Faith Without Happily Ever After

The foundation of our faith is not answered prayer. The foundation of faith is not everything going our way or happily ever after endings either.

It’s always a mistake to wrap our faith and confidence in God around the fulfillment of our dreams or the answers to our prayer.

Dreams that don’t come true and prayers that don’t get answered say nothing about the presence, the goodness, or the faithfulness of God.

Through the highs and lows, and all the ups and downs, God is with you. – Andy Stanley

What Faith Looks Like

pen and paper, write your story, how you live, God is the words of your storyWhat will your story say today? What words will He pour out of your spirit and leave on the parchment of someone else’s heart?

I pray that you find the time today to document His faithfulness, and spill the ink with wholehearted sincerity in thanksgiving for answers to prayers you have yet to ask.

Stop Overthinking

Two of the greatest paralyzers to living a life of faith, to living life fully, is found in the “What if…” and “If only…” These two phrases grip our spiritual muscles and tighten a hold with possibilities we can see.

What if… If only…

Philippians 4:6-8, pray, fear, what if, if onlyThey stun our steps forward with anticipation of what might happen and consequently keep us from doing what God has called us to do.

In this moment of swirling thoughts, here is a gentle reminder to surrender those fears in prayer and invite peace in by filling up on ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

When the feeling of fear arises, do not entertain the ‘what if’s’ or engage with the possibilities of ‘if only’. Exchange it for an opportunity to pray.

We have a human tendency to rehash the situation, replay words and overthink outcomes in our mind, so when you have finished giving your fears to God, control the course of your mind by thinking on God’s Truths. Put your thoughts in their place.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

The Miracle of God With Us

magic of Christmas, miracle of Christmas, miracle of God with usHis name is Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us. Eternity with God is here. 

We can get stuck believing forever with God begins once we are buried. But I want to challenge you to see God with us, Emmanuel, today. When life’s burdens have you buried, God is reachable right where you are. You don’t have to wait. The active presence of God is available when you ask. Life with God, eternity, is accessible now because of Jesus.

Eternity begins when you believe. The magic of Christmas is this miracle of God with us.

“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – Luke 2:8-14

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV

Faith Moves You Forward

The holidays can bring the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The pressure reveals the best and worst of our emotions. Depression. Anxiety. Loneliness. Worry.

My therapist once told me that depression is living in the past without God and anxiety is living in the future without God. If worries have you wrapped up during the holidays, one way to shrink these woes is with worship. Raising up praise releases the pain.

faith moves, When you lift up your hands in surrender, you let go of all you’ve been holding onto; your finances, your relationships, your job.

We don’t worship because all is good. We worship because Jesus is good. His character is good. We can worship because His Word is good! He says, “He works all things out for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

You can give your realities a glance, but our Heavenly Father is worth your stare.

If you want freedom this Christmas season, take control of how you feel and surrender it to your faith, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” Isaiah 54:17

Walk by what you know, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Faith is what will move you forward.

“Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. O LORD, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees. You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as you promised.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:49-50, 64-65‬

Do You Have Joy or Optimism

What's the difference?

Reality rarely looks like the resolutions or wish lists we write out. Between the lines, rejection will sting, stumbles can leave scars, dreams shatter and sorrow turns to tears. Sadly, we can waste years staying stuck in a moment.

Optimism tells us things will be better tomorrow. Whether that happens or not, optimism cannot control the circumstances.

Joy on the other hand does not come from these kinds of positive predictions. Joy doesn’t depend on what actually happens. It will show up in some very dark places, because nothing can change the fact that Jesus has overcome the world. Joy is not happiness. Joy is the fruit of hope.

Sometimes we interchange ‘hope’ and ‘wish’. Even the dictionary says the two words are synonyms, but hoping and wishing are just as different as joy and optimism.

A wish is a desire, a longing, a request.  

Hope is a confident expectation of good things to come. It’s the promises of God in his Word that bring us this hope. Hope believes the solid ground of God’s grace and the gospel of Christ is enough. Hope steadies itself on trust that God is for us and his faithfulness will not fail us.

Rooted in Truth, hope and joy dwell deep in the fibers of our soul where situations and circumstances cannot reach.

A wish is yearning. Hope is knowing.

Joy and hope cannot be separate. A hopeful person cannot be depressed and a joyful person cannot lose hope. Sometimes we realize that what we once considered hope and joy were merely selfish desires for success in a job, in a relationship, or in our finances.

Hope produces sweet layers of joy that linger in a breath long after a moment. It satisfies hunger, it settles longing and fulfills the desires of our heart.

It’s in this ‘in-between’ space, in the presence of pain that hope and joy drip with sweet honey, mercy and they find the strength to hold on to what is unseen, yet known.

God’s light is more visible and real than whatever fog or shadow you might be living in.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

An Oasis of Peace

Being Thankful

Giving thanks takes practice.

thanksgiving, peace, oasis, trishakeehn.comIn painful moments, it’s a choice to consciously bend my thoughts away from resentment and remind myself that the high qualities of my invisible but ever-present Father are still good regardless of my circumstance.

As you wait for God to work out His plans in due time, He offers an oasis of peace to soak your thoughts in; it’s called thanksgiving.

It is God’s will that we continually grow. If we are not growing, we are dead. It takes some soul-searching effort to understand what motives God is working to replace in us. Some things are just not for us to understand right now; this is where a flourishing of faith takes place in what we cannot see.  

Here’s what I know to be true, God knows best. He is a God who eventually defeats the worst diseases and even death itself. Virtually any circumstance – however painful or pleasant – can be used by God to shape character, and it is for that shaping we can be thankful.

Seeking Peace in Politics

When you allow other people to be right, it doesn’t make you wrong. It makes you a peacemaker.

peace, world peace, peace in the politics, trishakeehn.comAs far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)

Peace is a place where God wants us to live. We’re not put on this earth to straighten everybody out.

Peace is the assurance that God is fighting your battles for you. He has the ultimate control of this situation.

Resting in peace isn’t saying you have to agree with everything that is said or that you aren’t allowed an opinion. But let me just say this: being right is over-rated. If a conversation steals your peace, if it makes you miserable, frustrated or discouraged… if a conversation gets an upper hand and causes strife in your relationships, then it’s not a blessing for you to live in.

Be sensitive to when a conversation is going too far. Let peace be your guard. Let peace be your guide in every conversation. Let go of pushing back or feeling the need to prove yourself. You don’t have to be right to do what is right. Doing what is right is holding onto your peace. It’s a gift. Don’t give that away.

Peace shouldn’t come and go according to what is going on in our lives. Peace is a powerful force that allows you to maintain stability in a storm. You have control when you have peace. It comes from knowing God, meditating on his promises and standing on the Truth that He is in control.

The Offensive Advantage

Have you ever experienced a dramatic deliverance in your circumstances; from sickness, from financial pressure or within a relationship?

Sometimes our struggles aren’t miraculously relieved by God. Sometimes we merely endure. Which isn’t such a bad thing because we are never nearer to God than when we are troubled.

Often, in times of comfort and ease we forget ‘our present help in time of need’. And when the worst of times come, we suddenly remember Him.

Sometimes the answer is the help we pray for. Sometimes the answer is to simply lean into Him to survive. God will use the difficulty to move us toward our destiny. That trial can transport you toward your goals and drive your dreams into existence.

The Almighty won’t allow what won’t work for your advantage. Average people will have average problems. The big obstacles are there to prepare you for a big reality. God is the one who determines your destiny. He knows what He’s doing. What the opposition uses to defeat you, God will use to position you.

One door closes so bigger doors can open. One relationship ends so you can begin a better connection. Challenges and conflict can strengthen your spiritual muscles for opposition on the horizon.

We grow in the tough times. The trials pour in deposits of experience and endurance that good times can’t give. That resistance is the weight you need to exercise your courage, faith and wisdom to persevere into the next level.

When you feel stuck, surrender to the rest. Take this time to set up stakes on solid ground for the battle up ahead. Plant yourself in the Word.

We may know all these things and yet still feel discouraged and defeated in the battle. Sometimes that comes from living isolated from a community of believers. We can’t do life on our own. We need a band of believing brothers and sisters to join forces with.

offensive line, defense, victory in Jesus, trishakeehn.comThere’s another reason believers feel so depleted in the battle though. Too often we live life as defensive Christians. We walk out of the church and enter into a mindset of defeat. We are tempted to engage in the devil’s dialogue either in our head or with others. We find ourselves defending places Jesus has already given us victory in, like our worth and choices.

When you understand what Christ has done, then you are on the offensive side. You have the ball. Hell is on the defensive line, not the Church.

When you walk into this world, you are walking out into a place of victory. When you met Jesus, you met victory. He is building the Church (Matthew 16:18).

Next time the gates of hell come knocking on your door, use the victory of Christ to remind Satan that you owe him no other explanation. The enemy can’t steal what you aren’t willing to engage in. When we are about our Father’s business, whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven (Matthew 18:18). This is the authority we have to unlock access to the kingdom of Heaven on earth.

Take your position on the offensive line next time opposition presents itself.

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This post, The Offensive Advantage, by Trisha Keehn, appeared first on LiftUpYourDay.com

Run Ready

#runready, brooksrunning, #globalrunningdayThis life is a race of sort. Not the kind we measure by who crossed the finish first or who did it best but rather who endured to the end. We do this by keeping our head up when the heat is on. We show up when the struggle hurts. We narrow our focus to Christ when the world offers greener and wider pastures.

We are more capable than we think we are. We have more in us. When we show up, we practice not giving up. I assure you, joy is waiting just on the other side.

If you feel like there’s no way you can win now… the debt is too high, the mistakes too many, the burdens too heavy… hear this assurance, Jesus already secured victory before you even began. Rest up. Soak in His grace. Lay down the weight in your prayers tonight. Tomorrow, pick up only His peace. Take it slow. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far you go. He’s waiting for you at the finish. ‪#‎RunReady‬ @brooksrunning ‪#‎globalrunningday‬