Day 9: I will take you higher | Love Letters

Fa·vor: the state of being approved or held in regard.

[Source]

God’s love for you comes with favor. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are welcomed into the body of Christ. You are part of the family of God: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV).

As part of this family, you have an inheritance. You are approved before God, and He holds you in high regard. You have access to Him–on earth and one day in heaven. You have access to His promises for you.

God makes a way when there is no way. When you commit your life to the Lord, you can expect Him to show up when you least expect it.

One of my favorite examples of favor in the Bible is Ruth’s story.

In the book of Ruth, we find that Ruth is living in a time of complete hopelessness–there is famine, corruption, and she experiences the death of her husband. However, Ruth decides to commit herself to God. She states to her mother-in-law, Naomi, “‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God’” (Ruth 1:16 NKJV).

When she loses everything, Ruth displays her loyalty to Naomi–but most importantly, she declares her loyalty to God. She wants God to be her God. She knows love for God means obedience. As she’s following Him, she receives favor from Him.

Boaz, a man of God who has great inheritance (wealth), recognizes Ruth because of her love for God, which is again displayed by her actions:

“And Boaz answered and said to her, ‘It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge’” (Ruth 2:11-12 NKJV).

Later on, Boaz blesses Ruth with a large supply of barley to take back to Naomi. Boaz and Ruth eventually get married. The theme in this book is obedience. Ruth is recognized for her obedience to God and rewarded by her obedience to God. She is given favor among men and even given a new life where she now has access to more than what she had before.

I’m sure Ruth didn’t know what was on the other side of her obedience, but she trusted in God anyway. We don’t know what’s on the other side, but if we trust in God and obey His commands, we can have confidence in His blessings.

God can take you higher than where you are now. He will not let your enemies triumph over you. He can promote you. He can give you favor in that job interview. He can provide financial blessings where you are lacking. He can restore broken relationships. He can deliver you from trouble. The key is to honor God–not because you want the rewards but because you want Him.

Remember: Ruth wanted God to be her God.

God sees your heart, and He is near those who draw near to Him. If you have a heart that truly wants to please and live for Him, it will be clear through your actions. You will see His promises for you unravel time and time again throughout your life.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon 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.” (Psalm 91:14-16 NKJV)

Love Letter 9

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 8

Read Day 10

 

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Day 8: I have good gifts for you | Love Letters

Gift: Something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance.

I’m a huge fan of home makeover shows. I love watching skilled interior designers bring a space to life based on a pre-thought-out plan. They transform an old room into an incredible masterpiece–not only based on someone’s desires but his or her needs.

Then there’s the room reveal. Clients take in the fact that their old room has been made new. They might have had ideas of what they wanted their space to look like but didn’t know how to execute those ideas. This room is what they desired and better than what they imagined. Many times, there are personal details in the new space that make the room even more special–perfectly tailored for them. The final room is a special gift they never knew they needed.

Sometimes, we have an idea of how our lives should go, and we have a plan of action on how to carry it out. Other times, we might have thoughts of how things should be but no idea of how to make them happen.

We can get so caught up in a big dream that we forget the little details. God has a pre-thought-out plan for you. He knows the best way for you to get from Point A to Point B. And He knows whether or not Point B is actually what it’s cracked up to be!

Plans take time to execute. Designers must initially sketch out a space, find the right items, and consider the logistics of how to get everything done.

God’s love for you means He will provide good gifts in your life. He will give favor, honor, and assistance. Some of these blessings are for now, others are for later. Waiting for things to unravel might seem brutal, but the grand reveal is always better than what you expect. He knows you intimately, and He knows what you need at different points in your life.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV) states, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” God’s ways are above your ways, and He has blessings for you that are better than your best plans.

In Psalms 68:19, God reveals that He loads us with daily benefits. In Lamentations 3:22-23, we learn that God’s mercies are new every morning. Every day has a purpose in your story.

As a designer knows that every step is vital in a major room renovation, God knows that every day is a vital part of your journey. While He works out daily blessings, He’s pushing you to transform into who He created you to be.

Blessings are often right in front of us.

Maybe you had an uplifting conversation with a coworker today or you have family members who deeply care for you. You were able to catch up with an old friend or someone offered to help you on a task out of the blue. Perhaps God’s given you a talent you enjoy or healing after you were sick for weeks. No matter how big or small, all these things can be wonderful blessings–let’s not forget that!

Instead of focusing on the uncertainty of the future, focus on the good gifts God has given you now. Work with Him daily to follow the right path for your life, and you will start seeing the ways He’s moving parts together for the bigger picture.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11 ESV)

Love Letter 8

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 7

Read Day 9

 

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It’s Better to Believe

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

(Romans 8:24-25 NKJV)


Do you ever wonder what can get in the way of miracles?  sparklers_believe post.jpg

Sometimes, we can rely on rituals to “make sure” that God answers our prayers. Maybe this can look like feeling you need to pray the exact prayer you did the last time God blessed you…or making sure you wear the same shirt you were wearing when God helped you ace that test…or worrying that God won’t protect you today because you didn’t get up at 5:00 am to pray.

This is tiring! I believe that we should be disciplined in seeking God, but we’ve taken up a wrong mindset if we start to get paranoid that God won’t be there for us if we “mess up” on a made-up routine in our heads. The sacrifices we make to seek Christ, based on His Word, should bring peace in our hearts.

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30 KJV).

Acts 16:31 reminds us that the foundation of our faith is believing God for who He is: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” However, the miracle of salvation is just the beginning. Believe that if God has the power to save you from sin through Jesus Christ, He has the power to provide for you in everyday life. And as Romans 8:25 encourages us, we can wait in expectancy for what He will do.

Continue reading “It’s Better to Believe”

On Increasing Your Faith

Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

(Micah 7:7 KJV)


Lately, I’ve realized how easy it is to forget God’s promises. Unanswered prayers and continuous trials are circumstances in which the enemy can slip into our minds and cause us to doubt or limit God. It’s key to acknowledge that this is deception. The enemy tries to infiltrate our thoughts by any means possible especially through negative situations, because he does not want us to reach our full potential in Christ.

Nevertheless, whom God calls, He equips. By taking practical steps to increase our faith, we can stand firm in His promises and persevere:

1) Ask

Go to God in prayer. When we have a relationship with Christ, we have access to actually communicate with the Creator of the Universe (which still blows my mind). It can be hard to believe that He is working things out for good, but we do not have to stay in this struggle alone. We are told in the Word that we can ask for godly qualities in which we might lack such as wisdom–surely we can ask for better faith as well.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13 (KJV)

2) Replace

Replace negative thoughts. This is something even society teaches us in order to think positively. Any form of discouragement can be replaced by the truth. We can hold onto thoughts like “Things will never get better” or we can claim “Things will get better.” Catching yourself in these moments of negativity and making effort to correct them will dramatically change your outlook on your situation. In my experience, I’ve found that this change in mindset is a process, and it can take time. Our minds constantly want to doubt when we do not see transformation in our lives. However, declaring the truth is not a one time thing. It’s a daily thing. Keep claiming it. There is great power in rejecting lies and deception.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

3) Praise

You have gone to God in prayer, and you have been claiming the truth of His promises. Get excited, because He has already been working in your life! Every year, during Thanksgiving dinner, each member of my family shares things that they are thankful for. When I hear even my youngest cousins thank God for “food” or their “house” or “parents,” I realize how easy it is to forget that these “little” things (things that are so common to us that we take for granted) come from God. At college, I’ve realized the things that have drawn me closer to Him, such as godly relationships, a solid church, and Bible studies are all blessings from the Lord. There are even so many things God has brought us out of, such as sickness, stress, etc., that we should praise Him for.

Acknowledging the things that have been provided in our lives is a great reminder for us that we can trust God. We can take our minds off what has not yet come to pass, give power to Him, and have security that He will never fail to meet our needs.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15 (KJV)

4) Thank Him

Claim your victory. Claim His promises. Thank God for what He is going to do in your life. God has answered your prayers before, and He will do it again. Yes, sometimes prayers are not in the way you expected. Rejoice in that, because as humans, we are 100% fallible, and God sometimes answers our prayers in unexpected ways to correct what would have otherwise gone wrong (if we had our way).

Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Micah 7:7 (KJV)

For me, I’ve found that I love to discuss God’s goodness with others. It allows me to see what He’s done in my life and how He’s blessed others, and it’s always super encouraging for me.

Remember that God loves you. It’s a concept that seems easy to grasp, but if we really understood that, we’d understand that His promises are true. Every last one of them. That we have no reason to fear (Joshua 1:9). That we will be provided for (Philippians 4:19) That we have no reason to fear death (John 11:25). And so on.

Through Christ, we have victory. We have already conquered the challenges that seem near impossible. Seek after Him during these “impossible” times. Seek after Him during times in which everything seems possible. Study the Word, obey God’s commandments, and dare to live righteously in a world that will tell you otherwise.

I have security in understanding that the God I serve is not bound by this world. He works things out supernaturally in ways that no human can imitate.