Purposeful Faith

Category - control

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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Control Challenge: 30 Days of Not Talking Back To Husband

Not Talking Back To Husband

Epiphany! It is a risk. It is a breakthrough. It is a rarity. Unbelievably, it just happens. We can’t demand it or force it. But, when it happens, your insides do a million little cheers because what you couldn’t see before all of a sudden makes sense. Yes! It happened to me. God pushed down a blockade that has been at least 10-years old and 10-yards thick. With my insides broken, things look different. The potential looks frankly fantastic and tangibly terrifying all at the same time.

Here is the deal, for so long, my agenda is always to have an agenda: 

You have a problem?
This is what you should do.

The kid is crying too much?
I have to figure out every last thing to get him to stop so my head won’t explode.

The plan is unsure?
I will worry my little mind off until something formalizes in my mind.

The husband and I are working together?
I will tell him exactly how to move the couch in the right way.

A family member is in a bad mood?
I tell them to get feeling better so we can start enjoying the day.

God doesn’t answer?
I will be under-the-skin angry at him for not showing up my prayed for “way.”

I fail?
I am horrified at my inability to succeed. I am embarrassed you see me. I defend myself tooth, nail and mouth running 100 miles an hour.

When we manage life, life ends up managing us.

It manages to put us into a hole of anxiety, turmoil and defeat. It manages to make our feelings slaves to other’s emotions, circumstances and outright fear.

How can we be in service to God, while we are in service to fear?

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Ro. 8:38

If this is the truth, if nothing separates me,
shouldn’t my heart be almost laying right on top of God’s in every
encounter, situation, and moment?

Shouldn’t I almost feel our hearts beating together and moving as one?

Shouldn’t I not be standing on my feet, but trusting, or “bittachon”ing in Hebrew, which means leaning on?

Shouldn’t I be less concerned about standing up and
more concerned with falling into God’s fix-it, love-it, help-it, I-have-it hands? 

Then, perhaps, I actually won’t feel separated. Then, I won’t hold him and others at an arms length. Then, I won’t be ruled by the same driving force that compels the devil’s parade for power. Then, I will actually give God a chance to work. Then, God and I will be one. In my terrifying moments of uncertainty, he will actually become my certainty. He will be the only surety, the only hope, the only way.

Not through my way, but by me actually living God’s way.

Can you imagine the faith-strides that will happen through a true core belief that says,
in every single solitary situation, “God, this one-is-all you”?

What role do you need to forgo to see God’s hand go wild on your behalf?

Is it being a “mom”ager, a dictator, a fixer, an “advice”r, a “peace-maker,”
a ruler, a helper, a planner or an antagonizer?

Maybe you want to join me on this 30-day challenge?

Will you join me in picking one way that you want to pack away for 30 days?

For me, it looks like this: I am making one small decision to bow down to my husband. Starting today, I will not advise, fix, control, manage, plan, help, counsel, instruct, teach, come up with different ideas, endlessly question, give the one-eyebrow raise or offer the silent treatment to get what I want. For thirty days, I will answer everything he says by “leaning in” on God. I will not offer comebacks. I will learn to offer R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the places where I have relied on D-I-S-T-R-U-S-T.

I will say, “yes,” rather than give my off-the-cuff “no.”

I am going to lay it all down to honor him. For one month, I am going to see what it feels like to shut my mouth, open my ears and to soften my heart. I trust that God will open great plan in the places where I might feel defeated, unsure, and tumultuous. 

For 30-days, I am going to let my husband rule unhindered. What a risk! What craziness! What a nut! Yes, I am, I am so nutty that I think God will do some absurd, fanatical and wild things; I am willing to see what I have missed out on for so long. For 30 days, I can survive. For 30 days, I can see what happens. 

What is God calling you to go a little bit “wild” on?

Is it a challenge like mine?

Or maybe he is calling you in an entirely different way to submission? To service? To love?

Maybe his calling you to step out, so he can work-in-
as you trust him.

Every Monday for the next 3 weeks, I am going to reflect on this journey, my progress and letting go of control. I would love for you to join me as I “Say no to saying no to my husband,” and as you ____________ (tell me in the comments)?

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ…Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. Eph. 5,7-8

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