Tag: Purpose

Don’t Underestimate Your God Given Potential

Gideon Blog

It’s one thing to speak an encouraging word to someone in passing, but it’s another to call their God given potential out before they can see it in themselves.  I’m so grateful for the people in my life who have called me to courage before I even knew what was coming.  They saw the potential God has for me and were brave enough to tell me about it.

I think we can start calling others to courage by not underestimating the potential God has given us.


Growing up in church I had always known that God had a plan for my life even though I couldn’t exactly bring myself to trust His word and believe what God says about me.

Gideon was someone who witnessed God’s courageous calling for his life firsthand.  In Judges 6:11-16, we see Gideon’s story begin to unfold.

Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!” “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The LORD brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”    

Judges 6:11-16 NLT

I love Gideon because I see so much of myself in him.  He was taken by surprise when the angel appeared in verse twelve calling him a “mighty hero.”  As I was praying in preparation to write this message I couldn’t help but think of all the times where I’ve been surprised by what God has called me to do.  I can totally relate to Gideon’s current perspective of the situation.  We’ve all had times where we feel weak and unequipped to fulfill the calling God has given us.

God knew Gideon was going to be a bit surprised by his calling that’s why He sent the angel to declare that truth over him.  God does the same thing for you and I.


I’ve walked through many seasons of life where I have known and sensed the Sprit pulling me in a certain direction.  As much as I trusted Him there was still a  tiny part of me that was doubtful.  Feelings of insecurity and insignificance flourish in our moments of self-doubt.  Satan adores our weakest moments.  I don’t want to assign false thoughts to Gideon in any way, but I can just imagine those feelings of doubt were starting to weave their way into Gideon’s mind when he replies with Judges 6:15:

“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

I can’t even tell you how many times I have told God this same thing.  It starts when those feelings of insecurity and insignificance flourish in self-doubt.

In verse sixteen, the Lord says to Gideon:

The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”  I just LOVE that this was God’s response to Gideon because that’s His response to me in the midst of my self-doubt.

P.S. The rest of Gideon’s story is amazing in the way he trusts God to defend his army against the Midianites!  Check it out in Judges 7!

I want to close by reminding you of three key points we can learn from Gideon’s story:

  1. We must not underestimate the powerful potential God has given us.
  2. Trust His calling in your life even when it catches you by surprise.
  3. Feelings of doubt and insecurity flourish in moments of self-doubt.

Childlike Faith for Adults: How Do We Regain It?

trust blog

As a kid, I had several heroes or heroines that I admired.  The Disney princesses are a great example because I wanted to be just like them one day.  I’m sure we could all identify with doing the same thing if we looked back at the childhood we lived.

What I find intriguing about the modeling phase of childhood is this: No thing or person could ever convince you that you couldn’t be like that person you deeply admire.  You see, I feel like as people get older and the world keeps its firm grip of distraction on us and as a result we begin to lose that invincible spirit or childlike faith we once had.  We should carry the same attitude of deep admiration and appreaciation as adults when following hard after Jesus’ example.

The question is how do you and I regain that childlike faith and spirit as adults?  I have wrestled with that question for quite some time now and I think we can start by thinking about what we admire most about God?  We do this with our friends all the time.  We want to get to know them and their character.

 

Several weeks ago, I posed the following question on social media, What quality or qualities do you admire most about God?”

The response I received was quite overwhelming.  I couldn’t believe the amount of comments there were and how well they related to one another.  The top three responses will be discussed and we’ll also talk about how each of them describe God for who He is.


God is always ready and willing to listen to us.  He is never surprised by anything and we have total confidence in Him.  Meaning, whatever we tell Him will always stay between He and I.

He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.
  Psalm 121:3-4 NLT

What a great comfort to know that nothing will ever take God by surprise. He knows what’s going to happen long before we do.  I am eternally grateful that God is one in control of everything, so we don’t have to be.


God’s love for us is immeasurable. We really can’t imagine how much He loves us.  I mean He gave us a pretty good idea by sending His one and only son (Jesus) to die on the cross for the sins of humanity. (John 3:16) Someone who loves me enough to die for me is someone worth believing in-no matter the cost.

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
    With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. 

 Jeremiah 31:3 NLT

God’s love for us is everlasting. There’s nothing we can ever do or say to escape the grip of His love.  This verse reminds us that the love of God is always present.  In addition, Mercy also coexists with God’s love. My Bible defines mercy as, “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion; withholding of the judgement or punishment our sins deserve.” (Jesus Centered Bible 2015) God’s mercies for us are unending, just like His love.


I love the fact that I can’t keep anything from God because He knows everything about me before I even knew myself. Don’t get me wrong, it has a cost.  There are always consequences for our sins.  However, that doesn’t alter God’s love and mercy for us in any way.  He loves us fully and completely in spite of our messy imperfections.

Jonah’s Story is a beautiful example of this. At some point today, take a minute to read his story in the first three chapters of Jonah.  (Side note: The chapters are fairly short, so it should be an easy read.)  Jonah knew what it felt like to hide from God and he also recognized the beauty of repentance and freedom in Christ. Through his experience, he learned that God is already there, waiting for us on the other side of the adventure.  We can’t hide anything from God because He knows what we’re going to do before we do.

But, God in His mercy chooses to love us and use us for His glory anyway! How cool is that?!  That’s something I deeply admire about God.


Let’s take what we’ve discovered and apply it to the original question: How do you and I regain that childlike faith and spirit as adults?  Remember these three things:

  • God Can Be Trusted (Psalms 121:3-4)
  • His Mercy and Love is Unconditional (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • God Already Knows (Jonah 1, 2 and 3)

I hope and pray that God uses these words to encourage and guide you today. He has certainly blown me away in the things He has revealed to me while writing this!

©2016. Andrea Pierce. All Rights Reserved.

The Comparison Struggle

Comparison Blog

Comparison is something that has plagued humanity since before the world began.  The lie that we must compare ourselves to others in order to feel significant is from Satan himself and not God.  God created every person on this planet different for a reason.  We’re unique and those imperfections are what make us beautiful.  It’s in our moments of weakness that God’s glory becomes even more radiant!

I wanted to look at three realities in Scripture that deal with the comparison struggle:

  • Adam and Eve
  • Abram and Sarai
  • Satan wanting to be better than God

Adam and Eve was the first people to ever face the comparison struggle. We watch as she is the first to fall victim to the the lies from Satan. (Genesis 3:1-24)  In verses 4 through 6, she becomes convinced by Satan to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  She thinks she will be like God by eating the fruit in verse six.

4You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5“God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

6The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.

Genesis 3:4-6 NLT


Can you identify with the comparison struggle?

It’s no coincidence that the comparison struggle can be traced all the way back to Genesis. God put it there to remind us that He knows what a battle comparison can be in our lives.  Since I’m being brutally honest with you here, there have been times where I have faced the very same struggle with comparing myself to those around me.  It can start out so subtly until I feel God speaking to my heart saying, “Andrea, stop comparing yourself to her.  I created you to be yourself and no one else.  If I would’ve wanted everyone to be the same, you would be that way.”

In those moments that I stop and fall to my knees.  I’ve read the story of Adam and Eve a thousand times, but not until recently did I realize that both of them were facing the comparison struggle long before you and I existed.  They bought into Satan’s lie that by eating that piece of fruit, they could be like God. (v. 6)


I’ve always learned so much from Abram and Sarai. (who later becomes Sarah in Genesis 17) They loved God and wanted to follow Him, yet they had a tendency to get very impatient with God.  Ever been there? It’s a REAL battle.

The lives of Abram and Sarai is a prime example of comparison leading to pride. Sarai knew that God would be faithful to His promise of numerous descendants. (Genesis 15:1-6) However, she was growing impatient with God again. How do we know this? Sarah started comparing herself to Hagar because she was jealous of her.

We see this coming to fruition Genesis 16 through “The Birth of Ishmael” as it’s entitled in my Bible. Looking back on Abram and Sarai’s story along with Adam and Eve, it shouldn’t be surprising that comparison will always lead to jealousy in our hearts.  I think what I love most about Abram and Sarai’s story is that despite all their mistakes, God kept His word and remained faithful to the promises He had made. We need to be reminded of that very truth on a daily basis.

The grass withers and the flowers fade,
    but the word of our God stands forever.”

Isaiah 40:8 NLT


I had always heard that Satan had been thrown out of Heaven because he wanted to be greater than God. However, I’ve recently realized that Satan not only wanted to be like God, but he wanted to be greater than God himself! This conclusion astounds me.  No wonder Satan uses the comparison trap on us because he’s just hoping we’ll bite the bait of being jealous of others.

  
12 
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
13 For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods
far away in the north.[e]
14 I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’

Isaiah 14:12-14 NLT

These words in Isaiah are evidence that comparison and jealousy always come as a package deal. Make no mistake that comparing ourselves to others is a sin, whether we realize it at the time or not.

Although comparison may appear subtle at first, we’re essentially telling God that we aren’t content with the way He created us. Talk about a fresh perspective on the struggle of comparison! I felt such a deep desire from the Spirit to write about comparison this week because it’s something that He has really been convicting me of and speaking to me about.


The good news is that with Jesus we have HOPE. He knows we are going to struggle and sin while in the flesh.  Of this we can be sure: God loves us through it all, just as He did for the people in Scripture.  His love for us never changes and He is always faithful.

© 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.

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.

The Incapable Possibilities

trust2 Some “seasons” in life can feel seemingly impossible to endure.  Since we’re being truthful it really is if we are only choosing to rely on our own strength.  However, if we choose to rely and trust in God’s strength, the outcome is quite the opposite.  Luke 1:37 says it all: “Nothing, you see, is impossible with God!” (The Message) Recently, I’ve been faced with situations that I feel like there’s no way I can do what He calls me to and truthfully I can’t if I’m only relying on myself, or the people around me.

In keeping with the theme of possibility through Christ, I always like to refer back to the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17).  This experience in the Bible is yet another prime example of what it means to rely on God’s strength and not our own.  Even as a teenager David knew that he was incapable of defeating Goliath by himself and he recognized his need for God’s strength.  The reality is: David trusted God to help him. Let me ask you this:  Have you ever truly experienced what it means to trust Him and the peace that can only come from Him alone?   Personal confession: It wasn’t until several years ago that I encountered the reality of totally trusting Him in every aspect in my life.  Until that point I had become so full of bitterness and discontentment toward the Lord that I couldn’t possibly trust him wholeheartedly and in every circumstance.  Once I was convicted of the bitterness and shortcomings through the Spirit, I was able to be unblended by Jesus, in the sense that I understood in that very moment I was faced with two choices- To trust or not to trust.  Upon recognition of this the choice was simple:  I’m going to continually trust in Jesus Christ for everything I need until the day I meet Him.  Will you be doing the same?

The bottom line is this: We were put on this earth to reflect Him and bring even more glory to him through the lives we live.  Besides, we are the Light of the World!

“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”

Proverbs 16:3 NLT

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

This song is a great summary of what trusting God is all about and I would encourage you to really focus on the lyrics and the message they’re proclaiming!


Hit Counter provided by iphone 5