Purposeful Faith

Category - awe

Walking into God’s Best

God's Best

Step-by-step, eye-on-goal, I navigated rocks, roots and off-kilter mountain terrain. My thoughts kept pace…

Push, push, push.
Do, do, do.
Keep treading this beaten path…

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I end my day couch-ridden, feeling beaten by my fears.
I walk a beaten path.

I let stress spill pent up emotions – everywhere.
I walk a beaten path.

I let time rush me.
I walk a beaten path.

I let other’s define the “right” way.
I walk a beaten path.

I rush and shush my family.
I walk a beaten path.

I do the same things. Again and again.
Same walk. Same path. Different day.

God, I feel tired, cranky and a bit off kilter.

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Kelly, how’s this working for you?

Umm…Okay, God, so what am I supposed to do?

Get off the beaten path!

So, I do, I venture off. I don’t have to do it like I always have. I don’t have to do it like they do. I don’t have to be what the world demands. This beaten path does me no good.

If God isn’t in it, what use is it anyway?

Covered by the thrill of trees, the calling of excitement – a step is all it takes.

Although it’s risky, I’m just where I want to be. Somehow the mom of, “Don’t venture out in those woods, there are ticks out there” vanishes and some childlike charge comes alive.

I let go.

If I just go with God, where will he take me?

I press into the vines, the brush, the scary. Even more, I find her. Her heart is still going. The girl of adventure, of freedom, of willingness, of spontaneity, of joy, of wonder, of peace.

She’s still alive. She wants to arise.

If I move outside my norm, God,
what will you do with me?

Might I see myself like you do?

I go deeper. My ears hear it first…the rush, two rocks and a transformation in progress…

Living water is changing hard, non-pourous and rough edges into a new mold. They need do nothing, they are being changed.  Restructured as recipients of the living water’s power.

Change only happens if we submit to the force of love over us…

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What if our greatest life-change is just
on the other side of – stepping out?

What if by stepping out we best get the chance
to sit under God’s love?

I sit, in order to see.
It is something we are all wise to try sometime…

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Rather than a schlep to “destination,” just accept God’s invitation.
You don’t want to risk missing it.

This time, I don’t – I won’t.

Quiet whispers wander.
Internal sparks come alive.
True identity surfaces.

I am called. So I go. We go.  We walk on.

To a clearing. It is about as sunny as Florida. Clouds are invisible. But, all the same – off the beaten path, a mini-miracle happens – light drops fall.  The dance from heaven speaks something. But, what, God, what?

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I sit.

He who waters the plants, who keeps green the grass, and who rises the sun, is more than equipped to hold together the nitty-gritty details of my life…

Even if I do nothing, he will create an orchestra of outstanding, mesmerizing and brilliant – out of nothing…

Even if I only breathe, but nothing else,
he can lead all relationships where they need to go…

Even if I just observe, he will create something far better than marketing, manpower or management skills ever could…

I inhale. I like being off the beaten path. I sit longer.

When I finally get home, I crawl down next to him, the boy. I inhale and abolish time. Only the moment counts. Nothing is required. Words aren’t demanded. Planning isn’t essential. What matters is not the destination, but the invitation to rest in the presence of love.

I set my heart on getting off the beaten path…

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3 Tips to Worship and Praise God Deeply

Worship and Praise God

We watched her from our car – she walked slowly, cloaked, and hunched over, stepping onto the crosswalk we were sitting in front of. Like magnets, our eyes were drawn to her, her cart was filled with a hodge-podge of materials that glowed and shimmered in the sun. She stared straight ahead but stopped dead, right in front of our car. Mom, looked at me, I looked at mom and, in unison, we moved to the edge of our sticky-leather seats, “What is she up to, we thought?”

Despite the multiple changes of red lights to green and green to red, she didn’t move. She was stuck there. There simply was no moving ahead to the adventure that awaited us ahead there was only – us and this cart-lady. Here eyes met ours inside the car.

Ever noticed? Often, this is how it is with worship. Something moves before our mind and it gets stuck there. It feels that there is no moving it.

Sure, we want to drive ahead and sing God’s glory, yet that cart of worry and distraction stands before us. It is all we see. We miss his glory. We can’t behold the treasure he wants us to see. We can’t move into the joy of his presence.

What are we to do? Well, that day, we paid the lady off. I can’t suggest you do this (it won’t work well with God), but I can suggest you dismiss distraction in a similar fashion.

How to Dismiss Distraction and Drive into God’s Divine Glory:

  1. Pray. Ask God to remove what is pestering you to move in authentically worshiping him.  See yourself hand it to him. Ask him to hold it for you, to tend to it and to bring clarity to that situation.
  2. Surrender. Truly let go of what you just let go of.
  3. Just be. God doesn’t need you to put on a show for him, he just desires your needy heart come to him. Often, worship is the act of saying nothing, while you know he is everything.

Worship is coming needy and unknowing to Him who’s moving and pursuing you passionately with love. It is bringing your poverty before him who is rich. It is letting him hold you as you are.

It is climbing onto the lap of His care. It is looking at his face with awe, admiration and appreciation. It is waiting to see what he will do – with you. It is not performance-based, but heart-abandoning.

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 18:4

Worship is not only about hymns, but it’s about humble openness, willingness and readiness to soak in the Creator, the Author and the Perfector of faith. It is about seeing his glory beyond the alerts, schedules and notifications continually pinging you. It is about getting quiet in the rush. It is about listening for truth over lies. It is about asking for more rather than existing with less.

It is about being with Him.

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How to Find the Holy in Ordinary Trials

Holy in Ordinary Trials

Daily life is living a grind. You wait at a light, people pass. The light turns green, you go. You hit a red light, you stop. Then, you go. So does everyone else – every minute of the day, that make up hours, that make up days, that make up weeks, that make up lives. You get the picture. But, do you?

We stop and we go, we pause and we laugh, we cry and we try again, we fear and we fret, and before we know it – that was our life.

Breathe deep.

What if you acknowledged every moment as holy?

The dog rushing out the red door? You chasing after him in 10-year old pajamas. Holy.
The disagreement with that family member?  Holy.
The homework hour with the kid who doesn’t get it? Holy.
The carpool line that makes you feel less than? Holy.
The project at work that never ends? Holy.
The preparations for another dinner? Holy.

My son screaming in agony because his stomach hurts? Me, holding the bag around his neck as the yuck came out? A night of no sleep? Sitting here, with the face of baggy eyes and an oozy head – and a day of lost work ahead – it becomes a little harder to throw this blessed word to the wind and to watch it fly. Everything is always harder when it is personal.

If God, Father of all…
is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:6),
then he fills all ordinary moments with holy.

If we look for God’s holiness,
we will find it.

Between grabbing the trash bag and putting it around his neck, I laid my bruised hip on the ground with a grunt (I fell down the stairs the day before).  And in the middle of one of my super-wide I-really-hope-this-is-all-said-and-done yawns – it came. The holy, the special, the heaven unzipping moment we all search for: “Mommy, thank you for loving me. Thank you for taking care of me.”  

He saw love in action.
I saw raw thanks.
It inspired me.
Holy.

What have you written off as worthless? Dead? Not important?

What you consider worthless, God considers priceless, holy valuable.

Holy valuable means that the fleeing dog
is a reminder of how God pursues you when you’re lost.

Holy valuable means your disagreement is
a humility bootcamp preparing you for big missions.

Holy valuable means homework with the frustrated kid
is your chance to illustrate grace.

Holy valuable means the carpool line is a meeting point
to find God’s unconditional love over man’s tempermental approval.

Holy valuable means you learn God is in control of the project.
You surrender; He helps you.

Holy valuable means you remember, as you prepare dinner,
Jesus prepares a room for those who serve him.

Holy valuable means 8-hours of no sleep highlights the meaning of sacrificial, deep and authentic love – and how it works.

Breathe deep.

God is not only in your big “I-need-huge-faith moments”, but he is in your little moments. The faith garnered there, is faith that launches you to bigger there’s.

Noah did what God commanded him (Gen. 6:22). He saved nations.
Daniel prayed 3 times a day (Dan. 6:10 ). He saw miracles.
Elijah followed through in what God called him to do (2 Kings 1:15). He spoke the very prophecies of God.
David got reliant on God. He conquered not only lions and bears but giants (Sam. 13:34-37)

How might God use you for big things,
if you sought after his heart, presence and promptings in the little?

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Lu. 16:10

Little trials are big doors that walk us right into God’s epic story, his unparalleled vision for this world. You count it momentary, he counts it monumental. You count it nothing, he counts it everything. You count it unseen to others, and he says, “Yes, that’s the point.”

Breathe deep and recognize – your ordinary moments are holy valuable.

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When you Feel Rejected

Feel Rejected

We loved each other, I thought. Dashing up to him, I placed a decorated plate of deviled eggs before him, my favorite. I hoped he loved them, because coming off a fresh loss, my heart was hurting and looking for care. I completely botched up the championship basketball game by dropping and kicking the ball out of bounds on the court. Not once, but twice. Whoops. All I wanted sympathy, compassion. My heart hurt – but, little did I know, it was about to hurt even more.

He looked up at me and shoved the eggs away. His eyes said it all, he no longer wanted to know me. I wasn’t good enough. He got up and grabbed something behind the door. It was a woman. Ushering her in by her hand, he carefully sat her down in my chair and gave me the look, “I am done with you. It’s time to go.”

Aimlessly roaming the streets, I found myself homeless. I had only my comforter, a blanket that was a prize from the basketball game. Not knowing where to go, I held it close – it had my teammates signatures on it. I walked on and on.

When someone deserts us, we walk in a desert.

With a million piles of past rejection on us.

I woke. Thank you, God, this was only a dream. But, was it? Perhaps, it is reality.

Have you ever noticed, the rejection today carries the weight of yesterday?  What pours is the same waterfall of emotions.

Just yesterday, I walked outside a military base. I grabbed coffee first. Intending to go in, I stared down at my shirt. Dang it! I’d gone splashed coffee all over myself.

I can’t go in there.
Not around those people in starched up uniforms.
Ones dressed to military perfection.
They’ll stare.
They’ll laugh at my stains.

They’ll see straight into me. They’ll be confronted with my faults. My botch-ups. It is too much, way too much.

Afraid of being a walking eye sore, I stop mid-step – I remembered something…

Whether I’m walking stained or with fresh rejection pain,
just like in my dream, I always walk with the inscribed Comforter.

Do I even give it credence? Do I allow it to serve its purpose?

But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. (Jo. 14:26 AMP)

Do you cover yourself with the warmth, protection and safety of the Comforter when you feel uncomfortable? When you feel undone in shame?

You can, because He is with you. We don’t roam this barren earth without support, without care.

As Christians, we can press up against the Comforter who:
1. Leads us in the way we should go. (John 16:13)
2. Brings freedom. (2 Cor. 3:17)
3. Dispenses love and joy. (1 Thess. 1:6)
3. Speaks the mind of Christ to us. (1 Cor. 2:16)
4. Points our heart back to Jesus. (John 16:14-15)

When we draw near the Comforter,
we draw real and tangible strength from the Savior.

Jesus, He chose me, stains and all.
Jesus, He covers me with his love.
Jesus, He did not abandon me. And never will.
Jesus, He will make me white, no matter how coffee-splattered my shirt is.
Jesus, He will reflect light onto me as I turn my darkness into it.

I walked right onto that military base.

I walk, stained, amongst the perfection of starched uniforms, precision strides and measured haircuts.  I walked, me – a stained, plain girl. But what I also walk with – is comfort.

It reminds me, I need not be perfect. I need not be flawless. I need just walk with my Comforter, the one who inscribes the name of Christ on me. Then, suddenly, it is not about me – or giant coffee stains – any longer. I find hope.

“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”  (Gal. 6:8)

If I could, I would sow that Comforter right on me. But, you know what? I don’t have to, he’s sowed in me.

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25 Ways: To Let Jesus Reign

Overcome Like Jesus: 7 Ways He Proves You Can

Are you Afraid to be Happy?

Afraid to be Happy

Happiness.

It’s the thing every Christian wants but is afraid to admit.
It’s the thing we chase, yet hardly find.
It’s the thing we’re ashamed to claim as our deep longing.

As a child, my school was an extension of church. It’s where I tested out happy. Joyfully, I laughed, talked and told stories. I was loud, excited and eager. I was – alive, even, until I learned I wasn’t acceptable. Until, the teacher pulled me by the arm, kneeled me before a statue and told me I was wrong – sinfully wrong for it. My hard knees on a hard floor proved happy doesn’t work so well.

Happy bubbles get burst easily.

Another time, an opportunity of a lifetime showed up on my doorstep. I screamed in my house, I jumped up and down, twirled the twirl and danced the jig. Yes! Yes! Double Yes! This was what I had been waiting for.

I ran to tell a most trusted friend. I smiled, blabbed and anticipated the moment we would scream in unison. What I got was – dead air. Then, came the dry words of, “Oh, that’s good. Now, what were we talking about before?!”

Unhappy can’t easily get comfortable with happy. They repel each other, quite often.

Better not to be happy, right?

After hearing a whole lot of sermons like this:
1. You just gotta carry your cross in this world.
2. A horrific thing happened? Oh, that’s God’s will.
3.) We are only living for eternity

you start believing this world actually is the hell you fear.

Somewhere, along the lines we ended up with a theology of agony,
not Christianity. 

I rebuke that line of thinking. Jesus didn’t come to break us down. He didn’t come to ruin us. And, he certainly didn’t come to make us slaves. While we are assured we will hit pain and suffering (2 Tim. 3:12), God’s forever-assignment for us is not a downcast spirit, dejection and demoralization.

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child;
and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Gal. 4:7

We don’t have to live like morose monks – when people, problems or pricks hit us –
because we are loved children, with a good Father.

What good parent wants their kid to continually suffer?
What good parent holds back the greatest joys of childhood?
What good parent doesn’t band-aid up a cut and send the kid back to the playground?
What good parent doesn’t leave their child with the best things they ever owned?

I want to thank Jennifer Duke’s Lee and her book The Happiness Dare.
She pointed out: “The greatest source of happiness is Christ in me.”

Yes! Say AMEN with me, now!

Christ in me is the power of joy – flowing out from me. 

Christ in you is the power of joy – flowing out from you. 

Jennifer adeptly helps me realize by accessing who God made me to be, I can launch – happy and free.

Do you know what makes you happy?

Did you know you have a happiness style (Take the Happiness Quiz)? You may be a: Doer (a little like me), Experiencer (a lot like me), Relater (a lot like me), a Giver (not like me) or a Thinker (a lot me).

Okay, ya’ll, you busted me, I’m a whole bunch of ’em.

It’s okay though, because I want to embrace them – all 3 of them. Somehow, I figure, God loves nothing more than when we step into the full beauty of who he created us to be. It’s like we zip off the world and we step out radiant. We are His masterpiece, after all.

Might it be time we agreed with God? We can be happy with who we are, without shame.

I love how Jennifer puts it, “God delights in your delight. He takes pleasure in your pleasure.  But, it doesn’t end with our pleasure alone. Oh no. You see, this is all for his pleasure. This is all about God.”

Happiness transcends me. When we are fully who we were made to be – we light up the world.

Rather than grunting in pain to a world about how hard it is to be a Christian, we light it up with smiles, songs and dances that glorify God!

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Mt. 5:16

People who know God “ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world! – A.W. Tozer 

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The Happiness Dare:
Pursuing Your Heart’s Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire

Jennifer Dukes Lee has good news for anyone who’s ever secretly, longingly (even guiltily) dreamed of being happier: It’s okay to want to be happy. God cares about your happiness; He created it as a sweet spot, a gift, and something you can faithfully, freely pursue. And He’s daring you to trust Him enough to discover it.

Learn more about The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

 

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

 

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

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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