God Hears You

Despite the shame we feel from our sin, God hears, forgives and He saves. Through the sacrifice of Jesus we no longer are in slaved by our sin. But we can be free in Christ who saved us. I want to be close enough to God that I believe He hears me. So whatever I am going through I choose to seek Him first. For He is the living water my soul quenches.

God hears Abraham – Genesis 21:8-14

Sarah ordered her servant woman, Hagar, to lay with her husband, Abraham, to bore them a child. Since she was barren and unable to give birth herself. This led to the birth of Ishmael – name meaning: “God hears”. However, years passed, and God blessed Sarah and she bore her own son, Issac. One day when Abraham was honouring the wean of Issac (2-3 years old) with a big feast, Sarah caught Ishmael (12-14 yrs old) mocking the service. This made Sarah so furious she wanted both Ishmael and Hagar cast out of the home and into the wilderness! Clearly there had been some pent up jealousy and anger over the years…

But Abraham was not pleased with this idea until God spoke to him. God reassured Abraham that it would be okay and to do whatever Sarah wanted. For He would make great nations from both boys, Issac and Ishmael as they were both Abraham’s sons.

But God said to Abraham,
“Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring. So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

Genesis 21:12-14

God saves Hagar and Ishmael from the wilderness – Genesis 8:15-21

During their journey Hagar’s water skins run dry and panic sets in as they’re about to die. Then, God hears the boy’s cry and sends an angel to help…

And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

Genesis 21:17-19

God is still attentive to Ishmael and Hagar even though it was Ishmael’s disrespectful behaviour that got them kicked out. Keeping His promise to Abraham, God forgives and displays His heart through saving their lives by providing a well of water. This reminds me of Jesus who is referred many times in the Bible as the “living water”, who came to save.

Jesus hears the Samaritan woman.

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

In John chapter four we see Jesus asking (an immoral) Samaritan woman for water by the well. This is out of the norm in this day as traditionally and culturally Jews saw Samaritans as “unclean”. Yet, Jesus begins to show His power by telling her that He knows her. He tells her that she had five different husbands and now is living with a man that is not her husband. There is no way a random Jewish man would know this information if He wasn’t God. The Samaritan woman starts to believe that this man is the Messiah – son of God. Jesus tells her about “living water” which is Him, and that if she would drink water He gives she will never thirst again.

Jesus is the Living Water.

What does it mean to seek Jesus and believe in Him as the living water? It means an eternal satisfaction that no human can produce on their own. Its a gift from God to let go of our sinful ways and to let in His dwelling presence. To say, “I DO”, to Jesus first and foremost. That whatever I do, choose, enjoy, think about will honour that commitment. So my thirst my soul quenches will truly be satisfied once and for all.

The Lord listens the cry of His people.

Both Hagar and the Samaritan woman were saved by water. God sent Hagar a well of water to drink from, saving her from her immediate death. Jesus saved the Samaritan woman as the living water to save her from her eternal death. The connection is God’s redeeming power. Saving us from own destruction despite our sin.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, thank you for being the living water the dwells within my soul. So, my life is not dependant on my own strength or perfection but based upon your loving grace for me.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

1 John 5:14-15

Renew your Mind

Everyday is an opportunity to renew our mind and its a chance we need to take. Otherwise the world will dictate our decisions, ideas and passions far from God’s will for us.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world

Paul, warns Christians not to abide or comply to the standards of the world but by the standards of God. We must recognize what in the world opposes God, so we can discern what’s good.

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind

It’s so easy to conform to a world that is constantly telling us to do whatever makes us happy or feels good. So how do we avoid its temptations – Paul says, with transformation. It’s by the work of the Holy Spirit. Not in our own will or our own mind, but by the work of Christ who does a work within us. However, we don’t wait around for it to just happen, we do our part in allowing transformation to occur.

For example, I used to pray for things “to go away.” “Dear Jesus, “take away this problem, this anger, this anguish.. this situation away from me!” Not a bad prayer, the problem was its focus and my lack of obedience to God. My prayer had intentions of my own will in what I think God should do. God, “take this away from me because I know its best for me”. It was a worldly focus of “I deserve”. The only way to switch perspective was to think in a way that honours God. Transformation occurs through prayer and knowledge of God. Recognizing and honouring the fact that He first loved us. I use scripture to guide my prayers because then I can focus on Him and less on me.

Discern the will of God

The good and peace in my life increases when I am confident in my decision making because I know it lines with the will of God. Despite the outcome and through the testing of my faith, I can trust in Him who works all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

Practical ways to renew your mind:

  1. Use scripture to guide your prayer life – Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
  2. Read the Bible alongside a friend, spouse or group study for community, support and accountability.
  3. Spend time with God to hear His voice. Try writing out your prayers in a journal and read scripture, asking yourself, “how does this passage describe God’s character?”
  4. Check out this great resource to get started in reading your Bible: The Bible Recap.

“If we evict the one true God from our throne of worship, we will replace Him with ourselves. If we are the final source for “our truth,” we can easily make God into our own image instead of the other way around.” – Alisa Childers

Mama Bear Apologetics

This is why renewing your mind is a daily pursuit. We must take advantage of our relationship with God by allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our mind. So we can avoid slipping into a worldview that is “our own”. Instead we need to pursue the God view (the Biblical view) as our own.

Fear of what ifs Vs. Faith of what is

The Battle

I’m not going to fool anyone by saying, “I figured out how to live by faith not fear!” But, I will say, “I’m trying to figure out how to live by faith and not fear”. It’s a continual process and part of being human. Did I mention, I am a mother? Fear is going to be part of raising children. You want them to succeed, avoid danger or avoid any emotional or physical hurt at all – BAH!!! However, life throws hard “stuff” that we aren’t always ready to catch and is impossible to avoid. So, if I want faith to win over fear then I need to understand who’s leading the battle of both. Then with the knowledge of both I can decide (with confidence) why fighting for faith is worth the battle.

The Faith Team – Led by God

Who is God? Well that’s a big question because He’s pretty big, so I’ll attempt to write simply about Him. God is 3 persons in 1 God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), omnipresent, creator and ruler of the world. What about His character? God is just, mighty, love and compassionate. Lastly, God is truth and He made promises for us in the Bible. What are some that I can lean on to bring me faith not fear? God promises eternal life to all who believe in Jesus Christ and repent of their sin. As a Christian and believer of Jesus I do not fear death. God promises He will help me and give me strength. I do not fear my own weakness. He promises He is always with me. I do not fear being alone. God says don’t be anxious about anything. I do not fear my own worries!

What is life with God vs. What is life without him.

Life with God means believing scripture is the truth and being obedient to what He says. I read my Bible because it leads my life and without it I am choosing to live without Him. I want real truth to lead my life so I need to know what He says “is”.

VS.

The Fear Team – Led by Sin

Who is sin? Wait isn’t this a good guy vs bad guy, obvious scenario? Well, if I wrote “the Devil” than yes it would be. No one generally wants to be on the Devil’s team. But writing “sin” is more complicated because the Devil cannot make us sin, but he can tempt us to. So sin can seem desirable, enjoyable and an inviting team. Its a war against our flesh and spirit. So what is sin? Well, simply explaining best I can, sin is anything we idolize above God. For example, its what we do, think or act upon what God hates or does not like. Hmm, that can be a long list, considering we are not perfect. So if sin is evident in us, then how do we fight against its team?

We need to know its strategy…

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

James 1:14-16

Sin is deception

Our culture says truth is anything you believe in your heart is true! Where are the boundaries of good and evil in that? The sin team says, “if you say its good than its good! But fear lives in that because you can never know if that’s really true… so fear is still lives in the, “what if it’s not good for me?” Sin makes false promises to make you think you know better than God.

The sin team says, “do your best in whatever makes you happy!” But fear lives in that too because how do you know what truly makes you happy? Where does happiness come from?! If sin can make you feel “happy” but called evil in the Bible… why do I enjoy sin and sometimes I don’t?

Sin is satisfaction in the moment but detrimental for the long game.

Sin leaves us with no certainty of joy. It’s a hopeless promise into…. “what if” and when your life is on the line that’s just not enough to trust.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

1 John 2:15-17

What team do you trust?

I want to join a team I know I can trust, believe with certainty and helps me mature righteously. Not one I make up on my own. I don’t trust myself… I’ve made a stir-fry once with oyster sauce as its base instead of hoisin sauce. The over saltiness of my dinner was unbearable to eat, a funny example of how I am untrustworthy to lead myself. Living as salt of the world is no good when it loses its essence to enhance flavor – its useless (Matthew 5:13). I am destructive and useless in my own flesh and in need of God who can lead me by His Spirit.

THUS, here is the battle…

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:17

Our flesh (mortal beings) vs. our spirit (eternal beings) are at war. We must set our mind on things above and trust in the Word of God that is true. So God’s word can be the forefront of our mind and not the world’s ideas and falsified fads of “what’s happy this season” which gives no certainty of joy or eternal peace.

The Bible keeps me away from the destruction of my own sin. I read to understand and have a greater knowledge of He who I am following. This in turn renews my mind which gives me peace and joy in my life. Verses fear, which suffocates me – feeding me lies that the joy is in my control or found within me. Thus, there is freedom in faith – which says, its not in your control but by the grace of Jesus Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

Fighting with Faith

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12

What we can control, as Christians, is our faith and how we choose to fight on its team! Each and everyday is an opportunity to renew our mind. It starts through our knowledge of Christ so we can become more like Him who blazed the trail before us.

Lead me God, show me where I lack faith so I can remove the lie of fear that my flesh wants to believe.

Happy Father’s Day!

To my husband, you’re one amazing father/man and I’m glad in life its not “I”, but it’s “we”. Happy Father’s Day!

To my father and all the other dads out there! Especially when we couldn’t believe in ourselves, you were there to believe in us, for us!

Rock Climbing
Harnessed in, fitted boots, up on a wall,
The goal of this venture is not to fall,
Cannot feel my toes. The shoes are too tight,
This is one area I just can’t fight…
Its supposed to hurt – they will gladly say,
Not the words I wanted to hear today…
Trying to mimic a pretzel like fold,
My legs and arms shaking on the first hold!
Why is this fun, is it enjoyable?
I will quit! but that’s unavoidable…
So I will try again to reach the top,
Only to tremble in thought of the drop,
Argh! I must prove I can achieve my best!
Which means putting my doubt aside to rest…
Forgetting the pain, and height and the drop,
I forge forward knowing one day it’ll stop,
Oh I’m close! I can taste it in the air!
Thank-you, you thank, my belayer down there,
You gave me guidance and strength to do it,
Scared, yet you assured me I could do it!

Time and Purpose

Procrastination

Learning something new takes time – this is true,
The reading, thinking, the studying too,
Failure then improvement is how we learn,
Unavoidable, yet a good return,
I know I will find my joy by the end…
As for now, I’ll imagine it instead.

The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.

Ecclesiastes 4:5

Refusing to work only ruins yourself. Don’t allow procrastination or predication of “what might be” stop you from living with daily purpose. Procrastination tells you, “wait for the perfect time” and God tells you, the time is now (2 Corinthians 6:2). We need to trust in God as He is the creator and ruler of time itself, the beginning and the end. We will make ourselves dizzy like a dog chasing his own tail trying to predict the future or wait for the “perfect time”. There is no time for procrastination and predictions. Time is for purpose and that time is now.

He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4

Purpose made simple by Jesus.

Jesus made purpose simple not complicated. It starts with acknowledging that we are all guilty of sin against God’s judgment and in need of a saviour and in knowing this God gave us Jesus.

Jesus (%100 God and %100 man) died on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16-18), which tore the veil between us and God (Matthew 27:51). Signifying that we can now have a direct right relationship with God Himself. Three days after His death, Jesus was resurrected. He seats in heaven, living today and passes along His living Spirit to all who believe (Luke 24:46-48, Romans 8:9-11).

The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is a perfect act of love that I choose to follow. The moment I repented of my sin, asking for forgiveness and accepting Jesus as my saviour – my purpose for life began (Galatians 2:20).

Although my vocation, location and “dreams” change, my purpose remains the same. I glorify God as the Truth, the author and finisher of my life. So whatever work I choose to do or whatever life throws at me – I do it with the intentional purpose of giving God the Glory because He gifted me hope through salvation and eternal life.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Time and purpose found in God.

Who created all?
Do we have a call?
Does it just depend?
Who stands in the end?

Striving to win, always getting ahead,
Complaining as we lie our heads to bed,
Just to beat someone else in a moment,
No one wins – everyone’s an opponent.

Only to circle back losing the trail,
Like a dog chasing his own stubborn tail.
The status, fame, followers and fortune,
And then your gone, alone and forgotten,
Wondering, what or whom shall you live for?
It’s God, who knows you, made you, long before.

With questions and answers – this sets us free,
No one can enjoy life apart from He.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

We do not have to live life on our own. Placing our hope upon things in this earth – as everything is fleeting and a “chasing after the wind”. I think now, is a perfect time to understand your life’s purpose.

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“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands!”

Psalm 90:17

Handling our Emotions

Take every thought captive

Urged to respond based upon my emotions, I remembered this verse, “take every thought captive”, 2 Corinthians 10:5. We are to examine each thought that races through our minds and look at it with intent. I notice why I feel this way and ask myself, does this response please the person or please me? Emotions are good indicators of how our hearts feel but reacting without examining them can be destructive instead of constructive.

“Emotions are like toddlers, they’re fun, but you wouldn’t put them in charge.”

Mama Bear Apologetics

God’s counsel

Another verse that comes to mind, when I think about how to appropriately respond based on my emotion is: “count others more significant than yourselves”, Philippians 2:3. Do my emotions want to prove my own right or show love for others? More often than not, we skip the step of quieting ourselves and asking the question WHY? Why do these feelings bubble up so strongly? We need the Word of God, the Bible, to inform, instruct and counsel. To make us wise in our emotionally driven lives.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Psalm 32:8

Poem

emotions
Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Emotions are high and low, but they don’t run the show.
Emotions are up and down, but I still stand my ground.
Indicators of the mind, what my heart lies behind.
I must take the time to stop, so the wisdom can drop.
I take every thought captive, so I am adaptive.
Living well with Christ in me, obedience is key.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

Proper Footwear

God gave me a dream about the importance of wearing proper footwear. I hope it inspires and gives you hope like it did for me too!

The dream:

Whilst in the water, I looked down at my feet and I was wearing footwear. I asked my surfing instructor, “why am I wearing shoes on a surfboard, don’t most people go barefoot”? The instructor replied, “yes, but this will help you have traction and stability on the board”.

Dream Interpretation

After I wrote down my dream I prayed and asked the Lord for its meaning. Then I started thinking about spiritual warfare and the armour of God. So I read Ephesians 6:10-17 and came across verse 15 about our feet being “fitted with the readiness that comes from gospel of peace”. Reflecting upon my dream, the obvious factor are surfers don’t wear shoes so the symbolism in that came obvious to me. I have allowed the waves of fear and worry to push me off my “board” or path. Instead I need to be stable in my faith, with gospel fitted footwear, so I can ride the waves instead of letting them crash over me.

It’s all about the proper footwear

Whenever I embark on a new sport or outdoor activity my first reaction is, “what’s the proper footwear”? I want to excel at what I am learning and not waste my time with improper gear. For example, I know what my feet need in a shoe to perform well on the basketball court because of my years of experience. But when my husband introduced me to rock climbing I had no clue what my feet needed. Turns out rock climbing shoes are a lot LESS comfortable than a cushioned basketball sole. However, the tight fit of a rock climbing shoe was important in manoeuvring up and around a rock wall. Proper footwear doesn’t always seem comfortable at first, but with trust in its purpose it can help maximize performance.

Spiritual proper footwear

As Christians we need to have this same mentality when we walk in our faith. Are we wearing the proper footwear to best suit our spiritual quest? When we read Ephesians 6:10-17 we learn about the armour of God. As part of the armour of God, footwear is part of the spiritual gear.

“…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

Ephesians 6:15

My faith is in the Gospel of peace because then I am protected, supported and able to stand strong. I’m agile in my faith – ready to move in any direction. I fasten up my gospel shoes each morning because I know Jesus is the peace I stand on. Fully prepared and ready to move so wherever I go I can share the good news. I trust in the purpose of the Gospel and fasten it under my feet to be ready for anything that shakes my path.

Unlike buying a shoe at a store, the gospel shoe has already been purchased on our behalf. It is gift to receive. The peace of Jesus is a gift for anyone to receive.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”.

Ephesians 2:8

Unlike a shoe where its purpose is for one thing, the gospel shoe has purpose in all things. So trust in your fitted gospel feet – the first shoe you should be putting on to start your day!

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Isaiah 52:7

Race like You Mean it

A Poem by: Emily Aspinall

How I am to drive, starts and ends with Him.
Every thought and action with every limb.

In-between it all, I choose to follow.
For a victory that is not hollow.

Painted lines on course, keeps me on the straight.
Although narrow, it secures my end fate.

Yet many will not make it, I still race.
Set backs, I pit stop, to recharge my pace.

Never giving up, I drive for the prize.
Already obtaining it keeps me wise.

In passion and fear of going off course.
Like good engineering, He fuels my force.

In control, suited up, I drive with ease.
I’m racing for Him who qualifies me.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27