Bold Steps of Faith

By Cindy Grasso

It is time for insecurities to go. For doubt and fears to fly away and be replaced by a confidence that comes straight from the throne of God.

“God is not offended by your biggest or boldest prayers.”- Mark Batterson from his new book, The Circle Maker.

Last night a friend of ours crashed on our couch last night on his way up to Redding, Ca. I didn’t see him but for a minute early this morning, but my husband got to talk with him and catch up. He told my husband the story of his journey from Las Vegas to Nepal. James’ heart beats stronger on foreign soil than it does on his native soil and has a strong call to missions.

Here’s the story:

Before he went to Nepal, he felt God wanted him to make right some mistakes he had made in Vegas- unpaid perfect parking tickets, an unresolved car accident, etc. So he walked into the police station and asked them to bring up all the records and see what he needed to to. Turns out that the amount came to about $8000. James went about getting any job he could, anywhere he could. From one odd job to another, James found himself in South Carolina and working as a painter. He found a good group of Christian men to work with and made $800 on the completion of the job. He thought to himself,” I am finally getting somewhere and will make a dent in the debt!” He went to church in South Carolina on the next Sunday thanking God for it. During the service, James felt the Lord impress him to give all the money to the Pastor’s son- all $800. So, he did it. For James, it was the widows mite – all he had. He gave it that day. On Monday, he received a call from from the government. “Oh no,” he thought, “more trouble.”  But the call was regarding a claim he had put in six years earlier for a pension his father had earned. His father had passed away and James was dealing with the estate. He filed the claim but nothing had come of it. Now they were calling to say, yes, it had come through: over a hundred thousand dollars to be split between the six siblings. James got $25,000. He paid off his debts and used the money to make his way to Nepal to share God’s love with the people there.

This isn’t a story about money, it is a story about God’s currency: faith. In God’s economy money is metal and paper, the real currency if life is faith. It is a reminder that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.  I don’t know about you, but I forget that God can do a whole lot more with what I have than I can. He works in multiplication while I inch along in addition.  Hearing my husband pass along this story reminded me that walking in faith is never easy but always worth it. He can do  “more than we could ask or imagine.”

“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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20, 21 NIV)

I think the enemy wants to keep us held captive in small thinking and small faith. He feeds our insecurity and doubts to keep us from moving forward.

It is time to shake off our insecurities. To step out in faith and confidence to live your life in joy and freedom. The freedom to live the adventurous plan God has for you.

1.  The negative thoughts will come- take them captive.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)

2. The attack on your attitude will happen- up your worship and gratitude.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

3.  Your sight (what you see around you) will be challenging, up your faith threshold – purposely focusing upward and God’s perspective.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV84)

Live Brilliantly Today™

Healthy Living and Spirituality

By Suni Bradford

This probably sounds like a strange concept but I have noticed the link between treating myself well and my connection with God.

In the past I would treat myself in the areas of food, which meant indulging in any and every yummy thing I wanted or by getting that extra hour or two to sleep rather than exercising and reading my Bible, thinking that I was enjoying life. My idea of “treating myself” was actually doing the opposite, inflicting harm to myself.  After taking a good look at my habits, I now see how destructive they were.   In looking at the effects they can have on our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well being, I’ve got a new outlook on living a clearer more satisfying life.

Spiritual well being

The emptiness we feel and try to fill with everything else in life can be replaced by peace and contentment through intimacy with Christ.  We may not even know what is eating us, but we know something is missing.   By remembering when I hear myself saying these things, either out loud or in my head, that the source of these lies are the enemy.  God has a much better plan. Jeremiah 9:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

Mental well being

The constant stream of negative thoughts, such as I can’t stop eating my ice cream, oh, I could never lose weight, I’ve never been one to keep up on any of my resolutions or goals.  This is one of the enemy’s best tools for keeping us sidetracked and in pain. If he can keep us thinking we cannot change, he has done his job in destructing our self-esteem and self worth as well as distracting us from our relationship with God.  By remembering our value.  Genesis 1:26-27 tells us, “Our value comes from the fact that we are wonderfully made in the image of God”. One of my favorite reminders is Matthew 10:30

“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Wow…. That pretty much clears it up”.  He loves us.

Emotional well being

By identifying our feelings we can learn to control our urges that we are attempting to mask. Emotions can trigger cravings as we feel that they comfort us.  As we develop a closer relationship with our loving God we are able to achieve more balance in the tough times as well as the good times. 1 John 2:16-17 “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever”.

Physical well being

The damage we can do to our health by over eating and not moderating our eating of things that are unhealthy for our bodies such as high fat foods, imitation/ processed foods, a diet high in sugar as well as yo- yo dieting.  Some of the effects may be headaches, irritability, fatigue, feeling like we are in fog all the time or worse yet, the stress on our hearts, arteries etc. 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 “ Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body”.  This also says to me the importance of exercise.  Keeping our bodies strong and mobile is beneficial now and as we age.

The energy boost resulting from the increased intake of oxygen, the building of muscles as well as the mental clarity is worth the lost sleep.  The confidence, a result of the discipline we develop, can help us to put out a positive energy to the people around us.  They’ll wonder what got into you.  Perhaps creating friendships and opportunity to share the love of Christ with them.

Accountability can be extremely helpful in the area of goal setting and encouragement.  I encourage you to not do as I did in the beginning of my transitioning to a healthier life.  I picked a pal that we would both say heck with exercise this morning, lets go have breakfast. However, we did work our biceps, right…

In believing that our lives can be more rewarding in all areas when the clutters of our previous patterns are cleared of negative aspects. Be renewed by Christ’s healing and forgiveness.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

I pray this article will encourage the desire to change from unhealthy patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving into peace, joy and a newfound confidence that God has a plan for us to prosper in every area of this great life.

“I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Now, go share the love.

Live Brilliantly Today™

 

Abundant Life

By Cindy Grasso

There is more to life than a mundane existence. More to life than a half hearted push to the deep breathing, joy fulfilling, purposeful life you crave.

Yes, it takes guts.
Yes, it takes risk.
And yes….you are made for it.

You are made to live an abundant life.
Not a half life,
Not an almost life,
But an abundant life.

This the word Jesus used to describe the kind of life he came to provide in John 10:10:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. ” (NKJV)

The Greek word used here for abundance is perissos. It carries in it the sense of beyond as in beyond what you can think or dream. Just the very first definition of perissos, floors me:

1) exceeding some number or measure or rank or need
a) over and above, more than is necessary, superadded

What’s the number you have set as a goal?
What is your measure of success?
Where do you rank in the world?
What do you need?

Goals are good, important and needed. It is also good, important and needed to know that God has something beyond all of those things. He is not limited by numbers, measures, ranks or needs. In fact he has come to give you life beyond them. He has a plan that far exceeds them.

God wants to lead you into a life that is living in a realm that is over and above just “the good life”. Leading you past what is just necessary and into what is extraordinary.

Jesus didn’t say, “I have come they might have an easy life and one easier than easy.”  No, he does not say that it will be easy, he says it will be brilliant.

Jesus also issues a warning in this verse. He warns that there is a thief out to sabotage your journey, to tempt you in a silky voice to quit, stop, to cease and desist. To convince you that you need to take your destiny into your own hands and do something with it. Leave the fold, get out of the cage, do it yourself. This is the voice of the thief, a professional liar who only wants your destruction. To steal your destiny, kill your potential.

In this wonderful verse, Jesus describes himself as a shepherd- The Good Shepherd. A provider who knows his sheep, takes care of them, guards them, and is ready to lay down his life for them. In the context of this kind of love and loyalty, Jesus says “I have come so you can have life and can have it more abundantly.”

There is more life for you. More life in your body. More life in your marriage, more life in your business, more life in your life. Abundant life.

This power packed word is the same one used in Ephesians 3:20-

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (NKJV)

I love how the Message version translates it:

“God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (MSG)

How do you walk in your abundant life?
• Let go of your limits.
• Listen to the voice of your Shepherd.
• Follow his lead.
• Trust and obey him, one step at a time.
• Repeat daily.

Live Brilliantly Today™