Purposeful Faith

Category - blessings

How To Keep Standing When The High Winds Hit

How To Keep Standing

I want to stand upright when hurricane winds come. “With God, I am strong.”
I want to not be concerned with the earth falling all around me. “God has me.”
I want to not let my fruit not get dried out by circumstances.“God has the best in mind.”

But I don’t, instead I tend to fall over like a redwood with no roots when the winds come.  Worry grips me and the crash resounds so loudly in my heart. It’s the weight of I should have done better, I wish I acted differently, I can’t believe I didn’t trust.

But God says, the man who trusts in the Lord is blessed. (Jer. 17:7)
I want to be that woman – full, complete, with entire trust in God.

And what God says in verse 8, really gets my heart pumping for more:

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jer. 17:8)

We can steer clear of fear, stay green when life gets mean,
not have bouts of doubt in the drought
and share the spirit rather than throw a fit?

Now, I am listening.

If I can just plant my roots down.

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend…and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph 3:17-19

One who has faith in Jesus – and believes what he says –
is nearly unreachable by the devil.

One who has their deep earthly arms wrapped around the love of Jesus, 
can’t be pulled off of him when circumstances strike.

One who knows the cost of the cross and 
draws strength from the purchaser of all sin – 
let’s that sacrifice keep them in a place of eternal standing.

One who clenches the truth with all their might, isn’t afraid to some roots show.
They glow to the world and highlight the giver of all sustenance.

One who is rooted, gets the fullness of God,
not just for themselves but to share with the world.

God holds the one upright whose arms reach deeply  and steadfastly
into his Word to seek out all that he is.

This one stands tall, firm and powerfully.

All of this gets me wondering,
how can the devil cut down a tree with roots so plentiful,
so deep, so meaningful, so abundant and so apparent?

Must be hard.

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When we deeply plant roots into the love of Christ, we become standing trees who raise our branches in continual worship.  We suck in the living water of Jesus Christ and are renewed with his life-giving nutrients, embraced by his creation and stand tall in adoration and appreciation.

Deep roots, forged down, grip the heart of Christ; this is where strength is derived.

They extend needily into his sacrifice and hungrily into promises and God blesses that with renewal, replenishment and revival to the world.

From dead and wanting, to fed and giving in the blink of an eye.

From down and discouraged, to up and encouraged through the nails on the cross.

From hopeless and ruined, to hopeful and 100 feet tall through roots that can’t be touched by the world.

God’s fruit becomes our great food bank and it is the best tasting thing after fried ice cream.

I’ll take some of that – and all of the benefits of deep roots.

The bottom line? It comes down to:
I (God) love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Prov. 8:17

We love God, we seek God, we find God, we find peace, we find life, we find love for others, we find hope in this world, we send it out and nothing can knock us down. Period.

Love = God
God = Love
Love = Deep roots that receive his love.
Love = The way to endure this life.

If your a blogger, don’t miss out on the #RaRalinkup. Link up to yesterday’s post.

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When God Doesn’t Give (Linkup)

When God Doesn't Give

A unique opportunity was given to me – and then completely taken away.

I could have brought so much to the table. I knew I would have done a great job. I knew God would have used me in a powerful way. I so badly wanted to be used. I so badly wanted to give all I had.

But, I wasn’t chosen. In a sense, I was left behind.

I just needed the chance. Why not me God?
I just needed someone to believe in me. God, can’t you clear a path for me?

Am I not good enough for your blessings? Not special enough to move your mighty hand?

Like a mother removing a treat from a child’s hands, God was pulled away what was mine. I threw a tantrum of my own and wallowed in hurt feelings and disappointment.

God had given, only to rip away.

The moment of his gift- lost.
The sweetness of the moment – handed to someone else.

Bad, bad, bad thoughts rushed in, like:

“One day they will see…they should have picked me.”
“I could have done this better. I would have been different, but more impactful.”
“I will do great things one day and they will say, ‘We made a mistake, we should have given her the chance.'”

God loves reaching curtained hearts,
the ones covered by pounds and pounds of fabric
that hide his show
– and cover his glow.

He opens our eyes. He pulls back the curtains. He places our eyes on him. The one who is center stage. The director of all, so we don’t miss it. So we don’t miss his truth.

So we see what is really at play.

And, what God said to my open, plaint and needy self was:

“(Kelly), are you saying,
‘I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on my mount…,
on the utmost heights…
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High?'” 
Is. 14:12-14

Is that what you are saying, dear child? Because these words sound sadly familiar.

Words like:

“They will see my majesty.”
“They will see my glory.”
“They should have recognized me.”
“I will go so high.”
“I will one day show them.”

My heart was shocked. My eyes were open and his truth was flat out in front of me.

I was bowing down to the antithesis of truth.
To the great opposer of humility.
The enemy Father.

The enemy who says, God will leave you high and dry,
because he is up in the sky.

The enemy who points to your powerless as a weakness.

The enemy who shakes your feet to walk you  straight away from the heart of Christ.

He is effective. Powerful. Cunning.

We are his best target, because if he can hit us, he can momentarily thwart the plans of God in our lives. He can run our heart amuck in fear, worry and worthlessness. How can one living here, truly honor God?

Yet, If I keep God’s truth front and center I realize:

He may not give me the good I want in today, because he is preparing great for tomorrow.

This role may count for another’s soul.

My heart needs to learn a lesson in humility, so I can go to these places with stability.

When we are forced to step down, God steps up to teach our hearts deeper love.

God doesn’t want us reliant on opportunities, he want’s us reliant on him – the King.

He is forming us into a shadow-image of Christ, that should be our highest desire.

When it seems that God has taken away, the truth is – he has always given.

He has given us an opportunity to see his hand work in our heart. He has given us a chance to get on our knees. He has always given us a pliant heart.

He has given me a chance to be a foot warrior of contentment in the face of opposition and defeat. That is powerful.

He has shown me that the greatest victories aren’t in the big things we do for God, but in the small ways we endure, by faith, in defeat.

Now, my eyes are open to the workings of God.

Perhaps my greatest gift was found more in what I didn’t get, than what I did.  For, what I didn’t get forged lessons and a heart condition that will last to eternity. What I could have gotten would have been done in a moment.

God is always giving us his best. Don’t let the devil fool you.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

ON ANOTHER NOTE – 2 Quick Updates/Announcements:

1. I am delighted to tell you that I am introducing a new regular contributor to the fold at Purposeful Faith. This woman has spoken so many times to my needy and controlled heart. Her words have been like a soothing oil on the rough parts of my striving. She is a #RaRalinkup Cheerleader already and certainly a woman I call friend. I know that so many of you already know and love her. Certainly, you will be blessed by her words to come on this site.

Let’s welcome Katie Reid as a regular Purposeful Faith contributor!
Join us this Thursday to support her big debut!

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2. Compel members/future members – Join us tomorrow (Wednesday) on Twitter for the Compel Twitter party. Share a #CompelTip that you learned. On Thursday and Friday, linkup here.

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

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Find Beauty in the Restlessness

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

The feeling swept in with the morning rain clouds, as I sat by the window drinking coffee. Restlessness.

There were no defining edges to it. I couldn’t quite grasp where the emotion came from. It was just there. And it consumed me.

I daydreamed about moving to another town. We’d lived here four years so it was time, right? There were plenty of good reasons to migrate further south.

Like my mom’s stroke last year. Being over five hundred miles away was not ideal, and my parents weren’t getting any younger.

And I won’t even dwell on the winters here. This southern girl learned how to use a snow shovel a few years ago and purchased a new set of all-season tires, but I’d prefer not to have to use either.

Yes, I change of location was exactly what we needed. Wasn’t it? I was sure my restless ache would stop when the scenery became white sand and Palmetto trees.

But as the sun set later that evening and I watched my boys soaking up the last daylight hours, I sensed God speak.

Look for the beauty. Right here. Right now.

I saw the way the rim of the mountains slowly transformed in pink and deep blue right before nightfall. I felt the crisp evening breeze I often longed for on the sultry, humid evenings down south.

I watched the boys play and laugh with friends they’d made at church and smiled when the teacher bragged about my oldest son at a school fundraiser.

Later that week at dinner, I listened to women I’d grown to love share their kids’ latest antics and make plans for summer camping trips, trips to the pool, and marshmallow roasts.

Yes, there was beauty here. In all my restlessness and longing, I was missing it.

Sometimes instead of changing my situation, God changes me.

He wants me to see with his eyes and notice the blessings right in front of me. He is molding me and transforming me, and the some of the biggest, most life-changing transformations start with gratitude.

A full life isn’t made of moments counting down to the next major event. It is made of the moments we count our blessings.

 There may come a time when God moves us closer to my family. He knows how much I miss them during their absence and how I long to savor the time I have left with them.

But he also has an assignment and a ministry for me right here, within the walls of my home and in the community around me. When we are faithful right where we are, God is honored.

 He is glorified when instead of counting the days until my next trip south, I am present in the now.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 NIV

Today, if you’re feeling restless and cannot seem to pinpoint why, I encourage you to count. But don’t count the minutes until vacation or naptime or bedtime.

Count blessings.

Instead of counting the minutes, let’s savor the day.

Guest Contributor

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

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

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

More Than Enough

More than enough

Do you remember when you bought your first home?
Probably, no matter the price, you put a large bulk of your saved money into the down payment.

That’s how it worked for us.

With no extra money to buy furniture, I felt like it wasn’t just the echoes of empty rooms that were resounded in my heart, but the echoes of not having enough.

I can’t have people over, when the first thing they see is that room!
I can’t even enjoy this house, until we can actually sit down!
No one is walking through that front door, until things change around here!

But, God – he had different plans. His different plans, are always the best plans, for my not-so-well-laid plans.

He had plans to take my “not enough” and exchange it for “more than good enough.” He always seems to do that when we are looking, seeking and praying after his will, doesn’t he?

You see, the word “insufficient” doesn’t reside in Jesus’ vocabulary,

because he entirely defines the word sufficient.

If we have Jesus, we have the all-encompassing sufficient answer to every one of life’s problems. It can just be very hard to see in the whirlwind of pain.  He understands this and, in many cases, gently brings us right into his fold, when we are ready.

In my case, he exchanged my empty room and empty heart for something far greater,
way more hectic and a billion times more exciting.

My empty room, covered with the wallpaper of “not enough”, became “more than enough” as the paper busted at the seams, exposing joy, peace and glory.  We found our nightly ritual – a family worship session on the best dance floor in town – our living room.

We went in that room to dance and sing with all our hearts. We had more than enough!
We ran around with smiles wide and kids raised up. We had more than enough!
We saw our toddlers joy as they ran circles around us.  We had more than enough!
We opened our hearts and eyes to see our great high and lifted God. We had more than enough!

When we look for Jesus, no matter our situation –
whether a small one like mine or a bigger one like death –
we find him.

He is the door to our “more.”
He is the access to our joy.
He is the way to life.
He is the answer of peace.
He is the hope in all.

In my situation, I had much to be thankful for, but still, I was not content. I saw the door that I didn’t want visitors to enter, but what I didn’t realize was that my focus was on the wrong door.

I should have been looking at Jesus as the door.

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

Jesus is always the access point to greater things.

If you have walked through Jesus’ door of salvation, you are saved.
Not just saved for eternity’s joys, but saved to enjoy Christ’s present ones in today.
Are you seeking them?

If you have walked through Jesus’ door, you are gaining access to your calling and mission.
Are you using your gifts, talents and finances for his glory?

If you walk through Jesus’ door, you will find pasture.
Your Father wants to bring you much joy, peace and purpose in life.
Are you relying on him?

If we have chosen to walk through his door, Christ has presented us with eternal riches, his present day glory, focused missions, fulfilling callings, joy-filled songs, enduring character and his ever-present help in a time of trouble.

We no longer live in empty rooms of despair, discouragement and doubt, but our rooms become filled with the love and presence of Jesus Christ.

When we look for him, we realize we have – and always had – more than enough!

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Tim. 6:6-8)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Our great shepherd is leading us into his great, powerful and calm-of-heart pastures.
Will we follow him?

We already have “more than enough.”

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Today I am delighted to join #LiveFreeThursday, Five Minute Friday and #DanceWithJesus.

Who Owns Your Known?

Who Owns Your Known?

Post by:  Christy Mobley

I stood at attention like a toy soldier, fisted hands on hips, and a plastered smile so tight the muscles in my jaws twitched. It was there on the floor of the junior high gymnasium, where I awaited my fate.

In Jr High all I wanted be known for was being a duPont Dragon cheerleader.

But on that day when the names were called mine wasn’t among them.

When I wasn’t chosen, I remember feeling  jealous and bitter toward those who were.

That was 44 years ago. Today at 57, do I still want to be known for something?

If I’m totally truthful, yes I do. And you do too.

You might be thinking, No, I really don’t. But stop, and think about it for a minute. We all do.

For me, I want to be known as a good wife, mom, friend, writer, a good dresser, decorator, tennis player, and Bible study leader. And I like to be noticed for my efforts and applauded for a job well done.

We all want people to know us,

approve us,

like us

and sometimes, yes,

even envy us.

We count Facebook likes and our Facebook friends, our Twitter followers, Pinterest pins and our link-ups on LinkedIn.

We want to be known for something or be known by that “somebody” who is known by everybody.

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It starts in our youth and continues as we age. Wanting to be known is as natural as breathing and we all have an insatiable appetite for both.

But therein lies the problem. Our appetites.

Just like our appetite for food can lead us to gluttony and diseases of the body, our appetite to be known can lead us to diseases of the soul – greed, jealously, hatred and bitterness.

To keep our appetite in check, we need to recognize and understand the three P’s of known.

1. Provider – who owns my known?

2. Purpose – what’s my known for?

3. Perspective – is it mine forever or only a season?

John the Baptist was a man who could handle his known.

He had a huge amount of followers for his day in age, that is until Jesus took the majority of his following. When the disciples of John the Baptist asked him why people were leaving him to follow Jesus, John answered by saying …“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Ah, here in John 3:27, we are reminded that God gave John his position. It was not something he gained himself.

Only God owns our known.
He alone is the Provider.
We may put in the hard labor but it is God who swings the doors open.

The purpose of our being known is not to point to us ( it’s not about us folks) but to point to Jesus. John 1:6-7 says, concerning John the Baptist, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John, He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that thorough him all might believe.” God has a purpose and position for each season of our lives so that we may use it to point to Him.

Most importantly we must keep the proper perspective on our known-ness and not hold too tightly to something we may only temporarily possess. Job 1:21 reminds us, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

In the wake of losing our known-ness, be it followers, friends, a job, our family or whatever else, our perspective should always be one of joy in living under the wings of God’s sovereignty. There are times we must take a backseat to another for the spotlight to shine on Jesus.

John 3: 29-30 says, …“That joy is mine and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.

John the Baptist knew where his position came from,
he knew what his position was for and he was content in letting it go
when his time came to step aside.

This past year I received an extra portion of known-ness but when I started to fill it slip, I tried to hang on. And in doing so, I showed the telltale signs of not watching my P’s. I slid down the slippery slope of known into a selfish pile of actions that did anything but point to God.

Today as you take the kids to school, go to work, or check your Instagram account, ask yourself two questions.

What position has God placed me in?

And, in this position, am I pointing to Him?

Who owns your known?

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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. You can find Christy on her blog, Joying in the Journey at www.christymobley.com

A Sure-Fire Way to Get What You Most Want

A Sure-Fire Recipe for Blessings

Most of the time, and I hate to say this, I do anything but what is right.

I get frustrated at crying kids.
Get irritated at the load of work I have to do.
Feel annoyed with people who get in my way.
And grab hold of a discontent heart.
I look at others and judge.

I gravitate towards sin, especially when I am not filtering life through God’s Word.  With the burden of my sin and the distance it causes between me and God, I have been considering how to approach this. Because, like Paul says, I normally end up doing the exact things I don’t want to do. Then, I hate myself for doing them.

How do I do what is good to do and forgo what isn’t?

How do I find God’s  joy and his blessings
as I cast sin aside?

God delivered a simple recipe of truth to answer these questions in the sequence of these verses:

1.) Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)

It’s simple. Delight.
Delight in his truth.
Delight in his love.
Delight in his law.
Delight even more in his grace.
Delight in his power.
Delight in his sovereignty.
Delight in his being.
Delight in his guidance.
Delight in his mercy.

The more I delight, the more he will help me and offer me the deepest desires of my heart – the things I want the most. The things that I often try to obtain by sin. These are the things he wants to give me.  With this, God pushes out any works based approach as I delight in him.

The power of delighting casts out all fear of the future, people or circumstances, because God casts out any control they have over my future.

When we delight, they have no weight on God giving us what we most desire in the deepest recesses of our heart.

2. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Ps. 37:5)

If my ways are committed, then my ways are likely in his will. In this there is no disappointment, because I will what he wills. We are working in unison. It comes as no surprise to me that he says “he will do it.”

We delight and commit  – and he sees us through it.

When we delight in who God is and what he can and will do, all we want to do is commit to and trust in his amazing ways.

3.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light… (Ps. 37:6)

What is the result of delighting, committing and trusting?

He gives us the desires of our heart.
He does what we most desire.
​He brings righteousness.

The recipe for blessings is clear – we delight, commit and submit.

As we proclaim his goodness, sing songs of praise from our lips, we discover the joy that is God. We discover his ways, and we let go of our fears.

He makes us righteous solely by residing in him more. He delights us with the most amazing gifts of our lives, things we may not even be aware of, and he will do his will, which we also will in unison.

Let’s stick to this recipe, my friends – it will yield amazing results.

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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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I am happy to be joining Five Minute Friday today.

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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