Faith

God’s Designed Path-Stepping into the Role of a Lifetime.

The way my Christian walk has gone over the years, I am blessed to look back and see growth! Real spiritual growth. I like to joke that my spiritual growth is like an onion……you know, layers! I grew up in a home where we went to church every week. We were baptized and completed our first communion and confirmation. I truly believed in God and that Jesus died on the cross. I didn’t think too much about God or how he played any role in my life.

I was around the tender age of 22 when God ( Oh yes, looking back, I can see God blatantly moving people in and out of my life) moved my supervisor into the role of evangelist. That’s right; she went from telling me what tables to clean to sharing Jesus. I can still see us sitting there talking and praying for my salvation in my mind’s eye.

Despite having Jesus in my heart, I didn’t really have him in my life. I didn’t know the bible, and I didn’t understand what a beautiful relationship was waiting for me to dive into. As a result, I basically went on living my life as nothing had changed.

I can’t help but look back at that time with sadness for time lost with Jesus. At the same time, I am extremely grateful for his persistent pursuit of me.

Jesus was just beginning with me.

Thankfully, Jesus had plans and never lost track of me. Life moved on; the next time I gave any thought, real, meaningful thought to Jesus, many things had changed. I had finished school, gotten married, and moved halfway across the country. My husband got a great job he was excited about, and we met new people that we quickly became best friends with. (Looking back, I can see this is the time that my life started to change.)

Remember, I had been saved years ago but had not spent any time developing my relationship with Jesus. I didn’t even know I was supposed to do that. As we got settled in our new home, I spent a lot of time (I’ll call them Doug and Susie) with Susie while the guys were at work. She was very eager to share with me her beliefs and asked me outright if I was saved? You don’t want to miss this part, the long-ago moment of me accepting Jesus as my savior came rushing to my memory. I looked at her and could say I was, and truthfully, I was saved, but I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus.

The decision to change.

As I watched Doug and Susie in their relationship with Jesus and each other, I knew that I wanted what they had. I am not saying their relationship was perfect, for we all know that does not exist. That being said, I was encouraged to seek more of a relationship with Jesus and wanted my husband to want the same. You must be wondering, where did my husband fall in with this change of heart of mine?

You see, I started to think differently. I started to care about things that never hit my radar before. For example, I wanted to start attending church, but not the church I (or my husband) grew up in. No, I wanted to change to a more Bible-based, Jesus teaching church. I can almost hear you thinking, how did that go over with the husband? Like a freight train hitting the town in the dead of night, not very welcome.

For the next few years, all I did was learn from my friends and attend their church, if I was able. Because I could not convince my husband to start going regularly, I would make excuses as often as possible to get us there. Sometimes it worked. Many times it did not. I still don’t know why I did not insist we go or go myself. I laugh now; I was an in-the-closet Christian. Unfortunately, it was not from the world but my husband. So, what’s a girl to do, you ask? I continued praying like never before. That was the first step I took in getting to know Jesus.

Stepping full stride into my faith

Fast forward with me a few years. Our friends, Doug and Susie, had taken a new job and moved to North Carolina. It was not too long after that Doug approached my husband regarding a similar opportunity. It did not take much for us to decide it would be a great career move, so he took it. With much excitement, we sold our house and moved to North Carolina as well.

Life was great. We built a beautiful new home and met our new neighbors. Now, this is important; meeting our new neighbors was 100% God moving in my life. I had continued praying and growing in Jesus as much as I could without having a home church. Our relationship with Doug and Susie started to drift, but not for any particular reason I could see. Now I do know why. God was preparing me for the next step in my journey.

Let me introduce to you two of the most influential people in my walk with Christ, Joe and Mary (at least, that’s what we will call them:)). They were our neighbors to our new home and we instantly connected with them. They also belonged to a church they were very involved with and invited us to attend. I absolutely fell in love with it. The atmosphere was exactly what I was looking for. We worshiped with amazing music and teachings that came right from the bible.

Changes that bring blessings

As things do, time brought about some changes, mostly pregnancy. When I became pregnant, I honestly thought I would return to work; as a matter of fact, we planned on it. Then our son was born. I think you will agree with me when I say everything changed when we held him. You guessed it, we changed our mind, and in the blink of an eye, I became a stay-at-home mom. Best life ever!

It was also when God ramped up His pursuit of me. I was able to attend bible studies during the day at Joe and Mary’s church. It was here that my desire to learn more blossomed. I went from one study to the next, not caring who or what it was on. I wanted to learn it all. Let’s say I was a little greedy with my time with Jesus.

As I grew in my relationship with Jesus, my transformation exploded. Don’t ever doubt as your love for Christ grows that you will stay the same. It is simply impossible. My entire world changed. I became diligent in teaching my son about God, determined he would have what I didn’t have growing up. My heart wanted a relationship with my husband I did not have, and I prayed for the Lord to ‘change’ him.

There was nothing I said or prayed that would soften his heart. There was no way he would humble himself to God, ask for the forgiveness of his sin, and put Jesus first. He was tight with control and needed to have it. I continued to pray earnestly as well as diving deeper into the Word.

When blessings are mixed with incredible loss

We were thrilled to find we were pregnant again. I was convinced I wanted all boys about God (totally knowing what was best for me) to bless us with our daughter. For me, life was at its fullest, unfortunately, not so much for my husband. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I certainly knew there was a problem. It was strictly by chance I discovered he was having an affair. Actually, let me be honest, I didn’t discover it; I was the last to know and had to be told by someone I barely knew, my own husband. That was truly the worst day of my life, but at the same time, it made such sense.

I felt so broken, empty, and at a loss of what to do. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone. I had Jesus. I know that may sound like a cliche, but it is as true as the sky is blue. I became laser-focused on putting the needs of my children first. They would never see an ugly argument, never hear us scream terrible things at each other. I was determined to spare them as much pain as possible and needed the love and guidance that only Jesus could give.

Over those years, it was Jesus who used the bible studies to surround me with some of the fiercest prayer warriors I know. I know my strength came from God and those amazing friends holding me up. Don’t get me wrong, I was lost for a time, but God never left my side.

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;he will never let the righteous be shaken.Psalm 55:22
Blessings ALWAYS multiply

Slowly as God put my ‘new normal’ back together, he continued to work in me and around me. Finally, I was able to come out of hiding, no more in the closet Christian. Can I hear an Amen?! I cleaved to him in some of the most painful moments of my life, trusting in all that I had learned of him. That I could depend on him, rely on his promises, and faithfully step into this new life.

"God is indeed my salvation; I will trust and won't be afraid." Isaiah 12:2

As time passed, I knew there were a few things I would never go back to. The most important was knowing the grace of God changed me, and I wanted the world to see it. I wanted a husband that showered me with love, but most of all, I wanted a husband that loved Jesus too! My faith was going to be what people saw in me as soon as we met. At least, that is my working goal. To always have a love of Jesus shine through me so others can see Him and all His glory.

I have continued to grow in my faith and am ecstatic to share my life is at its fullest. The Lord has blessed me in marriage with a wonderful man that, along with all our children (yes, he also has 2, ) were baptized at our church. The day is engrained in my head as another blessing passed on by our loving Father.

Follow the path

I am following a dream of writing for Jesus with my blog, trusting He will take it where He wants it. I don’t know his plan for it, or me, really. I do know; I plan on being obedient to his will for my life. Looking back over the years, I can see so many other instances where God was clearly stepping up on my behalf. It is my turn to step up and follow the path I know was created by God’s hand, strictly for me.

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How to find Encouragement from the Spirit Astounding Power

Strengthening the Spirit in You!

John 14

Putting time into developing your relationship with the Holy Spirit will bless you every day. He is the might comforter that goes every place with you. As you know, if you read my blog, Who is the Holy Spirit-How to Empower His Astounding Glory? You know the awesome power that lives in you.

Every day can be a test on us—a test of patience, happiness, thankfulness, and, more importantly, our Christ-like walk. God says to love each other as he loved us. This world we live in is riddled with hate, anger, dishonesty, and many other things that can lead us astray from how we honor God.

As it says in Ephesians 6:10-23, we must put on the full armor of God (I can’t wait to share my ‘Armor of God Blog with you later this fall) so we can stand firm in His convictions. We must stay upbeat and focused on our Lord. The best way for me to do that is to go back to scripture. Below are some of the verses I studied while writing my blog.

I pray you will experience wisdom, strength, and comfort from them.

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." John 14:26
"Do you not believe that I am in the Fatehr, and the Father is in Me?  The words that I say to you I do notspeak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.'John 14:10-11
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him becauuse He abides with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17
"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you."  John 16:7
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits: to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: 
but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will.  

1 Corintians 12:4-11
Until now you have not asked [the Father] for anything in My name; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete. John 16:24
And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22
“Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

my unusual walk in obedience to God's word

My Unusual Walk in Obedience to God’s Word

Obedience is defined as the willingness to comply with orders or requests; being submissive to another’s will. On the other hand, biblical Obedience (obedience to God) means to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word.

I have been involved with bible studies for the last 20 plus years, trying to learn God’s Word and know Jesus. It has only been in the last 4 years (or so) that I started to feel a tug in my heart each time we studied obedience or I read about it in scripture. Obedience to God is now my top priority, but it can be a struggle for many people, myself included. I wanted to share a little about my walk to being obedient. I pray you will find some words of comfort and maybe a little guidance on how you too can be obedient to the Lord.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it – Luke 11:28 NIV

Notice how long I had been studying the Word, growing in my faith, developing a loving, committed relationship with Jesus before He started knocking on my hearts’ door about obedience. That’s correct; I feel God waited until we had the relationship we needed before asking me (well, he wasn’t really asking;)) to obey. He knew if our relationship weren’t in the right place, obedience wouldn’t work. When you consider that obedience is to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word, one must have the right relationship with Him. 

Love the Lord our God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength – Mark 12:30 NIV

Obedience is hard! Think about the last time you wanted to lose a few pounds, but you really wanted a piece of cake. If your mind and heart are not in the right place, that diet will not last long. The concept for obedience to God is the same, you have to be committed to him, you have to really want that strong of a relationship with him, or obedience can be as allusive as those last few pounds. 

I know for me, if he would have come knocking before I was completely committed to him, it would have been easier to hedge around or ignore the calling. Over the years, as I have studied the Word and my walk with Christ has become a calling, I have just fallen more in love with Him and all that he has blessed me with and all He has walked me through. 

Even though it has become my heart’s desire to be obedient to Him and his calling for me, there are still days I stumble and doubt. The fear of believing in me is so second nature that I find myself inventing ways to get myself out of what I know God patiently waits for me to step into. 

To busy to walk in obedience

Show of hands (figuratively speaking) who is busy? I am 99.9% sure there was not one person who didn’t say, ME! Have you noticed how busy we can get when something needs to be done, but we are just unsure if we want to do it? 

You have a feeling- a thought maybe- that keeps coming to mind, ideas popping in your head, entire conversations you have with yourself (in the privacy of your head, of course)! You know God is trying to tell you the next step of your journey is ready for you, or maybe a completely new journey…and what do we do? We get busy.

Suddenly many jobs need to get done first, like cleaning the house, taking on a new project at work, or my personal favorite, a new committee at my kid’s school. I find it humorous that we think we can out busy God, I mean, really?! Like showing him we have so much on our plate we can’t possibly take on what he wants us to do too, maybe at a later time, just not right now, is that okay with you God? I have to laugh because I so did that! Well, let me share what happened; God laughed too, right in my face! 

Busy does not scare God; he just took some of my busy away and kept nudging me about being obedient to Him. You see when God is in your life, and his eye is on you, there is no avoiding it, no putting it off, and certainly no getting out of it. Trying to avoid God and His calling for you can become like a game you can play, but it’s a game that has no end. 

Our doubt feeds our fear

“Hi Jesus, it’s me, Christine; I really want to thank you for all that you have blessed me with. I know this path I walk on was designed just for me by you…and it’s great! I love where I’m at; everything is good. I was thinking, you know, about this calling…that I may need to study some more, pray more for discernment, make sure I know what I am doing before I do anything new. I want to make sure it’s what you want me to do, and I want to be obedient, but are you sure it’s the right time?”

Wow, that’s a conversation I have had with myself about a hundred times. I can tell you, my friend, it’s not God’s message I needed clarity on; no, He has always known what he was doing. It was me, letting my doubt of myself turn into fear of doing something I have never done. That next step where I felt God was taking me, where I desperately wanted to go but still dragged my feet, doubting I could fulfill my calling. 

What I can share for certain, my friend, if you have a special desire in your heart, you think it may be your calling; and if you have prayed on it, wondered about it, and prayed some more, chances are God put that desire on your heart. Believe me, if it is not what he wants you to be doing, He will close that door. Then bring you right back to where he wants you to be. Just trust in Him and take it to him in prayer. You do not have to worry about doubting yourself if you trust in Jesus.  

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask, we receive from him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.—1 John 3:21-22 ESV

I am not a big believer in things just popping into my head (unless it’s what to make for dinner). I am a firm believer in the Holy Spirit of God giving me that desire. We have a choice to make; we can believe God is who He says he is, (Jeremiah 10:12– He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.) or we can fall into the trap of our mind and let doubt pull us away from Gods next blessing.  

The Cost of Disobedience

Some people may want you to believe that there are no real consequences if you are not obedient, but they are wrong. The bible clearly says your obedience affects those around you. 

For as by the one man’s disobedience, the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience, the many will be made righteous.— Romans 5:19 ESV

Do you think you can do your own thing and have no influence on your family, your peers, even people you don’t know very well? If you profess to be a Christian, people will expect you to act a certain way, whether they are believers or not. But what people think really does not matter, nor should we fall into letting it matter. 

It all goes back to the relationship you have with God. The closer you get to him through his Word,  the desire to be more like him in every way will lay heavy on your heart. Your obedience to God will shine through you like the sun breaking through the clouds on a rainy day. You will be an example of how to walk in obedience because the love you have for Christ will transform you. You will want to be like Him, you will want your walk to be like his walk, and you will want to portray him to the world through the way you live. And you will be blessed by God. 

The Blessings of Obedience

When some people think about God blessing us, they may think more monetarily that they will be blessed with a great job, a big bonus, a large home, or another tangible way. To me, blessings from my Father are much more from the heart. 

I am blessed with his love, with his presence in my life; he is my own personal guide through this world we live in. I feel his peace in my heart and his joy in my soul. He is my daily compass, my constant companion that will talk with me anywhere I go. Of course, we can’t forget about the blessings of our family, our friends, our health, the jobs we have. All of the wonderful things He gives us because he loves us and wants to bless us. 

 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:  You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock-the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.  Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.- Deuteronomy 28:1-5 NIV

And God can bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.- 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

It’s easy to be disobedient if your walk with Christ is not strong. If you’re struggling with obedience to God, I highly recommend you look at your relationship with Jesus. Can it be strengthened? Can you spend more time in the Word to draw closer to Him? If you are having a difficult time, turn to him, pray to him about your struggle, He will hear you and guide you closer to him. The closer you walk with Jesus, the more you want to be like him. The closer you are with him, the easier it is to be obedient because it becomes your heart’s desire. I’ll be praying for you.