Choosing God’s Plans| By T’eoria Murray

“Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 (NLT)

When we start walking with Jesus, we never know quite where the journey will lead. Missionary Katie Davis discovered this early in life. In 2006, Katie was a high school senior in Nashville, TN. She was class president, homecoming queen and top of her class. Her parents were supportive and loving and had raised her to love Jesus. It was this love for Jesus that radically interfered with the plans she once had for her life and certainly the plans others had for her. 

It began in the winter break of her senior year when she took her first three-week mission trip to Uganda and fell in love with this beautiful country and the amazing people she encountered there. She was so enamored by the experience that she decided to spend a year as a missionary in Uganda after graduation. She assured her parents that she would then proceed with her plans to go to college to become a nurse and return to status quo. As followers of God often find, her plans were not God’s plans. 

In 2008, Katie made the decision to move to Uganda full-time. She gave up a lot of normal things like girls’ nights and her favorite foods and even regular electricity for a whole new normal. That year, she founded Amazima Ministries which began as a non-profit organization to care for the orphaned and most vulnerable in her community. Fast forward 14 years, and that ministry has expanded to include the Amazima School, a vocational program for mothers in the community, farming outreach and medical outreach. 

Today, Katie Davis Majors lives in Uganda with her husband, thirteen adopted daughters and two sons. In her book about this whirlwind experience, Katie wrote, “Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it to pieces, and put it back together more beautifully… I am blown away that my God who could do this all by Himself, would choose to let me be a little part of it.” 

This has been the testimony of Christ’s followers throughout the Bible. Ruth was a young widow who could have chosen to return to her parents’ home and their gods after losing her husband. She could have remarried and had children, finding contentment in the path of least resistance. 

Instead, she refused her mother-in-law’s pleading and said, “Don’t ask me to leave or turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” (Ruth 1:16,17) 

Through her husband’s family, Ruth found the true God, and she clung to Him as the treasure of her life, abandoning all else. 

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

This was the choice made by the apostles when they followed Jesus all the way. In Luke 5:1-11, the story is told of the day Jesus called Peter, James and John to follow Him. It had been a long night of fruitless work for the fishermen, and perhaps the burden of failure weighed on them as they washed their nets and listened to Jesus speak to the crowds. When He had finished speaking and told them to once again lower their nets into the sea, it was more out of respect for Him than belief in a catch that they obeyed. Imagine their astonishment when the nets were so full both boats could not support the catch of fish! It was here, on the most lucrative day of their careers, that Jesus called the men to leave everything and follow Him. And that’s exactly what they did.

As cliché as it may sound, I am learning anew that choosing to follow God, wherever He leads, is the most important decision a person can make. It is the overarching choice that directs every choice that follows- our careers, our relationships, where we live, the friends we choose, how we interact with our family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. There are so many competing voices and influences in our lives and varying opinions on what direction our lives should take. Our God specializes in the unusual and extraordinary so what He calls us to do will not always make sense to onlookers. 

The questions to ask daily are “Will this choice help me to build God’s kingdom? How can I glorify God in this?” 

Sometimes, this means my plans must change, or I have to take a backseat. It can be as drastic as changing your major, leaving one job for another one, or moving to another city. Or maybe it is a smaller change- getting involved in a ministry at church that needs support, befriending a neighbor, mentoring a young person in your life. 

What choice is God calling you to make in this season? Only He knows how it will change your life and the lives around you. When we follow, He leads us to beautiful places. When we are faithful to obey His directions, He is faithful to fulfill His purposes. 

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

God Is Who He Says He Is | By Stephanie Cain

Last year was the hardest year of my life. 

First of all, my mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2019.

I left a job for a new job, but I was eventually laid off from that new job. The day after I started my second new job of the year, my husband broke his collarbone in two places requiring surgery.

My son had a minor procedure done, and at the end of the year, my father lost a foot to disease. 

One high point(Praise God!) was when my mom was declared cancer free. 

Clearly, 2019 was a year of battle, but it was the year that I truly learned about trusting in the Lord.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart” is so easy to say and can so easily be an empty, Christian catchphrase.

However, as each of these big changes would happen in my life, I would hear a simple question in my spirit – “Do you trust the Lord?” 

This may have changed a little with each battle. 

When I lost my job it was, “Do you trust the Lord? Is He your Provider?” 

When my mom and dad both had major, life threatening illnesses it was, “Do you trust the Lord? Does He have a plan for their future? Does He have a plan for your future? Is He the Creator and the Healer?”

But what it really boiled down to was this:

  1. Is the Lord who He says He is?
  2. Does He do what He says He will do?
  3. Do you trust Him for it?

Because if God is who He says He is (Provider, Savior, Creator, Father, Healer, Lover of our Souls, Victor) and does what He says He will do (Provide, Heal, Love, Forgive, Never Leave, Work for Good, Has a Future for Us, Redeem), then why would we not trust Him?!

I recently had a management change at my job with a new regional manager. She came in like a wrecking ball and had everyone afraid to lose their job. She even had me going for a minute, but then a moment of clarity hit. Who gave me that job? Who really controls whether I have that job or not? Who really is my provision? It is not the person that I interviewed with. It is not the person that signs my paycheck, and it is not that new management. 

It is the LORD! The Lord holds my present and my future. There is so much freedom and peace that comes with knowing that all you need to do is show up, do your best as unto the Lord, and love people. The rest of it the Lord will take care of faithfully. You CAN trust him for it!

So you may be thinking like I would have been if I was reading this post a few months ago: that’s nice and all, but how?? How do I trust the Lord for such big things? This is my house note we are talking about! Or this is my mom and my son’s grandma we are talking about! 

Here is what I did; I reminded myself of times when God had been faithful to do what He said He would in the past- big or small- and I told myself “If He was faithful then, He will be faithful now.”

And maybe you do not have a time you can think of- that is ok. There are plenty of testimonies in the Bible of healings, provision, guidance, redemption, and restoration. Find one and stand on that! If God could heal the man with a withered hand, He can heal my mom. If the Lord provided food for 5,000+ people out of two fish and some bread, He can provide for my family of three. When the enemy brings anxiety, fear, and doubt because you cannot see the solution yourself, remind yourself that God is who He says He is, that He does what He says He will do, and that you can trust Him for it.

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.

How Bad Do You Want It?| By Chelsea Verdin

What does desperate faith look like?

For me, it is the story of the paralyzed man in the gospels. 

“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” Mark 2:1-5 (NIV)

Most recently, after hearing this story for what seemed like the millionth time in service, I could hear Jesus ask me, “How desperate are you? How far are you willing to go?” 

It was kind of like a “what would you do for a Klondike bar” moment. 

What would I do to meet with Jesus? How far would I go to see His glory? How desperate am I for His presence? 

I was baffled, and honestly, I wanted to say “Lord, I would do anything, go anywhere just to be with you.” 

That was my heart’s intentions and cries because of how much I love Jesus, but as I have looked at my life, I have seen where I have fallen short. It has made me reevaluate my desperation for Christ.

You see the level of our desperation depends on the level of our want. How bad do we want it? 

If a drug addict can sell everything they own for something that ultimately destroys their body, then why are we not more desperate for Christ who is good and ultimately the giver of life? 

Maybe our problem as Christians is not that we are addicted to Christ’s goodness and the work of His glory, (it is very easy for most of us to pray about things we need or want), but maybe it is that we have not spent enough time with Jesus to have developed an addiction for more of Him. Just more of what He can give us.

Just as the four friends who carried their friend on a mat showed Jesus their faith, we must also be willing to go the extra mile in our actions. They could have spoken their desperation and later brought Jesus to their friend, but that was not good enough for them. They needed Jesus to see him, to see their hunger, to feel the intensity of how badly they wanted their friend healed. When our actions match the intent of our heart, we have stepped into pure desperation.

Those friends could have seen the crowd and the impossibility to get through, but they reasoned in their minds that turning back seemed more impossible than getting to Jesus. We have to come to a point when we are so utterly desperate for the presence and glory of Jesus that the impossible seems logical.

We have to be willing to climb those mountains, dig those openings, and lay ourselves paralyzed by the world, but desperate to sit at the feet of Jesus.

Your Will be Done| By Zuzana Niedelova

Looking for a job can be lots of hard work. Most of us have been there. Our enthusiasm at the beginning slowly drops and changes to discouragement, and suddenly, we are only a step away from frustration.

That is what happened to me a few weeks ago. After a dreadfully difficult season, I came to a point when I was applying for any and every job that I came across, but nothing seemed to work out in my favor. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, an ad popped up in my browser saying a Christian youth working organization was hiring.

The position seemed like all I ever wanted – working with young people from various backgrounds and organizing projects to bring a bit of Jesus into their lives. It would even work around my part-time studies and the other job I do – perfect. So I applied and started praying: 

“Lord, I’ll be honest. This job looks amazing, and I’d absolutely love to do it, but if it’s not something you want for me, make it clear. Your will be done!”

The time went by, and I still had that prayer in the back of my head – you know the best, Lord, do your work.

A day before the application deadline, I was hanging out with a friend who happened to be looking for a job too. She was a youth worker as well. As her friend, I told her about this opportunity. Long story short, she got the job, and I did not.

Did I know it was not the most strategic move? Of course I did. Did I help her find the application and figure out what to do? You bet I did. Was I upset when she told me she got the job? Well, how could I be?

Throughout the whole time I was praying, “Lord, I trust you, do it your way.”

So when I had that chat trying to convince her to apply, I knew it was not lowering my chances to get the position.

I knew if God wanted me to work with those specific young people, I would. If He had someone better than me, great! I would not want to be in God’s way of blessing others. So when she came to me with a deep regret in her eyes and told me she was offered the position, I was filled with joy, not only because she needed this kind of change, but because God’s will for the place was to use my good friend who I became so proud of.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 (NKJV)

Often, it is so easy to pray for God’s will to be done here on earth, but how many times do we actually trust Him as strongly as we proclaim we do? To be honest, my reaction surprised me a little bit too. I thought I would have been hurt much more if I had not gotten the job, let alone if my friend got it instead.

But you know what? It does not matter.

It does not matter because if we pray for God’s will to be done, we give up all of our expectations, humble ourselves and choose to trust no matter what happens.

We give up the right to think we know what is the best; we are willing to follow God even if it does not match our own plan. Praying for God’s will to be done does not mean everything will work out for us, but we can be sure it will work out for His Kingdom, if we only trust Him enough to rejoice in that.

Take a minute now, close your eyes if you can and pretend you are all alone. Forget everything you need to do or what you have just done. It is only you and the Lord.

Can you see how good He is?

How mighty and loving He is?

That He is on your side?

Are you going to trust him and pray for His will to be done, leaving your hopes and ideas behind? Do not worry. He is a good Father, and He is holding you in His mighty hand. His will be done.

Heart of Worship| By Tori Savoy

Growing up in the church, you would find 5-year-old me standing with my hands raised at church singing one of my favorite songs, “The Heart of Worship.”

“And it’s all about you, it’s all about you, Jesus,” I would sing with a large smile on my face.

Worship was always my favorite, but somewhere along my journey with Christianity, I complicated the once so simple act of praise and worship. 

This year, prayer became a big part of my life, and it transformed my life in more than one way. One thing God placed on my heart to pray with expectation for was my fertility, and boy did he show up. I am currently expecting a sweet baby boy in February 2020.

The week following my positive pregnancy test, the only words I could utter were “God, you are so good.”

I found myself always praising His mighty name for the miracle He worked in my life, the promise He had brought to pass. I felt like I had “A Heart of Worship.”

However, a few weeks later something changed. I am not sure whether it was pregnancy hormones or just a rut, but I became emotionally numb. I tried to read and would not comprehend a single word. I would pray and easily get side tracked before completing a sentence. I would put worship music on and felt absolutely nothing. 

Here I was with the ideal circumstances, and I could not find the heart to worship the one who controlled those circumstances. I felt immediate guilt. I had been so adamant in pursuing God while praying for my blessings. Now that I had my blessings, it seemed the passionate flame in my heart had been stifled. So there I was, numb and guilty.

The devil came at me saying God was going to take my child from my ungrateful heart and that I had earned my blessings only to lose them.

Thankfully, God’s blessings are not dependent on our actions because then none of us would receive them. His blessings are a gift that comes from being in God’s will and trusting His hand (but that is a whole other topic).

My guilt made it difficult to worship because it put the focus on ME, my actions and my worth. I had forgotten about 5-year-old me at church singing, “It is all about you, Jesus.”

Worship and praise focuses not on our abilities, our emotions or even our circumstances. It focuses on the one who created every one of those and remains good until the end. 

Psalms 136:1 (NLT) says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.”

The psalmist continues to repeat the last phrase a couple dozen times in that single chapter. His worship focused solely on who God is.

When my emotions go numb, God’s love and goodness still endures. Whether my circumstances are good or bad, His love and goodness endures. 

In my recent devotional on the She Reads Truth App, the writer made a statement that hit me hard. 

“In corporate worship, in private prayer, in the smallest moments, and in the most earth-shattering ones, we always have reason to thank God for what He has done and what we know He will do. Whether or not we feel grateful or not, whether or not we feel worshipful, there is always a reason to worship in gratitude: because His faithful love endures forever.”

The Heart of Worship is not about the emotions we feel in our heart. It is about choosing in our hearts to recognize who God is and what He is capable of. 

We can choose to worship our circumstances and live according to our current state of emotions, or choose to worship the God who is more constant than our ever changing emotions and circumstances. 

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15(NIV)

Worship is not a feeling that comes when the music reaches a crescendo, or the amount of tears we shed as we do it. It is not about how high we raise our hands, how loud our voices echo or how much we dance. Worship is simply a heart that recognizes the goodness and love of God.

Let us make it all about Jesus. Because, “His Faithful Love Endures Forever.”

Leap of Faith| By T’eoria Murray

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

In the summer before my senior year of college, I felt a tug on my heart to commit to a year of full-time ministry. As I sat before God in my devotions each morning, I heard Him whisper, “Take this leap. I’ll catch you.”

My breath caught in my throat every time I thought of it. The idea was ludicrous. I was an international student. What about my plans to move on to medical school? I was an only child and from a single parent home. How would my family feel about this break in my education? It just was not reasonable. I must have gotten my wires crossed. But the gentle, insistent urging would not go away. 

One morning, I went to a youth Bible study where the speaker got up and simply read Hebrews 11. I would read this chapter myself at least a dozen times, but that day I saw it through different eyes.

I saw each scene in my mind’s eye as the chapter laid out example after example of how faith played a role in a believer’s life. By faith, Abel offered a sacrifice, Enoch was translated, and Noah prepared an ark on dry land. Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. Barren Sarah was able to conceive a child, becoming an ancestor of a great nation. Abraham offered Isaac back to God, being as ready to return the promised son- his only son- as he had been to receive him. Isaac blessed his sons. Moses chose hardship with his Hebrew brothers over a life of sinful ease with the Egyptians. The Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. They marched around Jericho and saw the walls fall flat. Rahab believed in their God and was delivered from the destruction. 

Gideon. Samson. Jephthah. David. Samuel. 

“By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.” Hebrews 11: 33-34 (NLT)

These heroes of the faith held on to God’s promises because they trusted Him. They saw by faith what God saw, often only in part. However, they trusted the heart of the Father, that He would not lead them where He would not sustain them. Of course, this did not always mean a happy ending in this life. 

“Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword… destitute…oppressed…mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.” Hebrews 11:36-38 (NLT)

The apostle Paul continues that while their faith was commendable, they did not see the complete fulfillment of God’s promises. That is because this story is still being written. It continues with those of us who are still carrying on the faith, still holding the banner of Christ in a dark and troubled world. I decided to accept God’s call to dedicate a year to Him in missions and felt a peace and assurance beyond any I had ever experienced. 

The next year was one of triumphs and hard lessons, close fellowship and intense conflict, numerous joys and frustrations. With a team of nine other young people, I was able to travel across the United States ministering at schools, churches, and juvenile detention centers. The year culminated with two unforgettable months in Guyana where dozens of people accepted Christ and were baptized. The experiences of that year will stay with me forever. 

What is God calling you to do for Him today? Is He asking you to make a sacrifice? Abel did that, and his faith still speaks to us today. Has He placed a project on your heart that does not make sense to anyone else? Noah obeyed and his family was saved. Does He seem to be asking you to give up a cherished dream? Abraham obeyed and God provided. Is He calling you to be a voice for an oppressed group? Moses was faithful, and he led Israel out of slavery to the borders of the Promised Land. Has He brought you face to face with what appears to be an impossible obstacle? The Israelites obeyed Him and saw Jericho’s gigantic walls collapse. 

If God has called you to take a leap of faith, do not deny Him the opportunity to work in and through you. Take a leap and His arms will be there to catch you.

“God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NLT)

A Long Now| By Jasmine Beard

Have you ever been right on the cusp of something?

Right on the brink of breakthrough?

And boom! 

A road block, an unexpected bolder, comes between you and your dream, your promise, and that thing you have longed for for so long?

I have been there.. far too many times to count.

Waiting has at times been the first symptom of me falling into a pattern of depressed thoughts. I would think maybe God loves the girl next to me a little bit more.

This is not true, but it can really, really feel this way at times.

I had marked June as the month of promises in my mind because that is what I thought God was telling me.

When I found out it was my month of promises, I wanted to strive to make all those things I have waited so long for come to pass. This left me feeling anxious, running out of breath, and confused as to why I could not make anything happen.

God is full of infinite wisdom. I am so thankful that He is not confined by time nor space and that He protects us from things we cannot handle when they are not in the proper season or not right for us at all.

In the midst of my anxiety and my own efforts, I became hopeless. It was not the normal hopelessness that leads to moping around and believing God had no plan for me, but it was a hopelessness that made me cry out to God like never before.

I confessed to Him,

“I don’t believe in your promises because they have not manifested in my life. Because of unbelief in that area, I get anxious and want to know the end result of everything. When I grow tired of anxiety, I cut the cord to what I don’t know the answers to and try to heal from my own self inflicted wounds of unfulfilled expectations. Then I find myself on the same vicious cycle of trying to rush the healing process and repeat the cycle in another situation in my life.”

This freed me in a way that I never knew existed. I could feel in my spirit how happy God was that I brought my truth and shattered heart to Him to heal and to nurture.

Living a life of a repeated pattern of depression when things do not go my way or the way I expected is a hard one to break.

I have once heard of waiting as “a long now. While waiting could end tomorrow or ten years from now, it is still a long now.

Instead of throwing a fit about how long I have waited or how much longer I have to wait, I am now focusing on the long now that allows God to work on me and heal me from the inside out.

We have never arrived or ever gotten too mature in the Lord that will make Him not want to continue to mature, deliver, and heal us.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

So June did not turn out like I had expected, but I can now say it turned out even better!

I had long ago prayed that I would be different from the past generations in my family. I prayed that I would not fall into the same patterns and traps in my life as other family members. I prayed that I would set a new standard and that I would not pass certain things along to my one day children and grandchildren.

God has answered that promise in freeing me from a cycle of hopelessness that led to depression. I will no longer pass  this onto my children.

Not to long ago, I received a prophetic word that blessed me that I want to share with you.

“I see you being a legacy changer. I feel like you are changing legacy in your family. You’re saying the ball stops here and from here on out your generations, your legacy is going to be so highlighted in your life. You are going to leave a legacy for your children, and I just see generations of generations of generations passed from you. It’s like God is setting a new course for the generations. Generations that will know the Lord and will walk with Him and that would just be set apart.”

I hope that word blessed you as much as it blesses me. You may be in a long wait right now, but I want to encourage you to see what God is doing right now and what dreams He is making come true no matter how big or small they may seem.