Last week I attended the IF:Gathering in Austin Texas. There I was blessed to hear from some amazing speakers, worshipping with 2000 ladies and a worship leader that made me giggle because of his pirate-like beard and share this time with not only my 2 daughters, but also with women that I just honestly love being around!
Have you ever been to a conference where there was so much content that your head spun? Yes, this was like that! Speaker after speaker, thoughts after thoughts, all good and all had a potential impact on my life but which one do I focus on? Which one am I supposed to implement?
“Lord, help me sift through all of these wonderful things to hear your thoughts”, I prayed.
I had come to the weekend a little tired, with high expectations and on an emotional rollercoaster. To say that I was a hot mess was not an overstatement! Sometimes, this sheep needs to be led and I think that my Shepherd was directing my steps. He is a good, good Father!
In the last few months, my mother who has dementia moved in with us, 2 dear friends were suddenly widows and my work and ministry life were causing some stressors.
I found myself crying out to God, “this is too much! Are you sure I can handle all of this? What are your plans Lord?”
This sheep needed a new way of thinking! Lord Activate your thoughts in me!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I found myself asking Him to change my thoughts, to fill me with His Spirit, to give me a new vision and His peace in the midst of whatever circumstances would come my way! His answer was quiet and clear. “Abide“
“Abide in me, then I can activate my thoughts in you,” He continued to remind me of this simple truth throughout the weekend.
The only way to know the thoughts of God is to allow yourself to have time in His presence.
and you will Experience His love, His peace, His gentle leading.
Oh Lord Activate your thoughts in me.
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
Rest seems like a passive term. How then can it be activated?
Websters defines rest as 1: repose, sleep; specifically : a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities 2 : freedom from activity or labor: a state of motionlessness or inactivity : the repose of death a place for resting or lodging peace of mind or spirit peace of mind or spirit (1) : a rhythmic silence in music (2) : a character representing such a silence : a brief pause in reading something used for support
Today I was at the hair salon getting my pretty on. My mom went with me and sat quietly while they applied highlights to my hair. It has been quite the week! Our journey of having my mother live with us has begun and we are now in full swing. On this the 7th day of caring for my mom, I found myself a little anxious. Not the stomach fluttering, head spinning anxious, but definitely, not at rest.
As I sat under the dryer waiting for my highlights to turn the most brilliant shade of blonde God reminded me that He was the one who can activate my rest. He is the one in whom I can take refuge. He is the provider of perfect peace. Just as I had this ephiphany, my mom stood up shuffled past me, waved and smiled and then went into the bathroom.
I still have you Jann, He whispered, just as I hold your mom’s hand, I hold yours. Will you trust me to take care of both of you?
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
God directs us to rest
You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working, even during the seasons of plowing and harvest. Exodus 24:31 NLT
I love that it says you must stop working! I am all over that!
God provides us with mental rest because we can know and trust that He is covering us with His love.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
Jesus beckons us to come and rest with Him.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
He always seems to know exactly what we need!
Woo hoo! It is 41 degrees on a normally freezing January day in Michigan.
All the way home I can think of only one thing, sunshine! I crave the warmth of it. I crave the way my skin feels as it slowly warms to the embrace of it. I love the way it causes me to rest as I soke it up!
When will I be in the Sun’s presence?
I crave sacred, restful, warm time with Him.
Psalm 23: 1 The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.
Psalm 4:4 Meditate with in your heart on your bed and be still.
Psalm 37: 7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Grab a pillow and join me in the Son!
What is faith?
The Bible tells us that faith is believing without seeing. For me, it’s resting on the promises of God and understanding that those promises are for me! These promises are not just for some people in the Bible, not for some really special holy person, these promises are for me.
When you know who God is, it becomes so much easier to trust in His promises. Today as we think about activating our faith let’s look at who God is and why we can put our faith in him.
Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:5-7
Here are just a few descriptors of God’s character. When you have some time look up these verses and soak in the knowledge that our God is so vast, wide, powerful, kind, generous and gracious.
Genesis 14:19 He is the Most High God
Deuteronomy 4:31 He is merciful and will never forget you.
Deuteronomy 33:27 He is our refuge
Joshua 23:3 He fights for us
Psalms 84:11-12 He is our sun and our shield
Psalms 91:1, 2 He is God almighty
Isaiah 40:28 He is Everlasting
Matt. 7:11 He is Our Father
Psalms 23 He is Our Shepherd
Personally, I love that He is Jehovah-Jireh, The Lord who provides. Genesis 22:12-14
Our God that we love, is all-seeing, all-knowing, all understanding.
He is the provider, my refuge, and my rock.
He is the servant leader who gave his son because he loved us so much that he couldn’t stand another moment without us being reconciled to him. He is the one who created those adorable babies, incredible mountains, beautiful flowers and that cuddly puppy. He is the creator.
He is also a judge and king, but not any judge and not any king. He is the righteous one who weighs and balances the scales of justice. Romans 3:25-26
These verses proclaim who God is! Which of these characteristics of God stand out to you today?
Let’s Dig into His promises
He promises to
- always be with us, to never leave us that he will not for sake us. Hebrews 13:5
- shelter us, to be our refuge and our strength.
- go before us and to make away when there seems to be no way.
- give us authority and power.
- abide with us to live in us if we will simply do the same
- give us the Holy Spirit to fill us to lead us to guide us
- He promises that death will not overcome us because he holds the keys to eternal life.
- He promises that we are more than conquerors!
How does this relate to activating your faith?
In light of who God is and of His promises, how can this change the way we live?
Jesus tells us that if we have the faith of a tiny, little mustard seed, that this little bit of faith combined with what we know about who God is becomes a powerful combination. This is the ultimate dynamic duo! It is a strength that wells up in us, a confidence that is a sure steadfastness and it will not allow us to be moved.
I want this powerful faith to change the way I live and the way that I view the circumstances in my life!
- Grab a pen and a note card.
- Pick one of His promises and one characteristic of God and write them on the note card.
- Place the card in a place that you will see often. Then meditate on it throughout the day. When you see the notecard, Praise God for being ________ and read the promise that you chose.
- At the end of the day reflect back. How did having His promise and His characteristic in front of you?
What if you did this everyday or every week? How would that change you?
One of my favorite promises is
Isaiah 52:12 for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
I’m standing on that promise today as I enter into this new season of my mom moving in with us. That’s a whole other story for another day. God’s character of kindness is overflowing in my life. I’m going to activate my faith on His kindness and the knowledge of Him going before me and coming behind me. This dynamic duo of promise and characteristic will be my strength today!
May your faith be activated today!