The Joy In Giving Things Away

C.S. Lewis Quote

Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.”
–C.S. Lewis
Nothing you have is really yours. God gives you things for you to enjoy and share with others. When you realize your possessions, especially money, are from God you don’t need to fear lack because in Him there is always abundance. When you encounter others in need you can give generously from what you have received by God’s blessing. Ironically, you don’t truly appreciate the value of something until you give it away.

How has giving fulfilled you in ways you never expected?

Faith and Doubt

“Teach us to know that we cannot know, for the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Let faith support us where reason fails, and we shall think because we believe, not in order that we may believe.” –A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

Isn’t it encouraging to know that doubt is not an indicator of weak faith? We can’t chase our dreams or take risks without a great deal of faith, which comes with uncertainty. When we decide to follow Jesus, we start a journey in which God doesn’t disclose all the details to us, so doubt is natural. Instead of feeling ashamed about your doubt, allow it to help you grow a supernatural faith and depend on God even more.

When was a time you stepped out of faith to do something? What were your fears/doubts? Tell us about it at your.stories@aspirepress.com.

The Difference Between Effort and Earning

“Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action. Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.”
Dallas Willard (from The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’ Essential Teachings on Discipleship)

Our past and future sins are not counted against us because we are under God’s grace. We don’t need to earn His favor because we already have it. God wants you to know Him as a friend, but for any relationship to work both people need to put in effort. Our part entails acknowledging God’s love and grace and simply responding to them. We will never love God more than He loves us, and when we fully realize this we can’t help but follow Him.

Have you allowed God’s love and the knowledge of what He’s done for you soak in? How do you find yourself responding to this unmerited favor? Tell us about it at your.stories@aspirepress.com.

Forget Not All His Benefits

Forget not all his Benefits

Remember God’s faithfulness to you. Sometimes we forget that God doesn’t just save our souls; he tangibly touches our daily lives. He forgives as well as heals your illnesses. He redeems your life from hell and makes you aware of His love in the small things throughout your day. If ever you are discouraged or in need of encouragement read Psalm 103 for reminders of God’s promises and love towards you.

Where have you seen God’s benefits in your life today? Tell us about it at your.stories@aspirepress.com.

Inspiration: Isaiah 42:16

notforsake

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
–Isaiah 42:16

Going through life can seem like stumbling in the dark, barely seeing one small step in front of you at a time. Entering a new season and taking risks is scary, but knowing that God goes before you, smoothing out the rough patches and orchestrating a good plan along the way can give you confidence to move forward. Even when you make bad decisions or fail, God is a kind teacher and transforms even the bad for your benefit.

Has there ever been a time when you’ve been given an insight into God’s plan for you? We don’t always know God’s plan for our current season but we can see his fingerprints along the way. Tell us about it at your.stories@aspirepress.com.

Out of Darkness and Into the Light

No relationship is perfect. No person is without fault. No marriage is without its challenges, so how do we know when a challenging relationship crosses the line into an abusive one? And why do so many people choose to remain in an abusive relationship? Clear answers are often elusive, but June Hunt, a bestselling author and founder of Hope For The Heart, gives readers a road map toward understanding.

Hunt is the author of six new mini-books with Aspire Press, a division of Rose Publishing. In Verbal & Emotional Abuse, she says that the reason many women remain in abusive relationships is fear. “Unhealthy relationships,” she says, “generally reflect an inability to understand and work within appropriate boundaries.” These poor boundaries are often a result of a victim trying to keep the peace.  The sad reality, however, is that no matter how hard a victim tries to assuage the anger of her abuser, it never lasts.

The cycle of abuse often starts in childhood and then worms its way into adult relationships. The definition of what constitutes a normal family becomes warped in the mind of the victim. They often marry someone who mirrors what they saw play out within their own home. The paradox of abuse is the abuser is often an insecure person trying to control others through manipulation or anger. In her mini-book Codependency, Hunt helps us see how abandonment and enmeshment issues form the engine for this dysfunctional behavior. “Codependent people may appear capable and self-sufficient, yet in reality they are insecure, self-doubting, and in need of approval,” says Hunt.

The good news is people can and do change if they want to. In Hunt’s characteristic style of practical writing and biblical counsel she offers clear definitions, helpful checklists, and sensible advice for those caught in the toxic whirlpool of abuse or dependency. “No one escapes the pain of a broken heart,” says Hunt. “You do have choices. You can have boundaries. You can have healing.”

For the codependent, Hunt says the core problem stems from a person who has not fully matured. That’s both good news and bad. Changing one’s codependent behavior is possible but often difficult. “Codependency does not flow from an unchangeable personality flaw or some genetic fluke,” says Hunt. Rather, it is rooted in immaturity that has transformed into an unhealthy lifestyle. “Moving away from the pain of codependency,” explains Hunt “is a matter of choice and commitment.”

When codependency keeps us locked in relationships that are abusive, they have crossed the line. When we place more energy in maintaining the peace, we are not honoring God and His purpose for our lives. He seeks wholeness. He desires to release and transform us from our past.  Since emotional abuse strikes at the very core of who we are and leaves no visible bruises, it often has lasting effects. “Begin to redefine your own, separate identity by daily choosing to live according to God’s will,” says Hunt, and He will meet you in your pain.

How God Strengthens You

Asire Press Inspirations Trees in the Snow

God can strengthen you, even when it seems you’re going through a barren season.

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)

During Isaiah’s time people were in constant fear that threatening military powers in the region would invade their land (Judah). God sent Isaiah to his people as a prophet to remind them of His protection and blessings despite the daily uncertainty and fear. The same God who made His people like a “well-watered garden” back then, knows your individual needs and promises to fulfill them even when circumstances seem uncertain or hopeless. Meditate on God’s promises (the one above is a good starting point), spend time listening to His voice and notice how His favor, protection, and perfect peace manifest in your life.

God loves to sustain us through his abundant provision.

How has God taken care of your needs? Write us at your.story@aspirepress.com to share! Or tell us on Facebook.com/aspireforfreedom