Purposeful Faith

Category - failure

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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Is Your Faith Falling?

I hung this up in my house. It represented Fall and a call to believe God. I liked it.
faith falling
Until the door got shut too hard. Belief fell.
faith falling
Doors get shut, faith falls. Ever noticed? Opportunities dissolve – it appears God won’t solve anything. People hurt – it feels God doesn’t care. Sicknesses, emotions and accidents happen – all of a sudden, you can’t figure out what happened to God and you’ve gotta do things on your own.

The door that slammed into you broke God’s goodness.

Has this happened to you?
Maybe it is hard to see, feel or walk by the great things God has planned for you?

To walk, by faith, is to walk by God’s sight, in his full might.

 

To walk, not by faith, is to walk with no might, relying on your demise in sight.
When we walk aimlessly between these two, we walk crippled. We blindly stumble over Jesus’ victory – we fall into victimhood. We lay there looking around and all of a sudden the clear paths God set before us – the words of encouragement, the praise or the worship we wanted to sing – rings hallow. Then, we get angry at God.
I’ve been fighting to keep my heart above ground.
I want to keep that cross of belief hung high, even when the assaults of the world feel like low blows. And, I’ve been assaulted alright. People I trusted, didn’t come through for me. The hope I had, now appears unpromising. My health, is on round 3 of colds. My mind has been fighting and fighting and fighting. That cross, has fallen, friends, it has fallen.
But, I am picking it back up. Like Jesus did. He never let it stay on the ground…
I am putting it back upon my shoulders and looking ahead to the prize that awaits at the end of faithful days.

Will you pick it back up again?

Don’t let it sit there, on the ground. Doors don’t define you, Jesus does. Pick up the cross of faith and carry on, even if every step feels like you are going to fall, be laughed at or injured. Keep going. Hold on to the vision of hope, the belief that God is working out goodness and the knowledge he is helping you.

Don’t let shame hold you back again, either. You doubted for a moment. So what? That was then, this is now. God shuts the door on all revenge, anger and retribution when you ask for forgiveness.
Rush over to the cross, see new faith and hang it high again. Let his love rush in.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (Ro. 8:35)
Nothing. No discouragement, despair, demotivation, denial, depression, dejection, darkness or defiance can keep you from his love.
 
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Ro. 8:36)
The victor is risen.
The fight is won.
Our destiny is secure.
No trip, trial or trap will stop it.
We keep our eyes set on destination.
Carry that cross on.
And believe by faith,
in the greatness God has in store for you.
KNOW and speak within yourself: “Nothing can ever separate (me) from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate (me) from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate (me) from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro. 8:38-39)

Together, we walk – united. Christ as the anchor to the faith upon which we stand.  In him, there is no trial or tribulation that can knock us to the floor.

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When Mistakes Get You Down

Mistakes Get You Down

I am delighted to welcome Dr. Stacy Haynes from Gloucester County Community Church to this Women’s Ministry Monday guest post series. Her words bring life and encouragement to my heart.

Post by: Dr. Stacy Haynes

Sometimes as a wife and a mother, I reflect too much on the mistakes I have made in my past. I think about the days when maybe I am not as nice as I should be to my husband or I respond to my children in a short tone.

There are moments that I feel guilty about, as a mother and wife.  Then God reminds me of many examples of women in the Bible and the past mistakes they had made in their walk with the Lord.

We can easily think of Eve, why the first woman in the Bible who made a pretty huge mistake because of sin and temptation.  And yet she goes on to be the mother of all living things and raises her children to love and worship the Lord.

One woman stands out to me, as her past created her future.  Rahab the harlot as the Bible calls her was not aware how two spies would change her past and bless her future.

Joshua 2 tells us the story of how Rahab hid the spies, made them promise to save her and her family and she vowed to profess her faith.

  • She believed in God despite her circumstances.

Rahab- whose first part of her name Ra- the name of an eyptian God, was a pagan. She was not a believer and yet she is proclaiming here her faith to these spies.

Rahab was not concerned about her past and what things look like.  Sure she was not worthy to house these spies- but she believed.

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

I remind myself that circumstances sometimes are not the best and behavior may not always be Christlike in the moment, but God has chosen me to be a mother and a wife in this season for His glory.

  •  She trusted in the promises of God.

The Bible has a Hall of Faithers list if you will and Rahab is listed in the Bible Hall of Faith in Hebrews- with folks like Abraham, Moses, Joseph, and David.

Hebrews 11:31  By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

A prostitute was spared, and did not die with those who were disobedient.

God can forgive my past and give me a future.  God is not sitting up in Heaven, counting our mistakes as mothers. He asks us to trust Him, to confess our faith and ask for forgiveness when we sin.

  • She brought others to salvation.

One thing I love about Rahab – she immediately became a disciple and brought others to the Lord.  And yet God saved her and her family.  All because of Rahab.

A woman who decided her past would not determine her destiny.
A woman who decided her life was worth giving up for God.
A woman who will always be remembered in the family lineage of Jesus Christ himself.
A woman who made mistakes, and lived to tell about it.

As the story goes, one of those spies, Salmon- decided he loved Rahab and married her.  She became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth from whose son, Obed, Jesse the father of David came.

Salmon was a prince of the house of Judah, and thus Rahab, the prostitute became a princess.

You see in those moments when I doubt my imperfections, my mistakes as a mom and a wife I am reminded of how good God’s grace and mercy is.  I am reminded that God loves us, He created us and He has forgiven us.

I am reminded of the lessons that can be learned when we go through trials and the patience that God is building in my character with each new experience.

Jesus healed a man demon possessed in Mark 5. And when the man wanted to travel with Jesus, Jesus replied, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19)

You see I am able to share my faith through my mistakes with others. My life is not a story of perfection, it is a story of Great God whose grace and forgiveness allows me to serve Him each and every day.

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About Dr. Haynes

mistakes

STACY HAYNES, Ed. D, LPC, ACS, is the Chief Executive Officer of Little Hands Family Services, LLC. located at the Washington Professional Campus in Turnersville, New Jersey. Stacy is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and an experienced therapist, teacher, and counselor with over fifteen years in the mental health field.

Dr. Stacy Haynes is a specialist in the treatment of behavioral and emotional disturbance of children, adults and families. Stacy uses evidenced based practices in working with children and families to help strengthen children and families. Stacy has lectured on topics including ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Effective Classroom Management Skills, Anger Management and Conduct Disorders and is also an Adjunct Professor teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Child Psychology, Intro to Counseling, Abnormal Psychology and other Human Services courses.

Dr. Haynes received her Bachelors Degree from Liberty University, her Masters Degree from Bowie State University and her Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Counseling Psychology and a specialization in Clinical Supervision and Teaching in Higher Education from Argosy University. Dr. Stacy Haynes is a clinically licensed professional counselor in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.17

Dealing with Super Annoying People

Annoying Friends

Some people live like sandpaper under the skin. Ever noticed? They keep on rubbing and rubbing against you until your inflamed and sore. Usually, I try to smile and keep  good cheer, but of late, I’ve secretly wanted to knock these people down. I’ve wanted to peg ’em like little clown heads at a carnival. Boom! The ball bangs ’em and their taunting faces fall.

“Bahaha!” I’d laugh with an evil, cackling tone. “I’ll knock you all down…”

First I’d hit clown #1: This high-flying lady is consumed with sharing all her bragadocious mommy wins. All. The. Time. She tosses them out like Louis Vuitton bags, like showy diamonds or personal victories of her amazingness. My kid? He is reading already. My strategy? They go straight down to bed. My success? All my friends are asking me how I do it. (I bet they are, lady!)

I’m convinced, she wants me to:

  1. Worship at her feet.
  2. Wildy applause her grand strategies.
  3. Hail her as reigning queen.
    I just want to peg her.

Then I’d hit clown #2: The I-am-right-all-the-time and can do no wrong person.

This person speaks and is 100% right. There’s no changing views. No talking about other options. No going a different path. This person speaks, you best listen.

There’s nothing else to say. He’s like a splinter, digging deeper every time he talks.

What would happen if I hurt him as much as he hurt me?

Clown #3: This girl she is your best friend until someone better comes along, then she trashes you like old milk. You feel sour. Apparently, she’s far more concerned about looking good, getting in with the right people and moving to a different social stratosphere. Underneath your I’m-as-cool-as-a-cucumber persona, you want to sling cuss words, but you’re Christian, so you don’t. Instead, you think, “She is selfish and self-seeking. Hmph!”

You think about pegging her too.

What person is an irritant, so abrasive,
you want to push them down?

Is this person pushing Jesus right out of you?

Well, perhaps, the trick’s on us!!!  All along, we thought they were the clowns, the ones hiding behind a facade, but what if it was actually us? Let’s take a look:

Let’s consider, Clown #1:

My makeup-face: If I admit it, I am a bit jealous of this super-momma. I also may not act exactly the same as her, but I long to be seen.

Her truth: She likely feels insecure and unsure about what she is doing. She likely needs the praise of fellow-woman to feel good about herself. Or, she needs constant fuel to keep sustaining herself. She needs a good word to keep going. I can relate to that a little.

Clown #2:

My makeup-face: I am not patient. I want to be acknowledged, valued and loved (kind of reminds me of clown #1). I want to be heard.

His truth: He is excited to share. He wants to be valued. He wants to be seen as wise. He is looking to connect not hurt me.

Clown #3:

My make-up face: Sometimes I hope people will help me.

Her truth: She’s been abandoned by people in her past and is looking to be accepted today. Her heart needs love, unconditional love.

What I use to knock others down,
really only knocks me down.

What I hate in others, usually is found
somewhere in the trenches – of me.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye
and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Mt. 7:3

3 Clowns. 3 Irritants. 3 Shadows of Myself.
3 people I run from.

Why?

Because I hate their little blown-up balloons of whatever – comparison, pride, people pleasing. It feels good to blame them for bad form, rather than seeing my own form pop and burst before me. Yet, when I really look, really consider, I am just as flawed, just as broken, just as needy – and I can’t shape a darn elephant or a dog if my life depended on it.

Humility.

Aren’t we all just trying to get past the past? Aren’t we all just trying to fill the gaps of pain that existed? Aren’t we all in need of love, a helping hand and a person who understands that we aren’t perfect – but, still, stays with us?

In so many ways, when I love them, I am loving me.
In so many ways, when I show kindness to them, I am welcoming Jesus’ kindness to my own heart.
In so many ways, when I give them grace, I am learning what grace really is.

5 Ways to Build up People, Instead of Knocking them Over (GRACE):

Get to the heart of the matter. Ask, “How is their heart feeling?”
Respect the idea that our hard roads give us all hard edges.
Accept that you can’t change them, but you can change how you react to them.
Come to the Lord. Ask him for how to best approach them with love.
Evaluate your own heart to see where your sin might reside.

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Don’t Get Lost

I am delighted to welcome Donna Sisler to Women’s Ministry Monday. Her words speak directly to my heart today!

I’m not sure why, but years ago I started saying “don’t get lost” as my loved ones walked out the door. After the usual goodbye sayings—you know, “have a good day,” “I love you,” etc.—the last words to my kids were “don’t get lost.”

If they were going somewhere with the possibility of them getting lost, it made sense. But then, at other times, it really didn’t make sense, like when they were heading to bed.

My kids have heard this phrase throughout their lives and they aren’t surprised when they hear it. However, my husband of fifteen years hasn’t quite figured it out. Why would I say “don’t get lost” when he’s heading to the local grocery store or off to work? He goes to these places quite frequently and he knows the way to all of them.

I would like to say that I began using this phrase to remind my kids and family of what was expected of them. Of what our family valued. Of who they were in Jesus. But to be honest, I don’t recall determining one day to say “don’t get lost” for these purposes. In the beginning, it was a way to make my kids smile as they walked out the door.

However, through the years, “don’t get lost” began to take on these deeper meanings. They became words that my children expected to hear and I would hope have grown to cherish as adults.

“Don’t get lost” was and still is Jesus’ message. We are so easily distracted in our spiritual lives. When we find ourselves in these situations, Jesus is there to remind us not to get lost. He reminds us how to get back on track. By following His way, listening to His truth and being filled with His abundant life.

In John 13, Jesus’ disciples seemed to be losing their way. They wanted to follow Jesus to the death, but Jesus knew they would get lost. Jesus offered words of encouragement to His beloved group of followers in the beginning of John 14 and then Thomas asked this question that perhaps you’ve expressed.

“Lord, we don’t know where you are going,
so how can we know the way?”
 (John 14:5 – NIV)

Have you been so lost that you didn’t know how to get “unlost?”

I know I have. And even when I knew the way, when I knew how to get myself “unlost,” I just wasn’t sure that I would be able to find my way or that I would be accepted once I returned.

It’s during these moments when Jesus’ words from John 14:6 (NIV) are exactly what we need to hear. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is the way to get “unlost.” He is the way to the Father. He is the way to truth and life. Jesus is the Way.

I heard a long time ago that if you’re ever lost it’s best to stay put and let rescuers come to you. It’s the same with Jesus. If you’re lost and know you can’t do any more on your own, stop. Wait for Jesus to come and rescue you. Walk alongside Him in His truth. Jesus will help you get “unlost.”

Let’s make today a great day for Jesus and remember, don’t get lost!

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About Donna Sisler

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-11-59-43-amDonna Sisler is a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She lives in the beautiful state of Colorado where she finds great inspiration for her novels and devotional writings.

Donna is passionate about helping women find their way to Jesus through Bible study, teaching, speaking, inspirational writing and creative Bible journaling.

Donna is the Niwot Women’s Ministry Director at Rocky Mountain Christian Church, where their mission is to equip, inspire and empower women in their pursuit of Jesus.

Want to read more from Donna? You can follow her through her blog atwww.fullmeasureofjoy.com.

Love In Training

Love In Training

By: Christy Mobley

Today while driving home from a meeting I had a revelation. I’m living on the training grounds for love.

You’ve heard what praying for patience gets you, well I want to explain where praying to love takes you. However, before I got to this place of truth I first had to pass through a few painful phases…

Maybe you’ll be able to relate.

I know it’s hard to believe but not everyone loves/likes me. I’m pretty sure I know a few people who don’t (and some of them may be relations)!

There was a time not so many years ago, if someone said something to me off-putting, unkind or otherwise just plain mean, I would pick up the phone and call my mom or one or two, okay maybe three of my “true” friends (who would side with me) and I’d dice, slice and dissect the cruel words ten different ways until I was worn slap out and tearless. I suppose this kind of talk could be interpreted as gossiping… about myself. And it never truly made me feel better.

This was my phase one.

Finally after exhausting my friends and when I couldn’t solve the mystery of the perpe-“traitor’s” meanness, I might take it to God and dump on Him asking Him to make certain necessary changes in said mean person.

This was my phase two.

Phase three went something like this…

As I grew in my relationship with the Lord, talking to Him (praying) and listening, I started recognizing how He was working in my life. I came to trust Him, really trust Him. That’s when I started taking my hurts to Him first—a big move for me. When I’d be tempted to pick up the phone I’d feel the Spirit nudge me to stop.

I finally did.

This graduated me to the phase three.

As I started aspiring to be more like Jesus, my desire grew to be obedient to His Word in every way, which meant I needed to love like He loves.

A tall order.

I began to pray a specific prayer for each difficult person I came across. A prayer I still pray today and It goes something like this.

Dear Lord, help me to see ______ the way you see them so that I may love them the way you love them.

This phase lasted many years. I thought I was making real progress but I had to go a step further. I needed to recognize my part in the equation. And God waited until I was ready to hear it.

Phase 4…

I came to a place where I would pray to see the hard people the way God saw them and pray to love them the way God loved them but I didn’t want to have to deal with them.

My thoughts would be, away with you hurtful person. I want nothing to do with you. I can pray for you and love you from afar but you can’t hurt me if you can’t get close.

It was after a painful rejection, while I was having this conversation in my head, I heard God say, what makes you any different from them? Do you not treat me at times the same way they treat you?

It was honest, it was convicting and in God’s infinite wisdom, the right time for me to hear and accept this truth.

And the Truth changed my perspective and brought me the next phase and the training ground for love.
Here my eyes can see, these hard people in my life are not part of the problem, they actually provide the solution.

They are the training grounds for love.

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.”1 Corinthians 1:7

It’s easy is to love those who love us, share with us, give to us? On the other hand, it feels almost contrary to reason, foolish even, to love those who snub us, hate us, ridicule us, whose mouths drip with sarcasm aimed at us.

And yes, if I keep my eyes focused upward on Jesus, I can see these hard people the way He sees them; the way He sees me—a hurting soul in a broken world.

Today I can say it’s an honor to come to this place. The battle ground where I lay my life down for a better one. On the training grounds for love.

What ground are you standing on right now?

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Purposeful Faith Contributor

Christy is a girly girl who chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub.

She’s also a wife, mother, mother-in-law, soon to be grandma, speaker and mentor. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road.

You can find Christy at Joying in the Journey,  christymobley.com, Twitter, and Facebook

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When You Long to Do Something Bad

Beauty In Imperfection

I was in the store. I looked left and I looked right. I winked at my co-conspirator. I knew what I was going to do was wrong. Real wrong. But, I wanted to follow through. I wanted the thrill, the goods and the joy of her knowing I could do this. I grabbed the shirt and ducked in the dressing room.

Guilt followed me.

Is there something you’re doing behind the curtain?

Is there something you know you shouldn’t do,
but feel inclined to do anyway?

What is done in secret is still seen by God.

Ouch! That hurts right?  The reality is, we don’t want to stop. We want to keep going because the idea of approaching it the right way feels too difficult, emotional or vulnerable. It is hard to stop what you already have going, what you’ve already invested in. Stopping sin, sometimes feels like stopping a freight train going 100 miles an hour with your bare hand.

Just this morning, I wanted to approach something the easy way. There was a clear-cut solution to a difficult problem. I saw a direct path; it was wrong. I convinced myself it wasn’t really wrong. I counted up the ways, it could be right. I negotiated with my holy side – God can make a little allowance for this one.

God didn’t agree. He gave no peace.

“Just this once, God?”

When I try to grant permission to the wrong way,
I miss seeing God’s way –
 finding the reward at the end of the path called, “faith.”

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Heb. 11:6

Faith is believing in God so much, you do the right thing. It is deciding it is hard, but determining he will take care of you. It is believing that even without the thrill, he’ll thrill your heart. It is believing, even if you have to do it the long way, he’ll give shortcuts. It is believing, pain in the making is all about the new God is creating.

You can go the right way because God’s way always treats you right.

Provider will provide.
Lover will love.
Helper will help.
Guider will guide.
Creator will create opportunities.
Healer will heal.

When you open yourself up to God’s will pushing from behind you,
his new life-giving way opens up before you.

Will you believe by faith so you don’t walk fretting bad decisions?

Certainly, the result of one who walks by faith is being near to God. But, the lengths of God’s blessings don’t stop there, friends, he goes beyond this. He says he “rewards” the person who seeks him.

When you walk in obedience, by faith, he rewards in abundance – that very faith.

Imagine that?!  What you want, will be greater, if by faith, you let him give it to you.

Fear not.
Strive not.
Lust not.
Drink not.
Compare not.
Want not.
Steal not.
Lie not.
Worry not.

God has the best gift waiting for you.

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean…”  (Heb 10:22)

Let nothing come between you and the giver and sustainer of life. He has what you need. He is what you need. So,drop all that holds you back and walk towards him, unhindered, into all that he is ready to give you.

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Related Reading:

Sometimes, Failing Precedes Blessings

How to Really Fight Back using the Sword of the Spirit

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When You’re Self-Critical and Feel Unhealable

Self-Critical

Do you hate yourself when you yell – again?
Do you want to flick your wrist when you eat those brownies you should’ve dumped a week ago?
Do you call yourself an idiot for forgetting that appointment?
Do you believe you’ll never get better, live better or act better?

Freedom can feel far.
Hope can feel lost.
Deliverance can taste like an extra-large pizza,
when you are one who berates yourself in your head.

Half my life, I’ve looked at my mistakes and asked, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I say something dumb. “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I bump someone’s bumper with my bumper, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I miss an opportunity, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”

No wonder, one of my big fears is of being stupid. I’ve been speaking that fear into my heart for a long, long time.

What have you been speaking into your heart? Does it look – and hit – hard, like a hammer to the head or does it look and feel soft – like grace?

If you’re a heavy self-hitter, like me, listen up, because this is important: You no longer have to be hard on yourself, because the world was already hard on Jesus.

Let it really sink in. It hit him hard – and he took it.

Have you considered the weight of that? You don’t have to beat yourself up because, Jesus, the bodyguard of all bodyguards, took all your hits. He got hit so hard his flesh broke wide open.

So, while you sit and stare at your injuries, thinking, “They’ll never heal,” God says, “If I conquered the cross, surely I can conquer what plagues your heart today.”

Your brokenness is of no magnitude
that the maker of heaven and earth can’t fix it.

When you whisper, “Please God, help me, help me, help me. God, I can’t. God…God…God…”

God hears and nearly whispers, “Jesus”.

Because if you see this man on the cross,
if you see the fullness of his gift,
if you see the King,
nearly riding to death on a donkey,
in this place of poverty and powerlessness,
if you just see him,
you’ll see how he hung –
arms wide open,
for you,
the weak, wounded and restless one.

You’ll see mercy,
care
and foreknowledge,
pour out.

You’ll see his heart
to save –
both for today and yesterday.

When we see, Jesus, the man who won our freedom,
we really begin to trust his life can  save us.

He didn’t died for us yesterday,
only to give a half-hoot about us today.

When Jesus spread his arms on the cross, he welcomed our pain. He welcomed the addicts, the rapists, the depressives, the adulterers, the anxiety-prone, the controllers, the abusers, the abused and the proud. He basically says, “See me, I am reaching out to hug you, to embrace you – to receive the worst of you. Don’t forget what I’ve done. Let yourself be saved from your plague.

With this idea friends, knowing his heart, I want to be saved afresh. There is an area so wounded in me, I keep on trying to layer dirt over it. I keep trying to wrestle it down in my own mind. I keep wanting to tell it to go hide out in Timbuktu. It never does. It tapes itself to me. It labels me.

Well, today friends, today…today, I say, Jesus, you are my only way. I am willing to travel through the hurt to find your help. I am willing to get honest with you, so I can get healed by you. I am willing to give it a shot, knowing that you surpass my slip ups.

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Pet. 2:16)

Hurt one, are you ready to live free? What’s holding you back?

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3

Related Reading:

10 Reasons to Stop Being Hard on Yourself

When Forgiving Yourself is Hard (Linkup)

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Shine!

Shine

Today I am excited to welcome Kim Breuninger from Twin Lakes Church to Women’s Ministry Monday. Kim’s words speak encouragement and liberation in who has God has created us to be. They encourage me. 

“What’s your ‘shiny’ name going to be Kim?”

“Umm…I don’t know.”

As part of a playful team of women planning a retreat with the theme ‘SHINE’, I struggled to come up with a funny, creative and ‘shiny’ name to equal theirs.  My newly named friends, Crystal, Jewel and Tiara teased and laughed with each other as they worked, eagerly anticipating the weekend ahead of us.  While I, the more administrative task-oriented type, could only come up with some neatly organized spreadsheets and the question, “Lord, why can’t I be more like them?”

Eventually, the team brought a nametag to me. They had chosen a shiny name for me! Pearl. Pearl? I thought of Minnie Pearl, a TV comedian from the 1960’s, dressed in a frumpy dress and a straw hat with a price tag hanging off it yelling, “HOW-DEE-E-E-E!”  I was a little disappointed with my new identity, but wanting to fit in, I did my best to act like part of the team and cheerfully ‘shine’ with the others.

On the second night of our retreat the guest speaker taught from Matt. 13:45 (NIV), “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” She went on to make the point that most precious jewels are found in the earth, but the pearl is found inside a living creature, setting it apart from the others as the only living gem.

I felt ashamed. God’s Word had finely divided the joint and marrow of my thoughts (Heb. 4:12 NIV). I heard him say “Kim, I searched for you, I chose you and I bought you at a great price. I created you in my own image, made you unique from anyone else and gave you a special blessing, a gift, all so that just as you are, you might be a blessing to others.  I love YOU.” His words struck my core. He’s done all this, and yet what do I do? I neglect my true calling trying to be like everyone else instead of the jewel God created me to be.

I’ve kept my nametag from that retreat for over twenty years. It reminds me that although I may feel inadequate, my unique traits and gifts are just what God is looking for. It’s my personal love note from my redeemer and King.

In Christ we’re called to “shine like stars in the universe” (Php. 2:15 NIV), but the process of transformation, turning from a life dulled by sin and doubt, begins with the choice to place our trust in him, the Light of the world. Transformation requires our thoughtful involvement. Just as a pearl begins as an insignificant grain of sand and is refined by constant irritation, so we become set apart from all others, a radiant testimony of who we’re created to be, as we learn to live in faith and God’s truth.

Are you experiencing the blessing of who God has created you to be?

Do you believe he’s shown you his great favor,
so that you can be a blessing to others just as you are, wherever you are?

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a young girl from a dusty unknown town.
Paul was imprisoned, chained to armed guards.
Timothy was considered too young for the job.

Each of them chose to look beyond their circumstances, to God’s Word.

They trusted his purposes, not popular opinion,
and became a blessing to others, to us, even to this day.

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About Kim

kim_breuningerKim Breuninger has lovingly served the women at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos, Ca. for the last 24 years. Her desire to encourage women through life’s challenging seasons, and the healing many of us seek, has also taken her to Zambia, Africa where she’s spent many years teaching and encouraging pastor’s wives.

Kim is wife to her handsome husband, and Koinonia Conference Grounds Director, Dave Breuninger. Together they’ve raised their blended family of 5 children, all married with 6 grandchildren, (so far! J ).

When You Lose It (And Hate Yourself for it)

Lose It

Yesterday, I pegged a bottle of sparkling water at my shopping cart. I lost it. After battling the running-of-the-bulls (aka. mothers at Target) pushing to grab glue, paper and alcohol (aka. hand sanitizer), I lost it. After standing in a 7-person deep line, making it to the front, only to be informed the lane was close, I lost it. After seeing said-cashier, roam around aimlessly with nothing to do, I lost it. After dealing with two toddlers who were sleep and food-deprived screaming gymnasts in my cart, I lost it. After contrapting them safe into their car seats, only to find a security device still wrapped around my sons newly-purchased USB headphones, I lost it. After opening the trunk and being pegged by bags and bottles of water that wouldn’t stop rolling down the parking lot.  I. REALLY. Lost. It.

I. Threw. Things.
I tried to ruin a cart with canned water.

Today, it happened again. The moving truck said he’ll be late – by 2 days. 48 hours of whoops-we-scheduled-you-wrong. How does that happen?

I banged my head. I caught a cold. I blasted people. Was it their fault? It didn’t matter.

I was at my wits end. Wits end is the place where you are convinced your life could end if you continue on this warpath.

Here:
1.) Everyone is enemy.
2.) Peace is as lost as your once-rational mind.
3.) Anguish, anger and annoyance beat up inanimate and intimate object alike.

After you act bad enough, you say,
“Why am I losing it? I’m supposed to be Christian,
not a woman of demolition!”

Shame settles.

There were about 10 instigators that got me to this point. People who knew the wrong word to speak, arguments that bubbled, fears that seemed as prevalent as Zika mosquitos. I hadn’t been bitten, but was already dying.

I wonder what Jesus thinks of me when I lose it?

I know God says be slow to anger. Ja. 1:19
I know God says anger lands in the laps of fools. Ec. 7:9
I know God says to rid yourself of anger. Col. 3:8

But, I also know, Jesus didn’t die to demand absolute-perfection,
but to cover ever-abounding weakness (with his perfection). 

In Jesus’ time, there were perfect-looking ones.

Take a look at how Jesus talked to these types: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. Mt. 23:27

I suppose, what is comforting is – even in the heat of my 100-mile an hour, metal pitch – I didn’t look like a “whitewashed tomb” beautiful on the outside. Rather, I looked different: Ugly on the outside, wanting to be alive and clean on the inside.

While we judge ourselves on outward actions,
God is far more concerned about inner intentions.

Sometimes, better is a purely wrecked heart before God,
than a white-washed tomb before man.

Sometimes, better is a crazed woman rapidly-approaching God,
than one hiding behind doilies, daisies or drugs.

Sometimes, better is an unleashed moment,
if it brings long-needed cathartic repentance before the King.

Let me tell you, Jesus can handle your worst moment, tantrum, fight or foible.

It is not too much for him.
He won’t disown you.
He won’t back out.

We think that Jesus can’t handle us, yet he handled the most deadly carcinogen, called sin, on the cross. He handled whips on his side. He handled insults and spit, vile and vitriol. He handled all that.

Can’t Jesus handle a LaCroix Passion Fruit flavored
can hurled at a red cart?
I think he can.

He can handle Kelly-unleashed, untamed and unruly. He can handle you too.

I guess, looking back, rather than throwing bullets at plastic, I could have thrown my head right onto the steering wheel, shut down the cries a seat behind me – and just cried too. I could have called out. I could have pleaded to feel His love. I could have let Him know – I feel crazy. I could have breathed deep. I could have given myself an encouraging word, a word that says, “This is hard Kelly. There is a lot going on. Extend yourself the patience and grace that God would.” I could have heard the voice of Jesus.

Today, though, I look back and remind myself, God doesn’t tally up the ways I defect from His Christian fan club. He doesn’t cast me to the long-line in order to reach His throne. He doesn’t demote me. He doesn’t despise me.

His plans are to uprise me.

More and more, I am seeing, I must come undone, so I can be redone in Christ’s image. When I get beyond my mind, I find his.

Sometimes, it takes losing it to find Him. Surely, it is not the best path to God, but sometimes, it is the path that makes you realize – that control you thought you owned? Well, you never even purchased to begin with. He did, when he died on the cross.  With this, you find yourself on your knees, in a low stance, that almost always raises you high – directly into new hope.

Something works, even when you feel everything about you doesn’t.

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