Faith is a Choice!

“Feed your faith and starve your doubts” ~Kenneth Hagin

Fork in the road

 

NFL player for the Baltimore Ravens had 3 dogs. One of these was a Canary Mastiff that Terrence Cody paid $4000 to purchase, and an additional $4000 to import. Out of three dogs, only two dogs were allowed to live inside the home, while the other dog was housed in a crate in the garage. The garage dog ~the $8000 Canary Mastiff~ was ignored, neglected, abandoned, and literally starved to death! The dogs living inside the home, prospered and were in great health.

As I read this article, I was appalled and angry.  To make us all feel a little better, Cody did go to jail for his crime. But I had one burning question that I have not found the answer to: WHY starve one and not the others?????

As I read this, the Lord begin to relate this real life tragic account to the battle that rages in all of us between fear and faith. We will inevitably feed one, and starve the other.

Jesus Follower, singer and song writer Jason Upton once said, that we will put our faith in fear over and over, even though fear disappoints us time and time again.

I want us all to think about that. We WILL put faith in something, so why not put our faith in Jesus Christ? Here’s what fear says: you will fail; you won’t amount to anything; your new boss is going to hate you; you’re stuck in this dead end job; you’re a terrible parent; you’re forgotten, you’re in this all alone, and on and on and on. This doesn’t even cover all of the fearful unknowns and what if’s!! Ask yourself this question…….do you want to hear that everyday????

Here’s what our faith will tell us, “. . .For He – God ]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” Hebrews 13:5 ampc

Ask yourself the same question…..do you want to hear THAT everyday from a loving Heavenly Father; your warrior and defender; your provider and healer; your deliverer and your Salvation! If you want to hear positive encouragement everyday, for the rest of your life, THEN FEED YOUR FAITH and starve your fear. Choose life!

Let faith live with you, and put your fear out of doors! Did you know that the most frequent command in the Bible is: do not be afraid; fear not; and do not fear! WOW! Let that sink in for a moment. Now apply that good old common sense God gives each of us……why do you think He tells us do not be afraid?

Many are the reasons, but one is this: fear will always undermine faith and stop us dead in our tracks. Fear is crippling, but Faith in Jesus Christ sets the captive free! We cannot travel down two roads. We can’t ride the fence. You must make a choice.

Faith is a choice!
Fear is a choice!

So choose life! The choice is yours.  Fear is always out to get you, and will leave you laying in the dust: crippled and wounded. But Faith in God is always out to prosper you. God’s plans for us are good and will prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11).  It is His desire that we prosper and remain in health (3 John 1:2). God said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down relax My hold on you! Assuredly not” (Hebrews 13:5 ampc)!

“Feed your faith and starve your doubts” ~Kenneth Hagin

 

 

 

 

 

A Red Motor Bike Moment

Red motor Bike

Psalm 121:8 “The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

A red motor bike!!!! Merry Christmas!! At 13 years old, he couldn’t wait to try out his new gift. But there are rules: don’t do this, and be sure to do that. Sure enough, the young teen breaks the first rule on the first day and tries a risky stunt that his daddy specifically told him NOT to do.

Ya see, he had reasoned it all out in his own mind. In his mind, it would work. But soon: instant regret, right along with instant pain.  His first thought was to hide the pain so he wouldn’t get caught.

So far-so good, he thinks. No one has come rushing out of the house. No yelling or screaming. The conclusion….. no one saw it. He felt like he was in the clear. All he had to do was hide his pain. That pain could give him away.

That little boy, was my husband Mike. He didn’t know it at the time, but his daddy had been watching from the window the entire time. His father had watched to ensure his son’s safety: ready to run to his rescue should he need it. Mike hid his pain for nothing!

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Remember how Mike’s dad was watching him through the window?  We can see from God’s Word that our Heavenly Father is doing the same. He loves you and wants the best for you. No need to hide your pain, shame or guilt anymore. We all have mess ups. Thank God that He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)

Then we can rely on this, “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds.” Jeremiah 30:17. If you’ve had a red motor bike moment in your life, God already knows, and He wants to restore you! Oh how great the Father’s love is toward us!

 

 

 

What I Say Matters

The first of the year is a time when many people engage in Fasting and prayer. This devotion is a great reminder that what we say (pray) to our Heavenly Father matters! He bends down His ear to listen to us because He values & loves us.

Godspeaks2us

Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I breathe!” Psalm 116:2 tlb

We had gone out to supper at a nice restaurant, with a pretty nice 45 minute wait. While waiting, a shadow caught my eye of someone  s-l-o-w-l-y walking toward the waiting area.  The shadow looked to be that  of an elderly person with a severely hunched back. I was already feeling sorry for this individual.

Then, the shadowy figure came into the light and I saw a father walking with his young son. This tall man was hunched over with arms around his son; and walking ever so slowly as to hang on his every word.

What could an 8 or 9 year old boy have to say to his father that is so captivating, as to garner such undivided attention in a busy restaurant? What can WE say to our Father…

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Are you Tuned In? Are You Listening?

george carver use this one

I got in my car on the way to work, and turned on the radio to FM. Nothing. Okay?? My display clearly stated that I was receiving radio signals from the station, but no sound. Hmmmmm. Scratching my head, I discovered that my AM stations worked fine. Hmmmmmm. Scratching my head again, I tuned back to FM, and cut the volume up as high as it would go. Faintly, I could hear the whispers of the talk radio show. Oh boy! Long story short, the FM relay wire is damaged and needs replacing.

Point is, there was nothing wrong with the Radio station or it’s signal. There was something wrong with my reception. That’s how it is with us, God is speaking (sending out the signal), will we receive it!

God speaks to ALL of us, regardless of our “spiritual status” in life!

His speaking to us has absolutely nothing to do with whether I read my Bible once or a thousand times, and absolutely nothing to do with the faithfulness of my church attendance. It isn’t about  whether I’m deserving.

But it has everything to do with the fact that God loves us…..He loved us so much that HE paid our sin’s debt SO THAT we could live an abundant, joy-filled life (John 10:10), full of all the good plans that God has for us (Jeremiah 29:11).

Now that you know He’s speaking to you……..will you tune in?

He speaks to us because He loves us. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

 

reference for George Washing Carver by asquotes

Celebrate The Day It All Began

I recently celebrated my wedding anniversary. Four days before that, my son was blessed to marry the love of his life. And on this same day, my sweet in-laws celebrated 57 years of wedded bliss. WOW!!!! I thought, what an accomplishment. So, here they are 57 years later, celebrating the day is all began.

That’s what we really celebrate isn’t it? The day it all begins? A birthday celebration takes us back to the beginning! So here we are, approximately 2000 years later, celebrating The Beginning; celebrating the greatest gift to all mankind; celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Let’s be sure to go back to the beginning, and celebrate the glorious gift of God with Us….Emmanuel! He came to give us the gift of His favor, of hope, of peace, of joy, and best of all His Salvation.

If you’re a bit lost in this journey we call life, and you feel like you don’t have hope or joy; go back to the beginning, and start all over again. Jesus is waiting.

We celebrate Jesus’s birth, because without His life we would not have life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance-to the full, till it overflows”. John 10:10 amp

THIS IS WORTH CELEBRATING! This Christmas, celebrate the day it all began…..the day Jesus came into this world to save us, to give us a blessed abundant joy filled life!

I recently celebrated my wedding anniversary. Four days before that, my son was blessed to marry the love of his life. And on this same day, my sweet in-laws celebrated 57 years of wedded bliss. WOW!!!! I thought, what an accomplishment. So, here they are 57 years later, celebrating the day is all began.

That’s what we really celebrate isn’t it? The day it all begins? A birthday celebration takes us back to the beginning! So here we are, approximately 2000 years later, celebrating The Beginning; celebrating the greatest gift to all mankind; celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Let’s be sure to go back to the beginning, and celebrate the glorious gift of God with Us….Emmanuel! He came to give us the gift of His favor, of hope, of peace, of joy, and best of all His Salvation.

If you’re a bit lost in this journey we call life, and you feel like you don’t have hope or joy; go back to the beginning, and start all over again. Jesus is waiting.

We celebrate Jesus’s birth, because without His life we would not have life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance-to the full, till it overflows”. John 10:10 amp

THIS IS WORTH CELEBRATING! This Christmas, celebrate the day it all began…..the day Jesus came into this world to save us, to give us a blessed abundant joy filled life!

Where’s Jesus?

Here we are, 5 days away from celebrating the birth of Christ! But let’s be honest, we are probably busy with gift wrapping, last minute purchases, family gatherings, work parties, etc. Let’s remember Jesus is the focus of this Christmas season. Merry CHRISTmas everyone!!!

Godspeaks2us

Here we are just a few days away from Christmas: 6 days to be exact. We are busy with hustle and bustle: attending holiday programs galore, cooking for family gatherings, and prepping for parties at the work place. And so the list goes on. Needless to say, we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

It is no wonder that we can actually find ourselves irritated and aggravated this time of year.  

Meanwhile, celebrating the birth of Christ becomes lost in the commotion, and is just another scheduled event. Church calendars are planned out with special Christmas programs, and everyone knows exactly where to go, and when to arrive: for Christmas programs that is.

This is a good time for us to ask ourselves what the Wise men asked: Where’s Jesus?

Do we look for God only when problems arise……have we hidden Him in that dusty…

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It May Be Time to Stir Things Up a Bit

AGITATION: Agitation is the act of stirring things up, like the agitation of a washing machine that moves the water, detergent, and clothes around and gets the dirt out.

In order to clean, there must be some agitation.  Take washing clothes for example. No matter how far you look back in history, some sort of agitation was necessary for the process of cleaning.

Washboard

When I clean my house, I may stir things up a bit, especially when I dust! Sometimes, my house looks worse before it looks better. For example, when I recently cleaned out, organized and purged items from my closet, my house was in disarray. I had stuff everywhere!!!! BUT, I knew it was just part of the cleaning process.

But why did my closet need cleaning? I could barely step inside my closet to reach my clothes. It had gotten cluttered with various storage items. No, it wasn’t always that way, but over time I would slowly put things in my closet that perhaps I wasn’t quite ready to get rid of. I also would hide boxes, bags, etc in there when people would come visit, and then I’d just leave it there thinking I’d get to it later. In time, this behavior crowded me right out of my own closet.

We often do this in our spiritual life…..hold on to things that we should really get rid of…or hide things we don’t want anyone to see. In time, our spirit man can’t fulfill the purpose God intended because of all the un-spiritual junk!

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart Oh God!

When God reveals areas in your life that need a bit of “cleaning up,” it may not feel good, and you may feel a bit of agitation. God may be stirring things up, but He is preparing you for something greater! Don’t begrudge the cleansing, because the reward is more than worth it.

(https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/agitation)

When I’m in the Valley, He Points To The Mountain Top

I went through one of the darkest most difficult times in my life over a decade ago. I was deep in the Valley, suffering grief, loss, and  financial hardships. I literally could not see my way out: no light at the end of the tunnel. My ship was sinking, and I was desperate!

What I learned was….I was desperate for God! Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I got on my face before my loving and compassionate Father. He held my hand through every challenge; through every pain; through every shed tear; through every fear; through every attack; through my grief, anger, resentment,un-forgiveness, and isolation. He held my hand while I experienced every hard emotion of my rock bottom.

He taught me how to pray; how to find contentment and joy in the smallest of things. He taught me how to read His Word, and the Holy Spirit gave me understanding. He would encourage me every day to not give up. His grace taught me how to brush myself off as I made mistake after mistake. He taught me how to forgive, how to love Him, others and myself.  NO, my situation did not change right away, but my outlook did. He turned my focus from the valley toward the mountain where He was taking me.

“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3

God held my hand in the valley, all the while lifting my head toward the mountain top. I want to encourage you today.  If you are walking in the valley, you are not alone! Your Father is with you! I can assure you that this” valley season” will not last. Hold fast to hope! Hope fast to your faith! There is a mountain top waiting with your name on it!!!

“God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not,  I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” Hebrews 13:5 ampc

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 msg

Check That Filter

My husband changed the air filter to our HVAC system yesterday. He stepped in the kitchen, and held up the black dirty filter in disgust! It had been way too long since he changed it last. That’s not the only filter we have to change in our home. Since we live on well water, we installed a filtration system. Once, we were very low…….very low on water pressure. Why? You guessed it…the water filter beneath the house had caked up so bad with clay like silt, that it restricted the water flow.

Not changing the filters to your home can restrict air flow and water flow. My son Josh works for an HVAC company. His company understands that you don’t wait until there is a problem on the unit…..you try to stave off problems with proper upkeep. So currently, his main job is to provide routine maintenance for their clients.  I asked my son, what type of maintenance you do to help avoid unit issues. Boy oh boy he sent me a long list. You can thank me later that I shortened it for you:

  • Change filters
  • Check capacitors & contactors
  • Wash coils
  • Tighten wire connections & fuses

What’s the point to all of this, you’re wondering? The point is, that without changing our spiritual filter, keeping our spirit man in check, washing and renewing our minds, and tightening our connections to God……we might find ourselves experiencing malfunction.

Do you find yourself ‘breaking down’ every time somebody says something to you? Is your thinking ‘damaged,’ and you’re thoughts are negative? Have you discovered some ‘friction,’ along with difficultly forgiving wrongs or hurts?  Is your love ‘flow restricted’? Are you ‘sputtering’ things out of your mouth you feel you can’t control? Is your anger management system in ‘disrepair’? In general, are feeling that spiritual ‘wear and tear’?

Let’s get back to the basics: check your filter, we all have one. It affects our perspective in life. What’s collecting on your filter: hurts, anger, insecurities, and resentments? Time to change the filter. Here’s how:  “Above all else guard your heart because everything you do ‘flows’ from it” Proverbs 4:23.  Wow-there we have it folks. If we let our filter collect garbage, that garbage will restrict the ‘flow’ of God in our lives.

 “Let me explain further. Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants” Galatians 5:16 gw. What a good picture of what the filter does for us as Christians: separates the spirit from our flesh. Let’s not be led by our clogged up filter (the flesh), and let’s be led by the Holy Spirit.

Each of us has spiritual maintenance that we must do!

  • Change that spiritual filter (Proverbs 4:23)
  • Keep our spirit man in check (Galatians 5:16)
  • Wash and renew our minds (Romans 12:2)
  • Tighten our connections to God (Psalm 16:8, James 4:8)

Searching For Answers

There will be some things we will never understand; things that leave us puzzled and scratching our heads.  There will be events that occur in your life, and you will not comprehend their purpose. Tragedy so tremendous befalls some, and we just don’t understand. We are left with an overwhelming WHY that bubbles up like a broken record.

Sometimes, the “thing” is so tragic, packing a devastating blow and crushing grief. We may turn our WHYS toward God, and our anguish turns to anger as we try to make sense of what DOESN’T make sense.

Job found himself in these very shoes after he suffered the loss of family, livelihood,  and his own personal health. He too asked WHY.

Job even came to the “conclusion that that righteous have no advantage more than the wicked.” (Job 35:16 ampc)

This is exactly the mindset Satan wants us to have when something bad happens. He wants us to be confused; to doubt our Christianity and doubt God; to draw the wrong conclusions; give up and turn away from God.

God never tells Job why, instead He reminds Job of who HE is; reminds Job that HE planned creation…. that He keeps it in order, and that it continues because He tells it to. He reminds Job that HE was the very foundation of the world! His response brings Job back to the  basics of faith…….to simply trust God’s plan even in the valley. King  David had also suffered great loss and hurt in life, yet he says this of the Lord in Psalm 23….. Even though I walk through the valley, I know You are with me and You will comfort me.

Don’t get confused and perhaps draw wrong conclusions like Job did, by chasing down the wrong answers. The answer to Job’s question was Jesus!  And He is with you even in the valley!

Job had begun to look toward himself for answers, but God tells us in Proverbs 3 to “trust God from the bottom on your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.”

HE IS THE ANSWER!!