What Is Your Faith In?

More faith is required on that freeway then in believing in His existence, His love and His plan for our individual lives.

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The 4 lanes of speeding vehicles seem to flow uninterrupted in one direction, each filled with people who have no thought as to the faith required to be there.

     Every time I visit Seattle I am amazed at the amount of faith required just to get there. Every day thousands of individuals place themselves into a “tin can” and travel at 60mph on a freeway that uses little white painted lines to separate them – keeping them in line. Really? Think about that – what have they placed faith in? Faith in those little white lines, those other “tin cans” filled with distracted, fallible people; but yet they stand in hope that they will change lanes, travel forward and reach their planned destination with no problems.

     Many of those same individuals openly say that they have no faith in God as they speed down the freeway. However, more faith is required on that freeway then in believing in His existence, His love and His plan for our individual lives.

     With little thought we walk throughout our day – walking in faith. Just to mention a few – we turn on the shower expecting water, we put in the key and expect the car to start, or we lock our doors expecting to keep everything safe. On a larger scale – we place our faith in our jobs to provide, our health to stay strong, our family and friends to always be there. So why do we question faith in God?

     If that is you – simply look around – the very fabric of nature shouts of faith in a creator who designed her. From the galaxies in the heavens to the cells within your body; everything shows that intricate precise planned design.

     Simple faith is what drives you to believe you can survive on the freeway – it’s that same simple faith that says YES there is a God – Yes He loves you and Yes He has a specific planned design for your life. So my question to you is a simple one – What is your faith in?

     A simple response is all it takes to bring you to a new beginning where His planned purpose will begin to be seen – a new place where you will find the certainty within, knowing that Christ paid a price on the cross just for you and that you have an eternal place prepared for you.

     Next time you merge onto the freeway consider what your faith is in.

Hebrews 11:1 What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.(LTB)

 

 

Where is Your Trust?

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     Fear has become a constant whispering companion as destructive acceleration surrounds us…global warming, earthquakes, famine, increased hate and violence as well as the rumors of a possible approach of nuclear war. It is so easy to “buy in” to that fear and panic, that “be prepared” mentality that is erupting all around us. Here – in the midst of this chaotic surge – is our place to walk in a different spirit.

     It is now that the LOVE of Christ is needed to dispel that fear. It is now that FAITH in Christ can shine in the darkness – teaching and building hope in the confused. It is now that the HOPE in Christ within us must stand firm, declare and encourage in the midst of what is seen.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.              Psalm 91: 1-6 (ESV)

     Let these words infuse in you today the strength to stand firm. Find rest under His wings – find peace in His refuge as you trust in Him. Remember in HOPE the goodness of your God, remember in FAITH you are called to proclaim that goodness, and remember in LOVE all that Christ did for you and those around you.

     Fear not what you see with your eyes and hear with your ears – look only with your Spirit to the promises of His faithfulness. Breathe easy today as you walk in peace in the midst of this storm, finding refuge in Christ – for there is where your trust dwells.

His Perfect Wave

His desire is to allow a spectacular ride – one where you wait, you listen, you stand and HE takes it from there.

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The warmth of the sun and the sand, along with the rhythmic movement of the ocean’s waves – just feet away – will easily lull the senses into a peace and calm not found many places. But as you lift your eyes and look out into the ocean you perceive a different story, one of tension and expansive movement.

Previously unnoticed a lone surfer has passed that calm warm sandy beach and persistently slogged through the shallow waves, reaching deeper and deeper. Soon, the only way to go further and deeper was to climb onto his surfboard and push against the pressures of the current. He continued his arduous outward endeavor, going further and further from shore. Seeming to either find the right place or just tiring out; he settles on the board – now sitting and surveying his newly acquired territory. Expecting him to stand and take each incoming wave, it is a wonder that he allows them, one by one to pass by as he waits. What is he waiting for? What is it he sees? How will he know the right one? When will he move forward?

These questions may never get answered for as if on queue, he slowly stands as a single – not so big – swell begins to form. He slowly lifts as the wave takes on a life of its own – growing in height and power. The sound of its approach is exhilarating. The waves upward movement, the slide forward and the beautiful delivery down to the waiting warm sand is exquisite. The surfer, like a dancer on a ballroom floor, sways with each move and sound that this incredible wave produces. This was the wave worth waiting for and this patient surfer reaped the joy found within her – riding this wave upward, forward and through the completion as he is delivered right out onto the warm sand. What a spectacular ride!

This picture of a very experienced surfer is played out differently as new surfers make many unsuccessful attempts to catch the perfect wave – getting dumped before they reach the top, being pulled under, and even eating and drinking both sand and salt water in the process. Learning the part that patience plays in this sport is what makes it worth the ride.

As we walk in our own life journey, it is much the same – learning to hear His voice, stepping out, moving forward and sometimes actually catching the “perfect” wave. His desire is to allow a spectacular ride – one where you wait, you listen, you stand and HE takes it from there. You ride with HIM as the wave moves up, slides forward and beautifully delivers you onto the waiting sand. When we find that rhythm – we can’t wait to slog back out, arduously paddle deeper, push further and further out, for we know as we wait patiently – His perfect wave of HIS plan, HIS direction, HIS purpose – for this ride – will come. And when it comes – WOW – it will be one spectacular ride.

Philippians 3: 13b-14 But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Photography courtesy of J.K.Sanchez Photography

What a Ride – Let’s Go Again!

Walking in faith is rather like that roller coaster ride.

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The roller coaster looms ahead, growing larger as you move closer to the ticket taker.  Your heart begins to race as your sweaty palms clasp around the cold steel that locks you into place. Is it to late to get off, run the other way? The gears begin to clunk under the car, grinding forward as the ascent begins. “OH NO – here we go”. Your heart seems to stop and your eyes shut tight as you reach the top. Suddenly, the wind whips your hair back, the scream erupts from your throat, and the exhilarating rush of speed courses through every cell as the rattling coaster car descends, only to find it beginning the upward climb of anticipation again and again. The end comes sooner then you desire but the ride was worth every emotion that you experienced. The unexpected joyful cry is “what a ride – let’s go again”.

Walking in faith is rather like that roller coaster ride. We must be willing to accept and pass over our ticket, climb into the seat with shaking clammy hands, trust that the gears, car and steel will hold us and get us to the end safely. The uphill grinding and the downhill exhilarating rush are expected each time we step out and say YES, Lord! But when we take this ride of faith, we get through one ride and our excitement for the next is one of great expectation. Our hearts joyfully cry “what a ride – let’s go again”.

for we walk by faith not by sight. II Cor. 5:7

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. II Cor. 1:20

Your Spring Will Come

Our part is to trust in the spring that is coming

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Walking past barren, deciduous trees in early spring, a reminder of the past harsh winter is visible all around; however, an interesting event occurs as day after day you make the same passing. One day they are barren and suddenly, the next day they have burst forth in color. Hidden for those fleeting months life was sleeping deep inside; it  was producing energy to bring forth buds and conserving power to erupt with new life.

We too, live through times that are harsh, barren, and cold. Life circumstances seem to swirl around us and strip us from all hope, joy and motivation; emptying our leaves and leaving us standing just like those barren deciduous trees.

When our lives are dry, barren and broken we must look to the spring. Our spring waits for the warm touch of our Lord. He knows what is hidden inside of each of us, what is ready to flourish, what is ready to show forth His glory. His timing and our humility will change our mourning into dancing and produce what He has ordained from the beginning of time. Our part is to trust in the spring that is coming, rejoice in the hidden buds being created, and at the right time move in faith into a new flourishing display of His glory.

Psalm 30:11-12. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Walking Between Belief and Faith

As we listen to the Holy Spirit, are directed and encouraged, it then only takes a tiny bit of faith to say YES LORD. Then we take full flight in all HE has created us to be and begin to fly higher and sing boldly of the greatness of our Lord.

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It’s spring and the birds are busy with preparation for the new life within their nests. Each step for those little lives requires a physical adjustment.

They find strength within to begin the pecking process to come into the world, if they never worked at pecking that shell, they would die.

Once they break free from the protective shell they must be fed from parents. They can believe and expect that food but unless they have the faith to open their little beaks to receive it, they will die.

As they grow stronger, and fuzz becomes feathers they must then take another big step of faith. They have seen mommy fly in and out of the nest, but just peaking over the edge is a scary thing. They get encouraged and nudged by mommy but believing still isn’t enough; they must have the faith to step over the edge, free fall and lift off. If they choose to stay in the nest, they will eventually die.

Once the flight ability occurs they still have much to learn, and each step in the growth process requires belief in what is being taught to them as well as faith to step out and do it. But, once they do- oh, what a beautiful world they have to enjoy. They fly higher and sing boldly of the greatness of creation.

The whole process takes a short time but is one of walking between belief and faith.

II Cor. 5:7 for we walk by faith, not sight

Spiritually we too live a life walking between belief and faith. We can walk a life full of believing in the Bible, in who God is and what Jesus did for us. But, somewhere faith must begin to churn inside where belief changes and faith emerges. This faith begins pushing us to step into a place where we take the step over the edge, free fall and lift off. It is here that the transformation of the blood of Christ changes us to BE HIS representative in the earth. As we listen to the Holy Spirit, are directed and encouraged, it then only takes a tiny bit of faith to say YES LORD. Then we take full flight in all HE has created us to be and begin to fly higher and sing boldly of the greatness of our Lord.

Let’s join our feathered friends – step out, free fall and lift off to higher places.

I Thess. 5:24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – I Don’t Know This Person at all!

In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me. As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away.

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I recently was given a birthday gift that shocked me to my core; a simple blank black notebook. It had been lovingly filled with comments from people who know me – those from high school, those from different states and different churches, those I have worked with as well as family, friends, kids and grand-kids. It was a very special gift. The next morning I picked it up with tea in hand and proceeded to enjoy this gift. Not expecting the impact it would have, I sat down to read this little book.

For the next hour I sat with Kleenex in hand as tears seeped down my checks, a few smiles and chuckles erupted and one or two outright sobs escaped my heart. I was confused – these descriptions didn’t match whom I see. It was like looking into a mirror and not recognizing the reflection looking back.

I set the book down – contemplating, meditating and asking God’s explanation of this dichotomy placed before me. Soon this question was stated as I prayed – “Ok, God what are you showing me?” “I don’t know this person at all, is this who I really am?”

I soon realized that this little book was a gift that was a glimpse of me through the eyes of Jesus. The person I have seen is so different. I have been looking at me with an out-dated blocked lens. Who I have become is no longer me, but Jesus in and through me.

As a Christian we always hope our light will shine and that the love of Jesus will permeate our lives but my thinking has been “it’s just me”, “it’s just who I am”.

“How do I see this person when I don’t know her”, I asked? His quiet loving response resounded in my heart like an explosion, as He whispered, “It’s just me – it isn’t you. It is my transformation as you have yielded time after time to my love”

In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me.  As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away. Over years of life, this faith has created and transformed me into who I never really saw. The emerging transformed person is no longer “just Judy” – but has begun to shine out as “just JESUS”.

Do I shine out Jesus every day? Nope – I have to lay my human thoughts, words, desires, and actions down every day. But I believe He has shown me a glimpse of me through an unexpected mirror held up in the hands of those in my life, and I am humbled by that possibility.

I Corinthians 13:12-13 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then fact to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (ESV))