Faith in Action #LifeGivingLinkup

Faith in Action

Do you live out your faith so others are changed?

Faith in Action

My grandma put her faith in action in practical ways. She was a bold Mennonite woman who was willing to get out of her comfort zone to follow God. Watch this short video where I share her story:

I think about how much courage it took for my grandmother to take her chicken noodle soup over to some of the neighbors who were known bootleggers. She boldly shared her faith with men and women who were not walking with God. To this day, I still remember Fred who sat at my grandparents table reading the newspaper and cursing. He was one that found welcome in their home of restoration and healing.

When a girl from their conservative home town got pregnant, Grandma hosted their wedding in her backyard. She then led the new husband to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I know this, because this young man grew to be my bible school teacher who led me to Christ. He shared how he was a part of an all-night prayer meetings where my grandma and grandpa cried out for the salvation of their family and friends.

Hearing these stories challenge me to put my faith in action. It’s not enough to go to church on Sunday or read the Bible if it doesn’t impact our actions.

The Bible says,

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener

when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other.

Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act

are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away,

and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God

—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it,

is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action.

That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.”

James 1:22-25 MSG

Act On What You Hear

Faith requires more than mental agreement. Faith requires action. Try this simple exercise. After reading the Bible, take a moment to clear your mind. Open up your hands in a gesture to receive, and close your eyes to concentrate. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What specific part of God’s written word do I need to apply to my life?
  • What is God calling me to do today?
  • Is there anything that He has told me to do, but I have not fully obeyed?
  • Is there anyone that God wants me to serve today?

As you learn to listen to God’s voice, He will lead you and guide you. You will no longer just read the Bible, you will live out what the Bible says. Make your faith real, so that the message of Jesus Christ is lived out loud. 


Free From Pefectionism #LifeGivingLinkup

Free Yourself from Perfectionism

Are you more concerned about how you look on the outside, or who you are on the inside? Imperfections are a part of our daily lives.

Free from Perfectionism

You will be exhausted if you constantly try to be perfect in every situation. Watch this short video and free yourself from trying to be perfect.

You have a choice to make every day. You can either beat yourself up for your mistakes, or you can make the best of imperfect situations.

Ask yourself, am I trying to conform to the world? Am I trying to “fit in” rather than stand out? It is easy to start thinking like everyone else thinks, but be encouraged by this scripture:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-3 NLT

You and I are transformed by renewing our minds. If our focus is on pleasing God we will be free of spending extra energy trying to please others. God transforms us as we learn to think His thoughts. When we understand His will for our lives, we are free from petty things. His will is good, pleasing, and even perfect.

The good news is, to walk in His will does not require you to be perfect. The grace walk with Jesus relies on His perfection not yours. You will make mistakes on a regular basis. The cross of Jesus frees you from perfectionism. He died for you. You no longer need to strive to live up to expectations. He covers you daily with His grace, love, protection, favor, and guidance.

Walking with Jesus, you will live your best and most authentic life. To walk intimately with Him is beyond compare.  To walk with Jesus is to have an incomparable possibility of freedom. So, free yourself of perfectionism.

Exchange Your Imperfections with Christ’s Perfection

As you walk free from trying to do things in your own strength, meditate on this Scripture:

As you walk free from trying to be “good enough”, meditate on this Scripture:

As you walk free from trying to perform to please God and others, meditate on this Scripture:

You Are Already God’s Masterpiece

The truth is, you already are God’s Masterpiece. You don’t have to strive to obtain something that Jesus has already gained for you on the cross. He has already given you a new start. So get going! He has already planned good things for you long ago. He has already prepared the path for you to walk freely.

Guess what? The things He has planned for you, are tailor made for you gifts. No, you won’t do them alone. In fact, you can’t do them alone. The things that God has prepared for you are so much bigger than your capabilities. That’s good news. So now, rather than trying to rely on yourself, start relying on God and the community He has placed you in to accomplish the miraculous task set out in your destiny.

Let’s Get Social!

Here are some more tweets for you to share so that you and your friends can think about these things together:

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God Knows and Cares (#LifeGivingLinkup)

God Knows and Cares What You Are Going Through

Reeling from the news that my husband had been laid off, I took off early in the morning for a prayer walk. I gave God my long list of concerns and ended my conversation with  “And God, we need groceries!”

God Knows and Cares

Watch this video to find out how God answered my prayer!

 

God Knows and Cares about the Details of Your Life

I still smile when I remember the acquaintance that came to my door with 4 bags of groceries, enough to feed my 4 small children. She didn’t know what we were going through, but God did!

What are the unseen details of your life right now that you are crying out to God to answer. God is in the details. Pour out your heart to Him. Place the burden of your concern onto Him. He is able to carry it, you aren’t.

God Knows and Cares about Your Heart Concerns

God is able to see the big picture. He knows the concerns of your heart. He also knows what is best for you. Even when you don’t know what to pray, He does.

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:26-28 NLT)

When I cried out to God and said, “We need groceries!”  The Holy Spirit interpreted not only my present need but my larger concern. Yes, I had an immediate need for food. But I had a larger need to know that we could trust God through the transition. Not only did this encourage me, it has encouraged everyone I have shared it with. It shows the faithful character of God.

God Knows and Cares about Your Character Development

Our character is developed as God takes us through tough seasons in our lives.

It is through trial and suffering that we become more like God.

 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (Romans 5:3-4 NLT)

I know that everything I go through, I find I have a greater compassion for others who are experiencing what I did.

  When I am in the middle of a trial I will feel week and vulnerable.

I am stronger today because of the things I have experienced.

What about you? How has God worked in the details of your life? I would love to hear from you.


When Your World Falls Apart… (Linkup)

When Your World Falls Apart…

When your world falls apart, who do you look to?

World Falls apart

One morning when I was standing at the kitchen sink with my hands in dishwater, my husband told me that the company he was working for was going under. Everyone was laid off. At that time in our lives, I was staying home with 4 small children ages 6, 4, 2, and newborn. It was not a good time for me to go out and find a job.

Watch this video:

Who Do You Look To, When Your World Falls Apart?

When something difficult happens in our lives, it’s easy to go into “fix-it mode.”  We try to figure out why something bad happened.

Fear Looks Down, Faith Looks Up

It’s appropriate to examine our lives to learn from our mistakes.  Yet if we aren’t careful, our heads hang down and we magnify the negative of the circumstances as we try to figure it all out.

Fear looks down and magnifies the negative.

Faith looks up and magnifies God.

Faith compares the circumstance to the mighty God of the Universe. God is not only able to help you learn from your mistakes, He is able to transform you in the process.

Your Set Back, Can Be God’s Set Up

All those years ago when my hands were in the dish-water after hearing about my husband being laid off, my heart was suddenly filled with a gift of faith.  God dropped in my heart these words that I said to my husband,  “Honey, it must mean that promotion is around the corner for you.”

Those faith-filled words, helped change my perspective. Rather that fearfully looking down, I looked up to God in faith. Over the years, I have seen God use my difficulties and the difficulties of others as a set up for His promotion.

Preparing for Promotion

If you are in a difficult situation, this is not the end of your story. God is for you. Here are some things that we can do to position ourselves for God’s promotion:

1. Humble Yourself

True humility is rightly seeing yourself and rightly seeing God. C.S. Lewis, a great Christian Theologian said this,

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis

Walking in humility is not having poor self-esteem. True humility is the opposite of both pride and insecurity. Humility is seeing things with God’s perspective. God hates pride. 1 Peter 5:5 NLT says,

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”

Humility is not thinking of yourself more highly than you ought to think… nor thinking more lowly than you ought to think. Humility chooses to walk in God’s grace.

2. Dare to Dream

Seeing things God’s way calls you to look up. God is great and mighty. He has created each human being in His image. He invites each one of us to dream His dream. He is the master-designer and He created you on purpose. Ephesians 2:10 NLT says,

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

 

God has a plan. His plan is for your good. His plan is far more that you can hope for.

It’s at those twists and turns in your journey, that you need to remind yourself that this does not take God by surprise. It may be that he is preparing you for the next stage in your adventure in life.

3. Say Yes to God

At each transitional point in our lives, we have a fresh opportunity to say yes to God. I have found myself at a number of these turns praying these words:

God, I will go ANYWHERE You want me to go!

I will do ANYTHING You want me to do!

I will serve ANYONE You want me to serve.

I surrender. Show me and I will follow you.

God Promotes

God’s Promotion doesn’t come from the hand of man but from God Himself. He prepares you for His promotion by preparing your character to completely trust Him.

Your setback, can be His set-up for promotion.


Who do you trust to provide?

Who do you trust to provide?

Are you stressed when your checking account is overdrawn. You thought you had more money than you actually did. You are broke. Now what are you going to do?

Who do you trust

Watch this short video:

If you find yourself hanging your head, here are a few things that you can do to find help.

Find Healthy Financial Advisors

Turning on the Dave Ramsey show can be a very smart thing to do. I have known a number of families who have been overwhelmed by debt who have turned to principles of Financial Peace and found God’s peace in their finances. We have used the “envelope system” most of our married life to budget our finances and live within our means. These principles work because they are based on God’s principles.

Find Faith in God as Your Provider and Protector

Financial pressure shows who you depend on. Do you trust God to provide for you and show you how to be a faithful steward? Or do you rely on yourself to figure everything out?

After we had adopted our sons, my husband began waking up in the middle of the night. He was stressed about the cost of the adoption and how to provide for the needs of our large family.  He realized that he was trying to figure things out himself and it was causing him to lose sleep. Wayne knew this Scripture where Jesus said,

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” Matthew 6:25-26 NLT

Yet my husband Wayne, like most of us knew what Scripture said, but didn’t have a personal revelation of the Father Heart of God as his provider. He needed a fresh understanding of God’s goodness.

We also needed a fresh understanding of God as our protector. The economic downturn impacted everyone we knew. We needed to see God as the beacon of light keeping us from harm. We were concerned that in the economic stress of the time, we would be shipwrecked as a family.

Find Faith-Filled Solutions

As we began to pray together, the weight of this financial load began to lift off of my husband. We had a very clear word to sell our house to pay off the debt of the cost of our sons adoption. The economy was poor and large houses like ours were not selling well. But we believed that God had spoken to us. So we went to work as a family. We painted and had the home looking better than ever.

The real estate agent was a friend of ours. She and her husband followed in our footsteps and went to Brazil to adopt four children. We signed the contract, she put up the sign and left for the 6 week trip to Brazil. Before they returned from Brazil, not only did our house sell but we had moved out of it before she returned home to a nice commission check (which helped them pay off their adoption).

God had provided and protected us once again. Our faith in His goodness grows every time we face a difficult situation.

God is Good!

If you are in a tough place right now, know that you are not alone. Find the financial advisors to help you. Find fresh faith in God to provide for you and protect you. Find faith-filled solutions on how to walk through the situation trusting in God to help you.

I would love to hear your comments.


 

9 Words to say in healthy relationships (Linkup)

9 Words to say in healthy relationships

Do you think you are always right?

Healthy Relationships

I was in argument with my husband and I sensed that I shouldn’t say another word. But, I had 4 words that I wanted to say, to prove my point. You guessed it. These four words were the gasoline that took our disagreement into full blown war.


It’s more important for you to be in right relationship with others than to try to always be right. Admit when you are wrong it will go a long way to heal your relationships.
Tweet: It’s more important for you to be in right relationship with others than to try to always be right http://ctt.ec/Kq9If+

Life-Giving Relationships are Mutual

My husband Wayne and I love to perform wedding ceremonies for couples. Using these following 9 words are helpful in every life-giving marriage. If you haven’t used these words in awhile, humble yourself and make them a part of your healthy relationship vocabulary.

1. I Was Wrong

If you are a human being you will make mistakes. Learning to say these simple words “I was wrong” help you to admit your short-comings. Saying “I was wrong” is the starting point of learning to change harmful habits in your own life.

Notice the words are not, YOU ARE WRONG! If you think you are always right, it shows a lack of maturity and insecurity in your life. You may feel pressured to perform. Your confidence is built on your performance.

Living as a disciple of Christ calls each of us to stay connected in life-giving relationship with the ultimate Life-Giver. Jesus said this,

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

John 15:5-8 MSG

Jesus is the only perfect human being who came to do with His father in heaven told him to do. Only God is right all the time. A big weight will come off of your shoulders when you realize that apart from Him you can do nothing.

2. I Am Sorry

The beautiful words “I am sorry” only mean something if you are willing to change. By staying in an intimate life-giving relationship with Jesus, his life will flow into you if you stay connected to Him. Inevitably, there will be habits in your life that need to be pruned for even more healthy relationships

Learning to say “I am sorry” in words and actions will change your life. The good news is that saying “I was wrong, I’m sorry…” does not mean “I’m terrible, I can’t do anything right…” There is no shame in being sorry.

If you have made Jesus Lord of your life, He has already freed you from condemnation. Add this Scripture to one that you meditate on:

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

Romans 8:1-2 NLT

There is no condemnation for you. You don’t have to live under a low-lying cloud of condemnation feeling worthless about yourself if you get something wrong. There is freedom to say “I’m sorry” because you know that Jesus has already paid for your sin and guilt on the cross. It’s from that freedom, that you can and should acknowledge to your spouse and others when you have been wrong.

3. Please Forgive Me

To forgive someone is to cancel their debt. Before you are able to get to the point of genuinely saying these 9 words, you need to forgive them. You need to stop being angry and resentful for what they have done to you. When you have been hurt by someone, that hurt clouds your judgement. You may only see what they have done to you.

If you forgive them from the heart, the life-giving spirit of God freely shows you the way that you have fallen short in the relationship too. The Holy Spirit will also protect you from taking on blame or condemnation that is an exaggeration of your offense. You are able to take responsibility for your action, without being beat-up on the inside of you.

Life Giving Relationships Last

When there is mutual love and respect in relationships they last. Toxic relationships are marked by manipulation, control, condemnation, and blaming. Any cycle of ongoing abuse needs the help of life-giving counsel for health to be restored in your relationship.

I would love to hear your comments on this. Leave your comment below or join the Life-Giving Linkup!

#LifeGivingLinkup Time!

We all need encouragement. No matter what stage of life, we need others to share the journey with us. We don’t want to be alone. It’s more fun together. Let’s Linkup in a life-giving journey of encouraging each other.


Filled with Joy (Link Up)

Filled with Joy

Filled with Joy

Do you think you need to wait till your circumstances are just right to be full of joy?

When my children were small, I didn’t think that there would ever be a time that I wasn’t changing diapers, nursing, or waking up in the middle of the night. But my wise mother used to say “This too shall pass.” AND it did.

Be encouraged by this short video:

Now as my adult children launch into the world, I miss the times that I could hold them in my arms. It was much easier to wipe away their tears.

It is bittersweet being a mom of adult children. I rejoice in the wonder of launching children into adulthood. Yet, I miss the everyday struggle of being a mom of little ones.

Yesterday, my college daughters arrived for Spring break in Hannah’s car. They drove the whole way having “sister-time.” We sat on the couch and cuddled watching a movie. It felt like old times – but not really. Everything has changed.

As long as we are in this world, we will experience change. But change does not need to stop the flow of joy. Joy is a fountain of life that flows from God Himself.

So this morning as my children sleep in our condo, I reminisce about the old days of when they were young. When I never had enough time for myself…

Tweet: I know that I have to let go of the past, live in the present, and lay hold of the future. http://ctt.ec/M1fCF+  Join #LifeGivingLinkupI know that I have to let go of the past, live in the present, and lay hold of the future. I remind myself of this verse:

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14 NLT.

We never reach the perfect stage of life. We are always letting go of wonderful things in life to reach forward to the next season.

I am filled with Joy when…

… I let go of the past, but cherish it’s sweetness.

… I live in the present, and embrace the new normal.

… I lay hold of the future, with hope and expectation.

#LifeGivingLinkup Time

 
We all need encouragement. No matter what stage of life, we need others to share the journey with us. We don’t want to be alone. It’s more fun together.

Sometimes, I experience lonely days.  Days when I need encouragement. If you are an author, speaker, blogger you know what I mean. You began your blog to encourage others, but sometimes you feel alone.

It doesn’t need to stay that way! Let’s Linkup in a life-giving journey of encouraging each other.

Here is How a #LifeGivingLinkup Works:

1. Link up you life-giving & encouraging post with the button below.

2. If you haven’t begun your blog, leave an encouragement in the comments for others.

3. Visit other blogs on this linkup and leave a comment on the post linked up before yours.

Let’s encourage each other!

Sue