Can you have Faith without Doubt?

We’ve all heard the words, “Trust me, I know what I am talking about. I have been through this before.”

Probably from a parent… am I right? And if you are a parent you have probably said something similar to your kids.

We want what is best for our children. When we give them advice we do it because we have been there. As parents, we can see the consequences that they are going to face and we want to protect them from harm. They may not understand or see how our “advice” will help because it is not what they want to hear. But we want them to trust us. When they don’t, it disappoints us and even hurts a little…

Now imagine your heavenly father. He knows your future and He sees right where you are now. The Lord knows what you need to do in order to get to the place He wants you to be. But things don’t seem to be going right. Everything is falling apart and you start with the questions. Why is this happening? Maybe he is trying to give you some “advice”.  The Lord can use things that happen in our life to turn us in the direction that we need to go.

He is directing you to the future He has for you…one that will not harm you but give you hope. Sometimes He has to shake things up to get you to move in the right direction. The Lord has a plan and He has been preparing you for it. He is guiding you toward it if you will just trust Him.

I know it is hard to not doubt. All of the “what if’s” start rushing in. What if this doesn’t work out? How will I provide for my family? What if I don’t get this job? What if the doctors are wrong? What if the medicine doesn’t work? What if my kids get in trouble?

 STOP! Have Faith!

The enemy is trying to shift your focus off of the problem solver and back onto the problem. Do not doubt. It you believe the word of God you must not doubt. You must believe when you ask AND EXPECT.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
James 1:6‭-‬8 NIV

We are not perfect and everyone struggles with doubt. Ask the Lord to help you. There was a man in the Bible who brought his son to Jesus for deliverance. He said “…if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us”. “IF you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-24)

He wanted his son to be healed but the situation was overwhelming him. He was honest… help my unbelief!

If you are in a situation that is overwhelming you take a minute right now and read this..

  1. Your heavenly father sees you and He wants what is best for you.
  2. Trust the Lord and His plan for your life.
  3. STOP the “what-if” questions
  4. Focus on the problem solver not the problem
  5. Ask the Lord to help your unbelief
  6. Pray for your situation and expect to see results

Without Faith it is impossible to please God

Lord, thank you for guiding me through this situation. You see all things and you know what is best for me and all that are involved. I want to trust you with my whole heart but you already know what I struggle with. I ask that you help me in those areas and help my unbelief. I do believe you have a plan for me, one that will not harm me but give me a hope and a future. I put my faith in you and seek your guidance and direction. I trust that I will see results manifest before my eyes as you move all the pieces into place. I ask all these things in Jesus name. AMEN

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV

5 Things that Happen when You Praise the Lord

Praise (v) – 1. the act of expressing approval or admiration; commendation; laudation.

2. the offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship: A hymn of praise to God. (dictionary.com)

 

Praise is a way that we show gratitude to our Lord and Savior. This can be done in quiet prayer, shouts of joy, songs of worship, writing poetry, or so many other ways. If your mind is focused on the Lord and you are being thankful in honoring Him. This is a powerful tool that we can use anytime and anywhere.

 

Everyday I will Praise Him! Download this free printable!

(You can download this FREE print here!)

 

Every time we praise we

are causing things to happen!

 

Praise will:

  • Put your focus back on God – You are transferring your thoughts from you and your problems to the Lord and the good things he has done for you. Start counting your blessings and soon your attitude will change.
  • Calm and humble you – Being thankful for what you have and all that God has done for you can definitely humble you. As your focus moves off the problems and craziness that is surrounding you and onto the positive things that are in your life, a calmness will settle over you and bring you peace.
  • Invites the Lord’s Presence – The Bible says God inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3) God “dwells” in the atmosphere where He is being praised. As we humble ourselves and express our gratitude we are opening up to an intimacy with the Lord. It suddenly makes us aware of His presence and power.
  • Make the devil flee – The enemy does not like it when you praise! He cannot stay in the presence of God so if the Lord inhabits the praise of His people then the devil cannot stick around while you are in a place of sincere worship.
  • Paves the way for our Future – When all these things are taking place and now you are more aware of God’s presence and power you are attentive to Him. This is when He can guide you and give you direction for the future He has for you. Be listening for His voice.  It may come as a thought, in words from someone else, or even through a song on the radio. You are suddenly more attentive and can receive the direction He has for you.

 

If you are experiencing turmoil or disruption in your life I encourage you to stop what you are doing and begin to Praise your Lord and Savior. Give Him some undivided attention and welcome the change you will feel. It may not come instantly but just keep praising!

 

Today is the day to Praise the Lord!

Facing a storm in your life? Check out these tools to get you through!

God doesn’t call the Qualified, He Qualifies the Called

I first heard this saying when I was in my twenties. I had just been elected into a position in my church and although I was excited, I was also very overwhelmed. And I was young. How could I possible bring anything to the table with so many more experienced people around me? What could I possibly say or do that they didn’t already know or hadn’t already heard? Was I really called?

God doesn't call the Qualified. He Qualifies the Called.

Then standing in the fellowship hall, I lady walked up to me and said these words, ” God doesn’t call the Qualified, He Qualifies the Called.” She assured me God had called me to this position and He would give me everything I would need to do good for Him.

She was right!

As I was obedient, the Lord began to work in me and through me. He gave me ideas that would just pop in my head. The people around me, taught me so much and I grew tremendously during this time in my life.

Each time I start feeling unworthy of my position, or I feel God is calling me to do something new, I remind myself that He will “qualify” me. He will give me what I need to do what He wants me to do.

So, if you are in a new position, whether it be a leader in the church, a secretary, or you are starting a new ministry, remember this. He will give me the strength, resources, and relationships to fulfill His plan. He will put the right people in your path to help you along your way. He will give you the words to say at just the right time. He will be with you every step of the way.

If you are feeling unworthy, Be Encouraged!

God doesn’t call the Qualified, He Qualifies the Called!

What is the Joy of the Lord?

I recently ran across an article that asked, “What is the Joy of the Lord?”

Here is the answer from GotQuestions.org: The joy of the Lord is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

THe hoy of the ord is the gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit.



The gladness of heart that comes from knowing God – Do you remember what it felt like when you accepted Jesus into your heart? Did you feel a joy or overwhelming feeling? It may have been more of a peaceful feeling or even a feeling you can’t quite explain. But it changed you! From that point on you knew God. And His word says, ‘He will not leave you nor forsake you’. 

Abiding in Christ – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1 NAS) If you stay close to God he will shadow you with protection, strength, and help you through every circumstance. 

Indwelling of the Holy Spirit – When you accept Jesus into your heart and life the Holy Spirit lives with you.  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13 NIV) The Holy Spirit is your comforter. (John 14:16)


Whatever circumstances you are going through today know that…. The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength! 


Trust in Him, abide close to Him, and let the Holy Spirit comfort you. If you have not accepted Jesus as your savior I encourage you to read this

The Joy of the Lord is your Strength

 

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Are you struggling in your daily walk with the Lord? Can I pray for you? Leave a note in the comment section or send me an email.



Together We Can Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

The stories of those coming together to help are just amazing. It is encouraging to see people setting aside their differences and pitch in to help. It doesn’t matter what color, ethnic group, social status, or political party you are. Whether you are a victim of the recent storm or if you are a person looking for a way to help, God loves you just the way you are!

As I watch the news and hear of how people are helping, I have wondered, “what can I do”? We are donating water and supplies to our local church that is taking a load down to an area in need. But that seems so minimal… what else could I do?  

Then it hit me! I have the perfect resource available to use. I have created a few designs in support of Texas and the Hurricane Harvey victims. These are now available in the T-Shirt Shop! Proceeds will be donated to the recovery and relief efforts of Hurricane Harvey. At $14 each we can show our support while helping raise funds for those who need it most.

https://teespring.com/new-together-we-can-help#pid=2&cid=2122&sid=front

https://teespring.com/new-together-we-can-help_orang#pid=2&cid=2122&sid=front

https://teespring.com/praying-for-texas#pid=2&cid=2122&sid=front

So many have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and the after effects will last for months to come. Clean up and recovery will take a long time. We want to be an ongoing help. These will be available as an ongoing fundraiser. Shirts will be printed every three days as long as there is a minimum order of three per style.

Thank you for your support!   

Would you come close and hold my heart?

God will hold your heart…

I know the pain is too much to bear,
The memories flood your every thought.
The last hours replay in your mind,
And nothing makes it go away.

The days are long,
And the nights are longer.
You wake up wishing it was just a dream,
But then it starts all over again.

Don’t focus on the regrets,
Or think about the negative.
Comfort each other,
And let joy heal your pain.

Your heart feels broken,
Shattered into a thousand pieces.

But the Father is the mender,
Of all things broken.
 
Let him come close to you,
Rest in his strength.
God will hold your heart,
And not let it fall apart.
 
He will hold you in his arms,
And comfort you in every way.
He will give you strength in your weakness,
And joy in everyday.





Listen to this beautiful song by Tenth Avenue North
“Hold my Heart”

 



Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?
One life, that’s all I am.
Right now I can barely stand.
If you’re everything you say you are,
Would you come close and hold my heart?
 
 
 
 
 

For my husband and my “Drake” family.

Keep striving to make him proud.
                                      He will always be watching over you.



~In Memory of Travis Drake~
 

What are Your Gifts and How to Use Them


When God molded you, he placed within you many talents and gifts. Some talents are apparent right away and some need to be nurtured. 

The parable of “The Talents” in Matthew 25:14-30 tells of a master who is going away and entrusts his property to his three servants. A “talent” was a significant amount of money. To the first servant he gave five talents, to the second he gave two, and to the third he gave one talent. The master leaves without giving the servants any instructions on what to do with this property but it is apparent from the story that they knew he would want it back when he returned. The first two servants used their knowledge and doubled the talents. The third, however, was afraid. He dug a whole and hid his talent in the ground so it would be “safe”. After some time, the master returns and the servants bring the possessions back to him. The first servant explains that he doubled the money and the servant replies, ‘Well done, thy good and faithful servant. You have been trusted with few things, now I will put you in charge of many’. Likewise, with the second, the master is proud of his accomplishments. As the final servant brings his one talent back and presents it to his master he explains that he was afraid so he hid the talent in the ground. He obviously was afraid he would lose it. The master is harsh in his words and call him wicked and lazy! He couldn’t even deposit into the bank where it would at least gain some interest. So, he takes the talent from him and gives it to the first servant.

The moral of the story is: Use it or you Lose it! 



I am sure you have heard that saying at some point in your life. It is so true! If you have a gift, that you have ever quit using for a while, you know how hard it is to come back to it at the same level as when you left it. Whether it be; singing, playing a musical instrument, dancing, drawing, or anything else that you are gifted to do, it is important to continue using it.

Three steps to using your gifts and talents:

 
1. Identify 
2. Nurture 
3. Use them 


Identify your gifts and talents – as many as you can think of. Write them down. Some of these will be easy. Then ask yourself, ‘What do I like to do?’ Write those things down too (even if you think you’re not good at them). Next, ask your family and friends. Sometimes others can see things in us that we can’t see ourselves. You may be gifted in encouraging or helping others. That is a “gift”.

Nurture them – practice, take lessons, practice. Feed those talents that you enjoy doing. Get better by doing them more. 

Use them – Find a way to use the gifts you have to benefit those around you. Can you use this talent somewhere in the church, at your job, or in the community? God gave you your gifts because he wants you to use them for good. If you use them He will increase them. Do not hide them or He might just take them away!

Other resources to help identify your gifts and strengths:
Available from Amazon.

Living Your Strengths: 

Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community 

by Robert L Winseman

affiliate link)

For I know the Plans I have for You…

“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 a hope and a future.”


www.shiningwithsparkle.com


This is one of my favorite scriptures! I love to plan…plan my workday, plan my weekly menu, plan our vacation, and write it ALL in my monthly planner. I like to know what I am doing so I can “mark it done” and have that since of accomplishment. 

Many times our plans are not God’s plans, and our ways are not God’s ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) I used to get upset and stressed when things did not go as I had planned. But, I have learned that I can plan… and still be flexible. There will be times when something comes up that must take priority over what is on my list for that day. It may be a task that is more important, a sick family member that needs attention, or a divine appointment with a stranger. I don’t want to be so busy that I miss an opportunity that is placed before me.   

www.shiningwithsparkle.com



I know God’s plan is better than my plan and I have to trust Him and be sensitive to his leading in order to stay on the right path. I want to be in the center of His will; whether I am working, with my family, or doing a ministry for the Kingdom. 

The path is not always clear. At times, it can be scary because I don’t know what is going to happen next. I want to see ahead and know that everything is going to work out… but God knows. He can see ahead and more importantly He sees the “big” picture. He knows what is best for me and His plan includes good things for my future! 

You Are On The Path to Your Destiny!

God’s plan for you is not just for you. His plan includes using you to help others in this world. He has a destiny for you!

God always works on more than one level, what he is doing in you, for your benefit, and what he’s doing through you, for the benefit of those around you.

www.shiningwithsparkle.com


Think about Joseph for a moment:

He had a dream that his family was bowing down to him. He thought the dream was about himself, but Joseph’s purpose was so much bigger. He would ultimately sustain the lives of not only his own family but so many other lives as well. (Genesis 50:20 – You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives)

We often say, “If I’d only known then what I know now…” We can’t see the end. We may not even be able to see the next step, but if we trust God and believe in his word than you must believe Job 8:7 which says, ‘Though my beginning was small, yet thy latter end shall greatly increase’ and Jeremiah 29:11 that says ‘For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans for a hope and a future‘.

The Lord has a plan for you and even if it starts out small don’t be discouraged. It took twenty years for Joseph to fulfill his purpose. In that time, he dealt with struggles, pain, lies, heartache, loneliness, and lots of emotions. During that time God was shaping Joseph and preparing him for what was to come. He positioned him in the right place at the right time to fulfill God’s greater purpose.

You are on the path to your destiny. It may be tough, painful, and emotional but God is using this time to shape you into the person he intends for you to be. He is strengthening you, building your character and maybe even testing your faith. He needs a strong person to do His work. When you are facing trials remember James 1:2-4, ‘Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance…

www.shiningwithsparkle.com



Your path of pain can be your place of preparation. When the road gets difficult, don’t look for a way out. Ask God to guide you through and teach you what you need to learn. He will walk through whatever it is with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Know that God is using your circumstances to prepare you for what lies ahead. Be encouraged that God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28)



This post was inspired by the book, “Now What: An honest look at following Jesus through difficult times.” by Scott Rodgers (affiliate link provided)

God, don’t you have something more for me?

Are you content where you are at in your life or do you have a desire for something more? 
Do you ever think, “Is this it? Is this all there is for me in this life? This can’t be where God intended for me to stay.”

www.shiningwithsparkle.com



You are not alone. Even if you do not know what your future holds, God has a great plan for you! He has given you gifts, talents, and even relationships that He will use to take you down a path that will ultimately lead to your Purpose. 

That path may not be an easy one. Sometimes the Lord takes us through trials to prepare us for the work He has for us to do. The storms of life make our faith stronger. The fire cleanses us and removes things that don’t need to be there. The rough, rocky roads make us trust Him even more and the mountains reveal God’s glory. 

Whether you can see it right now or not, you have a destiny to fulfill!

God has placed before you opportunities and responsibilities that are covered in divine significance. He has given you that desire that is in your heart. The talents he has given you and the experiences you have had, will all work together to be used on behalf of the kingdom. You WILL be more, You DO have a purpose,

You ARE a part of God’s bigger plan.

God is with you in the very place you are right now. If you are reading this form your desk, your living room, or your car; He knows where you are and He is with you. 

He DOES have a plan for you. That “thing” that you are passionate about – he put that compassion in you for a reason. It is not a coincidence. Now, what can you do to move forward? 

www.shiningwithsparkle.com



Find a way to work toward that desire in your heart. It doesn’t have to be a big step or cost money. If your passion is to help the homeless, but you do not have the financial resources to fulfill your vision, start with what you can do. Maybe you could volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate items to a homeless shelter. If your desire is to help young people; sign up for a mentoring program or volunteer to help with the youth at your local church. 

Think about your desire and then find a way to take a step toward it.

Doing something, even a small something, will encourage you and make you fill better. Ask God to open doors for you and then look for those opportunities to happen. They may not appear in the way you would imagine, so be aware and be open. Trust that the Lord will reveal His plan to you.