Tag Archives: faith

Moving Forward in Faith

Revelation: God can do for me what I cannot do for myself. No need to fight for the throne of my life.

As Paul wrote, “For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” (Phil. 3. 8-11). This is the essence of recovery.

We can take off the mask. We can be known as we really are and without apology or excuse. We can be loved. We can be forgiven. Nothing we do makes God love us any less. We can be free. We can let our selves off the hook. We can let God do the deeper soul-work. Yes, this is recovery. This is restoration. To rest between His shoulders.

Now to move forward!

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD

loves rests between his shoulders.”
~Deut. 33.12

and these comprise those critical steps of 6 & 7. Relinquish your hold on your life. God has something so much better. Do not be afraid. Walk in the Light.

Just drop the rock….breathe. It’s okay to let go. God will catch you!

I’ve read Phil. 3 several times, but tonight, something clicked that never clicked before.  I’ve always known that chapter was about change and pursuing Christ.  And that’s just the thing, I’ve always known in my mind, but not my heart.  Now, at this present moment, it is in my heart.  What a comforting relief to know that I just have to let go, lay down my right to live my life as I please and how I please.  It is an act of faith to put full trust in a god I cannot see, but this is what He calls us to.  Relationship with Him is an exercise of the will and faith.  We have to decide are we going to sit on the throne of our lives, or are we going to allow God to be fully God in our lives?  It means opening our hands, palms facing up, and no more clenched fists.  It means acknowledging that trying to run things our way just hasn’t and isn’t working.  It means discarding the junk, and taking hold of Christ.  Surrender.  Never was a word more welcome, than now. Surrender to Him and stop trying to live life my way.

How’s that working for me?  Ha! It’s not.  I cannot become righteous of my own free will.  It is all a vain attempt.  I cannot do holiness in and of myself; it fails every single time.  I cannot be perfection because I reside as critical judge, but oh there is freedom in dropping one’s guard and coming face to face with the sin-disease—that I have made myself my own God.  You may balk at this but take a look at your own heart.  When was the last time to you let God be God without trying to manipulate Him, others, circumstances, or your own life?  Have the results changed or been the same?  This is insanity.  What we’re doing isn’t working, but there is One who can.  It requires faith, pure and simple, just faith.  And of course laying down one’s will at the foot of the Cross.

Paul wrote further “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made” (Phil. 3. 12-15).

The reality is that every day is an attempt to live rightly for Him.  God already knows we are but flesh.  The relief is that we don’t have to try so hard anymore.  We don’t have to keep trying to do the work of the Cross.  That’s God’s job, and He takes it seriously.  He does not leave us as we are.  He works through us to do His good will and to change us, but it requires faith from us in Him without dabbling our fingers in the pot.  Paul reminds us to look forward.  God is in front of us, directing traffic and leading the way.  We can press on to possess perfection in Christ—by faith.  God will do the work in us.   God’s work is a work of grace.  When I don’t let go, then I am operating under the law, under the flesh.  No wonder things don’t turn out quite right.  No wonder the change is not long lasting.  No wonder the change doesn’t take root.  No wonder we feel like we’ve gone around the same mountain 40 years.  God’s way means, I willfully choose to believe Him.  It means, I have faith in Him to do what He says He can do.

Now that…is something to consider.  Laying down the selfish, strong-willed human impulse and taking hold of faith.  A faith that births hope and clings to the Savior so that we can boldly say, “Lord, I’m ready.“

The Not-So Life

Having walked with Jesus for a while, I’ve come to see this life in a new light. There have been assumptions, misrepresentations, poor excuses, flimsy foundations, preconceived notions and the like. All of which have no place in this Christian life, or at least all of which come to nought at the foot of the cross.

Wrestling today with faith. The hope in the unseen. Believing in fruition while not seeing fruit come to bear. Happy-go-lucky doesn’t work. Pretending doesn’t work. Saying all is well and okay doesn’t work. Trying to “feel” better doesn’t work. I have come to the bright conclusion that all God cares about is me and nothing more. To Him it’s all about relationship. No, I don’t mean to put words in God’s mouth and speak for Him. I can only share what experience and His word has taught me. At the end of it all, he wants me—not my degrees, not my career, not my hopes, not my dreams, not my mishaps, not my misgivings, not my songs, not my writings. Now before your jaw drops in utter disbelief, stop. God wants every part of me. What he wants most of all is my heart. Nothing is worth more to Him than that. Look at the life of David. He was a man after God’s own heart. I want to be that kind of woman. One who chooses Him with reckless abandon.

What does that mean? What does that look like? It’s not the same for everyone. Each of us is on this journey—walking in faith. The more you walk, the more your faith is tried and tested. I desire that I may be found faithful about all else. Does this mean my life will be peachy? Does this mean my life will be always perfect? Does this mean that I will have my way always? Does this mean I always know what I’m doing or should do? Does this mean there will be no adversity? Does this mean I’m in some warped holding pattern till He returns? By all means, no! He’s looking under the surface—turning my life inside out. What does he find? Bones of unbelief, sin, faithlessness, harbored complaints, brittle belief? And when His fire comes, what remains? All tough questions. He knows the weakness of my frame. He spurs me on. He reminds my He is good. He reminds me that He’s still God. He whispers, “I’m with you.” He reminds me it’s not about me. He reminds me that his grace is sufficient. He reminds me that I don’t have to always be perfect. He stand between me and guilt. He pushes away with great forceful compassion the overwhelming tide of self and other criticism. It’s a battle. He’s fighting for me. He does for me what I cannot in any way do for myself. That’s my God. He’s my savior.

Today’s reality is that the not-so life and the almost will be but not here is not something for me to get bent out of shape over. The trappings of this life seek to crowd out the voice of the One who loves us so. The trials of this world seek to cloud the view of his steady eye on us. The temptations on this earth seek to derail an intimate life with Him. But God, our great and mighty God, will not have it so. Consider that he wants us to be with him. Consider that he is not willing that we perish forever separated from communion with Him. What can this mean? That he will not give up on us. That he will still show Himself faithful, patient, and longsuffering. Who wouldn’t serve a God like this? Who wouldn’t want relationship with a God like this?

A little something to consider for today—are you pressing into the Savior? Have you turned your eyes to the King? Have you forgotten your Good God and gazed at the domineering mountain of circumstance in your life? Journey with me. Let’s be real with the Lord. Let Him in on all that troubles you. Wrestle with Him. He’s not giving up on you. He’s not giving up on me. He is going to be faithful to complete a good work in each of us. Friendship with the King can be wonderful in ways we would not have thought. Beloved, now is your time to allow Him, the Father who loves you with an everlasting love, to make this not-so life an abundant life.

John 10:7-21, Psalm 27, Jeremiah 31:3

A Little Hope for Today

Hope for Today

Yesterday morning I read from 2 Corinthians chapter 1. Mind you, I am not in the habit of reading my bible every single day, though I should—but thankfully, God is not legalistic. It’s only man who makes such assumptions about what service to God should look like; but I digress.

I can only tell you that the Word of God saturates mind, body, and spirit and brings refreshment for the soul. So here it is…the Message version is so poignant, gets me every time….

2 Corinthians 1
The Rescue
3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no, more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

6-7 When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.

8-11 We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And, he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part.

12-14 Now that the worst is over, we’re pleased we can report that we’ve come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face the world—and even more importantly, face you with our heads held high. But it wasn’t by any fancy footwork on our part. It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised. Don’t try to read between the lines or look for hidden meanings in this letter. We’re writing plain, unembellished truth, hoping that you’ll now see the whole picture as well as you’ve seen some of the details. We want you to be as proud of us as we are of you when we stand together before our Master Jesus.


So why these verses? What is this hope for today? Just this…in the eye of the hurricane, and in the middle of the storm you can have hope—and not same waning, spur of the moment, fleeting hope. I’m talking lasting, let you sleep through the night; cause you to wake up refreshed hope. Only God gives that kind of hope.

The other day I saw only doom and gloom. I had an overwhelming sense of being closed in to despair. For a moment, a night, I thought the Lord would leave me to the darkness till I had no options and was hopeless. Its’ too bad that I didn’t read my bible before I actually went to sleep, for it was restless, wearisome, and uncomfortable; yet sovereign God is ever so merciful. I awoke in the morning knowing I needed God, his Word of hope, faith, and promise. I knew I needed my mournful night to pass into joy. I awoke and knew I needed a better diagnosis and not a death sentence—or at least what spiritually felt like one. That’s when I came to “The Rescue.”

When hard times come, there are often no explanations. We may have pain, sorrow, stress, depression, despair, sickness, heaviness, or some other ailment of heart, mind, or soul. In these times, it feels as though the darkness is pressing in on us. It feels as though we just won’t make it to a place called peaceful. We may feel the fingers of despair trying to choke out the abundant Life in us. Oh, what a painful, restless, shaken, and broken place to be; but I tell you there is HOPE for today. That broken, torn, and hopeless place can be our turn-around moment. We can focus our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith and realize that our God of hope does not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear. He will not leave us as orphans. He comes to rescue. He lifts us up. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He walks with us. So let’s not accuse our good and holy God of forsaking us. Our God is a God of light, and he is with us in the darkness. He brings us through. Our lives will tell the story to someone else in need. They will read the story of our lives and be encouraged. So, it was with Paul. He saw that God was his rescuer and using that moment to be with him and lead him to come alongside others in their darkest hour.

Have hope for today. God doesn’t leave us where we are. He moves us forward. He completes His good work in us. He affirms us, makes us, and leads us. Our good and great God confidently and strongly keeps us and surrounds us. What looks like death now can be life waiting to happen and hoping to spring alive.

Psalm 91: 1-2, 11-12
Psalm 34:7
Psalm 118:17-20
Philippians 1:3-6
Philippians 2:12-16

(written Sept. 2008)

Idols from Your Own Hands

What have you created?

Jeremiah 24

Have you made an idol today by your own hands? You know the crafty kind. They look so beautiful to the eye, and are perfect in everywhere. Yet, their charm is deceitful, if not vain. Has your idol drawn you from the heart of God? Has your idol become your mouthpiece? Has your idol become your dream, your all, your everything? That job you want, the marriage you desire, the friends you have…have they become your idol—made by your own hands. God’s word as much to say about putting anything or anyone else before him; but oh how our great God is long-suffering, patient, and kind. He even repeats himself throughout the ages, and the message is always the same—“Will you return to me?” Who could resist the call of love? And yet so often because we are tied down by the weight of the world or our own desires, we cannot hear, or we miss hearing him. We pursue lives outside of Him who gave All because we have what we suppose to be our “fire” insurance. Yet, God is still in pursuit of man. Yes, He’s pursuing me, and He’s pursuing you.  Can you give up your idol? Are you willing to let it go so that you can have more of the abundant life?

God, our Abba Father, does not desire our harm, but our good. He desires relationship with us, but he will not force himself; at the same time, he will not knock on the door of our hearts forever. There will come a day, a time when we must make our final accounting with him. We either choose Him, or we don’t. We will either spend eternity loving him in close proximity, or we will be forever separated from Him because we sought our own good apart from him. The choice is yours.  Choose life

It’s just a little something to consider for evening.