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. Christian living faith Handling Life's Problems victory

Trust in the Silence

“Silence is golden…unless you have kids, then silence is suspicious”. Anyone with kids relate to that? Having two kids of my own and working with kids weekly, I can absolutely testify to this! At our house it usually means there’s some sort of mess being made or plot being conspired. Kids…am I right?? 

Silence can actually be deafening can’t it? Silence can be alarming. Silence can trigger our need to take action. 

Having just celebrated Easter this past weekend, this is all still fresh on my heart so stay with me because I really want you to “see” this part of the story!

Friday was the crucifixion; violence, mourning, grief. 

Sunday was the resurrection; excitement, celebrating, joy. 

But Saturday? 

Saturday was silent. 

So often we want to bypass Saturday because nothing “good” seems to be happening. It’s that messy, middle part of the story right? Where there’s disappointment, isolation, hopelessness, unexplainable hurt. 

We’ve come one day away from the trauma and we hear that “Sunday is coming and just wait for it, it’s going to be amazing what God is going to do on Sunday”! And that is absolutely true, don’t miss that. (Matthew 27:45-65, Matthew 28:1-10)

Of course God was at work Friday, it was part of His perfect plan. And of course God was at work Sunday, it was God’s promise fulfilled. 

But, you know what we tend to forget? 

God was still at work Saturday. He was still there in the silence. He was still there in the disappointment. In the hopelessness. In the hurt. God was there! When we’re searching for answers for the unexplainable pain and crying out with total abandon desperation…He’s working to bring it all together for good. (Romans 8:28)

Psalms 94:14 “For the Lord will never walk away from his cherished ones, nor would he forsake his chosen ones who belong to him”

When you think there’s silence, God is speaking in that space. When you think you’re isolated, God is working in that void. When you think you’re alone, God is shifting things on your behalf.

God is always, always at work even when we can’t see it or maybe even feel it. God is still the author of your story on Saturday, just like He was on Friday and Sunday. 

God CAN and WILL do for you what nobody else can do for you, even in the silence on “your Saturday”. 

We remember Friday, we celebrate Sunday. 

Let’s trust God on Saturday

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. Christian living faith Handling Life's Problems victory

Birds and Grass

Leaving my house and heading into the office this morning I counted four different lawn crews working on just a small stretch of road. When I got to the red light I noticed two birds flying not too far above the traffic intersection. This morning, in the short mile and a half road and a thirty-second wait at the traffic light, I felt my trust for God deepen.

God reminded me of His words in Matthew 6

“Look at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food.

Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they?

So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life?

And why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil, and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty more than one of these!”

So if God has clothed the meadow with hay which is here for such a short time, then dried up, and burned, won’t he provide for you the clothes you need? Even though you live with such little faith? So then, forsake your worries!

Matthew 6:26-31 TPT

Can you feel the weight of His words to us?

In our current day and time trusting God at the highest level is a must. We aren’t sure week to week what news headline will shake our nation next, where our economy will go from here, what will “normal” look like!

 Yet, the grass just keeps growing and the birds keep flying.

Those four lawn crews reminded me that God is still making the grass grow. The birds I saw flying above the intersection made the words of Jesus ring in my ears “Look at the birds…aren’t you more valuable to your Heavenly Father than they?”

Let these promises sink deep in your heart. Let them envelop your entire way of thinking. If the grass is growing and the birds are flying, God has your back and you absolutely can trust Him no matter what comes your way.

How can you be sure?

Because if He is taking care of flowers and birds He absolutely will take care of you as His child.

To hear a sermon that takes a deeper dive on this click here.

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. faith Handling Life's Problems

Faith over Fear Equation

Remember the days in high school where we thought we new everything we would ever need to take on this thing called “adulting”? I certainly do! Especially when it came to math classes. Will I ever actually use x = −b ± √b²-4ac/2a or x2+3x+2, 4×2−1, x2−5x+6? In many professions I would say yes! In many I would say no! But that is a debate for another time.

Here’s an equation you have to use no matter your profession, age, or background – putting your faith over your fear. When fear starts to rear it’s ugly head, my answer is simple; I trust God. I trust that He will protect me, heal me, provide for me, and fight for me.

For a deeper dive we did on this check out the sermon here!

Fear is a real thing everyone deals with, but we do not all deal with it well. Fear has a way of robbing us, abusing us, and ruining us. It stops dreams, opportunities, fresh starts, and reconciliation unlike anything else. Fear is not a respecter of persons and will be used by the enemy on every person.

The good news?

It is NOT the most powerful force on the earth. According to 1 Corinthians 13 “..faith, hope and love..” will remain after everything, meaning there is nothing that can conquer  or rival those things.

 For today we are going to look at faith in which we know is trust.

So what does this faith over fear equation look like? It is the posture of heart that says “I trust that God has my back and He has me covered – more than I trust the roar of my fear”.

It is when I get a bad doctors report, I trust God has me covered no matter what. It is when hours are being cut at work or I lost the bid on the job or I didn’t get the sale, I trust God has my back and He will supply all of my needs. It is when I feel like instead of wholeness in my home I have nothing but a shattering dream…I trust God has us covered and will do what only He can do. And what God can do is bring beauty from ashes, dead bones to life, and water to the dry places.

Take whatever your fear is and put over it the trust (faith) that God is greater than those fears. Put over the fear how God is still undefeated. Put over the fear that you have a loving father who desires to do exceedingly, abundantly more than you could ever ask or think. This is the equation of the Christ follower!

For a deeper dive we did on this check out the sermon here!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

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. Christian living faith Handling Life's Problems victory

Faith is simply trust

I thoroughly enjoy catchy words, creative sayings, and even tag lines that get engrained in your mind that everyone can relate to. The problem with these catchy and creative tag lines is outside of its context the meaning can easily be lost.

For example the old McDonald’s saying “badabababa I’m lovin’ it” makes complete sense as you are eating a juicy, fresh Big Mac. Add in a large fry with a large coke and a McFlurry, “badabababa” seems to just roll off your tongue! Now if you were to say this as you didn’t meet a deadline, getting a ticket for a fender-bender, or set fire to your kitchen while making dinner…badabababa Im lovinit” would make zero sense!

The word faith is certainly one of these words that, out of context, the meaning can be easily lost.

Phrases about faith are said a lot in church circles and rightfully so as Jesus even makes a few like “have faith in God!” (Mark 11:22) We are even told “it is faith that pleases God” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith makes sense in songs and sermons, gets amens from pews and online streams. You can even find faith printed on trendy shirts & Yeti cups in the trendiest calligraphy.

But what does this frequently mentioned faith look like in day to day, hour by hour life?

It is simply trust. Trust that God loves you, is guiding you, and wants the absolute best for you. God desires complete devotion to Him and it all starts with trust.

This trust in God is one of the most powerful things on this side of Heaven. It was trust in God that led Abraham to be called the Father of Faith. It was trust in God that led David to slay Goliath. It was trust in God that led Daniel to not only survive a den full of lions but to influence his culture even when it seemed to have no hope. It was trust in God that led to Peter stepping out of the boat, Lazarus stepping out of the grave, and the leaders of the early church stepping into their calling of proclaiming the great news of the Gospel.

This trust in God is one of the most powerful things on this side of Heaven.

Let this same trust that all the heroes of faith walked in, that is available to you and I, strengthen us to take a step in whatever season we find ourself in.

I encourage you today to see faith for what it is – a complete trust in the goodness of God as your Heavenly Father. He has your back and has never lost a battle or forgotten one of His children. Rest in this truth today and put your trust in Him.

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. God's plan

Adopted into the Family

With all the benefits that go with it…

The Bible has several stories of adoption. Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. Esther was adopted by Mordecai. Jesus was treated as a son by Joseph, even though Joseph was not his biological father.

Adoption is amazing. It turns strangers into family and turns orphans into sons and daughters. But the deepest, strongest, and most amazing act of adoption is not when people adopt children, but when God adopts people.

For it was always in his perfect plan to adopt us as his delightful children, through our union with Jesus, the Anointed One…and this unfolding plan brings him great pleasure!

Ephesians 1:5-6

We are more than just God’s creation. We are more than just his servants. And God is more than just our judge. He is our father. When we give our lives to Jesus, we become part of God’s family, with all the benefits and rights that come with being his adopted child. Our God-planned destiny from the beginning was to be adopted into his family.

It’s hard to believe, but it gives God great joy and pleasure to adopt us. We weren’t cute, cuddly, and captivating. On the contrary, we were a mess. We were all born with evil, selfish natures. Our lives expressed the depravity inside us, as we pursued any wicked thought springing from our selfish nature. We deserved God’s anger. Yet, when we were unlovable, he still loved us. God loved us so much that he adopted us. He made us his very own children.

What does that mean? When someone adopts a child, they make that child part of their family forever. They give that child their family name, invest their time in that child, bear the necessary costs to support that child, and make that child an heir of their estate. Adopting a child is a huge, weighty, life-altering decision.

God made that decision for us from the beginning. He knew how much trouble we would be and the price it would cost, but he never wavered. He adopted us and gave us the right to call him, “Daddy.” He didn’t do it out of obligation or pity. Our heavenly Father adopted us out of love. We are part of the family of God, dearly loved, forever.

If you are a Christian, you are a child of the living God, adopted into his family. Because you are his child, God loves you, protects you, and provides for you. He will never leave you. He will hear and answer your prayers. He will make a way for you. Always. That’s what a good father does…and God is a very good father.

Father, I am thankful to be adopted into your family. I’m overwhelmed that you loved me enough to adopt me and make me your child. I want to grow into your image. Thank you for your grace, your presence, and your overwhelming love. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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Claim These 17 Words Today

Need some words to live by?

I love me some Chick-Fil-A. Give me a Chick-Fil-A sandwich with extra pickles and some fresh-out-of-the-fryer waffle fries with a large unsweet tea and I’m a happy girl. I don’t need a cow to tell me to, “eat mor chicken.” I’m a self-motivated chicken eater.

Chick-Fil-A’s vision is to, “be America’s best quick-service restaurant.” Their purpose is, “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-Fil-A.”

There’s a lot more to running a Chick-Fil-A than just knowing the vision and purpose. I’m sure there’s written info about how to run a cash register, how to make a milkshake, and how to greet customers. But their vision and purpose provide a concise statement that gives overall direction to the organization.

Have you ever wished for a concise statement about how to live a Christian life? Ephesians 5:15 says, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.” Did you ever wonder what that meant? How do you live wisely? How can we be careful about how we live?

In 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, we read seventeen wise, concise, and directional words. In these few words, we see an overview of how we should live. We are given values that enable us to live wisely. Here are the seventeen words:

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

So simple. So short. And yet so powerful. Stick, “I will,” in front of each sentence, and you’ve got some forceful and compelling words to live by.

Of course, the Bible gives more detailed information about how to live, but these words give a great overview. If everyone embraced these seventeen words, what a change that would make in the world. Families would be stronger. Addictions would be broken. Kindness would abound. All this and more would result if we stayed alert, lived out our faith, acted with courage instead of fear, and walked in the strength of God.

And just imagine if we did what we did because of love. Everything. All the time. Y’all, that kind of living changes the world. That’s the kind of life Jesus lived. And that’s the kind of careful, wise living Jesus wants for us.

It’s only five actions and only seventeen words but they sure pack a punch. Let’s strive to be awake and aware, rooted in the truth of the faith, fearless, and strong in the power of God. And at the core of it all—our calling and purpose—is love. Let’s love God with all our hearts, and love others in the way God has loved us. May we live wisely and walk worthy of our incredible calling.

Dear God, I want to live with these seventeen words embedded in the fabric of my life. Lord, keep me alert, true to my faith, courageous, and strong. And fill me with a supernatural love that reaches out to warm the world and point people to you. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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The Definition of a Winner

Does someone have to lose for someone else to win?

I like to win. You probably like it, too. When I was in fourth grade, I won a writing contest. When I was in middle school, I won a spelling bee. When I was in college, I won a freshman essay competition.

I never won a race, a gymnastic meet (I could barely execute a forward roll), or any sort of athletic competition. I never won the lottery. I never won an art competition.

It’s not surprising that I avoid athletic competition, lotteries, and painting. We tend to avoid venues in which we are likely to lose.

We like to win. We live in a competitive world. We want the best jobs, houses, talents, kids, and, most importantly, the best hair. Worldly winning requires comparing ourselves to someone else. It also requires someone to lose.

The kingdom of God doesn’t work that way. We are not competing with each other. Galatians 5:26 says, “Let us not become conceited, competing against each other, envying each other.” We don’t compare ourselves with others and puff up with pride. We don’t compete with each other to feel good about ourselves. And we aren’t jealous when someone else does well.

Winning, as a disciple of Christ, means showing kindness, love, and forgiveness. It means serving others. It means putting the needs of others above our own. It means walking in faith. We don’t have to compare ourselves to anyone else. And no one has to lose for us to win.

When I won in fourth grade, I got a silver dollar and I have no idea what happened to it. When I won in middle school, I got the to go to the district spelling bee, where I lost on the word, “matrimonial.” When I won the essay competition, I got a small scholarship to a college I only attended for one semester.

Those wins, in the grand scheme of things, meant nothing. I have nothing to show for those so-called victories. Not so with spiritual victories:

“If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!” (James 1:12).

Our “wins” as a Christian are eternal. Every kindness is recorded. Every difficulty we endure is noted. Our faith is recognized. And when we receive our reward for those things, it will be an eternal reward. It will never fade, it will never disappear. The ultimate victory is the crown of life we receive in heaven–and hearing the Lord say, “well done.”

No other victory compares to the victory of a disciple of Jesus who crosses the finish line and makes it home. And that, my friend, is the definition of a winner.

Dear God, give me grace to run my own race without comparing myself to others. Let me not be conceited or driven to prove my value by competing with others. Help me remember that winning means faith that endures, patience during difficulties, and perseverance in all circumstances. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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One Thing Lacking

“Jesus fixed his gaze upon the man, with tender love, and said to him ‘Yet there is still one thing in you lacking…’” (Mark 10:21)

In Mark, chapter 10, we read about a man who had a problem—one he probably didn’t realize he had. This man was young and wealthy. One day, he came running to Jesus, knelt in front of him, and asked what he must do to have eternal life.

Jesus said, “You already know the commandments.” The man knew the Jewish law well and carefully obeyed them. To look at him, one would think he had it made. He was successful. He didn’t steal, commit adultery, lie, or cheat. And he was in the right place, kneeling at the feet of Jesus.

He probably expected a pat on the back and kind words. What he actually received must have shocked him to his core.

Jesus gazed at the young man with genuine love and with deep understanding of his heart. Jesus told him he lacked one thing. Jesus didn’t say what the one thing was, but gave him instructions: “Go and sell everything, give the money to the poor, and return and follow me.”

The young man loved his possessions too much. He knew the next step he needed to take. But he couldn’t do it.

He hung his head, turned, and walked away. It’s like being diagnosed with a disease and prescribed a pill that will restore us to full health but choosing to walk away, choosing disease instead of healing. This young man chose his to keep his problem.

We know nothing else about the young man’s life, but we know he chose his stuff instead of his next step. He chose his stuff instead of restoration.

Friend, no one knows how to make us whole except Jesus. We can’t fix ourselves. Honestly, most of the time we don’t even know for sure what needs fixing. We struggle with unforgiveness, depression, anger, and so much more. We desperately need Jesus. We need to run to him, kneel at his feet, ask what we’re lacking, where we’re coming up short, and how we can move from where we are toward where we could be.

When we do, he’ll look at us with genuine love. And he’ll give us a next step. While change sometimes happens instantly, more often it is a process. Jesus’s part in the process is to direct us to our next step. Our part is to obey, to actually do what we know he wants us to do. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s not what we expected. And even when it costs us something.

It’s by taking one step, and then another, that we transform into the person God created us to be. Be wise. Be brave. Take that next step.

Dear God, examine my heart. Look at my life. Where do I need to change? What issues do I need to deal with? And, Lord, what is my next step? I believe you have a purpose for my life, and I know I can’t fix myself or get there by myself. I need your direction. Give me faith, courage, and an obedient heart to change my life step by step. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Your turn: What advice do you have for someone struggling with their next step? Let us know in the Leave a Reply section below.

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A New Identity

 “Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.’” (Matthew 16:17-18)

Reginald Kenneth Dwight changed his name to Elton John. Peter Gene Hernandez changed his name to Bruno Mars. Eric Marlon Bishop changed his name to Jamie Foxx. And Mark Sinclair Vincent became Vin Diesel.

It’s common for celebrities to change their name to further their career—no big deal. But in Matthew 16, Jesus himself changed Simon’s name, and when Jesus changes your name, it’s a very big deal. It isn’t just a change of name, it’s a change of identity.

Here’s the story. Jesus and the disciples were walking along one day, and Jesus asked them who people said he was. They said people thought Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet. Then Jesus got to the heart of the question—who did the disciples think he was?

Simon quickly answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus told Simon that his answer came through a revelation from God. Simon didn’t figure it out for himself. He didn’t learn it from a friend or a rabbi. No, God himself revealed Jesus’s identity to Simon.

When we have a revelation of Jesus’s identity, it changes our identity. Revelation gives us mission, purpose, and confidence about who we are in Christ. Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter. Simon was a fisherman, but Peter was a fisher of men. Simon lived a quiet life on the Sea of Galilee, but Peter possessed the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Simon was often unstable, but Peter was solid as a rock.

Peter’s identity, purpose, and mission was tied to his revelation of Jesus’s identity. In Ephesians 1:17, Paul prays for God to give all Christians everywhere a personal revelation of Christ so each of us can comprehend who Jesus is—savior, redeemer, healer, protector, provider. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He is the beginning and the end. Jesus is the lion of Judah and the light of the world. Everything we could ever need is embodied in Jesus Christ.

We all need a personal revelation of the majesty and glory of Jesus. We need this revelation from God—not from our pastor or our parents, but straight from God. We need a revelation of Jesus’s virgin birth, his perfect life, the miracles he performed, and the passion of the cross. We need a revelation of the power that raised Jesus from the dead, the same supernatural power that  inhabits his followers.

When we really grasp the identity of Jesus, our identity changes. A revelation of Jesus shows us our purpose and our mission. If your revelation of Jesus has grown dim, pray for fresh anointing. Revelation is offered freely to everyone who seeks it.

Dear God, I ask you today to refresh my revelation of who Jesus really is. I know he is the son of the living God. I know Jesus paid the price for my forgiveness and my freedom. Immerse my identity, purpose, and mission in the identity of Christ. In the name of Jesus, amen.

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Potential Is a Strange Thing

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Potential is strange. We may fail to live up to our potential. We may over achieve and exceed our potential. Nobody really knows how much potential they have. The problem is that potential is difficult to evaluate and, honestly, none of us are very good at estimating potential.

Case in point: Thomas Alva Edison was one of the most innovative inventors in history. His creation of the light bulb and the telephone forever changed the way we live. His 1,094 patents remain an American record.

But people weren’t very accurate judges of Edison’s potential. One of his teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” His bosses weren’t feeling his potential either, as he was fired from his first two jobs. He tried over 1,000 times before he invented a viable light bulb.

It looked as though Edison had very little potential. But people are generally unable to correctly measure another person’s potential, and we constantly underestimate our own. Only God really knows the potential within us.

God created our potential. He’s the only one who truly knows what we are capable of becoming and doing. Without God in our lives, we are incapable of maximizing the astounding potential housed within us. But with God in our lives, it’s a whole different story. With God, nothing is impossible for us.

Potential is like a seed. A seed contains the potential for life and growth, possibly the potential for blossoms, fruit, or towering trees. Yet, seeds look unassuming and outwardly give no clue to the potential locked inside. Who would think to look at it that a small black watermelon seed could grow into a huge, juicy, pink-and-green watermelon? Potential comes from what is inside, not the outside appearance.

Just as a seed must be planted to reach its potential, we must be rooted in God to reach our potential. We must accept Jesus as our Savior, spend time in prayer, and devote ourselves to God’s word. We must be obedient to God’s direction in our lives.

Friend, you are filled with immense potential give to you by the God who created you. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” That’s a powerful statement: With the strength of Christ enabling us, there’s nothing we can’t do. Every action we take and every word we speak is filled with potential and power.

What has God called you to do? What dream has he placed deep in your heart? What have you longed to do for God, but were too afraid of failure to try? Believe in your identity in Christ. Believe in your God-given potential. In obedience and faith, take your next step.

Father God, I am grateful for the potential and purpose you placed in my life. I put my hope, trust, and faith wholeheartedly in you. When I am tempted to focus on my flaws and weaknesses, turn my eyes toward your holiness and strength. Help me believe your word when it says I can do all things through Christ. Show me my next step and give me courage to take it. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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