Flowing Faith

March 2, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
3 Comments

Who Do You Serve?


Are you serving out of love? Or are you helping people because you expect a praise or a reward? Do you ask -like Jesus- “What do you want me to do?” Or is your motivation based on what you can get out of the situation/relationship? It’s time for a motivation check-up. Why do you serve? Or should I ask: Who do you serve?

Don’t work to make yourself look good and try to flatter people, but act like slaves of Christ carrying out God’s will from the heart. (Eph. 6:6, CEB)

It’s very easy to slip into hypocrisy. It’s very easy to serve ourselves and use other people. It’s very easy to forget who is the King of the universe. That’s why we are called to examine our motives. Why do I serve? Do I do it out of love? Or do you I have selfish expectations?

“Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Whenever you give to the poor, don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that you may give to the poor in secret. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.
(Matthew 6: 1-4, CEB)

People can be fooled by Christian behavior but God sees our hearts and inner motivation. We need to remember that only God’s opinion counts. If we have selfish motivations we will never get that satisfaction we are after. We always want more, nothing satisfies. But if we serve our King, he will bless us according to our needs. God’s presence in our life is priceless. God is way more than enough!

Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
   “More, more.”
   I have God’s more-than-enough,
   More joy in one ordinary day
Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
   At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,
   For you, God, have put my life back together.
(Psalm 4: 6-8, MSG)

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for calling us to check out our motives.
Show us what is not right in us.
Give us a clean heart
so we can serve you with all we’ve got.
Bless us according to our needs.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Why do you serve? Who do you serve?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you serve God with all you’ve got!

Image courtesy of Chris Schroeder. This post is refurbished from 2012. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Unforced Rhythms, Playdates with God.

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February 27, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
3 Comments

Visit With Jesus

visit with JesusThere’s one piece of advice that is always valid: visit with Jesus. As often as you do it, you are blessed. The life of a disciple is about visiting with Jesus. What does it mean? It means we are sitting at Jesus’ feet talking, laughing, crying, listening, being with Jesus. This is not just a once a week occurrence. And it should not even be just a once a day happening. We should go back and forth all day long. Once we are recharged and filled with the Holy Spirit, we are ready to go out to the world and serve others.

Every time we get puzzled, we should go back to Jesus.
Any time doubts try to sneak on us, we should visit with Jesus.
Whenever we feel lonely, we should spend time with Jesus.
Whatever is our problem, we should bring it to Jesus.

Visiting with Jesus is our lifeline. Without spending time with Jesus, we are not fully alive. Without Jesus we are barely existing. But when we regularly visit with Jesus, we are thriving. We are doing what we were called to do. We are making ourselves at home with Jesus.

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. (John 15:4-8, MSG, emphasis added,*)

Visiting with Jesus is the only way to mature as Christians. And that just happens when we regularly visit with Jesus. We have been invited to have an intimate and organic relationship with Jesus. How we respond to it is up to us.

But who wouldn’t want abundant life with Jesus?
Who wouldn’t want to be best friends with Jesus?
Who wouldn’t want to be vibrantly alive?

 

Gracious God,
Thanks for inviting us to visit with you.
Thanks for inviting us to make ourselves at home with you,
to have an intimate and organic relationship with you.
Teach us how to have meaningful visits with you.
Show us how to interact with you throughout the day.
Fill us with your spirit, bless us indeed!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How often do you visit with Jesus? How do you spend time with Jesus?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you mature as a follower of Christ!

* [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 Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday, and Faith Barista.

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February 25, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
1 Comment

Not By Might Nor By Power

not by mightAre your plans big enough or are you depending on your strength? Too often we make our plans according to our own capabilities and forget about God’s power. But D.L. Moody has said ‘If God is your partner, make your plans big’.

It is hard to trust God so much that without him we’d be lost. It is hard to depend on God so completely that without him we’d be nothing. Because that scares us. What will happen if we are no longer in control? Could it actually be something good? What if that would be the beginning of great things in your life? Would you dare?

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6, NIV)

This is actually how we are called to live. Not by might not by power but by God’s Spirit. What does it mean?

It means that we ask God to give us God-size dreams.
It means we dare to be fully dependent on God.
It means we will daily be filled entirely with the fullness of God.

Too often we forget to get our daily Holy Spirit fix and try to work by our own power. And everything falls apart or, at least, it feels like it. This is what it means to live under our Christian privileges.

We are called to live in a close relationship with our Heavenly Father.
We are called to abide in Jesus.
We are called to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Why do we then let the enemy win by choosing not to use our blessed privileges as God’s children?

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for forgetting that your power is real
and you lovingly offer it for our use too.
Enable us to be fully dependent on you.
Fill us with your Spirit.
Bless us our socks off.
Use us for your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U
:Do you find it difficult to live dependent on God? What has helped you to do so? How have you been blessed?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you dare to live not by might nor by strength but by God’s Spirit!

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

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February 23, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
5 Comments

Give Every Little Thing to God

give every little thing to GodDo you wait to give to God until you have something substantial to give? Maybe you’re missing the miraculous living. Maybe you’re missing the blessings. What do I mean, you ask. Let me explain.

Jesus looked up and saw the large crowd coming toward him. He asked Philip, “Where will we buy food to feed these people?” Jesus said this to test him, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, “More than a half year’s salary worth of food wouldn’t be enough for each person to have even a little bit.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “A youth here has five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that for a crowd like this?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there. They sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Then Jesus took the bread. When he had given thanks, he distributed it to those who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, each getting as much as they wanted. 12 When they had plenty to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the leftover pieces, so that nothing will be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves that had been left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:5-13, CEB, emphasis added)

It’s not our job to decide whether our gifts are substantial enough or not.
Our job is to give our everything to God, no matter how little or how much it is.

But how often do we decide for God that we are not enough, we don’t have enough time/resources/gifts and do nothing. And we miss God’s mysterious work through us. Way too often, I think. Last week I talked about keeping our wings up. Today I encourage you to give anything and everything to God…and watch God to thank, bless, and do the miraculous work of his.

I’m done with thinking my offerings are too little. Five loaves and two fish were a ridiculous amount of food to offer for thousands of people. Yet the young boy offered them to Jesus and an amazing miracle happened. So I am doing it too.

I am offering whatever ridiculously small I have to God.
I am not holding back anything anymore.
I am going to give every little thing to God.

I dedicate this little blog to God. In my hands it’s nothing…but may God take it and do the impossible if that’s in his will. I dedicate my little life to him, the great parts and the not so great parts. I give everything to him: my past, my present, my future. It is not much. But in God’s hands it can become something great. Why don’t you join me? I can’t wait to see what God can do with our offerings.

 

Gracious God,
You always amaze me.
You don’t just want the great I can offer.
You want my little things too.
Thank you for accepting my small offerings.
Thank you for using everything for your glory.
Lord, I dedicate my everything for you,
no matter how small and insignificant in my eyes.
Do the miraculous, do the impossible through me.
I am all yours, now and forever.
May only Your will happen in and through my life.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen
Q4U: Have you kept the small and not so great parts of you from God? Are you ready to give everything to God?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you dedicate everything, even silly little things to God!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Unforced Rhythms, Playdates with God.

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February 20, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
3 Comments

Three Steps to Get Through the Impossible

Through the impossibleDo you know how to get through the impossible? It’s not a question about planning or working hard. It’s a question of knowing Who does the work through you. It’s God’s work to get through the impossible, not yours. Your part is still important though. Here are three steps to show you how to get through the impossible. They go nicely with the words of James Hudson Taylor “There are three stages to every great work of God; first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.”

1) IMPOSSIBLE.
First of all, remember this quote by Matthew Henry “Whatever you do, begin with God”. It holds the secret of getting through the impossible. No matter what the impossible problem is, begin with prayer. No matter what your task is, begin with God. This way you invite God into your impossible situation and it makes all the difference. God is the specialist of impossible situations, why wouldn’t you consult him? Why wouldn’t you want God to help you out?

2) DIFFICULT.
When you find difficulties in your work, pray to God. Better yet, pray without ceasing. Because the help is near when you just remember to ask for it. And keep asking until you get it done. Revel in this passage from the Message Bible.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. (James 1:5-8, MSG, emphasis added,*)

3) DONE.
When you’ve gotten through the impossible, it is time to give thanks and praise to God the Father who enabled you to get through the impossible. Don’t forget this. Ever. It was not you who got through the impossible. It was God through you. Thank him. Praise him. He is amazing. For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. (Luke 1:37, AMP,*) And he is your own heavenly Father! Hence, let’s not let difficulties hinder us doing what God has called us to do. Impossible, difficult, done! Thank you, Jesus!

 

Gracious God,
You are truly amazing.
Nothing is impossible for you.
And you call us your children.
Thank you.
We praise you forever and ever.
Come and work in and through us.
Get us through the impossibilities
according to your plan for us.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How have you gotten through the impossibilities?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you lean on God while you get through the impossible time and time again!

* [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 picmonkey.com, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Faith-filled Fridays.

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February 18, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Keep Your Wings Up

keep your wings upSometimes life is tough and we get tired of fighting or waiting for good things to happen. And we kind of forget whose we are. We start acting like turkeys instead of eagles who we really are. We start acting like people without hope instead of people of God.

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Isaiah 40:31, AMP)

We need to keep on hoping in the Lord and keep our wings up as we wait for the Lord. Otherwise the Holy Spirit can’t mount us up close to God as eagles. We truly need to lift our wings and let the Holy Spirit raise us up. Such a simple thing yet so profound.

You need to keep your wings up and be an eagle and not a turkey. Because you are a child of God, not a wimp of the world. You are called to keep your wings up and let the Holy Wind flow freely in your life. You are called to soar on your wings. Hence, be ready for God to move in your life. Keep your wings up!

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for not keeping our wings up for fear or fatigue or whatever excuse.
Remind us of our true identity.
Remind us of our calling to soar on our wings.
Help us to keep our wing up for your Spirit to mount us up close to you.
We want to be your children and soar on our wings.
We want to experience the thrill of flying on the Holy Spirit.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Have you forgotten to keep your wings up? What has helped you to do so? Please share!

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you keep your wings up!

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

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February 16, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

God Lasts

God lastsThis post is for all of you who are waiting on the Lord and on the verse of getting tired of waiting. This post is for you who is complaining that God has lost track of you. This post is for you who thinks God does not care about you anymore.

Just read these verses from the Message and let the Holy Spirit minister to your heart:

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
    or, whine, Israel, saying,
God has lost track of me.
    He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
    He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
    And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
    gives fresh strength to dropouts.
(Isaiah 40:27-29, MSG)

Haven’t you heard? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts forever and ever. He is always the same. He doesn’t get tired. And he loves you. He cares for you. He knows you inside and out.

So rest in him. Spend time in his presence and get renewed. God energizes those who come to him. He gives fresh strength to all who need it. Keep waiting for the Lord. Keep trusting. Keep on keeping on. Because God is with you no matter how you feel. God knows what he is doing. God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. Hallelujah!

 

Dear God,
We come to you with our doubts and questions.
Show us the way.
We come to you weary and troubled.
Be our way.
We come to you needy and empty.
Be our everything.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

P.S. I was searching for a verse for a blog post when I ran into these verses and I knew immediately that I needed to write on these verses today and the other one on Wednesday. (Come back then for the follow up!)

Q4U: Are you getting weary of waiting? Have you heard that God lasts forever and ever? How does that change your outlook on life/waiting?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you wait on the Lord! He is faithful!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Unforced Rhythms, Playdates with God.

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February 13, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
12 Comments

When You Have Lost That Loving Feeling

lost that loving feelingDo you know what to do when you’ve lost that loving feeling? The answer is not to give up. Feelings come and go. The answer is simple yet profound and it totally works. The answer is to pray, to ask for what you need.

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
(Matthew 7:7-11,NLT,*)

Too often we think we should not talk to God about our love life. That God wouldn’t be interested in that. But we could not be more wrong. You see, God loves to pour out love upon love on us. We just need to ask for it. Hence, whenever you feel like you’ve lost that loving feeling, ask for more love and you will receive it.

That’s the secret of long lasting love. Not the perfect partner. Not the easy life. Not the Hollywood-like romance. The secret of long lasting love is God whom is love himself. And he adores to pour out love upon love on anyone who asks. Try it. And be ready to receive love upon love. Soon you have that loving feeling again.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for being the answer for our needs.
Thank you for being love and wanting to give love to us.
Pour out love upon love on our marriages.
Bless us with that loving feeling.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you do when you’ve lost that loving feeling?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you learn to ask for love and receive it with open arms!

* [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 phtobucket.com, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday, and Faith Barista.

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February 11, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Bankrupt Without God

Bankrupt without GodGod is love, right? Just like the Bible tells us. But that’s not the end of the story. Actually, that opens up everything.

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. (1 John 4:7-8 , MSG)

We are called to live in love.
First with God, then with everyone else.
If we do so, it changes everything.
If we don’t, we loose everything.
How come?

God is love, right? Replace love in the following verse with God and it gives us a fresh perspective on it.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. (1 Cor. 13:3, MSG)

If we don’t have love, we’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what we say, what we believe, and what we do, we are bankrupt without God.

If we don’t have God, we don’t have anything. No matter how successful you are, how accomplished you are…if you don’t have God, you have nothing. You are bankrupt without God. Sounds like a very sad existence to me. Especially when we don’t even have love without God because love comes from God.

What to do then? Seek God with everything you’ve got. God wants to be found. God wants to pour out love upon love. God wants to empower you to live in his love. Not just on Valentine’s Day but every day of your life.

 

Gracious God,
You are our everything.
Fill us with your love.
Enlarge our territory of love.
Make us more like you.
Make us rich with your love.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Have you been bankrupt without God? How did you gain everything with God?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you live and love with God!

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

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February 9, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Respond with the Energies of Prayer

the energies of prayerI always enjoy checking out the verse of the day provided by Biblegateway.com . Today I was blessed to read a familiar passage in the Message translation. It put it in a new light. The content is the same but the wording is so empowering. I will emphasize what especially touched my core being.

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.  (Matthew 5:43-45, MSG)

Jesus tells us to love everyone even when someone gives us a hard time. We are encouraged to respond with the energies of prayer. Not with our own strength but with the energies of God. There’s a huge difference! We can’t be loving on our own. But when we are filled with God’s grace, we can respond with love. When our cup is filled with the Holy Spirit, it spills into others too. That’s when we respond with the energies of prayer.

Very often you hear that people are not too keen on following Christ because they would not be able to be themselves. How wrong they are! Only when we embrace Christ, we find our true selves, our God-created selves. And only then we find true meaning, purpose and happiness. All those thing that everyone is looking for but don’t find anywhere else but in Jesus.

So. If you don’t know Jesus yet, get to know him. That’s the wisest decision of your life. Then you find your true self, your God-created self. If you already know Jesus, spend regularly quality time with him to be filled to the brim with his loving grace. Then you can live and love everyone you encounter. Because it’s not you but Jesus in and through you.

 

 

Gracious God,
You are everything we need and more.
We come to sit with you
and listen to you.
Pour out grace upon grace.
Fill our every need,
fill us to the brim
so we can love others like you love us.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Is it difficult for you to love your enemies? How do you deal with it?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you respond with the energies of prayer!

Image courtesy of ochristian.com, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Unforced Rhythms, Playdates with God.

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