To all my faithful followers and readers of this blog: Thank You. I appreciate you more than you know. May you have a very blessed Thanksgiving!
To all my faithful followers and readers of this blog: Thank You. I appreciate you more than you know. May you have a very blessed Thanksgiving!
“God never sets us up to fail – only to grow.”
I don’t know about you, but my walk with God isn’t easy and at times, it requires a fight. It’s hard to persevere and not give up. In I Timothy 1:18, the Apostle Paul encourages his spiritual son Timothy, who is pastoring the church in Ephesus. “Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight.” I find two strategies in this verse on how to remain faithful.
The first one is Paul’s instruction. Our marching orders primarily come from the Word of God. When I am seeking God for His direction or for clarification regarding His will, I begin with reading and meditating on God’s Word. We can find no better truth than what’s in the Bible. If you need help following God, start by reading His word.
The second nugget of wisdom I found, is to keep the prophetic words spoken over me on the front burner of my mind. Not only does the Word of God buoy my faith and help me persevere in my walk with God and all He’s called me to, but also the prophetic words others have given to me help build my faith and determination. It’s the combination of the logos and the rhema words, that keep me keeping on. If I follow both, I will fight the good fight.
A few months ago I read Bill Johnson’s book, Strengthen Yourself in the Lord. In it he encouraged the readers to write down on 3×5 cards the promises and prophecies spoken over them. He gave instruction to read them often and to meditate or “mutter them aloud.” He also suggested we regularly read portions of Scripture that the Holy Spirit has quickened to our hearts. Bill carries these promises with him so when he has a few spare moments, he’s able to remind himself about God’s truth regarding himself.
Bill Johnson writes: “When we treasure His promises by holding them close to our heart and anchoring our soul in them through prayerful meditation, we are demonstrating that we believe they are true, and we are showing practical trust in the One who has given them to us.”
In order to fight the good fight, we must be infused with His fuel: the Word of God and His prophetic words spoken over us.
“I can’t afford to have thoughts in my head about me that God doesn’t have in His. It’s impossible to be consistently effective in fulfilling His purposes unless I am continually training my mind to think of myself according to what God says about me.”
Make a list of God’s personal logos and rhema words He’s given to you. Declare them aloud.
“The root of all steadfastness is in consecration to God.”
Anyone can start a race well, but few finish well, in the race called life. King Uzziah got off to a great start, but when his success raised the ugly head of pride, he sinned and reaped the consequence of leprosy. (II Chronicles 26). Success can lead to pride, which leads to sin. But Uzziah’s son Jotham, observed what had happened to his dad and chose instead to fear the Lord. “Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God” (II Chronicles 27:2). Jotham’s firm belief and faithfulness to God gave him authority.
A dear friend of mine passed away recently, just 48 days shy of her 101st birthday. Germaine was like Jotham, steadfast and loyal to God. She was a powerful intercessor, full of faith and without fear of the enemy. Germaine had the gift of discernment and ministered deliverance through prayer. Many women who struggled with infertility, were able to give birth, after Germaine had prayed.
One of the qualities I admired most about Germaine was her deep intimacy with the Lord. She loved Jesus more than anyone I know. Her obedience, as well as the glass covered photo of Jesus marked up by her lipstick kisses, proved her love for the Lord. What God told her to do, she did, even if she didn’t want to.
Germaine knew who God was and who she was in her relationship as His daughter. Because her identity was firmly attached to Christ, she walked in her God-given authority and was free to be who God created her to be. She feared God, which left no room to fear man.
Germaine didn’t just start her Christian race well as a 48-year old, but kept interceding for hours and mentoring others for the rest of her life. I would love to hang with her and told her often, “When I grow up, I want to be just like you!”
These past few years, more than anything else, Germaine longed to be with the Lover of her soul. Yet, she knew God had her still on earth for a purpose. Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,” summarized her life.
Yes, many start their race well, but few finish well to get the prize. Germaine, thank you for being one of the few. Your legacy will live on.
“Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing.”
How can you intentionally be steadfast with the Lord so you finish your race well?
“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat…”
Years ago I went through a season when I felt forgotten by God. I had physical pain from a herniated disc, as well as spiritual and emotional distress from not having a clear purpose in life. I floundered as I tried to see through my confusion and depression, and felt God had placed me high up on a shelf, only to be forgotten. I now know that was a lie from the enemy to discourage and to distance me from God. Hannah struggled with similar feelings as a result of her barrenness.
In I Samuel 1:11, Hannah cried out to God, “…if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son…” God answered her prayer in verse nineteen. “Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.” I can imagine how encouraged and comforted Hannah must have been.
I experienced similar emotions last Christmas when my daughter gave me a bookmark made by a friend from ministry school. On it was a prophetic word that God heard my prayers and will answer them. Tears instantly came to my eyes. Knowing that God had not forgotten, but remembered my prayers for loved ones, gave me an anchor of hope.
It was at one of my lowest moments, when I felt overlooked, that God showed me He remembered me. I was picking up mentoring material at Body Life Ministries, when the founder, Rick Waymire, gave me a tour of his facility. As he showed me the various ministries he supplied printed and audio material to, I asked him how I could become one of them. Rick then prophesied and I wept. That began what eventually became Restoring Hearts Ministry.
Even though I felt forsaken, God had never left me. Even though I felt abandoned and neglected, high up on a shelf, God remembered me. And even though I felt useless, God was working quietly within me, to form His character, for what He had up His sleeve next.
When you struggle, remember: God has not forgotten you. He hears, remembers, and will answer your prayers.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
In what area of your life are you like Hannah, desperately crying out to God to answer your prayer? Rest in the fact that God remembers you. Thank Him ahead for His answers to prayer.
“The destiny of every human being depends on his relationship to Jesus Christ.”
When asked to give a report on the exploration of Canaan, God’s promise land, ten out of the twelve spies focused on the negative and hooked into their fears. Their response influenced the rest of the Israelites to weep, grumble, and rebel, even to the point of wanting to return to slavery in Egypt. But Joshua and Caleb responded differently. “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us” (Numbers 14:7-8).
Caleb and Joshua answered Moses and the community through their eyes of faith and they spoke what they knew was true. The truth was: 1) The land was extremely good, 2) When God is pleased with their obedience then He will lead His people into the land He promised them, and 3) God will give them the land.
Like Moses, Joshua and Caleb, had a closer relationship with God and knew Him better than the rest of the Israelites. Their assessment of the land was more accurate because they had a greater revelation of God’s character.
Moses, Joshua, and Caleb knew:
Likewise, when we know who God is and who we are in relationship with Him, as His sons and daughters, then we know He is for us and is a good, good, Father. The result is we’ll assume the position of a victor and take the land He’s promised to us.
Going after God’s destiny, isn’t always a piece of cake. The Israelites still had battles to fight after they crossed over into Canaan. So too, there may be difficulties as we take possession of our promise land and fulfill our destinies. But it will be well worth it.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice.”
“Fear can keep a man out of danger, but courage can support him in it.”
In I Chronicles 28:20, David gave his son Solomon a charge. “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” David spoke from personal experience, of knowing who God had been to him.
David, obeying God’s command, entrusted his son with the responsibility of building God’s temple. I can only imagine how overwhelmed and fearful Solomon must have been with that task. In essence, the purpose of this mini pep talk from a father to his son, encouraged Solomon’s heart and strengthened his resolve.
The secret to courage in this passage, lies within the promise that God is with us. It’s God’s presence which gives us what we need to face our fears. And not only does God promise to be with us, He assures us He will not leave us nor fail us. Some of us have experienced abandonment, but God will never desert us. In fact, God will help us be successful in obeying His will for our lives.
Each time I have had to face my fears of change, loneliness, and challenges in areas I thought there’s no way I can do this, God comes alongside of me, reassuring me that WE, He and I together, are totally capable of completing it. It’s God’s presence that gives me the courage, strength, determination, and the ability to accomplish what He desires. As I reflect upon the mountains He’s placed in front of me to climb, I am humbled and grateful for His promise to be with me.
“The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.”
“What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.”
During this season of writing dormancy, it’s easy to become discouraged. As I declutter and pack boxes, to ready our house to sell, I wonder how I will fulfill God’s destiny to mentor the masses. But then I read one of my favorite passages, Romans 4:20-21, and my hope is renewed. “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.”
The verses before that passage, describe how Abraham knew that his and Sarah’s bodies were old, “as good as dead,” yet he still believed and had unwavering faith. The reason Abraham believed was because his faith rested in who God was. Abraham knew his God was a promise keeper, one who did what He said He would do. Abraham’s absolute faith wasn’t in his or Sarah’s ability to pull off God’s promise that they would have offspring as numerous as the stars, (Genesis 15:5). Rather, it was in the fact that God was all powerful.
When I read this story it causes me to desire to have that same, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt kind of faith. I want absolute faith to permeate my whole being and to be fully persuaded that God’s promises for my family and my destiny, will be satisfied. I don’t want so much as a hint of uncertainty to enter my mind or heart.
I can depend on Him to be a God who stands by what He says, because He has proven Himself to be faithful over and over again in my life. God will do what He said He would do. Even though my focus, time, and energy is elsewhere and I am unable to work on larger writing projects, I am fully persuaded that one day, God will complete His call to mentor the masses. Because God has the power to do whatever He has promised.
“Belief is truth held in the mind; faith is fire in the heart.”
Joseph Fort Newton
“Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.”
J. I. Packer
We get to know God by spending time with Him in the Word and by experiencing Him. Before David became King, he faced and fought the giant Goliath. His older brothers and others more mature in the army were too afraid to take up that challenge. Even though David was much younger, he knew who God was experientially. God was there when as a shepherd, David killed a lion and a bear. David could testify to God’s faithfulness, strength, and protection. Because David knew God, he trusted Him to kill Goliath.
We get to know people by spending time with them and going through the ups and downs of life together. Because of my history with one friend in particular, I know whenever she faces adversity, she gives God thanks. I trust that the next time she comes upon a bump in the road, she will respond in the same way.
Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.” When I’m fearful and up against a giant, I reflect back on how God has intervened in my life. I get to know God’s character, nature, and attributes when I see who He is through my history. Observing how God came through for me in my past, gives me faith for today and for the future ahead.
When I remember who God is, I’m able to rest, assured He will be the same in the next situation. Because it’s God’s nature to be faithful, I know He will show Himself faithful again. He took care of me and my needs in the past, when a year ago, I had endometrial cancer, and a heart attack six years before that. Therefore, He will do that again in my future. I know who God is, and as a result, I place my trust in Him.
“There is but one thing in the world really worth pursuing-the knowledge of God.”
Robert Hugh Benson