Purposeful Faith

3 Reliable Rules to Stay Unafraid: As Taught by TV & God

Stay Unafraid
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My kid screamed out, “Mommy, come! We can’t stay unafraid!”

They were watching cartoons, Veggie Tales. Apparently, something ferocious, sly and horribly mean showed up.

Stay Unafraid

They needed me.
Feeling loved, they wanted me.
I ran – nearly falling on my face.

Upon arrival, I contemplated whether to turn the audible babysitter off. Instead, I decided to pause the show.  I stood, hands on hips, head slanted and said, “Okay guys, I am going to let you in on the three rules of TV. This will help you.”

They really were going to benefit. These rules saved me during movies when I thought my heart was going to beat louder than the show. They helped me not  become the laughing stock of the movie theater, the one ducking under seats. They allowed my face to stay toned, rather than looking like an imprint of my hand.

I wanted them to know how to stay unafraid when they feel unhinged.

Here goes, 3 Rules (As Learned from Cartoons, TV and Movies):

Stay Unafraid

1. It all isn’t real.

2. The show will end.

3. The good guy never dies.

As soon as these things rolled off my lips, I wondered, “Don’t these truths also apply to my life?”

Because make no mistake, it is all a show.
It is all a play and an act until the curtains draw back and the king of glory stands before me.
It is all popcorn, dinners and alarms until one day he arrives with clouds, chariots and fire.
It is all hanging on to bible until we hang our hat and head it on home.
It is all renewing of our mind until he rewards our dying body with his glory.

Until then, will I likewise remember…

1. So much of what we fret over isn’t real?  What is real is God, love and his promises. Those things are more real than the things my very eye perceives.

2. These limited days are just the first act to the rest of the eternal show? It is all going to end, very soon.

3. If you know Jesus, your flesh may hurt, but your soul can never perish? I am always safe.

If I expect my tykes to rise to new assurance and armored like mental strength,
I guess the question becomes,
will I?

Will I let fear lead me or faith in what God has already put forth as truth?

Stay Unafraid

I have assurance, not meant to be followed from a distance. God has this thing. No bad guys can consume me. No image is too ferocious to ruin me. No rebellion is stronger than the power of Christ. No early affliction can overpower me. No dark day can steal my joy. No storm is greater than Jesus Christ. No discouragement has the power to magically remove the Spirit inside me.

Today will end. Tomorrow will not.

Until then, I can walk remembering, greater is he who is in me than he who comes to plague, harass and torment the world (1 Jo. 4:4). I can walk right up against the security detail, called Jesus. And I will. Will you?

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What Age Do You Feel on the Inside?

pray God holds sky
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Post By: Angela Parlin

“It’s kinda boring in here, Mom. There’s nothing colorful about this place.”

She says this a little sassy, from a plain old emergency room bed. She’s drawing a picture in her fancy notebook, and watching Liv & Maddie on the corner television. Most importantly, she’s breathing slower. She’s acting like herself again.

We wait for medications to wear off, and these unplanned hospital hours have me thinking. A Carrie Underwood song I played last week, on the day I turned 40, runs through my head:

“Whenever you remember times gone by,

Remember how we held our heads so high.

When all this world was there for us,

And we believed that we could touch the sky…”

(“Whenever You Remember” lyrics)

Time has a way of humbling us, doesn’t it?  I no longer believe I could touch the sky. Not like that anyway. I also don’t feel 40.

The age we feel on the outside never seems to match the way we feel on the inside.

Do you know what I mean?

When I turned 30, a friend asked me if I felt older. I said I felt about 17. I told my older sister yesterday, now that I’m 40, I feel a good strong 27 inside. Maybe it’s only lingering optimism, although it wasn’t all pretty then.

On my 27th birthday, I woke, sobbing, with Temporary Insanity. My overdue “little tiny” still had not joined us. I thought I’d be pregnant forever with that one.

Eventually, he arrived, and 27 began this giant growth spurt that is motherhood.

I started questioning my ability and doubting my own strength. Looking back, that’s where my real growth began. I wanted to depend fully on God, but something was in the way. Youth, maybe? So I regularly exhausted my own efforts, research, and ideas, and just after that, called on the name of Jesus.

It’s funny the way life changes us.

You go from believing you could almost touch the sky–to knowing the limits of your power.

You go from holding your head high, feeling the wind of the world beneath your wings–to bowing down, carried by One who moves like wind or however He chooses.

It’s upside-down, but this is where life gets good. Because now you’re falling upward. In the corner of your bedroom. In the emergency room. And everywhere in-between.

“My heart beating, my soul breathing,

I found my life when I laid it down.

Upward falling, spirit soaring

I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.”

(Hillsong United, “Touch the Sky” lyrics)

You fall to your knees, like it all depends on the GOD who holds up the sky.

You’re singing a new song, because now you really believe.

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. James 5:13, NLT

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Angela ParlinAngela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. From her home in North Carolina, she writes about the Jesus, grace, and motherhood, because there’s always “So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.” In addition to writing, she spends her days homeschooling, putting meals on the table, and wiping countertops. When she can’t be found, she’s hiding in the closet, devouring another novel, because stories are her favorite.


I’ve Unknowingly Sidestepped Christ’s Love (You Could be Too)

to Be Loved
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I stood in front of the mirror, deciding I looked great. You women know how those body slimming mirrors work in dimly lit dressing rooms…you’re all ten pounds lighter and skin tones more brilliant. Then you get home.

I pulled the white dress out of the bag. The zipper wouldn’t move. It was getting stuck somewhere between fat and fabric.

My face sank. Yank! Soon enough, I looked like a beet.

Things were tightening in around me; I called in the troops. Husband wasn’t strong enough.

I pressed him to press on.

“We don’t give up on these types of things, I assured him. This is far too important to call it quits.”

He didn’t quit. He’s not that type. It zipped.

And as everything pulled together, I looked in my mirror, to see if it could possibly be as good as I remembered.

Wait, what is that? Those little dots?

Somehow, what resembled spattered pizza grease made my brand new white dress look tainted. I shrugged and figured hair could cover it well enough. I left for church, stained. Toddler son caught a glimpse, sealing the whole experience, and asked, “Mommy, are you getting married today? Is that your wedding dress?”

Ahem. No.

Mike Archer (6)

Beloved at Church

My hair was doing its job. My mouth was singing praises. Things were alright, especially since I wasn’t expecting much on this off-to-a-rocky-start day. God has other thoughts – thoughts unlike mine. Ones that work despite half-kept appearances, plummeting feelings and flawed days.

He whispered, “Kelly, you are my bride.” 

I wanted to laugh. Argue even. I hardly was… Didn’t God see what I was wearing?

I sat. Pastor got up. He was going to be talking about women’s roles in the church. I held onto my seat. This kind of message can go anywhere; I wasn’t sure where we were headed.

Pastor Mark Henry said:

1. Husband is to love me like “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Eph. 5:25 (Tall order there!!!)

2. I am to “honor husband and lovingly respond to his leadership and care.” (Vente latte order here!!!)

3. This is a picture of intimate love. It is also is a picture of Jesus relating to Father God.Mike Archer (8)

Something rocked me, the bride. I thought, “Yes. Just think, we gawk, ooh and ahh over that one moment. The moment Jesus requested, relied and relinquished his rights, by saying: ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ (Luke 22:42)

Jesus trusted Father.
And, Jesus followed Father, no matter the cost.

Through this, we see a unified and magnified triune. 

We see, as onlookers, the presence of all peace move in tandem with God’s intended purpose.
It saves. Testifies. Redeems.

Do I let it work on my behalf?

The thought occurs to me: to feel like the bride of Christ, I must humbly accept the blessings that correspond with lowliness and selflessness. 

The Aisle of Clarity

I must allow in, what the world and my controlling personality stifle.

I must let my husband love me by leading me, not because he will do it perfectly, but because God will love me perfectly – as I do it.

I must give Christ the chance to make my stained dress white, clean and sparkling. He often does this through man.

I must receive what is love, even if it looks different than my rigid definitions of it.

I must avoid rushing in, questioning paths and offering advice to my husband so that space and grace can make room for Jesus Christ to walk in and love me.

I must avoid blocking love so I don’t feel like a dirty and deserted bride on her wedding day.

This won’t be easy, but it will be easier when I remember:

I am beloved.
I am cared for.
I am adored.

All man is faulted.
God is not.
His love works past man’s worst or best efforts. Mike Archer (7)

Will I give – faith in God’s plan – a chance to work for me? Will you?

To bend so low that only a knight in shining God could rescue in the gap of defenselessness***?

What might it look like for you to run into God’s arms of refuge – to find yourself loved – as bride?

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***Side note: This type of humble bowing is not done in a way where, we women, justify slaps or abuse. It is also not intended to tell us to go against the Word of God in blatant disregard. If, however, you find yourself in this place, you are not alone. You have a liberator and a door. He will help you. He will love you with compassion and gentle leading. Please consider wise counsel. Contact your church or a therapist for help. My prayers and heart are with you. Please remember, you are no less bride than I am. May your wise steps lead you to feeling this in your heart as you proceed forward. 


Gospel for the End of your Day

End of your Day
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I am delighted to welcome Kimm Crandall. Kim brings words full of grace in both her post and her just-released book, Beloved Mess. Thank you Kimm, for letting us know that we are okay, just as we are.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

Last night I told my daughter that she needed to stop thinking about her day and just go to bed. It’s something that I have to tell myself often because there is a natural self-examination that happens at the end of the day; an examination that tries my faith and leaves me with a scorecard in hand.

For some reason, I find it necessary to look over the events of the day, tally up my sins vs. my successes, and place myself in one of two categories: “good enough” or “not good enough.”

It’s my law bent heart that drives me to always check to see if I’m making the mark or not. And do you know what happens when I do this? I’m either left feeling like I can’t go on or feeling proud and self-righteous, all of it depending on my performance that day.

You see, we all having a longing to justify and prove ourselves. When we forget the gospel and live by the law our lives become all about our personal performance. The law tells us that we must perform to meet its demands. But the gospel reminds us that the demands of the Law are met and we can now rest. Jesus said it Himself, “It is finished!” Our hearts can rest because of Christ.

If we don’t have Christ to still the pendulum in our hearts, swinging between pride and despair, we will go on trying to justify ourselves by what kind of day, hour, or moment we’ve had.

Without the gospel we will live for what other people think of us and what we think of ourselves. We will judge ourselves by whether or not we make people happy, whether we had all the right responses, and if our hearts really wanted to be serving our neighbor.

Jesus Christ came and perfectly loved, perfectly obeyed, and was perfectly humble on our behalf because He knew that we would snap at our husband, join in the chaos of our fighting kids, or throw the towel in and quit.

As we come to the end of our day we don’t have to weigh the good against the bad and hope that we are still in God’s favor. Christ came and threw away the scale of the law to set us free.

Because of His finished work for us, we don’t have to go to bed and scheme about all the ways we need to try harder and do better the next day. We don’t have to beat ourselves into obedience with judgment and condemnation. We can rest knowing that Christ is the keeper of our souls and the purifier of our hearts. We don’t have to live wondering if we’re accepted. We don’t have to convince ourselves that we’re good enough.

It’s true that our actions certainly deserve the condemnation that our hearts want to live in. We can even agree with the accusations of the enemy that we’re not good enough because his accusation is surpassed by the proclamation of the gospel.

According to the law we will never do enough, be enough, or even care enough. But, according to the gospel, Christ is enough on our behalf.

So we can be free to lay our heads down at the end of the day. We can be free of condemnation, shame, and pride because God’s love for us is not based on how hard we’ve tried today but rather on the every day reality that His Son lived perfectly on our behalf.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8.1), not today, not tonight or tomorrow morning. Now that’s freedom!

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About Kimm Crandall

End of the DayI come to you as a very real sinner (with a cleaned up profile picture) in need of a great Savior. Think of the words I pen as a hand to hold as you walk toward Jesus. All of life is about walking each other home. It’s a much better journey when we are holding hands.

About The Book, “Beloved Mess”

End of the DayIn Beloved Mess, Kimm Crandall frees you to live with the assurance that God loves you right here, right now. He’s not waiting for you to clean up your act before you’re worthy to come to him. In fact, he wants you to stop trying to fix the mess and allow him to wash it away.

Follow Kimm

twitter: @kimmcrandall
facebook: @kimmcrandallauthor
instagram: @kimmcrandall
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Out of Sight and Out of Mind

Out of Sight
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I want to extend a warm welcome to Kari Stainback. Her words hit the tender places of not being seen and chosen. I couldn’t be happier to feature her words as part of the Ministry Monday Series. Welcome Kari!

Not long ago at a family gathering, I happened upon an endless version of the game “Peek a Boo” with a toddler.  Over and over and OVER again I put a scarf over her little head and said, “Where did Lucy go?”

Then I’d yank the scarf off to her gleeful shrieks and reply, “There she is!”  The giggles and the fun lasted for longer than I thought possible for a game to continue with a baby.

What made Lucy giggle so profusely as she participated in this game is that she was learning something called “object permanence”.  It is the developmental process that allows children to understand that an object continues to exist when it can’t be seen, touched or heard.  Prior to this stage, in the first few months of a baby’s life, they think when an object is “out of sight”, in their minds, it ceases to exist!  So when Lucy couldn’t see me, she just thought in her tiny toddler mind, “she’s not gone, she’s right there and boy howdy that is hilarious!”

Object permanence is very important because it gives us the ability to understand that objects that we may have never seen in our lives actually exist.  For example, I’ve never been to France nor seen the Eiffel Tower, but I know that it exists even though I’ve never physically seen it.  Throughout our childhoods as we become adults, object permanence moves from the physical to the abstract as we gain more experience with the world around us.  And, by God’s grace, it lays the foundation in our brains to develop faith in the triune God.  We can know, by faith, the One who we have not seen physically, but we can be sure He is with us.  In Christ, He is our ultimate permanent object.

Some of my favorite verses that teach us this truth are:

“My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”  (Exodus 33:14)

“Just as I as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” (Joshua 1:5)

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I feel from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.” (Psalm 139:8-9)

“…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b)

Sometimes, I don’t feel God is near.  Perhaps, you, like I, tend to think, “Does God really care? Does He know I’m feeling alone and forgotten?”  

For years, I thought I experienced loneliness because of my singleness.

I find, loneliness tempts us to find comfort by escaping through activity, or shutting down or drowning our sorrows in food or drink, or my personal favorite: cruising the mall on Saturday nights.  It’s easy to give in to despair and resentment, to stop reading the Bible or praying. I keep learning, none of these leads us to lasting peace.  What does lead to peace is something Amy Carmichael wrote about in her poem, “For In Acceptance Lieth Peace”.

Our loneliness may not go away,
but it can be accepted as God’s will for today and that turns it into something beautiful. 

Recently I had an ugly bout with loneliness, all of my familiar temptations to doubt and escape swirled around me.  I did not feel God’s presence.  All I felt was the dread that the loneliness had returned and that it would only get worse in the days ahead.

I found His presence.

I opened my Bible and read it, listening for the Word He had for me.  It came!  I prayed and thanked the Lord for being the One who would never leave me or forsake me.  He gave me peace. The very next day God sent me a surprise of His love in the mail, something only He could do in His perfect timing.  It was a quarterly magazine from the seminary from which I graduated.  On the back was a graphic of a tree, rooted in Christ Jesus, with its branches filled with names of single men and women who have furthered God’s Kingdom throughout church history.

To my utter amazement, in the far right branch I saw my name.  Underneath the graphic was written the verse, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35).  

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About Kari

CounselingandCare (1)Kari Stainback is Director of Women’s Ministries at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX.  She coordinates women’s Bible studies, discipleship and special events.  Kari is a Licensed Professional Counselor and does pastoral counseling for women in the church.  She is also a board certified supervisor of counselors.

Kari joined the staff of PCPC in the fall of 1999.  She has been in her present position for 15 years.


Father’s Day Note: You are a Great Daddy

Great Daddy
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You do things.
You get me coffee.
You clean the pans that have scum left from the night before.
You give me time to execute my dreams.
You love your kids.
You give them your best.
You think about how I am feeling.
You encourage me in my dreams.
You tell me I can.
You show me you care.
You make sacrifices and time.
You give me the best Apple computer a writer could ever want.
You think about what I will delight over…

…all while being daddy of two, leader of home and strong at work. 

If there is one thing a woman wants, besides God, chocolate and new clothes – it is a man that loves her. I have that in you. You are mine and I am yours. When I see you, I see Jesus.

If there is one thing a kid wants, besides candy and toys – it is a daddy who cares.

You make breakfast a coveted affair.

great daddy
You lug them around on your shoulders.
You tackle and toss and take your kids places they have always wanted to go.
You laugh and dance and fuss over little things.
You bring little gifts home from work.
You make time for stories.
You pray morning and night over things that count.
You take them on new adventures.
You do breakfast tours in new cities.
You make your minutes count.

great daddy

They know.

And what I know is all these small moves of love, will end up as giant leaps of the heart kind. They will know significance. Believe in it. They will know belonging. And rely on it.

They will know they can because daddy always believed they could.

They will believe Father Daddy will carry them because you did.

great daddy

They will know Jesus because you reflected him.

She will find a good man because you are good man.

They will remember. They will remember the “You are courageous” comments. They will remember the “Don’t give up,” words. They will remember the, “Spin for me” requests. She will remember the, “You are beautifuls.”

You are sowing security. You are making it the fabric of our family, the knitting of our future. It counts. It will reap rewards.

We cheer you today, daddy.
You are a man doing well.
Working hard.
Giving your all.
We applaud your generosity, your heart and your passion – for us.

Love,

Wifey and Kids

P.S. From your little boy: Daddy, I love you, daddy. You are strong. My heart feels glad to be with you, daddy.

P.S.S. From, your even littler girl: Daddy, you make me feel happy.

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Seeking Your Fame Over His Gain

Seeking Your Fame
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I was checking to see how many Twitter followers I had. It was just a few seconds of distraction, a few seconds of indulgence, but seconds that cost me so much.
 
I glanced around the room for my 1-year-old daughter. She was nowhere to be found. I called her name. Nothing. I furiously looked around the room. Nowhere. My heart skipped a beat. Anxiety welled up in my chest. There are so many things that can happen in just seconds. My mind raced. The possibilities overwhelmed me.
 
Then I heard it—a thump, thump, thump. My worst nightmare was becoming a reality. Something was happening to my baby. I heard her falling and ran as quickly as I could muster to the most dangerous spot in the house—our stairs. I saw her at the bottom, crying. My heart broke.
 

My distraction led to this infraction.

My preoccupation created a situation.

My online enjoyment led to her torment.

 
How do you find that what you seek online—pleasure, satisfaction, fun—leads you away from God and others? What we do in a matter of a few seconds can have long-lasting repercussions. What makes us feel good or accepted can make others feel the exact opposite: denied and rejected
 
As I hugged my crying baby girl, I realized, it was time to turn away from Google and Facebook to think about how I was impacting others. It was time I look at what and where I invest my heart.
 
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
 
“Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart” (Psalm 26:2).

God, what do you want to show me about my heart?

I was DISTRACTED. 

I was distracted from the presence, the place where God shows off. Usually, I love to see my daughter’s new milestones, but, this time, I didn’t get to see her climb those stairs. I missed that moment.

When we immerse ourselves in a screen, we miss the in between.

I sought AMUSEMENT above all. 

“Entertain me! Delight me! Consume me!” That is what I say so often to my screen. Give me a moment of joy in a world that aggravates me.
 
God speaks differently, to me it sounds something like: amusement comes and amusement goes, but my love remains forever.
 
“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5 NIV).

 
I wanted my FAME above his.
 

Read my posts. Like me. Favorite me. Retweet me. See me. Accept me. Do you notice the theme? Me. Me. Me.
 

When we focus on self, God goes on a shelf. 

“LORD, I have heardof your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 NIV).
 
What desires does your heart seek?  They extend far beyond a screen, I assure you.
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9 NLT).
 

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A Permanent Address

A Permenant Add
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Post by: Jami Amerine

I have been chewing on this scripture for a couple weeks now.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 3:20 ESV

For the last two weeks, we have been living in our hunting cabin. Our house is undergoing extensive upgrades. My husband is not only a general contractor; he can do anything. Once he rescued a stranded driver on interstate by repairing his radiator with some goulashes and three zip ties. The driver reported he drove it another 50,000 miles with the provisional repair.

Needless to say, I can have some things tended to that might otherwise cost a fortune.

But in our tiny cabin in the woods on our ranch, I haven’t been in need. Well, selfishly in need of space from the three littles.  But other than a washer and dryer and Internet service, we have everything we need to live a lavish life. Better than most.

Still, I am eagerly awaiting my renovated residence.

My permanent address.

And as I flip through Pinterest and online catalogs, I dream of all the fun things I will do to our newly refurbished home. I carefully plan the placement of each picture, candle holder, nick-knack, rug, and throw pillow. My permanent address will be stunning.

And in that stunning space, I will have friends and family over for spectacular feasts. I will fix beautiful meals, tasty pies, and pastries. Wine glasses will make musical “clinks” as we toast new years, new lives, marriages, holidays, and celebrate those we love as they pass on, to their permanent address.

Permanency.

Perhaps because we moved so much in my childhood, I am more prone to crave and create spaces that are indicative of permanency. I want to create a lovely home where everyone feels welcomed.

This is my spiritual gift, hospitality.

I want a home that speaks to the soul. Halls that whisper welcome, and a table that screams, “SIT! STAY! ENJOY!”

I can make this happen. Napkin rings for every occasion, a table that seats 18, a fire in the fireplace, or fluffy multicolored beach towels next to the pool. Watermelon in summer, smores by the fire pit in the fall, and rich, decadent cocoa with homemade whipped cream and festive sprinkles by the light of the Christmas tree.

I can make this happen.

All of it.

This is my craft.

Well, all of it is mine to give, except – the permanency.

I can’t make it all stay.

And that is what I desire.

This is what evades me.

For deep within the borders of my heart, I am still wandering like the nomad I was raised to be.

The longings of my flesh might seek to create a fanciful, cozy home but my spirit craves permanency.

And that can only be through the Father by His Son.

The most hospitable of all, my Jesus. He creates for me a forever address. No repair is needed; it was purchased on the cross.  Timeless, perfected, beyond cozy or hot chocolate, this place I long for – this place I have not known…

Yet, somehow know, this will be my forever home.

Angels heard on high, praises to the King of Kings. Mercy, grace, and joy will sing and I will be reunited with my God.

Lord Jesus, let this be the true desire of my heart. Let me not lose the focus on my true home.  Keep my eyes ever upward. Forgive me when I stumble and obsess over the trinkets, lace panels, fragrant candles, sales, and paint swatches. I wish only to have eyes for you, and my permanent address.  An eternity of worship in a beautiful home…

One you prepare for specifically for me.

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

But as it is written: “Eye hath noseennor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 COR 2:9

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How to Overcome Temptation: 4 Ways

How to Overcome Temptation
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I was tempted. I was tempted to look at something online that I knew was very, very bad for me to look at.  I wanted to look so badly. I wanted to see. It was like a little box I could open in secret.

That box is thrill…I stared at it.

And between me and that momentary treasure, a finger seemingly popped up, beckoning, “Come here, Kelly, what harm is there in the looking?”

Who will it hurt?
How much does it matter?
No one will know.
You can decide when to stop.
God knows, you aren’t perfect.
It won’t really hurt.

Except it does – hurt. I have done those things before, I knew I shouldn’t. It always hurts. It hurts like a platoon of bees in attack mode. You see, because even if it is the smallest transgression, even if it is one I can easily write off – it follows. It chases.

It chases saying…
“You little failure.”
“You horrid little mess-up.”
“You will never get things right.”

It leaves you nauseous, like that huge slice of cake you knew you shouldn’t have downed at midnight. Blah.

How to Overcome Temptation

You feel sick. Then you run. Far. From God. Fast. Maybe inadvertently, but still, you do. Because you want to hide under your bed, so he can’t see you anymore. You don’t want him to see your shame.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Gen. 3:8

When you turn your back on God,
you become convinced God turned his back on you.

He never did, though. 
He never will, though.

He can’t. 

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb. 3:15

God is with me, even when temptation wants to beat me.  

Father was with Jesus, even when devil tried to tempt him. 

If only I can remember this.

Perhaps, then, I might be able to do these four things:

  1. Look for God’s way out for me.
    When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13
  2. Pray and ask him to make this different way apparent.
    …knock and the door will be opened to you. Mt. 7:7
  3. Identify the lies that are leading me to want to sin in the first place. 
    I can ask, “What am I seeking to fill that only God can?”
  4. Find scripture that relates to this heart issue and let it consume my mind. I can speak it, repeat it, hold it and pray over it until it becomes sturdy within me.

Temptation has no power when you say no.

And, when all else fails, I can confess and convince my heart to run back into daddy’s arms. He waits. He waits not with hands on hips, head cocked and an exasperated sigh, but with relief that we are reunited.

How to Overcome Temptation

He wants me back, even when I have turned my back. He wants you back too. 

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When Someone Is Better Than You

When Someone Is Better Than You
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I have this thing that I promise myself, “If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t end up far from God.”

This is actually a battle mottto, because no less than 100 times a day, I have to fight to keep the forces of my mind moving in tandem with it. 

Kids go haywire. Battle.
Someone speaking things that threaten me. Battle.
Anxiety creeping in. Battle.
Girl disses me. Battle.

One thing, I always promise myself not to do, is to look at other people’s journeys and compare them to mine. I know this is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. Suddenly you can’t get anywhere.

The blessing you believe is yours turns black, tainted. The progress you felt you were making looks like lint. The value that God places on you resembles a jail jumpsuit, lettered: CAPTIVITY.

someone is better than you

Comparing is the quickest way to go about killing spiritual progress. It really is.

Suddenly, you believe you are:
A. Never going to get anywhere.
B. Never, ever, going to be as good as that other girl.
C. Going to fail, so you might as well pack it all up now.

Comparing is a kid on Christmas who only sees the one toy he didn’t get and sissy did. It is his red scrunched up face that glares at  – he misses the 19 others wrapped goodies intended to bring joy.

Maybe you are like me saying, “Whoops! That is me. What do I do now, God?  “

Friends, I want to offer you a solution here, but let me tell you, I’ve never been that good at giving myself the benefit of the grace (my inclination is to give myself a smack on the face).

I had a friend who knew how to love herself with grace. She got shunned by a boy, she said, “Oh, he is busy.” She had a teacher be rude to her, she said, “Oh, she’s having a hard day.” Me? No. He hates me and she is about to fail me.

Thinking of this friend, though, it inspires me. She lets love – love her.

When it comes to comparing, I am not unliked by God, nor deemed the bad child, but am the selected child. Hand-selected to impact the world in my own way. Hand-selected to dwell in his love.  Hand-selected to minister to my family around me.

When Someone Is Better Than You

He is paving a way for me; that only I can walk through.

He is doing the same for you.

Just opening that small door of grace, let’s new ideas walk in:

People can succeed and I can too.
God has enough to go around.
Every woman’s journey is different but equally as important in God’s eyes.
God cares far more about big faith than he does about big progress.
What is good for her, can be good in me too, as I applaud her.
No one has the power to subtract joy from me unless I let them.
God’s singular mission carved out for me – is mission critical in his eyes.
I am always approved, no matter how much my feelings may disapprove my work.
I am not the sum of accomplishments, I am a testament Christ’s love.

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