Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

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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3 Ways: Keep in God’s Presence (As Modeled By Jesus)

Keep in God’s Presence

How can you stay in the presence of God with the presence of a hundred and one things working against you?

Often, the world comes in like a wrecking ball of faith, knocking down the tall temples of love established in the morning. It knocks down our reliance on Christ, our submission to his will and our connection to his Word, if we are not careful.

Our “He is for me,” turns into “I better figure this out.”
Our “Thy will be done,” ends up as “My will is getting done.”
Our “I trust you,” turns into “Where did he go?”

The presence of God – is often exchanged for the presence of our anxieties.

Then, we feel alone – lost in the woods, without a helper, without a guide, without a hope and full of aggravation at how we allowed ourselves to get so deeply misguided by all that surrounds us.

Shame pushes us away from the One who casts no shame.

Yet, God never intended for us to live our lives like yo-yos of faithfulness – up one moment in the heights of his love and down the next in the depths of despair.

Distraction hits and our will loses traction with God. 

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Jo. 15:4

What are we to do, when “prone to wander” kicks in?

We copy the only One who was entirely real, reliant and receptive in relationship with his father – Jesus.

The One, who faced the anguish of the world,
yet was not swayed by the earths’ chatter.

The One who, despite the outcries to “crucify Him,”
knew who to cry out to.

The One who could see the looming pain,
but kept his eyes only on the end goal – eternity.

The One who dwelled not on our offenses,
but his power to save our fair-weather hearts.

Despite everything that promised to break his back, he ministered to us, the sinners, the weak, the broken, the distracted, the annoyed, the betrayers.

3 Ways to Stay with God, as Jesus teaches:

1. Let your will be his will.

(Jesus said), “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
    as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” Hebrews 10:7

When we know that all is for him, through him and by him, for his glory, forever and always, until eternity arrives (Ro. 11:36), our heart learns to live at rest. The inner-knitting of our faith rests in the idea that God is sovereign, he has a plan, his will is best, his leading is unparalleled and his protection is perfect.

2. Come out of hiding.

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
Luke 22:45

When we come out of hiding, we start abiding. Jesus didn’t run from his desire to escape his turmoil. He brought this hope to God. He didn’t say, “this is not a Godly feeling or Godly request” and decide to brush it under the carpet, instead he was open, transparent and willing to receive the will of God.

God’s power is perfected in our weakness, it is ordained through our reliance on him and it uncovered through a humble heart.

He hears our lowly calls for help.

3. Remember, remember – and then remember again.

“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

Jesus’ near final words instruct our heart to remember. Not to remember once, but to remember over and over again. Dwelling on God’s faithfulness resets our internal dialogues to the truth and the power of what has been done for us.

BONUS: Pray.

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God…You don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. Ps. 119:1-8

We are not soaked by life’s downpours, but covered by the protection of God’s great love as we go with him.

God is calling us to hold hands with him as we skip down straight roads of life towards his great purposes.

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Do You Deflect Amazing Grace?

Do You Deflect Amazing Grace?

We stood at the toll being reprimanded by the officer, “You deserve a ticket!”

Just like I deserve a good whacking for yelling at my kids.
Just like I deserve a talking to on how to do things right with my family.
Just like I deserve to be punished for how my jealous heart of comparing surfaces.

Just as I, apparently, deserve two points for this offense. Man, I messed up again. Why can’t I just get things right?

“Pull on up and pull over to the side of the road. I will be with you in a minute.” We did. We pulled up and waited and prayed and hoped that the worst case scenario wouldn’t come true.

Our hearts pumping, our minds plotting, our hands rubbing, anxiety filled the car. The policeman sauntered up to our window, looked at us and said, “Go ahead. Move along.”

We got no ticket. We were freed.

What we deserved was passed off.
The hand slap that should have come down on us was caught.
The frustration at our mistake, quickly dissipated.
The weight of anxiety on our shoulders, was exchanged for praise – we were saved.

Grace saves every time. Not just to push us, deviants, into heaven, but to push us, deviants, into God’s hands moment by moment, interaction by interaction and thought by thought. Not embraced just on bad days, but also on good days. Not just according to repentance, but according to our daily living.

Grace is:

Knowing that no word spoken against you can overpower the truth
that you’re “blameless.”

Extending kindness to yourself because there is not one time Jesus wouldn’t.

Telling your children, “We all make mistakes. Mommy does too.”

Not tossing out that coloring drawing you did in front of your son
because you think it is ugly.

Speaking “peace” to a heart that is guilt-laden with the overwhelming feeling
it can’t do right.

Finding a way to condone a good action, rather than to condemn a bad one.

Letting your heart be encouraged by the idea that you are a work in progress,
not a work of failure.

Remembering that all beginnings of beauty,
have a starting point that is treasured by God.

Abiding through the bad, because, with Jesus,
you are always on the brink of his great.

Believing in God’s ability to save in the same way you tell others they should.

Being okay with not winning, because Jesus already has.

Understanding that Christ has won, this moment, right here, right now, for you.

Keeping your mouth shut, in the assurance that your sovereign God
will take care of things.

Speaking love when your first thought is to speak fire, annoyance,
frustration, criticism and condemnation.

Walking towards one that you desperately want to walk away from. 

Embracing the one who has historically battle-wounded you
to the point where you feel crippled.

Believing God could actually love one who fails as much as you –
and as much as others have failed you.

Letting go of lingering shame and walking into the idea that grace fully “counts.”
Forgiving your own heart even when it did the worst.

Finding hope in situations that appears hopeless.

Finding Jesus no matter what.

Finding praise as a result.

Finding peace.

Breathing in love.

Exhaling relief.

This is amazing grace. It is the weight of all the bad that everyone deserves, everyone earned and everyone should confined to. It is weight that sits dense, heavy, burdening. It is the weight, we love to sling around, hitting ourselves and others.

Yet, grace is the due burden that God decides should no longer be our burden.

So, I wonder, why do we walk around carrying it?

Take a moment, remember your most recent mess up. One that you really came down hard on yourself for. Can you see it?

Jesus also sees what you did.
He hands you the ticket envelope.
You look at it. You feel it. You hate it.
You messed up.
You did wrong.
You failure.
You idiot.
You almost tuck it away, not wanting to really see what God has for you.
But, you don’t.
You open it.

Inside the envelope, you see it…
Nothing.

There is no ticket there.

While you thought you were convicted,
Christ leaves you unafflicted.

While you figured you were done,
Jesus says you have only yet begun.

You walk with your fine, but Jesus says,
with me, you’re just fine.

Do you live this way? I often don’t.

But, I should because:

One who is uncharged, is unchained to shame.
One who is unchained to shame, is the greatest player in God’s game.
One who is in God’s game, is giving fame to his name.

One who gives all fame to his name, is the greatest threat to the devil.
They are kingdom-makers on earth.
They are peace-forgers in war-torn lands.
They are shame-healers to other’s pains.
They are heavenly-visionaries of Christ’s love.
They are the wonder, the awe and the thrill of all the grace always falling from the cross.
They are the magnets that draw in the bleeding, gasping and dying hearts just barely surviving the world.
They are looking to see how we handle what we call – amazing.

Are we capsules of his amazing grace,

ready to pour out his medicine,

or do we allow shame to close down the effectiveness of God’s grace?

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor. 12:9

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Taking the Risk to Let Others In

Let Others In

Fight for yourself.
Take care of your own.
Make a way for your ways.
It’s eat or be eaten.
Don’t let people take advantage of you.
No one understands.
Be number one.
Give it your all.
Do whatever you can to get ahead.
At all costs.
Make money and please self.
Be first in line.
Forge a way.
Only the strong survive.

This would be all fine and dandy, except God flips the script of the world on it’s ugly head to say:

1. In me and through me, you make up one body, with many parts. 1 Cor. 12:12

2. Your role on earth is to prepare people for good works of service, so that the body of Christ is built up until we all reach unity in the faith…attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Eph. 4:11-13

3. You belong to each other, each member forms one. Ro. 12:5

These words make us contend with a different vision of purpose. We have to take care of our family. Our united, although seemingly divided, unit that Christ has deemed worthy of all godly affection.

If God sees it that way, shouldn’t we?

So as one, we can move to become a different one, a loving one, a bonded one.

Not one fighting for one. But one many fighting for many.

Not one clawing and scratching to the top of the pack,
but one laying and paving a way for other to step into glory.

Not one finding pride in self-achievement,
but one seeing achievement being other’s progress too.

This makes me consider, am I a Spirit-keeper or a flesh-keeper?

A uniter or a divider?

Do I keep the bond of love, peace and togetherness glued by the Spirit
or do I keep the bond of my agenda, vision and plans that only make my eyes stick to myself?

A life sticking to vanity, is one wasting away in the mirror of carnal. It is staring at what will never come to be. It is relying on an image that will one day fade away to the glorious day where all join hands to sing, to resound and to clap–together–at the glory of the Lord.

…to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment–to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Eph. 1:10

God desires that we get a slice, a piece, a helping of this unity on earth too.

The question is, will we we take a bite believing it tastes good?

As we grab hands, we are grabbing the life we always thought we were fighting for. We find kindred hearts that understand our plight, so we can give a better fight. We will find encouragement, in the face of “despair.” Hope in the face of, “I can’t.” Life in the face of “struggle.”

We find family, not perfect family, but blessed family-in the name of Jesus Christ. Because, his body? He makes it work, move and run. It’s not by our perception of it’s effectiveness, but by his benediction of it’s power.

And, there we have it. We thought we were responsible for moving ourself, but God is ready to move a body in unison towards greatness.

I guess the question is-will we go? Do we trust him enough to allow others to help us?

We are better together. Can move farther together. Can beat resistance together. Can’t be broken together. Can’t go as wayward together. Will live united together, forever.

Why not start now?

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The Secret Well of Continual Peace

Well of Continual Peace

Now.

These 3 letters signify all we have. They signify husbands who hope to receive a smile. Children who simply want our presence. Parents who are eager just to hear our voice. Friends who deeply desire to be understood.

They signify the only thing we are guaranteed and the only place where it is possible to make change. They signify our present purpose. They signify the meeting ground for our heart and God’s – a God who stands waiting, hoping and eager to meet us.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Ps. 16:11

Yet, what I also notice is that staying in “now” is just about as hard as staying in constant peace, which I figure may be almost one in the same.  And, just this thought, this pressure of staying in peace, nearly sends me into a tailspin where that notorious hook comes to pull me off the stage of God’s purpose and peace.

Adios, bad girl! Where are the tomatoes?

As I step away from the faces, the eyes, the hope, the joy and the love longing for me in the here and now, I almost can’t help but dwell in the two places no human, known to man, has ever been able to ever control: the past and the future. I start to see all that I am not and all that God can’t possibly do for me: He can’t possibly be with a girl like me, he can’t possibly promise to help in this situation, he can’t possibly do good things here.

Feet that walk from the vibration of God’s
truth, love and presence

walk into the trepidation of discord, doubt and defeat.

I’ve done it one too many times; I should know.

One too many times that makes me think one more time about my approach (And, yes, observant friend, I realize this is going to the past, but occasionally we go to the past, with the goal to move past the past) and something is stirring.

Living in the moment and living in striving
are mutually exclusive. 

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14

Notice God does the going and we do the resting.
We just behold him and he holds us.
We be with and he works in. 

Simple stuff. And, that’s how it is to live in the “now,” it’s simple. It simple laughs, simple tears, simple words heard, simple hearts held, simple games played, simple words shared and simple love bestowed. But, what it all adds up to at the end of ones life, far surpasses simple and far beyond normal. It ends up nearly exceeding glorious, or perhaps being the sum of it – because what we see in our future, a day that will finally come to a close is that we really loved. We loved deeply and wildly and passionately and greatly and meaningfully.

But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13

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Linking with #DanceWithJesus, #FiveMinuteFriday and #LiveFreeThursday.

The Object of Our Confidence

confidence

Post By: Angela Parlin

I started this year reading through Psalms slowly. I was learning to sit alone with God to pray, making it a practice to adore God each day. I quickly understood it wasn’t coincidence at all that I had begun this reading plan along with the desire to grow in prayer.

The Psalms filled my mind with ideas and images about who God is and what He does.

God is the One enthroned in heaven, Most High, maker of all, majestic, righteous ruler & judge, our Rock, our refuge, our strength, the One who sees, and these are only the beginning.

As for His actions, in the first few chapters alone, God surrounds the righteous with His favor like a shield. He watches over them and leads them. He blesses all who take refuge in Him. He listens to their prayers and answers them. He delivers, gives relief, disciplines, and judges evil. He fills hearts with joy and peace and brings prosperity.

God is King of kings, who made the world and owns the world and rules the world and sustains it.

So then, what does all this mean about us?

God chooses to be involved in the details of our lives, we learn in Psalms. And also?

He is worthy of our confidence and trust.  

David, who wrote many of the Psalms, had such deep and abiding confidence in God. I’m convicted by it, in the area of belief.

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t usually struggle with doubting God. But sometimes I struggle with doubting me. Deep down, that’s an issue of confidence in God—that He is who He says He is, that He does what He says He’ll do, and especially, that He does it for me.

I do believe; Lord, help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

I don’t think we need more confidence in ourselves. Because at some point in life, even the most self-confident among us will experience their confidence shaken. We are human, and in this state, we are dependent on God, whether we admit that or not. It doesn’t matter how much confidence you were born with or how much you developed through the circumstances of your life.

What matters is that we hope and trust in God.

At the beginning of our school day one morning, I asked my kids what they think it means to have confidence in God.

One of them said, “You just trust Him, because you know He’s God.”

Another said, “It’s like Hope. You have confidence because you hope in God.”

Doing a quick word study using confidence, I found the Greek word parresia, and the Hebrew word, mibtach. 

Parresia allows us to look ahead with confidence–because we know Who is in control. With parresia, we have freedom and boldness, but only because of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Mibtach carries the idea of security, trust, hope, and certainty.

Mibtah assumes our confidence is based on the object of our confidence.

It’s the word King David used when he prayed in Psalm 71~

Lord, You have been my hope, my confidence since my youth.

That was David’s beautiful confession, and his story. Because of what Jesus has done for you and me, this can also become the story of our lives.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. Jeremiah 17:7

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Angela Parlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 

15 Ways to Find God in Ordinary Life

Find God in Ordinary Life

I find it’s easy to go through life focusing on the next destination. To move from house to gas station, gas station to grocery store instead of from hope to hope, life to life. It’s easy to allow people, places and problems to become distracting diversions that keep you from deep devotion.

I know, because between morning devotions and evening prayer
I seem to get stuck in an afternoon wasteland.

Operating in this mode makes me feel like I am driving around with a zoned out head and a fogged up window. It makes me feel like I am going through the motions of life on yet another ground hog day. It makes me wonder how I find God in the mundane, in the streets and in my head.

God, how do we get through the craziness of life
and still keep the magnificence of you?

15 Ways to See God in Ordinary Life:

1. Pray through your day.
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. Ps. 145:18

2. Make the choice to rejoice.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Phil. 4:4

3. Let gratitude rule your attitude.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:18

4. Dwell on the good.
Hold on to what is good. 1 Thes. 5:21

5. Protect, project and inject love.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Jo. 13:34

6. Shine forth the source of your light.
Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thes. 5:19

7. Be patient in pains, with people and through persecution. 
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Prov. 16:32

8. Find the complete joy in expectation.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Ro. 12:12

9. Dwell in humble places.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph. 4:2

10. Submit every particle of your being to his authority.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7

11. Seek to do good all the time, for all time.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Gal. 6:9

12. Get still in the face of busy.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes. Ps. 37:7

13. Keep heart and know God will arrive.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Ps. 27:14

14. Meditate on God’s Word through the day.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Ps. 1:2

15. Do not worry.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink… Mt. 6:25

When we live with God,
we live branded with his acceptance, approval and adoration
marked all over us.

We start seeing the things that our fogged up soul windows could not see before.

God won’t let hearts that dwell within his lands be shaken by the earthquakes that dwell in ours. Ps. 55:22

Seeing God in our day provides us the hope that he will make a way. Is. 40:31

Eyes set on God can’t as easily break down from the mayhem of life breaking down around them. Ps. 16:8

God will protect, you, the apple of his eye, because in him you are restored and renewed. Ps. 17:8

As we are seeking God’s strength, he is strengthening us. Is. 41:10

God is working good tidings for us as we grab his hand and follow. Ro. 8:28

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Jo. 15:4

All deliciousness, all fullness and all greatness is found, not in the successful shooting around of a day, but in knowledge of the sustainer of our shoot. When we become the needy branch reliant on the vine, suddenly even the mundane becomes glorious.

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Linking with Holley Gerth.

Identifying the Lie of Your Life (Part 1)

Identifying the Lie

Do you know your story?

Do you really know it in a way that will guard you against the I-can’t-do-it moments?

I am beginning to know it in this way and it is making all the difference. I am beginning to see the small cracks in my armor.

I can’t do it. Crack.
I won’t succeed. Crack.
I am losing my abilities. Crack.
I won’t be blessed. Crack.
God’s calling is non-existent. Crack.
I have no purpose. Crack.
I will not be led, inspired, helped, released, forgiven. Crack.
I will never be good enough. Crack.

My deep crack was: I can’t write. God hasn’t called me to do this. He is no longer blessing my work.
Underneath this crack, lived surface pressure: God won’t really be for you. He will leave you. Crack.

A crack is just enough for the devil’s foot to grab a hold of a heart.

A crack is just enough to forge a distance of space
between us and the God of our dreams.

A crack is just enough for a foothold of discouragement
to break down faithfulness.

A crack is just enough for him to start
ransacking our holy temples of God.

Which he loves to do. If he can penetrate a crack, he will perpetuate all problems. Days, turn into weeks, which turn into months, which turn into years and before you know it, the door to dejection is flung wide open. Suddenly, what you realize is that you are standing there vulnerable, naked, exposed and not sure where to run.

Unaddressed lies turn into a dressing of no protection that move us from
armed by the power of truth to defeated by the cleverness of lies.

Make no mistake, the devil is a carnivore who delights in eating up anything resembling the temple of God. We don’t have to have four legs for him to take a bite of our flesh. We don’t have to be doing bad things to get chewed up and spit out by the one who hates us.

He wants to take our true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8) and make it fake, deceitful, unfair, desecrated, horrible, vile and condemnation-worthy.

When our thoughts move to unholy, we become unholy. The second dirty hands leave an imprint, we grow shame at their touching. The second he raises uncertainty, we become certain that God doesn’t love us anymore.

This happened to me. But then I saw it. I saw what changes it all, the way of flipping my heart back into God’s goodness.

Here is what I saw:

1.) An alone, uncertain and unsure 3rd grader. One who for the life of her could not read or write with the other kids. One who knew she would never succeed. One who would never learn. One who couldn’t progress. It’s no wonder she stayed back that year, she was a loser of a writer. The only comfort she lived with, besides her thumb-sucking habits, was the idea that she would always fail.

2.) A grown woman at the will of an abusing woman. An abusive woman who would rip up time-intensive writing works with an air of “how could you?” An abusive woman who was a nightmare by day and literally a nightmare by night. An abusive woman whose degrading and demoralizing taunts still haunt.  A woman who caused an eager-to please employee long-lasting defeat, pain and fear of future criticism because her voice still resounds today.

3.) The devil is one who doesn’t give cause to our small cause, but one who goes after our big, audacious and wild causes for the Lord. He is one who, from day 1, has been trying to savor and steal the blessing the Lord has been baking and preparing our whole life.  He is the one who never wants the timer of “ready” to ring and resound.

What has the Lord been baking
that the devil is hungry to burn?

What central lie, from day 1,
has the devil pounded over you to ensure you crack?

For me, he wanted to burn my belief that I could write, so that I never could write for the Lord.

What is it for you? It has likely been happening from the days of old and he will continue it through days of new if you let him.

He wants us handicapped. He wants us crippled. He wants us unable to walk towards real purpose, real value and real transformation. Jesus wants us free, full and ready to say, “This is my body, take and eat.”

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Jo. 10:10

Jesus enters into our life to bring life – always and everyday. But, beware, we are being sent you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore we must be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves (Mt. 10:16). Are you this way?

This means, if we are standing firm, we must be careful that we don’t fall (1 Cor. 10:12)!  Are you ensuring your good standing before the Lord?

We must “see to it, brothers and sisters, that none of (us) has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (Heb. 3:12) Are you turning away as you analyze and consume yourself in the small cracks of your armor?

The cracks we cannot see, we cannot repair.  

If you don’t want the tectonic plates of your life to shift beyond repair, the time is now to shift your view on all you have believed to be true your entire life.

Join me for Part II, 5 Ways to Fight Back When Under Attack! To get busy with going and doing – we have to come alive to arming. We must arm up in the power of our Most High God to fight back.

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Are You Stuck Waiting?

Waiting for Help

I could feel it – but I didn’t want to “feel” it. I didn’t want to deal. I didn’t have time for it.

I was too busy living days of baby insanity –
coping with a screamer who didn’t know night from day or day from night,
that mom sometimes needs 5-minutes without high-pitched wails and
that spit-up is actually the worst kind of perfume.

Babies don’t get all that.

So, even though my legs were going numb and my vision was faltering, I ignored it. Even though it seemed I was wearing 3-D checkerboard glasses of black & white, I said, “Plug on! Mamma, ain’t got time for that.”

Pull, it together, body, you can do it. We have feedings, poopings and sleepings to handle. 

But, as avoidance always does, it catches up; it grabs an just an inch of your leg and doesn’t let go.  It always leaves you with the stark reality of all that is happening and a feeling that you won’t survive.

The words Multiple Sclerosis hit me like a freight train. I longed for those spaces of denial once again. Safe spaces. Known spaces. Comfortable spaces. But, I found myself in hated spaces – waiting rooms.

My waiting rooms turned into fearing rooms with cool magazines and no windows.

My waiting rooms turned into holding cells where worst-case dreams come true.

My waiting rooms turned into agony for ones who hate being hurt.

And, the thing about waiting rooms, is they don’t have to be windowless to trap you. They don’t have to be small to make you claustrophobic with the thought you will never breathe the same again.

I waited to be tested to see if I was going to spend a good part of my life in a wheelchair, to see if the face of my life would be forever changed and tested by God for who knows why.

I wanted to say, “I trust you,” but all I could mutter was “set me free.”  
I wanted to say, “your will be done,” but all I could think was “change my situation.”
I wanted to say, “help all the other people with issues that sit around me,” but I could only whisper “get me out of this torture chamber.”  

Aren’t we all stuck in a place of wait – in one way or another? 

Waiting.
Waiting for a cure.
A release.
A pain to go away.
Deliverance from finances.
A Job Solution.
Children Worries.
Fears.
Family dysfunction.
Relationships.
A legal issue.
An unreachable dream.
A let down.

We are all waiting.

Our waiting rooms can make us feel like an imposition, relying on a paper prescription, that keeps us focused on our affliction. Our waiting rooms seem to hold us captive by an assailant who says, “You will never come through. I will get you.” Our waiting rooms become fights against life, where we always become the projected loser.

What do you when everything is breaking?

When your very body can’t seem to deal with life?

For me, my screaming baby midnight hall walks, turned into screaming midnight baby prayer talks. I called from the depths of my heart for a “great fixing” of all that was wrong. So did my husband, so did countless others.

Sometimes, all you have left to do is pray.

And, sometimes, all you needed to do was pray.

Prayer opens the waiting room door to the Great Physician.

His healing work may not always bind up broken bodies,
but it is always binds up broken hearts.

His surgeries always work,
always bring newness, always surface peace.

His work turns fearing rooms into hoping rooms –
because he clears new room for love.

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. 4:18

My doctors were positive of MS.  My symptoms said yes, but test after test after test – after multiple MRI’s – they still couldn’t fully diagnose me.   So, what was a certain reality, became certainly “not MS.”

God hears prayers. Miracles can – and sometimes do – happen.  But, sometimes the greatest miracle is not the answer to the prayer, but God’s answer in to what plagued our heart. 

He always goes for the greatest healing.

So, don’t give up because you think the great physician has left the office.
Don’t give up because you feel forgotten.
Don’t give up because he is attending to others first.
God has the perfect course of action for you.
He hasn’t forgotten you.
He asks you, will you trust me?
Will you believe that in this wait I have something amazing for you?

And, as we do, he does something amazing.

He changes it all.

Our fearing rooms turn into trusting rooms.
Our holding cells turn into praying cells.
And, our fear turns into a deep knowledge God is near.

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10 Verses to Comfort Sad Day Feelings

Verses to Comfort Sad Days

Sometimes I feel that I have a personal obligation to those around me.

A smile must go on, a fake cheer must resound and my words must say,
“I’m fine” and really mean it.

I can’t let others go south based on overly exposed emotions.

Ever feel that way?
Like you couldn’t feel the way you wanted to feel?

That you were the helper extraordinaire,
unable to step down from your lofty position to ask for help?

That you were a burden bringer not a blessing keeper
if you opened the floodgates?

That people would hustle you to the nearest cave,
verses rush to your rescue?

Usually when we hide our burdens away, we hide them away from God too.

We shove them into the attic of our mind, bundled, tied and bound so that we don’t have to acknowledge the burden of actually living too near to them.  They aren’t pretty.

We don’t want others to hate us for bringing them into this thing called – mess.

Sometimes, we would rather avoid the “feel” part in this thing called “heal.”

But, what we are so often quick to forget is that:
God hears the one who calls – and the one who calls – he is prone to take their call to answer it.

  • Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Ps. 55:22
  • The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Ps. 34:17
  • Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

God doesn’t tell us to take our feelings and run far, he takes us to take our feelings and cast them far. To see them for what they are, hold them and to throw them – up.

Feelings are not bad, they just need to be tended for by the master shepherd of care.

Let them live – but, let God live near them.

  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18
  • The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refugemy shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Ps. 18:2
  • But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Ps. 3:3

Even when those around us don’t respond well, when we cast what exists up to God, he keeps us behind the power of his shield.  God, every time, stands ready to deflect the bullets of advice, repair and condemnation by others.

Safety for our heart is found in the safe refuge of our God.

  • Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Jo. 15:4

A product, a result, a fruit results when we keep the flow of our feelings attached the source of our life-flow. He gives us what we need to repair in a way that we can give to others what they really want – not just a fake version of our best self.

And he promises us:

  • “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Jo. 14:18
  • 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

In God’s arms, and maybe not today or tomorrow, but some day, we become untroubled as we remove our stuff from the attic and we bring it to the master carpenter who faithfully works to reshape what feels broken.

  • Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1

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