December: The Gift of Faith

When you are open to change and seeking, you are open to opportunities. I remember in January 2018 deciding that I would concentrate on a word a month for growth spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Can you believe another year has come to an end?! For December, through a series of events, messages, and seeking, the opportunity to examine the word “faith” in a fresh, new way has brought great anticipation!

Many of you know Rick Warren. He is a pastor and the author of The Purpose Driven Life. He shared in a message that he has the spiritual gift of faith. He is able to see the possibilities! With faith, he can see what could be through the power of God’s work in us and around us. When God created the world, he spoke, and whatever he spoke was a declaration and an occurrence! Light! Animals! Oceans! Man! Woman! BAM! The example Rick shared was speaking life into relationships. Perhaps the reality of your situation is pretty dark or hopeless. Do you speak this negativity into the situation or the person’s life, or do you speak what could be? What is possible? Do you pride yourself on “telling it like it is”? How about speaking what could be through the power of Jesus Christ in your life or the life of the other person?

  • My spouse will never change. God thank you for my marriage, and I believe that you will continue to work in both of us to become better equipped to serve and heal.
  • She/he is so hurtful and uncaring. Lord, thank you for showing me your love. I know I can lean into you–your perfect love. I know you can heal the hurts of others and make them new!
  • This world is filled with suffering. Lord, thank you for showing your presence, and we know that you will continue to work all things together for your good, and you will never leave us nor forsake us.
  • I’ve failed. God thank you for the opportunity to grow, and I know you will guide me through this situation. I will see growth, and my worth is measured in you alone.

From my continued work in this area, another speaker shared that we can be spiritually fit but soul-sick. Your soul is made up of your mind, emotions, and will. We have a choice to be guided by our feelings (our will and emotions), or to be guided by a commitment to God’s promises and to the Spirit. This pastor is often asked if she is excited about certain things in the ministry. She honestly shared that travelling to do missions is hard, and no I’m not excited, but I’m committed.  As Joyce was vomiting on the 26 hour plane ride home from a mission trip, she wasn’t excited, but she was committed to the work. Rick’s message included this emphasis on feelings verses commitment. He shared that he doesn’t always feel like praying, reading God’s Word, or being a good husband or father, but He is committed. There is sustainable joy in the journey when we let go of the importance or desire to be excited, comfortable, or happy, and to rather be committed to embrace more of Jesus.

When we live our lives with “I feel so therefore___________”, we are limiting ourselves and the work of God in our lives. We also limit the possibilities to bless others.  Think of a time you acknowledged your feelings, but stayed the course with the event, task, or relationship, not in perfection but with committed effort. I imagine that not only you were blessed from the commitment, but also others benefited (even if they did not say so).

When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me”, He was asking us to daily, moment by moment, continuously to remember Him–this breaking of bread, His body, for you, giving thanks, and then sharing in brokenness. He gave us the example of how to live with our brokenness and the brokenness of others. As I continue to read Ann Voskamp’s book The Way of Abundance, I’m learning how to live by faith as a broken human in a broken world. This commitment along with remembering provides the healing balm for our soul sickness. We can force our will and cling to our emotions, or we can speak life-giving faith into our world!

I want to be a woman of faith. My reality could drown me into a negative, dark abyss if I were to let it. I’m not ignoring my reality or extending myself in unhealthy boundaries. In fact, this revelation has helped me to set healthier boundaries, seek help and improvement, and to hold myself and others accountable. If I just accept the reality, then I become apathetic or numb. I do things to numb or to forget. If I see it for what it could be and focus on Jesus and the possibilities, I create opportunities for personal growth for myself and others!

I love how God connects our soul work happenings. I told a dear friend a few weeks ago that I just can’t sing the song “It is Well with My Soul”. And, for some reason that line is in every worship song these days. So I sing, but the feelings are not there. I sing, in faith, that my soul will be well! A pastor called me to sing at a funeral. You guessed it. They wanted that song. As I practiced, I pondered, laughed, and talked to God. I did not sing at the funeral due to work commitments, but on my way to work the song came on the radio.

By faith, Anna believed it is well with her soul. I can’t explain to you the healing I felt in that moment–from hopeless to faith eyes, from despair to promise, from the reality to the promise of eternity. Right after that song, another favorite came on–“Surrounded (Fight My Battles)” by Michael W. Smith. This song. Blaring in my car. The sun coming up over a meadow while driving on 95 North. The misty dew reminding me that “His mercies are NEW every morning!” Oh my friend–look up, look around, you may feel like you are in a pit, but by faith believe that you are surrounded by a loving God who adores you!  This is how we fight our battles!

We fight our battles through worship and faith!

I pray God will fill you with the strength to speak what could be by the promise of His Word into your life and the lives of others! May we remember-constantly remember- and be committed to focus on HIM. Do this in remembrance of Me.

Surrounded (Fight My Battles) (It might look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you…)

 

It is Well with My Soul Worship Song! (And through it all my eyes are on you….So let go my soul and trust in Him!)

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