Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Put Your Toes in the Water


Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

Have you ever wanted to “freeze” a moment and make it last a lifetime? I have. I have also lived through certain moments that I wish I could change or even delete and pretend they never happened. But change is a natural part of life. We can embrace it, or we can fight it.

My husband often says that the only people who really like change are wet babies. However, I have discovered that some people thrive and live for change. Others dig in their heels and refuse to change a thing and ultimately become prisoners of old habits – good and bad. When it comes to change, we have a decision to make. Change is a sign of growth and life and is sometimes needed simply to survive.

God may be asking you to step out in faith and make a change in your life. He has already been where He is asking you to go. He has prepared every step of the way for you. You don’t have to be afraid of the unknown. It is unknown only to you. God is well aware of where you are and of every step He is asking you to take. He may be asking you to get rid of old memories, eliminate destructive habits, and forsake lifeless traditions. He is waiting for you to take one step. Faith in God does not come all at once. Faith is a step-by-step process that begins with one small step and increases as we go. An Old Testament story found in Joshua 3 illustrates this truth.

The Israelites are camped on the bank of the Jordan River. Forty years earlier, they had escaped from Egypt and have been wandering around in the wilderness ever since. All of their needs have been met by God. They have seen miracle after miracle, and now they can see Canaan, the Promised Land. However, there is a problem.

A huge river stands between them and the Promised Land, and there is no way around it. God told His people that He would make a dry path through the river, but the priests had never seen that happen. In fact, they hadn’t even been born when the Red Sea was parted, and there were no reruns of the Ten Commandments at the local Wilderness Theatre. The Israelites had spent their entire adult lives in the wilderness, and they could finally see a way out. Oh, and one more problem — the priests couldn’t swim. This was probably the first river they had even been close to in their lives. I can imagine their fear and questions. God was asking them to step out in faith as never before.

I don’t imagine the Israelites had a great deal of faith in God at that moment, but they had just enough faith to take that first step. And that was enough.
Joshua 3:15-17 (NCV) During harvest the Jordan overflows its banks. When the priests carrying the Ark came to the edge of the river and stepped into the water, the water upstream stopped flowing. It stood up in a heap. So the people crossed over.

Notice that God did nothing until those toes touched the water. That first step was all God needed to see. Many times, we won’t take the first step of change because we’re afraid we won’t be able to make the whole journey.

Don’t wait until you believe it all.

Don’t wait until you can see it all.

Don’t wait until you understand it all.

Trust God and step out in faith. He will meet you there.

Have a blessed day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Stepping Out in Faith

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message.

Have you ever wanted to “freeze” a moment and make it last a lifetime? I have. I have also lived through certain moments that I wish I could change or even delete and pretend they never happened. But change is a natural part of life. We can embrace it, or we can fight it.

My husband often says that the only people who really like change are wet babies. However, I have discovered that some people thrive and live for change to the point that they are “change junkies” and have little stability. Others dig in their heels and refuse to change a thing and ultimately become prisoners of old habits – both good and bad. When it comes to change, we have a decision to make. Change is a sign of growth and life and is sometimes needed simply to survive.

God may be asking you to step out in faith and make a change in your life. He has already been where He is asking you to go and prepared every step of the way for you. You don’t have to be afraid of the unknown. It is unknown only to you.

God is well aware of where you are and of every step He is asking you to take. He may be asking you to get rid of old memories, eliminate destructive habits, or forsake lifeless traditions. He is waiting for you to take one step.

Faith in God does not come all at once. Faith is a step-by-step process that begins with one small step and increases as we go. An Old Testament story found in Joshua 3 illustrates this truth.

The Israelites are camped on the bank of the Jordan River. Forty years earlier, they had escaped from Egypt and have been wandering around in the wilderness ever since. All of their needs have been met by God. They have seen miracle after miracle and now they can see Canaan, the Promised Land. However, there is a problem.

A huge river stands between the Israelites and the Promised Land, and there is no way around it. God told His people that He would make a dry path through the river, but the priests had never seen that happen. In fact, they hadn’t even been born when the Red Sea was parted and there were no reruns of the Ten Commandments at the local Wilderness Theatre. The Israelites had spent their entire adult lives in the wilderness and finally, they could see a way out. Oh, and one more problem — the priests couldn’t swim. This was probably the first river they had even been close to in their lives. I can imagine their fear and questions. God was asking them to step out in faith as never before.

I don’t imagine the Israelites had a great deal of faith in God at that moment, but they had just enough faith to take that first step. And that was enough.

During harvest the Jordan overflows its banks. When the priests carrying the Ark came to the edge of the river and stepped into the water, the water upstream stopped flowing. It stood up in a heap. So the people crossed over.

Notice that God did nothing until those toes touched the water. That first step was all God needed to see. Many times, we won’t take the first step of change because we’re afraid we won’t be able to make the whole journey.

Don’t wait until you believe it all.
Don’t wait until you can see it all.
Don’t wait until you understand it all.

Trust God and step out in faith. He will meet you there.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Prioritize THIS above Your List

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message:

Many of us check off neatly penciled boxes. Some draw lines through the tasks we’ve finished. A select few of us even add things to our lists after we’ve done something that wasn’t on our list … so we can mark it off! (I may or may not do this…) Some of us keep track in our heads, while others track progress of daily goals on paper, on a computer, or on an app.

At times I fluff my list. Instead of simply writing, “Do three loads of laundry,” I’ll create twelve list items to check off that read:

  • Wash whites
  • Dry whites
  • Fold/hang whites
  • Put away whites
  • Wash colors
  • Dry colors
  • Fold/hang colors
  • Put away colors
  • Wash darks
  • Dry darks
  • Fold/hang darks
  • Put away darks

I just love to check boxes. I think it’s because I sincerely want to be a productive person. I want to feel like I’m accomplishing something. It’s pretty much a daily struggle for me. As an optimist, I wake up anticipating that the seconds, minutes, and hours of each day will bend to cooperate with the demands of my list.

And …it never works out that simply or efficiently.

You struggle with this too, right? Most of us feel frustrated and at times, overwhelmed by the abyss of a rarely satisfied to-do list. It’s exhausting. We face constant demands that call to us and vie for our attention. We sift through the essentials and the fire drills, then we go to bed, wake up, and do it all again.

The good news is that we don’t need to face our lists alone. God offers to come along side of us daily to provide the strength, perspective, and wisdom we need. He helps us prioritize our days when we turn to Him in prayer. In the Bible, we read of a woman who approached each day with God-power and God-perspective:

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks” (Proverbs 31:17, NIV).

Though this is an impressive statement about her work ethic, and though it seems this fictional woman dominates her daily to-do list, it’s important that we consider the source of her strength: God. At the end of the chapter, Scripture shows us that she “…fears the Lord…” (Proverbs 31:30, NIV). This means that she lives in awe of God. That she worships and prioritizes Him above all else. That the source of her strength is rooted in her dependence on and reverence of God.

Ours should be, too.

Your list looks different from mine. We have unique goals, friendships, jobs, responsibilities, and families. Whether you are in the work force, unemployed, or retired … or a stay-at-home mom, a single mom, or an empty nester … a wife, a widow, single, or divorced, God can and will give you the strength and guidance you need when you prioritize and revere Him.

Consider the following verses:

“Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3, NIV)

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)

God will strengthen our arms for the tasks of today when we prioritize Him above the list.Let’s go to Him now and ask for direction, wisdom, renewal, and strength.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!