Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

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.

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A Heart of God Over a Heart of Fear

Heart of God

I have been on a wild and crazy hunt to figure out how to get more of God – into me. 

It’s wild because I often live in the wilderness – in the rocky ups and downs of faith. It’s just wild that a great God like him would want to dive into the disobedient heart of a girl like me. My head says yes, but sometimes, my heart says, it’s too off his beaten path.

It’s crazy because, I can’t even conceive how someone so “everywhere” and “always”, so above-it-all and so robe-laden, someone who made everything and with so much to do, could want to reside in measly me? Aren’t there a lot more exciting and missional places that he wants to focus?

But, it’s true.

God practically offers us all of him on a golden platter saying, I give you my heart. Will you take it? He doesn’t offer a part, a sliver, a shard, a splinter; he takes his whole body and throws it on the table for us, for vulture-like beings who did nothing to earn his gift of death.

“Take and eat; this is my body.” Mt. 26:26

He offers, but do I even value his gift?

The truth is the presence of his body, his life and his power is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

But, I must make a choice to eat his spiritual nourishment.

When my stomach turns in knots,
when holes trip me up,
when I shake in the darkness,
I must look up, verses looking around and see the one who is always ready to be found.

He is always ready to lead me in right ways.

His hand leads to truth.
Truth leads to love.
Love leads to fearlessness.
Fearlessness leads to passion and joy.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 Jo. 4:8

I wonder how often I hold back me – from God?

I wonder how much I fear his presence in me
because he seems too great above me?

How often I fear condemnation?
Even though I know his condemnation doesn’t even exist for me (Ro 8:1).

I forget “he who began a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)

How often do you hold back because you feel unworthy?

Or try to gain worthiness?
Even though it’s impossible to be the weight lifter of his power.

Only one can carry (and carried) that weight.

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Eph. 3:16-17

The reality is, we need to the strength of the Spirit
so that we can welcome in the strength of the Savior.

Then, the strength of the Savior more and more pushes out
the strength of the sinner.

It’s like the Spirit does the internal cleaning,
so the temple is clean, prepared and ready to be inhabited.

Jesus silences sins through surrendered faith. The sinner is siphoned away and more and more the new creation takes over. The sinner’s fears are left in the dust; the Spirit and Jesus become the only ones to trust.

I want this to happen more and more for me, don’t you? This happens when we call on the power of the Spirit to expand the territory of the Savior. 

It doesn’t matter where you live – in the wilderness, in trials, in temptation, in sin – confess and call. That’s it.

Then we will find the power of God will move in – to move out – all that keeps us from him.

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Drowning in Inadequacy

Drowning in Inadequacy

Just yesterday, I watched my husband and son in the pool. For them, it was fun and games. Laughs flew left, water flew right, my son bounced up, yet all that splashed into my heart was fear. 

Cold, bitter, shiver-inducing fear.
Fear that erases smiles and creates armors of protection.
Fear that ruins snap-shot moments in families.

“I am not as good of a mother as he is a dad.”
“My son really doesn’t like being with me that much.”
“I stink at connecting.”
“I can’t seem to approach him right.”
“He will never love me.
“Let’s be honest, I am not really that good of a mother.”

Drenched with inadequacy, my fears were ready to send me out to fight or on a far-off flight.

All that seemed to bubble out of my heart was the idea that I am not lovable, not worthy and not good enough. It made me want to march right out to say, “Hey, what about me? Do you all even see me? I am good too! (imagine the hands on the hips)”

And, let me tell you, there would be consequences if I wasn’t acknowledged.

That’s how demands of “what about me” work.  These ploys serve as the antithesis, the foil and the opposite of love. They topple down opinions, values and truths of others to erect their own statues of needs.

They basically say:
Hey, you, it’s all about me.
If I can’t fill that hole inside me, I will beat around the bush until I get what I need.
You better or I’ll ___________ .
If all else fails, I’ll  simply shut down shop and take off!

Far from any cooler soaked victory, my feelings place me on the sidelines as if I play for team “better luck next time.”

Better luck, loser momma!

Why must I always be the winner? The SUPER MOM to the rescue?!

Perhaps, luck isn’t what I need, Jesus is.

It’s not super amazing, double with a half-twist dive into family praises that transforms me, but God’s entire wrapping over my life, my heart and all the steps I take. Because, the hard and fast truth is that some days, I will feel like a Super-loser (_____) (momma, worker, friend, spouse, sister, daughter, church member).

But, I can’t help but think that there are other loser _____s out there who need an understanding shoulder on which to rest their head. I know I need theirs. Because, there will be days, I won’t feel  good enough and there will be days they won’t be good enough too.

When we open up our hearts to share “I-am-not-good-enough” moments, they become the passing point to the love of Christ. It is as if the doors of the drawbridge open and Jesus sails straight through to our precise destination of need.

Yet, so often we shut this part down. We say, “I am a loser today, I better put on some makeup.”

But, Jesus never said he cared much for makeup. And, he doesn’t care much for us making ourselves over with fake products to get what we need. They don’t work to well at covering shame anyway!

Winning status’ aren’t on his play board either- unless it’s about pouring out the victory that has already been won in Christ.

He has heard our prayers, now he wants our heart.

Jesus, convicts my heart. The truth is it’s not about my feeling good, looking good or winning good, but it’s about you loving good through me.

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Mt. 20:16

Jesus models this so well.

He takes the those limping like the least of these,
to make them the most of these.

He rides in on a donkey,
with the power of God behind him, to save the world.

He gets down onto a dirty floor, cuddles up next to the grime of another’s feet
and shows us the way.

Jesus never said, “Yo! Over here! See me! See my height, my stature, my awesomeness.”
He never said, “You better be perfect.”
He never said, “You will never feel bad.”

He simply says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

So, as I start to put on that can-never-match-up cape, I hope I can stop to remember:

1. The Word of God drowns inadequacy with the promises of God.

2. Jesus tramples the idea that we should beat ourselves down for who we are today. He came to rescue us this way.

3. Less makeup = more chances to make up with our faith-floundering heart. Then, we can send it out to make up the world with the markings of Jesus’ love.

4. I would be a loser if it wasn’t for Jesus, but he stripped me of that status when he died on the cross, forever securing my title of “victorious in him.”

Bottom line: Jesus doesn’t care so much about feelings of superiority or even adequacy, as much as he does about his all-nourishing adequacy.

There is no one like him,
no one above him,
no one who can match him, or beat him or control him,
no other name reigns like his.

He is the everything of all we want to be…
he is the gate that opens to the humble road
that leads to the ultimate filling place of our deepest desires.

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Bloggers, are you attending She Speaks? Let’s meet for breakfast first thing Friday at the Embassy Suites (people not staying can still eat or have coffee there).

If you are going to She Speaks, there are 2 things to do:

1. Please RSVP here for the morning #RaRalinkup get together/breakfast.
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5 Ways to Fight the Tricks of the Devil (& 2 Min. Encouraging Video)

Join me for an encouraging word.

Get your week started off on the right track with this 2-minute encouraging video.

5 Ways to Fight the Tricks of the Devil

This past week, my eyes were on God, but it felt like my heart was being towed to Never Never Land. I didn’t want it go, but away it went. People, issues, problems, doubts, uncertainties and fears all came into sight, as my great God moved far from sight – into the horizon of peace, where I surely wasn’t.

Shame backfired in my heart, burning me with the thoughts, “You have issues. Big issues. God doesn’t value a girl like that. God has left you.”

Ahem. What?!

Now we all know that these words aren’t true.

But in the moment, lies seem as true as the rabbit that magically appears out of the hat,
don’t they?

Sometimes, in order to see truth,
we have to take a different position to see the reality of what is happening.

Then we get a chance to shift our mindset from the destructive power of feelings
to God’s instructive hand of healing.

We begin to see:

“You stink” is really sent from one who wants us to sink.
“Not enough,” is an attempt by the great thief to replace Gods’ “more than enough”.
Utterances excluding grace are like shots of mace sent to blind our face.

The devil loves to use fear as the springboard to inadequacy. Because then, he can plunge us into the ocean of shame, if we don’t step off that mind-dizzying, nausea-inducing board of agony quick enough.

God never condones oceans of condemnation.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17

Knowing Christ never condemns helps me see the one who always does.

I don’t want to be listening to his lies.

5 Ways to Drive out Lies and to Drive in God’s Truth

1.  Determine which Father to serve. The father liar or Father God?

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires…there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Jo. 8:44

When we acknowledge our wrong direction, we can finally get on the right one.

2. Let God take his rightful standing. God is higher than opposition, man or my feelings.

But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Mt. 16:23

When we tell the devil to get back, we invite God to step forward.

3. Pledge allegiance to the one who has already claimed me. Allow the General of Love to rule over thoughts and actions.

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming.
He has no claim on me… Jo. 14:30

When we realize who has already claimed us, we also realize who has no claim on us.

4.  Get low to grow. So I don’t have a hard go.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7

Submission leaves no permission for the devil to enter in. He flees.

5.  Recognize: what God sees goes much farther than me.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD. Is. 55:8

The vantage point of God is all-knowing, all-powerful and just-right. His will will be done. We can fight by our might or let go by his will. The choice is ours.  

God is always waiting for us. His truth will always set us free.

As we break down God’s truth,
lies break down,
leaving space for God to breakthrough.

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Bloggers, be sure to join us tomorrow for the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith. All are welcome.

Rubbed Raw with Worry

raw with worry

When I saw it, I immediately knew something was wrong.

The A, B, Cs where there. I was anxious, burdened and out-of-control as I cast my eyes on what was asymmetrical, border-weird and color not-normal.

My days of laughs in the sun,
felt like they were being exchanged for tears at the mirror
as I looked at my back from every angle known by man.

The possibility of cancer, the pain of removal and the fear how long it had been there swung like a wrecking ball in my chest. Whatever was resurrected for Jesus, was all broken today.

Have you ever noticed that,
a heart that dwells on the looming possibilities of fear,
tumbles down the great possibilities of God?

I’ve noticed.

It’s a pack-up-your bags, furious move from residing under the shadow of God’s wing to living in a battle-soaked village of doom and gloom.

The more I looked at that mole, the more I knew I had to do something. So, I picked at it. Then, I started to rub. With no progress, I grabbed the great tool of exfoliating cream and dug into it.

This thing was coming off!
I rubbed some more…

Until all that remained was the bloodied marker of all that was threatening me
and an open sore filled with discouragement and embarrassment.

That’s how it is with worry, isn’t it?

The more we move the chair of our thoughts back and forth over that same spot,
the more we dig deep tracks of distrust into our heart.

We rub, and rub and rub – the same spot.

The more we dig deep these tracks of distrust,
the more we follow these ill-conceived tracks to illogical solutions.

We rub with exfoliating cream.

We ruin the floor of our faith with the imaginations of our future. We take action to things only God had the best action for.  What ruminates in our mind, dominates in our life.

Then we ask:

God, where are you? 
God, why did you let this happen? 
God, do you not care? 
God, are you going to let _____ happen?

It’s like we allow our all-powerful problems
convict our seemingly low-power god –
a god who is entirely lacking in the love department.

We get squinty-eyed at the one who loves us most. We do what we don’t want to do.

God, return my heart and my presence back to you. I am sorry.

Confession is the flashlight to clarity.

Worry doesn’t stop what destroys, it just steals joy.

Worry self-centers us. People, needs and ministry move to the outskirts.

Worry erases the idea that we are living for God’s glory, his plan and his will.
It makes invisible the prayer, “Thy Will be done.”

Worry is like a bouncy ball stuck in a box, it will keep you up all night and get you nowhere.

Worry places our eyes on our present problems, rather than our present God.

What do I really believe?

Do I believe God is an all-sufficient problem handler or
do I believe that he is absent, I am all alone, in the woods, by myself, fending against all my worst fears by the strength of my own might?

Is God the warrior or am I?

The truth is: God has us, he won’t let us go, he has a plan, he will bring us through all pain, he will provide for our every need, he will not forsake us, he will never let us go, he will not let our foot slip, he will pick us up if we fall, he will guide us through suffering as he has suffered, he will bring glory to our pain, he will lead others to know him through our trials.

But the real question is, do I believe this deep down -where it counts?

Hearts that believe God is good, give thanks for their good God.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil. 4:6

Thanks breathes in God and exhales bitterness.
Thanks makes us see all we have versus all we could lose.
Thanks brings into remembrance all of his past faithfulness.
Thanks puts into perspective our present perspective.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7

What can you find to be thankful for?

What praise can you immerse your one-track mind in
so that you don’t rub yourself raw
with feelings of God-has-left-me?

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Running When You Feel Like A Loser

When You Feel Like A Loser

My mouth says I want to “run with endurance the race that is set before (me)”, (Heb. 12:1), but my feet often go in the opposite direction.

I get set, and ready to go, until I fall and am ready to cry.

It’s a dichotomy I just can’t beat.

I snap back at my husband when I know a kind word turns away wrath.
Prov. 15:1

I think bad thoughts towards a rude person when I need to forgive as I have been forgiven.  Col. 3:13

I yell at my children, when God says to bear up under one another in love.
Eph 4:2

I judge a sister in Christ when God tells me to first look at the log in my own eye.
Mt. 7:3

I take pride in my work when God tells me at the proper time I will be exalted.
1 Pet. 5:6

While my mind says, it’s all for you God, I am running hard and fast for you, my actions say, “it’s still kind of all about me.” I can’t let go. I can’t break through. I can’t succeed with God.”

The pounding of my feet on the sidewalk of God’s mission, start to turn into fists pounding on my heart, saying “Why can’t you just do better?”

Pound. You gotta get it together.
Pound. People won’t see Christ in you.
Pound. Are you really a Christ follower when you mess up so much?
Pound. You are selfish.

And one who is beaten to the ground, can’t be running a good race for Jesus.
One who is pounding themselves, can’t be pounding the ground.
One fallen, can’t be encouraging others.
They can’t “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Cor. 9:24)

As I investigate my heart, my sin, and my desire, I am coming to see that God understands this roadblock too.

In order to run, run, run, we are instructed to unload, unload, unload: “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance…” (Heb 12:1)

Why?

so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Phil 2:6)

Jesus understands the struggle of a heart striving towards him. He doesn’t come to point our our lagger tendencies. He tells us to unload and rise up. To let go, and to move our feet. To say I am sorry, and to speed into his love. To send the failure fits to the sidelines and to move forward in faithful fury.

I’ve noticed, as I can let that go, I no longer feel like a girl running in circles, I no longer feel like the big loser on Olympics day, but instead I start to move forward – in a straight line – gliding into forgiveness, forging into peace, wholeheartedly striding into hope and joyfully pumping into the cheering applause of my loving Savior who roots me on with all that he is.

So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 1 Cor. 9:26

The question is not will I fall, because I will. The question, is – will I unload, confess and believe the promises of God (aka – get back up again), because this is where the race is won. This is where I stop pounding myself for every bad action and start pounding the streets with the message of Jesus Christ crucified and glorified.

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Today I am linking up with the fabulous Suzie Eller for #LiveFreeThursday.

If your a blogger, don’t miss out on the Purposeful Faith #RaRalinkup every Tuesday. Link up to this weeks post.

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.

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Beauty in the Cracks of Life

Cracks of Life

Usually, I am prepared for the big breaks. I arm my heart with truth and prayer to beat the all-out smashes of life, but it’s those small cracks, those unexpected issues, that so often send my heart in an emotional tailspin.

Last week, I went on my 10-year anniversary trip. My expectations were higher than the empire state building and all signs were directed to fun.

I drew a line in the bright sandy beach that said “all my eggs are in this vacation basket, nothing can mess with this.”

Vacations are off-limits, aren’t they?

Then, my blog internally crashed.
Email after email couldn’t resolve it.
Four different people couldn’t find a solution.
My husband had various concerns of his own.
The kids were waiting for fun and I felt like there was work to be done.

I knew I had a choice, I could see the big issues in my sight, or I could fight fright to grab hold of God’s might. I chose to fight – to see the great God above me rather than the issues before me.

And, it worked, for, a bit..

…until God whapped me upside my head.

Yes, you heard me right, my friend.

As I entered the pool like the cool, calm and collected “faith in Jesus” girl that I was, I giant bird pounded my head with the speed of a world cup soccer kick.  Apparently this crazy bird thought my bun was nothing less than a tasty soft bun.

Whap! My head seemed to spin with the velocity of all that was coming at me.

And it was in this moment that my hands fell by my side, the tears broke through my face and my heart was cracked wide open. I asked,“Lord, why are you hitting me while I am down? Do you not care about me? What is it that you want to get through my thick skull!?”

Dang. We can fortress ourselves up like Jericho, but still, the cracks find their way, don’t they? They break us down and shatter our worldly and emotional well-being, leaving us saying, “God, how did I end up here? Why did you leave me?”

We amp up our lives with God in the big,
but his volume can seem low in the little. 

Why bother God with something we should be able to handle, right? 

God loses his “needed-status”; he becomes our opponent, rather than our encouragement.

And, this brings me to my patio…(this will all tie together, I promise you).

I first noticed this:

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Abundant dirt in the place where abundant flowers were supposed to reside. So much for nursery promises.

But, then God unveiled this:

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Flowers all throughout the little cracks of my patio.

Flowers, not contained or restrained, potted or predictable, but simply flowers sent on a mission from God.

These flowers helped me see beyond my toddler-like demands of expectation, to see God’s best working ground is in my foundation – in the grime, in the dirt, in the cracks.  

This is the soil where he grows beauty. It’s the soil where things bloom. It’s where the deep roots of faith are sowed.

How often do I take for granted God’s gentle cracks of beauty,
because I am too caught up in the pot that contains no flowers?

How often am I so dead set on my plans,
that I miss God’s desire to spread his seed beyond me?

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world–just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. Col. 1:6

Fertile soil is a powerful breeding ground for the message of Jesus Christ, it says, “Your will be done, Lord, not mine.”

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Lu. 22:42

Cracks are God’s holy ground.

Our cracks, turn us back to say, “I need you Jesus.” They bring us into his presence. They call us in by name. They set us on our knees. They focus our thoughts on his Word. They humble our hearts into receptivity.

Great seeds of life-growth take root, not always as expected, but in a way where Christ is reflected, where love is invested and so we are redirected.

Ultimately, the cracks launch Christ’s arrows of love straight into the dry-soil of our deep-set emotional issues.

The question is – will we view the small flowers in the cracks as buds of his glory
or will we keep our eyes dead set on what we deserve?

Will we allow attacking birds and cracks in our perfect lives to become messenger’s
of God always-redeeming story – the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Beacons of the great work that God is doing in us.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. Is. 60:1

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#RaRalinkup Crew – I have decided to open up guest posting on my blog.

Here is how it will work for now:
guest posts will go live the second Wednesday of: January, March, May, July, September & November.

Please submit your posts by the last day of the previous month (Example: if sending for January, please send to me by Dec. 31) to be considered. Some months, I may choose to do a compilation of various bloggers posts. I may also post this compilation to Crosswalk.com as a “What’s Hot in the Blogosphere World.”

So get on my contact page and send your posts in! I can’t wait to see what you write and to highlight your work on Twitter, Facebook, to readers and to all our #RaRa friends.

I haven’t done this before, in part, because I don’t want anyone to feel bad if they are not chosen. I can’t choose everyone, but I am entrusting your feelings to God as we go through this process. Please, always know, you are deeply loved and so valued by me.

Submission details.

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Fighting Back Tough Times

Fighting Back Tough Times

So, I wrote a recent blog post, practically entitled, “The Great Purposeful Faith Hack Attack,” only to be faced with its aftermath yet again.  My site has been deeply compromised, injured internally and badly beaten. Poor thing.

But God’s Word hasn’t.

Jesus was badly compromised, injured and beaten, but his words last forever.
His touch, a lifetime.
His promises, forevermore.
His power, ever-flowing.

So, it all doesn’t really matter does it? In so many ways, anything can be stripped down to its core, but what always remains is the name of Jesus.

It is by him, for him and through him that everything is, was and is to come.

That’s it, my friends  – it all comes back to him, doesn’t it?

If only I can remember this day by day…
Children stripped of clothes, paint strewn all over furniture. Jesus.
Open and wounded emotions after an argument. Jesus.
A big denial after I outpour my heart. Jesus.
A moment of “Why did I do that?” Jesus.
Unhinged expectations. Jesus.

Worst case scenarios come true. Jesus.
Family scars. Jesus.

Sometimes it takes being beaten down to see Jesus’ enduring love –

his endurance that relieves our defiance.

Like a kid being chased, God endures after us, not to mock us, not to yell at us, not to show us what we did wrong, not to call us old labeled names, but to pour out pure and unadulterated love.

He chases us down as loved children because he cares. He sees us running around like chicken’s with our heads cut off. He sees our childlike ways, but he still loves us.

So much so, he takes our present condition of childhood and raises us up to a condition called eternally secure.

The more we are acquainted with suffering, the more we acquaint our eyes to see like Jesus.

Suffering tenderizes our heart.
It pulverizes our judgements of others.
It demolishes strongholds of fear.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I have been praying for a miracle, because the alternative is tearing down, all that has been built up.

Sure, there is a time and place to be torn down, but, I have this sneaky feeling that if I can just grab hold of the lesson in the wait, I can steer clear of the lesson in the demolition. You know what I mean?

So, instead, I have been trying to take off the 3D glasses of fear:

The ones that seem to think that contentment revolves around joy, peace and comfort.
The ones that make me think I can charge through barriers God has permitted to stand.
The ones that keep me leashed to ideas that no one will like me.

My only thread line of hope is that I can see God’s simple truth and gentle guidance before me.

Gentle guidance. Because opposing God’s direction is tiring. Running against the wind, depletes me and injures my soul. It leaves me worn on the side of the yellow brick road that I thought led to happiness.

Lord, I can’t help but think, if I can only go with your wind, no matter how face-injuring, skin-drying and emotionally-depleting it may feel, that you will gently guide me right to where I need to be.

Sometimes, there is pain in the moment, but we can trust God’s love endures forever. He is much more concerned with His idea of forever, than our idea of a moment.

Crashing sites, lives, jobs and families are all being worked together for good as we trust God. We can trust that.

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

Don’t miss Part I – Protect Your Heart from Hackers

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Protect Your Heart from Hackers

Protect Your Heart

My blog was hit by a brute force hacker who brutely forced fear straight into my heart.

They attempted to hack and whack the message of God.
To halt the images leading the way to the way, the truth and the life.
To hammer my functionality.
To halt images portraying the way, the truth and life.

I panicked. I emailed help like a mad woman. I fretted and feared.

But, nothing can stop the truth of God.

We may fall, sites may fall, finances may fall, buildings may fall, jobs may fall, kids may fall, feelings may fall, but nothing can make our all-powerful Jesus fall from the right hand of God.

Nothing can make us fall from grace. Nothing can make us fall from our eternal standing with Christ Jesus.

We are not falling victims of senseless attacks, but rising sinners headed to heaven.

God has secured our future no matter what attacks come our way.

With God, we rise above attacks.

What the enemy uses to take us down, God uses to raise us up,
to a greater enlightenment,
to a deeper truth,
to a more powerful resolve to push through obstacles.

Nothing can take Jesus down, because he has already risen up!

The devil might attempt to bring us to our knees, but God uses to reinforce our faith to a greater degree.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. (Gen. 50:20)

Lately, I have been getting vulnerable – real vulnerable. This attack has showed me that the more we become vulnerable, the more we lay ourselves wide open to attack.

But, God never promised we wouldn’t be persecuted, he promised us we would have eternal rewards when we are.

We are open and ready to receive from God. We raise our arms in surrender, we lift up our heads, we close our eyes, but this is also the perfect position for the enemy to come right in to shove us over. We aren’t looking at him, afterall. It’s hard to see the onslaught coming.

Can you remember a time where you were going head-on right into the heart of Jesus with complete abandon, only to feel the weight of the world come crashing down?

Can you remember feelings of doubt, discouragement and despair throwing you off track?

Vulnerability and surrendered hearts are open to a brute force attack, if we don’t add safety guards.

For my site, it is extra walls of security and additional plug-ins. We need to plug-in too. We need to plug-in to the armor of God “so that (we) can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Eph. 6:11

This means we add a little extra security to our holy temples.

We dress up a bit.
We wear our accessories daily.
We protect our open hearts.

We put on:

1. The “belt of truth buckled around (our) waist.” Eph. 6:14

Just as a belt is the center point of our body, so is the Word of God the center point of our lives.  All truth flows and knowledge flows from God’s Word that brings life.

2. The “with the breastplate of righteousness in place” Eph. 6:15

No matter how open your heart is to God, when we act in righteous ways, we wear an armor that protects us from getting hurt. It makes all darts against us bounce off.

3. “Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Eph. 6:16

If we are ready and willing, we can’t be stopped. There is resolution in the face of trials. Put on readiness so you may grow and go according to Christ’s purpose.

4. “The shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Eph. 6:17

When we believe in what we cannot see, the troubles we can see don’t deter us in the moment – we walk with a higher mission.

5. “The helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph. 6:17

We can cover our head with the protective helmet of eternal salvation. Our mind can rest secure under it because we have eternal standing that can never be removed.

We wear our armor, but we live/worship/surrender as “wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove”. Mt. 10:16

This means we worship with hands raised and one eye open.
We share discerning if we may be throwing our valuable pearls to the swine. Mt. 7:6
We pray, knowing that is not by our might, but by God’s that we are protected. Eph. 6:18
Because, otherwise, we are just as vulnerable to an attack as we are to God.

Otherwise, we walk with our heads in the clouds, ready to be hacked right back down to earth.

Let’s get up, wise up and start plugging in to God’s protective armor. We are fighting a greater battle.

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