Faith by Submission

How tuned in are you to the timing of God’s plans for your life? -AF

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

As we begin this New Year many of us are looking ahead with hope and promise. We say this is going to be a year of finally accomplishing long deferred goals. Maybe it’s reaching your idea of your ideal weight, simply getting in better shape, taking a dream vacation, spending more time with family, growing your family, getting that new position/job, starting that new business, or just spending more time in alone or in studying your Bible. Whatever it is we are encouraged by the possibility of future accomplishment, dreams met, and the opportunities in the unknown, working in our favor. But wait, how long will this optimism last one month, two months, maybe longer or maybe even less. Maybe even worse yet this optimism has already passed. The statistics favor the latter. The truth is that motivation has its peaks and valleys. For most of us the excitement quickly fades and we can easily return to the status quo. On the other hand motivation may remain at its peak but when life kicks in it is no respecter of goals, New Year resolutions, the best laid plans, or even determination, no when life kicks in it often presents challenges, roadblocks, barriers, it plays defense, even sometimes using well-meaning people or even those wearing the disguise of the well-meaning. Unfortunately, depending on the intensity and perseverance of the obstruction this can derail even the most driven individual much less those who have seen their dreams driven into the ground or shattered year after year with the unexpected challenge upon challenge. For example you may have just received a promotion which came with an increase in pay and you are looking forward to finally being able to pay off that student loan debt and maybe even to begin looking for your first home, all of sudden your child, spouse, or a parent gets sick and the effect of bills or the emotional strain of your sick loved one on your own health begins to show. Maybe you also find yourself in a worse financial situation than before the raise as your new income now makes you ineligible for aid in paying some of these bills. This is a fictitious scenario but I’m sure it has happened and as sure as the sun rising and setting that something similar will occur in 2016. The question, what does this all mean and why? Is life just pouring out good and bad, at least from our perspective, until it’s over? Is life just out to get us or is there a bigger plan?

I was recently having a conversation with a friend and the story of Joseph’s life, which is one of my favorite Bible stories, came up. The specific area of his life was when Joseph, already sold by his brothers into slavery, taken to Egypt and resold, had now been falsely accused of something and thrown into prison. While in prison he met the Pharaoh’s baker and butler who had offended the Pharaoh in some way and had also been thrown into prison. They both had dreams one night and Joseph seeing that they seemed troubled asked each of them what was bothering them. After they each told him their dream Joseph, through the gift that God had given him, interpreted the dreams. The interpretation was that the butler in three days was to be restored to his position while the baker in the same period was going to lose his life. In three days things happened just as Joseph’s interpretation stated. Joseph however, had made one request of the butler and that was to remember him and speak of his situation to the Pharaoh or someone that could relieve his circumstance. For you and I we might have patiently anticipated that in a few days maybe allowing even up to a week that we would at least have a visitor from the palace and have the hope that our situation was in the process of changing but the Bible records that it was two full years before the butler remembered his fault and Joseph was brought out of prison to now interpret Pharaohs dreams.

Do you think that Joseph might have been excited to finally get out of prison even for a few moments? Do you think that he might have held some kind of animosity toward the butler? Do you think he might have wanted to ask the butler what took him so long, two years, really… two years? I tend to believe that Joseph’s character had further been refined by those two years and this opportunity was one that he was not going to spoil with feelings from his past or his previous circumstances, he was going to focus on his present opportunity. The refining of his character made him ready to be used in the moment and to witness fully God’s present deliverance and His future plans. Pharaoh testified of Joseph’s readiness when he declared “Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom is the Spirit of God? …As much as God has showed you all this, there is no one as discreet and wise as you are.” Joseph’s present deliverance brought together his past and future possibility in one moment and he was appointed that day as ruler of Egypt second only to Pharaoh (Gen 39:1-41:45).

God always knew the plans that he had for Joseph, and had even shown him in dreams when he was younger. Though Joseph could have made wiser decisions as a young person the circumstances both good and bad that he found himself in were refining and shaping him to be a more faithful person and wise leader. He was to become a man of Faith by his Submission, not to circumstance but to the will of God. The ultimate example of Faith and Submission is our savior Jesus who by faith left heaven, walked this earth, was subject to the effects of sin in this world, but who was submissive to His Father’s will in all things (John 6:38) and ultimately overcame this world (John 16:33).

Trust God’s plans even if the methods seem suspect. The past, present, and future are all a part of the re-creation of the crowning element of the original creation story, mankind. You see God’s plan is to be reunited with us. In this process our characters should begin to reflect His sons which will often mean using methods that seem less like creation and more like destruction. Along this journey of life the loss of a job may be the impetus to launch that multimillion dollar company. The loss of a spouse or a child may be the impetus for self-discovery or to return to school and eventually discover the very cure that will save millions of other families from experiencing that same loss. The final destination lies ahead though the journey is ours to walk and experience. Submitting is just as difficult as acceptance but like King David our request should be MY God create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me (Ps 51:10). Again trust God’s plans even if the methods seem less than perfect (Jer 29:11). We trust far less reliable people with areas of our lives everyday even after they’ve proven to be untrustworthy (Ps 118:9, 146:3). The author, creator, our redeemer in whom we live, and move, and have our being has overcome and by faith we too will overcome and be free to experience new life this year and beyond (Acts 17:28, 1 John 5:4). Be brand new, walk by Faith and in Submission to His will.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Dear Lord, You are good. And You are good at being God. Therefore, I trust Your plan and believe that You’re allowing this to happen for a reason. It may be hard, but I’d rather be close to You through a thousand difficult moments than apart from You in a thousand good ones. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Lisa Terkeurst

Hold On, He’s Strong, and Walk Boldly With Your God.

Live Blessed.
‬‬

Happy New Year!

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13, 14

Happy New Year, 2016 is here! Blessings to you all. Enjoy every moment and stay safe and focused.

As you enter upon a new year, let it be with an earnest resolve to have your course onward and upward. -ML

Hold On, He’s Strong, and Walk Boldly With Your God.

Who Is Greater?

“Sometimes, the best way to take our eyes off our situation is to refocus on something greater.”

Question who or what is greater than God?

David said it like this, I depend on God alone; I put my hope in him. Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge. Ps 62:5,8

He is the King of Kings and Lord or Lords. He is the creator of all. Nothing is too big or for that matter too small for Him to be concerned or care about, especially when you take it and surrender it to Him.

Refocus and turn you eyes to Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith and He is Love and has loved you with an everlasting, and endless Love. Heb 12:1; Jer 31:3

Finally John answers the questions of what or who is greater, our situations or our circumstances, our tests or our trials, None of these!

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who (or whatever) is in the world. He has overcome the world. 1 Jn 4:4; Jn 16:33

Peace, Quietness, Assurance

Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered.

The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled.

As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd.

A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner.

The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace?

A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power.

A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.

In Luke 12:24 Jesus tells us to consider the ravens and how they neither sow nor reap, but God feeds them and how much more are we better than birds. In Matthew 10:29-31 Jesus references the price at market for two sparrows which was half of a penny but that they don’t fall from a tree or from the air without the Father knowing and caring but again we are more valuable to Him than even these.

Is 32:17 The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.

Matt 5:6 states that Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

God has promised that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, will be filled. The result of this filling will be peace. Furthermore the effect in our lives of being filled with righteousness is receiving quietness and resting in God’s assurance.

Finally Is 26:3 says, that we will be kept in perfect peace, as we keep our thought centered and focused on God. The verse goes on as if the question the question of why is asked and the answer is because we trusts Him. (NKJV)

Deut 7:9 says, Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

Lam 3:22,23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

“You must not let anything rob your soul of peace, of restfulness, of the assurance that you are accepted just now. Appropriate every promise; all are yours on condition of your complying with the Lord’s prescribed terms. Entire surrender of your ways, which seem so very wise, and taking Christ’s ways, is the secret of perfect rest in His love.
The soul consecrated to the service of Christ has a peace that the world cannot give or take away.”

– ML 176.6, 176.7

Praying for Nepal

I spent last December in Nepal preaching, sharing the Good News, and getting to know the people of Nepal. I met some wonderful people and made many friends there. We don’t know and may never know the impact of GOing when God stirs us to action, however and wherever. He is not calling us all to foreign missions but He is calling those who Love Him to Share Him.

Faith

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

God is simply asking us to trust Him. He then promises “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My (Jesus) name, He will give it to you.” John 16:23. Now, our asking should be according to the will of God for our lives. As our minds and lives more reflect His, we will begin to experience a oneness of mind and purpose as Christ did when He walked this earth. This will make true for His followers this admonition from Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Asking for a new car may not be in God’s plans for your near future however stepping out of that dead end job where your boss challenges your faith every chance he/she gets may be. Going across the street to visit a neighbor may also be. Leaving an extra tip with an inspiring note for a waitress or waiter may be. Remember God has a plan for you even when your plans begin to fall apart. Jer 29:11. Have faith in the one who spoke this world into existence, who by His breath created all that is, and in who our trust has a solid, never to fail foundation. John 14:6.

“Through faith God’s children have “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” And through faith we today are to reach the heights of God’s purpose for us.” –ML

Ninety-nine percent just won’t do unless you’re expecting the ordinary. Our God IS GOD. Trust Him with 100% and expect the extraordinary.

“You must learn the simple art of taking God at His word; then you have solid ground beneath your feet.”

Live Blessed

Seek Ye First

When did this world begin disregarding and encouraging ignoring God’s simple admonition in Matt 6:33 (Check out the full context starting at Verse 24), “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you,” (food, drink, clothing, etc..) I want to be a billionaire sooo………bad, really….? Just a thought.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Pet 2:9

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Rom 13:11-14