The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. Psalm 145:9
Howdy Ya’ll and welcome back (or Welcome for the first time) to the Aprons and Iron virtual “front porch” where you are always welcomed and always loved! I am so glad you are here fellow struggler, striver and thriver. Come on up and grab a chair or take a seat in the swing, let me fill up your cup up with some fresh coffee fixed just the way you like it. Grab a piece of buttery toast and slather it with some homemade strawberry jam.
Sit down and close your eyes a minute, take a deep breath. Now answer this question: How is your soul? Have you been practicing resting in Christ since our last visit? Remember rest is to be a reality for our souls. When we are resting, abiding, in the security of our Shepherd we will not lack any good thing! There is nothing that helps my mind rest more than thinking on and believing in God’s goodness. God is good, do you believe that today? Last time we talked about loosening those apron strings and learning to rest but today we are talking about tightening those strings sister and taking up our shield of faith!
One of my most favorite spots to spend time with God is on my front porch in my
favorite chair first thing in the morning (and oh yes, with some coffee in my favorite big cup). Often I will start by just closing my eyes and listening to the birds as I remind myself of Matthew 6:26 and Matthew 10:29-31 where Jesus says,
“Consider the birds of the sky. They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”(Matthew 6:26, Emphasis mine)
“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31, Emphasis mine)
Then I open my eyes and look at the trees and the grass, whatever is in bloom around me, and I think on Matthew 6: 28-30 where Jesus says,
“And why do you worry…Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow; they neither toil nor spin…Now if God so clothes the grass of the field…won’t He do much more for you…” (Emphasis mine).
Notice in these two verses Jesus tells us to consider and observe. It is like He is saying, “Rhonda, Rhonda my child, stop, slow down, look around. Why are you worrying? Can you find any evidence proving me guilty of not being faithful to take care of my creation, to take care of you? Do you believe you are worth so much more to me than any of my creation? Have I ever failed to take care of you?” Well of course the answer to those questions is no! He has never failed to take care of me and my family. Yet, there are times I worry away, sowing seeds of fear by my “What ifs…” My mind toiling and spinning away wondering how I am going to “fix” this or solve that or control for this to keep that from happening, how I am going to get done all that I need to do? Reaping doubt and gathering up more worry for my tomorrows and though I don’t want to admit it, all the while I am questioning His goodness and committing the sin of unbelief! Three different times in these verses Jesus points to the value we have as God’s children, and because we belong to Him, He will always keep a faithful record with His own marked with His abundant goodness! I cannot and will not ever prove Him wrong with all my worry buy I can miss His peace, His rest with my unbelief.
Honestly, I have a huge tendency to be a doubter. I tend to over-complicate and over-think things and lack confidence (a lethal combination lol). I can flat out get myself to the point where I UN-BELIEVE God. (I don’t really mean to do this but if I am honest this is what happens.) I pray and say, “God I am trusting you for…” then I set to work trying to work out my own plan, a no fail plan, a plan where I can’t disappoint God, myself or anyone (I think this is also called the sin of pride…gulp). I want to have all the unknowns known and a plan for all the unplanned. (Are you enjoying this look into my head? You are probably thinking, “I need a stronger cup of coffee for this chat today.”) What all this “toiling” and “spinning” away boils down to is my whittling away any room to practice faith, to depend on God for what is His to begin with and only what He can do. I leave Him no room to show forth His work and power on my behalf, so I end up doing nothing but a bunch of worrying because I can’t come up with a plan that alleviates all my fears. This isn’t faith, trust or obedience, it is self-reliance, self-protection. It is asking, no, more like demanding, God to give me all the assurances and answers rather than trusting Him completely. It is leaning on my own understanding. Ultimately, it is my saying in my heart, “Lord, you are unworthy of my surrender and trust. I am going to believe my fears over Your truth.” (Ouch!)
Without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who comes to God must BELIEVE that He is, and that He is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
I have a Spirit empowered calling on my life and if you’re His child you do too! We have spiritual gifts, experiences, testimonies and many other things God has blessed us with and we want to use those for His glory however and where ever He wants. But we have to be diligent and do our part and quickly find a detour away from Doubtville. We have to believe Him, take Him at His word and this requires the work of faith. Not a “roll up your sleeves and try harder” in our own strength “work”; it is resting by faith in the Gospel of Christ, the “It is finished” work He has accomplished on our behalf based on His worthiness, His unfailing faithfulness and the power of God who has proven time and time again He is for us, He is faithful, always good and keeps His word. We walk by faith, by keeping our eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2). Faith is the active demonstration of our belief in God alone, not ourselves, our abilities, our plans, other people or our circumstances. Every day we choose or choose not to believe Him and we will act according to what we believe! We will either sit on the ground flapping our wings in a frazzled flurry going nowhere fast or we will spread our wings and soar with His strength fueling our faith (Isaiah 40:28-31). It is by His grace, not our grit that we get to live by faith.
Praise the Lord, God in His goodness is not settling for me to be a chronic doubter. He is graciously helping me overcome my unbelief, and He is using something I would have never expected (Go figure!). This week marks a huge step of faith for us as a family that has been two years in the making. This week we began our first ever homeschooling adventure with our 7th grade son! If you know me you are probably thinking, “Say what!?” (I know, right. You need another cup of coffee?) I can tell you this was such a God thing because homeschooling was not even on my life radar. I mean I was one of those people that said, “I would never home-school…blah, blah, blah…” I was the one who thought home-school people were weird and sheltering their children from the “real world”. (Please don’t hate on me home-school peeps. I’m just being real and transparent here. I realize I was way wrong and now I am totally glad to be a part of the tribe. I am even going to get a bumper sticker that says, “Hot Home-school Mom” he he 😉 ). But God, who knows me so completely, planted the desire in my heart from what seems like nowhere and I did not understand why. But we began praying by faith that God would make His will clear. I have it marked in my prayer journal: August 31, 2016 was the day we began committing it to the Lord in prayer and by August 2017 He had confirmed His will through Scripture, a peace that passes all understanding and He continues to confirm His plan for us to home-school through the encouragement and support of others cheering us on and our circumstances. This has meant some significant changes for me and our family. It has meant saying “Yes Lord” by faith even when I was not sure, and still not sure, of how it will all work out. I had to let go of my very false sense of any control I thought I had or could have. I had to decide obedience was more important than any concerns I had and about what others would say or think. Awhile back ago I sensed God saying to me; “Rhonda, It is not your job to win the approval of others for your obedience to Me!” (#truthbomb and Yes, Sir!) That was very freeing! My job is to aim to please One, my Heavenly Father. On this journey I had to and will continue to have to overcome many fears by faith. But I so much rather be conquering fortresses of fears with my Almighty Warrior King than building them! Halleluiah, can I get a witness! The only plan I have is to trust Him, believe His word, declare His truth, believe that what He calls me to He equips me for and obey Him and that is the only plan He wants me to have! And that is His best plan, and for whatever you are needing faith for, it is His best plan for you too! So ladies, put on your faith apron and tighten up those strings with His truth, believe in His goodness and move forward!
You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold…may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
Living by faith isn’t taking steps toward the unknown; it is actually taking steps toward the One who knows. Our faith is strengthened because we come to know in deeper ways and greater intimacy the One that is in control and has us covered, always secure in His hand and tender, loving care. This #faithwalking is not easy, life is hard and uncertain, but God is good! Do you believe that today? I would love for you to leave a comment and share how you are #faithwalking in your life right now; you never know how your words will encourage someone else, and if you are struggling, like we all do from time to time, I would love the opportunity to pray for you.
(Here is some of my favorite fear busting truths: Isaiah 41:10, 13, 1 Peter 1:3-8, Hebrews 10:35-36 and 2 Peter 1:5-7, 9-11)
Ya’ll come back now ya hear! Until then, thank you for stopping by the porch where you are always welcomed and always loved, Rhonda
Copyright 2018 Rhonda Loftis