We are human. As humans we have a tendency to fail. We fail each other, we fail ourselves, and we fail God. Is this our plan? Do we fail on purpose? No. We don’t set out to fail. Most people don’t wake up one day and choose to fail. BUT we are human and it happens.
Because of that tendency to fail, we also have a tendency not to trust. We don’t trust our family, our spouse, our children, our friends, our coworkers, etc. Many times our distrust is not unfounded. And many times this distrust filters into our relationship with God, the One we can most definitely count on at all times.
The Bible is filled with scripture after scripture letting us know how important it is to trust God. Psalm 118:8 tells us “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Then over in Proverbs 3:5 it says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” See, sometimes we can’t even trust ourselves. God, however, we can trust wholeheartedly. He is the only One who will never fail us.
Life is filled with ups and downs, twists and curves, situations and circumstances beyond our control. Fully trusting God can be hard, but I am choosing to trust in 2016. I’m determined that no matter what it looks like/sounds like/feels like, I will continue to trust in the name of the Lord my God! He is my faithful Father, my All in All, my Alpha and Omega, and my Everything in between. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is my very present help in time of need. In Him will I trust!
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
– Luke 1:38
“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
– Luke 1:45
A few days ago I was praying and thanking God for sending His son as the greatest gift we could ever fathom. After all, this is the reason Christmas exists.
As I was praying, Mary’s sacrifice is what really hit me. I am amazed at Mary’s willingness to carry the Son of God. She said yes to an impossible task and went on to carry, deliver, and raise the Son of God…and then she went on to watch Jesus die.
I imagine her thoughts went something like this, “But He’s supposed to be Emanuel—God with us! Why are You taking Him away from me, God? I raised Him! You chose Him for the ultimate sacrifice. YOU chose that for Him. Not me!”
Then again, I realize she knew from Day 1 that there was a very specific plan and purpose for this Messiah…her son that she shared with the Almighty. I believe she had a sort of feeling in her heart of hearts, and yet she still said yes. She was still willing to walk in obedience to God’s plan for her life—no matter what—for the glory of the Lord.
Again, I’m amazed, because I don’t think I’d ever have been that brave. I can only pray and strive for the kind of courage to respond to God’s call on my life, regardless of situations and circumstances, with “Be it unto me according to thy word.”
Is there any way to be certain that God is hearing your hearts cries? Any way to know for sure He is listening? The answer is yes! The Bible actually provides us with 4 simple steps to follow that will guarantee God’s ear. So you want to be heard? Here’s how:
For a lesson in humility, look no further than Jesus. In the book of John, chapter 13, we find Jesus showing us the perfect example- the Son of God humbled himself to serve each of His disciples by washing their feet.
It’s important to have a prayer life. In Matthew 6:5-18, Jesus teaches us the to do’s and not to do’s of prayer and supplies us with a model prayer, telling us to pray in that manner.
God longs for us to seek His face. Many times our prayer life consists of maybe 10% of thankfulness (if that), and 90% of asking. We rarely set aside time for seeking, although the Bible clearly tells us in numerous places that we are to seek!
Isaiah 55:7 encourages the wicked to forsake his way. God cannot hear us if we refuse to turn away from that which is wicked and not of or like God.
These 4 steps are so simple that if there is anything blocking us from heaven, it’s because we’re making it too hard. How do I know that these 4 steps will guarantee God’s ear?
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”- 2 Chronicles 7:14
2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us step by step what our part is and when we do our part, we find an amazing promise of results. Not only will God hear us, but He will also forgive and heal!
So you want to be heard? Yes. It’s really that simple.
*All definitions taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary app.
“And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.”- Matthew 8:13
In Matthew 8:5-13, we read about the centurion who approached Jesus on behalf of his sick servant. At the end of their conversation, Jesus tells the centurion, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.”
What a statement! I read that line and immediately thought, what if that was God’s answer for all of us? We know how the centurion believed…he had great faith and believed Jesus was a healer. How do we know? Because the last line of the passage says, “And his servant was healed the selfsame hour.” Wow.
We know how the centurion believed. Now consider this, how do WE believe? If Jesus was to make the same statement to us and the answer is hinging on how we believe, would our loved ones be healed? Would the lost be saved? Would the addict be delivered? Would the bound be set free?
I believe the answer to those questions for the centurion would have been a resounding yes. He was so full of faith that in verse 10 Jesus said He hadn’t found so great faith in all of Israel. What would those answers be based on MY faith and believing? Ouch! On January 11th of this year, during Sunday morning worship, God spoke to me that we are to start praying and expecting Him to do the impossible (in us/through us/in general). Why? Because He can!
The centurion’s faith was so great that the Bible says Jesus marveled. Is our faith anywhere close to that level? Would God marvel at the faith we have in Him or at our surety that He can do the impossible? I want badly for my answer to those questions to be yes. If God says to me, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee,” then I want to see miracles. I want to see the impossible. I want to have the kind of faith that makes God marvel. All I know is, it’s up to me!
Believe and expect the impossible!
Thursday already? Easter Sunday is quickly approaching! No, we still haven’t made plans for the day other than church. It’s been an unexpectedly busy week.
As I sat down to write this last night, I found out that my oldest daughter was taken to the ER and admitted for appendicitis. Thank God her appendix did not rupture! Not being able to be with her is… I actually can’t find the words to describe it. It hurts! But I know that God is in control, and thanks to the precious blood of Jesus she can have a fast recovery.
So it kinda took me a couple of hours to get myself calmed down and start typing. All I can think of is how thankful I am that the Lord keeps His hand on my family. We’ve had one big blow after the other this week, but I know that God will see us through. I know He will do the same for you as well.
He is more than worthy of our praise!
Here are the links to catch up with days 1-3 if you would like to do so:
31: Seas of Crimson – Brian Johnson
32: Shout It Out – Vertical Church Band
33: Happy Day – Jesus Culture
LOVE this song!
34: It Was Finished – Bryan & Katie Torwalt
35: Scandal of Grace – Hillsong UNITED
36: The Anthem – Planetshakers
37: Christ Is Risen – Matt Maher
38: Worthy Is The Lamb – Hillsong
39: We Believe – Newsboys
40: Forever – Kari Jobe
Need to catch up? No problem!
Here we are, already on day 3. I’m ready for that revival we talked about yesterday. Are you? Keep praying!
So many emotions come with the remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection. Feelings of sorrow but also of excitement. Let us never forget the price that was paid for us on that cross. He bore it all, just so we would not have to suffer.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,He was bruised for our iniquities;The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,And by His stripes we are healed.Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
22: Still Believe – Kim Walker-Smith
One of my favorites…
23: Unworthy of The Blood – Martha Borg
This was a hard song to track down! My Dad has been singing it in church for years. Love it!
24: Lead Me To The Cross – Hillsongs
25: Were You There – Selah featuring Russ Taff
There are many versions of this old song. But I love anything by Russ Taff, so this is the one I went with.
26: Carry My Cross – Third Day
27: Secret Ambition – Michael W. Smith
Anyone remember this one? I used to play this over and over on a cassette tape where I recorded it off the radio… Until I dubbed it on to another tape to play 3 times in a row. Still love it.
28: O The Blood – Gateway Worship
29: Victor’s Crown – Darlene Zschech, Israel Houghton, Kari Jobe
30: Beautiful Rider – Jake Hamilton & The Sound
Well, that’s it until tomorrow.
Day 2 has arrived! Are you getting excited for Easter Sunday? C’mon, now!
I don’t know about you, but I’m praying that this Sunday sparks a REVIVAL for the church as a whole. We sure need it, don’t we?
Maybe some music will help… 😉 Let’s do this!
Lord, let our remembrance of your death and resurrection, through which we have been given salvation, begin a revival in our hearts and in our churches. Let us all return back to you, our first Love. In your mighty name we pray! Amen!
Picking up where we left off yesterday… (You can see Songs To Get Your Soul AMPED Up For Easter (Day 1: Songs 1-10) by clicking here.)
11: Easter Song – Keith Green
Keith Green was one of those ministers that has continued to minister even decades after his death. His testimony, songs, sermons, and writings are still relevant today. If you want to be inspired and motivated to reach the lost and make a difference, I highly suggest looking up more information on Keith Green, his wife Melody Green, and Last Days Ministries.
But yeah, you can’t have Easter without Easter Song. I mean, self-explanatory.
12: Alive – Kim Walker-Smith
“It may get loud, the grave is empty now! It may get wild, His love is like no other!”
13: I Will Rise – Chris Tomlin
14: Jesus is Alive – Ron Kenoly
15: Celebrate Jesus – Carman, Commissioned, & The Christ Church Choir
16: This Is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham
17: East to West – Casting Crowns
I’ll never forget the first time I ever heard this song. I was a few months pregnant with Tommy (so nearly 8 years ago) and had parked at a Long John Silver’s because I was really craving fish for some reason. The DJ announced that Casting Crowns had just released an awesome song and to listen closely to the words. I had only repented a few weeks before, and was still dealing with a lot of guilt. I was sure that the things I had done would never be fully forgotten by anyone, including God. I was supposed to go to church a few hours later, but was so close to chickening out because I felt unforgivable. Cue this song… My fish was cold by the time I was done crying… and I went to church. Thank you, Lord, for Your grace and mercy!
18: Revelation Song – Kari Jobe
I have a story about this song, but I’m going to save it for another day… (I actually always have a story about every song. I’m one of those people…)
19: In Christ Alone – Mercy Me
Another one that has obviously been sung by many people, but this is the version I chose for this post.
20: Had It Not Been – Gaither Reunion (Featuring Michael English, Mark Lowry, & Terry Franklin)
Whew! That’s it for today… Be sure to come back tomorrow! Oh yeah, there’s more. A LOT more!
Keep praying for that revival. It starts with each and every one of us.
Are you looking for some fun DIY decor ideas for this weekend? A few years ago Stephanie shared these fun projects over on her blog, Crayon Marks and Tiger Stripes, for Jesus Eggs and a Cross Button Frame. So cute! Click the links below to find out more.
Can you believe we are at the end of March already? It sure doesn’t seem possible!
Like I mentioned on Friday, Resurrection Day (Easter) is more and more becoming my favorite day of the year. In the same way that I love to listen to Christmas music in December, I love to listen to songs about what Jesus did for you and me in the Spring. Well, all year actually. But you know what I mean. During this time of year, I can’t get enough of these pieces.
Emily and a few other people in my life helped me put together a list of some of our favorite songs to celebrate and remember what Christ has done for us. This week I will share a few of them with you each day. I know that I may very well be the only one who ever goes through each of these songs, and that’s okay. 😉
I was going to organize them by style and all that, but decided in the end to just throw them up randomly. Enjoy!
1: For The Cross – Bethel Worship
2: I Am He – Terry Talbot
3: Oh Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me…)
There are 2 versions of this song. Actually, 3, since both songs are based on an older hymn, but we’re going to go with the 2 newer ones. There is the upbeat Gospel style of Donnie McClurkin that many of us grew up hearing in the 90’s. Then there is the softer version by Casting Crowns that came out a few years ago. So today, for 1 song, you get a two-fer!
4: He’s Alive – Don Francisco
5: See His Love – Jesus Culture
6: Nothing But The Blood of Jesus – Traditional Hymn
This version is by Jars of Clay.
7: I’ve Just Seen Jesus – Larnelle Harris & Sandi Patty
8: By His Wounds – Mac Powell & Friends
9: I Believe He Died For Me – Charles Johnson & The Revivers
Emily wrote a post about this song a few years ago. You can read that by clicking here.
10: Amen – Larnelle Harris
I’m not quite sure who sang this song first, but I grew up hearing it every Easter and absolutely love it. Larnelle Harris makes another appearance on our list, because wow, he hits those notes!
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Too many times in 2014 I felt like I was on the verge of losing my mind. Too many times in 2014 I felt like I didn’t have an ounce of strength left to give. This year, I am over it! I refuse to let the devil have my mind and I know that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. And there are a ton of times that I’m reminded of just how weak I am. This year, I choose to rejoice in those weaknesses so that His strength can shine!
I’m gonna trust that God is more than enough and try to maintain a closer relationship with the Lord. I couldn’t make it without prayer and God’s Word. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times— prayer and the Word are the only things that allow me to keep my sanity and allow me to stay saved and sanctified!
I really needed my One Verse 2014 (Philippians 4:11) about being content and I am still clinging to that verse. That’s another reason I love and chose this year’s One Verse. How can I be content? How do I overcome envy or longing or anything? By knowing that GOD is sufficient! He is enough for me. He is all I need.
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Besides, in Matthew 6:33, it says we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added. Anything else is an added bonus because without Him, it’s worthless. He is sufficient. My Pawpaw Bill always said, “If you’ve missed heaven, you’ve missed it all.” I refuse to miss heaven for this world. When I cling to Him and only Him, the troubles of this world fade away and I know I can make it. He’ll see me through. Why? Because His grace is sufficient for me!
My One Word 2014 was “Fruit”. What I love about having a One Word for the year is that it doesn’t go away when that year is over. Once you’ve spent a year focusing on that word and why you picked it, it’s bound to stay with you. It just allows you to soak that word into your spirit in a deeper way so that it sticks with you for the rest of your life, causing you to grow. That’s what is intended, right? You may not think on it every day, but it shows up when you need it. Makes me wish I had started having One Words sooner in life.
Having “Fruit” was a reminder for me to pay attention to what I’m putting out there (on a daily basis and in my overall life). Am I producing Godly and beneficial fruit? Or is the fruit I’m producing so rotten it stinks? That One Word had me focusing on my fruit and despite my New Year and new word, it’s a reminder that I’ll always need and appreciate. Sort of like my own accountability partner.
That being said, I want to be sure I am walking in the Spirit at all times, therefore producing fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (NKJV)
I don’t even come close to perfectly exhibiting any of these, and I am striving to do better with them all. However, I have a particularly rough time with SELF-CONTROL, my One Word 2015. I believe this is listed as a fruit of the Spirit because it is somewhat of an ugly word to our flesh.
Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (KJV) This describes me to a T (whatever that means…)! my Spirit is oh-so-willing, but my flesh is the weakest of the weak, screaming, “LET ME HAVE MY WAY!”
It’s like John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (3:30 KJV) To deny/crucify my flesh so that the spirit is in control…that’s the only way self-control works…when there is MORE of Him and LESS of me. As long as I’m in the way, nothing will work out right. It is high time for me to take spiritual authority and force my flesh to submit. Will it be easy? Probably not. But if I want to produce Godly fruit, if I want His will over mine, then I have got to be obedient to the Father, NOT the flesh.