Let Him Lead

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5

Don’t you just love sitting in a movie with someone who talks TO the movie the whole time? They try to figure out the ending, they ask you questions, and spend the whole movie analyzing and agonizing over what they think will happen and why and who will end up together and will the bad guy get caught, etc.

You try to tell them to chill out and just enjoy the movie, and they can’t. And then you are distracted because they are distracted (and distracting!) and in the end, you don’t even remember what happens because you are so frazzled and just ready to get out of there!

I found myself in this exact place a few weeks ago, except I wasn’t at a movie. It was real life. I was sitting at my kitchen table and I was questioning the circumstances of my day – why did God allow that and do you think He means this? And maybe He let that to happen to show me this or that and maybe He is getting me ready to, etc.

Holy Spirit spoke to me in that moment and said, “Are you allowing your circumstances and the ways you think that I am moving to lead your heart…or will you LET me to lead?”

I thought back to how many times have I wasted my energy/thoughts/emotions on what “I think He is doing” or “how He should work”. It didn’t seem like I was hurting anyone; I was helping Holy Spirit “figure” out the details of my story…instead of just giving Him complete control of my heart, surrendering all, and letting Him lead.

And the Holy Spirit was so sweet to confirm His whispers to me; a few days later I picked up a devotional book I have had for years, and He had these words waiting for me: “Praise can free you from wasting your energies by speculating on just exactly how each circumstance in your life could be part of God’s plan. Through praising and thanking God, you put your stamp of approval on His unseen purposes. You do this not because you can figure out the specific whys or hows, but because you trust in His love and wisdom.”

You know what He promises when we allow Him to lead our hearts…a full understanding and expression of the love of God. YES!!! Letting Him lead my heart brings rest. Letting Him lead brings fullness, and understanding. Letting Him lead, leads me to love. Letting Him leads replaces my “what-if-this-happens” with “He-wrote-the-story-from-beginning-to-end-and-He-knows-the-end-of-my-movie.”

We praise you Father that you are patient with us. That you walk with us in the seasons of our lives where we don’t know the ending, and you allow us to talk through our questions, and you lovingly tell us to chill out and enjoy. We praise you Father that you declare over us that our hearts are safe under your leadership. And we praise you and thank you that you will bring it to completion.

About The Authors

Today’s post was written by Melissa McCasland. A long-serving member of New River, she generously shares her words from God with others. Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Start With Praise

“If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, If you are generous with the hungry, and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.”
Isaiah 58:9-12 (MSG)

I truly believe that we start with praise. We praise in the rebuilding, and in the emptiest of places. We praise in the shadows, and with the hungry. We praise with the down and out. We praise because He is faithful and will always show us where to go. We praise because death has been defeated. We praise the Promise maker and Promise keeper. We praise because the praise is His. We praise because even in our sometimes-broken praise…a heart shift happens.

A praising heart says, “I’m no longer going to look at what was done to me, I’m no longer going to blame circumstances/others for how I feel”. A praising heart experiences a shift in that heart, as well as an opening of eyes. When we fix our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith, our eyes open to restoration, to rebuilding. Fixed eyes don’t look right or left- they focus on the one who is worthy of praise.

Fixed eyes look in the most holy place for vision. Where are your eyes looking for vision? In Psalms 119:130 the psalmist tells us “The unfolding of your words gives light.” Are your eyes fixed on the words others are speaking, or are you daily unfolding His word and trusting His promise that His words will begin to glow in your darkness?

Light is essential in gardening – I’ve got plenty of dead plants to prove it. Praise brings forth light, so likewise, praise is essential in bringing new life and new growth, even to the emptiest of places.

Where are you finding it difficult to praise? Is there a certain area of your life that your eyes tend to roam towards? What comes of a wandering eye? What is the difference between having your eyes fixed on His words and being led into unfair practices of other people’s sins?

Is there an area of your life that needs restoration TODAY? Are you needing clear vision TODAY? My friend, start with praise.

About The Authors

Today’s post was written by Melissa McCasland. A long-serving member of New River, she generously shares her words from God with others. Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Calling: Back To Basics

If you are a Christ-follower, I am 100% certain there’s a calling on your life. In fact, you have several callings on your life right now. Following them won’t make you famous, but you will inspire others when you do. Following them won’t automatically change your circumstances, but you will see them differently when you do.

Among other things, you are called to:

• Live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord assigns you (1 Corinthians 7:17)
• Go about your tasks as if they are done for the Lord (Colossians 3:23)
• Seek God’s kingdom and righteousness before anything else (Matthew 6:33)

I can hear it now: “Yes, I know I’m called to do these things. But what about other callings – you know, just for me?” To that I say, go back to the basics before pursuing your individual calling. The “basics” are callings shared by all believers, and the word of God is filled with many.

When you live out the shared callings, you fulfill God’s purpose on earth. When you apply them to being a spouse, an employee, a parent, a friend, a family member…you are doing exactly what He’s called you to do already. So before pursuing any individual calls from God, we are wise to pursue the callings shared by all believers because they prepare our spiritual habits to responsibly pursue our individual calls.

Today, stop and think about the common callings on believers. Ask yourself: Am I living these out every day? How am I living them out? In what parts of my life am I not following God’s common call?

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Melissa Meyer.  She is on staff at New River Fellowship and often ponders how to live out the callings on her life.  Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

A New Thing

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19

During the time Jesus spent on earth, much of it was spent doing “new” things. He performed miracles no one ever saw before. He broke rules of society that no one else would ever dare challenge. Day after day, encounter after encounter, Jesus did new things. The resurrection itself was the very definition of new: the only Son of God walked the earth, was crucified and raised from the dead, to finish out his work and call down His Holy Spirit for the people before ascending into heaven.

I have to wonder: would WE have been able to accept these new things, like the people in the bible did? Or, would we have missed out on what Jesus was doing because it wasn’t familiar to us? Do we still miss out today? God is moving and doing a new thing in our lives even now, but we miss it when we aren’t willing to see it.

He has the answers to our prayers and questions; He provides our healing and blessings. If we look for them only in the way they have always come, we will surely miss any new thing from Him.

Father IS doing a new thing in your life. Meditate on how He is working in your life right now, and ask Him: Father, open my eyes more than ever before, to see every new thing you are doing in me. Shift my focus, or my perspective, to line up with yours, because I don’t want to miss anything from you.

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Jimren Fuller. She is the Director of Kid’s Ministry at New River Fellowship and likes discovering clever ways to tell children about Jesus. Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Faith Like A Child

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2-4

Recently, we surprised our children with plans for our vacation later this summer. If you ask them today, they will give you every detail of our trip, yet they have seen no proof of any of it. They are completely confident that everything they speak of will happen in the exact way we’ve told them, yet they have seen no reservation confirmations, or plans. They simply trust what we are saying.

Why? Why would they put all their faith for this great adventure simply in the words people are speaking to them? Because they know the people who are telling them. They know us intimately, they trust us, and, they have no reason not to.

What an example my children have set for me! What would it look like if I responded to what the Father has promised me with the same faith my children did about our vacation? If, without hesitating, I instantly believe He will do what He says He will, simply because of who He is.

It’s not in God’s nature to make promises He doesn’t keep. I know this, I have seen it proven to me time and time again. Yet at times I still hesitate; we hesitate. We worry and wonder: what will happen, will it actually happen?

Can we take a cue from our children and take God at his word, simply based on who He is and what He has already done for us? Do something daring today: take God at his direct word to you. Remove your timeline and just believe it.

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Jimren Fuller. She is the Children’s Director at New River (Hudson Oaks) and likes discovering clever ways to tell children about Jesus. Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Abundant Life

I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:10

Jesus didn’t go through the torture, the beating, the arrest so that I could live day-by-day, moment-by-moment, just trying to get by. He went through everything so I can have life and have it abundantly. The word “abundance” itself naturally contradicts the idea of barely getting by, day by day.

But if that is true, that he came to earth to live and die so that we may live abundantly…then why are we not all full of wealth and prosperity? Why do we have hard times and have people in our lives who are barely getting by?

To this I say: what if our definition of abundant isn’t the same as God’s? What if what needs to happen is not for us to fall upon fortune to change our lifestyle? But rather, for our hearts to seek out what true abundance looks like.

To the world, abundance is bigger houses, nicer cars, extravagant vacations. To the Father, abundance is more of Him. It is more of His fruit: more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

What would happen if the abundance we seek shifts from the worldly to the heavenly, so that it makes us more like Him? We start living a life of fullness like we’ve never known. Ask God today to show you an area of your life where you seek worldly abundance, and reveal why you seek it. Use that as a jumping off point to shift this area from worldly to heavenly focus!

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Jimren Fuller. She is the Director of Kid’s Ministry at New River Fellowship and likes discovering clever ways to tell children about Jesus. Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!

Worship Through The Storm

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
John 19:30

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Luke 23:46

Have you ever had one of those weeks when it seemed everything went wrong? I imagine we’ve all felt that way. Here’s the thing: when we experience it, we feel as if it’s all happening for no good reason. It’s just a storm we didn’t ask for, it hurts and seems unfair. When we get to the other side, rarely do we see the good from it, much less do we purposefully look for the good. We’re just glad it’s over.

Jesus had a week like that, too. At it’s fever pitch, He leaned in. Jesus committed His spirit to His Abba Father and said, “It is finished.” You see, He knew the good that was coming. He had set His gaze on what was before Him, the Father’s joy and reconciliation for mankind, and worshipped faithfully in obedience. When a week like that comes for you, what do you set your gaze on? What carries you through?

We don’t have the ability to see through the storm to the other side, but we can set our gaze on His glory. When the winds pick up, maybe we could sing something like, “What the enemy means for evil, He’s working for our good. Even in the valley He is faithful. He is sovereign over us.” Or perhaps it would be something like, “Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble. Your name is a light that the shadows can’t deny. Your name cannot be overcome. Your name is alive, forever lifted high. Your name cannot be overcome!” And maybe, when it all calms down, we might sing, “By Your spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat. The resurrected King, is resurrecting me.”

This Easter weekend, remember He’s always there. He’ll never leave you or forsake you. Trust Him even when you can’t see, even when you don’t understand. His joy and His hope are ever before you, so worship like you never have. Friday is here, but Sunday is just around the corner!

About The Authors

This week’s posts are written by Sam Perry. He is the Worship Pastor (Interim) at New River and he likes helping people expand their definition of “worship” beyond the boundaries of music.  Visit the blog often to see more authors from the New River family!