Purposeful Faith

Category - expectations

What Pours Out from within You?

Outpours

Marcia Kuyper is joining us today for Women’s Ministry Monday and, boy, am I delighted about it. Her words struck a chord with my heart. They are both encouraging and thought-provoking. I am confident they will bless you as much as they did me. Enjoy!

Post by: Marcia Kuyper

I could see he was annoyed with me.

My husband Tom set our vitamins out on the counter, and I, knowing a better system, “politely” questioned his arrangement.

The tension was subtle, but I was keenly aware of his frustration with me. It makes me mad when he gets annoyed with me.  I was thinking, “What right does he have to be irritated with me, after the way he hurt me?”

I say out loud, “You are so bugged with me.”

My conflict avoiding husband gave it to me straight.  He courageously began to tell me about the way I affect him.  I knew he was talking about more than the arrangement of vitamins.  He was talking about our life together.

I didn’t want it to be about me.

I looked down at my Bible, which was open to Luke, and I paused, asking Jesus to help me have ears to hear.  “Lord, help me listen, truly listen. Help me listen for what’s being said beneath the words. Let me listen the way you listen… love the way you love… lay down my life the way you laid down your life.”

I looked at the words before me in Luke 7:36-50…

“And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”

And I hear it loud and clear…

“Marcia, I have something to say to you.”  I pause…ask again for His help in my listening,  and then I reply,

“Say it Teacher.”

I’ve read this so many times.  I get the meaning of these words, but this time, His message hits home in a more personal way.

To love the way Jesus loves,
I must receive all the love and forgiveness He offers.

I must let the blood of the Lamb cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness,
which includes my SELF-righteousness.  

I’m  listening, so He gently shows me that I am the pharisee in this story.

I realized I was saying : “I would never do that.”

I didn’t say it out loud, but in my heart, I was saying, “I would never do that.”

It’s pride. I hold on to a small sense of superiority, and that is what comes out when pressed.

Tom was courageously being more direct and bold, because he loves me and values our relationship.  I was tempted to react in a self-protective way, turning the fault back on him, but this time, by God’s grace, I was able to have ears to hear what He wanted to teach me.  I am learning that, until I own my part, until I own my sin – my inability to come under him, my resistance to letting him lead me, to learn from him, to listen without pushing my words  – we will only get so far.

Is there something God wants to say to you?

With Jesus as our teacher and guide, like the woman in Luke 7:36-50, we have the opportunity to let Jesus love us fully by giving Him access into every corner of our lives.  Even the things we don’t speak out loud.  It is here, in this place of admission and confession, where we experience His loving forgiveness and respond with extravagant gratefulness, just like this exposed woman did.

She, the woman, poured out her most costly possession (perfume), He poured out His blood for our redemption.  As I wrestled with Jesus over my unforgiveness, He helped me identify and spill out my pride, which released in me an outpouring of love and forgiveness for Tom.  What might your spontaneous outpouring of gratitude look like?

May you receive His love and forgiveness today in a way that overflows in love, forgiveness and gratitude.

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About Marcia Kuyper

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.14.39 AMMarcia Kuyper is the Women’s Ministries director at Open Door Fellowship Church in Phoenix Arizona. She leads Bible studies and Retreats, counsels couples and women in marriage and family and has a deep passion for God’s Word and His people

Marcia teaches with her husband at the A Time for Us Marriage retreats and Marriage preparation classes for engaged couples. She also shepherds and teaches a class for young marrieds and singles called C’est La Vie.

Marcia is a wife to Tom, mom of four, and grandma to seven, soon to be eight…

She spends a lot of time… planning vacations.  🙂  She loves reading… (Favorite authors: Oswald Chambers, Henri Nouwen, Elizabeth Goudge… too many to list.) the beach, snow skiing…

Raised in a Jewish family, Marcia came to know Jesus as Savior in high school.  She is so deeply grateful that Jesus pursues her and never stops loving her.

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The Promise Inside the Sting of Rejection

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I remember watching my firstborn get his first taste of rejection. He was about two at the time, and he leaned in to give his older female playmate a kiss.

On the mouth.

She looked at him, wide-eyed and a little mortified, and backed away. I couldn’t help but chuckle but my sweet toddler took it in stride. He knew he was cute, and her lack of interest didn’t stifle his confidence.

We kiss in our family. We show unrestrained love. But I know that once we go outside the walls of this home, those unstated rules of conduct change. My two-year-old didn’t know these rules but at that age, who does?

As he’s gotten older, the tide has shifted. Rejection hurts. I remember the first time he cried after a spat with a friend who said, “I’m not your friend anymore.” I’ve seen kids come in and out of his life, sometimes later to return.

He’s usually able to roll with the stings and the snubs, but he’s not bulletproof. And I don’t want him to be. As much as I’d love to see him never cry, get hurt or given a cold shoulder from a friend, I know he has to experience these things to truly live.

A week ago I sat at my computer reading a rejection email from an online publisher and I realized the prick of “no” may change in nature, but the pain doesn’t.

When we see the pictures of the get-together we weren’t invited to plastered on Facebook, we may feel like we’re in our high school skin all over again.

When we extend the invite to the new acquaintance from church and are repeatedly shunned, we may wonder why we even bother.

We may feel like crawling into a hole with our popcorn and Netflix marathons so that we never have to feel the ache of another “no,” another denial, another wave of apathy and disregard.

But can I tell you something? The blessing is worth it. The “yes” is worth it. When you don’t think you can extend yourself one more time, remember this.

 We serve a God who was rejected in the most brutal, public way. He did it for you. For me. He did it so we could experience life and love and yes, pain. He never rejoices in our pain but he knows it’s sometimes necessary for us to grow.

But we can’t live if we’re constantly trying to protect ourselves. We can’t live if we let fear of pain and rejection rule our lives.

For over a year of my life, I stared at what I thought was a closed door. I counted cracks in the ceiling, and our recliner and a good book became my best friends.

I was tired of trying to make friends. I was tired of the blank stares.

Since I didn’t have anyone else to talk to, I talked to God. He hears us, you know. And he’s the always the best person to talk to. The first and the last.

After months of staring at ceiling cracks, I wasn’t sure God heard me. Silly, right? But then, I made a connection. And then another and another.

I discovered community, life and purpose. I discovered friendship, yeses and open hands.

Keeping our hands open isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. When we make those kindred connections and see those invitations extended, it’s worth the “no’s,” the stings and the heartache.

The next time you’re rejected, remember the promise of the One who was rejected most of all. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5). And he’s working and listening, even when we don’t see it.

Keep your hands and your doors open, friends. You never know what God may have for you on the other side.

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View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

Seeking Your Fame Over His Gain

Seeking Your Fame
I was checking to see how many Twitter followers I had. It was just a few seconds of distraction, a few seconds of indulgence, but seconds that cost me so much.
 
I glanced around the room for my 1-year-old daughter. She was nowhere to be found. I called her name. Nothing. I furiously looked around the room. Nowhere. My heart skipped a beat. Anxiety welled up in my chest. There are so many things that can happen in just seconds. My mind raced. The possibilities overwhelmed me.
 
Then I heard it—a thump, thump, thump. My worst nightmare was becoming a reality. Something was happening to my baby. I heard her falling and ran as quickly as I could muster to the most dangerous spot in the house—our stairs. I saw her at the bottom, crying. My heart broke.
 

My distraction led to this infraction.

My preoccupation created a situation.

My online enjoyment led to her torment.

 
How do you find that what you seek online—pleasure, satisfaction, fun—leads you away from God and others? What we do in a matter of a few seconds can have long-lasting repercussions. What makes us feel good or accepted can make others feel the exact opposite: denied and rejected
 
As I hugged my crying baby girl, I realized, it was time to turn away from Google and Facebook to think about how I was impacting others. It was time I look at what and where I invest my heart.
 
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
 
“Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart” (Psalm 26:2).

God, what do you want to show me about my heart?

I was DISTRACTED. 

I was distracted from the presence, the place where God shows off. Usually, I love to see my daughter’s new milestones, but, this time, I didn’t get to see her climb those stairs. I missed that moment.

When we immerse ourselves in a screen, we miss the in between.

I sought AMUSEMENT above all. 

“Entertain me! Delight me! Consume me!” That is what I say so often to my screen. Give me a moment of joy in a world that aggravates me.
 
God speaks differently, to me it sounds something like: amusement comes and amusement goes, but my love remains forever.
 
“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5 NIV).

 
I wanted my FAME above his.
 

Read my posts. Like me. Favorite me. Retweet me. See me. Accept me. Do you notice the theme? Me. Me. Me.
 

When we focus on self, God goes on a shelf. 

“LORD, I have heardof your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 NIV).
 
What desires does your heart seek?  They extend far beyond a screen, I assure you.
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9 NLT).
 

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You Have Nothing To Prove

Nothing To Prove

We live in such a loud world with ridiculously loud voices and big personalities. We live in a culture where flashy and elaborate get noticed. We live in a society where those who are the loudest are often times the ones that receive promotion. Their gifts and talents are perceived as valuable and desirable. Quiet faithfulness has become minimized. And unfortunately, I have noticed this type of thinking has crept its way into the church and ministry.

I am the opposite of loud. I tend to be more reserved and observant. I have talents and gifts. I believe God is using them, but I don’t always feel seen or noticed by those around me. I was having a conversation with my friend Aleah recently and we were discussing the topic of not feeling good enough and feeling unseen. I actually think about this topic quite often as I observe church life around me and life on the interwebs.

I don’t ever want to be on a stage or do some great thing just for the sake of claiming the size. I would only ever fill those spaces if God calls me to that and equips me for it. I don’t need to be the center of attention. But as someone who finds herself in hidden places more often than not, to be considered for something is massive.

Nothing To Prove

That speaks to my heart and my soul in countless ways. I am not necessarily looking for approval or to be deemed good enough by others. But God designed community to work in this way…for us to truly know others and be known by them.

We call out the gold in others.

We believe the best in each other.

We give opportunities for others to lead.

We celebrate the wins of others.

It’s easier for me to fall into the trap of comparison when I focus on what I am not, instead of what I am. I don’t have anything to prove by pretending to be someone I’m not and neither do you. We are God’s unique masterpiece. We have nothing to prove to Him. He has already approved us.

You were created on purpose.

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

Before the foundations of the world, you and I were on the mind of God. That blows my mind! I cannot even comprehend that! But, there it is in God’s perfect, infallible Word. So, I believe it. That means He took time and care to form us from the inside out. Everything about us is on purpose…our hair color, our height, our likes, our dislikes, our passions, our burdens, what makes us laugh and what makes us cry. He doesn’t make mistakes. All that He does is good. That includes us.

When others don’t acknowledge you as a masterpiece, remember God calls you priceless.

Nothing To Prove

 You are an heir to God’s throne.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God.”  John 1:12

My friends are my family. The Lord is my Father and mother. The Body of Christ is home. In environments that stress marriage and children as being the end all, be all, can leave a single girl like me feeling lonely and unqualified for what God has called me to. But, this verse tells me that if I have received Christ and believed in His name, I am a child of God. I received Him and have believed in His name. I’m in. If you have as well, you are in. How amazing! In the world of adoption, once you are adopted, you can’t be un-adopted. That is how God treats us. Once we are grafted in, we are a part of His family for eternity.. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit. There is not one thing that can separate us from His love or His family.

 You have a calling.

 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Before creation, not only were we on the mind of God, but He assigned us a task and a calling for our lives. We honestly don’t ever have to wonder if we have a calling. We do. It’s simply to know God and make Him known. It plays out differently in the details of our lives, but it’s the same for all of us. Once we come to know Christ, life is not really about us anymore. We are to become others focused. We are to love, serve, bless, encourage and heal the hurting and forgotten around us.

Let’s not waste our time nor energy trying to hustle and prove ourselves to the world or to the Lord. Let’s walk out unity and honor and watch God elevate us to our next place of promise, in His perfect timing.

Nothing To Prove

He sees us.
He knows us.
We are His.

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Karina AllenKarina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”

7 Actions that Stifle Unstoppable Faith

Unstoppable Faith

I remember as a girl, I always wanted to see over the counter. I was convinced that at the bank, there was some magical land of lollipops and rainbows beyond the reach of the counter that extended above my head. I wasn’t privy to that party.

There is something about growing – about knowing that you are heading you’re supposed to be going. About letting life’s happenings naturally becoming learnings. About seeing progress. About getting a view.

I feel that way with God too. I want to grow so high with God, I get a view of all his glorious riches, right beyond the barrier of my mind, will and ways. I want to get to where he is.

unstoppable faith

All this makes me reflect:

Am I stagnating or progressing with God?

Am I growing or regressing?

What about you?

Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me. Mt. 12:30

Often, I am not working with God. I am working with myself, for myself and by myself. It’s called Kelly Utopia where everything is structured, finite and detailed. God gets in at prayer times and at extreme moments of need. Beyond that, he mostly finds himself stuck beyond the glass barriers of my bubble. I hang the sign, “Keep out God. Only Kelly’s Plans Allowed.”

I want to grow contagious and unstoppable faith. Perhaps, this means it is time I consider what is hindering it…

unstoppable faith

7 Actions that Stifle Unstoppable Faith

1. An oblivious heart – If you think you’ve got it all together, guess what?! You don’t.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Ps. 139:23

2. A stubborn will – If you never confess, you will someday attest that your life feels in the boondocks and God’s gone left you.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Rev. 2:5

3.  Over-working – If you get so busy doing, that you forget to see how God is loving, you will find yourself panting and out of breath with no energy left to go anywhere.
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)

4. Self-thoughts – If you are thinking of self, you can’t be thinking of God. If you are in your ways, you can’t be in his. But, if you communing with God, you are comingling with grace. This is where growth happens. It is also called prayer.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8

5. Knowing what is wrong and doing it anyway – Enough said.
Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. Ja. 4:17

6. Succumbing to lies – If you let in anything but truth, you will live by lies. Who have you been listening to?
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? Gal. 5:7

7. Getting proud – You can’t let in, him whom you don’t think you need.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Prov. 11:2

Now, after looking at this list, if you are anything like me, your first inclination, might be to stare in the mirror and give yourself a quick backslap for messing up so much. For doing 6 out of the above seven things. For falling so short.

unstoppable faith

Shoulders slumped, you might feel that daddy doesn’t really want you anymore. This brings us back to #6, because that is a lie. God loves us. God wants us. It is for this reason he gives us these truths, these guideposts that lead us to the right way. He wants us on his trail – with him – holding his hand. He wants us in step with him. He wants connection like we do. He wants our great faith to bring us somewhere great. He is for us (Ro. 8:31).

With this, I want to let go – to God, what I have done wrong and start afresh. Do you?  For God says, our sins are lost, not to ever again be found. Pardoned, for, us, those he has saved. (Jer. 50:20)

This feels like a fresh breath of air delivered like a shot to my lungs.

unstoppable faith

And, just knowing this – it also feels like growth. It feels a lot like peering over the counter right into God’s face.

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That’s “Nacky”

Do you have a funny word you embrace in your home that is totally understood by everyone under your roof, coined by a toddler?

When my sons were babies they called my daughter Maggie, “Yaya.”  We still call her this.

My cousin called underwear “O-di-os.” And we rarely say underwear, they are O-di-os.

And it spans the generations. My husband’s family still teases about getting your “baby-soup” on so we can go swimming, a term my husband used as a toddler.

I am 44-years-old, and my family still calls washcloths hoffcloths.” I have never lived down that which I said… when I was two.

Our oldest son John called spoons “Mooshes” and nasty “Nacky.” At our youngest son’s 1st birthday the 3-year-old John was exasperated by his baby brother’s “nacky” face after he ate cake with his hands instead of with a “moosh.”

These word oddities are habits, often we must correct ourselves in public as the nonsense isn’t appropriate outside the clique of family.

Recently one of our kids made a mistake, he was mortified. The man-child went on a rant about his foolishness. I consoled him and encouraged.  He couldn’t get past his folly and berated himself ruthlessly.

It broke my heart to him speak so harshly of himself. I rubbed his shoulder and mused, “Oh you are just being NACKY! Stop!”

He softened a bit and rolled his eyes.  At 6’3” with a full beard, I am certain he wishes he could break away from the baby talk.

A couple days later I had to get on the scale at the doctor’s office.

Ugh.

My encounter with too many “Mooshes” was making my “O-di-os” too tight and my body was not ready for “baby-soup” season.

I grumbled at myself – disgust.

I mumbled ugliness about my lack of self-control and my disdain for my current state.

I blew my nose and wiped some tears and heard a familiar, still voice from deep within.

“That’s nacky.”

And I knew the voice.

And I knew the term.

And I knew the voice meant my critical assault on self, not the size of my hiney.

I was being “nacky.”

And more than tears over my current physical struggles, I was slain by a wave of love from my Heavenly Father. 

I was reminded that “nacky” feeling I had when my son was hating on himself for making a mistake. A mistake that could be remedied. A mistake that was done without malice, simply an earthly mistake. In an instant I was in unison with my Lord and all the ways, He parents me.

He wanted me to ease up. He wanted me to turn to Him and talk, ask for help, and then let go.  And no, not let go and continue to not care for myself, His daughter. But to stop haranguing myself with “nacky” self-hatred.

Just like the horribleness I felt when my child was so unforgiving with his folly, God opened my eyes to the parallels of my punitive words.

His gentleness continues to move me. A good Father, encourager, and devoted parent who craves a chance to nurture and love on me.  He died that I might have amity with this life. His spirit lingers, whispering tender love and peaceable direction.

His love is perfect.

His parenting flawless.

He is completely void of nackiness….

 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  –1 John 3:1

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

 

When You Don’t Know What to Do

What to Do

I am living in the center of chaos. Clothes are hanging off the brink of my mind.  Papers are strewn all over the place – and I am quite certain the wind just blew one in my face.

what to do

I feel like I am stuck in a desolate landfill of all the stuff I have consumed over the last 4 years – stuff I don’t really need. Stuff that holds me back in a way, from being free. It tethers me to the demand that I find – home (big home, even). It demands I – arrive somewhere. It pushes me. I glare at it.

I guess I want to be free. Free to find home with no reservations required – as the Spirit leads.

To be delivered to the Promised Land of peace, friends and love – unrestrained.

I haven’t gotten there yet. That stinkin’ place? It eludes me.

You too?

What place do you want to be delivered to?

What home of peace, answers, calm, relational bliss or finances are you pining for?

I sat down, in the center of it all, everything I wanted to escape – and placed my face in my hands. I looked at all the things I couldn’t handle, I considered all I couldn’t bring about and I realized there was nothing left to do. Anxiety can nearly kill a woman, you know.

The pressure to do, the stern inner dictates and the will to take care of all the baby birds, it’s enough to induce panic.

“God, save me from my self. Show me your ways.”

Every prayed that prayer?

It works. He answers.

It takes the traveler, the one stuck to eternal roaming with bags too large and heavy for her own britches and sends her on her way. She moves from jet-lagged and famished, walking around, searching (otherwise called living-hell) – and heads home.

what to do

She gets somewhere.

Something rises up.

It sounds like this: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Is. 30:21)

Bags unloaded, it is a resting spot. Where, bags down, you lay and look up. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It doesn’t matter what time your flight is to destination delightful. It doesn’t matter how you go about making it there. It just matters that God is going to be faithful.what to do

When you see God and you see his way – it doesn’t matter so much about – your way.

A voice rises above the mayhem. It is not about being delivered from what plagues you, but being delivered to – who calms you.

I missed all that.
Have you?

The truth is:

Jesus wants to be with me – wherever I stand.

Jesus has a way for me – wherever I am.

Jesus has planned life for me- in whatever I do.

Jesus has truth laid out for me – wherever I go.

I don’t have to fret the when – for Jesus already figured out – the how.

He’s never one to let me fail – and every time his love prevails.

what to do

The world may spin, but the cross is steady; it is planted in the solid rock of truth. Truth walks me to life. Life is knowing, God will lift my foot up and put it where it needs to go. He will manage my wavering opinions, doubts and fears.

Do you believe he will do that for you?

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Prov. 16:9

I lean back. My lungs fill. We don’t have to control chaos, peace knows the way. And out of the chaos, we get what we were always after – home – his waiting love.

The question is, will we, like prodigal children, return to it?

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Changing When You Hate Change

Hate Change

After college, I fled my home on the east coast and rushed to a west coast adventure. My new boss and I flung around the sun-soaked city streets of L.A. in a black Mercedes. I felt free. I felt ready. She was teaching me the ropes of sales and how to close the deal with men who were in high positions. I was a sponge – ready to learn, ready to train and ready to acquire knowledge – but, her instruction? It stopped me…

“Kelly,” she said, “You just do what you have to do – to get the deal done.” 

My heart sunk. I got the subliminal message.

Smiling (and with what I am now convinced was a – wink?), she pulled next to my dream car – a luxury red-hot convertible. It shined succulent. She looked at me and said, “Bite it.” No, she didn’t say that, but almost, she said, “Kelly, if you want that car, it is yours…”

Hate Change

And there I was. I stood on the cliff of decision.

Would I welcome change or would I be changed forever by not changing jobs?

Change is interesting. It is like an unwelcome demand by someone (namely God) to do something I am not ready for. It almost always comes at the wrong time – and I’m almost always resistant.

Are you resistant?

Usually, a silent warning lays right under its surface…“You better do something about this or you are going to get hurt….”

Pondering this, and gazing out the window, I couldn’t help but think that God doesn’t demand nature change seasons. It is gradual and seamless. Natural. Welcome, even. 

What is the difference?

What am I missing?

Author Daniel Strain, from Science News, describes nature’s budding process like this: “The buds suck up water, growing until they are ready to explode. The petals and sepals – the outer, greener portion of a flower gradually invert, then peel open like a banana and form a blossom.”

Hate Change

4 Things That Buds Know About Change That We Don’t:

1. The buds “suck up” water. Do I? Do you? Do you drink in the living water of love so that when you hit the desert you don’t think it’s your new home?

“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” Jo. 4:14

2. The buds are ready to “explode”. If I fill myself up with truth about what God will do, I will much more be able to explode into life change.  I just remember: 1.) God is with me 2.) God is for me 3.) He always has a very, very good plan.

3. The outer portion of “the petal turns inward”, before turning outward. Changing hurts; this is why you draw in. You have to cover, pray and seek God, before you can bust out and shine.

Hate Change

4. They peel open “like a banana”. Getting peeled like a banana, well, it doesn’t sound too buttoned-up and managed. It sounds humble. Willing. Receptive to what is happening. It sounds much like losing control, in trust, that God is in control.

God is consistent. Nature knows. It awaits the beautiful about to explode from barren.

Maybe we become like nature?  We might then be able to believe and proclaim, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

Hate Change

We will know – all will turn out okay…

We just suck up water, explode with truth, turn in and then – unfold into the new creation that, God, all along, has been working us into.

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5 Ways to Keep your Eyes on God

Keep your Eyes on God

I brought my kids to the beach. I needed to find some refuge to let them a.) play so that I could b.) get a moment with God. Doing this kind of thing is essential, in life, by the way. Sometimes, you have to break away from what you are immersed in so you can find yourself immersed in love, that way when you are re-immersed into life (mothering, relationships, work, health issues, etc.) you survive. This is what I figure, anyway.

Doing this kind of thing is like pre-CPR, it saves you before your signs go vital – from the anxieties and worries of life that intend to put you 10-feet under. I knew the warning signs for myself, so I hightailed myself over to my personal refuge.

The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him. Psalm 37:40

When the beach party was done and all were packed in the car, I slowly meandered down the road to home. The birds chirped, the seagulls floated on the water, the landscape was cloud layers perfectly hovering right above the ocean horizon. I breathed deep, inched on and turned my head ocean to road, ocean to road. Life was good.

your eyes on God

I wasn’t missing anything! So big, and so proud – God’s love nearly gave me a hug. We united and it was a beautiful thing.

Until, that guy did his thing. Until, he became – a tailgater. My face tensed, my eyes squinted, “If only he could get a glimpse of me and my contorted and ugly face through the rearview mirror.” Left and right I scooted trying to make sure he saw me!

He was ruining it all. He was my problem. My heart was pumping with the fresh blood of aggravation.

your eyes on God

All I knew was that I was getting tailed by pressure, and it was stealing peace. I guess it happens all the time, when I stop, and really think about it.

I feel that others are climbing faster and farther and quicker into writing success than I am. They tail me.

I let demands tower high – be a great mom, author, marketer, wife. Don’t mess up. They tail me.

I have issues, pressing things that need to be handled – bills, agendas, contracts, promises that may not come through. They tail me.

What is tailing you, demanding you to take your eyes off of God?

Work? Others? Finances? Fears? Demands? Children? Health? Progress? Pride?

When we allow external pressures to make us testy,
we can easily miss God’s majesty.

Yet, when we let people or things do what they may do, but we keep our eyes straight, we find ourselves driving straight into peace, calm and serenity. 

How do we do this?

Let’s investigate 5 Ways to Keep our Eyes on God:

1. Be present – If you look for God everywhere, you will find him.

2. Delight in him – If you worship him and commune with him like a best friend, he will become your best friend.

your eyes on God

3. Detangle with him – Let the best counselor, the Holy Spirit, counsel your heart when it goes haywire (John 14:26). He will, you know, and you’ll find a way.

4. Observe Gods’ teachings intended for you – Consider the question, “What is the Lord trying to teach me through this?”

5. Say thanks – When you get offering thanks, you get knowing who you really are – a loved child, who God will always provide for. You relish in the feeling, your God and your forever standing.

Sure, that man nearly bumped me. He nearly bumped my heart right away from receiving the love of God, but this is the ultimate truth: Even if you get away for a moment, as a believer, your heart will never be removed for an eternal lifetime.

With this, we can just get our heart, our being and our focus back on his trajectory. We can drive, and keep our eyes on God, knowing that we are heading into his glorious riches. 

***All pictures taken by my 4-year old son! 😉

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Missing Your Real Calling

Missing Your Real Calling

Day in and day out, I write on this blog.

Monday comes. I write.
Tuesday. I write.
Wednesday. I write.
You get the point…

When God goes about calling,
one is wise to go about doing the following.

We all know that, right?

Three things normally happens when one listens to God:
1. They learn things shocking about themselves or become shockingly healed.
2. They get a chance to break their selfish bones and regrow more humble.
3. They find themselves falling in love – more and more with Christ.

So, what confounds me is – if there are so many wins about serving God,
why do I sometimes feel I am running a losing game?

One where I get dry-heaving on a track that never ends
and all the same never gets me past my personal victory line?

It sometimes feels like an endless cycle of wanting – more?
Is this how God intended it to be?

When I began writing, each morning, I prayed. I asked God to give me the right word for the right person at the right time. It need not reach millions, just one. I sought his heart over mattered. I worked accordingly.

I listened. I expected. I believed.

Yet as time went on…

Little voices started to out-speak God. Other megaphones got louder, and his soft whisper got muted. Other’s progress got apparent and mine looked lousy. Other holes of insignificance and insecurity developed within me, and I demanded writing fill them.

I rushed. I hurried. I doubted.

I planned and agenda’d. I saw futures, perhaps, he didn’t. I told people to get close to God, when I myself, was existing not as close to God.

I sounded a little like this:  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” (Luke 18:12)

Recognize the voice? It is called: Pharisee.

Pharisee = One who talks God but walks far from God.
Pharisee = One who tells others, but can’t hear himself.
Pharisee = One consumed with facades and not the face of his heart.
Pharisee = One driven by power, not powerlessness before the Powerful One.
Pharisee = One who resembles purity on the outside, but looks like dead and flaky sin on the inside.

Do you look something like a Pharisee?

In work? At home? With kids?

With your husband? In life?

In a way we all do.
Little tip: Admission and confession is the first way to stop Pharisee in its tracks.

Jesus had these kinds of words for Pharisee-types: You Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses are in for trouble! You’re nothing but show-offs. You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. You won’t go in yourselves, and you keep others from going in. (Mt. 23:13-14)

Wow! Them are hefty words! Certainly, Jesus won’t shut out believers, but we can certainly shut the door right on his face!

Clearly, Christ warns – he doesn’t endorse this kind of behavior. It never does, nor never will, get his stamp of approval, his blessing nor his push behind it.

And, if it doesn’t have Jesus, I don’t want it, do you?

Really, receive this word for a moment – If it doesn’t have Jesus, I don’t want it.

Do you believe that? Live that way?

Jesus stands at the door and knocks (Rev. 3:2). Will we open it and welcome him in?  Not voices, not pressures, not demands, not schedules, not editors, not pride, not progress-climbing, not  one-upping, not social climbing, not ambition – but Jesus? Love.

Love in. Love poured out.
Humility restored. Humility abounding.
Grace upon grace. Grace upon grace dispersed.
Open arms. Grabbing the likes of our poor soul – others who need help.

Jesus always brings wins (see number 1-3 above for reminder), when we abide in him, with him and through him in every moment of our limited moments that make up this thing called – life.

Let’s not outpace the champion, for I fear, at some point, we might look back and see we ran the race as – the loser.

We don’t want this. We want to live in Christ’s victory. We want to go – with Him, because he is the way. The only way. The winning way. Every. Single. Time. Let’s hold on to that.

God, I am sorry. Please help me. Help me and then help me some more. You are all I need. Amen.  

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