My Righteous One Will Live By Faith


“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.”  –St Augustine

I spent a good bit of my life misunderstanding faith. Instead of exercising it and living my life by it, I thought of faith more like a noun—something we hold in our hearts. If we simply possess enough of it, God will act on our behalf, right?

Then I found myself discouraged because I didn’t see God move. It left me wondering about my own condition. Did I not have enough faith?

Perhaps you’ve been there, wondering why others can share powerful testimonies of how God showed up in their need, but you’re left doubting yourself and the God you claim to trust because your circumstances haven’t changed.

Dear one, if that’s you, perhaps you’ve missed the beautiful foundation through which true faith must flow: relationship.

Hebrews 11:6 states, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Look at the actions describing one who pleases God with faith. Not only must we believe He exists, but we must “come to Him” in that belief. True faith can only be exercised by one who comes near to God. And that approach isn’t simply uttering a casual prayer when the need arises. The verse is clear that God rewards those who “earnestly seek Him.”

Consider Romans 10:17:

“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

Dear one, faith is birthed in us when we hear a message through the Word of Christ. Perhaps our faith is failing us because we haven’t drawn near to Christ to hear what He is saying. Maybe we’ve told God what we think we need–even believing He can provide it–but we haven’t drawn near to Christ to listen for what He knows we need. Beloved, faith comes from hearing.

In John 10:3-4, Jesus describes the true nature of faith.

“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”

We express faith as we trust and follow. In order to follow, we must quiet ourselves and draw near to the One who speaks. Maybe we don’t see God moving on our behalf because we haven’t bothered to quiet ourselves to hear Him speaking (Psalm 46:10). We haven’t given Him the opportunity to reveal His thoughts on the matter. Instead of following behind, we’ve wandered toward what we think we need.

Beloved, Jesus releases His power wherever He is. If you want to see Him move in your circumstances, you must draw near to Him with an open, listening heart. As He faithfully whispers His will into your life, you must trust Him through your obedience. Your faith—initiated as you heard from Him (Romans 10:17) and completed as you followed His instruction to you (James 2:22)—will open the door to the release of His grace.

You will see Him move. Perhaps not the way you first thought He would, but you will see Him nonetheless.  And you will discover with a thankful, joyous heart, that Jesus is, indeed, faithful. His love is better than life.

A Living Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

If you tune your ear to the conversations taking place in our homes and across our media outlets, you will often hear discussion of a growing darkness penetrating our land. Where we once reveled in the freedom of careless complacency, our security now appears threatened on every side.

Hatred grows. Jobs are no longer secure. Our nation’s financial status, once a source of comforting stability for many, now teeters precariously on the brink of collapse. Relationships blow about in the wind, and depravity increases with rapid growth, steadily lowering the bar at which we set our standards. What used to shock us has now become commonplace. Christians look at the times we’re in and fearfully fret over the coming of the end of days as if we have no hope.  

Dear one, consider God’s words from Romans 5:5.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Hope in the Lord will never disappoint us. We have allowed our enemy to rob us of hope by letting him center our minds on what he would have us see. Yet that’s only one part of a much grander picture.

Yes, Scripture teaches of terrible times as we creep nearer and nearer to the end of days. But amid the growing darkness, a light will also dawn. The bride of Christ will emerge, radiant in her beauty, flowing with Christ’s love, and empowered to overcome the evil that threatens us.

The power to dispel the darkness rests within the hearts of God’s people. He has given us His Spirit. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 teaches, “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.”

That one is the Holy Spirit, gifted to Christ’s followers the moment we believe in Him. And He comes with the full arsenal of God’s power.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

We, the army of the Lord, are meant to be a witness to the world that displays God’s power and reveals His character. We are the light in the darkness.

“You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14

Dear one, it’s time to let the light shine.

Awake, awake, O Zion,
   clothe yourself with strength.
Put on your garments of splendor,
   O Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled
   will not enter you again.
 Shake off your dust;
   rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
   O captive Daughter of Zion.

Isaiah 52:1-2

We must awaken to our holy calling. We must stand in the power of the Almighty and loose the chains of sin that have kept us bound and quenched God’s power within us. We must turn back to Jesus, bending our hearts and our knees to His perfect will and allow Him to reveal Himself in us.

Beloved, revival starts in you and me.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Let’s arise and become what God created us to be. I’ll meet you on my knees.


Reflect the Light of the Son

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21

I have just enjoyed the tremendous blessing of spending the last five days in the country of Costa Rica. Each evening the sun would bid its farewell amidst a glorious display of pink, yellow and orange, the colors of the fiery sky reflecting on the dancing waters of the Pacific Ocean before disappearing into darkness beyond the horizon. It’s the kind of beauty that takes your breath away.

As I witnessed creation reflecting the splendor and glory of its Creator, I couldn’t help but think about the glory that will be revealed when God unveils the new heaven and the new earth. One day, we will see creation as God intended it to be, free from the dark curse of sin. Instead of the shadow, we will finally see the true, an array of color and beauty that we can’t even begin to imagine. And we will no longer need the sun to cast its light and warmth because the Son Himself will be with us.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. Revelation 21:23

The beauty of Costa Rica’s landscape was matched by the beauty of its people. Wherever we went, they greeted us with warm smiles, doing their best to assure us that it was their great pleasure to serve. Their humility opened my heart toward them, and I found myself drawn to their warmth. They seemed to represent a beautiful expression of Philippians 2:4-7:

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant . . .

The thought left me wondering. Are people drawn to us as believers? Is humility the essence that marks our lives? Do those who come in contact with us get the feeling that it’s our great pleasure to serve them? If the Spirit of Jesus Christ resides within us, that's exactly what those who come in contact with us should experience.  

1 John 4:16-17 teaches, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.”

Are you like Him, dear one? Will you be able to stand confidently on the day of judgment knowing that you have allowed God to impart His character to you through His Son? Are people drawn to His humble warmth expressing itself in you?

You will often hear this phrase erupting from the lips of the Costa Rican people:  Pura Vida! They speak it in greeting to one another, as an expression of joy, or simply in answer to the question, “How are you?” Its meaning literally translates to “pure life.”

Perhaps we need to adopt their mantra as the foundational anchor for our own lives.

Until Jesus returns in glory to usher in the new heaven and new earth, freeing us once and for all from the very presence of sin and restoring all things to its original perfection, we are His vessels of glory. We are the light given to penetrate the growing darkness. We are His expression of love to draw the lost to Himself. We are divine righteousness in a world of depravity. If we truly desire for Christ to be seen in us, we must choose holiness. We must allow Him to sanctify us and bestow upon us His righteousness.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written:      “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

May your life become a beautiful expression of the character of your Savior, and may all who cross your path be drawn to the warmth of His humility and love flowing through you.


Nourish Your Soul

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5

I must begin today in worship of my Lord and King! He is the Beginning, the End, the First and the Last. He is Faithful and True. He is Redeemer, Savior, and Friend. He is so much more than we could ever grasp or imagine. He is love, and He desires to pour into me and into you. Will you allow Him to?

I have just returned from teaching at the first ever “Women of Purpose” conference in St. Pete Beach, FL. I found myself so blessed by the worship and the messages from each of the other speakers; I was truly ushered into the presence of the King! I come away with a sense of excitement and expectation as I commit to allow God to lead me to fulfill His purpose for me, and I want to share that joy and hope with all who will receive it. I want you to know the all-surpassing joy that can only come from doing what you were created to do.

I praise God for each one of you who answered God’s invitation to join us last weekend. I see your beautiful faces filled with emotion—expressing smiles and tears, sadness and hope, darkness and understanding. We basked in the Son this weekend, didn’t we? We abandoned the dark chains of deception and stepped boldly into the warm radiance of Christ’s light. I’m so proud of you! It is my great joy and privilege to have walked beside you for a few steps of your journey with Jesus. Now, dear one, you must keep walking.

I once read an article in which Beth Moore described taking her first trip to Africa to help feed the hungry. The group she traveled with warned her in advance that the people were so starved they would likely begin to eat the grain itself rather than plant it for a long term harvest. Their immediate need was so desperate, they would consume their fill without considering the need to sow the seed so it could continue to sustain them; they would eventually find themselves right back in their same desperate need.

Scripture compares the Word of God to seed scattered by our Heavenly Father (Luke 8:11). He sends it forth seeking to fill us with it, to nourish and sustain us so we don’t return to the place of desperation. But we often approach the seed He scatters like those starving souls in Africa. We flock to our churches, Bible studies, and conferences so starved and desperate for nourishment from God’s Word that we immediately begin to devour it. We take it in, taste the beauty of its refreshment, and come away full! But we often forget the most important part. The seeds of Truth God has given us aren’t meant to merely be devoured. They need to be sown.

Scripture teaches an important truth in James 1:22,

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.”

If we don’t commit to actively trust God through our obedience, we will soon return to the same emptiness that sapped us of our joy and strength in the first place. Dear one, we come away from an encounter with God feeling empowered, refreshed, and full! But if that’s where it ends and we just return to life as if nothing had changed, nothing will. We must choose to live differently, to daily partake of His Word so He can fill us with strength and sustaining life. And as He meets us in the stillness, revealing Himself and illuminating our path, we must follow where He leads.

God’s grace is released into our lives when we trust Him through our obedience. As you faithfully sow into your life that which He has spoken, the floodgates of heaven will open, unleashing the blessings ordained for you at the creation of the world. You will begin to taste and experience heaven while still abiding on this earth. And you will wonder how you could’ve survived so long without feasting on the bread of life.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:4

Feast on His Word, dear one. Allow Him to nourish your soul, strengthen your spirit, and empower you to become all you were meant to be. And as you follow, you will discover what it means to truly live.


Not For You

I'm excited to introduce you to Susan Stilwell, a free-lance writer who loves the Lord and serves Him through her gift of teaching. I asked her to share a word with us this week. I pray you'll be encouraged by the truths she shares and will accept her challenge to pray. Be blessed, dear one.



"Not For You"

by Susan Stilwell

One of my favorite televisions shows was Seinfeld, and an episode I particularly enjoyed was “Soup Nazi.” If every rule wasn’t immediately obeyed, the chef barked, “No soup for YOU!”

We good-naturedly growl that at my house, but I’ve noticed a similar sounding voice that occasionally echoes in my head, “Not for you!” Sometimes it barks, but more often it murmurs, especially after a mountain top experience.

Inspired and refreshed, I come away feeling as though I can conquer the world. The seeds planted on the mountain take root and become little sprouts of inspiration. I dream of the changes I’ll make and the things I’ll accomplish. But then, reality sets in.

  • Job and family issues are still there.
  • Grouchy people still irritate me.
  • Bad habits still rear their ugly heads.

My little seedlings struggle under the demands of everyday life. If I’m not careful, my enthusiasm and hope can be smothered by a voice of discouragement and doubt.

“See?” The voice whispers, “Nothing has really changed. That message wasn’t for you.”

This weekend, hundreds of women will gather at the Strive 4 Greatness Women of Purpose conference in St Petersburg, FL. They will praise and worship our Lord, and hear testimonies of the mighty work He’s done in the lives of other women. Many have prayed in anticipation of this event, asking God to prepare hearts to receive His truth.

We trust the Holy Spirit to plant seeds in the hearts of those who desperately long for freedom, peace and purpose. After the conference, many will come away encouraged, refreshed, and inspired to surrender to Him and live with passion. Tending their own seedlings of inspiration, they’ll return home, ready to conquer their worlds.

Reality will set in. Distracted by ringing telephones, looming deadlines, and exasperating people, many will struggle. They will hear a voice whisper lies like:

  • “That message was really for those other women.”
  • “Your situation is totally different.”
  • “You should’ve seen some change by now. But, see? It wasn’t for you.”

It’s critical that we pray for the time following the conference. I’m asking the Lord to guard all the seedlings from the event, so that the Word may dwell richly within each woman (Col 3:16). I pray those seedlings grow, and that each woman’s life is transformed. May their minds be renewed (Romans 12:2) as they silence any lies with Truth:

  • I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
  • I know He works all things for my good because I love Him and He has a purpose for my life (Romans 8:28).
  • I am a new creation in Christ Jesus. He has taken all the old things (habits, thinking, desires) and is making them new (2 Cor 5:17).

We know the enemy of our souls is the father of those lies (John 8:44). He comes against us to kill, steal and destroy any seedling of hope we have in Christ Jesus (John 10:10). So anytime the voice of doubt and discouragement starts, speak God’s Truth aloud and remember –

The message WAS and IS for you. Believe and press on!

“…They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.”   ~Isaiah 61:3b (NIV)


Visit Susan's blog at