Freeedom To Be Dangerous

Shonna Ronnelle

Kayla and Dump Kids

The perfect life.  That’s what I wanted.  The husband, the home, the children, the white picket fence.  I spent over 20 years of my adult life trying to make that “good Christian girl, American dream” a reality.

I spent very little time thinking about those less fortunate than me.  After all, there was always a new goal on the horizon for something I thought I needed to make my dream complete.

I grew up in a middle class home and continued in that lifestyle as an adult.  In my world, trips to the doctor, medications, teeth cleaning every six months, new eye glasses every year, chiropractic care, technology and an insured vehicle were classified as rights or needs.  As I progressed up the ladder in my direct sales business, pedicures, expensive hair care, massages and assistants at home and in my work became rights and needs too.  When it comes to living the dream, where there’s a will there’s a way, right?  (Or there’s a credit card.)

It didn’t take too long for the memories of my college student missions year in the Marshall Islands to fade away.  Over there, anything besides a dirt floor and cooking over an open fire, defined wealth.

What about those less fortunate?  Social justice issues?  The bum on the street was just a lazy-good-for-nothing alcoholic or drug addict.  Why would I waste my hard-earned money on them when they refused to get-it-together and work like the rest of us?

In my thirties, I went to a conference at Willow Creek where I was first exposed to the sheer numbers in Africa impacted by the AIDS epidemic, and I felt the beginning of the push in the evangelical world to make a difference.  But instead of action and generosity, what I picked up was guilt and shame.  I should care more about the plight of people in third world countries, but “the poor will always be with us,” right? And after all, I really wasn’t “wealthy” at all… I lived paycheck to paycheck and all of my “needs” were not yet met.

Then, at forty-six, my life took a sharp and unexpected turn in which I ended up single, re-starting life across the country from where I was born and raised, among strangers instead of my family, church home and friends.   I had been a stay-at-home Mom for twenty years, sixteen of which I had spent working from home for a company that went bankrupt right after I moved.  I suddenly found myself with no income stream, no partner’s income, and very little work experience to put on a traditional resume. With that re-start came lessons in faith and provision along with painful lessons in what really constituted rights, needs and wants.  A dose of reality in the plight of the poor.

Maybe you grew up like I did hearing phrases like “the poor will always be with us” or “if you won’t work you won’t eat.”  These are thrown around as justification for our selfishness, materialism and personal kingdom building.

What if I told you that in reality, the Word has over three hundred verses where God shares His heart for the poor and for social justice causes?  What if I told you that the responsibility of stewarding wealth is literally to share generously with the widow, orphan and stranger?

The String of Pearls ministry team has decided to throw our hat in the ring on the global cause of childhood malnutrition.  We’ll be sharing more with you about our passion around the opportunity to make a difference in this social justice issue in the coming weeks.

Lynne Hybels in her book Nice Girls Don’t Change the World states:

“The opposite of a nice girl is not just a good woman, but a downright dangerous woman.  A woman who shows up with everything she is and joins the battle against whatever opposes the redeeming work of God in our lives and in our world.”  

We just happen to think that the preservation of God’s calling and kingdom assignments in the lives of the “least of these” is a good place to begin being dangerous women partnering with God’s redemptive work in this world.

This week consider the following: 

  1. What lessons about money and the poor were taught in your home, church, and community?
  2. What needs to shift in your heart around meeting the needs of the poor, the widow and the orphan?
  3. Ask the Holy Spirit to shift your heart to align with His on the issue of global childhood malnutrition.  

Freedom to Love Well

Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

The other day Marcel, Joseph, and I took a trip to a new restaurant we wanted to try.  Our waiter was friendly, but something was off.  He made a pest of himself.  He hovered, bragged, invaded space, and generally missed the million social cues I was throwing at him.  It occurred to me that he was likely high. I recognized the signs of drugs and I got furious.  I hate being conned and I hate even worse when people think they’re getting away with it.  I felt he was feeding us a bunch of lies in order to try to increase his tip. (Which in my mind was dropping drastically by the minute.)

server at restaurantMy husband and I have been praying for awhile now that God will show us how to love like He does.  So even though we were both irritated, Marcel engaged John (name changed), our server.  My frustration continued to sky rocket because my nice family dinner was being interrupted by someone I didn’t believe would remember the conversation due to his “flight status.”

But, I was nice.

As John talked to my husband he shared that he was in an outpatient program for heroin addiction but planned to quit and get another doctor because he wasn’t ready to face the emotions it was bringing up.  I thought to myself, “bingo.”  My gut appeared to have been correct.

As we pulled out of the restaurant, something inside me was wrestling with the entire experience.  I began praying about my reaction.  I felt my old compulsion as a Christian girl to be “nice” and I followed through with that.  And it made me angry.  It didn’t feel loving.  The actual result was that he seemed to feel we bought everything he said.

God says that the truth will set us free, but I hid every honest emotion I had during that exchange.  I also recall that Jesus never let people’s masks stay in place.  With love, he would gently and without shame (and sometimes not so gently in the case of the Pharisees)  expose their hearts for what was truly inside.

I am quite certain I didn’t love John well.  Being “nice” covered the issue.  

After several days of processing this and praying about it I came up with an idea of what Jesus might have done.  The restaurant was small and he wouldn’t have shamed him in front of his co-workers.  Words may have also gotten lost in a drug fog.  So I believe he may have written the following:

John,

I sense a deep pain in you that you try to cover.  I know you said you weren’t ready to deal with the emotions that were coming up, but I want you to know that God has the answers to your pain and when you’re ready to stop running you will find your freedom there.  When you take off your mask you will find that God is not like the ones who have hurt you and you are passionately loved just as you are.  Know that you are in our prayers and that if you ever want to talk more we’d love to get together.  You can reach us at noelle@stringofpearls3.com.

Noelle and Marcel

Peace came, I didn’t have to fake anything, but I realized this cut to the chase and didn’t buy a lie.  The only sadness came from realizing a missed opportunity.  So guess where I’m going for dinner tonight and guess who I’m requesting?

What I realize is that loving well is not what I thought it was.  It is confounding, confusing, and impossible without a source to draw from.  It’s also a little terrifying.  But as I look over my life, moments where I was loved well changed the course of my life and offered me healing and freedom.  I can’t live with myself if I don’t give it away.

What are the ways love has touched your life?

How do you practice loving well?

 

 

Freedom to Steward Wealth

Financial FreedomNoelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

Something has shifted in me over the weekend.  God and I had a “come to Jesus” talk because there was something in my blind spot.  Well, God has cleared that up and now I’m supposed to get clear with you about it.  I’m nervous.

I’m nervous because I don’t want to be accused of preaching “prosperity gospel.”  I’m not and I think the whole concept of loving Jesus so we can be rich is ridiculous. When you really fall in love with Jesus and start having an amazing walk with him, the idea of something being better or more important is just silly.  If you think I’m wrong, you’re probably still a bit stuck in religion rather than a relationship.

So here’s the deal.  The Financial Freedom Workshop has a particular focus.  I’ve been unclear about it because what God has put on my heart is` a bit controversial.  See, I’m still tiptoeing around it!  OK, here it is, really.

The Financial Freedom Workshop is for people who are interested in hearing the voice of God as it relates to their finances.  Who are ready to be launched into stewarding wealth for Kingdom purposes. Who believe somewhere in their hearts that they aren’t meant to toil and be a slave to debt, bills, or the American dream.  For people who want freedom in this area regardless of the size of their bank accounts or debts. For people who are ready to see God move in powerful ways in this and other areas of their lives.

I don’t believe in Jesus as some magic genie who will shower riches if we rub the lamp the right amount of times.  But here’s the nuance: I do believe God is looking for people who are so faithful to Him, so sold out, that they’re safe to steward large resources to be used for His glory.  Think, Parable of the Talents and Joseph for example.  I don’t know that this workshop is for everyone.

But here is what I suggest; if you read this and it strikes a chord.  If something in you stands at attention or lights up for a minute, I hope you’ll make it a matter of prayer and remove whatever obstacles would hinder you from making it. I believe God has brought us to this workshop for such a time as this and there will be healing and miracles in the ways He sets us free this weekend.  I’ll share a little bit of those details at the beginning of the workshop.

If you’re in, here are the basic details.  It is held at The Embassy Suites on Friday April 11 from 4-8pm and Saturday April 12 from 9-6pm.  Registration will be open from 4:00-4:30pm on Friday but you can click here to register online. (Which is of course a big help to us.) :)

If you aren’t going to be at the workshop but you have been following this blog and involved in the other ministries of String of Pearls, we would covet your prayers.  Thank you for your support; for the emails, comments, and questions we receive.  We are building and growing as a result of your support and God is being glorified as He sets us free.

We hope to see you this weekend!

 

Freedom to have Discipline

Seasurf-Shonna Dalusong

At the beginning of December 2013, the Holy Spirit impressed my heart with the thought that my word for 2014 is “Discipline.”

My first reaction was a watered-down version of my old self.  Not a full blown temper tantrum on the floor, but definitely resistance.

He gently reminded me that in the fall of 2012 I had prayed and asked Him for more of the fruit of self-control.  Grumbling, but caught with my own words, I let a bit of my guard down.

I didn’t like the picture that was beginning to form in my imagination that included boot camp tyrant personal trainers yelling in my face, and the martyr in the circle watching others eat cake at a party.

When I walked into the Joyce Meyer Power Thoughts class I was attending that day, I found that the Power Thought that day “happened” to be “I am disciplined and self-controlled.”  I laughed.   Of course it was!  How like God!

As the month unfolded, God began to gently reveal His plan.  His idea of the word “discipline” was for me to focus on pausing, asking, listening and obeying step by step, day by day, throughout the year.  Considering I had also been praying that my heart would get into a place where I obeyed immediately, completely, and willingly, this too made sense.

I won’t be surprised if 2014 includes some discipline from a personal trainer and some denial of things that aren’t good for my health, but that’s not the focus.  (How like the old me to go straight to the perfectionism and the works.  Doing.)

I asked Him why we were beginning in December, a month early, and He chuckled and said, ‘This work needs an extra month.”

So enter the middle of January and I had my first A-HA moment for the year.

On a Saturday I was talking with a friend who has honed obedience to God’s voice for many years.  She talked about being obedient to get out of bed at whatever time God awoke her in the morning.  And how when she resisted and went back to sleep those days didn’t work out so well.

Shortly after that conversation I had a day where I was so exhausted that  I asked, when awakened, if I could go back to sleep and was impressed with a peaceful, “Yes.”

Then I had one of those days.  It began to rain while I was out and about.  I hadn’t taken the umbrella.  I’d had a really vague impression to check the weather report and carry it, but I hadn’t paid attention.

I stopped to run into a store for two items and locked my keys in my truck.

When I called AAA, there was a message saying that there were long delays due to the weather and the increased number of service calls. The dispatcher who finally answered told me the wait was going to be over an hour.

 

Maybe the average person wouldn’t care about an hour wait at a store.  One could browse.   But I’ve learned not to do that to myself while on a faith journey with no steady income, living on God’s provision for my needs.  The temptation to feel sorry for myself for all I can’t buy is too great when I browse.

No worries.  I’ve got a good book on the Kindle on my phone.  Then I see the battery status.  I best not even text or my phone might die before the locksmith gets here and calls me from the parking lot.

So I stand under cover and watch my truck… and think… and pray… asking God what this is all about…  And I remember the conversation from the prior Sabbath.

 

My initial temptation was to pick up the idea that God had done this to me… to teach me a lesson.  (And I wasn’t even going to be sore at Him for it!)

But then I realized the lie.

Each day has darkness in it.  My time with God in the morning prepares me to submit my plans to Him and to receive instruction.  When I start my day slow, with Him, I am tuned into the prompts to “check the weather report” and “carry the umbrella’ or to “put the spare truck key in my pocket.”  He KNOWS what is coming in my day and He prepares me for it when I take the time to tune in the radio dial to His frequency and listen before I head out into the day.

I wanted to grumble that He told me it was ok to go back to sleep.  And He reminded me about 2012’s word “freedom” where I learned how much He values choice.  He honored my choice that morning.

I am thankful I wore a hooded sweatshirt.

I am thankful that I had my cell phone and AAA card.

I am thankful that I had a dry place to stand and wait.

And I am thankful that I was listening close enough to catch the subtle heart shift between “He did it to me” and “He works all for good.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom to Wait, Part 2

Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

African American Model 2

For those of you who are waiting on a life partner, I ask you this question.  You’ve probably written your list right? Good looking, healthy, good with money, working a stable job, good with computers, Spiritual…the list varies with the unique aspects of each of us.   But while we wait there aren’t many of us who haven’t day dreamed about what he will be like.

OK now I’m really going to ask the question…

On that list, are you the person you are looking for?

Let me explain.  How many of us want someone who’s good with money because money flows through our fingers like water…never to be seen again?  How many of us want someone who’s spiritual because we feel the lack in ourselves?

If you have turned your life over to God, if you’ve given him control of your life, he is likely putting you in a waiting period so you don’t ruin a good thing when it comes to you.  Do not ever doubt that if you really want a man in your life, you could have one tomorrow.  I’m not kidding.  Lower your standards and you will find men coming out of the woodwork.  If you have committed your life to God and are fully surrendered to Him, He says, “I’m not just going to give you any man, I’m going to give you far beyond what you could ask or imagine.  In the meantime, I want you to grow and be the wife that this man is praying for.”  If the answer to my question is that you are far from who you want to be, my encouragement would be to start to actively “delight yourself in the Lord.” and enjoy the ride while he gets the desires of your heart ready.

You may be thinking that you really are somebody you would like to be with already, God may be waiting on your partner to get his act together in which case some heavy duty intercessory prayer is in order.

Now one of the questions that came in was someone wondering if God means for them to be single.  Paul does talk about some of us being called to be single.  But I also know that God promises to give us the desires of our heart if we delight in him.  And if you delight in God and still desire a mate, my thoughts would be that there will be a mate for you someday.

Here is something important though, when we truly delight in God, we will get to a place where He is enough.  This happened in my own heart (and there are truly no words for how boy crazy I was my entire life) and I have seen it happen in the hearts of other single friends.  When we focus on God and seek Him the most amazing things start to happen.  Ironically, when I no longer cared, when it didn’t hurt anymore to be single because my heart was full of God, that’s when Marcel showed up and I began to experience my own “beyond all I asked or imagined.”

What do you think your future mate is praying for? Are you that woman yet?

DISCLAIMER: This in NO WAY covers all the aspects of waiting but it does cover what I know to be true this far in my journey.  Please do your own searching and feel free to send in other questions.  My baby was using me for a jungle gym during parts of the writing process so also please excuse the errors!

Freedom to Wrestle

Financial FreedomNoelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

Many many years ago God told me I would be wealthy one day.  This blog is not a debate about how God speaks to us.  You’ll just have to take my word for it that it came out of nowhere and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was Him.  I was horribly poor at the time and when I heard it, my head immediately jerked up to look at the sky and I muttered, “Well don’t give it to me now, I can’t be trusted with it.”  Despite the fact that I had very little, whenever I did get something extra I spent it on clothes, books, movies…you get the idea.  Credit cards were my friend. Money was used to fund my emotional needs and compulsions.  In a nutshell, I knew I was not to be trusted with a lot of resources.

Despite my financial dysfunction, I did know that I was only to be a steward of whatever resources God gave me. Saying I would be wealthy was a fallacy of sorts because I knew that as a steward of a lot of money, it would be God’s and not mine.  Over the years I have never doubted what I heard and I was never anxious to see the fulfillment of the word because I had so much to learn in that area.  It has taken the almost 15 years to learn financial surrender and trust and recently those lessons have been refined by some fire! (The book I’m working on and workshop String of Pearls is planning are both based on these lessons.)  Much of our current circumstances are consequences of the years that I didn’t trust God for financial provision.  Even though I have not lived on credit for quite awhile now, we are still digging out of the debt hole that came because I wanted what I wanted and didn’t trust God to supply. And truly, the debt is insurmountable in our current circumstances.

Recently I realized that every financial lesson I’m aware of God putting in front of me, I have surrendered to and been faithful to.  I do not spend compulsively, I pray about purchases big and small before making them…Seriously, I ask permission before buying ice cream.  We don’t trust in debt or use credit cards.  If we can’t pay cash we don’t get it. The lessons continue and I’m not perfect by far, but I am surrendered. For the first time since hearing that word from God I have felt that I would be able to be a trustworthy steward.  I started looking to God for the fulfillment of His promise to me.

And then Marcel got laid off.  We lived on savings for almost 6 months always expecting that any day, God was going to show up with our miracle.

I was reading in Jeremiah 20:7-12 this morning and I feel like him right now.  God’s words to me burn in my belly, but right now they look absolutely foolish.  When I see my husband’s pain and questions I ache. When I realize that without any debt we would be just fine I struggle with intense shame for the moments when a meal at J. Alexanders was more important than trusting God.

So I will not make that mistake again.  This blog series is a defiant proclamation that I will trust even if the heavens fall.  I refuse to live a Christian walk that is not sold out in dependence on God’s promises and I demand and expect Him to fulfill them.  Even if I limp the rest of my life, I will not let go until God blesses me.  So keep reading this series and see how God handles that!

What are the ways you are desperate for God to show up right now?

What blessing is worth wrestling/limping for?

Freedom from Humiliation

photo-2Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP

I’ve found it difficult to write my promised series lately because I keep running into topics I’m hesitant to share about.  Case in point, this journey we’re on has led to a sojourn in the house of my parents.  We are renting our house out to lovely ladies we care about because we can’t afford it right now.  We share a cozy loft room and I realize after my time with God today that Satan has gotten a little foothold in my heart by whispering horrible things in my ears.  You see I have turned down a lucrative job lately and continued to keep the hours in my private practice limited.  When talking about it I have told Marcel, “That’s why God gave me the boobies.”  I am very clear that my first priority is to Joseph.  But we have made some significant sacrifices to lean into that. Marcel is working full time to build up his coaching and consulting practice rather than go to corporate jobs he is less than thrilled about.  God is clearly moving but it all takes time.

I read someone venting on Facebook the other day about how a mom was using food stamps and had a Coach purse.  We have considered applying for food stamps and I have a few Coach purses and drive a Lexus! These used to be things I could afford and still live well under our means.  There have been many temptations to give into shame…The funny thing about this time period is how fully it has shifted any care I have about material things.  I’m grateful for my fancy purses because of the quality that doesn’t wear out.  And for our fancy car that is one of the most dependable on the market.  But the car is for sale and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest to lose my purses, clothes, etc. (OK, the clothes would hurt!)

So while I battle voices of condemnation, I get quiet and shed a few tears this morning as I talk to God about it and He says this…

“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced.” Isaiah 54:4

and this…

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold I will do something new.” Isaiah 43:19

We know the callings that God has put on our lives, we know that He loves faith, and we know He has promised to care for us.  We are not always certain that we are taking the right steps; we are toddlers on this faith journey.  There are times when we falter and agree that our choices lately are crazy.  But peace is in our hearts and we trust God’s grace to work for our good even if we are misguided!  It is amazing to walk with a God who promises to bring good out of everything!  So we walk one step at a time, grateful to family and friends who support us and look forward to the new things that God has in store.

What new things is God doing in your lives?

How does it feel to have God say you won’t be put to shame?

What are the ways God is asking you to let go of the past?

Juicy Jeans

Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

So I admit it, I’m a bit of a clothes horse.  I love shopping and due to our circumstances I haven’t done it in awhile.  One thing that became apparent though was the need for a new pair of jeans.  I’ve been blessed to have a high metabolism and I’m already down to my pre-birth weight, but my hips appear to be wider.  Apparently pushing a baby through them pushes your pelvic bones to permanent new positions!  So the other day I was praying about a new pair of jeans.  I was tired of feeling like my hips were being cut in half by the waist band of every pair I currently own.  After doing the bills I knew there wasn’t much to put toward another pair and I got a little depressed.  I have long legs and finding a pair isn’t easy, i.e. I usually have to pay a little more to find the right size and length.

So when I was praying about it I felt impressed to visit Tj Maxx.  I wanted to go somewhere else but TJ Maxx kept popping to mind.  Mom offered to watch Joseph so I could leave for a bit and off I headed to the store and immediately therein to the clearance rack.  I had allocated about $25.00.  I took several pairs to the dressing room and, of course, the pair that fit me like a glove were still $40.00 even on clearance. I was going to leave the store without jeans but heard the whisper, “get them.” I mistrusted this sense given it is exactly what I would want to do, but it kept coming.  Quiet and clear.

I headed to the check-out, telling myself I could always return them. As I pulled out my debit card to pay the total I heard that quiet voice again.  “Check your wallet.”  I did and in it found 2 old gift cards I thought were empty.  Turns out there were small amounts on them and you guessed it, the jeans came to $25 and change.

Now I’m the proud owner of a $130.00 pair of Juicy Couture jeans.  My irritations about the name will be addressed later…much later.  For now, I’m stylin’ and not hurting. As it turns out, shopping with God is great fun.

This is not me, but I’ll take Joseph and a squishy stomach over ripped abs any day!

How has God shown up in the small details of you life?

Freedom: Faith Not Sight

Faith

Noelle Schwantes, LPC-MHSP, NCC

I’ve been thinking about faith a lot lately.  Maybe because it is being required of me in larger doses than ever before.

Several months before Joseph was born Marcel was told he would be laid off of his lucrative corporate job.  When Marcel prayed he felt impressed that his job would last through May even though he was told it would only last through February.  His final day at work was approximately a week before Joseph made his appearance…in May.  He left being able to cash out his vacation, we had insurance until the end of the month, and he received a severance.  It was a slice of humble pie for my very accomplished husband who now began to seek God pretty diligently to understand how to care for us.

A few months later he got a call from a former colleague that the employees had all been let go with no notice, no severance, no nothing…the company had folded.  It was a rather dramatic example of how we were cared for even when it didn’t feel that way.  We’ve been pretty quiet about it, only sharing the details with close friends and family.  But recently, as I’ve studied the impact faith had on Jesus when he walked this planet, I thought about stretching my faith by writing about the gory details we’ve walked through, before we see the miracles.

I don’t want to just survive this time and I don’t want to feel sheepish that I didn’t trust when we’ve come through this time and seen the amazing ways God provided.

So with the support of my sweet husband, I will be writing the next few posts about the snippets of our lives in this challenging time. We pray and trust that when amazing things happen, it will be clear that there is a God who watches over us and organizes details we never could have imagined.  And we hope that our journey will impact yours as well.  Rest well friends.

Spiritual Freedom: Belief

Spiritual Freedom

Alan Heartfield – Dreamtime Stock Photos

-Shonna Dalusong

1 Sam 16:7b NIV  “The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I have had two completely defining moments in my life where my heart made pivotal choices known only to myself.

The first choice happened when I was 23 years old.  I clearly heard God ask me to walk away from a situation.  And I said IN MY HEART:

“I DON’T TRUST YOU GOD… to give me something different as good as or better than this.”

From that day forward no one would have seen a change in my outward behavior.  I was still a “good little Christian girl” going to church, serving at church, reading my Bible, paying my tithe.  BUT I could easily have been classified as an unbeliever because I chose in my heart not to trust God.  And I chose to try to make my idea of a “happy little life” happen on my own.  I believe the Word calls this “being wise in my own eyes.”  (Proverbs 3:7, 26:12 and Isaiah 5:21)

The next defining, pivotal choice happened around 20 years later.  My “happy little life” wasn’t.  My world was slowly but surely unraveling.

I was taking a Beth Moore Bible study with friends at the time called Believing God.  One night as we discussed the lesson, I chose belief.  I spoke aloud something along this line, “I choose to trust God.  No matter what.  Even if it doesn’t make sense to me.  Even if God’s sovereignty is uncomfortable to me.  I’m at the end of my rope.  Life isn’t working.  It’s the only option I have left.”  This was such a defining moment in my heart that I can still clearly see the room, feel the rocking chair beneath me and see the looks on the faces of my friends in the circle.

From that point on, the natural consequences of my own choosing still continued… the life of my making continued to unravel… to the point of bankruptcy and my marriage falling apart.  But my interior world was COMPLETELY different.

The only way I can describe the feeling is this:

Stand up and go to a door.  Shut it to the point where it looks shut but the latch isn’t quite clicked into the door frame.

Think about that.  It looks shut.  It can feel shut.  But it isn’t shut.

What happens if a strong wind blows? (Because it will blow.)

What happens if a person or an animal pushes against the door?

Now push the door and FEEL the click.  That click of the latch is belief.  And each successive step of surrender in the Holy Spirit adds a type of lock to the door.

We’ve been talking at String of Pearls mid-week meetings about taking our thoughts captive and being wise about what we speak with our tongues.

What I’ve found is that when I’m having trouble with this… when I’m stuck in a place of bondage and lies with my thoughts and my words, it’s almost always stems from a place of unbelief in my heart that needs to be exposed, renounced and brought into agreement with Truth.

And for me… almost all unbelief has stemmed from an inaccurate picture of WHO God is, often colored by filters of my parents (or authority figures’) faces between His face and mine.

Also from Beth Moore’s Believing God curriculum, here’s some Truth to hold onto this week:

  • God is who He says He is
  • God can do what He says He can do
  • I am who God says I am
  • I can do all things through Christ
  • God’s Word is alive and active in me

Questions to ponder this week:

  1. Where I am afraid to trust God?
  2. What stands in the way of choosing trust?
  3. Has belief latched the door of my heart shut?
  4. What am I afraid of?
  5. Am I willing to examine the filters between my face and God’s face?

Wishing for you this week the heart FREEDOM of choosing BELIEF and deep abiding TRUST in the One True God.