Do you love Fall? I do…and I don’t.
I love the gorgeous colors of fall. The flaming red, burnt orange, and golden yellow hues bring a smile to my lips as I gaze on their beauty and make my, not quite, daily walks more enjoyable. The days of bright sunshine and brisk cool temperatures are refreshing after a long hot summer. I don’t even mind the occasional rainy days because I know they aid in the vividness of the changing color in the trees all around me. Those are the perfect days to sit with a cup of tea, my comfy lap quilt and a good book and read away to my heart's content. Even as the light begins to fade earlier in the evenings, it seems to grant permission to take more time in the evenings to enjoy some comfort food and movie time with the family. And more time for reading.
I love the cooler temps. Yes to sweater weather! Mind you I said cooler, not cold. That’s the problem..when fall hits I know winter is close on its heels. I’m not as fond of winter. I don’t like wearing coats. Do you?
I love all things apple…but not all things pumpkin. Don’t hate me, but pumpkin spice? Yuck! Just give me a slice of apple pie, or a bowl of apple crisp and a nice steaming hot cup of black coffee. Yes!
And what is it about fall that makes me want to buy new pens and notebooks, and books? Well…I always want to buy books. But I’m a little old to be buying school supplies. And yet, the excitement of a new season is still there. Sort of a mid-year reawakening. An opportunity to begin again. But it’s not so much about new life that we think about in spring, but a putting off of the old. Dropping our leaves, so to speak.
Which brings me to something I don’t like about Fall. All the dead leaves. I wouldn’t mind it so much except that we have so many trees on our property we live in a veritable forest. Our grandson says we live in The Forest of Chesterfield. And that requires not one but multiple leaf blowing sessions throughout the entire season. The cooler temps beckon me to sit out on our deck and drink coffee in the mornings, but the leaves are taking over the chairs, the tables and even fall into my mug. Ugh! Except, with those falling leaves I can finally see the birds in the trees around our backyard. I love birds!
As you can see, I sort of have a love/hate relationship with Fall. One thing about Fall in our area of the country is that it can be trusted. It always arrives. Some years the color palette is not as gloriously vivid as others, but the leaves will still lose their green and turn at least a muted color and fall to the ground. Those leaves no longer hold the chlorophyll that keeps them green and feeds the tree. So they turn to a glorious, or not so glorious, hue of red, yellow, or orange as if to say, “This is me!” Shouting out one last hurrah before they are let go to flutter to the earth below.
There are so many lessons to be learned about God in nature. The one that comes to mind as I think about this fall weather and the changing of the seasons is one of the faithfulness in the promises of God. After the great flood, God tells Noah that He will never again destroy all living things on the earth through such a catastrophic deluge. In Genesis 8:22 we have this promise, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” And so there is constancy in the seasons. We can depend on them. Even more so, there is that with God. He is THE constant. The ever-present God who can be trusted. His promises are true. He can be trusted even while we cannot trust ourselves.
A.W. Tozer says that, “Unbelief is a deadly sin. Among all created beings, not one dare trust in itself. God alone trusts in Himself, all other beings must trust in Him. Unbelief is actually perverted faith, for it puts its trust not in the living God but in dying man.”
Even as the tree’s leaves fall to the earth in the Fall, the trees themselves know that in Spring new leaves will emerge on their branches bringing with them new life and sustenance for the tree. So it is no longer dependent on the dying leaves. Why? Because our Creator God made it so. And so we can put our trust not in our own fickle selves, but in the God who created us. The one who knows us best and yet still, He loves us so. As we let the sin of self-dependence fall to the ground we become more dependent on Him. He then brings new life to our limbs and renews our hearts so that we can now find our joy in Him. We can trust the one who is TRUTH.
I think that sometimes we approach this discussion about unbelief as if it has everything to do with us. Do I trust you, LORD? The reality is that He is trustworthy, no matter how I feel. He is faithful when I am not. His promises are true…always. His faithfulness, His trustworthiness in no way depends on my belief or lack thereof. He is LORD and I am not.
When things go askew in our lives we often wonder, “Where are you God?” “Why is this happening?” But nowhere in scripture do we have the promise that everything we encounter in this fallen world is going to fall to our favor when we are walking with God. He does not promise that we will not encounter trials. In John 16:33, He promises just the opposite when He says, “...in this world you will have trouble…” but He tells us this so that we can be assured that in Him we can experience peace in the midst of our trials. The fact is that He is there…with us in the pit of despair, waiting for us to take His hand so that He can either sit with us a bit longer or lift us out of the pit. His love and compassion never fail. Our faith may falter because we can’t see through the darkness and we may begin to panic because we think we are alone. But when we pray we begin to see through eyes of faith. The pupils of our spiritual vision will begin to adjust to the darkness and let in the light of His love. And we come to realize that He is our ever present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1).
So let this season of falling leaves be a reminder for us to let go…
Of our fear and insecurity,
Of our hurt,
Of our anger,
Of our doubt,
And let’s fall into the everlasting arms of the One who loves us most. The One who can be trusted to be faithful, because His very name is faithful and true.
“ I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.” Revelation 19:11a
Blessings and happy Fall,
WRitten by: Gay Idle
The father instantly cries out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.
This scripture has always spoken very powerfully to my head and heart. To me that simple statement has been a statement of freedom, correction, and hope.
Let’s start with freedom. I grew up mostly in the church. My parents got saved when I was a kid and we quickly began going to a very charismatic local church. The pastor often spoke on faith during service. The subject of faith was very intriguing to me even as a young child and it has stuck to this day. The idea of having such a powerful tool at my disposal and it only needing to be a size of a mustard seed was mind-blowing to me. But I digress...
Faith is a choice to believe God’s word regardless of opposing statements or contrary circumstances and align your thoughts, words, and actions according to that belief.
To me faith=trust.
This has been my definition of faith through all these years.
Have you ever been told or heard of someone say ‘well you must not have had enough faith’, or ‘If their faith was only stronger maybe...’? (Squirrel) I am so sorry if anyone has ever said that to you and I ask your forgiveness on their behalf. Truly.
The first reason why Mark 9:24 speaks so powerfully to me is because that simple statement brings freedom. Jesus said if we only have the faith of a mustard seed we could move mountains in Luke 17:6. Yet the father in this scripture said, ‘you know Jesus, I might not even have enough faith, and still I believe You are big enough and good enough to cover for my lack’ (Alex paraphrase)
Sometimes, we just do not have enough in us to believe. Sometimes we have doubt whether we realize it or not. Sometimes doubt is more noticeable or less noticeable to us. Either way this scripture tells me that I don’t always have to have it together. It’s ok for me to just go to Jesus and say I need help believing for what I need from you. The father did not come with anything more than hope, and yet the father made a choice to align his thoughts, words and actions to Jesus the best that he knew how.
It brings freedom, because no matter where I am at on my faith walk I have permission to go to Jesus and say I need help believing. It takes the weight off of my shoulders (where it never should be to begin with) and places it back on Jesus. (Matt 11:28-30)
Correction, hmm, this one is a little bit of an uncomfortable and touchy subject...
I mentioned a little earlier that many of us have either been the person to be told ‘that our faith must not be good enough’ or know someone that was spoken to. I really did mean it when I asked for forgiveness on behave of anyone who has ever said that to you. This is by no means that. Instead, it is a personal conversation with you and Holy Spirit. Let me explain.
A while back I was believing God for something big. I don’t recall if it was something spiritual or healing or financial. I don’t think it really matters and that’s not the point I am speaking to now anyways. I have always prided myself on being able to trust God in seemingly tough circumstances. Some call that optimism, some call it naive, and others would say I was just young. I whole heartedly believed that I had the faith I needed for any and all situations I faced
and I would sometimes get frustrated with people who did not believe like I did. HA! Because I had it all figured out. (Insert eye rolls here)
I remember one morning being frustrated that what I was praying and believing for had not yet come to pass and I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit.
Hey, I want to help will you let me? Insert Mark 9:24 I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.
I instantly felt so convicted that I had allowed pride to infiltrate my faith and my trust in God! Pride that I somehow had superior faith than those around me, pride that I could do and believe for it all, pride that I was somehow immune to unbelief, and worst of all pride that I know longer needed my Saviors help. That pride moved me from trusting in God to trusting in myself.
Well let me tell you, it did not take long for me to repent and ask and receive forgiveness. Now, you will regularly hear me say in my prayers both personally and corporately, “Lord, I believe help my unbelief.”
You see I no longer have that insecurity. The pride has been broken off and I am set free. I no longer feel the need to prove to those around me that my faith and trust in God is all that and a bag of chips. I don’t need people to see, or think or hear that my faith is one thing or another. I will fail at some point, I am human. I have doubt sometimes and that’s ok. I was never meant to have all the answers. But my God, my Jesus wants to meet me, meet us, meet you, right where we are. I never want to question whether I believed enough or was completely doubt-less. And because of Jesus I don’t have to!
That’s where hope comes in. Regardless of the situation or circumstances if I am praying God’s will over my family, my health, my relationships, my finances I can believe and trust that I don’t have to be enough because my Jesus is enough. I just simply have to surrender my unbelief and fear to Him and let Him take the load.
What is it that you are wanting to believe God for sis?
It could be something immediate or long term. What are you asking God for? What are the desires of your heart? Is it direction or healing? Restoration? Family?
You can trust Him. He really does want to hear your heart. Lean in sis. Lord, we trust you, help us overcome our unbelief.
Written by: Alexandria Brown
My mind has been flooded with a million different things the Lord is doing in my life and how that all relates to unbelief/trust. Even just this morning during our pre-service prayer time, the Lord was prompting me to pray for help with my unbelief. He was urging me to pray that my doubts would be met with an answer - Him. Following the close of our church service today, I went to talk and pray for with a dear friend and the Lord was continuing to nudge my heart about belief and trust in the middle of the unthinkable for the absolutely unbelievable.
I sat down to write this article and couldn't quite figure out where to start. As I said, my mind was flooded. Stories and information and emotions were swirling around so much so that sifting it out and sorting it out and making any sense of it all felt almost impossible. So I went to read some scripture to re-center myself. That is when the Lord made it clear me...
"... they don't need your wisdom, beloved. They need mine."
Today the Lord reminded me early in the day that while godly counsel, pastors, friends, books, and advice are all good - if I seek those things before I seek the Lord then they are out of place and I've made them an idol.
I could write some things the Lord is teaching me and share some of that wisdom with you and that would be all well and good and often times that is what the Lord wants me to do, but tonight, I would be disobedient to the Lord doing that because some of you need to go straight to Him. You've been running to a girlfriend or a preacher or teacher or your counselor or co-worker or even your spouse - all before you run to the Lord. When you do that, you build your trust in your own understanding and begin to lean on that rather than the Lord and his ways and his wisdom.
So I'm just going to give you scripture tonight. Get somewhere quiet, get out your bible (so you know I didn't make any of this up), and get in communion with the Lord. Run to him FIRST. Let this time build your TRUST in Him instead of your trust in your own understanding. Let him help you with your unbelief. He is the answer to your question, dear one. He is ready to speak to you in the middle of your mess, your questions, your weariness, your "whatever", and he is ready to help you trust him more tonight...
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; Help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Psalm 37:3
In God, whose word I praise - in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:4
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
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. Isaiah 43:2
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest n the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121:3
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD. Proverbs 16:20
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. Psalm 118:8
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10
The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delight sin him. Psalm 37:23
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. Psalm 27:3
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:6
Lord Jesus, I pray for unshakable faith for my sister reading this right now. You know her heart, you know her struggles and her triumphs. You know her desires and her fears. You know her better than she knows herself and Lord you love her unendingly. I pray her faith blossoms like a flower in spring, opening wide to face the Son and let the light of his face shine up on her - bringing life to her weary soul. I pray you would give her the gift of faith... that she would believe for the outrageous in the middle of the mundane. That she would believe for the unbelievable in the middle of the unthinkable. That she would trust you like a little child. That it wouldn't matter all the surrounding factors or circumstances... she would just believe you at your word and be quick to obey you. Build her up. Make her a mighty daughter. Help her learn to run to you FIRST - before she runs to your resources. Help her listen to you guiding her and watch for your footsteps. Make her a lover of your word and not just a hearer, but a doer. May you be honored in her life, Lord, and in mine.
Written by: Lyndsay Terry
Last week I set out to read the books of 1 & 2 Kings. I’ve been meaning to read them for some time now and so I began to basically devour 1 Kings..
And then I read 1 Kings 13.
I was reading before bed one night and, truth be told, I had to start reading what was unfolding aloud to my husband because at one point I went, “Oh, dang!” And I guess maybe it’s a little out of the ordinary to audibly comment on Bible reading that way? It's safe to say his interest was piqued.
So in 1 Kings 13, a man of God is sent by the word of the Lord to confront Jeroboam at the altar he set up. He plotted to keep Israel from offering sacrifices in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem and ultimately from returning to King Rehoboam of Judah. He made two golden calves for the people, saying, “..Israel, here are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” (1 Kings 12:28b)
“This led to sin..” (1 Kings 12:30a)
He also made shrines on the high places, made a festival for the Israelites, offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense. I mean, just WOW. This paired with what I had read about him the day before had me feeling some kind of way.
The man of God arrives and proclaims what the Lord commanded and then: “He gave a sign that day. He said, “This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: ‘The altar will now be ripped apart, and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.’” (13:3)
Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, crying out, “Arrest him!” and his hand withered and the altar was indeed ripped apart, ashes pouring from the altar, just as the man of God had said.
So Jeroboam pleaded for the man of God to pray for him so that his hand would be restored- and he did. His hand was restored to him right then and there. And then.. This is where I (very immaturely) basically cried out, “BURN!”
Jeroboam insisted that the man of God come home with him to refresh himself and receive a reward. And this man of God replies, “If you were to give me half your house, I still wouldn’t go with you, and I wouldn’t eat food or drink water in this place, for this is what I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat food or drink water or go back the way you came.’” (13:8-9)
Juvenile comments aside (ahem), check his statement. His steadfast resolve to what the Lord had said to him. No, no, NOT EVEN IF YOU... Because the LORD SAID.
The rest of the story, however, is quite sobering. It’s why my reading in this book has halted because I just keep reading this over and over again and pondering over it.
An old prophet was informed by his sons all that the man of God had done that day and they also told their father what the man of God had spoken to the king. He saddles up his donkey, follows the man of God, and says to him, “Come home with me and eat some food.”
The man of God repeats to the old prophet what the Lord had commanded him: I cannot.. I will not.. “For a message came to me by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat food or drink water there or go back by the way you came.’”
The old prophet responds by saying, “I am also a prophet like you.” (13:18) and tells the man of God that an ANGEL spoke to him, telling him by the word of the Lord to bring him back to his home for food and water.
“The old prophet deceived him, and the man of God went back with him, ate food in his house, and drank water.” (13:18b-19)
Basically, back at the old prophet’s place, the word of the Lord actually does come to this deceiving prophet this time, and he cries out the judgment to come to the man of God: “but you went back and ate food and drank water in the place that he said to you, “Do not eat food and do not drink water”- your corpse will never reach the grave of your ancestors.’”
And then when the man of God left, a lion attacked him and killed him.
Like, my mind is just reeling as I read this. There’s so much more to this story and there’s a lot to unpack. But mainly I’m thinking, this man of God (man of God!) came and boldly opposed Jeroboam’s wickedness, he at first stood firm when it came to what the Lord commanded- and then he was DECEIVED! That old prophet sought him out, having known what the man had told the king Jeroboam, and LIED to him! What is happening here?!
And I mean, I guess in a way I’m kind of defending his disobedience right now. Ouch.
This is really hard. So hard. But what it comes down to is: this man of God deviated from the last thing God had told him to do.
This is so sobering to me because I look around at everything happening around us right now, at all of the voices and the chatter and the noise. And I’m trying to call to mind what it was that the Lord last called me to do. And I’m like, how easy could it be for me to get off track? To stray a little? To be deceived?
Will I trust in what God said or will I allow doubt to creep in? Based on what I see in the physical, my circumstances, my tarrying to obedience.. Anything?
Will I trust in what God said TO ME or will I begin to believe the voices that may come at me? Will I stand firm or will I waver because it sounds good? Because it sounds legit? Even though it is not right simply because it’s not what GOD SAID? TO ME?
Will I take the time to seek the Lord’s will? Will I remain in Him, walking in step with His Spirit so that His will remains at the forefront of my mind?
I just have felt like this is so significant. My hubby even brought this story up again today and said he felt like it was no coincidence that I landed there this week.
I don’t want to lose sight of what God has asked of me. I want to remain in a holy fear of the Lord that keeps me ever before Him, abiding in Him, hearing His voice and remaining resolute, never wavering or compromising. Never straying even a BIT from what He has said.
Listen, I’m no scholar and I make dumb commentary sometimes. And I’m still wrestling with and pouring over and praying about all of the details of this passage of Scripture. But for today, we have GOT to take this to heart: keep in mind what the Lord has said and stand boldly, defiantly, against anything else.
Do not doubt, church. Do not let unbelief creep in. Remain in His Word; trust in what He has said. Our God is holy; He cannot lie. Every word He has said is true.
Anything else, anything less? Flee from it.
Praying for you, sister, as you refuse to budge or compromise on what God has called you to. Holy Spirit will guide you and keep you. I hope you have a chance to dive into the full story here and I pray that you see God for who He is: holy, loving and full of kindness and mercy. Love you!
Written by: Olivia Caldwell
The Pretty & Wise Collective features: