Purposeful Faith

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Expecting a Dream

Expecting a Dream

What happens when your mind is dead set on expecting a dream?

You visualize the smiling and congratulatory faces as it comes true.
You hear the cheers of acclaim wildly reverberating in your heart.
You can only imagine how things would change, “If…”

You see it – your heart could finally lay down and rejoice, find relaxation and peace, if only…

This is how it works for me.

My dreams seem to hold the power to be the
Creator and Originator of my present anxious feelings. 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Mt. 7:7

Surely, God loves to hear my prayers,
I think he just doesn’t want to have to lay his eyes on my idols.

So often, I have grabbed on to the future’s potential like a kid trying to grab hold of a cloud. I have tried to hug what was never mine to begin with. I have tried to own what was miles away, as if by continuing to see it and reach it and demand it and cry about it and keep my eyes set on it and daydream about it and talk about it- it will never have the chance to fade away.

But, sometimes it does.

It just vaporates. It just disappears.

And then I am left devastated, demolished and simply agitated
at God for abandoning me.

Does the God of peace intend this turbulence of our hearts?

I realize that in the times I expected big bucks, big cheers and big sensational feelings – I missed my big God. I missed the quiet moment of expecting his comfort, his leading and his power as he tried to guide my heart down a different path. I missed the powerful show of his presence in small ache of my heart as I cried out for “more”- because my eyes were set on “my dream.”

How often do we say, “I’m not looking at you God. I want this!”?

Why does it feel that what we claim, should be ours? Front Seat, I called it!

As if when we do enough “knee-time” God sees exactly how dream-worthy we are. Can’t he see I am doing the “hard time?”

I think God made me a dreamer. Not for my glory, but for his. Not for my wild imaginings, but for his outpourings.

My ways lead to foolery. (Prov. 12:15)
My ways seem right and end in death (Prov. 14:12)
I may chart my course, but the Lord owns my footsteps. (Prov. 16:9)

If God owns the way I head, how can I war against him?

Ask not – what are my dreams, ask what are his dreams – for me?

His will will be done, no matter how much I hold “my will” hostage, saying “you’re not going anywhere.” And, even if my will is permitted, in the end my heart will suffer the damage.

God loves us. He loves our dreams. He loves our passion. Even more, he loves our heart.

May the internal knitting of our dreams always be stitched up tight into the fabric of his love, his grace and his power. May the patches of our hope link together solely through the power of his Spirit in us. May our ears be inclined to listen and our eyes be inclined to see – his paths, his heart to love and his example of death when he desired life.

The paths of humility.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Ja. 4:6

Where do you want us to go God? Not our will, but your will (truly, honestly, hopefully) be done. We know, by our own power we will fall straight down and bruise our knee. We can’t get out of ourself, but with you – and your example of Jesus – we can get back up again and walk towards your purposes by your Spirit that removes the old us, from the new us. Amen.

the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Ps. 147:11

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Linking up with 5 Minute Friday and Susan B. Mead.

Let’s Choose Humility Over Pride

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I turned from the swing and saw him standing there, fresh cut flowers in hand and a smile on his face.

“I’m sorry. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

I embedded my face in his chest and wrapped my arms around him. An apology and flowers weren’t what I was expecting, but I was grateful for both. I breathed in the soft, earthy scent of the lilies and took them inside.

He wasn’t sleeping well, and I knew the early wake up call from our son didn’t help. We’d exchanged some harsh words and tones that morning, and our day hadn’t gotten off to a good start.

But instead of trying to justify himself that afternoon and push the issue, he chose to extend love and grace. He chose humility.

As I stood over the kitchen counter, trimming the stems and arranging the buds in a tall vase, I thought about my husband’s actions. How much better would our relationships be if we chose to grace over our need to be right?

So often, I feel like I’ve lost my ability to breathe if I can’t get someone to see things my way. But the longer I’m married and the more I work to build strong, thriving relationships, the more I see it’s often the way we respond to conflict which makes us grow.

Can you imagine how boring life would be if everyone thought exactly the same way you did? Many times I think it would make things easier, but it is our differences which stretch and grow us.

As often as I find myself in the world of black and white, there is much grey. There are areas where we have to let the Spirit give us discernment and wisdom.

When I dig into the word, it does not tell me how the wise person is the one who asserts her view of every situation and proclaims it as the ultimate truth.

No, James speaks of a different kind of wisdom.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13 NIV

Wisdom is shown through humility and service, not the loudness of our voice.

A wise pastor once told me Jesus didn’t go through his earthly ministry proclaiming, “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and follow me.” Although there were times, such with the Pharisees, when Jesus pointed out the immorality of people’s actions, he spent much more time healing the sick, binding up the brokenhearted, and leading by example.

There will be times when conflict is necessary and we must speak the truth in love, many disputes are best handled with a simple apology. Even if you are not the person in the wrong, sometimes God calls us to put aside our pride and put the relationship first.

When my husband left work one Tuesday afternoon, he chose humility. He exemplified the very nature of Christ, and chose grace over his need to be right.

And as his wife and someone who often picks the wrong path, I am inspired to follow his example.

I pray God will fill me with his Spirit, so I can extend grace in my time of need.

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Guest Contributor

 

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her    darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Forgiving a Frenemy

Forgiving a frenemy

When I saw “that lady” my skin cringed a little.

She’s the one who offended me.
The one who deserves my annoyance.
The lady I really didn’t want to see.

It’s nearly impossible to wrap your arms around the word “love,” when you have your arms crossed with hate.

She didn’t hit me like a monster truck might, with an intentional crash, but still she her hit-and-run approach was something I took note of. Intentional or not, she caused damage. 

And, I wasn’t going to let her get away without paying damages.

How do you let go when another doesn’t realize the damage they have done?

Don’t they deserve to know how they’ve injured you?

I wanted the reparations that should be mine. My heart was demanding it, although know one would ever know about that little secret.

I knew my insides were ugly, but I couldn’t seem to get my insides – out –  out into the hands of God.

She was seen with a halo, while I felt like a zero.

Sometimes, though, God works circumstances for our good, because he loves us and he knows our heart intends to be called according to his purposes (kind of Ro. 8:28).

Even when we don’t know how to work or are too busy working on the wrong think or are thinking in the wrong way or are messing up, God often still works things out when we turn to him and let him work out the knots of our tangled up his purpose.

When we come back to God, he backs near to our heart again.
When we see an opportunity to love, and put it above ourselves, the love of God shows up.

A friend approached me and basically said, “You know, you have something, a little piece of information, a little inside scoop that could help that woman (aka: frenemy) out. Why don’t you go over and share it with her.”

What? Me?
Share?
With her? The blessing-taker, the joy-kill, the bane of my burdens?
Heck no.

How can I give to the one who is loaded to the brim with liquid gold while I am drinking out of the plastic cup of nothingness? How can I give when she practically made my drink to taste so bad.

I don’t know about that.

My feet moved, but my heart stayed still. They moved me right in front of her. My mind said, “You can’t,” but my Spirit said, “You can.”

So, I did.

I poured out the information that she had been on the hunt for. I told her I would be her helper. I instructed her on the in’s I could have kept in, but instead I helped her out.

And, what I noticed, is that fears and pain and anger went out too.
They left.
They scurried away.

Giving took the eyes off of my pain and placed them onto my gift. A gift much like the one offered for me, a sinner who didn’t deserve love.

An undeserved gift, especially the act of forgiveness,

brings Jesus right to the center of relationship.

My arms came undone and fell open to receive and pour out love.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Mt. 5:44)

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (Prov. 25:21)

God knows something we don’t (ok, a lot actually) and it is this: When we give to someone, we start to love them. We start to feel for them. We start to see that their issues are more about them, than they are about us. We start to see that they need us – and that we need them.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Prov. 11:25

As we reach out, we start to see all that is reaching into us through the act of love. We start to see it is not all about us and our rights, but it is simply about giving our rights to another, just as Christ did for us.

He is the justice-keeper, we are are the love extenders.

I learned, the joy is never found in the harboring of rights,

but it is always found in the helping of the hurt.

Forgiveness is the heart and soul of Christianity.

It is the feet – to love,
and the heart – to relationship.

As you let your feet move,
your feelings eventually follow.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Mt. 6:14

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Linking with Holley Gerth.

A Powerful Tip to Becoming Doubtless

A Powerful Tip to Becoming Doubtless

I felt down. Sometimes my emotions move with the wind, with the circumstances.

Certainly, I know God says not to be like one tossed to and fro like the doubting waves (Ja. 1:6). I’ve got this. I understand this. But, I still do this.

I don’t want to, but I do.

And then I hate myself for doing it – for being a doubting Thomas, demanding to see God’s purposes for the surrounding injuries.

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Jo. 20:27

You arrogant girl, God doesn’t bless girls like that! He hates that.

Good “Jesus girls” don’t have to witness the details of the wounds to trust there is a better plan. So why do I?

I don’t have to see the holes to know that God put them there for a good reason. Can’t I trust? Can’t I just see that the pain of today is there because God has a plan in tomorrow?

Many times I can. Other times I can’t.

And, when I can’t,  shame becomes the holding cell that distances me from God.

Certainly, grace keeps the jail cell doors wide open, unlocked and unobstructed, but shame holds me in, telling me this is where I belong – contained and convicted. It bars my mentality to a purposeless state. It makes me feel like a life-sentenced prisoner doomed to isolation for my bad behavior as a Christian mess-up. 

Girls who act like that never get out. They can’t be used without faith.

The bars of this cell open and close like clockwork:

1. Emotions of fear lead to…
2. Doubts about God which lead to…
3. Shame about my doubts, which leads to…
4. Distance (due to: embarrassment, worthlessness, anxiety) from God

But, I am tired, dead tired of being trapped in a cell – a cell that doesn’t have to be literal to trap you. I am tired of breathing in the anxiety of God’s wrath and the fear of my worthlessness.

Because the truth is, this cell is dingy, old and full of fear; it’s not helping me much anyway.

I have the bounty of grace right before me, and it’s about time I seize it.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” Lu. 4:18

And I did something different and it worked! I was astonished.

Let me explain:

1. Know your past. Where you were hurt in the past is likely where you will feel damaged in the future. Old dog, same tricks. The devil knows our sore spots and he loves to reopen them.

2. Identify in God’s word the truths that hit your past and current pain points.

3. Speak these truths over yourself. Proclaim them. Speak them. Preach them. Teach them. I don’t care, just get up and walk around and own them. Rather than sitting like a prisoner waiting to be someone’s fresh bait, step up and realize Jesus was already the (perfect and complete) bait for you. He won and you will win too – come the day of Christ Jesus.

4. Believe in the words you say. Receive the full authority that Christ has placed in you, by the power of his Spirit, when you believed. Don’t half heartedly pray or meekly say, “I trust.” Make your words your anthem, your pledge of allegiance, your covenant. Let them be binding truth and declarative words.

(Please note: I am not talking about declaring riches or blessings over yourself, I am talking about declaring truth about who God says you are and what he has done.)

Here is what it looked like for me:

(Imagine: Standing Kelly, walking Kelly, powerful Kelly, vocal Kelly, speaking aloud)
Lord, you reign. There is none beside you. There is none more powerful. You don’t hold doubts against me, as I confess, you forgive me. You free me to your purpose. There is absolutely no condemnation in Christ Jesus. I am loved, entirely, fully, completely. You bring all truth to light and you set  captives free, you will set me free. You have a plan and you will see it through…(and you get the point).

But, the point is, the more I spoke, the more I believed, and the more I believed, the more I felt relieved.

His active Word cut sharply through the sludge of my mind to unveil the new creation that I am – to myself. As the junk moved, the truth shined.

Christ’s power, mixed with the illuminating light of the Spirit, always uncovers truth.

Yesterday, I came doubtful, afraid and as spazzed as a kid on sugar, but through belief and ownership of his Word, I seized God’s renewing power for myself. I didn’t see the enemy near. I didn’t see my problems. I didn’t see trepidation. I didn’t see my regrets. I realized that the enemy cannot stand against one standing up.

I am a warrior for Jesus – and he doesn’t need wimps, he needs fearless children unafraid to speak truth.

Who run to the tomb no matter the cost.
Who see a mission during their long wait for the Promised Land.
Who see the dead things around them and speak life into them.

We are these warriors.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle;
 he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples under me.

Ps. 144:1-2

How can we be warriors when we sit downtrodden in cells of worthlessness and shame?

God has life-altering power ready to be poured out over us. Do we speak it like we believe it?

Lets us live in the purpose that Christ has already won for us.

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What God Gave – Stinks!

What God Gave

God abandoned me in my time of need.
He left his daughter in the desert of nothingness.
The blessing-keeper forgot his role.
The one who was supposed to come through, didn’t.

I am not afraid to admit for a moment, I whined like this – like a baby.

I didn’t get what I wanted.

Waaa!!!! I cried, until I found my daddy and found consolation in his arms. As he held me in love, I could start to grab hold of the truth: not getting could be God’s bigger gift. It highlights the barriers blocking contentment.

It was a lightbulb, sight-in-the-darkness, there-is-power-in-the-pain kind of moment.

Surely, when we “get” – all is good. We are happy, joy-filled and thankful, but, what happens when we don’t get the good gifts we expect?

Here, we start to see what our heart is really after.
Our spiritual thought life surfaces.
We can take notice of our sprint (or crawl) time to prayer.

Do we throw a temper tantrum
or do we temper our hearts in the truth of God?

The desire, idols and pursuits of our heart shine in this place. We can see them for what they are.

What do you see when God doesn’t give to you?

Our tantrums highlight the great heart work will complete.
He sees our pain and it certainly doesn’t pains him too.
But, he allows it because he is working something even more magnificent, more fantastic and more glory-filled than our initial want.

Many times, he doesn’t settle for the immediate gift, because he is working an entire heart makeover.

“Not getting” teaches us how to put this (often seemingly impossible) verse into action:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Phil. 4:12)

God’s best gift is learning how to keep our dedication
as steady as an arrow
and our feelings as sure as a bullet,
despite the size of the enemy coming against.

Then we can find true joy and peace.

This gift lasts forever.
It doesn’t rust and end up in the attic months later.

When we find God, we find stability. Not stability due to a circumstantial blessing, hope, dream or wish, but steady footing in the knowledge he is bringing us to a better place.

I pray, today, that I can see all that I don’t get as an indicator of all that I already have. I pray that I will take notice of my heart condition to see how it may need a course-redirect. I ask God not to always give me what I want in order that I can receive the better gift, which is him. The power is not in the getting, but in the beholding.

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A Heart of God Over a Heart of Fear

Heart of God

I have been on a wild and crazy hunt to figure out how to get more of God – into me. 

It’s wild because I often live in the wilderness – in the rocky ups and downs of faith. It’s just wild that a great God like him would want to dive into the disobedient heart of a girl like me. My head says yes, but sometimes, my heart says, it’s too off his beaten path.

It’s crazy because, I can’t even conceive how someone so “everywhere” and “always”, so above-it-all and so robe-laden, someone who made everything and with so much to do, could want to reside in measly me? Aren’t there a lot more exciting and missional places that he wants to focus?

But, it’s true.

God practically offers us all of him on a golden platter saying, I give you my heart. Will you take it? He doesn’t offer a part, a sliver, a shard, a splinter; he takes his whole body and throws it on the table for us, for vulture-like beings who did nothing to earn his gift of death.

“Take and eat; this is my body.” Mt. 26:26

He offers, but do I even value his gift?

The truth is the presence of his body, his life and his power is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

But, I must make a choice to eat his spiritual nourishment.

When my stomach turns in knots,
when holes trip me up,
when I shake in the darkness,
I must look up, verses looking around and see the one who is always ready to be found.

He is always ready to lead me in right ways.

His hand leads to truth.
Truth leads to love.
Love leads to fearlessness.
Fearlessness leads to passion and joy.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 Jo. 4:8

I wonder how often I hold back me – from God?

I wonder how much I fear his presence in me
because he seems too great above me?

How often I fear condemnation?
Even though I know his condemnation doesn’t even exist for me (Ro 8:1).

I forget “he who began a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)

How often do you hold back because you feel unworthy?

Or try to gain worthiness?
Even though it’s impossible to be the weight lifter of his power.

Only one can carry (and carried) that weight.

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Eph. 3:16-17

The reality is, we need to the strength of the Spirit
so that we can welcome in the strength of the Savior.

Then, the strength of the Savior more and more pushes out
the strength of the sinner.

It’s like the Spirit does the internal cleaning,
so the temple is clean, prepared and ready to be inhabited.

Jesus silences sins through surrendered faith. The sinner is siphoned away and more and more the new creation takes over. The sinner’s fears are left in the dust; the Spirit and Jesus become the only ones to trust.

I want this to happen more and more for me, don’t you? This happens when we call on the power of the Spirit to expand the territory of the Savior. 

It doesn’t matter where you live – in the wilderness, in trials, in temptation, in sin – confess and call. That’s it.

Then we will find the power of God will move in – to move out – all that keeps us from him.

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Today I am linking with #LiveFreeThursday, #DancewithJesus and #FiveMinuteFriday.

The River of Delights

River of Delights

Post by Angela Parlin

This is my view all week, sunup to sundown.

It’s summer vacation, and our family loves to spend these days at the beach, just a couple hours from home. Our first morning here this year, I opened my Bible to these fitting and beautiful words:

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!

People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;

You give them drink from your river of delights.

(Psalm 36)

From this day forward, I think I’ll refer to the Atlantic as–The River of Delights.

Which makes me feel like Anne Shirley, but it’s true. Is there anything so irresistible? Crowds pour onto the sand each day in agreement.

The ocean overwhelms me, with shades of blue as far as the eye can see. Something about standing in front of this vast body of water lulls me home inside. When I’m here, I remember–this power is God, this beauty is His, these constant waves roll in like good gifts He’s always giving.

God serves up drinks, from His river of delights. He lays out a feast, from the abundance of His house.

Other scriptures say:

  • He shows us the path to life.
  • He fills us with joy and eternal pleasures.
  • He blesses us.
  • He fills us with good things.
  • It is good to be near God.

We could fill pages with similar lines from Scripture.

Is this how you see God?

Sometimes I’m oblivious to His delights. I miss this part of Him. Yet joy and abundance and life are part of who He is and what He offers us.

I wonder how we ever walk through days without this consciousness.

Maybe delight is crowded out by a critical spirit or cynicism or complaint. Maybe we’re focused on what we bring to the table instead of who God is. Maybe we fail to understand the whole picture of Him or we simply forget.

His living and active Word and His stunning creation repeatedly remind us. We feast on the abundance of His house; we drink from His river of delights. But who?

Who enjoys this abundance? People who take refuge in the shadow of His wings.

When I think of taking refuge in God, I assume there’s danger–some kind of storm. A cancer scare, a searing loss, a terrifying fall or some other difficult trial. Many verses speak of taking refuge in God as our shelter from danger or sickness or troubles.

But I find an interesting connection between taking refuge in the shadow of His wings—and joy + delight + abundance.

What does it mean to take refuge under His wings? Some versions call this hiding ourselves in Him or putting our trust in Him. It also means we find JOY in Him. We seek Him above all else, and we see all these earthly pleasures as gifts He sets before us.

Every sunrise, every sunset. Every ocean. Every mountaintop experience. Every encounter with people we love. Every delicious meal. Every ordinary day. Every vacation or adventure.

It all comes from the abundance of His house, another satisfying drink from His river of delights.

In sickness and in health, through storms or sunny days, may we revel in His gifts, with hearts turned toward God.

May we live, deeply grateful as we hide in Him, taking refuge in the shadow of His wings.

For with you is the fountain of life ~ in your light we see light. Psalm 36:9

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Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

Linking with 3D Lessons and Faith Barista.

The Horsepower of Words

The Horsepower of Words

Her stance said it all. Her head was cocked to the side in just the right way, her eyes looked from left to right and her lips almost kissed the ear of the woman she was speaking to.

It’s interesting how the sin we think we keep so discreet is often so apparent.

She was gossiping. Clear as day, I could tell just by looking at her that she was gossiping.

And, sure enough, as I walked by her, I heard the complaints running a mile a minute about another.  I also felt them run like a rabid animal right into my heart. I felt like my insides were being eaten with the venom she was speaking because I had trusted her with my own heart. 

The truth is if someone speaks poorly to you about another, they are likely speaking poorly to another about you. Deep down you know you can never trust that person again, because they will plaster your heart on the biggest billboard in town.

Words cut faster than a paper cut and their effects last a lot longer.

They scar.
They pierce.
They push others away.
They can make you untrustworthy.

Do your words build trust or deplete it?

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:8

While I am sure her discussions were just a way of connecting with another,
or showing that she was valuable and interesting,
or highlighting all the pain that she is going through,
or bringing up issues that she thought were important,
or making herself feel good,
they sure weren’t healing, helping or heartening.

But her words get me thinking about my words.

Although they may not be prone to gossip,
how prone are they to injury?

Am I piercing or healing?
Helping or hurting?

I don’t want to be the one remembered for the horsepower of my mouth.

Or by the crippling force of my words.
Or for my steamrolling comebacks.
Or for my speedy concierge advice.

Yet, the hard truth is, my words have not always been flowers to a broken heart.

They injure my husband when I question his plan.
My son, when I give him a “Ya, ya, ya” and then look at my iPhone.
My loved ones, when I snap back annoyed.
Myself, when I chide my heart for bad actions.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prov. 16:24

My words compel my heart to forgive her bad words. Will I share my heart with her again? Likely not.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Mt. 7:6

I certainly don’t want to be trampled again, yet, I won’t condemn her for her bad actions, because I am just as at fault as she.

When we forgive the one who has hurt us, we are acknowledging and activating the power and grace of Jesus Christ. We all need more of that.

What power of Jesus do you need to let flow from you?

Who might God be placing on your heart to forgive?

Likewise, who might you need to turn to and request forgiveness for words that have cut to the core?

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— Eph. 2:4-5

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Linking with Holley Gerth today.

Drowning in Inadequacy

Drowning in Inadequacy

Just yesterday, I watched my husband and son in the pool. For them, it was fun and games. Laughs flew left, water flew right, my son bounced up, yet all that splashed into my heart was fear. 

Cold, bitter, shiver-inducing fear.
Fear that erases smiles and creates armors of protection.
Fear that ruins snap-shot moments in families.

“I am not as good of a mother as he is a dad.”
“My son really doesn’t like being with me that much.”
“I stink at connecting.”
“I can’t seem to approach him right.”
“He will never love me.
“Let’s be honest, I am not really that good of a mother.”

Drenched with inadequacy, my fears were ready to send me out to fight or on a far-off flight.

All that seemed to bubble out of my heart was the idea that I am not lovable, not worthy and not good enough. It made me want to march right out to say, “Hey, what about me? Do you all even see me? I am good too! (imagine the hands on the hips)”

And, let me tell you, there would be consequences if I wasn’t acknowledged.

That’s how demands of “what about me” work.  These ploys serve as the antithesis, the foil and the opposite of love. They topple down opinions, values and truths of others to erect their own statues of needs.

They basically say:
Hey, you, it’s all about me.
If I can’t fill that hole inside me, I will beat around the bush until I get what I need.
You better or I’ll ___________ .
If all else fails, I’ll  simply shut down shop and take off!

Far from any cooler soaked victory, my feelings place me on the sidelines as if I play for team “better luck next time.”

Better luck, loser momma!

Why must I always be the winner? The SUPER MOM to the rescue?!

Perhaps, luck isn’t what I need, Jesus is.

It’s not super amazing, double with a half-twist dive into family praises that transforms me, but God’s entire wrapping over my life, my heart and all the steps I take. Because, the hard and fast truth is that some days, I will feel like a Super-loser (_____) (momma, worker, friend, spouse, sister, daughter, church member).

But, I can’t help but think that there are other loser _____s out there who need an understanding shoulder on which to rest their head. I know I need theirs. Because, there will be days, I won’t feel  good enough and there will be days they won’t be good enough too.

When we open up our hearts to share “I-am-not-good-enough” moments, they become the passing point to the love of Christ. It is as if the doors of the drawbridge open and Jesus sails straight through to our precise destination of need.

Yet, so often we shut this part down. We say, “I am a loser today, I better put on some makeup.”

But, Jesus never said he cared much for makeup. And, he doesn’t care much for us making ourselves over with fake products to get what we need. They don’t work to well at covering shame anyway!

Winning status’ aren’t on his play board either- unless it’s about pouring out the victory that has already been won in Christ.

He has heard our prayers, now he wants our heart.

Jesus, convicts my heart. The truth is it’s not about my feeling good, looking good or winning good, but it’s about you loving good through me.

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Mt. 20:16

Jesus models this so well.

He takes the those limping like the least of these,
to make them the most of these.

He rides in on a donkey,
with the power of God behind him, to save the world.

He gets down onto a dirty floor, cuddles up next to the grime of another’s feet
and shows us the way.

Jesus never said, “Yo! Over here! See me! See my height, my stature, my awesomeness.”
He never said, “You better be perfect.”
He never said, “You will never feel bad.”

He simply says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

So, as I start to put on that can-never-match-up cape, I hope I can stop to remember:

1. The Word of God drowns inadequacy with the promises of God.

2. Jesus tramples the idea that we should beat ourselves down for who we are today. He came to rescue us this way.

3. Less makeup = more chances to make up with our faith-floundering heart. Then, we can send it out to make up the world with the markings of Jesus’ love.

4. I would be a loser if it wasn’t for Jesus, but he stripped me of that status when he died on the cross, forever securing my title of “victorious in him.”

Bottom line: Jesus doesn’t care so much about feelings of superiority or even adequacy, as much as he does about his all-nourishing adequacy.

There is no one like him,
no one above him,
no one who can match him, or beat him or control him,
no other name reigns like his.

He is the everything of all we want to be…
he is the gate that opens to the humble road
that leads to the ultimate filling place of our deepest desires.

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If you are going to She Speaks, there are 2 things to do:

1. Please RSVP here for the morning #RaRalinkup get together/breakfast.
2. Join the #RaRalinkup FB page to exchange more details and specifics.

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5 Ways to Fight the Tricks of the Devil (& 2 Min. Encouraging Video)

Join me for an encouraging word.

Get your week started off on the right track with this 2-minute encouraging video.

5 Ways to Fight the Tricks of the Devil

This past week, my eyes were on God, but it felt like my heart was being towed to Never Never Land. I didn’t want it go, but away it went. People, issues, problems, doubts, uncertainties and fears all came into sight, as my great God moved far from sight – into the horizon of peace, where I surely wasn’t.

Shame backfired in my heart, burning me with the thoughts, “You have issues. Big issues. God doesn’t value a girl like that. God has left you.”

Ahem. What?!

Now we all know that these words aren’t true.

But in the moment, lies seem as true as the rabbit that magically appears out of the hat,
don’t they?

Sometimes, in order to see truth,
we have to take a different position to see the reality of what is happening.

Then we get a chance to shift our mindset from the destructive power of feelings
to God’s instructive hand of healing.

We begin to see:

“You stink” is really sent from one who wants us to sink.
“Not enough,” is an attempt by the great thief to replace Gods’ “more than enough”.
Utterances excluding grace are like shots of mace sent to blind our face.

The devil loves to use fear as the springboard to inadequacy. Because then, he can plunge us into the ocean of shame, if we don’t step off that mind-dizzying, nausea-inducing board of agony quick enough.

God never condones oceans of condemnation.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17

Knowing Christ never condemns helps me see the one who always does.

I don’t want to be listening to his lies.

5 Ways to Drive out Lies and to Drive in God’s Truth

1.  Determine which Father to serve. The father liar or Father God?

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires…there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Jo. 8:44

When we acknowledge our wrong direction, we can finally get on the right one.

2. Let God take his rightful standing. God is higher than opposition, man or my feelings.

But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Mt. 16:23

When we tell the devil to get back, we invite God to step forward.

3. Pledge allegiance to the one who has already claimed me. Allow the General of Love to rule over thoughts and actions.

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming.
He has no claim on me… Jo. 14:30

When we realize who has already claimed us, we also realize who has no claim on us.

4.  Get low to grow. So I don’t have a hard go.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7

Submission leaves no permission for the devil to enter in. He flees.

5.  Recognize: what God sees goes much farther than me.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD. Is. 55:8

The vantage point of God is all-knowing, all-powerful and just-right. His will will be done. We can fight by our might or let go by his will. The choice is ours.  

God is always waiting for us. His truth will always set us free.

As we break down God’s truth,
lies break down,
leaving space for God to breakthrough.

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Bloggers, be sure to join us tomorrow for the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith. All are welcome.