Tag Archives: trusting God

Stronger Faith

When life gets tough, do you let it push you closer to God or farther away from Him? I’ve had it do both. There have been times in my life where I desperately wanted God to show up and answer prayers, and to me it felt like He remained silent. I became upset with Him and decided I wasn’t going to ask Him for anything again. Another time, I was far away from Him, and when things got bad, I turned to Him to survive. My faith became the foundation on which I rebuilt my life. In both incidents, events in my life were more than I could handle.

Each of us go through difficulties. Each of go through times where our faith is all we have left. How do you respond in those moments? Do you tell God you’ll never ask Him for anything again because He didn’t answer? Do you have faith God will see you through when there’s no visible path forward? Faith is all about trusting God in life’s most difficult moments. It’s easy to have faith when you don’t have to use it. But what about those moments when it’s all you have left?

James 1:12 gives us a promise from God that says, “If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God!” (TPT) When we hold onto our faith in those periods where it’s all we have left, we experience a depth of God’s grace we’ve never known existed. We also get to know a God more intimately because our relationship deepens in those times. When God is all you have left, your faith has the ability to grow. These times are not designed to crush you or push you away from God. Rather let them do the work of deepening your faith and relationship with God.

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Expect Great Things

A few years ago, a video went viral of a man who was terrified to touch a teddy bear. They had blindfolded him and made him think he was on a show like Fear Factor. When he got the courage to put his hand in the plexiglass box, his fingers brushed up against the teddy bear. He squealed and yanked his hand out. For about two minutes he kept trying to reach in, but his fear was overwhelming. When he finally takes the blindfold off, he realizes it’s just a teddy bear, laughed, then grabbed it and spiked it on the ground. Everyone around him was laughing because he was too afraid to pick up a teddy bear.

It was easy for us to laugh at that because we weren’t the one blindfolded. Everyone else could see and knew he wasn’t in any danger. That’s kind of how Faith works. We’re blindfolded and can’t see. God is asking us to trust Him, but too often we are terrified. Our minds psych us out and we start freaking out. When we take a tiny step of faith and we experience something we aren’t anticipating, we squeal and pull back. All the while, God is saying, “Would you just trust me?”

In Matthew 9, two blind men were following Jesus calling out to Him for healing. Jesus asked if they believed He could heal blind eyes, and they said yes. Verse 29 says, “Then Jesus put His hands over their eyes and said, ‘You will have what your faith expects!’” (TPT) I believe He is still saying that to us today. Don’t let your mind expect the worse and create fear of what God is going to do. Expect God, who is good, to give you what you need. You don’t have to be terrified of what He has for you. Expect great things from Him because He gives good gifts.

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Using Your Faith

A couple of years ago, I decided I would start working out. After the first workout, I realized there were muscles in my body that hadn’t been used in a while, and there were muscles I didn’t know I had. I was very sore to say the least, but if I was going to get into shape, I needed to exercise and push those muscles. There are a lot of benefits to daily exercise including decreased fat, higher endorphin levels, stronger muscles and better overall health. When we don’t exercise often, you lose stamina, strength and will become weak.

To me, faith is like a muscle. You and I must exercise it often if we want to reap the benefits of it. To say you are a person of faith, but never stepping out in faith would be like owning a Bowflex, but never using it. Just having it doesn’t make you stronger or healthier. It takes daily use to reap the benefits of it. So many people buy a Bowflex with the intention of using it, but when they realize it requires constant effort, it often becomes an expensive clothes hanger. You and I can’t live with the intention of using our faith. It’s something we must exercise constantly.

Ephesians 3:17 says, “By constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life” (TPT). Just like there are benefits to exercising, there are greater benefits in exercising your faith. One of those is that the life of Christ will be released in you becoming your source for everything you need. You will begin trusting Him more than what you see, and the peace that passes all understanding will take over your life. Do something today that exercises your faith. It may hurt a little at first, but push through. You’ll be glad you did.

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Be Thankful

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). It’s one of those verses we can quickly read over. Paul was wrapping up his letter and was writing several commands for these new believers. He was wanting them to take these instructions and ingrain them in their new lives early on so that they would become a habit long term. Each of the things he said were important, but this one always jumps out at me.

Paul, the writer of Thessalonians, had gone through some pretty dark days himself. He learned that if you focus on your problem, despair sets in. If you focus on finding something to be thankful for, praise fills your heart. That’s how he and Silas could praise in prison. I’m sure it started out as a conversation on things to be thankful for that turned into singing praises to God. It was in those praises that God moved the earth and set them free from their chains.

Don’t miss that powerful truth. When you praise, God frees you from your chains. Praise comes from a heart that is thankful. A thankful heart comes from a person who looks for the good in every situation. If you’re breathing, you’ve got something to be thankful for. If you have a bed to sleep in, you’ve got something to be thankful for. Your world may be falling apart, but God has not abandoned you. Give thanks for that. When you learn to give thanks in all circumstances, you’ll learn to praise in all circumstances.

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Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Grab Your Sword

Have you ever been so angry with someone you sat there and plotted ways to pay them back? I have. I’ve plotted ways where I wouldn’t get caught, ways that would hurt them worse than they hurt me and ways where they would know to never do something to me again. I used to say, “I don’t get even, I get ahead!” It’s crazy how clouded our mind gets when we’ve been hurt by someone. Reason goes out the window and we have a laser focus (tunnel vision) on hurting them back. We don’t care who gets caught in the wake as long as that person suffers.

I know I can’t be the only one who has ever felt this way. Maybe you’ve experienced it too. I know David did in 1 Samuel 25. He had protected a man’s property while running from Saul and living in the wilderness. He was hungry so he sent servants to ask for food as repayment. The man whose property he protected replied, “Do you think I’m going to take good bread and wine and meat freshly butchered for my sheep shearers and give it to men I’ve never laid eyes on?” David took that as a slap in the face for all he had done for him. Without hesitation, David said, “Get your swords!”

His first instinct was to repay this man evil for evil. Eye for an eye. Tit for tat. His anger blinded him. He got 400 of his strongest men and headed for that man. If he wasn’t going to give it freely, David was going to kill him and take it. We act the same way when we’re angry. Only around here, we don’t say, “Get your swords,” we say, “Grab your gun!” Violence seems to be our answer when someone has made us mad. We hit a wall, stomp our feet into the ground, punch something, scream out loud and display our displeasure any way we can. We want people to know we’re really mad.

That’s opposite of what God wants us to do. God says, in Deuteronomy 32:35, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will over take them.” The problem is we want them to have pay back now. We want to be the ones delivering it, but that’s not God’s way. That’s not God’s timing. In the New Testament, God reaffirms this message through Paul. Romans 12:17-18 says, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”

God doesn’t want us grabbing our swords (or guns) to pay back what someone did to us. He wants us to calm down, breathe and trust that He will handle it “in due time.” Proverbs 22:1 says that a good reputation is more important than riches. We lose our reputation when we go around paying people back. In turn, we tarnish God’s name. By the way, that man’s wife stopped David from killing her husband and everyone else. The next day, the man had a stroke and died. Instead of having murder on his hands, he maintained a pure heart before God. Instead of reaching for your sword next time someone hurts you, reach for patience instead. Let God have it.

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Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Applying God’s Word

Every once in a while, I’ll see an equation pop up that looks something like 6-1×0+2/2=? for people to solve. I like to read the comments to see the heated exchanges of what people think the answer is. You can’t simply work this from left to right. You have to use the acronym PEMDAS (parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition then subtraction) to do it. You can try any number of methods and come up with a lot of different answers, but only one answer is right. The only way to get it is to remember the acronym, “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” and apply it.

Every one of us have problems that show up in our lives. Whether they are complicated or easy, we must approach them through the lens of Scripture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made things worse by trying to do it my way instead of God’s. The Bible gives us principles on how to live, how to handle your finances, how to treat others, how to act in a relationship and so much more. If we would apply those principles, we would be more successful in each of them.

2 Timothy 3:14 says, “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught” (NLT). Paul was reminding Timothy that it’s not enough to know the right way to do things. You must faithfully apply them. If you’re struggling in an area today, or going through a problem, I want to encourage you to see what God’s Word says about it. Take His Word and faithfully apply it to your situation. You’ll find that it is good for teaching us what is true, showing us what needs to be corrected in our lives and for training us in righteousness (verse 16).

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Surrender

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

White flag. Tap out. Give up. Submit. Yield. Say, “Uncle.” Throw in the towel. Surrender. I don’t know anyone who likes to do it. Surrendering is admitting defeat. It’s embarrassing really. I, like you, don’t like to give up. I don’t like to face defeat. It goes against everything in me. Maybe you’re the same. When all the odds are against you, do you play a theme song to pump you up? Maybe it’s “The Eye of the Tiger” or “This is my Fight Song” or whatever, but when it plays and pumps you up to keep you from surrendering and giving in.

In the prophet Jeremiah’s day, Jerusalem was under siege and there was very little hope. God was pronouncing His judgement against the people who had turned their back on Him. They refused to repent so God was sending them into captivity. The king secretly went to Jeremiah to ask what he should do. Jeremiah told him if he wanted to live, he needed to surrender. In Jeremiah 38:19, the king responded, “But I am afraid to surrender” (NLT). He was too afraid of how he would appear if he surrendered, so he disobeyed and it cost him his freedom.

Romans 8 tells us that the flesh and the spirit are at a constant war with each other. The flesh wants to do things its own way, and the spirit wants us to follow God’s way. For so many Christians, it’s a daily struggle and a guess as to which side will win. As Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” More times than not, our flesh wins because we fail to surrender to God’s plan for our lives. Surrender is so foreign to our flesh that we fight against what the spirit is trying to accomplish in our lives.

In Luke 14:33, Jesus put it this way, “Likewise, unless you surrender all to me, giving up all you possess, you cannot be one of my disciples” (TPT). If we truly want to be God’s disciples, we have to be willing to surrender all we have for all He offers. According to Romans 8:13, when we surrender to what the spirit wants, we will live. You and I are given the same choice that the king of Israel had. Don’t make the same mistake he did. Surrender and live.

What is God asking you to surrender today in order to be His disciple?

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