A Future and a Hope

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
– ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬‬ NLT

No matter where we are or what we are going through, it is important to realize that God has a beautiful plan for our future. He promises that His plans will enrich our lives. That we will flourish. Through our faith in Him, we have hope.

But how do I know what  this big plan for my life is? How do I know if I’m doing what God has planned for me?

– Start by praying. Ask God to reveal his plan for your life.
– Open your eyes to what is going on around you. God has placed you there for a reason.
– Continue praying. You may not be immediately enlightened after one prayer. Keep praying, and ask God to help you follow His plan.
– Spend time with God every day. Go to church. Join a Bible study group. Read the Bible. Follow a reading plan. Pray. Make it a habit to bring him into your day.
– Try to live your life like Christ every minute of every day. Look for opportunities to share His love with every step you take. Even if you can’t see the “Big Picture” of His plan for you, you know that you are on the right path if you think this way.
– Hope. It’s a part of His plan. Wherever you find yourself, let this hope anchor you and keep you holding onto Him.

Lord, I know that you created me for a purpose. Please help me discover your plan for me.
Amen

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Apart from Him I can do nothing

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
– ‭‭John‬ ‭15:5‬‬ NIV

God wants us to remain in relationship with Him, not just call out to him when we have a problem and then go back to living life, as usual. At times, we think it’s enough to say a quick prayer in the morning, and then run off to get busy with a full day of the “stuff” that life throws at us. But we have to keep His word in our mind continually, His love in our heart consistently, and His spirit in our soul constantly. Our relationship with God must be ongoing – just as our relationships with people require thoughts, conversation, and action. Without Him, our days will feel empty, our time will feel wasted, and we will feel like we are accomplishing nothing.

Lord, draw me closer to you. I want every day to be a significant step in my journey, as I walk the path you have set for me. Amen

A Journey of Faith

When Abram arrived, God appeared to him and told him that he would give this land to his offspring one day. On top of everything that he had already promised Abram, now he was adding a promise of land. It didn’t matter that the Canaanites were already in the land – Abram knew that God was on his side. He was filled with hope and he had faith in God and the promises that he had made.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

He built an altar to the Lord, then continued to travel, building altars to the Lord and calling on His name.
Abram was learning to walk faithfully with God, even though he hadn’t seen any of the promises fulfilled yet. In fact, he had left behind the comfort of his home, his family, and his friends to wander through unfamiliar territory and sleep in a tent.
When God calls us, we are not usually being called into a comfortable situation. We are being called into a journey. The journey is different for each of us, although each person’s journey will include strengthening of faith and surrender to God’s plan. And while you may be eager for God to pour out His blessings upon you, be careful that in your expectations, you are not confusing God’s blessings with the comforts of the world. Don’t begin your journey expecting to immediately attain all that God has planned for you. Let go of the urgency and the need for everything to happen right now, and hold on instead to the peace in knowing that everything will happen in God’s timing.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for the plans that You have in store for me. I know that I haven’t always been ready or willing to answer your call. But I am waiting and listening for You now. I know that the road ahead may not always be easy, but I know that I will always have You to turn to when I am in need. Please continue to prepare me for the journey that lies ahead of me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen


Today’s Scripture:

Genesis 12:6-9 NIV
6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring
I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lordand called on the name of the Lord.
9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Leaving Your Comfort Zone

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your fatherʼs household to the land I will show you.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God told Abram to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household – probably pretty much everything in Abram’s comfort zone.
God wants us to leave our comfort zone so we can learn to find our contentment and security through Him. Your faith is not in your comfort zone!

If you are ready to answer God’s call, you need to ask yourself these questions:

– What is my comfort zone, and what about it comforts me?
– How can leaving my comfort zone bring me closer to God?
– What can I do to break out of my comfort zone?
– When am I going to start?

The answer to the last one is NOW! Start with prayer!

Dear God, I must confess that I have been holding back. I believe in Your word, and I love You and all that You’ve done for me. I go to church every week and sing Your praise at the top of my lungs. I do my best to honor You by serving others. I’ve been reading my bible and praying every day, and I’m learning so much as I grow closer to You. I thought that all of this meant that my faith was growing stronger, but but now I understand that I haven’t really let go of the things that make me feel safe and comfortable. There are some things that I have held onto because I’m scared to let go. I need Your strength to help me walk away and leave fear behind. I don’t want to be afraid of the unknown anymore!
Amen

Settling For Less

“Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭11:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Terah set out to go to Canaan, but settled in Harran.

What made him leave his homeland?

Did the call to go to Canaan originally begin with Abraham’s father, Terah? We know that after Terah dies, God tells Abraham to continue the journey into Canaan…
When He calls us, He allows us to make the choice to follow His plan or not. But God’s plans will be achieved, with or without you. Don’t you want to be a part of His success? If you do, then you have to surrender and let Him work through you.
The journey may be a long one, and it may be difficult at times, but we know that His plans for us are good. We have to move when He calls us into action and we have to keep going, even when it would be easier to stop. We don’t get to decide when we’ve done enough – not if we want to see what He is leading us into.
How many things have I missed because I settled for something less?

How many things have I started and not finished?
Dear God, Thank You for making me a part of Your plan. I don’t want to settle for anything less than where You want to take me. I don’t want to give up, so please give me the strength to follow where You are leading me. 

Amen

Introducing my new blog

This post also appears on the About page:

I am using this blog space to record my little exploration through the Bible. I normally start my day at the table with my coffee, my bible, my journal, and breakfast. But journals eventually fill up. And sometimes I’m not at my kitchen table when I feel like exploring. Sometimes I’m on break at work and I’ve already finished whatever book I’m reading, so I find something to write on and stick it in my pocket with every intention of remembering to take it home with me and copy it into my journal, and sometimes I actually DO…a couple months later, when I find it. So that’s what led me here.
Now, this blog is not ABOUT me, but there are some things that you should probably know if you are reading this blog. First, I know absolutely nothing about ministry and have never studied religion. So do not look to me as some kind of Christian expert. I love God, and I have been a Christian all of my life – for as long as I can remember. I actually cannot remember a time before I was a Christian. I grew up going to church every Sunday. In a dress. And tights. And black, shiny shoes that made my feet hurt. I grew up learning all the stories of the bible and memorizing verses. Youth group, church, church camp, youth rallies, and choir. Several times a week until I turned 18. And then…I just stopped.
I didn’t stop loving God, or stop being a Christian, or stop believing, or stop wanting to go to Heaven. I just stopped going. I stopped caring as much. I stopped making it a priority. And what happened, was slowly, I thought less and less about it. And at the same time I started making horrible decisions and doing stupid things.

Eventually, I did find my way back to church and it felt amazing. Now, after being back for several years, I am feeling stronger convictions to take the next step, and I’m not sure exactly what it is yet, but I know where I will find it.
So yeah, like I said…I’m not an expert at this stuff. I’m just an ordinary girl trying to learn more and be a better Christian.

My plan is to start at the beginning. Or should I say, “In the beginning…”

Oh, that’s another thing. Sometimes I think I’m funny…

Anyway, I’ve never read the entire Bible from front to back, so I figured, why not give it a try? And as I go through, I’m going to get the most out of each passage, and I am one heck of a Googler. I’ll read devotionals or refer to old sermon notes that I can never seem to throw away. I have tons of notes in my journals already and some of the best stuff was sparked by other people doing the same thing that I’m doing and sharing what these words mean to them. I’d love to hear anything that you have to add!