The Power of Belief

The Power of Belief

Are we truly aware of the impact our beliefs have on our life and our relationship with God?

She believes.
She believes she is worthy.
She believes she is loved.
She believes she is accepted.
She believes she is victorious.
She believes she is powerful.
She believes she is righteous.
She believes she is significant.
She believes she has purpose.
She believes she can have hope in Christ.
She believes she is forgiven.
She believes God can heal her.
She believes God will heal her.
She believes she is full of the Holy Spirit.
She believes God makes His home in her.
She believes God works mightily through her.
She believes she can have a meaningful impact on others.
She believes God wants her to show His love to others.
She believes the joy of the Lord is her strength.
She believes she is courageous.
She believes God knows her by name.
She believes God will remove any chains that hold her down.
She believes she doesn’t have to live an unfulfilled life.
She believes.

By Danielle Harmon

Am I Missing God?

Am I Missing God?

For the longest time, I was worried that I was going to miss God when He was speaking to me. I was constantly concerned, afraid, full of guilt and condemnation and felt that I would make a wrong turn and not hear Him. At times, I lacked confidence in my decisions because I was constantly afraid they were wrong. I was aware of the verse from John 10:27, which reads, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”. However, I was afraid that somehow I would miss Him. An understanding of the Father’s love for me has been essential in learning to hear His voice more clearly.

Through His Holy Spirit, God has been teaching me that any fear, worry, condemnation, anxiety or depression that I hear or sense is not the voice of the Father. Whenever I have these feelings, they’re directly from the enemy. The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Therefore, if God is guiding me in His perfect love, He will not use fear to accomplish His purpose. Being fearful is not walking in the Spirit. Instead of fearing misdirection, I can remember Psalms 91:14-16 which speaks of the Lord’s protection, deliverance and guidance.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalms 91:14-16

Whenever feelings of doubt or fear creep into my mind disguised as “wisdom”, I can defeat them because of my understanding of God’s love. Meaning, I can recognize these thoughts and feelings as the voice of the enemy and extinguish them. Then, I replace them with the Truth of God’s Word. As Christians, we are instructed to do this in 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Learning to do this is essential to hearing the voice of God. It is the revelation of His love for me which has enabled me to have confidence in my right to use and apply His Truth to my life.

Now that I’m learning to hear God’s voice more clearly, the verse from John 10:27 has taken on new meaning. I have come to understand that the deeper my relationship with Him, the more clearly I hear Him. Continued learning and revelation of His character leads to greater ability to hear his guidance. As I grow in my understanding of Him, I have found that He will direct me so I can follow His will. The Bible tells us this in Proverbs 3:6: “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” I have confidence in knowing that the Father will tell me when to turn right or turn left. He will not lead me astray. He created me for His designed purpose and He is faithful to see it to completion by showing me the correct path. Just as a parent would not watch a child wander off in the wrong direction without speaking up, God will let me know when I start to roam so that I can make a change and turn back.

Through the revelation of the Father’s love for me, I have traded fear and anxiety for love and confidence in Him. I am no longer afraid of “missing God.” I know that He cares for me. As a result of the relationship that I have with Him, He will let me know when I start to get off-course. As I am consumed by His love, I find my refuge and peace in Him instead of being tossed around by worry and fear. I can rest in the knowledge that God truly loves and cares for me (See Psalms 23).

By Danielle Harmon

Managing Disappointments

Managing Disappointments

We all experience disappointments in life: the loss of a home or job, hurt feelings, difficult circumstances. Disappointment is the result of someone or something not meeting our expectations. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the privilege of filtering our disappointments through hope in Him.

We can have hope in spite of disappointment because Jesus’ sacrifice brings us a greater hope — the hope of new life. First Peter 1:3 (NIV) reads, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth in to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Discovering the living hope that is found in Jesus means that we do not have to be constantly disappointed. Hope does not carry around hurts, insecurities or offenses. Instead, we can have hope because there is more to come. And we can rejoice knowing that He willingly went to the cross so we could live abundant spiritual lives now, not just in Heaven.

We’re able to release our disappointments and embrace God’s Truth because the power of the Holy Spirit fills us with hope. Romans 15:13 (NIV) states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Believing in God and His Truth produces joy and peace in us. And, as a result of the divine work of the Holy Spirit, we experience hope. This supernatural hope allows us the opportunity to see God provide for us when our children make life-altering mistakes, a business deal falls through or a friend doesn’t fulfill an obligation.

When feeling overwhelmed by disappointment, we can have an attitude of thankfulness towards God, which produces hope. First Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” We are told in this verse to be thankful in every situation, including when we’re let down or disappointed. A thankful heart says, “God, I’m disappointed and this hurts; but even though this hurts, I can be thankful for who you are to me (provider, healer, etc.)”. Our thankfulness moves the focus from ourselves and our expectations to God and His goodness.

Although we are children of God, we live in a sinful world and experience dissatisfaction when our expectations aren’t met. Because we have hope through Jesus Christ, we do not have to live with constant disappointment: God offers us hope in its place. Instead of focusing on the circumstances that fall short of our expectations, we can focus on the hope we have in Jesus, with thankful hearts, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

By Danielle Harmon

Recycle Your Pain

Recycle Your Pain

Have you ever wondered why God allows us to go through such pain? Isn’t He a loving God? There are certainly many reasons for pain that we will never know, but John Baker, founder of Celebrate Recovery and author of ‘Life’s Healing Choices’, provides four truths to help us understand.

1. God gave us free will. God gave each of us the right to choose. He created us in His image, and since God made many choices at the beginning of Creation, we also were made with the ability to choose. We can choose good things or bad things. We can choose to live for God or choose to live for ourselves. Every choice we make has a consequence. It’s important to remember that if God gives us the right to choose, He also gives that right to others. So when others choose to do wrong it affects the people around them. Often we reap the pain of others’ bad choices. God could have stopped it but, if he took away their right to choose, He would also have to take away ours.

2. Pain gets our attention. Our pain is not the problem. Anxiety, fear and depression are not the problem. They are simply red flags telling us something is wrong. Much like the internal pain of a heart attack captures our attention, without it, we may never know something is wrong.

3. Pain teaches us to depend on God. When our lives fall apart, and we have no one to help us, no resource to lean on, no strength left to fight, that’s when we can see God is our only hope. John Baker says it this way, “You will never know that God is all you need until God is all you’ve got.” Without pain and problems, we would never learn to lean on God.

4. Pain is used by God to give us a ministry to others. Once we experience pain, we are more sympathetic and sensitive to those around us who are going through pain. We are also more humble after having gone through our pain. Pain prepares us to learn to trust God through the pain and in turn, He comforts and helps us. II Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Use your pain to help others by sharing your experiences. Let people know how God helped you so they can find hope and comfort. The more we share about our pain and the help God has given us, the less power our pain has over us. God does not waste a hurt. He wants to recycle the pain in your life to help others.

(Taken and adapted from ‘Life’s Healing Choices,’ by John Baker; 2007)

By Karen Grotler

Living the Purpose God has Ordained for My Life

I believe that RIGHT THIS MINUTE God is giving many of us a chance to change our lives forever and for better.  He’s giving us a chance to receive the riches that He has planned for us and has wanted to provide for us from the beginning.  Many of us, however, don’t seem to recognize this opportunity. We are continuing, unsuccessfully, to depend on ourselves to meet our own needs while we head down a path that won’t bring us the joy and fullness of a life lived for Christ.  Now is the time that we need to permanently and consistently turn to God and live out His purpose for our lives.  For some of us, this means we need to change the life coordinates we previously entered into the GPS and wait expectantly to see where His divine coordinates take us.

In order to live out the purpose He has ordained for each of our lives, we must first seek His counsel on what He expects of us.  Next, we must actually do what He tells us to do. Finally, we have to realize that we can’t do anything on our own. In other words, once He makes His instructions known to each of us, we must respond with acts of obedience.  From there, we must depend on Him in faith every step of the way.  He will give us everything we need in order to accomplish His purpose.

1. We must seek His guidance regarding everything in our lives. This means to us that we don’t just offer up the pieces of our lives that are messed up and in the midst of stress and strife.  It means that we go to Him for everything, all the time.  In other words, we don’t make a plan without first consulting His direction and waiting to hear His comment on it. How do we know what He wants for us if we don’t first seek His counsel?   We have to go to Him for wisdom and knowledge on the subject – whatever the subject happens to be. God is concerned with every detail of our lives.  Nothing is too small to talk to Him about! He has numbered even the very hairs on our heads.  Now that’s attention to detail!

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

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

“…I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.  Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be cut off nor destroyed from before me.”  Isaiah 48:17-19 

2. Admit to ourselves and confess to Him that we can do nothing without Him.  Without His blessing on the paths that we take, and without His help, we will feel like we’re going against the current. Sound familiar? Nothing works easily when we’re in opposition to His will for us. When we operate within the center of His will for our lives and we actively seek to live out the purpose He’s designed for us, we will be blessed.  The resources we need to accomplish our tasks will seem to almost effortlessly fall into place.  He will move things and people around in order to accomplish His purpose.

“I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”  Psalm 37:4-5

 “…Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”  Luke 11:28 

3. God requires us to act by faith in Him when we live out His purpose for our lives.  He won’t always give us the full picture of where we’re headed before He asks us to take the first step of obedience.  For many of us, that’s a challenge.  We like to be the one in control.  We want to know what the “50,000 foot view” looks like before we agree to embark on a project.  God expects us to trust Him.  He will reveal information to us as we need it and as He wants us to have it.  Sometimes it may be revealed all at once, while other times he’ll disperse it on a “need to know” basis.  Stepping out in faith can be a scary thing for some people because it represents the unknown.  But for Christians, it’s not the unknown.  We have the promises of God that His plans are to prosper us and not to harm us. His plans are to give us hope and a future. (Ref.  Jeremiah 29:11)

“For we walk by faith, and not by sight.”  2 Corinthians 5:7

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”  1Thessalonians 5:13

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”   Jeremiah 17:7-8

I believe that obedience to God never goes unrewarded.  Though the first step may be the most difficult to take, remember that God never forgets His promises, nor does He break His covenants.  He will never lead you the wrong way.  Keep your eyes fixed on Him and your feet moving forward in obedience on the path that He sets before you.

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.  Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”  Proverbs 4:25-27