Purposeful Faith

Category - awe

Shine!

Shine

Today I am excited to welcome Kim Breuninger from Twin Lakes Church to Women’s Ministry Monday. Kim’s words speak encouragement and liberation in who has God has created us to be. They encourage me. 

“What’s your ‘shiny’ name going to be Kim?”

“Umm…I don’t know.”

As part of a playful team of women planning a retreat with the theme ‘SHINE’, I struggled to come up with a funny, creative and ‘shiny’ name to equal theirs.  My newly named friends, Crystal, Jewel and Tiara teased and laughed with each other as they worked, eagerly anticipating the weekend ahead of us.  While I, the more administrative task-oriented type, could only come up with some neatly organized spreadsheets and the question, “Lord, why can’t I be more like them?”

Eventually, the team brought a nametag to me. They had chosen a shiny name for me! Pearl. Pearl? I thought of Minnie Pearl, a TV comedian from the 1960’s, dressed in a frumpy dress and a straw hat with a price tag hanging off it yelling, “HOW-DEE-E-E-E!”  I was a little disappointed with my new identity, but wanting to fit in, I did my best to act like part of the team and cheerfully ‘shine’ with the others.

On the second night of our retreat the guest speaker taught from Matt. 13:45 (NIV), “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” She went on to make the point that most precious jewels are found in the earth, but the pearl is found inside a living creature, setting it apart from the others as the only living gem.

I felt ashamed. God’s Word had finely divided the joint and marrow of my thoughts (Heb. 4:12 NIV). I heard him say “Kim, I searched for you, I chose you and I bought you at a great price. I created you in my own image, made you unique from anyone else and gave you a special blessing, a gift, all so that just as you are, you might be a blessing to others.  I love YOU.” His words struck my core. He’s done all this, and yet what do I do? I neglect my true calling trying to be like everyone else instead of the jewel God created me to be.

I’ve kept my nametag from that retreat for over twenty years. It reminds me that although I may feel inadequate, my unique traits and gifts are just what God is looking for. It’s my personal love note from my redeemer and King.

In Christ we’re called to “shine like stars in the universe” (Php. 2:15 NIV), but the process of transformation, turning from a life dulled by sin and doubt, begins with the choice to place our trust in him, the Light of the world. Transformation requires our thoughtful involvement. Just as a pearl begins as an insignificant grain of sand and is refined by constant irritation, so we become set apart from all others, a radiant testimony of who we’re created to be, as we learn to live in faith and God’s truth.

Are you experiencing the blessing of who God has created you to be?

Do you believe he’s shown you his great favor,
so that you can be a blessing to others just as you are, wherever you are?

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a young girl from a dusty unknown town.
Paul was imprisoned, chained to armed guards.
Timothy was considered too young for the job.

Each of them chose to look beyond their circumstances, to God’s Word.

They trusted his purposes, not popular opinion,
and became a blessing to others, to us, even to this day.

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About Kim

kim_breuningerKim Breuninger has lovingly served the women at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos, Ca. for the last 24 years. Her desire to encourage women through life’s challenging seasons, and the healing many of us seek, has also taken her to Zambia, Africa where she’s spent many years teaching and encouraging pastor’s wives.

Kim is wife to her handsome husband, and Koinonia Conference Grounds Director, Dave Breuninger. Together they’ve raised their blended family of 5 children, all married with 6 grandchildren, (so far! J ).

When You Feel Unlovable

Feel Unlovable

I closed my eyes.

I wanted to be with God. I wanted to spend time with him – I had carved out this time for just that – so I climbed up onto his lap, imagining he was holding me.

I craved love.

Yet, as I rested in his arms, I realized something – something I had never had before: I was scared. Like a newborn, with arms flailing, my body tensed. I felt at-risk, vulnerable and, most of all, I felt like God might hurt me.

Where did this come from God? I never knew.

When you get before God,
he gets his truth before you.

And this is how it is. Nearly every time I make an effort to come before God – by waiting to hear, expecting his Word to work and being with him – I dig up some little flicker of gold that is transformational to my spiritual walk.

This time, it was this: If I believe God’s a God of injury, not ministry, my approach towards him will always be cautionary. 

Like that game of “catch-me-when-I-fall,” if I don’t believe I can let go, fall back and be caught, I’ll never fall – fully surrendered. Instead, I’ll imagine my head being split open – every. single. time.

Internally, I will put on an imaginary helmet; I will:
– Strive
– Fear
– Worry
– Overdo it
– Forget about him
– Get distracted
– Live anxious

So here I stand. Wanting to fix. Because that is what we do when things are broken – we fix. Right?  I want to get out my screwdriver and adjust my loose bolts. Or get out the jackhammer and hit myself over the head with it a couple times. Or to recite a bible verse and get my mind straight. I want to rewire and redo myself until I FULLY. TRUST. GOD.

Yet, a voice of true inner-ministry rises; God’s voice:

Draw near to (me) and (I) will draw near to you. Ja. 4:8

 

There is a counselor inside us, the Holy Spirit, wanting to counsel.
There is a God of love, who waits for us to receive his gift.
There is a moment of joy that is ours if we wait for its arrival.

 

Like the UPS truck. If we look out for God, we will see him drive up.
If the gates are closed, we will miss him. If they are open, we will get the gift we’ve been looking for.

When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears,
and he will tell you what is yet to come. (Jo. 16:3)

 

I want this. I want to be so held by God’s heart that my fleshly heartbeat fades under the resounding covering of his.  I want to be able to let this love in; this holds risk

Risk like:

  • I will be let down.
  • I will be fully seen and not accepted.
  • I will have to change.
  • I will be rejected by God.

Usually, we hold God back,
because at one time or another,
man held us back.

God’s love will never let us down. It looks not like that person who hurt you. It looks not like those feelings that destroyed you. It looks not conditional. Or dependent on performance. It is steady. It is perfect. It works. It heals. It renews. It changes you and me into the likeness of Jesus. It opens new doors. It heals relationships. It mends a broken heart. It cleans up old messes. It induces forgiveness that brings life. It creates wild momentum in your heart, neighborhood and even the world. It brings nations back together and brings Jesus to earth.

Let it in.

Prayer:

God, the truth is:
Vulnerability feels vulnerable.
Openess feels open.
Love feels risky.
You feel overwhelming.

Help me feel okay with the power of your power to change me. Help me trust you more. Help me be in your love. Help me feel your acceptance. Help me know you won’t leave me. Help me abide in you. Amen.

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Lost in The Wilderness

Lost in The Wilderness

Today, it is my joy to welcome Tracey Rogers to Women’s Ministry Monday. Her words both uplift and remind my heart that there is safety in my struggle and hope in my longings. Thank you, Tracey. 

I got lost in the wilderness.

I hadn’t planned to even go out there, but there I was right in the middle of unfamiliar territory. I did, however, know what was on the other side. THAT I knew, so I was confident on how to maneuver myself through the uncomfortable deserted land.

But I got lost.

No, not literally. The deepest I have been in any kind of wilderness is a color-coded, well-worn hike through many Tennessee State Parks; hardly a place for loss.

No, my wilderness was God’s doing. Leading me out of my comfort and leading me into a place of uncertainty and trial and pressure and temptation.

The wilderness is not an unusual place for God’s people.

He often leads them into the wilderness. 

Moses was called by God from the burning bush while Moses was in the wilderness.

Elijah receives encouragement from God while spending 40 days in the wilderness.

The children of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness
unlearning the pagan influence from Egypt and becoming a people of God.

They found their identity in the wilderness. 

Even Jesus, Himself spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted before beginning His earthly ministry.

David, too has a season in the wilderness. 

David was anointed king of Israel as a young man, and through a series of God-ordained coincidences he found himself in service of the present king of Israel, Saul. I imagine David saw the path to kingship. He imagined that he would learn from Saul; be mentored by this present king so he could one day step into the role that was destined for him. Although David knew the way the story would end, with him being king, I think the process ended up being very different than he expected. Saul began to see David as a threat and David was forced to run for his life. Where did he run?

To the wilderness. 

The wilderness is a place ripe for God to shape and grow David into the king He called him to be.

1 Samuel 21-31 record David’s time in the wilderness. I don’t think this turned out to be the way he expected God to grow him into a king, but that is exactly what God did. In the wilderness, David went from shepherd to leader. 

David learned how to handle opposition.
David was met with challenges, yet followed God.
The wilderness was where David found shelter in caves, yet knew the shadow of God’s wings.
It was where David found rest beside still waters and found his soul restored.
And David, had tests and temptations, but resisted them and proved worthy of the call.

The wilderness isn’t just for God’s people in the Bible. He is still calling His own into the wilderness today, and that is where I found myself.

But I carved the path. Wondering, how can I get out. How will God actually work things out?

Real surrender is not the act of acknowledging hard times,
but of letting God walk you through them, altogether.

What path do you follow? Is it providing refuge?

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, 

For my soul takes refuge in You;

And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge

Until destruction passes by.

I will cry to God Most High, 

To God who accomplishes all things for me.

He will send from heaven and save me;

He reproaches him who tramples upon me.     Selah.

God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth.” Ps. 57:1-3

And so I remained in the wilderness, but no longer felt lost. I found comfort and I think that is exactly what He had in mind.

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About Tracey Rogers

View More: http://keonik.pass.us/traceyrogersTracey Rogers is a gifted Bible teacher who brings passion and enthusiasm to the life-giving Word of God. Tracey speaks with authority and authenticity leaving her listeners wanting to spend more time with God in His Word and inspiring them to live lives that shine His light. Tracey has also taken her revealing teaching lessons and unique insights and put them in her new book, Life Lessons from the Book of Job.

She lives in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband of almost 19 years, Kevin, along with their children Preston, 15; John John, 13; and Josie, 10.  In addition to serving on the adult groups staff at Church of the City, she has been incorporating her love of scripture by teaching Christ-centered yoga for 4 1/2 years.

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The War in Your Mind: 12 Peace-Tactics

war in your mind
My daughter felt hot. Hand on head, all I could think was, “Great God. Add this horrid sickness to the list.”
Add it to the uncertainty of our future.
Add it to kids acting up.
Add it to no time to get my work done.
Add it to no energy to continue pushing through.
Add it to the pain of an injury that won’t relent.
Add it to my anxiety levels as of late.

Add it to feeling alone and isolated.

The sum = discouragement.

Are you in that place where the face of God
looks far smaller than the weight of your problems?

Maybe finances are tumbling. Maybe fears are rising. Maybe hope for a family member is vanishing. Maybe car problems are plaguing. Maybe insecurity is surfacing. Maybe a job is harassing. Maybe health is faltering.

Last night, I laid in bed. Ever notice? When you silence your mind, you have a choice: You can either fall into worry or worship. Wonder or wrestling. Wrongs or rights. I sunk under the swamp of worry; floundering and fearful.

You all probably know, my name is Kelly. In Gaelic, my name means: warrior.

What if rather than being a worrier or a wrestler with life,
we became warrior’s with truth?

 

Be strong, and let us fight bravely
for our people and the cities of our God.
The Lord will do what is good in his sight.
2 Samuel 10:12

 

Joab, captain of David’s army, knew:
You fight the good fight believing
God’s good way will prevail. 

If I am warrior – if you are too – can’t we fight in the same way?

Can’t we fight, saying, “I’ll be strong, I’ll let God’s truth to reign in my mind, relationships and over my fears. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.”

What peace might that bring? If our internal words were more warrior than wussy?

If they sounded like this:

God things don’t look good. They look tough, dark, barren, unmoving, but your will is working. I believe that. I believe you can. I believe you will. I am not going to sink into discouragement. I am not going to fall into the strangulating hands of despair. I am not going to become oozy and doozy with fear. Forget it.

Not today, no God, not today. Today, I am choosing another way.
 

Today, the way of peace is the way of faith.

Faith says: I see horrendous before me, but God sees heavenly. He is working it out and that is enough.

Faith says: God even though every door looks closed, God can open them with just an exhale of breath.

Faith says: A good God is in control. I trust him.

Faith says: Yes, a war in motion, yet I am not the commander. He knows the way.

Faith says: I don’t have to know, because God does.

Faith says: Never once has God let me down and never will He.

Faith says: Evil may want to leave me ruined and in pieces, but God wants to leave me ruined in his love.

Faith says:  Hold firm, like the disciples did – love always wins.

Faith says: My wait isn’t for nothing, for – in me – God is working something.

Faith says: I need not be leashed by feelings, but unleashed by God’s love.

Faith says: I will focus on his more versus continually perceiving my less.

Faith says: My joy found in Christ, through suffering, becomes His light of glory shed upon the world.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Heb. 11:1

 

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So, #RaRa team, I totally flubbed it up yesterday and missed the linkup. Can you even believe it? I got so overwhelmed with life that I overlooked this post. Forgive me! I am sorry; I never pressed publish.
With this, I don’t know if anyone knows about our rain-date today. Will you share this post on social media to help get the word out about this random Wednesday linkup?
See you next Tuesday!
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A Titus 2 Wake Up

Wake Up

It is with great excitement that I welcome Debbie Hopper to Ministry Monday! Debbie brings heart, wisdom and passion. Her experience shines. Even more, I found her words to be a soothing lesson for a worrier like me. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did! 

It was the first week of January 2016 and my goal setting was in full swing.  But as I looked ahead to the next six months, there was a date looming on the horizon that stopped me in my tracks :  my 60th birthday.

It just didn’t seem possible…
Children growing up?  Yes! 
Daughters getting married? Yes!  
Becoming a grandmother? Yes!  
Caring for aging parents?  Yes!  

But turning 60 and getting the infamous AARP card?  I had only blurred images associated with this decade and they were scaring the daylights out of me:

·       My Dad died at 63 after spending his last 8 years in a wheelchair

·       My Mother did a few adventurous things after he died, but her health declined by 70

·       Most women ahead of me on this journey seemed to be slowing down or checking out

The Lord needed to give me a fresh download, a picture of what He saw for my sixties, to give me a new vision and a renewed spirit about embracing this milestone.

And of course, He answered.

“Call out to me and I will answer you,
and will tell you great and hidden things
that you have not known.”  
Jeremiah 33:3

First, He very sweetly (but firmly) reminded me of all the great and marvelous things He had done in my life over the past 59 years.  Times He rescued me, protected me, redeemed me and poured favor over me when I didn’t deserve it.  The thought that kept coming to me was:

You gave me my first breath and will take away my last.  Who am I to question any breath in between?

Next, He led me to dig deep and study what it really means to be a Titus 2 Woman.  Whenever younger women had referred to me as their Titus 2 in the past, I would just shrug or smile and accept it as a compliment.  But study it?

The LORD was giving it to me as marching orders:

1.     Tell everyone to follow God’s Word

2.     Teach older women:

  •  To be holy in their behavior
  • Not speaking against others (gossip)
  • Not addicted to wine/drink/food
  • Teaching what is good

3.     Teach younger women:

  • Love their husbands
  • Love their children
  • To be self-controlled, wise and pure
  • To be a model of good works at home
  • To be kind, show integrity and dignity
  • To yield to their husbands

4.     Always use the Gospel as the source for godliness

The limitations we seWake Upe, are often doors God knocks open through Godly instruction.

Where do you need to see past
limitations, restrictions, age or beauty?

For the first time, 60 held the promise of fulfilling work as I pursued that inseparable link between faith and practice, belief and behavior.   There was a renewed excitement in my spirit. He had not only answered me, but offered purpose and meaning to the days and years ahead.

I felt new wind behind me. In fact, I began planning a harbor cruise with the Daughters.  For it seemed worthy of celebrating all He has done. I was ready to sail into sixty with new hope.

Are you dreading a date on the calendar or waiting anxiously for a new day? Wherever you are, Sisters, let’s embrace the days with His goals instead of our go-to worries.

And, maybe, if you are fortunate, like me, you may even end up with a Senior Discount or something…

Debbie Hopper bio

debphotoDebbie felt called into the ministry at age 16, and spent the early part of her life serving the body and working in the corporate world until her God appointment into full-time ministry 8 years ago.  As a Minister and Director of Women’s Ministry at Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC, Debbie has the honor of serving under the leadership of Pastor Greg Surratt, the ARC network founder.

Married for 22 years to an amazing man of God who is a Project Engineer by day and a Leader of Men by night, they have 3 Daughters, 2 Son-in-loves and 9 Grands.

To recharge from long days of ministry, Debbie enjoys Date Nights with The Hubby, long chats with The Daughters at Starbucks, reading, gardening, archery and photography.  You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: debhopper

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

Stay Unafraid

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

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

Stay Unafraid

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Unafraid

1. It all isn’t real.

2. The show will end.

3. The good guy never dies.

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

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

Until then, will I likewise remember…

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Unafraid

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

Today will end. Tomorrow will not.

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

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Broken Perfectionism

Broken Perfectionism

I could not be happier to have Angela Craig joining us today for Ministry Monday. Angela is on fire for the Lord; her passion exudes from her (and I have only talked to her online, so this says so much!). She is a gift sent by God to this world and I am excited to honor her here today. Welcome Angela!

“A dangerous leader is one that has great familiarity with their skills and gifts
but cursory knowledge of their inner brokenness.”
– Dan White, Jr.

I will admit it. I want everyone to like me. The two things I have struggled with most of my life are people-pleasing and perfectionism. In the past, if someone didn’t like me or critiqued my work, I would spend an unhealthy and disproportionate amount of time lamenting on where I went wrong. Then I would make a plan to fix it. The problem was, no matter how hard I tried, I still disappointed people and made mistakes.

It could be because I am human. As far as I know, human beings can strive for excellence but they can never be perfect. Having the hope of perfectionism is like having a boat with a hole in it and thinking you can stay afloat if you can just keep the water out of the bottom. Eventually, you will take on more water than you can bail out and get tired of trying to fulfill other people’s expectations. This leads to burnout or drowning. Neither, a good option.

But what if I was perfect? Would everyone like me then?

Actually, the answer is no.

Listen for a moment to this story of Jesus. On Palm Sunday, Jesus made his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on a humble donkey. The people were so enamored by Jesus they lined the street with their cloaks and palm leaves in honor of who they believed to be the next royal King from the line of David. Jesus could do no wrong. Five days later, that same King hung on a splintered wooden cross with a crown of thorns on his innocent head – naked, accused, mocked, beaten, hated, and judged – but still perfect.

As the story ends, we see it was obedience, not perfection that changed the world forever.Broken Perfectionism

As leaders, it is easy for our interactions with others to become performance driven. We can become actors on a ministry stage. Our actions being guided and directed by audience approval and recognition. If left unattended, the approval and recognition of others will eventually affirm or challenge our identity and self-worth, leaving God’s opinion back-stage.

We must maintain the ability to embrace our gifts, God’s words, and our brokenness at the same time. For me, a broken perfectionism has been the path to being a healthier leader.

You are unique and distinctive. Your leadership matters. Live fearlessly for Jesus today, my friends, and be encouraged by these last scriptures and a quote from Brennan Manning. I will be here cheering you on!

Brennan Manning wrote: “God loves you without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are not as you should be!
Real freedom is the freedom from the opinion of others. Above all, freedom from your opinion about yourself.”

“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7 NIV).

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 NIV).

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 NIV).

About Angela Craig

image001 (1)Angela’s 10 years of international speaking experience covers leadership and women’s conferences, non-profit events, and on-line leadership training. Angela is the Director of the women’s department at the Northwest Ministry Network where she has the honor to lead a team who is responsible for the development and empowerment of female leaders in over 320 churches. Angela is an ordained minister and a certified coach with Gallup Strengthsfinder, SLTA 360, and AGC. A life-long learner, Angela has a Ministry Leadership degree from Northwest University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga. Angela is honored to teach as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Northwest University. Angela is also the founder of the GIVE GOOD Awards Foundation, an organization that recognizes inspirational people and promotes volunteerism.

Devoted to helping others reach their fullest potential in life and leadership, Angela has authored two books, The Story of Leah: When life is not what you expected it to be and Pivot Leadership: Small Steps – Big Change . You can read her weekly blog encouragements and leadership tips on angelalcraig.com and  on hervoiceblog.us, a blog specifically designed for women in leadership.

How God is Conserving and Preserving You

Preserving You

There is a protector. He is the best armed guard. Nothing can hit him, nothing can break him, nothing can make him tumble. He is not some military genius on some Sci-Fi movie. He is your God.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Col. 3:3

We are hidden in greatness.

preserving you

Have we considered this? If God is armor and we are penetrable body, we reside under the very definition of – security.

When we realize that we are not only in Christ, but hidden in him, suddenly we feel protected from the crooks, calamities and complications approaching.

In Christ, we realize the wars are not ours to be won.
In Christ, we realize the movements are his to be made.
In Christ, we realize the inches of safety that lay over us are significant and profound.

In Christ, we are safe. Do you feel this way?

If not, what is holding you back?

I know what it is for me. I look left and right and panic and ponder, thinking, “What I will do?”

I see people that carry conflict. I see issues that carry big price tags. I see negativity that tells me I am about as sunk as a shark in the water. I see myself hitting problems. These things consume me.

They fill my mind. Protection doesn’t consume me, destruction does.

Does it happen this way to you too?

When we believe that we are outside of God’s heart, desires and plan, we suddenly believe we are on the firing line of enemy attack.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Col. 3:2

There is a reason why this verse comes right before the truth we are “hidden in Christ.”
To believe we are hidden in Christ, we must let our thoughts be hidden in spiritual things:
1. God’s Word
2. Kingdom Come
3. To die is gain (Phil. 1:21)
4. Unbreakable Love
5. Determination to believe

preserving you

As we get into that hidden place, we see that Christ is not hidden. We see he is alive and around us. We see we are contained and filled. We see our life as truly untouchable and unpenetrable.

Think:
Above, not below.
Heavenly, not earthly.
Spiritually, not fleshly.

Every minute of every day, we are hidden in Christ. Hidden in him, but apparent by him. Loved. Adored. Cherished. Guided. Assisted. Directed. Empowered. Engulfed. Imbibed with grace.

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When You Don’t Know What to Do

What to Do

I am living in the center of chaos. Clothes are hanging off the brink of my mind.  Papers are strewn all over the place – and I am quite certain the wind just blew one in my face.

what to do

I feel like I am stuck in a desolate landfill of all the stuff I have consumed over the last 4 years – stuff I don’t really need. Stuff that holds me back in a way, from being free. It tethers me to the demand that I find – home (big home, even). It demands I – arrive somewhere. It pushes me. I glare at it.

I guess I want to be free. Free to find home with no reservations required – as the Spirit leads.

To be delivered to the Promised Land of peace, friends and love – unrestrained.

I haven’t gotten there yet. That stinkin’ place? It eludes me.

You too?

What place do you want to be delivered to?

What home of peace, answers, calm, relational bliss or finances are you pining for?

I sat down, in the center of it all, everything I wanted to escape – and placed my face in my hands. I looked at all the things I couldn’t handle, I considered all I couldn’t bring about and I realized there was nothing left to do. Anxiety can nearly kill a woman, you know.

The pressure to do, the stern inner dictates and the will to take care of all the baby birds, it’s enough to induce panic.

“God, save me from my self. Show me your ways.”

Every prayed that prayer?

It works. He answers.

It takes the traveler, the one stuck to eternal roaming with bags too large and heavy for her own britches and sends her on her way. She moves from jet-lagged and famished, walking around, searching (otherwise called living-hell) – and heads home.

what to do

She gets somewhere.

Something rises up.

It sounds like this: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Is. 30:21)

Bags unloaded, it is a resting spot. Where, bags down, you lay and look up. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It doesn’t matter what time your flight is to destination delightful. It doesn’t matter how you go about making it there. It just matters that God is going to be faithful.what to do

When you see God and you see his way – it doesn’t matter so much about – your way.

A voice rises above the mayhem. It is not about being delivered from what plagues you, but being delivered to – who calms you.

I missed all that.
Have you?

The truth is:

Jesus wants to be with me – wherever I stand.

Jesus has a way for me – wherever I am.

Jesus has planned life for me- in whatever I do.

Jesus has truth laid out for me – wherever I go.

I don’t have to fret the when – for Jesus already figured out – the how.

He’s never one to let me fail – and every time his love prevails.

what to do

The world may spin, but the cross is steady; it is planted in the solid rock of truth. Truth walks me to life. Life is knowing, God will lift my foot up and put it where it needs to go. He will manage my wavering opinions, doubts and fears.

Do you believe he will do that for you?

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Prov. 16:9

I lean back. My lungs fill. We don’t have to control chaos, peace knows the way. And out of the chaos, we get what we were always after – home – his waiting love.

The question is, will we, like prodigal children, return to it?

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When No One Sees or Cares

When No One Sees

I remember as a kid that door knock. People from everywhere walked up to our cracked doorstep. People with knives, people with vacuums, people with contraptions and people with frozen foods. When the doorbell rang, you never knew what you were going to get. I always hoped it would be chocolate and something with a cherry on top; my luck was never that good.

Every time, my inclination was to run right up to the door, open it and say, “Show me your presentation, show me the process and tell me the story.” They always had a story and it always left you wanting to shell out hundreds of dollars on things you knew you never needed – but, all the same, felt great handing over in large sums.

These people knew how to reach deep within you and pull out – compassion.

Yet, the other inclination within a household, was to shut off the lights upon their arrival, to run to the bathroom or to get vertical against a wall. All of these were good techniques to be left safe, secure and unhassled. You just leave that person waiting, sweating, hoping and alone on a doorstep…unseen.

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Despite all the great things they bring to the table – you leave them unseen.

Despite all the preparation they have put into their project – you leave them unseen.

Despite all their dreams someone will care – you leave them unseen.

Despite a vision to forge into something more,
something risky and something powerful – you leave them unseen.

I stand on the doorstep sometimes. Do you? I stand trying to knock, in the best way I know how, not much succeeding – with no one really caring.

No one says to me, “Keep pressing on. You are doing something important here.” I keep moving, door after door, each time feeling like I am just left with cold air and a twisted ankle on the way back down the stairs.

I am sensitive, I guess. Aren’t, we all?

God, if you see me, why don’t you encourage me?

This makes me think of – her. She walked up to that well as if it was already a slammed door on her face. She knew what to expect: 1.) She wouldn’t be spoken to by men 2.) She was a Samaritan and Jews wouldn’t give her the time of day 3.) She was shady and unworthy all the same.

I imagine as people saw her coming, they hid behind the safe refuge of the well…

When No One SeesOne man saw her, though, saying, “Will you give me a drink?” (Jo. 4:7).

She answered with (imagine: an inner finger wagging at itself, “This is impossible”),
“How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9).

Sometimes we feel so unseen, we feel so unworthy of being seen, we annihilate the love that tries to penetrate us. We let it burst into smithereens. Inside we nod our head saying, “There is just no way…”

I do this.
I believe what I have always known to be true.
I justify the case, rather than considering what could actually be the case.
I excuse others good intentions, saying, “If history is any indicator, they are bad.”

When No One Sees

Jesus says, “If you knew the gift of God … ” (Jo. 4:10)

If only, I knew it, I guess…

I might taste refreshing and rejuvenating water as she did.
(Jo. 4:10)

I might draw water from a well that gives new hope and vigor all the way up to eternity. 
(John 4:14)

I might beat down the lie – that strongarmed the truth – in order to hold me back.
“Go, call your husband and come back” (John 4:16)

I might confess.
“I have no husband.” (John 4:17)

I might find myself knocking on every door to share how me, the lame one, is now seen.
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29).

Have you considered the reason why you feel unseen
is because you want to keep – unseen?

I can’t help but think, what if we let in what we have kept out? Might we find it is the love of Christ that has been knocking on our door for so long?  What might happen if we stopped hiding and opened our gates?

When No One Sees

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