Hard Places

Hard Places

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV

There are times in life when the outlook is bleak.  The horizon does not appear to hold any hope or show any signs of rescue.  No white horse is in sight coming to the rescue.

Those are the times that it is hardest to hang onto this promise.  Those are the times that we have to exercise faith.  These are what I call hard places.  I’m in one now.  Saying that, I still have faith.  It’s being tested but it does not change all of God’s promises that I know to be true:

  • Whatever we ask we receive (1 John 3:22)
  • God’s thoughts and ways are different (Isaiah 55:8)
  • God’s Word will accomplish what He desires (Isaiah 55:11)
  • I have to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • Faith will move mountains (Matthew 17:20)
  • God’s promises are delivered through faith (Romans 4:13)
  • Faith rests on God’s power, not mine (1 Corinthians 2:5)
  • I must believe in God and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:5)

So I celebrate!

Father, thank you for every promise. Thank you for Your favor that goes before me. Thank you for all the delight and even the stretch that you’ve put in my path to show me You are in control.

Psalm 59:10, Psalm 84:11, Psalm 105, Proverbs 12:21

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

Check The Instruction Manual

check the instruction manual

“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:20 NIV

The Bible is a great book of instruction and life examples.  It contains just about every storyline you can imagine: murder, intrigue, love, sibling rivalry and more. You name it. It has it.  Every story serves a purpose.  A real life purpose for today.

As I was reading in Revelation, I began to recognize pieces that relate to this moment in time. As John was talking about the seven churches, I realized they all had their issues.  And they all had characteristics that He loved. When I think of God, I think of perfection.  These churches were far from perfect!

These churches hold lessons for churches today. They are roadmaps for setting things in order for the return of Jesus Christ. They represent the struggles of the churches of today and the corrections that need to be made.

When Jesus died on the cross for us, we were not perfect. We were made perfect in Him. Churches need to be operating in His Spirit in order to function and perform the work that needs to be accomplished.

Lord, perfect our faith.

Revelation chapters 1-3

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

Bienvenue Congo Kinshasa! Willkommen Leichtenstein!

Congo Kinshasa and Leichtenstein are our 109th and 110th countries to visit the ranch!

Thank you for coming by for some rest and relaxation. We are all about recharging! It is a thrill to have visitors from both near and far. It has been my heart from the beginning to reach the corners of the world to encourage others and to sustain their faith in Christ. Please come back again real soon! I pray that your hearts are filled with enough encouragement to share with others.
Come back again real soon,
Arrowheart Ranch

flag of congo kinshasa

flag of Leichtenstein

Repetition

Repetition

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

Moses told the children of Israel to be strong and courageous.  Then he told Joshua to be strong and courageous.  Then God Himself told Joshua many times to be strong and courageous throughout the battles that had to be fought as he led the children of Israel into the Promised Land.

Repetition is good.  It helps move things from our mind into our heart.  It develops neural networks that help us internalize principles and information.  It transforms fact into habit.  It builds faith.  It builds strength. It builds courage.

When I was in college, I worked on a neuropsychology research project on a phenomenon known as “kindling.” The principle was that our neural pathways learn.  As they process the same stimuli on multiple occasions, the neural pathways process the stimulus faster and more powerfully each time.  Reaction times decrease and the reaction intensity increases.  So think about it.  Becoming stronger and more courageous each time you hear these words!  That is powerful.

God, kindle me!

Psalm 52:8-9, Ephesians 4:30-32

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

Speculation

Speculation

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB

Sometimes our minds can get the best of us.  When I am struggling with my own reasoning and logic, I look at Paul.  Paul was an incredible figure in the New Testament. He was well educated and very versed in the scripture.  Acts chapters 21-30 are full of his adventures.  Here is what resonates with me about him:  First of all, he demonstrated superhuman faith.  Faith like his broke bondage in the natural world as well as the spiritual.  Imagine a prison break designed by God through praise and worship!

Second, he knew the voice of God and was obedient.  No questions asked.  He knew how to take every thought captive and step into obedience.  Even when everything around him screamed differently, he maintained his faith.  In prison. On a ship in stormy seas. In the face of angry spiritual leaders.  In front of high-ranking political authorities. He had a story to tell and he stayed true and obedient to it…No matter what things looked like.

God, give me supernatural faith to move large obstacles to glorify You.

Philippians 4:4-6, Job 6:24, 2 Timothy 2:25-26

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

Good Fruit

Good Fruit

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” Matthew 7:18 NIV

What happened before you accepted Christ as your Savior doesn’t matter anymore.  Somewhere I saw the quote “The past is the past.  Leave it there.”  I love that saying.  Everyone has a past.  If we are not careful, guilt can eat away our present moments and rob us.  No one is perfect.  God already knows that!  We are made new in Christ and have an awesome geneological tree!

Each step we take forward is an opportunity.  It is an opportunity to bear good fruit.  Because we are all so different, there are lots of opportunities to produce a flavorful smorgasbord if every Christian steps into their fruit-bearing season.  It will be a beautiful harvest like we have never seen.

I love that picture.  It reminds me of Jesus.  There is a verse in the song “Love, Love, Love” by Sidewalk Prophets that says:

“Read about a man who came in to this world
Loving every man, woman, boy and girl
Hung out with some folks that would make you stare
Saying come as you are, you’re welcome here”

I love this song.  To me, this describes  the way of Jesus.  While there is no way that we can do this in our own power, this is the fruit of the harvest through Him. Through Him all things are possible.

Father, breathe on me.  Fire me up with some of Your godly fertilizer so I can have an awesome display of blossoms and fruit that glorify You!

2 Chronicles 6:34-35, Jeremiah 14:14, Matthew 7:1, 6-8, 15-20, 23; 1 Peter 4:2-4, Philippians 4:13

bg-blogger-badge-500x500

Counterfeit

Counterfeit

1”The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 4:1-2 NIV

There is a ton of counterfeit faith out there.  It seems like new twists pop up every day. Some are old and obviously not godly.  Others take what we know and subtly take the gospel truth out of our faith story.

Now is the time to test everything by the Word of God and prayer.  As Christians, our most central relationship has to remain in our relationship with God our Father.  It is easy to get distracted by the latest flashy and trendy thing.  Test everything so that you will not get taken off God’s path for you.

As a mature person in Christ, understand the power and authority that has been granted to you in the spirit.  This very thing – understanding who we truly are in Christ – is a very scary thing for Satan and his demonic forces.  We are a threat.

Look how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4). Satan knows the Word of God and he knows how to twist it.  We must also know the Word of God so that we can tell the difference between the truth and the counterfeit.

Father God, please keep me tucked so deep in Your Word that anything that is not of You is easily seen and distasteful to me in every way. Walk with me and protect me from those that wish me harm.

James 1:2-4, Ephesians 6:12, 18; Proverbs 16:9

bg-blogger-badge-500x500