Walking in Faith

Not long ago I attended a women’s meeting.  My friend and  founder of the Rahab Foundation was the speaker.

Previously she was a consultant developing environmental impact studies for mining projects.  When she accepted the Lord, He called her to love the prostitutes.  She was incredulous as a new believer.  She did not understand what was going on, much less why God would choose her.

During her prayer times with the Lord, she kept seeing the word Prostitution flashing before her eyes.  She began to feel a love for them, and it was not long after she quit her consulting work and embraced her calling in faith.

It was a slow and difficult start.  Today it is a thriving ministry.

What steps do we take when a new challenge or opportunity comes our way?

Faith

Romans 12:3 says we have all been given a measure of faith.

What is faith and what does it mean to you?  Below are a few definitions:

  • Faith is complete trust or confidence.
  • Faith moves the heart of God.
  • Faith is an assurance in the heart, it gives peace.
  • Faith causes God to move on your behalf.
  • Faith is confidence in the trustworthiness of God. It is the conviction what God says is true and what He says will come to pass.
  • Faith is a knowing God has equipped you, not that He might. He has, past tense.
  • Faith is the opposite of fear.

My friend would spend quiet times with the Lord, and it is there where she received her training and instructions in the ministry.

She did not believe in herself but in God´s ability to work through her. That is key.  She surrendered all to Him, and He came through.

Our Lord never fails.

She began with something small with joy and gladness and the Lord grew it.   In being faithful with the little the Lord gives us, we begin to receive larger things.

Often times when we work for the Lord we desire the big things immediately, but it doesn´t work that way.  We need to start small and work our way up and do our best.  The Lord is responsible for our increase.

1 Corinthians  3:6 –   I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

When we do our part, the increase will automatically come.

What does our part mean?

Recognize an opportunity when you see it and take it by faith.  By doing so, you will discover your strengths and weaknesses, and you will improve by doing.

If you are not doing, you are not growing.

Don´t worry about the mistakes, they are our learning curb, embrace them and grow.

The bottom line is, God has called you to something great, but to be great we need to start out small.

The sound of the River

My husband went out to do some field work, and after walking a few hours with his helper, they lied down by a brook to rest.

¨Did you notice in a brook there is no sound like a river?¨  The helper mentioned.

In a stream or river where the water is flowing and the surface is placid, there would be no sound heard, like a lake would be without wind.

When a river has rocks or stones,  where there is turbulence and droppings and irregularities in the river, there are places where there is more pressure than others, which means irregular flow and you would hear the sound of the river.

When life is going well in finances, health, family, work, and we are happy it seems God takes a back seat in our daily lives.

When there is turbulence, or rocks in our path, we begin to pray and make noise.  We pray longer and perhaps even louder,  suddenly scripture verses come to mind and they flow from our spirit.  We begin to  praise and do warfare.

In all of this, God wants to know what comes out of us when we are being pressured, when we have to go around obstacles, when we are down instead of up and we come into the rushing waters in the river.

Let us be thankful for the obstacles, which bring us closer to God, and we can see his mighty outstretched arm protecting us and we can learn to react to them appropriately, by praising Him.  After all, even the rocks will cry out, right?

What I learned leading a growth group

As a believer in Christ, we are called to serve.  When you think of serving, what comes to mind?  Is it serving in church,  outside of the church, or helping others?  Perhaps it could be all three, or more.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to serve as an English growth group leader for our church.

The course was in Spanish, and I discovered that I had to translate the entire study over to English, which took quite a bit of time to do. Serving is sacrificial, meaning you give something up, mainly time.

I did something different and out of my comfort zone, in doing so, I discovered several things about myself.

I can lead a growth group, study and learn the material to relate it back to the group effectively.

The Lord deposited examples to share with the group as I lead, examples that I had long forgotten about that were relevant to the topic.

I made new friends!  I love meeting new people.

We enjoyed the food that each one brought to share.  Food is always welcome.

The group would like to continue to meet, even after the course is completed since we all get along so well.

I also learned my weaknesses, and now I can work on those areas to strengthen them.

The gift of service is directed towards groups and organizations.  With every gift, there are dangers to consider, such as:

  • Some Christians with this gift have the propensity to assume the ministry tasks of others, which makes these people co-dependent.
  • Those with this gift are sometimes rather shamelessly taken advantage of by others.  Not good.
  • People with an eye for spotting ministry opportunities and actively seeking to meet existing needs often judge those who are not able to do this.  This is what is called gift projection, you project your gift to others and expect them to do the same.

Yes, the training was long, yes, I did take time to learn and commit to leading the growth group, but it was also stretching and enriching for me.

After all, isn’t that whats life is all about, stretching, learning and growing? Life is not about staying still.

What have you agreed to do to stretch you?  Share it in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.

Why you should never steal

A few months ago we hired a very trustworthy worker to do some work for our office.   We know him and his work ethics very well, and did not doubt when he brought along a helper, which is reasonable and understandable.

Because of the type of work being accomplished, our main worker was not always present, so we would continue to use his helper for various other jobs around the property. We found out much later that he was stealing from us, which left us and our friend very saddened and hurt.

Stealing is not worth it.  It brings a curse upon yourself.

There are many things one can steal when left unattended, but did you know you can steal from yourself?

How can I steal from myself? You may ask.

By not improving yourself in the areas you are weak in, and not recognizing you need help.

The longer we steal from ourselves, the longer it takes for us to reach our dreams and true potential and we become frustrated with ourselves and life.

  • We fail to  learn
  • we fail to  grow
  • We fail to accomplish things that matter in life.
  • We do not reach our full potential
  • Opportunities are lost

This type of theft keeps you in poverty.

I love learning, and I have just recently learned how to set goals and how to achieve them. I have decided  I will no longer steal from myself, but invest in myself.

If you are like me, college is out of the question because of age and cost. Today´s learning is very accessible via online.  These two websites are offering sales for the New Year.

I have learned to write down my goals for the year, and I have them in front of me as I sit at my desk.  Research shows when one writes down their goals, they are more likely to accomplish them.  I am excited about how I will finish 2017

What did we learn from the theft a few months ago?  Do not trust others and keep guard on our belongings.  That includes your spiritual, mental, emotional and personal belongings.

We had to forgive and release him to the Lord, and not hold any bitterness or resentment.  By doing so, we free ourselves and we move on, and we become the wiser.

God sent His son to the earth to give, the enemy comes to steal.  May we be in the spirit of giving,  not holding any of our gifts or talents back to those that can benefit from what you have to offer.

In giving, God deposits more into you so that you can give it away again.  It never runs dry.

Try giving something away, an advice, a prayer, an encouragement.  God will only bless you with more.

 

 

 

 

Getting to the root of the problem

I don´t  always  have the opportunity  of doing yard work, but when I do I thoroughly enjoy it.

For some time I had my eye on a wild vine growing out of control in our yard. My mind was fixed  to chop it down. (Remember, I live in the foothills of a cloud forest, and plants tend to grow quite rapidly.)

Mano de Tigre
With machete in hand, I began chopping away. What surprised me were the many roots this vine had, embedded into the soil.  I could not seem to find the main stem of this vine.  It was a real mess.

I started at the base, but the roots were many, so I began chopping away at the end of the vine.  Some time later, progress was visible.

I was cutting away removing the leaves when I finally arrived at the base of the vine.

Spiritually speaking, we desire to eliminate a problem, but the roots are so many we cannot find out where this ¨thing¨ that is hindering us was birthed.

To get to the root of the problem, many times we need to peel the layers to get to where it started growing.

It would be easier  if we could just hack it away with one swipe, but many times God does not work that way. He deals with us carefully.

If we allow Him to work, He will begin very gingerly removing external influences that hinder our calling and relationship with Him  upon our life. He wants us to trust, mature and grow in Him.

With  trust, maturity begins to flourish.

It can be painful to our pride, but it is well worth it.

We may find ourselves in a situation  we did not know how we ended up in.

If that is you, a time of reflection is needed and here are a few helpful questions you could ask yourself.

  • When did the problem start?
  • When did my spouse and I begin having this problem?
  • How did I end up with such a bad attitude?
  • When did everything begin going crazy at home, at work, in my relationship?

You don´t know the answers to these questions, but the Lord does.  If you ask, He will tell you.

Once we get to the root of our problem, a number of things may need to happen to ensure that it does not sprout up again.

First, we need to be honest with ourselves.   God can and will work with that.

Was it sin, rebellion, an attitude problem?  Perhaps  your heart was not right.   Confess it and quickly, and forgive yourself for the sin.

You may need to forgive someone, and do so.  It is not for their benefit, but for yours. Forgiveness removes the bondage you have towards the other person and allows God to work in your heart and on the other´s person life.

Allow God to do a deep work inside of  you.

When you allow your heavenly Father to remove things that are causing you trouble, He will also do  a healing work in your heart.

Your emotions begin to heal and line up and soon you will find yourself walking in a new level of freedom.

Living in joy, freedom and growing closer to the Father should be the goal.  With those hindrances removed, you are set to walk out in your gifts and calling, where there is true happiness.

 

Do you see your life in cycles?

Life is about cycles.

When my mother passed away more than 20 years ago, it was a shock to all of us. It was discovered during her operation, cancer had spread to the liver, and there was nothing the doctors could do.

She was sent home to die, and she did a few weeks later.

We  went back to our lives with work, family, and home. My father understandably had a void in his life that took a time to heal.

Four years after my mother’s death, he remarried and lived ten years in his new marriage until his death.

We  enjoyed seeing a new adventurous side of my father and witnessed him  do and try new things.

In all of this, I observed  doing and learning new things has no age limit.

Life has cycles. There is death,  life, we mature,  grow, we fail and  learn and  continue.

Sadly, there are those that choose to stay stagnant. It could be fear of the unknown and not seeing fit to leave their comfort zone.

They miss out on the excitement the school of life has in store for them.

I have also found  what was important to me a few years ago, is no longer important today.

Why? because of the change that has occurred within me.

I have also learned when life gets tough and discouragement sets in, handing things over to God is essential. Not only for myself but for the  good of my family.

Then, you pick yourself up and keep pressing forward.

We should always try something new, even when we fail. No one can take away what was learned  in the process.

January is around the corner, and instead of the same new year’s resolution that never gets fulfilled, why not put on your list something different.

Some ideas:

  • Learn a new skill
  • Make new friends
  • Read a book out of your normal reading genre
  • Eat different foods
  • Study a new topic
  • Visit a new place

They key is, don´t stay still, keep moving.

Are you willing to try something new?  If so, what will that be?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment below.

 

Are you easily discouraged?

I remember a few years ago during a weekend getaway, we decided to go for a morning hike to reach the signal towers for the local television channel.

It did not take long for me to realize the hike would be a challenge.

mountain

As I continued with the trek, I made a few stops to rest as I was growing tired.

In one of those rest, I hear a buzzing sound and discover a swarm of bumblebees on the path, directly in front of me.

My husband now at the top of the hill waves and informs me he can see the towers.

What do I do? Should I go in the opposite direction of the swarm, get off the trail, hide or go back down?

I decided to pull the jacket I was wearing over my head and continue the trail to the top of the hill,  walking through the swarm and leaving the bumblebees behind.

I made it to the top of the mountain.

How often do you find yourself ready to give up, because of a distraction that showed up right before you completed your goal?

It has been noted that some  people do give up just before reaching their mark. If only they push through the swarm, they will make it.

Discouragement comes in many varieties, and it happens before, during and after you reach your goal. Discouragement wants you to turn around and go back down the mountain.

Discouragement will say what you are doing is a struggle.

What it will not say is who you become during the process.

If you tire with your hike, it is perfectly fine to take a rest.

Don´t stay there for very long.

What is more important is for you to stay on track and not lose sight of the plans, goals, and dreams that you have set before you.

What are your goals, dreams, visions, and plans? Has discouragement crept in, telling you it´s not worth it, it´s too difficult, you will never make, why try?

You may need to put your jacket over your head to block those distractions, and focus on the mountain peak in front of you.

Don´t give up.

When you block them out, you will find yourself on top of that mountain, ready to tackle your next goal.