Category Archives: Parenting

You Are Immeasurable

When San Francisco singer / songwriter Martay read Angela McMichael‘s book Immeasurable, she picked up her guitar and wrote this song.

It’s a positive and encouraging message to our daughters, wives, sisters, mothers and friends–to every woman, in every corner of this broken world. (And many of us men, as well!)

“Why would you ever believe the lies of him who hates you?
Believe the words of Him who made you…”


“…The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7b

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In addition to her music, Check out Martay’s blog where she tackles subjects like anxiety, comparison, bitterness, busyness, dating and more.

More:
Martay
We Are Immeasurable
Immeasurable – The Book

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I. Still. Believe.

People ask me from time to time how I can still believe for things that have seemed so completely hopeless for years.

I love this question. It gives me an opportunity to share my unwavering faith in a God who specializes in the “impossible.”

“Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
– Romans 4:20-21

I didn’t always have this kind of faith.

Actually, I don’t always have this kind of faith.

Believe me, there are many days, when I feel much closer to the Centurion than Peter.

In fact, there aren’t too many days that I don’t think those very words, “I believe, help my unbelief.”

I grew up reading the stories about these men and women of great faith and thinking, “well, that’s not me.”

It discouraged me tremendously.

See, I wanted to believe that kind of faith was possible, but it didn’t feel very real to me. At least not in my life.

Looking back though, I realize that, by definition, I had no faith.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
– Hebrews 11:1

The truth is, I pretty much only believed in what I could see.

I believed in my circumstances.

I believed in my feelings.

I believed in things I could define, in what I could understand.

Too often my feelings told me that my circumstances proved God wasn’t there and didn’t care. When the exact opposite was true. (And still is.)

Those tough times were opportunities to build my faith, for me to trust and obey and for God to show himself to be real and active in my life.

God always uses the challenges in our lives to build our faith, bring us closer to Him and do great things in and through us.

– God’s glory was demonstrated to both His people and enemies when David had the courage to face Goliath.
– Mary and Martha had to suffer the loss of their brother, Lazarus, to really understand Jesus’ love for them.
– Paul and Silas had to be imprisoned to bring the jailer and his whole family to Jesus.
– The apostles had to be in the middle of a storm for Jesus to calm it.
– The man had to be born blind for Jesus to heal him, and more importantly, reveal himself to him.
– The disciples had to live through the pain of watching jesus die, to experience the joy of his resurrection.

Listen, if we want to be men and women of great faith–we’re going to be put in some circumstances that require great faith.

There is no other way.

There are no short cuts.

It’s gotta be lived through, tried by fire, earned in battle,

Now, even stepping in to those circumstances, and each step through them, requires some faith.

We need enough faith to obey.

That’s the critical first step, the key to our breakthrough.

Do we have enough faith to obey?

Even when it isn’t what we want to do?
Even if we’ll lose some friends?
Even if it hurts?
Even if it makes no sense to us?

Joshua had faith that God’s unorthodox battle plan would work. But how much more faith did he have when it actually did?

That’s the reward on the other side.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Faith is the fountain, the foundation, the fosterer of obedience.”

It is also true that obedience leads to greater faith.

See, I believed that God could, but wasn’t quite convinced that He would. So I did what I wanted. I did what was most expedient for me. I did not obey.

Today, I am striving to do what God says. To do it His way, no matter the cost.

From an earthly perspective it might seem more convenient and comfortable to find my own solution, but I know how that ends.

And please don’t believe that God understands our disobedience and that He’s okay with it. That we can blow off what God says because “our situation is special.” That we are some sort of an “exception.”

That is a lie straight from Hell. A lie that’s tempting to believe because it feels so good.

But God warns against doing what we think is right, over and over again in His word: Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 3:5-7, Jeremiah 17:39.

God is never ok with our disobedience.

Don’t trust books, gurus, experts, TV preachers or blog writers. Check with the Word.

Even well-meaning Christian friends and family will encourage us to choose our own path, in direct contradiction to what God’s Word tells us, by saying things like, “Hey God wants us to be happy.”

And He no doubt does. But the path to the joy He has for us–peace that we can’t comprehend–isn’t in choosing our own way. It’s in exercising enough faith to obey.

Its trusting that if I do what God says, I will always be better off. And that my obedience will bring glory to God and point others toward Him.

So, back to that original question. How can we trust enough to obey, even through the hardest of times, when there seems to be no hope?

The writer of Hebrews tells us, “By faith Abraham obeyed…

We just have to have enough faith to obey. That faith is rewarded with confidence in God and deeper faith. And the process, the journey, is key, as Paul reminds us, because it ultimately ends in the hope we’re so desperately searching for:

3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope..”
– Romans 5:3-4

And know this, God is trustworthy. There’s a purpose to your pain. Whatever you’re walking through right now, He’s got this.

For King & Country put it this way in their new song, Shoulders:

You mend what once was shattered
And You turn my tears to laughter
Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy is relentless

MORE: Charles Spurgeon’s mind blowing message on Faith

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Thank God Everything’s Falling Apart

Sometimes we go through seasons where everything seems to fall apart around us. In these times, we shouldn’t feel abandoned by God, we should feel more loved than ever.

Seriously.

I know that sounds weird, but here’s the thing, God will often let things in our lives fall apart when they are standing in the way of Him. This isn’t done out of spite, or to hurt us, but out of love, to heal us, to grow us and for reasons that don’t always make sense to us now.

Like a parent who removes the training wheels from their child’s bike, above their cries and objections. That father or mother knows, what the child doesn’t–that the very thing that once held them up, now holds them back.

It’s a matter of trust more than anything.

Do we believe that God knows best. That He is rooting for us? That He’s in control? That He is actively working in our lives for His glory and the good of others, as well as our own? That He loves us and wants to do things in and through us that we probably wouldn’t even dream of?

See, He knows what we are capable of, He has big plans for us. But to get there, we’ve gotta trust.

Obey.

Surrender.

We’ve gotta let Him take control and take away anything that’s in the way of where He wants to take us.

God often adds through subtraction.

The things we’re holding on to aren’t real anyway. They may provide the mirage of security and control, or the illusion of happiness and success, but we know better.

And they’re often things we are relying on other than Him. False hopes. Security blankets. Training wheels.

Monuments to the trust we have in us.

Testaments to the lack of trust we have in God.

Idols, really.

If God is removing things from our lives, we are better off without them.

When our lives seem to be falling apart, often what we’re seeing are just the first, messy steps of the rebuild God has begun in our lives. The glorious ruins.

It’s evidence that God is at work in our lives. Stripping away the things keeping us from Him, and all He has planned for us. A chance to tear down our kingdom and begin making a difference in His.

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
Luke 6:46-49 NLT

Only when He is first, can our lives be put back together. Beautifully. And truly built to last.

The tough part is in the middle. After the hurt, but before the healing.

That is when you must hold on tighter than you ever knew you could. Seek God first. Follow Jesus with everything you’ve got.

Trade in the life that may look good from the outside, for one that actually is.

This means some hardcore demolition, for a season. As any home remodeler (or HGTV watcher) knows, ripping out the junk creates a real mess.

When you walk into the kitchen and see the project half way through, you know there’s no turning back. You’re all in.
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The enemy wants us to believe that the picture above is where our story ends–that God has abandoned us there.

But our current circumstances aren’t where it ends. It gets real ugly before it gets beautiful. There’s a lot of dust and dirt and a giant disaster before anything awesome happens.

If God is helping you with that, don’t hate Him, THANK Him.
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Keep your eye on the prize, focus on where God’s taking you.

Always rest in the truth of His Word:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Romans 8:28 NLT


More: Hillsong Worship

Un-stuck In The Middle

Saw a great tweet today from @ChristineCaine:

Throughout the Bible, God says things to us like ‘fear not‘ and ‘don’t be afraid‘.

In fact, He says them a lot.

He tells us to be anxious for nothing and to trust in Him. He promises to never leave us and to never forsake us.

And the pages of God’s Word are packed with the stories of normal, broken people who, despite their fears, frailties and failures in their past, trusted Him enough to obey Him, and did crazy awesome things for God.

Fear and faith cannot exist together.

Faith is described in Hebrews 11:1 as being “certain of what we do not see.” It is an absolute belief that God is constantly working behind the scenes in every area of our lives, even when there is no tangible evidence to support that fact.
– via gotquestions.org

If you’ve got a level hanging around the house, pull it out of the toolbox and play with it for a minute. Try to get that bubble in the middle.

See, that level almost perfectly illustrates the struggle between fear and faith in our lives.

Think of the left side as FEAR and the right side as FAITH. When the bubble is on the left, it’s as far away from faith as possible–there’s nothing but fear.

When it’s on the right side, faith is in control and there’s no fear to be found.

The problem is, most of us live in the middle. We’re living a delicate, exhausting balancing act where any little bump can send us one way or the other.

The thing is, God hates the middle. And so do we, if we’re honest.

We’re just close enough to great faith to taste it and feel its power–to know it’s really there–but never take that leap of faith and experience the life God intended for us. A life not ruled by our fears.

Yet it’s the very fear we want to overcome that keeps us from the faith we need to do so.

That’s why they call it a leap of faith.

We’ve gotta get as far away from the fear that keeps us from faith, as possible.

The beauty is, the more we move toward faith, the further we get from those fears. And the stronger our faith grows, the smaller our fears become.

As a boy, David fought a bear and a lion, which gave him the faith to believe that God would help him take on Goliath.

In 1 Samuel 17:37, David says, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear WILL DELIVER ME from the hand of this Philistine.”

David chose to feed his faith and starve his fear, but imagine if he had done the opposite.

What if after the first run-in with a lion or bear he had never gone back to that field?

Or what if David had chosen to run away from that first ferocious animal and spent the rest of his life telling anyone who would listen about the night he barely got away from that lion? Cool story, but so much less than God had planned for him.

His destiny and, as it turns out, all of human history would’ve been completely different.

Instead, his faith was rewarded with victory, diminishing his fear and building his faith even further. Those successes gave him the confidence to be courageous and do even greater things. And eventually be king!

And yet, doubt and fear never completely go away. Even for a man like David. But he knew the key to keeping fear at bay. Look what he wrote in Psalm 56:3, “when I am afraid, I will trust in You!”

That’s a good plan for us too.

Let’s be brave. Let’s trust in God, stop living in the middle and take that leap of faith.

More: Christine Caine
Bethel Music

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Z-Verse | Acts 9 | Suddenly | Nov 17, 2014

Our verse of the day is in Acts 9. Just go ahead and read the whole chapter real quick, the story’s just awesome.

Saul has been killing Christians, and he’s on his way to Damascus, papers in hand, to round up believers and bring them back to Jerusalem to torture and kill them.

He, literally, sees the light on his way there.

Verse 18 says, “IMMEDIATELY something like scales fell from eyes.”

Verse 20 says, “AT ONCE, he began to preach that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Two things jump out at me here.

1.) Things can seem completely hopeless and God can change everything in an instant.

Don’t give up hope.

How many times do we read that word suddenly in the Bible?

2.) We are never too far gone for God to do something in and through us.

I mean Saul was murdering Christians! Families, women and children! God still used him to write two thirds of the New Testament!

I love verse 21, it says that all who heard, “were astonished!”

I bet there are some people in our past that would be astonished if they saw us right now (hopefully in a good way!)

There are also probably some people in our lives, that if God got ahold of them, we’d be astonished.

Let’s let that affect how we treat the people in our lives who are living far from God right now. The people who seem, to many, to be beyond hope. (People like Saul before God changed everything in an instant and he became the Apostle Paul.)

Let’s remember how much God loves them and let’s try to love them the same way!

More: The Z

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Quick Thought | God Will Honor Our Obedience

A couple of weeks ago, my pastor posed a challenging question:

Do we TRUST God enough to OBEY Him?

See, God honors our obedience. [See Proverbs 10:2-3]

Shortcuts short change God’s glory AND our good.

What God has in store for us is far greater than anything we think our disobedience will do for us.

When we do what we know He wants us to–even when it’s hard, painful, or seems to make no sense–GOD will honor that choice. [Read Job 36:11, Isaiah 1:19 and the story of Jericho in Joshua 6:1-27.]

Remember what King David wrote in his older age, with the benefit of great experience:

“Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
Psalm 37:1-2

Charles Spurgeon made a great point about how vital it is to trust in the Lord. He said, “Sight is cross-eyed, and views things only as they seem…faith has clearer optics to behold things as they really are.”

There’s an old hymn that sums it up well:

“Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we’ll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.”

More: Charles Spurgeon
Sean Sears / Grace Church
The story behind Trust And Obey

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