Flowing Faith

February 5, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Focus on Jesus

Focus on JesusThe quickest way to unhappiness is the road the world thinks leads to happiness. Really. We tend to think if we only could satisfy our every whim and want we’d be happy. But we could not be further from the truth. When we focus on earthly and temporal things, we lose track of what really matters. Only when we focus on Jesus, we achieve what we were looking for from the beginning.

For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], 19 whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. (Phil. 3:18-19, AMP,*)

But as children of God we are different. There’s far more to life for us. We are called to focus on Jesus because in him we find everything we need. While we keep on focusing on Jesus, we experience wholeness like never before and slowly but surely we are also maturing spiritually.

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. (Romans 12:2, AMP,*)

We need to stop focusing on the problems of the world or the troubles of our own life. Peter was walking on the water when his eyes were on Jesus. Anything is possible when we focus on Jesus. But when we focus on anything else, also we start sinking in.

But how can we constantly keep our focus on Jesus? By [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity] (Hebr. 12:2, AMP,*) We need to guard our hearts and minds from any distractions. The season of Lent is an opportunity to take down things that keep us from Jesus. They might be even good things in general. But if they keep us from centering our attention on Jesus, they need to go.

Focus on Jesus, my friend. It might feel it takes away all the fun from your life. But that’s a lie the enemy wants you to buy. Jesus always gives more than he takes. And only Jesus knows what’s best for you. Hence focus on Jesus and rejoice!

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for salvation through faith in Jesus.
Thank you for wholeness through faith in Jesus.
Help us to guard our hearts and minds from any distractions
and focus on Jesus all the days of our lives.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What keeps you (from) focusing on Jesus?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you focus on Jesus all the days of your life!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.].

Image courtesy of creationswap.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday.

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February 3, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

A Spiritual Cleaning Tip

A spiritual cleaning tipAre you planning to do some spring cleaning? How about some spiritual spring cleaning too? Before you start, I have a spiritual cleaning tip for you that will hopefully save you some time and effort.

Wash me completely clean of my guilt;
    purify me from my sin!
(Psalm 51:2, CEB)

First of all, forget about any quick-fix cleaning. That does not fix the real problem, it just hides it for awhile. Instead, put the best spiritual cleaning tip into practice: stop self-effort and turn to God.

Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean;
    wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
(Psalm 51:7, CEB)

Call Jesus and ask for the triune spiritual cleaning company: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to come and make a through spiritual cleaning in your soul. It’s free and it works.

Create a clean heart for me, God;
    put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me!
(Psalm 51:10, CEB)

There’s nothing God’s grace can’t clean.
The power of the blood of Jesus is amazing.
And the end result make you eternally joyful.

Return the joy of your salvation to me
    and sustain me with a willing spirit.
(Psalm 51:12, CEB)

 

Gracious God,
Forgive me.
Cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
Create me a new heart, Lord.
Become my everything.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What’s your best spiritual spring cleaning trip?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let the triune God clean you from inside out!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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February 1, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
12 Comments

Grow – Flow – Glow

Grow - flow - glowThis past few days I’ve been fascinated by three words (grow – flow- glow) and how they relate to Christian faith. And they do, quite beautifully too. They form a positive cycle of spiritual growth. Let me explain.

The Bible tells us to grow in grace, right? You must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18, NLT). Faith is not to be static but energetic and lively. How do we manage that? How can we become spiritually mature? By continually abiding in Christ, by spending time with Jesus in prayer, by embracing the Word of God daily. Then spiritual growth just happens. This is God’s will for us, he will bless us as we seek him.

But how are grow – flow – glow connected? One leads to another and back again. A nice positive cycle of spiritual growth if you will.

When we continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we will eventually experience flow. When Christ lives in us and we are one with God in the Spirit, it most definitively is an experience of flowing faith. With the words of Jesus He who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water’” (John 7:38, AMP).

Growth in grace leads into flowing faith.
Flowing faith makes us glow for Christ.
And that ensures more spiritual growth.
A nice positive cycle of spiritual growth indeed.

Our job is to live in Christ and all this spiritual growth happens by God’s grace. Grow – flow – glow follows in a Christian’s life over and over again without us really noticing. And we don’t have to. All we need to do is to live in Christ every day of our lives and God will take care of the details.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for calling us to grow in grace
and providing means to do so.
Thank you for enabling spiritual growth in us
and granting us flowing faith.
Thank you for making us glow for you.
Use us for your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you think? Grow-flow-glow … is it a pattern of spiritual growth?

May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NLT).

Image courtesy of creationswap.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders, and #InspireMeMonday.

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January 29, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
10 Comments

Peace and Quiet

Peace and QuietThe million dollar question in today’s chaotic life style is how you can have peace and quiet despite of all odds. How about you? Do you know how to have peace beyond understanding? If you do, you are blessed beyond measure. Here are two Bible verses to lead you into the right direction:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7, NIV,*)

The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
    its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
(Isaiah 32:17, NIV,*)

The only way to have peace and quiet in the midst of everyday craziness is Jesus. But he will never let you down. Jesus promised to be with us every day until the end of the world. It does not mean every other day or only on the good days or only on Sundays. Jesus has promised to be with us always, no exceptions. And he has an amazing ability to take care of our needs, calm our fears and tranquilize our minds. He takes our troubles and leaves us with peace beyond understanding.

Inner peace and quiet really are ours when we abide in Jesus. We just need to open our heart to receive God’s wonderful gifts to us. And experiencing some peace and quiet while others are frantic is only a small portion of God’s blessings. How about some love, joy, hope? Now we’re talking, right? And even these gifts are not the best there is. The One behind all these gifts is even better than the sum of all these blessings. And he waits to be discovered.

 

Gracious God,
You are so good to me.
You take my troubles
and give me peace and quiet
and everything else I need.
Thank you for promising to be

Q4U: Do you desire peace and quiet? How do you achieve tranquility?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you experience peace and quiet through abiding in Jesus!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.].

Photo courtesy of  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday.

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January 27, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Seek God and His Presence

Seek God and His PresenceWhy should you (or why do you) seek God and his presence? Should we need any other reason that the Bible tells us so?

Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually [longing to be in His presence] (1 Chronicles 16:11, AMP).

Two things come to mind right away. Hope they will bless you and your relationship with Jesus.

  1. The more you experience God’s presence, the more your capacity to experience his presence grows. God wants to share everything with you. But he can’t give you a spiritual stake if you’re still a spiritual baby who only can intake milk. The more you spend time with Jesus, the more more your capacity to experience God’s presence grows. So, please, seek God and his presence. It is the only way to grow in grace.
  2. The more you seek God and his presence, the better you know him when you finally meet him face to face. Truly. You don’t need to stress about how you’re going to recognize him. He is not going to be strange but familiar; you will immediately recognize your dear heavenly Father.

There are many, many other reasons to seek God and I would love to hear what are your favorite ones. I could sum up my reasons by saying: the more I seek God and his presence, the readier I am to live radically for him. How about you?

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for inviting us to seek you with everything we’ve got.
Thank you for inviting us into your presence.
I want to experience everything you have for me.
Enable me to grow in grace
and live radically for you.
Be praised forever and ever.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What are you reasons to seek God and his presence?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you continue to seek God and his presence every day of your life!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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January 25, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Amazing Qualities of Grace

Amazing qualities of graceI love grace. Undeserved love towards us cleansing us from all unrighteousness….what’s not to like, right? But here are three reasons why I love grace on the top of its saving quality. Because there’s no way around it: God’s grace saves sinners. There’s nothing better in my book. But there are, at least, three other qualities of grace that needs to be mentioned.

  1. Grace is so amazingly wonderful that we can’t figure it out. It is beyond reason. How can God loves us so much than he gave his only son to make us right with him? We can’t understand it. But we don’t need to understand it to receive it. Let God love you unconditionally and receive as much grace as you need.
  2. Grace changes things according to God’s plan for us, not according to the world’s rules or the way things have always been done. Grace mixes things in refreshing ways. Grace creates better things in us and among us. When grace works in the midst of us, the old is gone and the new is blessing us in radical ways.
  3. God’s grace is the same for every single person on this earth. It does not matter what is your back ground, where you’re from, what’s the color of your skin or how little education you have. God’s grace is the same for each and every one. We all start at the cross. None of us can earn grace or get any extra points because of our ancestors. The price of grace is the same for all of us: it’s free. Because God loves us so much that he does not want anyone to perish.

The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time. It’s the same all over the world. (Col. 1:5-6, MSG)

What do you think? What qualities of grace do you love? Grace is indeed God’s power in and through our lives. And it truly doesn’t weaken or diminish over the years. Grace blesses us beyond measure. Thank you, Lord!

 

Gracious God,
Your love and grace is beyond my understanding,
but thank you from the bottom of my heart.
There’s no way I could function without your grace.
Thank you that your grace is the same for everyone.
Thank you that your grace empowers, inspires, uplifts
according to your plan for the world.
Pour our grace upon grace, Lord!
May your will happen in and through my life!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What qualities of grace do you love?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you bask in God’s love and grace!

Image courtesy of creationswap.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders, and #InspireMeMonday.

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January 22, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

God Is Our Ever-Present Help

God is our ever-present helpThis is a gentle and hopefully encouraging reminder that you are not alone in your troubles. No matter how you feel, no matter how chaotic your life seems to be right now, you are not alone. God is our ever-present help. He will not leave you nor forsake you. You can stake your life on that promise.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
(Psalm 46:1-3, NIV, emphasis added,*)

God is indeed our ever-present help in trouble as well as in our regular everyday life. This gives us hope and courage to face anything and everything the future might bring. That’s why we don’t need to be afraid of the future and we can enjoy the present.

We can watch the daily news with peace. Nothing will shake our foundation, God is our ever-present help. No matter what happens, God is with us. He is our refuge, he is our strength. All is well. Hallelujah!

 

Gracious God,
Thank you that you are our refuge and our strength.
Thank you that you are our ever-present help.
This puts faith, hope, and courage into us.
Thank you for taking always care of us.
Be praised forever and ever.
We love you, God!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Are you fearless and confident because God is our ever-present help!

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you lean on God who is our ever-present help!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.].

Photo courtesy of  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday.

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January 20, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Linger in the Presence of God

Linger in the Presence of GodI’ve always thought abiding in Christ is the most important task of a Christian. Everything else is just details. Jesus himself invites us to remain in him, to linger in the presence of God. What could that mean in real life?

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4, NIV)

The Greek word used here is  μνω [meno]. It can be translates as stay, remain, live, dwell or abide. All of them speaks of a continuous happening. We are not just to pray off and on to God and then be on our way.

We are to linger in the presence of God.
We are to stay, remain in God.
We are to live in the Holy Spirit.
We are to make our home in Jesus.

This changes everything, don’t you think? Meno describes beautifully the relationship between a believer and Christ. Our life is to be spent in the presence of God. We are to stay and remain in him all the days of our lives. This is an ongoing, intimate relationship we are talking about here.

If we really do permanently linger in the presence of God, we will naturally bear fruit. If we continually dwell in the presence of God, we get to personally know God and his power. If we stay in the presence of God, not just physically but also mentally and spiritually, we will always be blessed beyond measure.

That’s what I want. And that’s what faith is all about: a genuine, ongoing relationship with God. How do we get there? By lingering more and more in the presence of God.

The more time we spend with God, the more capacity for God is created in us.
The more capacity for God we have, the more of God we can experience.
The more of God we experience, the stronger our relationship with God becomes.

Gracious God,
Thank you for wanting us to remain in you,
continually, permanently.
Show us how we can linger in your presence.
Help us to know more of you.
Help us to make our home in you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you linger in the presence of God? How do you spend time with God?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you linger in the presence of God!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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January 18, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
8 Comments

Confession or Excuses?

Confession or ExcusesSometimes you hear someone to mention they’ll return to God when they get their act together. That makes me sad because they’ve misunderstood the process so badly. It’s not our job to put our act together on our own. We need Jesus for that. But Jesus is more than happy to help us out. Anytime. Anywhere.

With the words of Oswald Chambers “If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He does not ask you to put it right; He asks you to accept the light, and He will put it right. A child of the light confesses instantly and stands bared before God; a child of darkness says — “Oh, I can explain that away.””

God does not want your excuses. He knows everything what there is to know about your life situation. He wants your confession. God wants to have your heart. Not to crush it but clean it.

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” (John 3:19-21, MSG)

I hope you don’t try to explain your sins. Or stay in the darkness to hide them. Because of Jesus, we can have our sins forgiven when we confess them to the Lord. Because of Jesus, we can accept the light and let Jesus to clean us inside out.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, NIV)

Confession of our sins is certainly not considered as fun but essential for our well-being. Because the outcomes of confession are better than anything else in this world: freedom, peace, and joy in abundance.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive our sins and forgive our excuses.
Thank you that we can come to you as we are.
Thank you for cleansing us and restoring us.
Thank you for life and freedom,
peace and joy in you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What does keep you from confession? Have you experienced the outcomes of confession?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you return to God no matter what has happened to you!

Image courtesy of creationswap.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders, and #InspireMeMonday.

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January 15, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
9 Comments

Using Your Time Wisely

Using your time wiselyDo you use your time wisely? That’s my prayer every morning. I say ‘Good morning’ to God and surrender myself and my time to him and ask him to guide me and enable me to use my time wisely. It’s not that easy on our own, you know. Sometimes using your time wisely is doing nothing at all. Let me explain.

Managing your time effectively is not necessary the same thing as using your time wisely. I find it helpful to use the distinction found in the New testament between chronos time and kairos time. We are familiar with chronos time, something we can measure with clocks and calendars. But kairos time is more essential when we learn to use our time wisely.

Kairos is God’s time zone. Waiting for God is waiting for kairos, the supreme moment when God intersects with our lives. Kairos is the moment when God’s will happens. Kairos is when the right things happen in the right time. Sometimes using our time wisely means waiting. Sometimes it means action. But it always means living near to God and waiting for his timing and guidance.

Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], 16 making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 5:15-17, AMP)

Life is short here on earth, even if you get to live to see your 100th birthday. Each day matters. Use them wisely. How, you ask. Start with prayer. Ask for guidance and grace to use your time wisely. The Holy Spirit will guide you.

 

Gracious God,
I want nothing more than your presence in my life
Enable me to use my time wisely,
according to your plan for me.
Send your Holy Spirit to inspire me,
guide me, and empower me.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Is using your time wisely difficult for you? What has helped you to do so?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you learn using your time wisely!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.].

Photo courtesy of  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday.

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