Tag Archive: faith


“THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”   1 Corinthians 2:9

I attended a conference this past weekend and while I was there I went to a session in which a married couple shared their love story.  An engaging and beautiful story about how God brought them together and how they trusted Him for their relationship.

The speakers were Eric & Leslie Ludy, authors of the top-selling relationship book:

When God Writes Your Love Story

I was in awe of this incredible story.  When I left the session, I was pumped about how God works in lives.  I have seen Him time and time again provide similarly in my life through His provision with finances or His great protection but I never really thought about how, if we only trust Him that way in every area, of course He would reveal Himself in amazing and awesome ways.

But what shocked me was the feedback I heard from others who attended the same session; some youth as well as other leaders… saying it’s “unrealistic.”

Why is so it unrealistic?  I thought.  That is exactly how God works!

Instead of continuing to take things into their own hands, the Ludy’s completely trusted God to provide their future spouse and He totally came through.  God provided exactly what each of them wanted, like He will do and has done so many times before for those who fully trust Him!

Just imagine how we take things into our own hands, like with our finances when we use credit cards to purchase things.

“Don’t use credit cards?!”  You think…  “Unrealistic!”

kissing card

But what if??

When we use credit, we are controlling how we get things.  Many times, I would say, it is for something we don’t truly need but even when there are times of “emergency,” using a credit card to pay for said “emergency” is taking it out of God’s hands. That “emergency” has been filtered through God’s loving fingers; it’s a test…a trial… and how we respond to it can easily take away an opportunity for God to work in an amazing and awesome way and also says a great deal about what we are truly placing our trust in.

Had I borrowed money for groceries or gas at one of the many times we had nothing left in our account or in our pockets, I would have missed God ringing our doorbell or pushing our car.  God works in amazing and wonderful ways and His intent is for us to experience exactly that in this life He has planned for us.  How many other times have I missed an opportunity to allow God to work in my life because I decided, like Sarai, to take matters into my own hands?

My way or the highway

Like Eric and Leslie’s story, God has been working in love lives for ages… read the story of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24:14-20) or how God intervened to be sure Sarah was not defiled by Abimelek…

“Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.”   Genesis 20:6

Why don’t we fully trust God?  Because it’s hard.  Sure, it’s hard.  It’s supposed to be hard!!  If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be called faith.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”   Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

What would happen if we truly trusted God for every aspect of our lives?

Just imagine it… what life could truly be like, how easy it would be to see God working, how our lives would be changed and lives around us affected!

“Who does great things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number.”   Job 9:10

Is there something you need to give up control of?  Is it time to trust God’s plan for your life?  God wants what’s best for you, He always has.  Give it to God and see how He responds.

 

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”   Jeremiah 29:11-13 (niv)

I often hear people ask and wonder so often myself;
“What is God’s plan for me?  What does He want me to do?  What will bring Him the most glory?”

Ever since I returned from the She Speaks writers conference, I have been struggling with the direction I feel God has for me.  I have an unsettledness inside me to continue writing, but see no real path.  I long to glorify God through whatever it is I do, and if writing isn’t where God wants me, I want to know…I don’t want to waste mine and His time if this isn’t the path He wants me on!

I was talking with a friend about this and God spoke to me through her when she said;

“I think we get stuck because we want to do the right thing, but end up doing nothing because we don’t want to do the wrong thing.  Just remember how MUCH God loves you and that His desire for others to be ministered through the gifts He gave you, is greater then your desire to use them.”

So what do we do, how do we know what path to take?

Stop.

It’s time to have a talk with God.
Let Him know what you’re struggling with and ask Him for direction.

“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.”   Psalm 17:6

“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”   1 John 3:21-22

Listen.

Stop with the noise!
God speaks quietly.  In fact, many times it’s a longing or desire He places within us.
So, what moves you?  What are you passionate about?  What is it you think you want to do?

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”   Psalm 37:4-6

Take a deep breath.

Stop doubting!
God has a plan for us and even had it planned long before we were born!  As long as we stay in His will, He will not fail to show us what that plan is.

“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'”   Isaiah 41:13

Take a step.

God responds to faith…and sometimes He waits for us to take that first step before He acts.
Move in the direction you think is right.
Trust that He will lead you and know that if it is not the right path He will change your direction.

“I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”   Revelation 3:8

“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

 

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”   Job 1:21

Job shook me this morning.

How do I respond when ‘bad’ things happen in my life?

Do I say “Why me?”

Do I complain?

I need to take a lesson from Job.  If I think I’m struggling in my life, I certainly have not struggled as Job has.

I have not had the heartache as Job has.  I get a “No. Thanks anyway,” response back from an article I sent to a magazine and I question God.  Job lost all ten of his children in one fell swoop!  [Job 1:18]

I have not had the physical pain as Job has.  I get a hangnail and I whine.  Job had painful boils from head to toe and scraped them off with a potsherd for relief!  [Job 2:7-8]

Job had incredibly difficult struggles and yet He trusted God’s plan.  He accepted his trials and understood them as something God had every right to give.

“… Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”   Job 2:10

I need to stop being so drama queen.

Comparatively, my life has been quite easy.  My struggles, minor.

I need a new…  perspective.

What are you struggling with?

Don’t look at it with your own eyes…you’re too close, your feelings too real.  Look at your situation through God’s eyes…

God gave us amazing examples in His Word.

Maybe you just need a new… Job.

Isn’t it funny how God prepares us?  So many times I have seen God allow pain and heartache to come into a person’s life…they struggle as the storm engulfs them, wish it hadn’t come, pray for comfort and relief, and when the storm finally passes, praise God for how He works.

It seems so unnatural and against every fiber of our being… and yet when God allows us to be tested and we become more like Him; we get through the challenge, we stand firm and lean on His plan, His leading, we are grateful and equipped to help someone else walk down the same path we dreaded in the beginning.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”   1 Peter 5:6-7

Praise God for how He works!!

I mentor a young lady named Hayley.  Love this girl. Now, when Hayley does something, she goes big.  She just turned 16, and went on her first trip… anywhere.  Hayley and her family hosted a foreign exchange student from Spain named Ana, and now Hayley was invited to spend a month with Ana and her family in Spain.

Hayley left July 1st.

She was so excited and so nervous at the same time.  Her excitement was infectious, and I couldn’t wait to see what God had planned for her overseas.  Now, I had a similar experience in high school, where my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Mexico.  The summer after graduation I was invited to go to Mexico for a couple weeks to stay with Liliana and her family…so I knew the fun and challenges awaiting Hayley.

I warned her that the first 3-4 days would be hardest.  Being away from home, in a different culture, speaking a different language… it is very difficult.

However, one HUGE difference between Hayley and I at that time??  I didn’t know Christ.  That places a whole different set of rules and challenges on Hayley.

True to form, a few days in I started receiving emails and messages from her expressing her heartache… she was so homesick, missing her boyfriend and struggling really, because she is surrounded by girls her age who drink, smoke, curse, and are quite affectionate to their boyfriends.  Hayley was very much struggling with staying strong, but feeling quite alone and set apart because of her beliefs.

I tried to encourage her, by giving her scripture to focus on…

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.”   Psalm 37:23-24

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”   Psalm  55:22

But I felt strongly that God had called her there to be a witness, and if she stayed strong somehow He would show her.

I asked if any of Ana’s friends were believers, and she said many called themselves Christians, but didn’t act like it.  I told her I felt that perhaps there was one there, who is struggling as she is with standing up for their faith.  That perhaps God is using Hayley to give that person strength to stand up for God as well, and I would be praying for God to call that person out.

I got this email from Hayley yesterday:

“Today I could not be happier, I am so excited to tell you about the experience I had today! One of Ana’s friends and her started asking me questions to practice their English and it turned into a ton of questions about my faith. They asked me a bunch of things about the Bible and we discussed a couple miracles of Jesus, and how he died and rose for us, and how you can’t just be “good enough”.

Her friend asked me about a lot of things that are in the Bible and we even discussed why I won’t be intimate until I’m married. Please pray for him, I know I will be, and I’m sad because tomorrow is the last day I will see him but I know he is growing in his faith because he believes but has a hard time living it because of his friends and family.

It was hard to discuss because of the language barrier and I had to really try to explain things simply but it was amazing! This was the greatest day ever and I’m so excited!!! Love you! (: and miss you!”

Oh God, I praise you.

I praise You for how you work in our lives. I praise You for your protection.  I praise You for helping us understand our need for a Savior and the hope we have when we trust and rely on You and You alone…

And then you use us to point others to you?!

Oh, what an amazing God you are.  It is a pleasure and real honor to follow you.

“Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.”   Psalm 84:3

Has God given you a promise that you aren’t sure He can fulfill?

Have you seen Him work and verify the calling He has made on your life, only to find yourself question and doubt whether it will come to fruition?

In who have you placed your trust?  Are you relying on God’s promises or your own ability?

There are so many stories in the Bible of God revealing His plan, and in response hearing an “are you out of your mind?!”

Sarah:
“The LORD said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’  Genesis 18:10,12

The Shunammite woman:
“’At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.’ And she said, ‘No, my lord, O man of God; do not lie to your servant.’”  
2 Kings 4:16

Moses:
“’Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.’   But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’”  
Exodus 3:10-11

Gideon:
“And the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?’ And he said to him, ‘Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.’”   Judges 6:14-15

Sounds familiar.

I have felt God’s strong presence and calling in my life to write.  He has provided many stories of amazing provision and proof of His existence that I long to share with those who don’t yet know Him, as well as to help encourage and realize His movement in the lives of those who do.

I have been filled with an unsettling beyond anything I’ve known.  An awareness of the path He wants me to take and yet the road stands before me; a path filled with light as well as shadow, straight, sure ground and questioning, uncertain curves.

I find myself shoulder to shoulder with those who have come before me, echoing their mistrust, questioning the One whose promises we are to rely on.  But no matter the make of the road or the curves that lie ahead, I will blindly follow while likely questioning the whole way, but in the wake of those who trod before me,

I will take one more step forward,

and trust that His plans are better than my own.

“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

“… He leads me beside still waters.”   Psalm 23:2

 

 

Karma

A friend of mine posted a comment on facebook which said:

“Karma is great..people do get what they deserve. Rock on Mother Nature” 

First off…just to make mention of one thing, God CREATED {“mother”} nature.

’nuff said.

And as for karma…

The other day I was at the grocery store when I noticed a family…ok, I didn’t actually notice them per se, it was the commotion the family, or more specifically their son, was making that I noticed.  This boy, who was about four years old, was screaming and carrying on about how much he hated his mom, and didn’t want to be there.  All she was asking him to do was to stay by her and the cart, but he very obviously and noisily wanted nothing to do with it.  I was shocked at the disrespectful words and phrases coming from this young boy’s mouth.

When his mother finally gave up fighting him and released the death-grip on his arm, he ran off, spit on the floor, and did the na-na-na-na-na-you-can’t-catch-me dance.  It was appalling, and I tried to finish my shopping as quickly as possible to get out of there.

Of course, once I left them and got up to the check out line I noticed I had forgotten the eggs located in the back of the store where, of course, that family by now would be.

I ran back, and sure enough they were approaching the cooler that my sites were locked in on.  I quickly opened the door to grab a carton of eggs while mom and son argued and he flailed and ran around yelling and cussing at her.  As I was turning to get out of there, his mom opened the door to grab a gallon of milk, and her son not watching, ran smack dab into the door.

Oh, I so had to smile.

It was so sweet, and his mother even said “See? That’s what you get!”

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”   Galatians 6:7 

“Karma,” as defined by Wikipedia is “the concept of ‘action’ or ‘deed’, understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect.”  God is always watching and absolutely promises we will be held responsible for our actions and our choices.

Jax and I as parents, have been shown so many times how disobeying causes more harm than doing what you’re told.  So often we ask our children not to stand on the furniture, not to run in the house, put a bike helmet on… you know the typical cautionary requests.  Not hard to obey but the fun-o-meter drastically plummets when obeying is adhered to.

But if our words are not heeded, more often than not, our children will experience a fall, or stub their toe, run into a door or something worse.  And the same goes for us.  When we choose to disobey God’s laws, one way or another we will get hurt. Not necessarily physically of course, but it is not worth the heartache… the punishment will come and we will have to learn a painful lesson.

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”   Hebrews 12:5b-6  

“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”   Matthew 10:19-20

Oh, I just praise God and His timing!!

I receive a daily devotional each morning from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Now, I don’t always get a chance to read it…but every once in a while I do.

A few days ago God prompted me to read one about loss and God’s plan.  It was called: “If God Loves Me, why…” by Renee Swope.

It touched my heart and I immediately wanted to share it, but God at that moment didn’t lay anyone on my heart to forward it to.  He just quietly told me to wait…

Save it.

This morning I got an email from a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while.  She confided in me that she just recently found out she was pregnant, and almost just as quickly was miscarried…for a second time.

She was very sad, feeling as if someone had ripped out her heart, and felt very alone because really, no one knew.

God immediately brought to mind the devotional I had stored away for another time…

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place… And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14

I read through the devotional again, and it wasn’t one on loss of a child or even a loved one.  In fact, it was about heartbreak and hurts in our past, so I wasn’t sure this was what my friend needed… but God continued to prompt me to send it.  It was about His plan for us through every trial, tragedy, and storm so I sent it…although I did warn her to read it when she had time, because I sent it to her at work!!

My friend’s response was awesome, and I praise God for His perfect timing and for sending her the right words…

“Ok so I couldn’t wait…..I read it choking down my emotions in between answering the phone.  You know what…..I am so glad I did.  I just sighed and thought, I can do this, I’m ok!!!  I have time in my life.  Almost a relieved feeling.  How amazing…..

Thank you again and again, I needed to read that today! 

It meant a lot especially because of my past.  I don’t know what I’ve ever told you but I had a bad history with my parents with alcohol in my past but didn’t let that slow me down.  But……as I was reading it, it touched home that way and what I’m going through now. ”

Praise the One in whose timing and words are perfect!!

God worked through my sister-in-law who wrote a beautiful poem and posted it the very day I was struggling to trust in His timing and provision.

I hope it is as much of a blessing and encouragement to you as it was to me.

*please visit Amanda on facebook!  Click on her name below to encourage her writing!

Enjoy.

“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

Trusting Through Trials

Father God please help me to trust

My timing is NOW

But Yours is not

This trial this test

I don’t understand

I know I can’t make it

Except by Your hand

That must be why

The storm has come

To teach me to trust

To prepare me for

The trials to come

The storm is tumultuous

The wind knocks me down

Which is perfect because

My knees is where must be

The bitter rain stings my face

Causing me to bow my head

My tears mingle with rain

As I come to understand

It’s not the why but the how

How will I make it through

I know there is but one way

The Way the Truth and the Life

He has been with me every day

Urging me to give my cares

To Him and Him alone

To grow my trust

To let go of my fears

To rest in knowing He never left

He is here and will dry every tear.

by Amanda (Jackson) Carlson 05/15/2012

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”   Revelation 21:4

WYSO Peru Tour 2018

Follow WYSO'S Youth Orchestra As They Tour Peru

Barefoot Lily Lady

Before I Forget: Sharing my love for God, family, gardens and my sweet Momma

Teach Them

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Marilyn Horton

"The Most Optimistic Woman in the World"

His Holy Temple

2 Corinthians 5:17b "The old has gone, the new is here!"

Damn girl, that's a lot of fattitude

Healthy lifestyler and certified nutjob

Never2late4's Blog

Adventures in procrastination

likeafighterpilot

Working on the Mind, Body, and Spirit

DREADmill Diaries

Because I don't love running but am determined to get these 20 pounds off!

Running With'em

Another boring running blog

Women Writers of the Triad

community | craft | excellence

See Jain Run

striving for non-violence while trit-trotting through the mainstream

voxifit

The Voice of Fitness Blog

If there is any magic in this world...

The world can be amazing when you are slightly … strange!

Ugly Grace

Because sometimes, God's grace in our lives, starts first with an ugly story.

Godly Quotes

for the christian life

Rome Wasn't Built by a Day

Providing unsolicited two-sense and witty commentary since 2012

Michael Wilson's Blog

All things are possible with God

%d bloggers like this: