Just Because… Happy First Day of May!

Just Because… Happy First Day of May! If you are reading this you are blessed beyond measure. Some are celebrating another year, others new additions to their family, others new jobs, upcoming moves, or the anticipation of any of these and so much more. On the other side some are remembering loss, words and actions of rejection, feeling physical and mental pain, coping with the results of a doctors visit, and again any number of other peace stealing circumstances. The reality is that this unfortunately is our reality, a confusing and mixed up world full of joy and pain, happiness and sadness, laughter and crying, wellness and sickness, wealth and not so much. Life is full of blessings and the truth is blessings come in many forms. Take each one, each moment and embrace it. Place your trust not in your circumstances or your ability to change them or even handle them but in Him who said come to me, lay down what you’re carrying, holding, lugging around and I’ll give you rest. Come now…celebrate the blessing of today. Happy First Day of May…Just Because!

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lam 3:24

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.
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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.

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