Living By Faith

If you know Jeff and me very well, you know we love a good deal and we have tried to teach our frugal-ness to our children. It isn’t uncommon for me to go shopping for clothing or home decor and after going through the check out my receipt usually reads something like, “Total cost $80 and you save over $300.” I think my best deal, was the one time I bought a coat that normally cost over $200 for $2 from Macy’s.

Many people have asked me, how do you save so much money? To which I reply “I shop the clearance rack.” I typically don’t go shopping with a list when I am shopping for clothes etc. I simply go to the store and search for the clearance signs. Now, let me clarify here, the best deals are at the higher end stores, the ones that I would never even think of buying anything from at regular price because I know I couldn’t afford them. But I don’t let their high-end reputation intimidate me. Once I find the clearance rack which is usually at the back of the store,  I search them to see what is on it that will fit me and what I like,  out of those I decide what is the better deal,  then I decide what I can’t live without, from there I decide how much I want to spend and head to the check out. Because I have some pretty good solid basics in my wardrobe I can usually always mix and match it with something I already have at home. This kind of shopping also requires me to think ahead of what I will need in the next season because I am typically buying a year in advance.

This has pretty much been my shopping lifestyle as long as I can remember. I realized at an early age from my parents who were pastors also, that typically you don’t have an unlimited budget so you need to be as good of steward with what God has given you as possible.

This has even carried over into a lot of our grocery shopping. Our meals are usually planned around what is on sale at the store. Often times my husband will come home from the grocery store with several bags full of sale, reduced or discounted items. Then I have to come up with meals out of it. I guess you could say my kitchen is a constant live “Chopped” T.V. cooking show. We give a whole new meaning to the term ” Living By Faith”.

But, It has recently come to my attention (call me naive)  Apparently, this is just the opposite of what most people do. It is my understanding that some people actually go to the store with the intention of buying certain pieces of clothing etc. and have to purchase those things at whatever price the store is selling it for that day, which is usually full price.

This got me thinking, I believe shopping habits are a lot like life and it is up to us if we choose to live by faith or not. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying if you don’t shop like this you are not living by faith. But I would like to compare the two.

I mean, How often do we expect certain things out of life? How often do we come to God with our list of things we need and expect Him to deliver no matter what the cost?  The truth is more often He gives us what He wants us to have and more often what He gives us, doesn’t turn out to be exactly what we had on our list anyway?

All too often we have these expectations for God to meet and when He doesn’t do it the way we expect. We get anxious and begin to worry because it obviously can’t be right if it doesn’t go the way we expected.  We want something for this exact moment but God sees the bigger picture for what we need for our future.

Satan wants us to be intimidated and walk in fear when things rise above our understanding. Just like those high-end stores, some people won’t even consider going into the store, simply because they think they could never afford anything in it. But the fact is I go into those stores for 2 reasons. #1 Because I want to see what the regular price of these items are in case I see them at a second-hand store to assure I get a great price and #2 I want to overcome my own fear and self-intimidation by going in. Because granted sometimes it can be intimidating but I refuse to be intimidated and we need to refuse to be intimidated when we don’t understand what God’s plan is.

Just like God sometimes makes us wait for what we want, most stores put the best deals at the back, we sometimes have to wait to completely see what God’s plan is and how it will work in ours. I have noticed, the cheaper stores put their sale items right in the front, sometimes they even sit them outside on the side walk, why? Well, I think because it is just that cheap, and it doesn’t have any real value. In the same way, sometimes the first thing that we see isn’t always the best for us so we have to trust God to bring us what we need.

Sometimes we have to stand up for what we believe and that isn’t always easy, sometimes we have to wait for the right spouse instead of taking the first person that comes along or wait till next year to buy that tractor because we are determined to be good stewards of what God has given us.  If our faith is solid and standing on Christ than we can trust that I might not get what is on my list now but we know that God will provide what we need when He knows we need it.

It is at these times I believe God is saying “Trust me”,  Don’t come “Expecting Your Way” but come “Accepting My Will”. Because after all, there is nothing that comes to us that hasn’t gone through God. Accepting whatever comes your way. We can trust Him to give us what we need and give us the strength to do what we have to do to get through it.

See I believe that living by faith is a lifestyle we choose. Just like I have chosen my shopping lifestyle. We choose what we will do when we don’t get the things on our list.  Now I am not saying quit your job stay home and just trust God to pay your bills. No! But what I am saying is all too often we get focused on our plans for how something should work out and when it doesn’t we begin to walk in fear and anxiety when we need to realize that we have a Heavenly Father that created us and loves us with an everlasting love. (Jer 31:3)

He tells us in Jeremiah 29: 11 I know the plans I have for you, and they are for good and not to harm. So if we say we really trust God and we say we believe His word. Then we can trust that He will give His best to us and although it may not be what we expected. We know He loves us enough to assure He will give us everything we need.

God loves us so much we can trust Him, that we are not getting His leftovers at a reduced cost. No! God paid the ultimate cost for you. He gave His life for you and because of that He wants nothing but the best for you, so we don’t have to worry when things come our way that wasn’t on our list. All we need to do is rest in Him. This week lets not allow the things that don’t go the way we planned worry us or make us anxious. Let’s trust Him, and what His word says in Romans 8:28. He works all things together for our good…..

 

 

 

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It Just Jumped Out of My Pocket!~

It Just Jumped Out of My Pocket!~

Last week we celebrated my youngest 20th Birthday. It’s time like these that always have me reminiscing.

One of my favorite stories I remember about Chad as a little boy is, the time when we were eating dinner at Pizza Hut in De Soto KS , I don’t think we had lived there very long so Chad could not of been more than 3 or 4 yrs old, The restaurant was fairly empty and so we allowed Chad out of his seat to play one table over, in a children’s section they had available, well within our view. As he played, we looked on. If I remember correctly I think we were entertaining some prospects for our potential church we were preparing to pioneer, so we were hoping everyone would be on their best behavior.

Chad came to the table and requested a quarter for the little ball machine over by the door. Chad has always loved taking the chance of putting some denomination of money in a machine only to see what comes out. He is much like his father in that way, they both love to take chances. I on the other hand, am the play it safe kinda person who likes to know what’s ahead.

Jeff agreed, and gave Chad the quarter since he also loves the idea of the mystery of what will come out of the machine or maybe it was so Chad would leave us alone to visit with our guest, whatever the reason it doesn’t really matter now. Because when Jeff said yes to that simple little quarter he failed to think ahead of the outcome that would come from his decision. Once Chad had the ball in his hand he wanted to bounce it all over the restaurant, in between the tables and booths following the ball all over and the more he bounced it the higher it went. Which doesn’t bode well when you are trying to impress someone. So Jeff  immediately tells Chad ” Put that ball in your pocket and I don’t want to see it out again!” Chad obeyed and carefully squeezed it away in his front pocket of his little jeans then went back to playing in the children section, it was only a few minutes later we suddenly saw the ball fly through the air  over the table where we were sitting with our guests. The whole table turned to look at Chad,when he looked up at us with a straight face and eyes as wide as saucers and said,

“It just jumped out of my pocket!”. The table roared in laughter!

To this day Chad loves what we call at our house “bouncy balls” we will never be able to look at one again and not think of that story.

All that got me thinking………

Jeff and Chad rarely ever hesitate to take a chance to put a quarter in a machine so they can see what surprise will come out. It must be the anticipation of what is to come.  I admire their since of adventure. I guess that is one reason why it is so easy for them to step out in faith.

The bible says that,  Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb 11:1) Jeff and Chad don’t hesitate to put a quarter in one of those machines, in fact they look forward to it. They look forward to it because they believe something good will come out of it.

Shouldn’t we have that same kind of faith in God? I mean His word promises us so much, if we say we believe in Him, why wouldn’t we believe what He says? One of those things God tells us in His word is that He is working all things together for our good. (Rom 8:28)

Now that doesn’t mean we may always like His decision, or we can use Him like a vending machine. If we think at any time, we can just pray hard enough or if we work hard enough to do everything to please Him then we will get what we want, we will be sadly mistaken.

What Christ does for us is simply from the pure grace that we receive from Him. We don’t have to work or earn our salvation or anything else we pray for. God is our Heavenly Father who loves us with an every lasting love. (Jer 31:3)We don’t have to earn His unconditional love.  But it should be because of that unconditional love that He shows to us, that we out of our pure gratification for that unconditional love,  in return does what His word tells us.

It is because of that trust  for Him, that we can accept that if we ask Him for something and it doesn’t happen the way we want or expect, we can trust Him that it is for our own good. Not because He is some mean Judge in heaven sitting behind his desk with a gavel ready to hit us over the head with it when we miss up.

We have to remember when things don’t happen the way we expect or plan, it isn’t a punishment for what we “didn’t do” or because we weren’t “good enough” more then likely it is for our own protection. Now don’t get me wrong there is consequences to our actions as we learned about in my previous story “Where there is a will there is a way”

What are you hoping for today? As easy as it is to believe if we put a quarter in a machine something is going to come out. It is with that same faith we can stand on the promises of God and believe that whatever He says will come true. Because true faith doesn’t “just jump out of your pocket” but it has to be put into action by our trust in Him.