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~

Be Still and Know

Today I woke up with a weary soul. I watched church online, showered, and dressed for a lounging Sunday.

As I made breakfast, our dog, Apollo, kept walking back and forth into the kitchen as if he knew breakfast was on the way.

My husband told our dog, “She’ll give you something,” and I said, “those sausages are not for the dog!” As we sat down at the dining room table to eat, Apollo came and sat by me. I told him, “no,” you’re not getting any sausage. He walked away but came back again. I told him again “no” sausages for you. This time he stayed by the table and just sat there. He didn’t look at me nor my husband, he just sat there looking straight ahead–waiting.

As we finished our breakfast, there was one sausage left, and immediately I had the desire to give it to the dog. I broke the sausage up in pieces and fed it to Apollo so that he wouldn’t devour the whole thing! As I fed the dog the sausage, my husband said to him, “I told you she would give you some. You just had to be patient and quiet!”

Immediately the verse “Be still and know” came to me! As children of God, He wants us to be still and know! God wants us to have an assurance that He hears us, sees our needs, and will answer!

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10 NIV

My dog didn’t whimper or bark for the sausage; he simply waited patiently. He didn’t know that I would change my mind. Every time Apollo walked into the kitchen, I said no! When he came to the table, I said no. But he kept coming humbly and passively to me, waiting for me to give him a sausage.

At that moment, God was speaking to me through the observation of Apollo. My dog showed me a profound action and position I should take with God.

I should continue to pray!

I should continue to trust and believe in favor!

I should be humble and meek!

I should demonstrate patience, assurance, and perseverance!

I should not give up!

I should submit to authority!

These were all the things I thought about after witnessing my dog’s demeanor and behavior. Apollo didn’t know that his quiet, obedient, persistent behavior would get him a sausage.

As children of God, we never know how our demeanor and behavior will invoke God’s Divine hand of favor!

So, as you read this and I write it, I hope we all become more aware of how our actions, position, and posture can get the attention of our loving God!

God longs to help, deliver, and save you!

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. Psalms 91:14-16 NIV

May God show Himself to you in such an ordinary way that you stop, look, and listen! Be blessed in Jesus Christ’s name! 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.

His Work not Ours

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/eph.3.20-21.niv

Have you ever looked at your life and said, “I’m tired!”  You are busy going here and there, doing this and that, working day in and out!  A hamster on the wheel effect!!! You wonder, “Should life be this hard!”  Well the answer to that my friend is “No!”  Life should not be that hard and God did not design it that way.  

In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.  He created the Garden of Eden, which had everything in it for man and animal to survive.  Scripture says, “God placed man in the garden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15 NIV); therefore man did not labor the garden from a non-existent state.      

Plants, trees, vegetables, fruits, water, shelter was already there.  All man had to do was enjoy the surroundings and continue nurturing what God cultivated.  

What made me think about life and the rat-race our world deems is normal was the daily scripture.  Today’s verse says that God can give immeasurably more than what we can think or ask.  But to me, the kicker is the second part, which declares it’s according to His power that works within us.  We have to live our life including God in the picture for the unimaginable to happen!  When we give Him control, He knows how to make our rough places smooth and our crooked paths straight (Isaiah 42:16 NIV & Isaiah 45:2 KJV).

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”  Isaiah 42:16 NIV

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/isa.42.16.niv

“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

https://www.bible.com/bible/1/isa.45.2.kjv

So, if we live and work with God, skies the limit!  

God’s Power puts us at the right place at the right time!

God’s Power has us accomplishing more in less time!

God’s Power preserves energy not depletes it!

God’s Power gives us uncommon favor!

God’s Power increases spiritual growth and decreases mediocre thinking!

So, if life has you tired, do what Jesus says and take His yoke because it is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11: 28-30 NIV).  

Cast your cares upon God for He will sustain you (Psalm 55:22 NIV).

And, know that with God in the driver seat, He is able to do immeasurably more than you can imagine or ask!

Be Blessed in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen ~