Thursday, May 12, 2022

Believing

 

All things are possible to him that believeth” – Mark 9:23

It’s easy to believe in what we can see.  We cross a bridge believing it’s going to hold us up.  We throw our laundry in the washer expecting it to come out clean. Those are examples of faith – believing without seeing.

It’s harder when we have to believe for something that appears impossible.  (Reminder – nothing is impossible with God.) I’ve learned that believing for what I see is only possible with God takes two questions. 

The first question is CAN GOD.  The answer to that one is always yes.  If God loves his people enough to split open a sea to let them go to safety, if He enters the fiery furnace with them, if He turns lions into tame kitty cats, if He breathes into dirt and dirt becomes a live man, then we know GOD CAN. 

The second question is the harder one - WILL GOD.  We don’t know the thoughts of God, the plans of God, or the reasons things happen sometimes.  We can try to imagine it, and only become further from the truth with our feeble thoughts. 

But when we change that second question to WHY WOULD HE NOT, we have a new list of things we can pray about.  Then we pray for those obstacles to be removed and pray fervently! 

Empty your heart - and your tears - to God. Remove the religious and recited words and open your heart.  Present the whole matter to God, believing HE CAN, understanding WHY WOULD HE NOT, and believe that when any obstacles are removed, HE WILL.

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” – Matthew 21:22

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The Swing

 

"Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

When I was a little girl, probably 6 years old, I remember swinging on the school playground.  I don’t know who was pushing the swing at that time, but I remember thinking that they were going to push to hard and I’d be pushed out of the swing and onto the ground.  I would think that same thing every time.  That meant possible cuts and scrapes, but it also meant I would get dirty, and I’d have to stay in dirty clothes all day at school. That’s one of my earliest memories of having anxiety.

As the years went on I noticed my mind was always busy with something – but only when it wasn’t occupied with some other thoughts, such as schoolwork or conversations.  I started having migraines at 9 years old – about once a week.  My grandmother Pearl came to the school and took me home so many times I can’t count them.  Those migraines went on till I was in my mid-thirties.

As I became an adult I noticed that my mind was never silent. Never.  It was like a hamster on a wheel that just wouldn’t stop.  The hamster, I believe, runs the wheel because all he really wants out of life is to get to the top and escape.  If you’ve ever owned a hamster, I know you agree.  But that wheel in my head would start thinking of one thought, like what do I wear to work, and within a minute of time I would have thought about a dozen things. 

In my later years, the wheel would run while I was trying to sleep.  When a noise – even a tiny noise – woke me up, I’d lay there for hours with hundreds of thoughts going through my head.  I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep.  They would be thoughts of things at work, worries about my children, worries about some project I was trying to complete at the house, worries about this ailment or that.  Somehow throughout the years, worry was on that wheel. 

Every morning I would pray for a good day, and for wisdom over the work I was given and the people I would work with. God blessed me at work, that is a most definite fact.  But when the day was over, the worries would encapsulate my thoughts.  And I’d worry about the next day.  I’d worry about what I should have said and didn’t.  I’d worry about every little thing down to the color of ink I used to write (no more red pens for me). I honestly began to think that this was just my personality.  I told myself I was a “worry wart”, a “control freak”, and so on. 

A few years ago, my doctor looked me in the eyes and said, “you have anxiety”.  I firmly said, “No, I don’t think it’s that, I think I’m just nervous.” He laughed and said that’s what they used to call anxiety. So, after prescribing a pill to me, within a few days, I began to feel so much less anxiety.  I don’t know how a pill can correct your thinking, but it did stop all the worries – somewhat.  There are still times, like a couple of days ago when Don and I were sitting outside, that I would reflect on the 10-12 projects I have around the house and how I’m going to get them done.  But for the most part, I can keep my thoughts in my head without the wheel running.

All of this to say one thing.  “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” is sometimes given without context.  The same is done with many verses of the Bible.  We need to remember that when the Bible was written, there were not chapters, verse numbers, and such.  It was written the same way I’m writing this – a stream of thoughts coming from the heart and mind.

In context you’ll find what I was NOT doing with the churning worries I was going through.  The full passage says, Therefore, HUMBLE YOURSELF under the mighty hand of God, that He may EXALT YOU in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

What God wants is for us to trust Him with our cares, rather than carrying them ourselves and in our own strength.  If we don’t humble ourselves, and let Him lift us up, we stay where we are…struggling.  But if we will just acknowledge that we’re not able to do this on our own, God will help us.  God is not a fan of self-pride.  Read Proverbs 6:6-19  of the seven things he hates.  The first one is “a proud look”.  When we can let go of our pride and humble ourselves to ask God for help, He exalts us.  Exalt how? There are no limits to what He can and will do. 

There came a point to which I had to just look back and KNOW that God was at work the entire time.  God has done things for me so great that I wouldn’t brag about the thing, but I can brag about God.  He’s never stopped loving me or helping me.  And I know He has exalted me.  I know God pushes my swing.

My confidence in letting go and letting God gets stronger every day.  I just wish I’d know the key to casting all my cares on Him earlier in life. 

And for those of you who don’t believe a Christian needs medication, I don’t know what to say to you except, God Bless You that you’ll never need it.  My God is the creator of all things and gives the wisdom required for those that create medicines for our earthly bodies. As for the spiritual body, He gave us Jesus. 

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation” – Ephesians 2:14


Monday, March 28, 2022

Faith and Obedience

"But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." - James 2:20-24


Hebrews 11 talks of people of great faith, like Abraham, Noah, and Enoch. Each and every one of them stepped out of their reality to do what God had said. Faith in God will create actions. God will ask you to use your Faith, and by doing so you are obedient to God. In turn, God is pleased because you were obedient. Faith honors God, and God honors Faith.

These people of long ago received something in return each time. Abraham received an Inheritance. Sarah received a child. Read Hebrews 11 and look for the word 'received' and you'll see their rewards.

If I have gas in my car, I can have faith that I can drive it. But if I choose not to, that gas lays dormant. Our faith in God is the same way. Yes you can have faith and not exercise it just like you can have legs and not run. But God is pleased with obedience (Matthew 12:7). Eventually that gas will evaporate, and the legs will lose their strength. Faith is like a muscle - you use it to strengthen it.

Having faith in God, believing He will save us is step one. But a relationship with God is so much greater than just a ticket to Heaven. Having faith that God can and God will do great things in us and through us is the life of spiritual luxury! When you believe He loves you and will take care of you enough to do what He says, go where He sends you, then you experience the fellowship of God, God being PROUD of you, God being HONORED by you.

Faith is a gift from God. Obedience to God unwraps that gift.