He is a God of Restoration

Noah

From the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation God uses people.  Ordinary people such as you and I to carry out His will on Earth.  I know there have been times where I’ve forgotten, in a sense, that the people God used were just like us.  Flawed by human nature, yet saved by grace alone as Romans 3:23-24 reminds us.  “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” New Living Translation

God is always making things new even through destruction. 

In my Bible Genesis 6 is entitled “A World Gone Wrong” which clearly tells me that things aren’t looking so great namely because sin (see Genesis 3:1-19) was running rampant in the midst of God’s perfect creation that was created by Him for our pleasure.  By the time we get to this place in Scripture, it’s evident that God’s patience with His people is running scarcely thin. How do we know?  Look at what Genesis 6:3 says “Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”

We Meet Noah (in the second half of Genesis 6:11-22) There are many things I love about Noah.  Here are the three (among many) qualities I take away from his example:

  1. Noah was an ordinary man who was married with a family.   In fact, we are told in verse nine that “Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.”
  2. Though it is unclear in Scripture, I often wonder if Noah or his family ever questioned what God had told them to do. If I were in their position, I probably would’ve been curious.
  3. Noah truly understood first time obedience. He knew what God was asking of him and he was ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work.  It’s a little embarrassing to write, but I can’t say I would be that obedient at first without pacing back and forth a little bit.

I like to look at this part of Noah’s Story like the warm-up, so to speak.

For Noah, it was getting all the materials to build the Ark.

  What might it be for you?

Going back to school?  Changing jobs?  Stepping out in faith to a new God-given opportunity?  Sometimes God causes us to walk through spiritual warm-ups to get us ready prepared for the next big step in our adventure of faith.  We see this applied in the sports world all the time.  No team ever makes it to the SuperBowl without practicing.  God works the same way-He doesn’t put us in the “game” until we’ve had some practice; it’s often found in the faith building experiences that mold and shape our faith in Christ.

After practice it’s time for the game.

That’s exactly what happens in Genesis 7:11-24.  After Noah had diligently prepared for the flood, God knew it was time. Because Noah obeyed the Lord by building the Ark, God blessed him by protecting Noah and his family. They were the only people who didn’t get wiped out by the flood!  How incredible!  I think it’s also imperative to mention that God honors our obedience to Him.  When we do our best to completely trust and listen to what He says, our blessings are beyond absolutely anything we could ever imagine.

The constant theme of restoration that only comes from Jesus remains evident throughout the entirety of Noah’s story, just as it it with ours.  (Genesis 5:32-10:1)

God is always faithful. He keeps every promise.  He never leaves us even the midst of a raging flood.  He is so merciful.  The story of Noah has always intrigued me and the older I get, the more I am UNDONE by God’s grace!  After the flood began to calm down, God realized how much He truly loves and adores the people and the planet the he created. So much so that in verses 8-17 of Genesis nine, God in his sovereignty promises His covenant with humanity by sending a rainbow and a dove as a sign that He will never destroy the earth in that way again.

God always restores.  He will always be restoring His people to make us NEW.  There’s nothing too broken, damaged, or scarred that He can’t restore. (Do you hear me?) God can restore absolutely anything!

 

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

New Living Translation

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

God is LOVE

God is LOVE

The statement “Jesus Loves Me” is oh so simple, yet so incredibly profound.  Love is written all over the Bible and that’s because love is the very nature and character of our God.  It’s who He is.  I think it’s also important to recognize that there comes a point in each of our lives where we desire to fall in love with God all over again. (I know I’ve felt that way before even though I’m not a parent yet.)  It ultimately boils back down to human nature and we all desire to feel love and be loved.  Think about it: God created Eve from Adam so he wouldn’t be alone.  And because He LOVES us more than we could ever imagine!  I believe John 3:16 says it all: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (New Living Translation)

The love God has for myself and everyone else on the face of this planet is so far beyond our comprehension that it’s impossible for us to understand.  Quick sidebar:  I’m not married yet, but I hope and pray I will be someday.  Within the last several months I have had the AMAZING privilege of witnessing two of my very best friends marry and become one in Christ with the men that God created just for them.  As I stood there watching the faces of their grooms light up when they saw their bride; I was completely in awe of God’s love for us.  His face lights up in that very same way when He sees us walking toward Him.  1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”The more time we spend with Him, the more we can understand His love for us. I look at it like this: In order to get to know someone as a friend you have to spend quality time with that person.  The same is true in our relationship with God and He desires to spend time with you.  I love David’s Psalms because they are so easy to read, but are also so heartfelt.  Which, reflects God’s character and nature.    “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.” Psalm 52:8 (ESV)

God sent Jesus as another exemplification of His love for humanity.  I don’t know about you, but I cannot think of a greater way to show the world.  God sent Jesus into this world to not only show us His love, but to also die the horrific death that we deserve because of this nasty thing called sin.  (References: John 3:16, Luke 2:1-20, Isaiah 9:1-7)  When Jesus had fulfilled what God had called him to, Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.  The Holy Spirit is essentially God living in us at all times.  Pretty sweet, right?  (References: Acts 2:1-13, John 14:15-27)  The thing I love most about the Spirit is that it is God speaking to my heart with and convicting my heart in love as well. He is always speaking to us even when we fail to realize it.  From my personal experience when He speaks, more often than not it can get quite LOUD until I follow through in obedience!

Lastly, the message is simple:

Jesus loves me.

And you.

Always.

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

His Beauty is Everywhere

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;

    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

Proverbs 31:30 NLT

I recently finished reading “Looking for Lovely” by Annie F. Downs and I’m here to say it is a MUST read!  Something interesting happened when I finished the book: God has revealed even more of Himself to me through the simple conduit of beauty.  When I say beauty I’m not necessarily talking about the physical manifestation of it.  I am referring more toward things like reading a book, taking a walk on a warm day, or even spending quiet time with Him in the morning.  You’d be amazed how much He reveals to us through the simplest things but we have to be open to the fact that our perspective WILL change a bit during the process.

I’ll give you a personal example:

In my Art class at the beginning of the semester my instructor told us we’d be responsible for completing an artistic project of some sort. (I’m being genuinely honest with you when I say that I am not artistic at all, in the literal sense of the word.  I can’t draw, sculpt, or paint anything whatsoever.) And so begins the endless possibility trails in my mind of what I could do for the project (that excluded writing by the way.)

Kori, one of my good friends who is clearly more artistic than myself suggested that I try crayon art.  (She has done it quite a few times before so I knew she wouldn’t lead me astray J) And she was totally CORRECT!  My final product turned out beautifully and I couldn’t be more pleased.

IMG_3470 (1)

It was in this most unexpected moment that I learned something so profound from God.  We are all in search of beauty or lovely in the words of Annie.  But why?  What is it about beauty that we crave?  Whether it’s a sunset, seeing two of your very best friends get married in the same year, or a breathtaking view of the beach.  No matter what lens we see beauty through its purpose remains the same: Beauty was created to reflect God!  People. Words. Trees. Weddings. Oceans. Music.

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.                                             

2 Corinthians 3:18 New Living Translation

This truth can certainly shift our perspective once we start doing our best in understanding it.  I know I’ve found the same thing to be true in various seasons and situations throughout my life.  Sometimes I’ll see evidence of His beauty in my friends, family, or when I’m listening to worship music.  Another essential component in seeing His beauty, I think is to simply ask Him to show you and trust me He will every. single. time.  It’s something for which I’ll be forever grateful!

Now it’s your turn.

Where do you see His beauty?

Has it ever stopped you dead in your tracks?  To the point where you’re rendered speechless and in awe of our Creator? (If it hasn’t happened yet, in His timing in will.)

God’s beauty can be difficult to see at times especially when we try seeing that beauty in ourselves.  (I find this to be exponentially true for women.) In those dark moments of doubt and depression is where the truth from Jeremiah 1:5 becomes a distant reality within the depths of our soul:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.

Before you were born I set you apart

and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

I feel as though we find God’s beauty in the most unexpected situations.  At least that’s been true for me.  God uses those memories or realities to remind us of Himself.  That He is still on the throne.   On our side.  He wants His best for our lives.

I absolutely ADORE that about Him.

Let me leave you with a few of David’s words from Psalm 27:4-5:

The one thing I ask of the Lord—

the thing I seek most—

is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

delighting in the Lord’s perfections

and meditating in his Temple.

For he will conceal me there when troubles come;

he will hide me in his sanctuary.

New Living Translation

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Slow and Steady

Slow and Steady

So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

Hebrews 4:16 (The Message)

I have read this verse a thousand times before today and the way it’s presented through The Message translation hit a home run within my aching soul.    Let me give you an example:

I had a posterior spinal fusion to correct my Scoliosis a little over two years ago.  And ever since that day I haven’t been able to sleep on my stomach.  (which had previously been my favorite way to lay in bed) The most unfortunate part of this story is that now when I put myself in the position that used to be SO COMFORTABLE, has now become excruciatingly painful.  I mean to the point where it almost takes my breath away at first.  Through the immense pain and discomfort God has taught me something so incredible.

When I relax and don’t tense up the immense pain in my muscles slowly begins to lessen.

Last night, as I was lying there with my face literally planted in my mattress God in His sovereignty spoke to my heart saying, “The same thing happened the first time you approached Me.  You were tense.  Sin had provoked a spirit of fear in you.  Once you accepted and knew Me as your Redeemer and Heavenly Dad, you weren’t afraid anymore and could truly rest in your identity as My daughter.”

As those precious words were being uttered to my heart I just couldn’t help but be in awe of who He is.  Everything He is.  How beautifully profound!  I love it when He speaks so clearly there’s no mistaking it.  I have had that conversation on repeat in my mind all day today.  Sometimes the most painful situations we encounter in this life can actually be a soothing balm for our soul that teaches us so much about our Heavenly Dad. (That’s what I call Him quite often.)

Our conversation also deeply resonated with me about what it actually means to live humility out in my spirit on a daily basis.  Hebrews 4:16 became even more alive to me in that moment when the tightness in my muscles was almost too much to bear.  Humility is an essential component in our relationship with Christ.  Why?  Because humility allows us to see God’s love on a more intimate level.  It gives us the courage to fall on my face before Him (sometimes in a puddle of tears) and know that He will hold me until I calm down.  If I’ll just accept what He “is so ready to give.” A new job.  A new CNA. Peace. Hope. Joy.

I could keep going, but you see the point, right?

If we are too scared to approach Him because of the situation we’re facing, then how do we expect Him to help us?

God is all about spending time with US.  He desires to spend time US.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  I’m here to tell you the first few times you go to Him, it may be painful or uncomfortable, but the more we are faithful in spending time with Him- We can trust and relax in His presence.

It takes time.

Don’t rush.

He’ll be waiting for you with arms wide open.

 

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Purpose in the Pain

Purpose

Pain.  It’s something every human on earth has endured whether it was expected or not.  Pain has various forms and ways that it pushes us toward perseverance.  I have come into contact with three (among many) degrees of pain throughout the last twenty years:

  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  3. Spiritual (Suffering)

While they are different in the way they influenced me in seasons of my life.  Each of them share one common ground:  They hurt.  Deeply.  We’ve all felt it, haven’t we?  When we lose someone close to us.  A friend moves to the other side of the world in order to answer His call.  A mother who risks everything just so her child can have the greatest chance of survival once it’s born.  Pain, at least the kind I’ve known in my life has a purpose. A heavenly purpose.  But how?  Let’s find out.

Every kid (and adult) has experienced some extension of physical pain.  I can remember being around the age of six and traveling to my orthopedic surgeon for Botox injections to lessen the pressure in my hips and legs.  Talk about excruciating.  I would scream as I felt the medicine begin to pump through my veins.  And as I would start calming myself the pain would start subsiding.  Personal confession:  The injections were beneficial to me for a little while because they decreased the pain I was feeling.  (They served their purpose- Are you catching the theme here?)

Emotional pain.  This is one of the hardest one for me.   Mainly because I felt is an eight-year old third grader when my best friend and her family answered the Lord’s call on their lives by moving to Kandern, Germany.  God was calling them to be missionaries.  People who would joyfully and willing share the Gospel with the people there.  Having grown up in the church, I knew how important missionaries were and how awesome their job was.   My spiritually immature mind began asking this questions, Why did He call my best friend?  Why was He taking her away?  I kept these questions in the back of my mind for the next ten years.  Some nights I can remember crying myself to sleep because it was too much for my eight-year old brain to bear.  Little did I know, I wouldn’t exactly figure it out until nearly twenty years later.  Everything would start coming together in my head like a huge jumbo puzzle.

God in His sovereignty knew it was best for my best friend and I to start living hundreds of miles apart at eight years old.  For the rest of our lives we’d be living multiple states away from each other.  I am so thankful for the way He prepared each of our hearts for the futures that we are called to live out for Him.  We had the privilege of learning these lessons TOGETHER even though both of us we miles apart.

That was the purpose amidst that deep emotional pain.

I’m grateful for the pain because it deepened our friendship.

It leaves me speechless to this day.

 

In the next season I faced what I like to refer to as spiritual pain.  I wrestled with the pain related to suffering for Christ most intensely during my middle and high school years. (I say that in recognition of the fact that I’ll always be wrestling with that until the day I leave the earth.  I’ve learned that my desire to walk will always be a part of my life down here.)  Clearly, that desire doesn’t define me.   God is the only one who defines me.  There were multiple time throughout this particular season where I wouldn’t want to do anything but sit around, cry and feel sorry for myself.  What I was feeling at this point and time was beginning to affect more than just myself.  It was damaging the relationships I had with the people around me.  I had the attitude of a champion defeatist. (This is an embarrassing truth to write about, but I’m just being brutally honest with you.)  As the years go by I continue to fall deeper and deeper into the pit of discontentment, as I like to call it.

I lived in the pit of discontentment until the summer of July 2013.

That’s when everything changed.

I went with my youth group to the LIFE Conference in St. Louis, MO that summer.   As our last session was coming to a close, everyone was served communion (with real bread, not crackers-just sayingJ)  Let me just tell you, my friend there is absolutely nothing on the face of the planet more beautiful than being able to share communion with 65,000 other teenagers from all across the globe.  The speaker that night talked about living in true servanthood for Christ.  (Besides, isn’t that what we’re called to do anyway according to Matthew 28:19?)  He kept saying over and over again that we couldn’t begin living in TRUE servanthood, if we weren’t content with the servant (ourselves) first.  In that moment, I began to sob (just as I am now as I write this.  Don’t worry, they’re happy sobs now) because God kept telling me to put aside my old ways of negativity, doubt and insecurity.  I could only be content in Him.  I left that arena as a totally new woman that night. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I am forever grateful for that sweet time of communion with my youth group in St. Louis.  It’s where I learned that sometimes the greatest miracles God does aren’t necessarily the physical ones.

That night God showed me there is purpose in the pain.

My miracle didn’t come in the physical form, but it CAME.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture comes from Luke 13.  It’s entitled “Jesus Heals on the Sabbath” in my Bible.  I love this passage dearly mainly because I see so much of myself in this woman.  Luke tells us she “had been crippled by an evil spirit.”  That same crippling spirit caused her to be “bent over double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight.” (v. 10-11)  I can’t imagine the immense amount of pain she must’ve been in.  It doesn’t get any sweeter then verse twelve, y’all. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said,” Dear woman, you are free of your sickness!”  I often wonder if the joy that woman felt when she was healed and the joy and freedom I’ve found in being content in Him are anything alike?

I can promise you this:

There is always purpose in the pain. 

A Heavenly purpose.

 

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Determination in the Denial

Determination

Today I was reading in John 21:1-25.   Where Jesus appears to the disciples after they’ve been out fishing all night.  (Let’s be honest they were probably exhausted, discouraged and a little more than disappointed because they hadn’t caught a thing.)  As I was reading this passage I couldn’t help but put myself in their shoes.

I think it’s important for us to take a step back and recognize that they had no idea that Jesus was going to meet them along the shore early that morning and provide exactly what they needed.  In their case it was fish.  For us it might be a career choice, financial stability, a relationship, a marriage.  No matter what it is we can be sure of this:  In the midst of our self-doubt and denial, He will give us exactly what we need just like he did for Peter and the disciples when he told them to cast their nets out. (v. 6)

I’m going to challenge us to once again be determined in our denial.  And, by determined I mean, having the faith to believe that He will call us to do that which He has equipped us.  (I don’t know about you, but I know that if I would’ve been with Peter and his buddies when Jesus told them to cast their nets out again, for a second I would be just a little bit- doubtful.)  If we’re honest with ourselves we’ve all reached that point somewhere along the line.

It’s amazing to me that Peter and his buddies decided to step out and be brave despite their doubts.  In my devotional today from She Reads Truth, Rebekah Lyons said “Despite Peter’s denial, his place in the kingdom never changed.  Jesus’ plan and purpose for him remained the same.”

All I could do was just say to the Lord, “You really have a sense of humor!”  Trust me, if you could’ve heard my conversation with Him this morning you would understand.  The truth is, I love writing.  More than anything in the world and it is honestly what I feel He has called me to do with my life and career: To write words of encouragement and hope for Jesus Christ, so that everyone around me will understand what He’s done for you and me.  Writing these blogs bring me so much joy.  It’s indescribable.  I feel like I fall in love with Him all over again when I write.  I’m so grateful for this gift.

Now, it’s your turn.

What is the gift He has given you?

What is the thing that you dream of doing in the future, but you’re scared to think it could ever come true?

Believe it or not, God in His sovereignty has placed passions and desires in our hearts that we can use to glorify Him. (Ephesians 2:10)  I promise you He has gifted you even if you don’t realize it.  It’s in you because He planted it.  He asks us to be patient as He reveals it to us in His timing.  (By the way, when I started this blog my senior year of high school I never could’ve imagined the beautiful blessings that would flow from it.)  Then, we water the desire or passion He’s shown us with acts of diligence, obedience and sincere worship.

The rest is up to Him.

All we have to do is cast our net out one more time.

You’ll be amazed and abundantly blessed by what you catch.

 

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

The Promises Outweigh the Problems

The Promises

Have you ever wondered how God looks at the reality of time?  I know I have.  When I was younger I just had the understanding in my head that He sees time as we do.  Truthfully, God sees time in a different light and this shouldn’t be surprising considering that He spoke the entire universe into existence.  (Genesis 1:1-31) Although I’ll never fully understand God’s concept of time until I meet Him one day, there are two (upon many) promises from His word that I cling to down here while living in my temporary home:

  1. “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.  So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 NLT

  1. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

 

I can look back on my life over these past twenty years and see where each of these faithful promises have proven themselves to be true time and time again.  I promise you you’ll be able to see it in your life, too.  All we have to is “trace his hand of faithfulness” as Lysa Terkeurst says.  All the while it has taken me these last twenty years to understand that I needed to be clinging to the promises of His word rather than the “problems” of this world.  Don’t misunderstand me here.  I’m not trying to make light of the things we face here in the flesh. They are real. The years of pain, frustration and anger they cause is even more real.

Let me step out into a moment of personal confession with you.

Being born with a physical disability is far from easy.  It comes with its own set of challenges, or “overgrowth” as I’ve heard it called just like anything else we are given in this life.  The older I get the more God is showing me that it’s less about the overgrowth, as it the promises I’m using to hack away at the thick weeds of doubt, insecurity, anger, depression, anxiety and selflessness that the Enemy has built up around me for years in seasons of my life as a way to keep me defeated in my relationship with Jesus.

Now, I’ll be brave with you and ask, What problems have you clung to instead of promises?  Has the overgrowth started to creep its way into your life?  Trust me.  I know the feeling.  I know what it feels like to have to sacrifice some elements of independence just to make it day. by. day.  It’s so tiring and sometimes it takes every ounce of strength I have to send the “I’m ready to get up” text to my girls every morning.

What I love about my weakest moments is that’s when I feel God’s strength the most.  When I don’t have any left and I can’t see past the overgrowth covering my eyes.  The same is true for you.  There are promises written in His word just. for. you.  Just as Ecclesiastes tells us, “…God has made everything beautiful for its own time…”  You may not be able to fully comprehend His promises right away, or peek through the overgrowth, but in His timing you will.

It’s up to you: What will you be clinging to?  The promises or the problems?

I hope it’s the promises.

 

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

He Makes the Impossible Possible

He Makes the Impossible Possible

In our lives here on earth most of us (if we’re honest) would say that we are faced or have been faced with one or both of the following situations:

The possible (An area or circumstance in our lives that has the potential to change.)

The Impossible (An area or circumstance that we’re incapable of changing through our own ability, something that is totally out of our control.)

Truthfully, no matter where we might find ourselves God is there.  He tells us in his word repeatedly “Don’t be afraid” or “I am with you.”  (Hebrews 13:5)

Let me be the first to tell you I see more and more of myself in the Israelites.  They were God’s chosen people and so are we.  They truly desired and honored to follow God even though they had quite a few bumps along the way.  The same is true for you and I.  God sovereignly reminded me of the struggle between the possible and impossible this week as I was reading in Zechariah 8.  It’s entitled “Promised Blessings for Jerusalem” in my Bible.

Throughout earlier chapters of Zechariah, he put great emphasis on the message of guilt and repentance for God’s people.   (Just to catch you up to speed: The Israelites had a really bad habit of going through cycles of sin and guilt which always led them back to God’s gracious repentance.  Their story sounds a lot like ours, doesn’t it?)

By the time we reach the eighth chapter we discover that the Israelites have once again caught a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.  In spite of the mistakes they’ve made God offers them hope in the forms of blessings.  Let’s take a look at the first eight verses of the passage together.

Then another message came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem! “And now the Lord says: I am returning to Mount Zion, and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be called the Holy Mountain.  “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares.  And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play. “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You can be sure that I will rescue my people from the east and from the west.  I will bring them home again to live safely in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and just toward them as their God.

I love this passage of scripture so much because it beautifully distinguishes the possible and impossible.  Verse six is indicative of the truth that nothing is impossible for Him! (Luke 1:37) If you look at the way impossible is spelled, it’s as though God is saying to us, “I’m possible!”  In other words, we’re able to face the seasons of doubt, fear, insecurity ONLY through Him.  (Just to clarify I heard the thing about the way impossible is spelled from Lysa Terkeurst, one of my many heroes of Jesus.  I didn’t come up with it myself!)

The biggest thing I took away from this chapter in Zechariah with the Israelites was that we may not be able to change that certain situation or circumstance we’re in but God can in the same way He lovingly drew the people back to himself.

I’m living proof of this truth myself.  Yes, life gets immensely difficult at times but there is nothing we can’t accomplish through His strength!

My question for you today is will you believe God in the moment of the impossible?

I know I will.

I pray you will, too.

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

The True Vine

The True Vine  I was awestruck today by the power of God’s Word particularly in John 15.  It’s entitled “Jesus, the True Vine” in my Bible.  I have always known and heard that as Christians we are called to bear fruit in our daily lives since we’re rooted in Jesus, who is the vine.  As I read through the passage the truth and reality of it hit me instantly.  There are two crucial questions I believe we should ask ourselves when reading this passage:

  1. Am I truly living my life connected to the grapevine as Jesus describes? (Deuteronomy 7:9)
  2. Is there evidence of His fruit in my life and in the lives of those around me?

What I love most about the way Jesus taught is the sheer simplicity of the parables.  They’re so simple and applicable.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Jesus was intentional about making them this way- They are meant to be understood.

Keeping the questions I asked you earlier at the forefront of our minds, let’s discover this passage together.  Right away we know two things to be true: (1) Jesus is the grapevine and (2) God is the gardener.  Next, Jesus tells us that God (the gardener) cuts off every branch that doesn’t bear fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  I’m just telling you, this second verse seriously amazes and leaves without words.  I can’t think of a greater banner or mantra to hang over your life than that. right. there. J Our hearts should and need to be open to the Gardener’s pruning.  I tend to be a pretty rational thinker so I like to think of the “pruning” in terms of the situations or circumstances that we don’t understand about our own lives.

I’m gonna get real, real honest here by saying that I believe I’m experiencing God’s gracious pruning through having Cerebral Palsy.  That’s what hit me the most from this passage today.  It has given me even more opportunities to bear fruit in this life than I could have ever imagined otherwise!  He’s given me friendships and relationships with very dear people through the pruning process and that’s something I’m eternally grateful for.  I know, I know the pruning looks different for each of us but this I know:  He has a purpose and plan behind the situation we’re facing but nonetheless, the end result is to bear fruit.  And, trust me, if we are truly connected to the grapevine (Jesus) our lives will be abundantly fruitful!  Why?  Because we are rooted in the True Vine.

Let me encourage you to once again take a step back and look at your life.  If we’re not rooted in Him then we cannot be fruitful. (John 15:4 New Living Translation) We all have to start somewhere.  Just as a garden doesn’t become immediately mature, our relationship with Christ doesn’t either.  He’s not asking us to get a head start he just wants us to START.

 

Let’s start planting our roots

NOW.

 

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Why Do We Doubt?

Why Do We Doubt  This morning I was reading in Matthew 14.  It’s where Peter walks on the water and although I’ve read about that countless times before this time it was altogether different.

 

Today, God spoke to me and asked me why I doubt Him? (v. 31) Truth is, I really don’t know why I doubt him so often.  I believe that our culture today has become so consumed by self-independence along with instant gratification that we’ve allowed these attitudes to seep into our relationship with Christ.

 

And, for what reason?! I think the answer is this: The world we live in these days has begun to instill false truths in our minds about Jesus’ true character.  Interestingly, the Enemy’s scheme of using false truths against God’s people started long ago.  (Genesis 3:1-15)  It happened the minute Eve chose to obey Satan’s instructions instead of God’s.  From that moment on humanity became marred by sin.  So you see, Satan has been playing the same mind games on God’s people for thousands of years.

 

In Jesus’ words, “Don’t be afraid,” “Take courage, I am here!” (Matthew 14:27) These are the words He so intimately speaks to our hearts when we’re in the midst of a storm where the wind and waves are too much for us to handle on our own.   Despite the circumstances we face in this life Jesus will always be there to grab us when we start sinking into the sea.  Isn’t that a glorious reality to remember every day?   This morning as God revealed this to me it definitely left me speechless and in awe of Him!

 

Understanding this glorious reality means that Satan’s mind games and doubtful thoughts don’t stand a chance against my mind.  I am so incredibly grateful for the miracle God gave me several summers ago even though it wasn’t a physical one.  God allowed the Spirit to come into my heart and chip away at everything that didn’t reflect Him.  My miracle was a renewed mind, heart and soul!

 

I’m glad Peter found the courage to step out of the boat because I’ll step out in faith as well.  If every Christian in the world did the same Satan would most likely run out of fiery arrows to throw at us!   I want to send him running back to where he belongs.  Lastly, I challenge you to join me in stepping out of the boat no matter how intimidating the waves might be.

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.


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