God is like an iceberg!
I was recently talking with a friend about how God never ceases to amaze me. Through my years of nurturing my relationship with Him (the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit), He has consistently revealed different aspects of His character and deeper depths of His love for me. In Isaiah 55:8-9, He states, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Though often we attempt to describe Him, even our best attempts to express this truth, is merely touching the tip of an iceberg. There’s so much more to learn about Him and the little that we are able to receive, grasp or comprehend, already blows our minds!
Similarly, the Bible account of the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8:42-48, inspires me to love Him even more. In this scripture, a woman with a persistent and debilitating bleeding disorder has spent all she has. She has exhausted all her material assets; her health, her strength and even her dignity, all while searching for a cure for her seemingly incurable condition. Then, she sees Jesus passing by.
With nothing left to lose and everything to gain, she crawls on her hands and knees, through a pressing crowd and stretches out her feeble hands and touches the hem of Jesus’ clothing. She couldn’t muster the strength to grab His hand, His waist or even His foot, but grasps at the very strands of His clothing. Jesus stops and turns slowly, asking, “Who touched me?…I felt power go out of me.” (If this were a movie, they would cue the music and shine a lone spotlight on the woman and Jesus, as if they were alone in this scene.) Nervously, the woman stammers, "I did. I touched you." Jesus reassuringly responds, “Your faith has made you whole. Go in peace.”... How, amazing!
This passage is so astounding to me because so often I struggle with my faith and feel that my resolve is lacking. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t require us to be at our best in order for Him to acknowledge us. In fact, He says, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can speak to the mountains and they will move". He doesn’t rebuke us for trepidaciously taking steps toward Him. Instead, He recognizes every effort we make. The broken hearted, the doubtful and even the weak at heart, He receives us all! He specializes in meeting us where we are and He accepts what we bring to Him, because of His great love for us.
Whenever and however we reach out to Him, we always gain more than we could have ever imagined. It really is like touching the tip of an iceberg! We happily cling to a tiny ice peak of hope, not knowing it’s connected and rooted to an unsurfaced mountain! When we seek Him, He always provides exceedingly and abundantly above what we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). We gain riches in Heaven. We gain hope and a future. We gain healing and strength. We gain power and authority. We gain a Father and a friend! We only need to reach out to Him and then He brings the greatest reward - Himself.
If you’re looking for the answer to life, purpose, peace or direction, look no further. He is always more than you could ever imagine. He truly satisfies every need and all He requires is your heart in exchange.
Do you sometimes feel as if your life will never change?
As if you’ve been sentenced to relive your past and you can never move forward?
If so, it’s time for a shift!
A shift in your thinking and in your emotions...
Then a shift /movement in your feet.
We were not meant to live as caged birds;
As prisoner to our fears, flaws or fantasies.
Let God refresh you, and then move forward!
Peace, be still!
A Word of Encouragement
The spirit of the Lord says, "Peace, be still!
In the middle of your circumstances and situations, I am here and I am able!!
When the storm is raging, I am able!
When you are frightened, I am here!
When you're lonely, I am here!
Feeling forsaken? I am here!
Whatever you need, I am He!!"
"Then He (Jesus) arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm." (Mark 4:39)
Are You Ready to be Transformed?
There is a crushing process that allows the oil (the anointing) to come forth in our lives, just like when olive oil is produced. However, the conditions have to be perfect. It’s not enough to just endure trials for the sake of suffering. There is an actual purpose for our pain and challenges.
In the Master’s hands, He has a crucible that has been created just for us. He has the mortar and the pestle that will exact just the right amount of pressure to yield the results He wants in our lives. That’s why He says, “Lean not on your own understanding and in all your ways acknowledge me and I will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:4-5)
We may think, “This job is perfect for me” or “This relationship is ideal for me”. However, only when we’re in the crucible of God (in the center of His will), can He provide the perfect conditions that are necessary to extract the most oil out of our lives. So, if you’re in a situation where God seems not to be answering you or where the conditions seem less than ideal for any good to occur, "Lean not on your own understanding” and remember, “The footsteps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23)
Father God has you exactly where He wants you. He’s leading you to the place He has preordained for you. Be yielded and trust Him. Then, you’ll come out as pure gold, with oil dripping down from you and God will be glorified!
The crushing is not to break you. It’s to bless you and to expand you, so you can share what’s on the inside of you - the power of the living God!
Many Blessings for the New Year!
Do you have the Christmas Spirit?
Are you’re struggling with feeling sad or disconnected this holiday season? If so, you are not alone. It’s very common to experience intense emotions during the holidays, especially when you’ve suffered a loss such as the death of a loved one, health issues, relational conflict, financial hardship or pressure to conform to societal norms. During these times, it’s especially important to stop and reflect on your hope and faith in Christ.
Colossians 1:27 boldly states that, “Christ is our hope of glory.” What a wonderful promise! This scripture teaches us that our security is found in Christ alone; not people, things or ever-changing situations.
Hebrews 11:1-6 equally boasts, “Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”. This is poignant reminder that we can have confidence that everything we need (and want) has already been provided for and taken into consideration by our Heavenly Father.
Hope says, “One day, things will get better” (future). Faith says, “You already have it” (present). Together, these two promises assure us that victory, joy and a full life are ours in Christ Jesus. But what should we do when the Christmas season becomes overwhelming?
Here are some steps to help you get your joy back:
1. Select a God-honoring way for you and your family to celebrate Christmas. Whether it’s attending church, studying a Biblical topic of interest or simply listing all the things that you’re thankful for, take time to be more reflective of the significance of Christ’s birth, death and His resurrection. Then, thank Jesus for giving you the greatest gift anyone could ever give - Eternal life!
2. Instead of being excessive in your gift-giving, focus on giving practical gifts to individuals or trusted organizations that could really benefit from receiving the basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter, gas cards, job training or employment opportunities.
3. Consider volunteering your time, visiting a neighbor or cooking someone a meal. They will really appreciate your kindness and genuinely feel loved and valued. Additionally, you will be surprised by how good it makes you feel.
4. Lastly, say “Merry Christmas”, as a reminder to yourself and others that Jesus is the real reason for the season! Be creative and bold. Before you know it, you’ll be spreading Christmas cheer everywhere you go! “The Joy of the Lord is our Strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed new year,
Naifa S. White
Time to Stretch:Get A Bigger Bag
Sometimes, we don't realize we are living beneath our means. If fact, when everything is going smoothly, it may seem wise to stick with the program and not rock the boat. However, it’s important to periodically press the "refresh" button in our lives so new information can be brought to light (like on a computer screen).
The other day while shopping for a new pocketbook, I reluctantly selected one that was somewhat larger than my old one. I was concerned that it wouldn’t be a good fit and that it would be too bulky. It wasn't until after I started adding all my essential items, that I was able to appreciate the additional space. It was better than I had imagined! Immediately, it occurred to me that this lesson applied to other areas of my life as well - Get a bigger bag, so you can hold ALL your blessings!
I share this with you, in hopes that you too will reevaluate your life. Your "perfect" schedule or way of doing things may have been "perfect" for one season in your life. However, your circle of influence and your capacity to accept the NEW things that God wants to do in your life should be ever-growing. Let's strive be continual learners; open to the "extra" God wants to send our way!
Flexibility and adaptability is the ability to be pliable, resilient and the willingness to cooperate with God and others... May the Lord make your way spacious! And may He enlarge your territory and expand your reach!
** “Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs. “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.
And your descendants will possess nations and will resettle the desolate cities." 1 Chronicles 4:10 NASB
** "He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God." Psalm 18:19-21 (KJV)
How to Be Successful in God's Eyes
In life, we may encounter exceptional people that have achieved great success by the world's standards. Typically, we applaud them and rejoice in their success. However, at other times it may be more challenging to celebrate the accomplishments of others. We may struggle with feelings of jealousy or even disappointment, when we consider our own mediocrity.
If you've ever experienced these emotions, it's important to remember that there is always a "price" for success. Although, frequently we don't know the "price" that was paid, there is always sacrifice involved. So whether you desire to have a strong marriage, exemplary children, a fit body or that killer career, until you're willing to do what "they" did, it's likely you won't have what "they" have.
God does not randomly bless people...However, God does bless people based on their integrity and their willingness to explicitly follow His instructions and principles. So, if you're looking to be successful, let's look at the HEART of the matter - OUR HEARTS!
Genesis 4:7 "Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
Growing Pains are Necessary
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to watch a loved one experience growing pains (whether in the spiritual or natural realm). It's temping to want to intervene and rescue them from their difficult situation. However, in some situations it's best to just let them struggle through and learn to trust in God (instead of you)...It'll make them stronger!
James 1:2-5 states, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."
Wisdom is great but Godly wisdom is better!
Is God A Harsh Judge?
I recently completed a Bible study in 1 Samuel 15. However, I was somewhat disturbed because God seemed harsh when dealing with King Saul. My concern was, "Would God deal with me or my loved ones this way?"
Then, God lovingly reminded me that He looks at the heart and not the outward manner of a person. Though, we all struggle with sin, when we truly repent and choose to turn from it, He is ALWAYS faithful to forgive us... However, when we "practice" sin by making it our norm or lifestyle, then, He pronounces judgement.
So, the truth of the matter is, SINCE God loves, THEREFORE He disciplines. Much like any parent, correction and discipline is meant to get our attention so we can correct our errors and don't have to experience harsher consequences for our wrongdoings. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
I'm so thankful for a Father that loves me enough to say "NO", so that later He can say, "Yes, well done!"
How about you?
Without a compass we can easily go astray. Even as Christians, if we lose sight of God's will, we can easily veer off course into dangerous territory. So, if you've been pursuing God but recently experienced silence or a long "lull", Just stop!
1 - Recalibrate your internal compass before proceeding. (Pray and ask God for wisdom).
2 - Wait, listen and then receive your direction from the Lord. (Don't fall into the temptation of figuring out life alone).
"The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him." (Psalm 37:23 NIV)
(Don't attempt to lead God....Let HIM lead you!
P.S. Often God's silence is a result of our disobedience. Perhaps, He has already told you to do something. However, you haven't quite gotten around to doing it yet. (God's silence has a way of getting our attention.)
Additionally, God's silence may be confirmation that He's working out the details of your life. If you've been praying according to the principles and promises of God's word (the Bible), just hold on. Your answer IS coming. Anything worth having takes time!
No matter what your situation, just know that, "If God is for you, who can be against you?" (Romans 8:31 NIV).