Brotherly Love

It’s time to move past the differences that cause division and make the choice to continue to build each other up in brotherly love. External influences are driving wedges into our communities and we are seeing more and more division because we are letting our differences rule our relationships.

Brotherly love, philadelphia, is love that says I love you with deep affection regardless of our differences. Brotherly love seeks connection over everything else. Brotherly love sets out to bless the other person with no expectations in response. Brotherly love is the foundation of community.

I have an amazing community of friends. These people are truly my tribe and my support and the relationships are equal in that, sometimes I’m in need and sometimes they are in need and in both instances, we act in love towards each other and seek to bless and provide. We don’t agree on everything. We don’t necessarily have shared calls or visions for our future. We come from different backgrounds and have different hopes and dreams. What we have is connection and the desire to see each other be successful in whatever path we choose. We let brotherly continue.

As a society, we have to get to the basics of community and stop tearing each other down. We have to stop making our focus ME, and turn our focus to US. No matter what I do, I can’t succeed without my community. God never calls us to live alone, He always calls us to live in community. We are a body of people, each with different giftings but shared purpose…love God and love people. Love is the power source that builds connection and community.

Let brotherly love continue. Seek connection and build community. It’s time to start a love revolution in our world.

Shalom,

KA

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Blessings

Today, regardless of the situations we are facing, let’s take a moment to focus on some of the promises God has spoken over our lives. Let’s join our faith together knowing these promises will be fulfilled.

Deuteronomy 28:6 Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

Deuteronomy 28:11 And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity…

Deuteronomy 28:13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down.

1 Peter 2:4 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Isaiah 26:3 You keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

The list could go on and on! Trust God to bring about His perfect resolution and blessing through your faith and obedience.

Shalom,

KA

Making a Comeback!

Posted originally on http://www.facebook.com/pursuitchurchlive

Be Brave: Peter’s Comeback

I love Peter with all of my heart because that is how he lived, with all of his heart. From the moment Peter arrives on the scene, he captures my attention. In the gospel of John, chapter 1, Jesus meets Simon and immediately changes his name to Cephas or Peter, meaning “rock”. Here we see Jesus setting the tone of the relationship and it is actually really important to remember that Peter is foundational to the long-term ministry of Jesus. In the first moments of their relationship, Jesus gives Peter his calling and though he doesn’t understand the name change at the time, he will.

Peter isn’t typically a person we think of immediately when we think of someone being brave. You were probably already thinking that and at first glance, I would agree. To see the bravery of Peter, you have to put on your sanctified imagination a little bit. Here’s why I consider Peter to be brave: he led with his heart, failed, and got back up. To me, bravery isn’t just standing up to an enemy, bravery is stepping out when God calls and if you happen to make a mess, bravery is getting back into the game and trying again.

Have you ever stepped out in faith and then made a mess of a situation?

I want to look at one of the moments in the life of Peter where he failed and yet, he wasn’t disqualified, cast aside by God and, he didn’t quit. Grab your bible or favorite bible app, and turn to Matthew chapter 14. The disciples have just seen Jesus feed thousands of people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. Not only did He feed them, they had leftovers! The disciples are tired at every level and still processing the recent news that John the Baptist was killed. The conditions are not necessarily optimal but, they are with Jesus and changing the world.

Jesus, needs some time alone with His Father so He sends His followers off across the sea ahead of Him. The weather isn’t great and the guys in the boat are getting battered by waves and wind. It’s the middle of the night and I am certain they were cranky. I mean, I would be! Then, out of nowhere, they see something that I am certain made them doubt their sanity. They saw Jesus walking on the water coming towards them! Just stop for a moment and imagine that scene. First, they are so far out that there is no earthly way Jesus could even be where they are considering the length of time they have been moving in the water. Second, Jesus is WALKING ON WATER. I probably would have passed out if I’m being totally honest.

Here is where I start to fall more in love with Peter. While most people would have been running away from someone walking on the water (let’s just be honest, it’s terrifying!), Peter is more attracted to the power of Jesus. The disciples are convinced they are seeing a ghost and they are filled with fear, but not Peter. In the midst of fear, Peter hears the voice of Jesus and he finds deeper faith. Only faith could have caused Peter to utter his next words, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28). Peter knows the voice of his Leader and Friend and he is firmly set in faith that he has recognized the voice and that Jesus is fully and without doubt able to allow Peter to walk on water. Jesus has only one response and it is truly a reward for his faith, “Come” (Matthew 14:29).

Can you relate to Peter in this moment? Have you had an experience where you just knew it was God and though it seemed crazy, you followed what you heard?

Peter then steps out of the boat, deeper into the storm, and walks on water toward Jesus. Now, stop here for just one moment and picture the face of Jesus as Peter would have seen Him. Here’s what I picture: deep love in His eyes, pride beaming all over His face as His friend walks in faith, a slight smile on his lips. Peter and Jesus have a moment that is so deeply special and lovely it can nearly bring me to tears if I think about it for a while. Peter is the hero of the story in this moment! He stepped out in faith and it was a HUGE success! End scene, go home. Oh but wait! It doesn’t actually end in this glorious moment. Peter starts to sink.

Peter, in what is the absolute human condition, takes his focus off of His Leader and Friend and puts it on the storm and in that moment, he loses faith and he loses footing. He starts to sink and scramble and I’m certain is filled with tremendous fear. Sometimes, it takes greater faith to stay the course, not stepping out of the boat. Peter had the faith to step out, he just didn’t have the faith to keep going when the storm around him seemed to be too much. Instead of keeping his eyes firmly planted on the goal, Jesus, he looked around, saw the storm and tried to keep going in his own strength. God will never give you the power to step out and not give you the power to keep going.

So let’s do a quick recap: the disciples are caught in a storm on the water, they see Jesus walking towards them on the water, Peter jumps out of the boat and he walks on the water, Peter sinks. For many, Peter’s bravery was in the stepping out of the boat but I would invite you to put your sanctified imagination hats on and look a little closer. I would suggest that Peter was most brave by letting Jesus save him and then getting back into the boat. As with many of the daily small details, the Bible doesn’t tell us what happened next but as we all know, it wasn’t a movie so the scene didn’t just end with Jesus saving Peter. Jesus would have had to carry Peter back to the boat, and then Peter would have had to face his friends.

Now, I know we like to think of these men, the disciples, as pillars of the community but let’s be honest, they weren’t. They were rough-and-tumble men’s men and I’m 99% positive at some point, maybe not right that moment, someone said something like, “Hey Peter, nice swim you took there!” Or “Wow Peter, way to make Jesus have to save you!!” I’m certain Peter had to face a little ridicule based on his actions and what we know about Peter is this…he stayed. Because I know that God allows freewill, I can say with assurance that Peter had the option to stop following Jesus at any moment. They all did. Peter could have been so undone by the public failure that he retreated back to being a fisherman. Praise God he didn’t!

Have you made a mistake or done something in public that fills you with shame or regret and you felt like, or perhaps you did, walking away from God’s call on your life?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill. Peter didn’t let this failure stop him from fulfilling the destiny for which he was created, to be the rock on which Jesus built His Church. (Matthew 16:18) Was Peter brave for stepping out of the boat? Absolutely. Was he even more brave for getting back into the boat, facing his friends and then continuing on with them and Jesus? A million times yes!! Without Peter, we have no Church as we know it today. Peter shows us that we can be human, make mistakes, fail, and Jesus is still there to pick us up and keep us going. I don’t believe Jesus ever mentioned what happened to Peter again. Jesus knew what Peter was capable of and He knew what Peter was called to, remember, He gave him that call the first time they met.

Each of you is one of two people: you’ve failed and quit or, you’ve failed and gotten back up. If you have failed and quit, please hear my heart. Jesus is waiting to pull you up, bring you peace and healing, and relaunch you. Your calling doesn’t have an expiration date so don’t think He won’t use you. There is nothing, and I do mean nothing, that will stop God from using you except you. If you let shame and guilt rule, then you let the enemy win. Please don’t let him win. Failure only has power when we allow it to hold shame and we keep it a secret. Let your secret out! Ask God for help and He will provide it.

If you have failed and gotten back up, praise God. Share your story loudly. We all need to hear how other people have failed and gotten back up to keep moving forward into their calling to bring glory to the Kingdom. We all fail at one point or another, the more we share our stories of both success and failure, the more we realize they are really both the same. Stories of success are never easy stories and in many cases, the failure was needed in order for the success to be realized.

Shalom,

KA

Naming My Freedom

This is a collage I did in my journal this morning as I think of all God did on November 10, 2011.

“What’s in a name?” A famous line from Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. In the play, Juliet is using that question to say that the name doesn’t matter, the rose is still a rose even if you called it a skunk because of its fragrance. I would argue that the name is part of the of the whole thing, which is a rose. You can’t take away the name, even though the fragrance would still be the same, the item would be different because the name would be different. Giving something a name is important.

Names are thrown around without a lot of thought. The name given to us at birth is relatively arbitrary and by that I mean, it isn’t really based much on who we are as a person. We are given a name to honor someone else, to honor a moment in time or to honor a place, but our parents have no idea if that name will “fit” us as we grow up. I’ve met some amazingly lovely people named Miriam which means bitter. I’ve also met some super unhappy folks named Joy. I think you get my point, our names given to us at birth have everything to do with the giver of the name and really, nothing to do with the receiver. But there are names given to us that define us, and in those names we find freedom or we find death. Those are the names we give ourselves, or others give ourselves, as we journey through life. 

Until I was 45 years old, I would have told you that my life had some ups-and-downs but nothing major, no trauma of any kind really. This was my truth and what I believed because I had named myself unworthy and I didn’t see it. In my mind, I wasn’t important enough to have had any trauma or anything noteworthy. The actual truth was, I had named myself unworthy, unremarkable and unimportant by my trauma and I just hadn’t learned how to see that truth. So, I operated in a realm of a secondary character that was always replaceable. My internal monologue was filled with language like “don’t rock the boat”, “don’t think differently”, “don’t wake him up”, “don’t tell anyone”. My trauma, my story, was screaming to be named but I didn’t have the skills to do that so I numbed myself with alcohol. 

Typically, I celebrate November 10th as the day I gave my life most fully to Jesus and He released me from addiction. I’m realizing today that so much more happened on that day 6 years ago and I have to name it. FREEDOM! REDEMPTION! RESTORATION! WORTH! VALUE! REMARKABLE! God took a story that was dark and full of pain and He released me, freed me and renamed me. I didn’t realize it at the time but God set me on a path that carried more pain than I could imagine but it was good pain, necessary pain, healing pain. I have spent the past 6 years looking at my trauma and giving it to God to help me name and bless and release. 

We can’t process something we can’t name. 

We can’t name something we won’t face.

 We won’t face something that holds shame.

So what do we do? How do we name our trauma and then name our freedom? Trust. Trust that God is with you always, in the darkness and the light, and that He is holding you tight. Trust that God does know the names of your trauma and the He will gently lead you to the naming. Trust that on the other side of the pain of processing is freedom. Be open to the journey of healing and I promise you, God will not disappoint you. God isn’t interested in bringing a quick fix, He’s interested in true healing and a deep relationship. I begged God for YEARS to release me from addiction and abuse and He wouldn’t do it because He wanted so much more for me. See the deal is, if He had just fixed the situation I wouldn’t be writing this now because I wouldn’t have entered into the journey of healing. I wouldn’t be any better off now then I was when I was at my darkest. God wanted more for me and He wants more for you. 

Tomorrow, November 10th, I celebrate a new name and it’s a name that God has given me through the journey of the last several years: remarkable. I am operating in freedom and it is remarkable. God is in love with me and it is remarkable. I still have things to process and name and that’s just the truth for all of us. But what I don’t have is fear of facing those things. God has shown Himself faithful and as new triggers arise and new issues need to be processed, He will continue to bring names and freedom.

I don’t know where you are in life, but I hope you are considering trusting God. It’s not an easy process, it hurts to face your trauma, and yet, it is absolutely worth it. If you aren’t sure where to start or know you just want a prayer partner, will you please simply reply with “pray” and I will pray for you. 

Shalom,

KA

Jesus Knows You

Do you ever wonder if Jesus really knows you? Like knows all about you, all you’ve done, all you think and all those “hidden” places you keep locked up tight? Did He know you from the start or does He get to know you over time? I think, based on scripture, God shows us time and time again that He knows us inside at out immediately.

Take a look at the first encounter between Jesus and Peter. 

John 1:42 He (Andrew) brought him (Simon) to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas (meaning rock).”

Jesus merely looked at Peter and knew both his history and his future. He knew his family of origin, that he was the son of John. This is a really familiar reference which leads me to believe that Jesus knew about the family dynamics and details of Simon’s upbringing. Jesus then goes on to give Simon a new name, Cephas, also known as Peter. Jesus knew that He would go on to build His Church through Peter, the rock (Matthew 16:18). In one moment, the first  meeting, Jesus identifies his past and his future.

I believe Jesus does that for all of us. When we meet Jesus for the first time, He already knows our past and, He already knows our future. I’m positive Peter was as impulsive before he became a disciple as he was after he became a disciple. That only makes sense. Jesus, knowing that Peter walked through life led by his heart and not so much by his brain, chose him to build a holy Church. I’m certain Peter was a bit perplexed by this first encounter and isn’t that true for most of us? The first time we meet Jesus and have a real encounter with Him, many find themselves feeling a bit bewildered. It’s hard to fathom the deep love of someone who knows your faults and chooses you regardless. 

This week is a big week for me because it is my anniversary of turning my whole life over to Jesus 6 years ago on November 10th. I became a believer in Jesus as a kid, I became a follower of Jesus 6 years ago. I came to Jesus in a heap of anger, pain and addiction and He looked at me, knew my history and loved me. He gave me a new name: beloved. I didn’t do anything to deserve His love and isn’t that just the thing that makes His love so incredibly powerful? In a moment, and I do mean a moment, Jesus removed years of guilt and shame and led me out of an abusive relationship and addiction. Like Peter, He started to build His Church in my heart and life and I’ve never looked back.

It’s hard to trust God. Life’s challenges mixed with the enemies voice equals doubt. Doubt that God is loving. Doubt that God cares. Doubt that He is even paying attention! I promise, He is loving, caring and not only paying attention, He is walking with you even when you think you aren’t walking with Him. This week, I’ll be sharing different pieces of my story and how God has changed me. On Friday, I’ll share what happened six years ago. I hope through all of it you find God worth the risk of faith and hope.

Shalom,

KA

Tribe Life

Tribe. Community. Clan. Those people in your life who help you, support you and love you. Sometimes these are people you share DNA with and sometimes they are people God brings into your life. These are the people you call when you’re excited about a new job and, when your angry over how you were treated. Your tribe, your community, love fiercely and together you create this beautiful jigsaw puzzle as you fit together in life.

Nehemiah had a vision to rebuild the walls around his beloved Jerusalem. The walls of this once strong city has been torn down by various enemies and it was breaking his heart. Obviously, Nehemiah couldn’t rebuild these walls alone so he prayed, followed God’s plan and activated his tribe. The more people heard about what they were doing, the more came to join in the work. The more attention they drew, the more the enemies took notice.

Once word spread about what Nehemiah was up to, the enemies started to swarm. They attempted to block the rebuilding project through the officials in the area. When that wasn’t going to work, they resorted to violence to stop the vision of Nehemiah. The last thing the opposition wanted was for Nehemiah to succeed and rebuild Jerusalem. 

Nehemiah had to pull together a strategy that revolved around tribe life. Tribe life is simply people doing whatever is needed to protect and support each other. Nehemiah’s tribe didn’t have to fully understand his vision or even have the vision themselves, they were committed to him and their community. That’s the beauty of tribe, it’s based on love and honor for each member and nothing else. If I think of my tribe, we all have different callings and visions of our future and, we all fight for and support each other. No comparison. No jealousy. No envy. 

Tribe does what has to be done to help each other. These next few verses clearly show how Nehemiah’s tribe stood for each other.

Nehemiah 4:16 …half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats…

Nehemiah 4:17-18 …each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had has sword strapped at his side while he built.

Wow! Talk about community! While some built, others protected. Where there weren’t enough people, some worked AND protected themselves. They did whatever was necessary to help Nehemiah’s vision come to pass. They fiercely stood against the enemy and would not allow for defeat. This is tribe life. But it gets even better!

Nehemiah 4:20 In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.

When things got too hard, attacks too large, they sounded a trumpet, came together, prayed and watched God fight for them and defeat the enemy. They had rings of defense in place to make certain the vision of a rebuilt and protected Jerusalem would become reality. They weren’t trying to go it alone and they weren’t trying to go without God. Nehemiah knew that in order for his dream to come to pass, he needed help from both people and God. 

You need people around you who will support you, protect you and pray with you. The number of people doesn’t matter, just one person as your tribe has power. If you don’t have anyone, start praying and asking God to send you people. Tribe life is scary because you become vulnerable but, without vulnerability you cannot feel deep connection and support. Your vision and call need other people to help make it happen and so does your life in general. Step out in faith and ask God to show you areas where you may keep people at arms length and then, ask Him to bring people into your life you can trust to help you move forward. 

Shalom,

KA

By Faith: Sacrifice

Sacrifice. I don’t know about you but that word just makes me grimace and squirm a little. It’s never fun or easy to give up something we really love. If we’re being honest, major sacrifice is one of those things God shows us is His character to request, Jesus tells us we need to do, and we think He’all never ask of us. I’ve heard, and said, these words, “God wouldn’t ask me to give that up.” Truth is, He might.

Abraham, dear Abraham. What an example of living by faith in the face of major sacrifice. Here he finally has his son Isaac by his wife Sarah. A promise fulfilled that in all honesty they never thought would actually happen. Isaac IS the promise for Abraham and all of the generations coming. I’m certain each day is a day of worship and praise at just hearing Isaac breathe. And then He hears God ask him to do the unthinkable.

Sacrifice Isaac. “…offer him as a burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:2). Can you even imagine that conversation between God and Abraham? Oh how I wish the Bible elaborated just a little more on what was going through Abraham’s heart and mind. I would have been so angry and confused at the mere suggestion. How dare God ask such a huge sacrifice! Doesn’t God understand who Isaac is? Doesn’t God understand what it means to be a father? My sanctified imagination pictures Abraham pacing back and forth, arms flailing about and hot tears running down his face as he had to face what it means to live by faith. 

Genesis 22:8 gives us the glimpse into the heart of Abraham. As Isaac is walking with his dad, clearly feeling confused about what they are going to sacrifice, Abraham says “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering,”. Abraham is fully committed to sacrificing his son to follow God and he knows that no matter what, God is going provide all that is needed for the moment. Hebrews 11:10 tells us “He considered the God was able to even raise him from the dead,”. Wow! I want this faith, faith that is going to follow God no matter what believing fully that He is providing all that is needed. 

Jesus also talked about sacrifice. Jesus himself was the ultimate sacrifice, so His whole life shows us that we have to hold our lives lightly. I also think of his encounter with the rich, young ruler who followed the law to the letter but couldn’t stand the idea of letting go of his money. That sacrifice was too high a price for him and he went away sad. Jesus never made it a secret that sacrifice was a requirement of following Him. Even more, He made a promise that everything we sacrifice will be given back beyond what was actually sacrificed. (Luke 9:24, Luke 18:28-30)

Sacrifice isn’t easy and God doesn’t treat it lightly. He knows our hearts better than we do. He’s also sacrificed His Son in order to have a relationship with us so He gets the pain involved. Sacrifice is how we remove the things that get between us and God. God sees what we hold tighter than Him and then He invites us deeper into relationship with Him by asking us to sacrifice that thing. Sacrifice becomes the doorway to deeper intimacy with God. 

What are you holding on to, unwilling to sacrifice it to walk closer with God? God will never force you to make a sacrifice but, He will provide invitation and opportunity because His ultimate desire is to walk closely with you. I would encourage you to pray for wisdom and comfort as you hold your life lightly.

Shalom,

KA

By Faith: Longing

Hebrews 11:13 -14 create a pause in the story of the heros of faith. At first glance these verses feel like a downer and yet, if you stop and soak them in, you get a larger sense of faith. 

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city. – Hebrews 11:13-14

So, here’s the down side of faith: you may not get to see what you have faith for be realized here on earth. Faith is about heaven on earth so the focus is eternal while the current circumstances are temporal. Healing. Finances. Ideas. Reconciliation. Living by faith means longing for heaven even though we are physically here on earth. Living by faith is challenging and honestly, can just be downright painful. 

One of the many things I love about God is free will. In verse 15, God shows us clearly that we have the freedom and opportunity to return to where we came. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to go back! I don’t want to be in darkness anymore, I love the light too much. So, I stay focused on heaven and the power God has to answer my requests. I know that I may not get to see all that my faith is desiring and, I’m ok with that because I long for heaven. 

When we live by faith, focused on the eternal, God leads us deeper into relationship with Him. His promise of an eternity with Him, in His presence forever, is what drives a life of faith. Without faith, we will never see God move because it’s simply not possible. It is small faith that opens the door to God’s power which then allows us to increase our faith going forward. Think of faith in terms of running. You don’t get up one day and run a marathon. You first make the decision you want to run a marathon and then you make a plan that involves training. You start with short distances and work your way up. Faith is the same. Don’t get discouraged when faith is hard, just stay committed to the processes and focused in the end result.

God will never fail you, never. Be honest in your circumstance and how much faith you can give to Him, He will meet you where you are and bless what you give. Living by faith isn’t about the outcome, it’s about the transformation. You will be changed by your faith in God whether or not you receive what you are hoping for. 

Shalom,

KA

By Faith:A Way of Life


As I’ve been writing about faith lately, God has been walking me into deeper faith. Faith that goes beyond just the big things in life into the daily challenges. 

Faith isn’t easy. It isn’t some pithy saying on a mug that encourages us to hold on. Faith is bloody, bruised and ugly. Faith is the walk up the hill to Golgotha, beaten beyond recognition, carrying your own cross. Faith is everyone has left you but a few. Faith is nails in your hands and feet. Faith is searing pain and fighting to breathe until you can’t anymore. Faith is silent wondering and confusion. Faith is glorious resurrection and an empty grave. 

Faith is something you have to fight to have and fight to hold on to. Faith is a decision to keep walking when the pain is so intense you can’t think. Faith is believing in a hope that there is a God who is in love with you and is in control when all around you life is falling apart. Faith is a decision and a commitment.

Faith in God will never be the wrong choice. God is not a liar and His word says we can trust Him in all things and at all times. He is never gone. He is always present and always involved. He is in love with us and always seeking our best. He is a loving and good Father. He is a beautiful and blessed Savior. He is a gentle and powerful helper. He is what we have faith in and, He is what makes faith possible.

Faith is not a decision made once. You make a choice to live by faith over and over. Faith is a way of life.

Shalom,

KA

By Faith: Possible

Possible: able to be accomplished. That’s such a simple word and simple definition but man, believing something is possible can be one of the hardest things in the world to do. In most situations, we are able to come up with a long list of all the reasons why something isn’t possible. Once we’ve done that, we typically toss the situation out and label it “impossible”. Then sadness, doubt and hopelessness set in and we completely forget that God has already told us nothing is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37). 

Now let’s be super clear, just because all things are possible for God does not mean He is a genie in a lamp granting wishes. In most situations when your 5 year old child asks for candy right before bed you say no. Are you able to give them candy? Sure. Is it in their best interest for you to give them candy right befor bed? Not really. God is able but He is discerning and loving and will always put what’s best for us first.

On the flip side, and this is where we will spend some time today, God saying “yes” to what appears an impossible situation will always beat our list of why something can’t happen. God isn’t bound by time, science or nature; God is miraculous. Hebrews 11:11 reminds us of an amazing impossibility that became a miracle for Sarah and Abraham.

In Genesis 17, Abraham is promised a son, Isaac. Abraham’s response was classic: laughter and disbelief. He immediately looked at the “facts” and laughed God off. He was old and Sarah was old and up to this point she had bore no children so to receive a word directly from God that Isaac was on his way was absurd. How many times have you laughed off or dismissed something you felt God was telling you because you stayed in the natural realm instead of changing your focus to heaven? 

In Genesis 18, Sarah overheard a conversation between Abraham and some guests. These guests weren’t your ordinary guests and they prophesied to Abraham that in a year’s time, Sarah would have a son. A confirmation of what Abraham had already heard. Again comes laughter! Sarah, busy making dinner, laughs off this message because of the absurdity. I love her response in Genese 18:12, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” Can you hear your own sarcastic responses to God in Sarah’s words? I sure can. 

What happens next in Genesis 18 is the moment of truth. The guest, hearing Sarah laugh, say, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Ouch! Yikes! There is such profound weight in this question. If you are going to live by faith, this is a central question to your life. Are you able to believe Jesus when He told His followers (this includes us) that all things with God are actually possible? Are you able to push aside the list of why things won’t work and focus on the One who is able to make all things work? God can handle your doubt, just don’t let your doubt stop you from having faith.

Hebrews 11:11 ends with some beautiful words that truly do define living by faith, “she considered faithful who had promised”. Look, God is absolutely going to put you in situations that seem hopeless and impossible. Living by faith means facing those situations knowing that God is faithful and that He already has a way ready for you, you just have to keep believing and keep moving. We so often miss our miracles because we lose our faith. We quit before we allow God to unfold his beautiful plan to its fullest extent. And typically, instead of taking responsibility for our choice to quit, we blame God and we lose faith. 

Here is God’s invitation: it’s possible, will you trust Me? When you know you are following where God is leading, can you disengage your earthly thinking and engage your heavenly vision and like Sarah, consider God faithful to His word? Living by faith actually means living by faith. Faith that it doesn’t have to make sense when it’s God’s call. He has it mapped, you just need to keep moving. God will never fail you and that makes you free to live by faith.

Shalom,

KA