Tag Archives: faith

Ice storm

The weekend before last was a new experience for me.

The weather warning was freezing rain and I thought I had a general idea of what to expect.

Of course, I should have known better.

The freezing rain began Thursday night.

It didn’t seem like a big deal until I walked out to the car Friday morning.

It was like someone had poured a coating of ice over the entire thing.

Hmm… freezing rain means it freezes as it’s raining!

(Don’t ask me why I hadn’t figured that out before.)

It took some effort, but we got it cleaned off and the steady rain helped since the temperature was no longer low.

We cleared off the ice enough to see, get into the car, and start the engine.

But I had no idea what the following night was going to be like.

My poor husband was up throughout, listening to the trees all around the neighborhood crack, break, or fall over.

I asked him to get some pictures the next morning since he was going out to assess the damage.

It was a sad and amazing landscape.

I can’t express to you the beauty!

The trees which could handle the extreme weight of every branch encased in ice was extraordinary.

But right along side these beautiful unique artwork were the broken limbs and fallen trunks of those which could not handle the weight.

The only other time I’ve seen so many trees uprooted and laying on their sides was many years ago when a child.

A severe wind and dust storm came through the city I lived in and trees all over were knocked down, roots still cling to bits of sod combing the air, unable to withstand the force of the wind.

It seems an age since I thought about that and here I am, living in a different state, realizing that weather can make an incredible mess.

But, the beauty was apparent as well.

Ice encased trees was brief, but the landscape will never be the same.

Our backyard will take many hours.

The positive side of things is the opportunity for new.

New growth in plants and trees will happen.

New trees will replace the old.

We are replacing the cedar with an apple tree.

New opportunities will be available once the clean up is finished.

It’s like our lives.

Things change, we experience loss, grief, trials, but there’s always something beautiful in it and God is always working through it.

Lamentations 3:25 NLT — The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.

Psalm 27:14 NKJV — Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Lamentations 3:26 NKJV — It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for all Your wonderous ways. How great and awesome are Your works! Lord, oftentimes I get shortsighted, and can not see beyond myself. Please help me to live and love on a much broader scale. To walk with You in all things and to trust You in all ways. Lord Jesus, You know what today holds and I know You are holding me in today. Thank You. May those who are called by Your name live our lives understanding Your truths. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

The foolish

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘ There  is no God.’ They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.”
Psalms 14:1 NKJV

Denying the existence of God is foolish.

Yet, there’s so much more than a statement here.

When dealing with the heart one can easily see it’s a far more complex idea.

If the fool says in his heart there is no God, he is choosing to limit the Almighty to his own understanding.

But before we pass by this with a self satisfied, “that’s not me”, “I believe in God”, let’s turn the tables a bit.

To be foolish is to doubt God, it’s the opposite of faith.

Thus no one is immune to folly.

All it requires to be foolish is to allow doubt to enter our hearts.

Who else besides Eve has heard the enemy’s cunning: “Has God indeed said…?”

And doubt is always wrapped in veneer of something else, thus we need to be careful.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

The enemy of our souls has used the message of doubt and fear most effectively throughout history.

1 Peter 5:8 NKJV — Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

On top of this our own sinful nature is constantly warring against the truth of God.

Galatians 5:17 NKJV — For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

But all have hope through Christ Jesus for good, for salvation, for wisdom.

John 10:10 NKJV — “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Therefore Jesus, Himself, saves us from folly.

When we put or faith in Him we are saved.

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
John 17:13‭-‬14 NKJV

Fight the foolishness of doubt with faith in Christ.

It’s not a “once and done” choice, but a diligent daily effort.

“O Lord , how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, Nor does a fool understand this.”
Psalms 92:5‭-‬6 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your faithfulness. Thank You for saving us from folly through Your Word. Please help each one of us to be on guard for the tricks and snares of the enemy. Please show us where we have allowed doubt to cloud our belief. Lord Jesus teach us, that our hearts might be steadfast and our choices good. Please do not allow us to be double-minded, unstable in all our ways. For Your way is right, Your Word is true, and in You we find all that we need. Thank You. Amen.

November 10

Today’s prayer:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for truth. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for salvation and Your amazing love. Lord, it is through Your Word I find hope, confident expectation. It is in You my faith grows daily, by knowing You and learning how to trust more and more. Lord, thank You for this journey of life. Thank You for the blessings and the trials, for all of it is used by You to hone my heart, to teach me Your ways that I might walk in them. Lord Jesus, You are incredible. The peace and comfort I find in You are beyond anything the world has to offer. The joy in daily placing my life in Your hand is beyond anything I could ever attain elsewhere. Lord, You are good. You are faithful. You are God Almighty. I trust You with all things. Lord Jesus, I humbly bring to You my family, please provide and protect them. Please bring them into a closer walk with You each day. Lord Jesus, I lift up my husband, please place Your hand upon him. Let his heart not grow faint in service to You and those You have called him to serve. Please give him ability and wisdom to do all he does to Your glory. Lord, the innocent, please protect them. Please return the prodigal and save those who have yet to know You. I know You are always seeking the lost, calling their names, offering them life eternal. Please let hearts be softened, ears unstopped, and eyes opened to Your truth. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

October 23

Today’s prayer:

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34‭-‬38 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for truth. Lord, I never want to be ashamed of You, nor do I want You to be ashamed of me. Lord, I want to live as losing this life and gaining eternal life with You in heaven. Lord Jesus, it is not easy to understand how to handle each circumstance, but I thank You for showing me the way. Thank You for always being faithful and walking with me through it all. Thank You for shining Your light of truth into my life. Lord, not my will be done, but Thine. Teach me what Your plans are for today and help me not grow too eager to look into tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of it’s own. Thank You for always being my safety and refuge in times of trouble. Lord, please help me to trust You with everything today. Thank You for Your unending love. Amen.

Faith

Matthew 9:21 NKJV — For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”

Matthew 9:22 “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.” NKJV

Matthew 8:10 “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” NKJV

Both these stories are beautiful moments in history.

Both tell individual stories of people who model faith in their choices and because of their faith, their stories are included in the greatest book ever written.

The first verse (you should totally read these stories from the Word) is Jesus’s response to a very sick woman. She had been bleeding for 12 years and spent all her money to be cured and only grew worse.

She was desperate.

She needed healing.

Where did she turn when she had no other avenue, no other hope?

Jesus.

Not only was she healed when her fingers reached the edge of His garment, but He knew something had happened and stopped in the middle of his urgent errand to find her.

We don’t know how she heard of Jesus.

We don’t know her family, her name, or what happened after this.

But what we do know is beautiful.

“…when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” Matt. 9:22 NKJV

She believed Jesus could heal her.

She acted on her belief and her desperate need was filled.

Another moment of faith holds a special trophy.

What does it take to impress God?

The faith of this Centurion.

This man had a servant who was sick.

Right from the start his concern for his servant stands out.

The Roman culture didn’t put a high value on the lives of their servants.

“So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.” Luke 7:3-5 NKJV

Next, we see this Centurion understands the Jewish culture.

Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. Luke 7:6-8 NKJV

It was the Centurion’s faith which made the impact.

“When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, ‘I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’ And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.” Luke 7:9-10 NKJV

The Centurion’s faith was such that he had no need to even see or speak with Jesus in person.

He knew what was required; for Jesus to simply “say the word”.

That is faith.

And such we should have as well.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for these two wonderful stories of people with faith. Lord, please help us to trust in You with faith like this. To know, like the Centurion, that all it takes is You saying the word. Lord, help us to be humble, to come before You with our requests, our needs, as the woman. Help us to let go of our own self importance and to fully put our faith in You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for being the solution. Thank You, for salvation! Amen.

September 13

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,
Philippians 1:3‭-‬5 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for my family and friends. Thank You for these dear people who join together in belief and love of You, Jesus. Please continue to guide and direct each one of us. Help our hearts to remain steadfast before You. Help our eyes to see You and our ears to hear You. Lord, please remove anything which would hinder our personal relationship with You. Show us our sin, that we might repent and turn to You. Show us our priorities and passions, that we might be able to keep You on the throne of our hearts. Lord, please let us put off the old man and walk forward into Your righteousness daily. Lord Jesus, whatever You call us to, whatever the day holds please let us not stop praising You, let us not look away from You. Lord, please protect our firemen and Emergency workers. Please heal the sick and hurting. Lord, please restore the lost and comfort those who are displaced. Let our hearts be knit to Yours. Thank You Jesus for all You have done and are doing. Amen.

Astonishing faith

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
Genesis 22:8 NKJV

This passage of scripture where God tests Abraham is riveting.

The chapter begins by telling us God was testing Abraham.

Then God tells Abraham that he is to take Isaac to a mountain range and, on a mount He would show him, offer Isaac as a burnt offering.

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
Genesis 22:3 NKJV

The Bible doesn’t record a single thing on Abraham’s side other than his action.

He rose early to obey the Lord.

Scriptures tell us Abraham loved Isaac, so this wasn’t about a lack of affection between father and son.

It was because of Abraham’s great love for his son that he was being tested.

When they reach the place Abraham told his servants:

And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
Genesis 22:5 NKJV

Abraham is going to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering, but he knows God’s promise for Isaac and we see in his words his faith that God would follow through on His promise even if he has to sacrifice Isaac.

Abraham’s faith is seen again in his words to Isaac.

But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
Genesis 22:7‭-‬8 NKJV

Abraham trusted God to fulfill His Word, no matter the circumstances.

So much so that his hand was raised to kill his son as he understood God to direct him when God stepped in.

But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Genesis 22:11‭-‬12 NKJV

Abraham passed the test.

Nothing and no one was more important to Abraham than following God.

Not even his son, whom he loved.

And because of his devotion to God, his test is a foreshadowing of Jesus, God’s Son, who was sacrificed to pay for all the sins of the world.

John 3:16-17, Gal. 1:4, Luke 24: 25-27 (just a few examples)

The astonishing faith of Abraham, who had never seen or heard of anyone rising from the dead, is inspiring.

Abraham knew God would fulfill His promise through Isaac, as He had said, and no circumstance, not even death would change that.

This was definitely a memorable moment.

No wonder the mount became renamed:

And Abraham called the name of the place, The- Lord -Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Genesis 22:14 NKJV

Such treasures to be gleaned from Abraham’s faith and devotion to God Almighty!

What an incredible story to see God spare Isaac and to realize He instead provided His own Son.

What amazing love shines forth through this!

And it’s attainable today.

God still loves now just as much as He did then.

He loves every single one of us equally.

We know this, because Jesus died for all.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for this astonishing story. Thank You for Abraham’s example to us. Please help me to live in the same way, unwavering faith, incredible devotion, and quick obedience to Your Word. Lord, thank You for sacrificing Yourself for us. Thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You for Your Word, which guides and hones my heart. Please continue to teach me, that I might not sin against You. May Your name be glorified! Amen.

She laughed…

But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh!” Genesis 18:15 NKJV

How this resonates with my heart!

How often have I done this very thing?

Denied my actions out of fear.

Denied the thoughts of my heart from shame.

And yet how futile, how ridiculous!

To tell God, “No, I didn’t!”.

The picture of a child looking up into my face after I called them out for their behavior flashes into my mind.

They can not accept the truth and therefore deny it: “No! I didn’t!”

And my response:

“I saw you.”

And the same it is when my wayward stubborn heart refuses God gentle voice in question, “Why…?”

Just like Sarah, my heart is foolish with fear and I deny the truth.

And just like with Sarah, God responds: “No, but you did…”

What a wonderful God we serve, that He loves us enough to patiently teach and hone our hearts.

Then He does the unexpected.

Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.”
Genesis 21:5‭-‬6 NKJV

The reason Sarah laughed in the first place was God had told Abraham that she would have a son.

Her heart couldn’t accept God’s promise at first and thus she laughed, because the idea was so far from expectation she found it funny.

But that didn’t hinder God.

And when this miracle happened Sarah laughed again, for pure joy.

Sarah had made a mistake in first not believing God and second in not admitting her doubt.

But God called her on it and then proceeded to follow through with His promise.

Although she made a mistake, she learned from it.

I want to be a woman like Sarah.

When God calls out my unbelief, I pray I remember this story and choose instead to humble myself before Him rather than deny the truth.

When God promises something, may my heart believe and not doubt.

I don’t want to be the child who denies the truth.

I want to be the child who learns from the past and walks with faith.

I want to be able to laugh with complete joy.

Psalm 119:73 KJV — JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for the story of Sarah. Thank You for Your loving kindness and Your faithfulness. Lord, please continue to shine Your truth into my heart and mind. Let me learn from the past and teach me to be an obedient child of God, not wayward or headstrong. Lord, I want to laugh as I see the fulfillment of Your promises, even if those things take many years. Let me hold fast to integrity and to trust You completely. Thank You, Jesus for truth. Thank You for Your love. May the world be filled with the knowledge of You. Amen.

…the substance of things hoped for

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

I needed these words this morning.

For months I’ve been praying specifically for a circumstance.

Standing before the Lord in prayer on behalf of this need.

Yet, it has remained elusive.

This morning my faith was lacking as I again prayed for this circumstance.

The Lord graciously reminded me of all He has done and all He will do.

He walked me past the circumstance and reminded me of the truth.

No matter how this turns out, I can trust Him.

It’s embarrassing!

After all the faith and trust I can easily put into other areas, for some reason this circumstance has me tied in knots.

Why is my faith lacking here?

What has caused me to continually pull this out of “God’s hands” and worry over it?

Have I learned nothing?

No.

It’s just a different lesson.

A test I’ve never taken before.

Frankly, it’s good.

It shows me where my heart is and how I need to relinquish yet another part into the Father’s hands.

I didn’t even realize I was holding onto it until this circumstance.

-sigh-

What boundless patience my Lord has!

How incredible that He will care so much as to walk with me in this way!

How truly deserving He is of all praise and glory!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for showing me my heart’s condition concerning this. Thank You for Your patience with me as I have worried instead of trusted. Thank You for guiding me back to faith. No matter how this circumstance turns out, no matter what comes from it, I trust that it will be what is best. I know You understand so much more than I. Thank You for being so incredibly loving and for giving me another opportunity to grow in faith.

Snares of the enemy

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 NKJV

It’s part of living for Christ.

These are His own words.

Awarning us of the enemy and showing the stark difference between Himself and God’s enemy.

Since there is an enemy, it means we need to be aware of the traps used to ensnare us.

There are many ways one is disguised, but the basis of a powerful gripping debilitating snare is

fear.

Stop and ponder the poor choices which have been made due to fear.

The reactions to others, due to fear.

What would even one day look like if fear was totally absent?

It’s a powerful, even deadly, snare.

The Father understands the danger.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 10:28 NKJV

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:7 NKJV

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.'”
Romans 8:15 NKJV

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7 NKJV

And there are many more verses which deal with fear.

Yet, it’s so easy to fall into.

The only way to combat the snare is with faith and trust in Christ Jesus.

He alone can save our souls from the consequences of sin.

He alone can remove the sticky web of fear.

It is through total surrender that one can live in faith and trust in Jesus.

Only when one let’s go of control and passes it into God’s hands can they hold tightly to Jesus.

When that transfer comes the lines of fear are cut.

But it’s a daily, sometimes moment-bu-moment choice.

But nothing can compare to the blessings of the sticky, terrible, strings of fear being done away with.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for cutting the tangled mess of sin and fear. Please continue to help me see the strings and snares of the enemy, that I might avoid those areas. Lord, please continue to teach me how to surrender. I know it’s easy for me to want to control things, it’s hard for me to give up my desire to make the decisions, or to look after my best interests. Really, You alone know what is the best for me and only through total submission can I hear Your plan for me. Thank You for Your patience. Thank You for Your faithfulness and love. May my life be used by You to help others become free from fear.