Fear or Faith

Fear or Faith - IntentionallyPursuing.com

“Fail to use what you’ve been given and you’ll lose it. Use the ability you’ve got and God will increase it.” Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life*

When I read this quote from Rick Warren on the parable of the talents Jesus talks about in Matthew 25, I stopped to consider how I am investing or failing to use what I have been given. Am I walking in fear or faith?

I wrote on this parable of the three servants in doing it all For the Glory of God. But today I want to focus on what holds us back from investing our talents. I believe Fear and Scarcity are the hindrances the enemy uses to prevent me from giving my all for the glory of God.

Fear has been defined as False Evidence Appearing Real. Some of the common fears I face are:

  • Fear of the unknown.

We fight fear with faith. As Martin Luther King, Jr. wisely said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” I would also add sometimes faith is continuing to take that next step and the next when fear tells you to turn around and flee.

  • Fear of failure.

Failure is not final. “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again …” (Proverbs 24:16 NIV). Even if you fail, God will strengthen you to rise again.

  • Fear I’m not enough.

This is my biggest fear, and it’s also true. On my own I’m not enough. In my own strength I will stumble, but I was never called to take the next step in my own strength. My insecurity reminds me “… when I am weak, then I am strong—the less I have, the more I depend on Him.” (2 Corinthians 12:10 TLB).

Fear put the focus on me. Faith puts the focus on God.

Scarcity says there’s a limited supply. We think we need to hold out so we don’t run out, but God’s abundance doesn’t run out. Whether it is finances, talents, creativity, time, God can take what doesn’t seem like enough and make it more than enough.

Listen to the words of the master to the servant who buried his investment: “It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least?” (Matthew 25:26-27 MSG).

Though the master’s words are harsh, the words ring true. Fear and scarcity will cause me to give the least when faith and abundance will cause me to give my best. And God deserves only my best.

Blessed to be linking up with #DanceWithJesus.

Rest in His presence.

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Ephesians 4:26-27 – Pursue Peace

Ephesians 4:26-27 - Pursue Peace - IntentionallyPursuing.com

“‘In your anger do not sin'”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV)

Right when my mom came to pick me up from the babysitter, I acted up. Now, this was too long ago for me to remember what I had done, but I wasn’t the least bit sorry for my actions, and nothing my mother tried would bring an apology from my lips.

Then the next morning I awoke with a repentant heart and rushed to the phone and pleaded with my mom to allow me to call the babysitter and apologize for my actions.

So what happened to change my desire to apologize? I now “felt” sorry. So not only had I sinned by acting up, I waited until I felt sorry to say I was sorry.

But Peter reminds us, “They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11 NIV). The Living Bible puts it this way, “Try to live in peace even if you must run after it to catch and hold it!”

The “theys” are us, and this isn’t one of those optional commands. We need to:

  • pursue peace even when we don’t feel like it.
  • pursue peace even if we’re only 1 percent to blame.
  • pursue peace because God has called us to live in peace.

I wish I could say my stubborn heart has matured over the years, but still there are times when I go to bed angry at my husband. At first I give the devil that foothold by going over in my mind what my husband did to make me angry. I stare at the ceiling and fume. But then because it is my habit to pray as I fall asleep, I begin to seek God as I lay there on my bed.

Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah” (Psalm 4:4 NKJV). In that stillness God speaks to my heart. When I quiet the voices in my head, God softens my heart and soon I am pursuing peace and apologizing for my wrongs.

How do you pursue peace? It’s so much easier to fight early in the day when I have plenty of time to feel sorry. Can anyone relate?

Linked to Coffee for Your Heart.

Rest in His presence.

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Intentional Tuesday {Week 7}

Intentional Tuesday {Week 7} - IntentionallyPursuing.comTo celebrate our 20th anniversary, Tim and I went to Cedar Key, Florida, for the weekend. We stayed in a charming bed & breakfast just a block from the water where we saw a spectacular sunset reflected in the peaceful waters that surround the key.

One of Tim’s favorite things about the area was everything was in walking distance or a short bike ride away. We strolled down the main street and browsed through the shops and art galleries. We toured a couple museums, walked the trails, enjoyed the local food, and paused to take in the gorgeous views.

The b&b we stayed in had bicycles we could borrow, including a bicycle built for two. Cycling in tandem was the perfect way to close out our time in Cedar Key as we practiced cooperation, coordination, and a healthy dose of communication. : )

Intentional Tuesday {Week 7}

Have you ever stayed at a bed & breakfast? While I loved the charm of the old house, it took a little getting used to having our neighbors so close, so we did a lot of whispering that first night. : )

*****

Welcome to the Intentional Tuesday weekly link-up! You have words that will build up and bless others, so I’m asking you to share those words with us. I’m looking for posts that will encourage women to intentionally live out their roles as wives and/or daughters of God: intentional living, marriage, parenting, pursuing the heart of God, recipes, etc.

Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to IntentionallyPursuing.com to see all the fun and join in too. : )

Never linked up before? Here’s how:

  1. Scroll down, find the little blue “Add your link” button, and click on that.
  2. Follow the instructions on the next page – add a great image of your post and an interesting title. Make sure you link to the direct page of your post – not the main page of your blog!
  3. Try to visit at least a few other encouraging posts. Be sure to leave a comment to let them know you stopped by!
  4. Please link back to this post somehow … either a simple text link or the button below {html code in right sidebar}. : )



Rest in His presence.

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Dear me at 22 before you say “I do”

Dear me at 22 before you say "I do" - IntentionallyPursuing.comLast Wednesday Tim and I celebrated 20 years of marriage. Looking forward to the future has made me reflective on the past, and I’ve been thinking about what I would share with me at 22 as I prepared to say “I do.”

Dear me at 22 before you say “I do”

You’ve looked at the exit door in the bridal room as you weighed the commitment you are making. What I’m about to share with you may make you want to run initially, but running would cause you to miss out on the adventure of a lifetime. And while it may not have been the path you would have chosen, you will love this adventure.

For Better, For Worse

I know you have a plan for your life, a dream of what will be. But reality will look much different. After 20 years you still do not have children, and this will make you cry often. But hold onto hope because even I don’t know what the next 20 years will bring.

For Richer, For Poorer

You will experience both richer and poorer and will learn money can’t buy peace or joy. Unfortunately, you will also learn the hard way that debt carries a heavy burden and the peace of paid off is of greater value than the sparkle of new.

In Sickness and In Health

Love will gain new meaning when your husband tenderly cares for your needs, and you will never forget the fear in his eyes when he sees you in pain.

Watching the doctors wheel him into the operating room will shake you to the core and cause you to hold him closer as you try to forget how you might have lost him.

Until Death Do Us Part

You will experience trials that will make you question a lifetime commitment, but those same trials will draw you closer to Jesus and help you realize that marriage is not only stronger with God at the center but it is the only way you will get through this together.

While there is so much more I could share with you, your man is waiting at the altar for you, and some things you’re just going to have to walk through to appreciate.

Don’t worry if he waits a minute or two though. It’s good practice for when you need just a minute more to fix your hair or put on lip gloss before you’re ready to walk out the door. : )

Signed,

An older, wiser you who still has a lot to learn.

Linked to Titus 2sday.

Rest in His presence.

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God Has Built a Bridge

Don't build a wall where God has built a bridge. - IntentionallyPursuing.comBefore I had a chance to pray with her, I overheard her tell the man she had made too many mistakes for God to love her.

My heart ached for the burden she carried, for the wall she had placed around her heart. For “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:38 NLT).

NOTHING can separate us from God’s love. But she had allowed the mistakes of her past keep her from believing God could love her right where she was. She had built a wall where God had built a bridge.

Now, hear my heart on this: Jesus paid too high a price on the cross for us to say it was not enough. Our sins are not bigger. Our shame cannot keep Him away.

He isn’t waiting for us to clean up our lives. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV).

While we were still sinners, Christ loved us enough to die for us. Before we had accepted Him, He had accepted us.

I told her and I’m telling you, God says you are beautiful (Song of Songs 2:10). You are His beloved daughter (Deuteronomy 33:12, 2 Corinthians 6:18). He has accepted you and finds delight in you (Romans 15:7, Psalm 147:11) . You are His treasure (Deuteronomy 26:18).

I pray you know who you are in His eyes, but sometimes the world knocks us down, and we need the reminder we are loved (John 3:16) and chosen (Ephesians 1:11) and He has a good plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).

Our sin separated us from God, but God sent His Son to build a bridge to His love. Don’t build a wall where God has built a bridge.

Image credit: Philipp Reiner, Magdeleine, CCO

Linked to Kelly Balarie & Friends.

Rest in His presence.

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Proverbs 11:13 – Lost in Translation

Proverbs 11:13 - Lost in Translation - IntentionallyPursuing.com

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)

Have you ever been a victim of gossip? Maybe you shared something about someone that got completely blown out of proportion?

If you remember The Telephone Game from when you were in grade school, you know things can get lost in translation when shared from one person to another. Click here for a YouTube video that illustrates what happens when we share a secret.

When I was working as a court reporter, one of my friends confided in me she was going out on her own and leaving the court reporting agency we both worked for. She asked if I would be willing to take a deposition for her new firm every now and again.

Working freelance meant I could work for any company so I said I would support her in her new venture, but I warned her she should tell our current court reporting agency herself before they heard she was leaving from someone else.

Sadly she didn’t take my advice, and a few days later I found out through the grapevine there was a rumor I was abandoning our current firm and going out on my own with our friend.

And while I don’t think she told anyone I was joining her in her new firm, whatever she said got lost in translation.

Solomon nailed it when he said, “Gossip is no good! It causes hard feelings and comes between friends” (Proverbs 16:28 CEV).

Between processing her story with friends and soliciting business from attorneys, what could have been a friendly parting turned into a bitter parting of friends.

Sometimes we need to ask more than “Is this my story to tell?” We need to guard our story from the rumor mill by going to the main parties involved before our words get lost in translation.

And when you need to process through a decision and seek wisdom for that next step, find that one friend you can trust to give you godly wisdom who will keep your secret.

Image credit: David Mark, Magdeleine, CCO

P.S. I want to give a shout out to my husband. Happy 20th Anniversary, Sweetie! I love you. ♥

Rest in His presence.

Crystal Blogelina's $1 Blog Set-Up.* *Affiliate link. Read my disclosure policy here. Thank you for your support. : )

Intentional Tuesday {Week 6}

Intentional Tuesday - IntentionallyPursuing.com

Well, it turns out cake pops are not something you can just throw together. My friend, I pray you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and know how loved and precious you are to God who loves you most.

I found these instructions from Comfy in the Kitchen to be very helpful in making my cake pops. With patience and actually waiting for everything to cool down, they turned out beautifully.

I will probably wait for a party to make these again so I can share the delicious taste and calories of cake pops with more people. But I ordered the newest DVD from Ballet Beautiful (Swan Arms Cardio*), which should make burning off those extra calories a little more enjoyable. : )

Valentine Cake Pops

*****

Welcome to the Intentional Tuesday weekly link-up! You have words that will build up and bless others, so I’m asking you to share those words with us. I’m looking for posts that will encourage women to intentionally live out their roles as wives and/or daughters of God: intentional living, marriage, parenting, pursuing the heart of God, recipes, etc.

Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to IntentionallyPursuing.com to see all the fun and join in too. : )

Never linked up before? Here’s how:

  1. Scroll down, find the little blue “Add your link” button, and click on that.
  2. Follow the instructions on the next page – add a great image of your post and an interesting title. Make sure you link to the direct page of your post – not the main page of your blog!
  3. Try to visit at least a few other encouraging posts. Be sure to leave a comment to let them know you stopped by!
  4. Please link back to this post somehow … either a simple text link or the button below {html code in right sidebar}. : )

Rest in His presence.

Crystal Blogelina's $1 Blog Set-Up.* *Affiliate link. Read my disclosure policy here. Thank you for your support. : )

When My Husband Needs Fixing

Like a woodworker who sands away the imperfections, God uses my husband's rough edges to smooth away my imperfections - When My Husband Needs Fixing - IntentionallyPursuing.com

“… one reason God puts us in a church family — to learn unselfishness. In community we learn to say ‘we’ instead of ‘I,’ and ‘our’ instead of ‘mine.'” Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life*

Recently I heard the statement that men fix problems while women fix people. I never really thought about it, but I think I’ve been trying to fix Tim our entire marriage.

Before I was married I was a preschool teacher, and my job was to train little ones in the way they should go. You know, things like potty training, using kind words, picking up after themselves, letters, numbers, etc.

So when I got married, I didn’t think I was trying to fix Tim, but I would find myself giving him “helpful reminders.” You know, things like putting down the toilet lid, making sure his clothes landed in the hamper, speaking kindly to the person checking us out, etc.

Then God showed me I needed Tim’s … I don’t want to say problems. But I need his rough edges to refine me. Like a woodworker who sands away the imperfections, God uses my husband’s rough edges to smooth away my imperfections.

And not to worry, God is using my rough edges to smooth away Tim’s imperfections too, like when he has to listen to my helpful reminders.

But God is more concerned with my husband’s heart rather than his clothes making it to the hamper.  And some days it feels like we’re two rocks in a rock tumbler banging against one another. But God is using our marriage to teach us to be unselfish. Slowly we are learning to say “we” instead of “I” and “our” instead of “mine.”

But I still find myself walking away from my time with God where I prayed heartfelt prayers of surrender and then come face to face with my selfishness when Tim’s plans for the day differ from my own.

But instead of thinking my husband needs fixing, I’m learning to say “thank God You are using him to fix me.”

Image credit: Keith Misner, Magdeleine, CCO

Linked to Titus 2sDay.

Rest in His presence.

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Pausing Before We Speak

Pausing before we speak gives us time to hear God speak. - Pausing Before We Speak - IntentionallyPursuing.com

God reveals the most extraordinary truths in the middle of ordinary days.

Carrying the laundry basket to our bedroom closet, I heard Tim call from the other room, “How do you spell caller?”

Well, that’s what I thought he asked. But since I wanted to be sure, I responded, “like the third caller of the day?”

“No” he answered, “collar as in blue-collar.”

There was nothing unusual about this conversation, but I realized my clarifying question gave me time to pause. Even at the end of a long day, somewhere in my brain I know there is more than one way to spell a word. But too often I respond without thinking it through and later regret my quick response.

Spelling has come naturally to me. I even qualified to be in the school wide spelling bee in junior high. I didn’t get very far in the competition though because my qualifications came from reading, and they expected me to study a book of spelling words, which didn’t happen.

Back then I read the assigned chapters in the book and did the homework required (often turning it in late), and I did not study for tests. I even failed an algebra class because after turning in so many homework assignments late, I had failed too many of the math tests to pass the class.

Failing a math test or two meant I needed to spend another semester in math class. Failing a life test by speaking without thinking means I hurt the people I love. But the more I get it wrong, the more motivated I am to get it right.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (AKJV)

It’s too late to pass those math tests, but time spent in God’s Word helps me pass life’s tests. So I will study God’s Word because I need His Word in me so His words come out of me.

Asking a clarifying question helps me understand the situation.

Pausing before I speak gives me time to lace my words with God’s grace.

We need God’s Word in us so His words come out of us.

Pausing before we speak gives us time to hear God speak.

Image credit: Tanvi Malik, Magdeleine, CCO

Linked to #DanceWithJesus, Kelly Balarie and Friends.

Rest in His presence.

Crystal Blogelina's $1 Blog Set-Up.* *Affiliate link. Read my disclosure policy here. Thank you for your support. : )

Proverbs 16:2 – Motives

"All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord." Proverbs 16:2 - Motives

All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” Proverbs 16:2 (NIV)

When Tim walked in the door with a present behind his back, I should have been thrilled. But instead all I could do was ask why. It wasn’t Valentine’s or our anniversary, and he didn’t usually come home with presents. So why today?

Was the present some sort of apology? Had he done something he felt guilty about? Was the present an effort to soften the blow and prepare me for bad news? My mind raced with the possibilities, and the questions poured out.

Two things I learned from that incident:

One, my love language is not receiving gifts. So while giving and receiving gifts for holidays is very important to me, receiving gifts does not speak love to me.

Two, my words are powerful. Since that day my husband has rarely brought home a surprise gift. I guess he doesn’t want to be bombarded with questions regarding his motives.

While that day I had questioned Tim’s motives, I should have been questioning my own motives because sometimes a gift is just a gift. “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue” (Proverbs 16:1 NIV).

As I look at the motives of my words, I find this advice from Karen Ehman to be the difference between speaking words I regret or speaking words that bring me joy:

“Spending time in God’s Word shapes our hearts – it keeps us on the path of knowledge, which includes knowing the truth behind our motives. It helps us to replace our ill will and wrong motives with the perfect will and words of God.” Karen Ehman, Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All*

Every morning I pray that I will be influenced by God alone. I need wisdom from His Word to guide my words. I need time in His presence to receive guidance for my day.Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” Proverbs 16:3 (NIV).

I pray His Word guides both your words and mine today and every day. : )

Image credit: condesign, Magdeleine, CCO

Rest in His presence.

Crystal Blogelina's $1 Blog Set-Up.* *Affiliate link. Read my disclosure policy here. Thank you for your support. : )