Tag: faith

Sunlight and Power

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In 2018 I walked into a medical building for a biopsy after my mammogram showed something. Partly in disbelief, and partly with a “Why not me?” attitude. After all, I had walked through the process with my cousin a couple years before. And within the last 6 months 3 good friends had been diagnosed and were at varying stages of treatment.

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It almost felt like God had prepared me for just this by letting me see it up close and personally. As thoughts came to me I looked up to the sky to see a beautiful blue and bright sunshine, and uttered a spontaneous thanks to God for lifting my eyes and my spirit.

The words kept coming as God encouraged me with His truth and power. I spoke them into my cell phone:

Thank You Father
for the sunlight on my face,
for the power that I feel
as I am entering this place
of Unknown futures
that await and lie ahead;
my thoughts become confused
and I sense a sense of dread.
But my spirit soars
over victories I see;
all the many times You fought
and won the day for me.
I am clothed with a power
that I’m confident outlasts
whatever Satan throws at me,
whatever evil blast
might try to distract me
from the peace I know you give
and the confidence and trust I’ve placed
in You the while I live

Are you going through a challenging time?  A dIfficult diagnosis? Facing a hardship not of your own making?

Look to God for your sunlight – your Son-light. Think back to times when God was there for you.

Recall His faithfulness in the past. Write it down.

Ask God to clothe you with His power.

Put on the Armor of God  Ephesians 6:10-18

Appropriate His peace by focusing your mind on Him  Isaiah 26:3-4

He won’t disappoint you.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgery got what was there. God walked by my side through the whole process. He gave me peace. And I still have it.

May the peace of God be upon you. May He strengthen you with His power. May He make a way where there seems to be no way. Amen

Are you a Trapeze Artist?

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They fly through the air with the greatest of ease. Into the steadfast arms of their catcher. It’s a spectacular looking feat as we watch overhead. But what are their thoughts in midair? What would your thoughts be?

pendulumphysicsIt’s a simple lesson in physics, really. The arcs of two swinging bars affected by gravity and centrifugal force overlap one another in a totally predictable pattern. When started at the appropriate time, there is no doubt that the other bar with your catcher will be in the right spot for transfer when the arcs intersect.

Yet actually letting go of one bar completely, seems to require more than a mental understanding of the physics involved.

What’s holding you back is the feeling in the pit of your stomach; the nauseous excitement that makes your heart beat faster and your palms sweat. That is the reality governing your actions, or inaction, at the moment of letting go.

As I was about to lose my job of many years, I felt like God gave me the vision of being a trapeze artist. I had been swinging on one bar for a long time, just back and forth, easy, breezy. And God was showing me that if I would let go of that, He would be there to catch me from another bar.

I loved my work. It had become a big part of my identity. Yet I felt He was saying it was time to move on to something different. That I would have a new, equaling rewarding purpose. But I’d have to let go of what I had been holding on to.

Is God reaching out to you with something new?

What do you need to let go out so you can grab the next good thing He has for you?

trapeze-2It was hard, but I let go. And in His faithfulness, He was there. With all that came next, it was absolutely the right move, although I couldn’t see it when I let go.

He even gave me a fun song to sing as it was happening.

I’m no trapeze artist

I can’t let go

Clingin’ to this swingin’ bar

Is all I know

What was I thinkin’

Climbin’ off the ground

Grabbin’ onto this ol’ bar

Just to hang around

But the longer I stay swingin’ way up here

It seems to be the natural thing to do

The world has dropped away and the air is clear

And I’m wonderin’ if it could be true . . .

That – I’m a trapeze artist

Can’t wait to go

Swingin’ high up in the air

Oh what a show !

I’m doin’ flips, watch me

I’m spinnin’ ‘round

My God is catchin’ me

He’s my solid ground!

Ask God for the courage to let go when He offers you something new.
He IS your solid ground!

Are you praying Apples or Potatoes?

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I’ve been praying a LOT lately – maybe you have too.  So many things happening in my life, my family, with Covid-19, in our nation, the world!

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And I trust and thank God that He hears all of my prayers, and your prayers too. Whether we are singing out in praise, calling out thanksgiving, whispering out our needs, or crying out in brokenness, I know that God hears and answers every time.

I love it when I can see God’s hand at work in the relationship or situation I’m praying about.  It’s so encouraging! It’s like watching an apple tree:  you can see the leaves appear, then the buds come, the blossoms open and then fall off, and you can see the tiny fruit form.  The apple grows and matures on the tree right before your eyes.

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An apple farmer can see his harvest before he ever starts collecting it.

Some prayers are like that. You get to see how God is working and preparing the answer for you right before your eyes. You can see change in the person or the situation, or in yourself.  It is so rewarding.

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Other prayers are like potatoes. We keep praying and praying for a person, relationship, or situation but see no change, no growth, no hint of an answer on the way. The potato plant is like that: the leafy vine can be seen.

But the fruit or tuber, the part we eat, is formed underground. The vine remains unchanged above the ground as we water and fertilize. All the while the fruit, the tubers are developing and maturing under the ground where we can’t see.

digging-for-potatoes-1319302-640x480It is only by faith that a potato farmer begins the harvest, trusting there is a crop there under the ground!

Potato prayers are harder because you feel like nothing is happening in the situation you’re praying about.  When the truth is God is surely at work answering your prayer, just not in ways visible to the human eye.

Both kinds of prayers yield an amazing and fulfilling harvest. Both have the same promise of an answer from God. And both will build our faith.  If you are praying an Apple Prayer, thank God that He is allowing you to see His hand at work in the person or situation. Be encouraged.

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If you have been praying a Potato Prayer, thank God for being at work beneath the surface.  And be encouraged!

Trust in God and in His timing and purpose. We are the workers but the harvest belongs to the Lord!

people-2604834_640And especially for those Potato Prayers, Father, help us wait and not fall into discouragement, self-pity or giving up.  Keep our faith strong and our trust in You solid; so that at the end of the waiting, we will sing of the wonders of the Lord!  Amen

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

What armor are you wearing? Part 1

warfarehelmetsThe armor makes a difference!

Part 1  The Armor of God

I believe there’s a battle that we can’t see going on in the world today.

God gives believers armor and weapons to wear and use as protection, and as offensive and defensive weapons against the evil one and his schemes against us.

Many picture the battle for the world as 2 near equal powers fighting for control – as if on a see-saw, where any little thing could easily tip the scale in one direction or the other.

 

   <-  Us  ->

God                                                  Satan

/\

    World

 

NO WAY ! !   That is far from the truth! 

 

As a created being, the devil is in NO WAY equal to God

not in power, stature, character, not in any way.

If you are a believer, you’re on God’s team.  The truth is: once we join Jesus’ team by accepting his free gift of salvation, we NEVER return to satan’s team.  The enemy, satan, knows this and he looks for ways to trick or discourage us to keep us sidelined and out of the game.

Ephesians 6 talks about the pieces of armor.

Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians while in Rome, under house arrest.  He was guarded by Roman soldiers.  Every day, he saw men dressed in armor, bearing the insignia of their authority.  The Holy Spirit must have inspired his analogy of a Christian “soldier.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us the armor we should have in place.

Belt of Truth – a wide, tight band around the waist, this holds pieces of armor in place, as well as the sword.  With it we are constantly girded about with the truth – God’s truth, and can recognize a lie from the evil one when it’s launched as a half-truth or outright lie.  With it we can hold anything up to compare it to scripture, the plumb line for truth.

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Breastplate of Righteousness – protects our heart and vital organs (a forerunner of the bulletproof vest).  It is the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ that forms a protective cover that halts darts and arrows, and deflects blows directed at us.

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace – In our homes, we often remove our shoes as a sign of relaxation.  So, to put on shoes is a sign of readiness or preparedness to accept marching orders to stand for the gospel of peace we have in Christ Jesus.

spartan-1494365_640Helmet of Salvation – bears the insignia of our authority and who we serve, the army in which we fight.  It protects our heads and guards our minds so we can reject thoughts placed there by the enemy who would like nothing more than to sideline us with thoughts of fear, doubt, insecurity, or unworthiness. “as you think, so you are…” Pr 23:7 KJV.  It allows us to take every thought captive to be sure it is God’s truth before accepting it.

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Shield of Faith – not some puny little garbage can lid with a handle, but a head to toe protection, repelling the enemy’s offense – when the shield was anointed with oil it would reflect the glare of the sun and blind the enemy.  This shield covers a soldier from top to bottom, side to side and can join with others to form a wall of protection that will fend off an attacker.  On a wooden frame, its thick covering can stop projectiles and extinguish flaming arrows.

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Sword of the Spirit – our offensive weapon, the WORD of GOD.  We can use the very words of scripture to fight against, repel, harm and defeat the enemy.  Jesus used these very words to overcome satan’s temptations.  There is power in the Word of God.

Wearing this Spiritual Armor prepares us for and protects us in battle.  So, arm yourself with the armor daily.

Speak each piece on in prayer. Out loud so the evil one hears you!

Here’s a sample prayer for the armor.

Lord Jesus Christ, with the belt of truth fastened around my waist, I say that I will not believe the lies satan would try to use to confuse me.  Give me clarity and an understanding of what is the truth in this situation.

The helmet of salvation I wear will guard my mind, and I take every thought captive to you.  Help me see past what the world and others tell me, to what you want to say to me.

The breastplate of righteousness I place over my chest protects my heart, so I can hear you with my mind and my heart.  I believe satan is tempting me with lies and half-truths so I will stand on Your promises and Your truths.

I wear the shoes of peace to say that I am ready to receive my marching orders  from you and to obey what you tell me to do.

I take up my shield to repel all the arguments the evil one would send against me.  Father, You have taught me right from wrong, help me cling to what is right.

I take up the sword, the Word of God, and say that satan has no power over me.  Lord, You are my Master, my Commander, my Creator, and it is you who I will follow and obey.  You have created me fearfully and wonderfully, and you alone are worthy of all my praise.

Father, anoint me with the Holy Spirit so I may truly hear and understand your words.  Send the Holy Spirit to guide me in this decision and to silence all the voices that are not from you.

In the name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, I thank you for hearing my prayer.  I yield my will to You and wait to hear from You, listening with my heart and my spirit. Amen.

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Fear vs Faith

“I was afraid…”  These are some of the first recorded words that Adam said to God.  And if we’re looking at scripture, it’s usually the first thing angels say when they appear to men: “Fear not.”

Fear has been a part of the human condition almost from the beginning.

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There are a lot of things that cause fear in our world today.  People are afraid of being alone, or of not being accepted, afraid they won’t measure up to their own or others’ expectations.  Basic fears of losing something you have, or never attaining something you want.  Rejection, poverty, illness, vulnerability, death.  Loss of something treasured: youth, health, money, status, a relationship.

Some fears are even of fear itself.  Unfounded.  Faceless.

I love acrostics.  They’re a word play that uses the letters in a word to make a point.  So FEAR could be:

False Evidence Appearing Real

This is especially true of those things we worry about happening in the future because we can’t see all the pieces clearly.  We make guesses or assumptions and base our actions, our fears, on what may not even be true.

What are you are afraid of?  Is it something that keeps you frozen, unable to act?

Here’s another set of acrostics someone told me for FEAR:

Forget Everything And Run

or

Face Everything And Rise

While often my gut tells me to Run, my spirit calls me Rise.  It’s kind of like when you hear two separate voices – like the little angel and devil figures in cartoons that sit on your shoulders and give you opposing opinions.

When you Run, the Everything eventually catches up with you.  And you end up having to handle it anyway.  Often by then, it’s an even bigger mess.

adventure-1807524_640But when you Face Everything, remember that you are not alone.  You have resources you may not have considered.  And you don’t have to deal with everything at once.  Plus, you can ask for help from other people.  No doubt you already know people who can support you, encourage you, who have been through something similar and can coach or guide you.

The Rising gives a sense of confidence that builds as you do handle things.  And results in courage to keep you going.

FAITH can help dissolve FEAR.  In a way, it’s the opposite of Fear.  Fear can paralyze you with inaction.  Faith can move you forward.  While Fear focuses you inward, Faith helps you see beyond yourself.

Faith can be:

Feeling As If There’s Hope

And when your hope is in God, your hope is strong and true.  He is able and willing to care for you in any and every situation.  He is bigger than any problem.  Calling out to Him connects you to the Creator of the Universe!  The One True God.  The Everlasting Father.

So, what are you afraid of?

Call out to God and tell Him all about it.  Romans 8:31 says “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Isaiah 41:10 says “Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Stand with Him.  Face Everything.  And Rise with Him.

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I pray you will reach out to God with every fear.  And that with God at your side, you will sense His presence, and Feel As If There’s Hope.

And in that Hope, You will Rise!