A Lesson on Trust & Walking In Agreement

A Lesson on Trust & Walking In Agreement

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were asked to make a decision that felt like you were relinquishing something you love? A part of yourself or your life you felt was intrinsic, inseparable even? Well, that is the kind of situation we’re focusing on in today’s post. In this biblical story, we are introduced to a man named Abraham. For some historical context, you should know that he was originally named Abram before God called him away from everything he knew, asking him to take a walk down a new path that was completely unfamiliar to him. Along this journey, he and his wife were promised a child. They were both quite old, Abraham being 100 years old and Sarah being 99 years old, by the time they conceived their son, Isaac. Isaac was the promised son that God foreshadowed approximately 25 years prior. This is the same son that, in our passage of focus for today, God asks Abraham to sacrifice. Now that you’re familiar with the backstory, let’s begin to explore the dynamics at play.

“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.'”

Genesis 22:1-2 NIV

Now, it’s easy to disregard the intensity of the stories we read in the Bible sometimes because, like a movie, we are receiving details that the characters are unaware of. In that first line, we get some pretty important context. This is a test that God is bringing to Abraham. While we don’t know God’s reasoning at this point, it’s safe to asssume that He has one. Like a teacher doing role call at the beginning of class to ensure all of their students are present and accounted for, we observe this brief exchange of identification between God and Abraham. God, wasting no time on pleasantries, makes a request of Abraham that is so monumental that it’s almost absurd.

Continue Reading →

Use Your Weapons

Use Your Weapons

It is a trick of the enemy to get you to put your trust in anything other than God. That’s not news to many, but let me make this very clear. The enemy is very good at playing his role. He is committed. He has rehearsed every line and prepared ahead of time to use every opportunity to his advantage. With that said, we are not left to fend for ourselves against his schemes. We have a solid line of defense available to us in every situation we face. We have the full armor of God.

Whenever something is repeated in scripture, it highlights an important point for our understanding. In Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV, the words “put on the full armor of God” are repeated twice within two verses (v. 11 and 13). The most significant word in this repetition is “full.” We must put on the full armor, not just parts of it. This repeated command has crucial information sandwiched in between and I think it would be negligent for us to move forward without briefly exploring what is listed:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12 NIV
Continue Reading →

The Real “G” Moves In Silence

The Real “G” Moves In Silence

There are many instances in the Bible where God makes it clear that He is well acquainted with the heart of humanity. In His choosing of David over all of his other brothers. In His acceptance of Abel’s gift over Cain’s. God is no respecter of persons and He makes it abundantly clear that living a life of honorable service to Him is primarily a heart issue. With this understanding of the God who created the universe, who exists outside of time, and has all power in His being; Shouldn’t we be able to trust Him at His word?

The short answer is yes. However, our thoughts and behavior often show otherwise, complicating what God originally intended to be a simple solution to address our needs. You may be familiar with the quotable found on many t-shirts, mugs, and other collectable items: “Keep Calm and…” The end of that statement has an extensive list of suggested things, people, and places to put your faith in. Yet, every believer is aware, to some degree, that the only true source of stability that we can put our trust in is God. This year, 2020, has quite rudely interrupted the norms that humanity has created for ourselves and made it abundantly clear that many of the things, people, and places we have put our faith in are not able to hold us up when life takes an unexpected turn.

Continue Reading →

Little Faith Can Still Move Mountains

Little Faith Can Still Move Mountains

25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, [a]“Be of good cheer! [b]It is I; do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:25-27 NKJV).

The disciples were in a dire situation. They were caught in a storm that had been raging for some time (according to the passage, it would have been after three o’clock in the morning and, based on verses 22-23, they set sail prior to the evening’s start). In the distance, they saw something that looked unfamiliar coming towards them. They were troubled by what they saw and began to cry out in fear. What are you inviting into your life during difficult situations? The disciples were inviting fear to take hold of them. Jesus, knowing where fear would lead, was swift in His encouragement of their faith, attempting to assure them of who He was. Since they already knew Jesus and witnessed His track record, one would think that this would be enough to quell their fears. However, that did not appear to be the outcome.

Continue reading →

Are You Willing To Be Broken?

Are You Willing To Be Broken?

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
-Isaiah 6:5‭-‬8 ESV

In this passage, the biblical prophet, Isaiah, went from insecurity in his present circumstance to boldness through swift obedience. There was a crucial process that occurred in the few lines between those two versions of him. His lips were touched with burning coal (he went through a refining process, brief but transformative) and life-giving words (blessing) were spoken over him. In that blessing, he was made aware of the purpose of the process, which encouraged him to let go of the guilt he felt and step confidently into his calling.

Continue Reading →

You Are Not The Mistake

You Are Not The Mistake

I have a question. Have you been in a breaking season recently? Perhaps you’re in one right now. Amidst all that this year has had to offer, you may be aware that there is something really personal happening in your life. Something that is shaking the foundation of who you believed you were at your core. If you can relate to any of what I just mentioned, please know that it’s not just happening to you. A breaking season is meant to uproot the things that never belonged to you as God replaces them with His truth, His love, and His plan for your life. For many, this means that you lost one or more of your employment positions or opportunities. For others it means that your family or friendships have been turning up recently. Still, for others, everywhere you turn, you can’t seem to catch a break. Whether its been physical, emotional, or psychological, your well-being has been difficult to maintain due to the pressures you’ve been facing.

Can I offer something to you that God took His time to reveal to me? It’s a perspective issue more than it’s an issue of your life’s circumstance. Let me take a step back and share a bit more so we can get a bit more acquainted. My issue is impostor syndrome. I have learned that impostor syndrome (at its core) stems from worry, which is brought on by focusing your attention on the wrong thing(s). Can I submit to you that you have probably been making the same mistake? I’m not here to pass judgment, I promise. As I just mentioned, I have my own issues to work out with God’s help. I simply want to encourage you to take a different stance as you face the giants in your life.

Continue Reading →

Run, Don’t Walk.

Run, Don’t Walk.

More than likely, you’ve heard the saying, “Walk, don’t run,” often as a safety precaution to avoid accidents or injuries. However, there are some things that require a different level of pursuit, a much more urgent one. Our spiritual lives are at the top of that list. Whenever we find ourselves in need of reprieve, encouragement, protection or peace, we need to run to the only source that can provide the nourishment for our souls, remedy for the pain and the protective capacity for life’s trials and tribulations. We need to run to God.

Like a child running into the arms of a parent, we need to pursue our Heavenly Father. It’s one thing to acknowledge this truth and another thing entirely to believe it. Before we continue, I’d like to spend a bit more time on the last attribute of God that I mentioned above. Protective capacity refers to a caretaker’s ability to anticipate the needs of a vulnerable individual, namely a child. It encompasses behavioral, emotional, and psychological components. The behavioral component includes the caretaker’s ability to protect the child from physical danger and provide their basic needs (i.e. food, shelter, clothing). The emotional component involves the caretaker’s attunement to the child as well as their ability to nurture the child’s well-being. Closely tied to this is the psychological component, which highlights the caretaker’s awareness of and thoughts towards the child (i.e. thinking their child is good or bad as well as their expectation/perception of the child’s abilities and limitations).

Continue Reading →

Just Keep Swimming…

Just Keep Swimming…

Upstream. Against the current. Even after losing yourself in the waves of disappointment. Just. Keep. Swimming.

This line spoken by Dory in the movie Finding Nemo is such a memorable one. It’s a reminder to keep going no matter what. Dory’s character is most memorable for her “can do” spirit, even in the face of what appears to baffle her. Even when she forgets her surroundings, what she’s learned and who she’s met. She keeps a positive mindset and presses forward with enthusiasm. Now, I understand if you’re reading this and thinking that you can’t relate to that level of optimism in the face of what you’ve been making your way through lately. But I want to remind you of something. God is faithful. He knows what you’ve been going through and He cares about every detail!

On those difficult days, there are words of encouragement that can be found throughout scripture to address your situation. For example, Proverbs 24:16a in the New International Version says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” This is a beautiful reminder that, no matter what gets you down or how many times you feel defeated, in Christ, you don’t have to be! There will always be an opportunity to get back up and keep going. God guarantees it. Another important reminder we receive in scripture is not to grow weary in doing good because a beneficial outcome awaits on the other side of our perseverance (Galatians 6:9). God’s word is filled with affirmations reminding us that He’s on our side, rooting for us.

Continue Reading →

Childlike Faith: The Importance of Having A Teachable Spirit

Childlike Faith: The Importance of Having A Teachable Spirit

The biggest downfall of the Pharisees (Jewish priests) was that they believed they knew all there was to know about God. Due to this, they lived from a place of stagnancy in regard to their faith (this is where a lot of religious practice begins to replace true worship and relationship with God). In Mark 10:15, Jesus addresses a group of people, exclaiming, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” The confidence in His statement speaks volumes. Jesus essentially says, “Without a doubt, I inform you…there is no other way.” Jesus quells all confusion with those two phrases. All that is left is for the listeners to absorb the remaining information: “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child...” The focus of this clause in Jesus’s warning is the receipt of God’s kingdom in a specific manner, like a child. How do we go about doing that? Let’s explore this together.

First of all, what does it mean to be teachable? Romans 12:2 AMP gives us an understanding of this as Paul states:

Continue Reading →

Pay Attention, Be Prepared + Pace Yourself

Pay Attention, Be Prepared + Pace Yourself

With all that is happening in the world right now (this pandemic, police brutality in the US, protests occurring worldwide, etc.), it can be easy to forget that we have approached the half-way point of the year. As summer beckons us outdoors and the days extend in their brightness, we may be excited for freedom or experiencing trepidation regarding the “new normal” of wearing masks during all outdoor and social activities. Amidst the whirlwind of emotions we are likely processing internally or are confronted with through our conversations with others, there is still one thing that has been consistent throughout this time. God has been speaking. The question is, have you heard what He’s been trying to tell you?

Continue Reading →