Three Men, One Visitor, And A Fire

Hi there,

Today was the conclusion of the reCreate Women’s Conference at Church of the Highlands and it was beyond a fabulous time! It was a fun, inviting, loving, creative, inspiring, empowering atmosphere with Gods presence so strong. The music, the women, the speakers were right on with their words. Always awesome when you feel like every word was meant for just you.

During one worship time we were singing a song and one of the lines was talking about the fire that sometimes surrounds us when facing struggles. The picture and story that God brought to me was the story of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego in Daniel chapter 3. If you are unfamiliar with the story, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to a statue that king Nebuchadnezzar decreed everyone must bow before and were thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment.

A lot of what was talked about at the conference was about purpose, struggles on the way to fulfilling that purpose and the strength needed to get there. I have realized that God speaks to me a lot through music and so when we were singing this song, God showed me that a lot of us face struggles and feel like we are entrapped by this raging fire all around and there is no opening to escape.

In this story in the bible, after the 3 men were thrown into the furnace, someone pointed out that they saw 4 men walking around inside unharmed. You have to imagine that this furnace was so hot the guards who threw them in there died because of the heat radiating off of it. When the king called them out and they had not been harmed, singed, or even smelled of smoke, because the power of God was in the midst protecting them from the fire that surrounded them that was meant to destroy but He used to show His glory to those faithful, the Kings eyes were opened and He declared their God was indeed all powerful.

So sometimes we will be surrounded by a raging fire, feeling the heat and pressure and will begin to feel pain unless we turn our eyes to the All Powerful God and put our trust in Him that He is more powerful than the fires all around and rely on His strength alone.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

The fires may seem like they are tearing us down, but they are actually put before us to strengthen us and increase our capacity to handle tough times and also to see is we will trust God and His strength through it or our own. I say this with true love to you and to myself….if we try to endure the fires and escape them on our own abilities, we will most certainly fail. We were not created to pass through this world alone, but to walk side by side with our Father and His unconditional love and direction.

For me, when facing those fires I am just ready to move past it and just try to jump through it. I am becoming more patient on the Lord and not trying to rush His plan before I am ready to receive it but the temptation is still there to complain and ask why He hasn’t given me freedom from it yet. One profound statement that was said today was, ” God answers our prayers, it may not be when and how we want but he does answer them and who are we to tell God what the answer should be?” Amen right? We can’t possible begin to fathom the entirety of God’s plan in our little minds and why do we get so consumed with wanting to when we haven’t developed the capacity to have that knowledge? I feel strongly that our societies mindset today is that I want it now and I want it whether I deserve it or have earned it.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of that furnace because their eyes and trust remained in the giver of freedom and their faithfulness was rewarded. We are required to only have the faith the size of a mustard seed and we will be given the ability to move mountains. The power of God is right before us, in the reach of our grasp, but what must come first is belief. To take a step of faith into the unknown and out of our comfort zones is not easy but when you step out relying on God to bring you into new things, it is always the most exciting journey. What we need to always remember…God is always in the midst of our struggles, He has never left you nor will ever forsake you, He has not forgotten you or what you are facing.

Sometimes I have heard myself asking God to just move me past this struggle and for it to be gone and so something I took from this conference was that we never arrive to our destination until we see Jesus on the day of His return. Until that point, we are nomads moving from tent to tent as Holly Wagner put it so perfectly last night. All throughout our lives, we are being shaped and molded to upgrade to bigger tents, but before we can move to the next tent we must first learn and accomplish everything with the tent God has put us in at this very moment before he can give us the promotion. Why? Because in order to survive the journey to the next tent, we have to enlarge ourselves in strength, courage, endurance, belief, and love.

I hope that you will read the story of these 3 men and be able to experience and grasp the true power of Almighty God and to not stop there but continue on with the many other stories like Moses, Joseph, Paul, Daniel, etc. I pray that this is just the beginning of your journey to the bigger tents as you rely completely on God and enlarge your capacity for more to reach new heights. Always remember God is always there in the midst of the fires and the struggles we do and will face and protecting you, empowering you to make it out safely and stronger to overcome the ones to come. The struggles never end, but the intensity of them lessens when we depend on a higher power. I could share so much more…I pray that this will speak and encourage those facing a struggle or struggles at this very moment to keep pressing in and TO NOT GIVE UP! I know some seem bigger than others and we can all say.. “well you just can’t possibly understand what I am facing.” Truth is, every person thinks there struggle is the biggest one because we are all in different places…but I can guarantee you that someone does understand and God wants to use you to speak into their life to help them make it through because you made it. So press in, stand up, keep fighting! I love you all dearly! Be empowered through Jesus Christ every day and experience His presence.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  2 Corinthians 4:7-9

With Love

Jessica

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14

Watch Him Go

Sometimes I think we get confused who the story of our life is truly about and who it represents. Our lives show the greatness of the person back stage who puts it together piece by piece.

God is the producer, director, author, casting director, and perfecter of the part we play in the movie.

When we go to the movie theater or sitting in our living room watching a movie, we don’t see the producer, the brilliant mind behind every aspect of the movie. We see the people chosen to fill that part because they fit the position needed. God is our producer and we are the chosen ones to play the parts we can fulfill the best.

God gave you your role in this particular time, in this country, in this state, in this city, in this community, in your family for a reason bigger than you can see because the finished product has not yet been revealed. What we need to remember is that we are NOT the producer but the person chosen to be seen as a reflection of the brilliant, creative mind of God.

We have to stop thinking everything is about us and remember that we were meant to live this life to glorify God in everything we do and give the credit where it is due.

The song Steal My Show by Toby Mac is about how people are screaming our name, but God is the real star of the show and we are but a representation of His goodness and power. We have to remain humble to let God’s love shine. Sometimes we need to sit back and Watch God Go! God is the light and we are the vessel to let the light shine through us. Let God take control and sometimes just pick the best seat and watch Him go…it will be the most thrilling, scary, funny, sad, emotional, happy, action packed and beautiful thing you ever watch.

Yes I know…you may be thinking like I have more often than not, “but I NEED to be in control, I don’t follow..I lead!” I get it! In the world, we are called to be leaders. But in the spiritual, there is no better time to know how to follow than with God! He needs to be the star of our show at all times.

I haven’t experienced it yet, but once I became a parent, I hope and pray that my kids and I will have a relationship where they are never embarrassed of me and can say they are proud for people to know they belong to me. If you are parent, I am sure you can relate. Can you imagine how much more God wants you to be proud to be called His son or daughter?

In those times when you feel like you have to do it or it will never happen…you may want to immediately give the concern or task to God and ask Him to lead you through it and stop trying to do it in your own strength.

We are only as strong as our relationship and foundation with Christ.

When we come to those places in life where we are not sure what turn to make, we feel unsure, confused or turned around, that is when we need to remember to not make hasty decisions so we can hurry up and move on no matter where it takes us but to slow down, pray, seek, and follow.

Today I challenge you to ask God to Steal Your Show and then Watch Him Go!

Be the best follower of the best leader. He will always lead you to victory.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

With Love
Jessica

Give Me Belief or Give Me Death

Dear Friend,

Today’s blog goes out to a special someone and to all you others out there that lack belief in yourself or in specific areas in life.

Just recently, I have had conversations with a few people that was pretty much about belief or lack thereof. A lot of fears or doubts are rooted in disbelief, whether in ourselves, others, or even God. On the other hand, a lot of victories and moments of triumph are rooted in belief. Whether they are based on abilities, lies(told by others or ourselves), or circumstances is unsure based on each person but also totally irrelevant in the big picture. Let me explain….

I am strong believer in God and the power and strength He not only possesses but shares with those not only in need but humble enough to ask for it. Too often, myself included, we rely on our own strength and capacity. Belief is a choice.

My own personal experience just recently was that my front right tire had this shaking noise when we would drive and it seemed to be getting worse. We didn’t have the money to fix it just sitting around so I began praying that God would fix it supernaturally or provide the money. I totally put my faith in Him that He would provide in His special ways he tends to use. Within a week, He provided in a way I wasn’t planning and the car was fixed a few days later.

An example of unbelief just recently….my husband and I are very blessed with what we have, we are by no means just overflowing with financial means but needs are met and some wants. God has provided for us in many different ways. Not long ago, I would have moments of appreciation and then moments of asking “why aren’t we further? why can’t there just be money so I don’t ever have to worry?” God would humble me quickly and bring my mind back to the truth, I never stayed in that moment long. I struggled with that for the longest time and it caused me stress, anger, hurt, doubt, and fear. One day, I just decided that I am extremely blessed and God has provided thus far and will continue because I know the promises His word tells me. It wasn’t an instant change in perspective and it will continue to be a struggle because of fleshly desires, but I have so much peace and anytime I begin to doubt, I PRAY! I give it to God and let it go. The verse that always came to mind:

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  Luke 16:10

I became thankful in everything and remembered to keep God at the helm and I am confident He will bless that, whether here on earth or when I return home with Him. I believe the same for you so deeply, and I pray that this won’t just be an encouragement but will be taken literally and put into action.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I don’t know what you may be facing right now, could be sickness or disease, a death of a close friend or family, unemployment, never seem to make ends meet, your relationships, your business or career, maybe wondering when will this end, maybe struggling with your faith in God or belief in anything. All I can tell you, GIVE it TO GOD right now. Stop reading and just lay it down with Him. God sent His son to us to die so that we could be given the gift of freedom in whatever it is we need freedom from, it could be multiple areas. Believe in that gift and know that it is as easy and simple as just opening your mouth and asking Him. I don’t put limits on God any more, when I ask Him for something, I pray for help and ask for the outcome I desire but I also leave it that His will be done because my little mind can’t possibly fathom the ways he can turn struggle into the best victory and lesson. NEVER PUT LIMITS, BE PATIENT, BELIEVE AND WATCH. We always have to do our part so He can freely move.

There is nothing more powerful than belief…why? Because it is a choice and a mindset that doesn’t come naturally, it is fought for on a daily basis. Anything that comes easy to us doesn’t teach us discipline and doesn’t build up strength. Belief is believing in something bigger than our own abilities and capabilities, because they both are given and taken away by God.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  1 Corinthians 10:13

Anytime we put our belief in ourselves, failure and disappointment awaits. But when belief is put in God, success and victory comes. I sincerely pray that whatever you are currently struggling with right now, you see that it isn’t too big for God to overcome and with your belief, He will bring freedom and peace. God is faithful. Nothing is ever too big, too small, or too silly. Ask and you shall receive.

Dig deeper in the source, God’s Word, don’t take my word for it alone. Sometimes when you don’t know what to ask for, just simply say God HELP!

The reason my title is “Give Me Belief or Give me Death”, is first I used it from Patrick Henry’s famous speech in case you noticed… and also because if we don’t believe in something besides just ourselves then we are asking for death. Not literal death, but emotional, spiritual, mental and physical death. Physical death usually means you have stopped breathing, but in this case I mean that you have lost the desire to move, to go into the world and live it to the fullest, and maybe you have lost the reason to live because everything has lost meaning or hope so you have cut the world off and remain secluded either mentally and emotionally or maybe even remain at home most of the time. If this is the case or something similar, in which case you are the judge, I would recommend reading my post Always Hopeful and then begin looking in God’s word and having someone you can go to and receive love and understanding. Having someone that you can go to and receive a big bear hug(which my sister in law Brooke has to be the best ever). https://jessicalynnettesorensen.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/always-hopeful/

I am not belittling any struggles you have or are facing because everyone’s journey is different. My encouragement is that nothing is too big for God and he can give freedom in anything. Maybe you already know that and this is just a reminder, maybe you used to believe that but due to circumstances, you drifted away, maybe you have never believed and this is just a tool to spark belief and curiosity to dig deeper, I don’t know.

I believe due to things I see on the news, people I meet, and stories I hear that our community, city, state, country, and world are lacking in belief in anything. We have been distracted by all the things of this world constantly happening around us and to us. I pray that the focus gets redirected to God first and then you begin to receive freedom. Never give up! As you receive freedom, I hope you will share it with me and others.

Believe! It is the best hope we have… 🙂

With love and prayer,

Jessica