Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Cost?

A few weeks back I wrote the words, “The Cost?” on my notebook I write thoughts & prayers in… that is the only thing wrote on that page. I had some idea of where it came from, but it was not a complete thought at the time so I never wrote anything more. I was dealing with quite a bit of anxiety at that time… I knew God was working on me in this area… just writing those words gave me some relief in my heart & mind. But every time I flip through that notebook, that page keeps jumping out at me.

This morning I was reading in Exodus 16 about the Lord providing manna for the Children of Israel while they were in the wilderness. They whined & complained about the lack of food, which I’m pretty sure was not pleasing to the Lord, yet He still provided meat (quail) in the evening & bread (manna) in the morning. While I read this, the name, Jehovah-Jireh kept coming to my mind… the Lord our Provider.

I have always felt a connection with Abraham & Sarah in the Old Testament. They were not perfect by any means, yet God made a promise to Abraham & Sarah (Genesis 17)… no matter their “bumps in the road”… He kept His promise to them. There is so many good things to read about this dynamic couple, but today I was reminded of Abraham’s offering of Isaac, their son, to the Lord.

The Cost of obedience for Abraham was unbelievable… yet he was willing to obey. In Genesis 22 you will find this demonstration of faith, obedience & provision.

Abraham & Sarah had prayed for years for a child, & when this promise was finally fulfilled, the Lord asked for Abraham to give Isaac back through sacrifice! It just amazes me… I can’t even comprehend it!

FAITH is the word I have chosen as my word for 2016… I want to grow deeper in faith… I was to learn how to trust God more… I want to move forward in faith no matter how uncertain the road may seem. Remember, when you pray for stronger faith… that does not happen without difficulties of life to stretch you & grow that faith… it will cost you something! It will also be a time to cling, yes cling, to God’s Word even more.

Abraham packed up everything he needed to offer the sacrifice to the Lord as he & Isaac headed to the mountain. I believe that Abraham knew one of two things would happen… if he sacrificed Isaac, God would bring Isaac back to life (Hebrews 11:19), or the Lord would provide a substitute sacrifice. Which as we read He supplied a ram as the sacrifice.

I can look back & see how the Lord has provided throughout my life… always… in incredible ways! My anxiety does not come from His past faithfulness, I am living proof of that… it comes from not trusting Him for the future! It is crazy, I know! The Lord has done so much for me… but why should He do more???

Jehovah-Jireh does not mean “the Lord did provide”, it means “the Lord will provide”… it’s a demonstration of His ongoing faithfulness to His children. He is a good, good Father. I know that… I can trust that!

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Philippians 4:19-20

The truth is… I have no idea how our current situation will turn out. And I have to be okay with that! Trusting God for provision will cost me something… it will cost me anxious moments, it will cost me miserable days, it will cost me tearful conversations. On the other hand, anxiety has cost me dearly… it has cost me peace… it has cost me joy. Which has the biggest cost… which has the best outcome?

Everyone is going through something in their life… this is my story… I am a work in progress…taking it all day by day! I do pray for each person that reads these words & I ask that you might do the same for me.

Rejoicing in Truth!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Stirred But Not Shaken...

It is 2016! How is your new year going so far?  Just a few days in… I pray it is going good!  This year I found a year ending and a new year beginning to be a little depressing.  Not really sure why… has anyone else felt that way?  I love every moment God gave me in 2015, and I am looking with anticipation to each day He presents before me in 2016.  2015 was a big year for us… lots of good stuff happening… our first summer with the B&B officially opened, my 50th birthday, Luke & my 25th wedding anniversary, my baby sister got married! Those memories & milestones are so precious to me! It was a year of celebration! So what happened to sour the way of thinking about 2015??? Although the past year was not all “cherries and rose petals” but each step I took, I had to keep trusting God, & He brought me through.

The last few years there has been an important word or two that has been significant in my life for that year. Most of the time it took me awhile to catch on that it was a word that was purposely given to me. So this year I decided to pray about a word to live by in 2016… God has stirred up the word, “FAITH,” in me! I know as a follower of Christ that should be a no brainer, right? But it is about going deeper in my faith… God has really been stirring things up in me… stirring is not always the most comfortable feeling, would you agree?  There are so many uncertainties in my life right now, but the one thing that is for certain is my FAITH & God’s faithfulness!

Do you have dreams that you let go long ago?  Has circumstances taken you off course?  Is there a huge “wall” in front of you leaving you feeling defeated?  Have you received a promise from God that has fallen by the wayside in your mind?  Maybe this very moment is the time to pray and ask God if He would stir up that thing in you again.  FYI…Do NOT do it unless you are ready for the stirring to begin! It could be going back to school for your degree… getting married… starting a family… going into business… ???  You know what that thing is for you.

Stirring is a time that will test (grow) your faith… BIG time!  When you are making a cake you put all the ingredients in and then you must stir it to make all those individual items turn into a cake.  I am sure if an egg had feelings it would not be thrilled when it is being whisked into the batter, but stirring is the way to get the end product.  I feel it is kind of the same when God starts stirring.  You may not be thrilled either!  I have said things like, “God, my life is good… I am comfortable right where I am.” Or, “Is my faith really strong enough?”  Or, “I am afraid.”  What God has shown me through this is that He brings these times into our lives to push us to rely on Him more… His strength, His mercy, His grace. 

It says in James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  Stirring… pure joy???  Umm, that may not be your first thought on that, but know that  each step you do take in faith brings more joy.  You will never persevere if you never take the first step!

I challenge you to keep moving forward, but glance back and see all that God has brought you through.  Remembering where you were to where He has brought you is always a faith builder.  Stand up to His stirring in you.  Trust that if He has stirred up something in you He will give you exactly what you need to complete it.  Choose to live in His truth and promises.

Father God, Forgive our unbelief.  I pray that whatever you are stirring up in each one of us would produce the faith we need to let You be BIG in our lives.  I pray the desire of each heart is what You have placed there.  Let the thoughts, dreams, and visions be what You, Heavenly Father, want for us. Shield us from the darts of the enemy… take fear far from us.  Grow our faith as we accomplish what You have set before us.  Praising You for who You are… what You have done and are going to do.  In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Rejoicing in Truth!