faith, dreams, and plans [inthewordwednesday]

I love Sarah Young’s book, Jesus Calling. Yesterday was an especially needed blessing for me to read before starting my day, as I woke pondering my plans and wrestling with giving them over to God for that day. It is a constant battle for me to give over my plans for the day, let alone my life, to God. Read what Sarah Wrote (emphasis mine):

I am working on your behalf. Bring Me all your concerns, including your dreams. Talk with Me about everything, letting the Light of My Presence shine on your hopes and plans. Spend time allowing My Light to infuse your dreams with life, gradually transforming them into reality. This is a very practical way of collaborating with Me. I, the Creator of the universe, have deigned to create with you. Do not try to hurry this process. If you want to work with Me, you have to accept My time frame. Hurry is not in My nature. Abraham and Sarah had to wait many years for the fulfillment of My promise, a son. How their long wait intensified their enjoyment of the child! Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.” [Dec 11]

And Hebrews 1:11:

faith faith2

 

(source)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. [ESV]

Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. [God’s Word Translation]

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. [The Message]

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. [NIV]

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. [NLT]

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. [Amplified version]

 

faith

In the Word Wednesday

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “That is the first commandment, the entire gospel. ‘Fear God’—instead of the many things which you fear.” This is a dangerous statement. How can we fear the God who identifies Himself as love? That throws many of our ideas about who God is into question. We know there is a call to fear the God of love, but we don’t know what to do with it. Our understanding of love doesn’t mesh with our understanding of fear, and so our understanding of God suffers.

This paragraph in the article, Why Fear is Essential to Faith, in Relevant Magazine (online) by Casey Hobbs really struck me. I so often battle with accepting that God is not just full of grace, but is also a very just God. It’s easy for me to praise Him for His justice when I’m wanting a karma-like-punishment for someone who hurt me. When it comes to justice in light of my own shortcomings and sins, however, I’m short of words to praise Him for being just.

My human brain cannot wrap itself around the vast differences, and yet the simplicity of likeness, of these two characteristics of my God. They seem such polar opposites, yet in some ways I find them so similar, love and justice.

I’m still marinating on all of this. But, I am so thankful for those like Casey, who cause me to think a little deeper, mid-week.

Read more from Casey Hobbs, here.

Read more from Relevant Magazine, here.

September Self-Control

Lately, I have been overwhelmed with my lack of self-control; with eating, with being lazy, with all kinds of things.

But, continually I have been reminded of this verse:

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

As a child of God, I was given the spirit of self-control. I have it, not it’s time to utilize it!

It has been a good reminder as I got to grab that 3rd cookie… I am going to really try this month to utilize and build my self control. Like with many things, the harder you work at something the stronger you become.

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

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

The Secret of Self-Control: The New Yorker

All About Self-Control: Psychology Today

Software for your Computer: Steve Lambert

[[good]] friday.


I attend an incredible body of believers who are crushed, broken, beaten, addicted, defiled, dirty, dishonest, liars, cheaters, adulterers, thieves, deceivers, and just generally unworthy. Of anything. I am one of them.

In this life, I deserve nothing but death.

I seek to please myself above all else, because I hate feeling pain or discomfort of any kind. I avoid it. Not consciously, mind you. I avoid the pain of being lonely by pursuing unhealthy relationships (friends or more). I avoid the pain of deemed unbeautiful by worldly standards by working out in excess. I avoid the pain of being rejected by keeping my mouth shut and bottling my feelings up until they manifest physically, harming my body.

I am broken. And I am so thankful for that brokenness.

Jesus died on that cross, overcoming the world, to cover my brokenness. Jesus didn’t come so that I wouldn’t be broken. No, he came to pay the price I couldn’t, that I would spend eternity as a beautifully whole being with God.

But I’m not in heaven at this moment. I am on earth. An earth mared by sin.

As I reflect on the beauty of what Christ did, I think of the words of the pastor of the beautiful broken body of believers where I attend “church.” He reminded us last week that Christ dying on the cross was spiritual inhalation of the enemy. I imagine satan thinking he had won – Jesus was about to die, as Jesus walked his cross up to calvary. I imagine satan rejoicing as Jesus lay buried in tomb. Satan believed he had overcome the world. No, satan believed he had overcome God.

But what is beautiful and awesome (in the truest sense of the word) is that he was wrong.

Before Jesus goes off and endures the cross he speaks to his disciples, foreshadowing what is to come and offering hope.

In this world you will have trouble. [not you might, you could, just sometimes, once and a while]

But take heart! [stand tall, move forward, march on, get goin’, be encouraged, find strength]

I have overcome the world. [and with the world, the ruler of it!]

 

Good Friday is a reminder of trouble that we will have. The disciples had no idea Jesus would r i s e  f r o m  t h e  d e a d.

Talk about overcoming the world.

 

Beautiful sister, strong brother – take heart.

Trouble is abounding as we live out God’s plans and purposes for us here on earth. The battle rages on, constant.

Choose to take heart. Choose to remember Jesus shocking satan as he rose from the tomb, thus overcoming the w o r l d, and it’s darkest rulers and powers.