Small Faith

Did you know that God is the same God from the early Bible days, from when Jesus walked the earth, today, and for your kids’ kids in the future? He never changes, He always was, is, and will be. What He says is real and He will never go back on His word.

That being said, I feel like we see Him as someone completely different from the God of Moses and different from the God Jesus prayed to, different from the God who brought the Israelites a cloud and a column of fire, different from the God who made the walls of Jericho fall simply by the shouts of His people, different from the God who made the blind see and the paralytic walk. That was all the same God.

I went to a youth conference this weekend that was amazing. There was an amazing evangelist there Nathan Morris and he was one of those old school, God fearing, faith preaching, miracle believing preachers. When he was peaching he revealed to the youth some of Gods abilities. He prayed over people and their vision was restored, their legs were healed, literal movements from God were happening in that conference. As amazing as that sounds there were youth, after the session was over, talking about how unreal it all was. They would say things like “I can’t believe that, how can that even happen?” or “Those people were just faking it”.

It surprised me a little to listen to so many youth walk around in such disbelief and completely unaware of Gods ability to make miracles happen even today.

I asked my daughter this morning over breakfast, do you think, nowadays, that God can heal someone’s leg and they begin to walk instantly? Or that God can take a sickness away from someone? Or make someone see who couldn’t before? Her response, “no…”.

I had such a strong blow to the gut realization of just how much unbelief and doubt runs deep through our young ones these days. Not only them but all of us. The bible says that if you would have faith, IN GOD, the size of a mustard seed, which is so tiny y’all, then He will do BIG THINGS through you.

 

mustard seed
Photo from Garden In Delight

Isn’t it crazy to think that’s all it takes for God to work through us, faith that small!

Doesn’t it make you feel some type of way to know that we don’t believe not even that much in God’s ability to be GOD? The bible says, if you pray, BELIEVING that God CAN do it, you will receive it. These are promises from God. He is telling us that He can. Jesus said while here on this earth when someone asked him to heal their daughter and the guy told Jesus “if you can” Jesus said, “what do you mean if I can, anything is possible if you believe”.

IF…

God can do anything, and anything is possible with Him. He keeps this Earth in rotation, He calls the sun and moon to rise, He is the oxygen flowing through our lungs, He brings the wind and rain.

Science is the worlds way of writing off Gods goodness.

We need to go back to the basics and start preaching about God and Who He is. People have forgotten that He is bigger than every thought in our minds about Him. We need to go back to the stories of Gods work and preach on how that can look today in our lives. We can preach about the commandments and communion and hardships all day but if we forget to preach about The One who causes ALL THINGS TO BE we are failing in some way to teach the people of who we are truly saying yes to. We need to bring back teachings about faith, miracles, believing, authority, and trust.
If you truly knew Who God is, you wouldn’t doubt anymore.
If you truly knew what God can do, He’d be your first call.
If you truly knew what He has done for you, you’d be dedicated to Him for life.
If you truly believed in all He promises you wouldn’t be able to keep your mouth closed.

When I think about how much I have doubted the Lord it makes me sad.
Faith the size of a mustard seed! That’s small! It amazes me just how little faith we truly have if we can’t even match the size of a mustard seed.
Today I own up to my lack of faith. I take responsibility for not sharing Who God is with the world. I own up to not believing in all that He has promised us and cry out to the Lord,
“I do believe, But help me overcome my unbelief!”

Advertisements

Why We Fear Praying Out Loud

I know to some people this topic might sound silly, but for those of us struggling with the please-don’t-pick-me’s the struggle is definitely real. I don’t think I would be too far off to say that anyone who comes into “church life” would disagree with this being something we worry about whenever it’s time to close anything out in prayer.
We worry we’re going to get picked to pray in front of the entire group and our prayer is not going to sound as well versed as the one who normally closes.
Maybe we’re out in the streets and meet someone that needs to be prayed over and we get nervous.
Maybe we’re at our youth group and are asked to pray, or we’re at a dinner and have to pray over the food (Thanksgiving is just around the corner).
Whatever the situation may be we get nervous our prayer isn’t going to sound “the best” and we end up doing our “best” praying at that moment just trying not to get picked to pray. Am I right?

Here’s the thing about prayer. It is LITERALLY just a conversation between you and God. Whether you pray out loud or in your head, it is just you coming to the Lord to talk.

I’ve thought about what makes a “good and bad” out loud prayer and this is what I’ve come up with. (Disclaimer: These are just my thoughts)

First…

THE BAD

Why do we get nervous to pray out loud? Really, I think, the only reason is that we are nervous our prayer is going to sound dumb, too juvenile, too short, too weak to everyone listening. And THAT is what makes a BAD out loud prayer, worrying about what others think about your prayer.
I don’t know why but in this day and age we care tremendously about what other people think of us.

I know I do. I worry an unhealthy amount of times about what others think of me and not only when it comes to praying out loud but in social settings, in my work, in my parenting, in areas that others opinions should mean absolutely squat. This is something I am definitely praying for God to remove from my thought life and honestly I see the change.

Which brings me to my next point…

THE GOOD

Prayer is such a powerful tool that we have in this world and I don’t think we realize this fully. Prayer is open communication with God, the creator of the world. Let that sink in.. The one who created everything with His words, the one who spoke life into existence. The one who knows your past and sees your future. The one who walks with you every single day. He is the one we are speaking to when we pray.

So when you pray out loud or even in your head, the only thing that should be on your mind is the conversation at hand. Think about it, when you speak to someone and are thinking of something else as you’re talking, your conversation is going to trail off and not make sense. You’re going to lose your train of thought or even worst, start rambling on about much of nothing.

A “good” prayer comes from a good friendship with God. If you spoke to someone you’re not close to, the conversation is going to feel very topical. It’s going to be a whole lot of fluff and fillers. But when you speak to your best friend you dive deep and quick, going straight for the real stuff. Same thing with prayer. The closer you get to Him privately, the more confident you’ll feel about doing it in front of other people.

Another thing I want to add though is how we tend to feel prayers SHOULD sound like.

Everyone is different and everyone develops a different kind of relationship with God. Some people use proper words and full scholar-like sentences. And some just let it come out as natural as speaking to a close friend because that’s just how they roll. Neither one is wrong, just different styles of relationships. There are no specific type of words that you need to say. There is no right order to praying. Just close your eyes, open your heart, and talk to God.

TIP: Practice praying out loud at home. Just so you can start getting used to hearing yourself pray out loud. Incorporate praying for others as well, that way you begin to develop more of a “We The People” mindset instead of only praying for yourself.

 

SIDE NOTE

God is so beyond amazing and HE IS REAL. Too many times we come into this thinking He’s beyond our reach and we have to be a certain type of way before He can answer us or even listen to us. But I want to tell you that is NOT true. Gods love is definitely something hard for us to understand because we share such conditional love, but He doesn’t.

He sees our dirt, He sees where we struggle at as humans, He knows your weak points and all the things you’re ashamed to speak about but He loves you anyway!
He wants a relationship with us.

Think of a mother who brings a child into the world, loves them with a love beyond her realm of understanding. Raises that baby to have a good life (because isn’t that what we want for our offsprings) and then that same child goes off and loses themselves in drugs, sex, gangs, and really just completely stops talking to the mother because they have a “new life”.
That mom is constantly thinking about that child. Praying for her baby. Worrying if her kid is still alive. Waiting and wanting for her baby to just come back home.

Now think of God, who has exceedingly abundant love for us and has the ability to walk with us and watch over us. He always allows us to make our own choices but longs for the day when you’ll pick up the phone and just reach out to Him.

He is with you. He is ALWAYS with you. And on those days when you think He is not with you, open your heart and reach out for Him believing He is there for you.

I’m sorry, I’m not trying to preach but I just love Him so much and it hurts me to think that some people feel like God is beyond their reach when He’s sitting right there with you, looking at you with love in His eyes, waiting for you to just want Him too.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON PRAYER? DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH PLEASING PEOPLE WITH HOW YOU PRAY MORE THAN FOCUSING ON THE PRAYER ITSELF? WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU DO TO OVERCOME THAT BATTLE? PLEASE SHARE AND LET’S HELP EACH OTHER TAP INTO THE AMAZING GRACE THAT IS ALREADY THERE WAITING FOR US TO JUST SHOW UP.

THE BREAKTHROUGH

There are days where I feel like I’ve got it all together. My day went well and the kids were working together. The house got cleaned and dinner was cooked. Maybe even a friendly phone call or text was sent.

Then there are the rest of the days. My bad days, my human days, my reality checks. Days that seem to fall apart shortly after my alarm clock goes off. Kids won’t stop bickering, no work has gotten done. It’s five o’clock and I still haven’t figured out dinner. My temper blew and my patience took the day off. Everything I seem to say comes out completely wrong.

It’s easy for me to become so discouraged on days like those because all I want to be in life is a great mother and a good friend. I care about people and the world and yet on those days that could seem farthest from the truth.

This is how I see it…

It’s as if I am covering myself in plaster, layer after layer, day after day; the plaster represents everything that I feel is wrong with me.
I ask God for healing, for a breakthrough, and He chisels. We don’t see it as a physical chunk falling off of us but somewhere in our daily lives, we take a hit. Something has popped up, giving us a chance to react differently, to make better decisions, to be the person we see God intends for us to become. But it hurts, we fail, we miss the mark. Another layer of plaster added.

We beg and plea with God for a “revival”, for something to change. What we really seem to be asking for without fully realizing it is for Him to magically change us. We want to wake up a better mother, a kinder spouse, a friend who listens more, an employee who goes above and beyond. We want the work to be done by the time we’ve finished praying.

We do need a breakthrough but it’s not going to come in the form of the Red Sea splitting before us or manna falling at our feet.
It’ll be more like the years of hard labor Noah had to put into the arc in order to protect his family. Years of slow process and possibly people mocking you for something they cannot see yet.

It may not take years but it could. It could take even longer for the days we choose to stop and give up. The days we choose to see the hard work in front of us instead of the promise God put within us.
We look at what hurts us right now instead of how our work can one day positively affect our lives and the lives of our children.

There are so many suffocating days where all I want to do is hulk through all the plaster!
I need God to break through my negative thinking, my irrational fears, my bad temper, my pent-up emotions, my dysfunctional routines.
I want Him to snap His fingers and do what only He can. I want a miracle.

THE BREAKTHROUGH

The miracle, for us, (unless God wills something else) looks like hard work, looks like learning to put up room walls for each animal. It’s long days of sanding, priming, and sealing wood we had to chop down ourselves.

The breakthrough comes when we give our day to God every time we wake up and trust Him to work it out for good. Smile when we want to tell someone off, pray when we want to doubt, call someone when we need encouragement and encourage them. Breakthroughs happen when our faith is in action.

Strongholds are never too late to break out of. Our minds can be renewed daily but only when we trust His promise. Our strength comes from Him, therefore, we have the power within us to reach down and grab onto the call He placed on our lives.

We are already the people we need to be, we just don’t have enough faith to walk that out yet.

Wow, let’s think about that for a minute. We are already the person God has made us out to be. When He looks at us He sees our potential, our new (in Him) selves. The only thing that is stopping us is TRUSTING He has given us the authority to carry out that purpose and FEAR of letting go of everything that we have grown comfortable to.

Fear of letting go and doubt He’ll catch us on the way down.

What does trusting Him look like for us?

Patience: I already have the ability to withstand the little things that drive my patience short because God has given me access to His peace. However, I am refusing to use His peace once I react on my impatience.

Gossip: We have the opportunity to spread the news about Gods love and mercy and we let go of the opportunity to show others God through us the moment we join them in negative conversation.

Rudeness: We have the ability to keep our mouths shut and allow God to be our vindicator in His timing but we relinquish that the moment we take matters into our own hands and say something that is not edifying.

Negative Self-Talk: We are wonderfully made by God Himself who happens to love us in a way that we can’t even fathom (and maybe that’s why it’s so easy for us to forget this one because our love is always conditional but His never is).

He looks at us and sees greatness and beautiful colors. We look at ourselves and see what the world(society) has told us is wrong with us. We’re dumb, ugly, fat, tomboyish, loud, etc. God knows you, the deep inner you that even you have a hard time figuring out and yet He still looks at you in love! That is an amazing kind of love.

It’s ok to encourage ourselves when we feel we are beginning to fall into the trap of negative self-talk. That is a great reason to memorize some verses(promises) of the Bible that you feel will help you in this season.

MY POINT

God is more understanding than we’ll ever be and He is willing to help us in this life every step of the way if we invite Him to. That is where the breakthrough happens. Inviting God into your mind, your job, your family life, your marriage, your confusion, your questions, in your loneliness, in your pain, in your mistakes. Make Him a part of your daily life, of your every thought and decision.

He is working in your life, all you need to do is TRUST Him and know that He is working ALL THINGS out for good.

   God is right there with you, tune in.

We all fall short of Gods grace. Which is just a fancy way of saying none of us deserve Gods goodness. But we get it, anew, every single day. What are some ways you try to break out of your old self and try to stay focus on Gods promise for your life?

What does Gods voice sound like?

I know a big misconception people usually have about hearing Gods voice is that it will sound very much like Mufasa’s voice when he came to Simba in the clouds; very majestic and loud (Disney reference). While He can and has done that, it isn’t His go-to method of conversation.

Growing up I’ve always had the all to familiar question of “how do you hear Gods’ voice?” or “how do you know if God is talking to you?”. Typically answered with a “you just know” or “you’ll know when it happens”. While this is not too far from the truth it isn’t very clear for a young person.

However, I must say that I am in a season of clear communication with God and I feel so blessed and humbled to hear His plan for my life, my family, and my day-to-day goings on. I figured I’d speak out about the different ways that He has approached me in my life and hopefully that resonates with someone.

 

WISE THOUGHTS

This might sound hard to understand but He speaks to me in my own mind most times. I legit hear Him in my thoughts. Now, it sounds like my regular thoughts voice (you know what I mean right?) but it is 100% the Lord’s words and wisdom giving me guidance, or answering questions I’ve been asking Him. Most times, because I’m strange that way, I think out loud. Some like to call that talking to yourself, guilty.

Now, I’m talking out loud but what I’m really doing is directing my conversation to the Lord. This is probably my best form of communication with Him and a lot of times, and this part is so cool, He’ll answer me right on the spot. Literally right after I’ve asked a question or made a complaint my mouth will shoot the answer, His answer, out like how an actual conversation would sound.

I get when people say “you’ll just know when it happens” because I know for a fact that when He responds to me that it is not my own words whatsoever. However, you do want to be in constant communication with Him for this to feel more obvious to you.
I talk with the Lord throughout my day. Which is what Paul meant in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 when he said: “pray without ceasing”.

God is legit my best friend! I go to Him for anything and everything. In joy, or frustration, with questions and even complaints. He is my person (Disney reference). So doing your part in talking to Him every day is essential to hearing Him on a more constant basis in your life.

Disclaimer: God is God and He can speak to you through your own reflection if He wanted to. This is more of a method of keeping a constant line of communication open with Him.

MUSIC

This is a big one for me because I LOVE music. I grew up in church singing and lyrics are my thing. So it makes sense for God to use this method as a big one for me.
It’s such an intense and awesome feeling because He sends the perfect song at the perfect time to my Pandora list. He gives me literal chills as the words to a song I’ve heard a million times before touches my spirit in a whole new way, and answers my questions or gives me an answer to my current situation.

I know it’s Him because aside from the goosebumps, I get a sense of enlightenment when He corrects me. I am filled with peace when He answers a question for me. And I feel great joy when He shows up to comfort me or even confirm something I’ve been praying about.

DREAMS

There is a season for everything and though I feel like dreams isn’t very high on my list these days because He is just so active in my thought life. This is still an area He has used to reveal things to me.

Sometimes I understand them perfectly, or I’ll wake up and talk to Him, out loud, about it and He’ll reveal it to me. But for dreams, most times I’m talking to my mom about it and He reveals it to her and she explains it to me. It really is such an awesome feeling when that happens because even though it sounded mixed up to me, there was a message in there and by having someone else decipher it, it made the message more perfectly from Him.

IN CONVERSATION

This might sound like it’s repeating the first one but it’s not. It’s not about being in conversation with Him, though isn’t that what this entire article is about. It’s about being in conversation with a friend or church member or family member and God speaking to you through that conversation.

This happens to me a lot and it can happen in two ways. You can be talking to the other person, encouraging them, giving them advice and in your words to them, God reveals that those words also apply to you. You get chills or your heart drops a bit just because you know at that moment it feels like God has placed His hand on your shoulder saying “Are you hearing this? This is for you too”, it’s truly an incredible feeling.

The other way could be someone talking and, sometimes without them even realizing it, they are revealing to you a word from God. Something you’ve had on your heart that He’s addressing. Sometimes they do know and will often tell you “I feel I need to tell you this..” and bam! just like that you’re in tears thanking God for His faithfulness.

 

Hearing from God is truly one of the BEST feelings in the world. I say one of because there are so many other things He can do to completely blow our minds.
But hearing from Him has been something I have felt so blessed to experience but it has also been something I have been so confused about in the past.

If it is one thing I’ve learned in these recent years is that if something comes to your mind or comes out of your mouth or pops up in your life and completely surprises you and really reveals something to you. Don’t take it lightly. Don’t pass it off as your own or as you being too… something.

God is always listening and if you take the time to open your mind and heart to whatever He has for you, you’ll hear Him too.

These are just a few ways God has spoken to me. I would LOVE to hear how He has revealed Himself to you in your life. Please share in the comments below. I’m excited to hear your answers.