Purposeful Faith

Category - blessings

Do You Have Eyes to See?

Do you have eyes to see?

I remember when I was young, I went to the PGA US Open when it was held near my town.

Amidst the thousands of people,
amidst my sister who turned into a lunatic,
amidst people pushing and shoving,
I remember tottering on my tippy toes just to see.

I just wanted to see the world famous Tiger Woods.

I knew that I wouldn’t really get a hello from him or a handshake – there were too many people and he was too famous. I was too average and he was too important.

But I just wanted to grab a look.

Wasn’t it similar for Zacchaeus?

And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. (Luke 19:3-4)

He just wanted to see.
He knew he was small.
He knew he was guilty.
He knew he was unworthy.
But, he just wanted to see the man who had power.

He wanted to cast his eyes on the one who could entirely change the game. So much so, that little Zacchaeus went to new heights – in a tree- to see new depths – in the an unforseen King.

Jesus rewarded this “go-to-any-lengths-mentality.”
Jesus rewarded this heart that wants to view his glory.
Jesus rewarded this will to see from a new view.

Jesus rewards a simple desire to see.

Jesus responds in such a different way than any earthly celebrity would.

He is less concerned about his destination (Lu. 19:1), and more concerned about salvation.

He halts all his plans, just to to see one man everyone probably hates – and he turns it into a opportunity to heal.

Can you imagine for a moment how it is being in a crowd of people? Jesus would not be able to see ahead or behind him, but Jesus knew the only way he needed to be looking – was up.

He never had the need for speed, but instead had a deep desire to fill an aching need. He stopped, he saw and then he went the extra distance and met the man in the most intimate of places – his home.

Jesus saw the one who truly needed eyes to see.
He put his plans on pause, for a greater cause.
He saw the need of the moment, rather than the plan of the hour.

He saw what no one else wanted to see – “the sinner”. (Lu. 19:7)

Zacchaeus had eyes to see.
Jesus had eyes to see.

Do we?

Do we seek to see Jesus from new perspectives?
Do we give all our heart to find him?
Do we risk climbing difficult trees to seek him?

And, what do we see in the midst of the hustle and bustle?
What do we see in the spaces between our to-do list action items?
What do we see in the faces of those we love?

Because, when we stop to see, what we often end up with is a great visit
by the great Comforter –
who never ceases to leave us unchanged.  

He knows our needs and ministers to our hearts.

Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today. (Lu. 19:5)

I want Jesus to visit me in my house, don’t you?

Because a visit from Jesus, changes our hearts, our minds and our lives as nothing else can.

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Lu. 19:9)

What does Jesus stand ready to give you when you only seek to see?

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Counting Gifts Instead of Problems

Good gifts from above

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

Christmas vacation came to an abrupt end as my husband and I listened to water gush underneath the bathroom floor. It wasn’t just coming out of the drainage pipe. No, it sounded like a waterfall beneath our feet.

The longer we stood there waiting for the noise to stop, the more dollar signs I saw adding up in my head. This was the second plumbing issue we’d encountered during Christmas break, and we still had not received the bill from the first service call.

As my mind raced with endless possibilities, I sent up a frail prayer hoping the damage would be minimal. Although I avoided complaining outwardly, I inwardly assumed the posture of punished child.

Why did this have to happen right after Christmas, when we’d just spent money on travel and gifts? Why did these types of things always happen in multiples?

Potty training a high-maintenance, strong-willed child added to my list of stresses. A struggling family member kept me awake at night.

As my inner monologue rehearsed all of these things, it sounded like a six-year-old whining. But the thought that disturbed me the most was one I’ve seen countless times from followers of Christ when times get hard: Why was God punishing me? What had I done?

Had we missed a tithe check, neglected acts of service or turned a blind eye to someone in need? As my mind sunk further into a downward cycle of self-pity, I knew my thoughts were not from the Creator. I was in the midst of a battle of the mind, and I needed to grasp onto the light of Truth.

I stole a few moments by myself and counted gifts. I thanked God that I have a husband who is handy and able to make repairs when times get rough. I thanked him that we live in an area where we have resources available to us. As I walked our dogs, I praised God for the beautiful weather we came home to the previous day. But the further I went down a rocky, uneven path, the more one question kept repeating itself in my head.

Why do I perceive negative circumstances as punishment from God, but often fail to recognize blessings as God’s love?

I reflected on everything I love about my life on a given day. A song that comes on the radio at just the right time. The way my three-year-old throws himself into hugs, his whole body wrapped around you. A beautiful sunrise that turns the entire horizon a deep shade of orange.

How could I not look at each of these gifts and think, “Wow, God must really love me”? And if I recognized each of these blessings as an expression of love from my Creator, how would it change me?

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

He does not change, friends. He doesn’t have a mood swing and decide to clog up your drain. He doesn’t get hormonal and decide not to listen to your prayer. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

When he allows us to face trials, it is not because he is angry with us, but to draw us to Him and refine us. Each struggle we face is an opportunity to build character.

Tonight, as I sit in the soft glow of the Christmas tree, I’m still counting. I’m counting not only the gifts he’s given me, but the ones I know will come. Because he’s that good.

As the list grows, I feel his love swelling up inside of me. He loves me so much. And he loves you, too.

So today, as your brewing your coffee and listening to your favorite tune on the radio, remember he created this day just for you. Let truth of that realization sink in and fill you with a love so deep it overflows.

 

Guest Contributor

Abby McDonald is mom, wife and southern girl who fell in love with writing at a young age. She started Fearfully Made Mom because she felt God gently pushing her to share her writing with others who may feel alone in their struggles with self-doubt, accepting God’s grace, and finding their identity in Christ. Her desire is to show women they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who will relentlessly pursue them, even during their darkest times.

When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, Abby enjoys hiking, photography, reading, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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Immanuel “God is with us”

Post by Christy Mobley

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, God with us.” Matthew 1:23

It was the week before Christmas and I was feeling the stress, instead of Christmas, I felt more like Chris-mess.

Yes, I was knee-deep in wrapping paper strewn clear across the floor, with boxes and ribbons and bows and more.

It looked like the world’s kind of Christmas to me and less like the one I thought Christmas should be.

You might say I was bah-hum-bug at this time of year, all I really wanted was to feel God was near…

It was early Saturday morning and I was already stressed. It didn’t help that I neglected my time alone with God. Somehow on this day, my to-do-list which was already a mile long, got a VIP slot on  my morning schedule. I had people to shop for, a party to plan, and for sanity’s sake, I needed to clean up the ginormous mess on the floor where I had been wrapping gifts the night before.  And, I knew if I got organized I might even find those pesky scissors I was sure were hiding somewhere beneath that pile of gift wrap and tangled ribbon!

The whistle on my phone, alerting me to a text, momentarily distracted me from the tasks at hand.

The text was from a new friend. I say new, because Sheri had started visiting  our life group at church a few months ago. As a group we had been praying for her mother who had been in and out of the hospital for cancer treatments. Other than church, we didn’t communicate.

But recently that all changed. She started sending  me texts to keep me up-to-date on her mom’s progress, and in the back and forth we forged a friendship.

On this particular morning she texted me to let me know her mom had taken a turn for the worse. I had never felt prompted to visit Sheri before,  but when I read the text that Saturday, I heard God whisper into my heart, “Go. Go be with her now”.

Though, I instinctively knew this whisper was from God, I have to admit I texted Sheri back, asking which hospital her mom was in, half hoping it would be on the other side of the universe so I’d have an excuse to get back to my mile long to-do-list which didn’t include a hospital visit.

However, as God would have it, Sheri was close by. Little did I know, God would have my new friend change my Christmas from stressed to a Christmas blessed.

I rallied my husband and off we went.  We arrived at the hospital room just as another couple were leaving. I was relieved to see Sheri was not alone. We visited for a while, and before we left, David and I prayed for her and her sweet mama. Sheri seemed at peace, and I was glad I had put my to-do-list aside for a while.

Later that afternoon, I heard from Sheri again, this time her text gave me goose bumps.

It read:

“Thank you for coming to the hospital….cool story. Early in the morning, about 1:30, the nurse tried to reposition my mom.  It was heartbreaking to see her in so much pain.  I left and went to the hospital chapel to pray.

I got on my knees and prayed for my mom, and I prayed for God to please not leave me alone. I feared the dark abyss I fell into after my divorce.  I slept for about two hours from 2:00-4:00 and was awakened by an audible voice saying, ‘I am here’.

I looked around, but no one was there. I wasn’t dreaming, I knew what I heard.

About 7:00 a.m. a friend responded to a Facebook post and asked if she could come to the hospital. Then one of my old neighbors came by, then you and David. Later, my friend Harrison from NY called, and then Diane.

My heart was full. It was God, He heard my prayer and didn’t leave me to be alone.

God was near. God was here.

For the 400 years prior to the birth of Christ, God was silent. His people didn’t hear from Him. They felt alone.  Galatians 4:4 says, ” … when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son…”  and Matthew 2:3 says that his son “….will be called Immanuel, God with us.”  God sent His son, at just the right time, to be with us so that we would never have to be alone again.

God heard Sheri and was there for her.

He heard my longing and was there for me.

In allowing me to take part in this Saturday morning miracle, He brought the real reason back into this Christmas season and changed my Christmas mess to a  Christmas blessed.

At just the right time He blessed us with the gift of His presence.

Immanuel, God is with us.

Christmas is not about tinsel and bows, it’s about God sending Jesus to earth’s humble abode.

He came so we’d never again be alone. He came so we could one day call  heaven our home.

 Merry Christmas friends!

Purposeful Faith Contributor

Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. If you would like to connect with Christy you can find her at www.christymobley.com

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Do You Want to Be Blessed?

want to be blessed

Do you want to be blessed? Maybe life has kicked you while you’re down and you need a pick-me-up. Or, maybe nothing exciting has happened in your life for a while? Or maybe you feel you deserve something good.

We all want blessings.  And, we serve a God who delights in giving good things. He loves us like a father. He wants to bestow his love & his gift. It doesn’t get much better than being blessed by the Lord.

But, if we want to be blessed, we are wise to take a look at our part in the process. What are values that the Lord loves to bless…Read the rest of my post on Abby McDonald’s blog, Fearfully Made Mom.

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