Sunday, March 12, 2017

How to Explain Your Faith

If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
1 Peter 3:15b (NLT)

Be ready to explain yourself. Always.

Biblical hope means being certain about God (my earlier post about hope), so we could say:

If someone asks about your [confidence] as a believer, always be ready to explain it.

How do we explain our faith?

I like to explain by sharing what He’s done for me.

God gave me a love for teaching and writing. But He used my parents to prevent me from pursuing a career in education.  God knew that I didn’t have a gift for kids and would be miserable as a primary school teacher. Twenty years later He led me to a truly filling position teaching the Bible to adults.

During another season, God pummeled me with messages to get rid of my pride and seek help for my depression. He finally used my thriftiness to attract me to a free screening. The diagnosis was no surprise, but God also sent an understanding, persistent angel friend to walk by my side until life looked brighter.

This morning my prayer app prompted prayer for a student who was taking her driving test. I texted her Mom “good luck” and wasn’t surprised to hear she was taking the test at that moment – 7am. God’s timing. Then I had a clear vision that she would fail in order to prevent a horrific accident. No coincidence. She failed.

God is in my life every moment of every day. Ask me why I trust Him tomorrow and you’ll get a different story.  He has guided, held and rescued me and I know He will do it again.

I have confident hope in God because He has done amazing things for me. (tweet this)

#SeedsofScripture #amazingGod #confidence #hope

Thursday, March 9, 2017

How to Rock Your Faith

Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.
Joshua 3:5 (NIV)

Consecrate yourself. What does that mean?

Merriam-Webster’s definition says “to dedicate to a sacred purpose”. Dedicating yourself to a sacred purpose sounds pretty heavy, although isn’t that what we try to do as followers of Jesus?

A more informal online definition says “to devote (something) exclusively to a particular purpose.” That one I get.

God is our purpose.

Consecrating yourself means putting yourself in a special lane apart from mainline culture. It’s not the fast lane or the HOV lane, although high occupancy would be great. It flows alongside other lanes in society but God is its destination.

Consecrating yourself means devoting yourself to moving toward God. (tweet this)

Lent is the perfect time to shift lanes, to rededicate your life to Him. No matter where you are in your faith journey, refocusing is valuable.

How? Prayer is a good start. Let God know you want to be in His lane and ask Him to show you what that means. God will bring to mind those things that need to change.

Why? Because amazing awaits.

While we know that God is always working in our lives, God can do great wonders with people who are devoted to His purposes. It’s like dressing an uncooperative toddler as opposed to one who loves fashion. Both children are clothed but only one of them rocks it.

God will do amazing things among those in His lane. (tweet this)

#SeedsofScripture #amazingGod #devoted

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

God Continually Amazes Me

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

Today is the day I resolved to write a Seeds of Scripture post and I’m happy to be back. I’ve been busy preparing a retreat about remembering God’s activity in our lives and He affirmed my hiatus with several God-incidences.

What’s a God-incidence? It’s a coincidence that’s not at all coincidental - it’s God speaking, guiding, congratulating, interrupting, presenting an opportunity or comforting. God-incidences are His hand in our lives.

During our retreat, we mapped out our faith journeys to discover God-incidences. Some were small and fun. Others were major turning points. When we gather them together and remembered, they reminded us that God guided us, acted on our behalf, reassured us of His presence and sent help when we needed it.

Today’s Verse of the Day from BibleGateway.com reminds us that God can use our experiences (both good and hard) to help others.

Today’s devotion from (in)courage entitled You Are Equipped displayed the image I used for this post. The author spoke of ways God has equipped us that we hesitate to use. We stay safe and comfortable rather than trusting God to accomplish His purpose in us.

A Lenten devotion from GreaterThings.today spoke of patience suggesting “When you are inconvenienced, consider the opportunity that might be presenting itself.” Isn’t this another way of saying the inconvenience might be a God-incidence?

Our God is actively guiding our lives and equipping us for His purpose.

When something seems coincidental, let’s wonder what God is up to. (tweet this)

#SeedsofScripture #retreat #Godatwork

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Remember What God Has Done

So that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful.
Joshua 4:24 (NIV)

Have you noticed that Seeds of Scripture has been absent from you inbox? Some of you have worried about me. I should have updated you sooner. I apologize.

I am better than fine!

I’ve been preparing to lead a women’s retreat in March – a first for me. I’m very excited for the opportunity but sad that it’s distracted me from sharing Seeds.

The retreat is based on this Scripture from Joshua which occurs just after the Israelites cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land after 40 years of wilderness wandering. Just as God parted the Red Sea, He stopped the river’s flow so they walked across on dry land.

Then the Israelites build a memorial cairn to forever mark God’s great work.

On our retreat we’ll discover God’s work in our lives and create memorials to help us remember. I’m calling them landmarks – Landmarks of Faith.

How has God guided your life?
Has a particular person influenced your journey?
Did an unexpected event change your course?
Is there a theme that keeps repeating?

Could God be involved? Could He be directing your journey?

Remember God's activity in your life to reveal our #PowerfulGod. (tweet this)

#SeedsofScripture #retreat #powerfulGod

Monday, January 9, 2017

More Listening, Less Talking

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:4,6-7 (MSG)

Excellent advice. Shape your worries into prayers and receive a sense of God's wholeness. Sounds good, doesn't it?
I'm pretty good at letting God know my concerns. The problem is letting Christ displace worry. I'm not one to worry much anyway, but completely giving God my problem and letting Him have control is another thing. Maybe it's a lack of trust. Maybe it's the need for control. What's needed is patience. I need to wait for God to guide me in the situation and trust that He will. That means listening to Him for how to take my next step.

Listening means giving God time to speak.

Prayer. Quiet listening prayer. Intentionally open for God's guidance and peace.

I don't listen enough. I do most of the talking in life and in prayer. How about you?

It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of our lives. (tweet this)

I believe it because I’ve experienced that confident peace that results from an intentional, intimate relationship with God.

Could you add patient listening to your morning coffee ritual?

#SeedsOfScripture #prayer #listening

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Christmas Isn't Ever Done - God Is Still With Us

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel, which means ’God is with us.’
Matthew 1:23 (NLT)

Christmas is in the rearview mirror.

The tree has been hauled away and the decorations packed in boxes. Returns have been made and gifts are being enjoyed. December bedlam has settled into winter calm. We can breathe again and relax.

But Christmas isn’t over.
 
Christmas celebrates the birth of Emmanuel. It’s the beginning of God with us. That never ends. Jesus entered our world to live among us. Christmas, Emmanuel, God with us, is never over.

Sunday school lessons teach that Jesus lives in our hearts. That’s a beautifully simple way to explain how the Holy Spirit lives in us. Jesus was physically God with us. The Holy Spirit is the way He is with us now.

God’s presence with us should transform our lives.

We should see the people as God sees them.
We should approach situations with Jesus’ kind of love.
We should have peace instead of anxiety by trusting God’s divine plan.
We should shed fear and act boldly in following God’s direction.
We should.
 
But does His presence change our lives?

Christmas is over, but Jesus is still with us. Are we with Him? (tweet this)

The first step to transformation is spending time in His presence. He listens when we pray. He speaks to us through scripture. He is available and waiting for us to make time for Him.
 
How does having Jesus in your heart impact your everyday life?

#SeedsofScripture #transformation #Godwithus #Emmanuel

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Radars Up - Another God-incidence

Commit everything you do to the Lord; trust Him, and He will help you.
Psalm 37:5 (NLT)

If you're a regular reader you know I don't believe in coincidences. I like to call them God-incidences because I believe it's one of the way God guides us. When something seems like a coincidence my radar goes up to see what God is trying to tell me.

As such, I'm sending you over to a blog post by Dr. James Merritt at Proverbs 31 Ministries. Why? Because five days ago I chose the verse above as my first memory verse for 2017. Today Dr. Merritt's article about this verse arrived in my inbox.

Not only does his post use my memory verse, it also expresses my heart for God's Word as unrestricted access to Him. Dr. Merritt also lists the perks of spending time with God. Please head over at http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/time-well-spent/

If you'd like to join me in memorizing 2 verses per month, check out this post.

#SeedsofScripture #scripture #relationshipwithGod