Purposeful Faith

Category - blessings

Walking in the Blessing of Today

blessing

Today cannot be a time of blessing, can it? After all, we are social distancing, staying 6-feet away and looking at others like walking-viruses, ready to attack.

God, what do you have for me, here, in this weird place? This is an important question to ask.

I believe there are blessings available for those who ask. A blessing, not a cursing — for those with eyes to see. A bounty, not a backbreaking burden — for those at home.

Is that you? Or, do you feel it is unbiblical to be blessed? To seek a blessing?

You know, my friends and family…

for a long time, I could not receive a blessing. Nor, would I ask God for one. It felt self-indulgent to say, “Lord, will you bless me?” It felt unbiblical to say, “God, I want your blessings.” There are so many people who need so much more than I do. Who am I to ask. I should be a servant, not a seeker for myself…

Yet, a Psalm, written by David, a man after God’s own heart — set me straight. Within it David says:

With all my heart I want your blessings.” Ps. 119:58

If David wanted a blessing, and God inspired these very words in His Word, who am I to disagree? I can ask for a blessing, with my whole heart, without shame!

“God, I want your blessings. With all my heart, I want your blessings. In a time of Coronavirus I want your blessings!”

The fact of the matter is — I need God’s blessings — His unmerited favor, right now, in my time of trouble, more than ever. Anything less than me needing God’s blessing is likely pride in-action.

To think I can do it without God’s help and generous giving is probably self-work or pious self-proving.

Thanks to God’s wisdom on this, during this season, I have received His blessing. This is why this time of “social distancing” has become a different time. Rather than “social distancing”, it is a time of “family gathering”. I have gotten closer to my kids and husband. I have laughed more. I have played more. I have gotten to know fun without big price tags.

I am blessed! What is simple has trumped what is complex and the peace of the Lord is here — in my house.

Because of this, I give him thanks. All glory to Him; I am blessed.

Might you ask God for a risky thing: to be blessed today…?

Prayer: Father God? I ask you for more, today. More blessings! More of you! More of what you have for me! I ask without shame! I ask expecting to receive. I ask ready to give all thanks and glory back to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Patience in Turbulence

patience

I snapped. He raised his voice and snapped back. We gave each other squinty-eye looks.

After all, we’ve been in close proximity, in tight quarters for over a week. We’ve been cooped up and trying to stay positive… We’ve been walking around the block, many times a day…  I’ve been homeschooling the kids… Add all this to the constant influx of bad news…and…

I’m not complaining. We are all just trying to make it, aren’t we? It is what it is. However, we can’t deny: it’s easy to get fed up and fired up at those we most love.

Distance doesn’t always make a heart grow fonder; in many cases, it is making us more irritated at those who are close to us.

The dishes left on the counter can feel personal. The person who snaps back is attacking us. The mistimed comment is a trigger. People feel too close for comfort.

So what do we do?

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Col. 3:13)

My husband and I have agreed, in order to make it this season– it must be a period of “extreme grace”.

This means we don’t (as much) comment on small issues. We don’t hold things against each other. We keep our mouth shut more often than we comment on meaningless things. We extend love even though. We make a decisive decision to look for the best in one another. We allow things to roll off our shoulders. We forgive rapidly. We remember that tensions are higher. We choose to reach out with patience more than to operate from panic.

We extend the very grace we desperately want to receive. We don’t count the price, but offer free love, despite ___(whatever).

I won’t say I am doing it perfectly. I can’t say he is either. But, I can say that more and more, we are keeping peace in our house and acting differently than the world around us. We aren’t fearing. We aren’t setting our kids up for a tense environment. We aren’t opening the door to other outside issues because we’ve let our guard down. This is good.

In this, we can far more walk with the Prince of Peace than the panic of this world.

What about you? How are you doing?

Prayer: Father God, these times are odd. We, in many ways, don’t know what we are doing, where we are going or how things will happen. The ground feels unsteady. But, we know that you are our rock. You are our steady-footing. We are in your fortress. We are in your strong tower. We are your children. We are your beloved. We thank you for how you are taking care of us in this hour. You are near. You are with us. You are our helper. You are our refuge. We are safe.

Father? Help us to receive your love so that we might love others well. Fill us with your mercy, grace and help this hour. We love you, Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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The Bad is Good

bad is good

A friend looked at me and said, “With God, the bad is good.”

Hmm…she had my wheels turning now…

I wonder, how many of us can see the truth in her statement?

The bad boyfriend that we, at one time, thought was good for us?
We can see now, it is darn good that we didn’t marry him.

The bad health scare that we figured would kill us?
Well, it is good that we are still alive and, not only that but, we now have more faith than ever.

The bad news that we lost our job?

It is good that God repositioned us. We hated every minute of that job and now God has us on unique-assignment, impacting specific people.

What bad has become good, in light of your prayers and God’s grace? Think back. Recount. Reflect. Remember. Restore your countenance.

What looks bad, becomes good, with God.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 2:20-22)

With God, through Christ, it is: “Yes!” It is good. It is God’s promises, delivered. It is God’s grace, right here and now. It is what looks bad, coming into the light of Christ. It is what hope we cannot see, becoming manifest.

See beyond your natural eye and you will see again. See beyond circumstances and issues to hope in Christ, once again. See beyond panic and you will see The Prince of Peace. See beyond what everyone else is doing and you will see Him. By the natural eye, we are blind, but by the Spirit-eye, we see: God’s promises are yes and amen. Jesus is greater. Jesus has conquered. The war is done. We are safe, forever. God is the Pre-eminent Ruler of The World. And, we are His children.

There is goodness waiting for you — right here, right now. Bad becomes good in light of God’s mercy and grace.

Glory to God!

Friends, during this time that can feel scary, panicked or stressful, I am doing more videos on Facebook and on Instagram. Come join me there, as I pray and share God’s Word to encourage your heart.

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What People Think

I put the broken sunglasses on anyway…even though I knew they’d sit crooked, even though they were broken. I guess you could say — I don’t care.

I don’t care what you think about me.

I don’t care if you give me a side-eye glance because one of the two arms are broken off and the glasses are becoming more vertical than horizontal.

I don’t care that I look odd and that you may be thinking weird things about me.

I don’t care, because I choose to be comfortable outside, more than to care about your inward thoughts towards me.  I don’t care because the only other pair of glasses I own are now lost in some other state.

So, I plop the crooked glasses on my face and confidently hop outside with the couple we’re having over. I don’t care. If you don’t love me because of — my sunglasses, you would have never loved me anyway…

After a bit of chatting and sitting, one of the guests looks at me. He says, “Kelly, your glasses are so ministering to me.”

Really? That’s odd. I’m intrigued now. I sit up and lean forward.

“It’s as if you are saying, ‘I don’t care’.” He explained.

It’s true.

I love you, but…
I don’t care about impressing you.
I don’t care if you think I am too much for Jesus.
I don’t care if you call me intense.
I don’t care if I look odd when I tell people how much God loves them.
I don’t care if I don’t do what everyone else does, because it leads my heart down wrong-paths.
I don’t care if you judge me because of how I look.
I don’t care if you think you have more bible knowledge or good theology than me.

I do not fear you, so I can love you. With this, more and more, do not care…

What I do care about is God and what He is calling me to. I care about love that is pure and without pretense. I care about authenticity and welcoming others to be real. I care about real connection, despite looks. I care about what God is really saying and doing and leading us into, as a family, much more than I do about appearances.

Although a growth process, one of my greatest joys has been God teaching me to — not care! Now I am free! This is life and boldness for the Kingdom of God — like no other.

God speaks the best words over me, so I don’t have to be controlled by yours.

What do you care far too much about? How might God be calling you to — throw up your arms to say, “I don’t care! By George, I don’t care anymore…!”

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ( 2 Cor. 3:17)

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The Value We Don’t Realize

I had no idea that a hobby would teach me so much.

My son started collecting pennies. He is radical about it. He consistently wants to knock on our neighbor’s doors to ask if they have any spare pennies. And, this sounds odd, but, we actually ventured to a stranger’s house after posting on a community Facebook page that we were ‘in need’ of pennies. A kind soul answered. Not too long ago, we also brought a few of my dollars to the grocery store and exchanged them for penny rolls. He has a one-track mind, these days: Pennies. Pennies. Pennies.

Everywhere in the house, he spreads out coins, to examine them. We look for errors. Because errors mean “worth”.

After all, I know about pennies, and how much value they could potentially have, I can’t believe how carelessly I’ve treated the pennies, in the past. I’ve likely thrown out “worth”, tossed aside value, and given away a penny that could be worth hundreds, thousands, or even a million dollars.

The issue was: I didn’t know what I held.  Many of us don’t know: what we hold.

This is an issue, because: when we don’t know what we ‘hold’, we don’t value it.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9)

I am a chosen race. I am a royal priesthood. I am a woman who is God’s possession.

When I forget these things, I forget the light of Christ in me. I throw out the beauty of Jesus in me.  I doubt my existence. I feel insecure. I shirk back under the pressure of what others think of me.

But, when I know what I hold? Then, I “proclaim the excellencies of him who has called me.” I shine. I share. I walk with a purpose. I am called-to-action. I am intentional. I am focused. I am on-fire.

What about you? Do you know the value of what is in you? Of Christ in you? Or, do you just trash it and toss it aside.

We are a prized possession of the High King. Let us not forget: we hold value.

On another note, as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I wanted to let you know that I was SO blessed to receive a free copy of The Jesus Bible, Artist Edition. I particularly loved the large margins on the side of the bible. It left me ample room to write notes. I am enjoying the commentaries from various biblical scholars. Just letting you all know in case any of you may be looking for a bible with wider-margins. It feels good to be able to keep a log of all the ways God is speaking through His word. I love looking back at my words, years later. For artists too – it may be a good investment.

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The Right Perspective

I didn’t expect this to happen… I stood at the window and watched multiple birds land on the bird feeder. It was an almost empty feeder. With this, time after time, bird after bird, none of them were eating anything. They just figured there was nothing left for them. So, they landed on the rod and…flew off…

But, one was different. He stuck his head in — and then — he got all the remaining food. He just sat there eating up what everyone else couldn’t see. Simply because he reached in…

I think a lot of us have lost hope. We have sort of given up on believing like we did before. So, we don’t reach up to heaven to pray anymore… We just sit there, and — worry, stress or fear…

But, for those who reach-deep and reach-up to God, who keep believing in “God’s more” and who keep seeking– they are the ones who find the bread of life.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13)

Remember when I prayed for so many of you weeks ago? God did breakthrough. For one, someone got miraculous transportation provided for her ministry.

Do not give up on prayer. God hears.

I was just reading this morning in 1 Kings 19 that Elijah prayed seven times — seven times!! — for rain. Even Jesus prayed more than once for the “man who saw trees.”

Just because you haven’t seen it — doesn’t mean you won’t. All is not hopeless. Keep persevering in prayer. God hears. It may not be on prayer #1, but on prayer #8 that breakthrough finally comes.

Persist. God is faithful.

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How To Keep Jesus Front-and-Center This Christmas

While I’m undoubtedly hesitant to admit this to you today, I’m going to: I missed the point of Thanksgiving this year. With all the travel, the family happenings, the busy rush of getting everything ready — I didn’t even think of what I was thankful for until. . . after Thanksgiving.

Then, I hastily jotted down the “10 Things I Am Thankful For” in my bible like I do every year. After, what took a few minutes, I shut the book on it.

Looking back, I feel a little guilty and convicted about my lack of thought or care around this important holiday. Things just got the better of me, I guess. . .

With all this said, I don’t want this to happen again, this Christmas. It’s easy to get caught up in things — the menus, the meals, the silverware, the decorations, the gifts, the parties, the details, the people coming over. With such little time to accomplish everything, it feels like there is no time for God and thinking about what Jesus has done.

But, I vehemently refuse, to be detoured from what matters most this time around. God, help me. . . 

This is Christmas — is Christ’s party. All this is for Him, not them.

You, like me, may have a heart to put Christ first this season. How can we do it? Here are three ideas that I am focusing on:

One: Look upon the tree.

When I look upon the Christmas tree in my house, I can be reminded to look upon Jesus. Trees lined the ground outside his barn. Shepherds most certainly passed through them. Jesus was put up on one. I can look at the tree and ponder it. Think upon how Jesus was a simple man who walked among trees, to save me.

What can you think about as you look upon your tree and ponder Jesus?

Two: Sit.

While everything demands I move a mile-a-minute, I can revolt! I can just sit, when my body says, “Do!”  I don’t have to listen to all the demands and desires, I can sit with Jesus, if only for a bit to say, “Thank you for coming into this earth to save me.”

Three: Marvel.

Driving in the car, or doing mindless tasks, I can marvel. What kind of God is this who would leave the high and luxurious places of heaven to come to this death-filled and deplorable earth? What kind of God is this who chooses to enter into my life, in humble form and kindness? What kind of gift, have I not yet tapped, in Jesus?

I am adamantly intent on receiving Jesus this season. While everyone else wouldn’t receive the King in their hotel, I do not want to have a “No Vacancy” sign on my heart. What about you?

Prayer: God, apart from you, I’ll miss you. There is so much to do, to handle, to accomplish, to wrap, to give. . . the list goes on and on. . .  I am asking you to invade my heart this season. Give me a crushing and burning desire to meet you, to connect with you and to see your heart for me, afresh. I want the best of you this Christmas. I want to honor you in all your ways. I want to thank and glorify you for coming into this world to save me. You are worthy of all my heart this season. Give me all I need to honor you rightly.  You are my best gift. I am so honored to be your daughter. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Bringing Life to What Looks Dead

“Look!” I said.

All four of us turned our head to look out the car window. Dozens of buzzards were feeding on a dead dear. It’s gross, I know.

They devoured it. They were shredding it. They were ruthless.

All this got me to thinking. . . the enemy feeds on death.

Whereas, “Jesus is . . . life.” (John 11:25)

When I am filled with Jesus, I am filled with life. There is nothing for the enemy to feed on. When I am filled with the Spirit, I abounding in the spiritual. There are no wounds for the enemy to gnaw open. When I am praying to the Father, there is no decay the enemy can use against me.

I realize, for many of us the attacks, the discouragement, the devastating news, the demoralization around us, the lay-offs are prevalent around us. I have seen it too. I know it is hard sometimes.

But, some of us need to do an about-face and look at life again — from a different angle. We need to look to Jesus. Because, the enemy is feeding off your despair, discouragement, and doubt. And, you’ve let Him for far too long.

The tide changes when you look full in Jesus’ face. When you access, remember and meditate on His mercy and grace.

Do something new.

Tell your own spirit, “No more. Then, remind yourself: ‘Jesus is resurrection and life. He can bring back, restore or renew anything.”

Then, focus on His names:
King of Kings
Light of the World
Prince of Peace
Son of God
Lamb of God

Remember what He’s done, look full in His face — and let Him bring you, again, new life.

“Jesus said to the dead man, “Young man, I say to thee, arise!” And he who was dead, sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” (Lu. 7:14-15)

Prayer: God, give me eyes for you. Above all I see, I want to see you. I ask for you to grant me deeper knowledge of your providence and care. Will you help me to take my eyes off of the heaviness that surrounds so that I might see and seek your face, in full? Give me grace to know and love you more. Come to my rescue. Bring life to what appears dead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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How Saved We Are, In Christ

It is easy to forget how far we’ve come.

This is normal. It’s like after you get a few cavities filled and a root canal done — 3 years later you forget it even happened. Life is back to normal and you hardly think about how glad you are that all of that was accomplished and finished. And, how easy it is to chew now.

Likewise, it is easy to forget about Jesus the same way. It is easy to forget HOW MUCH He has done for us. HOW MUCH He has saved us from. HOW MUCH He has accomplished. It is not that we don’t love Him or have faith in Him, but, at times, we take for granted HOW MUCH He rescued us and how far we’ve come.

Do you realize, it’s as if we made it “in” to His family by the skin of our teeth?

We didn’t bring anything. . .

We didn’t prove anything. . .

It was simply because God chose to become flesh. . . to accomplish the greatest mission ever. . .

If it weren’t for Jesus what would happen to us and our sin???

If we never faced-God, what we would we have faced?

But, Jesus. He came, like a rescuing-Savior and jerked us out of our position of distress, unrest and stress. He came, and lifted us out of our pit. He came, and walked us across His bridge of life — so that we could be with Him, forever.

Like a damsel in distress — He saved us.

But, Jesus. But, only, Jesus.  Jesus came and changed everything. He made me alive with Him (Col.  2:10), free from the power of death (Romans 8:2), a joint-heir, a chosen daughter, a beloved treasure, a kept kid, a wanted person, and best of all he wiped the face-of-my-everlasting transgressions, clean.

Oh, may I never forget! 

Jesus has not only saved me, but He has improved me. Grown me. Changed me. Made me. Helped me. Answered me. Lifted me. Removed an eating disorder from me. Rescued me dozens of times. Given me wisdom beyond understanding. Healed me emotionally and physically. . . (the list doesn’t end).

I am nicer now. I am kinder. I am gentler. I am more-so filled with joy. I am filled with new perspective.

What about you? What has He saved you from and brought you to? What life circumstance is radically different now that He is in your life?

What sort of epic-save did Jesus conduct on your behalf? The King of resurrection-life does not enter a life without resurrecting life. The Glory of God does not transform a heart and leave it the same.

Look deep and you’ll find His fingerprints on your heart, on your life and on your soul — even if you once missed seeing them. Even if today they look small…

The Two Responses:

Do you know Jesus? If not. . .

Outloud, through your words, invite the King of Kings into your heart. Tell Him that you want your life to be resurrected through Him, by Him and for Him. Tell Him you are sorry for your mistakes, botch-ups and issues. Ask Him for forgiveness and His help. Thank Him today for becoming the Savior of your Life. Explain to Him that you want to hand your life over so that His life can become yours.

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Ro. 10:9)

Then, rejoice! You are saved (helped, equipped, taught, forever-with-Jesus, eternally His…). You get to be forever, with Him. Forever, in His love. My encouragement to you? Grab His Word (the bible), get in a strong Christ-focused church and walk into all the fullness God has for you.

Do you know Jesus?

Rejoice. Undoubtedly, there are things that Jesus has done for you that you “know”, no one else could have ever done for you. There are strides, there are lessons, there are answers, there are miracles, there are areas of growth — only He could have done for you. There is relief only He could have brought. Give thanks. Give praise. Give honor, where honor is due.

 

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Enjoying the Process

Do we yell at our kids because they’re learning?

For instance, when a son arrives home from school, do we come down on him because he had go to school? Do we say, “You should already know this stuff.”

Or, when a kid says, “Why is the world not flat?”, do we berate them for not knowing.

Or, when they make a mistake, like blurting out a comment, do we hold it against them for a lifetime?

No. We know children:

  • are learning.
  • are growing.
  • need grace.

“…For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (children).” Mt. 19:21

Likewise,we are children.

We:

  • are learning.
  • are growing.
  • need grace.

I don’t think God disdains the process of growing and learning as much as we do. He knows we are “becoming” like Christ.

We “are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

This means we don’t already know everything. We will make mistakes. We take off one layer of the onion of __, only to 6 months experience a deeper layer God wants to remove. We find a more complete understanding of God’s Word that sets us free one year, and then it happens to a greater degree 2 years later.

God isn’t angry at us that we had things to learn. That we aren’t perfect. Or, that “only now, are we just getting it”. Or that “we’re so slow.” On the contrary, His process is our progress.

We are becoming, transforming and becoming liberated into the image of Christ. May we not despise the process. May we not run from the crafting work of the Master Creator. May we not think it is because we are ‘bad’ or not good enough. May we not disdain the fact that, like a child, we need Him. That He is helping us understand.

Going to school with God doesn’t mean that you are failing, it means He is growing you, renewing you and readying you for all that He has ahead.

Like a child, be okay with being in school.

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. . .” (Prov. 3:13)

 

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