Tag Archives: faith

Non-Christians don’t stop the gospel

1 Feb

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times — humans who do not believe in God are not stopping the gospel from advancing.  In fact, most of them, even if what seems like intense resistance, are open to hearing, reading and investigating religion and especially Christianity.  They contemplate and think about life more than they let you believe they do.  What comes out of their mouth is not very often a direct reflection of the battle that is really going on in their heart and mind.

The only people who stop the gospel from advancing are those who claim to be Christians and yet, blasphemy the written word of God by using the name of God from the Bible to be a deity they believe in, however, really don’t believe or live by the authority of Scripture at all and simply create their own moral law and try to confuse people that they really follow God’s moral law.

Unfortunately, these people often get a lot of attention because they say things non-believers want to hear.

“You don’t have to repent of sins. We all sin daily and fall short of God’s glory.”

“God loves everyone, and He lets all good people go to Heaven.”

“There is no judgment allowed on behavior for God’s children against each other. We are to love, not judge.”

“God wants us to be happy.”

To the uneducated person, it just all sounds so wonderful and hopeful.  And better than what they’ve heard is in scripture.

I don’t recommend reading this whole article because it may seriously be the longest article I’ve ever read in my whole life. But click on it and read some of it.

It’s important  we see that ALL of scripture is true.  Even the verse found in Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

Practical Application:

Take everything you see, hear and read and compare it to the infallible Word of God (even EVERY WORD *I* write too!!!)

Remember that just because someone says they believe in God, does not mean they do.  The false Christian is everywhere today.  They use God’s name, and apply their own moral law.

We can’t out give God.

19 Dec

I’m here guys — and I have so much to write about.

Between things I’m reading in scripture, and the controversy with Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, and just the ups and downs of waiting to find out this surprise gift my husband got me for Christmas that I honestly don’t know the details about and HATE surprises…. there is so much to catch you up on!!!!!

However, my husband is also on vacation for 2 full weeks!! So, I’m limiting my “blog time” and gearing up for Christmas parties!

BUT…. I HAD to get on and fill you in with the latest.

Tuesday night, my hubby went to play guitar like he often does once a week. To his surprise, one of his friends bought him a Christmas present. It was a CVA Wolf Muzzleloader (a gun, for you non-hunting/game friends out there.)
That’s a VERY nice gift.

We were not expecting anything like that, and certainly can’t repay him for such an awesome gesture.

At first, if I’m being totally honest with you, I was taken back. I mean – I was THRILLED for my husband to receive such a fantastic gift… but I quickly felt a little slighted that this guy had totally just blown my own present for my husband out of the water.
It took me all of a couple minutes to gain some immediate perspective. This friend did give the present… but the truth is — that was a present from Jesus to Josh to bless him for his giving heart.
And – we ended up with 2 deer in the freezer this year, but muzzleloaders, they have their own season – so he can hunt for more food beyond just the week of shotgun season here.

Blessings, blessings blessings!!

If that wasn’t enough, today I went to the mailbox.

I pulled out what I first thought was a Christmas card, but I noticed the address was from Pennsylvania. We don’t know anyone from PA. So, I turned the envelope over to open it and there was a tracking number attached. Right then, I knew this was a gift. No one puts a tracking number on their Christmas cards!

To my amazing surprise… there was a card that said “For unto us a child is born” with a $100 gift card to Meijer.

Are you for real????

I’m blown away God. Oh how you love us and you remind us gently that you’ll always provide for us. And no matter what ways you ever call us to give, we can’t out give you.

I am so thankful.
And if it was you who sent that gift card……. thank you for letting Jesus use you to bless us. I was moved to tears!

Practical Application –

Never be afraid to give big — God moves powerfully through our acts of obedience!!!

When faith collides with reality….

15 Jul

**Before I write this post…. let me note something really quickly.  There are still a number of you who type in different search engines every day “Kayla Gulick” or “Lessons of Mercy” to get to my blog.  If you’re a WordPress blogger, you can follow my blog easily and it will show up in your “Reader feed” when I post a new entry.  If you’re not on WordPress, there is an entry space on the right side of my page toward the top that allows you to enter an email address to follow me.  When you do so, you are not spammed with a bunch of WordPress items, you ONLY get an email when I add a new post.  It’s just an easy way to be in the loop, without having to check back daily to see if I’ve updated, and to be sure you don’t miss any that you’d like to read.**

 

Have you ever listened to someone pour out their heart on an issue and felt like because it didn’t involve your emotions, you were able to see some answers a little more clearly than they were?  I mean, you may not have “THE” answer for them, but you were definitely able to say some tough truths (or think them, depending on if you were brave enough to say them to the person.)

 

I’m right there.  But not for someone else.  For myself.

I see my circumstances – I see the decisions we need to make – I see the faith aspect – I see the reality aspect –

and I can HEAR myself and the words I would be preaching at someone else if it were someone else in my shoes.

And yet, because MY emotions and MY realities surface quickly, my belief in my own words is small and weak.

It’s such a scary place to be, when faith collides with reality.

God performs miracles.

And yet, sometimes when we pray for a miracle, He chooses not to provide the miracle we were hoping to get.  Notice I didn’t say He doesn’t provide a miracle, it just might not be in the form that makes the most sense to us at the time.

For example, I believe we’ve ALL prayed for someone who was ill and needed healing.  And we’ve probably all seen both sides of the miracle OR reality take place.

Some people are healed this side of eternity, and others are healed on the other side of eternity.

 

This time, I’m not asking for a healing miracle.

However, I feel just as uncertain about the financial miracle we need.

Is God going to provide this time?  Or is the reality of the situation going to lead to a certain death, which doesn’t mean God isn’t there – but it does mean it’s the direction the Lord is allowing.

I hear the next question – What is God calling you to?  He’ll provide if He’s the one calling you to take the leap of faith financially.

I agree.  He will.

I’m not sure I’m ever going to know which way God is leading me.  Wise godly counsel has led me to believe both ways are God’s leading – as well as scripture – as well as my own list of pro’s and con’s.

If only I was removed from my own reality — I wouldn’t be so undecided.

Practical Application:

Keep seeking, keep praying, keep fasting, keep asking – until the spirit pushes you toward a decision and your excuses lose their stronghold.

And if that doesn’t happen – accept that nothing happens outside of what God allows, so even your wrong choices can be used by God for your good.  God is sovereign over His children – you can’t make a decision that is outside of His reach.

 

 

 

It doesn’t seem to fit….

1 Mar

I despise having to make BIG decisions that require faith.

It’s not because it requires me to trust God.  It’s because it requires me to trust myself that I’ve actually heard from God.

If I heard God say, jump off a cliff and I’ll catch you…. I could do it.  I have a very active faith when I’m sure that I’ve heard from the Lord.

The problem is, I’ll sit at the top of the cliff for about 3 years asking myself “Did I really hear from the Lord, or is this something *I* want, and I’m just able to put a really Godly spin on it?”

There are few times in life that I can’t make a pretty strong godly argument.  Heck, for years I justified my sin to the point where I fooled myself into believing it didn’t matter much.  Sad.  But true.

What’s even MORE of a twist in this whole mess of “are you really speaking Lord” is that when I’m sinning or asking God to reveal sin… He yells at me with a BULLHORN!  I never miss that guilty conviction that pounds my heart out of my chest when I need to repent or apologize.  So it isn’t like I don’t know the Lord’s voice.

I was given a word yesterday from a lady in our church.  She has an incredible gift to receive dreams, verses, and encouragement for people.  It’s quite amazing.  I heard a word she gave to a friend of mine once and it was so spot on, we both got teary eyed and praised God.

However, this word for me.  Though I want it to fit desperately because I want a word from the Lord… I can’t seem to get it to fit.  I feel like I’m trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

She said, there is a question in me… “Can I have more, am I worthy?”

Here is a snip from an email I sent my best friend this morning….

” I don’t struggle with not feeling worthy.  To be honest, I struggle more with feeling like we ARE worthy, but God still might say no. All I mean by that is to say, we’re living for Him, we’re giving to the Kingdom, we’re trying to get closer to a church and a community where we feel called to serve….so I’m positive we aren’t just asking for something selfish, or to have bigger, better, best.

My battle is whether or not to ask God to do something that I’m already certain He’s not going to do.  Partly because I feel like, God doesn’t remove consequences of sin.  He never does.  He forgives.  But if He removed consequences, we’d be more likely to repeat those sins.  So, just because we out grew our house, that doesn’t mean He’s going to automatically move us now.  We bought this house without Him, and now we’re paying the consequences.
Also, I don’t know that this is even necessary for God to perform a miracle.  It isn’t that I don’t feel “worthy” of one.  It’s that, I’m not 100% positive HE is calling us to move (even though WE want to and can put all sorts of Godly spins on why we should) so if it isn’t fulfilling His purpose, He isn’t going to perform a miracle for it to happen – no matter how much I take the advice of people and just start speaking it over us and have faith that He will.

I know we CAN have more.  The problem is… Does God WANT us to have more?  He has children He loves deeply living in prisons on the other side of the world being tortured for their faith.  And I’m suppose to believe because I’m worthy and can have more that I’m going to get a 3 or 4 bedroom house in a town I want to live in and my house is going to sell?”

___

I’m just being real, raw and honest here.  I REALLY struggle with speaking things over my life that I *want* and proclaiming things to be as if they already are, because it leaves me with a HUGE pile of disappointment, frustration, and self-pity when God doesn’t fulfill my proclamations in His name.

If HE is calling it to be, I can speak it, and it will be.  If I am calling it to be, I can speak it, and that’s as far as it is going to go.

I really don’t like writing posts that I don’t have ai Practical Application for… but today it is what it is.

Someone in my Small Group said the other day “Maybe you don’t trust that you’re close enough or know God well enough to hear his voice.”  Maybe I don’t.
 

I might have freaked out a little….

16 Feb

God

I’m starting with a sincere apology.  I know it can be really frustrating reading a story when someone can’t give ALLLLLLLLLLLL the details, so please forgive me.  You know here at Lessons Of Mercy, I have no secrets.  I mean, I shoot it straight.  Even when that means admitting my terrible failures.

But this time, it’s not just my secrets I’m protecting, I’m protecting my family…. so “mum’s the word” on the graphic details…. for now.  I’ll be able to share, I promise!

That being said, I still think I can share some honest truths and write  a relatable post worth reading anyway, so I’ll give it a shot!

As you already know, Josh has taken the lead in our lives and put a plan into motion.  I’ve been leery of the plan a bit.  Not because it doesn’t provide the end results I want.  IT DOES!  I’m leery of the plan for two reasons.  1.) It is NOT how I would have went about everything.  2.) It is requiring that I trust that God is leading even though I am NOT going to be able to see the big picture in the process.  We HAVE to take steps without being able to definitely without any doubt, see the end results we’re going to get.

I get that for some people, that’s not really that big of a deal or that scary.  For me, it’s paralyzing.  You gotta know me and how planned, detailed and organized I am.

1 + 2 = 3  If I’m given something that looks like this 4x + 5 =13, I’m not afraid of the factor because I can logically figure it out.  x = 2.  I’m happy to proceed forward because my brain saw the problem, and quickly found a SAFE and PREDICTABLE solution and answer.  When I’m given 15x + 37y – a – b +21c = 1,004 + 8z – 20x  (which I don’t believe can possibly have an answer since I just typed a mess of stuff) I start to panic!

Our plan has a LOT (and I’m not exaggerating this time, even though I have the tendency to do that) it really has a LOT of variables at this point.  Even still, there was something that VERY QUICKLY surprised us on Monday that we would know more about on Wednesday.  It felt SO MUCH like a total “God thing.”  Seriously, the most perfect unexpected blessing.   Well….. it didn’t work out.

I may or may not have freaked out a little.  OK, I seriously freaked out.  I mean, I kept my calm and didn’t act like a raging idiot or anything, but I was overwhelming flooded with the notion to scrap the whole plan.  If this new surprise blessing (which would have given me more insight to the end result) wasn’t going to work out…. then what in the world were we doing going through with this plan anyway?  I wanted to throw in the towel, and even though it wouldn’t bring the end results I really wanted, I felt much safer to stop “dreaming” and stick to the predictable, what I can physically see and trust, life that I’ve been living.

My husband was unimpressed with my lack of faith.  He told me so.  And I was glad he did.

If that wasn’t enough.  My best friend let me have it the next day too.  I am also glad she did.

By Thursday afternoon, I had my head back on and my faith was being restored.

And guess what….. another surprise.  What was off the table Wednesday afternoon that had me freaking out… may actually not be off the table just yet.  (Don’t I feel sheepish.)

Practical Application –

Acknowledge and confess to the Lord that even though I love Him, I have such a hard time trusting Him when I can’t see the future.  Then spend some time asking Him to renew and strengthen my faith and trust in His sovereignty. (I’m not afraid of going hungry… I’m afraid of getting my hopes up to be disappointed.  I only like to “bet on” things when I know I’ll win…if that makes sense?)

I believe, help my unbelief!

18 Jan

There have been numerous times in my life when I’ve really struggled with such verses as Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

At first glance, that sure seems like we can “wish” for anything and just believe we’re going to get it and we will.  It’s a little tempting to say “Dear God, May I have a million dollars? I believe I’m going to receive it. Amen.”  And POOF – there’s your money.

Let’s look at the verse in a little deeper context.

18 Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

21 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

There are a number of people who believe this was spoken to the disciples and was meant for them. As in, today, this doesn’t apply to us.  Any Christian today can’t just walk up to a fig tree and say “wither” and it will, even if they believe.

What do you think?

For me, what I discovered of myself if that I have yet to get my mind completely around “if you believe.”

I don’t know what is going on in your life right now that has you down on your knees asking for a miracle – but no doubt at one time or another, we all face these similar things.

– God, we don’t have enough money to pay our bills, HELP!

– God, my child is sick, it’s out of my hands, the doctors don’t know what else to do, HELP!

– God, I’ve crunched all the numbers, there is no way we can sell this house, HELP!

– God, we want a baby so badly…we’re doing everything right.  Why can’t we get pregnant? HELP!

– God, my spouse is so blind to the way they’re treating me and how lonely/hurt/frustrated/depressed/defeated/disrespected/unloved I feel in my marriage.  HELP!

– God, I’m so miserable at my job.  They treat me so poorly.  I’m afraid to quit because I don’t have anything else lined up and there are no other jobs out there/or/ I don’t have a college degree.  HELP!

– God, my loved one is so blind to the truth of scripture.  I can’t seem to say anything that breaks their hard heart.  I don’t want to see them end up in Hell.  HELP!

Let me share a story from the Bible with you that is SO MUCH MORE a fit for me!

17 And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; 18 and [k]whenever it seizes him, it [l]slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and [m]stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” 19 And He *answered them and *said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” 20 They brought [n]the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21 And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Yes – now THAT nails it!

I believe God CAN do what I’m praying about.  But in the back of my mind rolls around all the “logical” stuff.  You know, something more along the lines of “But WILL God” AND “What if He doesn’t” AND “What measures can I put into place next incase God doesn’t answer this how I’m praying.”

The truth be told,  have I EVER asked anything of God with 100% undeniable belief?  I want to say YES because I DO believe God is CAPABLE… but the reality for me is that I’m sure there is unbelief below what I even admit to myself at times about whether or not He WILL. And protection of my heart just incase He doesn’t.

My prayer life changed a year ago.

For one (for another post) I recognize the sin in my life that hinders my prayers.

And two, I am more keenly aware of my unbelief and I pray for God to help my unbelief.

Practical Application:

Ask yourself – do you have any unbelief?

Make a list of all the ways you’ve prayed over something, but put special measures in place to still kinda try to handle it all yourself JUST INCASE God didn’t show up or answer you in a way that feels like He’s helping and working things together for your good.

Faith in Education Choices

16 Jan

I read something on a blog a few months ago and it has literally drove me crazy ever since.  It just keeps crossing my mind over and over and frustrating me to no end.  Since I have no desire to go back and comment on the blog entry and “debate” with this person, I’m going to express my opinion here if for no other reason, than to clear my mind.

The post was on “debating” the different options of homeschooling, private Christian school and public school for Christian families today.

At one point the author wrote something along the lines of “Sending your kids to public school proves you have more faith as a Christian.” It went on to describe that it takes more faith to trust God to protect your children and exercises your growth as a Christian.

I absolutely could not disagree more with this statement.

Let me start by saying – this entry is NOT a plug for home school and private Christian school to say that if you are sending your children to public school that you are doing anything wrong or sinful, because I am not debating that issue and I’m not claiming that to be true.

What I AM going to address is the shallow understanding of scripture to boldly tell someone they have less faith than you if they send their kids to private school or home school them.

Scripture says “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

How are you training up your child in Christ if they are away from you for 8 hours a day in an environment surrounded by unbelievers and scoffers, or even Christians who are refused to talk faith with your child, as well as teach them LIES against scripture (like the Earth being billions of years old and that we came from apes.) ?

It’s not “faith” that brings up a child – it’s TRAINING!!!

A parent can have all the faith they want to have, but if they exercise that faith by putting trust in God to protect their child from the world just because they’re faithful….they are going to one day regret that choice. They have to be a WISE part of the process.

Faith is being sure of what is hoped for and certain of what is unseen. (Hebrews 11:1)

WISDOM – is exercising choices that align with scripture and trusting that God’s INSTRUCTIONS to us (from the Bible) were given to us so when we follow them and we see the reliable results, our faith would increase in believing, HE IS REAL, HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS,  HE IS GOD and HE IS GOOD, even when we can’t physically see Him.

Take these two examples:

In Malachi 3:10 we learn that God wants us to test Him according to His promise to us. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

On the contrary, we see in Matthew 4:5-7 that we are not to go jump off a cliff and say “I have faith God will save me” and put God to the test.  ”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”  Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Wisdom says jumping off a cliff will kill you. And God has never commanded us to jump off a cliff.  So, doing so would be testing God to see if He’ll save you.

I’m not saying that we can’t trust God to have our children’s best interest at heart.  We CAN!! And we should!! But – and this is big – allowing them to intentionally walk in harm’s way and then saying “OK God, You take care of them” sounds a lot like testing God to me.

Doing our part to be obedient to scripture but then trusting God to be sovereign over the children He’s loaned to us is TOTALLY DIFFERENT than doing a minimum and “testing God” disguised as “faith” to cover what we choose to willfully lack.

How can your unsaved child, or at best immature in their faith child, make WISE choices from God’s Word when they are JUST learning it themselves? How can they share the light in them if they are yet to be born again?

Your school choice should not be a matter of how much FAITH you have that God is real or can protect us,  but rather because of the WISDOM He gives for your situation through prayer and scripture.

Wouldn’t I be able to say that those who home school or send their child to private school have *more faith* because they have faith that God will give them everything they need to teach at home and/or provide the finances to afford tuition?

Practical Application:

Be extremely cautious of judging someone elses behavior with condemnation for the sole purpose of trying to justify a choice you’re making. (I feel that is the SOLE reason someone made a statement like that.)

Protect and lead your heart away from being deceived that any of us can be the judge of how strong someone’s faith really is and leave that up to the Lord. (Scripture says we can judge the  fruit, but the amount of faith??? Can that really be measured by humans?  And how disappointing for us to waste time cutting each other up with trying.)

*stepping off soapbox*  Sorry for the frustration tonight friends.