Purposeful Faith

Category - attack

Addressing the People in Need

A person taken advantage of by a boss.
Another in desperation because there is no way out of a marriage.
One uncertainty about what the future holds because children are now gone.
A friend in deep need to be healed not only of cancer, but emotionally.

We see these people, but we often feel helpless. We don’t know how to help. What to say.

The apostles perhaps felt the same when they saw thousands without food. They instructed Jesus to send them away, to “villages so they could find food” because “there is nothing here in this deserted place.”

Jesus had none of that. He replied, “You feed them.” (Lu. 9:13) He says the same to me. You feed them.

You feed her – the daughter who needs to know you’re listening.
You literally feed him – the husband who is tired and comes home starving.
You feed them – the couple who looks downtrodden at church every week. Go to them and see how you can get to know them.
You feed that one – the person who has been on your heart for weeks, but you haven’t taken a step towards.

Do it.

Even if you say, “What, God? Me? Don’t you see I am in a deserted place? I have nothing to give.”

Jesus replies, “You feed them.” (Lu. 9:13)

This Christmas season, neighbors left and right came out of their house with little cookies for me and my family. I was far from home and without family nearby, but they came – and they came with smiles. Some with gifts. And every one with a heart of love.

This season, I got fed. I feel full. I told my husband it was like we were with family for Christmas.

These people didn’t count up their own deserted land and have a pity party of their own. They picked up their tin and came over. This is what Jesus means by feeding. Just get out there and do it. It matters. Small things offer others big heart strides.

And the truth is, all of us have a something, even if we have nothing. His name is Jesus. He is always our something. He is always our first leading to our best thing to do, to give, to hand away no matter how big or small. Size never matters in God’s economy. What is little gets big, in the name of Jesus.

You feed them.

Prayer: God help us to do the small things you instruct our heart to do. Give us a will of follow-through. Give us intent to love. Give us your vision and your hearing so that we might love a world in need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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.

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

The Get-Together I Never Had

get-together

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have her over. Then again, it wasn’t that I did. Generally speaking, I couldn’t make up my mind and that was the problem. I was indecisive.

Going a level deeper (there’s almost always something deeper) the reality was. . .  I’d been to her house. Everything was laid in perfect order — no crumbs on the floor, stains on her couch or picture frames off-center. Her house was perfection, every corner Pinterest-able.

Mine? Mine was laundry on the floors, toys spread all over the family room and crumbs under the counter cupboards. Mine was marker stains on the kitchen table and a mini-trampoline in the center of the living room.

She looked so good.

I looked so bad.

On face-level I look good too. Outside my house, I dress stylish. But inside- that’s what might scare her away, make her feel uncomfortable or worst yet, make me look bad.

So, while I wish I could tell you Ms. High and Mighty Blogger Gal Kelly Balarie kept our date, I canceled our little get-together. She gave me a little leeway to cancel, and I took it and ran….

And now, to top this all off, I just invited eight gals to my house in a couple of weeks. My mind can’t stop thinking of what:

– comfy chairs I need to buy
– new patio furniture I need to get
– flowers need to adorn my home
– scents need to hit them as they walk in

But then, I consider this. What if my imperfection isn’t all bad?

What if my imperfection gives way to theirs? What if my lack of everything somehow welcomes them in a small, unsaid way to share their lack? Their lack of hope in their marriage? Their lack of will to stay close to God? Their lack of understanding of what their future holds?

What if imperfection is the open door to invite Jesus in? Jesus always walked into the space and place of vulnerability. Those who fell on their knees, cried out, felt less than, hopeless, broken…for these people, Jesus showed up, with power.

Won’t He do that for me too?

So why do I try to shun that away? Why do I slam the door on the one opening God may use to truly, deeply and powerfully reach others?

I can’t help but think it is not perfect, clean and shiny houses that bring people near, but real and authentic houses that really draw people in. It stops them.

Our real truth.
Our real story.
Our details of need.
Our belief that God will show up there.
Our hope in something greater than material items.
Our will to just be with people rather than putting on a show.
Our desire to see something more meaningful than facades.

Jesus never ran from what was askew. He welcomed it.

 

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.

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

What does Faith look Like?

faith look like

A group of friends, full of strength, lowered a sick man from roof to floor, desiring to get him in front of Jesus. Jesus, seeing their faith, healed the man. (Luke 5:20)

Another man told Jesus, “say the word from where you are and my servant will be healed.” Jesus did. From afar and the man was healed. After Jesus remarked, “I haven’t seen faith like this in all the land of Israel” Lu. 7:9

A woman said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Mt. 9:21  She simply grabs Jesus’ hem and finds herself healed. Jesus tells her to “take heart.” I bet she did.

What do all these three examples have in common? Two things. Desperate need and infinite faith.

Do you have these? Desperate need? Infinite faith?

Coupled, they’re powerful. Yet, one without the other doesn’t work as well. If you have need without faith, you’ll likely camp out in your basement crying. If you have faith without need, you’ll fool yourself into believing Jesus for the wrong things.

What does your heart truly need? What, internally, are you crying for? What would you go any lengths to ask Jesus to do, heal, rectify, fix, or renew?

There is no shame in need. There is hope. Run to Jesus, lower yourself before him, call on friends to pray, grab Him in outstanding ways, cry, reach. . . but no matter what, go and get before Him. Desperately. Hungrily. Believing immensely in his power.

Desperate seekers loaded with wild faith find Jesus.

He notes their belief. He sees their struggle. He tends to their needs. He gives the words that encourage them to “take heart.”

Your desperation, whether hidden, apparent or ignored, is not bad. It is good when brought before a loving Father wanting to love. This is who God is. One with a greater capacity to care than even the best man. One with greater insight to teach than even the best teacher. One with greater ability to counsel than even the best therapist.

Faith believes God can.

Need lets Him in.

Open the doors to your heart. Then run after Jesus, ready to be changed.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you that you are not after pretty images of perfection, nor righteous people who know everything, nor biblical experts of ancient times, nor striving hearts that never relax. You are after hearts in need. It was for those people, you stopped. It was for the sinners, you came. Help us to turn toward you in need and receive the best of you, in belief. Do a new thing.  Give us the faith to trust you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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.

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

A Radical Call To Take a Stand Today

Do you know what it is to stand up for your faith?

It’s like standing up for the kid getting taken advantage of on the playground, except the kid is you.
It’s like standing up in the court of law to speak justice, because you know it’s what needs to be done.
It’s like standing up at a sports game and cheering wildly because you have love for a team.
It’s like standing up full of sin, like the woman who committed adultery, and allowing Jesus to forgive you.
It’s like standing up against all the chatter of opposition to telling it to shut up and sit down.
It’s like standing up and putting your hands on your hips and saying, “That’s not what God says, so no way.”
It’s like standing up and speaking out God’s truths over the ample lies that surround you on the daily basis.
It’s like standing up and fighting, through prayer, for a sister going through a killer-of-a-hard time.
It’s like standing up and saying, “No, I will not lay down.”
It’s standing on the solid rock of Christ.
It’s knowing that that very rock is unmovable, unbreakable and unwavering.

It’s deciding in your heart that since Jesus was strong enough to bust out of the grave, He will be able to take you right out of your dark circumstances to move you into His light. This is standing strong.

Where do you need to stand strong?

Certainly, there is a time for mourning, crying and wrestling. There is a time. But then comes a day to say, “It is my day to bust out of this tomb of self-pity and dejection and to move into God’s light. It is time for me to stand up and say no more. No more will I be tossed like a boat of doubt, or on the waves of nauseousness or by the words of mankind. No more will I listen to the opinions of old replay or the questions of the enemy circulate. No more.  Today is my standing up day. May standing up and moving out day.”

In what way do you need to stand?

“He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:4

Jesus had every right to count man’s offenses, bad words, religious spirits, hurting words, whips and mockings. He could have dwelt in that tomb of despair for a long, long time. He could have said, “Forget them, they did me wrong.” He could have let death come over us. But Jesus didn’t.

He stood up to the power of hell taking aim to bring the kingdom of God down. He stood. He stood up to take his seat at the right hand of God.

“When the Lord Jesus finished speaking to them, he was taken up into heaven. He sat down at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19

God calls us to stand today. He calls us, today, to rise into his heavenly perspective. One that does not count the offenses of man, the injuries of yesterday, the tears we can’t move past, the people we can’t reckon with, the memories we can’t distance, the worries we can’t alleviate… certainly, all that is there. God knows it. We know it.

There it is. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it every day, for a long, long time. But what if we chose to stand up and walk past it?

The choice is ours.

We can either give in to the weights of the world, or we can rise up and give it to the God who holds the weight of the world in His hands?

We can trust the resurrection life, Jesus.  He is resurrection. In all ways. All the time. With all power.

Take a stand.

 

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.

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

How Do You Choose to Live?

to live

Catastrophe hit my family, and while I can’t go into the details here, I can assure you it shredded my heart. It scared me silly and caused me to release tirades on people I love. I am not as good as you think I am. Nor am I as good as I thought I was. I’m a whole lot worse.

Yet, through this there’s a hidden blessing: I see how much I need Jesus. His light. Because apart from Him, my thoughts are dark.

Getting to this thought is freedom.

Jesus came “to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” (Jo. 9:39)

Apart from the nature of Jesus (love, kindness, goodness, truth, nobility, purity, loveliness, excellence, wisdom, humility or gratefulness) all I see is darkness. Worthlessness. Vanity. Diversions. Fear. Voids. Schemes. Faking. Swirling tornadoes of emotions that lead to an inward focus, plus a generalized sense God won’t come through.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Mt. 6:22

The choice is ours. . .

Light or dark?
Dark or light?

Reliant on the Living Water?
Departing from Him?

All Jesus, all the time?
Or me, myself, and I, all the time?

While our world hates calling things one way or another and we tend to desire shades of safety, sometimes one-way-or-the-other choices are exactly what God ordered.

What will you choose to be:
Lukewarm?
Or on fire?

All things hope, all things faith, all the time…not done with perfection, but certainly done from a heart of dedication?

What if we were to choose to see faith, hope and love activated by the grace of God, as we. . .

Pick our kids up from school.
Respond to annoying people.
Grab the bills from the mailbox.
Go to that doctor’s appointment.
Contemplate our yeses and nos.
Let go of our defenses.
Follow God.
Seek His guidance.
Deal with unanswered prayers.
Confront our emotions.
Wake up.
Go to sleep.
Live.

What if we chose to really believe?

“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses.” Heb. 11:1 AMP

 

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.

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

What if I’m not saved, loved, chosen?

not saved,

Thoughts raced in my head, leaving me rattled.

What if God doesn’t forgive me for all the mistakes I made? What if I only believe I’m freed?

What if I am not good enough for him, when all’s said and done?

What if He doesn’t want me, when he comes back. . . and, I’m the last woman standing as he turns away from me. . . what if?”

Has your mind ever calculated the what ifs of faith? The “What ifs of Faith” say I may not be in God’s love. I might be left behind. I might unlovable. I might never have been included in his saving faith.

Many things can trouble us and make us wonder about our relationship with him. Words of another, your past, your sense of not being good enough, your endless faults, or internal criticism that shouts in your mind, your fears. . .

What, in the rare silence and contemplation of your heart, do you hear?

As I took a walk today, questions stirred. I noted the dark rain clouds, the heaviness of the world and the shifting movement of a life passing me by.

One day Jesus will return. One day he will come for me. It may not be far away. 

I walked, wanting Jesus, needing Him – his truth, his faithfulness.

God, will you show me your glory?

No sooner did I pray that I saw it: a rainbow. A promise so clear, as God’s faithfulness peaked through the heaviness of the dark and despairing clouds covering our pain-ridden world.

God is here.
His promises are true.
Faithful He will be.
What He says will come, will come.
He is who He says He is.
He will come in glory.

And I? I’ll be cloaked in his grace. Covered by it. Dancing in it. Freed by it. Owned by it. Released from every burden that wants to convict or distance me from his love. Jesus did not come to judge the world, but to save it. And I am saved, not by my own actions, but by Him. Released. Taken care of entirely.

What freedom!

Freedom exists behind every dark cloud. Freedom is Jesus. His grace waits to bust you out of the heaviness, regrets or bitterness clenching hold of your spirit. It’s all Jesus.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8-9

Yes and amen.

Prayer:

Jesus, we proclaim you as the Promise Keeper, the Lord, the King of Kings over everything. We declare you to be our Lord. We confess our sins to you today. We turn away from them. We want you above all else, and nothing apart from you. We give you our life, our heart, our song and hopes. We ask, in your complete goodness to have your way in our life.  Thank you that you cleanse us, restore us and renew us right now. We are living testimonies of your goodness. Your grace and peace frees us. We overflow with contentment and joy. We receive all this, and your full inheritance and give it room to live in our lives. We praise you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

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.

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

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Give yourself a break

a break

Are you as hard on yourself as I am?

So, last night I met with a bunch of women. With one of them . . .let’s just say I was a little overzealous to connect. My mouth got ahead of my mind and I blurted out some totally weird comment. Later, when saying good-bye, I uttered an I-don’t-know-what-to-say-so-I’ll-complain comment.

“Oh, I’ve got to head-out. I’ve got to wake up at 5:30 AM to be with my kids.”

I rolled my eyes.

Why? I have no idea why. I have no idea why I just released a complainy comment in my awkward absence of words. But, I did. It came out of nowhere. Ever done that?

Well, these little mishaps didn’t end at that get-together. I got in the car and felt all guilty about me. I questioned what kind of Christian I am. I wondered why I can’t do things right. I kept wondering if the women thought less of me or if I seemed odd.

Do you ever question yourself? Constantly?

Jesus doesn’t do this to us. This is not his voice. He doesn’t tail us like we do. He doesn’t chase us at our heels saying, “Why did you do that? You really messed up this time. You really don’t know how to be like me, do you?”

Jesus doesn’t do this. We do.

What if we were to give ourselves a break? Like Paul does when he addresses the early believers and says, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What if we were to say to ourselves, in the heat of our self-hating moments, “Grace and peace to me, right now, from God my Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

And then, we let it in. What hooks might come out of our skin? What new places might our heart move to? What truth may we begin to swim in because we give our mind free reign to consider something other than self-condemnation?

It’s okay to be hungry for grace. Horribly. Desperately. Ravagely hungry for it.

Jesus knew we needed it. It’s why he died on the cross. Because we’ll never be perfect. We’ll never be spot-on. We’ll never be without fault.

We need him and we need grace. What if you gave yourself a break today and received his peace and grace so much that it set your mind free to receive Him?

 

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.

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

 

God, Mend my Heart as I Reveal my Hurt

reveal my hurt

Guest Post by: Julie Loos

As I sat in the cold metal chair in my Oshkosh B’Gosh overall shorts and red flip-flops, I nonchalantly chewed on my fingernails. The waiting area was chilly even though outside, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. I folded my legs under my bottom on the chair and hoped for warmer.

While I waited, thoughts tumbled in my head like the clothes in the dryer. Worst-case scenarios were tugging at my ten-year-old heart. I didn’t comprehend why I was here other than I was naughty and if I didn’t behave, I would live with another family.

My palms began to sweat, my legs became weak, and I thought I might get sick.

Even though my worst-case scenario didn’t happen, in some ways it already had.

Those who were supposed to love me unconditionally made it contingent on my behavior. The people I could trust deceived me.

As a child, I was alone and abandoned, although not in the physical sense. I grew up believing I couldn’t trust anyone. I learned to become a people pleaser. I made every attempt to control situations around me. Defective was how I looked at myself.

Right there, I decided God was just like everyone else. If I broke His rules or failed to live up to His standards, He’d eventually figure me out and desert me too.

Here’s the thing. The stress trying to keep me together so no one could hurt me again was hard work.

Fear from my past kept me from the possibilities of my future.

I wish God would change my past and remove these gaping heart holes. My anxiety tells me it will never change. I will end up alone and abandoned.

The truth is that God already made a new way for me through the wounds of the past.

Each hard thing was a step I needed to become the person He created me to be.

God can do the same for you. He can make a way when there seems no way. He can help you overcome what looks impenetrable.

Will you trust Him and believe He can make all things new?

Are you so focused on the pain in the past that you are missing the blessings of the present?

He is able if you are willing.

Even though I have grown up physically, the little girl part of my heart still longs for the acceptance and love of those around her. In those moments when my mind returns to that waiting room of my past, God applies His healing ointment to my heart and whispers to me, “I am here, I love you, and I am trustworthy.”

And He has been there through each step of my journey, both in good times and bad, mending the holes and wounds within. I know someday my heart will be mended up entirely, right in His presence.

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

About Julie Loos

Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 17 years. She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes. You can find her blog at www.unmaskingthemess.com.

 

Do You Cast Stones at Yourself?

cast stones

May I tell you something vitally important to your faith life?

Jesus is not casting stones at you.

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jo. 8:7

Jesus picks up no rock to sling at your face. Sure, He sees what you do and what you have done. But He grabs nothing to pummel you, like you do to yourself. He does not rip your insides. He does not call you, “Idiot” or “Stupid.” Or say, “Oh, look, she did it again.” He launches no accusatory words at you, like you may do to yourself. Jesus doesn’t hurt his daughters.

He approaches them, arms open, ready to receive them again. And he fights off the violent voices rising against them. He lets not condemnation speak any longer.

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Jo. 8:10

“No one, sir,” she said.

The violent stone throwers were no longer there. Why? Because of Jesus. Because of the voice of simple and authentic love. Love that spoke over condemnation to bring love-filled, sin-shattering consolation.

What if you were to let Jesus’ voice of consolation, rise above the stone-slinging voices of condemnation? What freedom might you seize? What life would you be able to return to?

“Then neither do I condemn you,’” Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” Jo. 8:1

It is easy to leave sin when you’re confronted with authentic, soul-seeing and heart-changing love.

Why not let the one and only Jesus lead you into deeper, life-freeing love? The perfect consoler waits, not with a stone, but with a heart to care for your deep wounds and pain.

Run into his arms today.

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.

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

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Is God Far?

God far

I know the feeling. You tell God you want to be with him, but your mind goes left and right as you read the bible. You get in the car and start to pray on your commute only to get caught up in worry about that one thing or another. You try to pay attention in church only to get distracted by the lady’s shoes and matching handbag. You don’t hear a word that is said. You sing. Empty words.

You lose God.

Where did he go? Why is He far?

But IS God far?

“The LORD is near to all who call on him.” Ps. 145:18

God isn’t far. We are.

We are far from our first love. It hurts to admit it. We are distanced by our own days and ways. It is usually hard to see. We are far because some person, problem or predicament swallowed us whole and we are so caught up in it, we can’t peer over its immensity.

God isn’t far. We are.

This may hurt to admit today. How are you far?  Are you far because you feel hurt? Are you far because you feel unloved? Are you far because life is hard? Because problems mount? Because you feel let down? What is it?

Refreshment and relationship waits for you. There is a simple how-to or must-do that God always answers. One way to bring connection that diminishes isolation. Here it is:

“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.” Acts 3:19-20

Repentance = refreshment. God’s presence comes. You get sent out full of the Lord. This is not a one-time thing, but an all the time thing. All the way up to the day the Lord returns. And you find yourself at home with the Creator.

 

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.

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