Journey of Faith: Day 13

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Day 13: Dare to Surrender to the Process of Change

 

No one became who they are today without first going through various trials and obstacles. Neither can you become the person you want to be without first facing your fears and ridicule of this world and maybe even those you love. Is the process worth it? Absolutely!

The greatest leaders, the Christians we look up to and admire, the disciples, even Jesus faced adversity and hardship along their journey. They didn’t give up, they powered through, they leaned on and depended on God for the strength to keep pushing forward. They kept their eyes on the prize, the ultimate goal. Were they discouraged at times? Of course. Did they cry out and complain? Some more than others. But they would not be the people they are today if their lives had taken a much easier course. Everything they faced molded and shaped their character and they came out stronger because of it. The same God that carried them through will also carry us through, and He is waiting to receive us when we reach the finish line.

 

“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

(Psalm 34:5)

“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.”

(Psalm 91:14-16)

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

(Galatians 2:20)

“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.”

(Hebrews 12:1-2)

Journey of Faith: Day 12

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Day 12: Dare to Believe You Are God’s Treasure and of Great Value to God

 

Where do you place your value and worth? Is it the clothes you own, the car you drive, the size of your house, job status? Do you hold these higher than the person you are, the person you could become? God made each of us unique and with a purpose. How do you think he feels when he sees you placing all your worth on material possessions and trying to please other people? My guess is it makes Him sad, disappointed even. God who formed you and created you, gave you everything, and gives eternal life.

Until we believe that our worth lies in the hands of our Heavenly Father, we will live the rest of our lives trying to please those who cannot truly give us what we so long after. No matter what your boyfriend/girlfriend says, no matter the money in your bank account, you will feel lost and lonely in the end if that is who and what you are living this life for. Living our life for the One who created it will bring us joy, confidence, comfort, and eternal life with Him.

 

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”

(Deuteronomy 7:6)

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

(Isaiah 46:3-4)

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

(Colossians 1:16-17)

“You have searched me, Lord,     and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;     you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down;     you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue     you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before,     and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,     too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?     Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;     if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn,     if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me,     your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me     and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you;     the night will shine like the day,     for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;     you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;     your works are wonderful,     I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you     when I was made in the secret place,     when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body;     all the days ordained for me were written in your book     before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, aGod!     How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them,     they would outnumber the grains of sand—     when I awake, I am still with you.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!     Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent;     your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,     and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them;     I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart;     test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me,     and lead me in the way everlasting.”

(Psalm 139)

Journey of Faith: Day 11

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Day 11: Dare to Live No Longer for Self

I, like many of you at one point, created a five-year plan for myself. I believed that I would graduate in four years, land my dream job, make good money, and be able to settle down and buy a house. What I didn’t know at the time was that God had something else in mind. Something totally and completely different. After changing majors a few times, it didn’t take me four, but six years to graduate college. I had to move back home for several months, due to not finding a job too quickly after graduation in anything much related to my degree. After working a very stressful job in mostly sales, a career not up my alley by any means, for a year I did finally land my dream job as a nutritionist. I still do not have a house, and instead I am sharing an apartment with my sister, but I would not have it any other way right now.

When we make five year plans, who are we making them for? I believe that we look at everyone else around us and compare our lives to them, what they do and accomplish, and base our life around what we perceive as the “normal” standard of living. Deep down we do this to please ourselves and to please our peers, maybe even make them a little jealous. We forget that we are not in control of our life, but that each one is mapped out in the hands of God. You make think you know what’s best and what you need to do to get from point A to point B, but there’s going to be some bumps along the road, maybe even a few pits or standstills, circumstances and situations out of our control. Remember who formed you, who made you unique and special, the One who knows the number of tiny hairs on our head. He’s in control and He will bless you with more than you thought possible if you have a little faith and trust in His almighty power. This quote from Oswald Chambers that I took from the book puts it into perspective. He writes, “Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him. The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we will take this view, life will become one great romance – a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.”

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

(Galatians 2:20)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

(John 10:10-11)

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

(1 Corinthians 5:14-15)

Journey of Faith: Day 10

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Day 10: Dare to Guard Your Thoughts and Fill Your Mind With Good
It’s so easy today to fill our minds with negative thoughts and fuel our negative emotions. Social media, while it can be good, can plant deep roots of negativity in our minds everyday. With Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and others on the rise, self-esteem and self-confidence have plummeted. We see a picture of someone that we know has been enhanced, filtered, distorted in some way to capture the perfect selfie and our thoughts immediately turn negative toward ourselves, the way we look and how we feel. One minute we may be feeling good about ourselves and our accomplishments, but the minute we log-on those go out the window.
I had to take a hard look at how I was spending my time and what was fueling my thoughts. I was beginning to see how negative Facebook could be for me. I was literally so drained by it and I knew something needed to be done. I wiped it completely clean, not just deactivation, but I deleted my entire account. For two months I went without it, and it felt amazing, freeing really. I no longer felt pulled or controlled by it. I didn’t feel this need or even a want to log back on and see what I had missed. During that time I also paid more attention to how it affected those around me. They may not admit it, but I can see how easily it fuels their doubts. To be honest, it’s a little scary.
While I am back on Facebook now, my only reason for getting back on is to keep in touch with distant friends and keep up with updates going on in my home congregation; those who are sick, need prayers, need help in class, etc. Starting it back up this time around I was very hesitant. I still don’t feel the need to scroll through my news feed like I used to and I’m not stressed if I skip a day or two of not being on. I am not saying that all social media is bad, because it can definitely be used for great things. We all need to be careful of where our minds go, the kind of thoughts we have, what is fueling those thoughts, and is it pleasing to God. As soon as a negative thought enters, think of something or someone your grateful for. Thank God in prayer right then. Fill your mind with beautiful scripture of God’s love, compassion, and mercy. Know that He created each of us unique and with a purpose all our own.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
(Colossians 3:2)
 
“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side…From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.”
(Psalm 3:3-6,8)
 
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
(Romans 8:6)
 
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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.”
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
 
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
(Philippians 4:8)

Journey of Faith: Day 9

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Day 9: Dare to Remember That God Gives Good Gifts to His Children
We serve a powerful, almighty God who has and will do the unimaginable for those who belong to Him. We know we can ask Him anything and he will answer. He may say no, yes, not right now, or maybe, but He will answer. It may not be what we want to hear, but it will always be what we need. Maybe your single and have been praying for your future husband for years and there’s no answer. I know it’s frustrating, but use this time to work on yourself and growing your relationship with God. We need to be who God called us to be before someone else steps into our lives.
I prayed and prayed for God to get me out of the job I had right after college. It took me a few months to realize that maybe I was put there for a reason. The job I am blessed with now was nothing short of a miracle. The year-long job before only developed and prepared me for the position I have now. I could not be more thankful. Waiting will teach you patience, which we all could use more of, and it forces us to put all our faith and trust in our Heavenly Father. Where it should be. He knows what He’s doing, He has amazing plans for you and me. There is already countless reminders of that promise.
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
(Jeremiah 33:3)
“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “LORD, save me!”
(Psalm 116:1-4)
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:7-11)
“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
(Matthew 6:30-33)

Journey of Faith: Day 8

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Day 8: Dare to Plug into the Power Source

Siding with yesterday’s post, we cannot fully receive God’s power if we are not plugged into Him and His word on a consistent, daily basis. A coffee maker cannot work without being plugged into the power source. Likewise, we cannot live out our calling and our fullest potential if we are not participating in daily communication with our Creator. We need to study His word, listen to His promises, put all our trust and faith in Him, and live out His ways. He has amazing plans that we cannot fathom. These plans are unique to each individual. We cannot expect for these plans just to happen or to take it into our own hands and make them happen for us. Submitting yourselves to God’s power allows Him to work in you and through you to carry out these plans. We cannot do it without our direct source, our life falls apart when we try. Give each day to God and watch His plans unfold.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
(John 15:4-8)
 
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last-and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
(John 15:16)

Journey of Faith: Day 7


Day 7: Dare to Believe in God’s Power in All Circumstances
How easy it is to take God’s awesome and wondrous power for granted. The Faith Dare compares God’s power to electricity we have here on earth. Electricity is used in our vehicles, to light our homes, cook our meals, watch a favorite movie or TV show; but how often we take these luxuries for granted. It is the same with God’s power. Sure, we know it’s there and it can do amazing things beyond our imaginations. But do we really think of it that way? Dp we really, truly believe what we know about God’s power?
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
(Romans 1:20)
We cannot see His power, just as we cannot see the power that makes our lives easier each day. But it’s there and because of our deep connection with God, that power lives in us also. If we believed that how differently our lives would be lived out. We would be living, walking lights of Him to all people. Pointing them in the right direction, showing them the way. Don’t ever take it lightheartedly. We are blessed to be connected this way. He chose us! From the book, “God has given us his power and equipped us for a purpose. His plans for our lives fit into his bigger picture. We represent him, as ambassadors of his love, grace, and power in this world.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
(Matthew 5:6)
“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)
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,”
(Ephesians 1:18-20)
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
(2 Corinthians 5:20)
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last-and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
(John 15:16)
“You rule over the surging sea;
    when its waves mount up, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like one of the slain;
    with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
    you founded the world and all that is in it.
You created the north and the south;
    Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.
Your arm is endowed with power;
    your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.”
 (Psalm 89:9-13)