The Great Unknown

Where Our Faith Filled Hope Meets God's Grace

The Great Unknown: The long-suffering that accompanies unanswered prayers.

Most of us don’t process our needs toward God in the best way. We have all kinds of life struggles: a financial crisis, health issues, family strife… More often that not, we shoot off a laundry list of complaints or worse just assume He knows everything and don’t say anything at all. Neither of these are activating our faith.

I have access by faith into His grace where I now stand and rejoice in the hope of God’s glory manifesting in my life!  ~ Romans 5:2 (my personal confession version)

With most spiritual progress, much of what we’re waiting on depends upon our own attitude and mindset. If we are discouraged and lacking hope there’s a good chance we won’t see what we are wanting to see happen the way we want it to.

When faith and hope line up miracles of grace happen. If we allow faith to fill our hearts with hope they will rise up to meet God’s grace coming down. Wow! The possibilities are endless.

HOPE: the happy anticipation of something good.

FAITH: is the reality of things hoped for.

GRACE: God’s undeserved love put into action on our behalf.

Hope must come before faith. In other words, faith brings hope into reality by manifesting, bringing about, God’s supernatural grace in our natural realm.

Look at the image above:

Hope is our dream represented by a balloon. Our Faith fills up the Hope balloon which carries it up to God. As our Hope balloon rises, God sees our heart filled with faith and hope and then showers His Grace on our life in all sorts of ways.

Faith and hope are not prerequisites for God’s grace because there’s nothing we can do to deserve His favor. However, faith and hope put our hearts in the proper position to receive. God’s grace showers down on us as faith fills our hopeful hearts.

How does this help me deal with the great unknown of unanswered prayer? While we’re in this sufferably long state of waiting for God’s hand to move in our direction we must encourage ourselves by fueling our faith with God’s Word, which in turn fills our hearts with hope. As we prayerfully make our requests to God we can confidently sing a song of hope because the God of Heaven will come down in showers of grace upon us!

 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. ~ Romans 12:12 (NLT)

 

 

Calm Amidst Storms

Guarding Our Heart, Mind and Soul

For some reason we think it’s permissible to doubt the truth of God’s Word about certain things. We give ourselves permission to worry or lose hope when God clearly tells us not to. Unbelief and complaining kept a generation of Israelites out of the promise land. Why do we thing we can get away with it?

As a recovering sex addict I am all too familiar with overcoming a bad thought life. Lustful thoughts, fantasy thoughts and memories of past people, places and behaviors plagued me in the early days of recovery. It’s easy to recognize these types of thoughts as sinful and easy to focus on removing them. After all they were sinful.

Thankfully, I don’t struggle with those kind of thoughts any longer. But what about other negative thoughts: doubt, unbelief, worry, complaining? The Bible calls these thoughts sinful, too. We should be rejecting doubt and discouragement just as much as we would reject any other sinful thoughts or physical behavior.

Just like we need to reject hateful and lustful thoughts, we need to reject worrisome, and discouraging thoughts. When we do reject these negative thoughts we make room for the Holy Sprit to fill us with God’s supernatural hope and peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Like the stillness of the deep ocean floor, which is untouched by the turmoil and storms on the surface, we too can have stillness and calmness. By intentionally obeying the commanded scripture above, we are diving into the Presence of God that will provide the peace we so desperately seek.

It helps me to see my anxiety and worry as sin just like lustful fantasy thoughts are.  When I look at these negative thoughts and worries with a different perspective I am motivated to be more obedient. I am also encouraged that God will reward me with His promised peace when I do.

 

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The Great Silence

Awaiting God's Answer

Deep space and the deep ocean have something in common: Great Silence. Humans cannot maintain life in deep space or in the deep ocean without life-support. Our Life-Support breaks the great silence.

Silence and waiting on God are built in to the human experience. There are many places in Scripture where God was silent. People waited for days, sometimes years, for God’s answer. Moses waited 40 years in the desert before he was sent back to Egypt to save the Israelites. Joseph spent at least a decade in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Abraham and Sarah waited over 20 years for a child.

Time means nothing to God. He is outside of what we call time. He sees eternity from beginning to end, all at once. Our concept of time isn’t important. What’s important to remember is that God’s timing and His grace are for this moment. God is in the now!

 

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years 

and a thousand years is like a day. ~ 2 Peter 3:8

 

We don’t do well with long term silence.  Our psyches, our souls: our minds, wills, and emotions run from it. Silence makes us feel alone. And to be alone can be painful.  At times we experience a silence that screams so loud it is deafening. There is a suffocating silence that is so intense it is almost breath-taking, We may be asking, where is our life-support?

 

If the Lord had not been my help

my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. ~ Psalm 94:17

 

We must remember we aren’t alone. Our life-support is there! The Holy Spirit is with us all along. All we need to do is take a breath. Breathe in the Holy Breath of God… Don’t allow the silence to bring anxiety and fear. Trust God. He may keep you waiting, but He always remembers promises made and will appear in His perfect time to fulfill His Word.

Be still. Wait with God. Listen. Silence may be the answer today.

seed… T-I-M-E… HARVEST!

Growing Our Faith While Waiting On God

We have a seed but we need God’s help to bring it to life.

We begin first by planting. We have our seed: a plan or project. Even though we need God’s help to bring it to pass, it’s up to us to start working our plan. We must step out and do our part. God adds His Super to our natural and faith begins.

Then comes growing time. Seeds begin their growth in the dark. It may be a long time before we see a sprout show itself above ground. Faith is the step between the promise we seek and the promise received. We must take these baby steps each day toward our final goal until it is achieved or something better comes in its place.

When the sprout pops up it may take months, even years, before our seed bears any fruit. Here is where our faith is tested. We may begin to see our project taking some form or life, yet not fully grown. Patience and perseverance are required to press through to fruition. As we press into our plan, with God’s help we will see fulfillment in His perfect timing.

 

Are you growing in the dark? Waiting on the next rainfall or sunny day?

We must remember we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

 

Be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. ~ Colossians 1:11

 

Free Will Sacrifices

Choosing God's Best Over the Mediocre

God has given us the ability to make lots of choices.

  • You have the freedom to watch a certain program… Is that a good use of your time?
  • You have the liberty to surf the Internet all day… Is there a better use of your talents?
  • You have the freedom to eat that donut… Is this best for your body the temple of the Holy Spirit?

Just because someone else can do it doesn’t mean we can or should.

Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.    ~ 1 Corinthians 10:23 MSG

We must check our choices:

  • Is this choice leading to something good in your life?
  • Is this choice leading to something good in someone else’s life?

It isn’t about whether something is right or wrong. It’s about getting God’s blessing.

It’s about getting the best life He has available for us. God is a gentleman He won’t force us to choose something good. It’s up to us. It’s OUR choice!

We must decide what we want Good, Better or Best?

Do we want to live a mediocre life, just barely getting by until Jesus takes us to heaven?

Or do we want to sacrifice our free will on the altar of our transformation and allow God to change us and improve us through the best choices He wants for us?

Is the altar of sacrifice calling you? Let’s ask God to bind us to His altar so we will never be tempted to turn away from a life fully dedicated to Him.

 

Are You a Diamond in the Rough Being Buffed?

Fortify Your Faith in Troubled Times

A ceramic bowl is not valuable when it’s only a lump of clay. A knife left unsharpened is a useless tool or weapon. In the same way, diamonds in the rough are much more valuable after they’ve been cut, chiseled and polished.

We also are not as valuable to the world until the Crafter’s Hands have refined, sharpened, molded, cut, shaped and polished us. However, all this Craftwork can sometimes be painful to our emotions, and  circumstances.

God knows the people, places, jobs, habits, and situations in our life that need to be removed. And sometimes for these things to be removed we have to endure a dry season, a quiet time, a time-out, a testing time, a trial time.

God wants our life to be worthwhile. Whatever it takes to get us to be the person God wants us to become, He will do it.

You probably can reflect on times in your life that were a struggle. Yet looking back you know during that rough time of life you grew the most in your relationship with God.

Valuable things like gold and diamonds take time and work to purify.

So be truly glad. There is a wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire test and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when you faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor and on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. ~ I Peter 1:6-7

Take a few moments to enjoy this beautiful song from an artist I recently discovered: Ginny Owens.

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Freedom

Rejoicing In God's Grace In The Midst Of _______________

Find freedom in the midst of:

Sickness

Addiction

Oppression

Poverty

Pain

Anguish

Depression

Worry

Strife

Temptation

Whatever our struggles are, even if God doesn’t deliver us from them but allows us to walk through them; we know His grace will be sufficient to carry us. This is where the joy and the “re-joying” comes. As we trust God’s plan, results and timing we can find the free grace that brings with it true freedom.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. ~ Philippians 4:4

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Are You Sinking? Reach Up… Jesus is Near!

Life sometimes makes us feel like we’re drowning. Maybe you’re there now.

Overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn…  JESUS IS NEAR.

Life presses us down and we can’t breathe…  JESUS IS NEAR.

Stepped out in faith yet suddenly sinking…  JESUS IS NEAR.

When the Lord calls you to come across the water, step out with confidence and joy. And never glance away from Him for even a moment. You will not prevail by measuring the waves or grow strong by gauging the wind. Attempting to survey the danger may actually cause you to fall before it. Pausing at the difficulties will result in the waves breaking over your head. “Lift your eyes to the hills…” (Ps. 121:1) and go forward. There is no other way.  ~ Streams in the Desert

Contemplate God’s Creation

Finding Peace In Times of Despair

Scriptures abound that teach us to look at God’s creation in wonder and amazement. How many of us look at God’s creation with eyes of wonder and amazement? Scriptures abound encouraging us to pray for others. How many of us pray for others when we ourselves are struggling?

In a recent devotional reading I was in Job chapter 42. Job has spent 30+ chapters being accused by friends and family of being a terrible person. Job’s accusers believed God was punishing him with all his suffering.

After all this rejection and verbal abuse, Job takes it out on God and pridefully begins to complain to Him. Of course, God sets both Job and his friends straight. Then Job humbles himself before God in remorse and apology.

Job recognized God’s goodness among all creation which brought him to humility. This humility then brought Job to a place where he could pray for those who had accused him. It was in this place that his vindication and restoration began.

AFTER Job stopped arguing with his accusers.

AFTER Job stopped trying to tell God what to do.

AFTER Job stopped his pity party.

AFTER Job stopped looking at himself.

Only then was he able to pray for his friends. Then God was able to bring about restoration. This was actually more than restoration because the Bible says God blessed Job with double what he had lost.

You can’t stay in a pity party and contemplate a tree blowing in the wind.

You can’t stay in despair and listen to the birds sing.

You can’t stay mad at your spouse and play with your pet.

Whatever your struggle is today, step outside and contemplate God’s marvelous creations that surround you. Find peace and grace there.

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Launching Out!

When I look back over my life there were many times of spiritual complacency. Yes, I knew the Lord and was walking with Him. But my walk wasn’t what God wanted for me. He wanted me to know Him better, deeper. I believe this is when God allows trials and tribulations to come into our life.

God knows that when life is settled and calm we have a tendency to stop depending on Him. We begin to float quietly and stay safely tied to our shore, whatever it may be… family, friends, work, money. We begin to see these things as our purpose for living, maybe even our source for life. God has better things in store for us than a safe shore.

If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and to send you out to sea. ~ Oswald Chambers

The Apostle Paul says to be thankful in all things. I am thankful for the struggles of the last two years. They have brought me much closer to God. In the last few weeks God has allowed various things to fall in place that are launching my ministry to a new level. Today I truly feel like I have been unleashed from my safe shore and launched out into deep. It’s exciting and a bit scary traveling in uncharted waters. But I know God will guide me safely as I stay close to Him.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you… Do not be afraid, for I am with you. ~ Isaiah 43:2;5

Are you tied safely to someone or something other than God?

Watch this beautiful video and let it help you step out into the deep with God!

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