Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

Breaking Normal to Find Phenomenal

Breaking Normal

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

Who knew soccer was so good for mental health?!

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

“Go!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God becomes distant.

“He’s out in left-field somewhere!”

Break Out! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple. He is speaking. Are we listening?

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

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

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

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

She had to break out!

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is yours?

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Our 5 Go-To Defensive Stances Against God

Defensive Stances

I just go along my merry day, skipping and jumping and hiking through life, until. . . BANG! I hit a roadblock, a stumbling point or a detour to everything that I had thought, planned and willed.

This just happened to me recently. My husband and I were convinced of what our family needed to do. We investigated, we prayed, we hoped, we looked, but no matter how hard we pushed, God wasn’t opening up a single door for us to move through.

We were stuck, children, without a way.
Isolated, kept in a barren land.
Roaming, unsure of our next step.

It’s normally just about this point when things get ugly.

When we start whispering things under our breath, when we get that under-the-skin-feeling of annoyance, when our good god and his powers seem to have taken the next flight to Siberia.

Ever felt this way?

There are five defenses that push a child of God away,
faster than you can say, “orphan”,  they are:

1. Believing God doesn’t care about your meaningless situation and that the grand scheme of the world takes precedence.

Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Notice that God does not say, “Only cast God-worthy anxiety on me,” instead he says cast all anxiety on me.

2. Telling yourself, “Pull it together and act better.”

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Ps. 62:8

Let your heart’s pain pour out at the foot of the cross so that his love can co-mingle and release you from their overwhelming power.

3. Uncertainty that God will really answer you. This means you pray a little, worry much and then give up.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Mt. 7:7

God hears and he delights in giving his children good gifts. He hears every prayer.

4. Walking distracted rather than engaged.

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Ps. 119:15

If you are thinking about world things, you will be ruled by it’s ways, not God’s all rescuing truths.

5. Wrapping your arms around worries and your detailed plans that go with them.

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. Ps. 37:4-5

Delight beats up worry then walks you over to your deepest desires.

Will we fortify our lives with man-made defenses
or will we fortify our lives with God’s truth
and move arms open into his great purposes,
believing he is commanding the war?

It is a choice. But, the direction we choose, determines the fullness of our calmness, satisfaction, peace and wellbeing.

The truth is God doesn’t hate us and berate us. He doesn’t restrict us, to inhibit us. He doesn’t withhold pleasure to displeasure us. He guides us to revive us, to indwell us and to compel us.  He brings us from the barrenness of apprehensive and ineffective, to plains of impressive and courageous.

As we learn to take down our defenses, we end up remaining where God is. We dwell in his camp, which means we dwell in a place of complete love.

Here, he calls us to more. He beckons us to greater. He pulls us to insight. And relieves us in truth. He approves of our heart to know him. He delights in our will to rethink things. He enjoys our journey of discovery. He receives our heart to move differently. He answers our call to change. He throws out the crutches of condemnation and removes the splinters of failure. He stands arms wide open, ready to receive our changed heart. He longs that we fear not, and we don’t, instead we draw near.

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Overcome Like Jesus: 7 Ways He Proves You Can

Overcome Like Jesus

Ever looked at your life and wondered how God was going to deal with “all this”?

Sometimes, our lives seem to mangle themselves up into intricate webs of complexity. Each string lays on top of the other in a jumble of difficulty, hardship and ugly.

And, if we don’t actually ask God this, we normally think:

God, can you really work through this?
How can you untie everything wrapping against me?
There are so many moving pieces, so many difficult people and so many heavy problems, do you care?

overcome like Jesus
We look up, and we think, “How am I going to climb this barrier, this ridiculous tower of hardship and this likely-to-fall thing of pain?”

My son, looked up at his playground web in much the same way. It looked impossible for him to climb. He got to the middle of it, looked up and said, “I think I have gone far enough. I am not sure if I can go any higher.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23

I wonder if Jesus looked at his walk to Calvary Hill in much the same way?

Did he think “This is impossible? This is a mess I can’t get myself out of? Can God really get me through this?”

Somehow, I doubt it.

Jesus believed that the impossible, was the beginning of God’s possible.

He knew that intricacies of life, are the proof point for the immaculacies of God.

He knew that deeply woven, meant deeply scalable by God.

Look at the intricacies Jesus climbed to make it to the pain-ridden and pain-freeing cross.

1. He had to defeat the powers of hell.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Col. 2:15

2. He had to defeat his mind.

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

3. He had to perfectly time things.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law. Gal. 4:4

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Ro. 5:6

4. He had to fulfill Old Testament prophecy.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. Is. 53:7

5. He had to take on the sins, the pain and the agony of the world.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. Jo. 1:22

6. He had to keeping humility, reliance on the plan and people coming at him in line.

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. Jo. 6:15

7. He had to deal with his dearly loved disciples abandoning him at his hour of need.

But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. Mt. 26:56

But, still, what looked impossible, was possible.
Like the King he was, he did not stop halfway.
He didn’t give up in the garden of agony.
He didn’t stop on the road of tears, pain and mocking.
He didn’t bow down to the taunts and lures of Satan.

He climbed. He scaled. To ascended on high. To reach the fullness of God’s heights.

How do you need to keep moving as Jesus did?

Remember, what your eyes see – is not what God sees. What he sees is greatness, holiness, sanctification and peace in process. What he sees is his good ending from the painfully woven beginning. He sees his plan and he knows it is good.

Faith is what you cannot see.
Belief is feet that keep moving when things keep getting harder.
Hope is God’s imminent rescue for those lives that trust him.

Trust him.
Keep climbing.
Don’t give up.
Don’t back down.
There is a plan.
He will bring you to his heights.
Press on.

My son focused. He kept moving. With the son against him, as he always is, he kept climbing and forging. And guess what happened? He didn’t fall, waver or give up halfway, but he made it to the top.

overcome like Jesus

Joy flooded him, smiles returned and a little “happy dance” in the sky occurred. He pulled through with God’s help.

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5 Ways to Beat Defeating Thoughts

Defeating Thoughts

Trends.

What is trending in your life?

Where is the tide of your emotions moving?

Where is that one current that you can’t seem to get past?

For me, it has been thinking that I am not good enough. It has been thinking that I stand on the brink of “mistake” that will send me careening to quick destruction in no time. It has been listening to destructive criticism that simply wants to wash me up shore, breathless, nearly lifeless and without a rescuer.

If I am not a better mother, this kid won’t end up liking me much.
If I can’t stop being quick to speak, I am never going to make strides.
If I don’t live pleasing people, I will never be happy.
If I fall to mean speaking, I am a shame-wrecked failure.
If I live for selfishness, I am a faith-wrecked failure.

Do you know what is trending? It is easy to let our thoughts move like passing clouds, without giving them a second chance. But, stop, today. Think, today. Don’t just move with the wind of your life. Lean in to what your thoughts are working within, so that you can work out what God wants to push out.

What voice inside your mind speaks judgement over enlightenment?
Disappointment over God’s appointment?
Punishment over realignment?

Our voices inside shape our voices outside.

Defeating Thoughts

“You’re not a good mom” produces a snappy chide spoken to the kid asking for water.
“You speak in all the wrong way,” produces a defensive comeback.
“You deserve punishment,” produces guilt that makes me want to hide.
“You will never make others happy,” produces a why-bother attitude that no one wants to be around.
“I will always be selfish and I can’t stop sinning,” produces defeat that turns around to wave hello to more sin.

Our voices inside shape our voices outside (I am saying this twice for a reason).

They have the power to flip relationships 
inside, outside and upside-down – for either good or for bad.

What thought has been plaguing you? Stop. Seek. Look. Press in. Think.
Passing glances produce lasting problems.

God doesn’t leave us on the side of the road, an anxious hitchhiker, with no one around to bring us to his destination of promise, fulfillment, enjoyment, safe pastures and comfort. He doesn’t ride by, wave at us, and scream “Don’t be anxious about anything – continue on and good luck!”

God tells us instead to:

1. Rejoice. Find worship – and you will find worry is no longer convicts you as an guilty bystander. (Phil 4:6)

2. Pray. Pray the name of God, pray the hope of glory, pray against evil temptation (to think negatively), seek wisdom and pray, “Help me!” (Phil 4:6)

3. Ask. God tells us to pray and then he tells us to ask (Phil 4:6). Point is: Keep on praying, asking, pleading and then go about believing. Repeat.

4. Give thanks (Phil 4:6). If you are saying thank you, you can’t be saying, “I hate my life.”

5. Focus on what deserves focusing: what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, not once but continually – and then continually focus there again. (Phil. 4:8)

When we get stuck in the place of worship,
we find ourself stuck on the mind and the heart of God.

It is no wonder that God explicitly tells us in his ever-redeeming and reconstructing Word that for one who keeps with this momentary, hourly or daily process that the peace of God will show up, literally transcending understanding to guard their hearts in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7).

When we submit to God’s ways, he shields ours.

What do you need to submit? Rejoice, pray, ask, thank, and make your mind-prose “praiseworthy”. 

This means asking yourself:

Is saying “I am a bad mom”, is that a “praiseworthy” thought bringing glory to God?”
Is saying, “Things will never improve”, is that a “praiseworthy” thought bringing glory to God?
Is saying, “I will never stop sinning,” is that a “praiseworthy” thought bringing glory to God?
Is saying, “I deserve punishment,” is this a “praiseworthy” thought bringing glory to God?

If not, get yourself back to step 1. Pray for sanctification of all things entering in your mind.
Because, what you let in, will work into every crevice of your day.

We look at a glass of water you see, and we say, “Ehh…what we can’t see won’t hurt us. What is small, shouldn’t make a difference.” But, what we miss is the fact that there is clear poison dropped in that glass. If you knew that, would you drink it?

No. And so it goes with our thoughts.

Small poison = big negative results.
Small poison = a heavy and hardened heart.
Small poison = an angry, bitter, victimized or jealous spirit.

But, Jesus. Did you hear that? But Jesus. Even if we have been guzzling poison, he rushes in with the antidote. 

Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Mt. 9:12

With no slaps, whacks or breaking of our backs, he heals up what we let in, so that we can move out through his faith and through real transformation, sanctification and reformation of our mind. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Ro. 12:2

For me? I will remember, my family and friends and my God – they love me. I am secure in Jesus’ love. I am a sinner sinning, being rescued by a Savior saving. My God is good. This is praiseworthy!

When we think like this, we live no longer as a hitchhiker seeking our next best ride to some unknown land, but we watch on as God escorts us to transformation. A place where green pastures of peace and resulting fruit are plentiful.

Breathe deep. What could be better than that?

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When You Hit A Wall and Love Breaks

Love Breaks

He built a tower. 

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

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

How often are we just like my son?

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

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

A portion of our tower, crumbles.

Why do you allow this God?

Whey do you let the good fall?

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

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

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

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

Think about Joshua, so many years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

A big ole’ ugly and tall wall!

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

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

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

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

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

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

God claims the victory. The walls fall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God has good stored up for you.

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

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

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10 Ways to Know: Are You Listening to God or the Devil?

Listening to God

I go about my day, but sometimes my day goes about wrecking me. It goes about making me overwhelmed in a moment of frustration, angry at others, beaten by circumstances, discouraged by my actions and frustrated that I am not more of a “halo” Christian.

Ever felt this way?

When I come to think about it, I think it has much to do with what I am thinking about.

Because what we think, we live.

Are you listening to the conviction of the Spirit
or the condemnation of the devil?

10 Ways to Know:

1. The Spirit infuses love, the devil accuses with shame.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Ro. 8:16 

2. God draws us near, the devil pushes us lonely into fear.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears”  Psalm 34:4

3. The Spirit hands out an invitation, the devil speaks accusations. The Spirit invites us to life-change and liberation while the devil invites us to death.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Cor. 3:1

4. The Spirit makes us new, the devil makes us dwell in the old. The Spirit works in the now, the devil reinforces yesterday.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor. 3:6

5. The Spirit speaks correction, the devil speaks destruction.
The Spirit reinforces the Word of Life, while the devil rips it apart, reworks it and denies it to suit his needs to destroy us.
When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. Jo. 16:8

6. The Spirit reveals, the devil steals.
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 1 Cor. 2:10

7. The devil pushes legalistic law, the Spirit pushes life-giving liberation.
If the devil can make you work hard to be loved, he will. The Spirit is always at work to confirm your position as child.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Ro. 8:15

8. The devil sends us on a parade of feelings, the Spirit sends us into a journey through God’s Word. 
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph. 6:17

9. The devil reminds us how bad we were, the Spirit reminds us of how secure and significant we will be as we turn back to God. 
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph. 2:8

10. The Spirit brings self-denial, the devil encourages self-will, self-promotion and selfishness.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Gal. 2:20

The Spirit is a force of freedom, a revealer of God’s wisdom and an offerer of love, the devil comes simply to steal, kill and destroy. May we walk bad voices right out the door, so the peace of God may walk in. Then, our temples will shine Christ far and wide.

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6 Ways to Transformed (When It Seems Impossible)

Ways to Transformed

Moments. It is all we have. A sliver of opportunity. A second of time, a blink of hope, added one upon another. How do we make the most of them? How do we stop ourselves from tripping up even before we take our first step?

These are the type of questions I am trying to ask myself. Because the truth is, far too often, I am the one left standing, looking back, asking, “Why did I fall face first into a pile of “didn’t do right” dung, now covered and smelling like the rot of the earth? How did I allow myself to end up here? And why do I feel so bad?”

What if, rather than living a life in remorseful retrospect,
we lived a life of relaxed in our retraining and reforming –
as we are made into a new image?

Would things look different? Amazing, even?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Ro. 12:2

If we actively relax into transformation,
rather than subconsciously running against it,
perhaps we might find our self – right in the middle of it.

This means instead of chiding, we get to abiding.
Instead of the fear of pain, we draw near to pain.
Instead of thinking God hates us, we remember he loves us.
To get the power of transformation in motion.

Don’t get up and run at the sound of “transformation.”  Because, if you are anything like me, the sound of that word may make you want to jump up with all your might to take flight, saying,

“Transformation?
That’s gibberish for the “good folk”.
Not for a sin dweller and rebeller like me.
That was meant for apostles or disciples or saints,
not for one who feels like she may faint.”

But, what if…
What if the method wasn’t as wild and wooly as the result?

What if the answer was simply:

  1. To think about what you are thinking about.
  2. To dwell on what your heart dwells on.
  3. To see where these mind patterns have taken you.
  4. To pray about that.
  5. And then to listen.
  6. Not just to listen as you always have, but listen to really hear. To listen like a mom listens for the cry of a baby.

Then, perhaps, God will redirect every mind-path and membrane
to his transformative unfolding.

I am just saying. It is worth a chance, isn’t it?

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ? 2 Cor. 10:5

Might you even see that your fortune cookie is bad,
because the message that you write to yourself is – bad?

When our power is derived from thoughts that are powerless, our drive dies out en route. But, when our power is sourced from the Word of God, it lives and churns and burns the midnight oil of our mind into magnificence, into the sacred and into the holy. Then it works: It liberates. It testifies. It magnifies. It propels and compels. It leads and bleeds love.

Even while our world circles on a grey scale, God’s never has. His light is the way, the truth and the life.

Where do you the thoughts of your life exist –
in the dark and grey or in the white and light?

God offers clarity like: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phil. 4:8

The more we think of God, the more we get consumed with God.
The more he lights us the more we shine.

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Eph. 5:13

Our job is easy, we simply let him light up our thoughts. We lay them down at the feet of Jesus so that the beams, the rays, the glory, the all-consuming brightness can swallow them whole and we keep our eyes dwelling on his majesty. Light makes the dark bright, it can’t help it – it consumes the unknown fears lurking behind what you cannot see.

Will you allow it to work for you?

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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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Moving Into The Scary

Moving Into The Scary

Do you trust yourself? I mean, really, trust yourself?

I have noticed a little trend in my house. My son asks me for something, I clearly say no and then he asks me again and again until I say yes. Feeling frustrated that I gave in, I ask myself, “Why can’t I hold firm?”

Underneath it all, I know it is because I doubt my decision. I fear that my direction is all wrong, that he will suffer as a result and that things will not work out in my favor.

This kind of thinking is not isolated to parenting. In many arenas of life, I ask myself:

Will people want to move with me if I am honest?
Will they get angry if I tell the truth?
What will they think of me if I am real to me?
How will things play out if I take a hard stand?

This gets me to wondering, what would happen if I happened to stand in the shoes of John the baptist, or rather, in the water with him? As I stood there, face-to-face with Jesus, looking into his eyes, him standing before me, would I repeat the same words as John?

“I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” Mt. 3:14  

Absolutely, I would!

But, the real question is-how would I respond when Jesus replied, “Let it be…? Mt. 3:15

Would I argue with him? “But Jesus,
I really am just this sinner who has no right to honor you in this way?”

Would I laugh and hand the baton to someone else saying,
“I don’t want to be responsible if things don’t go well”?

Would I baptize but be filled with grief
that I am not performing up to the standards of – ahem – God?!

Would I put his body under, yet miss the moment,
because I was filled with anxiety?

When we live unsure of our calling, we miss the chance to live it.

I praise God that John was obedient, submissive and honoring to the will of God, despite his flaws.

When we live questioning our abilities, we live by inability.

Yet, because John listened, Jesus was able to display incredible humility, submissive honor to God and a relatable human-nature that is touching to see.

When we letting our minds pull us around on a leash, we live chained like a dog.

John received an honor that no one in the whole world would ever have, only because he accepted.

Do you act decisively and accept the gifts of God
or do you run, skip and hike over them, landing on safer ground?

One who answers the call of God, has an opportunity to hear the incredible and sees the unthinkable. Taking a step towards his will, means taking a step towards his heart.

The result is sometimes unexplainable:

At that moment heaven was opened, and (Jesus) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Mt. 3:16-17

Could you imagine the honor John must have felt to be a part of this extravaganza? Can you imagine the heart-pumping honor it would be to watch the literal presence of God, the Spirit, descend like a dove? Can you imagine the million little light bulbs that would be flashing in your mind as you heard the approval that God grants over his beloved children? 

I praise God that John basically said, “This is me. I am unsaintly, perhaps unsightly, unable and unworthy to have this honor, but if God is entrusting it to me, I will do it anyway.”

How often should we speak the same to our self? “This is me. I am unsaintly, perhaps unsightly, unable and unworthy to have this honor, but if God is entrusting it to me, I will do it anyway.”

What glorious unveiling may we be walking into-and not even know?

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10 Things The Devil Doesn’t Want You To Know

The Devil Doesn't Want

I knew where I needed to go and I was laser-focused on my goal. I was running hard, pushing with the endurance and perseverance that God calls for, until…

…until I hit a little snag in the road. Until I started to feel like all the goodness I had been orchestrating with God was anything but that. Like the project at hand was really going to be the project that lost.

I started to say things to myself like:

I am going to fail.
No one really cares about this goal.
My progress is short-lived.
God won’t help me
This is going to stink.

If I have learned one thing, over my small life-span as a Christian, it is this: When the red flags of doubt and discouragement start waving, we can be sure that we stand on the starting line of the devil. He loves to send us off on a race of futility.

Where do you stand?

Are you listening to his mumbles, messages and mixed up words of defeat
or are you listening to God’s powerful words of “I am with you?”

10 Things The Devil Doesn’t Want You To Know
(and what God does)

1. You must fight to win in this thing called life. Work hard and do your best and some day you may be good enough.

Truth: You already have the victory in Christ Jesus. Step out and act like you believe it.

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb… Rev. 12:11

2. You have no identity. Find it in other things: work, men, partying, affairs, perfectionism, etc. If you can’t find it, there’s another way-simply, numb the feelings with suppression of feelings, food, alcohol, and drugs.

Truth: Your security in Christ’s plan is more stable than the cross that Jesus died on.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me. Gal. 2:20

3. You are not forgiven. That thing will mark you forever.

Truth: The second you repent, your sins fall off of you faster than you can say “I can’t forgive myself.” Your sins are moved as far as the east is from the west, to the depths of the sea, where they are counted no more and where there is no charge against you.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 Jo. 1:9

4. God doesn’t guide people like you. He abandons the poor and powerless on the curb of unloved.

Truth: Sinners are God’s greatest calling.

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Lu. 5:32

5. It’s fine if you know God’s Word, but you can’t know God’s love. Then your heart may take flight and seek to live it in all you do. Can’t have that!

Truth: There is no fear in love. Find love, find faith. Find love, find peace. Find love, find grace.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13

6. It’s all about your needs. YOLO and FOMO rule!

You only live once (YOLO) so do whatever makes you feel good, no matter the cost.

Be fearful of missing out (FOMO). Overextend yourself so you can never overjoy your heart in the overflowing peace of God.

Truth: Moving at high speeds only serves to move us away from our first love.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Ps. 62:5

7. Walk by feelings, not by faith. Feelings make you feel good, so why not follow their leadings?

Truth: You can sidestep discouragement and despair by walking around feelings to solely stand on the rock of God’s promises. Believe only what God says about you and you will not be shaken.

The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He. Deut. 32:4

8. Live in the past. Dwell on your pain, keep the band-aids of injured on, be angry, irritated and a hoarder of all the things and people that hurt you. Remember, so that you can live guarded, hardened and resistant to others.

Truth: Today is the only day we presently have. If we live in yesterday, we miss the gift of now, which is the only working ground for real life transformation.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Is. 43:18

9. Fear everything. Look at life as a catastrophe on the near verge of exploding death and to imploding your dreams. You will walk stifled and baffled at how you are getting nowhere. You will tread in the currents of failure and be no threat to me.

Truth: God is more with you than the hairs on your head.

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6

10. God saved you for eternity, but he doesn’t save on earth. God is only good for getting you through the heavenly gates, then you are stuck exposed, crazy and delusional in this dank and dark world. Good luck out there. I am coming to get you.

Truth: He will run to arm you with the protection of his love.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. Ps. 91:14-15

Stand bold. Stand firm. Stand on truth. God always holds all power. He loves us and is our greatest advocate.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish
what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Gen. 50:20

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