inspiring faith

Sometimes when I need a bit of a spiritual kick in the rear, I head to pinterest and read my Loving Him board.  It’s almost like a spiritual truth jam session… packing my brain full of encouragement, hope, (truth), and love.

Here are a few of my favorites!

Let the words...from etsy shop MsDsSigns

godsapproval

Unconditional Love

Chrystal Evans Hurst

forgiveness

You are Good!

just as i am

boom.

todays letters

Hope one of these spoke to you today!

i have this dream…

Dreams.

I would definitely consider myself a dreamer.  I like to think about things. I like to dream about things that will probably never happen.  I like to just sit in the fantasy of “what if”.

We have a small stream on our property that empties into a little pond.  The pond is only 8 feet deep, but it’s waters are dark and murky and still.  As I would sit in my living room and look over at the pond on a cool fall day, I would see something different.

Lazy River poolsFBimage from Kuykendall – Lazy Rivers

 A lazy river. You know, the kind that are in fancy waterparks?  With people on big inner-tubes just relaxing and going round and round, moved lazily along by the jets in the water.  The river would be small, but it would empty into a perfectly round pool (that was the former pond), similar to the image above.

I know in my heart of hearts that we will never be putting a lazy river on our property.  We live in Minnesota.  We are not millionaires.  And lazy rivers are pretty darn impractical for many reasons.

It’s safe to say that I have no hope of that BIG HUGE CRAZY idea becoming a reality.

But I still love to dream about it.

audrey-backyard

 

I am reminded of how much God wants to give me the desires of my heart, but so thankful that He already knows what I need.

Maybe He already knows that many memories will be made on the long winding trails by adventurous little kids with endless imaginations and courage. That clubs will be formed and pacts made and discoveries of nests and bugs and new flowers will create far more lasting reflections than concrete and chlorine.

I love that He can see beyond worldly (and sometimes selfish) desires.  That He doesn’t provide something simply because I ask.  That all things, good and bad, will be used to strengthen our relationship and bond.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

He created me.  He knows me better than I know myself.  And He knows exactly what will truly fulfill me.

I have another dream.  And that is that someday the desires of my heart will be in line with God’s will.

Now that is a worthy dream.

 

saying i’m sorry

It seems to me that I grow most in my walk with Christ when I am eating crow.

Having to sit back, recognize that I have made a mistake, that I need to seek forgiveness and repentance… its humbling. (to say the least)

This poem comes to mind:

i am a christian

 

Those last three lines are pretty powerful.

Tonight I am thankful for His forgiveness.

Sharing Faith the Duck Dynasty Way

I am a new convert to Duck Dynasty.

Duck Dynasty

I really like the show… its funny, its interesting, and all the people on it seem real. Like, really real.

But my favorite thing about it is the story behind the people.

They love the Lord and they testify His name.

They go on national television is proclaim the way of Jesus of Galilee.  They share the true message of the Gospel.

And I cant help but think its totally awesome.

Have you seen Duck Dynasty?  What do you think of the unabashed proclamation of God’s holy word?

(check out some funny Duck Dynasty quotes here!  They are also on facebook in case you want to follow along)

 

An Apology

I have been getting caught up in the world lately.

When someone I thought was a friend lied publically about me, I obsessed about it for weeks.  I lost sleep.  Spent precious time methodically defending myself.  Lost time with my family because I just had to prove their lies wrong.

Who was the loser?  Me.  I failed to recognize that Jesus is in control of my reputation.

When I witnessed a great injustice that affected many of my blogging friends, I jumped in and did everything I could to correct that injustice.  Time was spent writing and researching and planning the best ways to Make TRUTH Known!

Hundreds of times since then my integrity has been questioned and I have been threatened with law suits and malicious threats meant to scare and deter.  Bitterness has crept in with every angry ignorant comment made about the issue.  Soon, seeing people as God’s children and loving them as He calls me too became a distant memory.  I couldn’t even see their perspective in it I was so wrapped up in fighting the fight.

God was an afterthought.

Then the world.  You know, because its my job to make the world a better place.  There is so much evil and lies in the world.  Seeing people whom I thought were Christians perpetuating and encouraging and falling for Satan’s lies has been a Great Discourager.  I am getting so caught up in what other people are thinking and saying and doing, and again, allowing the bitterness and the evil creep in and eat away at the Joy I know through Him.  That saying “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders” seems to apply now more than ever.

Sad truth alert:

Focusing on the sins of others is a fantastic way to forget the sins in my own life.

Try to not judge...

image from christianfunnypictures.com

What I am coming to realize is that my faith has be fruitful.  Others need to SEE my actions and know whom I serve.

The reality is, my actions are not fruitful, they are self serving.

And I want to say I am sorry.

But dwelling in a pit of shame and bitterness is certainly not helping me nor anyone else.  So here is how I am choosing to handle this from now on out.

These trials should be turning me towards the Savior.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2–4 (ESV)

 

 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35–39 (ESV)

 

We are meant to be more than conquerors!  God knows we will face trials and stumble and fall.  What is important is what you do after you fall.

Will I stay down?  Or will I look up?

Today, I choose to look up.  To stand up.  Even if I am standing alone! :)

 

Do You Expect God to Do What You Pray?

Let me get real down and dirty here.

I dont know what to pray.

In August my Father in Law died suddenly of a heart condition.  Six months later my husband was diagnosed with the same condition.  So I prayed, “Dear Lord, we trust you with Chad.  Whatever Your will, may it be done.”

I re-evaluated our lives and tried to pinpoint sin.  I had conversations with God about acceptance and faith.  I told God, ” I believe that You will only bring us through trials to draw us closer to You and further Your kingdom.  Its all about Your glorification.”

That is what I am supposed to say right?  That is what I am supposed to believe?  I mean, I do.  God loves me and wants the best for me.  His greatest desire is to fully know me and be in a relationship with me.  He would put any trial in our paths that would ultimately lead to a greater trust and faith in Him.

I never so much as let myself entertain the words, “Just heal him Lord.  Just make my husband well.  I know you can do anything God, please just heal him.”

I don’t dare.

My faith is strong!  My faith is steady!  I know God can heal, I just don’t want to test Him.

The truth is, I desperately just want to beg Him to make Chad whole.  When I sat in the room and watched them shock Chad’s heart, there was peace.  Seeing his heart go from a normal sinus rhythm right back into AFib… its like I could feel God there.  The pain and grief of knowing that this treatment didn’t work…it wasn’t overwhelming.  There was a calmness.  Like I knew it was God’s will.  (Even just saying that feels awkward, please don’t think I am minimizing the situation in any way.)

I am afraid.  Terrified.

Afraid to ask for His healing.  Afraid that for some sovereign reason we wont get it.  Afraid of feeling rejection.  Afraid of losing my husband and not being able to praise God like Job so graciously did.

Job 1:21

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

And most of all, I am afraid of losing my relationship with God.

Maybe healing Chad is not in His plan.  He knows the big picture right?  Who am I to walk in and say, ‘Nope.  Not this trial God.  We love and trust You just fine thank you very much.  Lets just get some healing now OK?”

God intercedes for us... Romans 8:26

Romans 8:26-27

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

God even goes so far as to guide me when He knows I am lost praying.  He searches my heart!  But are the desires of my heart all that matter?  Or do I need to say the words… and believe He will provide?

What if my prayers are wrong… and not answered like I want them to be.

Just feeling confused and a little broken.

And my question is, Do you expect God to answer your prayers?  What do you do when He doesn’t?

 

What is Love?

God answered the question for us over and over again.  I have heard it a million times, but have I really listened?  I just wanted to share a little trick a friend taught…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7  New International Version (NIV)

Love is Patient...

(picture origin unknown)

Now, replace the word LOVE with your name.

Amanda is patient, Amanda is kind. Amanda does not envy,  does not boast,  is not proud.   Amanda does not dishonor others,  is not self-seeking,  is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs.   Amanda does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.   She always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I dont know about you, but that humbles me and inspires me simultaneously.  I cant say with honesty that I am any of those things.

God calls us to be love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Faith Hope Love
While Valentines Day is commonly called a man-made holiday, I do appreciate the idea that we are given an opportunity to show love to others.

Even if we dont spend one cent, just try and be love to others today.  Replace your name in 1 Corinthians, then model it.  You could be giving someone a priceless gift.

I know that is what I am going to focus on, as well as trying to be an example for my kids!

May your day be blessed and full of faith, hope, and love.