Prayer & Trust

When you don’t get the answer you want

from God,

what is your response?

 

Is it anger?

Self-pity?

Turning away from Him?

 

Or do you Trust?

 

Trust that He is God?

 

Before you had this trial

you knew

 

that sometimes God says

“Yes”

 

sometimes

“No”

 

sometimes

“Later”

 

sometimes

“I have something better”

 

But does your trust in Him

reflect that?

 

Do you still praise and bless Him

when the answer is “wait”?

 

or “No”?

 

Or do you stomp your foot

as a demanding child?

 

You either have confidence in God’s sovereignty

or you doubt it

 

Prayer and trust

go hand in hand

 

It

is

Faith

In God who knows best

 

Don’t fall into the trap

of faithfulness to Him

only when the answer

is “Yes”

 

– Susie Stewart

 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

– 1 John 5:14 (NIV)

 

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.

– Ephesians 1:18 (NLT)

 

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. 

– Romans 12:11,12 (MSG)

 

Photo by Wade Callison

Escapism

There are places people go

in their hearts and minds

 

to escape real life

 

And those places

may look like other people’s stories

 

They may look like

a fantastical world

 

They may look like

hours before a screen or pages

 

And while it’s good to dream and imagine,

living a life that is not yours

 

can be dangerous

 

for the escape becomes

your god

 

It becomes more important

than anything else

 

it consumes

and dominates

 

and crushes

real life

 

I know,

because I’ve had times like that

 

I was drawn in

and obsessed

and out of touch

 

God was not on the throne

of my heart

 

May we who follow Jesus

be content where we are

 

relying on Him to walk with us

and not seeking escape

 

Come away with your Lord

for He will fill you

 

like no empty world of escapism

ever can

 

When your escape

leads to

Neglect

Obsession

and Avoidance

 

It’s time to get away with God

 

– Susie Stewart

 

…Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

– Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

 

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

– Philippians 4:4-9 (MSG)

 

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

– Romans 12:1,2 (MSG)

 

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from Him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

– 1 John 2:15-17 (MSG)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Love Obedience

Self-righteous

rule-follower,

what is your motive?

 

Don’t you know it’s impossible

to please God without faith?

 

Fruitless are the actions

of religious law-abiding

 

Righteousness is not righteousness

by adherence to the rules

 

Righteousness is imparted

to the humbled and surrendered

 

Jesus’ perfection

rubbing off on His children

 

The righteous live by faith,

not the flesh

 

Faithless obedience

is only religion

 

Pharisaical

Empty

 

Live by faith

in the Son of God

 

and obey out of love

and true conviction

 

Obey out of love

and faith

 

– Susie Stewart

 

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.

– Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)

 

What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.

– Matthew 23:27 (NIV)

 

Jesus said to His disciples: If you love Me, you will do as I command.

– John 14:15 (CEV)

 

The test of the genuineness of our love for God’s family lies in this question—do we love God Himself and do we obey His commands? For loving God means obeying His commands, and these commands of His are not burdensome, for God’s “heredity” within us will always conquer the world outside us. In fact, this faith of ours is the only way in which the world has been conquered. For who could ever be said to conquer the world, in the true sense, except the man who really believes that Jesus is God’s Son?

– 1 John 5:204 (PHILLIPS)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

Invisible

My beautiful

Invisible

God

 

Sometimes I long

to see Your face

 

and Your invisibility

appears as a barrier

 

between You and me

 

But it doesn’t have to be

that way

 

There really is

no barrier

 

Only Jesus,

as the Way

 

Invisible God

You see me

 

right through to my core

 

And,

Invisible God,

you see the invisible people

among us

 

None escape Your sight

 

And while I still long

to see You,

Jesus

 

It doesn’t need to be a barrier

 

For You have made a Way

 

Communication with You

Creation Divine and serene

Your Word powerful and life-changing

Relationships beautiful

Love overwhelming

 

Life abundant

 

They show me You,

my invisible God   ❤

 

– Susie Stewart

 

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, He organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

– Colossians 1:15-18 (MSG)

 

We all live off His generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made Him plain as day.

– John 1:16-18 (MSG)

 

But you may not look directly at My face, for no one may see Me and live.

– Exodus 33:20 (NLT)

 

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

– 1 Timothy 1:17 (NIV)

 

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.

– 1 John 4:12 (NLT)

 

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

– Romans 1:20 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

Steady in the Flow

 

You, Lord,

are unpredictable

in many things

 

But Your love

is sure

 

Even when we don’t understand

Your ways,

We rest in who You are

 

Variable in how You answer

wise in Your sovereignty

steadfast in Your compassion

 

All-knowing

ever mindful

of all circumstances

 

The definition of Love

acting

 

Ebb and flow life

Solid God

 

– Susie Stewart

 

To say that God is faithful or consistent is not to imply, however, that He is predictable. Much bitterness toward God results from a misconception of this. Too often we speculate and try to guess the actions of God and, therefore, develop expectations. Through our limited and often perverted reasoning, we determine the “best” for our lives and then consider God’s only reasonable response to be one of quick and complete fulfillment.

– Bob LaForge

 

…God is love.

– 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

 

God keeps His word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. Scripture says the same:

“Your words stand fast and true;
Rejection doesn’t faze You.”

– Romans 3:4 (MSG)

 

Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to give Him advice or teach Him?

– Isaiah 40:13 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Love

Love

gets exhausted

when it is always expecting something in return

 

Love

gets amnesia

when it remembers only wrongs

 

Love

gets disappointed

when it always keeps score

 

Love

is meant

to give

 

with giving in mind

 

Love

freely

 

Love

unconditionally

 

Love

like Jesus

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (MSG)

 

We have experienced and we have entrusted our lives to the love of God in us. God is love. Anyone who lives faithfully in love also lives faithfully in God, and God lives in Him.

– 1 John 4:16 (VOICE)

 

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

– Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

His Attention

Getting someone’s attention

can be difficult at times

 

Just to have them look you in the eye

and to be heard

 

is rare

 

But you have God’s attention

 

He always sees you

and always hears you

 

His love for you is eternal

His attention faithful

 

God is not distracted

when you talk to Him

 

He is not preoccupied

with items more important

 

So if you have God’s attention

why not engage with Him?

 

Or is the problem

that God does not have

your attention?

 

-Susie Stewart

 

My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in His presence, freely asking according to His will, sure that He’s listening. And if we’re confident that He’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.

– 1 John 5:13-15 (MSG)

 

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer…

– 1 Peter 3:12 (NIV)

 

The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and He will refresh your life with His love.

– Zephaniah 3:17 (CEV)

 

Those who fear God get God’s attention; they can depend on His strength.

– Psalm 147:11 (MSG)

 

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with Him, make us fit for Him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open His door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

– Romans 5:1-3 (MSG)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Without Restraint

What You give, God,

is lavish

and generous

and overflowing

 

You don’t just stop at need,

You go over

and above

and then some

 

You are our God of much

and we are your people most blessed

 

And what You give

is not always what we expect

 

For the world sees lavish

different

than You do

 

You know how to give

good gifts

to Your children

 

With leftovers

 

Not the least of which

is Yourself

 

Our greatest gift of all

 

Friend, if you think God is holding out on you,

look again

 

and find

Love without restraint

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Then Jesus called His disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”

The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”

Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”

They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”

So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then He took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.

They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children….

– Matthew 15:32-39 (NLT)

 

…your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!

– Matthew 6:8 (NLT)

 

He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

– Ephesians 1:7, 8 (NLT)

 

Yahweh! The Lord!
The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.

– Exodus 34:6,7 (NLT)

 

So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children!

– Matthew 7:11 (VOICE)

 

Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children.

– 1 John 3:1 (VOICE)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Swift

Your forgiveness

Lord

is swift

 

You take no time

to debate in your mind

whether we are worthy

 

You offer open hands

and warm embrace

without reservation

 

And I think about

how we often

are not quick to forgive

 

 

We make a choice

 

to mull over offenses

and severity

and deservedness

 

And sometimes

we never get to the forgiving part….

 

And the longer we wait

the more hardened we become

 

Instead of swift

we are feet dragging in dirt

 

getting scuffed up

in the process

 

What if

our forgiveness

was swift

 

like Yours God?

 

– Susie Stewart

 

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.

– Mark 11:25 (NLT)

 

Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.

– Ephesians 4:32 (AMP)

 

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose].

– 1 John 1:9 (AMP)

 

Love….keeps no record of wrongs.

– 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Far Beyond Tolerance

If we were called

to just tolerate one another

 

would it not be

so much easier?

 

Bearing with each personality

different from our own

 

with a stiff upper lip

and a grit of our teeth?

 

Tolerating…

Enduring….

People?

 

But we are called

to more

 

to Love

 

And it would seem

impossible

 

if not for the example

set before us

 

Christ would not

have rescued us from ourselves

 

if He only tolerated us

 

No, He loved us

with everlasting love

 

The Trinity

sacrificed much

 

for Love

 

We are not consumed

by fires’ wrath

 

because of love

 

And because He made the first move

we are called to the same

 

And it would be impossible

if not for righteousness imparted to us

 

God’s Spirit loves

the unlovable through us

 

Can we not see

that is what we can be  — unlovable?

 

Nonetheless

we are eternally cherished

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:22,23 (NIV)

 

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

– Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

 

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

– John 13:34 (NLT)

 

We love because He first loved us.

– 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart