Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

With my little baby bundled up in the back seat, we started the drive to the allergy clinic downtown. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Our little one hadn’t been doing so well, and we’d been working with a GI doctor and her pediatrician to figure out what it was her body didn’t like. I was scared and uncomfortable with the process. Uncomfortable with what we might find out. Uncomfortable with what we wouldn’t find out. And frustrated. So, so frustrated that my baby girl was having to go through this.

I was trying to pray, but I wasn’t sure what to pray for. I’d been praying so much for our sweet girl and her troubles. What could I possibly say right now, as we were nearing this critical appointment? About as soon as I had these thoughts I heard this song playing on the radio:

“And I know any second You could take my pain away, but even if you don’t, I pray

Help me want the healer more than the healing.

Help me want the Savior more than the saving.

Help me want the giver more than the giving.

Oh, help me want you Jesus more than anything.”

I burst into tears as I felt God’s arms around me in that moment.

The song went on to talk about the weakness we face on our own and the feeling of overwhelm we can feel from our burdens. It helped me realize that God has already done everything that we need, no matter the circumstance we face.

He sent Jesus. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 

Isn’t that all that really matters? Of course, in our humanness we forget. We become consumed by our circumstances and it’s not enough. This is nothing new for our generation.

God’s Presence is Enough

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the first few books of the Bible lately. Oh, the Israelites–how easy it is for us to judge them! This group of Hebrew slaves has been known through the ages for their complaints. God delivered them, but again and again their struggles consumed them and they started to question God. Their struggles were very real, by the way. Can you even imagine being in their place? Wandering about for years, facing the harsh realities of the desert, and going through foreign lands? Their complaints and questioning frustrated God. God wanted them to understand that his presence with them was enough. He would sustain their needs. He wanted them to trust him.

Why is this so hard? Why do we act like God is never enough? 

Trusting God is Enough

Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and mercy. He knows our weakness. In our faith, we can cast our burden on him (Psalm 55). He hears us and cares for us. We must remember, though, that our true battle is already won. Our hope is not in answered prayers, but in God. So through our struggles, may we want to be drawn closer and closer to the Lord. May we remember the love he has bestowed on us and find peace.

That day, I met my fears head on as I faced the situation I’d been dreading: peanut allergy, among other things. Our family entered a new reality that day, one I still don’t like. I pray boldly, asking God to take this burden away from us, to protect and heal our daughter. While I pray, though, I understand that even more than this, I want God to stay close with us. I want to remember what He’s already done for me. I want to praise Him still, knowing that come what may, He is God, the blood of Christ saved me, and victory is mine. 

Remember God is With You

Whatever struggles you are facing, I encourage you to take hold of the big picture. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8) I will end this post with Natalie Grant’s song “More Than Anything.” I hope this beautiful song comforts you and reminds you of God’s presence and redeeming love.

 

 

What to Do when Someone Bad-Mouths You

What to Do when Someone Bad-Mouths You

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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Hopefully, you have never been in this situation and will never find yourself there.  But sadly, many of us have.  So what should you do when someone bad-mouths you?

The answer is the easiest, yet most difficult thing you will ever do. You only need to do the following things.  Are you ready?

1. Pray.

This is the best thing to do in every situation.  Pray as if your life depends on it, because in reality, most of the time, it does.  Your relationship with the Lord will determine how you handle the rest of this situation.  At times, you will want to lash out at the person bad-mouthing you.  Resist that temptation.  Instead, pray for that person(s).

Yes, praying for the person bad-mouthing you can be difficult. But it is definitely something that must be done.  If nothing else, it will soften your heart for that person, and you will be able to face them with grace instead of venom.

2. Let God fight your battle.

I say it’s easy, but it is the hardest thing you will do.  You will be tempted to correct the gossip you hear about yourself.  Don’t be tempted to defend yourself.  God will send others to do that (even without you inciting them.)

Some years ago, I was going through a major ordeal.  I heard all this incorrect information about myself, some of which even made me laugh out loud because it was so outlandish. After months of trying to resolve it personally, I sat through a meeting designed to talk through the issues. Instead, it turned into something completely different.  Two of the people spreading untruths used the meeting to attack me with these untruths rather than trying to resolve the issues at hand.  At this time, I fully understood the following verse…

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

In that moment, I understood more than ever before that there was nothing I could have said to change their minds about me.  So if I could not change their minds, why engage them?

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Why not let God work in ways that I cannot?

For two hours I sat there, listening and praying that I would keep my big mouth shut.  (Because let’s just be honest here, I do not shy away from conflict.)  Thankfully, a friend was praying over me at the exact same time.  God was able to keep my mouth shut just like he did the lions’ mouths when Daniel was in their den.

On a side note: I am not saying that you should not try to work out misunderstandings and wrongs.  Of course, we should always try to reconcile our differences.  Matthew 18 instructs us to do so, but sometimes we must deal with people who do not want to resolve issues. They just want to stir up problems, manipulate the situation, and cause divisions.  This is what I faced, and I realized this after trying to resolve the issues one-on-one several times.

3. Follow Christ’s example.

This goes back to #2 and is the perfect illustration of how to accept malicious words.  When Christ was falsely accused and put on trial, he was humble and strong.  Some believe He was solely keeping quiet so that he would be sent to the cross, but I believe it was more than that.  I believe He was setting an example for us, knowing that his followers would face slander and similar situations as well.

There is a time to speak out and be bold.  But, unless I overlooked some verses–which is possible so feel free to correct me–what I read about Christ, his disciples and apostles speaking out boldly is that it was for God and others…rarely for themselves. We are commanded to speak out for others and defend the faith.

Paul “boasted about” himself in a way in 2 Corinthians 11, but goes on to say this is utter foolishness.

We are commanded to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves:

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.

Proverbs 31:8

4. Realize it’s a blessing.

What?  How can we even contemplate that being bad-mouthed is a blessing?  We can! And we should believe this to be true because the Bible tells us so. When we are holding steadfast to God and His truth, letting Him guide us through crazy situations, we may very well find ourselves in the slander spotlight. When this happens, trust these verses…

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. – Matthew 5:11

 

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. – 1 Peter 3:13-17

Our faith grows when we watch God work it all out and see Him get all the glory for all He has done! What a blessing!

5. Believe the truth will come to light.

Again, if you are going through this I am very sorry.  It is not a fun situation and can be distressing.  Just lean into Jesus.  He above all completely understands.  In the end, whether on Earth or in heaven, the truth will all come to light.

In the situation I mentioned above, a few years after that horrific two-hour ordeal, I received a letter from one of the two people involved. That person expressed complete sorrow for having said what was said and asked for forgiveness.  It was one of the most memorable experiences I have had and I was very thankful, that even though it took years, the truth became evident because God was working it all out.  Because of all this, relationships began to be mended where division had once resided.

He will fight for you! You can trust that!

My prayer for you:

Lord, you are beyond amazing.  You work in our lives in ways we could never dream.  You use what we feel are the worst of situations to bring about good and resolve situations that might have otherwise gone unresolved.  We thank you for always working behind the scenes, calming our hearts, and giving us the Holy Spirit to guide us through such difficult circumstances.  We specifically lift up all those who are being bad-mouthed and slandered right now.  Give them your peace, which surpasses understanding, and the courage to let you fight for them.  In the One who let you fight for Him so that we could be redeemed to you – Amen!

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When You’re in the Trenches

When You’re in the Trenches

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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When you’re in the trenches, it’s hard to see your way out. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, because you’re not even sure there is a tunnel. It’s hard to keep slogging through and exhausting to keep your chin up. You feel as if you are covered in slime, in mud, in disappointment and despair.

Perhaps you might have lost hope or energy. You might understand in your mind that this is “worth” it, but your heart is weary and burdened.

When you’re in the trenches, you can’t see your progress or the character built. You can’t see the shape of your heart or the influence of your efforts.

What if:

  • Your heart turns out to be right?
  • You are in it alone?
  • After all this work, you don’t reach your goal?
  • Despite the prayers and the tears, you come out empty-hearted and empty-handed?

Reach out your hand, and grasp onto the Father’s hand. Grip it with determination and desperation. Cling to it with the last strength you have.

Realize that, despite what you see, what you feel, what you are suffering, you are only seeing a tiny part. Yours is a small corner and one that you see with a skewed view. Just because YOU cannot see, does not mean that there is nothing to be seen.

Sometimes–no, many times–trust must come before character is strengthened. Faith must come before reason and experience can explain “why.”

Take heart. Take courage. Take perspective.

Think of Elijah. After drought and hunger, persecution and hatred, he comes before God’s presence. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah cries out to God: “And I, even I only, am left and they seek my life to take it away.”

Then God reveals the bigger picture:

He would anoint a new king and put to death those who deserved it and the last words are the ones that must have stunned him.

“Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

You see, from Elijah’s perspective, in the trenches, he thought he was alone. And yet, there were 7,000 others standing with him.

I pray that God helps you to see over those trenches, to see over the horizon, to see that even if you feel you, like Elijah, are left alone–that you can see a bigger part of God’s plan. That just as God helped Elijah, He can help you too. You are not alone.

Courageous Perseverance

Courageous Perseverance

Jennifer E

Jennifer E

I am "Mom" to Chloe, Allie, & Emilia. I am wife to Misael Escobar. I am a child of God. I love to learn about other cultures and learn about others life experiences.I am always a "work in progress". Through many struggles I have become "me" and I am finally happy with the person God has led me to be.I am excited to see where God will lead me in this life.
Jennifer E

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As a new year approached, many people were reflecting on the peaks and pits of the previous year. Many of us are cultivating our hopes, dreams, and goals for the year that lies ahead. In a previous post, I wrote about the seasons and landscapes that my faith walk has journeyed through. Some may have had an amazing year where their faith flourished. Others may have struggled to keep their faith intact through the last year.

Religion or Faith?

I think it can be very easy to confuse “religion” with our faith and feel let down by God when His people let us down. A few weeks ago our minister shared this verse in a sermon and I could feel the tears well up in my eyes.

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

A Spirit of Courageous Perseverance

So, with the fresh beginning of a new year I hope this verse can encourage you. Maybe it will ignite a spirit of continuing courageous perseverance for those who are feeling tired and weary. For without those years which test us, our faith will not have the years of abundant growth.

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In what areas of your life do you need courageous perseverance?

God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Say What?!

Yes!  He will give you more than you can handle!  I know the above statement will upset a lot of people because “It’s in the Bible.”  No, really, it’s not.  Find it.

Everyone believes that it is Biblical for two main reasons, I believe.  First, we want to believe that life as a Christian will be easy, that we will have few problems.  Well, without these challenges in life, we could not have the opportunity to grow in Christ.  The trials and tribulations we endure mature and cause us to grow as Christians.  If our life is perfect and we never face difficulty, we will not see our need for God.  Remember, the only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that a Christian has accepted Christ as his Savior.

Secondly, there is a verse in the Bible that is similar and has been misquoted to say that God will not give us more than we can handle.  If you looked up a verse, it was probably this one.  1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB) states, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

1-corinthians-10_13

Let’s look further into this verse.

“No temptation has overtaken you but such is common to man.”  There is temptation all around us.  We face it everyday.  However, temptation is not a sin.  Remember, Jesus was tempted.  The sin is giving in to temptation.

How Much Can We Handle?

“…And God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”  God will not allow you to be tempted more than you can handle turning away from.  He will leave you a way out so that you can “walk away” from the temptation without giving in to it.  God does not want to see us giving in to sin.  He always has a way out prepared for us, but we do not always go in the right direction.

Nowhere does it say in that verse that God will not give us more than we can handle.  This verse is about temptation, not about what God allows us to go through.  God wants us to turn to Him.

Do you turn to God?

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When Satan Attacks: God’s Armor as Protection

When Satan Attacks: God’s Armor as Protection

April E

April E

I grew up in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma Christian University. Right after earning my degree in Music Education I moved to Germany to do mission work for 5 years. During those 5 years, I married my husband and we eventually became parents to our spunky daughter! We settled back in Oklahoma and added an energetic son to our family! I am now a stay-at-home mom who is still very passionate about mission work, Germany, singing, family, and most of all, my relationship with God.
April E

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Not “If” But “When” Satan Attacks

It’s not really a question of “if” but “when” Satan will try hard to fight against the plans of God. I felt like Satan was especially on the attack during the summer of 2015, when my family led a campaign to Germany. So many things didn’t go as planned or were frustrating, and it seemed like Satan was trying to ruin our excitement and efforts. But thankfully, we were able to use God’s strength to push through them.

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As we prepared to leave for our trip overseas, a couple of things happened that were not in the plans. About a week or so before we left, we found termites in our house. Ugh! Thanks to a great friend and pest control guy, he was out quickly to get rid of those awful things. Then, only a couple days before we left, we had a strong rainstorm and our office ceiling started to leak. It was a holiday weekend, so of course no one was really open until THE DAY we were scheduled to leave on our trip.

Once again, friends stepped up to help. A friend knew a roofer and personally called and asked if they could come out as soon as possible. Thankfully, we weren’t leaving until later in the day. The roofing company came out first thing that morning, checked everything out, and fixed the leak. Thank you again, Lord! God showed us again that His plan was greater than Satan’s.

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One Problem After Another

What, then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:31-32

I felt like I actually got to see this verse face-to-face during that summer campaign. What a testimony to His goodness! One thing after another kept happening, yet God continued to work and allowed us to go on with the plans He gave us to do. We had a cancelled flight on the way to Germany, causing us to arrive one day late. I was feeling sick when we left and ended up going to the doctor in Germany for antibiotics. So, for the first couple of weeks of our trip I was without a singing voice. This was a problem since I was the music director and was also supposed to sing with the group!

One of our campaigners fell on some stairs and hurt his foot and needed to use crutches for a majority of the trip. My husband Clint got a bug bite or tick that got infected and had to take a strong dose of antibiotics in case it was Lyme disease. Clint also pulled his calf muscle at the end of our trip and needed crutches the last few days and for the trip home.

Realizing Satan was Behind the Attacks

Can you see why I feel so strongly that Satan was attacking us and trying to prevent the work we were trying to do? I’m thankful that in those moments, I realized it was Satan just trying to discourage us and prevent us from going on. That realization gave me the great motivation to not be discouraged, but to keep reaching for our goals and to do everything we could to ruin Satan’s plan.

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Our Protection Against the Attack

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Fighting Back with the Armor of God

If we can acknowledge when Satan is attacking, we can fight back using the armor of God to protect us. God has given us this armor to protect us from evil and to keep us close to him. First, we have the belt of truth.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

imageJesus needs to be our first protection. He is the truth that gives our lives purpose. We need to trust in Him to fight our battles for us and to guide us through all evil.

Put on Your Breastplate and Shoes

The breastplate of righteousness protects our heart. We must make the decision every day to choose God’s righteousness over the evils of this world in order to protect our hearts from being overcome by darkness. The shoes of readiness could represent the need to stand firm in our faith and be ready to bring God’s gospel of peace to others.

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!

Romans 10:15

Take Your Shield and Helmet

The shield of faith protects us from the flaming darts that Satan throws at us. Maybe those darts are doubts, worries, temptations, or difficult times. Whatever Satan hurls at us, we have to trust in God to be our protector and strength. The helmet of salvation is what helps sustain our confidence and assurance in our salvation through God. Satan wants to break our confidence in order to tear us away from God. Have you have had thoughts of doubt, worry, anxiety, and hopelessness start to take root in your mind out of nowhere? I know I do at times! I feel very strongly that these thoughts come specifically from Satan and this world’s evil forces. Praise God that He gives us so many promises of peace, hope, and love!

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Don’t Forget the Sword

The sword of the Spirit is God’s Word, which the Holy Spirit led men to write these divinely inspired words. We must continue to go to the scriptures to learn how to navigate through all of Satan’s attacks. By strengthening our knowledge of God, it will bring us closer to Him. Other ways we fight against Satan’s attacks are praying in the Spirit. Let the Spirit speak through our prayers by listening and keeping alert with all perseverance. Ephesians also says that we should be in supplication for all the saints. It’s important we encourage each other and pray for one another in times when we are under attack. If we share with one another when we are attacked, we will have our brothers and sisters to lean on and fight with us.

Have you ever felt like Satan was attacking you?

How did you fight against these attacks?

I would love to hear how God helped you through these times!

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