Purposeful Faith

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When Others Make you Uneasy

Others Make you Uneasy

When I was with her, like a mind-reader, I could sense her emotions.
I could feel her temperatures rising – to the heights of Pluto.
I could sense all was not well with her soul.
Her words were shorter, her breathing tighter and her laughter less.

And all I could think was – what can I do to make her feel better?

Do you ever feel like me? Responsible to make others happy?

It wasn’t that life was crashing in. She was just handling groceries, dishes and daily clean up.

Yet, still, no matter how I talked, or what I did, her feelings didn’t seem to clean up. They didn’t. Despite my underlying words of: “Pull it together, so we can have fun together,” she didn’t budge.

And, then, what I did made it ten times worse, I’ll tell ya’ll, because I literally walked over, picked up her feelings and placed them inside me. I attached them to my heart like a fungus that even armies can’t beat. I wore anxiety just the same as her.

If you can’t beat ’em, join em,
unless you’re trying to minister to ’em,
and then you have probably just wrecked ’em.

Stepping back has given me the chance to see some things:

  1. The wounded can’t easily be rescued by the wounded.
  2. The wounded often need the Master Physician not the master fixer.
  3. The wounded are hurting and sometimes space is the place where their heart finds peace.
  4. If you want to minister and not manipulate, you have to terminate your need to placate.
  5. If you want to stay at peace, you have to let others own their own feelings.

I am not the peace-maker, the joy-jester or the emotion-keeper, I am just as much a sinful soul that could fall down right next to that person if I am not careful.

I could fall down with the thoughts:
I did something wrong.
It is all my fault.
She will not return to happiness today.
I will have a horrible day.
I don’t know what is about to happen.

Knowing this, there is only one place to land oneself in a moment like this –
at the melting-point of God’s Word:

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps. 118:6

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Prov. 3:5

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… 1 Jo. 4:18

If God is in charge, I don’t have to be.

If I can leave him with my anxieties, I don’t need them.

If I trust him, I can trust he will work out that persons issue.

If I let him work, he will accomplish change in atmospheres better than I ever could.

If I let go of worrying about others, I can find peace.

If I step back, I can see his power at work between the space of me and them.

If I lean on God in the turbulence of fear, I can find strength in the face of hope.

Where might God be calling you to lean in?

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Getting Back to Simple Faith and Joy

Simple Faith

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Heb. 11:1

It is all about simple. Not getting duped by the complex theories, herculean hypotheses and advanced equations of genius conjectures.

It is all about simple. Not joining the madness of consumerism and collectivism.

It is all about simple. Not looking left or right or up or down, trembling, then constructing your own bomb shelter of safety.

It is all about simple. Not getting involved in the wars of deep-seated theology that are bound to leave relational battle-wounds, simply, unrepairable.

It is all about simple. Not counting the pennies of another, while staring at your possibly empty piggy bank.

Simple.

The more simple our faith, the more abundant our life.

The more simple our reliance, the more wisdom we accrue.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Cor. 1:25)

“Simple” is eyes that trust the unseen.
Not seeing the world as its driving force.
But God, as he pushes us, in safe protection, to his known.
It is keeping simple in the face of other’s complex.
Jesus in the forefront of rushing minds.
Following his lead,
the one who is the pure – the untainted apple of truth.
Not biting into fake, fraudulent or bound to fry,
but staying attuned to the basics, the reality, the hope,
despite the grey nuances presented by talking heads.
Despite the exotic languages that come in ones mind – only sent to confuse.

It is where mission bubbles up,
and it is hope that actually – fosters hope.
And strength that has the strength to endure – it endures the fire.
And life that actually brings more life – it creates it.
All join hands to light a spark to boldness,
so one can walk through the fire and come alive on the other side,
believing that will happen is they will emerge refined, shining, glowing,
a pure byproduct of him who is pure.

Themselves, yet all the same one who they always wanted to be.

And this is all that matters. That we follow him. That we listen to his voice. We hear his Word. We love. We listen. We do as he did.

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal. 5:6

Simple faith.

Simple faith leads to simple love. Simple love is simply what this thing called faith is all about.

Jesus never cared much for the deep insight of man, but he cared far greater that, of him, we are his biggest fan.

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Surviving Holiday Drama

Holiday Drama

We are all gathered around the table. I can’t keep my eyes off the pumpkin pie, the mashed potatoes, and the creamed corn. I want to devour it all. My mouth is watering.

But, as I smile, as I look, as I sit, deafening sounds quickly pull me out of my delightful daydream, and throw me back into reality. A storm is brewing. Someone is annoyed – again. Agitated -yet again. Frustrated – just like last year.

Who knows what irritated them! It could be one of many things – drinks weren’t served fast enough, a rude piercing reply was launched or a digging question was fired over the table. The “why” is not of as much concern as “how” this sinks my holiday south.

Joy stolen.
Agitation mounting.
Disappointment abounding.

Why can’t we give thanks in peace?

Why can’t we all get along?

Why does it feel that we have to endure holiday rather than enjoy it?

This is should be a time of thankfulness – of gladness – not a time of madness.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are days we expect to be perfect gems of sparkle, joy and peace. Somehow, we think, because we control the preparations, the decorations and conversations, everyone should meet our expectations. But, when they don’t, we tend to get bloated with disappointment.

Yet, God calls us to enjoy this day, rather than endure it. He calls us to leave perfect in the kitchen to embrace imperfect at the table, so we don’t end up hiding in the bathroom with tears.

5 Tips to Survive Holiday Chaos:

1. Seek to embrace verses erase the person in need.

Jesus ran to the people in need. His heart was inclined to those in pain. He didn’t demand, but gave his best.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Sit under the shade of the cross. Then you will find compassion for the meaningless jabs, frustrating arguments and aggravating words. Heck, you might even see you are just as sinful as they.

2. Be truly thankful – for both the yummy and the yucky of life.

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)

True thankfulness takes abundance and scarcity, trials and triumphs, jerks and joy – and gives thanks no matter. Why? Because all are from the Lord. All have a purpose. All are meant to refine.

3. A storm may brew, but without a doubt, God will bring you through.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Is. 41:13)

It’s ok to feel weak, but unnecessary to feel ruined because God stands ready to help. Call out to God. He waits to run to your rescue.

4. Know you stand secure, no matter what others do.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers. neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro. 8:38-39).

People can do what they are going to do. But, none of this impacts our standing with Christ. We are in Him. We are secure. We are loved. We are a new creation. If we stand in Christ, we can’t stand outside of him.

5. Find a heart of thanks for the burnt food.

True gratefulness is not just being thankful for all the delicious pickings, but also for the burnt food. If we have food – or family to complain about – we are already blessed. We are blessed with the perfect, but also with the imperfect. Why? Because through the imperfect, we see our need for a Savior. Through our failings, our trials and our frustrations, we find hope in One who is greater than these things.

God makes imperfect burnt food taste delicious when we see it for what it is – an undeserved gift.

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)

Bonus Tip (consider it your second helping): Realize it is impossible to control others.

We can’t control things. We can only control ourself. And, no one can take our spirit of thanks away, without us allowing them to do it. No one can steal our heart – unless we allow them to.

When we stop looking for everyone to be perfect, we can start enjoying them for who they truly are.

When our standards aren’t higher than the twinkle-lighted roof, we can see people’s hearts, history and pains.

And, we sometimes, can even empathize and minister to them.

So, this holiday season, let’s celebrate and see all that we have – burnt food and pickings. People will always disappoint – and we will disappoint people. No one is perfect – except One. But, the ultimate truth is that God’s grace never ends. It nourishes us when the spread leaves us hungry for more love.

Let’s lay this truth on the table so we can pass, dish and eat up all the goodness of grace – in our own hearts and towards the hearts of others.

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How I Saw God Last Night (and you can too)!

I Saw God

Do you miss it?
It is right before your eyes.
Waiting for your astonishment…

It is God showing off.

If you are head down in iPhone…you won’t see it.
If you are worrying your pants off about what is to come…you won’t see it.
If you are yelling to that person next to you in traffic…you won’t see it.
If you are looking at what everyone else is wearing…you won’t see it.
If you are more concerned with your ways than his…you won’t see it.
Not because he doesn’t care for you, because he absolutely does.
Not because you aren’t his loved son or daughter, which you hopefully are.
Not because he is angry at you, because he is not, he just waiting for you to run back to him in repentance.

You won’t see, because you don’t allow yourself to see.

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

Eyes that are looking for God, find him. Eyes that are distracted, miss him.

Last night, my son ran into my room with a mid-night dream he wanted to share. I hushed him up and pushed him back to his bed, deathly afraid I would turn into a walking-zombie mother the next day from lack of sleep. Success! He returned to bed.

Until, he came back. He woke me again, but this time I hugged him. I loved on him as Christ might. I enjoyed the quietness of the moment. Then, I looked out the window…and saw it. Bright as day, as close as the breath of my own child, as bold as a phone call in the middle of the night – it stood. It was the moon, except for one thing…this moon’s rays shined only two ways – horizontal above the earth, and vertical – ground to heaven.

This moon was emitting rays in the shape – of a cross.  A cross that owned the world.

FullSizeRender (2)

(This picture does the cross no justice, because its rays extended far and wide, long and distanced, crisp and sword-like, prominent and powerful. They went straight down to the ground and straight up to the sky…it was gigantic and breathtaking.)

This moon declared Jesus’ victory over the plains of the fearful and the plans of evil.
It proclaimed the earth as belonging to God.
It blazed like a victory flag over our mayhem-ridden land.
It shined eternal sovereignty, which will never, ever, fade.
It confirmed it can’t beat the the sacrifice that will always endure.
It magnified Jesus’ ability and desire to cleanse the world of all pain, agony and hatred.

But, what if I had missed it?

What if instead of stopping to let my eyes adjust to the light of God outside,
I let sleep lure me inside?

Awaken! God is all around, but when our eyes look down, we miss the exact places where he is found.

Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. Ps. 33:8

If we stop in the middle of rush, we will see – that it is us that God wants to touch.
If we look for wonder, we will find ourself wondering how we have such a great God.
If we pray to see, God will open our eyes up wider than they are after our third drink of coffee.

God waits to awe our socks off!FullSizeRender (3)

Nature testifies to the natural goodness of God. It is the present testament declaring both testaments of our living King. It confirms his majesty, administration and intentions.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Ro. 1:20

If you only see the white noise hum of “bore” before you – you’ll miss the “tremendously more” that God has – for you.

Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Ps. 2:11

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The Burden is Off, My Friends

The Burden is Off

What would happen if I packed up, crammed all my stuff into a moving van and found a new home – God’s dwelling? Might God whisper “The burden is off, my child”?

If I truly said:

God, you own these kids, so I release myself from the burden of mismanagement.
God, these goods are under your roof, so if you don’t like them – for me, you can remove them.
God, when things break down in our house, you care – it is your house too.
God, you’re in the very center of the air in this marriage. You are in our midst in this house.
God, this home doesn’t actually belong to me, it belongs to you.
God, these plans I make are under your owned roof, help me come to you first, before I steamroll ahead.
God, you care about the mother and father who walk these rooms, their feelings and thoughts you oversee.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Ps. 91:1-2

If I put everything I own under his roof, his bullet-proof roof will wrap me with protection.

Cooking, caring, helping, guiding, serving, homeworking, loving, speaking, thinking and teaching will no longer rest on me, but it will reside under him. Every time I look up, the ceiling will remind me of whose shelter I am under. Every time I feel pressed against a wall, it will remind me I am not trapped, but wrapped with his love. Every time I feel it is too much, I will remind myself that God is much more in this place then I could ever be. Every time, I fear the dark, I will remind myself that he keeps me in his shadow, because he wants me close, not far so he can hurt me.

He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4

Covered.
Gliding.
Moving.
Progressing.
Understood.
Safe.
Sound.
Armed.
Alarm set.
Tucked in tight.
Into the arms of the father.
Within our own home, which is his.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. Ps. 91: 9-13

As God rules a refuge, he protects it. As if he places an invisible bubble of armored protection around it, harm hits it hard and falls, disaster is diverted, angels are concerned, my foot is not stubbed, the opposition walks scared and I walk defeating them.

The burden is off of me – and onto God.

Lord, God, come into my home and make your home. Everything belongs to you. I belong to you. My children belong to you. My goods belong to you. My heart belongs to you. My faith belongs to you. My life belongs to you. Rule in your shelter as I live under it. Help me stay in your ways and within your heart, never to depart. Amen.

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The Myth Of Control

I am more than delighted to welcome a true woman of the Lord, Karina, to the Purposeful Faith blog. From the minute I met her, I could see love, joy and passion written all over her. Karina is an example of transparency and authentic pursuit of God. I couldn’t be more happy to have her on Purposeful Faith as a regular contributor. I hope you enjoy her heart as much as I do.

Post by Karina

I have this struggle. I’m sure I am probably the only person who struggles with this issue. I kind of, sort of, maybe, like to be in control. Just a little bit. When a say a little, I mean a lot!

The last 6 months or so have been a bit paradoxical in nature. What I mean is that many amazing things have happened to me! I went out of town several times, have had a few exciting writing opportunities, connected with dear friends and met some new ones! During those exact same months, I have been searching for a roommate. I’m 35 and single and living alone is ridiculously expensive. I normally have a sense from God in which direction to go in when making decisions, but this time around, I had no direction.

I, under no circumstances, like the way that feels! I did my part. I exhausted every avenue to find a roommate and searched high and low for other housing. Nothing made sense. Countless options came and went. No other housing option fit my budget. Again, still no direction. My sweet friend Holly prayed for me one night a couple of months ago after small group. She told me the Lord wanted me to know that this situation was not my fault. I hadn’t done anything wrong. That filled me with such peace and yet still, there was no direction.

Over the past few weeks, the Lord has been so faithful to remind me of the truths that I so easily forget.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

God is God. I am not. He is omniscient.

He know all things…the past, the present and the future. His timing and mine are rarely the same thing. After all, He is the one who created time itself. I can effortlessly believe the lie that what I see is all there is or that my time line is perfect. That is NEVER the case. There is a great deal happening in the supernatural that I cannot see and may never see. I am learning to embrace the mystery in knowing God and trusting His ways and His heart especially when I can’t see Him at work.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

The never changing truth is that God loves me deeply and He loves you deeply. What He does or doesn’t do, what He says or doesn’t say is always for our good. That is what He does and who He is as our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t send pain or suffering or doubt or confusion. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. When our circumstances are not good and perfect, it breaks His heart. And His desire is to come in and bring healing, purpose and restoration to our lives. I am learning to let Him do just that.

Are you? Is there an area of your life where you have been believing the myth that you are in control?

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Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”

Breaking Normal to Find Phenomenal

Breaking Normal

The coach stopped me in my tracks with this soccer drill. It was meant for toddlers, but it was sent by God for me. It burst my bubble of known, it tossed out the waste of old and it rolled in eye-opening insight that would redecorate my heart with truth.

Who knew soccer was so good for mental health?!

4 cones.
One square.
No space.
3 Kids.

“Go!”

My son tried to move, no dice (or rather, no goal!). He tried to inch forward, but couldn’t gain traction. He tried to kick, but his ball bounced off his companions’. He tried to run, but, the two collided like blind bulls. Boing!!!

Yet, amidst the mayhem and the maniacal movements of the inept, the coach broke through “crazy” with two words, “Break Out!”

And so they did.  Kids, ran left, right and nearly out of sight! Like bees set free they could chart a destination on a course that was possible, feasible and liberating all at the same.  If I could have I would have cheered this moment, saying, “Go, free ones, go. Now you can fly!”

The coach would too and, together, we would breathe a sigh of relief.

What small confines are you stuck in –
trying to plow your way through?

What is not giving you an iota of movement,
yet still, you fight for tooth and nail?

When we are so pressed against everything, we can’t enter the huge field of opportunity the Lord has set before us. We see the Promised Land, but our eyes keep us kicking around in the small perimeter of everyone else’s movements.

They are set on our competition.
They become obsessed with personal performance.
They see each kick like an eternal report card of worth.
Moves become belabored and burdensome.
Irritation mounts.
Aggravation scores.
We lose!

God becomes distant.

“He’s out in left-field somewhere!”

Break Out! 

When we get hyper-focused on numbers, feedback, criticisms, critiques, God says, “Break out!”
When we start looking at everyone else’s progress, toys and accomplishments, God says, “Break out!”
When we start fearing our ability to succeed, God says, “Break out!”
When we start feeling our chest constrict into the fist of anxiety, God says, “Break out!”
When we start to be man’s responses, God says, “Break out!”
When we are obeying strategies and growth plans first and foremost, God says, “Break out!”
When we are sure we will surely be marginal at best, God says, “Break out!”
When we start making the past the predictor of our future, God says, “Break out!”
When we see the bad surrounding, the pressing in indwelling, God says, “Break out!”
When we doubt calling, God says, “Break out!”
When we wonder if we are any good, God says, “Break out!”
When we box ourself into sameness, God says, “Break out!”
When we look at boundaries and limitations, God says, “Break out!”

Get out of the box, push over the boundary and fly to the place where God is.

If you’re goal is to be with him, it is a goal that can’t be blocked.

It’s a goal that wins the game every time – heck, it wins the World Cup, for that matter!

Run into the freedom of open air.
Bask in the place of his prompting.
Skip to the place of true calling.
Jump to the heights of unrestrained love.
Fall into the depths of incalculable peace.
Sit in the field of rest.
Move to the new places, no one has transversed.
Win there! That is where you win!

We find our little slice of heaven on earth, carved out for us in the here and now,
in the freedom found, not in doing what the world and demands and people tell us,
but found in the unusual, uncharted and unknown callings of him.

No one ever got anywhere by kicking around in the complacent and crazy confines of controlled chaos. Just ponder. Many of the “Great Remarkables” became remarkable because they stopped caring if the world called them remarkable and they just followed God.

Simple. He is speaking. Are we listening?

Look at the woman at the well. She became well because she broke free from confines at the well – so her mouth could not confine her truth of liberation.

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” Jo. 4:30

She had to break out of world-made form though. Do you see this power yet?

She had to trample form that told her Jews don’t talk with Samaritans.
She had to push through the fact that talking women should have husbands present.
She had to push away the fact that rabbis shouldn’t speak to sluts.

She had to break out!

To step out of the box of confines to be unconfined.

What is God ready to break out on your behalf as you break out?

God isn’t found in the small boxes of safe, of expected, of normal, of man and of “steps for success”, he is found in the wild land of adventure, pursuit and nonconformity in him, by faith and through Christ.

Break out! Today, see what holds you in and push past it in the name of Jesus. Zig and zag his way. Run arms open. Sprint into his fields of purpose.

Don’t just read this and move on, but listen and press in. Promise me that. If you don’t think this is for you, think again, it is, especially for you. What is he calling you to?

My break out: I will not intentionally look at post or visitor statistics. My words are an incense being released solely on behalf of his beauty – from my heart to his, uncensored, untouched and unchangeable by man. And so they will be. And so I will go into the field of his providence, trusting.

What is yours?

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When You Hit A Wall and Love Breaks

Love Breaks

He built a tower. 

The effort that he put into it was great.
The focus he had was serious.
The progress he made was tremendous.
The magnetic blocks were stacked high into a sculpture of uniqueness, creativity and awe.
Then, he placed the last block on the top, and a section of it crashed to the ground.

My son, lost of all joy, looked at his partially destroyed tower, angry, frustrated, and dejected. He leaned back, lifted his hand up and destroyed the entire creation.

How often are we just like my son?

How often does a portion of our well-constructed earthly tower fall, only leaving us ready to lean back and swipe away the idea that God really cares?

We construct our family.
Add in the focus of good words.
Build into saving our finances.
Add the block of doing things right for God.
Stack on prayer.
We love what we have, the way we had it and how it was – and then, it comes down.

A portion of our tower, crumbles.

Why do you allow this God?

Whey do you let the good fall?

Didn’t you see how hard I was trying for you?

Don’t you get how much this meant to me?

Yet, what if we look at what stands against us differently. What if, rather than if a wall of unscalability comes before us or a falling wall of unpredictability, we still see a land of opportunity?

What if we realized, the things that are falling, are just the preparation for our great calling?

Think about Joshua, so many years ago.

The Israelites finally pushed through wandering and doubting
to make it to the so-called “Promised Land.”

They spent 40-years pushing on to make it to this place of “milk and honey.”

They built a mission that was ready to celebrate the victory,
to see the beauty and to bask in what they had.

They were probably so excited, eager and hungry to see the fruits of their labor.
I bet they imagined greatness.

But, guess what they were confronted with upon arrival?
Just guess?

A big ole’ ugly and tall wall!

A wall that was the barrier to their progress of family.
A wall that would hold them back from living well financially.
A wall that would not allow the sick to get help.
A wall that would seem to keep relationships stuck, people frustrated and temperatures high in their hearts.

A wall that could almost make them want to turn back around, say “What is the use?” and return to slavery.

God, though, he doesn’t leave us useless standing hopeless
before barriers and broken dreams. 

God is ready to offer a plan, so those who will seek it.
He is ready to offer instruction to those, who read his instructions.

He is ready to offer a fix, to those who leave the fixing to him.

God to Joshua: “I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Josh. 6:2-5

God claims the victory. The walls fall.

He handles the situations that look like hopeless situations to make them hopeful.

We may look like marching idiots in the process of his whispered plan,
and we may feel like we are simply standing in front of defeat,
but if we follow through, whether on earth or in heaven, God will win our behalf.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. Heb. 11:30

Let us not look at gigantic barricades or the fallen towers of our life in defeat, for what God is building will be reconstructed a million times better than what our small hands could do on our own. 

Where is God calling you to keep the faith? March on, dear friend.

For he is building something the best way, not our way.
He is building character that lasts, not falls.
He is creating spirits that can go the length, and not tumble at every tumbling.
He is giving wisdom that lasts beyond our confronted problem, not evaporating.
He is working progress into the areas of our defeat, so that he is the victor, not us.

And then, joy is ours, because what we see at the end, much like my son, is that what was rebuilt with God’s help, is the best thing we really could have asked for. My son? He jumped up and down. He cheered. He loved his new creation. He celebrated, much like the Israelites probably did when they had their breakthrough.

God has good stored up for you.

Until then, let’s just believe – and keep marching wildly on.

***Don’t miss my post today on Sacred Ground Sticky Floors! This is a site, I just love! Today I talk about the one thing I wish people would stop saying to me. It really gets to me. I hope you enjoy it.

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5 Things That Self-Destruct Faith (Which You’re Probably Doing)

Self-Destruct Faith

Faith.

It is the best thing we have and, yet the hardest thing to walk by.
It is the gift of moving beyond our self, and all the same, the gift of seeing into our self.
It is the know-how that we don’t know-how.
It is the reasoning, others call mis-reasoned.
It is the bootcamp for endurance and perseverance.
It is the beginning of progress and the end of self-loathing.
It is both our movement and the mercy of Jesus co-mingling.
It is the knowledge that what we can’t do, we always can do – through Christ.
It is a step towards the unknown, where we trust the known is holding us.
It is the access point to amazing.
It is the hope of all glory laid down on earth.

It is our calling, the thing that I love and the thing I so often hate. It stretches me. It pushes me. It calls me to the cliff, in a way, it wraps it’s hands around me and shoves me over m cliff of safety. It makes my heart pump. It gets me sweaty. But, all the same, it works every time, when I let it.

So why don’t I let it work?

I just went to Allume, a bloggers conference. It was destined to be a glorious time! A time God had cut out for me to love others, to offer prayer and to walk with him. Yet, at the very beginning of the event, faith started to walk out and doubts started to walk in. All I seemed to be  left with was a slip and slide experience of doubts ready to splash away all my dreams of excitement.  Whoosh! Away she goes.

So, what is one to do when we see ourselves slipping away from God? When we find the trigger point to our doubting point has been pulled? We have to find out what compelled us to pull the trigger in the first place.

5 Ways We Self-Destruct Daily Faith

  1. Forgetting Grace

    When we walk hitting our self with the force of all we can never do right, we walk with an internal wrecking ball that stands to tear down the joy we have in the Lord.  Forgetting grace means, building a monument to shame that you can’t stop looking at.

    TRUTH: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. La. 3:22

  2. Being Someone Else

    The second we walk in someone else’s skin is the second our own skin ends up crawling in discouragement and doubt. We can’t expect to feel full when we are emptying all that God created us to be on to the floor to be trampled upon.

    TRUTH: For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7

  3. Looking at Other’s Best Pictures

    When we take those horrid both-eyes-closed-with-a-double-chin pictures and compare them against others glamour shots, it is no wonder we feel like God couldn’t love us.

    TRUTH: (Nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 8:39

  4. Thinking There Really is No Plan

    When we think he’s not sending us anywhere, we start sitting nowhere. We will fall back on the couch – stagnant, scared, indignant and like repellant to change. Loaded schedules, relaxation, timidity and entertainment become the pursuit of our life.

    TRUTH: So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev. 3:16 (to be considered in light of John 3:16)

  5. Not Keeping an Always-Eye Out for God

    When we go through the day living by our minds rulings, we consistently miss who is ruling. It is the fastest way to move away from God, fast.

    TRUTH: In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Prov. 16:9

God has great stored for you. Will you open it? Will you walk to it?

For me, at Allume, my soul got right with faith on day 1, so that on days 2, 3 and 4, God could walk through. And he did. I praise Him for this return, because if I didn’t there is no doubt I would have wandered like a lost little red riding hood.

What I came to see was the faith-eating wolves where really sheep that God wants to use to bless me far beyond my greatest pre-conceived dreams. Taking a stand in faith, is always the best stand one can take.

Where will you stand – lost? Or found in God’s great plan?

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Living Encouraged Not Discouraged

Living Encouraged Not Discouraged

I see so many things called “impossibilities” right now. Blockades to progress. Markers of all I haven’t been able to push through. Barricades of defeat. A funny thing happens with these things. Maybe you have noticed? The more we pass them, ponder them and pay attention to them, the less they look like barriers and the more they look like graven images.

They normally are the things God didn’t fulfill. Things left undone. Things that torture a soul with the word, “unknown.”

They exist and then they start to rule over us, like this:
I deserve to live in defeat.
I can’t do it.
I will never find days “better”.
Quicksand is my destiny.
God doesn’t really care that I am stuck.
He won’t help me out.
I can’t make it.
I can’t do this thing before me.
I will fall down and get hurt.
Others have it easier.

Yet, when we know the end from the beginning, we know we will end up okay. Just consider this...

  • It is easy to look at our kids and say, “Trust me, when you get older, it will get better, people won’t be as mean.”
  • Or to be stuck in traffic and say, “I am dead stopped, but soon enough I will get moving.”
  • Or to watch a movie and know, “I will be okay at the end of this show, this ordeal will end.”

Never give up.
Our bodies may be dying, but our spirits are being renewed every day.
For troubles are small and won’t last,
but they are producing great glory that will last forever!
So don’t look at the trouble you see,
look at what you have not seen.
Your troubles will soon be over,
but ur joys will last forever.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

When we really know the “agony” will end,
we don’t agonize.

When we stop relying on what we see, we start seeing 
God’s predictable and promised outcome. We feel safe.

When we see the finish line of pain,
we start to live in courage, rather than discouraged.

When we believe in what will come together, we consider less what never has.

I wonder, how are you living? His Word is sure-fire. More sure-fire than any of those circumstances above. We can’t always see his workings, but we can be certain they will fire through to change the landscape of everything, always.

It’s not so much about what we see and it is always about what we don’t. It is not so much about what we “get,” but always about what he is working to give. It is not so much about there here and now, but much more about the “will come” – and the holiness that also arrives in our own heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Prov 3:5-6

We don’t have to understand,
we just have to stand to believe he is working
under the gears of our lives.

Stand to know encouragement: that the pain that stands before you – will end.
Not discouragement: that what you are confronted with will always be.

Where are you dwelling? In lands of possibilities or impossibilities?

Are you looking at what will never change or at what God has all power to change?

When we fear the unknown, we actually fear the idea of being out of control. We fear that we are losing our ability to impact a darn think – and we actually are. This is the point; God doesn’t want you in control – he wants you to know he is. Not once. Not twice. But all the time. 

Yesterday, I offered a challenge of losing “control”. Of walking in greater surrender. I would love for you to join me in this pursuit to “let go and let God.” For 31 days, we will push through a slice of control we continually want to eat. What is it for you? Might you consider releasing? If so, join in.  The bloggers who take part in this will be writing about it on November 9. I am excited to share a portion of their journey too.

Let go. What we let go of, can’t rule us inside. The hole that it leaves is replaced by more of God. More hope. More renewal. More encouragement. More life.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

Enjoyed “Living Encouraged”? Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Bloggers, I have moved the guest post submission deadline out to November 16. I know many of you have a busy October.

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