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God-I Have Questions

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Hello! Yes, it has been longer than normal since the last posting. I pray you and your family are doing well and embracing the new summer season. In the words of our sweet little Jude, “It is hot, hot!” So, enjoy, kickback, and take joy in the pool, sprinkler, air conditioner, etc. This too shall pass.

Refining ministries has begun a season of study entitled, “Major Wisdom through Minor Prophets”. This month we are diving deep into Habakkuk. I refer to him as the “why bird”. He was a bold prophet-brave enough to address God with his questions and honest concerns. Although I am not sure he liked the response he received, Habakkuk felt confident enough to layout his true thoughts before God.

While reflecting on our group discussions, I had to question myself about my faith when it comes to asking the Lord hard questions. Oh, I often ask for things-healing, comfort, renewal, restoration, self-discipline, etc. for others as well as myself. Yet, I don’t regularly ask why God is doing what He is. So, I had to ask myself “Why not?” What can I learn from Habakkuk to strengthen my relationship with the Lord?

Let me share my revelations:

1. Habakkuk was very secure in his relationship with God. He brought his concerns directly to the one who is in charge. (Habakkuk 1:2) He didn’t hop on Facebook and ask his social network. Habakkuk wasn’t one to run to the nearest neighbor and complain about God’s delay based on his timetable. This prophet went straight to the best source-the Almighty Father-the maker of heaven and earth.

Lesson one: Go to God first!

2. Habakkuk was raw and open about his deepest thoughts. (Habakkuk 1:2-4) He didn’t beat around the bush or try to sweet talk his way around asking. Straight to the point was his approach. Let’s get down to business and spill out what is troubling the heart.

Lesson two: Don’t waste God’s time-get to the point & share your deepest concerns.

3. Habakkuk wasn’t shy about expressing the fact he could not understand God’s ways. He immediately began asking why. What is taking you so long to end this awful behavior and destruction? He asked GOD boldly-the God of the universe. Wow-the thought of doing this is not as comfortable for me as it seems to be for Habakkuk. But why not? God has our back and loves us so much. God is big enough to handle our questions no matter what they may contain.

Lesson three: If you don’t understand God’s ways, ask why? He is willing to listen.

4. The Lord answered Habakkuk with a reply which was shocking to him. (Habakkuk 1:12-17) God will respond, but we may not like the answer. God knows the future and is working out all things according to His plans. His ways are not ours nor do they often align with our human understanding. However, we must be willing to embrace the Lord’s perspective.   

Lesson four: Be willing to see the situation through the eyes of God.

All this in just Chapter 1! Major wisdom through a minor prophet’s boldness to go to God first, get straight to the point, ask God why when not understanding, and be willing to see the situation through the eyes of the Lord. What knowledge to take to heart when having questions about issues in life. I have many!!!

What about you?

How do these four points assist you in dealing with difficulties you incur?

Times when you just want to know WHY?

Let God be your Rock just like Habakkuk.

Blessings my friends!

Prayer Life, Part 2

Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? Joel 1:2 (NIV)

Happy Sunday friends! How’s your year been so far? Do you set goals and resolutions every January? Are you planning to make some changes in 2021?

This weekend I began studying Joel. As the writer expands upon the locust plague, he speaks of a God of justice as well as a Lord of mercy. Joel clearly denotes the judgment of sin as dreadful and overpowering punishment much like the devastation of wild locust. Yet, the author tells of a mighty God who is willing to forgive and restore anyone who will turn from their disobedience and declare Him as their sovereign Lord.

How often do we catch this vision of God? A father who stands ready to receive us if we will call on Him. The highest of strength and power who is King over all that has, does, and will exist. A Lord who is abounding in grace. A God who is compassionate and relational. Creator of all, who extends salvation through His son in order to call us His sons and daughters.

Since our 2020 experience, how do we see God? If we believe in an omnipotent God, why do we tend to become complacent and take Him for granted? I have asked myself, “Why don’t I pray more than I do?” Have we become blind to the consequences of fleshy living? Are our senses so dull that we have become immune to God’s warnings and pleas? Have we allowed the offerings of this world to dry up our joy as Joel talks about in Joel 1:12?

Joel’s message for me began in Joel 1:2 with the words “Hear this” and “listen”. It captured my attention to exam my reverence to God as my sovereign Lord and to turn away from my self-centeredness and sin. I saw glimpse of my own lukewarm behavior periodically, the kind of thinking and acts far from what God not only requires, but what He truly deserves. And again, I ask “why”?

As my heart cries out to God to restore my emphasis on Him, I feel the Lord asking me, “Who do you say I am?” How well can I accurately describe Him? This indescribable love who has longed for me, shown mercy in so many ways, sanitized my mistakes, transformed my sins for His good, and showered me with blessings beyond my understanding. He has created turning points in my spiritual journey to increase my faith and knowledge of Him and yet again is tugging on my heartstrings to draw closer to Him through a sincere focus on my prayer life.

What about you? Who do you say God is? How is your prayer life?

Please leave your comments, suggestions, and thoughts below. We are all in this together. Lets reach out and help each other in our journey. I look forward to hearing your insight.

To you, Lord, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness. Joel 1:19-20 (NIV)

Happy New Year

Welcome 2021

Happy New Year Friends! We look forward to walking through 2021 with you. As intentional partners, we are here to supply encouragement with your spiritual growth posture. Our main goal is to support your personal relationship with God and strengthen your reliance on Scripture. We are preparing for great times ahead in the upcoming months.

Prayers and best wishes from our ministry team and partners! We love you!!

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7 (NIV)

Prayer Life, Part 1

Come walk with us as we focus on prayer through infographics.

The Lord has been placing this topic on my heart for quite sometime. I invite you to engage in this adventure as we learn more about strengthening our prayer life together.

May each post allow you time to reflect upon your prayer life and draw you closer to the heart of God.

Overwhelmed? Conquer it with God and His Word

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Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? I have had the pleasure of being there! I have lost count of the number of episodes. However, I can attest to the fact those zany feelings are genuine and definitely stop me in my tracks. It has taken me years to finally address it, call it out, and deal with it.

Two years ago, God was restoring me from an intense pit which lasted half a decade. As He began reconditioning my heart and repairing my life, the Lord had me face one of the largest elephants in the room. (Yes, there were more than one!) This creature had overpowered me several times and left me devastated in handling my very own existence. I even identified myself as one who was best at doing nothing when not knowing what to do. It was time to deal with the paralyzing effects of being overwhelmed.  

My dark valley was a discipline gorge delivering many unforgettable lessons. However, the most impactful discovery was the importance of staying in His Word and paying close attention to His directives. My desperation allowed me to cling to The Spirit of truth, God’s Holy Word, and find hope in His promises.

As I began digging deeper into Scripture, the Holy Spirit began prompting me to apply it to my circumstances. God was basically saying, “It is time to put skin on Scripture my daughter”. The Lord started with my feelings of being overwhelmed and spotlighted the root of the issue. ME! My out-of-control desperation episodes where nothing more than lacking the ability to let go and allow God to drive.

The fight is still real and can be powerful at times. However, I have learned to face the devasting lie from the enemy by humbly surrendering to the directives and promises of God’s sweet words- Scripture. I am getting better at calling out those overwhelming thoughts and placing them under God’s authority than I use to be. And somehow along the way, I found freedom by living life as a passenger and giving up control of the keys.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

Allow me to share three ways I learned to combat the struggle:

1. Surrendered to God: I had to accept the fact life is not about me. As I discovered my purpose through God, it became clear-I had been living according to my plans. I had created blueprints I could not humanly achieve because the truth is: I am a powerless being. God is in control and I am not.

So, as I began humbly surrendering my life to the Lord, those overwhelming moments arose less and less. It became easier to handle the pressures of daily living. Why? Because I was no longer the manager of my life, God was. It still amazes me how giving up the steering wheel allowed my life to be in better working order.     

2. Connected with God: Hindsight is definitely 20/20. My overwhelming episodes could have been lessened had I been in full relationship with the Almighty Lord. God showed me His desire-for me to participate in an environment focused upon Him 24/7.

After admitting to my lack of engagement with God and Scripture, I began making Him top priority. I ran to Him about everything in life-good or bad. He became a power source of strength above anything I had experienced. His connection seemed to block out the enemy’s ability to overwhelm my mind. God gave me peace, security, and satisfaction. I began following His discernment and letting Him lead.    

3. Submitted to the Lord’s text: Putting skin on Scripture started with drenching my life with God’s Holy Word. For years, I had viewed the Bible as talk uttered by God without acknowledging the supernatural force, potency, and capability it possessed. My viewpoint had to change.

God extended His invitation to infuse my life and He welcomed me to a completely different way of thinking and living through His Word. His empowerment lured me to seek Him on a more intimate level and to bring my life under His absolute authority. I began inserting my name in His Word and fighting off those fickle feelings through declaring Scripture.

Now when overwhelming emotions creep up, I go straight to those commanding verses and claim them. I submit to the power of the Father and ask for His help in fighting off the persuading lies. Slowly, I have learned to let Scripture conquer the battle of my mind. I have found the Lord’s text to be a true defensive sword worthy to be called highly effective.

So, now when I begin to experience the feelings of being overwhelmed, I am no longer paralyzed and do nothing. God has given me an action plan and a helpmate: His Holy Word. I am now able to keep moving forward thanks to God’s provision.    

My “Go To” Scriptures when feeling overwhelmed:

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

I, even I, am he who comforts you. Isaiah 51:12a (NIV)

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:114 (NIV)

How do you overcome paralyzing emotions? Share your suggestions and thoughts below. We would love to hear from you!

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