Purposeful Faith

Category - faith

Smile Again: When Someone Hurts You (Linkup)

When Someone Hurts You

I got in a tiff.

This came as a surprise to me. I certainly didn’t mean to go there – to the place where my voice got a little louder and my eyes watered a little greater – only to end pouring out in an avalanche of tears.

Ever been there?
To that place where you hate going?
The one where you regret visiting after all is said and done?

I don’t like that place. It distracts my heart from the day’s duties, it disrupts my sleep and it usually leaves me guilt-ridden for days.

Yet, there I was – feelings busted open. Wide open. Lying on the floor open.

It felt, this person was crippling my authentic heart towards God.

Negating my pure intentions.
Saying I was inadequate.
As if, she was not for me.

I took insult.

And, while forgiveness seemed further than Antarctica yesterday, isn’t it amazing how the gift of time can move our hearts rapidly into God’s light? His light where he brings all truth.

His light exposed my aching and rapidly pulsing heart. Here, I was able to identify a resounding theme – She made me feel ____________ about _____________. 

If God is God – and, I am not…

If God is God – and they are not…

How can another define who I am?

How could they ever define the intentions of my heart?

They can’t. Only God defines me. Only He knows the inner workings of Kelly. Only He knows the deep intentions and the pulse of my life, which no one else is privy to.

So, why did I absorb all her words as if they were greater than His?

Why did I overreact instead of act with love?

When you hold someone accountable for that which Christ has already given you, you wrongly exalt them above your Maker.

Sure, words, instruction and wisdom are vital to a strong Christian walk. We should receive these things. And, indeed, the body of Christ is surely put in place to build up, but one thing is true – people never hold greater authority than the work of God or the Word of God. 

God never gave people make or break status. They don’t have that ability – unless we let them.

Our job is to keep our eyes constantly set on him above, so we can always walk in love.

So doubt doesn’t set in.
So fear doesn’t win.
So, others don’t steal our grin.

Then, God enters in.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Mt. 7:2)

When I think of this friend, I realize I can’t hold her accountable. Likely, she didn’t know how badly I strive to be pure, she didn’t know how much I pray to be used, she didn’t know how much power her words held. She likely didn’t know her words would cripple. How could she?

Her only responsibility is her own heart, before her great God – something I am entirely not responsible for.

But, I am responsible to respond to God. To forgive. To see past. To release. To love. To heal. To build into. To encourage. To see past. To bear under.

God calls me here because forgiveness is often about them,  just as much as it is about me.

We don’t have to approve what happened,
we just have to approve that God is best equipped to handle it.

We don’t have to feel healed,
we just have to trust he will heal us.

We don’t have to fight,
but simply let God fight on our behalf. (Ex. 14:14)

We don’t have to dwell in misery-mode,
God is calling us to ministry-mode.

This is the call of God. The calling of our heart. The calling to lay down arms, in order to pick up an arm to love, to hug and to wrap around the one before us.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

God sees hearts. Only God.

As we seek God, he reveals our hearts to us.  You know what I see when I look deep, deep into my heart? The heart that fought so hard to be right before God? Embarrassingly, I see that nasty word, that mean word, that ugly word  – the one we never want to admit or see – PRIDE.

How many of our arguments are based from this place?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Forgive me Father. I have sought to look good before man. I have sought to win approval from a sister in Christ. Yet, all that matters is your view of me. You know me and you see me. Forgive me for my anger at not being seen by her, because all that matters is  – YOU. Amen.

The Lord changes hearts, with these types of prayer. He replaced my pulsating hot heart with a radiating softened heart of love. When someone hurts you, God will use it as an opportunity to rework you – if only you let him.

Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory. Ro. 15:7

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Dealing With A Scary Future

Scary Future

Just a short while ago, my husband and I were traveling in Texas. We didn’t know the area so well, so when our GPS service broke, we shifted into high-anxiety mode.  We were driving roads that we didn’t know. We had no idea where we were headed, but we most assuredly figured it was all the wrong way.

Have you ever been there? Lost?

In a place of not knowing?

What your future holds?
How God will do it?
Where he will send you?
How he will take you?

The unknown is scary.

It threatens today’s joys with tomorrow’s pain.
It whispers words of fear over faith.
It steals the joy of the moment and replaces it with the stress of questions.

For my family, it wasn’t so much that we thought our life was in danger, but it was that we felt aimless, we felt misdirected and we felt lost.

Underneath the surface worries and anxieties, we felt out of control. We lost our power to handle things, to know, to handle and to plan.

What future seems lost and unknown to you?

A decision?
A living location?
A marriage?
A relationship?
Finances?
Life issues?

God knows.

But, in his all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful way, he decided we shouldn’t.

He hasn’t left us though.
He goes with us.

And, perhaps, what we thought was lost is really found as we turn to God in the midst of uncharted territory.

Because here we get an opportunity to “try on” the glasses of faith. And as we do, our vision sharpens.

Instead of seeing all we can’t grasp, we start seeing the one who grasps everything with perfection – God.
As we see our lack of control, into vision comes the one who controls all our life’s controls.
As we see the maker, we see how he can make all things in our lives work for good.

“I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.” – Amazing Grace 

It’s in the “not knowing” that brings us to our knees in prayer, to lift our hands in honor, to surrender our heart with abandon. Then, we start seeing truth. We start to realize that even when we had sight, we were always lost – without Him.

There is power in admitting you are fully lost without Jesus.

Because then, rather than living lost in the abyss of an unknown future, we can start living lost in the awe of a deeply known Savior.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Ps. 23:4

Imagine:

Through the black darkness of the valley Jesus walks with you saying, “Do not fear.” 

Even though evil seems to lurk around every corner, God rests his hand on your shoulder, saying, “I am the world’s holder.”

As passing shadows, shoot from right to left, Jesus speaks, “These things, too, shall pass, but my love endures forever.”

As death comes in the night, God offers you his rod and his staff.  You know you will find your way, not because you can see, but because you are being led by his always-vision, that sees you through any situation.

The God of comfort is leading, guiding and holding you now – and forevermore.

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. Ps 119.50

We may feel lost, without GPS, but one thing remains true – Jesus will see us through. And, we don’t have to see, in order to believe that God is for us, with us and will never abandon us. No matter what dark roads lurk, we remain secure in Him – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7

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Remember God’s Faithfulness

Post by Katy

The word tumor took my breath away.

Even through two months of watching the little bump on Elijah’s head grow, that word never once invaded my thoughts. But there I stood, with my 5-month old son and a doctor looking at me with those words, It’s a tumor. We’ll have to remove it.

Why do words you never want to hear stick with you for a lifetime?

Two weeks later I handed my son over to the nurse with one last kiss. One last prayer. One last, I love you. Luke and I walked hand in hand down the hall. I stared at the floor choking back tears. Be strong, I whispered in my head. Tears won’t help now.

Those two weeks between the diagnosis and surgery gave us plenty of time to think, to wonder, to ask … Why does he have to go through this? Did we do something wrong?

We prayed like we’ve never prayed before. We begged. We pleaded. Please God heal him. Please God let this be benign. Please protect him. Bring him through this.

Luke and I sat shoulder to shoulder on the couch, every few minutes asking each other, “You okay?” We felt helpless. We begged God for mercy.

 Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

Doctors expected a 4-hour surgery, so when they met us in the waiting room just 2 1/2 hours later it caught us by surprise. Benign. He said the word, benign. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or scream Hallelujah! My son’s going to be okay!!!

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.

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God filled the days following surgery with grace like only He provides. This happy boy never needed pain medicine. He recovered like a champ, and fittingly his name means “spiritual champion.”

I tell you this story because that baby turns 8-years old this month.

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And I believe in the power of remembering God’s blessings.

… Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord: ‘With a strong hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt.'” Exodus 13:9 (NLT)

When God freed the Israelites from Egypt He told them to celebrate their escape every year. God called the annual festival a “visible sign … like a mark branded” on their hands or foreheads.

The same God who led the Israelites out of Egypt called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

Has God freed you or rescued you from something? Answered a prayer? Heard a cry of your heart? Declare His praises!

Today, take a minute and remember. Remember God’s past faithfulness.

It may be something as simple as God giving you a happy baby when all the other kids need baths and you’re running solo. Celebrate it!

Or maybe a tank of gas lasted miles and miles longer than it ever should have. Celebrate it!

Maybe you asked for a last-minute baby sitter and God provided. Celebrate it!

Maybe you’re whole world fell apart and God pieced (or is just starting to piece) it back together with His gentle, patience hand. Celebrate it!

The further we travel from the moment God’s strong hand so intimately connects to our little lives, the easier it becomes to grumble. Complain. Doubt. (See the book of Exodus!)

Choose to remember God’s faithfulness. And let God’s past faithfulness lead you to a future built on His promises.

Will you share something you’re celebrating today? Leave a Comment!

Sincerely,

Katy

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it's safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don't look quite like they did ten years ago, but I've learned along the way dreams do come true ... even if you're not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife's life at www.katymccown.com and I'd love for you to visit me!

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife’s life at www.katymccown.com and I’d love for you to visit me!

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How To Deal When Life Gets Tough

when life gets tough

When Life gets tough

Where can I go when I am tired? Worn? Weary?

Because sometimes in life:
A minute overwhelms.
A day get’s to be too much.
My schedule feels too full.
People get a little forceful.
Bad things happen.
Circumstances throw me off guard.

Just the other day, a troubled heart started to sink me with anxiety. I turned on the TV to find a moment of peace, a second of calm and to possibly hear from God.

Yet, within 2 minutes, my so-called “peace” was interrupted.

My son called out,
“Mommy, be with me. Just be with me. Sit next to me. I need you.”

A monster loomed.

And, although I first approached him with a stern face because my rest was interrupted, God set me face-to-face with something far greater – my son’s reaction.

You see, when the bad things loomed, my son, knew something very powerful:

He knew my presence was greater than the monster.
He knew that nothing could hurt him when I was near.
He new that safety was all about my closeness.

Am I this way with God?

Do I understand the power of calling on Him for covering, closeness and connection?

Do I realize that I can call on him at all times, for all things, in all ways, on all days
and fully know that he will be there?

Do I realize that just his presence is greater than my biggest problem?

When monsters come, do I come against them – with the power of God?

Because he is always ready to sit next to me.
He is always ready to hold me in my struggles.
He is always ready to run to my rescue.
His presence always confirms my safety.

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. Ps. 65:4

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. Ps. 145:18

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Mt. 11:28

God stands ready to impart so much to me as I incline into him: nearness, a knowledge that he is near, rest, blessings, satisfaction, goodness, holiness.

What does it really look like to incline?

I think of “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John. John also deeply loved Jesus.

There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Jo. 13:23

Did you catch that? John was reclining or laying right on Jesus’ chest. What an act of love, humility and surrender. John leaned in…He drew near and drew strength.

When we lean, when we fall, and when we rest our faces on the power of Jesus, we love and we are loved.

Falling in means we know we won’t fall down.

No matter what we are secure in Christ.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Ja. 4:18

God leans into us. Let’s lean in. Let’s lean in when life gets tough, circumstances happen and people hurt. Let’s lean in hard, fast and with an extravagant pursuit of his love.

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From Bad Self-Talk to A Good God (Linkup)

Bad Self Talk

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I think to myself:
You are not doing that right.
You’re coming off as a know-it-all.
Kids don’t love a mom who acts annoyed.
You always drop the ball with your husband.
You are being too selfish.
You are a continual mess-up.
God won’t bless that.

Condemnation. Like rain, it sure can pour down. Yet, somehow I have grown to think it’s an ordinary part of life.  It’s like a fly in the house. Sure, it’s annoying, but I can deal with it. Sometimes, it even becomes familiar. Provided it doesn’t bother too much, we can co-exist.

But I wonder, how much does it hurt me to co-exist with condemnation?

Because when I think of it, I see that self-condemnation left unchecked…
leads to self-loathing and self-loathing left unchecked…
leads to self-inadequacy and self-inadequacy left unchecked leads to…
a fear-filled turned-in spirit that doesn’t turn-out towards God or others in faith.

Condemnation may not injure our current actions, but it sure impacts our future ones. It may not hold us back from dreams, hope and a future in the present, but it’s lasting effects do bite.

And yes, friends, I do know that God says, “There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus,” but sometimes I just don’t consider that in the moment – the moment when the thoughts move in as fast as a freight train.

Mostly,  in that moment, I am just trying to get by, to live the hand of cards dealt – even when they leave me flushed with thoughts of how much I lack, what I can’t do and where I can’t go.

Sure, I hate those cards, but at the same time I am used to them. That doesn’t make them right though.

Yet, as I stare intently at those cards, wanting something more, my eye starts to focus on the King, the King who wears the crown. The King who is high. The King who can change the game.

I remember his love, I see his royalty and I admire his crown.  I see something. I grab hold of something…

I realize the King’s love has already condemned condemnation.

Thinking of it in this way, allows me to grab hold of this truth.

His love is what changed – and changes – the game. And it is what changes my thoughts.

Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Prov. 4:25

If I can keep my eyes fixed on what is love – Jesus – my thoughts will follow him. He will lead my mind in truth. The King will teach me the right way to go.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Lu. 6:45

I know Jesus calls me towards obedience. I can’t help but think of this verse: take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?” 2 Cor. 10:5

I want to be obedient.

Next time, that hand is dealt and that fly buzzes, I am going to ask myself 3 questions:

1. How does Jesus see you in this moment?
2. Is this thought rooted from a place of Christ’s love?
3. Could I imagine Jesus speaking these words to me?

Perhaps, then, I can discard the things that trump his love and grab hold of the ultimate King of hearts. Perhaps then bad hands won’t be a precursor to bad actions. My eyes will be set on the King.  

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Move From Survival to Revival

Survival to Revival

Ever felt like you were just trying to make it through the day?
Just going through life rather than charging through it? 

Perhaps God is calling you to move from survival to revival.

I have been spending many a weekend this way. I run circles around my house chasing small feet. Clean crumbs constantly. Entertain with whatever will keep us all smiling. Mostly, I just try to make it until bedtime.  Many times, it feels like the kids are running me, more than I am running life.

For you, it may not be kids that makes you go into existence mode, but perhaps a job where you just go through the motions, or a marriage where you live together but don’t do life together or a financial state that makes you feel like you are just getting by.

We all have our places of existence. And, as I brought mine before the Lord, I felt him calling me to something different.

I felt him calling me to: CHARGE!

Jesus never called us to be reactive to life; he always spoke about being active.
He spoke about moving in, instead of moving out.
He spoke of going beyond norms and into what’s not normal.
He spoke of seeing trials as running trials for our ultimate victory.
He spoke of going, doing, being – with him.

I can’t help but think he is drawing me out from existence and into his brilliance.

Jesus always gave commands of movement:

– Go, Repent, follow, rejoice, shine, honor, love
– Be honest, turn your cheek, love, help, serve, care for the poor
– Lay your treasure in heaven, don’t judge, pursue eternal things
– Pray, ask, seek, knock, obey, be born again, love God, deny yourself

I can’t help but notice that I don’t see –
“just get by” on the list.

I can’t see just “get through” either.

Jesus is calling us out of the safe zones of routine. Can you think about times that you have done this? I can. I can think about how much my faith was invigorated, how much I felt loved and how significant my purpose was. I felt excited to be taking a risk and eager to pursue my calling.

Charging through the day, means walking by faith into the purpose where he has placed us. It means picking up crumbs with a smile, chasing kids with joy and acting out charades with peace. It means praising him for the circumstances of now. It means going into risky, turbulent areas with the charge of his faithful calling.

What circumstances is he calling you to charge through? Where might you pick up his go-mentality?

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Josh. 1:9

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Acts of Kindness Matter

Acts of Kindness Matter

There is power in the unseen acts of a friend.

Not so long ago, I had been delivered soul-crushing news.
News that gave me a new revelation of the past.
News that made me wonder if I was still good, worthy and valuable.

It made me see myself in a new light. It was I-don’t-know-if-I-can-handle-it type news.

I knew God says, “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:23)

But, did God really have faithfulness stored in this?

It seemed this news, this turmoil, and this trouble now excluded me from His promises.

Attempting to push past feelings, I called out to God with all my heart, saying, “Come Lord. Save me in this situation. Heal me and help me.”

Shockingly, as I drove up my driveway later that morning, something caught my eye. A white as snow gift-wrapped box leaned against my garage door.

I couldn’t find a name, but when I opened it and was awe-struck with its contents. What it contained inside changed my entire perspective.

It was as if the very heart of God was delivered to me in a box. It was as if a giant hug and a note of his faithfulness was sent.

Inside lay a picture frame with the words, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14)

These words were the exact message that I needed; they healed my heart and spoke to the depths of my pain.  I was touched by God, but I was so deeply touched by the love poured out by a friend.

She had been used as an angel of God that day.
She never sought recognition or acclaim.
She had no idea of my pain, but did a nice act all the same.

What she probably doesn’t know is that this act meant all the difference. It changed my vision. 

It wasn’t about her recognition or acclaim. She had no knowledge regarding my issue – but, all the same, she offered a gesture of love. Love that was sacrificial, that took her time, that used her money, but that healed a heart.

I was brought to my knees. I was touched. I felt so loved.

I don’t know who this woman is. I may never know. But, what I do know is that God has special rewards for her in heaven. I also know that she taught me a lesson in friendship that day.

She makes me wonder:

Do I go out of my way to make small acts of love?
Do I give my time and money intentionally?
Do I see the friend who is likely hurting?
Do I shower them with advice or do I love them under the radar?

This friend inspires me to love through the power of God. Because friends are often the messengers of God’s faithfulness. I want to deliver Jesus’ messages.

Small acts of kindness do matter and love does conquers all. Friends are the best vehicles for his love, mercy and grace. They drive his truth home in our hearts.

Small acts of kindness matter; they completely transform lives.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” – C.S. Lewis

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Get Rid of Jealousy (Link-up)

Get Rid of Jealousy Once and For Al

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I could only see the distance God took her.

The places she was set to go.

The open doors she got to walk through;
they same ones that slammed shut in my face. 

The must-have-been joy all on her face
as comments galore flooded her blog.

I could taste the sourness in my mouth
and feel the irritation well up in my heart.

She had everything and I walked away with nothing.

I used to be this kind of girl. The kind of girl that wanted only me to succeed. The kind of girl who couldn’t deal with the success of others. I really hate to say it – because it’s embarrassing to see this always in turmoil, always watching, never happy girl.

Jealous girl. Greedy girl. Needy girl.

I have fought this girl time and time again. I have told her to take a hike. I have told her she is wrong. I have told her she is ungodly.

She normally didn’t care much because she always returned. Despite my best attempts to push her underground, to pretend she didn’t exist – that dang girl kept haunting me.

But, one day, God prompted my heart to make one small change. And, oh my goodness, I just praise him that I listened.

Because this one small step of obedience changed the entire terrain of my heart. It’s as if this one step of obedience invited a landscaper in to level everything. His work left my mouth dropped.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)

When God calls us to untraveled, unlevel places of faith, he brings us there to transverse the most astounding, the most astonishing and the most breathtaking terrain of our lives. Terrain that leaves us charged to go to new places.

We leave knowing it was his work, because in this place, we got to behold his glory, perceive his beauty and witness his loyalty. We leave, perceiving life from a different perspective. Our soul is compelled to go new distances and new places.

It feels like the Israelites as they muster the courage to step into our promised land. We get faithful and then he brings us there.

He did this for me.

He called me to more.

He asked me to leave comparison behind.

To wave goodbye to inadequacy.

And to begin encouraging and uplifting.

As I did this, my dry desert heart began to sink away and an amazing thing replaced it.

The more I encouraged my fellow bloggers through
the #RaRalinkup, the more my heart was replenished.

The more I saw each person’s pain and hardships,
the more my heart softened.

The more I lifted another up,
the more my love grew for them.

The more I felt a heart uplifted,
the more mine was.

The more I saw their love for God,
the more I wanted them to succeed.

Christ’s love was taking over.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 Jo. 4:18)

Each step of love, is a step towards life. Each step of encouragement, is a step towards excitement. Each step of faith is a step towards something greater than me and loftier than my sole vision.

God has opened my eyes up to the power of his body – a body working together in unison.

Rather than rallying against them, we rally together on Twitter and the blogosphere in the name of Christ. There is no fear in love. We are so much more effective as a whole than as a part. I see God accomplishing big Kingdom-work through this group of women.

Together we are powerful.

God pushed me to encourage. Now, I only want the best for these women I once envied. I delight in their successes and mourn at their losses – authentically. I truly want God to take each one of them to his greatest heights. I delight in cheering for them. I want to help them.

What a transformation. Am I always perfect, no, but who is? But, I am 99% changed.

I praise God because he is the great Transformer. He is always ready to lead us to more. The question is – are we listening? I saw how one small prompting could open a floodgate of love and change a heart completely.

So, it inclines my heart to wonder, what other small things is he speaking? Am I missing them?
How is he calling me to greater love?
Because I have learned, when he calls us somewhere it will stagger us.

When we let God in, he truly changes the landscape of our heart. He works and reworks everything that is out of place. When we get rid of jealousy, we see God’s beauty.

A Note to the #RaRalinkup Linkup Team,
My heart beats for what makes your heart beat. Thank you for teaching me true love. God has used you mightily in my life. I am forever grateful. You encourage me more than I could ever begin to encourage you.

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Surrender Gives Freedom

Control

Today, in a rare instance, I am opening up my blog to a guest poster. She is excited to get her book out into the world, “My 30-Day Journey to a Fulfilled Life.” Welcome Ifeoma! More details on her book here.

Post by Ifeoma Ezitonye-Samuel  

The harder I worked, the more pressured and tense I became.

Cracking, under the pressure of doing things my way, I was slipping into disappointment.

The harder I fought, the more difficult the situation became.

I was focusing too much on me.

This New Year was supposed to be about me!
My goals and not anyone else’s! Selfish? Maybe.

If you have ever given up your personal desires you understand my shoes. If you have laid down your time, efforts and sacrificed your space and comfort for others, then you can relate to my thoughts.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (2 John 3:16)

You see, everything was tilted – towards me – and in my mind I had the right to justify my actions. I acted defensively.

Until God reminded me of this scripture:

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (Hebrews 6:10)

So I struggled within me to surrender my selfish intentions.
Saying, Lord, I want “me-time”.  I have been handling everyone’s business.

When am I going to handle mine?

Can I get on with my own business without
receiving your nod of approval?

And God answered.

He showed me that he doesn’t cheat his people.
He will never use you, only to discard you when he is done.
He rewards every labor in the vineyard.

You see, I can’t control what happens in my day
but I can choose to commit my day into His unfailing hands.

Does this mean we don’t set plans?

The truth is: God’s counsel will stand regardless of our plans.

We all want things to go the way we plan, but God’s way of settling issues in our lives may be very different, more profitable and even peaceful than we ever considered.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The moment I start to control, I remember that God is in charge and not me. This gives me the peace required for that situation. I am free from the burden of control.

We experience freedom
when we yield to His counsel for our lives.

Prayer:

Lord, help me to surrender to your will for my life.
Heavenly Father, I enjoy peace and freedom from yielding my life to you in Jesus Name.

Do you ever struggle to yield yourself to God’s agenda for your life?

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Wanting to be More

Wanting to Be More

Have you ever tried to be better than yourself – for God?
Have you ever tried to win him over by your acts of goodness?

I have.

I hate to say it, but I have totally tried to be the good girl, the impressive one. You know, the one who everyone says, “Wow, that girl has it all together.”

Even today, I tried my absolute hardest with my husband. He had told me what he needed and I was going to SO impress him. I was going to show him who’s boss! Who was “on it”!

Except for one thing, I’m not boss – God is.  Sometimes, I need some reminders.

So, even though I stood ready to show off, in the end, all I ended up showing off was a wounded ego.

I fell down. I messed up again.

So often, the fact of the matter is that my best efforts are simply – bad. My best efforts lead me to confront my worst fears as devastation overwhelms me. It’s almost like I was expecting a blockbuster show, but ended up with a meaningless charade. My heart feels empty and my best efforts worthless.

“…and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Is. 64:6)

The prideful do fall. (Prov. 16:8)

Was God teaching the arrogant one who is boss?
Does God look down on me and chide me for who I am?

Does he look and say, “There she goes again, that Kelly, she can’t ever just trust me.”?
“She can’t ever do anything right. Sure, I love her, but really, get it together girl!”

When I immerse Word of God, I see he doesn’t condemn me – and he doesn’t condemn you either.

He sees more than a problem child.
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Eph. 1:5)

He sees more than a weak failure of a person.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… (Ps. 139:14)

He sees higher than our continual mess-ups.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Is. 55:8)

He sees farther than our painful past – straight into a fresh future.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! (Isaiah 43:19)

He offers us abundant power that far transcends our largest limitations.
He offers help and humility that conquers our greatest barriers.
He offers hope that leaves us the opposite of hopeless.

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)

We have extraordinary power – in Christ. He has poured his authority all over us. His power transcends mistakes, the past and circumstances. All through God, all the time, all the days, all weaknesses fade away and all love pours down on us from high.

Will we choose to see it? To embrace it? To live in his power? Or, will we live wishing God had given us something more?