Getting Back on Track | Trust Series (Part Three)

In Part Two of the Trust Series we discussed key points to look for to identify God’s gifts in our lives–and how to learn what’s not of Him. When God moves, He reflects His character. Even in the midst of difficult decisions, God can provide clarity. He’s not a God of confusion!

In Part One of the series, we discussed how to abandon fear and hold onto faith when it comes to following God’s commands. When we’ve been seeking God, and He says “yes,” we can move forward knowing He’s with us every step of the way.

However, what happens if we go off track? What do we do when we realize we’re not on the course God has for us?

Today, in Part Three of the Trust Series we’re going back to basics.

There’s a key component in discovering God’s will for your life, and it’s as simple as this:

Obedience.

Continue reading “Getting Back on Track | Trust Series (Part Three)”

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Stop Being Afraid of Ruining God’s Plan for Your Life | Trust Series (Part One)

We often say we want God’s plan for our life. God’s best for us. God’s purpose for us. God’s blessing for us.

But when it comes to actually discerning His will, things can feel a little blurry.

We easily can fall into the trap of overthinking God’s plan. Feeling confidence one day about a new direction, then complete confusion the next. Asking countless questions without finding peace in answers. Being so hard on ourselves that we think we’re not good enough for what God has for us.

Whether we realize it or not, we may be approaching His will wrongly. Making it an option over a command. Making it a complicated mystery over a practical lifestyle. Making it about fearing irreversible mistakes over embracing growth and truth.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll learn how to understand and follow God’s path for our lives in the Trust Series. This three-part blog series will cover:

  • Having the courage to GO when God says, “Yes” (Part One)
  • Discerning God’s true gifts when they appear (Part Two)
  • Examining our lives to know whether we’re walking in obedience (Part Three)

Today, in Part One, we’re tackling the fear of taking steps of faith. This part is for those with the willing heart. Those who are ready for obedience and who are walking in it, ready for God to move.

Continue reading “Stop Being Afraid of Ruining God’s Plan for Your Life | Trust Series (Part One)”

Day 14: I am your strength | Love Letters

Strength:

  1. Physical power and energy.
  2. The emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult.
  3. A good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing.

I know I’m not the only one who is completely lazy when it comes to charging my phone. A typical day involves me waiting until my battery hits 1% then scrambling to plug in my charger before my phone dies. Throughout the day, I notice my phone battery is draining over time, but I don’t make the effort to recharge it until the very last minute.

This seems silly (and inconvenient), yet we do it all the time!

We often act the same way when it comes to reaching out to God. We go about our everyday lives, using our power, our strength, our insight–then all of a sudden, we find ourselves running low. But before the crash–hopefully–we then remember God is there.

Before this realization happens, there’s usually damage that has been done. Stress, fatigue, doubt, worry, anger, and confusion. These emotions are the result of relying on yourself as your power source. These are the negative emotions that lead to rash decisions, mistakes, consequences, and eventually wanting to quit after all that you’ve experienced.

God’s love for you means He will help you endure. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NKJV) instructs us, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” This verse doesn’t just tell us to be brave and be strong–it tells us to stand somewhere. In our faith. Ephesians 6:10 reminds us to be strong in the Lord and mighty in His power. We’re not told to simply be strong and mighty–we’re told strength is found in God and might in His power. Isaiah 26:4 tells us to trust in the Lord forever, for “in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”

This power we receive from God is in God–not just from Him. This means we find it by being plugged into Him. Similar to connecting a phone to a power source, we must connect ourselves to God to receive this power. When you unplug the phone, your device is no longer connected its the power source, and it will stop charging. When we unplug ourselves from God, we are no longer connected to our source, and we will no longer receive His power.

The beauty of relying on God is that His strength is unending. He doesn’t run out of strength, and He wants you to understand this. In Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV), He says, “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” In His Word, God reminds us that He is capable. Nothing can overtake Him. We need to get used to saying, I can’t. God can.

God can take you through it!

You don’t need to sustain your faith alone. You don’t need to maintain anything or anyone on your own. You can’t care for yourself by yourself.

Don’t inconvenience yourself by waiting to trust in God. Power is found in the Lord to cover you in every area. Your physical power and energy. Your emotional and mental ability to overcome hardship. Your helpful qualities and skills. God gives you strength, He develops your strengths, and He sustains your strengths.

Now is the time to partner with God in your life. The love you need is found in Him. God’s love for you is here today. Give your heart to Him, and let Him write an amazing story of your life. Rest in His promises. Know that He has more for you. He will meet your needs. He will secure you now and for eternity in heaven. With Him, you can accomplish more than you can ever accomplish on your own.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

Love Letter 14

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

Read Day 13

Special Note: Thank you so much for joining me in the Love Letters series. Over these last two weeks, I’ve been challenged and pushed every day as I studied the Word to write these daily posts. I hope you’ve been encouraged and have learned about God’s love and purpose for you. I encourage you to revisit any letters for encouragement whenever you need it, and share them with others. Most importantly, go deeper. Seek God for yourself. Open the Bible, communicate with Him in prayer, and allow Him to lead you to discover His unique plan for your life. Let me know your thoughts on the series below!

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Day 11: I created you with purpose | Love Letters

Pur·pose: The reason for which something is done or created; the reason for which something exists.

Here’s another lesson I learned while taking fine arts courses. Art supplies are expensive. Their quality affects the price, but they also get costly because you have to buy so many of them.

You don’t just need paper. You need the right kinds of paper. One drawing pad for charcoal drawings, another for ink. The list of materials for an average class is extensive, but it’s for a reason. From pencils to brushes, every item–although different–serves a unique purpose. What I can do with one tool, I cannot do with another. Working on one piece might require using several materials that have various effects.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, giving our heart to God, we can tap into our very own unique purpose.

We are freed from sin, forgiven by God, and reconciled to our Father, able to live fully in His love. Once dead in the weight of our sins, we are alive in Christ:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV).

We are made new, given a new life and a new attitude. God has prepared assignments for you that only you can do: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

We discover our true purpose, or the reason we exist–to love God not just with our mouths but in all that we do. Good works don’t save us, but they prove whether or not we truly love God and belong to Him. James 2:17 states that “faith without works is dead.” You can talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?

When it came to buying art supplies for class, quality was essential. If I bought new paints that claimed to be of a certain quality, I expected them to be of that certain quality. If they didn’t do what they advertised, I couldn’t even use them!

As believers, we have a common responsibility to show others Christ. To show everyone His love and how He deeply cares for this world. Though we have a common goal, we can live it out in different ways. You might live out this responsibility through your career, a talent or skill you have, the words you say, the hospitality to show, etc.

It’s God’s will for everyone to have an opportunity to know Him, to have access to His freedom and eternal life in Him.

Can you imagine the major losses if we don’t live up to this responsibility?

There are consequences for not walking in your purpose. You have a story that nobody else can tell. Your life is a story that someone needs to hear. Others are counting on you to be served, to hear how God has changed your life, to be encouraged, to know Him for themselves.

God created you with intention. He knows the impact you can have on this world. He knows your personality, your patterns, your strengths, and your weaknesses. You’re not an accident. You are loved and made to be on this earth intentionally.

Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re not made to live out someone else’s purpose; you’re made to live out your own. So, be encouraged.

God has a job for you to do, and His love means He’ll help you accomplish this job. Whoever you are–a student, an employee, an entrepreneur, a friend, a sibling, a daughter–simply a living and breathing human being, you have opportunities to influence other people for good.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NKJV)

Love Letter 11

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

Read Day 10

Read Day 12

 

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Day 10: I provide peace | Love Letters

Peace: Inner contentment; serenity.

[Source]

During my second year of college, I did what I never thought I’d do and took a studio class in drawing. Over the course of the semester, I had a rewarding experience as I was challenged to learn various art mediums and concepts.

One of the most challenging concepts to draw was perspective–essentially, the ability to make something look “real.” You give an image a sense of depth by creating the illusion of a three-dimensional view on a flat, two-dimensional surface.

Visually, it’s like going from this:

To this:

With perspective, your image changes depending on your viewpoint–the spot where you (the artist) observe your scene. If I wanted to draw a building, I could walk around it and gain a different viewpoint at different areas–perhaps one spot will show the right side of the building, the other the left, and so on. At the end of the day, I could only choose one spot and draw that, giving only one perspective.

Meanwhile, there’s an entire building my eventual audience won’t see in my finished piece.

In our lives, we might view a current situation we’re in only from one perspective, because that’s where we are at that point in time.

You likely feel frustrated when you don’t like the place where you are now. Maybe you’re being unfairly treated by a “friend.” Or your job is getting increasingly stressful. Perhaps you wish you could relocate to a different place. The scene you’re looking at now doesn’t look so good, and it’s been draining you for quite a while now.

When we enter seasons of waiting, God gives us the opportunity to gain a better perspective. God’s love for you means He wants you to grow, to become a better version of who you were yesterday. Maybe the unfair friend is growing your ability to forgive. The stressful work environment is growing your ability to trust Him and not yourself. The desire to move is growing your ability to have patience–and wait until the best time.

In these difficult seasons when you’re longing for understanding, God first offers His peace. I can’t imagine a person who doesn’t want peace. Oftentimes, when we’re stressed and uncertain, we turn to everything but God. We want an instant sense of security. We keep searching and searching for it, but anything or anyone that isn’t your Heavenly Father cannot give you the peace you long for.

Nothing in this world has the perspective of the entire “building” you’re looking at except God. He is all-knowing, and He knows you can’t figure it out on your own. He offers His help, so you can lean on Him for peace–an inner contentment, or serenity.

When you rely on God for peace, He gives you a satisfaction that cannot be taken away from you.

Peace is the result of an understanding of your own shortcomings and a confidence in God’s care for you. It can look like saying, God I don’t understand this situation, but I know that You have control in it. You have the best for me, and I expect the best from You. I’m excited for what You have in store for me.

And you should be excited. God’s preparing wonderful things for you. Plus, He’s giving you the ability to mature and gain His wisdom in the process.

Instead of moving around, making decisions on your own, and putting pieces together, be still and seek God for the perspective He’s showing you.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

Love Letter 10

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

Read Day 9

Read Day 11 

 

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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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Day 7: I provide a way out | Love Letters

Path:

  1. A route, course, or track along which something moves.
  2. A course of action, conduct, or procedure.

[Source]

In the midst of challenges, we sometimes feel alone. We might feel as though our prayers aren’t working. That God doesn’t hear us. And that He doesn’t love us.

These ideas are sneaky lies the devil tries to seep into your thoughts. Satan wants you to believe God isn’t listening and doesn’t love you, because he doesn’t want you to turn to God. And so, these difficult moments are the times we must hold onto the Lord even more.

In a battle, the opposing side you’re up against doesn’t want you to win. Your enemy will try any tactics to get rid of you. It’s a huge bonus if your enemy catches you distracted, because that’s the best time to strike. Similarly, the devil–your enemy in this world–will try to get your eyes off God to distract you in order to attack you. Negative thoughts aren’t from the God of love and freedom–they’re from the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy you (John 10:10). Spoiler alert: God is more powerful than the enemy, so you have nothing to fear if you follow Him.

God doesn’t passively watch you struggle in life. He actively fights for you. You can’t know the future, and you can’t see things from miles away. However, your Heavenly Father can. Not only is God working on your behalf now–He’s clearing your path of future obstacles you can’t see.

God will not leave you hanging in the midst of the battle. He won’t suddenly desert you, leaving you to fend for yourself. He will provide the path–the course of action, or the route–that will lead to your victory.

Although you don’t see the way out now, it doesn’t mean it’s not coming. I urge you to keep your trust in God and find protection in Him. One way you can practice trust is by waiting on God–instead of rushing ahead and making final decisions without His instruction.

God’s instruction comes with peace. It may not be what you expect, but you’ll know it’s from God if you know Him. God keeps His word. He’s unchanging and acts based on His character, which you can learn for yourself by reading the Bible (His Word).

Take your hands off, and allow God the space to move in your life. He won’t force you–He’ll look for your willingness to let Him work. But whether God has told you to wait, leave, go ahead, or stop, your obedience will be worth it.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Love Letter 7

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

Read Day 6

Read Day 8

 

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Day 6: You can tell Me anything | Love Letters

Con·fide:

  1. To have confidence; trust.
  2. To give to the care or protection of another; entrust.

[Source]

There’s great comfort in being around a close friend. You can talk for hours about anything or you can say nothing, enjoying each other’s company in silence. Your presence together is effortless; you feel comfortable to share what’s on your mind, and you’re free to be yourself.

This effortless relationship with a good friend is the type of relationship we can have with God. As we learned yesterday, when we accept Christ as our Savior–reconciling our relationship with God–our sin no longer separates us from Him. We have complete access to go to God in prayer and confide in Him.

When we confide in God, we have confidence in Him that He will care for and protect us. Because of His everlasting love, we know we can give everything to Him.

Giving something to God, means you know longer have it. It means entrusting Him with something. This can mean giving sinful habits to Him, trusting and knowing He has better for you. After all, sin might feel good or justifiable in the moment, but it never has better for you.

We can also give Him our worries–trusting and knowing He has better for us. The Bible shows us that God is all-powerful, and when we trust in Him, we’re trusting Someone who is more powerful than our biggest fears.

Either way, He has you. He’ll lead you to the better path.

To build a close relationship with a friend, we have to get to know them and communicate with them regularly. We can build this close relationship with God by getting to know Him, reading His Word and speaking to Him prayer. This way, we learn more about His character and His love, and we understand His plans for our lives.

A close relationship with God is even better than a close relationship with a good friend. God loves you enough that He wants you to confide in Him–to be honest with Him. Where there is honesty, there is freedom. When you do wrong, He offers His forgiveness. When you’re afraid, He’s there to take away your fears.

Take the weight off your shoulders. Tell God what’s on your mind today.

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:12 NKJV)

Love Letter 6

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

Read Day 5

Read Day 7

 

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