Purposeful Faith

Category - Adventures

Isn’t it Supposed to be Easier?

Sold a Lie

I said a prayer. Jesus was in me. I could almost hear the chorus of angels singing in tandem,  “Laa….You’ve arrived!!!” 

Now, my whole life would change for good…

I’m God’s… No problems.
I’m saved. Things will go smooth.
I know the truth. No more mistakes.
God’s my backer. People will no longer annoy me.

Did someone, like me, sell you easy, breezy Christianity?

It’s hardly the case. It’s much more like being on an elite training team. It’s like learning to be a Navy Seal or something. There’s refinement, tests and drills. There are huge growing pains. There’s an enemy to throw you off. There are loads of tired days and hard work.

There is sweat, grit and perseverance.
There is heart.
There is passion.
There is dedication.
There is vision.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because, no matter what – with Jesus, there’s always hope.

No Jesus = No hope.
Know Jesus = Know constant hope.

And there is peace.

No Jesus = No peace.
Know Jesus = Know peace.

Jesus delivers. Not just for eternity either. Many a day, I need a deliverer in a moment, and then, I need a deliverer, once again, in the next moment. Jesus holds me. He relieves the pressure. He picks up my slack.

He delivers me from evil and then delivers me from my own mind that, once again, wants to get its dirty little hands stuck in evil and conniving thoughts.

Jesus is so…good. He surpasses easy. He is that good.

And, so, our battle is good.

It makes us warriors.
Being a warrior makes us aware.
Being aware of war makes us need God.
Needing God makes us want him more.
Wanting him more makes us draw near more.
Drawing near more allows us to know joy, peace, hope and life.

Our battle is good, profitable, worthy and fulfilling.

It’s hardly about arriving, but all about journeying into holy: pinching a hem, clenching His will and riding out love, wherever it will take us.

This is where agony turns into testimony.

We remember the difficulty; they see all His glory.

God is smart. He makes things look easy. But, for the ones, like us, who have been through the wringer, we know, we know the full story.

Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit… (Ro. 5:3-5)

Through trials, we search out his love.
Through pain we find inner-progress.
Through heartache, we remember Jesus on the cross.
Through persecution, we uncover real faith.
Through shame, we realize we have a new name.
Through life, we discover, Jesus is all life.
Through mistakes, we dig up the healing grace.

We become the most radiant and dedicated warriors ever. For, deep in our hearts, we know, there’s nothing better than what we have. For what He’s given us, is truly – the very best. Our commander rocks!!!

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called A must read, Breathtakingly honest and a Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear. Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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Know What Can Ruin Christmas?

Ruin Christmas

I keep going back to what happened – what was said, how it was said and why the person is wrong.

A label was tossed my way; I was called a name. But, it’s more than just that. The bullets run deep – and are hard to pull out.

Sometimes what’s said or done, is not easily removed.

People yakked and hacked an image.
They understood things wrong.
They dissed, offended or disregarded you.
They were insensitive.

Like, I said, with people, what’s said or done, sometimes, is not easily removed. It sinks deep.

So, anyway, here I come, prancing on up to Christmas – a time of joy, a time of Jesus, with a hundred and one holes through my heart – and increasing pain lodged between me and a manger.

I am not sure what to do.

Because, this I know, if I want to meet holy, I can’t walk around hostile. In order to be super-close with Jesus, I can’t be loaded-up with sin. This idea is Christianity 101, but it takes a masters degree to apply.

Waving goodbye to your right to be angry, is like letting go of a bad habit – you love. Everything in you knows you’ll be better off without it, but not walking up to that wine bottle and taking a glass, or three, after a hard day, is hard. Like unforgiveness, it beckons you to hold on.

In some ways, your noble actions have warranted it, you figure. You’ve earned it. Other people have entitled you to carry around that glass, even if it makes you cranky, tired or on edge. Even if it hurts.

Yet, here’s the quandary: God says I should be able to approach him with “freedom and confidence” (Eph. 3:12). I can’t when I carry around this cup of self-righteousness. It spills over onto my eyesight and then I can’t see God. I get all clouded with shame, guilt and discontent.

So there they stand – ones who’ve offended me, tremendously.
There Jesus stands – the One who befriended me, groundlessly.

I wonder if Jesus thought about me before he entered the world?

Maybe he thought: “Hmmm…there she stands; I see all Kelly’s offenses. In fact, I can line them up and they’d reach around the world. Join them together, they’d actually wrap it 3 times. How can I go down there, to that place of vile, and forgive her? How can I leave the heights of glory, a throne of brilliance, and all the angelic hosts of heaven – for her likes?

I would have thought that way, if I was him. I would have thought, “Keep me up here at the banquet, but don’t send me down there into the stink and dirt of a manger – coupled with difficult people. Don’t put me there for that bad girl, Kelly. Not worth it.”

But, He didn’t. And this is the part I can’t contend with: Jesus didn’t abandon me because I abandoned him.

How can I abandon others, when Jesus didn’t abandon me? What right do I have to pick up a right that he laid down? To stand when he laid down?

He teaches me to lay it all down for others so that I can pick up that baby, Jesus Christ, and hold him close this Christmas.

I don’t do it for them, I do it because I love him. I want him. I can’t do life without him. I do it because he’s forgiven them too. He’s set the standard. He shows me the way. And, if I want the way to lead up to his throne, I can’t have mean people blocking my path to him.

So, there they stand. I look at them and, in them, I see me. I see me, because we are all in Christ. I see me, because just as they are covered, so am I. And, what I also accept, beyond the peace that comes with forgiving them, is God’s peace that comes with him forgiving me. For what I’ve held inside, me – the contempt – is covered. And, like a magic trick, but better,  with God’s grace it goes – Poof!  It’s gone.

And, all that’s left is Jesus. A man, whose small act of entering a large world, changes it all. Whose humility, radically rewires our vision. Whose love, makes our mouth go agape. Whose forgiveness, goes against all odds, yet changes them all the same.

The one “who is, and who was, and who is to come” (Rev. 1:8), remains. He always does. And, what we’ve done is cleared a way for us to bow low, so we can cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” So we can get eye-level with a baby, who redeems it all.

Will you let in the baby this Christmas? Who do you need to forgive?

Continue Fighting Fear!
Join me on the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Prayer:

God, we come to you as we are. We come to you with our frustration, anger and irritation. We come to you with our pain and our opinions. We bring to you our perceptions, right or wrong. We hand over to you, what you don’t invite us to carry any longer. God, will you take care of all this? Will do you do justice on our behalf? Will you mend our hearts on our behalf? Will you soften our rough edges and take from us what you know is not healthy for us to carry? We turn it over, God. Today, through the name of Jesus Christ, we release it. We know what you have, in return, is peace and joy that is far better than self-righteousness and pride. Lord, now that we are clean, we ask you to bring us close to your heart. We ask you to walk us up and into your love. We ask you to teach us and grow us as you see fit. We trust you God. Above all, we trust you. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

More Reading:

1 Clear Way to Victory When in a Losing Battle
Embarrassing Bravery and Insane Courage
When Sharing Makes You Embarrassed

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Are You Getting Nowhere – Fast?

Getting Nowhere

Are you wondering if God will be faithful to you?

Maybe he’s called you to something…
Maybe he’s led you to something…
Maybe he’s pushing you to DO something…
Maybe he’s prompting you to change something…

Yet, sometimes, excuses can hold one captive within a fortress wall. They encircle, blocking the greater thing. I should know, I’ve made excuses my whole life. I am not good enough. Smart enough. Able enough. Willing enough. ____ enough.

Are you really going to work, God?

Are you really with me?

God, is it really possible that you will work – if I don’t?

In this place of, God…I-trust-you-uhh,-kind-of…., there are 101 reasons why the plan won’t work. Here, there visions are demise, prayers like desperate pleas and a will all about self. I should know.

Just the other day, I found myself sitting on the couch with these exact emotions. So, not knowing what else to do, I asked God to meet me and walked outside to my front porch…

Was I in a bird sanctuary? As they sounded off, something in me came alive, I was no longer trapped in my vision, my mindset, and my will.  I’d pushed beyond the first protective wall. God was taking me somewhere.

I asked him for greater eyes to see; he gave them to me. First, I noticed the nest in my tree – the one neighbor called “a nest for squirrels”. The thought repulsed me at the time. I could somehow imagine them burrowing themselves in my gutters and then my attics and somehow- before the clock struck midnight – right into my bed – and under my covers. Over my dead body – (literally)!

But, as I stared at that nest, it wasn’t rabid squirrels that came out, but the tiniest and cutest of baby birds. 
New life.
New life always exists outside our walls of our disbelief. 

Getting Nowhere

 

I ventured out more, walking my ordinary path. The extraordinary birds sang something, but what did God want me to come to?

Kelly, if I hold the world together, don’t you think I can hold your dreams together?
Your life together?
Your moving parts together?

…in Him all things hold together. Col. 1:7

A bird swooped down in front of me. Not too long after, another one took a nose dive right along my path.
Follow me. Like the disciples followed me, you need only follow me. It’s that simple.

Go as I go.
See as I see.
Where I go, I give new view.

“They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” Mt. 19:20 MSG

It all sounded good. Because, seeing like me, a manipulating and self-steering girl, gets tiring. There’s a whole lot of things to worry about and people to please and things to do; frankly, I’m overbearing. Just going as he goes, sounds, well? Relaxing almost. So, I walk on and try to just welcome God into my space. I want to see as he sees and to go as he goes. And, what I notice is something I haven’t noticed all the other 200 times I’ve taken this walk. I see nests – ones almost invisible. Big nests. Small nests. Miniscule nests. Leaf-filled nests. I stop. How could I have missed them before?

Kelly, you don’t always see what I am birthing behind the scenes.
But, let me assure you – where I go, I bring life.
Every time you trust by faith, I hatch something.

“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23

With this, God fills me up in some sort of transcendent way. He offers me His goodness – and I’m addicted. I crave more. I want more. I really want more. I desperately want more. I believe, God intends it this way, he must know: He’s the best dependency. 

Upon arrival at home, my fortress looks different. The drawbridge is down and the front door stands welcoming. And, what I notice out of the corner of my eye are birds giving a final salute. They jump and frolic, enjoy and bathe in the puddles. They live – happy. Unconcerned with the future.

Getting Nowhere

I never celebrate what God has done – for very long.
I, so quickly, move on to the next thing.

Is God calling me to celebrate, in advance, what He’ll do through faith?

Kelly, I have a flight plan for you.
Joy launches with it.
It’s never a fight to be on my plight,
for my load is light. 

Peace flies in. I decide to go with God. I no longer need excuses, nor fear (read more on my journey to bravery, in my upcoming book, Fear Fighting).

Quick-fire Prayer: May I celebrate what I cannot yet see. May I trust in what I do not know. May I rest in where, with him, I’ll go. Fear need not be my companion, nor excuses my guide. For there is one true fact, and that is, you God, will not leave my side. Amen.  

More Reading:
Chasing God
7 Reasons Why God Is Allowing Your Trial
Do you Need a New Perspective?

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When You Don’t Feel Gifted

Not gifted

Baseball. It taught me who I am and what to never, ever, do.

It all started on the bus ride to a game…

“Hey….Kelly,” the men’s Italian voices echoed in unison as I walked down the center aisle, clothed brightly in both team colors and Disney World-like smile. Breathing it all in, I could fully sense the air of excitement: it smelled like Syran-wrapped ham sandwiches with American cheese, it sounded like a portable pre-game radio talk and it felt like the freedom of crunched peanut shells underfoot.

Crackerjack box in hand, I left that bus and walked the stands like I owned the place. This day, I’d be – encourager. The fans would hear my chants, they’d see my team colors and, like last year, I’d start the wave. No doubt, where two or more are gathered, my sister and me? We’d move mountains – or the masses in this case.

We did. We cheered and the wave moved the stadium. The game was groundbreaking. I didn’t watch a lick of it. Still, I learned: she who thinks she is small is big when she let’s loose God’s gifts within her.

I liked that idea, very much. What I didn’t like was all this talk about the pitcher’s slump. Apparently, he lost his luck, which was ironic since he did a little song and dance before every pitch. Plus, I couldn’t figure out how he could possibly be in a “slump.” He was still the same man as yesterday. He wasn’t hurt or crippled. He could still throw 102 miles an hour. He still was strong and powerful. Yet, somewhere along the line, his mind failed him. I guess he figured, “I’ve lost my effectiveness,” or “I’m a fraud.” Maybe he thought, “They’ll all laugh at me if I do bad” or “I really never was as good as I thought.”

That pitcher? The fear that stole his could, was the mindset of – I can’t.

I’ve had his mind of anxiety lately – one of I can’t. I can’t act godly enough. I can’t love my kids well enough. I can’t do what God is calling me to. I can’t find my way. I can’t get out of the hole of discouragement. God can’t really love me, can he?

Fear has sent me to left-field looking for daisies.

And that gift of encouragement? The one that rises people out of their seats, the one that can move masses, the one that sings Jesus’ name? It’s a crumb in the bleachers.

What gift of God feels lost? Frightened away by fears?

What spiritual base of – I can – through Christ – has been stolen by the mindset of – I can’t?

Perhaps, like the pitcher, we recognize, our mind may say we can’t, but the grace of Jesus says, “We can.”

Grace says we are:

Loved beyond the very definition of the word.
Cared for infinitely and intimately.
As much saved today as yesterday.
As free as the grave is empty.
As victorious as Jesus is lion.
As gifted as always.
Irrevocably called.

Our mindset doesn’t define us, a mind set on Christ does.

Choose to win.

Baseball is a fight to win. So is the Christian walk. You can’t walk out on the field of dreams without the armor of grace, truth and love. That’s a fight in futility friends. I’ve played like that – in defeat – for 36/38ths of my Christian life. I remained – slumped.

Sure, I knew Scripture.
Sure, I knew about God.
Sure, I knew the right thing to do.
But, surely it was in my head, not my heart.

A switch must occur. Have you heard of a switch-hitter? It is a player who can hit from either side of the plate. God is calling us to switch to a new mindset that can attack any fear, fret or fury from any side. With a mind set on Christ, led by the power of the Holy Spirit, nothing can stop us.

Today, let’s be switch-hitters – ones with eyes set on Christ, ones ready to fight -and win.

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What is Your Go?

Your Go

I would like to welcome Suzanne Stelling to Purposeful Faith for Women’s Ministry Monday. Find your go, friends! I love this message…

Post by: Suzanne Stelling

Lately, I’ve been reading books rapid-fire: 1,000 Wells; Wine to Water; Interrupted; and The Insanity of God. I’m uncomfortable in my comfortable Christianity. I look around my city and see that all is not well: there is racial tension, economic segregation, spiritual lack — and in the midst of all that, I’m “fine.” Have I been duped by what Jesus calls “the deceitfulness of wealth” (Mark 4:19)? Am I loving my neighbor as myself (Mark 12:31)? I found some answers and motivation when I read those books and paired them with this scripture about Ananias.

Our story with Ananias begins with a simple disciple who knows and recognizes God’s voice. During a conversation, God gives Ananias a vision and specific instruction about visiting Saul.

The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” Acts. 9:11

What a picture: Him, the simple one, with spiritual sight and vision (Ananias) heals him who is powerful, murderous and spiritually blind (Saul). With God, the simple man with Godly sight brings great transformation through God’s might.

“Something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes…” Acts 9:18

God knows where we stand. He knows where we are. He is better than Siri, GPS, Bing, and Google Maps – combined! He tells Ananias exactly where to go. Just as Saul was easily located, so are we – by God! He has the vision for where he wants us to take us and the lives he plans to change.

Are you listening for God’s direction?

Leading?

And scriptures that invoke action?

Ananias heard them. His life was interrupted so he could restore sight to an unsafe terrorist. And, look what happened! He radically changed Saul’s life and trajectory. Through the power of God at work in him, Ananias got the chance to bring one of our all-time greatest followers of Jesus – to faith.

Where is God telling you to GO on His behalf?

 What directions is He giving you today? 

Could it be that your GO is to go help downtown, go home to your family or to go spend an hour alone with Him? Perhaps, it is to go be gentle with that mean woman at work? To go buy some groceries for a friend in need? To go text that friend who’s going through a divorce, go sit with that lady in the hospital, go into that meeting with some fresh ideas for the CEO, go work at that orphanage in Haiti, go create some microfinance jobs for women in Ethiopia, go design a building or close a deal in a way that honors Him?

Listen and discern His GO for your life.

It may be very different from someone else’s, but it’s still your GO. And when you GO, pay attention: He is working out transformation for the good of His Kingdom and His people, and you get to be part of it. Amazing!

Although my husband and I did not have a vision, we do have marching orders to GO. We are hopping in a moving truck this October to relocate to an area of greater racial, social, and economic diversity. My spiritual and physical eyes are open, waiting and watching to witness the transformation He will bring. He will get all the honor!

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

About Suzanne Stelling

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-10-18-54-pmTo keep up with Suzanne follow her at suzannestelling.tumblr.com or @suzannestelling. For studies by Suzanne, go to http://cspc.net/sos

1 Way to a Better Day: Challenge

Better Day

At risk of sounding like a narcissist, I observe myself. I notice how I am. I take inventory of the little things I do – or know I shouldn’t do, but do them anyway. I see it all. The thoughts that go helter-skelter and wishy washy and down-in-the-dumpsy. It’s a cartoon. Me.

I just moved somewhere new. Everything was late. The whole house didn’t show up. The family got sick. You’ve all heard about all this before. People acted up. Blah. Blah. Blahdie blah.

These things happen a lot:

Sky-high plans throw my emotions overboard.
Devastating days end up tossing me to and fro.
The unexpected sinks me.
Clouds hang low and dim.
Threatening.
I watch them move in; I see how they work me.

better day

Paul says to he’s learned to be content in all situations.
I’ve learned to be content in none – that aren’t advantageous.

Why can’t I just be Bible Barbie – all beautiful, shiny and perfectly obedient? Dang. I have to deal with me.

The other day, thinking along these lines, and all that wasn’t right, I drove my kid to school. I recycled the same junk in my head: “I will never get things done, I can’t do that, I don’t know how to handle that person, I feel like crud, it is hot, I am sweaty, how fast can I get them to school?”

But, something flipped, in a moments notice. At first, I hardly noticed her – the little old lady shuffling by…

…until she worked her way directly in front of me and my two nearly-leashed kids. She stopped, turned, looked, smiled and said, “It is such a beautiful day isn’t it?”

I wanted to glare.

“No. It’s not beautiful. It’s humid – over 100 degrees humid, hot and uncomfortable out here.”

I didn’t say that.

Instead, I remembered from somewhere deep within, “Respect old-folk.”  I half-smiled, nodded, “Yes.”

She sauntered off, knowing her job was done. The old are wise. They know, less words hit with more power. Anyway, now, not so much glaring – and more staring – I stood, watching as she worked her way to the door.

Old-lady was a day-changer. 

 She chose to hand out good, even when she stood right in the center – of bad.

I can be like her.

Because, what I see determines how I will be.

If I see the good, I will feel good.

If I see the dire, I will feel dire.

If I see hope, I will feel hope.

If I feel hope, I can give hope.

If I see the King, I will shine him. So others might see too.

I started observing other things, things outside of myself.

The next day, I came across that same crossing guard lady – the one I’d seen every day for the past week. The one with a smile as wide as a mack truck. Yep, there she was.  She waved at me – again. I got the goosebumps. She not only chose to see her day as good, but handed it out like food. With every passing car, she offered morning love, well-wishes and abounding hope. Only her arm and face moved, but that was enough. She was a day-changer.

Could I be like that?

Might a small shift towards God’s goodness make me ooze goodness? 

Could I be a day-changer in a world heavy, dense and dark with distrust and defeat?

Thinking further, I remembered – that janitor. She worked as if she was in heaven. I’d go in the gym locker room and there she’d be, singing her heart out. My husband told me there was something special about her. She never stopped smiling. One day, I asked her, “What’s the deal with you?”

“Jesus,” she said. “Jesus.”

Go figure.

She is a day-changer.  She doesn’t have to spill one bible verse; people get to see him- face-to-face – through her. Despite the deplorable job of cleaning the over splash of toilet seats, the crevices of odorous lockers and the pool water piles near sweaty benches, she finds her joy  – and shares it – unhindered. She lights up that locker room like no one’s business.

better day

A day-changer.

A day-changer is someone, who, by faith,
believes in the everlasting joy of God more than the ongoing pain of this world.

A day-changer is someone who sees the outcome of good,
before she trusts the outcome of bad.

A day-changer is someone who knows that a small word of encouragement
can make a world of difference.

A day-changer is someone who grabs grace like a much-needed brace,
so God can show good face.

A day-changer is someone so sold out to God’s mission
that people take one look and feel recommissioned.

 

Simply said, a day-changer is one who stops continually processing bad
and starts 
– incessantly processing God’s good.

 

Could you and I be day-changers?

 

About the Day-Changer Challenge:

Grab hold of the most overwhelming thing in your life right now. Do you have it by the neck yet?

Start here. Let go of your stranglehold. Know, God can, where – you can’t. Ask Him to believe, by faith, and not by sight. Ask him for a positive outlook over your negative one. Ask him to unveil his banner of love, like a parachute, high and wide, over you.

See it. Hope in it. Respond to it. Let grace seep in. Let grace seep out.  Claim it.

We just wanted you to know how much we love and appreciate you! Thank you for everything you do for us. -) (2)I am not talking prosperity gospel – getting fame, fortune or fantasies. I am talking about walking – in the light of God’s promises instead of – the death of your day. 

 

Bottom-line challenge:  Find God’s positive before you dwell on your negative –
and then let it ooze into the world.

 

In a backup on the highway?
Thank God for the moment longer you get to stay with him – and smile at the person stuck next to you.

Have screamers in the back of the car?
Praise God that he protects them. Delight them and play the screaming game too.

Confronted a testy family member?
Remember how God has loved you in weakness. Give them a hug.

Dealing with a medical issue?
Consider the ways it makes you rely on God. Encourage that other sick person in the waiting room.

Let his love transfer – reach deep for him; his compassionate arms will extend. Like the wise old lady, he’ll step in front of you with simple words with profound impact. You’ll do astounding – because of Him.

Become a day-changer.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Eph. 3:20-21

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Be Like A Bird & Find Bounty

be like a bird

I watched them from my window – little things plucking around on the ground.

“How do they do it?” I thought.

Casually they grazed, moved and explored. Even though there were nearly a dozen, still, they didn’t bump each other. They didn’t fight for a grain of food. They didn’t seem to lose their joy. Storms, concerns and cold-fronts, from my observations, were worries not for this day.

They just relaxed. They just were.

Did they know a great, gracious and giving God was in charge?

I couldn’t help but think they did.

Two jumped up and began a light-hearted chase.
A coupled bounced up to the height of tall trees.
One sung by the waterside.

It seemed they choose to see life appeared as an fun adventure, where the present moment was full of blessed surprises. These birds inspired me to new thinking.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Mt. 6:26

How do we live?

Do we look at the world through the eyes of God’s bounty
or eyes of inequity?

Where resources are limited and good things elude us?

To see bounty, is to have a perspective like this:
God sees.
He decides.
He provides.
He has so much.
He pours out.
There is a never-ending supply.
He delights in giving.
He loves our thanks.
He rejoices over our freedom.
He personally goes before us.
He gives so much it overflows to the poor.

We live not in a faltering economy, but in God’s economy.

It is an economy of faith. One where we may not know where our next grain or gain is coming from. One where we may feel like we are about to go under. One where circumstances get shaky. But, it is also an economy where daddy is the chief strategist – the man in charge. He loves nepotism and we are his and he is ours. He will take care of us.

Do you rely on the chief strategist in a way where
you believe he only hands out his best intentions
?

Enter the forest of bounty. It is verdant and vibrant. It is all you need and all you could ever want. It is the place where you are taken care of and known.

Believe in the bounty that awaits, even for a small one like you; God will take care of you.

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Take Off from “Blah” to Blazing New Heights

Blazing New Heights

I know, I know, this is going to sound weird. I am infatuated with the whole idea of airplane take-offs. Always have been.

I feel the rumblings of something new, the speed towards adventure and the call towards something greater.

I love it.

New places.
New people.
New encounters.
New opportunities.
New feelings.

Usually, as the plane rises, I know I am about ready to head to somewhere better.  The stress is off; I have no control over the speed, the timing and the path – it is all in the captain’s hands. It is a trusting kind of thing; I know he will do his job.

I wonder though, why day-by-day I don’t rise with this same sort of
eager expectation towards life?

What really makes it any different?

I could wake excited.
Knowing God will send me.

I could look expectantly.
Believing God will lead me.

I could anticipate.
Seeing life from the heights new opportunities.

I could be willing.
Letting in feelings of purpose and passion, all the while – nodding yes.

All vision of my end destination belongs to him. All the controls are in his hands.

Why not let go?

We need no plans, except to be with him. He steers, we fly. He leads, we end up at the good works he has already designed for us.

If we have expectancy,
we won’t be prone to live complacency.

We see new journeys.
New heights.
New views.
New callings.
New pressures that he alone manages.

And right in the center of it all is our chosen seat. The one that allows us to enjoy the heights of his glory, the sprawling colors of his ownership and the gentle covering of his clouds.

So we go. We let go. We move. We explore. We adventure.

Tomorrow, let the morning alarm goes off. But, take a new look at your new day. Let expectations rise and – fly.

Will you join us?
Sure, there may be turbulence,
but rest assured there will be magnificence too.

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5 Experiential Invitations to Go Deeper With God

Go Deeper
God. If you look for him, you’ll find him. If you keep looking for him, you will find him some more. If you don’t stop looking, he’ll invite you in deeper and deeper, fuller and fuller and farther and farther.
He invites you.
Do you notice the welcome?
It is a white owl taking flight into the darkness,
a place where you are not sure what will happen.
Are you willing to go?
We don’t have to know where we’re going, just that Christ is taking us.
deeper
Another invitation.
He stands by the water,
arms open,
ready to hug you,
ready to feel your complete innocence, purity and beauty.
Will you allow him to hold you this way?
Will you accept it as true?  

It is often by faith, we receive the fullness of his love.

going deeper
It arrives again.
You may not see it.
You may not notice it.
It sits right outside your window.
The colors are brilliant, the majesty spreads across the sky;
it reminds all of the orchestrator and creator of things big and small.
Will you take a second to look or will you continue to be rushed and busy with other things?
By keeping an eye on the one above our trial, we remember how all things work out under his might.
going deeper
He calls.  
Will you open your heart?
It’s another invitation.
Daddy waits…
Hoping beloved breaks out to run to him.
Seeing a grand return and his glorious rescue.
He doesn’t need strong; he loves weary; he can handle it.
Do you see him waiting to rescue and love you every minute?
 
In every weary and heart-wrecking task, God waits to rescue you time and time again. Will we accept his invitation?
Go deeper
He knocks,
in a way where it nags your soul.
You know you should, but can you? Can you open up?
Surely, it is an invitation, but will you permit it to be so?
For it hurts far more than it feels good to do.
Still, daddy, he is pushing you just a little to step out.
Will you listen or ignore?
Will you forgive or forget and pretend it never happened – like you always do?
He wants to do it for you. He wants to finally unclutter your heart of it’s bitterness to make room for his fullness.
We think our unforgiveness is right, but only one is right and that is Jesus and he says to forgive.
going deeper
The invitations they never end for those with eyes to see and those with ears to hear.
It is a symphony of sympathy that plays the most desired harmony of humanity.
Yet, if you are busy, you’ll drive right past it.
If you are worried, your mind will not have space to receive it.
If you are distracted, you will blab on your phone, rather than hear his whisper.
It is an invitation for those who want more.
Who call out more.
Who long more.
Who ask more.
Who need more.
Who desire more.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

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Chasing God

Chasing God

Frustrated, I pumped harder, as if each New Year push on the elliptical would propel me into progress, as if it would really get me somewhere. The only thing it seemed to propel me into, however, was pressure. Pressure from words like: Must. Move. Forward. Must. Make. Difference. Must. Do. Well.

Sure, I wanted to do things for God,
but somehow I lost God in the process.

It seemed God took off in the dense woods that laid in the window before me. I pumped faster, but man-made machines and ambitious routines, never have effectively lassoed God’s heart. I stayed lost.

Where did you go, God?

I didn’t know.

Chasing God

Sometimes it appears God leaves those who miss his perfectly placed bread crumbs – those who start looking left and right, only to unknowingly trample on his love lying on the center of the path. Those who get diverted by moving wind, shadows, scary branches, prickly vines and oncoming clouds.

It appears the more lost we get, the more lost we become.

What do you do when your steps have landed you into the density of
vanity, superficiality and absurdity,
therefore making drivability back to your great God nearly impossible?

This is what I considered as I huffed and puffed.

God, I need you.
God, please help me.
Lord, there is none like you.
I have brought myself far, by looking at far off things,
far off people
and far of progress that you did not yet claim for me.
Reset my eyes, my mind, my being.
Like a magnet that cannot be deterred from you.
Like a body double that lives inside you.
Like a duplicate of your being.
Like a child on a parental leash.
Clone my desires to be of your genetic makeup.
For I know you use those who serve low, that reach deep and lay down to lift another higher.
I know that you delight in the adult who picks the unconnected, unwanted and unmerited kid’s table – and then serves them.

I know it is not progress you care about but the process of sitting at your feet,
where we hold your feet like jewels,
and then cleanse them with unrestrained
I-will-do-anything-for-you, I-have-no-place-to-be – adoration.

For then, we go out in the world and clean the wretched filth off those we detest and despise –
except for one thing, we start not to detest and despise them so much anymore,
for it is in pure that pure is forged.
Lord, it is your purity we are after. 
White as snow.
Innocent as a dove.
Undefiled as a baby’s first breath.
Unrestrained by the contamination of the world.
Moving as holy.
Being in you.

Not “outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside [being] full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27), no God, not like that. Instead, may I be outwardly appearing available, lowly and humble AND inside full of giving, loving, gentleness, kindness, patience, authenticity, defenselessness and purity.

My pumping continued on the elliptical, but in that moment, I let my shoulders soften. I let my arms rest a little, for each movement was starting to feel owned, controlled and in place by one above my own motions.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 Jo. 3:3

When we fix our eyes on the purity of Jesus,
purity gets fixed within ourself.

Strong beautiful fog in the forest

My eyes gazed ahead, into the unknown density of forest, but now, just a little more, knew where I was driving towards – purity. This meant, I would keep watch for the breadcrumbs, follow his trail and get low so he could be high.

And then the amazing happened!

As fast as a flash of lightening, God seemed to flash purity, as if to show I was on the right path.  Even though my eyes couldn’t believe it, even though I was surrounded by a hundred moving pieces of steel gym equipment, even though the forest ahead looked dark and daunting, still…a dog, burst onto the scene. White. Snow White. Pure. Free. Playful. Beckoning. Moving. Inviting. Gesturing. Delighting. Knowing his way. Sure of his being. Calling me to follow.

Chasing God

I nodded inside and said, “Lord, more than anything, I want to follow.” And I decided, to push into him.

Prayer for Purity:

Lord, make me pure. Make my insides so sincere that even the smallest fragment of defect cannot exist. Make me so clean that even the smallest particle of dirt would be out of place. Make me so brilliant that only you have a home in the temple of sacred. Make my heart go after not things of high, but places of low. May I drive hard after the uncared for people and places, rather than the lofty spaces and places. May I see the one who feels unseen. May I love the one who the world does not love. May I pursue the heart that is rendered yours. May I be the girl who you know will answer. May I strike a chord in the center of love. May I find a way when all ways seem lost. May I give a hand to the person in need. May I give myself when I have nothing left. And may I find you when I find myself in distress. May you search me out as one belonging to you. May you lend me your kingdom, knowing I’ll do good by you. May I keep it well. May I see your life. And, always, everyday, may I be content – in you, the owner of eternal life. Amen.

A song: To bring you back to “chasing God”, titled  “Running in Circles.”

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