by Texas Stready
After paying for my Christmas gifts at the store, I happily trot towards my car. In the parking lot a few rows over, I notice a little boy. While his father is loading the trunk with items, the child attempts to pull what looks to be a crockpot from the bottom of the cart.
When the man turns around I hear him say, “I’ll get that, son.”
In that moment, the boy grabs ahold of his dad’s leg in total dependence and smiles at me. I laugh and continue on.
As I settle in behind the steering wheel, I hear what I’ve learned to be the Holy Spirit’s voice. “Don’t laugh too hard, you can learn something from him.”
Stop – Look – Listen
Instantly this sentence floods my mind. “Why don’t I have more faith?”
How often do we think that?
Not like this is a negative thought. Actually I believe it to be a healthy search for deeper relationship with our Creator, and that’s never a bad thing.
The problem resides with the sigh that accompanies this idea. It comes quickly and with frustration, as if we think our efforts can get the job done.
There’s no use depending on your own ability in the matter of growing faith. That, my friend, is a weight that will certainly crush you.
More faith is about partnership with God. He is our heavenly Father and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Faith is a Response
It’s the outcome of knowing who God is, not a goal to achieve. Like a girl who’s willing to be tossed in the air by her daddy. She’s unaware of the physics involved; never does she ask for her father’s tossed-to-drop ratio.
Why? Because faith is produced by relationship.
Countless encounters have indeed proven her Papa to be trustworthy. (2 Timothy 1:12)
Fact vs. Faith
No amount of information can produce the ability to believe. There’s only one road to true confidence, and other peoples paths won’t take you there. We must live our own way into more faith.
Absolute knowledge can be gained, but only by experience.
Each encounter we live through, helps us relinquish our hold on life’s circumstances. Personal involvement is what teaches us to rest in the safety we’re entitled to.
Receive Your Resource
No one’s ever written a thank you note for a present they didn’t accept.
Faith is automatically accelerated by thanksgiving. Our heartfelt appreciation proves we are in agreement with our Source. It’s like saying, “Ok this belongs to me—I’ll take it.”
Make the divine exchange of worry for trust. This action takes place without thought, when we’ve learned to bask in the adoration of a God who’s madly in love with us.
Exercise Your Experience
Rehearsing your blessings will increase your gratitude, thereby fortifying you’re resolve. The more sure you become of God’s heart towards you, the faster you’ll be engulfed by the ability to hope for unexpected assistance.
This is a spectacular time of year. It’s set-aside to celebrate the most clear-cut demonstration of grace ever given.
The only step it takes to grow faith, is to receive the measure of grace that’s been allotted you. (Ephesians 4:7)
Acceptance is what alters our ridiculous attempts at achievement into delighted reliance on a powerful Father who remains by our side.
I wrote this piece of prose three years ago after fighting a lingering darkness left me weary and discouraged. The Christmas Season is often lonely and sad for people. Within my close circle of friends, seven of us have lost grown children in the last few years. The memories of their childhoods often haunt us at Christmastime. May these words bring hope and light, and a promise of quiet acceptance in what is now our lives without them.
by Cathee Poulsen
For days I wallow in dark shadows
all thought of pushing back the darkness gone.
I can only cry one thing, over and over and over.
How long, O Lord? How long?
It’s not a good question.
No answer ever comes to that question.
“As long as it takes,” someone quips and I frown.
Don’t hand me clichés right now.
They’ll never stoke my wavering flame.
But I know it’s true – that answer is true.
Is it that I don’t have what it takes to push back the darkness?
If I don’t push, will I be engulfed in blackness so deep it swallows up what little light is left?
Can darkness extinguish light?
What happened to the Dragon Slayer?
She used to travel with drawn sword ready for battle, relishing the very idea of it.
How do I get my fight back?
I need a breath to blow on the small flicker that’s left
A holy bellows that can ignite the few sticks that remain of my hope.
So breathe on me now, O Breath of the Spirit.
Set me ablaze once more until I can see the beauty shining through
And I watch the darkness flee as you carry me on the wings of your light.
by Texas Stready
With eyes the size of golf balls I rush outside in response to my grandson’s cry for help. I’m not at all an alarmist, but rarely does my Pierce have the sound of horror in his voice.
“It might’ve killed me. It might’ve killed me,” he says.
“What might’ve killed you,” I question.
“Nona, I almost stepped on a snake.”
In that moment ease takes over. You see I’m familiar with this landscape and I know the very snake he’s speaking of. I know where he lives, where he sunbathes, and how he responds to my interruption.
Beware vs. Be Aware
Not like he’s a friend but I am fully aware of his presence. Although he startles me from time to time, I feel no fear because I know what he is. A simple black snake. I’m not afraid of him; he couldn’t kill me if he wanted to. (http://brilliantperspectives.com/its-time-to-mess-with-the-enemys-head/)
There are many things in life that we must be cautious of, but there are also things that bring unnecessary alarm. As followers of Christ, death can be a celebration. We can’t live in the fullness of who we’re meant to be until we’re dead to who we presently are.
The greatest gift you can receive, is knowing where you’ll spend eternity. Truth to tell, fearing death is not appreciating what we have. Fact is, being intimidated by death keeps us from living our life on purpose.
What good is eternal security if I live in panic of today. And what benefit is some pie-in-the-sky dream, if I have no help for the matters of the moment. None!
Make It Your Business
It’s strange too me how scared we are to let go of this life. For children of the Most High God, the place we leave is filled with turmoil and the place we arrive has nothing but peace. From sickness to wholeness, destruction to completion, pathetic hangups to prophetic hangouts. It’s a good deal. Seems like if we had any sense at all, we’d look forward to it.
Settle down, settle down. I’m not so much talking of losing your physical life, and most of the time neither is Christ. The death I’m referring to doesn’t take our lives from us, it restores life to us.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 NASB
A common problem we face comes from no clear realization of what salvation entitles us to. The land we are called to possess is one of beauty and riches, of hope and help. If this isn’t true who the heck wants to be a Christian?
Give It Up
God won’t take your will from you. You must forfeit it to Him. If you never choose to do this, you will never have what is meant for you. I know this by the results of my past behavior, as well as the hundreds of people I’ve watched. Death to self brings life, and the alternative will kill you. Literally. (http://aradicaldifference.com/product/deep-in-the-heart-of-texasa-memoir/)
Nothing this world offers gives the fulfillment you crave. This makes it very inviting to give up control. Especially when you’re relinquishing it to an all-powerful source that’s crazy about you, and is always, always, nothing but good.
There’s so much life to be lived in Christ.
So much joy, so much peace, so much prosperity, so much hope, so much purpose, so much vision, so much more than I could ever describe to you. And the best part? All you have to do is stop fighting and die. Die to your resolutions and resources. That’s all it takes to live like the powerhouse you’re meant to be.
So my question to you today is… Are you dead yet?