Elevate

Confession: I Believe God Cares About Everyone But Me

Confession
This post is going to be a little personal because it is about me. I’m writing it to help me overcome this but I’m publishing it in hopes that it will resonate with and help someone else. This is a problem that I did not know I had until I realized that my husband has to repeatedly ask me a simple question, “Have you prayed about it yet?”
Let me give you all a little background on me. I’m the kind of person who has faith that with Jesus anything is possible. I believe that if you ask anything in the name of Jesus Christ, God will do it for you (John 14:13) I am an intercessor, often going into prayer for family, friends, even strangers who have no idea that I am praying for them. I have seen countless prayers answered and I believe these things came to pass because there were at least two of us praying while gathered in His midst (Matthew 18:19-20). But when it comes to praying for myself, Kevin has to remind me. When I’m not feeling well and laying in bed in pain, Kevin comes in and asks, “Have you prayed about it yet?” When I’m frustrated with the kids and on the verge of a snapping, Kevin calmly asks, “Have you prayed about it yet?”. When I’ve had a hard day at work and cannot seem to shake what is bothering me, Kevin asks, “Have you prayed about it yet?” Unfortunately, my answer is usually “no”. Kevin is great and just goes into prayer with me immediately, but lately I have been wondering why this seems to be my regular answer.
To be completely honest, it means that I don’t think that I am as deserving of God’s help as everyone else. At first I tried to justify my lack of prayer to mean that my problems are relatively small problems in contrast to other people’s issues. Then I had to look at this and realize that I am not taking God at His Word. 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) tells us to cast “all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you”. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” What stands out about these two scriptures, is that they both tell us to go to God with anything. They don’t tell us to only go to God with big problems or only in desperate situations, the Word says “all” and “every”. I know and have proof that God can and will move on my behalf and offer up His peace and healing. But if I’m not asking Him to, then I have a low sense of my value to God.

Isaiah 43:1b-4 (NIV) is a beautiful description of how much we mean to God.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers; they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze, for I am the Lord Your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…Since you are precious and honored in My sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV) says, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing”.
Luke 12:7 (NIV) says, “Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows”.
These are all wonderful reminders of God’s love for us and how much we mean to Him. God has given me so many blessings that I did not pray for, imagine how blessed I would be if I took all of my concerns to Him as He requests of me. This goes for every Christian. If we would just put God first in everything, and go to Him, He will do just what He promised. God is not just the Almighty, He is our Father. And our Father wants us to depend more on Him and ourselves less.
The next time Kevin asks me, “Have you prayed about it yet?” My answer will be “Yes!”
Does this resonate with you? If so, chime in below!!!
Elevate

Spiritual Exercise

Spiritual Exercise

According to the Library of Congress, the heart is “the hardest working muscle…it pumps out over 2 ounces (71 grams) of blood at every heartbeat. Daily the heart pumps at least 2,500 gallons (9,450 liters) of blood” (Library of Congress, 2017). It is safe to say that the heart has to be in constant use for us to continue to live healthy lives. Our hearts are not able to take breaks, they have to be in continuous action all day, every day. The heart does not get to take a break when it feels it has worked long enough. It does not get to put in a vacation request or take time off for the holidays. Even when the heart is sick, it is still forced to work. And though we don’t necessarily do anything manually to make the heart work, we must exercise and have a healthy diet in order to get the best and longest use out of our hearts.
Faith is like the heart of the spirit. When used properly, it is the hardest working muscle of the spirit. Believers should constantly use faith in their day-to-day lives. Like the heart, faith needs to be active to do it’s job. James 2:17 (NIV) states “…Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” With that being said, we must participate in spiritual exercise and feed our spirit with the Word of God throughout the day to develop our faith. You have to use your faith regularly because as muscles can lose definition when you stop exercising, faith can decrease when you stop your spiritual exercises. Do not give your faith a break! The enemy is constantly looking for a way to impart doubt into your heart and mind. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV) says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings”. Satan does not take breaks so neither can we. The only way to stand firm in our faith is to exercise our faith and grow this spiritual muscle. I’m going to give you four spiritual exercises that you should do every day (multiple times a day) to grow your faith muscle.
Four Spiritual Exercises to Develop Your Faith
Pray:Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV) to “pray continually”. Prayer is every believers first line of defense because it can be done anywhere, any time, without having to stop what you are doing at the moment. When we pray continually, it shows God that we realize that we need Him for His guidance and that we are not trying to operate independently, but we depend on Him in every situation. Prayer should be used when we are faced with worry, fear, or doubt. We should pray when we are dealing with difficult people or difficult issues. Prayer should be used when we are engaging in spiritual battles. Pray for more faith! Ask God daily to increase your faith. Jesus said in Mark 11:24 (NIV), “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours”. If you ask God to increase your faith and you believe that He will, it is already done.
Study: I use the word study instead of read because study means “to apply oneself to acquiring a knowledge; to endeavor to learn or memorize; and to read carefully or intently” (dictionary.com). So, do not just read the Bible, take your time and take notes, do some background research about the text, and commit impactful scriptures to memory. Studying the Word of God is one of the best ways to grow your faith because the more you know about God, His goodness, and His Will, the easier it will be for you to learn to put your trust in Him. Don’t stop at reading, many churches have sermons online now, there are virtual Bible studies, you can even simply search for a topic in Youtube that will bring up awesome teachings. Soak up the Word however you can!
Believe:From all of the prayer and studying you are doing, you should have acquired a belief in the promises of God. If you haven’t, continue to pray for increased faith. Without unwavering belief, there is no faith. In Matthew 9, Jesus healed several people and even brought the dead back to life all because these people had no doubt that Jesus could heal them. There is a story there of two blind men who approached Jesus and asked Jesus to heal their blindness. Before Jesus performed the miracle, He asked “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28 NKJV). The blind men answered affirmatively; then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29 NKJV). And the blind men were able to see instantly. The moral of the story is that the men were only healed because of their unwavering belief that Jesus had the power to allow them to see. When you learn to stop doubting, you will see that faith releases the power of Jesus in every area of your life.
Obey:Just as God is faithful to us by keeping His promises, we must be faithful to Him by following His perfect Will. Obedience is the action step of faith. James 1:22-25 (NIV) states
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
The phrases that I want to note are “Do what it says” and “not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it”. Obeying God is all about doing His Will. When you do His Will, He will bless you. And from witnessing the blessings taking place in your life, your faith will grow.
Get a good workout in today!
Much love,
Shaw
Elevate

A Biblical Response to Domestic Violence

Disclaimer: I am an advocate that works in a domestic violence shelter. I am fully aware that men are victims of domestic violence, but in this post I will use feminine pronouns for ease of reading.
 
You are probably reading this post for one of three reasons:
1.You are currently in a domestic violence relationship struggling with the idea of leaving.
2. You have left a violent relationship but you feel stuck because you cannot move past the fear, trauma, or psychological beat-downs that you are used to. You feel confused because you know that you deserve better but you still feel stuck.
3.You know and love someone in a violent relationship and you are trying your hardest to encourage him or her to leave. It hasn’t been successful thus far, but you are hoping to find some Bible-inspired message of hope that will jolt her enough to make her realize that she was created for so much more.
 
Created…that word has so much power in it! We were all created by God, the Most High, before we were even thought about by our parents. In Jeremiah 1:5a (NIV) God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” So what I’m telling you is that God created you for a specific reason, His glory. Isaiah 43:7 (NLT) says, “Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” Since God created you for His glory, it stands to reason that He did not create you to stay in an abusive relationship. Listen here my friend, you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” according to Psalm 139:14 (NIV), which means that you are special to God. God created you with a purpose and a goal in mind that has gotten placed on the back burner because you have been in an abusive relationship that has made it hard for you to build a close relationship with God. But until you develop that relationship with God you will never find your purpose.
 
Please understand, I am not blaming you for being where you are, I just want you to want God more than you want your relationship with your partner. I want you to want God more than you want a place to live. I want you to want God more than you want to feel loved by another person. I want you to want God more than you want any drug or alcohol. I want you to want God more than you want predictability and a false sense of comfort. Once you place God at the head of your life, you will find it increasingly hard to stay in a relationship with anyone who does not treat you with love and respect.
 
Now it would be negligent of me not to mention that the only way to have this close relationship with God is to be saved and become a born-again Christian. There is no way to form this relationship or to realize why God set you apart until you take this step. I encourage you to begin reading the Bible and learn about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I also need you to find a church home where you can be saved and taught the Word of God.
 
Ask yourself this question, “Who am I?” The correct answer is that you are a child of God, which makes you the daughter of the King of all kings, which means that you are royalty. Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” Galatians 3:26 (NIV) states, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” It is your time! You can no longer deny your heritage. You are royalty! It is time to carry yourself as royals do. Royals have clear cut boundaries that have consequences if crossed. As a daughter of a King, you have to realize that you are out of place and run back to the Kingdom.
Now that you know who you are, you need to figure out how to get out of the relationship that Satan wants you bound to. Satan wants you to feel helpless so that you don’t leave this relationship, he wants you to feel guilty about leaving your partner, and he wants you to feel responsible for the abuse. Don’t let Satan trick you! The longer you stay in this relationship, the longer Satan has you right where he wants you, and the more time he has to devise more schemes to keep you in the relationship. Remember, Satan’s ultimate goal in your life is to keep you separated from your loving Father.
 
It is time to pick up your crown again! It’s time for you to take control of your life. You may feel like this is an impossible task, but because Jesus has already overcome the world you have victory over this relationship. You just have to walk in your victory. Now I’m going to tell you to pray about it, and I’m sure you have. But I need you to pray that God shows you specific strategies to exit the relationship safely. Pray that God reveals people in your life who you can trust and who are willing to help you, even if you don’t know them yet. Pray that God gives you the courage to reach out to these people without being fearful, prideful, or ashamed. Tell God that you know that He “did not give you the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). So ask God to manifest the spirit of courage, the spirit of power, and the spirit of love (self love), and the spirit of a sound mind. Pray for deliverance from evil and from the temptation to stay. Pray that once you leave, God continues to “supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Pray for forgiveness of your sins. Ask God to renew and purify your mind and body with the blood of Christ Jesus. When you pray, know that I have come into agreement with you.
 
After you pray, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). You can also go to their website at www.thehotline.org. They can help you plan your exit safely (safety plan), help you find shelters in your area, and help you find domestic violence counseling in your area. If you are a friend or family member of an abused person, there is a lot of great information for you on this website as well.
 
Remember my friends, faith without action is dead. So it is great that you prayed, but it is necessary that you take action too. It is time that you begin to see yourself as God sees you. God sees you as royalty.
 
If you have any questions please ask below.
 
Be blessed
 
 
 
Shaw
Elevate

Faith To A Believer

One of our main goals here at Elevate Through Faith is to help our readers grow their faith in God. So it is only fitting that the first post discuss faith and what faith looks like in the life of a believer.
 
Faith is unwavering belief in God. Belief is defined in the dictionary as “confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof; confidence, trust”. What this tells me is that faith is not an opinion or a feeling, because both of these can be fleeting. Yes, you can feel God’s presence, but faith is believing even when you do not feel His presence. The reason the definition of faith does not mention feelings, tangibility, or any of the five senses is because if you cannot require continuous proof and consider yourself to have faith.
 
Now if you are reading this and you need some sort of proof, don’t stop reading just yet. There are many things that we were taught in school that we believe only because it was taught to us and we can find the facts in a book. For example, I believe that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Surprisingly, I believe this even though I have never laid eyes on Mr. Columbus or his ship. Nor do I know anyone who has met Christopher. I also believe that water is made of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, though I have never taken these elements and produced homemade water. Have you? If you haven’t but still believe that water is H2O, I know that you have what it takes to have unwavering faith in God. Just keep hanging around Elevate Through Faith, we’ll get you there.
 
Just like the books you read in school, the Bible is a factual and historical account. So let’s look at the Biblical definition of faith. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) states, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Some may look at this verse and believe that it is only speaking about the belief in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. A more mature believer will realize that it is also telling Christians to believe in the promises of God, even if they have yet to fully manifest in your life.
 
Numbers 23:19 (NLT) states, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Deuteronomy 7:9 (NLT) states, “Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his convenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands”. These two verse are promises that God will keep His promises. But let’s look at some of the other promises of God:
Matthew 6:33 (NLT) says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”. God promises to provide and sustain you if you just put Him above everything and everyone else. Go back and read the whole chapter, just before this verse Jesus was telling the disciples not to worry about what they will eat, drink, or wear because God values us above birds and flowers, yet He takes care of them and He will take care of us as well.
Joshua 1: 9 (NIV) says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. This ties into one of my favorite scriptures 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”. Which is another scripture attached to a promise. God tells us not to be afraid, because we have Him and He has promised to fight our battles. Exodus 14:14 states “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm”.
These are a very small percentage of the promises of God. As believers, we have faith that God will fulfill every promise to us. So instead of allowing worry, fear, or doubt to overtake us, we choose to exercise our faith and trust in God alone.
 
If you have thoughts or questions, comment below and I will get right back with you.
 
Thanks for reading,
 
 
 
Shaw
Elevate

God Promised

scenic view of forest during night time

Welcome back to Elevate Through Faith!
In my first blog post, I stated that faith is having confidence the God will fulfill His promises even when they have yet to manifest in your life. I would like to expound on this further, because this is the kind of faith that gets you excited to wake up every day and continue praising God no matter what. This type of faith is what makes you obey God and listen for His instructions in your life. This is the kind of faith that no matter what kind of work you are doing, you do it for His glory. This post will pull from John 14, the New International Version (NIV), to illustrate faith in God.
Last week, I gave you the definition of faith as written in Hebrews 11:1 (NIV), “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. I want to break this down even more because this scripture is almost the lifeline of every believer who desires to live inside God’s Will and who wants to find and walk in God’s purpose for his or her life.
Confidence is defined by dictionary.comas “full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing”. The person in our case is God. So as a Christian who is faith-filled, I put my full trust in God, I believe in His mighty power, I know that He is trustworthy, and I know that He will always keep His Word.
In other words, I fully trust God because He will always keep His promises to me. I put my hope in His promises even though I am still waiting on His promises to take place in my life. A great example of how God makes a promise is found in the Gospel of John. Jesus told His disciples in John 14:2-3, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going to there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am”. What a beautiful and praiseworthy promise! Glory to God! What is even more wonderful is that Jesus instructs us on what to do to be allowed to enter into this prepared place. In John 14:23 Jesus says, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them”. Then Jesus goes one step further and leaves us the greatest reminder, the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples in John 14:26, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you”. So not only does the Holy Spirit remind us of Jesus’ teachings, the Holy Spirit teaches us and helps us to have a better understanding of God and His Will. I know that we all want to experience God’s promises while we are here on earth, but this is the ultimate promise. This promise found in John 14:3 is the entire reason that Christians follow Jesus, we want to get into Heaven and live in our Father’s presence for eternity. While we have not seen Heaven, we have faith that Jesus will return and take us back with Him.
So what is it that we have assurance of but we do not see? The answer is “many things”. Jesus promised His disciples in John 14:12-14, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it”. Yes, you read that correctly, Jesus promised that we would do greater works than He! He also promised that whatever we ask in His name, He will do it! There is a condition attached to this promise. In order for this promise to be fulfilled we have to believe, continue to do good works, and everything we do should be to glorify God. So as long as we meet these conditions, Jesus promised to give us whatever we ask as long as it brings glory to God and draws others to Him.
I hope this helped you understand faith just a little more. It is impossible to please God without faith, that is why it is so important to take the time and fully grasp the significance it plays in the life of a Christian.
If you have questions or comments, please leave them below or email me at elevatethroughfaith@gmail.com.
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As always, thank you for taking the time to visit Elevate Through Faith.
-Shaw
Elevate

Faith Does Not Give UP

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If you were to ask me “what is the most important characteristic of a Christian?” I would answer “faith”. I would not say “believing that Jesus is the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, died for our sins, rose the third day, and ascended to Heaven to be seated at the right hand of God”, because that is the qualification of being saved. After you profess that, you are considered a Christian. But faith is the main quality that you need to not only stay a Christian but to make a difference as a Christian. Faith is what helps you overcome your flesh and the temptations that the world taunts you with daily. Faith is also the reason I cannot and will not ever give up on spreading God’s message through whichever platforms I am called to do so. I will not give up because I know that faith is unstoppable as long as what I am doing is connected to God’s Will.
Jesus tells His disciples in Mark 16:15 (NIV), “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” This verse is why this website was created. God placed something inside of me from a young age that finds writing to be therapuetic and I have always had a tendency to write down my prayers and any revelations. I have recently been led by the Holy Spirit to create a website to share my revelations with others. This is how God’s Will manifested into part of my God-given purpose (I’m still discovering my purpose). All Christians have the obligation to spread God’s Word, and this website is one of the ways that I fulfill my duty. In what ways will you spread the Good News?
Now that I have started this website, I know that I will encounter some problems, setbacks, and let-downs. Maybe it will not reach as many people as I hope, maybe there will be negative comments left on my posts, maybe my family and friends will not understand why I’m doing this, maybe, maybe, maybe. There are a lot of unknowns and some uncertainty that I have within myself. I’m sure that I am not the only one going through this and this may be the reason you are reading this post right now. But what I do know is that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV) as long as we do not grow “weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap; if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9 KJV). This is a message for every Christian, no matter what level of success you have achieved. If you are still breathing, God has more in store for you.
Philippians 1:6 and Galatians 6:9 tell us that faith is unstoppable. It takes faith to keep going in the face of opposition. It takes faith to not give up when you are surrounded by critics. It takes faith to keep going when you feel like you should have already met your goal. It takes faith to keep striving when everyone around you seems to be moving at a faster pace and they seem to be more successful than you. It takes faith to not grow weary when every great idea you have gets shot down. In order for our faith to bring us through to our goals, we must push through when the going gets rough and we become burned out. But with faith, we know that everything has a proper time and in the meantime have to keep the faith and keep being led by the Holy Spirit. Our time is coming soon!
So my friends, if you are in a season where you feel like you have exhausted all of your energy trying to fulfill your God-given purpose but you’ve still been unsuccessful, do not give up. Be encouraged! Keep practicing and perfecting your gift. Keeping praying and studying to show yourself approved. Don’t get distracted because you feel like success is taking too long and you have time to spare. You don’t! If God has called you, continue to walk in that calling and be content right where you are. Right now God is preparing the right space for you to showcase your gifts. He knows that you are ready, but He has to make sure everyone else is ready for you. So God is busy softening hearts on your behalf, clearing out people who mean you no good, and putting people in place who will support your God-given vision. Do not lose heart! Faith does not give up!
With Love,
Shaw