Friday, August 18, 2017

What To Expect When You Are Expecting

So, you send up your prayer to God - what do you do next?  Do you continue to worry and stress?  Or do you believe and look around for the blessings that God brings you everyday?

"In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly."  Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

David knew what to do.  He sent his prayers up and then went about the day expecting great things to happen.  Maybe it wouldn't be exactly what he was praying for but he went around expecting God's best - which is usually better than our request anyway!  

So what are you expecting?   Are you expecting awesome, big things in your life?  Or are you expecting the same thing as always?  God wants to give you His best, but He also wants you to expect the best from Him.  When you pray for something, but don't really believe it will happen, you are saying that you don't believe God will do it.  If your son/daughter asked you to do something and then went around speaking it as though it was, you would want to do it for them.  But if your son/daughter asked you to do something and then went around being negative and complaining, you might be less inclined to do it.  Well, that is how God is with His children.

"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."  James 1:6-7 (NIV)

One of my many mantras is "Believe and you shall receive."  I started this when my daughter first started not believing in Santa.  I told her that if she didn't believe, she wouldn't receive.  Now, of course, this was all about the stuff we get at Christmas time, but I found this to be true in my walk with God.  If I pray for things, but somewhere in the back of my mind I'm thinking "I'll never have/get that.", there is a good chance I won't, simply because I doubted.

So, I'll ask again - what are you expecting?  When you pray, expect the best - expect God's best.  Sometimes, God's best is not what we want, but it is what is best for us.  Believe God's promise when He says, "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to  harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)  Walk around everyday like David, knowing God's love and living in it.  Expect the unexpected!

Have a blessed week!  Love to you all!! ~Debbi

Sunday, August 13, 2017

F2F - Fear to Faith

What do you do when your circumstances are unbearable?  What if you received a diagnosis that was life changing or even worse life threatening?  What if your spouse suddenly left you?  What if you suddenly lost your job?

"I trembled inside when I heard this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us. Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights."  Habakkuk 3:16-19 (NLT)

The prophet Habakkuk found himself in a terrible situation that was out of his control and in the natural brought fear.  In the midst of his catastrophe, however, Habakkuk decided - made an on purpose choice - to turn to God and release his fear to Him.  This can actually be a very challenging thing for me.  To be honest, I have been struggling with this for a few weeks now.  We have a situation that has the potential to not end well.  However, truthfully, there is really nothing I can do about it.  And that is extremely hard for me as I tend to have a controlling personality.  I spend hours trying to figure out how to change it or fix it, but every time God speaks to me and tells me I can't.  It is truly out of my control.  And when I try to control it, I end up hurting myself by stressing, hurting my relationships by not being the loving wife, mother and friend I should be and hurting God because I am not giving it to Him.  Cast you care! 

When you find yourself in a situation like Habakkuk where everything around you seems to be falling apart, do what he did - rejoice in the Lord.  Remember that God wants only the best for you and if for some reason your problem does have a bad outcome, know that God has something better for you if you just put your trust in Him.  God loves you.  He never, ever leaves you or forsakes you.  So even in the midst of your circumstances, praise Him, thank Him and give Him your situation.  The Lord is your strength - stop turning to everyone else for the strength you need and look up!  God has got you - now and forever!

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Seeing Is Believing

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."  Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)

I can tell you all day long that the picture above is a sheep.  But no matter what I tell you, you are going to see a duck.  That is the way Christianity is.  You can tell people all day long that you are a Christian but they are going to go by what they see.  You can have all the cross jewelry, bumper stickers and highlighted Bibles you want - it doesn't make you a Christian.  You can go to church every time the doors are open, but that doesn't make you a godly person.  Saying you are a Christian isn't enough; you must show people.

God knows that we are not perfect which is why this verse says "make every effort"; however, it also says that without holiness, no one will see God.  The best thing you can do for yourself and others is to live a godly life.  Living a godly life encompasses too many things to list them all, but I wanted to share a few that I see on a daily basis:

  • Tone - Do you know that how you say something is as important as what you say?  Your words really won't matter if your tone is rude or hateful.  In today's world, more people are offended by how we say things than what we are actually saying.  You can speak the truth in love - Jesus did. 
  • Gossip - In my book, this is the number one sin among Christians today and they don't even realize it.  And we excuse it by prefacing what we are saying with "I'm telling you so you can pray for them" or "I say this out of love" or my favorite "I'm not judging, but..."  A friend of mine is experiencing a shake up within her church and all I've ever heard her do is gossip about it with others.  I never hear any solutions of how to solve the problem.  Stop talking to each other about the problems and start talking to God.
  • Actions - Are you tailgating someone all the way to church and shaking your hands at them all the way?  Are you leaving your shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot for someone else to deal with?  Your actions are how people see God.  Make sure that everything you do you do with excellence.  If you knew God was watching, would you do it?  Guess what, He is.  When someone says something to me that I know isn't the complete truth, I say "You know God can hear you right?"  He can also see you. 
  • Judging - You can call it whatever you want but when you have an opinion about something that doesn't involve you, you are judging.  You are forming a opinion about something you don't have all the facts about.  The main reason that God tells us not to judge is because He is the only one that knows someone's heart.  "I can't believe they are wearing that."  Maybe it is all they have.  Maybe they haven't had any good role models in their life to teach them.  Maybe it is their taste and it is their favorite outfit.  The truth is it isn't any of your business.  God tells us 3 times in the Bible to mind our own business.  Focus more on what you are showing the world and less on what others are doing.
These are just a few of the things I observe Christians doing on a daily basis that is in opposition to the example God wants us to be.  In today's verse, God instructs us to live a holy life so that God can be seen through you.  Part of living a holy, godly life is living at peace with others.  And today's verse focuses on this one thing.  And notice is also says everyone.  We don't get to pick and choose who we are at peace with; we are instructed to be at peace with everyone.  This will lead to a more holy life and living a holy life will lead to others seeing God in you.  And seeing is believing!

Have a blessed week! 

Love ~Debbi