Flowing Faith

October 17, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Eternal Blessings Through Prayer

Eternal blessings through prayerWould you like to have a moment free from everything that bothers you? Just a minute of freedom, that’s all you ask for. It’d a bliss for sure. Just getting a glimpse of heaven would be fantastic, right? Guess what? It’s possible. You can experience heaven already here on earth while you pray. Prayer gives you a moment of peace you desire. It also provides a place to experience harmony right here, right now. (If you don’t believe it, just try it out. Cry your heart out and see how God meets you right where you are.) There’s nothing better than God’s presence in our lives. Through prayer, we can experience it.

Prayer reminds us of what really matters.

Tim Keller has said ‘The kingdom of God is the permanent reality, while the kingdom of this world will eventually fade away.’ What is made of the perishable seed will eventually decay, there’s nothing we can do about it. But through prayer, we can embrace what God is doing and allow him spiritually transform us according to his plan for us.

For you have been born again [that is, reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] not of seed which is perishable but [from that which is] imperishable and immortal that is, through the living and everlasting word of God. (1 Peter 1:23, AMP)

We’ve been born again of imperishable and immortal seed. How powerful is that? Also, the same Word that conceived the new life in you is still at work in you. Just think: God Almighty is creating a new thing in you and through you. We are blessed beyond measure to have a God who loves us dearly and wants what’s best for us. He invites us into a personal relationship and he continues to bless us through prayer.

God gives us eternal blessings through prayer

It’s in prayer we get a glimpse of eternity, where God reigns and there’s no sadness. The more time we spend in prayer, the more convinced we are what really matters, what is the permanent reality and what’s not. What is imperishable and immortal and what’s not. Also, the more time we spend with God, the happier we are. Life is not about us forcing things to happen but leaning on God who gently empowers us for things he has planned in advance for us to do.

In prayer, we meet God and experience his love and care for us. Through prayer, we can already experience heaven here on earth. Prayer reminds us of our real home and empowers us on our journey home. It is through prayer that God gives eternal blessings to us. And he himself is the biggest blessing of all.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for providing us everything we need
on our journey home to you:
grace, love, strength, peace, joy…
Especially, we thank you for planting eternity in us.
Help us to remember what matters and what doesn’t.
Strengthen us for your service, Lord.
Empower us to do what you’ve planned for us to do.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How have you met God through prayer?

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you receive eternal blessings through prayer!

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

October 13, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

You Have a Standing Invitation to Jesus

A standing invitation to Jesus - flowingfaith.comDid you know that you have a standing invitation to Jesus? How wonderful is that? We are always welcome to Jesus. No matter what time is it or how badly we have messed up. Neither does it matter how long it has been since we’ve visited with Jesus. We are always welcome. Jesus keeps on inviting and is always delighted to see us.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

A Standing Invitation to Jesus

If you think about having a standing invitation to Jesus, you soon realize how awesome it. Jesus is the son of God, our Messiah and he wants to stay in touch with us. Personally, relationally. Jesus is humbly inviting us to him so we can be blessed by his presence. He wants to make us whole and show us what it means to be his follower. Jesus wants to invite us deeper into faith because he knows that’s what we need.

If we think his standing invitation is wonderful, then there’s only one thing left to ask: why don’t we take him up on his invitation more often? What keeps us away from Jesus?

 

Gracious God,
Thanks for gently reminding us of our absence in your presence.
Forgive us for being so busy that we dump you from the equation.
Especially, because we know we need you.
Thank you for our standing invitation to Jesus.
Help us to take you up on that daily.
Teach us what it is to really live with you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you take Jesus up on his standing invitation to him?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you celebrate the standing invitation to Jesus by spending lots of time with him!

* [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 Annie Gray on Unsplash. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

October 10, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Claim the Calm

Claim the calm - flowingfaith.comIs it easy for you to keep calm in every situation you face? There have been a lot of fun “keep calm” posters, keep calm and do this or that. They are fun to look at. But the thing is: there is no way anyone can truly keep calm without inner peace. And that’s not a thing you can force upon yourself. Or anyone else for that matter. What to do then? How can we find that peace and claim the calm?

Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] (John 14:27, AMP)

How to have peace

The only way we can find everlasting peace is to be reconciled with Jesus. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can have peace. In his commentary, Matthew Henry writes “When Christ was about to leave the world he made his will. His soul he committed to his Father; his body he bequeathed to Joseph, to be decently interred; his clothes fell to the soldiers; his mother he left to the care of John: but what should he leave to his poor disciples, that had left all for him? Silver and gold he had none; but he left them that which was infinitely better, his peace.”

And this same peace of God is available for anyone who wants to reconcile with him through Christ. A peace of mind arises from the sense of our justification before God. Then when we are right with God, also we will have peace everlasting. I think it is the best thing in this world. Especially now as the world seems to be getting crazier all the time. How then can we claim the calm in the midst of our everyday chaos?

How to claim the calm

Jesus gave us his peace in his will. It is ours to be claimed. And not just on special occasions but every single day of our lives. We are to live under the influence of his peace. And we can have inner peace and complete tranquility even in the midst of hardships. Because the peace Jesus gives is divine peace. We are entitled to the peace which he gives, that’s why we ought not to yield to overwhelming griefs and fears. Hence, just open your heart to receive God’s peace. Claim the calm and live in it. Let God’s perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge you face.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for sending us the Prince of Peace
who left his peace for us.
Remind us to claim the calm
in the midst of everyday chaos.
Show us what it is to live in your peace.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you claim the calm daily?

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you claim the calm God gave you!

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

October 6, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Live a Life Greater than You

Life a Life Greater than You - flowingfaith.comWhat’s your life story? Are you happy with how you’re life is going? All our life stories are different and all our stories have chapters that are lighter than others. But are you generally happy how your life has turned out? Have you achieved what you’ve set out to achieve? Reasonably well, I believe. Yet, too often we overlook something when we plan out our lives. There is a way to live a life greater than you. It might not be what you think. Trying harder is not the way to go. But dreaming bigger gets us closer. Because the answer is letting the Holy Spirit live big through us.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us. (Eph. 3:20, AMP,*)

Nothing is impossible with God

I often talk about how we can’t-do things but God can. We all have different kinds of limitations but nothing is impossible for God. That’s also true as we plan out our lives. It’d be great to be extraordinarily gifted and accomplish great things. But for most of us, that’s not even remotely possible (and it doesn’t have to be either, small is beautiful and all of our lives matter). All this change when we surrender to God.

Live a life greater than you

When you live in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, you have a capacity to accomplish things that are beyond normal. By the grace of God, you can live a life greater than you. When the Holy Spirit lives and moves in us, we can do superabundantly more than we could imagine in our dreams.

Do put this in practice. Don’t be satisfied with a life lived with your own strength. Ask God to show his big plans for you. And then trust him to do it through you and with you. You will not regret it. I conclude with the words of Dwight L. Moody “Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.”

Gracious God,
Forgive us for forgetting you
and trying to manage on our own.
I surrender to you,
fill me with your Holy Spirit.
Have my life, Lord,
you can do more with it than I can.
Show me your plan for my life
and make it happen.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you let God make your life greater than you?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let God make your life greater than you!

* [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 Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

October 3, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Under the Shield of Grace

Under the shield of graceA few days ago, I was reading an older translation of the Finnish Bible and encountered something beautiful in the last verse of Psalm 5. It declares ‘You will cover them with grace like a shield’. My heart rejoiced to know that we are covered by the shield of grace. How wonderful is that? We are safe under the shield of grace! I was so thrilled about the shield of grace that I immediately wanted to share it with you.

Shielded by grace

As I was going through English translations I was disappointed not to find the word ‘shield of grace’ there. I wasn’t even able to find it in the new Finnish translation. Instead, they all talked about the shield of favor or blessing or love.

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
(Psalm 5:12, NIV)

For you bless the godly, OLord;
    you surround them with your shield of love.
(Psalm 5:12, NLT)

Saved by grace

Favor, blessing, and love are wonderful things, aren’t they? But as Christians we tend to think God’s ultimate favor to humankind is salvation through grace, salvation through Jesus’ sacrificial death. That’s why we gladly understand God’s favor as grace.

Under the shield of grace

The Hebrew word tsinnah (צִנָּה) used here for the shield defines a large, long shield that protected the whole body. Hence, God’s shield of grace is able to fully protect his children against all kinds of dangers. How blessed we are to live under the shield of grace. We are God’s children and he takes care of us. 

The verse declares – no matter what translation we use – that we are protected by God. He loves us so much that he surrounds us with his love and grace. We don’t deserve any favors from God yet he still pours out blessings upon blessings. We are saved by grace and we are also shielded by grace. Hallelujah!

 

Gracious God,
How good you are to us.
You love us unconditionally
and show us your love
by saving us by grace
and shielding us by grace.
Enable us to trust you completely
and share your love and grace with others.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: How about you? Do you live under the shield of grace?

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you embrace God’s love and grace for you!

Photo by Gonard Fluit and Peter Feghali on Unsplash. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

September 29, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Depend on God, Delight in Him

Depend on God, Delight in HimDo you doubt God’s willingness or ability to take care of you today? Is it difficult for you to trust God to meet your needs today? It might feel a bit absurd for sure. We can’t see God. Hence, we doubt. But, let me tell you, God is real. He is alive and active and loves interacting with his children. God wants to take care of you and he wants you to delight in him. We are called to depend on God for everything. The Bible assures us this way:

 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19, NIV)

This is my experience, God takes care of my needs. I won’t get rich but I will have enough. Like the time I won a pair of shoes. Or when we found great second-hand bikes for our children. God is alive and active and we can leave worrying behind.

Depend on God

Depending on God is something we never outgrow of. And we are not supposed to either. There are no such things as independent Christians. We are all dependent on God. First of all, for the grace of God, of course. But also on God’s help and guidance and presence in our lives. We are nothing without God. But with him, we can be all that we were made to be. So don’t be stubborn. Depend on God and not on your own businesses and plans to keep you secure.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?”
(Hebrews 13:5-6, NIV)

Delight in God

When we learn to depend on God and surrender to him daily, we start experiencing God’s love in new ways. We learn to love God and delight in his presence. Don’t hold anything back, be real with God and you will find out how delightful and loving God really is. God wants to spend time with you. He wants to lavish you with his love and grace. God wants you to depend on him and let him work in your life freely. Basilea Schlink encourages us this way “God never disappoints anyone who places his trust in Him.”

Do all this daily

Start your day with surrender. Decide to trust God (and not yourself) daily. You will see it makes a huge difference in your life. God’s guidance and presence in your life change everything. With the words of Winkie Pratney, “God does not guide those who want to run their own life. He only guides those who admit their need of His direction and rely on His wisdom”.

Trusting and depending on God do not necessarily come naturally to many of us. But we can cultivate it. By God’s grace, we can learn to depend on God and not on ourselves. Do it daily. Surrender everything: your ambitions, dreams, problems, fears, skills and needs to God. Give him your body, soul, and spirit as well as your heart, mind, will, and strength. And see yourself what God is doing for you.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for being always more than we need.
We praise you for wanting to take care of us.
Help us to surrender everything to us.
Show us what it is to depend on you and delight in you
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you depend on God? Do you delight in Him?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you trust God with your everything!

* [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 Jesse Bowser on Unsplash. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

September 26, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

God Is Faithful

God is faithfulOur God is so awesome. We are so blessed because our God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We can count on him to do what he has promised to do. God is faithful in all he does. Did you hear that? God is faithful in all he does, the Bible tells us so.

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
    he is faithful in all he does.
(Ps. 33:4, NIV)

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does.
(Psalm 145:13, NIV)

God is faithful

God is faithful forever

God is not only faithful in all he does, he is also faithful forever and ever. We can trust him. Just like he was faithful to the saints gone before us he will be faithful to us. Each and everyone of us. God is not faithful to just some extra special Christians but to each and every Christian. Because we are all extra special in God’s eyes. He made us, he loves us, he saves us.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
(Psalm 146:6, NIV)

God is faithful

God is faithful to you

You are a child of God and that means that all the promises of the Bible are meant for you. Claim them. God is faithful to you. Always and forever and each day. If you were the only person who needed Jesus to go to the cross, Jesus would have done it just for you. God loves you so much that he gave his only Son to die for you so you could be united with him.

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV)

God is faithful and he will not leave things undone. Whatever God has promised to do, he will do it. God will take care of you. Trust him. Truly. Write down what he has done for you and reread your notes every time you doubt. Give even those doubts to God and let him create something beautiful out of them. God is faithful. He will do it.

 

Gracious God,
You’re better and bigger and always more than we think.
Thank you for your faithfulness,
thank you for loving us unconditionally.
Help us to receive your love and grace.
We want to be faithful for you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you celebrate God’s faithfulness in your life?

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you put your trust in God!

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

September 22, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

How to Accept Others as Christ Accepted us

How to accept others as Christ accepted youToday’s word prompt is ‘accept’ at Five Minute Friday writing group. I was ready to write about accepting God’s gifts – the first thought that entered my mind – but then I stumbled upon Biblegateway’s verse of the day that had the word ‘accept’ woven into it: Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7, NIV,*) This changed my take on the prompt. Do you know how to accept others just as Christ accepted you? How is it connected to accepting God’s gifts? Let’s see.

How to accept others as Christ accepted you

We really are to accept one another as Christ accepted us. But the key here is that we first need to accept God’s grace to be able to accept anybody. So do receive God’s gifts: grace, peace, salvation, joy, and love. Let the Holy Spirit fill you up that there’s no need left within you. Then you’re ready to accept others as Christ accepted you. We can’t but God can. God’s grace changes us to love others. And when we do accept others and love them, we do bring praise to God. Not because of us but because God’s grace is that powerful. God still works miracles. Everyone who accepts others like Christ accepted us is a proof of that. God is alive and active. Let’s get into what God is doing!

 

Gracious God,
We love you and we praise you!
Thank you for accepting us.
Show us how to accept others like you.
Empower us with your grace,
change us inside and out.
Make us more like you.
Pour our grace upon grace,
love upon love.
In Jesus’ powerful name,
Amen

Q4U: Is it easy for you to accept others? How do you do it?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you accept others as Christ accepted you

* [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 Nathan Anderson on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

September 19, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

God Wants You to Be Happy with Him

God wants you to be happy with himDo you want to be happy? I think we all do. Too often people think that God would not want them to be happy. Like God’s goal would be to make you unhappy. That doesn’t ring true, does it? Quite the opposite is true in fact. God wants you to be happy with him.

You grant him blessings forever;
    you make him happy
        with the joy of your presence.
(Psalm 21:6, CEB)

With the words of Charles Spurgeon “Man was not originally made to mourn; he was made to rejoice. The Garden of Eden was his place of happy abode, and as long as he continued in obedience to God, nothing grew in that Garden that could cause him sorrow.” We were created happy. But that was not enough for us. We wanted to be God ourselves. Hence, we had to leave the land of happiness and peace with God was history.

God wants you to be happy

God doesn’t give us orders and regulations to make us unhappy. His goal is to keep us away from harmful things and habits. Obedience might not feel fun but Jesus does not want us miserable. That’s the devil’s job. He does not want you happy, he wants you as miserable as he is. Jesus’ goal is to save you from your sins that separate you from God.

I’m happy from the inside out,
    and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed.
You canceled my ticket to hell—
    that’s not my destination!
(Psalm 16:9-10, MSG)

Only when we are reunited with God, we can be truly happy again. Passing entertainment or frivolous activities do not cut it. John Flavel writes “Christ [is] the very essence of all delights and pleasures, the very soul and substance of them. As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean . . . so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet.”

Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
    you get a fresh start,
    your slate’s wiped clean.
(Psalm 32:1, MSG)

Jesus is the source of our happiness

The only way to lasting happiness is Jesus. When we abide in him we are happy regardless of our circumstances. It takes some practice to learn to cast our cares on Jesus but when we master that skill we are truly happy. Because life is not about owning things or being entertained. Life is about loving God above all and our neighbors as ourselves. It’s about serving others and following Jesus. Life is about finding everlasting happiness in Jesus and his plan for us.

Those who put their trust in the Lord,
    who pay no attention to the proud
    or to those who follow lies,
    are truly happy!
(Psalm 40:4, CEB)

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for looking for happiness in wrong places
and forgive us for not trusting you to want happiness for us.
Because you do! You’ve always have wanted only good things for us.
Fill us with your loving Spirit.
Enable us to love you above everything and others like ourselves.
Make us shine happiness for your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Are you happy?

Be blessed my fellow pilgrim as you enjoy life with God!

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

September 15, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Who Does Support You?

Who does support you?When things go south who or what does support you? Having a support system is one of those things in life that make a huge difference. There are times when we need support. When we are down or weary, we need someone to lift us up. Who does support you? What kind of support system do you have? Does it work?

Human support systems fail

My experience is that any human support system – no matter how good and dedicated it is, no matter how special and needed it is – fails one time or another. The only support system that I have found that doesn’t fail, is the Lord. Human beings just can’t be there all the time. Other people just can’t know your deepest needs like your maker does. Humans are humans, God is God.

Unless the Lord had helped me,
    I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave.
18 I cried out, “I am slipping!”
    but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
19 When doubts filled my mind,
    your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
(Psalm 94:17-19,NLT,*)

The divine support system does not fail

The blessed thing about having God as your support system is that it does not fail. Ever. God is with us through thick and thin. He is not afraid of sadness or sickness. He will never leave us or forsake us, he lifts us up and supports us whenever we need it. The divine support system does not fail. We can count on that. What a confidence boost, right? We can always count on God for being there for us. Talk about hope and cheer.

 

Gracious God,
You are so good to us.
Thank you for being our constant support.
Help us to see your love at work in our lives.
Thank you for blessing us with friends and family,
bless each and every one of them.
But thank you that your support is even better.
You’ve promised that nothing will ever separate
you children from your love,
Help us to base our lives on that promise.
Thank you for always being there for us.
We love you, Papa!
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you have a good support system? Is it divine?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace God and base your life on his love!

* [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 Neil Thomas on Unsplash, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with JesusFive-minute Friday.

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