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Archive for March, 2018

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” Psalm 31:14 (NIV)

 

We’ve been talking a lot about how having a faith perspective is important in the life of a believer.  You could argue with me that finding good in a tough financial situation isn’t nearly the same as when people have to deal with harder issues like ALS, cancer or death. How does the faith perspective come into practice with issues that are much more difficult – how do you explain “good” from those?

Let me try and answer that by coming at it from another angle. Would you ever attempt to explain the concepts of calculus to a one-year-old? Does a normal functioning one-year-old have the brain capacity to understand such complicated processes?

God knows that there are some things that happen here on earth that we will never be able to understand until we get to Heaven and see the big picture.  That’s why sometimes when we ask God to explain, to help us understand, we are met with silence.  Not silence in the fact that He isn’t there but silence in the fact He doesn’t provide the answers we seek.

While I will never fully understand why we had to lose a baby too early or why my family has dealt with chronic illness and pain, I’ve crossed over from the questioning stage to trust.  I am choosing to look for and sometimes do see good that has come from heartache.  Our family has a greater empathy for others that I believe we wouldn’t have necessarily had.  Our family is a lot closer than we might have been had sickness and death not entered into our circle of love. Our family chooses to take the hurt and brokenness that we’ve experienced and use it to help others around us that are feeling similar or possibly even more painful experiences because we don’t want them to feel alone either.

However, there will still always be questions left unanswered.  And that is when we simply choose to trust.  Trust that while we don’t understand, God does.  Trust that while we don’t have the answers, God does.  Trust that while we don’t know what we will do next, we can look at life from the faith perspective and know God has this.  He has us.  He has the next step and the next step and the next step, as long as we keep letting Him lead and obey His directions.

Living life this way isn’t always easy.  Sometimes, most of the time it seems, God’s timing is way slower than what I would like.  I want Him to hurry up and make the bad go away so that I can stop hurting or worrying or feeling the weight of whatever situation is crushing me.  But God doesn’t work that way.  He knows that when we go through, all the way through, the experience, if we do it His way, in His time, learning the lessons He wants us to learn, we will be more mature on the other side and ready to help others. We will have a testimony that could point one more person to a personal relationship with Him.  And that, my friends, is the main purpose of our life here on this earth.  Pointing others to a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior.  Because that is how we will all spend eternity with Him someday.  I think we can all agree that is where we would like to be reunited someday with all our friends and family.  But it all starts with a choice. A personal choice.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

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“I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.”

Psalm 86:12 (NIV)

 

Last time we were together I spoke about how hard Monday was this week and how God showed me all week long that He is there for me.  It’s now Friday and while nothing’s changed regarding my circumstances, a lot has changed.  And that is my attitude toward the situation.

I’m back to remembering God’s promises.  I’m back to remembering the truths that God does provide, He does protect, He does heal, He does take care of all our needs.  I’m back to remembering that what God did for all the people in the Bible, He still does today to people like you and me.  God does not play favorites.  When I choose to give Him my life, when I choose to let Him have control, He shows up and He does wonderful things.

Do I wish that He had changed the circumstances already?  Kind of… but I’m in a place of trusting that He’s working even if I can’t see the progress.  I’m content to wait for His timetable.  I’m focused on the blessings I do have and taking pleasure in the little things.

Do I still believe God will do great things?  Yes.  Do I believe God has more blessings for our family and is working to change our situation?  Yes.  Better yet, though, I believe that He’s doing that same thing for those around me.  The people whom I love and even those I’ve never met who are struggling with their own circumstances.

Do I believe God wants to help the lady on Facebook who feels as though this is the only way life is going to be for her?  Absolutely.  But as I’ve spoken about many times throughout the last few posts… it all starts with a choice.  The first choice is to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ where we give up control and let Him have the driver’s seat.  The second choice is to live with the perspective of faith.  The third step is to trust that God is working, even when we can’t see it.  And the fourth and hardest step is to maintain an attitude of gratitude – believing, truly believing that God wants the best for our lives and is moving us toward that when we let Him.

Does that mean God wants an easy life for us?  Quite the contrary.  The best and easy usually don’t blend in the same sentence when God is involved.  Easy doesn’t require faith. But, the best, despite not being easy, can be the most exhilarating adventure one has ever taken.  And seriously, when I’m on my deathbed, I don’t want to look back on my life and say, “Wow, I led a very easy life.  Nothing too terrible happened but nothing terrific happened either.  I just woke up and went to sleep day in and day out.”  I want my life to mean something – to the One I serve, in the lives of those I love, in the passion I have for ministry and activities and living. When I choose to trust God and let Him lead, it will be far from easy, of that I’m guaranteed, but I also think I will be able to say, “That was a life I would definitely live again.”

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

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“There are times when God will heal us immediately – instantly – and we will be able to walk in that freedom from the first moment of healing until death. I have heard testimonies of that type of healing… There are other times God will heal us, but will require daily or weekly obedience by walking in that freedom to maintain that healing. And this, my friends, is where I’ve been struggling.”

Excerpt from Day 13, Spoken from the Heart: God’s Joy Lasts a Lifetime

 

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You can still buy the other paperbacks in the series at the low price of $6.47 or less to complete the series.

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*** DON’T FORGET *** 

Spoken from the Heart: The Importance of Relationships

Only 99 cents

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Four-Book Series Available Now:

Spoken from the Heart:

Walking in Freedom

Living a Life of Obedience

God’s Joy Lasts a Lifetime

His Plan, His Purpose

 

*** EXTRA BONUS *** 

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God wants a relationship with each one of us. While He asks us to trust Him, have faith in the path He chooses and obey His leading… when we choose to commit to doing life His way, there is Freedom and Joy during the journey.

 

Amazon SUPER SALE on

Spoken from the Heart: His Plan, His Purpose

It is only $1.88 for the PAPERBACK!

http://amzn.to/2FRQI79

I’m not sure how long Amazon sale’s last, so

get your copies today!

At this price, you can buy one for yourself and one as a gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day …

Any Day!

 

Four-Book Series Available Now:

Spoken from the Heart:

Walking in Freedom

Living a Life of Obedience

God’s Joy Lasts a Lifetime

His Plan, His Purpose

 

*** EXTRA BONUS *** 

Spoken from the Heart eBook

All Volumes Above Only 99 cents

Get all volumes here:

http://amzn.to/2in2qI4

Please share with your friends

 

You can still buy the other paperbacks in the series at the low price of $6.47 or less to complete the series.

http://amzn.to/2in2qI4

 

*** DON’T FORGET *** 

Spoken from the Heart: The Importance of Relationships

Only 99 cents

Get it today while it’s still the new release price

http://amzn.to/2DIDZxy

 

 

Are you interested in receiving a free eBook?

Join the Spoken from the Heart READERS CLUB

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Freedom?  Obedience?  God’s Joy?  Purpose?

Are these areas in your life you would like to learn more about, from a Christ-centered perspective?

 

Amazon decided to have a SUPER SALE on Spoken from the Heart: His Plan, His Purpose

It is only $1.88 for the PAPERBACK!

http://amzn.to/2FRQI79


I’m not sure how long Amazon sale’s last, so

get your copies today!

At this price, you can buy one for yourself and one as a gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day …

Any Day!

 

Four-Book Series Available Now:

Spoken from the Heart:

Walking in Freedom

Living a Life of Obedience

God’s Joy Lasts a Lifetime

His Plan, His Purpose

 

*** EXTRA BONUS *** 

Spoken from the Heart eBook

All Volumes Above Only 99 cents

Get all volumes here:

http://amzn.to/2in2qI4

Please share with your friends

 

You can still buy the other paperbacks in the series at the low price of $6.47 or less to complete the series.

http://amzn.to/2in2qI4

 

*** DON’T FORGET *** 

Spoken from the Heart: The Importance of Relationships

Only 99 cents

Get it today while it’s still the new release price

http://amzn.to/2DIDZxy

 

Are you interested in receiving a free eBook?

Join the Spoken from the Heart READERS CLUB

 

Read Full Post »

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

 

I just finished speaking about having a faith perspective and choosing to trust God with one’s life. I also shared how I struggled in the fall of 2016 with believing God’s promises over the lies of the enemy.  And today I want to share that choosing is an everyday action. While God wooed me and reminded me of His unconditional love all throughout 2017, there were still days I struggled.  There were days I was tired emotionally and spiritually and I felt like giving up.  There were days I didn’t see any forward motion and it felt like all progress was being lost.

However, that is when the faith perspective is the most important.  Faith isn’t faith when we can see the finish line and everything has been revealed.  Faith, true faith is continuing to walk toward the finish line when you aren’t even sure from a physical viewpoint there is a finish line to cross.

Monday was such a day for me.  I woke up feeling crushed by the weight of hard.  Life just seemed heavy and I was having problems finding my joy.  Instead of God getting angry with me or impatient or saying something like, “Seriously, Cheri? Didn’t we go round this last year? I don’t have time to go around it again with you.” Nope. Instead He answered my unbelief with, “Instead of working today, sit with Me for a while.  If you will choose spending time with Me, I will help you find your joy again.”

While it wasn’t instantaneous, it was authentic.  I chose to sit in our big comfy chair that afternoon with a cup of coffee and three of my blessings journals. I chose to reread the words spoken over our family and God slowly showed me where He had already answered, where answers were in progress and even the hope of answers still to come.  He reminded me of the various ways He had provided for our family in the past and gently instructed me to “Trust in Me, Cheri, with all of your heart” and “Do not worry – have I ever forsaken you – why would I now?”

So I realized I had a choice.  I could choose to believe in the promises that God has given me over the years or not.  I could choose to trust that God is truly my Abba Father and worthy of my trust… or not.  I chose trust.  I chose to believe again.  And when I started viewing life from the faith perspective, again, God did indeed restore my joy.

It started as early as a few hours later.  I felt God nudging me to bake banana bread for the teachers at school.  Now, the next day was Halloween so I figured they would be getting extra treats already and wondered why God was nudging me in this direction. But instead of questioning His nudge, I simply made the banana bread because I trusted Him and got it ready to deliver on Tuesday.

Tuesday morning started out interesting.  Our internet was slower than molasses and no work could be accomplished. So, since our oldest had an assignment due, I offered to drive him to college early to use their computers and then take our youngest to school after, instead of the usual “other way around.” I was worried our youngest would be late, but God was amazing and got us to his school with five minutes to spare.  As we were walking to the front of the school with the banana bread ready to deliver, the fire drill went off.  I can’t tell you how many teachers thanked me for a nice treat while they had to wait outside with 300+ kids during an unexpected blip to start their day. I was able to praise God to them and give Him the glory for the bread because after all, He is the One who suggested I make it the night before.

What started out as some major inconveniences (no internet, change in schedule and unexpected fire drill), God used for His glory.  And when I got home, the internet was working just fine again and has ever since, with no assistance needed from me.

Fast forward to Friday… I was worried about finances, again. I kept reminding myself that God specifically told me only three days prior, “Do not worry –  have I ever forsaken you – why would I now?” So, I made a choice. I could continue to worry and ruin my day or I could trust that God has always provided for us and remember that He never changes. Instead of worrying, I spent the ten minutes driving home thanking God for all His provisions, the blessings He has already given to us and telling Him I trusted Him for what we would continue to need.

God gave me another reminder of His unconditional love on that drive home – a deer. While it’s not unusual to see them in the Midwest in the fall, they aren’t usually standing in the middle of someone’s yard waiting for me, but this particular morning there was one.  I stopped right then and admired the beauty of the deer, thanking God for His love and also the beauty that is all around me if I just stop long enough to look up and enjoy it. God used that moment to give me the heavenly perspective I needed to refocus.

Between pulling into the driveway and pulling out the checkbook, God reminded me of how He was going to provide this particular week.  And He did! While I was praising Him for the provisions this week, I was tempted to start worrying about how He will provide in two weeks… until I remembered, I have a choice.  Instead of worrying, which gets me nothing but an upset stomach, I’m choosing trust.  And if God is willing to provide now… then He is not going to change and stop providing two weeks from now, two weeks from then, etc.

As I sit here typing these words I’m peaceful. Content. A very different person than I was on Monday. I’m choosing to live my life with a faith perspective.  Will I need reminders to stay on track with my thinking?  Yes.  Will I continually have to be in God’s word to remind myself of His promises?  Yes.  And I think that’s the way God wants it.  For us to continue to come to Him, trusting Him for all our needs, for our wants and giving our desires over to Him so that He can make them bigger and better, and yes, sometimes very different, than anything we could ever ask or imagine.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

 

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“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10 (NIV)

 

I’ve spoken so many times about how I didn’t fully trust God for way too long.  I asked Him over a decade ago to please teach me how to trust Him, but to please be gentle during the process.  Because I didn’t trust Him fully, it was really scary for me to ask Him to teach me that lesson.

Over the past ten years, He’s taught me I had nothing to fear. God has answered that prayer in so many wonderful ways. However, I’ve found that usually in order to learn the important lessons in life about faith, trust, patience, self control – I have to have lots of practice so I can grow in these areas which is really what God wants for each of us.  When we’re mature and growing into Jesus’ likeness, then God can start to really use us for the purpose and plans He created within us to begin with.

Seven years ago I was a wife and mother of three, still grieving our unborn fourth that was born too soon, staying busy juggling work from home along with everything else. Pretty typical.  I knew that my purpose in life wasn’t to type for medical transcription forever; yet, I didn’t know what purpose God had planned for me.  So I told Him one spring morning that I was ready. He could have full control of my life and I would obey.  I had faith that He would do something great in our family’s life and I was ready to get started…

God heard that honest prayer from my heart and not a few weeks later started a journey of faith that has been anything but calm and quiet.  He started by whispering to me to “finish my book” which led me to a writer’s conference the following fall.  The conference resulted in my starting a blog which led to writing and self-publishing books. Once that was firmly established, I lost my medical transcription job due to it being dissolved. God used the experience and connections I had from writing to work for two separate companies… and I don’t believe His journey of faith for me is finished yet.  He has been whispering to me some other avenues that He has invited me to walk down… and I am far enough along in the faith journey to believe that He will supply the experience and knowledge I need in the right time.

Has it been easy to trust Him when I was told in 30 days I would lose my job without any income to replace it? Did I mourn a little when I was set on traditionally publishing fiction books and God instead led me in the direction of self publishing nonfiction instead?

However, I have seen His hand in all of this, every single detail.  He allowed me to work for a medical transcription company for ten years to practice my grammar and editing skills (not to mention learn how to type fast) skills I needed to be hired by the two companies I worked for after I lost my job. In addition, while I wanted to write fiction and be traditionally published, having to learn the field of self publishing and learning to love writing about my life and the ways God is working in it has opened up other doors and opportunities for me as I continue down the path God has placed me on.  I believe that in His time, God will give me back fiction writing but not until He’s ready and I’ve fulfilled the other areas God has called me to.

 

However, to see the good in the last six years, I had to give up control of my dreams and desires. I had to choose faith. I had to trust God’s plans were the best for our family and our lives.  And they are!  While they haven’t been easy, they have definitely been the best.

You want to know the icing on the cake? He’s not done.  While we have had good throughout the journey, I know that He’s not finished yet and there is more “good” to come. Why do I know that? Because I believe God has more in store because we’ve been faithful with the assignments He has given us so far.

So, what I would say to that person on Facebook who felt hopeless and as though she was not one of the few selected persons to have good come from evil is this.  It starts with choosing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It starts with trusting Him enough to give Him complete control over her life and letting Him lead without getting in the way.  It has to do with finding the promises in the Bible where God speaks about provision and healing and peace and believing those words are meant for all of God’s children. It’s all about choosing to see from the perspective of faith.  Is it easy? Not always.  But it’s the best choice.

© Cheri Swalwell 2018

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