I Will

Mark 1:40-41 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”

I have never doubted God’s ability to heal, provide, deliver, speak, direct etc.

Never.

But I’ve discovered something that has entirely shifted my faith and spiritual (and emotional) experience.

I will.

It’s not His ability that so many struggle with. It’s His willingness.

Just recently I was venting to someone about a few things. I expressed frustration that I still sometimes have doubts. Over and over I’ve been meditating on this…

Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

All things are possible with God.

Luke 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

It seemed no matter how much I thought and prayed about His omnipotence, I was still struggling. God gave me two simple things I want to share with you. It’s basic but yet, once it’s settled in you, it will be absolutely life changing.

1. First, we walk by faith not sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I have been recently studying Genesis, especially Abraham. This verse pierces me every time…

Genesis 15:6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

He believed the Lord. That was counted as righteousness.

Later on scripture records both Abraham and Sarah, respectively, laughing at the thought of them having a biological son in old age. But yet Abraham still believed God. I spent time in prayer and thought as to why I have battled so much with doubt. The answer: knowing God is love.

There will be times when our experiences don’t seem to line up with God’s promises. Our feelings and what we see with human eyes doesn’t always reconcile with what we read on the Bible pages.

The choice.

We must believe God. He is faithful and trustworthy.

Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

This brings me to the second point.

2. The “I can” is connected to the “I will.”

Abraham believed the Lord because he understood that in His ability was His willingness and purpose.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

He can and does because He desires to.

God is love (see 1 John 4:8.)

Love gives.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Matthew 7:11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Abraham, having lived prior to Jesus, didn’t have the example and understanding we have. We can look back at the cross. But, He understood God was just. Holy. And merciful. We have something more.

We know God will because He is love and love gives.

That revelation right there quite literally had me weeping tears of gratitude and wanting to shout praise.

Did you catch it?

He wills.

God’s ways aren’t ours (see Isaiah 55:9.) His will may come answered in a different kind of wrapping paper and bow than we expected. But God does answer our prayers and He does desire to give us good things. He wants us healed, whole, at peace, with joy, prospering, emulating Messiah, and walking in love and obedience.

Some answers are fulfilled in this life and some aren’t complete until eternity.

But He will. He does.

Today, I want to stir your faith. Know when you come to God in prayer that God is love and love gives. He wants to give. He has already given so much to you. And He’ll keep on giving. It’s who He is.

Lay that pain, that need, that impossible situation at His feet.

Instead of praying, “If You will” say instead, “Thank You Father that You want to give me good things according to Your will and purpose. I praise You for the answer that’s already on the way.”

Be still and hear Abba say, “I will.”

Set the Tone

Psalm 145:1-2 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.

Today is going to be a busy day. I needed to make an emergency dental appointment for my 7 yr old. He’s got an infected tooth that needs to be pulled. My oldest left his room in an utter disaster before heading off to school (non verbal ASD.) There’s other pressing needs to attend to as well.

I didn’t sleep well last night. My youngest woke up twice.

Stressed. Busy. Tired.

Those are the first words that came to mind in describing my day at the moment.

But guess what?

I can override that. So can you.

Some days are tougher than others. But we can set the tone of our days. We can decide if an inconvenience or need is going to cause us to act from a bad attitude (flesh) or from the fruits of the Spirit.

Joy.

Got joy? It’s a fruit of the Spirit, and one many struggle with. There’s just so many things to be upset about in life.

Perspective.

John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Patience.

James 1:4 KJV But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Her perfect work feels like anything but that. But it grows us. It perfects us.

Love.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Kindness. Goodness. Gentleness.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Philippians 4:5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

Faithfulness. Self control. Peace.

Proverbs 25:28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

It’s your choice. Do you want to reflect yourself and your flesh or Messiah today?

Who do we want to glorify each day? What are we thinking and focusing on?

I’ve realized, and I hope you do too, that we can take everything life throws at us and respond with our spirit man. We don’t have to be impatient, angry, offended, unsettled, in doubt, fear, selfishness, brashness and undisciplined.

Today, choose as I am to set the tone. If you sense an attitude adjustment is needed-pause, pray, and read your Bible. Say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. With His help, I’ve got this. I will glorify Him in my thoughts, words, and actions today.”

You can have a good day. Your choice.

Psalm 118:24 ESV This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Drop the Ring

Luke 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I heard a brief story in a sermon that really touched me. This was an exceptionally good message, with many quote worthy statements and great passages of scripture shared. Being I’m a writer, I will often draw inspiration from other expressions of faith and creativity. It’s just inspiring to be around someone else sharing their gift from God.

This blog was originally going to be titled Consider Your Ways. That is from Haggai 1:5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. But God, right before writing this, highlighted something else in my spirit. He wants me to share a story I heard.

This was in a sermon by Jonathan Brozozog. Over Christmastime the family vacationed in Florida and visited Disney World. One of his young daughters saw a little Mickey Mouse ring she wanted. He plainly told her no, she couldn’t have it. She was disappointed but moved on. Unbeknownst to her, her dad secretly purchased the ring to give it to her as a surprise gift. On Christmas morning when they open up gifts, Pastor Jonathan gave his daughter the present.

With tears he says, “As soon as she opened the box and saw the ring, she dropped the ring and ran to me.”

She loved the gift, but loved the giver more.

It’s a simple story, and yet very profound. When I heard it, I was touched, but focused more on other parts of the message.

Go back here.

God clearly pointed me back to this. I waited, prayed, and worshipped a little. I’ve learned that when God points to something, there’s a purpose. He doesn’t speak like that for no reason. And I don’t want to miss anything.

I just want my children to love me more than what I give them.

That is what I heard in my spirit. It struck deep and really moved me. It’s not what I’d initially expect El Elyon to say. God Most High. There’s a tenderness that is so familiar. Almost human. We are made in His image. It shouldn’t be any surprise that He is relational.

We were made by God for God.

God wants us. Yes, He wants our obedience and faith without works is dead. But most of all He is fighting for our hearts. He wants to be the first person on your mind when you wake up and the last one you think about before falling asleep. He is longing for you to talk to Him and let Him speak to you.

Yes, He does speak. Many believers have never recognized His voice or tangibly felt His presence. That’s terribly sad.

John 10:3, 7 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

We can hear the voice of the Great Shepherd.

I shared the story and wrote this blog because someone needs to know that God is a good Father. Maybe you never had a father figure. He walked out on the family, died when you were young or abused and mistreated you. Perhaps you had a good dad but still struggle to trust God with your dreams and desires. Whatever the case may be, God loves you and He desires to give you good gifts. In fact, He wants to give you good things more than you want to receive them. And He loves you more than any earthly man ever could.

Just because you don’t see what you want in your life right now doesn’t mean you never will. Life is about choices and seasons.

Timing.

Dream again. Desire again. Hope. God wants you. Seek Him first. Make Him the center of your life.

God wants those that will drop the ring.

Psalm 37:4 ESV Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Luke 11:9-13 ESV And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Straight Ahead

Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.

I was in the middle of a really nice prayer time. God’s presence was tangible to me, and in my current season I don’t feel it as much as usual. As I was reading scripture and saying it aloud, a great refreshing came like a tall glass of ice water in the summer heat.

Wasn’t it awful when they did ____?

That popped in my head.

When they said ____ wasn’t it hurtful? Wrong?

Then this.

It says to love one another. That wasn’t very loving!

Then that.

And then there’s the messages.

Did you hear…?

Textbook lashon hara (evil speech.) Praise God I’ve learned from my mistakes.

(If you like to gossip and tear people down, don’t bother communicating with me. I have no tolerance. I realize people need someone to pray with and vent to. But if a person isn’t truly trying to live uprightly, I don’t have time or energy for it.)

You need to read this.

Someone was angry about something and wanted me to agree with them.

Let’s skip past the creepy messages that get filtered (thankfully) in my “other” folder.

The post.

I saw later on a Facebook post that a friend received a critical, accusatory message. They typed up a well articulated, heartfelt response. I get it. I’ve been there. But it’s unnecessary.

The conversation.

My husband vented to me about something he was bothered by. After a few minutes I said, “I know you love them. You haven’t said this in a long time. Could we say a prayer?”

We said a prayer. I didn’t know how to respond. Normally I can give fairly fast responses. But I was at a loss.

When I had some peace and quiet before bed, I really cried out to God. Something didn’t feel right about that day. My peace was gone. I couldn’t point to why. Then a word came to my spirit.

Distractions.

A distracted person is a useless one.

We have a purpose: love God, love people. There’s a very real enemy of our souls that wants to keep us from fulfilling it.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

If you’re a believer, the only person that can keep you from your purpose is you. Regardless of what’s happening to us or around us, we have a responsibility to grow and emulate Messiah.

But we can’t do that when we’re distracted.

Distractions come in many forms.

  • Thoughts
  • Messages/conversations
  • Situations
  • Anxiety/worry
  • Stress
  • Lust
  • Jealousy
  • Bitterness
  • Anger
  • Doing things for God vs spending time in His presence

Ministry positions are riddled with distractions. Priorities can easily get out of whack if not careful.

I told my husband the next day about everything I specifically experienced. I believe God gave me the word “distractions.”

He nodded.

I agree.

These past few days I’ve been pressing in for an answer. How do I respond to distractions? Better yet, how do I avoid it as much as possible? It can’t be totally prevented but I have been searching for some type of antidote.

I found Proverbs 4. Verse 25 says to “look forward…straight before you.”

Straight ahead.

I want to encourage you to not get distracted or put your focus on the waves around you. Look ahead…and up. Look at the Author and Finisher of your faith (see Hebrews 12:2.)

Our feelings follow our focus.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Remember…

1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

When we pray according to His will (we know His will by His Word and understanding His character) we will get answers. God is in charge of the when.

In the meantime, thank Him for His love and faithfulness. Keep looking straight ahead.

P. S. Amy Grant has an album and song titled Straight Ahead. It used to be one of my favorites.

Proverbs 4:20-27 ESV My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

You Don’t Need It Part 2

I received a message from someone in response to yesterday’s blog. They told me that they liked it but…

But.

(That is one powerful little conjunction.)

It felt like I fell short. My message was incomplete. I told people to leave their healing and struggles in God’s hands.

But what does that look like?

That question was a good one. I had explained that healing and forgiveness (they often go together) isn’t conditional. Now, God doesn’t unconditionally forgive. That is because the original intention of forgiveness is to restore relationship. With God we always can. People are much more complicated. Healing is for ourselves and our overall health. And when we remain wounded, the Spirit is limited (or quenched) in His ability to flow through us.

We must be thinking, speaking, and acting out of our spirits and logic, not from our wounds. Our wounds can skew our perception.

When a person decides they will not put conditions on healing and forgiveness, how do they finally get free? And what are the evidences of freedom?

I’m no theologian nor am I a psychologist. This is almost scratching deeper than my ability or time to properly address. But, from my personal study, much prayer, therapy, and experience I’d like to offer my humble opinion.

To answer fully what it looks like to surrender to God, it’s important to understand our purpose first.

Mark 12:30-31 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Simply put-love God, love people. We love God through our obedience to His commands (see John 14:15, 1 John 5:3, 2 John 1:6.) We love others through bearing His image and emulating His character (see Genesis 1:27, John 15:12, Ephesians 4:32, Galatians 5:22-23.)

So we love God, love people. Now what?

This is the part where I’ve struggled a lot. Having come from a charismatic, word of faith type background, it was hard for me to balance between “name it, claim it” professions of faith and reality. As I’ve written before, I’ve seen people throw their glasses in the trash and walk into walls saying they are “healed.” Is that really walking (figuratively speaking) in faith or just foolishness? I say the latter.

But there were people who did acts of faith in the Bible. The difference is that God told them or a prophet of God did. These days few seem to understand how to separate soul or emotion from Spirit. I believe it’s due to a lack of adequate scriptural and cultural knowledge and understanding. That subject could be a separate book, so I’ll leave it be.

What about faith?

This is where I end up landing. God sees from the eternal perspective as He’s eternal Himself. His promises are true and He is faithful. He is good. He works all things together for good (see Romans 8:28.) But that doesn’t mean it’s what we want, nor does it mean it will necessarily feel or look “good.” All things working together for good isn’t limited to specific situations or outcomes. Tragedies happen. Trials come. Loss is a part of life.

I believe all things work together for eventual good, as God’s perspective and definition is different than ours. We can walk in faith but still live with the reality of the circumstance. Pray His promises and trust however He chooses to answer. Trust His timing.

I’m tying it together here.

When we grasp and live out our purpose, walking in faith knowing that God is faithful and good, it brings us to the key in surrender.

Thankfulness.

I really do understand how difficult it is to thank God in pain and trials. But when we can really get (this takes a lot of maturity) that eventually, this life or the next, it will be OK then we are ready to fully surrender to Him. As long as we are using carnal thinking and seeing from a strictly human perspective, we will struggle to completely surrender.

2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

What does it look like to be whole? What does it look like to leave something totally in God’s hands?

This…

1 Chronicles 16:34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

This…

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

This…

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Give thanks in all circumstances.

Even when it hurts. Even when God feels a zillion miles away. Even when you want to give up. When your race is reduced to a crawl.

I’m listening to a worship song right now called Yes I Will by Vertical Worship.

I choose to praise, to glorify, to glorify the name above all names.

Yes I will lift you high in the lowest valley.

Yes. I. Will.

Make this your decision. No matter what you’re going through right now, realize that this life isn’t endgame. There’s an eternity. There’s eternal rewards.

Thank God. Praise God. Obey God. Love others by emulating His character. In technical biblical reality, you are already healed. It’s a matter of timing.

Rejoice in your Savior. If you know Him, you’ll never ever ever be separated from Him.

Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.

Give thanks that while the enemy is bad, God is good.

I know how hard it is to experience loss and thank God in tears. I’ve done it a few times. He will be with you through it. I promise. The loss may not be good, but someday it will be good.

Give thanks until.

Revelation 21:3-4 ESV And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 22:12 ESV “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.

You Don’t Need It

Psalm 30:2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

The other day the phrase “conditional healing” came up. God gave me a revelation. My healing process became stuck at…perhaps 80%…because it was conditional. I believed that I couldn’t totally heal unless certain things happened.

Ever been there?

  • If they would just pay me back
  • If they apologize
  • If they fix/replace this
  • If they say this/do that

When they…

That’s really what we are saying. But what if they never do?

Then what?

When we have that attitude we are, in essence, giving other people the power to heal us or keep us wounded.

What happened to us may not have been our fault, but it is 100% our responsibility to heal.

You may not be at fault. Then again, you might be at least partially. But that doesn’t matter when it comes to healing. I’ll repeat it. Fault doesn’t matter.

You. Must. Heal.

I say this in tremendous tenderness and love. I personally was doing pretty well until I allowed myself to get trapped in my conditions.

Another thing…

True forgiveness isn’t conditional.

Rebuilding trust and relationship is different. But forgiveness is to be freely given for you. It’s not for the other person as much as for us. Forgiving brings us peace, allows us to receive and walk in God’s love, and keeps us in right standing with Abba. After all, if we don’t forgive then we are not forgiven.

Matthew 6:15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

I’ve been through abuse. Trust me, I’ve walked through very painful trials. But wallowing in what was, or should have been, or could be will not heal me.

Or you.

I received a message a few weeks ago on Facebook from a woman. She poured her heart out, describing in detail the pain she’s in. Many have mistreated her.

“When they say they’re sorry…”

As soon as I saw that I knew why she was still hurting. It was also a light bulb moment for me.

We will never fully heal until we put it completely in God’s hands.

Today, I want to encourage you to let go of conditional healing. Surrender it all to the Father. Heal and forgive for you. Choose love. Fill your mind with the Word. For a while bathe it in prayer. But at some point you must let it go. It’s hard. I know firsthand it is. I have never received any of the conditions I held onto in the past. I may never.

It’s ok. My healing is in God’s hands, where it should be. If you’re hurting right now, please do the same. Don’t leave your health up to another person.

Be healthy. Be healed.

Isaiah 53:5 ESV But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Psalm 107:20 ESV He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.

James 5:16 ESV Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

2018

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

2018…how do I feel about you?

I know you’re not the “real” new year (the biblical one is in the Spring) and I’m not one for New Year’s Eve reflections. But I’m feeling like it this year.

I didn’t want to like you. In fact, I entered this year with the weight of blame, some shame, and hurt. 2016 really bruised me, 2017 gave me a limp, then beat me with my crutches. My faith took a hit. I lost some confidence. I nearly gave up.

I was crawling when I met you. But I’m leaving you…running.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I have a fight to attend, a faith to keep, and a race to win. I am pressing on. You served a purpose. You brought much healing, growth, refining, and most importantly….hope.

My hope was restored.

I learned what I truly need and what I want. And what I don’t. I learned that it’s ok to be me, as long as I’m growing and seeking. Yesterday’s choices don’t fit with what I’ve learned. The same ol’ brings me the same ol’. I need to be different and do different to heal. To mature. To emulate my Savior.

In previous years I had a lengthy, detailed idea of what my life should be. It was complicated. At times slightly confusing. There were doubts. Fears. Questions.

I’m leaving that mess of a list with you. I have conquered my giants. My healing is 100% my responsibility and I owned it. I’m getting there.

I’ve read this hundreds of times and it’s moved me before. But not like this.

To live is Christ.

And I want to live.

Welcome 2019. May you be the best year yet.