Unchained Faithfulness

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations..” Deuteronomy 7:9

God is faithful. That’s a truth that you can absolutely rest your life on and know that He will always take care of you. In December of 2014, I had just quit my job of 13 years and walked away from a 20+ year career in healthcare because God asked me to trust Him. I was terrified to say the least and yet, I had hope and faith in God.

Right about this exact time last year, I was cashing out my retirement of $70k and embarking on a year of living with a no-wiggle room budget. That money HAD to last the entire year. Admittedly, I’m not the best with money-management. I was nervous so I gave my money to Jesus and asked Him to help me. I put together a budget and we stuck to it. Kind of…

In February I started a non-profit organization that needed some start-up money so I paid for things out of my pocket and asked for folks to give to the organization in hopes of getting it back. God also asked me to support a dear friend on a mission trip. By an earthly perspective I should have said “no” to so much and yet, I believed God was going to provider for us. God provided BEYOND my wildest dreams! I’ve given more away this year and yet, He’s never let us go without. He’s opened me up to being able to receive from others and let me tell you, that’s humbling and amazing.

Two weeks ago, God provided a job. Just as our money is running out, God is providing yet again. I have exactly $57 dollars in my account and I don’t get paid until 12/31/15 and guess what…I’m not worried. God’s got me covered and I have no reason to worry. There was a time when I would have seen $57 in my account and completely freaked!! Who can live on that for an entire week?? Well, lots and lots of people live on less. If something major comes up over the next 5 days, God will provide.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m human and this little tiny amount in my account absolutely does make me a little nervous however, I have faith. I have faith that My God will absolutely supply all my needs (Philippians 4:19) We’ve got plenty of food in the fridge and pantry, I’ve got a basically full tank of gas and we’ve got really nothing much going on for the next few days.

Why am I sharing this right now? To encourage you to go with God. No matter how crazy His call feels, do it. Don’t miss out on the miracle that is His provision. Don’t let anyone else tell you not to follow God. God is absolutely bigger than we are and His plan is greater so once you hear Him, follow Him. Oh, and share your journey!! Sharing your journey is so critical. Other people need your example in order to build their faith. God wants you to shout from the rooftops about His unchained faithfulness!! Learn to give AND receive because God is just waiting to pour out the blessings on your life.

If you need a prayer partner, email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

Shalom,

KA

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Joseph’s Faith

Joseph, son of David,

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20

Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes for a moment: You’re a young carpenter likely working lots of hours to make ends meet. Engaged to a lovely young girl and dreaming of the future. Wondering how many kids you’ll have, what your lives will be like together, how you’ll manage. You’re an average guy, just living a peaceful life. Then the atmosphere shifts and you find out that your betrothed is pregnant and you’re not the father. Your human mind would immediately believe she cheated! You settle in your heart that you aren’t getting married now, you process the grief of losing this love and try to figure out how to end this relationship with the least amount of shame possible. Your heart is broken and tattered. Then the atmosphere shifts again and an angel of the Lord comes to you. Your heart is racing, your brain is pounding and you are terrified at this encounter. The angel, clearly knowing you are terrified, tells you to not be afraid because your betrothed didn’t cheat, she’s pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Your mind struggles to process this information and fully grasp the landscape that is changing for the world. You have to believe this, no matter how far fetched it seems, because and angel of the Lord is telling you it’s true. Or do you?

I believe fully, based on what I know of God’s character, that Joseph had a choice. When presented with the astonishing information that Mary is pregnant by the Holy Spirit, I believe Joseph could have chalked the vision up to a bad dinner and continued on with his plan to divorce Mary quietly. How could God expect him to believe this story? It’s not like there were other examples of the Holy Spirit impregnating other virgins. Why would God chose him? It’s not like Joseph was someone well known like his ancestor David. Joseph was just a simple carpenter. In this moment, I see one of the greatest invitations to unchained faith that exists. Would Joseph believe that God could and would use him? Would Joseph say yes?

God is allowed to ask you to do things that go against everything you’ve ever believed about yourself and how the world works, because He’s God. Don’t for one minute think you are too insignificant, too average or too small to go noticed by God, you aren’t. God knows you. God sees you. And I’m willing to wager that at least half of the people I know are being invited into deeper faith, just like Joseph was, and they are struggling to say yes. Think of the implication if Joseph had said no. It’s devastating! Your saying no is also devastating. You have an opportunity to make an impact in the world and shift the atmosphere when you accept the Holy Spirit’s invitation to walk radically with Jesus. Don’t fear. Don’t miss it!

Here’s my prayer for you these few days before Jesus’ birthday: say yes. Say yes to whatever God is laying in front of you. Say yes to going against what society may deem as sane. Say yes to living radically for Jesus. Say yes to increased faith in God. When you know for certain you are hearing God, don’t fear the message, just say yes and live in unchained faith. God is fully able to work through you and He will absolutely not forsake you. Shift your gaze from this earth to eternity and then just start moving.

If you need a prayer partner, please email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

Shalom,

KA

 

The Path: Following Jesus

The Path

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”-Matthew 7:13-14

 

Following God isn’t easy. The gate is small; “I am the way, the truth and they life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6) There is only one entrance, Jesus. It’s a gate that all are invited to go through but few actual do because they feel offended at the idea that there is only one way. And once you enter through the gate, the path itself is narrow because it is a path already determined by God; “For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

I fear that sometimes when we share our faith, as Christians, we share that everything is great because we don’t want people to get turned off of God. We’re also fearful that God will get mad at us if we aren’t honest about our feelings. God knows that His path isn’t easy, Jesus clearly states that in Matthew. It’s not news to Him that it’s hard to follow His path so let’s not apologize for and feel we have to hide the challenges. Instead, let’s share our lives at new levels of transparency so that people around us can see both the struggles AND the way that God is overcoming those struggles in our lives.

So what does it mean to actually follow God? What does the narrow path look like? As He always does, God gives us a very clear picture of His path if we’re willing to find it.

  1. God’s path requires an immediate response.
    1. Matthew 4:18-22: Jesus said to Peter and his brother, “Follow me” and they immediately left their job and followed.
    2. Matthew 9:9: Jesus came to Matthew and said, “follow me” and he got up right then and followed.
  2. Following God has top priority in our lives over our desires and obligations.
    1. Matthew 8:21-22: A disciple asks if he can go bury his father and Jesus replies to follow Him and not worry about burying his dad.
    2. Matthew 16:24: Jesus explains that following Him means dying to ourselves.
  3. Following God isn’t comfortable.
    1. Matthew 8:19-20: Jesus explains that He has no home, no creature comforts.
    2. Matthew 10:38-39 Jesus explains that following Him means carrying our own cross.

I believe that being salt and light to a hurt and dark world means that we are authentic and truthful about what it means to follow Jesus. It is not day after day after day of happiness and guess what, God never said it would be. Following Jesus is a choice that I make every moment of my life. It’s choosing to stay on the narrow path when the path gets hard to navigate. It’s choosing to trust that God is with me when I can’t see the next step. It’s choose to trust that God will protect me when the next step is jumping off of a cliff. It’s choosing to praise God for the path when the path is painful. And finally, it’s choosing to share my journey with the people around me so that they can see God in every step I’m taking.

My prayer is that you have found the small gate and the narrow path and that you fully grasp that God is well aware of the challenges following Him brings. Embrace and bless the challenges, don’t rail against them. God’s way really is the only way to live and He’s faithful to get you through every single challenge along the path. Trust Him. Praise Him. Declare Him. There is so much deep and true freedom in following the narrow path because you have no control other than to choose to stay and to live unchained.

I hope you feel how much God loves you today. If you need a prayer partner, please email me at jesuseliant@gmail.com. I will be thrilled to pray with and for you.

Shalom,

KA

Beautiful Sacrifice

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect? Says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’ You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 1:6-8

We seem to have this opinion that God can’t actually see or know every single thing we are doing or thinking. This is a lie from the enemy meant to give you a false sense of independence and power that simply doesn’t exist. Nothing you do, think or say goes without being seen, known and heard by God. Here are some verses that support what I’m saying:

Psalm 139:4: Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all.

Hebrews 4:13: And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Isaiah 40:28 The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.

I think you get the drift, God never blinks, never sleeps, and is always aware of what we are doing, thinking and saying. He knows these things before we do! Why have I laid this foundation? To exhort you as your sister in Christ to stop cheating God with your life and be a beautiful sacrifice.

God has created us to live for Him. That is plain and simple and in that, He wants the entirety of our lives and yet, so many followers of Christ keep back areas from Him and by doing that, we are presenting a blind, lame, sick sacrifice with our lives. In many, if not most, cases we are saying to God, “You have my life” and yet we secretly have these places where we have put up DO NOT ENTER signs thinking He won’t know or notice. He does know and He does notice. And to you He says that words of Malachi, “If you presented less than your best to your employer, your spouse, your friends, would they be pleased?”

There is no verse in the Bible that calls us to be perfect. There is no verse in the Bible that says you have to clean yourself up before you can present yourself to God. There is no verse in the Bible that says God helps those who help themselves. These are all lies that keep you from walking deeply with God and they keep you from being as effective for the Kingdom as you could be.

Laying your entire life at the feet of the Cross is terrifying. You have NO idea what God is going to do, how He’s going to wreck some places in order to rebuild or how the people around you are going to respond when He calls you to something they think is crazy. However, if you don’t, you also have no idea how He will step in and bless you, heal you, guide you and love you with a love that you simply can’t wrap your heart or brain around. God the Father loved you so much that even though He knew full well you would sin and fail, He sent God the Son to this planet to walk as a human and die as a sacrifice just so that you could have a relationship with Him. If that doesn’t make you want to lay your entire life before Him then truthfully, I don’t think anything will.

Step out of the darkness and lie that you are better able to handle your life better than God. I’ve been there, I know how appealing that lie is to believe because it’s easy. The narrow path is just that, narrow. You need God to navigate it every single step and that is not easy. However, it is so worth it! You begin to become addicted to miracles because they happen around every single corner. You will say over and over, “I can’t figure this out so God, You lead”, and over and over God will say, “I’ve got this!”. There is nothing better than knowing that you don’t have to worry, just believe. This is when your life becomes a fragrant and beautiful sacrifice to God.

If you need a prayer partner, email me at jesusreliant@gmail.com.

Shalom,

KA