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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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!!

Releasing Faith & Power; Praying Scriptures

There is nothing more powerful than praying out scriptures. I’ve been praying this prayer- these scriptures- below, and I wanted to share it with you. Change the pronouns to fit your dear loved one, and even pray this over yourself; and stand back and see the glory of God’s Word fulfilled!

God will direct and order __________________’s steps. (Proverbs 16:9, Psalm 37:23) And even though she has many plans, the Lord’s plans for her will prevail!  (Proverbs 19:21) Not only are His plans for her are good, (Jeremiah 29:11)  but when the time is right, God Himself will make it happen. (Isaiah 60:22)  With Love in His eyes, He will teach her, and give her instructions.  (Psalm 32:8) The Lord is her Shepherd, (Psalm 23:1) and He will continually guide her and will satisfy every need! (Isaiah 58:11) Her times are in His hands! (Psalm 31:15)

In faith, I declare this in the name of Jesus because I believe that God’s Word is full of power, and is alive and active for me and my family today!!

 

Feeling like Jupiter

The planet Jupiter’s iconic red spot is actually a storm of monumental proportions. This red spot has become a distinguishing characteristic for children trying to identify planets. Imagine three Earth’s put together….that’s how big this storm is. Furthermore, it’s been raging for hundreds of years with winds that reach 425 miles per hour!!

In 1969, Camille, a category 5 hurricane brought 190 mile per hour sustained winds when it made landfall in Mississippi. And who can forget 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast states with winds reaching 174 miles per hour.  Just days ago, Hurricane Florence hit our Southern East Coast with wind gusts up to 105 miles per hour.

These furious winds, combined with atmospheric pressure changes, force the ocean to rise beyond its borders creating what we call storm surge.  This results in devastating and destructive flooding. These catastrophic storms are deadly and costly, but thank God they do not last for hundreds of years like Jupiter’s red spot.

Over the years many scientists have pondered not only the size of the red spot, but they are curious as to why this storm hasn’t fizzled out after a few centuries. From start to finish, the average hurricanes here on Earth are measure by hours or days.

Hurricanes always form over the sea, and take days to develop, and grow in size and strength. The warm moisture from the ocean actually fuels the storm. So what eventually stops the hurricane? Without fail, the moment it makes landfall, the storm begins to degrade and lose momentum because it has lost its fuel. Secondly, the solid ground creates friction, further compromising the storm’s structure. Conditions become unfavorable for the storm. Simply put, it falls apart, and will soon come to an end.

Solid ground! That’s the answer! That’s the reason Jupiter’s storm has been raging for centuries. Jupiter: this giant ball of gas, has no solid ground and no defense against the raging storm.

Thank God that HE is our Solid Rock! He is our defense and safe place!

The Lord is my solid rock, my fortress, my rescuer. My God is my rock—I take refuge in Him!—He’s my shield, my salvation’s strength, my place of safety.” Psalm 18: 2 ceb

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” Psalm 40:2 nlt

He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life. My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God—So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for Him. God is a safe place to be.” Psalm 62:6-8 msg

Are you feeling a bit like Jupiter?  You may be weary from the storm, and your flesh and your heart may fail….. but God will be your Rock and He will give you strength….. always.  (Psalm 73:26 ampc)

Draw near to God (your solid ground), and He will draw near to you, and the pressures of your storm will dissipate. “He will heal your broken heart and He will bind your wounds!” (Psalm147:3)

I thank God that He is our firm foundation, and our solid ground! He makes our storms fall apart!

At Least

My 23 year son was very excited about his new job. Although he has very little experience in the field, he was hired with an HVAC company where he will be trained and have support for going returning to school to receive certification. What a great opportunity!! Things are looking up.  He hops in the 28 year old Honda Accord to make the hour and 15 minute commute (one way) to begin his two week training. On the way home one night, this faithful and trusty old vehicle blew its clutch a day or two into the new job training. Training that is required in order for him to keep this promising new job. This might be a great excuse for your boss when you’ve been on the job 2 years but NOT 2 days!

The quoted repair price exceeded the value of the car. So that’s out! My husband and I didn’t have an extra vehicle for him to borrow. So that’s out. I mean a solution had to be found in ONE weekend!!! No pressure! In an effort to make the best of a bad situation, I say, “well ‘at least’ he made it home, and we didn’t have to pay for a tow truck.”

“At least.” It’s a term used by many to accept an unpleasant reality…..a search to pick out the microscopic slice of positive in a large soup pot of negativity. Most of the time, we top off statements like this with a tone of finality, and a side of regretful expression. It’s a quick dish that is best not served at all, for it implies the larger portion of meal is hard to swallow. We chase it all down with a glass of “Now what?”

Don’t misunderstand me, picking out the positive is a good thing, but NOT having an “at least” mentality when it comes to spiritual matters….not when it comes to believing God for a miracle.

We don’t serve an “at least” kind of God….yet we often approach His throne expecting the minimum, if anything at all.

God told us to approach His throne with boldness! (Hebrews 4:16 & Ephesians 3:12)
God told us to make our requests known to Him! (Philippians 4:6)
And He tells us something else we need to know through this story in Mark chapter 9.

A father desperately wanted his son to be healed. Since his birth, the boy had been afflicted physically. His father describes it like this, “he has a dumb spirit. And wherever it lays hold of him so as to make him its own, it dashes him down and convulses him, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth, and he falls into a motionless stupor and is wasting away. And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him.”

If you were this boys daddy, what would you ask Jesus to do?

This desperate dad asks Jesus for the bare minimum…he asks if Jesus can even do anything at all. In other words, ‘whatever you can do will be better than nothing at all.’

How did Jesus respond to dad’s plea for the minimum? Jesus did not ridicule this anxious dad. Instead he gave Him the one ingredient he needed to receive his miracle by 100%

The ingredient: simply BELIEVE!!

Jesus tells him that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO HIM WHO BELIEVES!!! (Mark 9:23)! All of it!! Not just the minimum. Not a part, but the WHOLE! This dad, recognizing that he might be a tablespoon shy of belief, he asked Jesus to help him to believe. Jesus did not make this difficult, nor did he condemn this man. His sick son was delivered and healed and made whole! 100%

Let’s kick “at least” to the curb when we talk to God!  Don’t settle for less! He is a God of MORE than enough! ALL things are possible to him who believes. And if you struggle with believing, no worries: He will help your unbelief just like he did that father, and He won’t be angry with you about it either. Our God is a good God, and He’s waiting to show you the maximum, not the minimum.

 

When The Time Is Right

Isaiah 60

The Holy Spirit knows just WHAT we need; WHEN we need it; and HOW to supply it. On top of that, He knows just how to comfort us. Lately, I’ve been comforted by this scripture.

I trust that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine…..therefore, I know that some things in my life will be beyond my understanding, yet I will trust Him.  I know that He has good plans for me and my family…..therefore I can expect God’s favor to make that happen.  I know that the Creator of all I see, can create solutions in my life where I see none. I know that I can’t always trust in my limited reasonings and rationale, so I put my trust in an All  Knowing and All Powerful God.

But sometimes, waiting for my circumstance to change is hard.  I want it now!! Waiting for that break-through can be hard. I want it now!! Waiting for God’s timing can be hard. I want it now!!

I recently was reading thumbing through a notebook where I’d shoved various scraps of paper. At date was written on an old bank envelope: 2012.  The date took me back in time, to a place where I’d seen God grant me “desires” I had longed for….for over 10 years. Yet in 2012 I found myself struggling  because I had “needs” that were not being met.  But God didn’t get mad at me, He spoke a gentle yet firm reminder of His power and love to me. So I grabbed what was handy and wrote down what the Holy Spirit was telling me:

“If I can grant the desires of your heart, I will certainly meet your needs.”

Oh is it so wonderful to know that our God will not only meet your needs, but will grant the desires of your heart. BUT, we must wait on the timing of the Lord.

So encourage yourself in the Lord. Fill in the blank with the thing you have been waiting for…..the need…..the change…..the dream……the breakthrough…… the miracle…. and quote Isaiah 60:22.

When the time is right for _________________________, I, The Lord,  will make it happen.

DON’T GIVE UP!!! God has not forgotten you!!
DON’T GIVE UP!!! God is working on your behalf!!
DON’T GIVE UP!!! The Creator is still creating for you!!
DON’T GIVE UP ON GOD’S TIMING!!! Wait on the Lord and be of good courage!