When God Seems to Smile

This life is full of highs and lows, isn’t it? One day, we’re smooth sailing, and the next, we’re doctoring scraped knees and disappointed hopes.

As believers, we can’t draw our joy from a perfect set of circumstances but have to find our contentment in a grounding relationship with God that stands firm through life’s sifting sands.

But every once in a while, God just seems to smile. Please don’t misunderstand me. The Lord is always good, but sometimes, He reminds us of His incredible generosity and the fact that He enjoys giving good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). It’s like he’s handing us a precious gift or a breath of fresh air. Maybe it’s an answer to prayer. Maybe it’s an impossible dream realized.

In my case, it’s the latter. Last week felt like all the pieces of a 1,000-piece 3D puzzle came together in minutes. Something I’d secretly wished but never dared to think possible … became possible.

Next time, I’m going to share more of the story with you, but right now, I just want us to pause and remember some way (big or small) that God has showered His blessings on us.

I know that sometimes, I stare too hard at life’s problems that I lose sight of God’s mercies at work. Let’s focus this week on those mercies, which start fresh every day.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)

How have you seen God work recently? Please share your encouragement in the comments below. 

~ Kristen

When God Seems to Smile – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

Olympic Dreams Start with Small Habits

I always get excited about the Olympics, but this year, I’m especially eager in light of my recent ski trip. With my new perspective on snow sports, I know I’ll have a greater respect for winter Olympians and their skills.

The games starting this week highlight the athletes’ best performances, but they don’t reveal the countless hours and early mornings that have led up to the moment. These athletes had to be intentional every day to take the steps and make the sacrifices necessary to reach this opportunity.

You and I may never participate in the Olympic games, but we do have dreams God’s planted in our hearts. What habits do we need to cultivate in order to reach them?

#1: Desire God more

Wait a minute, Kristen. I thought you were going to talk about how we can achieve our goals?

That’s right. Who better to teach us and train us for the journey than the Dream-Giver Himself? As God’s children, we should ask Him to inspire our dreams.

The only way we know God’s best plan for our lives is to spend more time with Him in prayer and in His Word. Seeking His will on a daily basis is essential for walking the path He wants us to travel.

He invites us to do just that.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)

#2: Be willing to work hard

No one wakes up one day and accidentally becomes an Olympian. If we’re serious about achieving our goals, we need to roll up our sleeves and get busy.

Did you know God’s Word both commands and commends hard work? Yes, God calls us to give our best.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might … (Ecclesiastes 9:10a NASB)

He also promises to reward our best.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV)

So why would we give anything less than our all?

#3: Do the next right thing

One of my mantras for life is to do the next right thing. The reason is simple: I’ve learned that sometimes my long-term plans just don’t go as planned. I can’t control tomorrow, but I can focus on the task at hand.

You know what? That’s okay. Proverbs 16:9 explains why:

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. (NKJV)

I’d rather have God redirect my steps as He sees best than always get my own way. Wouldn’t you?

Parting Challenge

Think about where you were four years ago and where you are now. Think about where you want to be in the next four years.

What have you done with the dreams God has given you? What baby steps can you take this week to work toward the goals He’s laid upon your heart?

~ Kristen

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Olympic Dreams Start with Small Habits – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)