Inspiration

Are You Following God’s Instructions?

Has God given you any unique instructions recently?  Are you following His instructions or avoiding them because they do not make sense? I love how God gives us instructions outside of our comfort zones.  I remember a specific time where God wanted me to buy blank canvases and simply paint. I was okay with painting because I found it therapeutic for myself and a fun way to tap into my creative side.  After the first two days of painting, God impressed upon me to give the artwork away.  This was where I took some issue!  I am a very simple artist and I did not want to be labeled as the strange woman giving weird art pieces away.  I remember one painting was a crown of thorns and I gave the painting to a teenage girl who needed healing. I gave her the piece, reluctantly, thinking she would believe it was odd for a total stranger to give her a painting.  Her reaction was completely different—she smiled and was grateful for the artwork.  I am not sure of what the gesture meant in her healing process, but it taught me about obedience.  It was a moment where God was asking me, “Are you okay with looking silly to others, but being obedient to me?”

This was the case for Joshua.  In Joshua 6: 2-5, God gives the following instructions:

But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days.  Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the ram’s  horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town”(NLT).

Talk about instructions that did not make sense naturally!  Jericho was a fortified city where no one could go in nor come out.  God’s instructions to Joshua were to march around the city once a day with the Ark of the Covenant (His presence) with the priests blowing the ram’s horns.  On the seventh day(only) would the marching increase to seven times, the ram’s horns would be blown, and then the people would shout!  We usually celebrate on the seventh day, because we realize that Jericho was overtaken and victory was secured for Israel.  We really do not think about some of the questions everyone had about the first six days.  Did it make sense to march around the city once a day? Did it make sense for the first six days the only sounds that were approved were the sounds from the ram’s horns? What sense did it make they could not talk or shout until the seventh day?  Even though this is a timeless experience in our spiritual lineage it is still perplexing!

As I was reading more about this moment, I read about the ram’s horns.  It said the ram’s horns symbolized that victory would come from God and not their military experience! That is rich! God does not need our skills to secure the victory; He simply needs us to obey.

Are you wrestling with instructions from God?

Are you finding it difficult to obey because it does not make sense?

As you continue to follow God’s instructions in the matter, you will win! If you have been avoiding a certain instruction, maybe it is time to do things God’s way.  Your breakthrough could be moments away if you just do what you have been asked to do.

Enjoy your coffee and choose to obey God today!

Ashley Sauls~ Minister, Author, Speaker, Encourager

 

 

Inspiration

How to Keep the Wait On

I struggle with waiting.  If I have to wait at a traffic light, I am a little irritated if I really need to go somewhere.  If I have to wait at the grocery store, I can get tired of waiting my turn.  If it is time to eat dinner, I really have to work on it.  I cannot even wait to eat!  We all have a level of impatience that we must check from time to time, especially when it comes to God.  It can be difficult waiting for Him when we feel enough is enough and He should answer us (now).

Do you know what it means to wait? Wait means to look for or to eagerly await something. It does not mean inactivity. When we are called to wait, we are called to grow.  Waiting creates an opportunity for maturation in us.  As we wait, our ability to manage things from a place of wisdom versus impatience can develop to its optimal level.  What happens when we do not wait well? We grow tired, we get frustrated, and we move out of turn.  I believe when we start to feel some kind of way, it is because we are waiting the wrong way.  We are viewing our wait from a position of disappointment versus expectation.

Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint”(NLT).  The scripture confirms as we wait for God, He renews our strength.  Anything that is renewed flourishes or becomes alive again.  God’s promise to renew us is confirmed with Heaven’s seal (it will happen).  As we make decisions to trust God, He will give us the courage to move forward.  Why?  In waiting, He infuses our lives with more of Himself so we can reach dimensions only God can invite us into.

Working in the medical community, I am familiar with waiting rooms.  There are several seats in the waiting area, but you must “check in” to take a seat.  This alone lets you know that if you are sitting in a chair, your appointment has been confirmed.  You are waiting for something, usually a physician or a nurse, and they must prepare for your visit.  Your wait might be brief if it isn’t a busy day or it may be hours if the room is full.  At the set time, you will be “seen” and “receive” what you came for during your visit.

Today, I want to encourage you to wait on the Lord.  Allow Him to be the center of your focus.  You may have been waiting for an answer for an hour or several years, but God has a definite time where you will be seen.  When it is time for your appointment God will restore you, revive you, heal you, help you—you name it!

Grab your cup of coffee and wait on the Lord in great expectation.

Ashley Sauls~ Minister, Author, Speaker, Encourager

Coffee, Inspiration, Thursday, victory

Giving Voice to Your Victory

Can you celebrate when things look impossible? I can be an introvert at times, but when I get excited about anything good (i.e. football game) I can shout very loudly.  I have never been a casual cheerleader and from what I have heard, there is a bold sound and dance that you wouldn’t expect from my quiet demeanor.  If things shift from an experience of victory to defeat, my tenacity is quenched.  I never thought about how my response to sports events mimics my response to challenging moments.  When I feel like I am winning, my celebration is exuberant and unrestrained. I cannot be silenced! When I feel like things are continuing to come against me, I do not have much to say.  In fact, I usually do not want to celebrate.  Can you relate?

There can be wisdom in being silent, because sometimes what we want to say is not what we need to say.  Sometimes we need to regroup, refocus, and rest to get up again.  Then there are times we need to be vocal.  Psalm28:7 says, “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving”(NLT). As sons and daughters of God, we can rejoice in all seasons because God is with us.  We can rest assured that God is not sleeping on any matters in our lives and we can trust Him without reservation.

When we are in fiery moments, we must learn how to lean into God. God does not send us into any experience without the proper attire. We have been given the whole armor of God(Ephesians 6:11-17) to withstand every dart the enemy might send our way. The armor is hand-crafted in His word, which continues to stand and never fails. Allow Holy Spirit to reveal scriptures or promises that you may need to pray and meditate on, which will serve as a reminder of who God is. Sometimes you may not feel like reading His word but listen to the word of God.  It builds your faith and strengthens your stance. Do not abandon His word, because His word includes His promises for every circumstance.

We must also press into the power of worship.  Worship is more than lifting our hands, bowing our heads, or closing our eyes.  It is the posture of our hearts in everyday obedience to God.  In our worship, we acknowledge God for who He is.  We reverence Him and we continue to release who He is in the face of trials.  Even insurmountable challenges must bow to God because His name is above every name and His rule supersedes all other rulership.  Give voice to who God is, even when you do not feel like it.  God will strengthen you in ways you never imagined.

We must also learn to burst out in thanksgiving (celebration). I can speak of this one from experience. I have been facing a long battle and Holy Spirit led me into singing about victory. Our humanity wants to say, “God, how can I sing when this promise has yet to be fulfilled?” The celebration improved my confession because I was focusing on God’s will and His will in the matter says I win. As you are actively waiting for God to deliver you or to unveil a promise, give voice to what God is saying.  Celebrate and rejoice as God is maturing you and sharpening your voice for His glory.

As you begin your day, remember to give voice to your victory.  You are a citizen of the Kingdom, so your conversation is royal.  Agree with what God is saying and watch the shift that happens as the will of God in Heaven is fulfilled in the earth.

Enjoy your coffee and declare a victorious day!

Ashley Sauls~ Minister, Author, Speaker, Encourager

 

Coffee, Inspiration, power your day, Wednesday

Are You Including God in the Equation?

Have you been trying to solve a problem, but forgotten to include God?

Sometimes I find myself feeling a certain way and agreeing with something that is not in my spiritual DNA.  As I was studying about prayer the words of this scripture were sharp: “ But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking”(Matthew 6:7, KJV).  Ouch!

The word heathen means behaving in a way that is foreign or strange. When we pray for the sake of being heard or believe that God must listen to us because of our use of the English language, we are missing the importance of communicating with Him.  God loves simplicity and prayers such as, “Lord, please guide me” are still powerful.

There have been times where I have wondered, “God are you here!” God does not leave us when we are going through difficult moments, but it can feel like it.  When we are walking through dark times, we can interpret our answers the wrong way.  In our desire to hear from God, sometimes we “do things” to get His attention.  This might look like Googling any prayers to get results without seeking God.  This also looks like picking up random materials on prayer in hopes of getting an immediate answer from God. I know because I have done it before! These actions are strange because as sons and daughters of God we should know God’s nature. He is interested in everything concerning us and He cares. Whenever we try to lean on our works and performance, we have excused God from the equation.

What should we be aware of so God is included in our decisions? When we seek God for answers, He wants us to come in faith. James 1:6-7 says, “ But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.  Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (NLT).  This means that we must trust Him for the answers versus trusting our strategies.  Think about His answers as math equations.  There are different problems to solve: some simple and others complex.  You can utilize the same principles to solve problems, but you must treat each problem as unique.

God is just like us: He loves conversations that are heartfelt and direct.  If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, He knows your voice because you are His child. Just come to Him and let Him know what you need.  Then make sure to listen for His response.  Remember God wants to share with you great things that you could never figure out on your own.  Is there a problem you need to surrender to Him today?

Enjoy your coffee and expect God to provide solutions!

Ashley Sauls~ Minister, Author, Speaker, Encourager

 

Coffee, Devotions, Inspiration, power your day, tuesday

God Answers Us in Dark Moments

This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own (Jeremiah 33:2-3, MSG)

Have you ever tried walking in your home when it is dark? The moments I have been brave enough to try I have dropped things on the floor or been unfortunate enough to stub my toe(ouch).These experiences remind me that I am not invincible and sometimes I need to reach for the light switch for my own well-being.  Such was the case of Jeremiah who found himself in a dark moment of a different sort.  When we meet Jeremiah, he is in prison and God is speaking to him!  I find it amazing and encouraging that many times God decides to speak to His followers and reveal His might when they are in prison-like situations.

Was Jeremiah in prison for doing anything wrong? This is our natural assumption when we see others experiencing difficult moments.  We think, “I wonder what they did to receive such fate!”  Jeremiah continued to speak God’s decrees, which angered the political leaders and some of the religious figures of that time. He was right before God, but wrong to those who disagreed with his stance.   Did Jeremiah feel discouraged or hopeless? Yes, I am sure he had those moments.  Did Jeremiah remain silent and abandon God?  No, and as a result, even in darkness, God continued to speak to him.

In the dark God said to Jeremiah, “Call to me and I will answer you.  I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own” (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG). The key to going through dark moments well is not losing sleep, worrying excessively or trying to figure it out with your ingenuity.  It is calling to God for an answer so He can reveal His plans that we cannot see.

When you examine the entire text, you are able to see redemption at work. God promised to restore the desolate and torn areas for His people.  He promised to express His mercy to His people once more.  God’s people were suffering at the hands of their own decisions, which Jeremiah forewarned would occur.  Yet, all was not lost!  God brought a message of hope and encouragement to Jeremiah that He is not only a God of punishment but of redemptive love.  This fresh wisdom from God would sustain Jeremiah through the dark moments he still had to endure until this promise was fulfilled.

You may find yourself in a dark moment that feels like it will never end. You may be asking yourself, “What have I done to deserve this experience? I’ve done nothing wrong!”  You may wonder if there is an answer, but struggle since Heaven appears silent.  Ask God for an answer and allow Him to reveal fresh insight and hope.  Allow God to reveal answers that will show His might and bring His light to a dark experience.

Enjoy your coffee and expect God to speak with you today!

Ashley Sauls~ Minister, Author, Speaker, Encourager