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Entries in Word of God (2)

Thursday
Sep262019

The Security of a Good Father

Debbie W. Wilson teaches women about practical, uplifting faith. In this Relationship with God UPGRADE, Debbie asks us to consider growing a more robust faith by trusting in our Father God.

“I woke up at 4 a.m. questioning a decision I’d made," Debbie says.

I (Dawn) have done that so often, and always wished I had more confident faith concerning my choices!

Debbie continues . . .

I’d told the designer who’d drawn out a closet plan we wanted to work with her. In my sleep I had second thoughts.

“Lord, I’m too tired to figure this out. I don’t know if we made the right decision.” 

With that prayer an Old Testament passage came to mind.

If a young woman makes a vow…and her father hears of the vow or pledge and does not object to it, then all her vows and pledges will stand. But if her father refuses to let her fulfill the vow or pledge on the day he hears of it, then all her vows and pledges will become invalid. …because her father would not let her fulfill them” (Numbers 30:3-5 NLT).

Relief filled me. I didn’t have to figure it out. Like a good father, my Abba would protect me.

“Father, you heard our words. If we jumped too soon, please rescue us. I’m giving this to You.”

I asked the designer to wait while we did more research. She understood. In the end, we chose a different option that saved us money.

Once I let go of bearing the burden of making the perfect decision and trusted my Father to lead me, I enjoyed the adventure.

I know I’m saved “by grace through faith,” but sometimes I forget I’m to live by faith (Romans 1:17). God wants me to include Him in every aspect of life.

Jesus modeled this. He relied completely on His Father (John 14:10). Jesus wants us to walk with Him the same way (John 15:4-5).

Living by faith protects us from regret, pleases God, and satisfies us (Hebrews 11:6John. 15:11).

Our heavenly Father longs to show up in the mundane tasks of life. When we lean on Him in every area, life becomes an awesome journey.

I find robust faith requires a knowledge of the Word and a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

1. The Word

The Bible says our minds are either shaped by the world or transformed by the Word. Without renewing our minds, we can’t recognize our Father's good will for our lives.

  • “Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect” (Romans 12:2 GW).
  • "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17 NIV).

2. The Spirit

God sent the Holy Spirit to help us and guide us (John 14:17). 

  • “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (Galatians 5:16 NLT).
  • "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).

Maybe your earthly father is no longer here or wasn't reliable. If you know Jesus, you have a heavenly Father who loves you deeply and covers your back. 

  • “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26 NIV).

What wakes you up in the middle of the night? Are you learning to rest in the security a good father provides?

Debbie W. Wilson helps people live in God’s grace so they can enjoy fruitful and full lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She is a life coach and an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Share her journey to refreshing faith at debbieWwilson.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Lorraine Cormier and Pixabay.

Thursday
Apr202017

Our Stuff vs. God's 'Stuff'

As I entered Pam Farrel's two-day post about downsizing (Part 1; Part 2), I (Dawn) searched my own heart.

"Lord," I said, "Pam wrote, 'You don't own your things; your things own you.' I get that. Does my stuff have me?

"And beyond that, Lord, does YOUR stuff have me?"

It was a strange question that filled my heart that morning, but one I had to answer honestly.

I had already been dealing with the idolatry of things. All the possessions in my home that consumed my time and attention.

The things I bought that were frivilous. Trinkets.

Things that cluttered my home and inhabited my heart.

The truth is, when our lives are cluttered with the things of this world, we may be crowding out the things of God.

So we start weeding out, downsizing, simplifying our homes, our closets, our storage spaces. And that's all good.

It's good to simplify our lives too. It creates freedom. Breathing room.

But I've noticed, when we clear spaces in our homes and heart, something else usually rushes in to fill that space.

I got rid of one "collection" in my home only to replace it with another one. It still wasn't the best use of my financial flow. And soon after I started dealing with my idolatry of food (gluttony), I found another idolatry rushed into the vacuum (pride of self-accomplishment).

The Lord doesn't just want things to be deleted from our lives; He wants to fill our lives with something better.

He wants to fill us with Himself.

I started asking the Lord, "What can I add to my life that will bring you more glory?"

I wanted my "stuff" to be used for God's glory and to bless others as Pam suggested. And I wanted the Lord to fill my home and heart with more of Himself too. I wanted to be a vessel of honor, for His use.

It's not about despising our "stuff"—despising the things of the world. It's about finding our highest delight in the Creator of the world and in His Word, and bearing good fruit for Him (Psalm 1:1-3).

Focusing on God's "stuff" means focusing on the truth of His Word and responding to it in humility, obedience, and God-glorifying service.

That may mean changing our thoughts, especially any lies we believe. We muat be careful how we think, because our lives are shaped by the thoughts of our "heart" (Proverbs 4:23). We must fix our thoughts on those things that will build our lives and glorify the Lord (Philippians 4:8).  We must be renewed in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4:23).

But most of all, it's following the replacement principle, the dynamic the Bible describes as "put off... put on."

Without the biblical replacement principle—found in Ephesians 4:22-24 and Philippians 3:12-14; 4:8—we may be simply replacing one bad habit with another bad habit, or one idolatry with another idolatry.

We must put off (get rid of) those things that fill our lives that do not please the Lord. We must confess our sins as the Holy Spirit illuminates our heart reveals them to us (Ephesians 1:15-18; 1 John 1:9). Our sins begin in our hearts and work their way outward, so we need to start with the heart.

It's not enough to recognize the fruit of sin; we need to get to the root and yank it out.

For example, overeating was not my root of sin; the gluttony was a result of idolatry in my heart—seeking satisfaction in food rather than the Lord. THAT was the root.

We are renewed in our spirit (sanctified) when we begin to appropriate and apply the Word (John 17:17) and REPLACE our sinful desires, thoughts and attitudes with biblical desires, thoughts and attitudes (1 Timothy 4:7; Romans 6:11-14, 16-19). We allow the Word to train us!

It's not usually an overnight process, but a transformation that happens over time as we yield to the Spirit of God (James 1:21-25).

In that transformation, we put off (eliminate) some things (our sinful stuff), and put on (embrace) other things (God's holy and honorable "stuff").

For example:

But the point is, once we identify our "stuff," we discover God's "stuff"—His absolute truth about our sin—and we embrace it and do whatever we can to make the truth of His Word an active part of our lives (reading, memorization, responding in obedience, etc.). In other words, we surrender our lives to His control.

So... as I am deleting the frivilous and foolishly time-consuming things in my home that clutter and rob me of freedom or joy, I am also asking the Lord to help me delete the things that do not please Him, and REPLACE them with things that delight His heart.

Is this your desire too? Where will you begin to deal with YOUR "stuff"? Where does seeking God's "stuff" begin?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.