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When my nephew Noah wants to ask me something or wants to get my attention, he doesn’t stop saying my name or asking the question until I answer. He is relentless. And if anyone has kids or works with them, you know this much is true. They will keep asking and keep talking until you give them what they are asking for, whether it’s something they need, or whether they are trying to get you to pay attention to them. They don’t stop until they get you to stop what you are doing and give them your undivided attention.

I believe this is how God wants us to be with him. He wants us to keep asking, keep believing, keep seeking Him until we find what we are looking for. We can’t ask too much, we can’t talk too much, we can’t believe too much – He wants us to keep talking to him and to keep asking and saying what is on our hearts. He loves us and does not grow weary of our questions, prayers, petitions, and longings. He cares about all of them and is always listening. And unlike us, who cannot always give a child our undivided attention, God always can. And He always will.

So keep asking. Keep knocking. Keep looking. Keep seeing. Keep expecting. God wants us to ask. He will honor our faith. And if God has promised you something, He will give it to you. Don’t give up. Keep seeing what you are believing for and don’t stop asking until you see it, and instead of praying out of hopeless desperation, start believing he is answering and thank him that he is answering your prayer, no matter how many times you must keep asking. Don’t quit.

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If you’ve seen the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus, you will remember the scene where Mr. Holland helps the red headed girl get over doubting herself in her ability to play her instrument. He did this by helping her to see that she already knew the notes and that when she just focused on the notes themselves she would get stressed and doubt herself and then would play poorly. But what was it Mr. Holland told her? “Play the sunset.” He helped her think of something that gave her joy and helped her get her mind off of the technical details of the notes and just focus on enjoying playing and when she did that she was able to play the song perfectly. She already knew how to play the song, but it took a good teacher to show her what she already knew.

This is what God wants us to do when it comes to believing and trusting Him. If God has given us a word of promise He wants us to know that we know that we believe him and stop dwelling on all the details, progression of events, what if’s and anxious wonderings. It’s time to move past the basics – we don’t have time to wonder if God will keep his word or not, it’s time to decide to not go there anymore and just walk in our faith and belief that He is going to keep his word to us. The time for doubting and wondering is over. It’s time to focus on the vision God gave us and cling to the joy it brings us and walk in the light of that vision and not let the enemy rob us of the joy that the Lord has given us through that. When God gives us a vision of sure promise, it’s purpose is to bring us hope and joy and if we keep that in front of us we will be able to move past all the “technical details” and “play the sunset” in our lives.

What dream or vision has God given you? Keep it in front of you and allow it to bring you joy. Don’t let the enemy rob you of what God has given you. You don’t have to wonder anymore. You already know that you know what’s true. The time for doubting yourself is over. It’s time to walk in the truth that you know what you know and go forward.

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I remember when I was a little girl and my mom took me to see an eye doctor for glasses. At the time I only needed them for reading and seeing things from long distance. Before I ever received my first pair of glasses my mom told me that it would amaze me at the difference and that I would see in a way I had never seen before. I didn’t understand what she meant until I put my first pair on and saw. She was right – I could see every leaf on the tree and had no idea that I was supposed to have seen that way all along. It astounded me – for the first time I could see the way I was supposed to and it was so much clearer than I ever expected. As soon as I put on my glasses I could see perfectly because the glasses gave me the focus I needed to see.

Often God gives us dreams and visions. He tells us to pray and believe and “see” it before it happens. But at times we get distracted and lose our focus and forget to put on our spiritual glasses of faith that enable us to see in the spirit what we can’t see in the natural.

We can’t just pray for something and hope it will happen. We have to see it in the spirit through the eyes of faith and continually put that vision in front of us and never let go. We must put our glasses of faith on continually so we can see what we are praying for in the spirit so it happens in the natural.

We all know what happens if we are driving and we take our eyes off the road. Bad things happen. We have to look at the road so we don’t accidentally run into something… or someone. We may not see our destination right away, but we certainly won’t get there if we are not looking at the road. But let’s take it a step further.

What happens if we want to take a road trip? Do we just hop in the car and start driving and hope we get to where we want to go if we have never driven there before? No! We use a map, GPS, or some other kind of navigation to get to where we need to go. A navigation tool helps us to see our destination before we get there. If we lose focus and don’t follow our directions, we might end up lost and either not make it to our destination or get there much later than we had planned – all because we took our eyes off of where we were going!

I believe God has given each one of us dreams and wants us to pray for them to come to pass and not just believe they will, but first see our dreams happen in the Spirit before they happen in the natural. How do we “see” our dreams before they are real? By placing our visions in front of us at all times through the eyes of faith. Faith is believing something for which there is no proof. But the Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, and is the evidence of things unseen. In other words, our faith, which is believing in something for which there is no proof other than God’s word, is actually the proof that what we believe will actually come to pass.

Keep the vision God gave you in front of you and don’t let it go.

Eagerly expectant

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I have a three year old nephew named Noah and I’m blessed to live in the same town as him. Because of this I get to see him often and spoil him like crazy like a good aunt should. He is my world and I love him to pieces. Almost everytime he sees me he asks for a “prize” or present. Sometimes I’m prepared and sometimes I have to tell him that I will bring him one the next time I see him. He never forgets. This morning I promised him I would bring him a toy dinosaur. As soon as he saw me at church, a big smile broke out across his face and the first words out of his mouth were, “Kiki (what he calls me) Prize?”

It hit me as I was driving home that this is exactly how God wants us to be with Him. He wants us to ask Him for things and believe He will give us what He has promised us. But not just believe, but believe with certain and eager expectation that God wil give us those things we ask for and keep His word to us. He is a good father and wants to give us good things.

It’s true, sometimes God calls us to ask again and again before we see it happen. Our timing is not always God’s. But this doesn’t mean we give up or stop expecting to see. When God makes a promise, He intends to fulfill it. He wants us to live our lives not just believing for the things we have asked him for, but actually looking and expecting to see the things that we are asking Him for come to pass.

Have you prayed and prayed and still haven’t seen? Don’t give up. Keep praying. Keep asking. And keep looking, expecting to see what you have been asking and praying for to happen. When you do this, your faith will be rewarded and you will see the very thing you have been waiting to see come to pass.

Slave or free?

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“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2.

This is good news for me and this is good news for you. To those of us who know Jesus we have complete freedom and are no longer under the dominion of sin. We are free from its power and are free to live beyond it. But so often, instead of living like we are free, we live like we are still under bondage. Instead of walking in the freedom we have, we choose to live as though we have no power over the old man that we have been set free from.

After the civil war ended in the United States and slavery was abolished, some slaves returned to their masters after they left, and some continued to work for them and didn’t even leave right away. Much of this was due to the fact that some slaves had masters that treated them well and some didn’t know how to take care of themselves on their own. They were free but they didn’t understand how to live in freedom. Telling a slave he is free is one thing; changing him to think like a free man is another.

This is the same for us. We have been called to freedom and have been set free from sin. But it’s so foreign to the way we have always thought we have a hard time changing our thinking to line up with our identity.

Paul says in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” It starts with our minds. What we choose to think on and believe is how we will act. If we think we are not free, we will live like we are not. And if we allow the world to influence and shape our thinking instead of allowing God to transform our thinking, we will not live in the freedom and walk in the life God has called us to.

But if we allow God to transform our thinking and choose to believe who He says we are and choose not to see ourselves as the slaves we used to be but begin to see ourselves as the free and completely loved child of God that we are, it will radically change the way we live.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could be set free from going to hell. He died on the cross so we could be set free from the bondage of sin and death, both spiritually and physically. He came to save us completely, from ourselves – every day. He came so we could live as free men and women set free from sin’s power. He came so that we might have life. 

But we are the ones who must choose to believe who God says we are and live like we believe we are free.

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

 

Firmly held

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I remember when I was about 5 years old, I was swimming in a pool at a hotel. I had come there with my mom and a bunch of other extended family for a family reunion. I was having fun until I went a little too far into the deep end and I didn’t know how to swim. I couldn’t feel the bottom anymore and I began to panic. I knew I was going to drown. This was it. My life was over. I starting screaming and yelling for help. I saw my mom by the side of the pool. She was not in swim attire but my uncle was in the pool and she was trying to get my uncle’s attention to come help me, but he was too far away. It felt like an eternity even though it probably was only a matter of minutes. I was just about to go under when I felt an arm grab me and pull me up. It was a woman I didn’t know but she brought me to the side of the pool toward my mother. I was so relieved. My mother was too. My mom told me later that she was prepared to jump in to save me with all her clothes on if someone in the pool couldn’t get to me in time. As a little girl I thought I was alone against the water and it was going to get me no matter what and that not even my mother could have saved me. But she was right there, ready to jump in to save me and that I never had to worry.

This isn’t the perfect example, but it is similar to how God is with us. Only he is in control of everything. He’s holding us in the midst of our battles and sees what is going on with us. And nothing can touch us without his permission. Nothing can pull us out of his hands or control. Not even Satan himself can attack us without God giving him permission to do so. And nothing can thwart God’s plan for us and His promises. He is not behind schedule or running too late. His timing is perfect and not the enemy’s schemes or any one situation can go on one second longer than He has allowed it to.

As I look at my own life, I sometimes get discouraged when I feel like things I face have continued longer than I think they should. Whether it’s waiting on someone else to make the right decision which I have no control over, whether I battle my own pain, or whether it’s the enemy coming at me and trying to discourage me. At times it has felt that life itself is against me. And just when I think I’m gaining ground, it feels like I take three steps backward. But the truth is, God is in control of everything. Nothing and no one can stop or hinder God from fulfilling His promise to me. He has His eye on me and will bring about what He has promised in His perfect time no matter what I see, no matter what I experience, and no matter what I feel. It has never been out of His hands, and it never will be. I can trust God to do what He has said. Period. There is no ifs, ands, or buts. He’s got this.

I love the song “Get Your Hopes Up” by Josh Baldwin. The bridge goes like this: “Christ before me, Christ behind me, I am firmly held; In His mercy never ending, I’ll remind myself…”

God is firmly holding you and He is firmly holding me. Remember, He’s got this. Nothing is out of His hands.

Complete Freedom

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We all know what it’s like to be in a situation where we are not in control but we’d like to be. When we’ve done everything possible to make something happen or keep something from happening, life happens inspite of us.

But the truth is, even though we are not in contol, there is someone who is. God. And he’s not just in control, He is ruler over everything and has the power to do and bring about what we cannot.

I tried to control a certain situation in my own life for a while now, only I didn’t realized I was trying to do that. It’s taken a series of events before I finally realized my trying to control it was actually the root of all my pain and frustration, and that by trying to control it just made it worse.

I did what God told me to do. I prayed like He told me to pray. I believed like He told me to believe. And it still went south. And then I realized I was the problem. As long as I was trusting in myself and what I did as a dependent on God working the situation out, the result was going to be frustation and pain everytime. But when I chose instead to simply do what He’s asked me to do regardless of the outcome and placed it in His hands and took my hands completely off, that’s when I found true freedom. Because it wasn’t up to me anymore – it was only up to Him.

I cannot begin to describe to you the peace I feel in discovering this. The peace that comes when you are no longer trying to be in control. When you know it is entirely up to the Lord and that you can completely trust Him to do what you cannot do. I have found that what I’ve known all along is true: true freedom comes in any situation when I truly let God be in control and I choose to stop trying to be. Because after all, God is the only one who truly is – so why not just let Him be who He is?