I have been mulling this word, abounding, over and over for the past month. I have scribbled a few thoughts here and there and have not gotten back to fully investigate it until today. I love that word, abounding…it is a word so full that it overflows in my mind and fills my heart with wonder.
The dictionary says abounding means to have or possess in a great quantity; existing in or providing a great or plentiful quantity or supply, abundant. Teeming with, swarming, and thronging are some synonyms.
Abound appears 30 times in the Bible is various forms.
Few things in life are abounding until God becomes a real part of our lives. Then we begin to see that He lavishes on His children many wonderful things, starting with love and faithfulness.
Even things that seem so simple, yet are a joy. God has lavished on me many Monarch caterpillars through the years. Last year I was abounding in them, with over 120 healthy, hungry babies that grew, went through their metamorphosis and emerged as beautiful butterflies!!
Psalm 86:15 NIV says, “But You, LORD, are a compassionate and loving God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
In an earlier blog post, I have talked about how much God loves you and I. I think He loves to make us smile! He is abounding in love and faithfulness. To abound in love is to have a great attachment to and great affection for. God is not stingy in His love for us. It abounds, it pours out onto us because God’s very nature is love.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJV
God is able. He is the One who makes His Grace abound to us. Abound so that we will have the ability in abundance to do every good work that He calls us to do. WOW!
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NKJV
Be encouraged! God is the one Who fills us—fills us to OVERFLOWING with all HIS BEST…all we have to do is say “YES! I Believe! Yes!
May you ABOUND in HOPE by the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT.
Welcome back! This is part 2 of a blog I published about a month ago entitled, “But without Faith” where we discussed what faith is. Today we will continue with this topic and look at answering the following questions:
Where does faith come from?
How do you and I get faith?
How does our faith grow?
First, let us recap a bit and look at some definitions for faith:
allegiance to a duty or person,
belief and trust in and loyalty to God,
a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.
The Bible tells us that, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
If we cannot see faith…how can we get it? To have the faith that is talked about in the Bible, we must open the Book and read the Words of God. As I delve into this topic, please know that this is not based on my own opinion. I highly encourage you to open God’s Word and read for yourself, that is where we find our answers. It is the Holy Spirit that teaches, not I. I can pick a topic and write about it, but I must rely on the Holy Spirit (and so must you) to impart the truth. He does this by the revealing truths in the inspired Word of God.
The Holy Spirit calls you, sparks your interest, guides you and teaches you. Do not be afraid to dig deep. The Holy Spirit is your Helper, He will help you to understand.
As a child of God, He longs for you to know Him. Take out your Bible and let’s get started.
Where does faith come from?
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)
Faith comes from God in the form of a gift. We would not have faith if not for God having His plan and reaching down to offer it to us. We then have the option to choose to accept faith through salvation. Salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ.
God uses faith as the way to bring salvation to His people. God gives faith because of His grace and mercy, because He loves us, His creation, so very much. He desires for us to have a way to know Him.
How do you and I get faith?
“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17
As we hear the Word of God and the Salvation plan, which is what Jesus accomplished on the cross, we are given faith. Faith to believe that there is something more to life than just existing and going through the motions of living day to day…faith to have HOPE in Someone bigger than us, Someone who has a unique plan for each of His beloved children!
It is the Word of God that produces faith. A person could receive faith while reading about Jesus in the Bible or by hearing a sermon teaching the Good News or by you or I sharing the story of Jesus—any time the true gospel of Jesus is communicated, there is potential for faith! How exciting! That you and I can be part of the chain of events that God has orchestrated!
How does our faith grow?
If we are not in control of even getting faith on our own…how can you and I increase our faith. I wish to be more faithful.
We can pray and ask for more faith just as the apostles asked of Jesus in Luke 17:5,
“And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’”
Our faith grows as we build our lives on the truth of Jesus Christ, what we are taught about Him in and directly from God’s Word. We model our lives after Him. It is built on the truth of what God says, not what man says. When we are listening to pastors, preachers, spiritual songs, or fellow Christians, we must hold those words/that teaching up to God’s Word. We must stay away from teaching that is not in line with Biblical truths. We need to be careful about who is teaching us.
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7
We need to always remember that faith was given to each believer as a gift. We cannot take credit for it or tout it in the face of others or think of ourselves in a prideful way.
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 (NKJV)
By knowing our saving faith comes from God alone, it should encourage us as Christians to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought; but remember that God decides the measure of faith each one receives.
So, as we can see from reading God’s Word…that receiving faith comes from God and our faith increases by spending time in His Word.
I want to end on a note of thanksgiving. We should be thankful always for the faith God has given us, thankful that He chooses to use us in ministering to others. It is a privilege and honor to serve the Lord and His people.
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:12-14
May God bless you with wisdom and increased faith as you dig deep into His Word.
This world is full of disappointments, heartaches and sadness. Wouldn’t it be great to have hope?! How about to be abounding in hope?
Abounding means to have or possess in great quantity, existing in or providing a great or plentiful quantity or supply.
I do not know your situation or what you have been dealing with, but God knows. There have been times in my life when I have felt a sense of hopelessness, stemming from helplessness. I think we all go through it at one time or another. The important thing to note, is to NOT stay in the state or feeling of hopelessness. Easy to say, but harder to do.
How can you and I find hope? The world shifts under our feet, people let us down, we let people down, life is hard. Can someone just tell me how?!
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NKJV)
God has the answer. in fact, He IS the answer. He IS a God of hope and He fills His children with hope. Filled, not just a tiny quantity…but abounding in hope! He knows we need it to survive and thrive here. Not that all of our problems magically disappear but it puts them in a brighter perspective, knowing that God IS in control.
We are given a hope that does not disappoint, because this hope comes from Gods love directly poured into our hearts, it is a hope that helps us hold on and endure hardships and pain.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”Romans 5:5 (NKJV)
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and we walk with God, we receive within us, the power of the Holy Spirit.
After Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven, a Helper was given to all believers. Look up John 16:5-15 and see the Power believers are given!
The Holy Spirit was given to us by God to help us. If we choose to allow the Holy Spirit to guide and help; we can experience joy and peace during our darkest times. He will walk with us through our troubles, sorrows and heartaches.
We need to hold on to hope. There will come a day when all will be made right and evil will be defeated and forever erased!
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, as the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4 (NKJV)
May you abound in the hope of God, and may He fill you with His peace and joy.
A very good friend of mine recently gave me a coffee mug with Hebrews 11:1 on the side. I love coffee mugs! I have several and almost every one has a story attached to it.
The word HOPE stands out for me. It is a favorite word of mine. A word that encourages me to hold on.
What is the definition of the word, hope? I found this definition in an article written in 1952 called, “The Christian Hope.” “Hope is commonly used to mean a wish : its strength is the strength of the person’s desire.” 1
What do I hope for? What do you hope for? Perhaps…Calm in this chaos, healing of a marriage, healing from a disease, a reconciled relationship, for your prodigal to come home, for things to be better, to see the light at the end of the tunnel (And have it not be a freight train!)
“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
Let us look a little closer at this verse. Hope is part of the picture, but faith is a bigger piece. How can you and I be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see? Faith in God and believing and accepting salvation through Jesus is our Hope. We cannot see faith. How can we be certain of what we cannot see with our human eyes?
We can read God’s Word and believe what He says. As we study His Word, the Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes to the truth. Truth that one day, things will be resolved. Not always on earth, but one day in Heaven.
Another thought I had on this verse was that you and I can have hope that God is with us through each tear and trial, each heartache and disappointment. Our faith in who He is gives us hope, gives us encouragement to go on. To be able to face another day, even though things aren’t all nice and tidy in our lives…we can go on. We can have the courage to not give up.
When I am nearing my limit to what I can bear, my faith reminds me that I have hope.
Let us look at another definition of hope.”In the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.” 2
I realized that I cannot have hope without faith. I am a person of hope, but really, I am a person of faith. The hope comes from knowing and having faith in Jesus as my Savior.
For me, and maybe you too, life continues to be messy, unpredictable and hard… however, it is also joyful, rewarding and oh so worth it! All because of our confident expectation of what God has promised and the proof is in His character of faithfulness.
He is who He says He is and and He will do what He says He will do. He gives us faith and faith gives us hope. If your hope hinges on faith in God, you hope is not in vain.
As I sit here and listen to the fireworks that marks this 4th of July and our Independence, I wonder how we got to where we are right now.
These past few months, it seems all hell has broken loose. What I would never thought I would see in America—is happening.
We made it through the self-quarantine, we are hearing so many different stories about the Corona virus, I don’t know who to believe and what “Experts” I can trust. It seems now, we are waiting for the violence and destruction of property and monuments to be over, for sanity and common sense to come back…we are waiting to get back to the life we knew. Will this wonderful country that I love, that my Dad and perhaps many of you and your loved ones have fought for or are currently fighting for—the USA, be what it was?
I wonder how we got here as a country? What happened? It seems like a blur to me. Why are we so divided? We are called the UNITED STATES. Haven’t we been through this stuff before? Haven’t we learned ANYTHING??
Perhaps those doing most of the rioting, looting and other acts of violence do not know our history, has it fallen by the wayside in our schools? In our homes?
Maybe those acting out in violence don’t know what the words in our National Anthem means? Do they understand what it meant in a night of fighting to see our flag still flying high in the early morning hours?
Do they not understand what this country has been through to be free…to get where we are…a high price was paid to give ALL of us, no matter our race—FREEDOMS—the freedoms that gives us a voice and a choice…the freedoms that give those who choose to cause harm, a voice—BUT NOT a voice or right to be destructive. THAT is NOT in our Constitution!
It seems we are on self-destruct. What are we to do? The wound seems so deep and festers like a rancid boil—waiting for the next thing to cause it to be inflamed and erupt, spewing hate & discord to anyone close to it.
My heart cries out, How can this be fixed…what can we do to stop the division? Man cannot fix it, a political party can not fix it, even on our “best” days as humans, we fall short. God alone, as we repent and turn back to Him, He alone can heal our land (See 2 Chronicles 7:14-15).
As I take a deep breath, I am reminded of a song. It was written in 1814 by poet Francis Scott Key, who was inspired by the sight of the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry after a night of heavy British bombardment.
Our National Anthem.
“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Did you get the line? It always makes me tear up every time I hear it—The FLAG was STILL there! WE MUST NEVER forget what it cost and continues to cost men and women everyday that know this country, this UNITED STATES of AMERICA is worth fighting for!
Through these last few months, I think about what I have learned.
I have learned to trust God more. He never changes. The world very easily shifts under our feet all the time.
I have learned to do my research and I have learned that many things the main stream media is telling me is not true.
I have learned to make informed decisions and I will not be coerced or made to feel like I am insensitive or something is wrong with me if I don’t conform to policies & behaviors not fitting for me.
I have learned that I love this country and will fight anyone who seeks to destroy it.
I have learned to pray fervently and God will listen to the prayers of His children.
I have learned to not let a “few” voices make me fearful.
I have learned to listen to Jesus Christ alone and He alone gives me PEACE in all the unrest & chaos.
I pray that His words that He has given us to hold onto will comfort and calm you.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)
Don’t let the world make you fearful. Embrace His peace!
Are you going through a storm? A fierce trail or heartache that seems like waves of sadness & defeat are slapping you again & again and not letting up. You are not alone and MORE IMPORTANT…you DO NOT HAVE TO GO IT ALONE! I will share the comfort that our amazing Heavenly Father is giving me. It is yours for the taking too!
When one of the biggest emotional storms hit my life, I fell to my knees. When my whole life was shattered like a pile of broken glass on the floor, I needed hope.
When my heart was so broken and I slid to the floor, I cried out to God. In the quietness of my heart I heard His reply, this is how the conversation went,
Me: “God, I can’t take this. There is no way that I can get through this.”
God: “Yes, my child, you will. I will help you.”
Me: “No Lord, it is too much. I can’t bear it. I don’t have the strength.”
God: “You are right. You do not have the strength, but I DO.”
Me: “I don’t understand Lord. What must I do?”
God: “Lean on Me. I AM your strength, don’t let this shake you.”
“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” (Psalm 62:2)
Me: “I’m scared Lord.”
God: Shhhh, little one, I am here. I will never leave you. Trust Me.”
He is right. All my struggles did not go away but leaning on God and trusting that He is working on my behalf gives me peace…I will get through this in His Strength.
You may be going through difficult times. Maybe you have felt lost and without hope. When we are dealing with missing loved ones who have passed, broken families, wounded relationships, and the stresses & storms of life…Lean on Him. Trust Him.
“I wait eagerly for the LORD’s help, and in His word I trust.” Psalm 130:5
God is trustworthy, steadfast and sure. He is the strength of my heart. May He be the strength of your heart too.
Remember that song by The Beatles, All you need is love?
I sang it as a teen…thinking if I had someone to love me, everything would be okay.
As I get older, I realize that it is hope that I need. Love is important. We need to feel loved, but for me…I need hope.
Today marks the 8th anniversary of the miscarriage of my baby girl. I was devastated and had a hard time coping for quite a while. In 2006, My husband & I already had 2 amazing sons and we had tried for more than 8 years to conceive again…we so hoped to have another child, especially a girl. When my test strip finally showed 2 blue lines, I was in shock. I was old…at the end of my child bearing years. I was 44 at the time and felt kind of like Sarah…I was sure God was chuckling as He answered my prayers. Yet tragically just 6 weeks later…she was gone.
I have not shared this heart ache with many, however I feel I must today. For without hope, I feel I would have given up and faded into the abyss.
I have a loving husband, friends, a great support system but yet I was sinking into blackness. I knew God loved me…but that just wasn’t enough at that low time in my life. I had to find my way back. I knew I needed to recover to take care of my boys.., they needed me, their Mom…and it was hope that got me through.
Hope that my heartache would subside. Hope that I could and would be the best Mom I could be to my boys. Hope that even though I did not get to hold my daughter…I have hope that I will see her one day in Heaven.
I do not know why I had to endure this heartache, however I have learned to not question “why” anymore. It doesn’t change things…in fact it was causing me to be bitter. Like whenever I saw a pregnant woman, a newborn or a child of the same age mine would have been. Now I pray in each situation and release the pain, the sadness, the longing for what might have been.
He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21 (NLT)
I believe that God knows best. He has a plan. I will probably never understand His reasons this side of Heaven, but I trust Him. He has the right to give and take away. He calls us to praise him EITHER WAY! The pain is there as days like today roll in and try to steam roller me, but I am free because I have hope.
“I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me. And when you search for me with your heart, you will find me!” Jeremiah 29:11-13
God has good plans for our lives. For me. For YOU, right now as you struggle.
I hope you are encouraged to hear that. I know we all have our struggles and our own cross to bear, but how comforting to know that God has our best interest at heart. He wants us to have a good future. He does not want to harm us…(sometimes the consequences of our choices harm us). Through it all, He is here…when we seek Him with OUR HEART…we WILL FIND HIM.
Call His Name…You WILL FIND HIM, HE IS HERE.
Reference: The Inspirational Bible (NCV) Jeremiah 29:11-13
I am deeply saddened by the passing of a young man who left this earth way too soon. A life so precious that we will not let it fade. I cannot begin to imagine the pain that loved ones are going through right now. I don’t know why some leave this earth way too soon. In my heart I know that God has a plan and I try to make it make sense…but to my finite mind, it does not . With grief this fresh, it is difficult to understand and It does not initially make it any easier for the loved ones left behind. It makes no sense, it is all a blur of tears, shock, pain and deep grief.
I think if we are honest, we could all recall saying at some point, “Why did God let this happen?” “Where is his miracle?” “Where is God?” According to His Word…God is right here in the middle of it all. Holding on and cradling our loved ones and waiting for us to allow Him to comfort us.
It is not an easy road to travel. Family & friends are needed now more than ever…needed to stand together and offer love and support in these sad times.
May I respectfully offer a ray of Hope…some Good News? You may not want to hear it right now and that is okay…so when you are ready…here it is— If we believe that Jesus is God’s Son and died and rose again to be Our Savior…we can be reassured that we WILL SEE our loved ones again. When it is God’s Time, Jesus is coming back for us. He will personally meet us and carry us home. We have a Heavenly Home waiting. A home free of pain , tears and sadness.
JESUS says it best, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in Me. There are many rooms in My Father’s house, I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am.” John 14:1-3 (NCV)