Purposeful Faith

Category - birth

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 ).

The Question: It Will Bring Life Or Hold You Back

Brings life

I know what you all would say. I am blessed. I got invited as guest on Proverbs 31’s “Compel Conversation”.

You may say, “What is the issue, Kelly? This sounds like a good thing.”

It is. I agree, except for this likely question: “Tell us a little bit about yourself…”

What “little bit” does anyone even care about? Who am I?

Am I the middle schooler who won the Junior Olympics bronze medal for race-walking (yes, it’s as duckish and as funny-looking as it sounds)?

Am I the caffeinated and domesticated house-cleaner, laundry-pusher and child-rearer who works tirelessly to keep the house moving?

Am I the secret vagabond woman who loves to pack up all her goods and travel to some new and foreign land that she hasn’t traversed? After all, I am taping up brown cardboard yet again…

Am I the woman who hides in the bathroom when life gets tough and kids become screamers?

Am I fighter woman, the one constantly trying to keep one hand on God as my feet side-step this world detonating with traps?

Who am I? Who are you, really?

How do we sum up the 78 organs that make up “woman” when they are constantly changing? Growing. Shrinking. Aging. Becoming. Dying.

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And why is there this demand that we know?

Will we ever know?

Because I don’t. And, I don’t know if I ever will. And perhaps this is the point. Perhaps we won’t really know our place in home, until we really arrive at home. Perhaps, we won’t see our tailor-made and perfected job in God’s kingdom until we walk right up to the gates – and pull them open – and walk right in.

Then, we will see…

Then, we won’t share a “little bit,” but we will radiate in “the everything” God made us to be.

Does all of this transcend to the here and now?

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When do you feel alive?

When I stand in Christ’s love, 
I become more aware that who I am is – one – made to love & be loved.

I see:
It is not who we are, but whose we are.

I am not scabbed, but healed by truth.
It’s not about me, but about how God sees me.
It is about where he wants to go…

this is when I come alive.

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Perhaps, all these little moments – with God – they force the true out from the cracks.

The heaviness of me…
can’t stop the new growth of God.
It is not restrained by the weight of life… 

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A woman made in the image of Jesus.
A woman walking with his being in her.
A woman pursuing the dream of his cause.
A woman existing in his truth.
A woman fighting against her desires to win and succeed and – to walk all over people.
A woman looking to get untied, so she can rely on him.
A woman falling on her face, but getting back up again.
A woman healed from things that could have killed her.

This is a little bit about Kelly: A woman twirling in love. A woman listening to the Spirit’s leading. A woman always anticipating more doses of God’s best.

Who are you?

What heaviness is tying you down?

What might God’s love want to push out from within you?

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Seizing Resurrection Power

Resurrection Power

What looks without light in your life?

What looks buried over so much that you are convinced is impossible to dig out? 

If you came up with nothing, think deeper. What is it you believe you can’t do?

Remember this thing. 

I am face-to-face with impossible these days. What I want to do, I have tried to do, yet no matter what, I just can’t seem to do it. To make matters worse, the problem sources within me. If it was others – their circumstances, problems or things – those wouldn’t be so offensive, you know, you can more easily brush those off, but what is internal it feels eternal sometimes.

Sure, I said I have forgiven, but truly forgiving is hard when someone keeps on offending.  It is hard when you feel abandoned and ignored. It is hard when those feelings rise to the surface and make you remember stuff.

So I go deep…

I cover my irritation in the darkness, but there it sits.
The pain was a time ago, but irritation sits heavy.
The relationship waits, and I lay immobile to feelings.
The rock lays over me, and I am closed up into myself.
I am tightly wrapped, in my own thoughts about how things should go.
I can’t breathe, I feel upset at myself for not being able to move on.

I feel like I am stuck in a hole. A deep, unscalable, deathly, waterless hole.

But, here is the kicker – so is Jesus.
And, here is the double kicker – he rose from it and will raise you up too! 

In the tomb, where you feel dead,
Christ is ready to rise up in you – to make you alive.

In the tomb where all things seem lost, 
Christ already won that battle.

It is called resurrection power!

“But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb…and did not find the body.” (Luke 24:2-3)
Resurrection power!

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5) Resurrection power!

“He is not here, He is risen.” (Mark 16:6)
Resurrection power!

What looks dead, comes alive.
What seems impossible, becomes possible.
What seems unbearable, becomes bearable.
What seems hopeless, finds hopefulness.

What is it for you that looks dead, dank and dying before you?

Jesus is raising it up to new life. By his stripes you are healed and by his resurrection a new answer to your situation is being revealed.

Jesus both tells and asks you something. Something pointed, like he did to Martha not so long ago, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Do you believe this?

See your situation and believe this verse over it. Grab it like a lifeline. Call it yours.

As you do, he will lift you up out of the pit. You simply: 1.)hand it over to him 2.) let his resurrecting forgiveness wash over it and 3.) feel the promises clean your shame-soaked body.

Here’s what happens – He saturates it with so much light, it nearly blinds you to what was of old. Then, as he raises you to new heights, you move from trauma to transformation (and it doesn’t even feel that hard). Why? Because the power of resurrection sinks right into you…

…if only you believe.

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5 Transformational Tips: Make God’s Word Come Alive

Come Alive

Another day.
Another bible reading.

Skimming. I’ve read it before.
Half listening. I know what to expect.
Not discovering. I know the punchline.

Does the bible ever fall flat because you have flattened out
and read its pages so many times?

 

Does your mind have a hard time idling on God’s Word,
because the world speeds too fast around it?

 

I can’t seem to keep my heart in the place where the heart of God is – and that is the problem.

This problem, if not addressed, will, before long – stamp and deliver my heart to destinations I never intended to arrive at.  Frustrationville or Aggravationmount or some place like that. It could just as easily bring me to Jealoustown or Pridebury. Either way, they are places that reek of self and shame and guilt. Their roads are rocky and tumultuous. Every time, they leave me with a stomach turning knots over itself.

I’d rather not.

So, how do you dive into God’s Word, like a fresh glass of lemonade on a hot day? How do you dive into it, knowing that you have had it one hundred and one times, but still, wanting and needing it? Craving and desiring it? Thirsting and salivating over it?

5 ways to make the Word of God come alive:

1. Let your senses sense what the sentiment was.

Imagine being the lead role in the story. See yourself there. Sense your sin and the idea that you or your family has done something terribly wrong. Feel the judgement of the Pharisees upon you. Wonder if God really can and will heal you. Let your heart beat.

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. Jo. 9:6

2. Take your part in the redemption story.

Hear the words of Jesus leave his mouth. Feel the mud in your hand. Experience vision. Look amazed at what surrounds you. Set your eyes on Jesus.

Then, see yourself run to the masses to share the glory of the only one who could heal in this way. Take a snapshot of the story with your senses. Know that while this was his story, it is also your story.

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Jo. 9:25

3.  Ask yourself, “What about this experience is calling me to think, do or say differently?”

When you take a moment to think of all God has done, you can’t help but think of all he wants to do. His will makes your will jump up and down just at the thought of serving him.

The (once blind) man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.”  Jo. 9: 30-31

4.  Believe: He loves you, just as much as he loved them.

Just because you feel less than, doesn’t mean that God sees you that way. Believing that you are worthy of his gifts, love and encouragement, will allow your heart to receive them. Rather than keeping up defenses to his Word, you will lay them down and He will enter in.

The Once- Blind Man: “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.” Jo. 9:32

5. Avoid boxing God in (and you might just find your way out of your box).

When you believe in you heart, what Jesus did through Scriptures, you’ll find in your mind you can conceive the great things he wants to do through your life.

It sounds simple, but simple belief is so often what it comes down to.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. Jo. 14:12

When you approach God’s Word in this way, you realize you hold living water that is not bitter, old or common. Instead, you taste the fruit of what God has done and is about to do. It fills, it satiates and it refreshes. Like lemonade on a parched day – it’s a drink you can’t wait to indulge in, lap up and embrace word by word. It is peace and replenishment all in one.

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Snapping Beauty, Crushing Vision and Tiny Stitches

Snapping Beauty

Snapping Beauty

I probably would be the girl that you’d least like to walk behind on a busy street. I might even be the one that you’d silently curse under your breath (although not too loudly or discernibly because you are Christian, after all), but all the same I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. You might even step on my heels a little to give me a quick signal I am being slow, rude and indignant.

Heck, I may even deserve it.

But, would I stop doing it? No way. Would I stop listening to the small voice that speaks about 2 feet below me. I don’t think so.

You see, I think that little voice of immaturity is on to something all the rest of us have been missing. He is on to something that in our pursuit of destination we miss. He is on to the small meaning of life, the beauty in the cracks of a sidewalk and the peculiarities in a bird with a beak of an different variety.

He is mesmerized by creation and affirmed
in God’s determination to show love.

We call it a sidewalk. He calls it a God-walk. 
We call it a place where you move from one place to another. He calls it a place you see one glory to another.
We call it a stroll, he calls it God being on a roll.

Snapping Beauty

“Stop mommy, you gotta see those birds over there. Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see that little flower sticking out of the wall? Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see the way the sun is coming out of the clouds? Take a picture!”

Snapping Beauty

Snap that shot mommy and don’t let me ever forget about this little slice of moment where what God showed is greater than the crazy, mundane and forced things in this world.  Capture the moment of greatness that only those who have the small eye seeking beauty can find. Get that and let me hold on to it so I can remember how God wanted me to see him above the scary, freaky and dark things of world.

Snapping Beauty

Snap.
Beauty.

Snap.
Meaning.

Snap.
A moment that will last forever.

Crushing Vision

How often do I look at the world like one waiting to be mesmerized?
How often do you?

I always thought I could see, but now I see, I was always becoming blind.

Maybe it happens to others like me. The ones who pull “drive” out of their back pocket and put on the glasses of determination to try to get themselves somewhere. Ones who believe they’ll end up seeing peace, joy and life from goals, plans and agendas. These types, they run a fast race; they move like a panther in hot pursuit of prey (work, spouses, cleanliness, promotions, money, vacations, internal value (fill in blank), yet tired and panting, huffing and puffing they always land in the same place –  in the alley called dead end, dead life and dead weight.

I should know, busted my head in that alley.  I told myself I needed to be best in my class (fail.). I told myself I needed to get the best job ever out of college (I went bust at the job after a year). I told myself I needed to press through an abusive situation (nightmares plagued me).

Dead-locked vision left me for dead and on lock down with discouragement.

Tunnel vision drive, driving towards anything but God’s goals leaves you driving into a head-on collision where you feel like you can’t breathe and you are not sure if you can return to normal life.

I thought those who try hard – win big.  Where did I go wrong?

Tiny Stitches

Blind folk start to see again, when they aren’t afraid to see themselves as dirty.

After saying this, (Jesus) spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. Jo. 9:6

Untitled design (8)Yet, I don’t think it is only this. It is not just saying, “Hey God, go ahead, put that stinking muck on me. I am okay with it. I am okay with seeing myself as tarnished, hurt, powerless and needing the reality of myself to cleanse me.”

Nope. I think it transcends this.

“Go,” (Jesus) told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. Jo. 9:7

Be willing to wear the grime of your self, your past, your wrongs, and your traumas – and then allow yourself to be sent out. See those things in a way where they earned your masters degree of life learning.

You let the dirt sit afresh on your eyes, you feel the muck and the yuck, and then you let the word “sent” compel your whole being to move to greater insight, vision and power; you move with them and beyond them all at the same time.

Then you start to see. As the grime of what you really are, the disgust of what you have been and the pain of shame wash off, you finally get somewhere.

“I went and washed, and then I could see.” Jo. 9:11

I could see innocence.
I could see through eyes untarnished.
I could see roads untainted.
I could see the slow movement of ordinary things.
I could see worry dissipate and fears calm.
I could see people – pained people.
I could see glory – in sunrises, sunsets, grime and grit.
I could see beauty – in grace extended.
I could see growth – by offering space.
I could see life – budding in the small forging of patience.
I could see flowers – protrude from the cracks of pain.
I could see longing, desire and hope.

Snapping Beauty

It is a picture that even words fall short of explaining. So, you just stop, drop your jaw at what you see, then you look for someone that doesn’t have their head stuck in automated zombie-zone, and together, you snap a picture. Usually with the child, the innocent one who gets the greatness of God. And, then, you go about carrying on in the mayhem called planet earth until God staggers yet again with all he has stored up in the unseen places of the world.

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Prepare Your Heart for the Birth of Jesus

Prepare your heart for the birth of baby Jesus

Mary and Joseph knocked on the door to inn, but there was no room.  There was no space.  Every inch of the inn was occupied.

“…She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:7)

As we prepare for Christmas, we are wise to create room for the greatest gift of Christmas to be delivered.  We are wise to make sure we don’t say, “Jesus, I don’t have room for you.”  Because, if we fill our mind, our actions and our hearts with other things, we will have a big sign on our hearts that shines “no vacancy.”

This means, we have to slow down, and clear out some internal junk to make room for Jesus. We must open the doors of our soul and say, “Yes, Lord, we have room.” We must look him in the eyes and say, “Let us roll out the red carpet – the VIP treatment – for you Lord!” We must say, “You are the preferred guest in my heart.”

Making room for Jesus means we:

Pray and ask Jesus to make himself apparent in our hearts.
– Acknowledge to God that we are prone to stray.
Keep our eyes focused on the word of the Lord.
Meditate on the story of Christmas and the gift called Jesus
Repent of any idols we are putting before the Lord.
Let go of worries, anxieties and busyness to find Christ.
Find joy in the grace and glory that Christ brings.

Prepare your heart. Make room for the King.  He is coming.

Don’t let your heart blink with a no vacancy sign. Don’t turn away the greatest gift ever given.  Create room for the arrival of baby Jesus.

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