Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

The 5 Components of “Fear of the Lord”?

fear of the lord

A couple of weeks ago, I panicked. After reading some random comments about God on a webpage, I suddenly got the sense I wasn’t good enough for God. I became stressed, thinking, “I needed to be the keeper of my faith.” I thought if I didn’t perform well enough for God, He wouldn’t want me. Or, if I didn’t do enough “make-God-happy” stuff, He wouldn’t bless me. It terrified me, shook me and got me thinking about his truth.

With the space of days, I began to see clearly from the woods.

Here, I noticed:

– God doesn’t speak like an accuser.
– Condemnation is not the sound of His voice.
– Conviction is his method, but truth spoken in love is always his manner.

Understanding these dynamics about God offered me a deep breath. And a baseline for the judgments and critiques coming against me. This was important because I desperately wanted to let in what was from God and let go of what wasn’t. We all want this, don’t we?

But how?

After much searching, I was left with one realization, described in 4-words: fear of the Lord.

I must have a healthy fear of the Lord. Not an unhealthy one.

An unhealthy “Fear of the Lord” thinks:

– God will get me and ruin me if I do bad.
– God has a heavenly taser ready to zap me.
– If I do good, God will be good to me.
– If I act like a bad girl, God will desert me and go on to the next girl.
– Doubt and complacency is okay because it keeps me from sinning and making Him angry.
– Father might take from me and give to the next girl if I keep making mistakes.
– My vulnerability with God opens me up to getting hurt.
– I need to panic and stinkin’ figure things out, ASAP.

Healthy fear of the Lord thinks:

  1. To know God is better than life.
  2. Allowing His Word to become my words restructures my life.
  3. Contesting and detesting sin and its power to hold me back reenables my life.
  4. To hope in the Lord and to believe Him at His Word re-energizes my life.
  5. To trust in Him and to rest under His love renews my life.”The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life to avoid the snares of death.” Prov. 14:27

“He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” Ps. 145:19

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

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Things Are Easier for Her Than Me

It’s funny. On Facebook, I surveyed a lady going through tremendous pain. She’s struggling through extreme turbulence in her marriage, likely difficulties within her family and heart-stopping health issues. Yet, I thought, “She’s tough in the Lord. She’ll make it through the other side. No problem. She’ll come out stronger in the end.”

When I looked at her, I wasn’t worried. I had great confidence she’d make it out fine. God would bring her through. I knew grace covers her.

But then I looked at me. I didn’t feel as sure. I didn’t feel like God would bring me through stronger. Why?

Why am I not as sure for my trials as I am for hers?

The truth is, we often are so inside ourselves, we fail to see the rock solid truth from God’s outside-in perspective. We fail to see Him above us, grace around us and hope working through us. We neglect remembering the cross that erases bad behaviors, bad days and bad errors.

Inside us, it’s easy to forget: It is not us that makes us strong, but Him.

In heated moments, He pours out strength.
In the face of yet another battle with that person, He is our shield.
In the worst of our replies, He is restoring forgiveness.
In our anger, He is soothing consolation.
In our lack of vision, He is 20/20 fiber-optic sight.

We see trials and tremors; He sees triumph secured — on our behalf.

So the truth is, we WILL come out the other side stronger. Period. Exclamation point. By his grace.

Not because we are great, but because He is. Because He is mighty to save, our shield in every battle, our hope in every offense, our love that beats out injury and hope that quells rebellious thoughts.

Jesus is restoration and renewal, always.

His grace gives me hope. It welcomes me to stop trying to fix myself in order to live well, but to let His all-powerful love do the healing. And this feels like freedom…freedom that is my refuge, strength and stronghold of my life. Salvation for eternity, but also for today.

Thank you, Jesus. I am strong and I will come out the other side of all this, stronger.

Other:

You don’t really know 

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

God Loves You!

God, I can’t even trust myself sometimes, how can you trust me?

I see:
my faults
my forgetfulness
my ability to be deceived in the smallest way
my pride that so often fools me.

“God, do you really love me? How much?”

Do you love me when I forget you? Do you love me when I yell at my kids? Do you love me when I go the wrong way? Accidentally hurt you? God, do you really love me?

As if God answered my very prayers back, these questions came to mind…

Kelly, how could you have experienced so much freedom (release of fear, anxiety, worry), aside from my love?
(What freedom has God brought you within the space of his love?)

Kelly, how could I call you and not want you?
(In what ways has God called you to things, only He could?)

Kelly, how could I not love you after sending my son to suffer and die for you, as He did?
(In what ways does Jesus suffering cast new light on God’s love for you?)

Kelly, how could I abandon myself in you?
(How would God abandon his own Spirit within you? Sounds impossible.)

God loves me. He loves you.

Even when life breaks down…or people do…
Even when fears tumult all around…or uncertainties do…
Even when answers to questions do not abound…and problems still exist…

Still. Even then, His love still works.  It pursues. It remains. It saves. It quiets rambunctious hearts. It sings over us. It moves on our behalf.

“The LORD your God is in your midst…
a mighty one who will save
he will rejoice over you with gladness…
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17).”

What we have…the lengths, heights and depths of His love, cannot be stolen, removed or relinquished.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro. 8:37-39).”

 

You, as a daughter, are in God’s love.
You are secure.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

What if I’m not saved, loved, chosen?

not saved,

Thoughts raced in my head, leaving me rattled.

What if God doesn’t forgive me for all the mistakes I made? What if I only believe I’m freed?

What if I am not good enough for him, when all’s said and done?

What if He doesn’t want me, when he comes back. . . and, I’m the last woman standing as he turns away from me. . . what if?”

Has your mind ever calculated the what ifs of faith? The “What ifs of Faith” say I may not be in God’s love. I might be left behind. I might unlovable. I might never have been included in his saving faith.

Many things can trouble us and make us wonder about our relationship with him. Words of another, your past, your sense of not being good enough, your endless faults, or internal criticism that shouts in your mind, your fears. . .

What, in the rare silence and contemplation of your heart, do you hear?

As I took a walk today, questions stirred. I noted the dark rain clouds, the heaviness of the world and the shifting movement of a life passing me by.

One day Jesus will return. One day he will come for me. It may not be far away. 

I walked, wanting Jesus, needing Him – his truth, his faithfulness.

God, will you show me your glory?

No sooner did I pray that I saw it: a rainbow. A promise so clear, as God’s faithfulness peaked through the heaviness of the dark and despairing clouds covering our pain-ridden world.

God is here.
His promises are true.
Faithful He will be.
What He says will come, will come.
He is who He says He is.
He will come in glory.

And I? I’ll be cloaked in his grace. Covered by it. Dancing in it. Freed by it. Owned by it. Released from every burden that wants to convict or distance me from his love. Jesus did not come to judge the world, but to save it. And I am saved, not by my own actions, but by Him. Released. Taken care of entirely.

What freedom!

Freedom exists behind every dark cloud. Freedom is Jesus. His grace waits to bust you out of the heaviness, regrets or bitterness clenching hold of your spirit. It’s all Jesus.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8-9

Yes and amen.

Prayer:

Jesus, we proclaim you as the Promise Keeper, the Lord, the King of Kings over everything. We declare you to be our Lord. We confess our sins to you today. We turn away from them. We want you above all else, and nothing apart from you. We give you our life, our heart, our song and hopes. We ask, in your complete goodness to have your way in our life.  Thank you that you cleanse us, restore us and renew us right now. We are living testimonies of your goodness. Your grace and peace frees us. We overflow with contentment and joy. We receive all this, and your full inheritance and give it room to live in our lives. We praise you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

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Compassion for You

compassionate

Have you ever felt all alone? Like no one understands what you are going through?

I know the feeling. I know what it is to keep things inside because admitting them is hard. I know what it is to feel embarrassment about what’s happening in your mind. I know the hurt that wells up when you’ve tried 100 times to express your heart, but it always gets rejected. I know what it is to feel embarrassed. To keep things in. To stuff problems away. . .

What are you keeping to yourself? How do you feel stuck in your own world? Hungry for someone to deeply understand you?

Yesterday, I read a story I’d read a million and one times in the bible. It was the story where Jesus multiplied seven loaves and a few small fish to feed four thousand. But this time, I saw things, like never before…

1. Jesus said, “they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way (Mt. 15:32).”

I noticed: Jesus cares for the hungry. He DOES NOT want us to collapse.

What are you hungry for? What makes you feel like you might collapse?

2. Jesus, as He surveyed the predicament said, I feel sorry for these people. (Mt. 15:32 KJV)” Or, in another translation, he said, “I have compassion for these people (Mt. 14:32 NIV)”

I noticed: Jesus has compassion for hungry people. He feels for their situation. While Jesus could have let these people go home hungry, He, as the bread of life, was true to character — He fed his children. He was moved by compassion.

Likewise, Jesus cares and has compassion for our struggles.

Where do you need to know that God deeply feels for your situation?

3. “The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”

I noticed: The disciples saw the wilderness nature of where they were — the lack, the nothingness and the impossibility of finding sustenance in this place. Jesus saw things differently. He saw the potential of his abundant provision. Jesus can do all things, at all times, with an all-out rescue, at any moment.

Where do you need to know God can create something out of your wilderness?

Did you know? The people “ate as much as they wanted.” They didn’t leave at first sight of no food. They stuck around.

What might it look like for you to stick around Jesus to see what he could do in your life? What would it look like for you to draw near to a compassionate and loving Jesus, who wants to help you? May you know, you are in the hands of a God, who loves you and sees you and all your inner needs.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious (Ps. 103:8).”

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Give yourself a break

a break

Are you as hard on yourself as I am?

So, last night I met with a bunch of women. With one of them . . .let’s just say I was a little overzealous to connect. My mouth got ahead of my mind and I blurted out some totally weird comment. Later, when saying good-bye, I uttered an I-don’t-know-what-to-say-so-I’ll-complain comment.

“Oh, I’ve got to head-out. I’ve got to wake up at 5:30 AM to be with my kids.”

I rolled my eyes.

Why? I have no idea why. I have no idea why I just released a complainy comment in my awkward absence of words. But, I did. It came out of nowhere. Ever done that?

Well, these little mishaps didn’t end at that get-together. I got in the car and felt all guilty about me. I questioned what kind of Christian I am. I wondered why I can’t do things right. I kept wondering if the women thought less of me or if I seemed odd.

Do you ever question yourself? Constantly?

Jesus doesn’t do this to us. This is not his voice. He doesn’t tail us like we do. He doesn’t chase us at our heels saying, “Why did you do that? You really messed up this time. You really don’t know how to be like me, do you?”

Jesus doesn’t do this. We do.

What if we were to give ourselves a break? Like Paul does when he addresses the early believers and says, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What if we were to say to ourselves, in the heat of our self-hating moments, “Grace and peace to me, right now, from God my Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

And then, we let it in. What hooks might come out of our skin? What new places might our heart move to? What truth may we begin to swim in because we give our mind free reign to consider something other than self-condemnation?

It’s okay to be hungry for grace. Horribly. Desperately. Ravagely hungry for it.

Jesus knew we needed it. It’s why he died on the cross. Because we’ll never be perfect. We’ll never be spot-on. We’ll never be without fault.

We need him and we need grace. What if you gave yourself a break today and received his peace and grace so much that it set your mind free to receive Him?

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

 

Behind the Scenes of “Difficult”

Behind the Scenes

My husband noted, “God has lined everything up just right. It’s almost as if I thought nothing was happening, but God was doing everything.”

We continued to talk. He had no idea, at the time, he was meeting just the right people to help him in his time of need. He had no idea that chance encounters in a Starbucks, random introductions by friends, and shifting situations behind the scenes, would produce SO much. But, at the right time, when all things were laid out just so, everything changed.

While my husband had no idea what God was orchestrating, God was orchestrating it all. He was orchestrating what could not be seen.

God is always working. God’s timing is perfect. His plan is perfection.

Just yesterday, I had planned to go take a walk by the ocean. After I dropped the kids off at school I was going to make the drive. There was only one problem, I remembered I had to run back to the house to tackle something.

Ugh. Now, I can’t go. Frustrated, I headed home. I tackled what I needed to. Then, I met with God.

During that time, with God, some lightbulbs went off. I realized I so often don’t expect God’s great; I expect average or a blah-meeting. While God is a good dad, I expect him to give me a bit and then turn away to do other things.

I decided I wanted to see His goodness. I wanted to know His abundant heart.

After praying, I felt prompted to take that walk with Him at the beach. I am so glad I did. There, orange butterflies came flying in off the ocean. There, dolphins were jumping all around me. There, I established: God is brilliantly beautiful. God is giving. God orchestrates perfect timing.

What if I didn’t make that layover at my house? I probably would have missed the show of his wonder he had planned to set off at just that hour when I was at the beach. I probably would have gotten there hours earlier.

But, God knew. God always knows. He knows what He is lining up for you. He knows what he is doing behind the scenes. He knows the details he is currently working out. . . that will come to fruition at just the right time. You are not lost to Him. You are not outside of His working plan. There is a time for beauty and He is working on it.

“God has made everything beautiful for its own time. (Ecclesiastes. 3:11).”

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Do You Cast Stones at Yourself?

cast stones

May I tell you something vitally important to your faith life?

Jesus is not casting stones at you.

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jo. 8:7

Jesus picks up no rock to sling at your face. Sure, He sees what you do and what you have done. But He grabs nothing to pummel you, like you do to yourself. He does not rip your insides. He does not call you, “Idiot” or “Stupid.” Or say, “Oh, look, she did it again.” He launches no accusatory words at you, like you may do to yourself. Jesus doesn’t hurt his daughters.

He approaches them, arms open, ready to receive them again. And he fights off the violent voices rising against them. He lets not condemnation speak any longer.

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Jo. 8:10

“No one, sir,” she said.

The violent stone throwers were no longer there. Why? Because of Jesus. Because of the voice of simple and authentic love. Love that spoke over condemnation to bring love-filled, sin-shattering consolation.

What if you were to let Jesus’ voice of consolation, rise above the stone-slinging voices of condemnation? What freedom might you seize? What life would you be able to return to?

“Then neither do I condemn you,’” Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” Jo. 8:1

It is easy to leave sin when you’re confronted with authentic, soul-seeing and heart-changing love.

Why not let the one and only Jesus lead you into deeper, life-freeing love? The perfect consoler waits, not with a stone, but with a heart to care for your deep wounds and pain.

Run into his arms today.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

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Is God Far?

God far

I know the feeling. You tell God you want to be with him, but your mind goes left and right as you read the bible. You get in the car and start to pray on your commute only to get caught up in worry about that one thing or another. You try to pay attention in church only to get distracted by the lady’s shoes and matching handbag. You don’t hear a word that is said. You sing. Empty words.

You lose God.

Where did he go? Why is He far?

But IS God far?

“The LORD is near to all who call on him.” Ps. 145:18

God isn’t far. We are.

We are far from our first love. It hurts to admit it. We are distanced by our own days and ways. It is usually hard to see. We are far because some person, problem or predicament swallowed us whole and we are so caught up in it, we can’t peer over its immensity.

God isn’t far. We are.

This may hurt to admit today. How are you far?  Are you far because you feel hurt? Are you far because you feel unloved? Are you far because life is hard? Because problems mount? Because you feel let down? What is it?

Refreshment and relationship waits for you. There is a simple how-to or must-do that God always answers. One way to bring connection that diminishes isolation. Here it is:

“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.” Acts 3:19-20

Repentance = refreshment. God’s presence comes. You get sent out full of the Lord. This is not a one-time thing, but an all the time thing. All the way up to the day the Lord returns. And you find yourself at home with the Creator.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Seeing with Eyes of Empathy

eyes of empathy

While driving today, a motorcyclist cussed out loud at an intersection. Apparently, he didn’t make a right turn fast enough to get ahead of the cars headed his way. Now, he was slaying everyone, including me, with the evil eye as he sat waiting for his turn to go.

Staring at him, I wondered, “What would it take to fix this man’s attitude? To show him or teach him you don’t act like this?”

Many women ask themselves the same thing. “What would it take to change this person’s attitude? How they approach me, how they live, how they talk to me and listen to me. . . ”

They say, “Should I:”
Be someone different for them?
Bark at them until they act better?
Whine under my breath?
Nitpick their small issues?
Snap back?
Be passive aggressive?
Teach them a lesson?

Flesh aims “to fix.” It focuses on faults.
Spirit loves always. It never ceases in prayer.

My inclination at that intersection was to fix the motorcyclist’s problems. What if God called me to something different? What if rather than fixing, I was called to go about empathizing.

Empathizing, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, means:

“The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another…”

Empathy thinks: He is likely having a horrible day. A coffee-spilled-on-you, kids-yelled-at-you, huge-project-at-work, hardly-any-sleep day. I’ve had those days too. I know what it is to feel rushed. I understand what it is to get so annoyed I unleash my mouth like a rabid dog. I can understand how that is.

Empathy acts. It offers eyes of sympathy with a small smile and wave that says, “Please sir, you go ahead. I am making way for you. I love Jesus and I want his love to reach you.”

Empathy sees things from the other side. It loves with all it has. And keeps at it.

“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)

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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