Flowing Faith

August 22, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Have You Forgotten How Powerful God Is?

Have you forgotten how powerful God isHow are you doing? Are you tired of everything? Exhausted or desperate? Guess what, life is not on your shoulders. This is not all there is. You don’t have to manage your life on your own. Help is available. For real. Have you forgotten how powerful God is? Or maybe you don’t really believe that God is active and alive. But he is. And there’s a lot he has to offer for all who believe. Not just when you’re wearing your Sunday best but on weekdays when everything seems to be going wrong.

God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable],
A very present and well-proved help in trouble.
(Ps. 46:10, AMP, emphasis added)

Have you forgotten how powerful God is?

Usually, when we feel down, everything supposedly spiritually uplifting seems to be the last thing we want to do. But this is how the enemy works. He wants us to get so busy and seemingly self-sufficient that we forget our need of Christ. We start skipping taking care of our spiritual needs and we start – without realizing it – drifting away from God. Soon our spiritual eyes dim and we don’t see the glory of God anymore. We forgot how powerful God is. Soon we start feeling exhausted and restless, our life seems to be lacking meaning and purpose. What to do then?

And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people), and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. (Eph. 1:18-19, AMP, emphasis added)

How to experience the power of God

Whenever you’re feeling down for some reason, turn to God. If you don’t have any desire to seek God, ask God to rekindle that desire in you. God hears your prayers and answers to you. For real.

This amazes me over and over again. Every time I earnestly seek God, he answers. Try it yourself! Experience the power of God in your everyday life. Not – necessarily – in showy ways but in tangible small ways.

Faith is simple.
But it works.
Prayer is simple.
But it works.

God is more powerful than you know. You just need to let God show you. Your problems are nothing to God. Surrender them and yourself to God and let him sort your life out. He loves to do that. It’s impossible for you but it’s easy for him. Let our Heavenly Father show you how wonderful it is to be his child.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for drifting away from your Word
and for forgetting how powerful you are.
We surrender ourselves and our problems to you.
Help us, Lord! Sort us out.
Show us your glory,
let us experience your power.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: Have you experienced/forgotten how powerful God is?

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you let God show you what he can do with your life!

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

August 18, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Not to Speak Is to Speak

Not to speak is to speakSince the hate-filled happenings in Charlotte, this Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote has been going through my mind. Over and over again. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” We can’t be silent anymore. Things are escalating rapidly, we need to act. We can’t stay silent any longer. Not to speak is to speak; it’s taking sides with evil. Is that what you want?

Not to speak is to speak

Sure, we would not want it to be so. We’d like to think we’re just keeping out of it because we’re not political. But that’s just it. This is not about politics. This is about human decency. It’s about respecting God-created human beings. It’s about sharing that love and grace that has been shared with us. There’s no way we can stay silent when all human beings are not treated equally.

It’s time to say what we have to say. Even if it’s scary. We can take courage from the Bible: “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!” (Proverbs 31:8-9, MSG,*) This is our calling, folks. To speak out for all who are mistreated. Jesus loved all. We are called to do the same. I’m taking sides with Jesus. How about you?

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for being silent in the face of evil.
Give us the courage to speak out every time
we see hate, discrimination or injustice.
Show us how to love like you.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you think? Is silence taking sides with evil?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you speak out for justice!

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

Photo by Marcos Luiz on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

August 15, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Praying and Praising the Lord (with Psalm 34)

praying and praising the Lord with psalm 34Today I’m interacting with Psalm 34 (MSG). Join me in praying and praising the Lord and blessing his name. There’s nothing better in this world. Nothing better than being a child of God and knowing that God has always been taking care of you and he is helping you right now and he will continue to do it. No exceptions. Always and forever.

Join me in praying and praising the Lord

I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.

Yes, Lord! I praise you forever and ever
I am in awe of your and your marvelous works.
You are my life and I praise you for it.

I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:
Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.

Join me, my friends, praising the Lord
because he is good – all the time.
Whatever is your problem, God is the solution. 

God meets us where we are

God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.

You sure did meet me more than halfway.
When all but you had been taken from me,
You raised me up and restored me. Hallelujah!

Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.

Thank you for loving me and welcoming me as I am.
Be praised for creating good out of the chaos of my life.

When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

You will meet me when and where ever I call out to you.
I can count on you no matter what. Hallelujah!

God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

How sweet it is to be embraced by your grace.
Not just once but always and every day.

Experience God’s goodness

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

It is indeed time to run to God and let him show you who
he really is and how he operates: grace upon grace.

Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.

God is everything you’ve ever been looking for,
stop doubting, enter into his presence with praise.

10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.

Nothing but God satisfies.
The children of God lack nothing.

11 Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.

Yes, Lord, I want to get to know you.
I want to love and praise you with all my heart.

12 Who out there has a lust for life?
Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?

I do and I want to live to the max.
Truly, I want to live with God.

Become holy like God is holy

13 Guard your tongue from profanity,
and no more lying through your teeth.

Yes, Lord, wash my mouth, clean my thoughts,
purify my heart and mind.

14 Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!

I want to be all yours, Lord.
Teach me to live in love and to pass on grace and peace.

God protects his children

15 God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.

Thank you for watching over me,
always being there for me.

16 God won’t put up with rebels;
he’ll cull them from the pack.

Thanks for not lowering your standards but
empowering me to rise to yours.

17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.

How wonderful it is to know I am never alone,
you’re ready to help me always and everywhere.

18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Know that there’s nothing you need to hide from God;
he is always on your side no matter what.

19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.

I do indeed get into trouble, all the time.
Thanks for not getting tired of rescuing me.

20 He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.

How cool is that: God is my bodyguard.
Who do I fear? No one.

21 The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.

Show me the way, Lord.
Lead me into the celebration of Life.

God blesses all who come to him

22 God pays for each slave’s freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.

Thank you for sending Jesus to pay for my sins
and saving every single person who comes to you.

Every day I learn something new about you,
thank you for being always more than I need.

Be praised for your loving-kindness, Lord.
You love me who is far from perfect.
And you love me enough not to leave me like this.
No, you raise me up; You teach me to fly like an eagle.

Come, you people, join me in praying and praising the Lord!

Q4U: Do you spend your life praying and praising the Lord? Share your best tips/what you’ve learned!

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you dare to love and serve the Lord with everything you’ve got.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

August 11, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

What Is Your Final Destination?

What is your final destination?Do you have a special place on earth that you call your own? I’ve always admired people who are established and happy about it. I’m more a sojourner in spirit. For my kids, I am planning on staying at one place as long as God is not specifically calling us elsewhere. I think, until I get to heaven, I will always be eager to move on. How about you?

 But [we are different, because] our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await [the coming of] the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:20, AMP,*)

What is your final destination?

When you travel far enough you most likely exchange airplanes many times. Then you are bound to hear this question some time along the way: “What’s your final destination?” When you live long enough and grow old enough, you sooner or later start wondering what will happen to you after you die. What’s your final destination, you ask? It is such an important question. Are you just going where everyone else is going? Are you taking the matter into your own hands? You know, the Bible tells us about our choices: hell and heaven. A final resting place does matter.

Heaven is a holy place and that’s why we can’t get there on our own. We can only get there by grace through faith in Jesus. We are not holy without Jesus. But because Jesus died for us and our sins, we can be forgiven and made whole and holy. We just need to ask. When we have experienced this new birth in Christ, we are not of the world anymore. This world – not even our own special place – is not our final destination. Heaven is.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for providing us a way to heaven: Jesus.
Help us to remember that we are not of the world and
this is not our final destination.
Give us enough strength to keep on going until we get home.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you have a special place on earth? What’s your final destination?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you live out like heaven is your final destination?

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

Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

August 8, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Readiness to Serve

readiness to serveAre you worried that you could mess up God’s plans? Do you think you are letting God down by not being effective and productive enough? I have good news for you. There’s no way you could ever mess up God Almighty’s plans. God knows you and – yet – he loves you very much. He knows how much rest you need and what is happening in your life. You can rest assured you’re not able to wreck God’s plans for you or his kingdom. You know, God is more powerful than you. And because God’s plan is not a life without hassles or hardships. It’s a life lived with God. And life is messy. God knows that. He will supply you everything you need to follow and serve him.

But God, being [so very] rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us, even when we were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of our sins, He made us [spiritually] alive together with Christ (for by His grace—His undeserved favor and mercy—you have been saved from God’s judgment). (Eph. 2:4-5, AMP)

Readiness to serve

Sure, it might sound odd that God Almighty is happy with ordinary people. But that’s the truth here. God loves ordinary people with ordinary problems, fears and questions. You see, God is not calling perfect people, he is calling imperfect people who are willing to follow his lead. Readiness to serve leads to extraordinary things. God will make us what we need to be to serve him. It’s God in us, not us, producing fruit.

We are called to trust God so completely that we are ready to place ourselves in situations that are so completely over our heads that there is no way that we could make anything happen without God. It feels terrible to be in that situation. Without God, we’d be making total fools out of ourselves. But with God, amazing things happen. When we are ready to follow even when we don’t understand, we are truly trusting God. That’s readiness to serve for you.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you that I am not able to wreck your plans.
Be praised that you are more powerful than I can imagine.
I do want to serve you, show me how what and when.
Use me for your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Are you (or have you been) afraid of messing up God’s plans for you? Do you have the readiness to serve?

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you dare to love and serve the Lord with everything you’ve got.

Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

August 4, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Christianity as Grace

Christianity as GraceWhen you’re exhausted you don’t want to be pushed and told to try even harder. Especially when we are down we need grace. Jesus is calling to him all who are weary. He will not urge us to try harder, instead, he gives us rest. And when we have rested, he will empower us with his grace to do what we can’t do on our own. I see Christianity as grace and that’s why it’s difficult for me to understand how people think Christianity as difficult or demanding. With the words of Gilbert K. Chesterton “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2: 8-10, NIV)

Christianity as Grace

The main thing in Christianity is God’s work in and through us, not us trying to behave in a certain way to please God. So, don’t let your idea of Christianity scare you away. Salvation is God’s gift from start to finish. You see, we just receive it through faith and then let God’s grace change us inside and out. It’s not about working our way into holiness; it’s about letting the Holy Spirit change us by God’s grace. Hence, embrace grace. Immerse yourself in the curriculum of grace as Max Lucado puts it. Let God’s grace surprise you with its power. I assure you, you will not be left wanting.

 

Gracious God,
Help us to see more of who you are.
Forgive us for staying away for fear or shame.
Thanks for inviting us into your presence just as we are.
We believe, help our unbelief.
Pour out grace upon grace, change us inside out.
Empower us for your service, Lord.
Show us what it means to be your child.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you see Christianity as grace?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace God’s grace as your own!

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

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

August 1, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Pray It Possible

Pray it possibleVery often we feel that there’s nothing we can do to make things better. We feel helpless and discouraged and don’t know how to go on. The most important thing – and hopefully the first thing – to do is to pray. Really. Because prayer works. Indeed God works in and through our lives. Don’t ever forget that. Whatever dilemma or problem you’re facing, pray it possible.

With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people. (Eph. 6:18, AMP)

Pray it possible

Yes, pray it possible. You can’t but God can. Trust him and persevere in prayer. Pray it alive. Let the Holy Spirit breathe life through your prayers. Pray away your insecurities. And pray away your fears. Give them to Jesus and let him create something new out of them. It really does happen when we surrender to God in prayer. God will answer. Not necessarily the way we imagine but he will answer. And he knows what’s best for us.

Don’t quit. Truly pray until praise flows. That’s when things usually start becoming more possible. It’s not because of us but God in us. You see, nothing is impossible to God. Nothing limits him. Believe it. And, whatever it is that bothers you, pray it possible. God is waiting to hear from you.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for listening to our prayers
and making things possible for us.
Be praised for knowing and giving us
what’s good for us.
Hence we trust everything to you.
Take care of us, bless us according to your plan for us.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Have you ever prayed anything possible? Please, do share!

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you pray it possible – whatever it is that bothers you. God will answer. Not necessarily the way we imagine but he will answer. And he knows what’s best for us.

Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

July 28, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Life Inspired by the Holy Spirit

Life inspired by the Holy SpiritInspiration is a wonderful thing. Without it, any creative work would be nearly impossible. My ultimate inspiration comes from the Lord. Like James Stalker has said, “How poor a guide enthusiasm is when it is not informed with the mind and spirit of God.” We need the Holy Spirit to guide us and inspire us. Hence, my agent of inspiration is the Holy Spirit who breathes life into me and through me. Without him, any spiritual life would be impossible. Religiousness without the Holy Spirit does not cut it for me. Life inspired by the Holy Spirit is life at its best, it’s what life was meant to be. And that’s what I want. Thankfully, that’s what God has in mind for us.

[I always pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may grant you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation [that gives you a deep and personal and intimate insight] into the true knowledge of Him [for we know the Father through the Son]. 18 And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people), 19 and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. (Eph. 1:17-20, AMP, emphasis added.*)

Life inspired by the Holy Spirit is what I want.

I am learning what it truly means to live in the Spirit. Only when I am filled with God’s grace, I am inspired and able to live to the fullest. Otherwise, doubts and worries steal my inspiration and motivation. I am nothing without Jesus. Truly, I need the Holy Spirit to be spiritually alive and well. Blessedly, that’s what God wants for each of us. He has prepared the way for us to intimately commune with him. The more we live in the Holy Spirit, the more inspired and blessed we are. Because life inspired by the Holy Spirit is loving, serving, sharing kind of life. It’s living like Jesus. Not by our own power. But by the power of the Spirit.

 

 

Gracious God,
You have prepared everything for us.
Forgive us for not taking up on your offers
even when we know it’s best for us.
Fill us with your Spirit!
Show us what it really means to live inspired by the Holy Spirit
and empowered by your grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How does your life inspired by the Holy Spirit look like?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let the Holy Spirit inspire and guide you every step of the way!

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

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

July 25, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Waiting on God Is Wise

Waiting on God is wiseSummer seems to be a time when everything stops. Nothing happens. Yes, we need that kind of time to relax and rejuvenate. But too much is too much, right? Little by little we become anxious to do something, anything really. The wise thing here is to wait until it’s the right thing to do, not just because we are too anxious to wait. This happens in our spiritual life too. Waiting on God is a big part of Christian living. We most likely don’t naturally like waiting on God any more than we like waiting in general. But it is always worth it. Doing right things at the right time the right way does not have any rivalries. Little by little, we learn to embrace waiting on God as a blessing.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
(Lamentation 3:15, ESV)

Waiting on God is wise

John Ortberg has said “Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.” Indeed, waiting on God is not just something we do to get what we want. We wait on God to realize the Giver is better than the gift. God wants us to seek him not just his blessings. As we wait for him, we learn to love him. And all that is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.

But as for me, I will look to the Lord;
    I will wait for the God of my salvation;
    my God will hear me.
(Micah 7:7, ESV)

Of course, there are also other reasons we wait on God. The perfect timing is only known by God. The optimal readiness by all parties is only known by God. We don’t know the big picture, God does. Hence, we can lean on God and wait happily. Meanwhile, we can enjoy God and his presence. That’s the ultimate joy in life: to know God and to be known by him and to love God and to be loved by him. Waiting on God is wise indeed.

 

Gracious God,
You are so awesome!
Your wise planning and loving care for us
are more than we can even imagine.
Help us to see the wisdom in waiting on you.
Enable us to rejoice while waiting.
Help us to use the time right:
by getting to know you and love you.
Remind us of our true identity and
help us to celebrate you all of our days.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How do you feel about waiting on God?

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you embrace waiting on God as part of the Christian life!

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

July 21, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
10 Comments

Are You Collecting Idols?

Are you collecting idols?Summer is an awesome time for spiritual check-ups. Usually, we get some time off the grid or even time away from routines. That gives us time to see our life better than when we are barely trying to survive from day to day. Today I am trying to look at my life if there are any other gods than God Almighty. You know, it’s so easy to start collecting idols without even noticing it. How about you? Are you collecting idols?

Because God says:

When you cry out for help,
    let your collection of idols save you!
The wind will carry all of them off,
    a mere breath will blow them away.
But whoever takes refuge in me
    will inherit the land
    and possess my holy mountain.
(Isaiah 57:13, NIV,*)

Are you collecting idols?

It’s so hard to admit that we are collecting idols when we are putting our trust in money or even in such a great thing as a family. It’s wise to save up and love your family, right? Yes and no. Saving (versus spending) is a good thing but our security does not come from piles of cash but from the Lord. Love is also good, even biblical, yet our help does not come from our family but from the Lord.

It is hard to trust God without hesitation. Maybe it’s even harder to surrender fully to God. Without conditions. But those conditions and reserves are our idols. Whether we realize it or not.

Your collection of idols does not save you. Nobody but Jesus can save you. And there’s no one but God who can make you whole and secure your future. Yet we insist on managing on our own. Over and over again. But our insurances and bank accounts or piles of stuff won’t help when we really need it. Even a family can’t always be there for us. In the end, we are alone before God. And that does not have to be scary. Christ is inviting us to take refuge in him and then being alone with God is a celebration. I am choosing God. Every day. Why don’t you join me in this celebration?

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for trying to manage on our own,
collecting idols left and right.
You are the only Living God
and we want to choose you.
We surrender to you without conditions.
May Thy will happen in and around our lives.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Are you collecting idols?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you get rid of idols at the feet of Jesus! Choose God, choose joy!

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

Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

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