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On this absolutely gorgeous day…that I’m thoroughly enjoying….I see this little teeny cloud. And I started thinking about Elijah praying to end the drought. I am not praying for rain but I am praying that you get a hold of the same kind of resolve that Elijah had telling his servant and Ahab to run from that teeny cloud, knowing with all that he was that God had answered His prayer.
Faith is believing before you see the manifestation of your promise or answer to your prayer. Knowing that He who has promised is faithful.
“Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.”
Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” 1Kings 18:44
Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing!
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Today I realized that I can be amazed every single day. Awe and wonder is literally a lifestyle choice. I can choose to look for and experience joy in the everyday. I can choose to expect miracles. I can choose to say, “Father God, what awesome and wonderful things do you have planned for us today?”
I am the only one who determines how I receive from God and perceive the world around me! Only I have the power to decide whether I embrace the awe and wonder of life or whine and complain about it. I am all powerful in how I choose to react.
I know the faith walk ain’t for sissies. Believing God when all the evidence points against it is difficult, especially when you’ve been hurt and disappointed. But that’s exactly the time to look for awe and wonder in your life. That’s when you need to choose to expect good!
Why do you think Jesus called those little bitty kiddos the greatest in Matthew 18?
Think about it? Little kids just believe, and they walk around amazed by everything they see. Everything is new and exciting. That’s exactly what childlike faith looks like. That is what pleases and impresses Jesus.
What if today you expected awe and wonder? What if you went around knowing that our Father has good surprises for you everyday, hidden amongst the ordinary and mundane? What if you truly believed God is for you and not against you? What if today you just believe that God loves you? What if you just received His love like a toddler being picked up and cradled by their daddy?
I will leave you with this…the Greek word “know” in Romans 8:28 actually means to see therefore to know. It is connected to the word optomai (op’-tom-ahee), which means to gaze at something with wide open eyes, as at something remarkable. It means to be amazed by what you’re seeing. This isn’t a factoid to put in your knowledge bank, it is something you witness and are blown away by.
“And we stare long in amazement,in complete wonder, that the Creator of everything loves us so much that He causes everything in our (those loving and living for Him) lives to work together for our good benefit.” Romans 8:28 Jill Translation
Have you ever just gone on a major rant to God about anything and everything negative? The prophet Jeremiah did. His rant is called the book of Lamentations.
But what I love is after venting to God about all the negatory junk-ola in his life Jeremiah then says:
“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:21-26 NKJV
Remember it is not wrong to go to God with both the positive and negative in your life. But after you get the negatory junk-ola off your chest, remind yourself that God is good. Remind yourself there’s always hope in God because of Jesus’s resurrection.
If you learn anything from the prophets, learn that there is always hope when you’re one of God’s kids!
PS Biblical hope is not wishy washy wishing. It is a joyful and confident expectation of God. Speak your hope out of your mouth or sing it as a praise song. There is power in declaration!
“But when he asks he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6
Just because a stray negative thought comes into your head doesn’t mean you have to believe it and let doubt toss you around like a toy ship in a hurricane.
Maintain your hope (your joyful and confident expectation of good from God) by casting down those negative thoughts and reminding yourself in whom you’ve placed your trust. Hope feeds faith!
PS Casting down simply means to throw. How do you throw a thought? By calling it out and saying NO! Then replacing it with God’s truth.
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrew 11:1
Sometimes we stand in our own way. We are afraid to just believe that we will have what we hope for. Don’t allow fear to steal your hope. Instead allow yourself to be persuaded that God is good & He will do what He said He will do. He desires to give us His best for us even more than we want His best for us.
“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:14 NIV
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the faith walk is not for sissies. Waiting can be boring, annoying, frustrating, painful, sad, and on and on. Essentially waiting sucks.
But!! I know that God knows more than I do. I know that His timing is stop on a dime perfect. I know God is faithful. I know He always keeps His word. I know these things in both my heart and my mind, because I’ve experienced them in my relationship with God.
I have hard days where I want to complain too. I really do understand. But I’ve learned that complaining doesn’t really do me any good. So I’ve started using my words to praise Him for what He’s doing and thanking Him for what He’s promised as though I already have it. This turns my waiting from frustrating into worshipping!!
I was lamenting (also known as whining and complaining) to God yesterday that not being able to do anything about a situation in my life was torturous.
As I was waking up this morning (literally only had one eye half open) He told me that I am doing something, I’m being still and trusting Him.
He explained that faith always requires action. Sometimes that action is getting out of the boat when He bids me to come. (Read Peter’s story in Matthew 14:25-32) But sometimes the action is being still. Both are actions. Both are equally challenging.
Choosing to trust God and waiting on Him is walking by faith just as getting out of the boat and stepping onto the water is walking by faith. Both require believing and trusting God.
Being still isn’t passive. It’s active. It’s praying. It’s believing and trusting God. Being still means knowing that God is for you. It’s perseverance in long waiting periods. It’s maintaining your hope, joy and peace even when you cannot see beyond today.
When I got out of bed I flipped my verse of the day calendar to today’s verse. Guess what the verse was about today? Yep. Waiting on God.
“I wait for the Lord my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for morning, more than watchmen wait for morning.” Psalm 130:5-6
I’ve prayed that you will know for certain if are to do something specific or to be still in your present circumstance and situation. I pray that no matter the action required or how long it takes that you will be able to maintain your peace and joy.
I came into this year with great expectations. But I have to admit that I’ve been feeling disheartened and frustrated. My life has become a series of closed doors lately. I keep trying to be positive but, I’m finding it hard to hope and to trust in God’s goodness.
So today I’m reading the story of the Shunammite woman found in II Kings 4:8-37. It’s my favorite.
The Shunammite woman was wealthy and well connected. She had a good life and gave generously to those around her. She expected nothing in return. She just gave. It’s who she was and what she did. For her setting up a free room for the Prophet Elisha to use when he wanted was nothing extraordinary.
This is the woman everyone saw. But what people couldn’t see was the ache in her heart for a dream she thought was dead.
That’s why I relate to this woman. I am battling to believe my dream is not dead. To hope even when everyone and everything around you tells you to let it go.
God is the only one who knows the full extent of the dream in my heart. Just like the Shunammite woman.
In verse 15-16 Elisha tells her that in one year her dream will be come true. She will hold a son in her arms. Many would rejoice at this point, maybe dance a jig or something. But not her. She begs him not to raise her hopes. As if hope were the enemy of her heart. She didn’t want to go through yet another heartache.
I can relate. It seems easier for us to just settle for what we can do or what we can see. We seem to forget that we serve a good God who wants more for us than we do.
“When You came down long ago, You did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked! For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, Who works for those who wait for Him.” Isaiah 64:3-4
We need to focus on the truth in times like this. And the truth is that God is good. Always has been good and always will be good. His plan is so good that sometimes we see it as an impossible dream, something we don’t deserve, or we believe it couldn’t ever happen. So we settle for what WE can do or what WE can see. But when we trust Him and wait on His timing He moves in ways we cannot possibly imagine!
When I struggle like I have been, the only thing that really helps me to come out of it is to focus on God’s goodness. Reading the verses from Isaiah and the Shunammite woman’s story remind me that God is good. That God is for me not against me. That God loves me and my dreams matter to Him. Knowing this, I cannot help but to keep believing.
Please don’t give up on your great expectations! Please keep believing even if no one but God knows the dream of your heart. God is the God of the impossible and He is good.
As a teen and young adult I got really tired of the church telling me to do something with the “because I said so” and the “be good” reasoning. I still battle that desire to live inside the rule box.
I’m going to rant now- How about telling me the whole truth? The truth is that God actually set up marriage as a covering and a protection for women. Instead of trying to scare me with STDs and pregnancy! How about teaching me who I am in God? How about making me confident to know that I am worth marrying? How about telling me that any guy who would sleep with me outside of that covenant doesn’t actually respect me at all, no matter what he says? How about teaching guys HOW to respect women? How about teaching them how to be real men instead of guys, punks and dudes? How about teaching them who they are in God too?
Rant over. Rational blog to follow in 3, 2, 1….
There is a rampant identity crisis in this world. I’m not the only one who struggled with identity. And honestly, I don’t blame my parents or the churches I went to for my lack of identity. It’s not their fault, because they did not know what they were doing. They did their best with what they had and they loved me the best way they knew how. I had some very wonderful people in my world, truly. And I’m grateful.
But the fact remains that the world at large lies to kids. They do one of three things: The world scares the crap out of them and scars them for life, traps them in a ruled filled box, or tells them to do whatever they want. Not one of those things are actually Biblical, my friends!
Moses spent a lot of time telling the Children of Israel the importance of passing on what they learned about God and from God to their children. But they didn’t do it. So after Joshua died, the children of Israel went through a crazy cycle (Read Judges) of doing whatever they wanted, then crying out to God. God would send a deliverer, and then they’d stick with God for a generation. Then they’d start the cycle all over again.
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Training up doesn’t must mean to tell them do this and don’t do that! It means we need to show them how to make good decisions and why it matters. Most importantly though, we NEED to know who we are in God and we NEED to teach the next generation who they are in God. It is ESSENTIAL that they know because how you see yourself colors every decision you make (and the ones we don’t). Your identity feeds your perspective.
Before I really understood how much God adored me, I was willing to take what I could get. I coasted along living on crumbs. I don’t do that anymore, because I am the daughter of the Most High God. He has a good plan for me and I expect Him to do good things for me. I expect that when I screw up that He will it around for my good. Because that’s who He is and what He does! He’s a good God who restores and reconciles and regenerates and resurrects! And He is absolutely in love with us! With me! With you!
Here’s an intro to your identity in Christ:
Ladies, you are the representation of the beauty of God. You are the daughter of the most high. Zephaniah 3 says that God sings over you with joy. On the cross, you were the joy set before Jesus that made all that suffering WORTH IT! You are adored! So don’t settle for anything less than full respect and love.
Gentlemen, you are the representation of the warrior side of God. Sorry to tell you but having sex does not make you a man. Sorry. But it doesn’t. What makes you a man is you being responsible and respectful. Genesis 1 tells you that you are made in the image and likeness of God. You were created first to be a leader, a guardian and protector. It also means you have the power to create and sow good things! That’s who you were made to be. Don’t settle for being an immature boy or a guy who plays around, be a man.