Tag Archives: Christ

WALKING BY FAITH TO SEE GOD’S POWER

Walk by Faith

As my car was sputtering down the road, barely moving at the speed of twenty-something miles per hour, I felt unsafe driving. My car was an old Honda, nearly twenty years old. It had been acting strangely for weeks. I must have looked crazy as my car jerked down the street while I passionately proclaimed to God my hopes for Him to rescue me. With an assurance in my voice I loudly said, “Jesus, You stated in Your Scriptures that all things work together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purposes. Well, I need a car. So I am expecting You to work this out for my good and provide another car for me.” As those words rolled off my lips, peace fell all over me and I knew everything would be okay.

Just weeks before my car had started giving me trouble, I’d written a prayer to the Lord professing that I didn’t want to ever doubt Him again. I know that sounds courageous. But I’m not really all that brave. I was simply ready to walk in faith moment-by-moment and see God’s power working in my life in a greater way. For a number of years I’d been following Christ at all costs. During that season, the Lord was taking me to the place of knowing that every good thing in life would be provided by God if I followed Him wholeheartedly and would really, really trust Him.

At the time my car was breaking, my husband Michael was working hard to finish college while I worked several different part-time jobs including very late nights on the weekends for a catering business. Even with the catering job, my cleaning jobs, teaching dance on the side, and cutting all our spending to only necessities, we still barely had enough money to keep food on the table, much less money for car repairs.

After that day I’d found the courage to tell Jesus I needed for Him to provide me a better car, my old Honda continued to sporadically act up. I never knew if I would make it to my job safely or not. But I just kept praying for the Lord to keep my car running and waiting on Him to provide a new one. I truly knew He would. Just a few weeks later, I received a call from my mother with some sweet news.

In her kind voice, she said, “Amy, I want you to know that the Lord put it on my heart to give you our car since we’re purchasing another one.” The timing was impeccable. My mom had no idea that our car was seriously malfunctioning. I had decided not to share those details with her so she wouldn’t be tempted to worry. There wasn’t a reason to tell her because I knew God would handle it. His Holy Spirit whispered in my mother’s ear and shared our need with her at precisely the moment we needed to see God’s hand working in our midst.

God’s timing is perfect. He never fails us when we place our trust in Him alone.

It’s been years since Jesus provided that car for me when I desperately needed it. He has continued to open doors and has blessed my family with everything we’ve needed through the years. Even after undeniably seeing miracles in my life, I can be tempted to doubt Christ at times. Life is challenging. When things aren’t going as I had hoped they would, doubtful thoughts tempt me. But now, after watching God’s faithfulness in my life over and over and over again, I continually choose to push out the negative thoughts by focusing on what the Scriptures say. I continually rejoice over the way Jesus comes through for me every single time I need for Him to work on my behalf.

Doubt and self-pity open the door for disappointments. Faith opens the door for the impossible to be unleashed in our lives. In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus said, “Have faith in God. I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him…When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.”

Are you in need of a miracle? Being in need is the perfect position to see God’s power. It’s not until we let go of things, surrender everything to Christ, and release it all into His hands, that we see His power working abundantly.

Walking by faith is not easy. It takes practice. But I have learned that the only way any of us will truly see God’s power in our lives is by leaving doubt behind forever and choosing to walk by faith and not by sight.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (English Standard Version)

WAITING WITH EXPECTATION IN 2014

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The telephone rang and I rushed to answer it. I’d been waiting to hear some news from my husband, Michael. He had recently interviewed for a higher position within the company he works for.

When I picked up the phone, Michael’s words were sweetness to my soul. He exclaimed in a boyish way, “I got the promotion, Babe!”

I squealed loudly in a high-pitched tone for what seemed like a minute or two. I sounded like the moms of American Idol contestants when they’ve heard that their children made it to the finals. It was long-awaited news that made my heart leap.

Four years earlier, Michael sensed the Lord guiding him to return to college with the goal of earning a degree that could be used to combine his previous computer skills with the medical diagnostics field. After being laid off from four different jobs and facing the disappointment of several business failures, he was elated to finally be reaping the harvest of the good things he had sown.

Michael had been in the Information Technology field for over two decades. But due to the IT field being over-saturated with new graduates and his lack of updated certifications, he hadn’t been able to get rehired in that field for many years. During the interim, we barely scraped by while I worked low-paying, part-time jobs to be a home-schooling mom and Michael earned a living by delivering pizza, working as a package courier, and so on until God opened the door to his dreams.

I’ll never forget the day in February of 2012 when Michael’s long-time dream to use his IT skills in the medical field came true. There isn’t a way to fully express what this job promotion meant to our family. After time and time again of thinking we had come to the right door of opportunity only to find out that it wasn’t yet our time, we took a sigh of relief when we realized our doorway to revel in joy had arrived. We had waited for decades to see God fulfill this desire and dream. This fulfilled desire pushed us closer to many other dreams we had.

Waiting makes it so much sweeter than it does to get our desires met instantaneously. I would relive every difficult trial one-thousand times over to experience the joy I found in Christ during all those years of waiting on Him to show us His perfect plan for our lives.

I remember when I was a little girl; there were movies that I had to wait a whole year to watch. We didn’t have DVDs or videos back then. So every year, I was excited beyond measure to watch Sound of Music or to watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Christmas time. It didn’t matter that I had to wait a very long time to see the shows and movies. The waiting made it blissful when the time arrived for me to see them again.

Waiting can be hard. We can begin doubting that good things are coming. But as followers of Christ, we are promised that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

There is an old phrase I remember hearing, “Good things come to those who wait.” I love that saying, but I would add a few words to it…Good things come to those who are surrendered to Christ and waiting in faith.

Are you waiting for something that you know in your spirit is coming? Are you getting weary in the waiting?

As stated in Mark 9:23, Jesus, said, “Everything is possible for the one who believes.” We can rest in His words and know that as we are waiting and believing, His good plans will unfold.

It’s worth the wait for sure. It’s worth it because when you finally receive your blessing, you will have so much joy that you will feel as though you may burst with glee.

Hang on and trust Jesus in 2014. As you live fully surrendered to Christ and live according to His will, your time of blessing will come.

“And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:15 (NIV)

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31 (NASB)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This post has been revised from a piece I wrote previously.

A Christmas Prayer

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Father, I thank You for the gift of Christ. Thank You for sending Your son to save the world from darkness. Thank You for all that He gives us and how He enables us to live with an abundance of hope, joy, peace, and love. Let us take hold fully of the gift You have given us through Jesus Christ. Let us meditate on Your great love and celebrate our amazing Savior. Oh, how we love and adore You, our Redeemer. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!

RESTING IN GOD’S PRESENCE

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The rain was gently and slowly coming down. I could hear the pitter-patter on the roof over my head as I knelt down before the Lord. I was quiet and still. There was no sound around meonly the gentle, soothing sound of the raindrops. It reminded me of the softness of Christ’s Spirit, His soothing love, and gentleness.

I asked the Lord to pour out His Spirit all over me like rain. He did. A soft, gentle love came rushing over me. I was frozen in the moment. His Spirit was holding me tight. I knew He was there with me. Suddenly I knew the vastness of His being. I realized how small I am in his presence. I am nothing without Him. He is everything to me in this dark world.

Tears came over me as I thought about the many times I have bowed before Him with selfish motives. Many times I had made it about me. This was very different. It was all about Him, His power, and His strength. His love consumed me. I better understood what it means to die to myself.

In those moments, my needs were far from my thoughts. I was in the midst of the Famous One. I was in awe. I was overcome by Him. I wanted time to stop. I didn’t want to move. In His presence, I was speechless.

Lord, You are beautiful and holy and perfect. Thank You for Your never-ending love and grace. Let us rest in Your presence this Christmas season and always. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 (NIV)

This post was originally written in 2009.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

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May your holidays be filled with joy and the knowledge of how deeply you are loved by Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving!

SACRED MOMENTS SWINGING BY THE TREE

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As a young girl, I lived next door to my grandparents for several years. Every day, after school, I would spend my afternoons hanging out at their house. They lived on a beautiful piece of land in North Georgia surrounded by rolling cow pastures and mountains in the distance. The beauty at their house was magnified by the peace and serenity in the atmosphere.

As I grew older, I realized the peace at their home came from Christ and His presence. My grandfather, whom I called, “Poppy” was a praying man. He was left fatherless when his daddy died on his tenth birthday. Without an earthly father, he turned to his heavenly Father to fill the void in his life.

Poppy’s love for Christ influenced me.

Some of my greatest memories as a child are of the times I sat in a wooden swing that was positioned in front of a big old tree. I would sit for what seemed like hours with Poppy by my side, along with one of his cats nestled in between us. As the cat purred, and the old swing screeched in the wind, I could feel the Spirit of God and the peace that came from within Poppy’s soul.

I tasted the presence of God in those sacred moments swinging by the tree. My spirit was touched and a desire was born in my heart to seek after Christthe one and only way to find true peace.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Tree.” Today, it took me twenty extra minutes to write this piece. This post was written in loving memory of Alvin Harper (1916-2012).

The above photo of my grandfather’s swing was taken shortly after he passed away. I now have the swing at my house and will always be grateful for the legacy of prayer that Poppy left behind.

Five Minute Friday

PRAYERS OF A MOTHER’S HEART

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Learning to live a life of prayer has changed my life radically for the better. My life isn’t perfect, but I see Christ working daily in divine ways now that I make prayer my highest priority in life. To inspire others to find hope through prayer, I wrote, Prayers of a Mother’s Heart, a hope-filled prayer guide for mothers and grandmothers.  The book is available in the Kindle format and can be downloaded at Amazon.com.

Amazon offers an option to borrow the Kindle book for free or it can be purchased to keep for $2.99. For a sneak peak into the book, you can read part of the intro.                                  

Introduction

Prayer became as vital to me as breathing when I became the most desperate for Jesus. I realized my serious need for prayer when I was a thirty-one-year-old mother and was about to give birth to my second child. I had been so busy in the previous years that my daily prayer time had dwindled and my problems seemed to be taking over my life. I felt like I was in a deep pit that I couldn’t escape from. It was a time when fear consumed me and darkness was all around me.

 My twelve-year marriage was empty. My finances were a mess. My first-born child was suddenly so overcome with fear that she wouldn’t leave my side. Every evening I had to sleep on a pallet next to her, because she would awaken during the night screaming until she could touch me and know that I was right there with her. My home was filled with an overpowering sense of despair. Day after day, I woke up with a weight so heavy that I could barely get out of bed. But every day, I would get up and force myself to put one foot in front of the other and go through the motions of living.

 I had been a happy person for most of my life. I had always been able to see the best in every situation in the past. “Think positively; it could always be worse,” I would tell myself. But this time, my positive attitude tactics were not working. “Nothing could be worse than this,” I thought. There was nothing worse than the darkness I was experiencing in my soul. No matter how I tried to pull myself out of it, nothing worked. For the first time in my life, I felt hopeless—and helpless.

 All my life, I had been taught about Jesus. I had heard story after story about His redemptive love. But in my darkest hour, He seemed so far away from me. I wanted to die. My strongest prayer was that the second coming of Christ would be soon. I didn’t want to face another day, and I desperately wanted deliverance from the situation I was in.

 Just weeks before this darkness invaded my life, I seemed relatively fine. I was living life as a busy mom, driving my daughter Christa to school and to all of her activities, and keeping my house in good shape. I had recently thrown a big birthday bash for Christa’s seventh birthday. I had stayed up all hours of the night making homemade tiaras and princess wands. I had baked individual Cinderella cakes for each guest and designed a large Cinderella cake for the centerpiece of the table. It was all about creating the dream party for my daughter and looking like superwoman to all of our friends.

On the outside, things appeared great in my life. But on the inside, I was a terrified mom carrying the weight of many problems on my shoulders. I had somehow been able to hold myself together up until that point. Little did I know that it would only take one small thing to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

My self-sufficient strength caved in on a Wednesday night at the beginning of February 1997, less than eight weeks before the due date of my unborn baby. I had taken my daughter to an Awana Club meeting at church that evening, planning to drop her off like usual. But this particular night, things were different. Christa became consumed with fear and she cried and pleaded with me to take her home. After what seemed like ten minutes, the teacher lovingly convinced Christa to stay and enjoy her class. With reservations about leaving her there, I slipped away and went home for what I had hoped would be a short time of refreshment. But instead, I sat down at my dining room table and began to sob.  


…I hope you’ll read the rest of the story.

 

GOD’S AMAZING GRACE

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As my mom reached out and touched my step-mom’s shoulder, I saw a love I had never seen before. I remember the day like it was yesterday. We were at a family event after my dad had left our home to live with and marry another woman. It was a day when we were all together again after the divorce of my parents. It could have been disastrous and filled with tension and stress. But instead it was a day filled with grace.

The unconditional love of Christ was revealed through my mother’s actions as she showed true kindness and love to the woman who had lured my dad away from her. It was the grace that I saw coming from my mother’s heart that impacted me eternally. These memories are what beckon me daily to live as my mother lives, to live as a woman steeped in grace—loving freely all those who have hurt, used, or mistreated me.

True freedom comes from living in the grace that was given to all mankind when Christ paid the final penalty for every wrong thing we’ve ever done or will do in the future.

Oh, the beauty of God’s amazing grace makes my spirit soar and makes me want to frolic in a field of flowers.

“But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 (Good News Translation)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Grace.” Today’s post took me about ten extra minutes.

The photo of me was taken at the sunflower fields in Rutledge, Georgia.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday: Mercy

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On a hot summer day, a week after my thirteenth birthday, I walked into my kitchen and saw my mother weeping. Her Bible was laying open on the table next to her, and in her eyes, I saw brokenness. I could feel the weight in the room. The air was thick with pain. I knew something really bad was happening. Suddenly, it felt as though my world was turned upside down.

My father asked my brother and me to take a ride with him in his car. Within moments of our driving away from our home, Daddy told us, “I’m leaving. I don’t love your mother anymore.” I was in shock. It wasn’t long before the pain began to rise to the surface of my heart.

My mother, who was and still is deeply in love with Christ, displayed His mercy in a way I had never seen before. In the days, and weeks following our devastating news, I watched closely as my mom responded with love and kindness. She spoke loving words about my daddy, saying, “We need to forgive him and pray for him.” She not only forgave him immediately, but she continued to love him in a Christ-like, unconditional love. She promised me that the Lord would redeem everything.

As painful as it was for me to experience such a loss and heartbreak in my childhood, I am grateful for that season in my life. It was during those youthful years that I began learning about the grace and mercy of Christ in a real and tangible way.

Now, thirty-five years later, I thank the Lord daily for His mercy and grace. It’s because of His loving-kindness and never-ending mercy that I can freely live in His love. I can love those who use and mistreat me.

His mercy enables all of us, as His followers, to love purely. His mercy heals broken hearts and makes life incredibly beautiful.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36 (NIV)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Mercy.” Today, I had a hard time finding a good stopping point and wrote for about ten minutes.

The woman in the photo is my hero and amazing mother.

Five Minute Friday

His Treasured Possession

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Condescending words roll off the tongues of people so easily. My heart jumps up and down in protest whenever I hear someone refer to themselves or others as “trash.” How could anyone refer to a person as trash? There could be nothing further from the truth. In God’s eyes, no one is trash.

There was a time in my past when I felt like trash. I had left the corporate world to focus on parenting. I no longer had titles to prove my worth. It seemed like storms were hitting us one right after the other and it left me feeling like a trailer ripped apart by a tornado.

From an earthly perspective, I was of no value to the world. It was during that time that God began showing me what a treasure I was to Him. As I spent time in prayer and truly seeking to know Christ better, I found Scriptures that encouraged me and helped me see the truth about myself.

While I was reading through the Bible, I stumbled across a verse that seemed to jump off the page. “…I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,” declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:23) As I meditated on this Scripture verse, I pondered the words deeply in my soul. Could it be true?  Could I really be His signet ring?  Did He really choose me to be His treasured possession? His words melted into my heart and never again could words or opinions of a human being determine my worth. It was a revelation that changed me forever.

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As the years passed by and I fell more in love with Christ, I began understanding in a deeper way, how treasured I am. As I drew near to Christ, He drew near to me and whispered His loving words to my heart. I began writing the words I would hear in my spirit as I read the Scriptures that spoke of Christ’s love for me.

As a young woman, I began writing these soft whispers that flooded my soul, and I have journals filled with words of affirmation and love. In 2009, I shared one of these love notes inspired by Jesus with a group of women at church. Today, I want for you to imagine Christ whispering these words to you.

You are My treasured possession…My beautiful daughter. You are royalty, a princessan heir of My kingdom. I love you more than you can possibly imagine or know. There is nothing you could ever do to change My love for you. It is eternal. I love you because you are Mine. I made you in My image, for your beauty to be displayed to the world. The core of who you are is filled with gifts and talentssome of these you have discovered, others are waiting to be unveiled. Rest in My love in knowing you are beautiful to Me. You are treasured. You are the apple of My eye. I love you just the way you are. No one loves you like I do.

Love,
Your Heavenly Father

Do you see yourself as the beautiful treasure you are to God? Every human is treasured by Christ regardless of his or her occupation, race, income level, physical features or anything else. He has dreams for every person’s life. He wants to use us and to transform us.

I pray you will always know that you truly are the apple of God’s eye and one of His most treasured possessions.

“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 (NIV)

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 17:8 (NIV)

Photography Credit: Michael von Borstel