Purposeful Faith

Category - failure

Need A Miracle? This Is Breakthrough…

need a miracle

Do you feel unable? Do you have a dream no one believes in? Have you hit an impossible roadblock?

Maybe you’re after a miracle.
Even worse, maybe your not.
Maybe, you’ve given up.

I am well aware, we all have our – “if onlys”, “it’s impossible” or “that couldn’t happen” scenarios. They loom like harbingers of how we will self-destruct, how those we love will get hurt or how we will never come out the other side – alive.

The enemy loves to tell us we can look, but can’t touch. He tells us good things are out of reach. So, instead we put on anti-faith, which is doubt cloaked in the covering of Christian-like behavior. We pretend.

We forget about this: Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Jo. 16:23

Our real problem isn’t that it’s out of reach, it’s that we don’t believe God’ll put it within reach.

The difference between a miracle and a mirage – is prayer.

If only we asked.
And believed.

For 80% of my life, I lived not believing. I mean, half-believing, I guess…if that is such a thing. I lived attending church. I lived trying my best. I lived praying. But, for the most part I lived doubting: doubting I’d ever do good, doubting God would really forgive me, doubting God could use me, doubting people would ever like me.

Fear was my slave master and my inadequacy his whip. I stayed in line.

Until, I started praying. Prayer is the liberator every woman needs, but has no idea how to find.

Me? A girl who stayed back in 3rd grade. A girl crippled by a chest that clenched its own self. A woman afraid that everyone would hate her. A quitter. An anorexic who felt she had to be perfect. A woman who hid from opportunities because she didn’t want to fail. A lady who was told she’d never write, nonetheless be an author.

Me? God saved me – from the overwhelming anxiety of being me.
Me? God opened up purpose and passion.
Me? God lit vision and destroyed the power of rejection.
Me? God inspired my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Fears.
Me? God just put my book on the Today Show. Kathie Lee Gifford named it one of her Favorite Things.
Me? God showed me – He can do anything, free anyone or rescue anyone – if only they ask.

We don’t ask though. This is the real problem.

What if you asked God to be fearless?

What might your life look like?

Where might God take you?

No doubt, underneath this stark movement in my life, were countless prayers.  Above it, stood a limitless God. Between these two places, was my belief. I watched everything collide.

God is calling us to step deeper and walk further into the fullness of all he can do. You see, we don’t have to imagine it, or perceive it – forget all that – we just have to believe it.

This is what my book Fear Fighting is all about. It’s about linking arms with the Savior, the Redeemer and the Creator of all good, so that we, as sisters, may walk bold and brave. It’s about leaving behind trembling so we can walk, on sure foundation, into God’s greatest callings. It’s about exchanging comparison and jealousy for the life-charging power of I-am-loved, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s about seeing yourself as God sees you. It’s about stepping out when every voice from your past tells you to step in. It’s about finding the you God created you to be.

Join the Fear Fight. The time is now. Your God waits. He will help you. Prayer will be your guide and God will not steer you wrong. Your greatest miracle is just ahead.

Buy Fear Fighting!

Join the Four Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

More Reading:
When You Let God Down
5 Ways: Calm the Inner-Rumbles of Rejection
When Your Picture Is Not Pretty

Know What Can Ruin Christmas?

Ruin Christmas

I keep going back to what happened – what was said, how it was said and why the person is wrong.

A label was tossed my way; I was called a name. But, it’s more than just that. The bullets run deep – and are hard to pull out.

Sometimes what’s said or done, is not easily removed.

People yakked and hacked an image.
They understood things wrong.
They dissed, offended or disregarded you.
They were insensitive.

Like, I said, with people, what’s said or done, sometimes, is not easily removed. It sinks deep.

So, anyway, here I come, prancing on up to Christmas – a time of joy, a time of Jesus, with a hundred and one holes through my heart – and increasing pain lodged between me and a manger.

I am not sure what to do.

Because, this I know, if I want to meet holy, I can’t walk around hostile. In order to be super-close with Jesus, I can’t be loaded-up with sin. This idea is Christianity 101, but it takes a masters degree to apply.

Waving goodbye to your right to be angry, is like letting go of a bad habit – you love. Everything in you knows you’ll be better off without it, but not walking up to that wine bottle and taking a glass, or three, after a hard day, is hard. Like unforgiveness, it beckons you to hold on.

In some ways, your noble actions have warranted it, you figure. You’ve earned it. Other people have entitled you to carry around that glass, even if it makes you cranky, tired or on edge. Even if it hurts.

Yet, here’s the quandary: God says I should be able to approach him with “freedom and confidence” (Eph. 3:12). I can’t when I carry around this cup of self-righteousness. It spills over onto my eyesight and then I can’t see God. I get all clouded with shame, guilt and discontent.

So there they stand – ones who’ve offended me, tremendously.
There Jesus stands – the One who befriended me, groundlessly.

I wonder if Jesus thought about me before he entered the world?

Maybe he thought: “Hmmm…there she stands; I see all Kelly’s offenses. In fact, I can line them up and they’d reach around the world. Join them together, they’d actually wrap it 3 times. How can I go down there, to that place of vile, and forgive her? How can I leave the heights of glory, a throne of brilliance, and all the angelic hosts of heaven – for her likes?

I would have thought that way, if I was him. I would have thought, “Keep me up here at the banquet, but don’t send me down there into the stink and dirt of a manger – coupled with difficult people. Don’t put me there for that bad girl, Kelly. Not worth it.”

But, He didn’t. And this is the part I can’t contend with: Jesus didn’t abandon me because I abandoned him.

How can I abandon others, when Jesus didn’t abandon me? What right do I have to pick up a right that he laid down? To stand when he laid down?

He teaches me to lay it all down for others so that I can pick up that baby, Jesus Christ, and hold him close this Christmas.

I don’t do it for them, I do it because I love him. I want him. I can’t do life without him. I do it because he’s forgiven them too. He’s set the standard. He shows me the way. And, if I want the way to lead up to his throne, I can’t have mean people blocking my path to him.

So, there they stand. I look at them and, in them, I see me. I see me, because we are all in Christ. I see me, because just as they are covered, so am I. And, what I also accept, beyond the peace that comes with forgiving them, is God’s peace that comes with him forgiving me. For what I’ve held inside, me – the contempt – is covered. And, like a magic trick, but better,  with God’s grace it goes – Poof!  It’s gone.

And, all that’s left is Jesus. A man, whose small act of entering a large world, changes it all. Whose humility, radically rewires our vision. Whose love, makes our mouth go agape. Whose forgiveness, goes against all odds, yet changes them all the same.

The one “who is, and who was, and who is to come” (Rev. 1:8), remains. He always does. And, what we’ve done is cleared a way for us to bow low, so we can cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” So we can get eye-level with a baby, who redeems it all.

Will you let in the baby this Christmas? Who do you need to forgive?

Continue Fighting Fear!
Join me on the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Prayer:

God, we come to you as we are. We come to you with our frustration, anger and irritation. We come to you with our pain and our opinions. We bring to you our perceptions, right or wrong. We hand over to you, what you don’t invite us to carry any longer. God, will you take care of all this? Will do you do justice on our behalf? Will you mend our hearts on our behalf? Will you soften our rough edges and take from us what you know is not healthy for us to carry? We turn it over, God. Today, through the name of Jesus Christ, we release it. We know what you have, in return, is peace and joy that is far better than self-righteousness and pride. Lord, now that we are clean, we ask you to bring us close to your heart. We ask you to walk us up and into your love. We ask you to teach us and grow us as you see fit. We trust you God. Above all, we trust you. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

More Reading:

1 Clear Way to Victory When in a Losing Battle
Embarrassing Bravery and Insane Courage
When Sharing Makes You Embarrassed

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When People Take Advantage of You

Take Advantage

She told me, “I deserved more.”

Do I?

I hadn’t thought of it like that. But, perhaps she was right.

I should get it. I am owed it. I’ve missed out, been singled out, treated poorly.  Suddenly, she confirmed my worst fears.

I’ve been taken advantage of.

In a split second, her statement touched an open nerve, exposing all I-don’t-have, but should. The words grabbed me hook line and sinker. They make me want to get mad, to fight. Maybe, with some effort to get what I really deserve; I’ll feel 100% happy. 

What do you feel you deserve? What have you been passive-aggressively implying you’re owed?

I suppose, under the cover of my steel lid, I’ve been slowly simmering with the idea I deserve respect, answers, and kindness from people. I deserve them to pull through for me. I deserve their help.

Yet (and this is the part that really gets to me – and hard to embrace), Jesus didn’t demand much. Jesus wasn’t known for saying he deserved things – even though he deserved everything. Actually, rather than taking what he deserved, he gave to the world what they didn’t deserve – his very own body.

He got broken for me, when he could’ve stayed enthroned, without me.

If Jesus is my role model…

If I really follow him…

I deserve nothing…
but, through Christ, gain everything…
the ability to love…
to receive grace
and to delight in the journey of being with God...
…it is more than enough.

It really is. It truly is.

I lose peace when I start to think otherwise. I lose freedom too.

I can do nothing on my own…I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. Jo. 5:30

It’s a war of the world for the heart. There’s a tug one direction saying: fight for yourself. Then, there’s the Spirit’s tug the opposite direction saying: Die to yourself and live with me. And, there’s God’s truth saying: While you are silent, I’m fighting for you. (Ex. 14:14)

What if we gave up all our ways – to seek God’s? What might happen? I wonder what might happen to the world if – instead of fighting, we started loving? Call me simplistic or idealistic, but somehow, I not only think this is what God calls us to do, but he, in the process, sets us free to do.

The power isn’t in getting, but in giving.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. Prov. 10:12

Love never fails… 1 Cor. 14:7

Quick-fire Prayer: May I have eyes from above to shed love. May I not seek to gain the world, but extend a hand to it. May I fight not for my ways, but give up all my ways, in order to find Jesus.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

More Reading:
Have You Lost Peace?
The Good Found in the Darkness (Linkup)

What’s Blocking you from Christ?

When God Didn’t Give What You Wanted

God Didn't Give
 Has God ever boomeranged truth – where it hits you right between the eyes? He did with me; it kind of hurts.

My son asked, “Mom, can I have hot chocolate.”

I figured I was being super nice by saying yes. He wanted marshmallows too.

“You can have 6,” I said.

But, six in the cup looked like a swim party of few, so I reached into the bag and grabbed the biggest handful I could. With an overwhelming feeling of generosity, I dropped them into his mug, expecting to see the face of a kid lit up in a candy shop; he didn’t look impressed.

Oh well. A mom can try. 

Even so, I figured, I’d made him happy for the morning. Mission accomplished. I figured wrong. As soon as the last drop was licked out of the cup, he was at it again, “Mom, I didn’t get to eat a marshmallow on its own. I only got them in my cup. Those ones were all wet.”

His face was gearing up for WWIII. My face was not pleased either. I’d just given him ten times more than he deserved and he was whining about one marshmallow? Mom. Can’t. Win.

And, this ungrateful kid won’t win either!

“Son,” I said, “You can either be thankful for what you have or be discontent with what you don’t.”

No sooner were these words out of my mouth than they boomeranged. Boing!!!

They hit me like this:
“Kelly, you can either be thankful for what you have –
or discontent with what you don’t.”
Boing!!!

You may be missing me as much as he is Kelly. Boing!!!

Thankfulness is where you find joy, Kelly.
It is where you meet greater trust in me. Boing!!!

You see what you don’t have,
but what you do have is gi-stinking-normous.
 Boing!!!

You enter my presence with a word of thanks; you find me. Boing!!!

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name”
(Psalm 100:4)

I want more of God – and all of this is true. God has given me much. He’s reached into the bag of his goodness and made the cups to overflow. He’s gone above and beyond to open up life-changing spiritual insights. He’s provided for me when I saw no way. He’s given me the opportunity to write a book that blessed me beyond get-out with new courage.  He has grown me in patience. He has offered me a chance to be near loved ones. He’s grown my faith.

God, hasn’t given me a tad, He’s given me a ton. Yet, sometimes, like my son, I see only the little thing he hasn’t done. I focus on it, forgetting everything else. I get obsessed with that one little marshmallow and forget the sweetness of his providence.

But, what I am coming to today is – I always have something to be thankful for: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chron. 16:34

Quick-fire prayer: Forgive me, God for my ingratitude. Thank you that you do forgive. Thank you, you love me no matter what. Thank you, I cannot step outside of your love. Thank you, you always have a plan. Thank you, you give me handfuls of blessings. Thank you, you see my way and guide me to it. Thank you, you bestow vision. Thank you, you restore me with eyes of clarity as I approach you with the honor you deserve. Thank you, you withhold no good thing from me. Thank you, God, you are all I need. Amen.  

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

More Reading:

Are You Getting Nowhere – Fast?

Getting Nowhere

Are you wondering if God will be faithful to you?

Maybe he’s called you to something…
Maybe he’s led you to something…
Maybe he’s pushing you to DO something…
Maybe he’s prompting you to change something…

Yet, sometimes, excuses can hold one captive within a fortress wall. They encircle, blocking the greater thing. I should know, I’ve made excuses my whole life. I am not good enough. Smart enough. Able enough. Willing enough. ____ enough.

Are you really going to work, God?

Are you really with me?

God, is it really possible that you will work – if I don’t?

In this place of, God…I-trust-you-uhh,-kind-of…., there are 101 reasons why the plan won’t work. Here, there visions are demise, prayers like desperate pleas and a will all about self. I should know.

Just the other day, I found myself sitting on the couch with these exact emotions. So, not knowing what else to do, I asked God to meet me and walked outside to my front porch…

Was I in a bird sanctuary? As they sounded off, something in me came alive, I was no longer trapped in my vision, my mindset, and my will.  I’d pushed beyond the first protective wall. God was taking me somewhere.

I asked him for greater eyes to see; he gave them to me. First, I noticed the nest in my tree – the one neighbor called “a nest for squirrels”. The thought repulsed me at the time. I could somehow imagine them burrowing themselves in my gutters and then my attics and somehow- before the clock struck midnight – right into my bed – and under my covers. Over my dead body – (literally)!

But, as I stared at that nest, it wasn’t rabid squirrels that came out, but the tiniest and cutest of baby birds. 
New life.
New life always exists outside our walls of our disbelief. 

Getting Nowhere

 

I ventured out more, walking my ordinary path. The extraordinary birds sang something, but what did God want me to come to?

Kelly, if I hold the world together, don’t you think I can hold your dreams together?
Your life together?
Your moving parts together?

…in Him all things hold together. Col. 1:7

A bird swooped down in front of me. Not too long after, another one took a nose dive right along my path.
Follow me. Like the disciples followed me, you need only follow me. It’s that simple.

Go as I go.
See as I see.
Where I go, I give new view.

“They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” Mt. 19:20 MSG

It all sounded good. Because, seeing like me, a manipulating and self-steering girl, gets tiring. There’s a whole lot of things to worry about and people to please and things to do; frankly, I’m overbearing. Just going as he goes, sounds, well? Relaxing almost. So, I walk on and try to just welcome God into my space. I want to see as he sees and to go as he goes. And, what I notice is something I haven’t noticed all the other 200 times I’ve taken this walk. I see nests – ones almost invisible. Big nests. Small nests. Miniscule nests. Leaf-filled nests. I stop. How could I have missed them before?

Kelly, you don’t always see what I am birthing behind the scenes.
But, let me assure you – where I go, I bring life.
Every time you trust by faith, I hatch something.

“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23

With this, God fills me up in some sort of transcendent way. He offers me His goodness – and I’m addicted. I crave more. I want more. I really want more. I desperately want more. I believe, God intends it this way, he must know: He’s the best dependency. 

Upon arrival at home, my fortress looks different. The drawbridge is down and the front door stands welcoming. And, what I notice out of the corner of my eye are birds giving a final salute. They jump and frolic, enjoy and bathe in the puddles. They live – happy. Unconcerned with the future.

Getting Nowhere

I never celebrate what God has done – for very long.
I, so quickly, move on to the next thing.

Is God calling me to celebrate, in advance, what He’ll do through faith?

Kelly, I have a flight plan for you.
Joy launches with it.
It’s never a fight to be on my plight,
for my load is light. 

Peace flies in. I decide to go with God. I no longer need excuses, nor fear (read more on my journey to bravery, in my upcoming book, Fear Fighting).

Quick-fire Prayer: May I celebrate what I cannot yet see. May I trust in what I do not know. May I rest in where, with him, I’ll go. Fear need not be my companion, nor excuses my guide. For there is one true fact, and that is, you God, will not leave my side. Amen.  

More Reading:
Chasing God
7 Reasons Why God Is Allowing Your Trial
Do you Need a New Perspective?

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Grief Isn’t a Lack of Faith

Post by:Jami Amerine

From the windows of my bedroom on the second story of our home on our 640-acre ranch, I could see the sky morphing from daytime to a water colored twilight.

The master bedroom glowed with purple hues.

My husband Justin, always generous and thoughtful, had excused me for the evening.  I could hear the acquainted sundown clamor.  One of the college children was home to help. Our 14-year-old daughter would help too.  The three youngest, our two adopted toddler sons and our infant foster daughter laughed, hollered, and then one of them began to cry.  Dishes clapped, a chair scraped across the dining room floor. All the normal sounds heard on any normal evening in our normal lives played out like a recording.

Tonight wasn’t normal.

Having just learned we would begin the transitioning of our foster daughter to her birth home I was a wreck.  Make no mistake, I have championed her momma, I love her.  She is my friend, she is a good mom.  Still, this sweet child has brought nothing but joy and laughter to our home.  She is delightful.  For the last year, she has been a cherished part of our family.

I was slain with grief.

I ignored my instinct to remove my mascara. I was not interested in protecting my 800-count white cotton sheets.  I needed to cut loose and grieve.  My phone buzzed alerts on my nightstand, I didn’t move.  I just cried heaving sobs and blew my nose, repeatedly into a tattered Kleenex… eventually crying myself into a deep slumber.

Later, sticky eyes pried open to a pitch black room.  I reached to my side for Justin, he wasn’t there.  I picked up my phone and tried to make out the time.

2:17 am.

And then… I remembered.  Grief washed over me again. Safely alone I said it out loud, “God, I am so sorry I lost it. I am so sorry my faith is so weak.  I am so sorry for…”

Grieving?

Crying?

Mourning a loss?

I sat up, my head pounded.  My nose was efficiently slammed shut.  “No, I am sorry… “

That you will miss that baby girl?

That your relationship with she and her momma are now irresolute?

That your work, work you love, is ending?

I reached for the lamp on my nightstand and switched it on and then opened a package of makeup removing wipes.  I wiped my face and continued to attempt to repent for… grieving.

In my sorrow, I had convinced myself I was somehow lacking.  In my hurt, I had managed to negate the gift of tears.  In my uncertainty, I had belittled my role as daughter of the Most High, having every confidence that stoic patented me faithful.

Rest.

Cry.

Let me comfort you.

I kicked off my shoes, removed my earrings and in a most artistic fashion, removed my bra without so much as unbuttoning my blouse. I switched off the light and heard Justin’s muffled snores coming from the family room.

Thank you for Justin.

Thank you for the children.

Thank you for the gift of tears.

I yawned and my lungs burned with the fatigue of grief.  Hot tears escaped my weary eyes. Yet I knew, this was not a sign of my unbelief. No, this was a sign I was blessed among the mourning and loved and cared for as the weary.  I lamented the times I had missed out on being fully loved and favored for by my Father in Heaven, somehow believing the lie that grief was indicative of a lack of faith.

A lie from the enemy.

I do not doubt the Father’s love.  I do not question His devotion to the baby girl I have loved as my own.  I do not believe He will not continue the good works he has instilled in her birthmother.  Why would I feel that my heartache counts me less than devout?

My breath steadied, and I felt myself slipping back into the comfort of His blessing, rest.  Good Father, Mastermind, and Creator of tears, laughter, and all emotion, every state of being and every stage of life. He blessed me with these life affirming emotions, no longer will I consider they somehow nullify the gift of my salvation – the majesty of faith – faith that counts me worthy.

Thank you, Jesus.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Read More:
Grace for One Who Self-Condemns
Why God Really Has A Better Way
Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

Change The Face of Your Problems

Face of Your Problems

My face. It must speak a thousand words. Words like, my day was bad, I no longer feel like a good mom, I am dead-tired and ready to pass out.

I need not say a word, my husband simply looks at me for a picture of my previous 9-hours. I guess, if I look down, it was not a good day. If I tighten my lips, it was a horrible day. If I run up to him with a smile, it was a fantastic day.

I think our face tells more about us than we know. Two days ago, I looked into a girlfriend’s eyes. She was smiling on the outside, yet her eyes were droopy sad. I could tell something was wrong.  Some days, when wait at a stop light, I stare out my window at the cars turning in front of me. They don’t realize it, but almost everyone is frowning. I guess the majority people’s days aren’t going so well.  Sad. I do like the look my son gives his sister – its an under-cover smile. I think he’s proud of her.

I like that look.

What look do you convey?

I want my insides to project an outward love of Christ.
I want what God is doing in me to outshine through me.

I wonder if it does?

Just recently, I read about Moses. He and God were tight: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his best friend.” (Ex. 33:11)

I love those words. There is a sweet familiarity and comfort between Moses and God. It feels easy. Unforced. Natural. To me, it sounds like an everyday, I-want-to-meet-you kind of thing. It sounds welcoming. Relaxed. Connected.

God honors this kind of approach. He brings people who meet with him like this – deeper. He shows them things. He tells Moses, “I Myself will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim the Lord before you…” (Ex. 33:19)

Can you all imagine seeing “all God’s goodness” pass before you?

What an honor! What might that look like? How might that affect you?

Moses couldn’t even look at God straight on; his glory was too much to be seen in that light. But what I love is this – Even though Moses couldn’t see God’s face, Moses face was changed by God’s goodness.

“The skin of Moses’ face shone” so bright, he had to wear a veil around the Israelites.

And this really gets me thinking, you see – be with God – and you’ll be different.
Let his love shine on you – and it’ll no doubt shine upon others.
Face God and see him change your tightly clenched face into a radiant face.

I want this. I want my bad days’ soothed by God’s good love. I want my anxiety, quenched by Him who leaves none thirsty. I want He who is light, to make my countenance bright. I want what I can’t face, to go face-to-face with him who is Peace.

If like Moses, I get before God, if we get before God like this, we’ll never be the same. Those we love won’t be either. Approaching God head-on, accepting his face of love– will change the face of our life, I am convinced.

Prayer:

God, help us get before you. Help us to come to you when trials hit or when fears feel like they may drown us. Bring us into your light, into your peace. Shine your glory upon our face, so we may face the world with your light. Equip us and empower us according to your will. Amen.

More Reading:
When Your Good Intentions Fail
How Many Christians Live Grace All Wrong
The Care and Keeping of a Mean Girl

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

 

When Your Good Intentions Fail

Good Intentions Fail

In order to put on my ski clothes, I had to tug on long johns. Then, I’d layer super-tight, hard-to-get-on socks. One after another, I’d put everything on until my legs felt like they were the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Only then, would I pull on my snow pants, the final covering that prevented all cold water from entering the warmth that was under the coverings.

There was a process to the putting-on. I couldn’t just start and end with the outer shell of snow pants. If I did, I’d go through the night freezing.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Col. 3:12

Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience.
These are great things. We run after them. Daily we attempt to put them on, don’t we?

I know I do…

I wake in the morning and tell myself, today, I am going to be compassionate and kind. I am going to speak gently and tenderly to my children. Two minutes later, I blast them. Their faces look plastered with shock at my poorly chosen words. Sorry?

I also whisper to the Lord, “I am humble. I want to walk in low places with you.” Ten minutes later, I think, “I could have done that ten times better.” Whoops! 

I try to move towards gentleness and patience, saying, “Watch out world!” Halfway through the day, I am tapping my toe and giving the evil eye to the car that’s moving at a snails pace.” Go figure.

What God calls me to put on – falls off halfway through the day.

Ever noticed this happens to you? Every wondered why?

I’ve noticed, I put on the shell of good acts, but what lays under is empty. Underneath, I have not layered myself up, with God, so I can endure the cold times of my day. This discourages us. It causes me to think, “I can never do this Christian faith thing,” “I will always fail” or “There’s no use for me.”

Do you feel like there is now hope for you too?

Like try you may, but you will always fail?

What if we have it all wrong? I can’t help but think, God didn’t just tell us to “do”, there is a whole other component – a component I often forget about. Take a second look at the first part of that verse above: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…” (Col. 3:12)

First things first, friends.

Embracing the goodness of God, lets you live the goodness of God.

To feel embraced, you must layer up:

Layer 1: You are chosen. God picked you. He wanted you. He will use you. He has plans for you.

Layer 2: You are holy. His hanging on the cross, earned your holy status. Nothing can remove that from you.

Layer 3: You are dearly loved. You are loved from above and even when you act dumb, still, you are loved.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance… (1 Pet. 1:14)

As ones internally covered with God’s garment of grace, mercy and love, like children who need what God has, let us draw near to God’s warmth, so we may go to the cold places of the world.

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How Many Christians Live Grace All Wrong

Grace All Wrong

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

Easy, right? Hardly.  This is just about one of the hardest callings.

Imagine:

You toss potato salad at my face? I smile and speak in an angelic tone to soothe you.

You throw me under the bus with my boss and steal my promotion? I make allowance for your mistake and let go.

You con me out of all my money? I humbly confront you with words of kindness.

How is this possible?

Not by my own strength, I’ll tell you. My own strength would have you pressed up against the wall with a lesson stuffed down your throat. It is not easy to respond with humility, gentleness, patience and allowance for mistakes.

In fact, it’s pretty much impossible.

All our righteous acts are like filthy rags… (Is. 64:6)

It’s impossible by our own strength because we are weak. We either muster up humble-arrogance, which looks a whole lot like pious Christianity, or brute force, which ruins relationships.  Either way, the result is not from God and it’s quite ugly.

…For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil. 2:3

God works in us and God wills us to act out his good purpose. God moves then we move forward in love.

Yet, I often live backwards-grace. This is where I muster up good within myself and force it on the world. It usually ends up looking a whole lot like manipulation rather than ministry. Yuck.

Backwards-grace is fruitless. It leaves Christians dejected, demoralized and discouraged. It flat-out doesn’t work. What does work is getting with Savior. Seeking his heart. Letting him mend yours. Allowing him to grow you. Returning again to the wealth of his truth. Letting his grace cover your failings. And then, from the place of heart-change, allowing that very shift, within you, to work kindness, patience and humility into the world.

If you let God into your heart, you’ll find he changes it.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Ps. 51:10

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What’s Blocking you from Christ?

Blocking you

The boy stood there. Between him and the time of his life – was glass.

blocking you

To move on to new adventure, he had to let go of reservations and fears and find a way around what stopped him. He had to submit to Father’s way, so he could find his way. 

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Often we get stopped. All the same, we peer out, uncertain about how to proceed, how to claim joy. We see the barrier – our fears, rejections and worries.

God doesn’t see barriers. God sees perfectly. He sees us. He sees our way. It’s crystal clear.

What is holding you back? Stop, and really consider this. It could make all the difference to your life.

Are you proceeding with the God
who removes barriers?

Or are you proceeding straight into a glass window
that gets you nowhere?

Here’s a quick test to tell…

Do you think:

  1. With God, all things are possible. He will do what he will do, but no matter what he will get me through.OR
  2. I’ve got to make a way or I’ll be left and standing here watching my dream take-off. I’ll be forgotten and worried and never to be loved.

We need add nothing to the perfect work of God.

Have you been adding stuff?
Stress? Anxiety? Plans? Opinions? A controlling spirit? Doubt?

 I consider myself a know-it-all on this subject matter, for good reason, I bang my head on the window of my own self-preservation, self-seeking and self-righteousness all the time. But, here’s the kicker – when I do, when I actually turn around to find him –  He is there. And, I find joy.

Mercy abounding, he waits. Love untainted, he restores his daughter. Grace unfolding, I access new hope.

He gives me a one-way ticket to new adventure and calling in Him, when I finally “re-turn.”

Do you feel too far gone – to get back?

Let me remind you of something important: the perfect Savior saves the imperfect people. This is the bottom line of the gospel.  That’s me! That’s you!

Even more, the perfect savior empowers imperfect people. Imagine that!

That’s me! That’s you!

All that is required is, us, simple folk, like lost prodigal children, just “re-turn.”  No shame about this friends, every disciple had to do it.

Will you?

God breaks the glass standing between us
and Him when we let him.

The weary get rest.
The tired get blessed.
Anxieties are less.
There is clarity to see.

Where we believe we could never go, God takes us. It isn’t by our efforts, for there was no way we could climb over the issues ourselves, but – with God – he can do it.

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