Posts Tagged faith

Seasons, Change and Transition

seasons, change, transition“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

I moved to my current location almost seven years ago, totally convinced of this verse from Genesis 12:1-2 . . . The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”  And because I left financial security and a successful ministry, many suggested that perhaps I misunderstood the call. Yes, it has been a tumultuous journey, but I have never doubted my decision. I am in the right place–at the right time–for such a time as this!

This is also my seventh year here and I believe that the number seven means “change” and/or “completion.” It is clear that I am in a new season in my life. It is a time of much change and spiritual restlessness that prevents me from doing anything “as usual.”  My life is clearly in a state of transition.

For months, I desperately prayed for spiritual guidance and for understanding of my purpose. Daily I cried, “Lord, what do you want me to do? Where do I go from here?” I can only say, God hears and answers every prayer, but God’s Ways and Timing are not ours.

Recently, when I was severely pressed, stressed and stretched about the state of my life, I received an email from Alicia Britt Chole, which included excerpts from her book, Pure Joy. The devotional message is below in its entirety.

Transition…Where one season concludes and another commences…When our heart is journeying from one place of service to another…The path connecting who we are with who we will be.
During transitions we uproot and replant our sense of purpose, of value, of self. Between what was and what will be we often feel vulnerable, uncertain, and exposed.
Like Abraham, the Father calls us to “leave and go.” This journey from what is known to what only God can see is the journey of faith. Our map in such a journey is a two-word sentence: “Follow Me!”
We miss many a treasure when we attempt to avoid or rush through these seasons of change. Transitions refine our character and re-awaken our faith.

Needless to say, I rejoiced when I read these words. They answered so many questions I had struggled with and I heard God’s voice more clearly than I had in many years. I understood what God was doing in and through me here. I realized anew that The Holy One kept me through every season and in every place–ALL OF MY LIFE.  As Chole further noted and I agree, “once again [I] must choose the path of dependence and remember that [my] true home is found not in a place but in a Person, our faithful God” who has been with me all the time. I know without a doubt, that I am here for a reason–for this very time and season. I realize this because of an old song my grandmother taught me years ago,which says: “Time is filled with swift transition. None on earth GOD moves can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal and hold to God’s unchanging hand.”

seasons, change, transition

Admittedly, because of the blessing of long life and experience–“I’m old,” I began to think more highly of myself than I ought to think and believed I knew more than I know. But as someone once said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Seasons of change and transition, remind us that we could not survive one nanosecond without God. We must then “reassess our sense of purpose” and “choose again the path of dependence.”

Nothing God allows is ever wasted. Change prepared me for “such a time as this” and to trust God even more.

season, change, transition

It’s a new season and a new day–with a fresh anointing and purpose. But most of all, it’s a Blessing to  know that no matter where I am physically located, my true home, as Chole reminded me, “is found not in a place but in a person, our faithful God.”

Beloveds, Where are you in the season of your life? What changes do you sense in your spirit? Are you satisfied with where you are?

PRAYER:
Father, I acknowledge my weariness in well-doing and trying to “RUN” through the “gift” of life. I know now that You were simply calling me to continue to be faithful and to “WALK” in closer fellowship with YOU every day.” But most of all, thank you for the reminder (no matter life’s season) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”I receive this Word and I thank you for your patience. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen

 

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Faith Crises

531885_10152737558830548_698060325_nBut without faith it is impossible to please Him . . . .”  Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

FAITH is utterly important to God and, if the truth be told, we have all experienced, are experiencing, or will experience many faith crises in our lives. Crises of faith can be momentary, seasonal, or long-lasting, but for certain they will come.

Faith Crises are those despairing moments when we  navigate life’s storm-tossed seas unmindful of the Master’s presence.

They are times when we earnestly need Jesus’ Prayer that our faith will not fail us.

They are those critical instants when we can only say, “Lord, I believe, but help thou my unbelief.”

They are the crucial moments after suffering great losses, when we must know that GOD IS ALL WE NEED!!

They are times when it is good to remember our “God Moments .”

Faith Crises are TESTS. They are TESTS to trust God’s plan and God’s timing  for our lives and they must be taken until passed. 

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As we walk our paths of faith, we soon discover that we are placed in situations to need miracles and only God can perform them. And many times, as Alicia Britt Chole submits, sometimes we are “cornered into helplessness,” where NO ONE can help us but God! When we appear down for the count, it is important for others to witness the glory of God in our deliverance.

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What do you do when you do not know what to do? What do you do when you are at the proverbial “Red Sea,”the enemy is on your heels and the impossible is stretched before you? How will you navigate  these critical crossroads of faith? God says, “Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD–Either you trust me or you don’t!”

Beloveds, these are challenging times that test our spirits, our sanity and most of all our faith. Times will come when we are pressed on every side, with nowhere to run and nowhere to look but up. How will the Lord respond to us: “O ye of little faith . . . ,” or  “I have not seen so great a faith. . . .”

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” We must Believe because God is faithful even when our faith waivers or wanes. And the Best News is, God has promised “NOTHING is impossible to those who believe.”

PRAYER:  Father, thank you for the Grace to live past my moments of despair. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3

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Be Careful What You Pray For

395603_544513075600432_819642870_nBe careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6-7

I prayed for God’s guidance in knowing my purpose. I was experiencing so much pain in my life I thought I could not be in God’s will. For years, I looked for some great mission statement or special career path to reassure me I was on the right track, but discovered my purpose was simply to: Do all the good I can, in all the ways I can, while I can. That’s it — nothing more or anything less. Of course my prayer was heard immediately, but God only spoke when I was ready to listen. He then answered in His own time and way.

I have learned through personal trials, that struggle and tribulation aid us in learning, growing, and glorifying God’s Name. And the more we endure and overcome, the more God can use us to accomplish His work. These words of Apostle Paul, taught in 2nd Corinthians 12:9, comfort me, “And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

It is the testing of our faith that pleases God (James 1:3) and unshakable faith comes from having our faith shaken.  Our part is simply TO ASK in prayer. Whether God answers, or we feel that God answers, is irrelevant. We must pray about everything, placing all matters into God’s hands, and resting in the assurance that the Lord will handle them.

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God will not move our mountains, but He will give us the strength to climb them.  We may have to go through valleys, but He will walk with us every step of the way. No matter what we are going through, we can count on God. If God said He will feed you – set the table and get ready to eat. I can witness with David, “I have been young and now am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed begging for bread.” What I have seen in my lifetime has enabled me trust God for all I have not seen.  Our God never slumbers nor sleeps. Neither does God play games nor waste time. I may not know what’s ahead but I know that God has been better than good to me thus far, and I don’t believe He would bring me this far to leave me now.

Be careful what you pray for. You may never get what you ask for or think you want; and, what you get may not be what you expected, but one thing is certain — God will always give you what you need.

Consider this ageless (anonymous) poem: 

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life
.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

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Pray without ceasing. Make your requests known to God and receive God’s peace. If you are experiencing a Divine delay, it does not always mean a denial. It very likely means God is increasing your faith or patience and maybe there is even something greater for you than your requestPraise God for what you understand and praise God even more for what you don’t understand, because God understands everything. Walk in quiet confidence knowing no matter how things appear, “. . . in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

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WHAT ABOUT SATURDAY?

530201_518804881498870_1932376402_n“And they returned and prepared spices and ointments and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment, Luke 23:56

The Saturday of Holy Week is that day sandwiched between “Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.  It is the transitional time between doubt and faith. It is a bridge between tragedy and triumph when there is no choice but to cope with what is in between.  It’s that gray day of uncertainty about what’s going to happen next and how things will work out. God willing, we can deal with Saturday!!

Jesus said, “I’m going to be handed over to the enemy.” “I am going to be crucified.” “The Elders are going to deliver me up.” But then also said, “Don’t be concerned about all of that because on the third day I will be raised!!  He told them, “Yes, I’m going to be crucified.” “Yes. I’m going to die.”  But for some reason that’s all they heard. Maybe it was because after everything negative had spoken, they couldn’t hear the truth of what God was saying.

Isn’t that what happens to us? Life speaks discouragement and negativity and we listen intently as if it has the last word. Sometimes, it’s the doctor who speaks words we rather not hear, the funeral director speaks, the judge speaks, pain speaks, heartbreak speaks, the bill collector speaks, jobs speak, spouses speak, friends speak, and even our children speak. And with all that speaking, somehow we miss what God is saying!! But make no mistake; God is always saying something–even on Saturday to remind us in our waiting, worrying and wondering – God is still working!!

Saturday will remain that transitional time between Friday and Sunday. But will it be for you, a day of angst and uncertainty or a day of Sabbath rest? Saturday is not dark and gray—cloudy or uncertain. It is live and in living color. It is a time of anticipation and celebration in honor of the Love that would not let us go!!!  In fact the promise is,

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Saturday is the day that the Lord has made.  Let’s rejoice and be glad in it because our   SAVIOR LIVES and because HE LIVES—we live to  face our tomorrows!!

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A Prayer for A New Year

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

prayerHAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
A simple prayer from my heart to yours for a new year.

I PRAY:
Strength
for your journey
Light for your way
Healing for your hurts
Hope in your despair
Comfort in your fears and
Laughter in your tears.

I pray God’s Love will draw you ever nearer;
Empower you to see Him clearer and enable you to
Love Him even more than you loved at first.
To the end that your peace will be Perfect and
your faith will never fail.

And so, I leave you with a Scripture that daily Blesses me in my walk with the Lord. It will benefit you to memorize it and hide it in your own heart in the challenging days to come. It is found in the third chapter of the Book of Proverbs, verses 5, 6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” 

May God’s Grace and Favor rest upon you with every precious breath. Now and always. For Jesus’ Christ’s sake, I pray.  Amen

Be Blessed,

 

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Tests

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

These are indeed testing times in and out of school settings.  During this season, the young people are stressed–everything they have learned since the beginning of the school year will decide their next move.  Even the brightest students seem concerned.  On this day, the building is eerily quiet as the students complete their examinations.  Shortly after, they learn their grades.  One group of  students asks a young man his grade. He replies, “a 70” and they laugh. He immediately responds, “at least I passed.” Isn’t that really what’s important?  That you make the grade.  That you recall everything you have learned and have done your best?

Admittedly, these are difficult times for everyone everywhere, but why are we surprised?  Jesus warned His Disciples that times would be hard and that their faith would be tested.  Tests, even for Christian believers are hard, but they are necessary to check and assess our spiritual growth and to measure our faith.  In essence, to prove whether we truly believe what we profess or simply profess that we believe.

Through the years, I have discovered that God works best in difficult times. I have found too, that no matter what I am going through, God has already made a way for me.  I have no doubt that I have been anointed to finish my course and I will never quit.  In fact, I have been through too much to give up now.   Friends, storms will come, so you might as well prepare.  I am sure we would prefer they didn’t, but it is not our destiny for God to remove obstacles from our lives.  That’s our desire.  Grace is our destiny.  The One who allows our tests also proctors and grades them. And one thing I can tell you with assurance is that not only is our God fair but is faithful!

Tests, trials, and especially storms, are to strengthen our faith in the One who controls all things.  Strangely enough, there are lessons in every painful circumstance, situation, and trying moment. Life is a grand classroom of learning experiences. We must be attentive and study, study, study because there will be no makeup exams or “do overs.”

Once we know something, we become accountable for what we know and at various points in life we will be tested on that knowledge.  The grade will not matter. What will matter is that we have done our best on the test.  “Testing times” are times to realize that the God who brought us through one test, if God wills, can bring us through the next and the next.  And if we have faithfully done our very best, then we can look for the greatest passing grade — Well done!!

The “enemy of our souls” told Job (one of God’s great men of faith), “I am going to break you with your test,” but God said, “No, I’m going to make you with it.” Job excelled to the end, graduated with Honors, and assures us with his enduring testimony, “He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 (NIV)

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Don’t Give Up

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  Psalm 61:2 (King James Version)

Have you ever teetered on the brink of something you thought you could not endure? Suffered a devastating loss? Received a frightening diagnosis?  I have, but as long I have been in ministry; as well as I knew the Scriptures.  As strong as I believed my trust was in the Lord, like the Psalmist, my heart became overwhelmed.  Despite how faithful God had been to me, my faith became feeble. Many times I thought my heart would break and that I had nothing to live for.  There were times when I  felt like giving up.  I wanted to give up.  I almost gave up, but thanks be to God I did not give up and the Blessings have been too many to count. The key was knowing where to go in the time of trouble. Like David, I cried in prayer to the Rock of Ages and every time  the Lord heard my cry.  After all, who understood better what I was going through than “the Stone” that the builders rejected?”

This is a song of David.  Yes, King David, the “man after God’s own heart.”  David admits here that his heart is (not just full), but overwhelmed.  In other words, (if I can use my imagination), I believe he is saying, this thing is more than I can take.  I am at my wit’s end. This situation is too much for me. It is beyond my strength.  If you are familiar with David’s story, you know that this was not the first time David had been in this place.  But while he began many of his songs with tears, he always ended them with praise.  In fact, the Scriptures help us understand, no one is exempt from suffering in this life.  But the  promise is, we will never go through it alone. The Lord has said, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). I constantly remind myself no matter how things seem in these perilous times, there is “nothing new under the sun,” and that everything that is happening now has happened before to countless others who have come through victoriously because they trusted in God.

If I can leave you with anything today, it is to urge you to trust and hope in the Lord no matter what you are going through.  Pray about your situation — sleep on it and if God wills, tomorrow will be a new and brighter day.  Whatever you do, don’t give up Look up.  And as a friend once advised me at a low point in my life, “when you get to the end of your rope — tie a knot in it and just hold on!” Hold on to the One who “knows your frame.”   Hold on to the One who will catch you every time you fallGet a good grip and rest in the safety and security that only the Lord can give.

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