Archive | thoughts on faith

Blessings

It was a rocky week this last one.  And I may have had a crying jag Friday to release some of that tension.  I am writing on Sunday morning and I am going to admit a Christian no-no–I am skipping church.  But I am doing a GOD yes–I am resting.  I am not getting out of my jammies today.  Not.  gonna. do. it.  I am going to write about Jesus and then I am going to paint with Jesus all day.  I need some alone time with Him…some long extended alone time with Him.

He blessed me as I woke up with a prayer.  As I laid in bed I started thinking back at all the GOOD things that happened to my family, and me, all week.  And in reality it was a great week of some cool accomplishments.  Phoebe had a great recital/celebration of her new friends in dance.  Family came to visit.  Annika did really well at her math bee.  Tanner’s friendships shined.  Jeff had a couple interviews finally.  The violets popped in our yard.  Jeff and I had fun fishing with Annika’s class two mornings.  God kept listing the blessings and they just flowed over me until I teared up again.  He was telling me to trust Him…this is the right place for my family.  Satan might be trying to challenge that, but God made our purpose here evident to me.  And doesn’t Satan work His hardest against us when we are living for Jesus the most?

Sorry this post was a lot about me…but maybe you will see yourself in my words this morning.  Let yourself count the blessings that God has flowing to you.  Sometimes all it takes is a good cry to release the tension Satan causes– to make room for the Spirit to flow freely through us again and to truly see all our blessings.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise Him all creatures here below.  Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.  Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen.

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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He Answers

He answers every prayer.  He does…it is in His time, what He sees is best for each of us individually.  Not necessarily what someone else needs.  Not necessarily when someone else needs it.  But what is right for YOU.

Let’s pray for that:

God, You, creator, know our very hearts.  You see into our souls and fill our every cell with your spirit.  You hear and feel us crying out to you–the praises, the concerns.  Help us to understand the amazing magnitude of that.  Help us to understand that you see so much deeper and further than we can ever imagine and you have our best interests planned at all times.  Help us to follow you through the valleys, over the mountains, help us wade through the mud, and soar with the birds.  Keep us focused on the prize…your unending love and protection.  Your peace.  Hold our hands as we fight off the demons who pull us from you…especially when those demons are our very selves.  Strengthen us to give you our yokes, and lighten us to praise your wisdom.  We give all glory to you Christ.  Amen

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Spark to Flame

This seems like a very motivating hopeful statement.  And it is.   But this is another one of those quotes with many meanings…Dante is the author of The Inferno a poem/book about his allegorical trip through the rings of purgatory and hell to get to heaven and his beloved Beatrice.  The poem is about a Christian’s trip through life in search of God and all of the horrific sin encountered…although I find it ironic that it is as much about trying to get back to a human as it is about seeing Christ.

So anyway, there is actually a lot to think about here in this one small sentence that we can consider in terms of faith.

  1.  It could be that just a small spark of faith and kindness can grow into a lifetime of service to others and joyful praise of our Savior.  Or on the flip side…
  2. It could be that if we are not careful with “small” sin it can ignite “bigger” more habitual sin.  We must always be diligent.
  3. It could be a metaphor for Christianity as a whole…God promised Abraham one child, yet a star filled sky of descendants. Jesus’ life and the number of disciples He had was short and small.  And here we are millions of believers sharing the gospel with more generations.
  4. It could be  a metaphor for Easter.  What the Jews thought was one crucifixion ended up fulfilling all sorts of prophecy and leading to the growth of a new faith.

What do you think?  What meanings can you find in these words?  How are you going to apply them today?  Tomorrow?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Underestimated

The more I think about this piece the more I like it, and the more meanings I have found. I love this piece for its straight forward message.  It is a boost of confidence, a bit cheeky, and an explosion of positive in your face get things done. But there are deeper meanings…for example this is a perfect piece for Passion week.

The Jews completely underestimated Jesus.  They all underestimated God and His plan and power.  They thought they were just going to kill Jesus off and that would be that.  Over and done.  But man were they wrong!

Jesus knew.  He knew that in the moment it was going to be awful, excruciating even.   But in some ways it would be fun–to show all those unbelievers, to prove to the world who He was.  And not in an in your face kind of way…but in a way to say, “Just wait.  This world is NOTHING compared to the one I am getting ready for you.  This act is JUST THE BEGINNING — I will save more lives than mine.  Just think of all the souls that will join me in the most amazing place ever.  This is NOTHING compared to the joy you will experience in my heavenly presence with the Father and Spirit.”

And that brings me back to thinking about us in this art piece.  It should boost our confidence ten fold to know that JESUS is behind us–He will guide us to do amazing things.  People  may underestimate our actions, the power of our prayers, but JESUS will prove the skeptics wrong.  And with Christ, it is fun…not in a party kind of way, but in a peace filled heart, joy filled life, love filled soul kind of fun.  The fun of sharing the story of the resurrection, the fun of sharing grace, the fun of living with hope and not worry.

Yes, Jesus was underestimated.  Yes, we can be underestimated.  But the fun truly is in proving the amazingness of our Lord.

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Travel

God totally told us to travel.  Mmmhmm.  Right there folks.  We are to get out there.  And while we are out there we are to share His good news, His promises, His light, His love.  Sometimes we will travel hundreds of miles, maybe even on a plane.  Sometimes we will travel to the next room.  (Not quite as exciting, but sometimes an even bigger adventure.)  No matter what, we are packing some serious heat…the warmth of knowing Jesus and the Spirit are always with us.  Packing a seriously good story we can share.  Emboldened and light filled with love to spill on others.

Go.  Tell.  In words and actions.  And be BLESSED.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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The wonderful counselor

wonderful counselor

*Isaiah 9:6

*a person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems

And Jesus is the best of them all!  Go to Him today with your needs.  He will guide you through anything and everything.  And for free!  No insurance necessary.  No co pay.  No payment plans.  He already took care of any payment.

Plus He wrote the best self-help guide.  Seriously, no one on else on the bestseller list, no other writer/publisher in Barnes and Noble, on Amazon , or anywhere else can top His book.  It was written for each of us, directly speaking to every individual, by the person who created and designed each of us.  God knows exactly what we are looking for.

Open it up each day and just see what it can do for you.  Lay down on His couch and pour out your heart.  See if He can’t give you the guidance to deal with the human world.  He can’t change what happens sometimes–but He can help us cope with it.

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Chargin’ Up

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We have so many chargers in this house it is not even funny.  And not nearly enough plug-ins in this old house.  A kid is always complaining–“I have no battery!”  “Who used my device and didn’t plug it in?!” “Who unplugged my device?!”

It’s enough to drain me.

Life is a constant go, draining our energy, battery, juice–whatever you want to call it.  There are a lot of ways to relax.  TV, zone out to the internet, listen to music–all with technology–and half the time they just drain us even more, leave us feeling more empty.  We can read a book, do a hobby, cook/bake–those are a little more fulfilling–but they all require money.  We can enjoy the outdoors–which is good for our bodies and souls, mostly free–but involves bug bites and being tired and sunburned.  Just saying.

The only true way to recharge with no ill after effects is to turn to the greatest power source ever.   For me, there is nothing like praying to recharge my soul.  Turning to God, knowing that I am loved, secure, and that He will fill me up unconditionally–that charges me.  That gets me excited, yet relaxes me like nothing else.

And I don’t mean doing a bunch of service projects, or being overinvolved at church–I mean PLUGGING INTO GOD.

How about you?  Do you need a recharge?  Have you plugged into God lately?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Respond with Faith

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Because we are imperfect, faith is always the answer.  We might come up with other answers, but they probably are not the best ones.  When we take that pause and ask how would God want me to react, we find the strong answers, the ones that may be difficult, but that will lead us to a better place in the long run.  We find the ones that will help us move forward with love and respect for ourselves and those around us.  And sometimes doing the hard this is loving.  Sometimes doing what may not seem loving actually is the most imperfect, best idea that will  bring about the answers truly needed.

When you ask a question, when someone asks you a hard question, let faith answer.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Imperfection

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Ha!  I made this one to remind myself that I don’t have to make perfect, beautiful art every time.  I can just get some thoughts out and enjoy the process.  But it is also the perfect thing to post next because I realized Thursday this week that I double posted Monday and Wednesday.  I forgot I already had posts ready to roll, and wrote new ones.  Imperfection, unorganization, reality at its best people.

Working full time is an adjustment for me and the kids.  How I divide up my time is very different.  My energy level at night is even lower than before.  Thank goodness everything is within 5 blocks of us and I don’t have to race around as much!

We all need this reminder though don’t we?  Imperfection is okay. Only God is perfect.  And He never expects us to be at His level.  He expects us to create our own magic within the imperfection.  To allow our souls to have wiggle room to grow, to relax.  And most importantly to turn to HIM.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Practicing pausing

 

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I am learning to practice the pause on a daily basis.  I think I am getting better at it, little by little.

The pause is so powerful.  Just stop, breathe, and call on God.  Then let your heart talk to Him.  Anywhere you are.  Any time of day.  And pray for what He can give you–strength, patience, open eyes, peace, healing, guidance, trust.  I am learning that I can’t pray for specific answers–He doesn’t work that way.  Only He knows what will be best.  I just need to be open to HIS answers, not mine.  And that, dear ones, is what the pause does–it opens us up in a moment to Him.

So often I know that we want to pray for a specific answer that fits in our understanding and desires.  But that isn’t always going to be the answer He gives.  We must remember that Christ promised, promised, we  would have struggles–and most likely more struggles because we are believers.  The world is not going to conform to our beliefs.  The world is not going to live up to our standards.  We must wait for heaven–it is not here on Earth.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Paths

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This quote is from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, one of my all time favorite devotionals.  She wrote down what she felt Jesus telling her.

I especially liked this.  I know a lot of different people on different paths right now.  Some are wandering closer to Jesus, some farther away right now. some are lost, some have found a direct route and are headed as fast as they can to the cross and our Savior.

Here’s the thing:  all of those paths are GOOD.  None are better than others.  Each will have bumps.  And even that person on the direct path is going to hit some construction along the way.  The important thing is that we all end up at the same destination:  the hands of God.

Let Him lead you there.  Let Him take you on your own path.  Don’t expect to follow someone else’s.  Don’t think your path is the only or the best way–it is for YOU, but not someone else.  Let them walk their path and find Jesus in their own faith, in His plan.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Communicating

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So how are you communicating that you:

  • that you know it is a good day
  • that you are more valuable to God
  • that you are going to harvest joy in Him
  • that His gift is free for you, by His power
  • that you are drinking that holy living water
  • that you are living a life that other’s should want?

Hmmm?

The great thing is this–God intended each of us to communicate His gift and message in a unique way special to each of us.

Mine is art.

Yours might be gardening, caring for the sick, cooking, caring for little people, singing.  Maybe it is just smiling.  I don’t know–but God does.  And so do you.  You know what He designed you to be good at.  How can you use that gift to share that living water?

 

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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This One Too

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Guess what?  God has THIS day too!  And the next one.  And the one after that.

And whether it is raining or shining, when we let Him be in control, when we focus on His goodness and His teachings of loving one another, it is a GOOD DAY.

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Fingerprints on Stories

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I painted this typewriter last summer.  It sat blank waiting and waiting for its words.  And finally right before the interview in early May, I found this quote.  And I knew, God was typing out my story–He knows the beginning, middle, climax, end–the characters and setting–the foreshadowing, the symbolism, the themes.  And He reveals it all in His own time.  He takes what we consider ordinary every day life and creates something extraordinary when we let Him.

I know I want His fingerprints all over my typewriter and pages.  Do you?

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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Verbs: #6 Watch

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More verbs!  Everywhere we look thee is advice to follow in our world.  which do we choose to do/follow?  Where and when to we get God’s answers?  That there is the tricky part.  Listening for what GOD is saying, not some person on tv or the radio.  And the hard part is when you want an answer right now, but you have to wait months for one.  Because of course, God works in His own sweet time.  Bugger.

God totally has a sense of humor about this too–I am not kidding.   That Lauren Daigle song “Trust in You” came on every time I got in the car for the last three weeks.  I finally put in a cd because I couldn’t take it anymore.  Then…I finally handed it over and trusted, and I got an answer.  And I know it is what HE planned, because it wasn’t what I had thought would happen.  I know in my heart, it is from HIM.  I just had to watch for it.

Here is the song if you don’t know which one…Lauren Daigle “Trust”

 

Go, Tell, and make disciples of all nations--spread the good news.
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