Passivity Gets You Passed

Have you ever been sitting and thinking when you realized that you’ve let your faith get stale, that your light has grown dim, that minimal fruit is being produced from your life? If I were to sit down and talk to you, I am almost positive that you would tell me this state of mediocrity didn’t just appear overnight. It’s true, actually. Whenever we fall off the wagon of faith and intimacy with Christ and obedience to Christ, it is seldom an immediate occurrence. That is to say, we can actively live passive, sluggish, lethargic lives that lead to a status of discontentment.

While this conversation could go several ways, I would like to hone in on how prayer and connection with the Holy Spirit directly effect our lives. There are several passages of scripture in the New Testament that talk about how God answers when we pray, how that we must pray, how that our motives must be pleasing to God as we pray. Check out the following scriptures before I continue:

Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

Each of these scriptures provides a pattern of prayer where an exchange takes place after the believer takes the necessary step towards God. The thing about prayer we must always realize is that it is an active dialogue that engages God, not a passive thought process that assumes God knows. Is God all-knowing? Absolutely! Thus, prayer does not magically allow God in on our deepest desires, biggest problems, and most critical petitions. Prayer does, however, compel the believer to be active, to make a confident request of heaven based on who God is!

Have you ever been so focused on not complaining, not worrying, not mumbling, and not becoming overwhelmed so that your life is in agreement with Scripture? I have. While this is good, we can become so focused on NOT doing the negative things that we forget to enact the parts of scripture that bring forth a response from God. Take a look at Philippians 4:6-7. While this passage tells us not to be anxious, it also emphasizes the necessity of prayer–making our requests known to God and thanking Him for his answer. Do you see? There is action that must take place on our end.

Fairly recently God spoke to me about becoming more active in prayer, more intentional with my faith, and more expectant of His answers. I learned from the Holy Spirit that when I am not active in prayer and faith that I am being passive. Notice in the scriptures I listed that the pattern is: (1) person prays with proper motive and according to the Word and (2) God undoubtedly responds. When I am a passive believer, I am passed when “answer time” comes around. I cannot in all sincerity expect an answer when I have not made a request–according to God’s pattern of prayer.

So today, take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit how you can be more instant in prayer and active in faith. Whatever His answer, be willing to obey, let go of old habits, and live in the joy of fellowship and answered prayers! There is nothing that increases faith more than answered prayers and heightened awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence! Let’s commit to letting go of passivity and grabbing hold of a passionate faith.

Cheers to a sweet prayer life.

Xx,

-AMG

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No Man Left Behind

A few months ago, I found myself steeped in one of life’s realities—a reality I did not actually want to accept. In an endeavor to escape what was a reality I now realize God desired for me to process through, I became very preoccupied with finding solutions. This preoccupation was a means of trying to make myself feel better about, well, me…because things weren’t going my way. Quite honestly, my challenges were in great contrast to what people perceived. As such, I allowed these perceptions to apply pressure to me—so I struggled to find solutions. What a mess!

While trying to map out my little “escape route,” I realized that I had forgotten I was on this journey with someone—my husband. Devin is not pushy or super needy, so it was the Holy Spirit who really helped me to see that I was lacking in this area. He helped me to see that since Devin and I are one, I needed to engage as a team player. Of course I love and care for my husband. But, it is possible that we allow the stresses of life to distract us from the fact that our spouse has goals, desires, struggles, victories, and a need for love and support as well. So, although I wasn’t doing horribly in the way of support, I needed regain focus.

Proverbs 31:11-12 is a good example of what happens when a wife is aware of her role in the marriage unit.

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

This passage implies that: (1) she remained emotionally available to her husband, (2) the husband could trust her to come to him in times of need, (3) she remained present—not distant or unnaturally introverted, (4) she wasn’t unpredictable—didn’t make rash decisions or lash out, and (5) she did not leave her husband behind—trying to find solutions and make things happen on her own.

When was the last time you made a conscious effort to remind your husband that you are in “this” together? No matter our goals, hurts, insecurities, desires, or victories we must not leave our husbands behind emotionally, spiritually or in any other way. Let’s commit to focusing less on what we want and need. Instead, choose to engage in meaningful conversation with your husband about what his needs are. Don’t automatically think all of his needs are sexual/physical. He will surprise you when you open the door for honest communication. This does not mean that your needs do not matter or that you all should ignore the realities of your challenges and desires (that’s unhealthy!). What this does mean, though, is that we must make conscious, consistent efforts as wives to pour into our husbands.  Since God has joined us to our spouse, we must remember that we are in this life-journey together!

Cheers to no husband left behind.

Xx,

-AMG

Finding Your Destiny

A friend of mine and I were speaking with a young lady not too long ago who communicated to me how she was facing a dilemma. She was sure that God was leading her to surrender more of herself to Him. She was also sure that she desired to have more of God, more of His presence. However, the dilemma was found in that she did not know what this looked like—or how she would reach the destiny God had for her.  After all, there were so many options to consider. Would her destiny take shape via traditional means of college and a career in the secular arena? Would she end up in full time ministry? If so, would her ministry function be what she currently enjoyed doing in the ministry? How could she reach her destiny with fears, insecurities, and perceived sense of inadequacy? Would God give instructions openly or in the personal time spent with Him? She wanted all of the answers, all of the gifting, all of the prophecy, all of her destiny right in that moment.

Don’t we all?

Well, as my friend and I were sharing insight with her, a profound truth was brought to light. I can’t remember whether my friend or I shared this truth (which isn’t all that important)—but it resonated with me. The profundity was this: As believers, our lives are not about reaching one destiny on earth. There are several destinations along the way at which times God will give us assignments, prune the fruit of our hearts, use us in big and small ways, and show us more of who He is. As He is our Guide, our responsibility is to respond with an affirmative, “yes, Lord.” The truth is that we will not reach our final destination until we see Christ.

It is also true that God will give us glimpses into our calling and the work He has for us to do in the earth. Still, we must be careful to follow Him, because the ideas we sometimes have about our ultimate destiny on earth is much smaller than what God has in mind for us to do. Thus, we must remain open and willing servants so that we can experience the God of Ephesians 3:20! Also, as you journey with Christ, don’t forget to celebrate your arrival at each destination. I know I am sometimes guilty of being a big-picture person so much that I do not celebrate each season I have entered and exited by grace.

So, let’s make a new commitment today to give thanks for every destination along the way—great or small. Remember, our final destination is found in the hope of Christ’s appearing. So, rest in His grace, keep pressing into God knowing that your steps are ordered! Not one step will ever be wasted, friends, even when you don’t understand the season you’re in or the path you’re on.

Cheers to trusting God and remaining patient.

Xx,

-AMG

Passivity Gets You Passed

Have you ever been sitting and thinking when you realized that you’ve let your faith get stale, that your light has grown dim, that minimal fruit is being produced from your life? If I were to sit down and talk to you, I am almost positive that you would tell me this state of mediocrity didn’t just appear overnight. It’s true, actually. Whenever we fall off the wagon of faith and intimacy with Christ and obedience to Christ, it is seldom an immediate occurrence. That is to say, we can actively live passive, sluggish, lethargic lives that lead to a status of discontentment.

While this conversation could go several ways, I would like to hone in on how prayer and connection with the Holy Spirit directly effect our lives. There are several passages of scripture in the New Testament that talk about how God answers when we pray, how that we must pray, how that our motives must be pleasing to God as we pray. Check out the following scriptures before I continue:

Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

Each of these scriptures provides a pattern of prayer where an exchange takes place after the believer takes the necessary step towards God. The thing about prayer we must always realize is that it is an active dialogue that engages God, not a passive thought process that assumes God knows. Is God all-knowing? Absolutely! Thus, prayer does not magically allow God in on our deepest desires, biggest problems, and most critical petitions. Prayer does, however, compel the believer to be active, to make a confident request of heaven based on who God is!

Have you ever been so focused on not complaining, not worrying, not mumbling, and not becoming overwhelmed so that your life is in agreement with Scripture? I have. While this is good, we can become so focused on NOT doing the negative things that we forget to enact the parts of scripture that bring forth a response from God. Take a look at Philippians 4:6-7. While this passage tells us not to be anxious, it also emphasizes the necessity of prayer–making our requests known to God and thanking Him for his answer. Do you see? There is action that must take place on our end.

Fairly recently God spoke to me about becoming more active in prayer, more intentional with my faith, and more expectant of His answers. I learned from the Holy Spirit that when I am not active in prayer and faith that I am being passive. Notice in the scriptures I listed that the pattern is: (1) person prays with proper motive and according to the Word and (2) God undoubtedly responds. When I am a passive believer, I am passed when “answer time” comes around. I cannot in all sincerity expect an answer when I have not made a request–according to God’s pattern of prayer.

So today, take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit how you can be more instant in prayer and active in faith. Whatever His answer, be willing to obey, let go of old habits, and live in the joy of fellowship and answered prayers! There is nothing that increases faith more than answered prayers and heightened awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence! Let’s commit to letting go of passivity and grabbing hold of a passionate faith.

Cheers to a sweet prayer life.

Xx,

-AMG

 

P.S. If you would like to help donate to get me into the mission field of Ecuador this summer to help to actively disciple others, please visit gofundme.com/ashleymariegray

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I know winter is coming to a close–and I’m not mad about it. But, this recipe is an all-year-long type of deal for me because it was super easy and super delicious. I made it for my entire family and folks tried it that I just knew would not want to venture out. It was a hit!

My favorite part about this meal is that it’s pretty much hands-off for me and hands-on for my slow cooker. I think this batch of soup must have simmered for close to 16 hours! That’s how hands-off I was, LOL! What I would like you to note for this recipe is that these are approximate measurements. I literally used what I had on hand and threw it in the pot and added more of this and that for desired taste. There wasn’t a whole lot of calculating going on…and it still came out fabulously!

Cheers to eating well and living well.

Xx,

– AMG

Ingredients

2 chicken legs

5 chicken breasts

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 can black beans (rinsed)

1 can white beans (rinsed)

2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 cups corn

1 c. water

1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth

3 tsp. cumin (cumin is what gives it the flavor you get from taco seasoning)

a few dashes red pepper

black pepper

sugar

basil

oregano

garlic powder

sea salt

_________________________________________

Green onion (for garnish!)

Plain Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)

Soft Tortillas

Method

Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder.

Place chicken in slow-cooker.

Cover with water, broth, and cream of chicken soup. Stir a little.

Add in all other seasonings, onions, and bell peppers.

Let cook on high for 4 hours or low for 10 hours. (At the last hour, shred the chicken, tossing out bones and skin).

When almost ready to serve soup, brush both sides of soft tortillas with olive oil (or cooking spray),place on cookie sheet, and bake on 400 degrees for 3-5 minutes on both sides.

Garnish soup with Greek yogurt and green onions and enjoy!