Building Faith into your Relationships

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” -Thomas Paine

Have you felt like this? Life is not easily conquered or mastered. It's tumultuous at times for various reasons. We have to work at it constantly or it easily overwhelms and conquers us. But in today's world we live in an age devoted to labor saving devices of all kinds. It save us time and energy by not having to labor as much as previous generations.  But I believe we have carried this over into how we value relationships with people.
Don't get me wrong, I love all my modern convenience shortcuts, but I have noticed how easy it is for us to just throw things away because we can just go and get another one. If this were limited to just objects it wouldn’t be such a big deal.  But it happens all too often in our relationships with our friends and family.
Notice how easy we disregard and throw away friends and family today rather than work to build. If this is going to stop, we will definitely have to change how we value the relationships we have today and even the ones that we would have in the future.
Healthy relationships are hard to build. It will require work and living unselfishly which is not easy.  But when we value people, places in our lives, they become meaningful and we become better people.

I have come up with a few reasons how you can build better relationships and reasons why you should want them, too.  To start building stronger and better relationships you will need to understand the concept of faith.

 What exactly is faith? 

(this is not necessarily about religion)
Faith - is a firm persuasion; a complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
Here are a few synonyms for faith: trust, belief, confidence, conviction

Here are a few reasons why you should use faith:

 1.You already use it

Here's an easy one, you're already using it.
In fact,  you've already used it today!
When you started your car; when you flipped the light switch; when you put the car in into drive, you expect the results of something you could not see and you got it.

2. Faith increases your effectiveness

When you build faith/trust into relationships you increase your effectiveness and the effectiveness of the relationship.
Why is this important?
Relationships are an investment. The more you put in, the more you can get back.
By increasing your effectiveness you are building a deeper impact into relationships.
With this deeper impact, you can help influence others better.
And with this increased effectiveness, you can lead, motivate others more effectively and help them grow.

3. It causes growth within you

When you use faith to build relationships it will GROW you into a leader. It is inevitable. By investing your time and energy into this kind of project, you will grow.
Another by-product of growing is success.  Because of adding faith to relationships it adds more success for you.  This will be evident as you will see and feel the reward of the work.

  5 ways to build faith/trust into your relationships:

1. Get fully invested. 

How committed are you to building relationships? Are you laying it all on the line without holding anything back? If you are, you’re ready to build. If you hold back, it will be noticed. Nothing builds trust like a total commitment.

 2. Act in harmony with your words.

Make sure that your actions support your words without any need for excuses. Most communication is nonverbal. So if your mouth says “trust me” but your actions say “Don’t trust me” then you will have trust issues.  An example of this is rolling your eyes at what people say or you have the look on your face that's says I would rather not talk to you.

  3. Be tactfully honest.

 When you’re honest with your relationships it shows that you respect that person and being tactful shows that you care. But when you’re not tactful with your words, it lacks consideration for the other person’s feelings and can be downright cruel for others. Sure, honestly give someone feedback if they ask but they shouldn't feel horrible that they asked you for it. Say it tactfully.

 4. Be reliable. 

Reliability is clearly linked to trustworthiness. Make every effort to do what you say you will do. If something comes up and you can’t follow through, explain what happened so no one is left hanging. We all have responsibilities. You are being counted on to deliver on your word. No relationship flourishes when one is considered unreliable.
Take your commitments seriously if you want to be thought of as reliable.

                                                      5. Acknowledge peoples thoughts and feelings. 

Do you acknowledge peoples thought and feelings? How much sarcasm are you giving?  Are you using the“whatever” verbal expression? Thoughts and feelings don’t always make sense to everyone. We all have different ideas. Appreciate others thoughts and ideas. The important thing here is don’t say something that invalidates their point of view. Instead, listen! Do your best to try and see where they are coming from. By acknowledging their thoughts and feelings you validate them. By doing this, it says you respect them and they will communicate freely because you acknowledge and listen.

Why is any of this important?  Because it's all about people.

It's about relationships with people.  They matter. You matter.  Your future matters.  That is why it is important to use faith to build relationships. Because you are building people and you are building your future.

Turning your face to the wall

Have you ever been distracted?

I know I've been. It is a common issue. In fact, it affects me probably more than most people. So it is a battle I fight constantly.  It's a common
component of our culture today.  
We have almost an infinite appetite for distractions.  What we are becoming today is a trivial culture.
almost infinite appetite for distractions
We value items that have no real meaning and give our highest regard and honor to the trivial, meaningless.  What we love is ruining us.

Take a look at what happened to a king in the bible.  This king in the bible named Hezekiah was faced with a serious situation.  Let's look at how he handled his situation and see an example for us to notice and follow.

Isaiah 38:1, 2 says, "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord." 

Do you see what happened there?

Take note of Hezekiah's immediate response; he turned HIS FACE toward the wall and prayed to God.  He avoided distractions.  He could have done any number of things but when you're going through a tough battle, you will have to drop items that are distracting.
This wasn't a time to be angry, panic or complain. This wasn't a time to get on social media and start venting. Let me be clear: the problem isn’t posting or social media. The problem is the distraction that it brings with perpetual entertainment. This sort of entertainment has become a defining component of our culture today. It's creating dormant humanity. Preoccupied by the next social post rather than seeking a real meaning.
Let’s be clear: the problem isn’t movies or music.
Let’s be clear: the problem isn’t movies or music.
Let’s be clear: the problem isn’t movies or music.
Let’s be clear: the problem isn’t movies or music.
Let’s be clear:
Let’s be clear:
Let’s be cleapositing is not necessarily bad but it does not address the real issue it will only add distractions to the issue.

Think how desperate his situation is. He's sick to death. He has been told that he is going to die.  Would it take a life and death situation for you to get serious and leave your distractions?
How would you have reacted?

How many of us would want not to pray but to be very angry, or simply to be numb.

Hezekiah "turned his face to the wall" but what does that mean for us today?
To turn your face to the wall means to turn away from everything else until all you see is God. It means turning away from everything and everyone that may be distracting you from seeking God. When you diligently seek Him, He is obligated to respond to you. James 4:8


There are a few reasons (*WHY*) people don't experience the God kind of results when they are in pressure situations.

1. The first is that they don't look toward God alone.

Hezekiah turned HIS face toward the wall
Hezekiah went to prayer immediately. He directed his prayer in privacy to God.
We turn to people for guidance rather than the praying. While people may help you feel better when you are going through a tough time, they don't have the answers to all your problem; only God does. There's nothing wrong in having their support but it should only supplement.  It shouldn't be primary.

Even when you get tired and you think it may be hopeless,  take the time to pray. Look at what happened in Judges 8:4 
Gideon and the 300 men came to the Jordan and crossed it.
They were exhausted but still in pursuit.
This was a hopeless situation. They were wiped out from being exhausted. Having nothing in left in them but they stayed at it.  If you're are in pursuit, you keep at it even when you think you feel exhausted.

2.Their prayers aren't intense enough. 

James 5:16 AMP

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].
James 5:16 says that effectual, fervent prayer is what get results.
Fervent prayer is prayer that applies intense exertion or ardent zeal. You can't just quote the scriptures a couple times a month and expect to get a breakthrough. You've got to get violent with your faith! That means that you apply the Word of God to your situation with intensity and consistency until you see results. 
Take note about what it also says about praying.. The scripture says
5:16 AMP

Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. 
We are in need of one another more than you think. When we are not in alignment relationally with one another our own walk with God is hindered. If you want to pray heartfelt prayers make sure you have confessed your wrongs to one another.
Get it right with your brother/sister/family/co-worker etc. before you can have true praying power.

God is ready to show Himself strong on your behalf in the midst of hopeless situations. But you have to believe that He will come through for you. Turn your face to the wall and focus on the Him.  Get your heart right and watch your prayers intensify. Do what He says while in prayer. This is such an important key.  Watch God perform a miracles on your behalf. He is faithful to do it when you focus on Him!

3. Maintain a willing heart toward God. 

Many times Christians think that they must be perfect in order to obtain God's favor, but God isn't looking for outward displays of perfection; He is looking for a heart that always wants to do His will. That is what a perfect heart is. God doesn't look at the outward appearance of a person; He looks at the heart and intentions of a man (1 Samuel 16:7). When you miss the mark, repent and ask God to forgive you. Keep pressing into His will for your life, and seek to obey Him at every turn. You'll display a perfect heart when you do. 

We always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap.
Don't jump for whatever may be quick because in the end, it shows up as being cheap.

When you make a determination to face the wall, you will release untapped capabilities in you. You won’t have to be told when that moment of decision happens. You’ll know it! You’ll feel it resonate from deep within you. It will awaken your mind, your heart, and every fiber, from top to toe. Are you ready for that kind of change? You’ll be challenged. You'll have to get serious. You'll have to leave distractions behind.
Are you ready for your heart and mind to be active, engaged about life and real meaning. Or will you stay addicted to the feeling of being “entertained” with the trivial? The decision is yours.

You are a spirit

You are a spirit, 

you have soul, 

and you live in body

You are a 3 part being  – spirit, soul, and body.
You are not just a body that has a soul and spirit, nor are you a soul that has a body and spirit.
Your spirit is the real you (Remember when God breathed into Adam?), That was God breathing in his life as his spirit..

Your soul -defined as your mind, will, intellect, and emotions.
And your body is… your body(what you see).

In Hebrews 4:12 it says, “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul, and spirit and of the joints and marrow,...”(the body).
If these can be divided, then they are not all one in the same. Man is spirit, soul and body.
You will find as we go further in this study and as you develop and mature in your own life, that the Word of God is the only thing that can separate the spirit and the soul of man

Let’s define man’s 3-fold nature

1. Spirit – The part of man which deals with the spiritual realm, the part of man
that knows God, the real you on the inside.
It is the area that deals with faith, hope, reverence, prayer, and worship.

2. Soul – The part of man which deals with the mental and emotional realm.
Man’s mind, will and emotions, the part of man that reasons and thinks.

3. Body –The part of man that deals with the physical realm.
The house or earth suit that we live in.

The Spirit deals with the spirit, and the body deals with the physical.

This leaves the soul, the mental part of man, as the warring ground.

Man works this way – body – soul and spirit.---(this is backwards)

God works this way – spirit, soul and body.

We are just spirit beings that live in earth suits.

John 4:24 (NLT) For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
We cannot know God or touch him physically unless Jesus stood in front of us.
He is a Spirit – BUT – we can reach Him with our Spirit anytime, and it is through our spirit that we can come to know God.

Most Christian are led by the flesh; they allow their spirit and soul to be subservient to the lusts and desires of their flesh, which is why they struggle with sin.
They do not know that they are supposed to be dead to the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:24) and walk in the spirit life.

You are dead to the flesh and free from sin.

Walking in the spirit is not about a conscious effort, it really is understanding your identity.
Thus, problems arise when your identity is rooted in our soul/body rather than your spirit.
When people are feeling angry, they say, “I’m angry.”
When people are feeling sad, they say, “I’m sad.”
When people are feeling tired, they say, “I’m tired.”
When people are feeling nervous, they say, “I’m nervous.”
When people are feeling worried, they say, “I’m worried.”

Managing your Emotions
So when people are experiencing emotions, frustrating thoughts, or pain, those are all experienced in the soul or body.

But the issue is when people place their identity in what they feel.
It’s the “I am” part of the phrase. When people say that, they fail to distinguish between “I am frustrated” versus “I am feeling frustrated.”
When someone says “I am frustrated” they are placing their identity in what they’re feeling, hence, “I am frustrated”, and as a result, they will feel completely powerless to feel anything else.
But if you can understand “I am feeling frustrated”, it changes the mindset to, “Oooh this is just a feeling!
If this is just a feeling, I can change what I feel!
I don’t have to be stuck with feeling this!”
When people say, “I’m sad, I’m depressed,” the implication is that they feel stuck in that emotion — that they don’t have any power to get out of it. But if they can shift it to “I’m feeling sad, or I’m feeling depressed,” it will help them realize it’s just a feeling, and they can change what they feel.
“Man I’ve just been so frustrated about_______________
“Oh, well good thing you’re a spirit.”
It becomes a tool we use to remind us that we are no longer bound by what we feel. Emotions were no longer the basis from which we made decisions and how we related to people.
People say things like, “I’m scared of this, I’m worried about this, this situation is making me feel stressed out.” But when they understand that what they’re feeling is something external that’s affecting them, they will feel empowered to not live in that emotion.
“I’ve been worried about xyz”
“Oh, well good thing you’re a spirit.”

Make sense?
So the whole point of this isn’t to eliminate your emotionsnor is it to imply that you will never experience another negative emotion.
The point is to empower you to not be bound your emotion.
(e.g. you should never feel helpless to stay feeling scared in any situation).
The point is to remind you how to live from your spirit rather than from your soul.

This ties back into identity-

(Knowing who you are)

Your behavior will always reflect what you believe about yourself and what you place your identity in. If you believe you are depressed, your depression will be there to stay.
Even with sicknesses, diseases, and conditions, people say, “I’m sick.” “I’m diabetic.” “I’m paraplegic.” “I’m blind.” “I’m an alcoholic.” “I’m OCD.” The list goes on. I don’t have a problem with language and how our culture uses language, but it does create mindsets concerning people’s identity and it keeps people bound up in their issues.

Why is this even important?

The devil will do everything in his power to try to keep you powerless, and so long as he has you operating in your soul rather than your spirit, you will lose the battle eventually.
The devil makes every effort to keep believers in worry, fear, and anxiety because it keeps them focused on themselves, it paralyzes them from recognizing the real enemy and it makes them turn inward to find the problem internally.
This causes them to lose sight of God and the tools He’s given us for victory .
They get lost in their inadequacy and no longer see His power/sufficiency that works in us (Eph 1:18-23).
To live in perfect peace and joy isn’t some hyper-spiritual reality that only a few dead saints had the privilege to experience. It is possible for every believer to live in. Living in perfect peace and joy isn’t about some kind of emotional bliss that makes you super-human. It’s a confidence and awareness of who you are, who He is in you, and the tools you have been given to overcome any situation.
Having victory in every circumstance isn’t about trying to make every situation go the way you want it go. It’s about being able to have absolute peace and joy regardless of what is happening… and in that peace and joy, you become aware of the tools you’ve been given and that is often what helps you turn those situations for the better. Also… it’s a lot easier to think straight (Col 3:2) when you’re not caught up in an emotional breakdown.
Again, this is not about eliminating emotions from your life, that’s silly. This is about empowering you to no longer let emotions cloud the way you think, make decisions, and the way you relate to people. This is about learning to rule your emotional life, rather than allowing your emotional life to rule you. This is about learning to walk in the spirit, to train your spirit man to have supremacy over your soul and body.
Why.. Becasue -You are not just a body that has a soul.
You are a SPIRIT and have been made strong! 

An appetite for truth of who you really are

Are you hungry to know TRUTH? Do you have an appetite for the truth?
Do you know who YOU really are according to the TRUTH?

Have you ever meet a person who has a ferocious appetite?  There is nothing that stops them from diving into the food and get full as quick as possible.
What gets you ready to eat? What make you get a big appetite?
Are you hungry to know the real you and not be deceived & settle for anything but the whole truth?

Who are you? REALLY?

From the dawn of time, in the heart of mankind there is a desire inside the heart.
What am I here for? Does my life hold meaning? What is my value?
Lets go to the book of Genesis.
This is how it started.
GEN 1:26- 
 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.
You were made in the image of God. You're made in His image, His likeness.  He has given you complete authority.  You were even made to even operate like Him-- by speaking (WORDS) by faith.   
1.a physical likeness or representation of a person, animal, or thing, photographed, painted, sculptured, or otherwise made visible. 

2. an optical counterpart or appearance of an object, as is produced by reflection from a mirror. James 1:23-24

1. a representation, picture, or image, especially a portrait:
to draw a good likeness of a person
2. the state or fact of being like-Example-I can't get over your likeness to my friend.

In the very beginning (garden of Eden) there was the first attack against mankind to get us to believe that we are not what God had told us that we were.
The enemy of God doesn't want us to believe that He has given us this place as rightful rulers made just like him. If he can obscure and blind us from seeing what we truly are, then he doesn't have to worry about us. We are not a threat to him. The enemy wants you to doubt & distrust everything God has said.  He wants you to remain on the outside, looking like a slave, beggar, not realizing you are the very offspring of the one true king. God from the beginning has made a place just for you- with Him.

Being deceived from the truth

Gen 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”  2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”  4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
 They were deceived... Satan convinced them that they could be like God. This was a huge LIE!!
**NEWSFLASH** We couldn't get any more like GOD. They had it all. But they believed a lie that they were missing something. GOD gave them everything in the beginning but through deception they believed a lie and thought they need something else. Satan convinced them God was holding them back.
Psalms 84:11
For Jehovah Elohim is a sun and shield: Jehovah will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
Romans 8:32 AMP
He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?

Eve told Satan, That she was "not to eat" & "not to touch it".  But who ever said that??
If your not going to eat it, you surely are not going to touch it.
Don't add rules to what God has given you in His word. That's where we get religion. Man's rules mixed with God's doesn't set free. Our attempt is to get to God when He is always searched for & is searching for us. He came to us because we had to way to bridge the gap we made from Him.  He's made a way when there wasn't a way.
Just follow the Word & don't add your rules to it. Live according to what is written and avoid adding to it.
Jesus said, My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

We are told to follow

This what Christ asks... Follow me.
To define the word follow-
to go or come after or behind (someone or something),  to accept as authority
Notice it says to go after someone else. You can't follow yourself. But many choose to follow their own selves.
Now think about this... This isn't rocket science. All he asks... Follow.
It doesn't require any kind of degrees. You don't have be something special. Regardless of what you may look like. He, Jesus Christ asks...
Follow me
Mark 3:14
And he ordained twelve, that they should be with HIM.....
That they should be with HIM! First and foremost, before anything else. BE WITH HIM!! Before any ministry can begin, you have to be with Him.

The effect of being a follower-

Matt 4:19 -And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Jesus takes you & makes-
definition- form (something) by putting parts together or combining substances; construct; create.
He creates you to be more like Him as you follow. That's amazing. All by being a follower.
After you follow Jesus, that is when he will ask of you to add something to your following--
He'll ask you to
“Take up your cross and follow Me”  Matt 16:24
This means being willing to die in order to follow Jesus. This is called “dying to self.” It’s a call to absolute surrender.
Cross bearing “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:24-25).

Don't lose your purpose!

Don't lose the reason why-

In the movie City Slickers the character Curly says this:
"Do you know what the secret of life is? One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean anything--"
But, what is the "one thing?  

Curly [smiles] "That's what *you* have to find out."
Your purpose is your business & you should only mind your business not any anothers
John 21:18-22 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”  (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Does this sound familiar?
Jesus is directing him back to the basic fundamental instructions-  Hey Peter, all you need to do is follow me. Don't worry or be concerned with any others purpose, just your own. You, follow me.

Verse20- Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 
Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
Jesus’ made some blunt words—“None of your business, follow me”—
These words are sweet to my ears. They are liberating from the depressing bondage of fatal comparing.
That’s the way the world is wired. Compare. Compare. Compare. We crave to know how we stack up in comparison to others. There is some kind of high if we can just find someone less effective than we are. 

When you compare, you are leaving *your*mission. You're leaving your purpose.
Jesus will not judge me according to my superiority or inferiority over anybody. No preacher. No church. No ministry. These are not the standard. Jesus has a work for me to do (and a different one for you). 

Stay hungry for your purpose
In the boxing movie, Rocky,
Rocky Balboa's trainer made a comment about him after noticing his training slipping-
The worst thing that happened to you, that can happen to any fighter: you got civilized.
Rocky left his ability to engage as a hungry fighter. He left that passion.

This world makes plenty of distractions. Distractions to keep you from staying connected to your purpose. Be careful because it's the small things that creates the slow fade.

Catch the foxes -- the little foxes that ruin the vineyards-- for our vineyards are in bloom. Sol 2:15
It’s not the big things that get us off purpose, its the small mundane things that we tell ourselves that don't matter because they're so small.
Proverbs 6:10
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to lie down and sleep–

You & your life will have to answer this question...

Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.
“But you,” He asked them, “who do *YOU* say that I am ?”
 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God! ”
The wisest & wealthiest man (King Solomon) that ever lived had this to say after he had exhausted all his avenues to research the meaning for living. He summed it up in a nutshell the meaning of life.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.  For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

What will be your purpose?  Jesus asks you this question..
Who am I to you?
What is that to you? You follow me!”

A Mother's Love

Many things can be said about it but few knows its depths.

It is made of deep devotion. It stays strong in the face of sacrifice and pain. It is patient and forgiving. And although her heart can break it remains firm in place. On many occasions, it defies all explanation with only to say, its "A mother's love". And yet it still remains.. A miracle.

A mother's love truly shows an unmatched degree and intensity for her children, family and others.

Love is passion. It is an intensity. It is at the very core of ourselves, an attachment to, or an intense feeling of deep affection to something.

It is a very honorable thing for this love to be shown toward her children, family and others. In today's world more than ever, a mothers love will keep the threads of the home from becoming too unraveled. It is a great example for us all to admire and respect.

When we don't love God first, we love everyone else less

But as great as this love is, when it is not given to God first, it will be misplaced. When we don't love God first, we love everyone and everything else less. It's kind of like building a house. You start with a foundation before you put up the walls. You don't start with the windows or shutters. The same thing applies to loving God.  He doesn't come fourth or fifth or even second.  His place is only first.  Love for him has to be secured at #1.

There is a terrific book called- The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis.
In the book, it describes a mother that had an incredible love for her son. But she lost him by an illness.  She grieved over the death of her son for over 10 years.  She kept his room exactly as it was when he died. She remained distressed about the loss of her son, Michael, until her own death. In fact, she is disappointed to learn that when she arrives at the entrance of heaven there to meet her is her brother and not her son. She refuses to accept entrance to Heaven without her son Michael. She emotionally refuses to listen and rants, "No one has the right to come between me and my son. Not even God. Tell Him that to his face. I want my boy, and I mean to have him. He is mine, do you understand? Mine, mine, mine for ever and ever" Despite any encouragement, she remains angry at God for taking him from her.  The past was all I had,” the woman says. Her brother replies, “It was all you chose to have.” 
She was so consumed with the love for her son that she would disregard the love for God. 

Love is good

Here we have something as simple as love for her son turned into something bad. Love is good. In fact, it's great. The bible even teaches that God just doesn't feel love for or toward us, its that HE IS LOVE.
But when our love ( an attachment to, or an intense feeling of deep affection to something.) is placed before our love for God, it becomes misplaced. It becomes a god to us.  

Colossians 1:17 reads- And HE is BEFORE all things, and by him all things consist.

Matthew 22:37 says, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
The Aramaic bible in translates it like this-
You shall love THE LORD JEHOVAH your God from all your heart and from all your soul and from all your power and from all your mind.
Notice it says, "from all your power".  Whatever is in you is what it means from all your power.  Your will, your choices.  If it falls within something that you control, direct it to God. He wants your whole heart and not just a part.  It's that simple.

It all starts there. Make a practice of loving God.

But how? How do you love any of the things that you currently love? You delight in them. You give your heart over to it. You choose it over other things and other people.

The heart war

There is a war waged everyday for your heart. 
This world and all its enticement will pull for your affections, it will fight for your attention.  James 1:14 says- But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).
Revelations 2:4 reads- But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
Examine your heart.  Watch you motives.  Let your love rest exclusively on Jesus. Nothing should come before him.  If you sense that some things are out of place in the order of your heart, make it right.
Don't wait for another day to make HIM first.

Run the race


A half marathon is 13.1 miles and it's hard to believe I am about run to one.

I have always ran. Love to run but never at this distance. I was never even interested in going beyond a 5K which is 3.1 miles. A 5k was comfortable and didn't require too much time and training.

It all started as a challenge, disguised as a dare. It was definitely a challenge, and I thought "why not."
So, I've been in training since late November and learning a lot about running and me specifically.

Run with patience

I had only ran 3.1 miles in the past and I was not used to running at slower paces. I would use up most of my energy when I didn't use the correct pace. I had to slow down in order to finish my race. Steady.  Step after step. Mile after mile. This is true in life as well.  We put so much on our "to do" list. We burn ourselves out way to early by trying to make everything as important. The journey is just beginning and we are getting too tired to finish. We have to prioritize what the important things are and let go of what isn't. Remember- pace yourself. Steady. Don't burn any extra energy when its not needed.

Lay aside extra weight

When you start the run you can't have extra weight around.  It will impede your performance and generally slow you down. You need only what's required.  Don't worry about the extras. Only what is needed for YOUR RUN.
Remember this is your race and no one else's. They can't run your race and you can't run theirs. You need not be concerned about any other person during it.  You are competing only with yourself. Yes, there are other runners.  But when your attention gets more on them then you are trying in essence to run two races and not just your own.  Run YOUR race.

The spectators

We have all sorts of people that are around us.  Some of them are directly encouraging you to run your race, while others are just cheering you along.  While I was running a 5k recently, a little gray haired woman was cheering me on and clapping for me on the last leg of the race.  I didn't know her but what she did really helped me to dig down and pull up more reserve and empower my run even more.
There are people like this lady in our lives.  We may not know them at all but they are certainly encouraging us along the way.  Take it! Take all you can! Sometimes encouragement can get rather slim.
For some people, you don't have much encouragement in your corner but you still have MUCH to gain.
You could be setting the bar for generations to come.  You could be serving as inspiration for the next person who is just waiting to be inspired and you could be it for them.  The story is always bigger than you can see. Whether or not you have encouragement, you have your own voice. Make it count. Encourage yourself.

Regardless where you are at in life, don't lose sight of the finish line. It's the goal that your eyes will need to be fixed upon. Remember its YOUR finish line.

When Pigs Fly

Ever heard this expression?

Well it's a great way to express when something might be impossible.

At Christ Central Alachua, I was able to witness the story of two people who, against all odds, became "the flying pigs".  Each of them had wrecked their lives and was a mess.  But when they came to themselves, as the bible points out in the prodigal son parable in Luke 15:17

Need inspiration? Pigs can fly

Here's the video of Sara & John -

What's possible?

Jesus replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
Luke 18:27

Addictions seem impossible. But WITH GOD it becomes possible.
An interesting part of their story is the progression. Some people believe that miracles have to be spontaneous in order for it to be "true miracle"
There are several examples in scriptures where progression occurred during a healing or a time when faith was exercised over something before it fully manifested.

Jesus curses a fig tree

Mark 11:12-21

12 The next morning as they left Bethany, he felt hungry. 13 A little way off he noticed a fig tree in full leaf, so he went over to see if he could find any figs on it. But no, there were only leaves, for it was too early in the season for fruit.

14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “You shall never bear fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.

20 Next morning, as the disciples passed the fig tree he had cursed, they saw that it was withered from the roots! 21 Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Teacher! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

(It occurred over a period of time.)

Ten healed of leprosy

 Luke 17:11

11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

Lazarus brought back

44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

Lazarus was wrapped tight in the grave clothes from the burial process. He was rescued from death but needed assistance from the grave clothes.

We have the responsibility to help assist the ones that are coming back out of death, the ones who are still wrapped in its chains, of helping them get out of the old "grave clothes" off them.
The experience of accepting Jesus as savior and being made a new creation is an spontaneous act. But, just as a baby, you will need to grow. You've been given a new heart but we live in a physical body with a mind that will have to be renewed daily.
Mark 4:14 says The Word of God is like a seed sown.  It starts just as small seed.
It's at first a small thing.  Yet it has within itself to produce mighty things that can't even be seen yet.  Let it grow.

It's a process but it is still a miracle.  It's like the seed that's been planted. It can produce. Allow it to grow from within. There are no limits on the end potential.

Pigs can certainly fly when GOD makes the possible!