Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

Letting Go of Control

control

I just read a book. It’s not even on a topic I thought I was struggling with, but good words always tend to find a good home in one ready to receive them.

These words did more than just that; they took my heavy baggage, bent them up and dropped them at my feet in a time-to-let go kind of way (dang, Lord, I wasn’t intending this!).

You see, when baggage breaks, it’s time to dump ’em, toss ’em and be done with ’em. And, now, I can see how messed up my baggage really is; it’s filled with stolen items, things I could only pretend to fully own. Things I tried to make myself believe would always be mine – that I could use to fill my needs.

But, I never owned them to begin with.

What we think is ours, always has and always will
belong to God.

He lends us what we love,
so we can see his love – for us.

What is lent is always called back home sometime, in God’s time.

In my heart, God is calling back the idea that I own my kids, my husband and my dreams – because I don’t. They always have and always will belong to him.

But letting go, feels like letting a dog run without a leash. It’s scary. Risky. Uncertain.

To let go of what I clench, to release my imprints and to undo my harness – it’s not work for the faint of heart. For so long, I have relied on these crutches as my own personal hopes of glory, hidden, but golden tickets to personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

But, what happens, one day, when God decides,
that I can no longer clutch and crutch –
right around his great promises?
What happens then?

Because, you see, something like this could happen: “My son purchased drugs which, combined with a beer later that evening, caused respiratory distress, resulting in death.” (Dance With Jesus, by Susan B. Mead)

What would I do then? When the kid that I supposedly owned, ruled and managed ended up – gone? Would I go down with him? Would my crutches be so swiped out from under me that my face would break in a million little pieces?

I think it might. I don’t know what I would do.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

I suppose I am learning, it is in the taking away, that we often find the praise. At least that’s what happened with Susan, when she lost her son.

She says, “Do I want him back with me? Yes- for a moment. Then I realize how selfish that would be because he is now in Paradise with Jesus.”

Amen, sweet Susan.

Her words knock me in the head. She found her praise as she rose up her hands in abandon to the one who held her most prized possession.

She found her praise – in that. Wow. And, rightfully so, he can take care of her child far greater than she ever could (no offense dear).

He can take care of my family far better than I can too.

The more I let go, the more space my loved ones have to learn HE IS
who I am preach HE IS.

The more I let go, the more they know the great rescuer God,
verses the great rescuer mom, wife, daughter, sister.

The more I let go, the more they see Jesus step in,
rather than my need-based insecurities step up.

Then, people can start to Dance with Jesus – without crutches that limit their movements before a great God who delights in them.

They dance.

And, I dance – as I let my child climb in his seat by himself, as I let my husband make that mistake I know he is about to make, as I see a disaster ready to happen and trust God, as I step back when my kid may take a learning-lesson tumble, as I don’t give the advice a sister really should follow and as I humbly listen to all God’s plans for the main characters in this game called life.

I am free.

To find glory in the death of my goals.
To find renewal in God’s new breath of life.
To find hope outside of my 5-inch working hands.

Where do you need to be freed – to dance? To rely on the gentle guidance of one who cares?

This movement is powerful;
it’s a waltz that follows the lead of a One true God
who we actually believe is the One true God.

Real needs surface, then the rescue happens, but what we find out is that – it was always intended for us.

Finally, our hands open, our praises fly, our hopes belong to him. We no longer have strings attached to others. We cup and offer, and he answers and pulls these hearts even closer to him (whether they be on earth or in heaven).

Why do we let go? Because we love them, but most of all, we love him, we know him, and we trust him. In this, as Susan so vividly pictured in her book, we can let them – and us – dance with Jesus.

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God's miracles

My thoughts on Dance with Jesus: This book transports me to a different time and a different place. It wraps its arms around me to pull me into the life of Susan B. Mead, and boy, does she take me on a ride. The unique and charming characters in this book rally your heart and lure your soul into deep healing, joy and release all at the same time. The miracles of God’s wonder move you from a place grief to relief. Thank you Susan for jump-starting me on the journey of letting go.

 

Protecting What God Loves Most in You

God Loves Most

There are voices that speak devastation, demolition and destruction to the temple of God.

Can you hear them?

Ordinary words that travel extraordinary distances to injure.
Words that cut deeper than a machete and further than a scalpel.
Ones that appear to rip the seams of God right out, if you let them.

They are ready steal your passion for bended knees, raised hands, and uplifted eyes. They charge into your face, yelling, “You little, …(fill in the blank.) You always…. You never…. You can’t….”

Maybe the voice isn’t even so loud, but the injury is.

Words a mile a minute – the pressure can seem inescapable. These declarations of powerlessness became my anthem song, they defined my ins and outs, my worth and value, and my hope and future.

Yet, God moves technology, just as he does our hearts and these old cassette songs became just that old – it was time for something that doesn’t take up so much space and without the weight. God gave me a new song.

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:17

My temple is sacred.

Am I protecting it? Am I keeping it strong guarded?

Sometimes you have to. People seem to come at you.

But I will encamp at my temple to guard it against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch. Zech. 9:8

The temple of God always was and always will be a monument God calls us to enforce.

As temple carriers, we must strong-guard it from foreign objects, set up to desecrate and devastate it’s beauty.

Remember Jesus in the temple? He flipped false goods, on their heads. Just the same today, he doesn’t want us accepting falsities or hyperboles about our self – in his house.

What have you let dwell in the temple of the most high God?

What labels, libels and litanies from years past still hang out?

What humiliation, intonations and accusations from today won’t leave?

What doesn’t start and end with God, usually starts and ends with shame. What stands outside his holy grounds, usually tries to force a way in to ransack his house.

God is a fan of forged walls, when they are ones that protect his sonship covenant with us – a covenant that always says: I love you. I am for you. I will not hold you – against you. I will rush back every time you call on my name.

When we let God’s promises become do what they were intended to do – protect, we no longer:

Push out godliness to usher in helplessness.
Wash out purity to welcome in fragility.
Remove honest humility to greet a faith disability.

God’s temple always waits to be our refuge, our safety, our barrier, our new confine, our hope, our insight, our wisdom, our future. We don’t need a magic ball, because we have the majesty of Christ’s Spirit in us.

The walls of God’s temple wrap us in love and fortify our hearts in truth. They continually confess our hope of glory. 

When atomic warfare is thrown at God’s temple, the temple that bears his name, we can take refuge under the bomb shelter of his love.

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov. 18:10

Dodging The Arrows of Life

arrows of life

Here I am.
This is me, Lord.
I am waiting.
And just trying to dodge the arrows of life.

Will you run to my rescue and save the day?

I stand in a field of open vulnerability – arms wide open, head lifted, hoping. The darkness is thick and the opponents are many. I can cut the weight of circumstances with a knife and it seems they might cut me too. 

Am I going to get hurt?  Much like the good samaritan,
will I be left crying, on the side of the road?

They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. Lu. 10:30

Why do you leave good people, with bad problems God?

My beating chest is unsure,
but you say – what comes to beat me, you’ve already beaten.

What terrorizes to take me down,
was already taken down when you were lifted up.

What appears to be breaking will not only be fully molded and made, but also fully established.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 
1 Pet. 5:10

So, though my heart feels arms wide open to pain, my soul relishes in the idea that I am rescued from it.

I wrap my arms around the here, the now and say, if I don’t have faith, I don’t have anything – except fear.

Faith makes God my primary weapon.

It hushes “I can’t” and loudens “I can.”

It restores what life tries to steal: Peace in you, through you and for you.

It takes hold and makes you go.

So, I tell myself: God will do it.

He won’t abandon me to fear.
He’ll make a way for hope.
He won’t let peace go.
He will shield me from the arsenal of arrows.
If they seem to hit me, he will seemingly restore me one day.

God is closer than the pain – if I really let him reign.

He flips bad circumstances so they never look the same.
What seemed down, gives us new meaning as we look up.
What looked dark, becomes light.
What wanted to leave me for dead, leaves me with new life.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. Lu. 10: 34

As the good samaritan is rescued, so am I.

Do you see your rescue? Do you believe in it?

Like the good samaritan, left for dead, you are being brought back to life:

He was despised & forsaken. 
A man of sorrows & grief.
One from whom men hide their face – despised.
We did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried; 
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken…
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, 
He was crushed for our iniquities; 
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, 
And by His scourging we are healed.  
Is. 53:3-12

The more we hook up to this truth, the more we strengthen in the recharging power of amazing grace.

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Linking with #FiveMinuteFriday and #DancewithJesus.

 

5 Lies You Believe (Yet May Not Realize)

lies you believe

What if I told you that as you walked outside there was a predator looming in your bushes? He not only wanted to take a bite of your skin, but entirely rip it off – savor it and devour it.

Sound creepy? Yes, I completely realize it does.

But, if this were the case, would you keep your eyes a little more open?
Might you look a little more left and right?
Prepare yourself in case of attack?

Might you do everything you could to find out who had the power to get rid of this creeper?

Of course you would.

But, do you?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8

Usually, we live more like busy-bodies than watch dogs.

We don’t look up – or around – we only look down – at our iPhones. 

We look to our extensive to-do’s, rather than our exponential God.
Destination rules on high.

Feelings of worthlessness, uselessness and hopelessness often whip us around.
Meanwhile, we don’t see the abuser standing next to us.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Jo. 8:44

When the devil lies, he often makes us lie down in defeat.  Are you discerning is voice?

5 Lies the Devil Wants you To Believe (and you usually do)

1. God doesn’t really love you that much.
How could a god that big, love one who is so small?

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Jo. 15:3
God’s love is the only thing that is always permanent and always present.

2. Your scars of the past will always blind your eyes in shame (abortion, alcohol, depression, anger, mental issues, insecurity).
You messed up so bad, you’re marked as forever bad.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
God doesn’t blind us with what we did wrong, he binds us up in what he did right.

3.  You will be destroyed by your circumstances, your relationships and your trials.
That thing is going to take you down and ruin your life; you won’t be okay.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps. 118:6
If God is on your side, you are on the winning side – walk in His stride.

4. You deserve no trials.
A good god would never let you hit bad trials.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jo. 16:33
Your good God knows bad trials will make you even better.

5.  The bible doesn’t really say that. That would negatively impact your happy meter.
God wants all happy, happy, joy, joy feelings for you – go and get it (under breath: you spoiled little brat). Consume it – the world is your oyster.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Lu. 9:23
God doesn’t say consume, he says exhume your ways and reassume his.

The devil almost always says, “God can’t – and you can’t – unless you can –  with sin. The world will eat you up, the bible will fake you out and your past will kick you out of God’s purpose.”

The devil offers: same lie, different day.
But we have: the same God, everyday.

Our best defense is knowing God is on offense.

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
​Nu. 23:19

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Filling Your Discouragement Hole

Discouragement Hole

God do you see me?

I know you say:
You are with me,
you strengthen me,
you help me,
you take my hand and keep me from falling. (Is. 41:10)

I know you say these things, I do.

But, do you really see me? Because sometimes I feel alone.

And sometimes, I look for your uplifting voice to be carried in by a messenger of your life-giving word. Sometimes I look for that. I watch for it. I wait for it’s arrival.

Is that bad God?

Certainly, I don’t want to get all of man’s approval only to lose yours.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10

If we are seeking our utmost for our highest,
we won’t demand utmost from our neighbor.

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Mt. 6:1

With God, our plays to be seen, only result in us being unseen.
Our dreams to look good, only steal our good robes and crowns.
A heart that is set on the scale of perceptions, is simply led in deception.

Yet, the crumb-size difference between reliance on man and reliance on God resides in the heart. Its always here that we can magnify our intentions to see if there is any true value in our pursuits. 

The heart that says, “God you are my master. I am serving you at all times” is the heart that God pours into. God uses all of his resources to healthily build into this kind of person: two of which are his Word and the word of others.

And, boy, you know I need it, sometimes, don’t you God?

God has placed us in a world among man for a reason.  God is the author of a timely spoken word for a reason, because he wants to fill our heart – with him.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Heb. 10:24-26

Sometimes, it’s that detailed word or a shared celebratory victory dance
that beats off despair, discouragement and doubt.

It’s the fist bump with a co-laborer
that often brings God’s next big dream to the surface.

It’s that small word of love that wipes away
the tears of “I can’t do this anymore.”

At times when you feel like you can’t lift another foot.
When you don’t know if your making a difference.
When you can’t understand how God could use a person as jacked-up as you.
When you are unsure if his great purpose will ever be fulfilled.

It’s those times, encouragement is vital, called for and a great power play in the toolbox of God.

If we need these words, these confirmations, then how much more might others need them too?

The other day, God dropped this at my feet (literally), as I was walking my son to his Vacation Bible School. A cross was lying on the floor by the door, it said:

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands. Ps. 138:8

God will fulfill it. He will do it. He will bring us through.

But, how often do we listen to the other voice, “God won’t do it. He will drop us. He will leave us. We can’t do it.”

Who reminds us of this truth-line? 
Do you remind others? They are dying for it.

God calls us to broadcast this truth with a megaphone – not in a shy, guilty or self-seeking way, but in a loud, proud and glory-inducing way.

For, the time is now. The stakes are high. The purpose is huge. The call is great. The hands must unite. The people must pull together. The sisters and brothers must live like sisters and brothers, because God’s church is waiting.

The bottom line is, I need you sisters and brothers. If I want to keep going on this thing called perseverance of faith, I can’t do it alone. You can’t either.

We all need that little push to push us beyond our own self. Christ did it when he died on the cross to push us into the unreachable places of hope and he calls us to do the same here on earth – to push others into new hope.

Hope that spreads faith,
then spreads his power,
to spread new purpose.

The more we spread it, the more God ends up spreading his own love on the slice of our heart that needs it most.

discourgement hole

So, I ask you all with the most humble heart, will you come alongside me?
Will you come alongside others?

Will you upbuild the most prized possession of God – the church –
the most active movement of Jesus Christ on earth?

This means speaking thank you to that person who can’t do it alone.
This means sharing how a message impacted you.
This means offering a small act of kindness to the one who constantly gives week after week.
This means sending a verse of love to one who may be on their last leg.
This means keeping in prayer those who always keep you in the faith.
This means generating faith in those who are starting to feel weary.

Encouragement is more than lip service
it is active service to those in need.

ANNOUNCING #UROCK!
It is your way to get involved in building the church up so high that it reaches the full heights of heaven.  #UROCK is a day of encouraging the encouragers. Whether it is your pastor, women’s minsitry director, worship leader, bible study teacher, mentor, favorite radio host or whomever, send them a tweet, FB message or email using #UROCK to tell them how much they mean to you. Offer them a prayer, a hope or a verse – it may make all the difference. Learn more.

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Finding Holiness When You Feel Unholy

Finding Holiness

I went in praying, but I left repenting.

It was supposed to be a time of joy, connectedness and unity, but everything went wrong. My heart didn’t want to align with God. It didn’t want to follow his marching orders, and instead marched to it’s own beat: a beat of I have to figure this out, I have to work to get right with God, I have to be better than myself and I have to stop sinning.

Sure, God does tell us to put off our old self, which is “being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22-24

There is a taking off of the stinky, the putrid and the worn out shirt of self and a putting on of the new, sparkly, purposeful and intentional dress of holiness and righteousness.

Sounds amazing right?

Certainly, I knew what I wanted to wear, but somehow it seemed like that new dress was out of my price range. It was out of my reach. It wasn’t so easy to obtain.

Why try?

My ears became so focused on my bad self-talk, that I couldn’t hear God talk. His small promptings passed right over my shoulder.

I was so so focused on, “I have got to figure out the mess than I am, God” rather than the “Come with me, Kelly, I have something for you.”

We speak words of condemnation,
but God stands ready to hand out words of consolation.

When we get to the end of our self, we get to the start of God – and that is what happened to me.

It’s not just about not sinning – about removing the old stink and putting on the new outfit – but it’s about the renewal of the mind. Only then, can we walk forward in the new.

We renew our mind by:

Bringing it to the altar of transformation, which is prayer.
Immersing it in the irrevocable truth of God’s Word.
Knowing that the one in us is greater than the world around us.
Making it new in the promises of God.
Finding a space with God when we feel like we have no space for him.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Jo. 15:5

I listened.
I stopped.
I prayed.
I asked.
I humbled myself.
I waited.
I listened.
I heard.

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14 
God rests my soul, as I find rest in him.

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Ps. 55:2
As I hand my burdens over, God hands me his hand that holds me upright.

The answer to putting on the shiny dress of new self is giving God the first chance to suffocate the old. Then, we leave clothed in promised robes of righteousness and holiness.

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No Good Dirty Rotten Christian

Dirty Rotten Christian

I am good at organizing my faith. It means I line up all the little pieces of my life in a straight line and expect them to fall like perfect dominos.

I expect my plans to fall into place.
I expect that the dominos will hit the ground – and not me as I sin.
I expect that my perfectly placed pieces will keep my faith in a straight line.

Perhaps, this is why I feel so devastated, so demolished and so pushed over when I do wrong. It is as if all my attempts to control my faith, my sin and my progress press on my shoulders, compacted and ruined.

It’s nearly back-breaking.

How can God’s ways be light when this work seems so hard?

Is this light-load wording really even truth?

Because if it is, I am living by a lie.  Again and again, my faith falls and I do too.

But, what if? What if?  I am looking at everything all wrong?

What if my inability to carry, isn’t so much because of him – but, because of me?

One with the weight of shame,
can’t really pass out the grace of Christ.

One whose hands cover her face,
can’t let God hold her hand.

One who laying down in despair,
can’t see up in hope.

One lining everything up,
can’t help but take everything personally when it all falls down.

And, in a heart-pumping way, I can’t help but think, maybe this line of thinking is real progress.

Because my way = the wrong way.
God’s way = a chance to see his work at play.

God’s way is his Word and it restructures our approach:

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy. . . Jude 1:24

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude 1:20

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5

And he said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace. Lu. 7:50

He makes us stand before his presence.
He grants us joy.

He keeps us from stumbling.
He holds us in the love of God as we pray in the Spirit.
He increases our faith as we ask him.
He makes our faith win when we rely on him.

We don’t need us, we just need him. We don’t need strategy, we just need prayers. We don’t need plans, we just need the Spirit. We don’t need holy roller practices, we just need help.

Every time, we need his help.
All the time, we need his help.
Every hour, we need his help.

Bottom line, as our heart cries out for faith by his Spirit, he will keep us and help us. He makes our load light as we lay our load on him.

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Denying Discouragement

Denying Discouragement

It’s days like these that can really cause havoc…

Days where these kids head to time-out, over and over, despite the repeated talks on love.
Days when work doesn’t work-out.
Days when the marriage just goes off kilter.
Days when friendships irk.
Days when finances continue to dwindle.
Days when God doesn’t immediately show up. Days that can turn into weeks…

It’s days like these when you wonder
why in the world things don’t work better when you are working so hard?

It’s days like these that compel your heart to want to give up, to run and hide.

Why is it that the train-wreck days sometimes
 seem far easier to get over than these kind of slow-gnaw-type-of-days?

At least with the train-wreck days, you can clean up the toys at the end of the day and start over with a clean slate. You can file these days away in the “once-in-a-blue-moon” cabinet knowing they won’t repeat too soon.

But, slow-gnaw days are called faith-busting day. Over time, they cut your faith away.

They make you question your worth, your heart, your value, your plans, and your God.

They make me lay in the bed, look up at the ceiling, and say, “Why do I even try, God. When are you coming through? What do I have to do?”

We tend to think that way, don’t we?

That for some reason, we are responsible to fix the hand of God.

As if our actions are the precursor to his decisions.  

Who owns the hand of God – HIM or me?

Yet, I think of another who had a serious loss of heart. I think of another who had a series slow-gnaw days that could have eaten him alive – if he let them.

Imagine hearing these words: But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  Luke 22:32
And then hearing this: “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Lu. 22:34
Only to do this: “I don’t even know him!” Lu. 22:57

Might Peter thought, “I’d never! That day will never come! I am strong!” Likely.

But he did – 3 times he did. And he wept. Beyond that, I imagine the next days must have been excruciating as he, probably left in discouragement and despair, saw his savior crucified, dead and buried.

What happened to his purpose?

What use was his life, after in Jesus, he practically twisted the knife?

Peter’s actions must have gnawed worthlessness, pain and struggle.

But, Jesus never leaves the failures, the forgotten or the futureless.

Peter’s inability to stick it through in the moment didn’t disqualify him from Jesus’ love, neither did his past actions.

Nope. Remember this? “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”  Luke 22:32
And, it didn’t.

How often do we arm ourself up with faith like Jesus did for Peter? His prayer was answered.

How often do we pray preemptively for war? We are at war.

I can only speak for myself, but with faith like mine,
I should make this prayer my living-mantra.

Because it worked for Peter who:

  • Was bound up in forgiveness and recommissioned by Jesus with the words: “Tend My sheep.”
  • Was filled by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to preach and lead 3000 to Christ.
  • First cried for himself, and later cried with passion for the church built above his foundation.
  • Spread the gospel far and wide with crazy love for his Savior.
  • Completed his life as the rock – to the point of death, not as sand – breaking under the pressure of life.

We think Jesus uses heroes, he often used the ones who felt like zeros.

We think it’s about perfection, but it’s simply about his resurrection.

We think Jesus looks for the perfect, but he always finds the willing.

We try to be faultless, but God grows the repentant faulted.

Peter was never disqualified because he doubted.

His days were never marked as fake and tossed out like bad meat
(we read his lessons time and time again).

He wasn’t left in the dust without a purpose or a cause.

He hit gnawing days, battling days and downright discouraging days, yet Jesus chose him, ate with him, replenished his heart and restored his mission so he could go awesome, outstanding and amazing distances for God’s glory.

He waits to do the same with us; Jesus waits to recharge us into his purpose.

What is really amazing is, after all was said and done, Peter, wasn’t just changed for himself, so he could reach some high-and-lofty goal like sitting at the right hand of God, or going before God, or looking good to man, but he was changed to one who learned to deny self (no matter the cost).

He became chief-tender over Jesus’ greatest love – the sheep, just as Jesus always believed he would.

Jesus said to Peter (pre-denial), “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32

And, Peter did.

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2 #RaRalinkup Updates:
1.  Sign up for the NEW Cheerleaders 4 Christ #RaRa Facebook group page (this is different than the prayer one I set up). We will be rolling out a new element to the #RaRalinkup that I want you to be a part of. Details are forthcoming soon. Join here.

2. RSVP for the #RaRalinkup breakfast at She Speaks. Exciting news, prizes and challenges will be shared at this event.

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A Powerful Tip to Becoming Doubtless

A Powerful Tip to Becoming Doubtless

I felt down. Sometimes my emotions move with the wind, with the circumstances.

Certainly, I know God says not to be like one tossed to and fro like the doubting waves (Ja. 1:6). I’ve got this. I understand this. But, I still do this.

I don’t want to, but I do.

And then I hate myself for doing it – for being a doubting Thomas, demanding to see God’s purposes for the surrounding injuries.

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Jo. 20:27

You arrogant girl, God doesn’t bless girls like that! He hates that.

Good “Jesus girls” don’t have to witness the details of the wounds to trust there is a better plan. So why do I?

I don’t have to see the holes to know that God put them there for a good reason. Can’t I trust? Can’t I just see that the pain of today is there because God has a plan in tomorrow?

Many times I can. Other times I can’t.

And, when I can’t,  shame becomes the holding cell that distances me from God.

Certainly, grace keeps the jail cell doors wide open, unlocked and unobstructed, but shame holds me in, telling me this is where I belong – contained and convicted. It bars my mentality to a purposeless state. It makes me feel like a life-sentenced prisoner doomed to isolation for my bad behavior as a Christian mess-up. 

Girls who act like that never get out. They can’t be used without faith.

The bars of this cell open and close like clockwork:

1. Emotions of fear lead to…
2. Doubts about God which lead to…
3. Shame about my doubts, which leads to…
4. Distance (due to: embarrassment, worthlessness, anxiety) from God

But, I am tired, dead tired of being trapped in a cell – a cell that doesn’t have to be literal to trap you. I am tired of breathing in the anxiety of God’s wrath and the fear of my worthlessness.

Because the truth is, this cell is dingy, old and full of fear; it’s not helping me much anyway.

I have the bounty of grace right before me, and it’s about time I seize it.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” Lu. 4:18

And I did something different and it worked! I was astonished.

Let me explain:

1. Know your past. Where you were hurt in the past is likely where you will feel damaged in the future. Old dog, same tricks. The devil knows our sore spots and he loves to reopen them.

2. Identify in God’s word the truths that hit your past and current pain points.

3. Speak these truths over yourself. Proclaim them. Speak them. Preach them. Teach them. I don’t care, just get up and walk around and own them. Rather than sitting like a prisoner waiting to be someone’s fresh bait, step up and realize Jesus was already the (perfect and complete) bait for you. He won and you will win too – come the day of Christ Jesus.

4. Believe in the words you say. Receive the full authority that Christ has placed in you, by the power of his Spirit, when you believed. Don’t half heartedly pray or meekly say, “I trust.” Make your words your anthem, your pledge of allegiance, your covenant. Let them be binding truth and declarative words.

(Please note: I am not talking about declaring riches or blessings over yourself, I am talking about declaring truth about who God says you are and what he has done.)

Here is what it looked like for me:

(Imagine: Standing Kelly, walking Kelly, powerful Kelly, vocal Kelly, speaking aloud)
Lord, you reign. There is none beside you. There is none more powerful. You don’t hold doubts against me, as I confess, you forgive me. You free me to your purpose. There is absolutely no condemnation in Christ Jesus. I am loved, entirely, fully, completely. You bring all truth to light and you set  captives free, you will set me free. You have a plan and you will see it through…(and you get the point).

But, the point is, the more I spoke, the more I believed, and the more I believed, the more I felt relieved.

His active Word cut sharply through the sludge of my mind to unveil the new creation that I am – to myself. As the junk moved, the truth shined.

Christ’s power, mixed with the illuminating light of the Spirit, always uncovers truth.

Yesterday, I came doubtful, afraid and as spazzed as a kid on sugar, but through belief and ownership of his Word, I seized God’s renewing power for myself. I didn’t see the enemy near. I didn’t see my problems. I didn’t see trepidation. I didn’t see my regrets. I realized that the enemy cannot stand against one standing up.

I am a warrior for Jesus – and he doesn’t need wimps, he needs fearless children unafraid to speak truth.

Who run to the tomb no matter the cost.
Who see a mission during their long wait for the Promised Land.
Who see the dead things around them and speak life into them.

We are these warriors.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle;
 he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples under me.

Ps. 144:1-2

How can we be warriors when we sit downtrodden in cells of worthlessness and shame?

God has life-altering power ready to be poured out over us. Do we speak it like we believe it?

Lets us live in the purpose that Christ has already won for us.

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Bloggers, there are a couple things to take note of:

A. Submit your guest post. The last day to submit is June 30. Details here.
B. Are you going to She Speaks? #RaRalinkup bloggers RSVP for our breakfast here.

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What God Gave – Stinks!

What God Gave

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

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

I didn’t get what I wanted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then we can find true joy and peace.

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

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

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

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