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thefaithrace

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

The Fire in my Soul

I was recently challenged by a thought, you know-the kind of thought that makes you dig really deep and nags at you until you do.  Bombarding your thoughts until you go through the process of figuring out just why it keeps creeping back into your mind (thank you Holy Spirit).  The kind of thought that not only makes you think through the why but the how.  Because obviously now that you were brought to the answer, you have to act on it. You have to live it out.

Can you lose your fire for Jesus?  What causes your fire to go out?

This question has been mulling around in my mind nonstop.  Finally while driving the other day, I just talked it all out with the Lord.  He’s the best soundboard.  Plus, He can make sense of the randomness of my thoughts and help me to gain understanding through His Spirit.  This is where the Spirit has lead me….

What does it mean for one to lose their fire for the Lord and how does it happen?  Is it when we become complacent in our faith or we no longer find joy in serving or giving?  When we no longer desire to worship God or read His Word?  Maybe sin has crept in our lives and caused us to try to hide from God or we have been so busy that we begin to slowly drift away.  Could it be that we think our church doesn’t meet our needs; the sermons have been lacking or the music wasn’t just right?  Maybe we’ve been discouraged over and over and are just too weary.  Maybe it’s a combination of these or even others that I failed to list. They all just pile up and the next thing we know, our fire is snuffed out and we are left wondering how it happened.  How did we get here?

Thinking about how my fire could be put out caused me to think about what it is that keeps my fire going in the first place.  What is it that makes my soul on fire and gives me the desire to want to please God and follow Him?  Simply put; God.  I know, I’m probably just realizing what many of you already know, but wow.  In this short car ride, God laid this revelation on me and I needed it.

He is the one that makes me want Him more.  The more time that I spend with Him, in His Word and in prayer, the more I want to know Him.  As I worship Him, He works on transforming my heart and I am filled with joy.  His Spirit challenges me to want to live in obedience to Him.  When He speaks to me, I want to listen intently. When I follow Him in obedience, He shows me glimpses of His will for my life. When I praise and thank Him, even in the most trying circumstances, I can see His hand in everything. At just the right moments, He sends people into my life with a purpose.  And when all of these things are flowing together, my fire for the Lord is fierce. It causes my soul to ignite and I become passionate about His plans, His purposes, and His people.

My conclusion: if I am spending personal time with the Lord-through His Word, in prayer, and in obedience to Him- and I am allowing Him to use me for His glory, there is no reason that my fire should ever be put out.

Do I allow man or circumstance to extinguish a flame that was lit by Heaven?

I’ve decided that my flame is valuable. I must protect it!  Satan would like nothing more than for it to be quenched.  After all,  isn’t that the goal of the enemy?  To annihilate us?   If it were, how effective would I be for the Kingdom of God?  But if it burns passionately for God-I have limitless potential for His Kingdom and to bring Him glory.  I will crave to know Him, serve Him, and love His people!

If I’m honest, I can say that there have been times in my faith race that my fire or passion for the Lord has only been a flicker.  And if I take that honesty to the next level, I can say that it was not because my church wasn’t holding a bible study, or because I missed a Sunday, or because I was in a trying circumstance.  It was because I allowed myself to get comfortable.  I allowed myself to think that because things were going good in my life, I could let my guard down.  I became complacent.  I wasn’t connecting with my Creator like I should have been.  The sad part is, by the time I snapped out of it and realized what was happening, I felt like I was in a pit and satan was at the top laughing.  He likes to do that you know.  He’d of liked it more if he could have kept me there-instead I cried out to the Lord-and He extended His hand.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because I wonder, has anyone else ever been here?  And if so,  what would it look like if we gave the control of our spiritual flame back to God?   And we set our eyes on the One who can sustain our flame?   Jesus!

“Back and forth they talked.  “Didn’t we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?”” -Luke 24:32 MSG

Just talking with Jesus and opening Scriptures with Him made the disciples on fire.  They knew in their hearts who they were talking too.

I’ve often heard that only ‘new believers’ are on fire for the Lord, that as time goes on the fire slowly goes out.  I refuse to accept that.  I believe that it is up to US for our fire to stay burning and at what capacity.   Just as a real fire needs fed to keep burning, so do our souls.

Our love for Jesus should be the fuel for our spiritual fire, the fuel for our souls.

Romans 12:11-13 (MSG) says, “Don’t be burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.  Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.  Don’t quit in hard times; pray harder.  Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.”  Another version says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11 NIV) Are we fervent (have an intense passion) in our walk with the Lord?  Do we have zeal (great energy or are we enthusiastic in our pursuit of Him)?

It’s time that we examined ourselves; asking the hard questions and being honest about the answers we find.  Questions like:

  • How is my spiritual appetite? Am I hungry for God & His Word?
  • Am I in connection with God (through prayer)?
  • Am I active in my faith? Am I serving? Am I giving?  Am I living it out?
  • How is my energy?  Am I building community? Am I encouraging and uplifting others?  Do I make time for what matters?
  • How is my thinking?  Is it more like the world or God?  How are my thought patterns?  Am I always negative?  Am I inward focused or outward?
  • How is my spiritual attitude?  Do I blame people or the church for what my relationship with God looks like?  Or for the lack of fire that I have?
  •  Am I trusting God in ALL areas of my life?
  • Do I rely on everything but God to fill me up?

In the times that my fire was only a flicker, these questions would have been good for me to reflect on and pray over.  Sometimes, it’s when we reflect on where we’ve been, that God brings us the answers we needed.  Reflecting on these questions made me realize that my passion-the fire in my soul-comes from the Lord and that my love for Jesus sustains it.  The things that I thought set fire to my soul, (great books, a favorite speaker, bible study, church, worship, an encouraging word from someone, or uplifting songs), are actually only bits that add to my fire.  They may spark or ignite something in me, but it’s usually because my source (God) has already put the seed of passion inside of me.  They are a bonus to what God has already started in me.

Now understand this, I love reading a great book, I love bible study with women who help me to grow in my faith and who encourage me, and I love my church-all of these things are a huge part of my life-but I have to remember that they are only a bonus when it comes to setting fire to my soul.  I am NOT saying we don’t need them-I’m saying that if we allow these things to feed us solely, we will be disappointed and never satisfied.

Can you imagine the impact it would have on our community, on the world, if we lived our lives on fire for Jesus?  When the fire is in us, we can’t help but be a light leading others to His love.  We can be the light in this dark world.   Don’t you want it?

One of my favorite worship songs is Set a Fire by Jesus Culture.  Now for anyone who has ever heard this song, there really isn’t a whole lot to the lyrics but y’all it speaks to my soul!   Over the past two years it has become the anthem that I want to live my life by.  Will you join me?  Will you dig deep and ask God the hard questions?  Will you examine the source for your fire?

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Do you feel God calling you to rekindle your spiritual flame?

God, I pray that we would be people who are on fire for You.  That we would hunger for You Lord, that our souls would burn with passion because of what your Son has done for us.  Lord show us the ways in which we need to spiritually awaken.  Reveal to us Father, the places we can start to begin the process in rekindling the flame that You desire in each of us.  I pray that as we grow weary that we would come to You, that we would pray harder and be more alert. I pray that we would not let man, or circumstances, or the enemy have any influence on our fire.  Let us choose to let Jesus be our source of fuel.  God, I pray that in doing this, it would cause us to want more of You.  Amen. ♥ 

How we Spend our Time Matters

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered-how fleeting my life is.  You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.  My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”  -Psalm 39:4-5 (NLT)

 

God is Lord over time.  He designed it, created it, and breathed it into existence.  What we do with our time matters.  It effects more than just ourselves.  The things that we are allowing to fill our day should be making a difference, they should be producing fruit.

Did you know that in the average household, spouses are only spending approximately 15 minutes a WEEK in meaningful conversation?  Even worse, parents are only spending about 3.5 minutes a WEEK in meaningful conversation with their children.  What is it that we are filling our time with?  What do our schedules say about what is taking priority in our life?  Do they match up with what we say is important? Pastor Pete Wilson (Cross Point Church, TN) said this, “Your priorities are what you did last week.”  Let that just sink in for a while.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

We start off each day new, fresh, and full of possibilities.   And as each moment goes by, we fill our day with “stuff”.  Sometimes, we are so consumed with making sure that we get everything done that is written in our schedule that we miss the opportunities that God is giving us in the moment.  We miss out on meeting new people, helping others in their time of need, sharing our hearts with each other, telling someone the Gospel, meaningful conversation, or simply living in the present.  We miss out on talking with our families and friends and loving on them.  We should ask ourselves at the end of our day, was ANYTHING that we accomplished today fruitful?  Did it impact my future?  Did it impact someone else’s?  Did it impact the Kingdom of God? Some days, we only skim the surface; we do the bare minimum because we just “can’t” today.  We all have those moments, some of us would hate to admit how often. However, if we continue to have those moments, we will wander through life without fully knowing the love & blessings that God has given us.  It’s time we take inventory of our lives. So what can we do to make sure that we are filling our day with the “stuff” that matters most?  Here are my thoughts on this:

  • Be in the Word. Enjoy time with your Creator.  Matthew 6:33 tells us, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Sounds easy enough, but yet few of us actually make time to do this FIRST.  If you are like me, most days you fit it in at the end of the day (NOTE:  I don’t think there is anything wrong with spending time with God in the evening; I think it’s more about actually doing it than the actual time of day you do it.  But in my personal experience, I’ve found that my whole day is better when I give the first of my day to the Lord.).  Some nights, I find myself too tired to even want to think about opening my bible or praying (more like prayer-napping–anyone?!) or working on bible study.  Instead it’s much easier to fill my time with things like Chip & Joanna (Fixer Upper-love them!  I mean, they are the cutest!), Facebook or Instagram, or even enjoy a good read.  Although I see nothing wrong with spending SOME time on these things, they are not meant to take ALL of our time.  The things that we spend our time on show a lot about our lives, and others (little ones, friends, family, co-workers) are watching.    I don’t know about you, but I want to come to the end of my day and know that I saw God work, that I collected the moments that He had waiting for me, and that I made a difference.  I want to take the time to learn and study His Word so that I can store it up for the days to come. And so that when someone needs a word of encouragement, I have it.
  • Be present.  Matthew 6:34 tells us this, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Live in the current moment.  Collect them.  There will come a point in time when those are what matter more than the tangible items we have or what’s in the bank.  The moments.  Did you capture any?  Or where you too busy planning and fretting about what is to come?  Tomorrow is not promised for any of us.  And I’ve seen in my own life that life is far too short (God’s Word says, “but a breath”), our loved ones leave us too soon.  We need to be grateful for each day given to us and fill it wisely. Making the most of EVERY opportunity.  “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” -Ephesians 5:15-16  
  • Be intentional.  Being intentional means that you are committed to making something a priority.  Do what you say, mean what you say, and live out what you say.   Your words matter to people; even the words that you don’t say matter.  They could impact someone, change their perspective, change their course in life, and even change their heart.  When you know that God is putting something on your heart to say or do; be obedient!  Don’t miss out on what God has for you or let someone else miss out on what God had for them! Be brave enough in that moment to speak up.  Each brave act will help you build up for more.  It will help others to be brave with you.  Satan doesn’t want us to be brave; he wants us to stay silent, hide our hearts, and be alone so that he can whisper lies to us. Don’t let him; fight back with what God says about you in Scripture and pray it over to God.
  • Love.  This may be the hardest & most important thing that we could do.  This, I believe, is what matters most.  Loving people because people matter.  Even those that are hardest to love, love them, because they matter to God.  Author Lysa TerKeurst (Proverbs 31  Ministries) said, “What you appreciate, appreciates.”  Or as Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  We are here to live this life together. Yes, it gets hard, messy, and uncomfortable but in the end, it strengthens us.  It’s something that we sometimes take for granted in this world, the time that we have with the ones that we love.  It’s not promised, not a day of it and it could end at any moment.  We should be expressing our feelings to each other now, there may be no later.  We should be serving one another in love, giving in love, and building each other up in love.  Love isn’t a feeling, it’s a commitment.  We must work at it; if you work hard at anything in life, let it be this!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:30-31

  • Pray.  Because we need it, all of us.  Pray for your loved ones, your church, your workplace, your community, this world. Pray especially for your children (& their future spouses) and your spouse (if you have one or are looking).  And pray it like you mean it.  And while you’re at it, pray for yourself!  I often pray for strength, because I know that I can’t do this life apart from Him and because I know that my flesh gets tired and worn.  I also pray for courage; that when the moments come that I know God wants me to speak up, I don’t listen to the lies of the enemy telling me that I can’t or that what I have to say doesn’t matter. Pray for wisdom.  Pray for peace in this busy world.  Just pray!!  Your prayers are heard by our Heavenly Father.  He already knows your heart, just talk to Him!
  • Praise Him!  He has done so much in your life and the blessings aren’t finished yet.  Even when you are gone form this earth, the things that you prayed for can still be answered-more blessings to the ones you love!   God is always working and even when we mess up and have to get back on track, He’s still working!  We are blessed beyond measure that we have a faithful, loving Father, and He deserves all of the honor, glory, and praise!

Each day we will be given a chance to fill our day again, thank you God!   A new day filled with opportunities.  We can either take hold of them or let them slip away. Every opportunity has an expiration date, and the cost of missing out can be greater than the cost of messing up.   So what will we choose?  What will YOU choose?

Lord God, help us to recognize the things in our lives that are taking up too much time.  Help us to see the things that You would rather us fill our time with.  The things that will not only benefit your Kingdom Father, but that are good for us and fruitful.  Lord, teach us to number our days, so that we may know how fleeting life is.  Let us listen for your voice to guide us and lead us where You want us to go.  I am so thankful that we matter to You and that You showed us what perfect love looks like with your Son.  I pray that we could learn from Jesus what it looks like to love people and that we would cling to You when it’s trying.  Lord, may we surrender to You. May we fill our days with the things and people that matter.  Amen. ♥

 

A Call to Action

In Hebrews 12:1-2 it says let US (those who profess in the name of Jesus)…we (us) are running this race, we are to throw off everything that hinders us, and we are to keep our eyes on Jesus-the perfecter of faith.  Notice that it doesn’t say “some of you” or “those of you who are new to your faith”.  We as believers in Christ are ALL to be running in this race.  We may not all be at the same pace or place, but should all be running toward the prize!  It makes me wonder how bad we actually want the prize.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. -1 Corinthians 9:24-27

This verse speaks volumes. We are to be running our faith race as if there is only ONE prize to be given.  Not the temporary prizes that this world can give us, but the prize of eternity with Christ Jesus-the perfecter of faith!  Isn’t that the greatest prize we could ask for?  And yet we make it seem so nonchalant, like just another prize.  We miss seeing that it is the prize.
I know that our races cause us to become worn down, broken down by this world, weary, and losing heart; but God’s Word encourages us!

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” -Isaiah 40:29-31

We see countless examples in Scripture of those with real reason to be taking a seat on the sideline of the race and yet we are “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses” to keep us going.  Who are the “cloud of witnesses”?  In the Old Testament what the believers looked forward to in faith (the Messiah), we look back to, having seen the fulfillment of all the prophecies concerning His first coming.  Therefore, we should be acting as if they (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & the other Old Testament greats) are there cheering us on to obtain the victory they already have!  We should be inspired by Godly examples of faith, by others who are keeping their eyes on Jesus and who have walked the road and by those who are pressing on when it seems possible. I don’t ever want to have God ask me, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7) I want to keep my eyes on Him and here are a few ways that we can start!
  • Stay in the Word!     

Reading the Bible daily & clinging to His Word.  When the enemy comes (and he will) I want to be ready to stand against him.  There will come a time when we are going to have to stand firm, we need to know the Word.  We need to know what the Bible does and does not say. Having quiet time with the Lord is KEY!  I have found out so much of who God is and what He wants for me through my quiet time.  Doing a bible study is a great way to stay in the Word also, however; I do NOT think that bible study should replace your own personal time with the Lord.  It is simply a way to lift each other up, fellowship, and point each other to His Word while learning from it.  Attending church regularly, I often learn so much from our pastors as they bring us the Word on Sundays.  God can speak so much through His people!

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12    

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” -Psalm 119:11

  • Pray Up!

Prayer time is SO important!  It is our personal time of reflection with God.  We can let our guard down, tell Him what’s on our heart ( He knows our heart more than anyone) and know that our Heavenly Father hears us. This is the part of my life that I want to take back!  I want to go into each day prayed up to face whatever it is the enemy tries to bring against me or my family or the ones that I love. His Word says that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10); are we just going to sit back and let the devil devour the ones that we love?  NO!  And we can fight back by telling the enemy just who he’s dealing with!  Praying without ceasing.  Praying like it is LIFE OR DEATH! Often times this is when God speaks to my heart or puts something on it.  This is when He tends to show me glimpses.  I want to be thankful for all that He has given me.  Bring praise to your prayer time!  He has done so much for us!

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” -Psalm 34:17

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” -James 1:5

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

  • Press On!

To press on: to ​start or ​continue doing something in a ​determined way, often ​despite ​problems.

I love how the definition says ‘despite problems’.  Because we can count on those to arise.  It’s not always easy, but I believe it gets easier by being in the Word and praying (for ourselves & others).  We need to be training ourselves in how to respond to the enemy.  Training is part of the race. Being disciplined, consistent, working through the struggles of this world, staying alert, being thankful during the race, and keeping our eyes on the goal are just a few parts of our training.
Here’s where it’s nice to have our cloud of witnesses and other believers in Christ that can cheer us on!  We need to be encouraging and loving towards one another.  We all have valley/mountaintop moments; we are all in different stages of our faith but we all serve the same God.  He loves each and every one of us and wants us to keep going.
Whether it’s sending a letter,making cookies for a neighbor, having coffee with a friend, saying a simple compliment, or walking alongside someone; an act of kindness can go along way.  Encouraging comes in many forms; let us find one that speaks to the one who needs it and ACT!!

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:13-14

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” -Romans 15:4

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” -Romans 14:13

I have to ask myself, and you, these 3 questions; (1) How are you running your race? (2) How are you training for your race? (3) What will your call to action be?

Father God, I pray that as we are running our race we are seeking You DAILY.  In prayer and in the reading of Your Word.  I pray that we would train ourselves to be disciplined and that we would stay alert.  Lord, let us take back what the enemy has stolen; let us not let him have any foothold on our lives.  Let us claim that we are Your children.  Help us to stand firm in our faith and point others to You.  Thank You Lord, that Scripture is full of examples of the races ran before us and thank You that it is also full of promises.  You are a great God and we are truly undeserving of the hope, love, and grace that You extend to us.  May we be forever grateful. Amen. ♥

God’s Truth

I can’t help but continue to think of the importance of the plans that God has for each of us.  How He made each of us, gave us our identity, chose us, named us, saved us, and now, He calls us.  He has called each of us, before we were even born. He has set us apart.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” -Ephesians 2:10

We are so scared to share our past, our hurts & sometimes even our joys.  We think too much of what others think & how they will react to what we have so bravely shared.  Instead, we shut down and we keep it to ourselves.  We think that our story doesn’t matter.  But it does matter.   You never know who your story could touch.  You could make a difference. Your past could give someone a future.  Could you imagine?  There is someone right now that needs to hear your story, that needs to have you bless them, speak truth to them, encourage them, serve them, or for you to make them know that God sees them just like He sees you.

God doesn’t waste our hurts.  He cares about us.  He loves us.  He will take those hurts, those trials, those storms of our lives and He will use them for good.  He will do far more than we could EVER imagine…..if we follow Him.  If we follow His plan.

I think about my own personal story.  My life and the storms that I have faced. The people I could be speaking to, serving, living life with…then I wonder why I hold back.  Why am I not living fully? Truthfully, I tend to let others limit me.  I allow other people to tell me what I am/am not qualified to do, and by doing this I am limiting God’s plans for me.  Limiting what He will qualify me to do.  And if I allow this to happen, how will I ever meet the needs of the people God has predestined for me to encounter?

I let others label me and use their words to keep me from being what God intended me to be instead of using the WORD to let truth speak to me.  These words/labels, they fool me into missing God’s truth of who I am, it keeps me from His purpose for me–the purpose that He has had for me from the beginning.  God’s Word is everlasting.  It will never change.  These words, this life, this world; it will change.  It will fade away along with the people in it.  And when that happens I don’t want to be one who didn’t fulfill the life that God called me to.  I don’t want to be the one who let others limit the power of God in me.  The one who let others put out her flame.  The one who didn’t snatch others from the fire.  I want what I do here to matter, to make a difference for the Kingdom of God.  Our lives are so short, a vapor, and I don’t want to get to the end and realize that I wasted it on things that had no value.  The things that won’t even matter in eternity. So then I ask myself; what are we living for?  The now? The future? Or eternity?

What is keeping you from giving it all to God and seeking His plan for your life?  Are you not __________ enough? Look at the Word of God!  He has taken many that were “unqualified” & made them qualified for His calling.  Gideon was asked to save his people but he thought himself the weakest of the tribes.  God chose him anyway.  God would make a way for Gideon, God would be strong where Gideon was weak.  He will do the same with us.  Joseph’s life was a series of bad events and although he wasn’t necessarily called to the things he encountered, He remained faithful to God.  God met Joseph in his circumstances and used Joseph’s life for good.  He had a plan for Joseph all along.  There are far more examples of God’s plans and love for His people in His Word.  This is just a glimpse to show you that He will do the same for you! This world may change and our circumstances may change but our God will remain the same.

As you begin to throw off (everything that hinders us) the words & the labels that keep you from giving it all to God and His plan, I pray that you would turn to God’s Word to guide you.  Ask God to show you where to begin.  I believe that He has GREAT plans for you!

Father God, I pray that as we seek You and Your Word, that we would come face to face with exactly what Your plan is for us. That we would place everything that is keeping us from Heaven into Your hands.  That we would not allow the words and the labels to keep us on the sideline of our faith race.  Lord, I pray that in reading Your Word we would allow the truth to overflow into our hearts and that we would share it with others.  You chose us God, You called us from our mothers’ womb, You saved us….Lord and now You call us for Your glory!  Father let us be people who seek to glorify Your Kingdom and to know You more. May we know that we are qualified because Your Son made us just that. Amen. ♥

Run!

I’ve been studying Jennie Allen’s Restless with our summer bible study group.  I’ve also been reading her Anything book.  I can’t even begin to explain the journey that it has taken me on. As I stop and reflect on what God has placed on my heart, I am in awe! 

Restless has made me realize that God really does have something special planned for little old me despite my sinful self.  How incredible is that?! And to think that it’s for ALL of us!  He has designed a plan, specifically for each of us.  So unique that only we can fulfill that plan.  He wants us to partake in it.  He wants us to give it all to glorify Him. To go to the places He has called us, to meet the people He has placed for us. So why don’t we?

Is it fear? Are we comparing? Are we too busy? Are we overwhelmed? Lazy? Doubtful?  What is keeping us from the extraordinary life that God has for us? Are we just getting in our own way?  Could it be we let the devil in to do his thing and he makes us rethink everything?  He keeps us in the same comfy spot–the spot that limits us and where our faith could go. The spot that causes us to slowly drift away from God and instead begins to slowly entangle us in sin. 

But what if we shattered those mind creeps (those thoughts that come in just when we are about to do something that brings glory to His Kingdom)?  What if we completely ignored the thoughts the enemy tries to plant in our heads to distract us, and instead we RAN with what God asked us to do?  What if we didn’t even think twice, we just RAN as if our lives depended on it.  As if OTHERS lives depended on it. RAN towards the Kingdom and brought as many with us as possible. What if?

You see, it’s not just about us.  The things we do, the things we say, the things we grow a passion for; it serves a bigger purpose. One we could never begin to imagine.  We may be fortunate enough to see glimpses of God’s plan, but we may never see the complete plan on this side of Heaven.  But you know what, the glimpses that He shows me on my journey, they keep me going. They keep me wanting more. It’s like He’s telling me, “Yes!  You are EXACTLY where I want you doing the work I asked you to do.  Keep it up faithful one. Keep running YOUR race!”

 “God built us to love different things so that we could meet different needs.” -Jennie Allen

My race, it may look different from your race.  It’s supposed to.  We need to stop comparing and instead, build each other up.  We need to be happy for each others’ successes and realize that together we can reach way more people than we could on an individual basis. Each of us has a part in God’s story, we all matter. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  

–Hebrews 12:1-3

This is the verse that God has been showing me over and over again.  He has been pressing this on my heart.  As I began to pray what this would look like for me, God began to show me glimpses of His plan for me.  Each time that I took a step in faith (trusting in Him), He would show me the next step.  I began to see just how faithful of a God we have.  The best part was, He was confirming His plans through friends, life events, and blessings.  He started showing me that I really could be a member of that race He’d been telling me about.  That we all could.  And that if I continued seeking Him and praying for His guidance, He would direct my path.  He would show me my purpose.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”                      –Proverbs 3:5-6

I may not always know what I am supposed to do with each moment, but I trust that God is not wasting an ounce of my time with things that will not teach me, build me, or shape me into who He wants me to be.   And I’m ok with that.  I am His.

As you consider the race marked out just for you, PRAY!  Ask God to show you exactly where it is He wants you & who He wants you to reach.  He has amazing plans for you.  Pray about your passions and God-given talents, ask Him how you are to use those to glorify Him. 

Father God, I pray that as your body, we would learn to seek you in all that we do.  That we would ask you to show us the race that you have marked out for us and that we would be obedient to whatever it is that you are asking. Help us to see our passions meet up with your desires. Lord, I know that our walks may be scary sometimes, especially when we feel like we are following the unknown, but I trust in you.  Help me to give you my anxieties and fears so that I can be more effective for your Kingdom.  Help me to throw off EVERYTHING that hinders me Lord and instead use all that I have for you.  I pray Lord that I would be able to recognize the traps of the devil, that I would resist him.  That I would call on you in all my troubles. Thank you Lord for loving me beyond all that I know.  Thank you for being my guide. Amen. ♥

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