Not just going through the motions

Mark 10:27 (AMP) Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

On Sundays I get to spend a few moments exhorting the people of our church right before I do the declaration. I have been reading about stewardship and God having unlimited resources. The above scripture says a lot of what our faith should be lined up with. I presented to them the excuse that we do not want to create a lot of “Ishmaels.” (Ishmael is the son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah handmaiden. Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham because they had no children and they thought they would help God out with the promise of a son. Ishmael’s lineage eventually becoming the Muslim nation). I presented to them this question: “Do you not think God can redeem Ishmael?”

Matthew 24:14 (AMP) This good news of the kingdom [the gospel] will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the age] will come.

No people group will be exempt. Therefore, no action that you take cannot be turned around for His good. Yes we will have consequences, but we are not living if we are not learning. We would just be going through the motions of life, and that would just be miserable.

It is often focused that Abraham only had two sons, Ishmael (from Hagar) and Isaac (from Sarah). In Genesis 25 it tells of Abraham taking another wife, Keturah, and she gave him six more kids. Isaac is said to be the son of promise and the nation of Israel ties it’s lineage back to him, that does not mean that Abraham did not bestow gifts on the others while he was still alive. There are so many messages that we can take away from all of this, but I took away that Abraham had more than one gift to give. We want ours to be the one of the promise (the perfect one).

2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP) But He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.

It is not required to be perfect, His grace paid the price for that. I love that is says that His mercy is more than enough and always available, regardless of the situation. I sure do need His mercy right now. In my disappointment, in my desire to see things grow, I need His mercy right now. He makes things perfect, not me. I want the power of Christ to dwell in me. I want to be led by the Holy Spirit in everything I do. I just have to keep His mercy before me. It is okay that it is not perfect.

It is not required to be perfect, His grace paid the price for that.

Colossians 3:17 (AMP) Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Deuteronomy 15:10 (AMP) You shall freely and generously give to him, and your heart shall not be resentful when you give to him, because for this [generous] thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.

Above are a couple of verses that encourage me when I step out in faith. I give myself freely to Him in everything that I do and say. Such a great promise of Him taking it and blessing it. Notice He is not asking for perfection. I want to drive that point home. He makes them perfect, I just have to give Him something to work with.

What about excellence? I googled perfection versus excellence ad this is what it says, “Perfectionism is about the fear of failure, while striving for excellence is the urge for success. Excellence is superior performance, persistence, and the commitment to do something exceptionally well. Excellence requires risk, effort, spontaneity, hard work, and extending yourself to reach your full potential.” Excellence is a heart motive, perfection is in Him.

Praying blessings on everything you say and do today!

My van overheated

This past week started off tough for me. It started off with stress and anxiety over getting items ready for a consignment sale, which were exasperated by how I was “tolerated” as a consignor by the new owner. Also, on Monday my van started to overheat. We had just gotten back from a trip to north Alabama, where the temperatures were still below freezing and they had gotten snow. We let the van run for longer periods of time in idle than we usually do. We added antifreeze to it as we found out it had none and by the next day it was low again.

On Wednesday I took my van for an oil change and asked them to look into the coolant issue. That I could smell it and that it was leaking somewhere. They gave me a quote and sent me on my way telling me to be very careful. I traveled from there about twenty miles to see my mother and have a visit. On the way back from my mother’s it started over heating again. I pulled it over to the shoulder and call a town truck.

Just that morning I had posted: Yesterday was rough. I was stressed and anxious for most of the afternoon. I spent the past two days hanging, tagging and preparing items for a local consignment sale (this will be my last time doing it). While doing it I binge watched an episode on Netflix. Really interesting and entertaining…I like a good crime series.Today I am reading and came across this nugget:“The Bible shows us that there is a direct relation between hearing and seeing Jesus, and the health of our bodies. The more we hear and see Jesus, the healthier and stronger we become! Our mortal bodies infused with His resurrection life and power! If we are constantly feeding on the news media, it is no wonder we feel weak and tired. There is just no nourishment for us there.” From “Unmerited Favor” by Joseph Prince. Now I don’t watch the news but I do like to get into a good series. It’s comforting, but then when I’m away from it I feel anxious. Hello! Doesn’t that seem like symptoms of an addiction? I read my Word every day. I spend time in worship. I know the Holy Spirit. Here is what He is trying to tell me: stop putting time limits on what is His time and what is my time. I do not have as much stress and anxiety when I give Him more of that “me time.” I had an amazing time in the Word and a really good visit with my mom. I had accomplished everything I needed to do on my checklist and now I am on the side of the road. I did not freak out, I did not get into an over anxious mess ball, I had peace.

I got my van home and called the one place I was trying to avoid, my service center. I had not had good experiences with them in the past. When we bought the van my husband also bought an extended warranty that is good as long as we own the van, no renewing required. It is bumper to bumper, but not for normal wear and tear (tires, oil changes, fluids, etc.). Since this was a leak in a hose I did not think this was covered, so that is why I was seeking elsewhere for the repairs. I get it to this service center and guess what…it is covered. What I was willing to pay over four hundred dollars to get fixed only cost me a hundred and fifty.

This is my take away from this. That extended warranty was put into our payments at the beginning of the purchase. It is one hundred percent paid for now. I would not have known the benefits of it completely if I did not get it checked by the service center. We can be just like that with our relationship with God. There are some benefits and blessings that we know are available to us because of the cross, but others we are not sure of so we go someplace else to get our resources. Then we know we should be blessed in an area and think if we make ourselves small and keep a good attitude that God will give us just enough to get us by.

There are some benefits and blessings that we know are available to us because of the cross, but others we are not sure of so we go someplace else to get our resources.

Luke 12:22-24 (AMP) Jesus said to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; or about your body, as to what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the crop]; they have no storehouse or barn, and yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds!

Ephesians 3:20 (AMP) Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us

These are just two verses that should give us an assurance that we have the promise of favor, of abundant blessings and nothing in it tells us to make ourselves small. What about John 3:30 then, “He must increase, but I must decrease”? This is telling us that nothing should be more important in our lives than Christ. John the Baptist wanted to point others to Christ. When we take this verse out of context we start to put the smallness onto ourselves.

If I had stayed in my good attitude and went to the other place, the place where I knew they would not make me uncomfortable because I had never had a confrontation with them, then I would not have known all that was available to me. You know what else, this visit to the service center was the most pleasant experience I have ever had! Favor and blessings all around!!

I pray this blessed and encouraged you. If you need prayer or need to chat, message me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

He Goes Before Us

Exodus 33:14 (NIV) The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

This week I started reading Numbers. Basically, I was suppose to have read it last week, but I skipped it and read Deuteronomy instead. This week, as I was reading Numbers, I empathized with Moses in how his heart must have been in anguish. I identified with Caleb this time.

As I was telling my youth about reading Numbers, they were like, isn’t that just a census you are reading? I told them that is what I thought at first, as to why I fought reading it. I found out that they had heard the story of why the Israelites were not allowed into the promise land from the summary in Deuteronomy, but there is so much that we see in Numbers.

In Chapter 13 we see the twelve men sent from the twelve different tribes being sent out to look at the land. They even brought back a single cluster of grapes that took two men to carry! Verses 27-29 in the Message Translation: We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittities, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.

This is my guy right here! Sometimes I feel like Caleb the cheer leader. In verse 30 (MSG), Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land – now. We can do it.”

Sometimes I feel like Caleb the cheer leader.

We read on how the other men carry on how much land it is. How much stronger the other inhabitants are. The whole community get in an uproar and cry all night long. Then they go back to wishing things were like the old ways. At least in Egypt they knew how to handle those challenges. They were slaves, but they were use to that kind of life.

This is what I think of when I hear believer’s complain about having to wear a mask because of COVID. I have to admit that it is uncomfortable. I have compassion for my husband that has to wear one all day long in his work environment. I have to wear one to enter the gym, to go grocery shopping, to drop off items at the post office, etc. What it has not stopped me from doing is showing love. I still make it a point to talk to that grocery clerk. I want to be aware of God moments even in the midst of my discomfort of wearing a mask. I often think, what can God do with this?

Numbers 14: 6-9 (MSG) Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephenneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes and addressed the assembled People of Isreal: “The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land – very good indeed. If God is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he’ll give it to us. Just don’t rebel against God! And don’t be afraid of those people. Why, we’ll have them for lunch! They have no protection and God is on our side. Do not be afraid of them!”

How do we rebel against God today? By not being where He told us to be, doing what He told us to do. Do you not think He knows that you are required to wear a mask now? I do understand the autistic and there are other medical reasons. I am not talking about that, I am talking about the mature in Christ. I am talking about how there is a watching world of unbelievers that need hope and they are watching how we walk.

Other than wearing a mask, let’s look at the fact that we are scared of the unknown because of living this way for so long. Maybe God has been urging you to get a job or even a better job. I was telling my youth that in order to have the type of life you want to live, you start acting like and preparing for it now. You want to be a successful person, you act like you are a successful person. You want to have your own home, drive a nice car, then start preparing now. Your life is only as small as your thought life brings it to be. You want to be seen as someone who can make good choices, stop ordering chicken nuggets and picking out the vegetable when you go out to eat! (OK, that might be a little pet peeve of mine).

Like Joshua and Caleb, I feel like people are about ready to throw stones at me. All I want to do is scream “stop your complaining!”

Numbers 14:11-12 (MSG) Just then the bright Glory of God appeared at the Tent of Meeting. Every Israelite saw it. God said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me like dirt? How long refuse to trust Me? And with all these signs I’ve done among them! I’ve had enough – I’m going to hit them with a plague and kill them. But I’ll make you into a nation bigger and stronger than they ever were.”

I underlined the “how long refuse to trust Me.” This is what I hear when a believer complains. Of course we know that God does not kill them all. It is after this encounter that we find out that only Joshua and Caleb will be entering the Promised Land, but everyone one twenty and older would not. This is when God turns the camp around and makes them wander in the wilderness.

They had to wander forty more years in the dessert. We read in Joshua how they entered the land and victory after victory given to them. This is what I want you to get. The people that had inhabited the land that was promised to them had not changed, they had probably grown in numbers. Your surroundings are not going to change unless you start to act. God has made a promise to you, but you have to do your part. Stop hiding, stop complaining, stop lamenting on what was.

Balaam was summoned by Balak to curse the Israelite camp and bless his. Balaam could not keep himself from speaking God’s words only. He feared God, more than he feared displeasing Balak. It was Balaam who spoke this revelation found in Numbers 23:17-24 (taken from out of the Message Translation), “God is not a man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing his mind. Does he speak and not do what he says? Does he promise and not come through? I was brought here to bless; and now he’s blessed – how can I change that?

Stop waiting for God to change things. He can do so much more when we understand who He truly is! Watch your world change when you start walking out in confidence that He has already made the way. I understand there are giants out there, but like Caleb I am cheering you on! God is on our side, who can be against us!!