Step by Step

I love my Saturday exercise regimen because that’s the day I hit the trail, intending to run and walk about 7 to 8 miles. However, on this particular Saturday, I decided to go a little farther.

I reached my first goal point, which was a little less than 4 miles, and decided to keep going. The next familiar intersection was about 4 1/2 miles. But this beautiful, sunny day kept me moving forward. So, I ventured to the following main crossing, which I never experienced—I was now in unfamiliar territory.

In my decision to keep going toward a destination that I had never reached, God revealed to me, “This is how faith works!” Life throws at us various decisions, situations, and lessons. But to reach each milestone productively, we must first have faith and, secondly, keep moving. You will never know what is beyond the horizon until you make your mind up to press forward and move in faith.

Considering I was on the trail when I reached this new destination, I had to turn around at some point. If I continued any further, someone would have to pick me up. So, my trail experience became a wisdom nugget that God uncovered to become life practice.   

Know that new destinations in life require greater faith that develops as you move forward. Each level takes you out of your comfort zone into a God-dependent, spiritual maturity. Your faith beckons God’s guidance, protection, and provision to help you perform and sustain that new level. But, your experiential familiarity is your transferable skill and foundation.

God’s Word:

“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:” Isaiah 45:2 KJV

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 NLT

As I reached the end of the trail, I glanced at my watch to see how far I had traveled—I obtained a new outdoor run record of nine miles. It felt great to venture farther and discover new sites on the trail. However, I believe investing in a bike will be necessary if I want to continue exploring all that nature has to offer.

So, as you go about your life making minor and monumental decisions, know that stepping out on faith is a requirement. It eliminates your comfort zone, embraces new growth, and helps you to reach higher levels of wisdom and experiences.

Be blessed in the Mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen ~

Faith and Works

Building blocks in a hand

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Today I spoke with a friend who was going through some storms, as we all are experiencing. As we were talking, I found some scriptures to encourage her spirit with hopes of transforming her thinking. We read the scriptures together and continued to talk about the love, comfort, and protection of Jesus Christ. I asked her if she was feeling better, emotionally, but she was still struggling even though we were professing God’s grace and mercy. As we said our good-byes, I started to reflect on our conversation and what it meant to believe in Jesus Christ.  

In my reflection time, God gave me this revelation. As Christians, we have to do more than belief. We have to trust and have faith in Jesus Christ when we go through tests, trials, and storms. Believing is the foundation of our Christian walk because, without it, there is no Lord and Savior in our life. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11 NIV However, we must move beyond believing toward trusting and having faith, illustrated through our actions.

Have you ever received encouragement from a friend but still felt somber not experiencing any joy or peace? Maybe you’ve been the encourager thinking that your godly support is not helping. It’s important to understand that on either end (encouragement or encourager), our belief in Jesus Christ is a daily walk. The proper mindset will transition you from believing toward trusting and having faith demonstrated with action.

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?…In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:14, 17 NIV

If you’re wondering what actions do you need to portray? I would say sit before the Father and allow Him to direct you. In the conversation with my friend, I would say let the scripture transform your thinking to a positive mindset. Allow God to fill your heart and mind with joy and peace; instead of focusing on the negative, see the positive, or do something different, so you receive different results. Your “actions” are whatever you decided to do to make your day better-believing, trusting, and having faith that God is in control, and all is well.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIV

As Christians, we can say all day that we believe in Jesus Christ, but if our belief does not mature to a trusting, faith-based relationship in God, then what do we believe. Let your belief manifest to trust and faith in Him, which will develop into an action-based Christian walk.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalms 62:8 NIV

Be blessed in the Mighty, Awesome name of Jesus Christ! Amen~

Look Up

As a primary school teacher, I remember teaching a lesson on nocturnal animals. We talked about the various animals that come out at night and during the daylight. We also discussed why certain animals come out only at night. Among our diverse list of animals, the owl was considered a nocturnal animal. The owl is a bird that preys and hunts at night. Their night vision eyes, ears, and flying speed help them to see and catch prey.

But, this lesson that I taught my students for years was challenged one beautiful, sunny day.  As I was walking on the trail, talking to God, I decided to look up in the sky. While looking up, I noticed an owl sitting on a branch. I had never seen an owl before in nature that I can remember. I always thought owls were nocturnal animals that came out at night, so to see this owl perched in a tree perplexed me. 

However, as I reflected on seeing the owl, even though my focus was on hearing God, thoughts came to mind. Some ideas that came to mind as I observed the owl sitting in the tree was looking up:

  • Is necessary
  • Encourages our Creator to become relevant, needed, and desired
  • Acknowledges our source and where our help, vision, and ideas come from
  • Helps you to see the impossible become possible; what you might have never thought you’d see or do is in your grasp and sight when you look to God

Once I saw the owl, I decided to google “Day Owls” since I thought owls only came out at night. It stated that some owls come out during the day because of the season and to catch their prey. Certain birds that owls prey on come out in the early morning, which would validate me seeing this owl. However, what was interesting about this owl was he did not move. He was gazing at the forest, admiring his surroundings, and waiting patiently for prey.

As I took a moment to ask God what He wanted me to learn from this encounter, I felt a sense of conviction toward yielding to God. I could sense God saying, “Stop thinking, planning, and focusing on what you believe to be a problem.” God was telling me:

  • Know that He is in control!
  • Admire and recognize what He has given me!
  • Seize the day!
  • Wait patiently on Him! 

As Matthew 6: 25-26 (NIV) says, “don’t worry – see how God feeds the birds, and how much more valuable am I.” https://www.bible.com/bible/111/mat.6.25-26.niv

Know that God loves you and knows what you need. Look up, Seek Him, Trust Him, Believe in Him, and Have Faith in Him! If I hadn’t looked up, I would’ve never saw the owl in this tall tree, high above my head to witness God desiring to give me revelation!

Be Blessed, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.