The Lord recently reminded me of the story of Jonah. It’s a major bible story we teach kids about how Jonah ran away from God and everything he had been called to do strictly out of fear of the things he felt incapable of. It’s no coincidence that the bible stories we teach kids are meant for everyone. We start out immature in order for our faith to grow because that’s the way we were created. I believe my favorite thing about this story is the fact even though Jonah had been disobedient to God in the beginning, He is always faithful! “The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD…” (Jonah 1:1-3) As I was praying and preparing for this blog the sheer simplicity of its message hit me right between the eyes. How many times do we as Christians find ourselves in Jonah’s shoes? Most often, we run away out of fear and disobedience because we can’t understand how such a holy and blameless baby boy who was born in a dirty stable could possibly use such sinful and unrighteous people to ultimately accomplish His plan: To tell the world about Him and what he has done for them!
As Jonah’s story continues we see where God causes a great storm on the sea to wake Jonah up and I like to say this is where the faith meets the fire. (Jonah 1:4-17) In other words, it’s where your faith will be tested and this was certainly true for Jonah. I firmly believe that when Jonah ran away from the Lord, he wasn’t thinking about the experience he would face later due to his direct disobedience. If you think about it neither do we. It can be so easy to go our own way or trust the plan we have for ourselves rather than God’s plan. The verses that deeply resonated with me from this story are ten, eleven and twelve because they show Jonah’s recognition of faith and repentance. The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the LORD. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop the storm?” Throw me into the sea, Jonah said. “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.” (Verses ten, eleven, twelve) I love these verses so much because they truly encompass the real struggles we face- God’s way versus our own.
Ultimately, Jonah recognized and admitted his wrongdoing to the Lord and the people he was with because they knew that he was running away from God. In further chapters of his story we know that after spending his time in the whale, God uses Jonah mightily to do amazing things for His people and Jonah honestly obeys.
Lastly, I want to challenge everyone who reads this post to be more sincere in listening to what God calls you to. I see a lot of myself in this story and it makes me desire even more of Jesus and the things He has for me!
Faith in itself is a very complex ideal for our human minds here on earth to understand although it’s an essential component to the relationship we have with Christ. With our faith in Him we can move mountains, but without it we face a path of discontentment and self-destruction. 1 Peter 5:8-9 tell us to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.” That statement alone should motivate us as Christians to take our responsibility in Him even more seriously, but in some cases it can have the opposite effect. This can happen for one of two reasons: Someone might feel like it’s easier to life in defeat instead of victory which more than likely resulted from a repetitive lie from Satan. Second, maybe they’ve been asleep spiritually and forgotten what God’s direction and nearness feels like.
Regardless of where you are in your relationship with Him there is great hope and joy. It’s no coincidence that the ultimate hope and joy our hearts desire can only be found in Christ- He put those desires in us when he made us in His image. (Ephesians 2:10) I have come to a greater understanding over the years that God doesn’t want us to live a life of defeat because we are VICTORIOUS in Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:57) God also earnestly desires for our lives here on earth to be enjoyable and exciting, but we can never lose sight of the future we have in eternity through what Jesus did on the cross. Honestly, I believe that’s where faith takes over- Faith is that sweet reminder of what is to come in Heaven, it’s the strength that has carried me through almost twenty years of having Cerebral Palsy.
What I’m saying is this: If we have faith and trust in Him no matter what we can truly experience the joy that can only from Him. If that’s not you- You have no idea what you’re missing and it’s my hope and prayer that you will choose to pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.”
I don’t know about you but I want to live my life completely devoted to Jesus Christ. Not just when I feel like it or when it’s convenient for me. The way I see it is like this either you know Jesus and have a relationship with him or not- There’s no in between. When I was thinking about this the Lord reminded me of these words from Paul in Philippians: “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11 NLT) This verse prompted me to ask myself this question “What does it mean to truly be living for Jesus in everything I do?” I still fight the battles and have those moments where it’s all I can do to find the faith to believe His promises for that day or in that situation I’m facing.
Lately, I was reminded of the time in the Bible where Jesus heals the Demon Possessed Boy and what I love about this passage in Scripture is the fact that it is another great example of what it means to have faith in Jesus regardless of your current circumstances. I believe the point Mark is trying to get us to understand is that even though the disciples weren’t able to cast the demon out of the boy his dad never lost hope in the matter because he believed that Jesus could heal his son. My favorite verses are 9:23-24 where Jesus and the boy’s father are having a conversation about what it means to believe in Him. “What do you mean, ‘If I can?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:14-29) I can honestly tell you that those words have been my prayer quite a few times over the years and it’s those honest and heartfelt moments where I feel closest to Him. There’s such joy in being honest with God because truthfully he already knows our hearts, so why not be honest?
I have come to the understanding that it’s much more difficult at times to deal with the unbelief as opposed to actually having the faith to trust and believe the promises He has for us! This is also one of Satan’s main objectives because the more he can keep us blinded and caught up in unbelief, the less effective we are for Christ and what He has called us to do. My prayer for all of is that our unbelief will give us an opportunity to recognize our lack of faith which will bring us to repentance and forgiveness that is only found in Jesus!
Thank you for Your word and the truth it possesses! As I continue to grow stronger in You help me to be reminded of the faith of that child’s father and strengthen my unbelief. Show me once again how to believe the promises you have just for me!
“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 (NLT) I’ve read this verse a thousand times, but the power of it just now hit me. As His children today we can become so easily entangled in only what we can see here on earth and that’s honestly part of the battle we face in our imperfect, earthly flesh. When this happens it becomes increasingly difficult to see our lives as God does. Trust me when I tell you that I have experienced this firsthand. I strongly believe that in my own life Satan held my perspective of things here on earth in bondage for years as a way to keep me blinded to the things God could do with a perspective that was focused on Heaven and spending eternity with Him. Thankfully, God has ultimately renewed my heart and mind which resulted in me wanting to pursue Him even more intently! I have been so incredibly blessed to be part of an amazing church family who has truly embodied the love of Christ to me and what it means to grow in Him and I also know that without their support and that of my parents, I wouldn’t be the girl writing and being inspired by Him to write these blogs, which I love dearly.
Knowing Christ and having a relationship with Him is such a beautiful thing and that’s because He chose to let us unworthy and sinful people share His love with the world! (Matthew 28:19) Can we just slow down for a second and admire how awesome our God is? In addition, part of what makes that privilege so amazing is that God allows us to connect and build relationships with those people around us. I have come to realize that most often He will put someone in your life to uplift and encourage you right when you need it. People like that will teach you things you never knew about Him and how to grow in Christ and to always keep Him first in life. I’m so thankful that God revealed even more of himself to me through a wonderful man who I deeply admire. Lately, I have been reminded to keep Christ at the absolute center of my heart and everything else will follow!
I desire more of you, Jesus! Help me to bring you even more glory in my life as I walk through the seasons of doubt and uncertainty that are before me in the future.
Anytime I hear new Christian music I’m always stunned by the message portrayed through the lyrics and, of course, I fall in love with it. From the moment I heard “Stand Strong” by Moriah Peters I was ultimately called to action in Him. As I listened to the lyrics a revelation occurred to me: It should be my ultimate responsibility and priority as His daughter to share the love he’s graciously given me with others and I know it’s a message you’ve probably heard a thousand times before, but a friendly reminder never hurts. As hard as this world may try to keep Christians completely bogged down with our earthly circumstances- We’ve got to consciously remind ourselves that nothing we have on this earth will last forever. It’s all about eternity in Heaven! As Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:2, “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.“ (NLT) Just like anything we are faced with things are always much easier said than done but it’s in the trying times where “the rubber meets the road” meaning that we have a decision to make as His sons and daughters: How much longer will we continue to be blinded by the world in the sense that we remain content in our walls of insecurity by not having the faith to tell others about Him? It’s time for us to wake up and realize our call to action! If we’re not bold enough to step out in faith and share His message with others in everything we do we are consequently disobeying God and that’s certainly not what I what to do!
So, what exactly are you ”standing” for in this life and what will matter in eternity? Have you sought after Him? Think about it like this our military exists to protect our country from harm. Similarly, God’s armor is meant to protect His children from harm (Ephesians 6:10-20) and if we are being weakened by the world around us we won’t be able to stand for Him in life like we should!
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
I ordinarily don’t do this as a post on the blog, but today I felt compelled by Him to do it. As most of you probably know I’m better at expressing my thoughts through writing than anything else. I have quite a few handwritten prayers in my notebook just for Him- Sometimes it’s easier for me to write them out instead of verbally speaking them! With that being said, this is a recent prayer I wrote and I felt like He wanted me to share it. It’s my sincere hope and prayer that it will be an encouragement to someone today!
All I want to do in this life is bring You even more glory! You created and knew me before the world began! (Jeremiah 1:5) On that note, I cannot thank and praise you enough for bringing me as far as you have over these last (almost) twenty years! Even though I don’t know where you’ll be taking me in the future, I am trusting and knowing you have my best interest at the center of Your heart! That alone has been an enormously difficult pill to swallow over the years, but you have shown me that I don’t have to win the victory for myself because you’ve already done that! Yay! You’re simply amazing and when I think of what you did for me by sending Your son to die for me (John 3:16) it leaves me speechless! Help me to never forget what you’ve done for me. I AM YOURS! Satan has absolutely NO authority over me because I am your daughter! Although, that truth doesn’t make me immune to his lies and schemes. The good news is that You have given me every weapon I could possibly need to stop him in his tracks! And, for that I am eternally grateful!
Being a Christian in this broken world we live in today is much more difficult than people realize. Over my many years of being a daughter of the King I have come to the conclusion that if anything it makes life much harder at times, but in the end it makes life better because He is living it with us. There are plenty of situations I have faced where doing the right thing is much harder because it’s something I am commanded to do as His daughter. As I was praying and thinking about forgiveness the Lord brought this scripture to mind from Matthew that says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. (Matthew 6:14 NLT) Forgiveness is something that we are called to as Christians even if we don’t necessarily want to do because of the flaws and imperfections within our human flesh. Along with the great privilege of being His daughter comes the responsibility of listening and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Which, is something that is much easier said than done. The one thing I can say from experience is that once Christians encounter forgiveness for themselves (if you believe in Him, you have received forgiveness yourself as stated in John 3:16) we begin to understand the power of God’s grace on a more intimate level.
God is always teaching me more and more about himself and as I’ve grown more mature in Him, the more I have learned that it is all about HIM and what He calls us to do! Yes, there may be times where it would be much easier to continue going in our own direction instead of His, but that isn’t what we were created to do. Think about the Prodigal Son, for instance. (Luke 15:11-32) He decided to run away from the hardest things in his life out of the fear from the enemy. The same concept can be applied to forgiveness because it is meant to free us not frighten us. Satan will try his best to send us running in the other direction, so we don’t have to deal with our problems- God is the one we should be running toward.
Let me encourage you with these words from Matthew West from his song entitled: “Forgiveness”
I recently started a bible study called “The Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer and even though I’m just getting started on it I can already sense that He will reveal more of himself to me through this study. I’m not sure exactly sure what He has planned for me, but I am more than thrilled to be embarking on another adventure with my Creator! One key point that I now have a fresh reminder of is the fact that the victory over sin has already been won by Jesus Christ. As we are reminded in Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace you have been saved!)” (New Living Translation) There have been many times throughout my relationship with Him where I feel as though I fail to understand this vital truth from His word in all of its amazing glory.
I say that in recognition of the fact that there are some things that our earthly minds are unable to comprehend here on Earth until we get to Heaven and have reached true perfection just like Him. However, I do believe that in today’s culture there is a significant tendency to unintentionally misunderstand His word in all of the power we are intended to comprehend it with. In my own life I have seen it happen when I am faced with seemingly impossible situations or extremely traumatic events. When I’m presented with these circumstances I find myself doing one of two things: The first being shutting down and not talking to God or anyone about my scenario. Or worse, sometimes Satan will use my weakest opportunities to his dangerous advantage by proceeding to spew his most filthy and discouraging lies into my mind. It’s quite evident that neither one of the situations I listed are good thoughts or places to be in my relationship with the Lord. I realize now that if I would immediately take my needs and concerns to God, Satan wouldn’t feel threatened enough to spew his lies into my mind so easily. This experience reminded of 1 Peter 5:7 which says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (NLT)
Granted, over the years God has significantly changed my heart and He has given me a new perspective of what it truly means to be a daughter of the King and I will be forever grateful for the way He continues to work in my life! Along with my renewed spirit, I now have a greater awareness and sense for when and where Satan may choose to attack me. Here is a prime example of what I’m talking about: At the end of this past semester I was awaiting the final grade on my research paper for English. I had been feeling great about the way everything turned out up until that morning when I knew the results would be posted. It wasn’t long before I allowed Satan and his demons to creep into my mind feeding me all their lies of self-doubt and insecurity. I knew from the moment I began feeling threatened by the lies that they were from Satan, not God. I immediately started praying and asking the Lord to protect my mind from the lies of the enemy and to rid me of the shame and doubt. Later on that day, I ended up making a very high B on my paper which allowed me to maintain an A average in that class for the semester! That night God spoke to me and said “See, my dear daughter, you have no need to worry about these things. I will take care of you no matter what because I love you and want my best for you.”
Lastly, my question for you is this: Do you spend time in daily recognition of what God has done for you? Or rather do you find yourself as I did in the example where Satan might be running at an intensely fast rate in your mind? No matter where you find yourself right now God is still there waiting for you. He is ready and more than willing to pick you up and make you into the person He created you to be! (Ephesians 2:10)
There’s no denying that our lives here on Earth are troubling. I strongly believe that’s why Jesus warns us about the challenges in John 16:33 which reads “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT) The challenges we face in this life are different for everyone because Satan is well aware of our weaknesses, but that’s due to the fact that he doesn’t have the power to read our minds, or to know what we’re doing everyday- Only God can do that because He created us! (Jeremiah 1:5) As Christians, we know that Satan has no authority over us, but do we actually take that truth at face value? I still find myself having to be reminded of the power of that amazing truth daily. When I found the inspiration for this post I was listening to “You Make Me Brave” by Bethel Music. God spoke to me almost instantly saying “Andrea, think about how much better your life can be if you learn how to be brave in Me and not in your own power.” Often times in my life I have found that the simplest promises of His word are the hardest to understand. I think this is the case because it is human nature that tells us it’s our responsibility to find a solution to the problem. While God’s response is the exact opposite- He is our strength and He will always fight for us all we are asked to do is surrender!
My main point is this: There are times when it may seem easier to try and “fix” things in our strength, but His response is simple we don’t have to do everything by ourselves and He doesn’t expect us to. At the end of the day we all sinners who need a Savior. (Romans 3:23) That’s what makes being a Daughter of the King so amazingly beautiful!
“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Throughout my many years of walking with God, I have learned that as important as it is for us to praise Him for his goodness in our answered prayers- We must also strive to do this with the unanswered prayers, or the things that we may think God doesn’t care about. As I acknowledged my need to praise Him more frequently for the things He provides for me that I’m not even aware of I was reminded of Psalm 34:8 which says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (NLT) Each time I read this verse it means something new to me. Recently, I was reminded of this truth when I look back over the last several years and realize just how richly blessed I am to be a daughter of the King!
Although it is much easier to thank Him for His goodness and blessings when we’re in the midst of a storm, we need to be thankful for His goodness in everything no matter our circumstance. When I think about people who understood what it meant to be thankful in Jesus’ time I remembered how Jesus healed the ten people of Leprosy. (Luke 17:12-19) As I studied this story I began examining my own life by imagining how I would react to that situation. Out of those ten who were healed, only one gave the initiative to actually run to Jesus just to express his overwhelming sense of appreciation and gratitude for being healed. I asked myself this question: How many times have I found myself running back to God after He does something for me just to tell him how thankful I am? Honestly, this lesson was a very hard pill for me to swallow, but humbling at the same time. All too often I find myself being like the other lepers that just kept walking, rather than like the one who took it upon himself to show his gratitude for what Jesus had done by simply saying “Thank you, Jesus.” My prayer for myself and anyone who reads this is that we will strive to be more like that one leper who understood the value of sincere gratitude.
Lastly, I think these words from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 are a perfect reminder of what it means to have a thankful and more Christ-centered attitude!
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)