Tag Archives: Hillsong

Believing Is Not About The Outcome

I used to struggle a great deal about this believing business. Mostly because my expectations and outcomes didn’t always match up with what I was believing for.

It is easy to say to someone, “You need to trust God.”

Oh yes, that part is easy!

building trust and believingBut, if our trust is tied to our beliefs for a certain kind of outcome, and then things seem to go haywire?

Then what are we supposed to do?

Was our believing at fault?

Should we have prayed more fervently?

Isn’t my faith supposed to move mountains?

I used to stumble over these questions wondering if there was something faulty with my faith, or my praying, or my believing, until I realized one day that I kept making a very strategic wrong turn in my understanding.

I began to see that if my beliefs were based on my expectations for a certain outcome, and if that was the foundation for my trust, I would always struggle—because my expectations were so often wrong.

I needed a better basis for my trusting.

And then I saw it!

The “wrong turn” I kept making was right here:

Jesus said in John 6:29John 6:29
English: World English Bible - WEB

29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

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, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

I needed to put my confidence and trust in who Jesus had proved Himself to be, not in what He would do for me—or not do for me.

My trust couldn’t stand on my outcomes.

No, my trust had to be based on who Jesus said He was—period.

The Bible says over and over, “We live by faith, not by sight.” [2 Corinthians 5:72 Corinthians 5:7
English: World English Bible - WEB

7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

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walk by faithThe reality of this world is that sometimes bad things happen even if all of our faith is in good outcomes.

Therefore, if my faith and trust are to survive the storms of this life, then there will be times when I must trust in what I can’t see.

walking with JesusI must learn to “walk” with stability in the unseen with my trust based solely in the One God sent.

He is my Cornerstone.

If my confidence is in Him, and my trust is built solely on the character of God’s goodness, then no matter what the outcome to my faith, prayers, and believing—my TRUST will stand on a firm foundation.

Seeds for Trust #2:

believing for God's outcome

 

Never Losing the Light: Billowing Dust Beneath His Feet

terrors of cycloneI AM in every storm child.
Let that sink in…

(Selah.)

My word says,

“He shows His power in the terrors of the cyclone and the raging storms; clouds are the billowing dust beneath His feet.” (Nahum 1:3Nahum 1:3
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 Yahweh is slow to anger, and great in power, and will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. Yahweh has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

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)

I re-arrange things by storm.

Is that not My sovereign right as Creator of it all?

Remember child, storms not only wreak havoc, they bring blessing.

I know it never seems that way at first—but, think. The fiercer the storm, the more stable everything becomes—afterward.

storm downed treeThe loose, the flimsy, the decayed, these are all removed.

Only that which:
First, is firmly rooted,
Second, with solid foundations…
⦁ Will remain steadfast and standing after the hurricane has swept by—yes?

The aftermath of storms causes everything to be re-evaluated.

Is this not a blessing in disguise?

It is the same in your life. The storm tests everything; removes the flimsy, and brings a re-evaluating.

tested by stormsThe lovely by-product is that you tend to run and embrace Me tighter than ever in a storm.

This is also a blessing in disguise.

(Well, disguised for you… not Me.)

Yes, all in all, I find great satisfaction in the storm.

I AM a Creator. I AM forever making things new. Storms are merely My servants. I send them to accomplish My will.

Your storms will save you child.

stormy seas

“My mercy and justice are coming soon; your salvation is on the way”

Isaiah 51:5Isaiah 51:5
English: World English Bible - WEB

5 My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone forth, and my arms shall judge the peoples; the islands shall wait for me, and on my arm shall they trust.

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C S Lewis quote

A Closer Walk: No Turning Back

This is one of my favorite things about God: He never wastes words. God can pack more punch, in less space, than the finest writers who have ever lived.

“Decide.”

On that one little word hung everything in my future.

I had come to some sort of fork in the road with God… and I knew it.

I remembered reading somewhere once, “The Lion of Judah is a WILD lion. Every time you try to cage Him, He will break loose in your life, and do the unexpected.”

The Lion of Judah

Was that what I had tried to do—cage God?

When I looked the idea square in the eye, it did seem ridiculous, in the extreme.

Did I still want the things I had prayed for?

Those things had sounded so wonderful when I had asked God for them. Healing hearts, encouraging the hopeless, gathering the broken, it had all sounded so good. But this road I found myself on was not the kind of road I had expected we would take to do all of that.

I hated what had happened.

Now there it was, the honest naked truth.

I was feeling like I had been mauled by that Wild Lion.

(That was honest, too.)

No head-faking-bull… that was our deal.

My heart felt frozen staring at my choices… my mind was reeling.

crossroads decisionWe used to sing a song at the church I served at. Every time someone was baptized and they would go down into the water, they would come up to the sounds of the church singing, “I have decided to follow Jesus… no turning back… no turning back.”

No turning back.

Yes, in my heart, I knew I was at a crossroads.

Whichever road I chose there would be no turning back.

From this point forward everything would be different…

(And it terrified me.)

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THE PATH

Child, seeing what you see now? Knowing what you know now? Would you forsake all your shame and suffering, and go back to that place of soft easy pleasure?

You have counted some of the cost to follow Me…

the right pathWould you change course; would you do things differently, if you could?

Before you go forward, these are questions you must honestly ask yourself.

Search your heart.

Think long and hard.

The path you’ve chosen is not an easy one. There are many stones along the way; jagged and cutting. There are briars and thorns. It is a narrow way, too. Many places along this path are wide enough for only two ~ you and I.

difficult paths & higher callings

I have been sifting you. (You already know this.) But, the time is fast approaching when I will begin to sift My Church.

(You will be more alone than ever.)

Can you… will you… still go with Me?

We have to decide this now, together.

What sets your soul on fire?

I have to know that you have looked at the danger and hardship, square in the face, and chosen freely, knowing what is to come.

You know Me well enough now to know that I will never leave you.

(I need to know the same about you.)

Make your choice.

a closer walk“It was by faith that Moses… refused to be treated as the grandson of the king, but chose to share ill-treatment with God’s people… he thought it was better to suffer…” Hebrews 11:24-26Hebrews 11:24-26
English: World English Bible - WEB

24 By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to share ill treatment with God’s people, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time; 26 accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

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Never Losing the Light: Desperate Faith

caught in stormWhen I look at you I see a magnificent ship caught up in a desperate and fierce gale; broken mast; tattered sails; but still afloat!

This hurricane you’ve sailed into has brought it’s damage for sure. I would never deny what you have endured.

But… you are carrying such a rich cargo!

No wonder the enemy has tried to sink you.

I know there were times you thought he would.

Never mind—doubt arising is not a sin.

(You have been mistaken about that.)

There are dark clouds of doubt in every storm.

dark clouds of doubt

The sin is in surrendering to them.

When the dark clouds of doubt surround you, you must listen for My footsteps. You must cry out for My aid. I will come bringing the Light of My word to guide you through the darkness.

Listen child. (hush) Be quiet now.

I AM coming, walking upon the waves of your storm, and when the time is right?

When patience has perfected you?

I will still the storm, never fear.

Doubt not Sweetheart, My love and care for you have not changed.

The storm has it’s purpose.

Lean on Me.

I AM your strength, remember?

I AM carefully observing all that is happening.

Nothing is beyond My righteous reach—nothing.

desperate faith

The damage you see is not as devastating as it looks.

Keep your eyes on Me.

Believe what you behold there.

I love your desperate faith.

(Really I do.)


we are all desperate

 

 

“Listen to Me, My people; listen O Israel, for I will see that right prevails… “

Isaiah 51:4Isaiah 51:4
English: World English Bible - WEB

4 Attend to me, my people; and give ear to me, my nation: for a law shall go forth from me, and I will establish my justice for a light of the peoples.

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A Closer Walk: Closet Control Freak

closet control freakI always believed, “I am NOT a closet control freak—I am a person of order.” A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s my motto. Chaos of mind or situation is NOT my thing. I have been accused many times of being a control freak, and to some of that I plead guilty, but guilty with good reason.

(She said smiling.)

I grew up in chaos, so I learned early in life, that if I was going to have any sense of peace or order I would have to create it myself.

my messy life

I have tried to come to some sort of truce with myself about all of this; to “give myself a break” because a child does the best they can with what life hands them, and sometimes—the coping mechanisims that were our friends in childhood—become our enemies in adulthood.

Ah, but giving them up… there’s the rub!

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with an orderly life. There’s actually a scripture that calls for us to live that way.

Again, the difficulty is that many times chaos in life is not the exception, it is the norm. Life, especially in our day and times, is full of unexpected catastrophes of endless variety. Control is only a cherished illusion. Much as I hate it, it is a truth that must be faced with honesty—but also with faith and hope.

Yeah, life goes crazy on us, but though we must acknowledge that we are not in control of anything, we can still place our faith and hope in a God who is in control of everything.

faith NOT fear(Selah?)

So, if God is in total control, then why did He allow my disaster to happen you might ask?

And to that, I give you one key word: AGENDA.

We have an agenda for our lives, but God has His, and when our agenda collides with His, well guess who wins every, single, time?

God is in control

I like what John Koessler said about agendas,

Jesus is an equal opportunity disappointer. Jesus was a disappointment, not only for people like those of Nazareth, where they drove Him out of the synagogue and tried to throw Him off a cliff, because He wouldn’t perform miracles for them, but for people in Korazin and Bethsaida, where He did perform miracles. Jesus was a disappointment to friends and foes alike… we are disappointed with Jesus because we do not see what He is really doing. It turns out that we have been laboring under a major misapprehension. Jesus came for us, but that does not mean He came to please us. Jesus came for us, but He does not answer to us. Jesus came for us, but He will not subject Himself to our agenda, no matter how good that agenda might be. Instead, Jesus demands that we submit ourselves to His agenda.   (Why Jesus Always Disappoints)

When I talk to others (like myself) who are struggling with disillusionment and disappointment with God, there is this reoccurring issue; this matter of control—God’s agenda vs. ours.

Oh, we don’t come right out and say that we think we know better than an Omniscient God. But scratch the surface of our best Christian facade, and you will find a closet control freak, fighting to get out.

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IT’S NOT MAN’S WAY

I know how much you hate it ~ being weak.

You want to conquer this thing you’re struggling with.

You want to be in control again, yes?

God in control

No… but “No.” with an explanation.

Listen My dear child, if strength were the best thing for you right now, would I not give it? You know I always do the best thing for your growth and perfection. (But, My definition of perfection, not yours.)

You want to be perfect—I want to: perfect.

(It’s not what you wanted Me to say.)

I know.

But you know Love does the best thing, not necessarily the easiest thing.

God in our ruins

(Yes, you’re right.)

It would be easy to give you this thing you’ve requested.

But, do you want the dream your way?

Do you know what the cost would be, to yourself, to others?

Do you want this dream to be less than it could be?

These are questions only you can answer. To be perfected from suffering you must yield to it ~ not clench your fists and stiffen your neck. You decide if you want everything you have asked Me for.

God's mission: partnership

I’ll wait right here, as I have been, since this tug-of-war started between us.

You must decide, whether you are to be powerful, or I AM to be powerful in you.

This is the way My Kingdom works.

It’s not man’s way, it’s Mine, Decide.”

a closer walk

 

“…No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.”

2 Corinthians 12:92 Corinthians 12:9
English: World English Bible - WEB

9 He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.

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A Closer Walk: I’ve Always Been A Dreamer

little dreamerI guess I’ve always been a dreamer.

As a little girl I dreamed of being a ballerina, a cowboy, the captain on a submarine… (Yes, I was a tomboy.)

But as I grew older my dreams changed.

I began to realize as I matured that a dream was something more intangible; something that would feed my soul and give wings to my spirit. I realized that a God-given-dream was more about a becoming; fufilling destined purpose; and less about having great achievements.

A question and a truth began to dawn, whispering that I was created to fulfill a niche—one custom-made for me alone.

I wish I could say the answer to this “niche question” found me right away, but actually, rather than a grand “Ah-Ha!” moment, for me it was a very slow sort of awakening. One that took many years—although I did have one small momentary breakthrough—when I was thirteen.

I had been given a creative writing assignment.

young writer

My English teacher was using one of those canned courses where you are told exactly what to write and how. Much too tame and restrictive for me, I decided I would CREATE a story of my own; one that I made up.

(I thought I was being so independent and brave!)

The next day, expecting a good scolding, imagine my astonishment when my teacher announced to the class that she had one story she wanted to read out loud.

english teacher

She lifted my paper and my words poured out in life-affirming music.

When she was finished reading she simply said, “I think this student will someday be a writer.”

A Writer.

She thought I should be a Writer?

The idea had never entered my mind, but it was too late now, the dream-seed had been planted, and then it was buried for many dark and difficult years.

dreamer's doorIt wasn’t until my fifth decade that the lost and long forgotten little dream-seed began to push back the darkness and reach for The Light.

Again, it happened quite unexpectedly during another very ordinary day.

I was in the middle of a ten-year-wilderness-march, caring full-time for my mother. Our relationship had always been difficult; strained since my early childhood. Nevertheless, I was the one elected by uninamous family-ballot to be her full-time caregiver, a “job” I had promised myself I would never, ever, do.

When God first told me I was to leave the city I loved, all my friends I loved, and the job I loved, and return to the place I had said I would never return to?

I shouted at the Lord.

Yep, total transparency, remember?

I shouted that such a move would be, “… like being buried alive!” And, it was.

Such is the circuitous route of a God-given-dream and the unfathomable ways of The Dream-Maker, until one day like someone in a fairytale, my awakening came.

It literally began in the form of a wake-up call.

Our phone rang, and I heard my aunt’s voice, sobbing. She was re-reading some of my old letters that she had tucked away in her bible.

She was recounting to me what I had written to her—but I wasn’t listening.

finding lost dream

Instead, in one of those very surreal-kind-of-deja-vu-moments, I held my breath as that thirteen-year-old girl and her dream awoke.

Rubbing Rip-Van-Winkle-sleep from her eyes, she sat up, stretching arms to the sky. Eyes wide and blinking, she turned to look at me, and smiled…

And I in turn, looked up into the vast blue sky—into the face of a God—that I knew was smiling too.

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IT TAKES TIME

I know how difficult it is waiting for Me.

I know, too, how it tries the soul and twists the heart.

(I know.)

You think I AM uncaring; unconcerned to let you wait so long.

(You think I don’t know everything that goes on in that mind of yours?)

But ask yourself,

“Do you want visions and dreams picked too soon like unripe fruit?”

Would I be a loving and responsible parent if I gave you responsibilities you are not yet prepared for? You are focused on the one final product ~ the promise possessed; the vision a reality. I on the other hand, am focused on you. You are My primary concern and always will be. It is your becoming that holds My rapt attention… yes, what you are in the process of becoming.

I wish I could tell you that you could get what you want by a wave of the hand, or a twitch of the nose, but those are fairy stories. The dreams and visions I have for you are very real. Encourage yourself with this Truth: “One day…”

I tell you, the day is coming when all I have whispered into your spirit will come to pass. I AM not called: Promiser. I AM called: DELIVERER!

You are never out of My care, whether you are waiting from the backside of the desert, or a prison cell; whether you are one hundred years old like Abraham, or a small child like Samuel.

Your times are in My hands.

All is well.

It takes TIME to make a dream come true, but come they do

One day.

a closer walkOne day as Moses was tending the flock… suddenly the Angel of Jehovah appeared to him as a flame of fire in a bush.”

Exodus 3:1-2Exodus 3:1-2
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to God’s mountain, to Horeb. 2 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

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