Give and Take…

Short and sweet today, peeps. I hope you all are well. I just wanted to share something that has been in my spirit for a couple of days.

I was thinking about how I interact with my students at work. I’m a high school science teacher (for those of you who don’t know me beyond this blog). I remember when I entered the profession, I was really excited about what all I could teach my students. Now, whenever I get a new group of students, I am equally excited about what they can teach me.

I believe that this mirrors how I handle my spiritual life as well. In ministry, it is so easy to get caught up in trying to teach others about God that we can easily forget to allow others to teach us. God created each and every living and non-living thing on this earth. Let us not be so foolish to think that we cannot learn from others about the goodness of God. Just as He uses you to witness and shine your light…trust that He uses others. The intern at your job, the cashier at the grocery store, your mailman, or the neighbor next door…anyone with a sincere relationship with God has the capacity to pour into you if you will only humble yourself and allow them to do so.

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂

You’ll Never Know…

I believe that most of God’s children have a spirit of conviction that reminds them when they are being negligent of or behaving ungratefully with regard to God’s blessings. However, I also believe that many of us still are not able to truly process just how much He does for us.

Consider this for a moment…

You are entering, enduring, or escaping a storm. You are trusting God (or have trusted Him) every step of the way. Still…the devil would have you believe that things are just so bad and salvation is so far away. All you want to do is get to heaven, but the hell you’ve experienced on earth is just so intense. Then, God reminds you in His special way that He is present. You remember that poem about the one set of footprints and you remember that He has always carried you when you weren’t strong enough to walk. Your pity turns to praise and you cry out to Him. You are thanking Him in acknowlegement of, in anticipation of, and in spite of whatever it is that your journey entails as you grow closer to Him. In all of this, you still have questions and you ask them humbly and sincerely…

“Where would I be without you, God? What would I do without you? Who would I be? How would I manage?”

Then, there is that wonderful revelation. That awesome moment when He fills your spirit with peace and He whispers into your heart…

“My child, you will NEVER know.”

I can truly say in this case…ignorance is bliss. Enjoy your day, loves.

Related verses:

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:20

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” -Hebrews 13:5

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂

 

Expecting the Unexpected…

If you have never taken an assessment of your life and thought to yourself, this is NOT what I expected, then you probably won’t be able to relate to this post. Every now and again (probably more often than I care to admit), I think back on all of the plans I’ve made, the dreams I’ve realized and the ones I haven’t, the successes and failures under my belt, the relationships that have formed and dissolved, etc. When I’m honest with myself, I realize that my life looks almost nothing like I imagined it to be.

This is not to say that I am disappointed in what my life has become. However, I have been disappointed time and time again. God has proven Himself faithful in keeping His promises to me and He has never let me down. So when I consider the source of my disappointments, I realize that it is within me. Too often in my life, I have set expectations based on my circumstances and in doing so, I set myself up for disappointment.

I’m learning that life is a continual series of opportunties to demonstrate faith in God. Not perfect faith. Authentic faith. Faith isn’t the absence of fear, but it presses ahead anyway. Faith isn’t always void of doubt, but it remembers that God will do just what He said He would. Faith isn’t exempt from asking questions, but it knows that sometimes you will have to proceed even without the answers. Faith expects the unexpected and praises God for it all.

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂

Wise Words…

If you’ve been a reader of Smiling By Faith for a little while now, you may remember previous posts about the power that lies in the words that we speak and hear. Today, God spoke to me again regarding the application that often accompanies words. Ecclesiastes 5:2 warns us to “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” Taken in context (I encourage you to read the verses before and after), this passage serves as advice to those who do not understand just how serious it is to approach God in prayer.

Let’s consider for a moment exactly what prayer is. Prayer is a conversation that you have with an all-knowing, all-powerful God who knows your thoughts, your heart’s desires, and your next steps even before they are formed. Despite his incredible position, He still makes Himself accessible to us and encourages us to communicate with Him in prayer without ceasing. With this in mind, it makes sense that one would approach God carefully. When we go to God in prayer, we are to guard our steps. While we are in no way required to be “experts” of prayer, we should not be full of words without having a heart that is ready, willing, and expectant of God’s answers.

The bible tells us that speaking many words does not ensure that they will be heard. We should be sincere in the things that we ask of God as well as those that we dedicate to Him.

When we pray for strength, we should genuinely open our hearts to graciously and faithfully endure situations that build strength.

When we pray for patience, we should not complain when we are made to wait.

When we tell God that we love Him, we should make sure it is known through obedience and service.

When we tell God that we trust Him, we must get ready to hold on tight and press forward when things begin to defy all logic and operate outside of our realm of understanding.

Please do not let this discourage you from prayer. I recently embarked upon a prayer journey with a sister-friend of mine and through it I realize just how much room there is for growth in my prayer life. I hope that this post encourages you to pray more…to pray more sincerely…and to pray more boldly than ever before.

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂