Flowing Faith

June 27, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

The Spiritual Gift of Martyrdom

The spiritual gift of martyrdomFor a long time, whenever I was reading a list of spiritual gifts, the spiritual gift of martyrdom – the divine enablement to undergo suffering for the faith even to death – puzzled me. Of course, even then I knew a multitude of Christians have been martyred ever since the early church and persecution is still a factor around the world. I’ve always admired the martyrs and thought they’ve possessed something I don’t have. Where I did go wrong was assuming the martyrs always have had the spiritual gift of martyrdom.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. (Matthew 5:11, NIV, emphasis added)

The spiritual gift of martyrdom

We are not born with the spiritual gift of martyrdom. It’s not given to us if we don’t need it. Like any other spiritual gift for that matter. We get the spiritual gifting we need as we go. This is how it is also as it comes to the spiritual gift of martyrdom. If we find ourselves persecuted, we will supernaturally receive what we need at that moment.

Jesus instructed his followers this way: “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:11-12, NIV, emphasis added)

The Holy Spirit will teach us as we go. We will receive everything we need when we need it. What a reassuring thought. Right here and now we do not have what it takes to be a martyr. But it’s not about us, folks. It’s about God and his possibilities are endless. Hence, all the Christians that are persecuted or martyred will receive all the supernatural aid they need. The spiritual gift of martyrdom is real and it’s yours if/when you need it.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Praise God when you don’t need this spiritual gift. But know that you are called to pray for persecuted Christians and churches that are under threat. Prayer is not optional, it is a command for every Christian. You might not feel like praying. But persecuted Christians don’t have the luxury to wait until you do. Pray now, pray always. Pray and feel connected to the body of Christ.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you that you do not leave us to battle here on our own.
Be praised for your supernatural powers.
Thank you for giving us all the spiritual gifts we need.
Also, we pray for the body of Christ around the world:
protect, equip, bless all who are yours.
Enable us to commit to praying for the persecuted church.
May the whole world hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you think about the spiritual gift of martyrdom? How do you pray for the persecuted church?

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

June 23, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

How to Have a Love-filled Marriage

love-filled marriageMy oldest goddaughter is getting married today. Even though we have never lived in the same place and sometimes even thousands of kilometers have separated us, our connection has never wavered. I’ve been praying for her since before she was born and that’s the key here: prayer. We don’t have this great connection because I would have been such an awesome godmother. It’s because of God’s grace. And that’s the secret to any steady relationship. Prayer is also the pathway to a love-filled marriage.

How to have a love-filled marriage

There are way too many marriages failing these days. They say they lost their loving feeling. But marriage is not about always having a certain feeling. It’s about choosing to love steady even on those days when we have absolutely no loving feeling left. How is it possible? We can’t but God can. That’s why we need to pray for our spouses and our marriages but, specifically, we need to ask for more love.

Pray for more love

That’s right. The key for a love-filled marriage is to pray for more love. Our human love will fade. But God’s love never will. Our supplies of love will diminish. But God’s love lasts forever.

God is more than happy to give us more love when we ask. He is delighted to pour out love upon love on us. And, let me tell you, this really works. Every time I ask for more love, I receive it.

For a long time, I did not figure out how this worked. I was just happy it did work. Whenever I felt I had lost that loving feeling and I prayed for more love, there was an ample supply of it delivered in the midst of us. Miraculously, it did work. (Try it yourself, it works in any relationship.) It took me quite a long time figure out how this worked. How can love be delivered to us? But then I remembered that God is love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16, NLT)

God is love

When we pray for love, we receive Love, we receive God himself. That’s holy. And powerful. Hence, when we have Christ in our midst, we have a love-filled marriage. It’s that simple. Yet, we tend to forget it.

As Christians, we are to live in God. When we do that, we live in love. When we pray for love, we receive more than we asked for: we receive God who is love. Then it’s not us loving our spouses anymore. It’s Christ in us. Then it’s not us creating a love-filled marriage. It’s Christ in our midst.

Hence, a love-filled marriage is possible. Not because we’d be so great at it but because God is more than awesome. So, my marriage advice is this: Ask for more love and you will receive.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you that a love-filled marriage is possible.
We ask for more love, Lord.
We ask for more you in our lives.
Bless all the marriages, old and new.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you believe it’s possible to have a love-filled marriage?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you steadily ask for more 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.].

Image courtesies of Kristina Litvjak, Clem Onojeghu, Gabby Orcutt and Ben White via Unsplash.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Five-minute Friday.

June 20, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Grow into Maturity

Grow into maturity

I’ve always loved The Parable of the Sower. The Holy Spirit seems to be speaking through it so powerfully. At least, that’s my experience. It opens our eyes to see what hinders our spiritual growth and what helps us to grow into maturity.

The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. (Luke 8:14, NLT)

What does hinder our spiritual growth?

Life can be that busy that we don’t feel we have time to seek God. Also, too much worry can do that to you. (Yet, I believe that’s exactly when we should turn to God. We don’t need to do this life alone and God has plenty of power and grace to help us along the way.) And I can understand that the riches can woo you when you feel invincible and self-sufficient. But I had not thought that the pleasures of this life can do that to you too. Aren’t they what makes life what it is?

I think simple pleasures are blessings. Just think about a cup of your favorite hot beverage first thing in the morning. Isn’t it divine? I think so. But, we are not talking about simple pleasures here. We are talking about things that suffocate your faith life. We can so easily get caught up with leisurely activities and entertainment that eventually there is not much room for Jesus in our lives anymore. A life that looks good to others might contain some things that hinder our faith. What is that pleasure (or some other thing) that prevents your faith from maturing?

The result of this fun-seeking, pleasure-hunting life is not then that great or what do you think? What if we never grow into maturity? When we always choose pleasure over service, riches over sacrifice, worry over trust, we do not mature. Our faith does not produce a crop if we continue to do whatever we want at any given time. We are not called to only have fun here on this earth. And, don’t get me wrong, fun is good. But if fun is all we ever want; our faith does not mature.

What to do then? How to grow into maturity?

With the words of Jesus:

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:15, NIV)

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matt. 6:33, NLT)

Prioritize God in your life. Listen to his guidance and act upon it. Hold on to God’s Word no matter what and you will produce a huge harvest. The only way to grow into maturity is to abide in Jesus. Always and every day. Then there is no more need to worry about tomorrow and making more money or finding new pleasures. Because in Jesus there are all the answers and pleasures we ever need. And don’t even let me start about joy in the Lord. It’s endless and there’s nothing better in this universe.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for thinking this world and our lives are all there is.
Help us to discern what is meaningful and what’s harmful and then choose wisely.
Enable us to trust you so firmly that we do not need to worry about tomorrow.
Fill us with your Spirit, Lord.
Let us see what a joy it is to live our lives with you.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: What is that pleasure (or some other thing) that prevents your faith from maturing? How do you deal with your tendency to surround yourself with pleasures? What does help you to grow into maturity?

Image courtesy of Luke Pamer, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

June 16, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Live a Life Worthy of the Lord

Live a Life Worthy of the Lord‘You are worth it’, says a commercial to get you to buy a product. The number one way to get into debt is to think you deserve to have certain things. Don’t try to buy your worth. You are worthy just because you are made by God Almighty. You worthiness comes from the Lord. There’s nothing you can buy or do that would make you worthy of God but his grace. But his grace is all you ever need to make you worthy. God’s grace covers the multitude of sins. You are worthy because of Jesus. But even this grace-filled truth is not the end of the story. We are called to mature in God’s grace, to live a life worthy of the Lord.

We are called to live a life worthy of the Lord

That sounds a bit intimidating, doesn’t it? How on earth can we live a life worthy of the Lord? I found a couple of challenging verses to steer us to the right direction. First, we need to know the journey will be worthwhile.

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christand become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. (Phil. 3:7-9, NLT, emphasis added,*)

Everything but Jesus is worthless, says Paul. Whew. This is our goal, folks: to know Christ Jesus so intimately than everything else just doesn’t compare to it. How to go about it? As always, we start with a prayer: Lord, show us the way into deeper intimacy with you! Rest assured, God will show the way.

How to live a life worthy of the Lord?

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. (Col. 1:9-12, NIV, emphasis added,*)

We are called to live a life worthy of the Lord. It’s something we desire yet can’t do on our own. God knows this, that’s why he sent Jesus and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to live lives worthy of God. Hence we don’t have any excuses. Through the Holy Spirit, we have everything we need to do so. The Holy Spirit guides and gives whatever we need to live according to God’s will.

How does a life worthy of the Lord look like?

It’s fruitful. We can’t produce any spiritual fruit on our own but when we abide in God, we become fruitful by God’s grace.

It’s thankful. We acknowledge our weaknesses and bring it to God who blesses us in return with his power. When we acknowledge God’s goodness in our lives, we can’t help but be joyful and grateful for all God has and is doing for us.

It’s maturing in grace. The more time we spend with God, the more we grow in the knowledge of God. And then – without even noticing it – we do live a life worthy of the Lord. All by God’s grace.

 

Gracious God,
Teach us what a life devoted to you look like.
Show us how to live lives pleasing and honoring you.
Only you are worthy of praise, Lord.
Thank you for loving and rescuing us from worthless pursuits.
Make us fruitful, thankful and mature in Christ.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you know how to live a life worthy of the Lord?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you dive deeper and deeper into God’s grace!

* [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.].

Image courtesy of Aaron Burden via unsplash.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Five-minute Friday.

June 13, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Rely on God and His Grace

Rely on God and his graceToday I am in awe of God once again. I just realized God does not rely on me. What a relief! He knows me and my abilities…and how much I am lacking. Instead, God relies on grace. And so should I do too. Too often we try to rely on ourselves on everything, even when there’s no way we could ever deliver. We get stressed out and all the joy disappears from our life. It’s especially sad if we rely on ourselves on religious matters. There’s no more joyless existence than self-empowered religiousness. We are to rely on God and his grace. We get the help, God gets the glory.

So then God’s choice is not dependent on human will, nor on human effort [the totality of human striving], but on God who shows mercy [to whomever He chooses—it is His sovereign gift]. (Romans 9:16, AMP)

I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Gal.2:21, NLT)

Rely on God and his grace

We need to start relying on God’s grace every morning like nothing has happened before. It’s a daily decision. Otherwise, we steer towards self-reliance and living under the law even if we don’t mean it to happen. If we rely on ourselves, we deny our need for Christ. And, trust me, that is a disaster in making. Only Jesus can save us.

But even that is not all. We need Christ and his grace not just for our salvation but for our everyday living. So many people forget this. We think God is not interested in our lives. But nothing could be further from the truth. God yearns to interact with us. He wants to take our troubles and give us his power to thrive in the midst of hardships. We are to rely on God and his grace.

It’s wonderful that we don’t have to rely on our strength but on God’s limitless strength. It’s not about us, it’s about God and his grace. How wonderful is that? God waits for us to need him. When we ask for his grace, we get the help we need. And God gets the glory he deserves. It’s a win-win situation.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for knowing us so well that
you do not rely on us but on your amazing grace.
We appreciate your plan to save us without our own efforts.
We need you and we trust you with our everything.
Teach us to live in your grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you rely on God and his grace?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace God’s grace every morning!

Image courtesy of Sorasak/Unsplash.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

June 9, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Expect God to Speak to Your Heart

Expect God to speak to your heartHow does your perfect day start? What do you need to get your day going well? Coffee and a newspaper? A cup of tea and little time for yourself? Or do you crave for some time with the Lord? I love starting my day with some quiet time with God (but I do understand that some people prefer to do it in the evening or some other time of the day). It readjusts my attitude, fills my heart with hope and sets the tone for the day. When I meet God over his Word I expect God to speak to my heart. And he does through his Holy Spirit. So don’t run in the morning. Wait for the Lord. And expect God to speak to your heart.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
(Psalm 5:3, NIV,*)

Expect God to speak to your heart

God is waiting for you to come to him. Do so gladly and expectantly. Expect God to speak to your heart because he loves you and wants to interact with you. So often we don’t wait for God to speak after we’ve finished laying down our requests. Sadly, we don’t watch for God to act in our lives. Hence we miss what God is doing in our lives. But our God is alive and active. And he wants to surround you with his love and grace.

How to go about it?

Make time for God. Prayerfully, read his Word. Expect God to speak to your heart. And the Holy Spirit will open your spiritual eyes and ears to receive God’s message to you each day. Faithfully, God will take care of your needs. He will fill your spiritual tanks to boldly face whatever comes on any given day. God wants to save you from death, dying, and despair. He wants to give you life, laughter, and love instead. That’s why to expect God to speak to your heart!

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for forgetting how great you are.
It’s our loss. Save us from ourselves!
We want to live expectantly.
Move mightily in our lives, Lord.
Speak to our hearts and show us
what it is to live with you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you expect God to speak to your heart? Please, share how he moves in your life!

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you receive all God has for you today and always!

* [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.].

Image courtesy of Diana Simumpande via unsplash.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Five-minute Friday.

June 6, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

God Is with Us – Always

God is with us - alwaysIt is amazing how God is fully present – through his Holy Spirit – in our lives. It is a mystery and a wonder and we can’t really fully understand it yet. Nonetheless, it is true. If you have not experienced it yet, ask for it. Ask God to come into your life so clearly that you can see it and feel it. Christ came to be with us and now the Holy Spirit continues to do that. God is with us – always.

How do we know this?

Just read the Bible. Here’s what Jesus promised to all of us: I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20, AMP)’

 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you. (John 14:16-17, AMP)

God is with us – always

The Holy Spirit Jesus asked God the Father to send us is not wimpy. Instead, he is wise, wild, and wonderful. How blessed are we to have this kind of protector, counselor, encourager? Just knowing that God is with us no matter what empowers us. But knowing that his presence in our lives is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all we’ll ever need is astonishing. God is with us – always and in every way we need him. He is with us, for us, and – through the Holy Spirit – in us.

All we need to do is to acknowledge him and welcome him. God gives all of himself to each of his children. As A.W. Tozer has said: “An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.” There aren’t some elite children who can receive Jesus fully. Each and every person can receive Jesus as much as they open their hearts to receive him. And that’s what we want to do, right? Every single day of our lives. Through the Holy Spirit, God is with us – always. That’s blessed existence, folks. Live it out!

 

Let us pray

Dear God,
You are more than we can imagine.
We want to get to know you more.
Pour out your Holy Spirit to guide us
as we dig in deeper in your grace.
Illuminate our journey with your joy.
Encourage our path with your hope.
Let us see your work in us/through us
and let us feel your loving presence.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you believe “God is with us – always”?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you live your life with the Holy Spirit in you!

Image courtesy of Claudio Testa/Unsplash.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

June 2, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Fear-free Future with God

Fear-free future with GodAre you afraid of the future? You don’t have to be. Of course, it’s easier said than lived out but I truly believe it and try to live according to that belief too. Certainly, the future is scary if we face it all alone. But if we live our lives with God, there is nothing to be afraid of. Here are some verses and thoughts for a fear-free future.

There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.
(Proverbs 23:18, NIV,*)

Fear-free future with God

In order to embrace a fear-free future with God, we need to know God is trustworthy. You might not get instant answers or things are not going like you’d want them. But Father God is looking after you. All the prophecies in the Bible about Jesus came true. He came to take away our sins and went back to his Father to prepare the place for us. And he will come again.

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28, NIV,*)

Nothing can scare us when we know everything will end well. And we don’t have to wait for a fear-free future until the other side. Jesus did not leave us alone to struggle here on earth. He gave us the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, protect us in the midst of storms.

The Lord of Storms

When we embrace the fact the Holy Spirit is the Lord of Storms, we can relax and take the future as it comes. Because God is in control of all the storms in our lives, we can start living fear-free. The Spirit of Grace and Peace is the Lord of everything. We are safe in his hands. No matter how high the waves are, we are protected. And no matter how crazy the world around us gets, we are fine. Because the Spirit of God is the Lord of all.

If we trust God, we do not need to worry and a fear-free future becomes reality. Instead, we can use our time to worship. And worship changes everything for better. We can’t explain it how it happens but it does. Worship, thanksgiving, and praise bring heaven onto earth, into our lives and keeps it there. When we keep the Spirit of Grace and peace in our heart, we are protected against the most vicious storms there can be. The Lord of Storms is our loving Father. How wonderful is that!

 

Gracious God,
You are beyond wonderful.
Whatever we need, you provide.
No matter what is our problem, you are the answer.
You are there before we know we need you.
And you’re preparing everything for us before we knew we needed them.
Lord, we praise you, we love you.
You are more than need and way more than we deserve.
But we receive your blessings with open arms.
Thank you for sending Jesus to die for our sins
and thank you for sending us the Holy Spirit to help us while we wait for Jesus’ return.
Bless us according to your plan for each of us.
Ready us for Jesus’ return.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Are you afraid of the future? Or do you trust your future to God to live fear-free?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you choose the fear-free future with God!

* [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.].

Image courtesy of Camila Cordeiro via unsplash.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Five-minute Friday.

May 30, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

News from Flowing Faith Blog

news from Flowing Faith blogMy last speaking engagement for this spring was last Thursday and when I got into my car I spontaneously started singing a traditional summer hymn. The hymn usually marks the beginning of summer for us. Maybe I just turned off my brain or something because I forgot to blog last Friday. I’ve been blogging for years now and never before missed a post when scheduled. Interestingly, I did not even notice it until I started to write today’s post. Friends, I apologize if you visited Flowing Faith blog and could not find my regular Friday post. I guess I needed some time off. Thank you for your graciousness.

The purpose of Flowing Faith

The reason and purpose for writing this blog have always been to share the good news of Jesus Christ – hopefully from a fresh perspective. God has given me this huge passion for his incredible grace and there’s nothing else that excites me more. I’ve given my whole life to serve God and this blog is one part of it. I’ve always wanted to put faith in practice and show others how to do it too.

He [Jesus] is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. (Col. 1:28-29, NIV, emphasis added)

As a theologian, I love reading deep stuff but if it does not get lived out, it does not serve any purpose. Hence, I like applied theology and lived out faith empowered by God’s amazing grace. So, the purpose of Flowing Faith blog is to help readers to fully mature in Christ. With the words of Henri Nouwen “My hope is that the description of God’s love in my life will give you the freedom and the courage to discover… God’s love in yours.”

How can I serve you better?

I would love to know how I could serve you better. (You can connect with me either here or Facebook/Google+ or send email to marianna.stalnacke @ gmail.com). Any feedback – requests, ideas, questions, recommendations, advice – is welcome. Also, if you are looking for a Spirit-filled speaker/teacher at your church/event/happening, don’t hesitate to contact me. I speak regularly in Finland but have also taught/preached in the U.S.A. and Australia. This summer I will be working on a book manuscript so I am blogging less – only on Tuesdays and Fridays – but I am happy to interact with you anytime.

My prayer for you

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Eph. 3: 16-19, NLT)

Lord, I thank you for this community of Flowing Faith.
I ask that you show all of us how we can better serve you.
Also, I ask that you will bless each and every reader the way they need it most.
Let us feel your presence and give us inexplicable joy to bask in your love.
Enable us to fully mature in Christ.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: What are your ideas for Flowing Faith? How can I serve you better?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you continue to grow in Christ.

Image courtesy of Chungkuk Bae/Unsplash.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Some parts of this post have been previously published. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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May 23, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

How Can We Go on?

How can we go on?The world news seems to be getting more horrific all the time. Suicide bombers, kidnappings, massacres, wars, murders, accidents. It all feels terrible, it’s easy to get discouraged. How can we go on like this, we ask. How can we continue to enjoy living when the world is full of tears and heartbreak?

But don’t we then forget this is not all there is?
Don’t we forget why Jesus came into the world?

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
(Isaiah 61:1-3, CEB)

How can we go on?

Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted and comfort all who mourn. He came to save us from our sins, from death and dying. Jesus came that our tears would dry and our hearts would rejoice in the Lord. He came so we could have life and more life.

Jesus is Immanuel in Hebrew which means “God is with us”. And this is exactly why we rejoice in the midst of sufferings. This is exactly why we dare to live boldly even when the world seems to be going crazy. God is with us every single day. He will never leave us or forsake us. Even if it feels that way.

Because of Jesus we have hope everlasting

You see, Jesus changed everything. Now we have hope that will not be taken from us. Sure, without Jesus we are lost. Without him, we don’t have hope. But in Jesus we have hope, we have peace, we have life everlasting. We need to remember this, especially, when the happenings in the world try to threaten our sense of security and steal our joy.

The darker the world gets, the brighter the Light of the World shines. This is not all there is. Our God is alive and active. And that gives us hope even when nothing makes sense. This is not the end. Better things ahead. Thank you, God!

 

Gracious God,
We bring our devastated hearts to you.
We can’t make it on our own
Heal us, heal the families affected by tragedies.
Pour out hope, faith, and love!
Enable us to rejoice in you.
Thank you for saving us from the darkness!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How can we go on? What/Who is your strength in the midst of hardships?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you dare to live boldly no matter how dark it seems to be getting.

Image courtesy of Jude Beck/Unsplash.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Some parts of this post have been previously published. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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