Flowing Faith

December 5, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Jesus for all, all for Jesus

Jesus for all, all for JesusThe whole Bible have promises upon promises to God’s children. Are they all meant for me too? Oh yes. Even the ones in the old testament. This is because of Jesus. All comes together in Jesus. All the promises of God become “yes” in Christ Jesus. How wonderful is that? Jesus came into the world so everyone who believes in him could have eternal life. Jesus is for all, may all be for Jesus.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 1:20, NIV)

Jesus for all, all for Jesus

Jesus is the key to abundant life. Blessedly, he is God’s gift to all people. May everyone find peace and forgiveness in Jesus. And may we give our all for Jesus. Not just bits and pieces of us but everything. Because when we surrender our all to God, we are blessed beyond measure.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV, emphasis added)

You see, when we give our all for Jesus, God will become our everything. And that’s when all is well. Then nothing will separate us from God’s love and sweet presence in our lives. When we trust in the Lord with all we are, he will make our paths straight. God will guide us not just in the bigger stuff but also in small every day things. We are loved and cared for simply because we are his children. We can rest in God’s grace knowing that the Holy Spirit will keep on ministering to us as Jesus leads us home to God.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for sending Jesus into the world to save us.
Be praised for all the promises in the Bible.
Thank you for giving them to us too.
We want to give you our all, Lord.
Be our everything,
direct our daily lives
and leads us home to you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you give all for Jesus?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace God’s love and grace for you and respond to him by giving all for Jesus!

Linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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December 2, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
8 Comments

Crave for God

Crave for GodWhat do you desire most? What do you crave? The answer will define you. You are what your heart desires. As Christians, we are not to crave for a fancier car or a perfect new do. We are to crave for God.

Our Christian calling is to grow in respect to our salvation, we are to crave for its ultimate fulfillment in our lives. Do you? Or is your Christmas shopping list first on your mind? Peter urges us:

So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God. (1 Peter 2:2, MSG)

Crave for more

If you have had a taste of God, crave for more. Crave for spiritual nourishment like nothing else. Drink deep of God’s grace and let it change you according to God’s good plan for you. Grow up mature and whole in God. That’s what God wants for you, to make you whole and holy.

Why then do we cling to the worldly things? Why do we crave for earthly desires when all that is God’s has been offered to us? It does not make sense. So, let’s crave for God. Let’s let God show us this Christmas what kind of wonderful things he has in mind for each of us? I bet we won’t be disappointed. When it comes to God, we will never be shortchanged. Let’s crave for God.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for not craving you first and foremost.
Give us desire to know you more.
Help us to crave for only you.
Be our everything, Lord.
Bless us according to your plan for each of us.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you crave for God? Or something else?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you make God your top priority this Christmas!

* [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 courtesy of  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday.

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November 30, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Gracious Living

Gracious LivingDo you know that everything is grace? For real. We can brag about grace but nothing else. But in grace there is plenty to brag about. Grace is even more wonderful than we can ever understand. Because grace changes everything and everything is grace. When we live in grace, we don’t have to puff up our egos or try to be better than we are. You know, we are all just grace-magnets, that’s all. Nobody is better than others. Whatever you are, whatever you have, is grace. We are all just people in need of grace. That’s why we are all called for gracious living.

What could gracious living be?

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matthew 5:48, MSG)

We are called for gracious living because everyone is in need of grace and graciousness. Everyone has his or her battles, troubles, and challenges. No one should add on other’s troubles. We are called to live out our God-created identities. And that is a high calling. We are called to grow into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, to actively integrate godly values into our daily life.

How does it happen?

God’s grace is this miraculous power at work in our lives. Grace changes one heart at a time. Gracious living is just about letting God fill every nook and cranny of our hearts with his amazing grace. Then grace enables and empowers us for gracious living. It really is all about grace. Nothing but grace.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for loving us as we are
and providing us grace upon grace
to strengthen us and empower us for gracious living.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you live graciously? How do you do it?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you embrace God’s grace as power to enable and empower you for gracious living.

Linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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November 28, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Why I Sing Hosanna

That's why I sing HosannaGod is always with us. What a wonderful fact, don’t you think? No matter how badly we screw up, God is right there helping us, encouraging us, guiding us. Also, God is with us when the world fails us, Jesus carries us when our own feet can’t do it. He carried even our failings, our weaknesses to the cross. That’s why I sing Hosanna.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
(Isaiah 53:4, NLT)

We are safe in God

Nothing can take God’s love away from us. Absolutely nothing. May this give us courage to face our fears and step out of our comfort zone. God is even there waiting for us. He will never fail us, we are safe in him. That’s why I sing Hosanna.

He remembered us in our weakness.
His faithful love endures forever.
(Psalm 136:23, NLT)

We are strong in God

Because Jesus carried even our weaknesses on the cross, we are strong when we are in Christ. That’s why we can’t let our weaknesses and our failings win, we are to give them to God. Because when we do give them to God, he can use them as building materials for our future. When we faithfully surrender our everything to God, he does amazing things in our lives. That’s why I sing Hosanna.

We are perfect in Christ, never on our own

This is why we are not to be afraid of failing and not measuring up, because it’s never about us being perfect. You know, it’s about us leaning on Christ’s perfectness. All we need to do is to lean on Christ and give him everything, good and bad. God knows what to do with our imperfectness. Also, when our goal is not being perfect but complete surrender, we are suddenly free of performance anxieties and feelings of inadequacy.

Because our joy is Jesus.
Our hope is Jesus.
And our victory is Jesus.

That’s why I sing Hosanna

Come, Lord Jesus,
you are our salvation in more ways than one.
I need you, I praise you, I love you.
Come and save me from me,
from my sins, from my failures, from my fears,
from anything and everything that keeps me
from being all that you’ve created me to be.
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna!
In Jesus’ precious name,
Amen

Q4U: Why do you sing Hosanna?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you give all your fear, failings and weaknesses to God and receive grace upon grace in return!

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with #SmallWonder.

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November 25, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

If Surrender Scares You

If surrender scares youIf surrender scares you, this post is for you. One of the biggest reasons why people keep from truly following Christ and surrendering to God is the belief that then life would be boring or, at least, all the fun would be cancelled. People just are not ready to bury their dreams. It might seem that is what God wants us to do. But when you dig a bit deeper you find out that God wants to give us life and more life. God wants us to bring our dreams into his service. That doesn’t sound that scary, does it?

God calls us to surrender

It is true that Jesus calls his disciples to 1) deny him/herself , 2) take up his/her cross, and 3) follow him (Matthew 16:24) and that scares us to death, doesn’t it? Those are exactly the three things we do not want to do.

We don’t want to deny ourselves, we want to express ourselves in every way possible.
We don’t want to take up any crosses, we want to be pampered.
We don’t want to follow anyone, we want to be followed.

God empowers us to surrender

What to do then? It is God, after all, who wants us to surrender to him. We want to, but we are not able. Is all our hope gone? On the contrary. Exactly at the moment when we realise that we can not do on our own what God requires of us, our life is just about getting better. This is the moment when our life really begins. And this is the place where our life beings: at the foot of the cross. It’s true: We can’t. But God can. Come, Lord Jesus: empower us.

What does it mean?

Let’s look at this verse again. Could it be a bit less scary? Here’s how the Amplified Bible puts it:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] (Matthew 16:24, AMP)…

Denying oneself means that we don’t focus on ourselves but on God. We don’t use our gifts for selfish reasons but to glorify God. It does not mean that suddenly we’d be without character, dreams, and passions. Only our ego needs to die. The rest God has created so you can serve him as planned. Hence there is no reason to be scared of surrendering to God.

…and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. (Matthew 16:24, AMP)

Surrendering egos

Instead of cleaving to ourselves and our big egos, we need to cling to Jesus.
Instead of obeying our own desires, we need to obey God.
Instead of boosting our egos, we need to be boasting about the cross.

Life does not become boring when we follow Christ. Actually, quite the contrary. If we dare to follow Christ wherever he leads us, our life will be adventurous. God has great plans for each of us.

Life does not become fun-less when we surrender to God. Quite the opposite. If we dare to embrace Christ no matter what happens to us, our joy will be increasing. Holy joy will follow us.

Bringing dreams to God

We are not to bury our dreams, either. Instead, we are to bring them to Christ. He will do something beautiful with them. Not to boost our ego, but to bring glory to God.

Following Christ and surrendering to God is less scary than we might have initially thought. It is all God’s grace. Sure, we can’t follow Christ without being empowered by God’s grace. But God can empower us anytime, anywhere. And that’s our hope, our faith, and our joy.

Let us pray:

Gracious God,
We come to you with our dreams, our worries, our everything.
We want to be truly, fully yours.
Help us to surrender to you.
Empower us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses,
and following Christ wherever you lead us.
Be our hope. Be our joy. Be our everything.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What is the hardest thing for you to surrender to God?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you keep on surrendering both new and old things to 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 courtesy of  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. This post is refurbished from 2012. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday.

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November 23, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
0 comments

Praise God for the Peace of Christ

Praise for the Peace of ChristI love different Bible translations. Years ago I wrote a thanksgiving post based on the Message version of this verse and thought it was so inspiring. Today I read the same verse from the Amplified Bible and saw it in a totally different light. So here’s my this year’s thanksgiving post. Praise God for the peace of Christ.

Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always]. (Col. 3:15, AMP)

Here are my reflections based on the Amplified Bible version of the verse above:

  1. The peace of Christ is the inner calm of one who walks daily with him. Don’t live without the peace of Christ. Ask for it every morning, let the inner calm permeate every inch of you. The peace of Christ is the presence of God in your life. It’s the blessing of God in your life. Enjoy it. Embrace it. And don’t forget to praise God for the Peace of Christ.
  2. Let the peace of Christ – that inner calm of one who walk daily with him – be the controlling factor in your heart. Allow the peace of Christ be your guide and the ruler of your heart. That way you whole life will be a tribute to God.
  3. This peace of Christ is God’s gift to you and all the members of the body of Christ. God wants you to live in his peace. And it is ours if we abide in him. The further away we walk from God, the more stressed we become. So stay close to God. Walk daily with him. Live in his peace.
  4. Be thankful to God always. This is our calling: to recognise God’s goodness and praise him always. All the good things come from the Lord and God is good all the time. We are to praise God in every circumstance. You see, we don’t need to praise for every circumstance but we are to be thankful in every situation. God’s promises are always valid, he will lead us home to heaven. Hence it is always time to be thankful to God and praise him from everlasting to everlasting.

Let us pray:

Gracious God,
You are so good to us!
Thank you for giving us everything we ever need
and for loving us and blessing us with the peace of Christ.
We love you and we praise you.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Is the peace of Christ the controlling factor in your heart?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you walk daily with God and live in his everlasting peace?

Linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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November 21, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

God Wants to Bless You More

God wants to bless you moreDid you know that God loves you and wants to bless you? That’s why he sent his son Jesus into world to die for you. God wants you to be made right with him so he can spend time with you. He wants you to get to know him. And, yes, God wants to bless you more.

The father of the prodigal son told his oldest son who did not know how to enjoy life with his father “all that is mine is yours” (Luke 15:31, AMP). That’s God’s message to us too. God wants to bless you more. He wants you to enjoy life with him. God wants you to have all that is his. But he wants you to ask him.

God wants to bless you more

My children got bags of jelly beans last night. After dinned they asked if they could have some of them. I asked them “how many do you want” thinking 10 would be a good number. But my daughter said four. So I said “Okay, go ahead and have four”. Why would I give them more jelly beans if four satisfied them, right? That’s the way how our heavenly Father thinks too. He won’t give us more than we ask for even though he wants to give us more. Much more. He wants to give us all that is his.

God wants to bless you more. Much more than you can imagine. God wants his children to ask for all that he wants to give them. His plans are much grater than ours.

Let’s not limit God’s work in our lives. God really wants to bless your socks off. Let him do that. You are his child. And you can never exhaust God’s resources. There’s always more.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for your generosity.
It’s hard to believe that you want to give me all that is yours!
You are so amazing!
I do want to receive all that you have for me.
Enlarge my capability to receive your blessings.
Give me everything you want to give me.
May your will be done in my life.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you believe that God want to bless you more?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you learn to receive all that God has for you.

Image courtesy of Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with #SmallWonder.

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November 18, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

You Are Meant to Enjoy Life with God

You are meant to enjoy life with GodOne of the saddest things in life is to misunderstand God’s purpose and will. Some people assume (wrongly) that God wants to steal joy or he wants you to have a boring life doing nothing. You could not be further from the truth. God’s purpose is to give his children a rich and satisfying life. You are meant to enjoy life with God. With the words of Jesus:

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. (John 10:10, AMP,*)

You are meant to enjoy life with God

It’s the enemy who wants to steal and kill and destroy while blaming God for all that. Don’t fall for his schemes. Jesus came that we may have and enjoy life. And even that’s not all. Jesus came that we can have life in abundance, to the full, till it overflows. There’s nothing better than that.

Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. (Romans 5:2, AMP,*)

Jesus is the entryway into this remarkable state of grace where we are made right with God and then receive grace upon grace to empower us for victorious living. God wants us to enjoy life with him, to have all that he has. Stealing joy and stinginess are not part of God’s way of life and they shouldn’t be part of ours either. Our God is a generous and loving Father who wants his children to know his heart and revel in his love. You are meant to truly enjoy life with God.

 

Let us pray:

Gracious God,
Forgive us for ever doubting your goodness.
We want what you have, Lord.
Pour out grace upon grace and show us what it means to enjoy life with you.
Be praised forever and ever!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you enjoy life with God?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you revel in God’s love and grace and enjoy life with 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 courtesy of  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday.

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November 16, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
2 Comments

Capacity for Faithfulness

A capacity for faithfulness and obedience

What do you think? Do we have a capacity for faithfulness and obedience? I can still hear some people trying to assure me that it is impossible for a person to be faithful in marriage. I strongly disagree.

We are called to faithfulness by God, granted a capacity for obedience by God and we are empowered by the Spirit of God.

God wanted to teach this to His people and told Jeremiah (in Jeremiah 35) to invite the Recabites to a social function and offer them wine. As God and Jeremiah had predicted they refused to drink because it was against their ancestor’s command. The Recabites were a guild of highly-skilled metalworkers. In order to keep their trade secrets, they had carefully arranged their marriages and practiced the abstinence from intoxicants for centuries.

The Recabites didn’t care how the others lived or what was a popular thing to do. They had a strong identity and they were faithful and obedient for their tradition. God wanted his people to acknowledge that they did not only have a special calling but also a capacity for faithfulness and obedience just like the ordinary Recabites.

Then the LORD’s word came to Jeremiah: The LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Go and tell the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem: Can’t you learn a lesson about what it means to obey me? declares the LORD. Jonadab, Rechab’s son, commanded his descendants not to drink wine, and to this very day they have not drunk wine, obeying their ancestor’s instruction. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you haven’t listened to me. I have sent you all my servants, the prophets, time and again, saying, “Each of you, turn from your evil ways and reform your actions; don’t worship or serve other gods. Then you may live in the fertile land I gave to you and your ancestors.” But you haven’t paid attention or listened to me. The descendants of Jonadab, Rechab’s son, have thoroughly obeyed their ancestor, but this people have not listened to me. Therefore, this is what the LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: I’m going to bring upon the people of Judah and all those who live in Jerusalem the disaster I pronounced against them, because they wouldn’t listen to me or respond when I called. (Jeremiah 35: 12-17, CEB, emphasis added)

Use your God-given capacity to faithfulness and obedience

What could this mean to us? As children of God we are called to obey God and his commandments. God is calling us to follow him, but only Him. We are not to care about what is popular and how the others around us live. Plain and simply, we are not to live of the world. Each time we give in to the popular culture, we become a bit less ourselves.

In order to become who we were created to be, we need to stick to God’s plan for us. We need to practice our capacity to faithfulness and obedience in everything. Just remember: we are not left alone to do this. We are empowered by the Spirit of God. Hence we just need to remember to get regularly refueled. If we cut ourselves off the vine, we will die. In order to be fully alive, we need to cling to Jesus, no one else. But just as God blessed the Recabites, God will bless all who faithfully and obediently follow him.

 

Gracious God,
Forgive us for buying the lies of the world.
Empower us to live fully in You.
Grant us wisdom to choose wisely,
grace to obey You joyfully and
strength to serve You faithfully.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What do you think? Do we have the capacity for faithfulness and obedience?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you continue your journey faithfully and obediently!

Image Recabites refuse to drink the wine offered by Jojakim, the king of Juda, and Jeremiah” courtesy of Biblical Art on WWW by Francois Maitre (1475-80). This post is refurbished from 2011. Linking up with Unite the Bloggersphere and #tellhisstory.

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November 14, 2016
by Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith
4 Comments

Do You Worry or Believe Your Prayers?

Do you worry or believe your prayers?Do you worry your prayers? Or do you believe your prayers? There’s a huge difference between these two prayer styles. The first one leads to death and the other one to life. God is willing to help us. He just wants us to ask in faith, without doubting God’s willingness to help. How you do pray? Do you worry or believe your prayers?

If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord,being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides]. (James 1:5-8, AMP)

Do you worry or believe your prayers?

As you see, God has promised to give guidance and wisdom to those who ask for it. And he does not give drudgingly but generously and without rebuke or blame. Quite a God, don’t you think? But we need to ask in faith and not in doubt. We need to believe in God’s willingness and power to help us. You see, our feelings will betray us, God will not. Hence we need to stick to God and not to our feelings, circumstances or doubts. Because the same God that created the world and rose Jesus from the grave is using the same power to work in our lives here and now too.

It’s not about us, it’s about God

There is no reason to worry our prayers. Because it’s not about us and our incapabilities. It’s about God and his power. God hears our prayers and responds to our faith in him. That’s why we can’t be double-minded. God is asking us to be his and believe in him without wavering. Let’s rejoice in being his children and trust him like children trust their parents. Then it’s easy to not to worry but believe our prayers. And that, my friend, makes all the difference.

 

Gracious God,
Thank you for being our loving Father.
Help us to leave worries and doubts at the cross.
Show us what it can mean to live in your grace
and not to worry but trust you completely.
Enable us to believe our prayers.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: Do you worry or believe your prayers?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you trust God without wavering and live like his child!

Image courtesy of Sarah Bryant/crationswap.com, design by Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with #SmallWonder.

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