I trust you, God…but…..

Actions speak louder

“I trust you, God!”   Oh those words are so easy to say.  And say them we do…but instead of being the declaration into the atmosphere it should be, we say it as if we are trying to convince ourselves that trusting God is indeed our stance.  It’s usually  soon after, that we find our efforts have failed miserably.

Why?  Why have they failed?  Because just saying something does not make it so…unless the correct actions follow.  How many times do we say we trust God….supposedly leaving whatever issue at His feet…only to pick it back up a few days later?  And if we are honest with ourselves, it probably wasn’t even a day later.

So it’s then that our statement declaring we trust God becomes simple lip service.  We said we trusted God with our mouths.  But our actions scream that we don’t trust Him at all.

When did I forget…

God is our creator.  He made the heavens and the earth.  He set the stars in place.  He keeps the planets in orbit.  He has made the plethora of functions and reactions that go on inside our bodies each day.  With all of the things He makes sure get done on a daily basis all over the world, why would I not trust Him?!?!?

Yes, I know.  That seems like a really dumb question.  But our actions negate  our declaration of trust every… single… time!   Why?!?!

There is a song by Natalie Grant called “King of the World”.   The chorus says:

When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you’re the one who holds it all
When did I forget you’ve always been the king of the world
You will always be the king of the world
The words to this song cause me to think every time I hear them.  When DID I forget that He’s always been the King of the world?!?!  When did you forget?  Was it when those bill collectors started calling?  Was it when Mom fell ill?  Was it when that car accident happened?  Was it when you were raped and beaten?  Was it when so much was lost in the hurricane?  Life has a way of making us forget…

What happens when we forget?

When we forget, the same sort of things mentioned in the song happen.  We try to take our lives back out of the hands of God.  We make the decisions we want to make.  We don’t consult Him …thinking that we know best.  Or we find ourselves second guessing His instructions…like He could ever fail.  We make Him so very small, while magnifying our issues to the size of mountains.

Then we end up “taking thought for tomorrow…”.  We let fear and worry impact our present with thoughts and emotions about events that may never happen.  All because we forget….  We forget that because He takes care of the little bitty sparrow, He’s sure to take care of us.  We forget that He’s a good, good father and knows the end from the beginning.  We forget that He supplies our every need.  We forget that He’ll never leave us.  We forget that His love never fails.   We forget to trust our Father!

Trust and Obey

As a child, I sang with my sisters a song called “Trust and Obey”.  The words said “trust and obey….for there’s no other way….to be happy in Jesus…than to trust and obey”.  I’m reminded of the story of Abraham.  We often hear about his obedience in regards to possibly having to sacrifice his son.  We also have to note that Isaac was obedient as well.  He asked where the sacrifice was, and Abraham’s answer satisfied him.

Those two examples show me the extremes of the trust situations in which I could find myself.  Sometimes we may be given difficult to hear  instructions and told to go.  Other times, we may just have to go along for the trip.  In either instance, and every instance in between,  our amazing Father is faithful and will see us through.

Trusting in this season

In any season, trusting God is important.  As the return of Christ approaches rapidly, we must settle the issue of trust within us.  God can be trusted….Period.  So it’s time out for questioning whether or not God knows what He is doing.  He does.   He knows the end from the beginning remember?….and all that happens in between.

Personally, I know there are things God has placed on my heart to do.  I have been slow completing the task wondering if it is indeed God.   I have been slow wondering what I will do next after the tasks are completed.  Either way, I find myself marking time when God has said to move and do.  And I know I’m not the only one.  If we are honest, we all have some things that we have yet to move forward with.  That business idea…that book proposal…that outreach group opportunity…that clothing line…that song ….that restaurant…that idea that keeps coming to mind….that one that you keep thinking that it couldn’t possibly be God…it just very well could be…but you already know that.

We both know what we need to do.  So let us shake off that fear and doubt…give Satan a black eye…and get to it!!!  Someone’s destiny depends on it!

Advertisements

Are we really grateful?

Hurricane Matthew has hit…and it has hit hard.  I’ve been scrolling my Facebook feed…hearing different takes from those around me.  And I just wanna know…are we really grateful?

Look at Haiti!! They have hundreds of lives lost in this disaster.  They have more than 60,000 people being housed in government run shelters.  But we have people worried about a single tree down on their property.  I know people who have had to be evacuated.  Parts of Lumberton are under water.  There are people all around us who can not get in or get out of the places they are now…they have to stay put.  There are workers who are risking their lives in order to save the lives of others. These same workers are spending countless hours away from their own homes and families.

I think an immediate change of perspective is in order.  We aren’t really grateful until we are sympathetic.  When we are sympathetic, we are helping to shoulder the burden of those around us that have been devastated.  We are lifting up prayers for those hit hardest and those in need.  We are looking for ways in our communities and neighborhoods in which we can help.

When we are sympathetic, we will be truly grateful…knowing that it could’ve been a different outcome for us.

 

Butterfly Chronicles part 4

Growth to Glory

It’s truly amazing to watch a butterfly exiting out of its chrysalis. It struggles…slowly freeing itself from the place it knew as home for a week or two. It was comfortable there. It was used to being that certain way…hanging upside down from a leaf somewhere…barely noticed by the world around it. Just looking at the chrysalis, it wasn’t much. But that was only the outside. The outside was a cloak…a diversion designed to keep onlookers away….because God wanted its undivided attention.   On the inside you see, God has been doing something spectacular.
POP!!!
And just like that, the butterfly is out. It crawls around, pumping up its wings. No, the wings you see now are nothing. They’re small and wet…crinkled. But as the butterfly crawls around, its wings dry out and expand.  As it begins to take flight…finally fluttering through the air with strengthened wings, God’s glory is revealed!!  With every flash of color, we can behold the magnificence of God’s beautiful creature!!  And with every flap of its wings, it is simply doing exactly what it was created to do….it is displaying the glory of God Almighty!!

The last days…

It’s no secret that we are living in the last days.  With every moment that passes, Christ is closer to returning for His bride. With all of the corrupt actions going on all over the world, we must not neglect the generations that are crying out for truth and something in which to believe. We can’t be ostriches and bury our heads in sand.  We must continue to pursue the fulfillment of our purpose here…to make Him famous…and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.   It is for that exact purpose that I believe with all my heart that our heavenly Father is preparing for a display of glory like never before.

glory-the manifestation of God’s greatness and presence that is awesome to behold.

In Acts 2:17 and 18 in the Amplified version, it says And it shall be in the last days,’ says God,That I will pour out My Spirit upon all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see [divinely prompted] visions, And your old men shall dream [divinely prompted] dreams; Even on My bond-servants, both men and women, I will in those days pour out My Spirit And they shall prophesy.’

We are in the last days and our Heavenly Father is pouring out His spirit upon His children.  His spirit is power!!  So as we cry out to Him…begging Him to send a revival or move across the nations, we must realize that WE are His hands and feet.  The revival starts within us.  We must move if we want to see a mighty move of God.

 

For such a time as this

We must not forget that God will use our time of isolation and experience to serve a purpose.  We each have a destiny…an uniquely beautiful work for which we have been created.  It is for such a time as this that we have been created.  NOW is the time to expand our wings.  NOW is the time for our wings to mature.  NOW is the time to display the glory of our creator.  NOW is the time to go forth in the things God has placed on our hearts.  He has given us power…it is a constant supply.  NOW is the time to follow as He leads.  It’s not about me…it’s not about you…it never has been.  It’s all about Him!!  He gets the glory!  He gets the honor!!  He is to be praised!!

So are you doing your part?

 

Butterfly Chronicles part 3

 

Purpose in the Chrysalis

    ” What we often fail to realize is that, although the chrysalis (or cocoon) stage of our lives seems dark and lonely, the word means “protected stage of development”.  You see, God draws us into what seems like a dark, isolated season of life; but really it is a time of protected development during which we are alone with Him- our audience of one!”

“Dehydrated” by Karen Schatzline

The above is an excerpt from a book I am reading.  And when I read that paragraph, its like something within me began to leap.  Something within me connected with that definition of chrysalis.  Why?  Because I realize that it spoke to my situation!!

Suddenly, that ordeal that I went through…that time when I was at one of my lowest points…that time where I wanted to throw in the towel…that situation that had me wanting to sleep all day….it had new meaning!  Yes, being in the chrysalis is a time of transition for the caterpillar.  It is completely being changed from the caterpillar it was before, to a beautiful and extraordinary butterfly.  But how exciting is it to look at it from the standpoint that God has designed it?  It is a protected stage of development.

Easy?? No way!

Let’s make no assumptions here.  Just because it’s a protected stage of development, doesn’t mean that it will be easy.  In fact, most likely it will be the opposite.  Something will happen to blindside you.  It will take you completely by surprise.  It will definitely be hard.

But it’s in those times that you’ll realize all you need is Jesus.   It’s a protected stage of development…and certain things grow within us under those circumstances. It’s in the darkest times of our lives that our relationship with Christ is forged. Just as Mrs. Schatzline said above, He is our audience of one.  But vice versa is also true.  He’s our audience of one…and He has our undivided attention.

Inside of the chrysalis, the former caterpillar is literally giving up all that it was to become all that God destined it to be.  And the same thing happens to us.  During this hard time, we have the opportunity to regain focus.  As our relationship with God becomes more intimate,  we get the chance to know His heart…to get a glimpse of our destiny…and we in turn give up what we were…we release those past hurts and issues ..those erroneous thoughts…we give all that up…to reach our destiny and glorify God.

Growth from Adversity

It may be adversity that brings about the starting of your time in the chrysalis, but believe me, the growth God desires for us WILL take place.  Sometimes its hard seeing the growth within ourselves…but people have been watching.  Things you used to do, you don’t think about them anymore.  There is a boldness about you.  The same situations that you would shy away from, you face them head on.

I know this from experience.  The last few years haven’t been the best…or the easiest…especially the last 6 or 7 months.  But I wouldn’t trade them for what I now have with God.  I know it was God that allowed some beautiful women around me share how much growth they’ve seen in me.  They’ve encouraged me to keep seeking God because He is causing me to blossom.  God has used a chrysalis situation to transform me.  I have a confidence that I’ve never known before.  And it’s not based on my abilities but founded on what Christ can do through me.  I know that God loves me…period.  Nothing I’ve done or will do can change that…I can’t earn it…and I can’t lose it…He simply loves me.    I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.  I’m an asset to the body of Christ because God has placed within me an unique brand of beautiful.  And He has done the same for you!!

He’s Intentional

I’m so glad I serve an intentional God.  That situation Satan designed to brake you or make you lose your mind…is the same one that God can use to put you into a protected stage of development.  Brothers and sisters, if that is where you find yourself right now, don’t fret!!  Hunker down and get intimate with your heavenly Father.  You won’t regret it!!

 

 

Butterfly Chronicles (part 2)

It’s In There

When a caterpillar enters its chrysalis, something amazing happens!  The caterpillar itself becomes a liquid.  Enzymes within the chrysalis activate the cells in the caterpillar liquid to become their perspective butterfly parts such as wings, antennae, and eyes.  God, our creator, in His mighty power, has all this packed into the contents of the tiny little egg before it even becomes the caterpillar or the butterfly.

Relating to us

We would be fools to think that the same thing our Heavenly Father has done in the above example doesn’t happen to us in some sort of way.  The word of God says that He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness.  So everything we need has already been given to us by our Heavenly Father.

Bare with me a moment as I jump into my math world for a second.  In math, there is something we call the transitive property of equality.  It states that if a=b and b=c, then a=c.  And now we’ll go back to us.  God, our heavenly Father, has made His home on the inside of us at salvation.  God is everything we need, from love to joy, peace and authority, and so on.  So, if God is in us, and God is all those things, then all those things are in us because He is.  It’s in there…because He is!!!

Activating what’s within

The cells within the chrysalis stay just plain caterpillar goo until enzymes activate in God’s timing for the butterfly parts to be formed. So if what’s in us needs activation, how does that come about?  Declaration.

To declare is defined as to say something in a strong and confident way.  Proverbs 18:21 NIV says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those that love it will eat its fruit”.  So our heavenly Father has given us this power and like any power, if can be used for good or bad.  Many times we speak headaches and flat tires over ourselves nonchalantly…and we then, are left wondering what happened.  And what happened was simply our own fault!!!

If we are going to activate some things in our lives, we must do it the right way.  Declaration is not some “name it, claim it” rigmarole to get a bunch of material things.  We must declare things of God over ourselves…and over our families…even our country.  We declare and thank God for bringing those things to fruition.

So let’s get to activating what God has given us!!

 

 

Butterfly Chronicles (part 1)

For several months now, God has been using butterflies to teach me some lessons.  It has been on my heart to begin to share these lessons here in a series of posts I’ve decided to call Butterfly Chronicles.  I can not say for sure how many parts there will be right now but I pray you will gain something just as I have.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made…Entirely

Butterflies.  We often find them to be such beautiful creatures.  From their color to their gentleness, they are definitely a sight to behold.  But we don’t really hear too much about how they are before they get to that beautiful creature we enjoy seeing.  You know…the caterpillar.  Those funky, sometimes fuzzy little creatures  we see crawling from leaf to leaf…or used by some little boy to chase that little girl he likes.  And we can’t forget about the chrysalis stage of the butterfly’s life…that awkward transitional stage.  It could be ugly..or nasty to onlookers…but that’s only if they notice it at all.  But in it all, God has purpose…no part of it’s life is a waste…and the same holds true for you and me.

Sometimes we’d like to think that certain events in our lives just don’t matter- that they are useless.  Or Satan would have us believing we are good for nothing in our current state.  He wants us to think that mistake we made yesterday somehow made us unworthy of receiving the promises of God in Christ.  And that’s just NOT true at all. The truth is we are fearfully and wonderfully made..entirely.  God sees the end from the beginning…which is why we can be both a masterpiece and work in progress all at the same time.  While I am in the process of becoming, I must already be declaring what He says I am.

A Problem with Our Thinking

I had a teacher in high school that would always end the class by telling us all to “have a day”.  Day after day of hearing her say that, someone finally asked her what it meant.  And she explained that she said it in that manner because the kind of day we had was completely up to us.

Now, I want you to think back to a day you went home after being out all day at work or whatever.  Someone greets you and then asks “how was your day?”.  How do you answer?  I would say 7 out of 10 times, people judge their day by some defining event that stuck out to them.  The event could be good or bad….it could be an event that actually lasted a few minutes, yet we would give it the power to overshadow our entire day.

So it’s our thinking that’s the problem.  And if we do this with just everyday things, you know we continue the pattern elsewhere.

You ARE NOT that event!!

Let’s take a look at this issue on a bigger scale.  I don’t know about you, but I find myself doing the same sort of thinking with my life.  I take one event and judge the value of the rest of my life based on that one temporary moment.  MISTAKE!!!

A preacher came to my church to speak while my pastor is out of the country.  During the message he said “Just because you failed at something does not make you a failure!”.  That really stuck with me.  How many times do we count ourselves out of blessings because of something that happened in the past?!?!   We mess up relationships…afraid someone will find out our secret and hate us.  Thus we let that event rule our lives.

Well I have news:  You ARE NOT that event!!  You ARE NOT what happened to you!!  You ARE NOT what you did!! You may have been molested as a child. You are not that event.  You may have done drugs.  You are not that event.  You may have had an abortion.  You are not that event!!   You may have failed at somethings…I know I have…but I AM NOT  A FAILURE!!!  Neither are you.

The Good News

God says we are fearfully and wonderfully made…entirely!  The value of our lives shouldn’t be based on that mistake we made yesterday or even years ago.  The value of my life…was measured at Christ’s death and was multiplied at His resurrection!!  It isn’t because I’m so worthy.  But it’s because He is.  He thought I was worth dying for.  And He rose so I could be seated in heavenly places with Him.  He rose so I could be a joint heir with Him.  And He did the same for you.

So whatever stage of the butterfly life cycle you may find yourself, know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made…entirely!!  And God will not let any part of your life go to waste. Romans 8:28 NIV says:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

So it doesn’t matter what event seems to overshadow our current stage or that stage of the past.  When we serve God…when we love God and seek His will, all those things work together for our good.

Don’t Prolong Your Night

I heard from Him….

It happened and I was miserable.  It was written all over my face so there was no hiding that something was wrong.  I didn’t know what to do.  I just wanted to sleep all day long…or at least stay in my room, locked away and hidden.  Why? Because I was in pain…heartbroken…and on the verge of a deep depression.  I could feel it coming…and felt completely powerless to prevent it from pulling me in.

But then, I heard from Him!  My Heavenly Father…the one who new exactly what I was going through…exactly what I was feeling…the one who lovingly waited for me to simply look to Him and call.  He spoke….and He said “Don’t prolong your night”.

Psalms 30:5b says “Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning”.  To prolong means to “cause to continue longer”.  I couldn’t even make excuses….because that’s exactly what I was doing.  I had done nothing to get to that “but joy” moment.

Avoidance

Certain people who knew what was really going on took the time to check on me often.  “How are you?”  “What are you feeling?”  Those are questions I heard all too often.  And my answer would be “I don’t know” for awhile.  The truth is, I was feeling a lot of things…a range.  I was scared of how  I would react to really let those things out…and at the same time, I had no idea if what I was feeling was okay.  So I simply avoided feeling them at all.  I wouldn’t open up about how I felt..I kept it all inside… and adding to my own misery..thus prolonging my night.

Isolation

I began to isolate myself.  I wanted to be alone.  I didn’t want to be around anyone…didn’t want to be seen.   Even those things I found joy doing, I didn’t want to venture out to do things.  Going anywhere became a chore.  And even getting up in the morning and getting ready to do anything,  it became a last minute dash.  I became more content than ever to simply slip into the surroundings of anywhere I found myself being…because it was easier…if you’re not seen, people can’t ask you a bunch a questions…questions I had no answers to.  “How are you?” can be such hard question to answer when you don’t know what to say.   Thus, just being alone was a great way to prevent having to answer it at all.

 
I was prolonging my night by not reaching out for help. I was prolonging my misery by having a pity party. I was making a camp in distressed land….but that was so far from what God had for me. We don’t face storms to just hunker down and get rained on. We are meant to move through them. Keep moving family…because that “but joy” moment isn’t as far as you think!