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Posts Tagged ‘Belief’

Read this blessing in a book that my roommate, Stephanie Dole is reading, and it has been rocking my world.

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live from deep within your heart where God’s spirit dwells.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world and in your neighborhood, so that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do, but in Jesus Christ you will have the strength necessary to do.

May God bless you that you remember we are called to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place, in and through God’s name, in God’s spirit continually creating and breathing new life in grace into everything and everyone we touch.

Dang! now that is praying!

 

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We all have things that get right to core of our hearts. We have these specific things that challenge our hearts and draw us to and from God.

Everything about God requires faith and belief. Everything about knowing  God requires dependence and surrender. These are hard for our hearts to wrestle with.

God is about the all not about the some.

Everyone has their own individual weak spots. We each have our own unique challenges of faith and belief.

What does your heart wrestle with the most when it comes to believing in God?

How does this things manifest itself in your life now?

 

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One of the hardest attributes of God’s identity for me to grasp is his love. I have had great glimpses of what love resembles. I have experienced days and seasons of really understanding the character of God as being love. But I have a hard time trusting love. I can honestly say I struggle with the concept of love applying to me.

I desire to be a person who loves deeply. I really enjoy loving others. To love someone is so life giving for me. I have no problem believing love for another, but I just can’t seem to associate love with me.

God loves you” is a common phrase used in the Christian world. It is a very true statement. God loves us deeper than we can comprehend. He loves us so much that he gave up his life voluntarily. God loves me so much that he remains faithful to me when I am faithless. God doesn’t just love, he is love.

There are two crucial questions I have come across in the bible. The first is Jesus asking the identity question of “who do we say he is.” How I answer this question should be reflected in every area of my life. The second question comes from the Gospel of John. The very end of the gospel, Jesus and Peter are having a heart to heart conversation about Peter’s devotion to Jesus. Jesus asks Peter three times, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?

I understand that Jesus was asking Peter this question as a direct result of Peter’s denial a couple nights before. But I realized that Jesus asks us all the same question. Jesus asks me, “Tracee, do you love me?

This is an intense question. Intense because I think we toss the word love around flippantly these days, and it lacks sufficient weight. How I answer that question really does affect my life.

When Peter respond to Jesus with “yes”, Jesus said “follow me.” How we answer this question will affects our lives. I know I do not answer yes every time. The times in my life where I am most self-sufficient, most condemning of myself and others, the times in life where I feel like it is all up to me, are the times I respond with “no God.” My response affects the way I trust and follow God.

For me, answering yes, is a risk of faith. To tell someone I love them is a risk of my heart and trust. I want to give my heart and trust to him. God is the one person who knows how to be responsible with me. Answering yes is where my faith and active belief is going to come from. That is a hard challenge.

Love is not just knowing we are loved by God, but he desires to know that we love him.

How would you answer that question?

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God is the God of yesturday, today, and forever.

That is a powerful statement. God is my God of my past, present, and future. He has me covered. HE knows me before I do. He has me in the present chaos of me, and he know the unsettlement of the question marks of me. That is a silencing understanding for me.

God is the God of yesterday. He knows the place I  need healing. He sees my list of record of wrongs. He sees the patters of unhealthy relating I am developing because of hurts of the past. There is something reassuring about knowing God understands my past. He sees my wrong doings and sees me. God believes in me. He believes in the better me. He heals me.

My yesterday is in his hands. My harms and hurts are in his hands. I know I would continue to mess up if God did not have my yesturday. I can look back on things and see him. I can look back on my hindsight and see where he has saved me and provided for me. That should pave the way for my today, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

God has my Today. I still try and take control of my today. I try and race through my restless and skip to the next. God has something for me in the now. I miss it more often then not. I hate that. I am focused on my tomorrow. God has much to do with me now. I have prayed for things that I know he is doing now and I know I miss it because I am not focused on today. My character needs him to be the God of today. My hope, and eyes, need a God of today. There are so many ways to see him today. God has conversations for us to experience today. He wants us to see him in the important things of today. He has things for us today. I know I miss it.

God is the God of tomorrow. God has my heart for tomorrow. He has by dreams and heart in his minds eye. I wrestle with believing him for tomorrow. I don’t know tomorrow. So does that mean he doesn’t? That is my narrow mindedness. God is the God of all. He has my whole being in his mind and hand. He wired me for life. I want what he wants for me.

To be honest, I know I have made choices to prolong this next for me. I have lost sight of him and believed that tomorrow is up to me. He is patient and loves me just the same. When I catch the memo, he is waiting for me where we left off.

My tomorrow is his tomorrow. He is the God of tomorrow.

God has your yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

How do you see and interact with a God who has all three?

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Sometimes I feel like I have mood swings when it comes to my prayer life. Prayer is one of those things that resembles something like the wind. At times, my prayers can be like that of a hurricane where I can’t seem to get enough out; my pen can’t keep up with the breath of my heart. These are times where words flow like a raging river that has no end point.

Then there are those times where I can’t seem to  buy a word. Prayer looks like staring out of window in silence. There are times where my heart has no thought, and no breath; the screen remains blank with the cursers captivating blink.

It is in the times where I have nothing that I am so thankful for the psalms. In the midst of my hearts lack of description, I like to tap into the words of David’s heart. I love getting lost in the intimacy of his words to a very known God in his life.

Our unedited thoughts with God is the most real form of worship we can get. 

David always brought his many and few to God. He knew everything mattered to God. I am constantly blown away by how unedited David was with God. He held no word, or emotion, back from his God.

David was all in even when he “wasn’t there” yet.

I have been stuck in Psalm 63 . I am captivated by the future tense of how David brings his prayer. In this Psalm, David consistently uses the phrase, “I will.” This tells me that David might not have been in the place he was talking to God about.

For example, David states:

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

The phrase “I will” speaks to a place David will choose to believe in. “I will” tells me that David was not quite there yet. That is so refreshing to me.

I feel this future tense very much in me. I am not in a place where praising him, trusting him, and hoping are coming easily. BUT the point is that in the midst of this place, I want to remember that choosing God is what matters. Choosing Him is worship.

I am going to speculate and say that I don’t think David was in a heart place where praising, trusting, and depending on God were coming easily as well. By saying, “I will” kept David obedient and present with God. David chose God in the midst of when choosing him might’ve been hard.

No matter the state of my heart, whether overflowing or desertish, I want to say “I will” to choosing God. Worship is just that, choosing faith when you don’t see, belief when you’re waiting, or just being honest – enabling intimacy

What kind of conversations are you having with him these days?

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I love those times when I just “get it.” I cling to those times where revelation has carried stored up information from my head and turned it into the “Aha!” of my heart. I love when I read something a thousand times and can still walk away with thoughts like, “where has that nugget been!?

I feel like I am a Pez dispenser of aha moments these days. It is changing my sight. Isn’t that the way it should be after getting something?

Life should look, feel, taste, smell, and sound different when we really get something. My life has changed drastically the past fifteen years since God has been in me. Even after “so long” I love that I still have those moments where I finally find freaking Waldo, and really grasp something. (I used to have an excited dance when I found Waldo).

I can already see and feel my words and thoughts being changed by what God has helped me to get. These moments feel like small miracles for my heart.

Peter is one of Jesus’ disciples who I think really gets what I’m talking about. The B.C. Peter, (before Christ), was pride filled, strong willed, hard headed, and a big talker. Peter operated out of self-sufficiency a lot. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter was a changed man. Peter went through a time of really just getting it. The information that Jesus was ingraining into his mind finally hit his heart. Peter really believed.

He believed not just because of all that he has seen Jesus do, and heard all the things Jesus said to the crowds, but because his heart was changed.

During those three years of walking with Jesus, Peter’s life was changed inside. His character looked different. He grew in humility and gentleness. Peter even started to listen first before speaking his mind. That is hard for a leader.

There is one story in particular that illustrates a different Peter to me. It takes place in Acts chapter 3. You see, Peter experienced not just miracles seen, but a miracle known in his own life. He acted like it.

One day Peter and John were walking up to the temple courts to pray. There was a man being placed by the gate entrance who had been crippled his whole life. This man had been placed there every day to beg. It had become his life’s routine.

So Peter immediately walks over to this man and addresses the real need of his heart. Peter had experienced the power and life of what Jesus offered to him, and he offered that known miracle to another.

After experiencing a miracle work in my life, my confidence and sight changed. Miracles give you sight to see different. Aha moments change your life in lasting ways. I know, for me, I can’t help but want to give that out.

People who know that a miracle has been done in their life and heart offer differently.

Peter looked at this man and told him that he does not have the tangible, but he has something better. Peter offered this man the miracle of Jesus from his own life. Peter acted like a miracle. Even if you just read the first three chapters of Acts, you will find a different Peter then you might’ve read about in one of the gospels.

Believing in God will change your life. Believing has caused me to speak, think, and understand different. That is what I want my life to offer.

What you believe dicatates how you will live your life and that will be inevitably what you offer.

What are you believing that enables what you offer?

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I have referenced before that trust is hard for me. I am pretty skeptic when it comes to taking a step in faith. My first instinct is to protect myself. My logic assesses the situation and then weighs the trust level. This mentality makes faith hard for me. It would technically be called “controlled faith.

The gospel of John is my go-to book in the bible. When I want to read about Jesus, it is John’s perspective that I run too. When I want to read about God’s love, John is where I start. When I just want to be reminded of a man who believed and understood that God loved him, John is my boy.

I am always drawn to the faith of the first twelve disciples. I love reading about their questions, skepticism, and remarks, when they were first introduced to Jesus. I also like watching their responses shift to being blown away by Jesus.

Lately, I have been stuck on Nathaniel. Nathaniel was the brother of Philip. Nathaniel was a skeptic. His response to his brother’s claim of finding the Messiah reminds me of what I might have said. Nathaniel’s response was one of question and maybe of self protection.

What draws me into this story is how quickly the shift in trust and belief happens. Jesus takes Nathaniel’s skepticism head on. Jesus calls out Nathaniel in personality and truth. Jesus describes Nathaniel as, “one without deceit.” Nathaniel, I’m sure taken aback, responds with confusion. Jesus simply states, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.

It took one way of being known by Jesus. One thing shifted the faith of Nathaniel. Skeptisim melts to embrace. Protection changes to trust.

It took something tangible for Nathaniel to believe. Mind you it was not something big, but something. It took a fig tree kind of faith for Nathaniel to believe.

I started reading on and in the proceeding two chapters there are numerous stories of people believing after witnessing a miracle. People would also demand a miraculous sign before they would believe what Jesus was saying.

I had to ask myself, do I have fig tree faith? Do I only let down the walls of self-protection if I see something tangible regarding God? Do I settle for fig tree faith when God is telling me, “you will see greater things than these?

I want to believe in the God of “greater things.” I know my trust comes with proof. Where is the faith in that? Honestly, there is no faith. Faith happens when we are waiting in hope in the unseen. Faith believes in the not yet and hopes in the dream of some day. God is known in those places. Faith is the place of “greater things.

Are you settling for fig tree faith?

How are you hoping in the unknown?

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