A Walk in Faith

A Walk in Faith | Meditations of His Love

 

The  waves tossed the little boat back and forth as the storm greatly worsened. The men huddled together, praying they would not be destroyed by the waves.Then suddenly they saw someone walking toward them-on the water! “It must be a ghost!” they cried fearfully.

But the apparition called out to them and said, ” Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” It was then that the men realized the figure on the water was Jesus Christ! Yet still, Peter doubted. “Lord, if it is really You, command me to come to You on the water.”

Jesus’ reply was simple. “Come.”

So Peter stepped out of the boat and began to walk across the water toward Jesus, the storm raging around them. Peter lifted his eyes to the storm and suddenly fear overtook him, and he began to sink. He cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” and Jesus was there to reach out a hand and pull Peter from the threatening waves.

Gripping Peter’s hand, Jesus looked into his eyes and asked, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

{ Matthew 14:22-31, paraphrased }

~ ~ ~

I am surrounded by a storm that tosses my little boat about on turbulent seas. I fear, lest I be dashed to bits or sunk beneath the waves. And then I see my dear Savior there in the midst, calmly in control of it all.  He asks me to step out of that little boat and whatever it represents-my comfort zone, my hopes, dreams and desires, my fears and worries-and walk toward Him across the turbulent waves. I do so hesitantly, perhaps, as I want to follow His leading yet I’m ill at ease not knowing what to expect. My eyes remain fixed upon His precious face.

But the winds of doubt are blowing with gusto, and as  the storm  rages around me, I turn my eyes to it. Why, it’s even more gruesome and frightening than I’d thought! And as I quake in fear and dread of this storm, I find myself sinking beneath the weight of it all. And when I realize I’m sinking, a greater panic seize  me.

Then a still, small Voice whispers to my heart, “I’m here”. Then with His mighty hand He pulls me  from my perilous state and plants my feet in the safety of His grace. And suddenly, everything comes out right. Oh, maybe not my “right” but certainly  His “right”.  And that’s when I begin to praise Him and His perfect plan as I marvel again at His omnipotence. “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

~ ~ ~

The Christian life is truly a walk in faith. But blind faith is the best kind, because we grow closer to Christ.  In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we are reminded that we walk by faith and not by sight. And in John 8:12 Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I don’t know where you are today; I don’t know what you’re going through. But I do know that this journey with Christ is made up of a thousand great and small steps of faith. Our Savior is constantly asking us to exercise our faith in Him by stepping out with our eyes on Him as Peter did. And when we doubt, He is there to remind us that He alone is in control and knows exactly how everything will come out in the end. What a comforting thought!

To fear or doubt is easy. To walk in faith is often difficult. Yet the result is so much sweeter.

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Update

Hello ladies!

Micaela here, and I just wanted to share with you some changes that are going to be taking place here on the blog.

Over the summer, our dear manager Melinda had to step down from the blog altogether. Over the next several weeks, Meghan, Stephanie, and Jen also had to step down. However, Courtney, Jessie, and myself are still here, and we are determined to continue sharing our hearts and how God is working in our lives with all of  you, dear readers.

For now, I will be the blog manager, though that may change as well over the next few months. We’re going to each be posting just once a month instead of twice, as this is easier for everyone. We currently have three-four openings here on the blog for writers! If you or someone you know are interested, please visit this page and fill out the form, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Hopefully these are the only changes for the next several months. Thank you all so much for being patient with us as we were sorting things out over the summer. As of October 1st, MOHL will be up and running as its old self, with routine posting and interaction with our readers.

Hugs and prayers,

Micaela

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Do Not Misunderstand God’s Discipline

Good morning, Lovelies!
I trust your week is going well and you’re enjoying the month of June.
Life has been rather busy as of late and I apologize for not writing a post two weeks ago.
Time got away from me and it just slipped my mind.

Proverbs 3 is the Scripture for this month and as I read the entire chapter
I was greatly enriched by the words.
This chapter is so full of wisdom that it can easily be read over and over
and each time something can be learned from it.

I was drawn to verses 11 - 12 which say,

My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD;
neither be weary of his correction:

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth;
even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

We need to appreciate the Lord and not misunderstand His discipline.

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I looked up Proverbs 3:11 - 12 in the Bible Knowledge Commentary and here is what it said. . .

The God who can be trusted to smooth out obstacles and bring one to his appointed goal (vv. 5-6)
and to supply one’s material needs (vv. 9-10)
demonstrates His love by discipline. 

The warning to the son is two-fold: do not despise (“reject or take lightly”)
the Lord’s discipline and do not resent (“loathe or abhor”) His rebuke. “

And ye have forgotten the exhortation
which speaketh unto you as unto children,
My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, 

nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth,
every son whom he receiveth.
~ Hebrews 12:5 - 6 ~

Physical punishment and verbal correction are hard to accept
but they demonstrate God’s loving concern.
The same is true of a parent’s discipline of his children.
Loathing such discipline - thinking that God disciplines because He enjoys causing pain -
over-looks the benefits that come from such correction.

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth:
therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.

~ Job 5:17 ~

I do not write these words to “bash” anyone on the head,
but to remind us that God loves us and desires the very best for His children.
And sometimes the very best might come with chastening. . .but He does it in and through His love.

Have a beautiful week, dear friends!

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Our Quest for Simplicity

 

2Simplicity. When first reading that word, I had to laugh at the irony of how complicated a concept it is. Is simplicity converting to minimalism? Is it a quiet heart? Is it the childhood world of little-to-no responsibility? Is it contentment? It all depends on the context, but it could be all of this (and more!).

The idea of a simple life sometimes sounds like a fable straight from the walking paths of Eden, especially when we are knee-deep in the trenches of life post-Fall. Our responsibilities make demands, our families need ministering to, our paychecks need worked for, our yards need mowing, our houses need cleaned, our stomachs need fed, our students need taught, our friendships need cultivating, and it goes on and on. So much of life’s complexities are rooted in the most basic of our human needs! Our jobs provide homes, food, clothes, etc. Social media and social functions are our attempts to satisfy our need for community. The endless forms of entertainment fulfill our bottomless pit of hunger to be…well, entertained! And even as we heap upon ourselves more scattered busyness, each of us yearn for simplicity. For rest.

When contemplating the answer to our quest for simplicity, my heart turned to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6…

“…your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8

“Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:31-33

In an Old Testament world, Jesus has redeemed us into New Testament people. He has changed Adam’s curse of complicated, tiresome work and given us the simplicity of one command: Just seek the kingdom and the righteousness of God. Seek Him first, and all our needs—provisional, communal, and even our pleasure—will be provided for. If we rest in the work Jesus has done in our place, all the things we strive after will be satisfied in Himself.

“Christ has lifted the curse of work. He has replaced anxious toil with trust in God’s promise to supply our needs (Philippians 4:19) and has thus awakened in us a different passion in our work. We turn with joy to the call of Jesus: Seek the kingdom of God first and his righteousness…” -John Piper

I’m relieved and thankful that simplifying my life isn’t found in “100 Easy Steps”. Jesus is my simplicity. Seeking Him will cause all the complicated things to either fall into their proper place, or fall away completely (thus indicating their necessity at all). I’m in awe of a profoundly simple truth: that the more we “strive” after Him, the more we will find that His easy yoke and light burden is the means for our rest in Him (Matt. 11:29).

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I Dream of Simple Things

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Simplicity.

What picture pops in your mind when you hear that word?

Slowing down, catching up with those you love most, taking time to breathe, read, watch nature and have time to think. While these are simple joys, I think the better definition of the above would be relaxation.

Simplicity is not a circumstance, but a heart-stance. Too often we can be swept up in drama, drama, drama in our lives in the form of work or familial busyness, stress, and all the voices clamoring for our attention. The voices with the faces of yes, those we love most, but more often than not, much of social media and keeping up with so many people and everyone’s activities can take a toll and complicate our daily lives.

How often do we unwittingly complicate our daily lives by focusing more on the things happening all around us-yes, even the great things-but not the Author of our lives? Let go and let God is a popular catchphrase and it’s easy to think that it’s a one-time deal. We have got to continually let go and let God be God and leave it at that. He is the giver of all good things, and the bearer of our daily burdens if we but pause and be still before Him.

I believe it is crucial that we share everything, all our little and big messes, with the Lord, but then step back and leave the working out of our worries and drama and stress to the One who is sovereign over all. I’ll be real here with ya’ll; some days, it’s hard for me to let go and let God. It’s difficult for me, at times, to be fully transparent in communication with the One who knows my heart better than even I do. This is my very human pride muddling everything up, but I’m thru beating myself up over it. I am a work in progress sinner saved by the grace of God thru Christ Jesus. I admit, I sometimes miss when life was simpler like when I was younger, but when are we to ever depend upon our ever-changing circumstances for our happiness?

The Lord is so good to grant me moments of simple peace when I need it most and least expect it. I watched a sunset last night and just breathed. The moments are gifts to be cherished. But more than that, I am to cling to my Lord who works all things out together for good, and takes all my complications and stress and simplifies them with His perfect plan.

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Be Ready!

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
- Romans 13:14

free-wallpaper-6Wake

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of day:
we are not of the night, nor of the darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others;
but let us watch and be sober.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:5, 6

The word sober in verse 6 means living with our eyes opened.
The Lord’s return is coming someday, my friends, are we ready?

But let us, who are of the day, be sober,
putting on the breastplate of faith and love;
and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation
by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep,
we should live together with him.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:8 - 10

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We do not want to be found dressed in dirty garments when the Lord Jesus returns.
As a follower of Jesus, we are privileged to wear the armor of light,
not the deeds of darkness.
We have absolutely NO reason to get involved in the pleasures of the world.

And now, little children, abide in him;
that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence,
and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God:
therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
for we shall see him as he is.
- 1 John 2:28, 3:1 - 2

free-wallpaper-6Grow

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
- Romans 13:14

To put on the Lord Jesus Christ means to become more and more like Him,
to receive by faith all that He is for our daily living.
What are we eating? We grow on what we eat
so that is why God warns us not to make provisions for the flesh.

If we feed the flesh, we will fail,
but if we feed the inner man the nourishing things of the Spirit,
we will succeed.
- Wiersbe Commentary

Blessings to each one of you!

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Outdo Others in Showing Honor

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Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10 ESV)

Honor. If you study the meaning of the verse above “outdo one another in showing honor” in the Greek, you’ll find a convicting, humbling call for every Christian.

Outdo: (Greek: proēgeomai): to go before and show the way, to go before and lead, to go before as a leader.
 
One Another: (Greek: allēlōn): one another, reciprocally, mutually.
 
Honor: (Greek: timē): deference, reverence
 

A loose paraphrase of this sentence would be: Be a leader in showing others honor, reverence, and deference.

Be the leader of deference (meaning: humble submission and respect).

Be the leader of reverence (meaning: deep respect for someone or something).

Most of us expect other Christians to show us honor and respect. If they don’t, we complain and get bitter or resentful. A lot of times, we expect others to give to us what we don’t give them.

Speaking for myself, on an average day, I’m not jumping up and down to be the leader of Christlike submission and respect. I’d rather be the on the receiving end of it. It’s humbling to die to myself and give honor to others.

I live in a disrespectful culture. Just a trip to town and a short bit of people-watching shows how little people show genuine honor to those around them.

Christ calls us as His children to forsake this disrespectful attitude and pursue humble reverence to everyone.

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:17 ESV)

When you’re disrespected and reviled, reciprocate with honor.

When you’re gossiped about and slandered, respond with humble respect.

When you’re mistreated or ignored, continue to love with Christlike reverence.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

Today, let’s begin to be leaders. Humble, respectful, submissive leaders in honor. Let’s lay down our lives for our fellow Christians and find ways humbly serve them. Let’s walk in genuine love. True love that puts other Christian above ourselves.

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Friends Like Diamonds

It seems to me as if there’s something in the water around here-everyone seems to be getting into relationships, engaged or married! This past Friday I was blessed to witness and celebrate the marriage of a long time friend, Morgan, to a fantastic guy-her Mr. Right, Josiah. I’ve known Morgan since she was five. Now she has not one but two rings on her finger. One of my best friends, Michaela, is Morgan’s older sister, and the maid of honor at the wedding. Both of our ring fingers remain bare-but did that deter us from celebrating, dancing the night away and smiling until our faces hurt? Not one bit. I must’ve hugged Michaela a gazillion times Friday night and we just laughed. I am so grateful that I can laugh with all my friends, no matter what stage of life we find ourselves in. Each of my friends is utterly unique-like a unique facet on each and every diamond. Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of them recently on the hands of my friends!

Romans 12:6 says, Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…

Through each of my friends, I have been the recipient of much grace. Each of our unique gifts only enhance our friendships, our relationships with family and everyone we come in contact with. What’s funny is that my dearest friends and I-we don’t even go to the same church. But we all serve, love and worship the one true God and further His kingdom in a myriad of ways. Each of our callings is different-but one thing remains the same, one reason I am eternally grateful to God for MOHL. As God’s daughters, our Christian walks are not meant to be walked alone.

Also like diamonds with many facets are the gifts we have that may have been borne through a difficult time or season in life. Diamonds are mined. Then pounded and broken. Then, slowly but surely, diamonds are refined until they gleam and sparkle in the light. Proverbs 17:17 says, A friend loves at all times, and  a brother is born for adversity. Those friends who have stuck by you in the heartbreaking times, the best times and everything in between? Our gracious God gave them to you so you could be drawn closer to Himself, so gifts and skills could be developed by His perfect plan.

I wrote in the back of my book to two such diamond-like friends, I am forever thankful for all you are, all you give, and how you love. Every person we ever come in contact with impacts us and is used by the Lord for His divine purposes, yes, even those no longer in our lives. But there are those you can count on for a lifetime, who have been there for you all along, thanks to the abundant grace of God.

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Love In Action

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Continuing on with our theme of “Godly Relationships” here at MOHL, I wanted to write a little bit on some of the practical ways we can show love to others.

Romans 12:9-13 reads as follows:

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Wow… there are a lot of things written to us as believers just in that short passage.

Something I really want to point out from those scriptures is that a lot of those commands relate directly to the attitude in our hearts. It says that we ought to:

1. Honor others before yourself. This could mean a few different things, but I think mainly, it is really seeking to put the needs or wants of others above your own. Do you know of someone who is struggling with finances and they have no way to keep warm? Give them a coat to wear. Do you know of someone who is hungry? Bring them some food! Even giving a bright and cheery smile to the cashier in the store who has had a long day can bring some sunshine into their lives. You might be the only bit of happiness and joy that enters their life that day. You never know how God can use even the smallest things to encourage others. This goes into point #2.

2. Never be lacking in zeal and spiritual fervor for the Lord. As we continue on the paths the Lord has placed in our lives, He will lead us through the valley and the desert both. Sometimes, it feels like we have never been closer to the Lord, and everything is “going our way”. We’re in the valley…joy-filled, at peace, and excitedly going down the path of the Lord’s will. Then, He may choose to bring us through a dry, desert time. It seems as if everything is a struggle, like the Lord is far away and doesn’t hear our desperate pleas of asking for peace from the conflict, whatever it might be. Having walked through a time like this recently, I can’t even begin to tell you what a blessing it was to have dear sisters constantly sending me scripture verses and praying for me. Do you know someone who is struggling in their spiritual life? The Lord may be calling you to be a witness to them as they walk through this time in the desert. Diligently seek to pray for them, look for little ways you can encourage them. Perhaps a note in the mail or some favorite scriptures written out on notecards and given to them will help them on their journey.

3. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. This part speaks for itself in many ways. Be joyful in hope… We have a great hope in the knowledge that one day, the Lord will return to take us home to be with Him for all eternity. We have a great hope because He chose, in His divine providence, to take on the weight of our sins and wash them clean. He took the punishment, that we rightly deserve, that we might be white as snow, and have this great hope! What a mighty, faithful and loving God we serve.  Patient in affliction… Our pastor was just teaching this past Sunday about how trials are brought into our lives for our good. We often do the most growing as we learn to further rely on the Lord, and less on our own efforts. When we are completely broken, we realize just how small we are, and just how mighty our Lord is. We may not understand in this life why He sent specific trials into our lives, but we can rest once again in the greater Hope- that the Lord works together all things for the good of those who are His own according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) Faithful in prayer… once again, this part speaks for itself, but in many ways, how often are we guilty of telling someone that we will pray for them and then forgetting or never getting around to doing so? *raises hand* One way that we can really seek to show love to others is remembering to be faithful in praying for them, or over specific requests they may have shared with us. For myself, I’ve found that keeping a prayer request journal is a great way to specifically list out folks or requests that I am praying for during that time. It’s also neat to look back through and see exactly how God answered those prayers!

4. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Building somewhat on #1, sharing with fellow believers who are in need is one of the greatest ways that we can show love to others. One specific way my church tries to do this is by taking meals to families who have recently had a baby, lost a family member, are sick, etc. Having been on both ends of this, I can say that it is a blessing to both parties. Taking a meal to someone is a way of acknowledging to them that you know they are struggling with something at the time, and it is a very practical way of showing love to them. It truly blesses you knowing that you are lending them a helping hand in their time of need. When my family has been on the receiving end, it is so nice to not have to worry about cooking on top of everything else going on at the time, no matter what the circumstance is. There are obviously several other ways to help folks in need…I just used food as an example because here in the South, food is a big deal. :) As far as showing hospitality, the definition of hospitality means: “The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.” What better way to show hospitality to believers and non-believers alike than to host them in your home? Whether just for a meal or for an extended stay, oftentimes, one of the best ways we can be a witness to others is to have them in our homes, so that they can see the way we live, and Lord willing, to see the love of Christ in us and through us.

What are some different ways you can show “love in action” to others around you?

 

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If God so loved us…

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mom4This past Sunday was the second Mother’s Day I have spent without my Mom. She suddenly passed away over a year ago. I miss her patient, listening ear and her gracious advice. I miss her getting to love her granddaughters as she loved me. I miss her friendship; the kind full of trust and safety to speak all things knowing they fall on ears that love you unconditionally. You can even confess difficult things, like humiliating sin, and you not only find Christ-centered correction but also Christ’s love.

I didn’t realize how weighty of a space my Mom took up in my life and heart until she was gone. But another thing I did not fully realize was that my mother’s love (and all the things that she did in outpour of it) was not just a biologically maternal thing. Yes, she loved me because she was my Mom. But she was alive in Christ, and it was my Savior’s love that poured from her. And it would be an understatement to share my joy and relief when I began to recognize the same love coming from people who weren’t even my blood family. This love came from the Church.

These precious people truly love me. My hurts, my wounds, my sins, my struggles, my fears…they all matter to them. In their arms, I find a safe place where there will be truth and affection from people who actively cultivate my growth in Christ, building me up in love (Ephesians 4:15-16). In their arms, my daughters have found grandparents who love them dearly, and who value even their growth in Jesus as much as I do.

In the New Testament, I weep when I read the Scriptures that command the Church to imitate Jesus in their love for one another.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…” (Ephesians 4:32, 5:1)

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God send his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him…beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:9-11)

And from our Messiah’s very words,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. But this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

I weep when I read these, because this is the beauty of the Body. They are people who know the love of God demonstrated in Christ, and in turn, love me so much. To these people, I’m indebted, and I’m eternally grateful to God that I get to be a part of them. And when I say “the church”, I don’t mean a particular place of worship I attend. I mean the people that I attend with. I mean my dear friends who live in other towns, and other states. I mean members of the Body, wherever they are, who know Jesus and who love me like He does.

New Image111

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