Flowing Faith

April 17, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
8 Comments

Live in the Present

Live in the PresentAll we really do have is today. But that’s really all we need to live well. We don’t know about tomorrow and yesterday is gone. But today is a present for us and we are called to use it as well as we can. If we do so, if we are able to embrace all God has for us today, we are ready for tomorrow, no matter what it brings.

Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring. (Proverbs 27:1, NLT,*)

We can only meet God at the present moment. God told us his name is I AM. Not I was or I will be. But God has promised to always be with us until the end of the world. That’s why we don’t need to worry about tomorrow. It is in God’s hands. Whatever happens: God is with us.

If your past troubles you, give it to Jesus. If your future worries you, give it to Jesus. He will free you to live in the present. Today is enough. Today is plenty. Today is everything. Because God has made this day. God himself is with us every right now from here to eternity.

So let’s not brag about anything but God. We don’t know about tomorrow. But we know the One who holds tomorrow in his hands. That’s why we dare to live to the fullest. That’s why we embrace all God has for today. That’s why we rejoice today.

 

Gracious God,
You have given us life to live.
Help us to live in the present.
Free us from burdens of our past
and worries of our future.
Increase our trust for you.
Show us what it is to live carefree before you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Are you able to live in the present? What has helped you to do so?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace all God has for you today!

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

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April 15, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
7 Comments

God Is Active

God Is ActiveReading the Old Testament can be very rewarding.  And I am not talking about the most popular places there. For example, this morning I was reading Zechariah 10:6-12 . What a powerful yet different way to hear how God cares for his flock.

As you read it, be amazed how many times God says “I will” (13!)! It’s like God’s saying “I’ll do what needs to be done for them”. God is having compassion, gathering, signaling, guiding, answering, bringing his children home.

You can own this message too. God is active in your life. God is doing whatever needs to be done for you. Rest and revel in this message. God has not forgotten you. God is right there with you, walking with you, guiding and strengthening and empowering you.

Remember that God loves you and cherishes you. Remember that God is active in your life even when you don’t feel it. Remember that God will do everything what needs to be done for you.

And when you do remember: rejoice! Rejoice and share the good news with others! God cares for his flock. God will do everything what needs to be done to bring us home. God is active – Hallelujah!

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for caring for us.
Thank you for doing anything to bring us home to you.
Thank you for encouraging us and being active in our lives.
You are everything we need.
You are always more than we need.
Be praised forever and ever.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you know God is active in your life? How do you know it? Does that change your behavior in any way?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you revel in God’s love and care!

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

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April 13, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
6 Comments

Sitting at Jesus’ Feet

Sitting at Jesus' FeetWhich Bible character do you mostly identify with? Mary is the woman I mostly identify in the gospels. That’s why I truly enjoyed reading her diary in Mary DeMuth‘s and Frank Viola‘s brand new book The Day I Met Jesus: The reavealing diaries of five women in the gospels. The stories are found in Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-7, 17-44, and John 12:1-11 (or Matt 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9). The first one is the story of Jesus visiting Martha and Mary, the second one is the story of Lazarus raised from the dead and the last one is the story how Mary anointed Jesus with the costly perfume as one would anoint a king and prepare a corpse for burial.

In each of the stories Mary is found sitting at Jesus’ feet. She knew that was the best place in the world. She was hungry for God and loved Jesus. Because she spent time with Jesus she also knew what was to happen. She knew Jesus was about to die before Jesus said anything.

This reminded me of Martin Luther King Jr’s last speech and his prophetic words: “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” I’d say he knew he was going to die soon.

Sitting at Jesus’ feet is like being on the mountaintop. Only then can we spiritually know things like Mary and Martin Luther King Jr did. Only then can we live and move in grace. Only then we are able to learn like Mary to waste that which is most precious to us on Jesus. With the words of Frank Viola “For only by wasting ourselves on Christ do we life life to its highest and fullest purpose. And in light of that, remember that nothing “wasted” for His kingdom is ever, truly wasted.”

Sitting at Jesus’ feet is our way to know God and his will. Sitting at Jesus’ feet is the best place in the world. You are invited. Take your time. Seize the day. And, better yet, seize God.

 

Gracious God,
You are more that we can imagine,
we are less than we admit.
Yet you invite us to sit at Jesus’ feet.
We want to know you.
We want to know your will.
Open our spiritual eyes.
Speak to us and enable us to hear.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you love sitting at Jesus’ feet? Why?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you seize God and enjoy him forever!

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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April 10, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
7 Comments

Real Rest

Real RestAre you in need of rest? Don’t be fooled. Don’t look for it in the wrong places. Turn to God, get away with him, and find real rest for your soul.

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. (Matthew 11:29, AMP,*)

God is gentle and humble at heart. He wants what’s best for us. We can trust him 100%. When we do that and surrender to him, we find what we were looking for: rest.

And we learn what rest is all about:
relief and
ease and
refreshment and
recreation and
blessed quiet
for our souls.

Recreation and refreshment apart from God does not bring rest for our souls. Apart from God our life is just vanity and does not bring peace no matter how hard we try to find it. Apart from God we do not find real rest. But in God we find relief, ease, refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet for our souls. Time after time.

You would think we had learned it by heart already. That we would guard our time with him with everything we’ve got. That our quiet time with Jesus would be the last thing to go from our schedule. But, sadly, our priorities are off the quilter. We let almost anything to overtake our time with Jesus. And then we wonder why we are restless.

Jesus says Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] (Matthew 11:28, AMP,*)

Why don’t you give up all your excuses and run to God? The first thing every morning. I guarantee you will recover your life. You will learn to live freely and lightly. Because that’s what grace does for you.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for not putting you first in our lives.
Forgive us for not trusting your promises.
Cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Teach us the unforced rhythms of grace.
Give us real rest for our souls.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Have you learned to prioritize God in your schedule!

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you find real rest in 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 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  ochristian.com, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday, and Faith Barista.

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April 8, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving?

The Sacrifice of ThanksgivingAm I the only one that has ever wondered what ‘offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving’ means? And if that really honors and glorifies God, how could we do it in today’s world?

He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me. (Psalm 50:23, AMP)

The sacrifice of thanksgiving is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. It is a voluntary sacrifice that is motivated by thanksgiving. It was also shared with all the worshipers. Because of the sacrificial death of Jesus we don’t have to give any animal sacrifices any more. But there’s still something important in offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving in today’s world and we should pay attention.

How could thanksgiving be a sacrifice if it is from a thankful heart? A sacrifice is something into which we put effort, right? Hence, thanksgiving should not just be something we do when we feel like it, right? Thanksgiving should not just be something we do when God’s promises are visible, right?

We should give thanks every day despite of our circumstances.
We should give thanks because God is good.
We should give thanks because God is at work on our behalf.
We should give thanks because in God’s realm all the promises are already fulfilled.

The Message version of the verse summarizes it this way: It’s the praising life that honors me.

We are indeed called to the praising life. It is not just a sacrifice of thanksgiving here and there but a way of life. The praising life is committed to honor God with thanksgiving and praise no matter what. And it should be voluntary and spill grace and good things onto others too.

How could we do it in today’s world? When bad things happen all the time. Don’t you see? This is exactly the time when we need to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving. This is exactly the time when we can bring the kingdom of God visible by offering thanks and praise all the time. We need to live by faith not by sight. We need to thank God for all he has done for us…but also for everything he is going to do for us.

The praising life is a sacrificial way of life. It is not lived according to our feelings or desires. It is lived according to God’s will and promises. And in that sense it is costly. But, boy, doesn’t it bless our socks off. Today, tomorrow and forever more.

 

Gracious God,
You call us into the praising life.
You call us from faith to more faith.
You call us from grace to more grace.
We want that so very much.
Give us more faith, more grace
so that we would be filled with thanksgiving and praise
even when it is the least likely response to our circumstances.
Show us how the praising life could look like.
Bless our socks off, Lord.
Not according to our will but yours.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you think about the praising life? Is it possible? Is it your way of life?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you give thanks and praise God every day of your life!

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

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April 6, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
5 Comments

Looking for Jesus?

the resurrection of Jesus

Are you looking for Jesus? Good for you. Just know the empty tomb is the only place you can’t find Jesus. You can find Jesus anywhere but in the tomb for he is risen. He is not there for he is indeed risen.

Jesus rose victorious. But sin, death, and darkness are still in the tomb. Don’t go after them. We are no more bound to them. Go after Jesus and abundant life.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:5-6, NIV,*)

Now that the stone has been rolled away and Jesus is risen, Jesus can roll away any stones you have in your heart. Sin and death has lost their power, you are free to embrace God’s victorious grace.

Looking for Jesus is very wise. He is the Lord of everything. Jesus wants to be found and he wants to be gracious to you. He died for you. Now you can be healed and made whole. Just give Jesus a free access into your heart. And be ready to be blessed.

 

Gracious God,
Your salvation plan is beyond wonderful.
Thank you for the resurrection of Jesus.
Thank you that we are no more bound to sin, death, and darkness.
We want to be bound to you.
Be the Lord of our hearts.
Fill our hearts with your Spirit.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How does the resurrection of Jesus change your life?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you keep looking for Jesus!

Image courtesy ochristian.com. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Small Wonder Linkup, Playdates with God.
P.S. The series on the Day I Met Jesus continues next Monday.

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April 3, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Thoughts on Good Friday

Good FridayGood Friday is here. It reminds me of how blessed we are to have a God who did not spare expenses to reach us, to make us right with him.

If you want to get a good grasp of the message of Good Friday, start by reading chapter 53 in Isaiah. It’s a long one but so worth it to read it. Read it slowly and marvel the fact that this was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Yet it was written with a precision of an eye witness. How blessed we are to have a God who knew what he was doing down to the last detail.

The other reading I recommend today is found in Matthew 27:32-54. Years I used to be puzzled why God abandoned Jesus on his darkest moment.

And about the ninth hour (three o’clock) Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?—that is, My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me [leaving Me helpless, forsaking and failing Me in My need]? (Matthew 27:46, AMP,*)

But it had to be done. Jesus did only carry our sins on the cross. He also experienced the abandonment of God so we don’t ever have to experience it. Read that again. Jesus was forsaken so you don’t ever have to be. You are free to approach God anytime you want. And you can rest assured that God will never forsake you. God will never leave you. He will be with you every day of your life.

All this because Jesus died willingly on the cross. Nobody could have taken his life but he released his spirit for us.

Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. (Matthew 27:50, NLT,*)

Jesus wanted to die for our sins. He wanted to sacrifice himself for us so we could be united with God forever and ever. How blessed we are to have a God who did all this for us.

Today’s reading ends with the first post-resurrection creed and it comes from a very unexpected source.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54, NIV,*)

How blessed we are to have a God who became a man so he could take our place on the cross, to die for our sins. Surely he was the Son of God!

 

Gracious God,
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Be praised forever
and ever
and ever
and ever
and ever.
Amen

Q4U: What are your thoughts on Good Friday?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you ponder on the sacrifice of Jesus!

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

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April 1, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
3 Comments

Grateful for Grace

grateful for graceThe longer I live, the more grateful I am for grace. Because the older I am, the better I know myself. And that picture is not pretty.

I am hopeless at making myself better.
I am clueless to make anything happen.
I am powerless to help myself.

That’s why I am so thankful for Christ who doesn’t wait for me to get my act together.

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. (Romans 5:6-8, MSG,*)

Because Christ died for ungodly sinners, I have hope. And so do you and everyone else on this planet. Christ died for all of our sins once and for all.

Yeah, we are hopeless at making ourselves presentable to God.
We are clueless to better ourselves.
We are powerless to help ourselves.

But Christ arrives to make this happen in our lives.

We can’t save ourselves. Only Jesus can. We can’t earn points toward heaven. Only grace can get us there. We can’t help ourselves. Only Christ is able to do so.

But Christ will do so if we let him.

Everything is ready for our salvation. Christ, the son of God, was sacrificed for our sins. And because he was resurrected, we can be risen in him too.

We don’t have to stay hopeless.
We don’t have to stay clueless.
We don’t have to stay powerless.

Instead we can open our heart to Christ and let him make home in us. When Christ lives in us, we are hope-filled and powerful. Not because of us but because of the power of resurrection.

Grace works miracles in us, in you and me. Grace works miracles here and now. And we are invited to live in this amazing grace, experience God every day of our lives.

How do we respond? My response is a big yes. I know myself. I’m utterly hopeless without grace. But with God’s grace, I am becoming what God created me to be. That’s why I am so grateful for grace: no more hopelessness. How about you? Are you ready to surrender your heart to God?

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for your relentless grace.
Thank you for loving us even when we are not lovable.
Cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Fill us with your miraculous grace.
Create in us a new heart.
Change us according to your plan for us.
Thy will be done in earth as in heaven.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Have

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you

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

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March 30, 2015
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Ready for a Risk of Faith?

A risk of faithWhat would it take for you to take a risk of faith? What would it take to get you out of your comfort zone and into an adventure of faith? These are the questions that have been running through my head as I’ve been reading the fourth diary in Mary DeMuth‘s and Frank Viola‘s brand new book The Day I Met Jesus: The reavealing diaries of five women in the gospels.

The fourth diary is of a woman with a flow of blood. Her story is found in Mark 5:25-35. She had been bleeding for 12 years and because of that she was an outcast as a ritually impure. Then she heard Jesus was coming and she knew that if she only could touch his robe she’d be healed. She managed to do that and she was healed due to the power of God and her own faith, as Jesus put it.

Frank Viola writes “Contrary to popular conception, faith isn’t something mental. It’s not hope, hype, wishful thinking, or natural expectation. Faith is a specific kind of trust in God that’s built on an internal knowing. This is why Paul writes, ‘Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’. Faith is the channel by which Jesus’ power can operate.”

Is your faith channel open for Jesus’ power?
Do you trust God unswervingly?
Do you believe in the power of God in your life?

This woman’s faith, willingness to take a risk, and her determination challenges our comfy life styles. Jesus was taken by this woman’s faith, she was the only woman in the New Testament Jesus  addressed by the name of Daughter. Wouldn’t you like to hear this words from Jesus “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague” (Mark 5:34, MSG).

What would it take for you to take a risk of faith?
How could you live boldly for Jesus today?
Could you stake your whole life on Jesus?

 

Gracious God,
I am so humbled yet encouraged.
Increase my faith, Lord.
May Jesus’ power operate in my life today and always.
Enable me to always trust you unswervingly.
Give me everything it takes to stake my life on Jesus.
Show me how to live boldly for you every day of my life.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Is your faith channel open for Jesus’ power? Are you ready for a risk of faith?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you stake your life on Jesus!

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

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

Healing Words for a Broken Heart

healing wordsDo you feel like you heart is breaking? I am sorry to hear that. No matter what has caused your broken heart, help is near. You are not alone.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalm 34: 18, NIV,*)

I can testify for this. Nothing will separate you from God. Nothing at all.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39, NLT,*)

Just know that this too will pass. Time does not heal all the wounds, though. But God does. Rest in him.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows]. (Psalm 147:3, AMP,*)

God loves to heal your heart. Just remember to give all the pieces to God. He will create something beautiful out of them.

We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28, CEB,*)

So cry your heart out to God, he listens.
Rest in Christ’s arms, he heals your wounds.
Abide in the Holy Spirit, he will lift you up.

 

Gracious God,
I come to you with my broken heart.
Put me back together, Lord,
because I can’t.
I am at the end of rope here.
Thank you for always loving me,
always believing in me,
always encouraging me.
I trust you, Lord.
I rest in you.
Heal me, Lord.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Has God healed your broken heart?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let God heal your broken heart. Better things ahead!

* [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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