Crazy Faith

Ephesians 3 (Borean Study Bible), “For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles… Surely you have heard about the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace, given me through the working of His power. Though I am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to illuminate for everyone the stewardship of this mystery, which for ages past was hidden in God, who created all things. His purpose was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to the eternal purpose that He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Him and through faith in Him we may enter God’s presence with boldness and confidence. So I ask you not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory…For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Paul understood the supernatural. He witnessed it first on the road to Damascus. God used him to raise the dead, heal the sick, and to perform many other miracles, including those in his own body. He was stoned, drug out of town and left for dead, yet got up and walked away, and then left to minister the very next day.

God sometimes asks us to do some hard stuff, like give our businesses, homes, or cars away. Some are asked to sell everything and to devote their lives to serving overseas. Others are asked to quit lucrative jobs and serve in soup kitchens. Some are asked to start new businesses and they don’t have a clue what they are doing. God asks more of us than we can do on our own. That’s why it is “super” natural. If we could do it in the natural, it would just be our works, which amount to wood, hay, and stubble. However, because we need Him and His grace to do it, He gets the glory, the work is for eternity, and it proves He is at work in and through us.

One of our pastors said during a message recently, “The supernatural often looks “crazy” in the natural.” (Pastor Paul Hohman)

If I had a dollar for every time a well meaning Christian told a brother or sister in the faith that their vision was “crazy”, I could pay off our mortgage! Read the books of the prophets, or read about Peter’s dream, follow the story of Joseph and his dreams, it’s all pretty crazy stuff! Even better, read the book of Acts what they did took extra-ordinary, not plain ordinary faith!

Do as Paul prayed for us, be rooted and grounded in His love, comprehend the length, width, height, and depth of His love. This fills us with His fullness and makes us do some crazy stuff for the kingdom!

Trust

Jeremiah 17:7 (NLT), “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.”

Blessed is the one who trusts in Him. Period. This isn’t rocket science. If we trust Him, we are blessed.

It all boils down to this: How much does He love me? When we are sure He loves us we stop questioning Him and just do what He tells us to do. This is putting our faith on Him and Him alone.

I have been struggling with some trust issues the past few days, feeling like I have bitten off more than I could chew and felt like I didn’t have it in me to do what I had purposed in my heart to do. An old enemy, anxiety, came creeping back, and I am ashamed to say I didn’t toss him out as quickly as I should. After a wonderful encouraging Sunday morning message, and some lengthy prayer, I finally realized that my lack of trust wasn’t in myself, that unwelcome anxiety was the result of placing my trust in ME instead of in Him.

Simply put, it was sin. So, what does a person do when they realize they have misplaced their trust? Repent! I told God I was sorry, thanked my Pastor for the message, and changed what I was thinking.

This morning during my quiet time with the Lord, He spoke these words into my heart, “I LOVE you, let that be your strength today.”

Do I trust Him! You bet I do. Do I sometimes forget He is trustworthy, sadly yes, yet, He is faithful to remind me of His love. And because He loves me, I can put my trust in Him.

Amen!

Blog Tour for “Shatter”

What the book is about:

When a mysterious explosion kills her sister, Salem Jefferson becomes convinced the death was no accident—it was a conspiracy. But no one else at her high school believes her, and all she has so far is one clue. She knows Carrie hired a gang member to protect orchard workers. Problem is, Salem doesn’t know who.

To find out, Salem pursues the gang-bangers who rule her town, especially classmate Cordero. As her distrust of Cordero heats up, so do the number of suspects in Carrie’s death. Teachers and school officers are orchard owners. They have every reason to stop farm workers from demanding higher wages. With Carrie’s killers still out there, Salem’s not sure who she can trust. Meanwhile, the people who live on orchards and the people who pick them are drawing lines in the sand.

The only way for Salem to learn the truth is to slip behind those enemy lines.

The only way to survive is to find a way back out.

My Review: I loved this book. Salem can’t let anyone know what her gut is telling her. Everything is messed up and she doesn’t know who to trust. This is a good book about forgiveness, finding your identity, and friendship. I give it five stars. I loved it. No sexual content or swearing. There is some violence. I can recommend for teens and up.

About the Author: I live in Utah with five kids, a CrossFit-training husband who writes computer code, and lots of hip hop background music.

The Rest of The Tour:

Is He Watching?

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Psalm 33:18 (NIV), “But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,”

Genesis 28:15 (NIV), “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

That is pretty comforting that our Heavenly Father is watching over us. Especially the part about “until I have done what I promised!” But, is He watching us all in the same way? He loved everyone. There is not one person exempt from His unfailing love. In fact nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:31-39). However, according to verse 18 in Psalms, His eyes are on those who hope in His love. What does that mean? Though God loves everyone, He especially watches over His children (those who have given themselves to Him.) Then going a step further, He is looking for those who fear Him, who trust Him, and those who expect Him to “do all that He promised.”

God can work in the lives of those who are trusting in Him!

Verses 20-22 go on to say, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”

Notice it doesn’t say that we need to try and “make something happen.” It also does not say that our hope is in our own effort, or our job, or our family, our church, the government, or the lottery. Our hope is in Him! Nothing else can fulfill those promises that He made us. The bible is so full of promises, thousands, literally. Only He can perform them. Only He can finish what He has started.

Is it important to place our hope and trust in Him?

Psalms 33:20 in the KJV and also the NAS use the word “according” after love. His love is with us according to our hope and trust. Do you hope a little, trust even less? That’s how much His love is with us. Not because He loves us less, but because we won’t accept His love and blessings if we don’t trust Him. It’s not Him, it’s us that fails.

Finally, let’s look at the same scripture in the Amplified version.
“Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You.”

That says it plain and simple.

He is watching over us! He so wants to bless us. His desire is for us to have an abundant life. For us to live out of His provision and not out of our own effort. Yes, we do have to work, and we should be diligent and honest in our labor, but don’t ever look at your own work as your source.
Trust Him! He is able.

Book Review for “What to Do When Everything Falls Apart”-non-fiction

This little book by Van Crouch is a must read. It is a book that in very simple terms, shows you how to handle bad situations. I recommend it for every person who follows Jesus. It is simple enough for pre-teens, but is geared for adults. There is a bit of humor in his books, just like hearing him in person. A great gift idea for someone going through hard times, or in a dry place. I give this book a solid 5 stars.

http://www.amazon.com/What-Everything-Falls-Apart-ebook/dp/B006PVA3IC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377262968&sr=1-1&keywords=what+to+do+when+everything+falls+apart

Book Review for “Foreverland is Dead”

I was given a copy of “Foreverland is Dead” by the author, Tony Bertauski, in exchange for an honest review. This one kept me on the edge of my seat through the whole thing. I stayed up way too late and picked it up firs thing in the morning to finish it! Then the ending completely blew me away. I can almost always figure out the plot line, but this one kept me guessing until the end. It’s a story of an alternate reality populated by teenage girls who are trapped. The story is gritty and fast paced. I really enjoyed it. I would definitely read more from this author and am looking forward to the next book in the Foreverland series. I give the book 5 stars. I would recommend it for age 13 and up.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D4GFD8G/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B00D4GFD8G&link_code=as3&tag=tonybert-20

God’s Comfort

(Written previously)
Can I be honest? We all have our moments, those days when we wonder why we even got out of bed. When all the news seem bad, at worst, and less than what we hoped for, at best. What do we do with those moments? Usually I have a good cry (I said I was being honest). My day was like that today. Not the whole day, but enough to get the tears flowing. Then when I got home and walked into my kitchen, there was a big piece of paper on my fridge that said:
” But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises Hebrew 6:9-12.”
A message right from the Comforter! Sure, I am the one who printed it off and stuck it on my fridge, but I had originally printed it off for a friend who is facing a challenge this year, but decided “what the heck” and printed an extra copy for myself. God knew I would need it today.
Then my Spurgeon Devotional said, “”Trust in Him at all times.”Psalm 62:8 Faith is as much the rule of temporal as of spiritual life; we ought to have faith in God for our earthly affairs as well as for our heavenly business. It is only as we learn to trust in God for the supply of all our daily need that we shall live above the world. We are not to be idle, that would show we did not trust in God, who worketh hitherto, but in the devil, who is the father of idleness. We are not to be imprudent or rash; that were to trust chance, and not the living God, who is a God of economy and order. Acting in all prudence and uprightness, we are to rely simply and entirely upon the Lord at all times. Let me commend to you a life of trust in God in temporal things. Trusting in God, you will not be compelled to mourn because you have used sinful means to grow rich. Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience. Trusting God, you will not be guilty of self-contradiction. He who trusts in craft, sails this way to-day, and that way the next, like a vessel tossed about by the fickle wind; but he that trusteth in the Lord is like a vessel propelled by steam, she cuts through the waves, defies the wind, and makes one bright silvery straightforward track to her destined haven. Be you a man with living principles within; never bow to the varying customs of worldly wisdom. Walk in your path of integrity with steadfast steps, and show that you are invincibly strong in the strength which confidence in God alone can confer. Thus you will be delivered from carking care, you will not be troubled with evil tidings, your heart will be fixed, trusting in the Lord. How pleasant to float along the stream of providence! There is no more blessed way of living than a life of dependence upon a covenant-keeping God. We have no care, for He careth for us; we have no troubles, because we cast our burdens upon the Lord.”
We can’t change some things. Period. But we can change how we react, and how we see things. I’ve had my cry, a short one this time, now I am choosing to see things through the eyes of my loving Father. I choose to accept the comfort of the Holy Spirit, who does His job well. I choose to “rely simply and entirely upon the Lord at all times”, especially those moments that are hard. Amen