Flowing Faith

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

Do You Ignore God?

Do you ignore God?Lent is a perfect time to do some self-examination. Are you on the right track? Do you seek God with everything you’ve got? Or do you seek to fulfil your own yearnings instead? It’s too easy to believe in our head yet keep faith out of our everyday lives. Do you turn your back to God when you make decisions? It really comes down to this question: do you ignore God?

The Lord says,
“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.
I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!
to a nation that did not call on my name.
All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people.
But they follow their own evil path
and their own crooked schemes.
(Isaiah 65:1-2, NLT)

Do you ignore God?

Is it you God is talking about you in these verses? Do you stay away from God? Or are you so self-righteous that you don’t need Jesus? Do you follow your own crooked schemes instead of following Christ?

It is so easy to push Jesus away from the centre of our lives. Our enemy is way to happy to help us in the process. But if we do ignore God, it’s us who are suffering. Only in the presence of the Lord we can find true happiness. Because when we ignore God, we ignore our real selves. And that’s a recipe for a disaster, exactly the opposite we want.

What to do then?

But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. (Matthew 6:33, AMP)

Run to Jesus. Seek God with everything you’ve got. You see, he wants to be found. Let him bless you, guide you. Live close to him. That’s the recipe for happiness.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for turning our backs to you,
over and over again.
Thank you for always waiting for us.
Help us to keep Christ in the centre of our lives.
We seek you, thank you for letting us find you.
Be our everything, Lord.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you ignore God? Or do you seek God with everything you’ve got?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you keep Christ in the centre of your life!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke.

March 3, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
8 Comments

A Life of Purpose

A Life of PurposeDo you know that you’re called to live a life of purpose? Really. You’re not meant to drift aimlessly. Neither your calling is to entertain yourself as best as you can. God has given you a distinctive purpose. His interest in you does not end when you are saved. He has a meaningful plan for your life.

You are called to live a life of purpose

For He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life—a life set apart—a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit—we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago] (2 Timothy 1:9, AMP, emphasis added,*)

You truly are called to live a life of purpose. Hence, do not forget to live our your calling as a child of God. He has set you apart for holy living and a life of purpose. Very often we think we know what’s good for us. But I’ve found out that I am unable to know on my own what’s ultimately best for me. That’s why I need God to show me the way. God has already a meaningful plan for me and that leads to a life of purpose. And that’s what I want. I want a life of purpose. Because I want my life to count.

We are all called to serve God

It would be tragic if at the end of my life I would have missed my calling. That I would have not lived a life of purpose but my life would have become just an endless pursuit of entertainment. Especially when God has prepared a special purpose for me. And you.

We are all called to serve God in different ways. Our contribution might be small yet it is significant in the body of Christ. No one can take our place. Hence we need to find our holy calling and, by the grace of God, carry it out. And, rest assured, it will not only benefit the body of Christ but also we will ourselves be blessed by a life of purpose. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more fulfilling in this world.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for having a special plan for each of us.
Help us to find our calling and carry it out.
Give us a life of purpose, Lord.
Don’t let us waste our lives in endless pursuits of leisure
or in doubts and fears.
Guide us clearly, Lord.
We want to be fully yours.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you want a life of purpose? What is your holy calling?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you seek God’s guidance to find your place to serve the Lord!

* [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 via creationswap.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Five-minute Friday.

March 1, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Everything but God Is Dust

Everything but God is dustIt’s Ash Wednesday. It reminds us that we were made from dust, and to dust we will return. These are wise words from the beginning of Genesis (3:19). Yes, we are mortal. We need to count our days right. But also we need to pay attention to what we give our time and energy. Everything but God is dust. Hence everything but love is dust.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20, NIV)

Everything but God is dust

If we do remember that everything but love is dust, we are on the right track. Then we don’t hoard material treasures that won’t last and won’t bring happiness anyway. Also, if we do remember that everything but God is dust, our focus will be on the eternal things. Then, maybe, we also dare to declare like the psalmist “you’re all I want, God”.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:25-26, NIV)

Everything but love is dust; everything but God is dust. May this evoke new questions in our hearts this lenten season and may God guide us with the answers to those questions.

 

Gracious God,
Everything but you is dust.
Help us to remember that we are dust.
Give us wisdom to live wisely, Lord.
Help us to use our lives to serve you.
Make every day count,
show us how to live from the eternal perspective.
We want to desire nothing but you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you think? Is everything but God is dust?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you let God show you how to live your life to the max!

Image courtesy of Andrew Stutesman via Creationswap.com, design by  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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

Life Is a Gift from God. Do Not Take It Granted.

Life is a gift from GodDo you think life is a gift or do you take your life granted? Even if think in theory that life is a gift, there are times when we get so busy and task-oriented that we almost forget that life is a gift from God. A very precious gift from God. When we don’t appreciate breathing, we take life granted. And that leads us into life that is not all it is meant to be. What to do then?

Life is a gift from God

The only way to fulfilling life is through thanksgiving and praise. When we recognise life as a gift from God, we start appreciating every breath we take. And when we do that, we are fully living. Our life is not then any more glamorous or easier than before but life becomes full of meaning and purpose. And that is another gift from God. Suddenly we start recognising heavenly gifts around us. Life becomes more and more precious. And we love it more as we continue to grow in God’s love and grace.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15-16, NIV)

Do not take it granted

Taking God’s good gifts granted leads to misery. As soon as we forget to give thanks and praise God for his gifts, we take them granted. When we don’t remember we are not entitled to luxuries and niceties in life, we blame God for our hardships. That’s why it is important to seize every day and remember that life is a gift from God. Counting blessings is an effective way to keep us from taking life and other gifts of God granted. And that enables us to truly enjoy every breath we take.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for the gift of life.
Help us to appreciate every breath we take.
Do not let us take your gifts granted.
Help us to see your handiwork in our lives.
We thank you and praise you forever and ever.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you think? Is life a gift from God? If yes: How do you live out that in your life?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace life as a gift from God!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke.

February 24, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
8 Comments

Slow Faith

Slow faithThere has been a lot of talk about the slow food movement (I’m all for it) and about slow living in general. It is wise to slow down or you will miss what’s most important in life. What about slow church or slow faith – is there such a thing?

Slow faith

As much as we need to slow down to enjoy life we need to slow down to encounter Jesus. If we keep on rushing around and speeding on the fast track, we miss the precious beauty of everyday life and, most importantly, we miss the echoes of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Hence, we need slow faith. We need to slow down enough to let God to set the grace-filled tune and tempo for our lives.

 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:63, NLT,*)

Seize God

Slow faith gives God the right to intervene any time and select the ultimate time for everything. Scary? Probably. But, most of all, it is life-giving and peace-inducing. Slow faith brings forth fruit of the Spirit in God’s time. And slow faith blesses us according to God’s plan to us, not according to our own “gimme-everything-right now” plan that leads us away from eternal life. That’s why we are blessed by slow faith. More than we ever could be on the fast track. So, slow down, my friend. Seize the day, seize God.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for rushing through life
without slowing down and embracing you.
Help us to cultivate slow faith
according to your plan and timing.
Come and refresh our faith, Lord.
Pour out grace upon grace and
show us how to enjoy life with you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you cultivate slow faith?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you slow down and seize 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 via creationswap.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Five-minute Friday.

February 22, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Come to Jesus who Is Gentle and Humble in Heart

Come to JesusAre you stressed out, overwhelmed or burdened? I have good news for you. Jesus’ promise to give you rest is as valid today as it was 2000 years ago. No hooplas required. Just come to Jesus. He is already waiting for you.

Come to Jesus …

Jesus does not introduce a religious program for you to follow. Also, he does not want to burden you with more things to do. Instead, he invites you to come to him. Jesus wants to meet you personally. And give you rest.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30; NIV)

….who is gentle and humble in heart.

I’ve always found this Bible passage meaningful, I’ve even blogged about these Bible verses many times with titles like Real Rest, Dance with Jesus, Grace for Has-beens & Wannabes, Spiritual Rest and I am sure I will be writing about this discipleship aspect again. But this time I fell in love with these words of Jesus “I am gentle and humble in heart”. We are called to come to Jesus who is gentle and humble in heart. Wow.

This is who our Jesus is: gentle and humble in heart. So that’s why we don’t have to be afraid or hesitate about coming to Jesus. He truly is gentle and humble in heart. Our Jesus does not lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on us. He wants us to recover our lives, have rest in him. Jesus wants us to learn to live freely and lightly and joyfully. Don’t we all want that? Come to Jesus. That’s the start for grace-filled living.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for touching the core of our being
with you gentleness.
We want to come to Jesus.
Give us what we need,
teach us to live freely and lightly.
Show us what grace-filled living is all about.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Have you learned to “come to Jesus”? Do you find rest in Jesus?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you come to Jesus daily.

Image courtesy of  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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

Give Me the Spirit of the Lord

Give me the Spirit of the LordCurrently, I am reading through the book of Isaiah. I’m in awe of all the prophecies of the Messiah and how perfectly they came to be in Jesus. Today, I was reading about how a shoot will grow up from Jesse’s stump. Especially, the second verse describing the Spirit of the Lord resting on Jesus, took my breath away. I want that too. Give me the Spirit of the Lord – all of it!

And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him— The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and strength, The Spirit of knowledge and of the [reverential and obedient] fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2, AMP)

Give me the Spirit of the Lord!

We are called to be Christ-like. Hence we can plea “give me the Spirit of the Lord too”. The Spirit of the Lord is not reserved only for Jesus. It is meant for all the children of God. God wants to bless us with his spiritual gifts. And when the Spirit of the Lord will rest on us, we will know what happiness is.

Every morning I will ask God to give me the Spirit of the Lord – all of it: the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. All the things I naturally lack. But the things I need to become what God wants me to be. The things that will make all the difference in my life. And the things God is more than happy to give me. Yes! Give me the Spirit of the Lord!

Gracious God,
Thank you for the prophecies of the Messiah
and thank you fulfilling them all in Jesus.
Make me more Christ-like and
give me the Spirit of the Lord!
Also, may your will happen in/through my life.
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you want to have the Spirit of the Lord – all of it?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace what God is doing in your life!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke.

February 17, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
10 Comments

Less of Me, More of God

Less of me, more of GodI’m slowly learning to celebrate my weaknesses. I would never do that without God’s grace. But one of the most beautiful facts of Christianity is that we don’t have to be strong. Because God is strong. And when we live and move in him, his strength is ours, we can be as weak as we are. That’s why I’ve learned to celebrate my weaknesses. When there’s less of me, there’s more of God. That’s what I want: less of me, more of God!

Well pleased with weaknesses

Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me;but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength]. (2 Cor. 12:7-10, AMP,*, emphasis added)

Less of me, more of God

How blessed we are that we can celebrate our weaknesses. We don’t need to hide them or pretend they don’t exist. How wonderful that life is not about who is strongest and most capable. We can be who we are and know that we are loved by God.

Christian life is about leaning on God. It’s about being weak in our human strength but being strong in Christ. That strength will never let us down. Hence we can celebrate our weaknesses. God’s grace is always sufficient, we can rest in that. That’s why the recipe for fulfilling life is: less of me, more of God!

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for arranging it so
that your power works best in weakness.
Be praised for loving me as I am.
Thank you that your grace is always enough.
Work through my weaknesses, Lord.
Use me for your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How do you feel about “less of me, more of God” statement?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace “less of me, more of God” statement as your leading life principle!

* [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 via creationswap.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Five-minute Friday.

February 15, 2017
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Beautiful Jesus

Beautiful JesusWhenever you feel empty, call out to Jesus. His presence will comfort you. It’s okay to be nothing but a shell, the Holy Spirit is happy to fill you. When you’re tired, slow down and let the grace of Christ minister to you. One of the most beautiful songs about this is Beautiful Jesus by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser. Listen to it, let it sooth your soul, and praise the Lord. He is near to brokenhearted.

Lyrics for Beautiful Jesus by Jonathan David & Melissa Helser

Hey Jesus, won’t You come and dress me in Your thoughts
Pick out Your favorite ones I’m holding out my heart
You cover gray, empty space with color from Your well
Deep love is pouring out and filling up my shell

Chorus:

Beautiful Jesus, My glorious friend
The One who never grows weary and stays till the end
Oh how I love You, I cannot begin to say
All of the reasons that I love to sing Your name

Holy Spirit, won’t You come and cover me in light
Illuminate the dark space with color yellow bright
Like the stars coming out and filling up my night
The glory of Your promises, You make wrong things right
You make wrong things right

Bridge:
Oh, how I love You
Oh, how I love You
Oh, how I love You
Jesus

Outro:
I love You, no one’s like You
Keeper of my heart
Beautiful Jesus

 

Let us pray

Gracious God,
Thank you for inviting us to you,
especially when we are at the end of our rope.
Beautiful Jesus, our glorious friend,
we love you, we praise you!
Meet our needs with your grace.
Holy, holy Spirit,
fill our empty shells with your glory.
Surround us with your love.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Are you a friend of Beautiful Jesus?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you approach God for tender loving care!

Image courtesy of  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. I am linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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

The Sweetness of God

The sweetness of GodHave you ever experienced the sweetness of God? You know, that is the essence of God. We only get little glimpses of it at this side of eternity it’s real. It’s real, sweet, and wonderful. It’s God.

Knowing God is to know his sweetness.
Being loved by God means being enveloped in his sweetness.
Living in the Spirit is about enjoying the sweetness of God.

The sweetness of God is meant for all

It is readily available for all his children. However, it’s not magic. But way too often we get too busy to draw close enough to God to experience his sweetness.

This sweetness is the nectar that keeps us going when life crumbles around us. The sweetness of God is the energy that empowers us to endure hardships. This sweetness is the elixir that equips us for our journey to home.

How to experience the sweetness of God?

Somehow many of us have forgotten how to experience the sweetness of God. We can do that simply by reading his Word, by praying and praising him, by abiding in him, by living out the promises of God.

The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less. (2 Cor. 5:5, MSG)

The sweetness of God is indeed a little bit of heaven here on earth. This sweetness of God is what Christianity is all about: God loved us so much that sent his only son to die for us so we could be embraced by the Father.

It’s God’s gift to his children

God yearns to be intimate with his children.
He adores showing affection to his children.
God wants to show his sweetness to you.

How do you respond? Do you stay away or do you settle for less? Or do you run to God to experience his sweet presence? Nothing quite like it! Just do it!

 

Dear God,
We yearn to know you
and to experience your love
and to taste your sweetness.
Embrace us tenderly!
Fill us with your spirit!
Heal us with your grace!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How have you experienced the sweetness of God?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you draw close to God to experience the sweetness of God!

This post is refurbished from 2013. Image courtesy of Daniel R, design by  Mari-Anna Stålnacke.

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