Tag Archives: faith

To Love or Not to Love…that is the question

(To my sweet, dear roommate, I’m sorry, but I’m going to loving pick on you and our funny time this morning ;) It was times like these that always give me reason to laugh!)

This morning, I woke up to the wonderful and new “wildlife noise”–which is usually crickets and birds–of my roommate eating white cheddar cheese rice cakes… at 5:42 this morning.

“Sssshrirlgrrehlpkershhhkl…” The plastic wrapper wrinkled and crinkled as her hungry fingers dove into the bag, antiqued by the white chedder cheese powder.

“Chomp, chomp, chomp…crunch, crunch, crunch…chomp, crunch, chomp, crunch, chomp, crunch…” And then she swallowed, and she started again.

What would Jesus have done if he was woken up by a disciples eating something as loud as white cheddar cheese rice cakes on the morning of the Sermon on the Mount?  Would he have been angry?  Would he not even phased by it?  Would he say it was okay and that he didn’t mind, but actually hold a grudge?

It sounds like a super silly question, one not even worthy of being asked of Jesus.  In essence though, my question and every other question that we ever have boils down to one, root question: “Do I really have to love…always?”

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:7&8

“If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

1 Corinthians 13:2

To love or not to love always?… That is the question, but the answer is always, “Yes!  Love!”

A Lizard Taught Me to Have Faith This Morning

Do you ever feel like you are a stranger in your own homeland?

This morning when I walking into the hallway, I saw a critter on the floor.  At first, I thought that it was a dustball being moved by the moving air from when I opened my bedroom door.  When I put my glasses on though, I saw that it wasn’t dust but that it was a baby lizard instead.

Knowing me and the animal/critter lover that I am, I said, “Oh!  A new pet!” but then I remember that I was living in a house full of 50+ women and thought against that idea.

And so, I got a small, Styrofoam cup and scooped it up with the assistance of a napkin.  After grossing out on of my sorority sisters with the news that I had caught a lizard outside of her bedroom door, I took it downstairs and out into the yard.

While I was doing all of this, one thought came to my mind: this little guy is a stranger in search of the way back home.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland… As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”    -Hebrews 11:13, 14, 16

We were created to desire a better country, a heavenly one.  So have faith!  Even when you feel like you are an exile, even when you feel like a stranger, remember that God has prepared a place for those that remain steadfast in their faith.

Even as an exile, remain faithful.  Have faith!

Buddy the Elf and Being Someone’s Faith

One of my favorite movies is Elf with Will Ferrell.  There’s a scene where Buddy follows his dad, “Papa Elf” into the workshop for Santa’s sleigh.  In this scene, Papa Elf tells Buddy that Santa’s sleigh runs with the help of a turbo engine.  “But Dad,” Buddy begins to ask, “I thought Santa’s sleigh was powered by Christmas cheer?”  And that’s when he saw it.  The “Claus-ometer” was running on zero.  Faith in Christmas was at an all-time low, and it was their job to figure out how to make the sleigh fly.

They tried securing another engine to the sleigh, but it fell off in mid-flight on Christmas Eve.  The sleigh was merely flying on fumes of Christmas spirit.  There was only way to get the sleigh to fly: to help others have faith in Christmas once more.

Do you ever feel like you are running off of fumes of your faith?  Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where it seems impossible to have faith.  A bad thing may happen to you or a person that you know, and faith feels just outside of our grasp.

One of my best friends and I were talking about this last night, and he told me something that I will never forget.  “Sometimes,” he told me, “we have to be someone else’s faith for them.

Having faith is so much more than just believing in God and that Jesus died and rose again.  Having faith is remaining in the sincere confidence that God is faithful, too.  We stray; we lose our faith; we feel as though we have nothing left to give or receive, but God is also there.  He is faithful.

Faith in God is what rejuvenates us.  It’s the faith of those around us that inspire us.  It’s the faith of those around us–a simple way in which they remind us of God’s love–that picks us up again.  God is so good, but sometimes we just have to be reminded of that.

The same is true for others.  Just as we need others to have faith for us in our times of doubt, we also need to have faith for someone in their times of doubt.

Whenever you feel like you are running on the fumes of your former faith, take a moment to look up.  See all of those around you that are living in faith for you.  Be inspired.  Be filled with their faith.  Whenever those around you fall, don’t ever lose your faith in him or her.

Sometimes having faith also means being someone else’s faith.

The Dimension of the Heart

Did you know that there is a dimension to our heart?

I was reading my devotional this morning, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, and she taught me something that I have never thought about before.  Here’s what she wrote in the point of view of Jesus:

“There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live.  In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My Presence.  This dimension transcends the others, giving you glimpses of heaven while you still reside on earth.  This was part of My original design for mankind.  Adam and Eve used to walk with Me in the garden, before heir expulsion from Eden.  I want you to walk with Me in the garden of your heart, where I have taken up permanent residence.”

Don’t worry if this seems to whoosh past over your head because I had to really think about it myself, too.  But think about it this way…

The dimensions of space–length (or height), width, and depth–are the ways in which we relate to tangible objects (anything that is composed of matter and can touch).  Example of dimensions of space: A sheet of paper is 8.5″ wide and 11″ long.  I can tell you that, and you can envision exactly in your head what that looks like.  In other words, we related using the dimensions of space.

But the dimension of the heart… This is different because it is the way in which we respond to everything that isn’t tangible.  To respond to something with the dimension of the heart requires faith that it even exists.  Whenever someone tells you that they are angry or sad, you can relate because you believe the emotion exists even though you can’t see the actual emotion that makes someone smile or frown.

You don’t see God but you have faith that He is there.  Even if you say, “God, I don’t believe in you anymore,” you still had to believe that He was there to here what you said.  Even if  you claim to not believe, you are still stating your relation to Him.

This is what Sarah is referring to when she says the “dimension of openness to His presence.”  She’s talking about the way that you can relate to God’s presence through faith.  The larger your faith, the larger your receptivity will be to God’s presence.

If you are having a hard time becoming aware of the presence of God, try looking at the size of your faith.  Ask yourself the question, “What makes my believing in the existence of happiness different than the existence of God’s presence in my life?”

Today, use the dimension of your heart.

Remain faithful to being full with faith

Do you ever feel like  you are searching for something that you can’t see?

We read the Bible, and we go to church, and we do all of these “Christian things,” and yet sometimes we just want to ask God, “Where are you?  Just show Yourself to me so that I can believe and never question Your existence again!”

Whenever we get this idea in our head, that we will have our search for God satisfied once we finally see Him, we are just getting ourselves mixed up.  You see, we’ll never be satisfied until the day that we are finally with God.

Brian Sorgenfrei, Mississippi State’s RUF minister, once talked about this while referencing Rocky Balboa.  He talked about how Rocky had trained for this one fight believing that it would be what defined him, what satisfied his deepest desires.  So the Italian Stallion fought that fight, and he even won!  But guess what…. there are five more Rocky movies!  That deepest desire that Rocky thought would be satisfied by winning the first, big fight, well, it was never satisfied, after all.

We are just like Rocky, going from one thing to the next trying to find a fact on which to base our faith.  If you truly believe in God and the work of His Son, His Holy Spirit lives within you!  What more of a reason for faith do you need than this?

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” –Hebrews 11:1

“We are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13, 16

God has prepared a city for us, a heavenly one.  And though we cannot actually see it, we see the evidence of it in our daily lives.  Sometimes our faith is tested in hard times, but we have to keep it!

We have to remain faithful to being full with faith.


Want to know God’s will for your life?

Do you ever struggle with wanting to know God’s will for your life?

If you said, “Yes,” to that question, then have no fear because we ALL struggle with this!  I constantly find myself asking questions like, What am I going to do with my life?  What does God want me to do?  What if I don’t follow His road exactly?  How will I know if I’m doing what God wants me to do?  What if I don’t want to do what He wants me to do?

Although I certainly don’t have an exact answer for you or anything, I’m learning that fulfilling God’s will for our lives is much simpler than we thought.  Here’s where we can begin:

1.  Accept that we cannot know God’s plan for our lives

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:10

2.  Seek Him constantly-

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

Learn more about Him through reading the Bible : “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

3.  Glorify God in all that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31)

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

“We are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,  for we walk by faith, not by sight…So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Corinthians 5:6, 7, 9

4. Enjoy HIM forever

“These things, I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jesus’s words in John 15:11

“For apart from him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” Ecclesiastes 2:25

“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live.” Ecclesiastes 3:12

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Said simply, the next time that you begin to ask yourself, “What is God’s will for me?” take your eyes off of the problem and pray with your eyes on God.  Have faith in and draw near to, glorify, and enjoy Him forever: this is, at least, the beginning of what it means to live according to God’s will.

He has already given you the victory…

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seemed impossible to overcome?

Just like this poor squirrel after Tennessee’s “500 year flood,” failure becomes easier to accept as we lose hope in the possibility of succeeding.

Here recently, I’ve been reading in Joshua.  Over and over again, I’ve read the same words that God says to Joshua.  Here’s the background though… Basically, Joshua is the new leader of the people of Israel since Moses died.  It’s up to Joshua–under God’s guidance, of course–to lead the people into the promised land.  The promised land, though, is being ruled by kings of different nations that don’t believe in God.  In order to enter and live in the land that God promised them, the people of Israel have to fight these different kings and nations.  Despite how impossible it appears for the little people of Israel to defeat these established nations all joined together for the sole purpose of destroying them, God tells Joshua, “Do not be afraid for I have already delivered them into your hands.”

Does this mean that bad things will never happen to us when we are being “the best Christian?”  No, not at all.  The fact that we live in a world full of sin is what causes bad things to happen to us; therefore, don’t ever use your state/degree of troubles as a measurement of how pleased God is with you.  Instead, see every hardship as an opportunity to hear Him say, “Face this struggle with all of My strength because I have already given you the victory.”

Like the squirrel in the previous picture, stand up and face the obstacle that seems impossible.  Remember that faith in God even the size of a mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).  With God, you can do all things because He is the one that gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your week knees, and make straight paths for your feet.”

Hebrews 11:12

So whenever you find yourself in a situation that seems impossible, have faith!  Remember that God is with you and that He is whispering in your ear, “Do not be afraid for I have already given you the victory…”