weeks have been blogging-less because, well, nothing has been there to blog.  My husband would probably challenge that statement because he thinks I’m an endless stream of words in comparison to him.  Whatever.

There has been a lot going on within me in the past few weeks.  I’ve been chewing a lot on what I’ve been hearing from God.  There have been many fits and starts about what I’m to do right now.  Remember the dream recently about having triplets?  Well, there have been a couple more dreams that have been equally interesting.

And then there are the books I’ve been reading.  “God in the Yard” has led me to pursue God.  Not that I always hear anything, but simply waiting on Him has been a very good thing for me right now.  I’m living a new, unfamiliar style…waiting on God for the next move.  In the past, I’d have bolted by now, making something happen out of my frustration, boredom, whatever.  Not right now.  I’ve determined that making something happen isn’t necessarily what God would have me do if He had His way.  After many errors along the way, I’m satisfied to wait on Him right now.

Our pastor has recommended another book, one he’s actually using as the basis for his preaching right now.  It’s called, “Wild Goose Chase” by Mark Batterson.  Whoa!  What a book.  I think this is my all time favorite book.  It is compelling.  I blasted my way through this book, it is that good.  In fact, I wish I’d written this book!  🙂  Wild Goose Chase will ask you direct questions about your walk with the Lord and will make you squirm.  Oh yes, I’ve been squirming here.

The final reading I want to share with you today is out of  “Experiencing God Day by Day”, a devotional by Henry T. and Richard Blackaby.  The reading was out of Luke 1:37; “For with God, nothing will be impossible.”  It begins discussing the wonder of Jesus’ birth…how God made something impossible (a virgin birth) become possible.  The reading continues, “When God speaks of doing the impossible, it is no longer absurd.  When was the last time God spoke to you about what He wanted to do and you were scared to death by its magnitude?”

And there you have it, right where I’m living.  I’ve heard God speak to me about something He wants to do through me and I’m scared to death!  What if I fail?  What if I can’t?  What if?  No, no, no, I’m not getting it.  “For with God, nothing is impossible.”  Mary absolutely had the right answer, that she was open to anything God wanted to do through her.

Becoming pregnant wasn’t something Mary could do.  He didn’t ask her to get pregnant, He just presented the possibility of using her and, thankfully, she said a bold YES!  She didn’t take time to think it over, she didn’t bolt from the magnitude of the request, she simply said yes.  “Yes, God.  You can use me to do this thing that seems utterly impossible to me.  Yes.”

She didn’t get all tangled up in projecting into the future about what might happen if she said yes.  She didn’t stumble on such things as “will I make a good mother, what if I can’t get pregnant, what if my whole town rejects me?”  She didn’t go to any of those places.  She just said yes.

The point is that God doesn’t want me to become someone else, a suddenly devout, error-less saint who does everything right, knows no sin, and has the talents to do anything for God.  He knows what He’s doing in asking…”will you trust me?”  He has His reasons for asking you and me to do anything for Him.  It’s our job to trust Him and simply say yes.

That’s where I’ve been the last couple of weeks…wrestling with myself over something I’ve heard.  I have a choice.  Will I allow the fears, the unknowns, the magnitude of His request to stop me?  Or will I just say yes and then trust Him, that He can make the impossible happen?  I just have to say yes and begin.  At least He’s not asking me to become pregnant and bear the Savior of the world!!  Whew!