Believe and Trust God| By Emily Lawson

Tell me something. Do you believe in God? 

I am sure, if you are here, your answer is surely a resounding, “YES”. 

However, I challenge you. Think about it. Think hard. Think deep. 

How much do you REALLY believe in Him? 

When things start going sour, are you upset? 

When something unexpected comes up, are you praying for it to be moved quickly?

When your plans fall through, are you asking why? 

I do. I’m the WORST. I am constantly having my “human moment” of tears and anger, before I calm myself down, and have a conversation with God. (Note: calm MYSELF down)

The last couple weeks have been convicting. I have found that I have placed God in this tiny box of my expectations. And that is where I expected Him to stay. 

Read that again, you read it right. Where I expected HIM to stay. If things went the way I wanted them too, God was good. If things did not go the way I wanted, then something was wrong, and I must be being punished for something. 

Though I talked about God’s plan being good, and is timing being right, I did not really TRUST His plan or His timing. 

And that’s the difference. 

Belief vs. Trust. 

Believe (per dictionary.com): to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something.

Trust (per dictionary.com): confident expectation of something.

Believing in God as a being is only half the question. Do you believe in the parts of the Bible where it says He is all knowing? Always present? All powerful? Do we, in other words, TRUST His words? 

In the third chapter of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, bound and fully clothed, that was heated to seven times its normal temperature, all because they refused to worship the gods of the King. The men that threw them in actually died as a result of the heat that was being omitted from the opening. However, when the king looked in, he saw that there were FOUR men, which were unbound and walking around. He called them forth from the fire. 

And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw that these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, not was the hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him. Daniel 3:27-28

Had they only believed that He existed, but not trusted in the power He held, the results would have been very different. 

And because of their trust, the fire had no power! They did not even SMELL of smoke! 

It is the same for us today. We’re going to face fires in this world, whether it be unmet personal expectations or burdens that feel like they weigh a ton. They have no power over us when we trust in His power. We’re under the same protection that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were under. 

God does not change. This world is not so different either. The King has his gods that he expected the people of his kingdom to worship. Today’s world had their gods too. Social media, beauty regimes, celebrities, crystals, loose morals, and more. And they expect all of these things to be put before the one true God. They expect God to fit in around everything else. 

We need to stand firm like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, no matter the consequences, because we have the belief and the trust in our Lord that He will not forsake us. 

And through that, we can show others the amazing power they’re missing out on! 

So, reevaluate where you stand. Where does your belief stand? I’ve got some moving up to do!

God Is Moving| By Zuzana Niedelova

How many times have you prayed for a situation to change? I know I have frequently, and chances are you have too. We are called to pray and have faith that God will move. However, what if He is already on the move and working, but we just cannot see it?

In the story of Elisha, the king of Aram was at war with Israel. Elisha was a man of God, and He was making the Arameans’ plans known to Elisha in order to warn the Israelite king. As a response and defense, the king of Aram sent an army with horses and chariots to capture Elisha. 

This was not a few people; we are talking about hundreds of soldiers who surrounded the city overnight and took Israelites by surprise with no army ready to fight back. When Elisha’s servant asked what they should do, Elisha was not overwhelmed by what seemed a hopeless situation. He knew his God, and I can imagine what happened next surprised his servant once again.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet [Elisha] answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord , so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:16-17 (NIV)

It is always good to pray for everything that is going on around us, to pray for God to intervene, to glorify Himself through it. But, it is equally important to remember that our God is always far ahead of us and what we can see. Elisha knew his heart was in the right place and he could rely on his Lord in any circumstance. He knew that God had already known what was about to happen, and He was working towards their victory. Unfortunately for Elisha’s servant, God was working in the spiritual reality which had not yet been manifested in the physical world. That is why he had no idea there was nothing to be concerned about.

I find myself so often to be like the servant – worrying about what I need to do to win the battles and being blind to see that God is already fighting and winning them for me. However, we do not have to be blind, and we do not have to forget that our God is greater than anyone and anything in this world. 

Let us make this the time when we punch the doubts and ignorance in the face and start trusting that God is working even when we cannot see it. He will move in such powerful ways that we cannot comprehend because those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Who cares if we can see it or not? I am convinced that praying for God to open our eyes to the spiritual reality of His works will bring an abundance of joy and freedom into our lives in the situations we face every day.

Just remember, He is on your side, and He is already working with a greater power than you could ever imagine. Allow Him to take over and to show you that He is fighting for you with a whole army here and now. Also, know that our God is the God who overcomes.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Walking With Child Like Faith| By Bethany Anding

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters in history. Homes were flooded, and trees were knocked down on lawns.

This was a rough time for me, not because of the disaster taking place in New Orleans, but the disaster taking place in my family. My parents were separated. I did not really understand what was going on. I just knew it was bad. I knew deep down that things were going to get better; I just was not sure when.

Christmas of 2005 – I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad called my mom saying he wanted to see us for Christmas, and that he would cover her airfare. So, we packed up and went back home to New Orleans for the holidays. I remember my dad giving me a big hug Christmas night. As I was hugging him, I could feel his throat tighten up because he was crying, due to losing me and my mom. This was the moment that I knew in my heart of hearts that my dad genuinely loved us.

After Christmas, I stayed with my dad, and my mom went back to North Carolina. A few days after my mom left, my dad told me to get in the car because he had a “big, big Christmas present” waiting for me. Trustfully, I got in the car, and we drove to the airport.  

“Why are we at the airport?” I asked my dad.“You’ll see!’ He responded.

So, we got out and waited inside the airport until I saw my mom coming up the escalator with all her bags. I knew at that moment that all my prayers about my parents reconciling had been answered. I was ecstatic and on the verge of crying.

The point of me telling this story was to show an example of child like faith. Children believe what they are told. Sometimes it is good while other times, not so much. Regardless, as people grow, they begin to build walls in their hearts, blocking things the Holy Spirit may have for us, because it may seem “illogical” or “unreasonable”. 

Now the obvious question would be “Where do the walls come from?” 

Well, when we are hurt by others, the devil likes to put thoughts in our minds such as “they just want to hurt you, you should never talk to them again!”

If one chooses to believe the lie, they build an imaginary wall in their mind. Eventually, as the process repeats itself, these walls turn into a prison that holds the person who built it captive.  Not only does it trap them, it locks people out who want to love and minister to them. It also prevents God from doing a work in them. It blocks the wounded person from receiving healing from God that they need.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting arguments that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)

This means that we must shut down the lies of the enemy by fighting with the weapons of our warfare (meaning the sword of the spirit, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and so on). I believe it is very important to hold up the shield of faith when the enemy tries to argue that God is wrong, or that He does not love everyone unconditionally, that some are loved, and some are not. The enemy wants everyone to believe that because one is going through a rough situation, they are no longer worthy to be in the presence of God. 

This is where practicing faith comes in.  When people choose to not look at their circumstances, and choose to believe the promises of God, that is when the walls come down.

When the walls that were created from a place of hurt come down, the hardened heart created long ago by the enemy can then be healed by God. Once the wounds are healed, a pure heart of flesh remains, where there was once a heart of stone.

I will conclude with a word that was given to me in a rough season. I went up for an altar call one day, and a pastor came up to me and told me he saw me in a field of flowers as a little girl in a white dress. I was holding hands with Jesus and dancing with Him in the field. He confirmed something in me that I was questioning. He proceeded to tell me that I was not a reject or an outcast, that I was God’s girl. That day a healing took place in me. Strongholds were broken, and I caught a glimpse of that childlike faith I had lost sight of so long ago. It was almost as if God took all my broken pieces and put me back together the way I am supposed to be. When I am in a rough season and questioning my faith, I always look back to that day. The day God restored me.