FAITH

Faith

 

Faith – belief and trust in a person or things. Believing in something or someone.

It’s easy to put our faith in things and people around us without even thinking about it. Sometimes we probably even take it for granted but then when things break or the person you put your faith in lets you down you are surprised. Sometimes even devastated.

When I sit in my chair I have faith that it’s not going to break. Even though with all the weight I’ve gained over the holidays it may not hold me up much longer.

When I tell my kids to do something, I have faith they will do it. Mainly because I’m their mamma and I said so.

When I get up in the mornings I have faith that my coffee pot will produce a cup of coffee. But since it’s over two years old, one of these mornings it may not.

When I plant a seed in the ground I have faith that it will grow into a big beautiful plant. Ok – for other people it will grow into a big beautiful plant.

Why then is it so hard to put our faith in God when we are surrounded by the evidence of His faithfulness every day? Oh we say we have faith, but do we really?

Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But we have evidence because as you go on to read the chapter you see a Who’s Who list of people in the Bible who had great faith. If that chapter was rewritten today my name would not be there. I’d be more like Peter who, when Jesus called him out of the boat onto the water, he took his eyes off Jesus and panicked. He noticed the rough waters and started sinking. Arms flailing crying, “Save me save me!” Jesus reached out His hand and pulled him up and said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 24: 26 – 31)

Why do we doubt? We let the devil whisper in our ear that it’s not possible, we put our faith in people who let us down, and our faith in things that break when Jesus is there holding out His hand saying, “Have faith in Me.”

Faith. This is my word for 2016. I’m excited to dig into it and put it to use in my life. To really put my faith in Christ Jesus. To not only say I have faith in God but to actually live it. I’m scared at the same time because I am afraid of the unknown and I know the devil will use that against me. But part of living in faith is to have faith that God is with me every step of the way.

My Bible verse for 2016 is actually my go to verse. Philippians 4:6 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.” But I’m going to add another one to it also. Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God.” I have a chalkboard on my wall where I write the memory verses for whatever current Bible study I’m in. On January 1, 2016 I will make another one where the word FAITH will be written along with these Bible verses. They will stay up all year long to remind me that God is who I need to put my absolute faith in.

You may decide not to do a word and/or Bible verse for the year because, like me, you are afraid of the unknown. What is it they say happens if you pray for patience? You are put in situations where you have to practice more patience. But if you let the devil use that against you, then you are denying God the opportunity to work in your life. Have faith.

Share your word and/or Bible verse for 2016. God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

Success of God’s Plan for Your Life

How do you define success?  Is it by how much money you have, the home you live in, the car you drive, the job you have, the people you hang around? That seems to be the way the world today defines success. If you are a writer, then success is based on how many books you’ve sold or how many people follow your blog. So yes, I know by the world’s standard this blog would be a flop. Or is it?

How do you define the success of God’s plan for you? You know, the plan that God has for your life. How do you know that it’s been successful? Do you go by the world’s standards of success? Is it based on how many books you’ve sold, how many blog followers you have, how many songs you’ve sold, how many mission trips you’ve been on, how many speaking engagements you’ve booked through the year, how many churches you’ve preached at? Do you attempt to do more and more and rack up those numbers so that you can say God’s plan for me has been successful?

STOP!!!!!!!

Really – just stop.

Does God care about numbers? Seriously, does He?

No.

Does God care that this blog has only a handful of followers?

No.

And I lost sight of that. Actually I’ve lost sight of that for quite a while now. Worrying about whether or not anyone was seeing what I wrote, what I thought, what I did has put up barriers that kept me from moving forward and left me banging my head against a brick wall. Did I pray for that brick wall to get torn down because I just knew that this was what God had intended for me to do? Nope. Picked up my crocheting and found programs on Netflix to watch.

Now my crocheting is a good thing. I love creating beautiful things and when I stopped trying to fit in with my mother and sister by picking up knitting, I again started creating beautiful things. See, I’m not good at following patterns. I learn the basic how something is done, but then I create my own. And when I realized that this is what I’m good at, I once again was able to create items that I’ll be giving as gifts this year. Yes, I believe that is a talent God gave me. It just took me realizing that this is my thing not knitting and that’s ok to go back to doing what I love.

What just occurred to me this past week is that it’s the same thing with my writing. I’ve loved to write for years. I’ve filled notebooks and notebooks with thoughts, journals, prayers, children stories, and Bible verses. So earlier this year when I felt like God had put me in a place to actually start blogging, I was excited. Until after the first few blogs there wasn’t hardly any followers. Then I’d let it go then come back. Then let it go then come back. And still only a handful of followers. And you know what? Brick wall. I had no words. That’s when I started vegetating in front of the TV telling myself it’s ok, I’m crocheting and I’m creating something beautiful. And that part was ok. Is ok. (The crocheting part, not the vegetating.) But not the part about giving up writing because I wasn’t a success at it. Or at least not a success as defined by today’s standards. I’ve let seeking people approval come before seeking God’s approval. It’s not the first time I’ve done this so you would think I’d know by now that it’s not right. So why do I keep getting off track?

Roman 7: 15 –  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (NIV)

Oh you can say that again. For what I want do, I do not do but what I hate I do. Seeking God’s approval is what I want to do but seeking man’s approval is what I end up doing. How do I stop this?

One thing I think is realizing that’s what I’m doing, then making an effort to STOP! Then pray and do what I feel God is leading me to do.

I made that effort this week in my writing and also in the volunteer work I do with an online Bible study group. Seeking God’s approval – stepping out in faith that what I do, this urge I have felt to write and to serve is what He wants me to do. Not worrying about the numbers or if what I do will be noticed. Making an effort to not look for acceptance from others but follow the path that I feel God is leading me on.

God has given each and every single person a talent and I believe He will call us to use that talent to serve Him. If you feel the need to write, if writing is what you absolute HAVE to do then do it. If you have to cook, then cook. If you have to speak, then speak. If you have to draw, then draw. If you have to make music, then make music. If you have to make hand crafted items, then make hand crafted items. If you have to do missionary work, then go do missionary work. If you have that overwhelming urge to do something with your talent that spreads God’s Word or shows God’s love to someone then do it! Do not look to the world to measure the success of God’s plan for your life. If one person is reached and sees the love of God in what you have done, if it is just one person, then I believe that you can say that God’s plan for your life is a tremendous success.

So according to the world’s standards this blog is a flop. But according to God’s it’s a success. Because I stepped out in faith and did what He asked me to do.

tremendous success

Video

Good Night God

Have you ever been alone and miss telling someone good night? Not a specific person…just anyone? Yes it’s easy to text family members good night or maybe you can even call them for a few minutes and end up saying good night; but when the lights go out and there’s only you in the dark who can you whisper good night to?

God. God is there and He will never leave us or forsake us. He cares about everything we do and feel. For a long time I’ve felt alone and one thing I’ve missed is having someone there after the lights go out to say good night to. It’s taken me a long time to see that God has always been there and has never left. So even in my darkest moments when I thought I was all alone He was there.

So tonight when I turn out the lights I’ll whisper good night God and He will be there.

TESTIMONY TUESDAY

As I sit to write this, I had intended to link my blog post God Bumps to #Testimony Tuesday. But something inside me nudged me and said no. If you go to look at my blogs, you’ll notice I have not posted in awhile. Even though I had not been blogging for very long, it was like I hit a wall and no words were forthcoming. Until today.

On the way to work this morning I had actually had a thought of doing a video testimony, which for me is surprising because I don’t like having pictures or videos of myself taken. The more I thought about it and what I would say, something stood out and after reading on Twitter about #TestimonyTuesday I realized I was meant to share this. But not in a video format. First on this blog that I have neglected and then wherever God wants me to.

Somewhere I think I have actually told this but today I want to share this story and actually connect it to giving a testimony. Sometimes I think we neglect to give our testimony because we may feel like the setting is not right or worried that others will judge us for the sins we’ve committed. What we have to remember is that even if it’s only one person who hears or even if you may never know how your testimony helped someone else, it is still important to share especially if God has laid it on your heart to do so. What has occurred to me today is that our testimony doesn’t have to be some big production and planned out. We don’t need to have a just right setting and we shouldn’t worry about others judging us.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I became better acquainted with the woman who lived across the street from me. I knew who she was before then but knew her daughter better since she was the same age as one of my sons. What I didn’t know until after my diagnosis was that she had been fighting breast cancer for a year and we were going to the same doctor. By the time I started chemo we had actually talked several times and were well on the way to becoming friends. When the time came for my third treatment we were able to actually be there on the same day and close to the same time. I had arrived first and was set up when she came in. She arrived carrying nothing but her purse while I sat there with what I called my survival kit. This usually consisted of a book, DVD player and movie, phone, and snacks. When she looked at all of my stuff she laughed and made a comment that has stuck with me. “I don’t bring anything with me to do because the way I look at it, if you can’t talk about what you are going through with others who are going through the same thing, then who can you talk to about it?” So yeah, the book was closed, the movie was never turned on, and I actually spent a day in the chemo room that made good memories. Memories I cherished a year later when she lost her fight with breast cancer.

Today thinking about this comment she made and how my testimony would go made me realize that we should think of our testimonies as just having conversations with people who are going through the same thing that we are. Whether it’s through volunteering, an informal gathering, church event, or friends you meet on the street, if you get the nudge that there is someone there that will benefit from your story, don’t let fear of being judged or fear of public speaking stop you. Just think of it as a conversation and there is probably someone there who is going through the same thing as you.

God Bless!

Visit http://hollybarrett.org/testimony-tuesday for some great testimonies!