Beliefnet
Everyday Faith

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During a difficult time, how often do we lose our faith in God? How often do we doubt Him?

Perhaps the most difficult problem in our walk with God is to trust that He has our best interests in mind when all we can see are great obstacles.

God led the Israelites to the Promised Land. However, they didn’t believe that God would keep His promise and deliver them safely into the land, so they refused to accept the gift they’d been given. Their lack of faith cost them another forty years of misery.

Can we learn to trust God, even when things look impossible?

When circumstances look their worst, instead of reacting to God’s silence by turning our back on Him, can we draw closer to Him?

Can we seek Him out, again and again?

In the verse from Matthew, Jesus answers our questions with a resounding “Yes!”. If only we are able to have faith. Faith in God to answer our prayers. Faith in our ability to keep moving forward until we receive that answer.

 

I believe our faith can move mountains.

 

Because this kind of faith is so powerful, it can also be very scary to believe in, to embrace, and to give wholly to God. Especially when that faith surrounds our most desperately offered prayers.

Still, during these moments, I believe that when we turn toward God, He will respond. We will be comforted by His nearness.

Take a moment today and open your heart to God. Ask Him to take your mustard seed faith and move the mountains in your life.

 

We put our hope in the Lord.

He is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust in his holy name.

Let your unfailing love surround

us Lord,

for our hope is in you alone.

~Psalm 33:20-22

 

This essay was originally published in God Loves Your Dream, a book of inspirational essays. Get your copy on Amazon.com.

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How often do we hold onto guilt for our sins long after everyone else has moved on? Instead of learning from our mistakes and moving forward, why do we wallow in our despair?

I know that this is a terrific challenge for me. Sometimes I wonder if I get some enjoyment from wallowing in my past mistakes, since I spend so much time doing it instead of fixing the problem and forgetting it.

It’s important for us to learn from past mistakes so that we don’t repeat them in the future. Yet once we’ve learned, we need to move forward. Wallowing in the past will keep us stuck in the past and incapable of moving into the fresh start God has planned for us in the present.

Today’s verses remind me that God, in His infinite wisdom, forgives our sins in the blink of an eye because He can see the big picture. He knows that we have an entire lifetime to make mistakes and do better. Sometimes we will fail, but if we accept responsibility, ask forgiveness, and go forward to do better, we will mature as individuals.

Let us accept God’s forgiveness and forgive ourselves at the same time. After all, if you forgave a friend for some transgression, wouldn’t you feel offended if the next time you saw them, they were still dwelling on the same issue?

God sees us as He created us, with all our faults but also with all our strengths and beauty. After all, we are His children.

 

The Lord said to Moses,

“How long will these people treat Me with contempt?

How long will they refuse to believe in Me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?

I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”

~Num 14:11

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.

~Matthew 21:21

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I read somewhere that God will keep bringing you back to a lesson until you master it.

For me, the issue has always been trust. If I can’t do it myself, I worry that it will not get done.

I have a great challenge trusting the unseen, the unknown, and believing that I can truly trust God’s plan for my life when my own plans don’t always work out.

Even today, after I’ve written a devotional on drawing closer to God while waiting for an answer to prayer, I still find it difficult to completely trust that God is directing my steps, has a plan for my life, and is working everything out for good.

Which I suppose makes me human. But being human is not an excuse for keeping our distance from God.

This whole issue of learning to trust God reminds me of learning to swim. You hold onto the side of the pool with a death grip that turns your knuckles white while you look longingly over your shoulder at the other people swimming and floating and playing in the middle of the pool.

You know that the only way you can join them is to let go.

But you can’t because you’re afraid that if you do, you’ll drown.

In instances like this, our fear is more tangible than the possibility that we might actually be able to swim, or float, or at least discover that our feet can touch the bottom of the pool and we can stand. However, we can’t discover any of these things because our fear has paralyzed us into being glued to the side of the pool by our own death grip.

Maybe this is what God is trying to tell me (us). Let Go. Trust that you’ll be okay, one way or another. Trust. Let Go. Let God.

Let Go. Let God.

God will continue to remind us that trusting Him is the most important step in growing our relationship with Him. He will keep reminding us until we finally let go.

Amen.

Trust is my stumbling block. What’s yours? What is keeping you from a closer relationship with God? What are you doing to work on it?

 

 

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It’s monsoon season, which means daily afternoon and evening rain showers. But the other morning we woke to discover the overnight rains had left a dusting of snow on the higher mountain peaks, a reminder that no matter what is going on in the world, the seasons will continue to march forward.

 

As someone who moved to Summit County because I love our long, snowy winters, this first sign of snow was welcome, and as I look out the window of my new home, I find myself checking the aspen trees in the yard to see if any golden leaves are visible yet.

 

On the other hand, if you feel as if it was just yesterday that you got your boat onto the lake, or rode your mountain bike down a trail, you might be shaking your fist at the mountaintop and wondering if a move to a lower elevation is in order.

 

Either way, the seasons will march on without regard to our opinion.

 

Which is what I thought about as I watched the news and heard the far-off drumbeats of war, saw an iceberg the size of Rhode Island slide into the ocean, and heard about shooting deaths in Chicago. Closer to home, I was dismayed to find that despite our prosperous and generous community, some Summit County residents still go to bed hungry.

 

When we read these headlines it’s easy to feel helpless, to feel as if we are as incapable of changing them as we are to hold back the coming winter. But turning our back on the world and our community is not the answer, either. When everything looks desperate and despairing, we long for stability and hope.

 

I believe this is when we most need God. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come! And let him who hears say, ‘Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.’” (Revelations 22:17)

 

Our spirit longs to be filled with a love that heals hatred, that quenches those who are spiritually and physically thirsty. This is the moment we are called to God to be comforted and replenished by a love greater than any we’ve experienced.

 

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37)

 

We do not live with a distant god who leaves us to fend for ourselves. Rather, God loved us so dearly that when we were lost he sent his son to show us we are loved and called to love one another. As he healed us, he asked us to heal our neighbors who are poor, elderly, or suffering. We are asked to love them despite their infirmities because God loves us, despite ours. Because we will all be at least one of these someday, and when we are, Jesus assures us he will never turn us away.

 

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)

 

When I am anxious, I remind myself that God is the Alpha and Omega, ‘was, is, and ever will be’, always present, always with us. We can call on God and be assured that we will receive his love and compassion.

 

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” (2 Chronicles 20:17)

 

At the end of his ministry, Jesus commanded his disciples to share the “Good News” to every corner of the globe. That command is as vital today as it was then.  When events of the world leave us fearful, let’s turn to God whose love is steadfast. And when our spirits are replenished, let’s turn to our community and share God’s love. Because of Christ’s loving example, we know what difference one person can make.