Christian living faith God's plan God's Word Handling Life's Problems victory

Coffee with a Bug

I was sitting on my patio enjoying the privilege of taking my time with a good cup of coffee.  No daily rush just relaxed and letting my mind drift.  I spotted an interesting little bug.  I am not a fan of bugs but I believe in live and let live the best that I can.  He was not like any other bug I had seen.  He was a colorful little guy.  Busily going about his day.  He was extremely purposeful.  He showed no doubt in his mission.  Gave everything he had to its goal.  Never stopped to look around.  He was committed to his destiny.  His only distraction was if something got in his path.  He always corrected direction and continued on.  There was no doubt the bug knew its purpose and path and plan for his little life.

In some ways I began to envy him.  In others not at all.  From what I know of science this little guy had no choice.  He was programmed with only one thought. Locked into a life of no choice. Sounds kind of dull and unexciting and certainly restrictive from a people perspective. 

I am pretty sure he didn’t know any other way and seemed content in his life chore.  Or at least so it appeared.

Just about every Christian can recite Jeremiah 29:11.  They may not know it is Jeremiah 29:11 but when they were saved, they heard and adopted it into their heart.  “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.”  It’s the “plans” part most of us struggle with.  How many mornings when I walked out of my house, I had wished that God had just written those plans on my fence for me to read.  Then I would know which way to turn, what choice to make.  What distraction to turn from.  What was the most important goal for that day, besides drawing close to him?  Ah but there in that last one is where you find the answer.  God doesn’t give us a map that says turn here, nope wrong way.  Or my favorite thought to myself often after an apparent wrong turn.  “Are you kidding me!”  

We aren’t programmed.  Instead, He has gloriously given us talents, and abilities beyond our wildest understanding.  Not one but many.  Supportive of each other in ways that often don’t make any sense to us.  But as Jesus said to His disciples in John  “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever.  That Helper is the Spirit of truth.”

That truth, if we draw close to it and learn its voice can and wants to guide us through every step, every choice of our day.  Talents and gifts and abilities are gifts to be valued and used to bring glory to our creator.  However, it is the voice of truth, the Holy Spirit, that guides us to fulfillment on both the easy and hard days. 

The “plans” aren’t programmed into our DNA like the little bug.  The plans are placed in our heart when we seek them.  The Holy Spirit is our guide and the Word is our truth.  Without both of them working together it is easy to get lost in the endless choices we face each day.  The little bug had no choice in his life but was secure in his mission.  We have choice and sometimes get off the intend path and our not so secure in our mission.  Unlike the bug we have a loving Lord who sent the Holy Spirit to guide us back when we get “off path.”. 

Matthew 7:8 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

. 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

. 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 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 “, 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

. 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.


Really, What’s the Big Deal About Faith?

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Even as a child, I understood that I had to have faith to be saved. If we don’t believe there is a God, that Jesus died to pay the price for our sin, and that he was resurrected from the dead, we can’t enter into a right relationship with God.

It took me a lot longer to grasp hold of why faith is such a big deal. Faith isn’t just so we can be saved or have our prayers answered. Faith is actually a key component that enables God to do what wants to do in and through each of us.

Hebrews, chapter eleven, gives us a list of people who lived by faith. Noah built a giant boat in a time when it had never rained. Though his neighbors made fun of him, Noah acted on his faith in God, and his family was saved.

Moses’s parents defied Pharaoh and hid Moses in a basket in the river for three months. They risked their lives, but their son was rescued from death, and eventually led God’s people out of bondage.

By faith, the Israelites stepped into the Red Sea. The walls of water towering over them must have been terrifying, but they followed God in faith. Because they stepped out, they not only made it across safely, but God used the walls of water to destroy their enemies.

These are only three out of many examples of people who lived out God’s purpose and brought God glory because they acted in faith. Not logic. Not research. Not emotions. Faith.

For some incomprehensible reason, God wants to use ordinary people from every walk of life to show his light in a dark world and to bring him glory. He wants to use me. He wants to use you.

Second Corinthians, chapter four, explains that Satan blinds peoples’ minds, making them unable to see the light and glory of the message of Christ. It says that God put the treasure of the message of Jesus in “jars of clay.” Friend, that’s us. Inside our broken, flawed, fragile hearts dwells the light and glory of God himself.

When we act on our faith, the light of God shines into the darkness, and the glory of God becomes visible to those whom the devil has blinded.

Think about this: What is the opposite of faith? For many years, I would have said fear was the opposite of faith. Recently, I heard Stephen Furtick say that the opposite of faith is actually certainty. Interesting, isn’t it? If we are certain we can handle it, it’s not faith. If we’re certain we’re strong enough on our own, it’s not faith. Faith is when we have no idea how it’s going to work out, but we trust God and take the step anyway.

Faith is the detonator that explodes God’s light and glory into a dark and desperate world. That’s why faith is such a big deal. When God’s people act in faith, the world sees past their own blindness, past the world’s darkness, and past the deceit of the devil. Through our faith in action, the world sees the face of God.

Dear God, I’m amazed that you use a fragile, flawed vessel like me to carry the beautiful light and glory of Jesus. Help me have faith to obey your leading so the world can see the light in the darkness and the glory of salvation. In Jesus’s name, amen.


Faithful in a Faithless Culture

“Obey the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Remember the great things he has done for you.” (1 Samuel 12:24)

It’s human nature to want to fit in with our culture. We want people to like us. We don’t want to stand out and have people think we’re weird. That’s why in the 50’s all the girls wanted pony tails and poodle skirts and all the boys wanted greased back hair and leather jackets. It looks weird now, but back then it was “cool.”

Culture influences more than just wardrobes. It also influences actions and attitudes. How do we live by faith when we are surrounded by a faithless culture? How do we stand strong when our faith is ignored, challenged, and mocked?

First Samuel 12:24, gives us three keys to faithfulness. First, “obey the Lord.” Are we obedient to God’s commands? Second, “serve him faithfully with all our hearts.” Do our hearts belong fully to God or do we toy with the values of our culture? And third, “remember the great things he has done for you.” Are we grateful? These three keys help make sure we are living a faithful life.

When the Israelites moved into the Promised Land, they were surrounded by pagan cultures. Even though God miraculously delivered them from Egypt, crushed the Egyptian army in the sea, and provided food from heaven during the journey, there was still the danger that they would drift into idol worship and forget the God who rescued them.

Friend, the warning God gave the Israelites about being seduced by the cultures of those around them rings true for us today: “…Be careful that you don’t get curious about them after they’ve been destroyed before you. Don’t get fascinated with their gods, thinking, ‘I wonder what it was like for them, worshiping their gods. I’d like to try that myself’” (Deuteronomy 12:29-30).  

It’s easy for us to gradually accept cultural values that shift us away from faith in God. God sees our vulnerability. He knows we can be swayed by the culture around us. His word to us is, “Be careful.” We must stay prayed up and stay in the Word Bibles. We should often check ourselves to see if we are sliding away from God and toward the values we see in our culture.

God is faithful to us. Let us take care to be faithful to him.

Father God, thank you for giving me life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and extending grace and mercy into my life. I choose to put my trust and my confidence in you. Regardless of what I see in the culture around me, in good times or in bad times, I will have faith in your love and your power. Help me to be faithful. In Jesus’s name, amen.


The Size of Your Faith or the Size of Your God?

“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.’” (Mark 9:23-24).

Here’s a story that brings hope to all of us. It’s about a man whose faith wasn’t perfect, but who still received a miracle from Jesus. (We can read his story in Mark 9:14-32.)

The man’s son was mute and suffered with seizures. The child foamed at the mouth and became rigid. He had been that way for many years. The father implored Jesus to have compassion and help them.

Jesus said anything was possible for someone who believes. The father started crying. Through the tears, he said, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” Jesus granted the father’s request and healed the child.

Do you see why this story gives us so much hope? It’s because the man’s faith wasn’t perfect. He knew he had areas where he needed help. I love that we don’t have to be perfect. We just have to ask Jesus to help us in those times when our faith is weak.

In Luke, chapter 17, Jesus’s disciples asked Him to increase their faith. His reply was unexpected. He didn’t tell them to donate more money or do more good deeds or spend more time in church. His answer was, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

What’s the lesson there? Well, a peach pit is a very big seed. A watermelon seed is smaller, though still a good size for a seed. But a mustard seed is a tiny little thing, only 1-2 millimeters. A millimeter is 1/25th of an inch. If you take an inch and divide it into 25 pieces, you’ve got something about the size of a millimeter.

Jesus tells them that a tiny mustard seed of faith is just as honored in his eyes as a big old peach pit seed of faith. Faith isn’t a competition where everyone tries to have more faith than someone else, and the one with the most faith wins. The amount of faith is irrelevant.

The issue for us isn’t the size of our faith, but the power of our God. It’s God who moves the mulberry trees.

Let us keep looking to Him. Keep following. Keep believing. Wherever we may be in our journey of faith, God will honor the faith we have. Our faith may be large or small, but the power of our God is immeasurable.

Dear God, your power and wisdom is beyond my understanding. You are more than able to do anything I could think or imagine. Sometimes, my faith seems small. Help me to focus more on your promises and less on my faith. Faith isn’t a competition. Lord, let the faith I have be an example to others and bring glory to your name. I put my faith in you, today and always. In Jesus’s name, amen.