The Beauty of Going Full Circle

Hold me while You’re healing me.

Just like you did for Habakkuk and the people of Israel.  They were exhausted and worn out from all the waiting and wondering, just like I’ve been for the last twenty years.  Some days everything in this life feels like it’s all too much for me and You use my weakest moments to remind me that it’s not my battle, after all.


Recently, I had a day where nothing seemed to be going right. No morning coffee or worship music.  On this particular morning, it was imperative for me to be heading out the door.  Ever been there?  I think we all have if we’re being honest.  To put it bluntly, that day ended up being not so great.  God later spoke to me by His spirit saying, That day was out of control because I wasn’t the one in the driver’s seat.  WHOA.  The crucial reality that He gently whispered to me in that still moment sparked something within the deepest depths of my soul.

I wanted to consult the Bible and see if I could find something that related to my current situation. (Spoiler alert: There is ALWAYS something in the Bible that relates to whatever we may be going through-That’s why I never get tired of reading His word).  With God, nothing is a coincidence because it’s all part of His plan.

It should’ve been no surprise to me when God called me to write about Habakkuk since I’ve been studying his book for the last three weeks on Sunday mornings. I love this book in the Bible because it’s pretty darn close to the reality of my own life.  It’s full of wrestling and waiting on God, trusting His faithfulness and finally resting in the confidence of His promises even when we don’t necessarily know how our stories will end.


As I have been reading the first two chapters of Habakkuk’s story, I get the sense that he is crying out in deep despair to Lord on behalf of the people of Israel. Their current situation was far from good.  The people in leadership were evil and destructive.

Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
    I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
    who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed,
    and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
    so that justice has become perverted.

Habakkuk 1:3-4 NLT

I adore these verses not because they’re joyful, but because I’ve heard myself crying out very similar things to my precious Savior over my last twenty years.  From the moment I read these brutally honest words, I knew I had to write about them.  God’s word had become real to me like never before.  I saw myself crying out some of these very same vulnerable and gut wrenching words.  God, in His loving kindness, used Habakkuk’s story to serve as a “full circle moment” in the words of Steven Furtick to show me once again how far I’ve come.  It was such a soothing moment for my soul.   God used my full circle moment to show me that I can only be humbly content with my present circumstances when I let Him change my perspective and in doing so He brought me full circle.


I want to challenge you to think back to a time in your life when you experienced a “full circle moment.” What did God speak to you?  I firmly believe that these full circle moments can be the turning point in the life of a Christian if we let them.    This can be painful because our human nature isn’t too comfortable with change.

I believe Habakkuk learned the beauty of our full circle moments can’t happen without the sting of sacrifice.   This was the perspective I got while reading the first several verses of Habakkuk’s Prayer in chapter three:

2I have heard all about you, Lord.
    I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
    help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
    remember your mercy.

I see God moving across the deserts from Edom,[a]
    the Holy One coming from Mount Paran.[b]
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
    and the earth is filled with his praise.
His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
    Rays of light flash from his hands,
    where his awesome power is hidden.
Pestilence marches before him;
    plague follows close behind.
When he stops, the earth shakes.
    When he looks, the nations tremble.
He shatters the everlasting mountains
    and levels the eternal hills.

He is the Eternal One![c]
I see the people of Cushan in distress,
    and the nation of Midian trembling in terror.

 Habakkuk 3:2-7 NLT

If we truly want to appreciate the beauty of the full circle moments, we must “…trace God’s hand of faithfulness.” As Lysa TerKeurst says.  I believe that’s what Habakkuk was doing in this prayer.  In addition to crying out to God for help, Hab also recognized he need to constantly remind himself of God’s faithfulness in the past.

Gracious, have I wrestled with this a time or a thousand! Those seasons of my life were some of the hardest YEARS I have ever lived through.  Can I share a secret with you, though?  I wouldn’t trade them for the world. (I know.  You probably weren’t expecting that answer).  It’s the truth.  Granted, I’m saying it in retrospect, but still.  I’m SO grateful for those years of questions, tears and wondering because God knew it would make me even stronger for Him.

I think that as Habakkuk was entering the last phases of writing his struggles, he knew that the battle wasn’t his to fight. It was God’s.

The Lord replied,

“Look around at the nations;
    look and be amazed![a]
For I am doing something in your own day,
    something you wouldn’t believe
    even if someone told you about it.
I am raising up the Babylonians,[b]
    a cruel and violent people.
They will march across the world
    and conquer other lands.
They are notorious for their cruelty
    and do whatever they like.

Habakkuk 1:5-7 NLT

By the second half of his prayer, we see where he finally sees of the truth that it’s God’s battle, indeed:

I trembled inside when I heard this;
    my lips quivered with fear.
My legs gave way beneath me,[a]
    and I shook in terror.
16 I will wait quietly for the coming day
    when disaster will strike the people who invade us.
17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,[b]
    able to tread upon the heights.

Habakkuk 3:16-19 NLT

So, I believe there are three beautiful crumbs of wisdom we can take away from Habakkuk’s story:

  • The people were running on empty, but God filled them by preparing them to watch Him fight the battle. (Hab. 1:5-7)
  • The hard times of wrestling Habakkuk went through made him stronger for God in the long run because he reflected on God’s faithfulness in the past. (Habakkuk 3:2-7)
  • Our battles are God’s battles. (Habakkuk 3:16-19)

© Andrea Pierce. 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Hannah: A Woman of Prayer and Persistence

hannah-blog

Persistence is certainly one tough pill to swallow.  I’ve personally wrestled with it in seasons of doubt and insecurity.   I also believe persistence is something we need on a daily basis, whether we know it or not.  I wanted to see what the Bible had to say in the department of persistence.  I was so abundantly blessed by what God showed me: A woman named Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:1-27.  Before we jump in, I want to share some of my struggle of persistence with you, so you can better understand how deeply I was impacted by Hannah’s story of prayer and persistence…


Sometimes our deepest struggles are the ones God uses to deepen our relationship with Him.  When I started taking classes at my local community college, I was required to take several remedial math classes before I could move on to the ones that counted toward my degree.  For starters, I am not a fan of math whatsoever. I had to take FIVE of these remedial classes, which were only supposed to last six weeks.  Six weeks isn’t too bad.  I remember thinking to myself.

I didn’t know this at the time, but those first six weeks would have to be endured five more times before I was eligible to move on to the other four classes I needed. Looking back, God taught me so much during those weeks that I feel I would’ve missed otherwise.

Things such as trust and persistence. These things can bring us such peace and hope if we let them.  I think Hannah understood each of these more than most of us.


Hannah’s struggle was real.

From the beginning of the passage we see that there was a man named Elkanah, who had two wives: Hannah and Peninnah.  What immediately stuck out to me as I was reading was the way verse two ends:

“Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not.”

1 Samuel 1:2 NLT

I had two main observations that I took away from reading that verse.  First, Hannah had battled feelings of guilt and insecurity because she had no children to give her husband.

My circumstances are different and I don’t want to assign any false thoughts to her, but I can totally identify with Hannah in that season. In our weakest moments, Satan loves to whisper those discouraging lies to us.  I don’t want false thoughts to Hannah, but I’m fairly certain she heard her share of whispers from the Enemy.

Since we know her struggle was real let’s see how she dealt with it…


“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.”

Hebrews 11:1-2 MSG

Having faith is something that seems impossible in the eyes of the world. We know that God doesn’t operate like the world, thankfully.  I believe Hannah had a lot of faith. She knew that faith grows exponentially through prayer.

In the second chapter of her story, we find Hannah on her face and brokenhearted before her Savior:

Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 11 And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.[e]

1 Samuel 1:10-11 NLT

God had shown me something awesome about prayer over the years.  Years ago, when I was in the midst of a very dry season, the Lord in His love spoke to my heart.  He said, “Andrea, I’m willing to give you these things.  I just need you to be brave enough and trust the way I will fulfill your heart’s desires.”

I think Hannah came to a similar realization as she poured out her heart before the Lord.  Although she wasn’t sure how God would answer her prayer for a child, Hannah knew God would answer her prayer.

I can almost hear the sincerity and gut-wrenching honesty in Hannah’s voice when I read the second half of verse 11: …” Then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.[e]

God definitely honors our prayers and the sincere honesty we pour into them.


Our prayers never go unanswered and neither did Hannah’s prayer for a son.  In the second half of 1 Samuel 1, we see where Samuel is born.

The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, 20 and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[f] for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”

1 Samuel 1:19-20 NLT

 My favorite part of this verse is when Scripture says, … the Lord remembered her plea,  and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel,[f] for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.”  This is evidence of what our faith can do. We just have to be willing to trust Him and in doing so understand that He only wants what is best for us as His sons and daughters.

God continued to place His favor on Samuel for the rest of Samuel’s days because He is forever faithful.


God’s favor rested on Samuel as he was raised up to become a great prophet for the nation of Israel.

Toward the end of 1 Samuel 1, Hannah takes young Samuel to the tabernacle to dedicate him to the Lord. (v. 24-28)

Verses 26 and 27 are so soothing to my aching soul on those days when I feel like my prayers are going unanswered:

Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.”

1 Samuel 1:26-27 NLT


There are three things I believe we can take away from Hannah’s example:

  1. Persistence grows through prayer.
  2. We can never lose faith.
  3. God definitely honors our prayers and the sincere honesty we pour into them.

One last thing: I believe with all my heart that God included Hannah’s story along with so many others in His word, so that we would be able to look back on their examples and be even more persistent in following Jesus.

© 2016. Andrea Pierce. All Rights Reserved

Dear Future Husband

22

This is my letter to my future husband:

I want you to know that I’ve prayed for you since I was a little girl playing dress up and dreaming of the guy I would marry.  I have no idea where, when, or how we’ll meet, but it’ll be in God’s perfect timing.  I’m so grateful for you.  For the man of God you are.  Most of all, I’m grateful to God for bringing us together in the way only He could.  Thanks for loving, caring, guiding me through this thing called life.  There’s no doubt you’re the one God created just for me!  You are truly the answer to my prayers and my tender heart.

Love,

Your Future Wife


This past week has been all kinds of crazy.   And this sporadic post is evidence of the craziness yet again.

More importantly, I recently finished reading “Uninvited” by Lysa TerKeurst and I cannot even begin to explain to you how much that book has meant to me and what a profound impact it’s had on my relationship with Jesus.  The book deals specifically with rejection.  The subtitle will always ring loud and clear in the deepest parts of my soul: ”Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely.”  I’ll never forget how much the word lonely resonated with me the day I received my copy of the book.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?  In a lonely place.  Or perhaps we have lived through a season of loneliness.  In His infinite grace and compassion the Lord has been dealing with and walking me through this issue of feeling alone.

When in the midst of a lonely season, we must remember these three things:

  1. We Aren’t Alone (Isaiah 41:10)
  2. Loneliness Doesn’t Define Us (1 Samuel 12:22)
  3. He is Truly Everything We Need (2 Peter 1:3)

Several months ago, I wrote about God’s perspective of being single. That post was such a healing message from God to me that I so desperately needed.  (Spoiler alert: this message will be similar, yet altogether different.  Hang in there with me and I promise you’ll gain a fresh perspective.)  First, let me clarify by saying and acknowledging that I’m certainly not an expert on loneliness. That being said, I write about what I struggle with and this just happens to be my current struggle.  Second, I believe with every fiber of my being that God’s word offers such healing and resurrection to the raw and vulnerable chapters of our story. But, we have to allow God to change and mold our hearts to be more like His.

Lastly, I want to give us the opportunity to consult Scripture as it deals with loneliness.

Isaiah 41 starts out with God reminding the people exactly who He is, yet again. As I was reading I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of Israel’s people.  They knew God.  Believed God.  And they even trusted Him.  Until they would get discontented and disillusioned by the chaos going on around them.  (Sound familiar?)  What I love most about Isaiah (and God) is the fact is that they don’t leave us hanging on the edge of harsh words.  When we get to verse ten, we hear God’s sweet promise:

 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Essentially, this verse has become my mantra here recently. Just like the Israelites knew, believed and even trusted Him, they needed a swift reminder.  And so do That’s exactly what God’s promises are: Reminders of who He truly is for us to grab hold of and proclaim over our lives every single day.


When you’re in the midst of a lonely season it can be very easy to get distracted and disillusioned by the lies of the Enemy. That’s what was happening to God’s people in Isaiah 41 and it happens to you and I today.  Personally, for me Satan loves to allow me to doubt and question God’s unfailing love for me.  This is especially true for my present and future relationships. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard Satan whisper “If God really loved you, you would have a boyfriend right now.” Or worse “You’re so stupid for thinking anyone would ever want to marry a girl in a wheelchair.”  

Oh friend, how badly these lies sting my soul. They make everything within in me scream out in pain. The whispers you hear are probably different from mine, but they are there.  Let me reach out, grab your hand, and proclaim 1 Samuel 12:22 over you:

The Lord will not abandon his people, because that would dishonor his great name. For it has pleased the Lord to make you his very own people.

1 Samuel 12:22 NLT


God is truly all we need. I know, I know the world thinks that statement is so cliché.  They’re wrong.  We are created in the image of the God who spoke the planet into existence, so why do we doubt Him? As a matter of fact, God knows what we need before we do.  We are reminded of that in Matthew 6:8. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! (NLT)  God knows everything about me.  He knows who I will marry and how many kids we’ll have.  I don’t know for sure, but I’m fairly confident my future husband will be just as passionate about Jesus as I am.   We will grow in our love for God and each other.

When I think about the fact that God will pick my husband for me it frees me.  I’m free from the doubt and fear of the future.  It’s not my responsibility to worry about him, it’s my responsibility to pray for him daily.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

2 Peter 1:3 NLT

Don’t Underestimate Your God Given Potential

Gideon Blog

It’s one thing to speak an encouraging word to someone in passing, but it’s another to call their God given potential out before they can see it in themselves.  I’m so grateful for the people in my life who have called me to courage before I even knew what was coming.  They saw the potential God has for me and were brave enough to tell me about it.

I think we can start calling others to courage by not underestimating the potential God has given us.


Growing up in church I had always known that God had a plan for my life even though I couldn’t exactly bring myself to trust His word and believe what God says about me.

Gideon was someone who witnessed God’s courageous calling for his life firsthand.  In Judges 6:11-16, we see Gideon’s story begin to unfold.

Then the angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!” “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The LORD brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”    

Judges 6:11-16 NLT

I love Gideon because I see so much of myself in him.  He was taken by surprise when the angel appeared in verse twelve calling him a “mighty hero.”  As I was praying in preparation to write this message I couldn’t help but think of all the times where I’ve been surprised by what God has called me to do.  I can totally relate to Gideon’s current perspective of the situation.  We’ve all had times where we feel weak and unequipped to fulfill the calling God has given us.

God knew Gideon was going to be a bit surprised by his calling that’s why He sent the angel to declare that truth over him.  God does the same thing for you and I.


I’ve walked through many seasons of life where I have known and sensed the Sprit pulling me in a certain direction.  As much as I trusted Him there was still a  tiny part of me that was doubtful.  Feelings of insecurity and insignificance flourish in our moments of self-doubt.  Satan adores our weakest moments.  I don’t want to assign false thoughts to Gideon in any way, but I can just imagine those feelings of doubt were starting to weave their way into Gideon’s mind when he replies with Judges 6:15:

“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

I can’t even tell you how many times I have told God this same thing.  It starts when those feelings of insecurity and insignificance flourish in self-doubt.

In verse sixteen, the Lord says to Gideon:

The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”  I just LOVE that this was God’s response to Gideon because that’s His response to me in the midst of my self-doubt.

P.S. The rest of Gideon’s story is amazing in the way he trusts God to defend his army against the Midianites!  Check it out in Judges 7!

I want to close by reminding you of three key points we can learn from Gideon’s story:

  1. We must not underestimate the powerful potential God has given us.
  2. Trust His calling in your life even when it catches you by surprise.
  3. Feelings of doubt and insecurity flourish in moments of self-doubt.

Childlike Faith for Adults: How Do We Regain It?

trust blog

As a kid, I had several heroes or heroines that I admired.  The Disney princesses are a great example because I wanted to be just like them one day.  I’m sure we could all identify with doing the same thing if we looked back at the childhood we lived.

What I find intriguing about the modeling phase of childhood is this: No thing or person could ever convince you that you couldn’t be like that person you deeply admire.  You see, I feel like as people get older and the world keeps its firm grip of distraction on us and as a result we begin to lose that invincible spirit or childlike faith we once had.  We should carry the same attitude of deep admiration and appreaciation as adults when following hard after Jesus’ example.

The question is how do you and I regain that childlike faith and spirit as adults?  I have wrestled with that question for quite some time now and I think we can start by thinking about what we admire most about God?  We do this with our friends all the time.  We want to get to know them and their character.

 

Several weeks ago, I posed the following question on social media, What quality or qualities do you admire most about God?”

The response I received was quite overwhelming.  I couldn’t believe the amount of comments there were and how well they related to one another.  The top three responses will be discussed and we’ll also talk about how each of them describe God for who He is.


God is always ready and willing to listen to us.  He is never surprised by anything and we have total confidence in Him.  Meaning, whatever we tell Him will always stay between He and I.

He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.
  Psalm 121:3-4 NLT

What a great comfort to know that nothing will ever take God by surprise. He knows what’s going to happen long before we do.  I am eternally grateful that God is one in control of everything, so we don’t have to be.


God’s love for us is immeasurable. We really can’t imagine how much He loves us.  I mean He gave us a pretty good idea by sending His one and only son (Jesus) to die on the cross for the sins of humanity. (John 3:16) Someone who loves me enough to die for me is someone worth believing in-no matter the cost.

Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
    With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. 

 Jeremiah 31:3 NLT

God’s love for us is everlasting. There’s nothing we can ever do or say to escape the grip of His love.  This verse reminds us that the love of God is always present.  In addition, Mercy also coexists with God’s love. My Bible defines mercy as, “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion; withholding of the judgement or punishment our sins deserve.” (Jesus Centered Bible 2015) God’s mercies for us are unending, just like His love.


I love the fact that I can’t keep anything from God because He knows everything about me before I even knew myself. Don’t get me wrong, it has a cost.  There are always consequences for our sins.  However, that doesn’t alter God’s love and mercy for us in any way.  He loves us fully and completely in spite of our messy imperfections.

Jonah’s Story is a beautiful example of this. At some point today, take a minute to read his story in the first three chapters of Jonah.  (Side note: The chapters are fairly short, so it should be an easy read.)  Jonah knew what it felt like to hide from God and he also recognized the beauty of repentance and freedom in Christ. Through his experience, he learned that God is already there, waiting for us on the other side of the adventure.  We can’t hide anything from God because He knows what we’re going to do before we do.

But, God in His mercy chooses to love us and use us for His glory anyway! How cool is that?!  That’s something I deeply admire about God.


Let’s take what we’ve discovered and apply it to the original question: How do you and I regain that childlike faith and spirit as adults?  Remember these three things:

  • God Can Be Trusted (Psalms 121:3-4)
  • His Mercy and Love is Unconditional (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • God Already Knows (Jonah 1, 2 and 3)

I hope and pray that God uses these words to encourage and guide you today. He has certainly blown me away in the things He has revealed to me while writing this!

©2016. Andrea Pierce. All Rights Reserved.

The Comparison Struggle

Comparison Blog

Comparison is something that has plagued humanity since before the world began.  The lie that we must compare ourselves to others in order to feel significant is from Satan himself and not God.  God created every person on this planet different for a reason.  We’re unique and those imperfections are what make us beautiful.  It’s in our moments of weakness that God’s glory becomes even more radiant!

I wanted to look at three realities in Scripture that deal with the comparison struggle:

  • Adam and Eve
  • Abram and Sarai
  • Satan wanting to be better than God

Adam and Eve was the first people to ever face the comparison struggle. We watch as she is the first to fall victim to the the lies from Satan. (Genesis 3:1-24)  In verses 4 through 6, she becomes convinced by Satan to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  She thinks she will be like God by eating the fruit in verse six.

4You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5“God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

6The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.

Genesis 3:4-6 NLT


Can you identify with the comparison struggle?

It’s no coincidence that the comparison struggle can be traced all the way back to Genesis. God put it there to remind us that He knows what a battle comparison can be in our lives.  Since I’m being brutally honest with you here, there have been times where I have faced the very same struggle with comparing myself to those around me.  It can start out so subtly until I feel God speaking to my heart saying, “Andrea, stop comparing yourself to her.  I created you to be yourself and no one else.  If I would’ve wanted everyone to be the same, you would be that way.”

In those moments that I stop and fall to my knees.  I’ve read the story of Adam and Eve a thousand times, but not until recently did I realize that both of them were facing the comparison struggle long before you and I existed.  They bought into Satan’s lie that by eating that piece of fruit, they could be like God. (v. 6)


I’ve always learned so much from Abram and Sarai. (who later becomes Sarah in Genesis 17) They loved God and wanted to follow Him, yet they had a tendency to get very impatient with God.  Ever been there? It’s a REAL battle.

The lives of Abram and Sarai is a prime example of comparison leading to pride. Sarai knew that God would be faithful to His promise of numerous descendants. (Genesis 15:1-6) However, she was growing impatient with God again. How do we know this? Sarah started comparing herself to Hagar because she was jealous of her.

We see this coming to fruition Genesis 16 through “The Birth of Ishmael” as it’s entitled in my Bible. Looking back on Abram and Sarai’s story along with Adam and Eve, it shouldn’t be surprising that comparison will always lead to jealousy in our hearts.  I think what I love most about Abram and Sarai’s story is that despite all their mistakes, God kept His word and remained faithful to the promises He had made. We need to be reminded of that very truth on a daily basis.

The grass withers and the flowers fade,
    but the word of our God stands forever.”

Isaiah 40:8 NLT


I had always heard that Satan had been thrown out of Heaven because he wanted to be greater than God. However, I’ve recently realized that Satan not only wanted to be like God, but he wanted to be greater than God himself! This conclusion astounds me.  No wonder Satan uses the comparison trap on us because he’s just hoping we’ll bite the bait of being jealous of others.

  
12 
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
13 For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods
far away in the north.[e]
14 I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’

Isaiah 14:12-14 NLT

These words in Isaiah are evidence that comparison and jealousy always come as a package deal. Make no mistake that comparing ourselves to others is a sin, whether we realize it at the time or not.

Although comparison may appear subtle at first, we’re essentially telling God that we aren’t content with the way He created us. Talk about a fresh perspective on the struggle of comparison! I felt such a deep desire from the Spirit to write about comparison this week because it’s something that He has really been convicting me of and speaking to me about.


The good news is that with Jesus we have HOPE. He knows we are going to struggle and sin while in the flesh.  Of this we can be sure: God loves us through it all, just as He did for the people in Scripture.  His love for us never changes and He is always faithful.

© Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

God’s Perspective on Being Single

Have you ever wondered what God says about being single? I certainly have.

Singleness, for women or men seems to be weird topic these days.  Sometimes I feel as though it’s a topic that can go unnoticed and one that society tends to shy away from.  So I started toiling these questions around in my mind.

  • Why do we tend to shy away from the idea or reality of being single? (I realize that guys might deal with it a little differently than women, but I still think the struggle is very much the same.)
  • Why do we sometimes feel bad about being single?
  • Is it possible that our culture today has somehow concocted the idea that being single is some type of anomaly? 

I decided to go the Scriptures and see what God says about the single life.  Here’s what I discovered:

For starters, according to Google Translate, the Greek word for “single” is μονόκλινο.  One definition says, “consisting of one part.” (Google 2016) When I read this I began to see singleness the way God does. God doesn’t look singleness as us being alone because He is already living in us through the Holy Spirit. (John 14:15-31) Which, leads me back to the original question.

Why do we tend to shy away from the idea or reality of being single?

My response to this question is based solely off of my own opinion as well as consulting Scripture, of course.  Therefore, I feel like we shy away from the thought of being single out of fear. Nobody, if they’re honest, doesn’t like the thought of being alone for the rest of their life.  Who would, right? I totally understand the validity of that fear. I’ve been there.

We have to remember to always go to God’s word no matter what we’re dealing with and see how He would handle it.  I think Isaiah gives us a pretty awesome idea of how God sees singleness in His sons and daughters in Isaiah 54:

“For your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is His name!  He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.”

Isaiah 54:5 (NLT)

Looks like we’re not alone, after all.  Pretty amazing, right?


Is it possible that our culture today has somehow concocted the idea that being single is some type of anomaly? 

Tony Evans puts it the following way in his blog post entitled, “Christian Singlehood

“Yet far too many single people fear their missing out on God’s best or God’s plan if they aren’t married.  Many singles feel as if their lives are in a holding pattern, like an airplane that is supposed to be landing at its destination but has been ordered to circle the airport.”

I LOVE that analogy because I have felt that way countless times over the years.  I feel as though our society today sort of frowns upon the reality of being single by mocking having certain morals or standards that most Christians exude while being single.

Since when did being single become the “elephant in the room” in the sense that it isn’t something people really talk about anymore?

I’m so glad God doesn’t look at singleness the way our culture does.  I think being single can help us fall more in love with God before anyone else.  That way, when He sends the man (or woman) of our dreams we will understand how to love that person the way Christ loves us.

Why do we (young women especially) sometimes feel bad about being single?

I believe that this directly effects women in terms of how we tolerate our singleness.  Women, in general, are more emotional than the guys. (I know that guys can be emotional, which is great) I just feel like women express our emotions more because that’s the way God created us.

My personal struggle with singleness has gotten harder over the last several years.  With that being said, I’ve had the great honor and privilege of watching two of my very best friends marry and become one in Christ with the men He created for each of them.  What a blessing that has been.  God has used each of those experiences in my life to give me a greater perspective of marriage and what it really looks like and how important it is to wait for the man (or woman) that God has created just for you!


P.S. Here are the pictures of my very best friends and I on their wedding days.  I love each of them so dearly.  I don’t know where I’d be without the love, encouragement and friendship we have!

Taylor and I: April 2016
Taylor and I: April 2016
Brianne and I: May 2016
Brianne and I: May 2016

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

 

Peace, Hope and Joy

Peace hope joy

The English language was created to help us communicate efficiently with the people around us.  Which, is certainly amazing if you ask me.  What intrigues me most about our language is the fact that we can use adjectives to be even more descriptive with our words. They help us understand what a word is made of by describing it. You get the point, right? Adjectives serve the same purpose when they describe the nature and character of God.

(Disclaimer: There are MANY more adjectives that can be used to describe God, but if I wrote about all of them we would be here all day!)  Now let’s look at three examples:

  1. Peace
  2. Hope
  3. Joy

We know that all of these adjectives describe God, but exactly what do they say about His character? Let’s find out! (Note: I looked each of these up using the Dictionary/Concordance in my Bible.)


Peace: “A state of tranquility or quiet; a pact or agreement between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity; harmony in personal relations, especially with God; a state of security or order within a community; freedom from disquieting thoughts or emotions.” I know that was a lengthy definition, but I love how clearly it’s worded.  The part of the definition that resonates with me the most is where it speaks of being in harmony, especially with God. If you’re in harmony with Him then your heart is most likely where it needs to be.  If not, that should be your first clue to examine the condition of your spirit.

Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.” Psalm 37:37


Hope

For starters, I really feel like we need to establish a decent definition of true hope.  That word gets thrown around so much in our culture today but what does it really mean?  Hope: “Confident trust with the expectation of fulfillment.”  Wow.  It astounds me every time I read it.  I want that hope in my life because it’s eternal and I know that God always keeps His promises to us.  He is the reason we can have hope and I will be forever grateful for the hope I have in Him alone.

“Rejoice in our confident hope.  Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12


 Joy

“The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune.”  I agree with this definition as it refers to the well-being of a person because that only comes from Christ. However, I also believe joy can be found in the darkest situations of our lives as well.  We can look back on the dark times and remember to live a Romans 5:3-5 life-one of suffering, perseverance, character and hope.   Personal confession: If I’m being honest with you right now, I never would’ve thought that I would be the person writing these precious words about the Attributes of God. I spent many years not living the Romans 5 kind of life.  I thank God daily for changing my perspective and for making me more like Him.  That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing peace, hope and joy with those around me.

“And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10


Since God lives in us through the Holy Spirit, his attributes become ours in the sense that we’re made in His image. (Genesis 1:27)  When I look at my life through the lens of living in peace with Christ it changes things for me. Peace, Hope and Joy become even more alive to me and life itself is so much greater than anything I could ever imagine.

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

God Always Provides

provision

Our God specializes in provision among countless other things. It’s just who He is.  He enjoys meeting our needs.  Even more than that, He loves when we trust Him to meet those needs without hesitation.  God’s provision and faithfulness is evident all throughout Scripture.  Think about the Israelites, for instance, despite all their poor decisions and mistakes: God still gave them His provision. (Exodus 16:1-36) However, the people of Israel knew there would be consequences for the sin and disobedience they showed against God. (Numbers 32:13)  Which, as you know resulted in the people wandering around in the wilderness for the following 40 years.   After those 40 years, all of the other Israelites had died-except Joshua and Caleb.  They were the only two who actually made it to the Promised Land.

That’s often the case with our frail human flesh isn’t it? God blesses us beyond measure and sometimes we’re totally ungrateful just like the Israelites with the manna and quail.  There was a particular season of my life where I saw so much of myself in the those people.  At that time in my walk with Christ I wasn’t fully content with my identity in Him mainly because of my circumstances and having Cerebral Palsy.  I had every blessing here on earth as well as every spiritual blessing in Heaven. (Ephesians 1:3)   I just wasn’t using everything I’ve been given to my advantage.  You also have these blessings through Christ.   I am so incredibly grateful to say that God has shifted my perspective 180 degrees since having walked through that season.   The truth is, God always provides-no matter what.  He always keeps His word.  Even when we’ve given Him every reason to walk away from us, God doesn’t leave our side.

There’s a passage in 2 Corinthians 9:8-14 that’s speaks directly to God’s provision over us. Paul is telling the Corinthians to trust that God will provide for them, just as He has faithfully done in the past.  Again, I see so much of myself in the Corinthians here.  I believe they knew God would provide but they were craving a reminder so desperately.  Which is what Paul gives them in verse eight by saying, “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. “  

Paul continues reminding them of God’s provision throughout the rest of the passage (v. 9-14) Often, I find myself needing to be reminded of the provision almost daily- He can provide. For instance, whenever I get a new Certified Nursing Assistant and things don’t necessarily go as I had hoped they would.  In moments such as this, I stop and remind myself of God’s faithfulness and provision to me.  He always provides just what I need and so much more.  And, He will do the same for you.  I promise.

I want us to look a verse ten for a second. “For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”  These words never cease to amaze because they are evident of the provision we have in Christ.  I have witnessed the truth of this Scripture radiate throughout my life time and time again.  The older I get and the more mature in Christ I become, the more I’m beginning to understand the “harvest of generosity” Paul is referencing in verse ten. If we are standing in the confident assurance that God will always provide for us, it helps be more generous toward others.

In 1 Kings 17:17-24 through the story of “Elijah and the Widow’s Son” God’s provision is the focal point and healing is so beautifully woven into the context.  God was faithful in providing for the widow and her son when they seemed to have nothing left-but God. Using Elijah, God brought healing, wholeness and restoration to both of them. They didn’t starve to death and her son was healed of his illness. Why? Because He always provides for us.

Now, try and think of a time in your life when God provided for you. How did that make you feel?  Did it deepen your relationship with Christ? 

And, if you’re seeking His provision today- Trust me when I tell you, He will provide for you in His timing and however He sees fit.

“The Lord is my shepherd;

    I have all that I need.

 He lets me rest in green meadows;

    he leads me beside peaceful streams.

 He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

    bringing honor to his name.”

Psalm 23:1-3 NLT

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

He is a God of Restoration

Noah

From the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation God uses people.  Ordinary people such as you and I to carry out His will on Earth.  I know there have been times where I’ve forgotten, in a sense, that the people God used were just like us.  Flawed by human nature, yet saved by grace alone as Romans 3:23-24 reminds us.  “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” New Living Translation

God is always making things new even through destruction. 

In my Bible Genesis 6 is entitled “A World Gone Wrong” which clearly tells me that things aren’t looking so great namely because sin (see Genesis 3:1-19) was running rampant in the midst of God’s perfect creation that was created by Him for our pleasure.  By the time we get to this place in Scripture, it’s evident that God’s patience with His people is running scarcely thin. How do we know?  Look at what Genesis 6:3 says “Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”

We Meet Noah (in the second half of Genesis 6:11-22) There are many things I love about Noah.  Here are the three (among many) qualities I take away from his example:

  1. Noah was an ordinary man who was married with a family.   In fact, we are told in verse nine that “Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.”
  2. Though it is unclear in Scripture, I often wonder if Noah or his family ever questioned what God had told them to do. If I were in their position, I probably would’ve been curious.
  3. Noah truly understood first time obedience. He knew what God was asking of him and he was ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work.  It’s a little embarrassing to write, but I can’t say I would be that obedient at first without pacing back and forth a little bit.

I like to look at this part of Noah’s Story like the warm-up, so to speak.

For Noah, it was getting all the materials to build the Ark.

  What might it be for you?

Going back to school?  Changing jobs?  Stepping out in faith to a new God-given opportunity?  Sometimes God causes us to walk through spiritual warm-ups to get us ready prepared for the next big step in our adventure of faith.  We see this applied in the sports world all the time.  No team ever makes it to the SuperBowl without practicing.  God works the same way-He doesn’t put us in the “game” until we’ve had some practice; it’s often found in the faith building experiences that mold and shape our faith in Christ.

After practice it’s time for the game.

That’s exactly what happens in Genesis 7:11-24.  After Noah had diligently prepared for the flood, God knew it was time. Because Noah obeyed the Lord by building the Ark, God blessed him by protecting Noah and his family. They were the only people who didn’t get wiped out by the flood!  How incredible!  I think it’s also imperative to mention that God honors our obedience to Him.  When we do our best to completely trust and listen to what He says, our blessings are beyond absolutely anything we could ever imagine.

The constant theme of restoration that only comes from Jesus remains evident throughout the entirety of Noah’s story, just as it it with ours.  (Genesis 5:32-10:1)

God is always faithful. He keeps every promise.  He never leaves us even the midst of a raging flood.  He is so merciful.  The story of Noah has always intrigued me and the older I get, the more I am UNDONE by God’s grace!  After the flood began to calm down, God realized how much He truly loves and adores the people and the planet the he created. So much so that in verses 8-17 of Genesis nine, God in his sovereignty promises His covenant with humanity by sending a rainbow and a dove as a sign that He will never destroy the earth in that way again.

God always restores.  He will always be restoring His people to make us NEW.  There’s nothing too broken, damaged, or scarred that He can’t restore. (Do you hear me?) God can restore absolutely anything!

 

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

New Living Translation

©Andrea Pierce. 2016. All Rights Reserved.


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