Purposeful Faith

Category - blessings

International Stop And Share Day

stop and Share

It hit me.
I don’t like sharing.

As I sat in a group of women chatting one-hundred miles/hour, all I could think was what I wanted to say next. All I could think was how my story was going to impress and bless – so much so that couldn’t pay attention or think about retention.

How do you share with others when your thoughts
seem to cover the full parking lot of your mind?

Wow, God. I think about me a whole lot.

My emotions kind of make me want to throw myself up against the wall to say, “What is wrong with you, you selfish little girl,” yet my God would never approach me this way.

His love is patient, his love is kind, his love doesn’t seek to chastise, condemn or criticize my failings. His love stands to heal. Step-by-step, moment-by-moment, he reaches and teaches anew.

He pours out patience and gentleness as I move towards him.

So, today, with this idea in mind, this is why I am proud to introduce to you – International Stop and Share day! I am linking hands with Candice Blomeley for a day that is simply about small beginnings.

For me, it means less me and more love.

Perhaps you want to make a move towards selflessness today too.

It be as simple as sharing…

  • a cup of coffee
  • a parking space
  • your seat on the train
  • a kind word
  • a meal
  • your favorite shirt or pair of shoes
  • a visit
  • your time to help someone in need
  • a $5 Venmo to a friend
  • your cab
  • an extra tip on a receipt
  • your place in line
  • a tank of gas
  • your time to help someone move
  • a text or call to someone who would love to hear from you

Sometimes, changing over night seems impossible, but doing one small task, on one small day, looks entirely possible. This small movement makes all the difference.

Follow The Stop and Share Project:  Facebook & Twitter (#stopandshare2015 )

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The Joy Found Four Steps Back

Joy Found

I started running around a little.
Seeing other people.
Jumping in with them only to realize I shouldn’t be doing it.

Well, it is actually not as bad as it sounds, but it is actually still really bad. You see, I got online and started looking at all the people doing more than me. I started looking at how God is using them, gifting them and providing for them.

I saw their glow – and my mediocrity.
Their gifts – and my struggles.
Their smiles – and my sadness.

Like an album of poised perfection, as they radiated –  all my faults were punctuated.  Facebook seemed to exclaim, “Your really not that special.”

I hate it when it does that, don’t you? It can be an obnoxious friend. It’s shiny albums so often lead to dirty shame.

They have that? I wanted that too.
They went there? Why not me God?
They accomplished that? I will never.

Tsunamis in motion cannot be stopped; the hand of a human man doesn’t have the strength to hold them back. The thoughts roll in and they seem to take us down.

The stuff I have? It’s cruddy.
My clothes? They’re ugly.
My summer trips? They are small fry.
My status. It’s average.

How do I stop feeling this way God?

I don’t want to live like a pauper amidst your riches.

I don’t want to live thinking you won’t pull through,
when you already have.

I don’t want to live coveting,
when your life-injection power is found in praying.

How do I flip the switch of my hungry soul
to access the power of your nourishing being?

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully-grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15

God’s truth: By the time we have gotten to sin,
we have arrived too late.

The holiness party is long gone;
it was found 4 steps back.

Here is how it works:

1. We have a desire. I want more happiness and more riches and more recognition.

2. It tempts us. Kelly, don’t you deserve more happiness, more riches and more recognition?

3. It lures us.  Look at them. See what they have. See what you don’t.

4. It gives birth to sin.  Covet! Envy! Judge! Be prideful!

5. It leads to death.  Take what should be yours, at any cost. Put to death the temple within.

We beat sin not at the point of sin (#4), but at the point of disbelief (#1).

What is the impetus to your disbelief?
What little whispers coerce dissatisfaction in your life?

For me, it’s the whisper that I deserve to be happy, like really happy, slideshow-picture-perfect happy, glow-in-the-eye happy, arms-wrapped-around-each-other-so-tight-your-shoulders-get-smooshed happy.

MapQuest better send me there! A straight shot and no accidents please! That would throw off my happy meter.

It’s the whisper that small beginnings don’t count.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zech. 4:10

Even the disciples started as fisherman so they could understand the words, “Be fishers of men.”
David started by first being faithful to sheep.
The tiny amount of loaves and fish were only the beginning of God’s miracle.
God rejoices in the motion of faith-reliant beginnings.

It’s the whisper (and quite an embarrassing one) that I need you to love me. I kind of want that – for you to see all of me and say “Oh, wow, that girl, that gal, Kelly, she has it. I want to be her friend. I want to know her.”

Jesus died open handed and he calls us to
open the hands of our desires, our longings and our hopes to him.

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. Prov. 10:28

Then I see what is really in my hands – nothing.
And who entirely fills them – Him.

I can:

Deal with sin and be delivered from pain.
Run to him like a prodigal child runs to a long-lost daddy.
Be shocked by radiant truth that liberates needy hearts.
Suck in his gift of always-love that never runs out as I open my heart.

When we find God, we find what our heart was always searching for.

I want that. Do you?

It is called joy – feeling-ruling, comparison-busting, overpowering joy.

It sees Him, who hands out his best.
Eye on the prize, it knows who is active and adorned.
It envisions the heavenly banquet table of camaraderie waiting.
It sits in a place of hardship with a smile of gratitude.
It often grows from pain (earthly crosses and nails water it).

It’s unlike any album on Facebook.

It is unlike any heart that seeks a new and shiny
bridegroom or idol online.

It is unlike anything we could scavenge up on earth.

It’s joy in the all-consuming presence of the one who consumes our deepest longings. It’s atypical, absolute and anesthetizing.

It’s fruit that keeps on satiating and replenishing our soul’s ravage hunger. It keeps us going.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 
​because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Ja. 1:2–3

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1. Join me on Periscope for a special faith message for you!
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Dreaming of Being Used By God

used by God

Here I am Lord.
Will you use me?

I am trying Lord.
Will you help me?

I am hoping Lord.
Will you come through for me?

I am dreaming Lord.
Will you send me?

It is easy to look at our dreams and think they are the answer to our joy.
It is easy to look at another and think they have all we dreamed of – and more.
It is easy to face our rejections and to let them destroy us.

In many ways, we have set up our structures of hope and we have decided how they should be built. We know who needs to be involved, how we will put them together, what will make up the parts to success, but do we miss out in this process of self-promoting and self-reliance?

Does God have more hidden behind that structure
we have erected in our mind that we can’t see?

Might it be waiting, unseen,
because our mind is sprinting in another direction?

I know, for me, I miss out when:

  • I start becoming so focused on my blue prints that
    I miss the blessing God has sheltered in the “now”.
  • I see that girl and decide my structure looks like a shack in a third world country.
  • Questions become probing inquiries to steal my goods.
  • A request becomes an opportunity for another to use me.
  • My accomplishments become the savior of my insecurities.

This is exactly why God speaks this verse: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Phil. 2:3-4

God is so smart; sometimes he has to protect me from me.

God seems to know that the greatest gift is not found in me, but it is found in the outpouring of love found in him.

It’s almost like God says,
“Hey, you’re blocking the view of what I really have for you –
the needy hearts in front of you.”

“You will miss them with your eyes focused on your own plans,
your own ways and your own dreams.
If it is my dream, I will make it for you.
You need not stress, but until then, don’t run after ambition,
run after a heart to love.
I fill in all the gaps.”

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Mt. 6:33

I am going to listen to the truth of these words. Will you?

There are so many around. So many who need us.

They hurt and wait for someone to see that tear in their eye.
They hurt and hope for an arm to go around their shoulder.
They hurt and dream of a helping hand.
They hurt and they wait for our love.
They hurt and God wants us to meet them.

Much in the same way we hurt – they are hurting too.

What we will see is that, often, we end up needing them more than they ever needed us. God ends up using them to shape us and form us and make us into the vehicle that brings our dreams to life. 

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

Are you a She Speaks Attendee?
Get armored up with 3 more powerful posts to encourage you:

1. When the Recognition Doesn’t Come by Abby McDonald
2. When You’re Cheering on the Sidelines by Katie Reid
3. Where Are My Blessings God? by Kelly Balarie

 

Where Are My Blessings, God?

where are my blessings

That girl has it together.
She has what counts.
She speaks, and people listen.
She lights the room.
And blesses so many.
Who am I?

That girl, she is special.
She must be God’s favorite.
She must be the apple of his eye.
He really loves her.
Who am I?

Look how he blessed her.
Who am I?

Who am I if God doesn’t show me that I am worth something?

Who am I if God doesn’t push me a little bit further ahead than her?

Do I still count?

Sometimes, we look at our faith walk, like a race of worth. Sometimes we look at our blessings as medals of accomplishments.

It only looks like we are winning when we are not losing.

Do you ever feel this way?

Imagine for a moment, if the disciples had let this kind of thinking creep in.

If Peter looked at John to say,
“If you are beloved, I am not loved.”

If Elizabeth looked at Mary to say,
“You birthed Jesus, my womb is now worthless.”

If Jesus turned to his father to say,
“You reign higher, my lowly position has no place.”

How would Christianity look today?

Might living this way send us down a similar road as Satan? A road of orphanhood?

I praise God that these movers and shakers of faith didn’t move away and shake frozen in their boots – as God chose to bless some and not others.

Sure, the disciples had their moments, “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Lu. 22:24

I have these moments too. I have moments where I want that girl’s stuff so badly. But, I am realizing that my needy declarations are, more than often than not, just proud questions demanding his marks of approval.

Questions like: “God do you love me?  Do you count me worthy enough to bless me too? Why are you forgetting me and exalting her?”

I kind of want to be God’s favorite loved child. Do you?

I kind of want to finally secure my place in his eyes.  I want people to think, “that’s the girl God blesses.”

I am prone to think my blessings count me worthy,
but God says – and always says –
my son has already marked you approved.

He was marked, to forever mark me  – loved.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time 2 Tim. 1:9

God pursues our holiness, many times, on our behalf; he knows what is best for our heart, our needs and our spiritual development.

He looks at his gifts to us, much like we look at ones for our children, likely asking,
“Will it delight them or spoil them?” 

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. Lu. 15:31

He is less concerned with the everyday, all the time blessings because he knows, everything he has is already ours.

He is not so much interested in playing into our insecurities, he is interested in healing them.

I wonder, do we realize, just like the lost son at home with his father,
that we aren’t missing out on anything? 

That the whole time, even though a brother strayed and was blessed,
we already had everything we needed to begin with?

Jesus never sets a value on one child over another.

All the same, all the time, equally adored, accepted and loved, he waits with arms wide open for: the losers, the winners, the victorious, the downtrodden, the proud, the humble, the rich, the poor, the sinful and the less sinful, the loved and the unloved.

He doesn’t have super-pipes of one-directional love. His love flows unhindered, ungated, unrestricted, all the time, into all the hearts that need his love, his gifts, his blessings and his perfect ways.

We are all worthy, every moment of every day, because Jesus Christ was crucified, covered, guarded, uncontained, glorified and magnified.

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

Updates for #RaRalinkup Friends:
1. Visit this Thursday when Abby McDonald will share another powerful sucker punch to the devil’s work.
Don’t miss it!
2. Join us on the #RaRalinkup Facebook page for an almost daily dose of encouragement.
3. Attending She Speaks? Sign up for the #RaRalinkup breakfast.

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What God Gave – Stinks!

What God Gave

God abandoned me in my time of need.
He left his daughter in the desert of nothingness.
The blessing-keeper forgot his role.
The one who was supposed to come through, didn’t.

I am not afraid to admit for a moment, I whined like this – like a baby.

I didn’t get what I wanted.

Waaa!!!! I cried, until I found my daddy and found consolation in his arms. As he held me in love, I could start to grab hold of the truth: not getting could be God’s bigger gift. It highlights the barriers blocking contentment.

It was a lightbulb, sight-in-the-darkness, there-is-power-in-the-pain kind of moment.

Surely, when we “get” – all is good. We are happy, joy-filled and thankful, but, what happens when we don’t get the good gifts we expect?

Here, we start to see what our heart is really after.
Our spiritual thought life surfaces.
We can take notice of our sprint (or crawl) time to prayer.

Do we throw a temper tantrum
or do we temper our hearts in the truth of God?

The desire, idols and pursuits of our heart shine in this place. We can see them for what they are.

What do you see when God doesn’t give to you?

Our tantrums highlight the great heart work will complete.
He sees our pain and it certainly doesn’t pains him too.
But, he allows it because he is working something even more magnificent, more fantastic and more glory-filled than our initial want.

Many times, he doesn’t settle for the immediate gift, because he is working an entire heart makeover.

“Not getting” teaches us how to put this (often seemingly impossible) verse into action:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Phil. 4:12)

God’s best gift is learning how to keep our dedication
as steady as an arrow
and our feelings as sure as a bullet,
despite the size of the enemy coming against.

Then we can find true joy and peace.

This gift lasts forever.
It doesn’t rust and end up in the attic months later.

When we find God, we find stability. Not stability due to a circumstantial blessing, hope, dream or wish, but steady footing in the knowledge he is bringing us to a better place.

I pray, today, that I can see all that I don’t get as an indicator of all that I already have. I pray that I will take notice of my heart condition to see how it may need a course-redirect. I ask God not to always give me what I want in order that I can receive the better gift, which is him. The power is not in the getting, but in the beholding.

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

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.

IMG_1592

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.

Liked “How To Keep Standing When The High Winds Hit?” Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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.

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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