How Big is God?

I stumbled upon this blog post today that has been sitting in my draft since 2013. Thought it was about time to post it. ;) What a good reminder that God is as big as I need Him to be.

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A few weeks ago or so, I was listening to a podcast from Christ for the Nations Institute. In this podcast, Kari Jobe was teaching on Worship. Kari Jobe is one of my favorite Worship leaders! In this particular session, she mentions a story of this young boy (4 years old) who asked his father in the car one day, “How big is God?”. Then he asked “Is He as big as the trees?”.
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Normally, parents might just give an answer to the effect of “God holds the whole world in His hands”. But this father didn’t want to answer his son that way. He wanted to give him an answer that he could really comprehend and understand at his age. So, he began to ask God how to answer his son. This can be somewhat of a daunting question. How do you explain how big God is to a little 4 year old boy?

God spoke to this father and told him: “I am as big as he needs Me to be”.

For this little boy, at 4 years old, the trees looked really big. That’s as big as he could probably comphrehend. Can you see the awe and amazement on his face, when he looked out the car window and saw a big tree and thought about how God was bigger than that tree? At the time Kari told this story, the boy was 6 years old. At 6 years old, the trees wouldn’t seem as big as they did at 4. So, now, maybe the mountains looked really big or as she said a roller coaster. It was something, though, that this boy could understand.

I loved this when I first heard it because God is as big as I need Him to be. I know that may not sound very profound, but it’s this thought that whatever is going on in our lives, mountain high or valley low, God is as big as we need Him to be. That can be comforting. That’s one of the things I love about Praise and Worship. It gets my eyes off of me and what’s going on in my life and puts my gaze back on Jesus where I realize once again how big He is and remember who He is.

Let this be a reminder and a fresh revelation for you that whatever is going on in your life, God is as big as you need Him to be.

Redefine Singleness

What is your life about? What is your aim? Are you filled with purpose? Are you filled with destiny? 

Or are you walking a road marked with loneliness? Are you finding yourself empty, contending that there has to be more? Are you looking for affection and affirmation from romantic relationships that leave you brokenhearted and dejected? 

Dating has become a cultural phenomenon where singleness is defined as a curse and a void to be filled. Singleness is viewed as a lack thereof rather than a time devoted to grounding ourselves in an intimate relationship with Jesus and running in pursuit of the calling and purpose of God on our life.

The value of our heart and the value of singleness has become so trivialized and minimized that this generation throws themselves into one relationship after another striving to fill the emptiness and find the affirmation their souls long for.

Nothing will quench that thirst more than when you are filled with the purpose and destiny of God in your life.

 I am not one to just date around. The value I have for that relationship and the weight it carries for my life is to high to throw around to any man. But I am still a normal 20 something year old that at times, especially as I get older, longs for that relationship- for marriage, to live the calling of God on my life with my future husband. I have even found myself at times in recent years in a place where that longing drove me to emptiness, despair, and frustration because I wanted it so bad and couldnt have it right then. In those moments, my longing and my focus was misplaced and that was never God’s intention for me.

 It recently occured to me that the thirst is no more quenched and satisfied than when God infuses me again with His purposes and destiny on my life, in what He is doing in my life right now. It is then that it doesn’t matter to me anymore whether I have a man or not- it becomes irrelevant when His calling on my life, the prophetic destiny I have, and the giftings He is beginning to release in my life are staring me in the face. I don’t “need” a man when I am filled with that.

I would encourage you that if you find youself in a cycle of empty relationships and walking in lonliness and despair because you are single, to get alone with God and let Him infuse in you a sense of purpose and destiny. Discover or even rediscover His calling on your life and the giftings and anointings He has placed on you and inside of you and go after it. 

You dont have to live empty anymore. You dont have to date around to fill the void or because it is the cultural thing to do. You don’t have to walk around with this unsatisfied nagging sense of lonliness and aching desire for a boyfriend or girlfriend, or husband or wife.

Moreover, your own completeness is only realised in him – Col 2:10 (AMP)

Redefine singleness in your life. Let it be no longer defined as a lack thereof but be defined as a purpose filled pursuit of Jesus and everything He has for you. 

…God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel… – 2 Timothy 1:8-10 (ESV)

Your life starts now…for such a time as this. 

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The brokenness of the path causes my feet to stumble
The thorns piercing my flesh, the trees hide the light
I just don’t understand this rugged path sometimes
No left way to turn, none to the right
Just this one I’m on that is ever before me
This long and dreary road fills me with so many questions
But not enough answers to quench my thirst
I’m hungry for more, a new path immersed with new sights
New sounds, new adventures that make certain a new season has arrived
But it’s always the same, the haunting whispers and whirling wind
The teasing rain of possibility that so abruptly disappears
And I’m left with a fog that follows me and taunts my view
Begging the questions of when, why, and how
It leaves me breathless, bending under the weight of disappointment
Everything that I don’t understand, piercing the very depth
But I can’t let go of now what I have so dearly clung to all the while
Those seeds I will sow into the very ground that brought the rain and the fog
For in due time, farther down this trodden path, the flowers will bloom
And the time of singing will come that will dawn a new season

It’s More Than A Statement

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:20 (ESV)

It is more than a statement. It is a promiseJesus is Emmanuel- “God WITH us”. God is not a man that He should lie. Jesus’ Name is Faithful and True. If He makes a promise to you, He has every intention of fillfilling the promise. The Bible is full of stories of God fulfilling His promises to mankind.

Matthew 28:20 are words in red. Spoken from the Son of God and Man Himself. I love that it was not simply something He spoke through Paul or Peter or even John. But a promise directly from Himself.

He did not say:

“I will be with you only when everything is going good”

“I will be with you only when you get things right.”

“I will be with only when you are on the mountaintop”

“I will be with you only when you can feel Me”

But that’s how we live some of the times. Wondering where He is when we are struggling or hurting. Leaning on our emotions feeling like God has abandoned or forsaken us in the darkness.

Jesus said He would be with us always even to the end of the age.

He will be with us through it all. All of the ups and down. Through all of the struggles and victories. Through all of the questions and doubts. Every bit of it…even the messy parts. All the way to the end.

He wants to go on this journey of life with you. Whatever season of life you are in, He is with you and He is near you. By faith believe that. By faith take hold of it. It’s a promise.

And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:20 (The Voice)

When You Don’t Know What To Pray….

In those intense moments when you don’t know what to pray, when you don’t have the strength to pray, when you don’t have the words to pray

Pray the Word of God.

It is the most powerful words you can pray. Words directly from the mouth of God. Go to the Psalms.

The Psalms will put words to your heart. It will put words to the sighs. It will put words to your emotions. It will put words to the silence.

Let it be your prayer. Let it be your anthem.

The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. He holds you firmly in place…He who keeps you will never take His eyes off you and never drift off to sleep. The Eternal keeps you safe, so close to Him that His shadow is a cooling shade to you.” – Psalms 121:2-3, 5

“For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. The depths of the earth are in His hand, and the mountain peaks are His. The sea is His; He made it. His hands formed the dry land. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care.” Psalms 95: 3-5, 7

Take hold

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It was during a time that I was stressing about something- I believe it was about my social work licensure exam. On my way home one night, it was like this revelation dawned one me and I was like “Peace is my inheritance”. I am a daughter of God and one of the benefits of being in the kingdom is Peace. I’ve learned before that sometimes you have to fight for your peace. This time I was learning that it is what I am called to and is my inheritance. I wanted my peace!

I started reading Matthew 11:25-30.

“At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[g] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

On the way to pick up the girls from school (I work at a group home), I began meditating on this “take my yoke”. It is interesting language. It’s not a passive wait-for-it-to-happen moment. Grammatically, “take” is an action verb. Sometimes you have to take hold. How do you take hold?

Be still.

As the psalmist said, “Be still and know that He is God.” Sometimes to get rest, you have to rest. It’s that moment where you get before God and be still recognizing who He is:

Be still and know that He is faithful.
Be still and know that He is in you and with you.
Be still and know that He is high above it all.
Be still and know that He is seated on the throne.
Be still and know that He is the immovable Rock.

On and on…

As you sit before God, full attention on Him, gaze fixed on Him, declaring and reminding yourself of who He is, peace and rest will flood your soul. Just breathe and soak it in. The principle to this is that it take your eyes and your mind off of what is going on around you and puts it back on God. It gives you Heavenly perspective. For we are seated in heavenly places with Jesus (Eph 2).

That’s one of the reasons why I believe praise is such a weapon. Praise puts your eyes on God and strengthens your spirit. There are times when I can walk into church bent over about something going on in my life, and when we sing “Great I am”, my eyes get refocused back on God and I remember how big and powerful He is, and I leave standing.

So, as I was on my way to pick up the girls from school, peace came as I began to be still and know that He is God and declared who He is. I took hold and found peace and rest.

It is your inheritance. It is a benefit of being in the kingdom. Take hold!

Until They Believe It

Kidnapped. Scared. Clinging to hope that mom and dad would discover a way to find them. Against all odds, they stood their ground. Lead by their captors, they walk into an empty room. They are firmly told to stand in rows. They scurry along and form about three rows- standing one next to the other, not even arms length apart. Fear floods their faces, uncertainty of what is about to happen. Quickly, their captors hand each child a paper, and they are to read what is on this paper. Over…and over…and over. All at once, a sound erupts as the group of children read the few sentences their enemy wrote. It went something like this:

Boy 1: “My dad cannot help me.”
Girl: “My mom will never find me.”
Boy 2: “My dad is the president. He cannot find me.”

An assistant to the mastermind behind the children’s captivity, asked the Mastermind, “How long do we make them do this?”
And the Mastermind calmly replied, “Until they believe it.”

*a scene from a tv show*
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“But what people say with their mouths comes from the way they think…” – Matthew 15:18

We all have an Enemy. An Enemy who knows our vulnerabilities, who knows how to manipulate and exploit. He knows our identity. He has seen our ultimate destination, our inheritance. He has seen the face of the One whose eyes are like flames of fire and whose face outshines the sun in all of its strength. He has been in the presence of the One that spoke creation into being and upholds the universe by just the word of His power. And he hates it all. He hates you. In crafty, strategic action, he prowls around to attack those who he fears. He is out to make war.

The Bible says that there is the power of life and death in the tongue. I, also, believe that there is the power of life and death in our thought life. The two are linked in a perpetual cycle- whether for good or bad. What you meditate on is what you will come to believe, and therefore it is what you will speak. What you consistantly speak is what you will dwell on. The more you talk about it, the deeper the roots will go and those things will start to dominate your thoughts.

The Enemy comes and sows a thought into your mind. If you don’t take the thought captive, you will internalize it and begin to dwell on it. You constantly rehearse it in your mind. It’s what comes out of your mouth. Even in the secret place it dominates your conversation. The Enemy knows that if you read the paper he has written for you enough times, you will begin to believe it. It doesn’t have to be true. If you repeat it enough times, it will become your truth.

Many people live in such captivity because of the things they think and the way they speak. They rehearse the lies the Enemy spoke to them. They dwell on a situation that occurred that left them deeply wounded and misunderstood. It becomes a destructive cycle.

Sometimes, we are one thought away from breakthrough. One declaration away from freedom. If we would change the way we talk and stop rehearsing the wounds, stop rehearsing the lies, and start speaking who God is, declaring the Word of God, filling our inner dialogue with truth, we would find a greater level of freedom. If we would take those thoughts captive, filling our minds with the Word of God, meditating on scripture and the character of God, setting our minds on things above, we would find life filling our bones again. Restoration in all its glory.

It may seem so simple, but it is the the most powerful and liberating thing that you can do. Sometimes, it can be a fight, but if you press through, it will change your life!

“…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” – Romans 12:2

The Reality of Two Realms

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A: I am alone.
B: No, you’re not. Jesus is always with you. He will never forsake you.

This is how the conversation goes. Someone confides in another person that they feel alone- walking through life alone, fighting battles alone, ect. And the “Church-y” response is to instinctively reply with how that is not true because Jesus will always be by their side.

Are they alone? Are they not alone? My answer would be yes.

As Christians, we live in two realms: the Natural and the Supernatural. Until Jesus comes back, these two realities cannot fully be integrated as only one realm. We live horizontally (earthly realm) and vertically (supernatural realm where God dwells). Horizontally, we live in a world where we interact and relate with people on a daily basis. It is a part of our lives on earth and a major part of our existence.

As the Church, somehow we have developed this easy, pseudo-fix-it-all answer to the statement posed in the beginning. But we must remember that we live in two realities- one is not void of the other.

Is that person truly alone? yes. Is that person truly not alone? yes. The world we live in is a very real and yet fallen world. It is not unlikely that someone may have “fallen through the cracks” or not have a close knit community of friends. If someone is saying they are alone, do not be quick to consider that statement as false. If they feel this way, correct or incorrect as it may be, it is a very real reality for them.

Likewise, it is true that Jesus is always with them and will never leave them or forsake them. In that sense, they are never alone; however, we cannot neglect the physical realm we live in everyday to impose our spiritually solution based answer to the issue expressed. It is not that easy. We were made by God for earthly relationships. This cannot entirely be substituted with the fact that Jesus is always with us. We were not made to live this life independent of relationship with people. God wants a family.

That is not to say that you shouldn’t remind them and assure them of God’s commitment to them to never leave them or forsake them. Just don’t forget to address the natural issue present.

A Message of Hope: Part 2

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To me, the greatest expression of hope is in the Christmas story. Over 400 years after the book of Malachi, the appointed time had finally come. Jesus came down into our world and was born in a stable. When we were destitute, dead in our trespasses, Jesus came. When we were enemies of God, reveling in our sin, Jesus came. The Hope of the world. He didn’t wait until we got our act together. He didn’t wait until we cleaned ourselves up nice. He came down into our mess, right into the darkness. He stepped right into our brokenness and weakness and fulfilled the long, awaited promise of restoration and redemption. In this, He shows us that there is nothing that we can do, no distance we can run, and nothing we can walk through, where Hope will not invade our situation.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.” – Psalms 43:5

Jesus, Himself, said “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). The tense of the verb in “I am making” is present progressive which indicates something is continuous. It expresses something that is currently happening, not something that just happened in the past. This tense is only used with what is called dynamic verbs which are verbs “that show qualities capable of change”. When you make something, it is in a constant state of change until you get your end result. We are the clay in the hands of the Potter who is making us into something beautiful. Through our journey, in every step, he is making us new. He hasn’t given up on us. He doesn’t become indifferent to our struggles or our pain. Those things impassion Him. He will turn it around for our good and for His glory.  This verse can, also, be read as: “Behold, I am continuously making all things new”. He has a way of rewriting our story. No matter how hard, no matter how deep the valley, where you’re at is not the end.

There is Hope! Be filled with hope today.

“May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope.” -Romans 15:13

A Message of Hope: Part 1

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Reading through the prophesies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel for the last few months, one thing I continuously notice is how God will decree judgment and destruction on Israel and Judah and then at the end say “…but there will come a time when I will restore you”(paraphrased). He tells them of their sin, abominations, and the impending wrath of God- how He will utterly destroy them and the land will be left desolate- but then He leaves them with a glimmer of hope. A remnant will remain, and there is a time coming when He will restore them and restore their fortunes.

What hope there is for us in that! For in our darkest times, he will restore us. In every struggle, in every wound, in every trial, in every valley, when everything looks bleak, He’s there saying “I know where you are at. I see what you’re going through. There is a time coming when I will restore you”. When the tempest rises, and you feel beaten down, and your soul is wounded, He whispers “I will restore you”. He will never leave us in the fire of a trial or the shadows of the valley.

Micah Wood, an influential speaker from The Ramp in Hamilton, Alabama, defines hope as “the simple belief that things can change.” Hope believes that things can and will change. There is hope that it will not always be this way. The earth is made of up seasons that constantly change- Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter (unless you live in the south- then it is just Summer and Winter:). It’s one of God’s expressions of the promise of Hope. It will come to pass. It will not always be the bitter cold of winter for Spring is coming with the fresh smell of flowers blooming again.