Purposeful Faith

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Just A Work-In-Progress (Linkup)

A Work-In-Progress

Sometimes I think I act like a fake Christian.

I come on this blog and talk the talk, but then at home, I drop the ball.

I raise my hands to pray, only to turn and go the opposite way.

I say in Jesus’ name, and seconds later, wonder if my name still counts in his book.

I love other people, until it gets inconvenient.

These actions make me feel like an inadequate daughter, a lazy child and a no-good-worthy christian. They make me wonder if Jesus could really love a girl like this?

A girl who is so often just a Christian poser.

While I know Jesus extends me grace (which I gladly receive – in abundance), I still wonder – what rules – the flesh or the Spirit? 

I say, “your will be done,” and then say “I don’t know when He will show up.”
I utter, “you have this God,” only to start to worry.
I seek his face, only to come face to face with the fact that he may not be happy with me.

I have looked at God in all the wrong way, because he is not:
a “convenient” Sovereign god.
a “genie-in-a-bottle” god.
a “call-in-case-of-emergency” god. 
a “I-see-you-from-afar” god.
or a “I’ll-only-love-you-if-your-good” god.

The truth is, the real truth, the I-have-to-cling-to-it truth is: he is the “I-will-always-be-with-you, the I-will never-leave-you, the you-can’t-do-anything-to-make-me-stop-loving-you GOD.

He is the God who doesn’t see me through the face of my mistakes,
but by through the power of his sacrifice.

It’s as if he simply sees through my inadequacies,
straight into the reflection of his heart.

He fully loves. He doesn’t love when all goes well as I am so prone to do – and so prone to expect him to do – but he loves infinitely, incredibly and unduly.

God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ… Eph. 2:4-5

I am not alive to me. I am dead to me. I am alive to Christ.

In this, he doesn’t call me to be put together, he calls me to be broken apart so that he can do his part. His part is creating me into his work of art.

Today, we walk with a work-in-progress sign on, but tomorrow we won’t need a sign. In heaven, all signs will point to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit – the complete fulfillment of all meaning. Here, God will be faithful to unveil, us, his greatest completed works of art in his perfect glory.

We won’t have to worry about imperfections, inadequacies or incapabilities, because we will be simply in awe of who he made us to be.

God created the earth and that is astounding.  Can you even imagine how astounding we will look as God completes his final strokes? A painting is never completely understood until the very end. It will all become clear.

God is the definition of artistry. We never think of him that way, do we?

All of today, are the small workings of his beauty. Rest, my fellow work-in-progress sign carrier, we will one day be completed.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14

A HUGE PRAISE:

We just fixed the hacking issue this morning!
Comments have been down for the past week,
but please feel free to comment away!!!
God is good!

 

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Is Showy Christianity Leading You Astray?

Showy Christianity

Entertain me.
Delight me.
Distract me.

We are on a constant hunt to find pleasure in all we do.

We are seeking a God that is palatable, tasty and pleasurable. We go to big conferences, with big screens and big pastors.  All is good as long as it points to Christ, right?

This makes me wonder.
It makes me wonder whether the fan-fare would be a delight or a fright to Jesus?

We know it is all about his glory for his story.
We know it is all about his name and not our fame.

But, somehow the famous draw us, the powerful captivate us and the big lights lure us.

Is lowly and humble Jesus found against the big lights of Christianity?

Is he found in the lights of the big show or in the shadow of the big Father?

I can’t help but think that when we demand church be an experience, we miss the experience that is Jesus. We miss the stillness of a moment where it is just us and him. We miss the quiet heart that says, I don’t need all that – I just need you. We miss the convictions of the Holy Spirit at work within us, because we are too focused around us and we can’t hear what he is saying to us.

Entertainment becomes an opiate to hide us from reality.
A crutch to keep our anxious minds in motion.
Novocaine to dull our suffering.

But, perhaps suffering is just what God has set forth for us to feel in the moment, because it will move us towards deeper love and faith.

It’s not the big lights we need to keep our eyes off of ourselves, but simply the light of Christ to shines truth into the hidden places of our aching hearts.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)

But, for us entertainment seekers, silence, quietness and stillness of mind scares us. It’s uncomfortable.

Instead, we become so focused on what others are saying and doing, that we often miss what God wants us to say or do for another. We expect the producers to make the show good enough for us to consume and when we don’t we leave disappointed.

But, did Jesus seek to put on a show to make Christianity glow?

He didn’t seek big followers in order to make new followers.

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?'” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) (John 4:17)

This woman went alone. She went with her thoughts. She went with a simple bucket, most likely. But, what she got was an encounter with Jesus. Jesus, who stepped away from the other disciples, away from the crowds to meet a woman in a simple way, through simple words, that would simply change her heart forever.

Jesus’ approach was simple.

He simply approached man with straightforward truth to let the power of the living Word transform dying hearts.

Jesus knew the Word of the Lord is more than sufficient – and more than capable – to accomplish all it is set forth to accomplish.

He withdrew from the crowds for quiet prayer with his Father. He calls us to do the same – to talk without noise, without pretense and without the show being our idol.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! (Ps. 150:1-2)

Our call is to praise the Lord, to seek his soul, to seek his face.

Perhaps it doesn’t come down to what others do, or what people offer us, or who says what or how many people are at whatever event or the amount of lights, but it comes down to how we enter into church and how we approach the Father.

It comes down to who and what we follow.
It comes down to what we expect, to what we demand and what we seek.

It comes down to: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Mt. 22:37) and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mt. 22:39)

 

It comes down to – it’s all about Him.

 

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Adventuring with Jesus

Adventuring with Jesus

So many times, I become distracted from the greatest love of my life.

I wake up and say my prayers, only to let the craziness of my day draw me away. I tell God, in the morning all is for him, only to let my goals, children and my schedule repel my heart from him. I feel strong in Jesus, only to let my eyes wander. Then I wonder how much he loves me.

How do I get past living like a yo-yo of faithfulness? It’s like one moment I am high and lifted with God and the next I am down in the dumps.

I can’t help but think, but wonder, what if I kept my heart in a place of continual meditation? Then, would my heart keep him where my mouth professes him to be?

Eyes on Jesus
Eyes on his ways
Eyes on his path
Not on others
Not on the waves
Not on the sea
Not on the pain
Not on the people
Not on the plan
But on him

As we see him, we see our way,
his unique road marked out just for us.

A road that does not conform to
industry standards,
society,
pressures,
norms,
circumstances,
perceptions
or opinions.

It simply conforms us to Him, his will, his peace and his love.
It sends us down roads of renewal and life.

The paths we travel are not the paths of others. So when we look at others paths and compare, we slowly move off of the glowing easy road he designed uniquely for us and quickly move onto a rocky road of hard pursuit.

We become discouraged,
rather than encouraged.

We become angry,
rather than holy.

We become frustrated,
rather than captivated,
because what we thought was our lot – was not.

He always had a unique road laid out for us, but we took our eyes off of him – and onto “them”.

But it’s ok. Everything is ok when you know Jesus.

We pick up our heart from the ground,
and seek our way back to the way that always waits,
always stands,
and that is always at work within us.

The Spirit stands ready to more and more  establish us – in Him – Christ Jesus. It stands ready to help us put our best foot forward as we return to the source.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Prov. 16:9

We again place our eyes on him and keep walking towards him,
knowing that when we are in him, we are in his will for us.

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

He will open doors, he will make people listen and he will do all the things that seem impossible.

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Eph. 3:20

There is no where he won’t take us when we are following his ways,
there is no place to wild, no land too incredible, no forest too fantastic,
he travels with us and we are safe.

Our life is his adventure and we are along for the ride.

What unbeaten path are you being called out to? How might God be calling you to continually place your eyes on him?

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Following Jesus to Selflessness

Following Jesus

She talked and talked and talked.
I listened and listened and listened.
While my mouth sat still, hers moved a hundred miles a minute.

Would I ever get a chance to speak?
Will she ever ask me about me?

Some people can really talk about themselves – a lot!

As my mind spinned a web of annoyance, God came to undo it with his Spirit. He nudged me to truth.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Jo. 14:26

Bring to remembrance. When we remember what Jesus has said to us, done for us and given to us, we suddenly remember what is really important.

Things like: so the last will be first, and the first will be last. Mt. 20:16

Remembering centers our soul on the crucified-and-risen one.

The man who never demanded to be fully known.
The man who never took the road of delight, entertainment or self-pursuit.
The man who surrendered his whole life to the will of his Father.
The man who was treated unjustly, unfairly and unbelievably by so many.

But did Jesus ever stop pursuing, reaching and caring?

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. Jo. 6:38

No, he knew who he served.

But, do we know?

Every moment is an opportunity to serve up love
and every pain point is an opportunity to reach beyond ourselves.

What holds us back? Feelings?

Truthfully, Jesus may have felt out of control, used or taken advantage of too.

Yet for Jesus, feelings, control and personal justice were never his greatest cause – love was.

And, it should be my greatest cause too.

Jesus laid down his crown of full control, so he could care for the Father’s greatest creation – us.

Love links arms and drops demands.
Love heals the broken and mends their aches.
Love reaches out when it’s not easy.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Jo. 15:3

As I sat critiquing my friend, God spoke love over self, he whispered: “So what Kelly? Do you follow me? Kelly, go deeper on her behalf.”

I followed. With a gently rebuked and softened heart, and said, “Wow, you have been going through so much. I can only imagine how you feel.”

This sentence opened the floodgates to reveal deep pain, hurt and trials.  She needed this moment. She craved this moment. It was a moment of healing ministry that God had set aside.

I am so glad I listened.

What if I had chosen apathy instead of empathy?
I would have missed this opportunity.

When we choose to follow Jesus, rather than our annoyances, all roads lead back to love.

It doesn’t matter if our mind protests, because Christ’s love can still work if we are just ready to drop our signs of injustice.

We simply set down our preconceived notions, we stop going through the motions and we watch him work.

We may lose all control, but it doesn’t matter because Jesus Christ has all control anyway.  Following him is finding yourself under the control of the only one who really can control all things for good.

I want to reside there.

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Today, I am linking with #LiveFreeThursday, Five Minute Friday (I admit, spent more than 5-minutes. Sorry!) and #DanceWithJesus.

Finding What God Has You To Do

What God has you to do

Lately, I have been running in mode chicken-with-her-head-cut-off.

And, yes, it is as unpretty as it sounds, my friend.

With activities, school, summer planning, the blog, other writing, my husband and everything else to be done, I feel like I am running a marathon of must-do’s.  Surely, I can manage it. Surely things will calm down.

But will they? 

What happens when the onslaught never appears to have an end in sight?

Just a couple days ago, one more HUGE item was loaded onto my already slumped shoulders.

“I don’t have time for this! I can’t do this and everything else!”

Well, that is something that most (smart) non-mighty women say, but it isn’t what I said.  Instead, I said, this is a have-to-do for today.

The only way I could think of removing it’s power was by clearing it out.  It’s like, I felt that by handling it, I could handle my feelings.

So, my eyes focused, my mind raced and my anxiety was set and loaded as I moved forward – all systems go!

And, I did. I accomplished this big action item. I did it.

I did it to meet the words of my husband,  “You know, Kelly, I needed you today. You were so focused on you, you missed me.”
I did it to meet the face of my children, “Mommy, we just wanted to play with you.”
I did it to hear my God whisper, “Kelly, what happened to your connection to me?

Sure I did it, but in the process I blew out all the people I loved.

Sometimes I feel that I have to run to a destination, but the greatest destination is always seeking and caring for the hearts the heart of those I love most.

I don’t want to miss that.

I don’t want to spend my life so set on to-dos that I miss the todays.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Mt. 6:33

The reality is:

It’s not the action items that gets done first, it’s the kingdom of God.
When we go after his heart and his purpose, we find true purpose.
When we seek his face, he pours down on us abundant grace.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Mt 11:28-30

The great answer to the list of work that never ends is not doing more, it is resting and praying more.

It is laying down to see up.
It is seeing up, to see what he pours down.
It is the decision to accept a moment of his peace.

Because aren’t we either rushing or resting?
And, if we are rushing how can we accept his rest?

His rest doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t get everything done,
but it does mean we will find a safe refuge and clear direction about how to go.

Who doesn’t need more of that?

It is as simple as saying, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” Ruth 1:16
Then we start to believe, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13

Not the things that I want to do, but the things that he wants me to do.
Not the ways I think I should approach it, but the way he does.
Not with fear as my driver, but with Jesus as my chauffeur.

When I rest in God, I begin to see I don’t have to do it all to know he can take care of it all.

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#CompelTip – Avoid tired and typical writing. Use the 5 F’s to beat boredom!

Understanding Heals

Understanding Heals

He didn’t want to get out and all I wanted to do was climb back in, cover my head and ponder how one can be so completely incapable of handling a bad situation.

But, instead of retreating into myself, I grabbed his legs and pulled. I pulled with all my might and – like a rubber band – his body extended in and out of the car – over and over again.  This cat-and-mouse game seemed to be the workout that would never end. It continued to the point where his pants were nearly coming off.

Annoyance melted away and in its place was a big smile and a spirit of fun.

Sometimes, when life gives you the worst, you just gotta return it back your best.
Sometimes, when things get hard, changing your approach changes your feelings.
Sometimes, when you don’t know what to do, you don’t have to.

You just do what will keep your head on, your heart in and love pouring out.

I was kind of proud of myself in this moment for not letting that 3-year old defeat me. Yet, as I turned around one stood ready to bring me back to that place of defeat.

I met man. He stood staring, eyes laser focused right on me. Right on my antics. Uh-oh.

I realized, he had been waiting right. next. to. me. Waiting for what must have been a very long time. I was blocking his door.

All I could muster was “Oh, I am so sorry. Have you been here long?”

He answered, “You know, I have been where you are. Just know, I completely understand.” 

Meeting his words was like meeting a doctor filled with compassion.
His understanding quenched my thirst for acceptance.
His tone let me know that I was not alone.

The simple words “I understand” changed the game.

And, this really gets me to thinking. So many times, we think we are alone, we think we can’t walk, we think we need to retreat in our cars, we think we are the only person screaming out amidst thousands. We think we can’t handle things.

We think no one gets our situation.

But one does. One always understands.
One looks and says, “You know, I have been there. I understand.”

When life breaks down, this one says, “I understand.”
When feelings pound over you like a boxer in a ring, he says, “I understand.”
When you have to go somewhere you don’t want to go, he says, “I understand.”
When people don’t do what you want them to do, he says, “I understand.”
When (fill in the blank), he says, “I understand.”

This one is Jesus.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Heb. 4:15

As we see that God understands, he:

changes our hurting hearts to hopeful ones.
no longer seems far away, but near in today.
confirms to your spirit that if he got through, you can too.
doesn’t appear to point at your inadequacy, but he simply points out love.

In every case, at all times Jesus understands. He is well acquainted with pain and suffering. He doesn’t look to beat you down, but he understands to build you up. He doesn’t look to condemn, but to conform your heart to his as he configures your emotions to his truth.

Freedom and grace are packaged in the understanding
that God understands.

Freedom and grace are packaged though people who show others they understand.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Cor. 8:9

 

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Linking with  #LiveFreeThursday, #DancewithJesus and Five Minute Friday.

Find God’s Grace in the Midst of Disgrace

Find God's Grace

Ever felt like you were so close to God, only to somehow fall off-course?
To somehow lose your in-step walk with the one who gives all peace, joy and love?

It’s easy to wonder how you got to this place. How you somehow diverted your path from his.

These thoughts plague me. I wonder, how can I avoid this next time, because
a judgement,
a critique,
a frustration,
an irritation,
an aggravation,
anger,
jealousy,
a circumstance,
a catastrophe,
my selfishness,
so often land me in a land miles away from my greatest love.

Like lost child, I lose my maker. ​It’s not that I don’t want to be with him, but something pulls me off-course: another grabs my attention, an emotion makes me run the other way or a circumstance takes hold. Before I know it, there I stand there – a missing child in a massive world trying to make my way back to my maker.

My once in-step, turned-in, reliant heart on Christ
becomes an out-of-step, out-of-focus, reliant heart on my problems.  

I can see what’s around me, but I can’t see him.
I can see people, problems and the past, but I have blocked out his light.
I can see my feelings light as day, but I still feel buried deep in a distant hole.
Unchecked emotions have covered my heart.

And, one thing I am sure of is this: one covered with the unchecked emotions of shame, guilt and regret, can’t be shining the light of Christ’s resurrection, power and love.

One loaded under the weight of unrepented issues, can’t be radiating love and light through the earth.

So, I wonder, which do I have –
a heart covered by the weight of guilt
or a heart uncovered by the flashlight of Christ’s grace?

What God uncovers he uses for his glory. And what is hidden – is just that – hidden.

Hidden things stay covered.
Stay distanced.
Stay embarrassed.

Yet, God calls us “the salt of the earth.” Mt. 5:13

How can people taste salt if they can’t see it?

Instead of being salt-hiders,
we have another option, we can be salt-makers with God.

Do you see it?

Salt is produced by enduring pain, hardships and trials with Christ. As we move into deep intimacy with God, we move into knowledge of how to season other’s hearts. We start to flavor the world with the great testimony of his revealed power in our lives.

Salt is a God’s cleansing agent, and we are it’s salespeople. Let’s represent his holiness well.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

Let’s shine bright to display his light!

We have a light that cannot be contained.

A city set on a hill.
It goes far and wide.
As a beacon of love.
That no one can miss.
That makes opponents flee.
That keeps your heart in safe places.
That endures until we come into his glorious light.

Don’t forget: You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

It’s a beacon of love, a calling to all to come and know him. 

Shine! Don’t remove your hand from his, don’t be pulled away from your Father, don’t get lost in the masses, don’t fall down in a pit, just keep revealing your heart to the light-shiner to let your life be transformed with the power of his always-exposed love.

He will never let you down, he will always chase after you the second you are lost. He loves you so much. He has chose you as his own. He is ready to shine so much goodness out of you, if only you will run your problems straight to his great flashlight of grace.

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Overcome Doubt With Faith

Overcome Doubt With Faith

You won’t be able to do that.
No one does that.
It doesn’t happen that way.

Despite my sure belief and confidence in what God had been working – uncertainty crept in.
Was this person right? Was it impossible? Was I wrong to believe?

Waves of doubt filled my heart. With force, they came to topple down my focus on God, my desire to follow and his great purpose for me. They rippled wider than my head and pushed straight into my anxious heart, with thoughts like:

I am on my own, God has left me! What do I do now?
Why did God give only to take away? I better figure a way to fix this myself.
Should I just take flight and run another way? I can’t do this after all.
Why did I believe? It seems now, I was never cared for to begin with.

Swelling up, under all of these fear-ridden thoughts, was a deep undercurrent that I wasn’t capable, valuable or lovable enough to get good from God.

Yet, as I thought of all that God has done for me, He brought me to on of the most valuable questions that we can ever ask ourselves: Who do I trust? The power of God or the power of man?

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. Ps. 118:18

Trust means I fully accept
the promises, the assurances, the life,
the resurrection and security of Jesus Christ. 

It means I don’t see all I can’t do, it means I just see all he DID do.
It means I don’t see others words, I solely see his words guiding my way.
It means I don’t see an overwhelming future, I just see overwhelming past proof of his love for me.

The tide of God’s love is pulling me into the deep waters of Jesus. It brings me back to the place of trust.

I want to rush into his waters, only to come out drenched with his love and purpose.

3 Ways to Pull Yourself Back Into The Current of Faith

1. Seek to See God and His Surrounding Faithfulness.

I have the opportunity to see God. Truly! I can see his invisible qualities, his eternal power an his divine nature. It is all laid out before me in the creation that surrounds me. The more I look into nature the more I find his peace-giving presence. 

The sun proves his consistency.
The thunder proves his power.
The mountains prove his steadfastness towards me.
The sky prove his all-encompassing presence every day.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Ro. 1:20

2. Dive into the Safe-Dwelling Waters of Jesus.  

Like David, as we seek God, dwell on God and pursue his holiness, we start to lay our eyes on the heart of God. The world, voices and messages start to fall away and we start to build a sanctuary of love in our heart. This sanctuary is a temple of God that many are drawn to – it shines God’s glory.

Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD.” 1 Chron. 22:19

3. God brands us with his promises. His promises are marked on us, they never leave our side – and we believe it.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit… Eph. 1:13

As believers, we are sealed in the Lord’s love for us. We are packaged so tightly with his purpose, his seal can never be broken. We are sealed inside of all he has already promised us. Now, we walk believing it.

God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? (Numbers 23:19)

We are held tightly by the power of:

– a hand that holds ours
– a Father that sees
– abundant forgiveness
– unending mercy
– unrelenting love
– unbelievable grace
– a help in a time of trouble
– eternal life

Trust is built – and kept – as we remember our Creator, his holiness and our sealed status in him. Truth and life already available.  Assurance of our faith already exists. The question is – will we choose to believe and seize it? Will we choose to trust God or to trust man?

Because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever. 2 John 1:2

We can overcome doubt with faith in all of God’s abundant promises.

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More Than Enough

More than enough

Do you remember when you bought your first home?
Probably, no matter the price, you put a large bulk of your saved money into the down payment.

That’s how it worked for us.

With no extra money to buy furniture, I felt like it wasn’t just the echoes of empty rooms that were resounded in my heart, but the echoes of not having enough.

I can’t have people over, when the first thing they see is that room!
I can’t even enjoy this house, until we can actually sit down!
No one is walking through that front door, until things change around here!

But, God – he had different plans. His different plans, are always the best plans, for my not-so-well-laid plans.

He had plans to take my “not enough” and exchange it for “more than good enough.” He always seems to do that when we are looking, seeking and praying after his will, doesn’t he?

You see, the word “insufficient” doesn’t reside in Jesus’ vocabulary,

because he entirely defines the word sufficient.

If we have Jesus, we have the all-encompassing sufficient answer to every one of life’s problems. It can just be very hard to see in the whirlwind of pain.  He understands this and, in many cases, gently brings us right into his fold, when we are ready.

In my case, he exchanged my empty room and empty heart for something far greater,
way more hectic and a billion times more exciting.

My empty room, covered with the wallpaper of “not enough”, became “more than enough” as the paper busted at the seams, exposing joy, peace and glory.  We found our nightly ritual – a family worship session on the best dance floor in town – our living room.

We went in that room to dance and sing with all our hearts. We had more than enough!
We ran around with smiles wide and kids raised up. We had more than enough!
We saw our toddlers joy as they ran circles around us.  We had more than enough!
We opened our hearts and eyes to see our great high and lifted God. We had more than enough!

When we look for Jesus, no matter our situation –
whether a small one like mine or a bigger one like death –
we find him.

He is the door to our “more.”
He is the access to our joy.
He is the way to life.
He is the answer of peace.
He is the hope in all.

In my situation, I had much to be thankful for, but still, I was not content. I saw the door that I didn’t want visitors to enter, but what I didn’t realize was that my focus was on the wrong door.

I should have been looking at Jesus as the door.

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

Jesus is always the access point to greater things.

If you have walked through Jesus’ door of salvation, you are saved.
Not just saved for eternity’s joys, but saved to enjoy Christ’s present ones in today.
Are you seeking them?

If you have walked through Jesus’ door, you are gaining access to your calling and mission.
Are you using your gifts, talents and finances for his glory?

If you walk through Jesus’ door, you will find pasture.
Your Father wants to bring you much joy, peace and purpose in life.
Are you relying on him?

If we have chosen to walk through his door, Christ has presented us with eternal riches, his present day glory, focused missions, fulfilling callings, joy-filled songs, enduring character and his ever-present help in a time of trouble.

We no longer live in empty rooms of despair, discouragement and doubt, but our rooms become filled with the love and presence of Jesus Christ.

When we look for him, we realize we have – and always had – more than enough!

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Tim. 6:6-8)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Our great shepherd is leading us into his great, powerful and calm-of-heart pastures.
Will we follow him?

We already have “more than enough.”

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Today I am delighted to join #LiveFreeThursday, Five Minute Friday and #DanceWithJesus.

Uncover Your Light So You May Shine Bright

Uncover Your Light

Oftentimes, all seems well in my Christian life until one small thing happens to completely knock me down.

It could be an unexpected bill.
An unexpected argument.
An unexpected tantrum.
An unexpected suspecting mole.
An unexpected heartache.
An unexpected injury.

But, no matter what kind of unexpected thing comes to tackle me, it usually takes my eyes right off the ball – right off of Jesus.

As one unexpected issue heads at me straight on, another issue comes to pound me, and then another. It’s like everything is set to force me to the floor. All of life’s opponents are after me. 

In this moment, I wonder,
How can I keep my eyes on Christ
when all I can think about is preserving my life? 

Because all I can only see the weight of the issue from this vantage point; I have no sight beyond that.  I can only see the weight of things on top of me; the things that are loaded one after another, like a big pile of worry. They keep me from seeing the light. They make me feel like I am suffocating.

They avert my eyes from the light of Christ’s glory and grace. They make me want to run – but their heaviness reminds me – I’m stuck.

How do I release myself from the powerful force of these issues?

Because, one thing I know, one covered, can’t be shining.

One loaded under the weight of issues,
can’t be radiating love and light through the earth.

Either I am uncovered by the grace of Jesus
or I am covered by the weight of worry and fear.

This truth calls me to rise above my momentary troubles. It calls me higher than defeat; it calls me to fly high to grace. To fly high above the problems that plague me to see the beauty that I hold.

Not a ball, but Jesus Christ.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Ro. 8:11

Life is always available through Jesus Christ.

If my life is set to his playbook and I seek to run into the world with his light,
doesn’t he call me to more than defensive living?

Doesn’t he call me out to live offensively?
In the light? With his power? Understanding his grace?

I am being called to lay down my fears so that the love of Christ can shine into my dark places and the world’s dark spaces.

You are the salt of the earth. Mt. 5:13

Then, and only then, will I be able to shine the light he gives me.

I won’t be able to contain it.
I will shine it into the hearts that come against.
Into the situations that seek to tumble me.

It will shine as a beacon of his love, calling all to know and love him.
It’s light will cast away my issues, and illuminate the issues of those around me.
It will light the steps towards love, verses the step towards fear.

The light of Christ makes the difference. It guides us in the way we should go. We no longer have to live defensively, because the light of Christ let’s us move offensively.

The more we think of Jesus, the more we see our issues fade and his light takes over. 

We can stop letting the unexpected things throw us down, and instead, let the unextinguishable light of Christ propel us forward.

God says:

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
Like a lighthouse set on a hill, the light of his love will not contain us. We will radiate love.

“Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Phil. 2:15
Like stars, our light testifies to the Creator’s majesty. We will draw awe and wonder at the display of his great beauty. The presence of God is displayed through us through light.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 Jo. 1:7
Light = Fellowship, unity and purity. Light draws out love and extinguishes fear.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Dan. 12:9
As wise children, we shine heaven far and wide to brighten the path to Jesus. We reveal the glory of his eternal destination.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
As torch-bearers, we cast his light into the darkest pits of despair. Glory shines in places where there once was no hope.

“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”1 Thes. 5:5
We stay in the day, where we are safe in his ways.  We are children of the light! Our light can never be put out.

Eternal light can never be covered. It will always shine. There is no opponent who can defeat it or unexpected threat who can beat it. We always have hope.

Even more, we serve as the present day light-carriers of Jesus Christ. There is too much at stake, too much important work to do, to allow our lights to get put out. People are desperate for this light. We need this light to thrive and to revive – the world.

Uncover your light, so you may shine bright in Christ.

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