Flowing Faith

July 6, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

How to Find Your True Direction

Be_StillDo you feel that you’ve lost your true direction? Do you spend your life in less than formidable ways? It’s time to turn around, my friend. God has a good plan for you.

How do you find God’s plan for you? How can you find your true direction?

The same way than Jesus trained his apostles. By being with him.

How do you do that?

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
    loving look at me, your High God,
    above politics, above everything.”
(Psalm 46:10, MSG)

Get away with Jesus.
Go to a quiet place.
Even close your phone!

Be still.
Listen.
Pray.
Listen.
Read the Word of God.
Listen.

This is the only way to find your true direction.
This is the only way not to waste your life in vain.

Do a mini retreat every day. A longer one any day you feel out of control. And, periodically, take a whole day. Just you and Jesus. Renewal guaranteed.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for inviting us to be with you.
Help us to get away from the lures of the world.
Speak to us.
Show us our true direction.
Guide us.
Teach us the value of your company.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you know how to be still long enough to hear God’s voice?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you get away with Jesus to find your true direction!

Photo courtesy of Nick Tedeschi, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Looking up, Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders.

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July 3, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
9 Comments

God Has No Favorites

God has no favoritesDo you know that God has no favorites? This is true no matter how it looks like or feels like. If you don’t believe me, believe the Bible.

It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message he sent to the children of Israel—that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again—well, he’s doing it everywhere, among everyone. (Acts 10:34-36, MSG, emphasis added,*)

It’s God’s own truth: He has no favorites. We are all sinners, we all need Jesus. The Christian journey starts at the foot of the cross for everyone.

There’s no way around it.
There’s no shortcuts.
There’s no favorites.

But, at the same time, everyone is welcome.

There’s no need to play favorites when there’s enough grace for everyone. God’ supply of grace is unlimited. There’s absolutely nothing God’s grace can’t cover.

And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents. (1 Peter 1:17, NLT, emphasis added, *)

The Christian life does not only start at the foot of the cross but it is also lived out at the cross. Salvation is not a one time event but a daily renewal. Even as God’s children we are still responsible for our actions. No favorites here either. God’s ready to pour out grace upon grace if we ask. But we can’t use it in vain.

God has no favorites but at the same time this quote from Augustine is true “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us”. There’s nothing God would not do to get each of us into an intimate relationship with him. God would have sent Jesus to die on the cross just for you. That’s how much you mean to God. That’s much God loves you.

 

Dear God,
Your love is astonishing.
You don’t play favorites
yet you treat each of us
like priceless treasures.
Thank you for doing everything
to get us back to you.
Pour out as much grace as needed.
Make us worthy of you.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you make of God’s love for 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 to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.]

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

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July 1, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Renewing Your Mind by Reading the Bible

Reading the BibleHow do you renew your mind? How are you becoming more Christ-like day in, day out? There’s no shortcuts here. We can only grow in faith by abiding in God. How do we do that? By practicing ancient Christian disciplines like prayer and reading the Bible.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2, NRSV)

Reading the Bible is not old-fashioned or out of date. It’s still the best way to be saturated with the mind of Christ. The more I read the Bible, the more in love with God I am. I’ve been reading through the Bible again and again. I just finished reading the last of my NRSV study Bible. Today I am starting with a new translation. This time I will be trying to read it through in six months like Martin Luther used to do. I don’t know if I can make it but I would love to have company on the way. It means reading 6,5 half chapters per day. Why don’t you join me?

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NRSV)

If you can’t read through the Bible in six months…how about in a year or in two years? It doesn’t matter how long it will take you. What matters is that you are reading it everyday. Do it prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to you. And I guarantee that you will be blessed beyond your imagination.

Michael Horton has said “Once we truly grasp the message of the New Testament, it is impossible to read the Old Testament again without seeing Christ on every page, in every story, foreshadowed or anticipated in every event and narrative. The Bible must be read as a whole, beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation, letting promise and fulfillment guide or expectations for what we will find there.”

Reading through the Bible is a spiritual adventure. All those possibilities for God to read your heart and change your heart. All those possibilities for Jesus to come along side you and guide you. All those possibilities for the Holy Spirit to teach you and renew you. Seize them. Seize God.

If you want to be conformed to God, don’t let the devil keep you away from the Bible. The work of the Holy Spirit is subtle but it does happen when you stick to the Word of God. The more you read it, the more you are drawn to read it. And, without you even noticing it, the process of becoming more Christ-like is in full swing.

 

Dear God,
Thank you for the Living Word you’ve given us.
Inspire and empower  each and everyone of us
to read voraciously the Bible.
Feed us, renew us, guide us,
most of all, speak to us.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What are you Bible-reading habits? What does reading the Bible mean to you?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you get to know God through Bible-reading!

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

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June 29, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

The Power of Grace

The Power of GraceI never thought that I would be blogging about President Obama giving eulogy. But life does surprise us, doesn’t it? And this one was a very pleasant surprise. I truly liked what President Obama said in eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney last Friday in Charleston, South Carolina. Who would have thought that Obama’s theology echoes Dietrich Bonhoeffer? Or St. Paul?

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. (Eph. 2:8-9, NIV)

Barack Obama said “We don’t earn grace. We’re all sinners. We don’t deserve it. But God gives it to us anyway. And we choose how to receive it. It’s our decision how to honor it.”

Can I hear ‘Amen’?

And all this was said on a day of triple terrorist attacks. The terrorists really would like us to live in fear.
And we would live in fear if we responded to the attacks without God’s grace. But the power of God’s grace changes bad things into beautiful things.

It really does come down to this: How do we respond to God’s grace. And what we decide to do with it.

Do we let God’s grace permeate our whole inner beings or not?
Do we honor God and his grace by letting it run free in our souls?
Do we let God’s grace change us and our situations better or not?

When we respond with a resound yes to God and his grace….amazing things happen. Then we do not live in fear but in joy. No matter how much evil would like us to wallow in grief or fear.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. ( 2 Cor. 4:8-9, ESV)

Bad things happens but the power of grace will prevail. With the words of Thomas a Kempis “Lord, without grace I can do nothing, but with its strength I can do all things in You.”

We can’t but God can.

Hence we rejoice in all circumstance.
Hence we love our enemies.
Hence we rise above difficulties.

That’s the power of God’s grace for you.

Revel in it. And pass it on!

 

Gracious God,
We thank and praise you.
You love us as we are
but you don’t leave us there.
Thank you for providing
as much grace as we need.
Not only to be cleansed from our sins
but also to live victoriously.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: How does God empower you?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you live in God’s grace day by day!

Photo courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders.

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June 26, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

God’s Dream for You

God's dream for youDo you know that God has plans for you? Do you know what’s God’s dream for you? Do you know what God has planned for you to do?

Because God has a plan for you. For all of his children. First of all, God wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth (2 Tim. 2:4, AMP).

God wants all to be saved but that’s not all he wants for us. We are also called to know him and his truth. And that’s a life-long task of dedicated discipleship right there. But is even that all? Does God have other dreams for us? Yes, he does.

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. (Eph. 2: 10, AMP)

When we’ve been recreated in Jesus, we also called to join God in his work in the world. All this has been prepared for us. Hence we’d better be doing it.

How do we know what God has planned for each of us to do? How can you know what’s God’s dream for you? That’s when discernment comes into play.

God has created you unique because he has unique plans for you. That’s why you can be you in God’s plans. Trust that God has only good things in mind for you. Know that you’re happiest only when you’re doing what you were created to do. Hence keep your mind open for God’s dream for you. They’re usually bigger and better than you’d dare to imagine yourself.

The main thing in finding God’s dream for you is to abide in him. Get to know him closely. Read as much the Bible as you can. And let the Holy Spirit work in you. Keep a prayer journal. Converse with Jesus. Listen to God.

Slowly but surely God’s dreams for you start taking root in your soul. Tend to them with the aid of the Holy Spirit. Ask for all the grace you need. And enjoy! You’re living not only your dream but God’s dream for you!

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for wanting everyone to be saved.
Thank you for wanting all of us to know you.
Thank you for wanting all of us to become holy like you.
And thank you for having unique dreams and plans for each of us.
Help us to discern what you want us to do.
Equip us to do what you’ve planned us to do.
Enable us to wait for your timing and guidance.
Strengthen us for your service.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you know God’s dream for you? How did you discern it? How are you working for it?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you pray for God’s dream for 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 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 Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday, and Faith Barista.

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June 24, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
3 Comments

Heed the Word!

Heed the Word!It’s almost funny how some odd things of the Bible holds your interest. I’ve been reading the Old Testament in the chronological order and I am almost done, a bit of Nehemiah and then just Malachi left this time around.

Anyway. About the odd things that keep you thinking. The prayer in chapter nine in Nehemiah is a powerful prayer…but…there’s no ‘Amen’ at the end. Does it even matter? This is what puzzled me.

Amen is a beautiful word meaning ‘so be it’. A way to say ‘I’m in it’, right? Why don’t these people then say ‘Amen’ at the end of this prayer?

Folks, they did something better. How so?

They put their lives on the line.
They lived out the prayer.
They lived out their faith.

Do you do that?
Or do you forget the prayer as soon as you’ve said ‘Amen’?

Lord, have mercy.

And thank God for the odd things in the Bible that trouble us enough to seek His wisdom. Talking about unexpected blessings and the power of the Holy Spirit speaking to your soul.

 

Gracious God,
You are so good to us.
Thank you for your Living Word.
Thank you for convicting us.
Thank you for guiding us to live the right way.
Thank you for challenging us
not just to hear the Word
but heed the Word
and live the Word.
Be our everything, Lord.
Help us to be everything you want.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you heed the word? How? Does it change anything in your life?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you heed the Word!

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

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June 22, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Do You Need More Faith?

do you need more faith?Do you think you need more faith? Did you know that there’s no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith? If you don’t believe me, believe Jesus.

The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.” But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it. (Luke 17:5-6, MSG)

Faith is a gift from God and it’s like a seed that has everything in it already. You just need to put your faith in use.

Sure, I understand all too well your self-doubts. We are not what we want to be. But God is at work in us. God’s work in us will continue until the day Jesus is coming back.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. (Phil. 1:6, AMP)

And, sure, I do understand that you feel you need more faith. But that’s when you’re yearning for intimacy with God. That is a blessed thing, the Holy Spirit at work in you.

You don’t need more faith but you do need more time with God.
You don’t need more faith but you do need to put your faith in practice.
You don’t need more faith but you do need to be more intentional about getting to know God better.

How to begin, you ask. How about starting with dedicating five more minutes to God each morning? Ask God how you could get to know him better. Listen. And start putting that in practice. Slowly but surely you are living out your faith more intentionally. And God will in due time bring it to a flourishing finish.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for the gift of faith.
Thank you that there’s no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith
but it is all grace.
Help us to live out our faith
and trust you with every fiber of our being.
May Your will happen in and through our lives.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

If you are interested in getting serious about getting to know God more intimately, I will be – here at Flowing Faith – exploring some ways of doing just that. You are more than welcome to join me!

Q4U: What is your way to get to know God? What would you like to explore together?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you intentionally seek God every day of your life!

Photo courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders.

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June 19, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
3 Comments

10 Prayer Warriors Who Changed History

Jared BrockToday I have a pleasure to welcome Jared Brock to Flowing Faith as a guest blogger. Jared is the author of A Year of Living Prayerfully, a humorous travel memoir about prayer. He is the cofounder of Hope for the Sold, an abolitionist charity that fights human trafficking one word at a time. Jared is happily married to his best friend, Michelle, whom he first kissed in the seventh grade.

Here’s Jared:

I recently traveled 37,000 miles around the world on a modern-day prayer pilgrimage. I met the Pope, danced with rabbis, visited monks, walked on coals, and revived my prayer life. I discovered a world of prayer traditions across the Judeo-Christian faith family, and dug into the history of our family’s greatest prayer warriors.

Here are ten I discovered along the way.

  1. Francis of Assisi

Francis, the patron saint of ecology, was a nature-loving monk, and his followers have founded dozens of hospitals and universities. He’s one of the few saints revered in all three major branches of Christianity.

I’m inspired by Francis’s boldness in prayer and action – in a time of enormous war and upheaval, Francis traveled to meet the Muslim sultan, in hopes of winning him to Jesus. While he didn’t succeed, he didn’t get executed either. In fact, the sultan so appreciated his boldness that Francis stayed for an entire year.

Takeaway: Where can you practice boldness in your life? Maybe it’s a conversation you’re putting off or a new chapter you’ve been making excuses for not moving forward.. Be bold and start today!

  1. Brother Lawrence

Lawrence was a monk who washed dishes and cooked meals, and tried to pray without ceasing. He became so famous for his habit that someone interviewed him, and published a little book called, The Practice of the Presence of God. The book hasn’t been out of print in over 300 years, with over 20 million copies in English alone.

Lawrence believed it was easy to be close to God in prayer – if you didn’t wander far from Him during the rest of the day. I discovered Lawrence’s home after many months of research, and the impact of his simple prayer philosophy has helped me – and millions of people – to constantly commune with Christ.

Takeaway: Find ways to connect the everyday to the eternal. When you wake up, pray about being alive in Christ. As you shower, ask God to cleanse you from unrighteousness. As you put on your clothes, put on the armor of God. As you walk or drive to work, pray about your spiritual journey.

  1. Teresa of Avila

Teresa is the Doctor of Prayer in the Catholic church – a high honor, especially for a woman born 500 years ago. I visited her simple monastery in Spain, just outside the beautiful walls of Avila.

Teresa believed we are all on a spiritual journey, and there are seven “levels” in the process, ranging from practicing humility to achieving ecstatic spiritual marriage. While the lower levels of prayer – including the humble recognition of God’s work in our life – is very helpful, things got a little crazy towards the end. Teresa was said to levitate. I tend to stick to her first few ideas, trying to see where God is at work in my life.

Takeaway: Think about the times during the day you could focus on God more often. When do you get distracted, and how can you incorporate God into your life in those times?

  1. Benedict of Nursia

This pious monk is considered the father of Western monasticism, and for good reason – he literally wrote the book on it. The Rule of Saint Benedict has served as a guidebook for millions of monastics throughout the centuries, famously summed up by the phrase “Ora et Labora” – pray and work.

The patron saint of monks and spelunkers built a dozen monasteries in his lifetime, but his last one was truly impressive: a hulking hilltop fortress called Monte Cassino. I’ve visited the massive stone fortress where Benedict died, and reflected on the impact of his prayer and work.

Benedict believed that prayer and work aren’t mutually exclusive, and that times of work and prayer can go together. Prayer infuses mission with meaning.

Takeaway: Instead of trying to fix your problems by work alone, start with prayer. Then, as you work, continue to see it as an offering or a constant supplication. Let your work and prayer be one.

  1. John of the Cross

The Christian life is beautiful, but it isn’t easy. In this life we will have trouble. John of the Cross was no exception. His level of devotion was so extreme that another group of monks kidnapped and imprisoned him, bringing him out for regular public floggings. It was during the desperate time that he wrote the epic poem Dark Night of the Soul. He eventually tore the hinges off his cell and escaped, and went on to found a handful of monasteries.

Like John of the Cross, and Mother Teresa many years later, I too struggle with dark nights of the soul. John’s life encourages me to weather those difficult times – to make Christ my rock and anchor in the storms of life.

Takeaway: Make Jesus your firm foundation. Rather than trying to fix or avoid our problems, take time to do the greater work in prayer.

  1. Brother Roger

Roger Schütz was 25 years old when World War II started, and he decided that Switzerland was too safe a place for any Christian to be during a time of war. So he bicycled to France.

One night he stopped in an almost-abandoned hilltop town called Taize, and an elderly woman invited him in for dinner. She asked him to stay in Taize, and he did. As the war progressed, Roger helped Jewish refugees flee from Nazi persecution.

As the years went on, more and more people started to visit Taize – today, almost 100,000 young people visit each year, for prayer and meditation. My wife and I visited Taize, and it was a wonderful experience. We prayed before breakfast, before lunch, and after supper, and each time of prayer started with 8 minutes of silence. Our goal was to “maintain inner silence in all things so as to dwell with Christ.”

Takeaway: Rather than always asking for things during prayer, set aside a moment to simply spend time with Jesus.

  1. John Wesley

Literally tens of millions of people are part of the Christian faith family because of the work of Wesley and his fellow ministers. The tiny preacher had a big mission – he’s famous for declaring that “the whole world is my parish.” I’ve had the opportunity to visit Wesley’s simple house, where I discovered a curious walk-in closet off his bedroom – his prayer room.

Wesley spent two hours in that little room every morning, and it became known as “The Powerhouse of Methodism.” I’ve had the opportunity to pray in that closet, using Wesley’s own Bible – he always prayed with an open Bible, as he was always seeking a word from the Lord.

Takeaway: As you read through the Scriptures, turn Bible verses into prayers and pray them back to God.

  1. George Muller

George Muller was a legendary prayer warrior – according to his autobiography, he had over 5000 requests answered on the day he prayed them. Muller started 117 schools and ran a group of orphanages in England that took care of over 10,000 boys. He “retired” at the age of 70 and became a traveling evangelist, logging over 200,000 before the days of planes.

Muller had five friends who were far from Christ, and he committed to prayer for them every day until they were part of God’s family. After a few months, the first man came to Christ. Within 10 years, two more had come to faith. After 25 years, the fourth man was saved.

But the fifth man was a holdout, so Muller continued to prayer for him every single day… for 63 years and 8 months. Muller eventually died, and before his coffin was placed in the soil, his fifth friend committed his life to Jesus.

Takeaway: This is called prevailing prayer – it’s a gut-it-out, long-term commitment to doing the hard work of “moving the hand of God by prayer alone.” Commit to praying for the long-term.

  1. Nikolaus Zinzendorf

The good Count Ludwig opened his vast estate to a group of Moravian refugees, and allowed them to start a village on his German property. The village was called Herrnhut, meaning “the Lord’s Watch.” Before long, they started fighting about theology and it got so bad that Zinzendorf made them sign a vow of unity and commitment to prayer. One thing led to another, and that prayer meeting ran 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, for over over hundred years straight.

I’ve visited Herrnhut, the tiny town that fuelled a massive missions movement. It was so inspiring to see what a small group of people can do, when fully devoted to God. I love a quote by Zinzendorf that sums up his life: “Preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten.”

Takeaway: That’s our calling – more of Him, less of us. As you pray, focus on thinking less of yourself and more on Christ and others.

  1. You?

I’ve had the opportunity to meet dozens of amazing prayer warriors on my journey. It’s been said that “each and every one of us could pray a prayer that could change the course of history.”

I know it sounds cliche, but it really is true. I believe it, because many of my closest friends were won to Christ through prayer. Perhaps, someday, your name will be added to this list.

Back to the railroad track – and I’m sure you know where this is going – our work is like pushing a heavy cart down an old track. But prayer is the steam engine that gives it real power.

Rather than trying to do it ourselves, let’s stand on the shoulder of giants and become prayer warriors in our generation. Our calling, like Benedict, is simple: pray and work. And somewhere, somehow, at some unknown intersection between prayer and work, God indwells our humble offering—God indwells us—and turns human actions into spiritual awakenings.

Who knows how it might influence the future?

Thanks, Jared!
Let us pray!

Gracious God,
We thank you and praise you
for sending us so many prayer warriors.
Help us to believe in the power of prayer
and practice it like we mean it.
Empower us to be your partners here on earth.
Fill us with your Spirit
and use us according to your plan.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Who is your favorite prayer warrior? Do you consider yourself as a prayer warrior? Why/why not?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you believe and practice the power of prayer!

Image courtesy of Jared Brock, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke.  Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, and Faith Barista.

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June 17, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
3 Comments

The Most Inspiring Elisabeth Elliot Quotes

Elisabeth ElliotToday I want to honor Elisabeth Elliot, an incredibly inspiring Christian author and missionary, who entered the glory of God on the 15th of June 2015. Her life was an amazing adventure in Christ. Her first husband was a Christian martyr. Elisabeth was able to forgive the tribe that killed her husband and even lived with them for two years. You can read more of her story here and here.

Sing to God, sing praises to His name, cast up a highway for Him Who rides through the deserts—His name is the Lord—be in high spirits and glory before Him! A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows is God in His holy habitation. (Psalm 68:4-5; AMP)

This Bible verse reminds me of her. It’s like she would be saying “Praise God and be in high spirits and glory before Him no matter what happens in your life.” Elisabeth Elliot left quite a legacy.

Here are some of my favorite Elisabeth Elliot quotes. May they impact your journey with the Lord!

Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.

The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and have, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, would set our hearts at rest, and we would discover the simpler life,
the greater peace.
There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go. At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops. If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul. It is easy to make a mistake here, “If God gave it to me,” we say, “its mine. I can do what I want with it.” No. The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of – if we want to find our true selves, if we want real life, if our hearts are set on glory.
The principles of gain through loss, of joy through sorrow, of getting by giving, of fulfillment by laying down, of life out of death is what the Bible teaches, and the people who have believed it enough to live it out in simple, humble, day-by-day practice are people who have found the gain, the joy, the getting, the fulfillment, the life.

The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God . . . or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.

The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.

It is through the tender austerity of our troubles that the Son of Man comes knocking. In every event He seeks an entrance to my heart, yes, even in my most helpless, futile, fruitless moments. The very cracks and empty crannies of my life, my perplexities and hurts and botched-up jobs, He wants to fill with Himself, His joy, His life…He urges me to learn of Him: ‘I am gentle and humble in heart.

 

Gracious God,
We praise you for the saints gone before us.
We thank you for the life of Elisabeth Elliot.
Help us to live our lives as dedicated to you as she did.
Come and live in us.
Do whatever you want in and through us.
May nothing but your will happen in our lives
and may we bring glory to your holy name.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Who has inspired you on your Christian journey? What is your favorite of Elisabeth Elliot quotes?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace God’s grace and press on towards heaven!

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

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June 15, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
5 Comments

Spiritual Protection

Spiritual ProtectionAre you spiritually protected? Do you use all the spiritual weapons God has placed at your disposal? Because, you should. That is the only way we can stand up to everything the Devil throws at our way. We really do need spiritual protection. More than we know. Because, as Paul put it, we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies but against against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world.

10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. 14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. 16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. 18 Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people). (Ephesians 6:10-18, AMP)

I was reminded of all this when I got so exhausted a couple of weeks ago. Without really noticing it I had let go of the habit of putting on spiritual protection, the full armor of God, in the morning. (You see, when I wake up I usually say good morning to God and praise him. Then I move on surrendering myself and my day to him and ask for guidance and wisdom to use my time right and spiritual protection from any harm. Somehow the last part of my morning routines had become non existent. Too often we take some stuff granted!) And without spiritual protection in place I was an easy target for the enemy. I got sleepless and anxious and exhausted.

How did I got out of the funk? A friend of mine prayed for me, casting all oppressive retaliation of Satan at Jesus’ feet. And I was able to sleep again. [Just to be clear: I am not saying that all insomnia or anxiousness is caused by the attacks of enemy.]

Let me tell you, I will not – God willing – be forgetting about spiritual protection again. I should have known better. The bigger threat you are to the Satan, the more aggressively the enemy wants to destroy you.

But. No fear, my friend. God has already won this battle. Spiritual protection is yours if you want it. You just need to remember to claim and use the full armor of God.

In order to help you to do so, I have searched for some morning prayers you can use for spiritual protection. Of course, you can do it on your own words too. But these are here to show you that Christians have asked for spiritual protection through out the history of Christianity. And the need is not diminishing either!

Grant, O Lord, that we may live in your fear,
die in your favor,
rest in your peace,
rise in your power,
reign in your glory;
for your own beloved Son’s sake,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
(William Laud, 1573-1645)

The Lord preserve my going out and my coming in:
from this time forth for evermore.
O give your angels charge over me,
to keep in all my ways.
Order my steps according to your words,
so shall no wickedness have dominion over me.
(Treasury of Devotion, 1869)

Be gracious to our prayers,
O Merciful God,
and guard Thy people with loving protection;
that they who confess Thine only begotten Son as God,
born in our bodily flesh,
may never be corrupted by the deceits of the devil:
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen
(Ambrose, c.339-397)

And let’s conclude with the famous morning prayer by Martin Luther (1483-1546):

My Heavenly Father,
I thank you, through Jesus Christ, your beloved Son,
that you kept me safe from all evil and danger last night.
Save me, I pray, today as well, from every evil and sin,
so that all I do ans the way that I live will please you.
I put myself in your care, body and soul and all that I have.
Let your holy angels be with me,
so that the evil enemy will not triumph over me.
Amen

Q4U: Are you spiritually protected? How do you put on the whole armor of God?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you draw strength from the Lord. Rejoice! There is power in the Word of God!

Photo courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonders.

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