Microwave Faith

Admittedly, I’ve been sitting on this post for quite some time. I kept putting it off and making excuses to not sit down and work on it, but when God begins bringing it back to you, more and more frequently, it’s time to listen to Him, sit down, and get it done. So, here goes!

We’ve all come home from work, or just a long day in general, too tired to put a ton of effort into makeing dinner, and too hungry to wait for something to cook for 45 minutes or so in the oven. So what do we do? We find the first thing that has fas and easy microwave instructions on it, rip it open, toss it in the microwave for the instructed amount of time (or however long we may think it may need to cook for) and there ya have it, dinner in five minutes or less. Is it cooked all the way though? Probably not. The edges are hot, the center is cold, and we’re left to either put it back in the microwave for a few extra minutes, or just eat it the way it is, and be less than satisfied with our “quick and easy” dinner. Yeah, sure it was a quick fix for the hunger pains that were seemingly eating away at us from the inside, but quick fixes are all too often also very temporary. Chances are, we’ll be back in front of the fridge, or the panrty in an hour or two looking for a snack to supplement what was supposed to tide us over for much longer than it did.

Guess what? Our faith and God’s promises work in a similar way. Crazy, I know! Maybe you’ve been praying about a new job, or maybe you’re single and getting frustrated in the season you’re in and can’t understand why you haven’t met the one God has for you yet? Waiting on a raise? Praying about starting a family? Whatever your situation or your hearts desires may be, that seemingly aren’t being met in the time frame you thought they would be, I can assure you, God’s promises are oven cooked promises. Hey, some of them are crock pot promises!

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

What exactly do I mean by that? Glad you asked, let me tell you! If we live with a “microwave” faith, it’s a lot of us trying to do things in our own strength, in our own timing, and the way we think things should be done. We want the quick and easy answer, the fast track to success, our next promotion, that relationship we’ve been idolizing, a new $80,000 car when we’re still on Dave Ramsey’s baby step number one to financial peace. If we continually try to do things our way, becasue we think we know what’s best for us, we will eventually crash and burn. We think things are working out great, the edges are perfectly warm and mouth wateringly delicious, until we bite into the middle and its still frozen, because we tried to fast track the process to satisfy our hunger for the next best thing. You may think you’re ready for that relationship, but the one God has for you,may not be where they’re supposed to be yet, and getting together prematurely with the right one, or worse yet, the wrong one, might end in heart break, or giving away things that weren’t ever meant for the one you gave them to. That promtion may have your name on it, but there may be things you still need to learn in the current position before you have the strength and knowledge to take it on. Raising kiddos, each of us are born for “such a time as this” and have been carefully placed in a specific time to make the impact that God has laid out for each of us, that time will come for those future children of God to be brought into the world to shine their lights at the appointed time.

God’s promises may take time, but He makes sure everything has been “cooked” to perfection, all of the ingredients have been added with percision and all things come together for a meal that satisfies and sticks with us until the next is complete and ready for us to feast upon. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have a home cooked meal from the oven or something that’s been simmering in the crockpot all day long, than some soggy pizza rolls after two minutes in the microwave! God’s promises are always worth the wait, and He will always give us immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine. I will gladly, 1000% of the time, be willing to wait for that!

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..”

Ephesians 3:20 NIV

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 NLT

“Gospel Varies”

Disclaimer: it absolutely does NOT, in case you were wondering.

Don’t you just love autocorrect? It’s definitely a love/hate relationship for me, especially when I’m trying to use voice to text in the car. Yet, oddly enough, that’s exactly where the inspiration for this post came from, so here’s the story.

Bear with me, I promise there’s a good point coming… as I was getting ready to go into work yesterday, I got a text from my manager asking me to stop at the store on the way in, to pick up some blueberries, (I work at a bakery.) I responded and told her that yes, I could do that. So I made a pit stop at the grocery store, of course got stuck in the slowest moving check out line, and ended up running behind, at that point all I could do was wait patiently. I finally got through the checkout line, to my car and on the road to work, when I realized that I was at least ten minutes behind, so I pulled up my messages and started using voice to text to let my manager know that I was running a few minutes behind. What I started to say was, “Got the blueberries…” at that point I glanced down to make sure it was picking up what I was saying, but what I looked down and saw had nothing to do with blueberries. Instead, my microphone had picked up the words “gospel varies…”. At the time, I laughed it off, but it wasn’t long before those words cycled back around and stuck with me.

“Gospel varies…”

No. The gospel is not a *conditions may apply* kind of thing. The gospel itself doesn’t change, or shift to fit whatever watered down version of “progressive Christianity” people are subscribing to today. The Gospel WILL however change us, change YOU, change ME, when taken to heart and taken seriously. God sent His son, to take on human flesh, spend 33 years preaching, teaching, healing, and performing miracles, to then be beaten, bruised, bullied, bloodied, and crucified on the cross, buried in a tomb, and rose again (hallelujah!) to take on the sins of the world. Not just the sins of the world in a broad scope, your sins, my sins, the sins of each individual who accepts Him, Jesus Christ, as their personal Savior, and puts their trust in Him, first and foremost. Yes, the gospel is true, its personal, and no, it doesn’t vary, not even a little. You can’t water down Jesus, or put Him in a box. Heaven is not our default destination, but Jesus Christ loves you, more than you can fathom, and He’s waiting for you to come to Him, so it can be YOUR final destination. So, what do you say?

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NIV)

Coffee with Jesus Thoughts for April 19, 2020

GUYS. First of all, I haven’t done one of these in forever, so it’s nice to get back to it! But, here’s what brought me here, ready? A comma, a simple comma that I came across as I was in the scriptures during my “coffee with Jesus” this morning. I started working through a preview version of Lisa Bevere’s “Strong” devotional on my YouVersion app, and the first scripture was Ephesians 6:10-18. Now, I’ve read over this passage time and time again, it’s one of my favorites, and it’s marked up like crazy in my current Bible. BUT, this time it hit differently, and maybe I’m just late to the party here, so just go with me for a minute, even if I am. Look at verse 13 of that passage

“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)

First of all, when the day of evil comes, not if, when. We’re not immune to evil, we just don’t face it alone. *enter the full armor of God.* But, check out this comma that I was talking about, “…and after you have done everything, to stand.” He not only helps us and gives us the strength to stand our ground and face the enemy in the midst of our battles, but… “…and after you have done everything…” *COMMA* “to stand.” He won’t leave us weak and worn down after we come out of our battles victorious, He gives us enough strength and protection to come out on the other side STILL STANDING, victorious, and worshiping Him in the victory. So, suit up with that full armor, tap into the strength that only comes from pressing into Him, and know, that your strength carries over even after you suit up and stand your ground when you face the day(s) of evil and the devil’s scheme’s on our life. I’ll leave you with this bit from Lisa’s devotional this morning:

“God has a plan for your life and the devil has a scheme. His scheme is to knock you out of God’s plan. The moment you became a daughter (or son, this devotional is geared towards woman) of God, you were marked by God’s Spirit and noted by the enemy. Before your rebirth you were his slave, and now you are a target. But once we are acquainted with our source of true strength, it’s time to rise.”

-Lisa Bevere, Strong

To Hell with the Hustle, Seriously…

Hustle: to push or force along. *Cambridge Dictionary

Hustle: to have the courage, confidence, self belief, and self determination to go out there and work it out, until you find the opportunities you want in life. *Urban Dictionary

Jefferson Bethke’s message in his newest book “To Hell With the Hustle” is a timely and sharp message that each of us need to take in, in the midst of today’s “hustle” culture. As Christians, we’re called to resist the hustle, slow down, not fill every second with yet another commitment. Believe me, I’m just as guilty of this. Sometimes life just feels boring if we’re not going and doing, constantly connected, busy, busy, busy. Who needs sleep anyway, right? Wrong.

We’ve become slaves to the devices in our pockets, on our wrists, or at our desks. Everyone has constant access to us, through social media, texts, calls, FaceTime, tags, etc. and we feel guilty if we don’t answer the call, respond to thetext, or click “like” on our bestie’s post three seconds after they hit that submit button. I’ve even fallen into the habit of sleeping with my phone laying on my pillow overnight, ridiculous.

“I refuse to glorify and elevate the grind, the hashtag #nosleepmovement, the noise, and commodification of our personhood through these little rectangular glass devices in our pockets. Who’s with me? ”

I’m in, are you?

So much of this book spoke to me and hit me, hard, so trying to keep this review from being a novel itself, will be incredibly difficult.

What hit me the hardest throughout the book, was the reoccurring theme of dancing, rhythm, and music. First, because I’m a musician, and second because shortly before reading this book, I had a dream that I was alone in a big room, with high ceilings, and out of nowhere,, came a tall, gentle man, who reached for my hand, and we danced slowly, until I woke up shortly after. The Sunday following that dream, my pastor wrapped up his sermon by saying, “let Him teach you how to dance…” As soon as I hit Chapter 3: Music from Chaos, and stumbled across this quote, I knew the exact interpretation of the dream I had had prior…

“Have you ever heard music so beautiful you could hardly bear to listen to it?

That’s the music God is playing. And He’s inviting us to dance to it. But here’s the thing we have to acknowledge about dancing, before we can keep moving forward on this’s journey together: Learning to dance takes work.”

So, I leave you wit this question: Are you slowing down enough to learn how to dance to and with the rhythm of Jesus? Or are you caught up in so much of the hustle culture that you’re tripping over your own feet, and getting ahead of Jesus and His plans for you? Listen closely for the rhythm and music of Jesus, slow down to His perfect pace, and start saying “To hell with the hustle” as a new way of doing life.

“But even if He does not…”

   

    Wow, I haven’t done this blog post thing in a really long time, but the Lord definitely hit me with something as I was reading Daniel this morning, so I’m back, finally! 

 

  I’m sure we all know about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace after refuding to worship the idol King Nebuchadnezzar set up, right? Well, the Lord lead me to the book of Daniel this morning, and as I was reading, verses seventeen throguh eighteen of chapter three lept off the page at me. King Nebuchadnezzar was angry at the three guys for refusing to bow down to his precious idol, and informed them of their consequences for not doing so. They replied (paraphrasing) “we don’t need to defend ourselves over this issue. Go ahead, throw us into the fiery furnace, we’re not afraid, because our God is able to deliver us from the fire, AND from your hand that threw us in there in te first place. BUT, even if He does not, we’re sticking to our guns and we STILL won’t bow down to worship your silly golden idol…” well, that REALLY ticked him off and he ordered for the furnace to be turned up to SEVEN times hotter than usual, and in they went. The heat even killed the soldiers that were assigned to throw them in there, that’s hot!! 

  I went back and let verse eighteen set in for a few… “But even if He does not…” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fully believed and trusted that God had the ability and power to rescue them from the flames, but they were also 100% set on refusing to worship the idol even if it wasn’t the Lord’s will that they be rescued from the flames. They fearlessly stuck to their word and expressed their unwavering allegiance to their God, the King of Kings! 

 We have to really ask ourselves, is our faith dtrong enough for the “but even if He does not…” moments in life? Even when God doesn’t pull a Superman and swoop in to rescue us from our situation or circumstances immediately, we MUST trust Him, and go throguh it knowing that He’ll use those circumstances for our good and our growth, and for His glory. We must go into any and all of life’s “fires” with confidence that God will NOT let them destroy us, but instead refine us, strengthen our witenss and testimony, and use us as living proof of His mighty, saving power. 

Trust Him, even in the fire. He’s got yout back. 😉 

Strengthening Your Faith Muscle

 

   “There will be pain, but much like going to the gym and being sore after a good workout, God has to work us through the painful things, just like we push through the pain at the gym to achieve the results we want. Don’t you have to break a muscle down, in order to begin to rebuild and strengthen it back up? In the end, the pain is worth the new found strength that we gain both throguh a good workout, and trusting God in all of our circumstances.” 

 

   I sent that to a friend a few months back, as the Holy Spirit fed it to my frantically typing fingers, and it just hasn’t left me alone since then. 

 

  How often do we find ourselves in the middle of painful circumstances or situations, begging God to lift the burden from us, or to relieve us of the pain, faster than we can process His reasoning? Think about it, like I mentioned above, when we go to the gym to get a good workout in, isn’t our frame of mind “no pain, no gain,”? If we don’t leave the gym sore, or wake up sore the next morning, we don’t feel like much was accomplished during that given workout. So, why then, do we not take that same mentality and apply it to our faith, and trusting God to work in our lives?  

  God never once promised us a perfect, pain free, easy life once we trusted Him as our Savior and invited Him into our hearts and lives. He did promise that He would never leave us or forsake us, even through our trials and temptations. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…” I mean come on, if everything was so easy and pain free, why would we even need to trust Him? When we go through those valleys, those dark times, trials, etc. we need to take a deep breath, trust God completely, and just know, the pain we’re facing, is what the Lord is using to continually strengthen our faith, bring us into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him, and prepare us for the next big, God sized thing He has planned for or lives. 

 

  If you find yourself in the middle of a painful battle, the Lord WILL fight for you, He WILL be with you in your darkest valley, and believe me, whether you can see it or not, you’re being strengthened and pulled closer and closer to God. Dig into The Word, hang onto the promises it contains, and remember… “no pain, no gain.” 

 

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the powwer of the weak.”

  Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)

Weary

Even in the deepest valley

I know You walk with me

I feel Your Holy Spirit close

as it brings me to my knees

When faced with trials and heartache

I trust You know what’s best

So I give to You my weary heart

and ease into Your rest.

~Amanda N Sams

September 9, 2018

Through the Fire

Though the fire surrounds me

while Satan takes aim

I know you are with me

as I walk through these flames

Each difficult trial

I face not in vain

Only You know the purpose

so I’ll trust in Your ways

In You I claim victory

I’ve already won

The devil has been defeated,

the battle is done!

Written April 1, 2018

Amanda N Sams

Guarded 

The devil will try to destroy you
don’t believe a word that he says

Doubts and lies are all he knows

Don’t let him into your head.

But, the God you serve is greater 

For the battle, you’re prepared 

In His presence you are guarded 

He makes the enemy run scared.
~Amanda N. Sams 

January 11, 2017

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

~John 10:10 

In His Time

faith-in-his-timing

 

In His Time

I’ll wait on Your timing

as hard as it seems

I know that Your blessings

far outweigh my dreams

 

You Lord, are faithful

You’ll always provide

and whenever I need You,

You’re right by my side

 

Your plans are all perfect

and You know what’s best

So, take hold of my heart,

put all of my worries to rest.

 

~Amanda N. Sams

June 12, 2016