Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

Finding Holiness When You Feel Unholy

Finding Holiness

I went in praying, but I left repenting.

It was supposed to be a time of joy, connectedness and unity, but everything went wrong. My heart didn’t want to align with God. It didn’t want to follow his marching orders, and instead marched to it’s own beat: a beat of I have to figure this out, I have to work to get right with God, I have to be better than myself and I have to stop sinning.

Sure, God does tell us to put off our old self, which is “being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22-24

There is a taking off of the stinky, the putrid and the worn out shirt of self and a putting on of the new, sparkly, purposeful and intentional dress of holiness and righteousness.

Sounds amazing right?

Certainly, I knew what I wanted to wear, but somehow it seemed like that new dress was out of my price range. It was out of my reach. It wasn’t so easy to obtain.

Why try?

My ears became so focused on my bad self-talk, that I couldn’t hear God talk. His small promptings passed right over my shoulder.

I was so so focused on, “I have got to figure out the mess than I am, God” rather than the “Come with me, Kelly, I have something for you.”

We speak words of condemnation,
but God stands ready to hand out words of consolation.

When we get to the end of our self, we get to the start of God – and that is what happened to me.

It’s not just about not sinning – about removing the old stink and putting on the new outfit – but it’s about the renewal of the mind. Only then, can we walk forward in the new.

We renew our mind by:

Bringing it to the altar of transformation, which is prayer.
Immersing it in the irrevocable truth of God’s Word.
Knowing that the one in us is greater than the world around us.
Making it new in the promises of God.
Finding a space with God when we feel like we have no space for him.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Jo. 15:5

I listened.
I stopped.
I prayed.
I asked.
I humbled myself.
I waited.
I listened.
I heard.

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14 
God rests my soul, as I find rest in him.

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Ps. 55:2
As I hand my burdens over, God hands me his hand that holds me upright.

The answer to putting on the shiny dress of new self is giving God the first chance to suffocate the old. Then, we leave clothed in promised robes of righteousness and holiness.

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You Are Welcome Here

Come As You Are by Katie M Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

Have you ever tried on a dress that was just not your style—ill-fitted for the shape God gave you?

I have been “blessed” with a pear shape figure, smaller on top and curvy on bottom; literally.

Straight, fitted dresses are a death sentence for my body type. I need extra material down south to cover the bulk.

Last week I tried to wear a style that was not flattering on me. No, it wasn’t a dress style, it was a writing style. I tried to pull on a style that looked good on others, but it was not a good fit for who God has made me to be.

I was trying to wear something shiny and sleek so that I would gain attention and maximize impact.

But, it didn’t lay nicely and it felt uncomfortable.

I was conflicted. I was trying so hard for it to fit, but it just wouldn’t. It did not complement how I was made, much to my dismay.

But here’s the thing, God made each of us a certain way, completely on purpose.

While we might be irritated with the largeness or smallness of our mold, Our Creator was intentional when He spun us on the Potter’s Wheel.

Come on over for the rest of the story as Katie hosts the #RaRaLinkup over at her place, katiemreid.com, today

Breaking Under Pressure

Breaking Under Pressure

Like a teenager under the overwhelming weight of pressure – I did not choose the right road.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. Gal. 5:19-20

I let my internal pursuit for feelings of acceptance compel my feet right to the place of wanting more for myself.

I wanted to get from God rather than enjoy him.

His blessings, rather than his presence.
Big confirmations, rather than his small dispensations of love.
Doors open and people to push me forward.
Only His best – for my advancement.

I wanted God “my way”.

Super-sized god.

An I-will-do-it-all-for-you god.

A tailor-made god that fit my needs.

But, my teenage tantrum to feel good, ended with the repercussions that always come when we bend in to disobedience. 

I slammed the door to my room and locked myself away from God, scolding myself for doing the wrong thing, in the wrong way. I didn’t want to look at him; I had done so wrong – I acted badly and was deeply afraid to admit it.

Yet, Jesus is the door and he has all access to our rebellious hearts as we say we are sorry. 

He walked in to comfort me with his love and the words, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Phil 2:12-13

Praise you God!

You take us out of us, and give us you – so we know what to do.
As we work to know and fear you, you work to help and heal us.
The presence of the Spirit in us is greater than power of the flesh over us.

The truth is God that I can never work hard enough to remove my flesh; God never gave me that ability – the actual act would hurt far too much. To wrip off my flesh by myself is to live in a constant mode of chastising self-finger wagging.

Only God has the power.

He releases us on the inside so we can act right on the outside.

Then, we “do not use our freedom to indulge the flesh”.  Rather, we “serve one another humbly (not pridefully) in love. Gal. 5:13

Humble love says, “God your face is all I need.
Rather than, “God, pour out what I want.”

Lord, as your Spirit guides,
your faithful servant will obey,
because your ways are greater than mine.
Give me a heart to endure what you did on the cross,
so my life may reflect the magnitude of your love.
Amen.

As we release our life to God, we find it.  He works, and we, like needy children drawing instruction – listen. And, he leads us.

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You, Stop Hurting Me

Stop Hurting Me

How could he do that?
What was he thinking?
What am I doing wrong now?

Everything he did, said and thought seemed to be a judgement about who I was, am and one day will be. His eyes spoke volumes about the magnitude of his disdain for me.

So I shut down. I shut things down faster than a prison cell at lockdown. I packed it all up, made it all tight and kept myself behind the distance of bars. The risk of injury was too high and I had been hurt one too many times to know that you don’t go around prison like a sitting duck waiting for its next attack.

Nope. I got smart.
Not this time.
You can’t get me again.

Yet, as much as I felt I was doing the right thing, I didn’t. The other side of me hated that I was locking it all up, closing it all down, hiding myself away. I didn’t want to be isolated, I wanted to be free. Free of pain, free of the looks of condemnation, free of having to pretend I am someone I am not.

It was like I was at tug-of-war with myself.

God wants me to be open, vulnerable and transparent. Tug.
No. God wants me to protect my pearls and not be injured again. Tug.

I am not being a good Christian by not loving. Tug.
I am better able to love when I don’t feel so hurt. Tug.

He has treated me cruelly. Tug.
I am to die to self as Christ died for me. Tug.

What do you do when “relationship” means
forging into enemy territory feeling alone and open for attack?

Do you take the risk, the barrage of open-fire,
for the dream that you can one day be free?

I did. I headed straight in.

Because God was saying: check your own eye, daughter. Just as much as you think his eyes can’t see you – yours can’t see him. I want restoration for your heart and for his. I want to clean things out for your good.

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

Really God? I want it to be all his issue.

But, the truth is that as I analyzed his wrongs, so I was wrong. 

Isn’t how it so often happens? What we see in another as their main flaw is really the flaw that we carry around – we just try to hide it under an inch of makeup, don’t we?

As I figured it, the only natural place to go after you realize you have wronged is to make right. So I did.

I confessed to him that I judge and can’t seem to hug, that I sneer and can’t be near and that I fail and often feel frail.

I faced the captor knowing that One already had secured the victory on my behalf.

He may have looked bruised, beaten and defeated himself, but he never was – he won my freedom.

In this, I was freed to love.

Who do you need to apologize to?

Might they look like someone who has a mile-long list of wrongs?

Perhaps, you the tiniest power to make things a little more right?

I won’t say that all things are right between me and him, but what I will say, is that we moved a step closer to intimacy, to openness and to healing. The door to my cell is open.  I am starting to take more walks towards him so he can see who I am is not all bad – maybe sometimes good even – and what I am starting to see are the same things about him.

It’s amazing what forgiveness can do when you let it work.

So often, we see the one who really needed healing is – us.

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Linking with Susan B. Mead, Suzie Eller and #FiveMinuteFriday.

 

Killing Fear

Killing Fear

My health haunted, “Kelly, you’re going to waste into something no one will will want to love.”
My past taunted, “You were marked, damaged and used.”
My finances tricked, “You won’t make it!”
My feelings tumbled, “I can’t do this. Things are never going to work out.”

Fear Rising. Debilitating fear. ICU worthy fear.

Have you experienced it?

Fear that leaves you feeling bruised, battered and wondering
where you’re rescue will come from?

Fear that leaves you laying paralyzed, comatose on a cot of uncertainty? 

For me, it creates an underlying feeling that I am either not going to make it or that others will pull the plug on me.

That no one will rescue – and all will abandon.
But, someone will…

Do we see him?

It’s the great physician. And, as bad as your charts may appear or the specialists may indicate, you are not left with a sense of doom. You see, for your fears may destabilize and metastasize, but they can never tranquilize God’s power.

One pretty gal, turned queen, understood this. If she didn’t speak up, her fellow Jews wouldn’t live on. They’d die. And truly if she spoke up to the King, she would die too.

Could Esther follow God’s plan, despite the pending threat ready to kill her?

This woman needed an IV of courage.

And, she got it. Likely Esther noted that:

Fear is almost always the wall to one’s greatest calling. 
Esther’s dream may have been for the jews to live free, but could she step up to the King?

It’s the superhighway that leads the opposite direction of the way, the truth and the light.
Esther could die if she spoke to the king, but could she really step up?

It usually arrives when your comfort and safety levels don’t expect it’s shock. 
Esther was living in the kings court after all.

It throws big obstacles in your path that seem impossible to tackle.
Haman’s wrath on the Jews was palpable.

Did she see the details of her pain, people and problems
are never lost charts in God’s billions of files?

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb. 4:13

Her declaration in response to all of this was, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

She knew her need for critical care – and she sought the right care-takers.

She didn’t lay around considering the ceiling art in her court, she:

1. Embraced the reality of the situation and didn’t halt in stagnation.  
Mordecai told her she could be killed for speaking out, but still, she knew who stood above it all.

Fear can’t grow under the great physician’s light of truth. Perfect love casts out fear after all.

2. She got serious. Most fasts are just absent of food. Yet, Esther asked for no fasting from food or drink. Meaning, she didn’t take her feelings lightly and knew she needed an extraordinary, not an ordinary rescue of her feelings.

How often do you call on the prayer support of the faithful when fear starts to mount?

3. She was decisive. There was no, “I want to wear that shirt, no this shirt, no that one. I can’t decide.” She heard the truth, she got the support, she lifted the prayer and made the decision to act.

How often do you walk confidently after you have sought God confidently – trusting that the feelings may not be there, but your God is?

When we trust God and act like Esther, we don’t need critical care units to bring us back to life, because we become the critical care units to dead. We bring new life, just as she did.

We bring Jesus’s transformation. 

It’s risky.
It’s unfashionable.
It’s sometimes death-worthy.
But, it’s powerful – and we are called to it, just as she was.

We have the same force behind us. We have the same support network available to us today.

Will we reach out to it when we need it?

The truth is – we can’t beat the force of fear, unless we know the force of God. And, if we don’t know and believe in the force of God we will remain IV’d to the poison of fear.

It leeches life.
God teaches life.

It isolates.
God placates.

It threatens to kill.
God sets free.

It puts you in a bed of despair.
God offers a lifeline of hope.

Where will you set your eyes?

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Linking with Holley Gerth and #TellHisStory.

Denying Discouragement

Denying Discouragement

It’s days like these that can really cause havoc…

Days where these kids head to time-out, over and over, despite the repeated talks on love.
Days when work doesn’t work-out.
Days when the marriage just goes off kilter.
Days when friendships irk.
Days when finances continue to dwindle.
Days when God doesn’t immediately show up. Days that can turn into weeks…

It’s days like these when you wonder
why in the world things don’t work better when you are working so hard?

It’s days like these that compel your heart to want to give up, to run and hide.

Why is it that the train-wreck days sometimes
 seem far easier to get over than these kind of slow-gnaw-type-of-days?

At least with the train-wreck days, you can clean up the toys at the end of the day and start over with a clean slate. You can file these days away in the “once-in-a-blue-moon” cabinet knowing they won’t repeat too soon.

But, slow-gnaw days are called faith-busting day. Over time, they cut your faith away.

They make you question your worth, your heart, your value, your plans, and your God.

They make me lay in the bed, look up at the ceiling, and say, “Why do I even try, God. When are you coming through? What do I have to do?”

We tend to think that way, don’t we?

That for some reason, we are responsible to fix the hand of God.

As if our actions are the precursor to his decisions.  

Who owns the hand of God – HIM or me?

Yet, I think of another who had a serious loss of heart. I think of another who had a series slow-gnaw days that could have eaten him alive – if he let them.

Imagine hearing these words: But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  Luke 22:32
And then hearing this: “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Lu. 22:34
Only to do this: “I don’t even know him!” Lu. 22:57

Might Peter thought, “I’d never! That day will never come! I am strong!” Likely.

But he did – 3 times he did. And he wept. Beyond that, I imagine the next days must have been excruciating as he, probably left in discouragement and despair, saw his savior crucified, dead and buried.

What happened to his purpose?

What use was his life, after in Jesus, he practically twisted the knife?

Peter’s actions must have gnawed worthlessness, pain and struggle.

But, Jesus never leaves the failures, the forgotten or the futureless.

Peter’s inability to stick it through in the moment didn’t disqualify him from Jesus’ love, neither did his past actions.

Nope. Remember this? “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”  Luke 22:32
And, it didn’t.

How often do we arm ourself up with faith like Jesus did for Peter? His prayer was answered.

How often do we pray preemptively for war? We are at war.

I can only speak for myself, but with faith like mine,
I should make this prayer my living-mantra.

Because it worked for Peter who:

  • Was bound up in forgiveness and recommissioned by Jesus with the words: “Tend My sheep.”
  • Was filled by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to preach and lead 3000 to Christ.
  • First cried for himself, and later cried with passion for the church built above his foundation.
  • Spread the gospel far and wide with crazy love for his Savior.
  • Completed his life as the rock – to the point of death, not as sand – breaking under the pressure of life.

We think Jesus uses heroes, he often used the ones who felt like zeros.

We think it’s about perfection, but it’s simply about his resurrection.

We think Jesus looks for the perfect, but he always finds the willing.

We try to be faultless, but God grows the repentant faulted.

Peter was never disqualified because he doubted.

His days were never marked as fake and tossed out like bad meat
(we read his lessons time and time again).

He wasn’t left in the dust without a purpose or a cause.

He hit gnawing days, battling days and downright discouraging days, yet Jesus chose him, ate with him, replenished his heart and restored his mission so he could go awesome, outstanding and amazing distances for God’s glory.

He waits to do the same with us; Jesus waits to recharge us into his purpose.

What is really amazing is, after all was said and done, Peter, wasn’t just changed for himself, so he could reach some high-and-lofty goal like sitting at the right hand of God, or going before God, or looking good to man, but he was changed to one who learned to deny self (no matter the cost).

He became chief-tender over Jesus’ greatest love – the sheep, just as Jesus always believed he would.

Jesus said to Peter (pre-denial), “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32

And, Peter did.

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2 #RaRalinkup Updates:
1.  Sign up for the NEW Cheerleaders 4 Christ #RaRa Facebook group page (this is different than the prayer one I set up). We will be rolling out a new element to the #RaRalinkup that I want you to be a part of. Details are forthcoming soon. Join here.

2. RSVP for the #RaRalinkup breakfast at She Speaks. Exciting news, prizes and challenges will be shared at this event.

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10 Encouraging Words For Your Heart

What bloggers

10 Bloggers. 10 Heart-Inspiring Mini-Posts. 10 Reflections I Share On Their Words.

Join me today as I welcome mini-guest posts on my blog. We can’t read everything online, so I hope to provide a quick rundown of some great words being written. Check them out!

1. Jess from Masters Calling says:

Our Savior didn’t hide his scars, he showed them; he shared where He’d been wounded and in sharing – He proclaimed the power of God!

“Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).

Our weaknesses can become the stage, where broken vessels witness the strength and power of God’s Word!

My Reflection: Lord help us not to be afraid of the damage we can see, but to bring it to you.

2. Carolyn Dale Newell from Mountain of Faith says:

Fear freezes us. It keeps us from moving ahead. It stops us from witnessing. Fear paralyzes us when God tells us to serve Him. It mutes us when He says, “Speak!”

I don’t have to know what is ahead.
God knows, and when I walk by faith, that is enough.

Friend, what fears are holding you back today?

Learning to depend on God will be the greatest blessing you can experience.

Through my disability (loss of sight), God gave me abilities.

He enabled me to trust him completely.
He gave me the ability to serve him and to encourage others through writing and speaking.
He has shown His mercy, because four years later, I still have some vision.

My Reflection: Perhaps it’s not so much what we see, but what God wants us to see as we trust our disabilities to him.

3. Sheila from SheilaKimball.com says:

Anytime we flip the switch in our minds and hearts and focus on pleasing God more by pleasing our mate something changes deep inside our heart. It’s like the door called self opens and love and light flow into the place once darkened by negativity or complaining.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

My Reflection: Sheila says switching power is found through clenching God’s Word. This is how we flip the switch. Then we see the truth and we walk differently.

4. Christy Pearce from Faith Like Dirty Diapers says:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

I needed help with my shopping tendencies, so I told my bible study girls to “get in my business.” Something radical had to happen. I gave them a pass to speak truth into my life even if it meant my own embarrassment and humiliation.

P.S. I felt led to sell a purse at a consignment store as an act of obedience. When I went to pick it up, the owner told me that she couldn’t understand why it didn’t sell. 

But I knew. 

God gave that purse back to me, and now I carry it as a reminder of His mercy and grace—with confidence!  Whenever I carry that one, I am careful to share my story of grace with anyone who will listen! 

My Reflection: How can we grab the support of others to finally push through that loitering sin?

5. Lisa Murray from LisaMurray.com says:

When I saw him, all I can say is that what I felt was pure joy.  After 3 years, three months, and two days (of agony-filled waiting), my child who was lost had been found, and that was all that mattered.

Wasn’t that how I came to God?

Wasn’t He the one who was waiting for me,
watching for me in the far-off distance
when I wandered home in my ruinous pain?

Before there was an explanation, a repentance, a hope of restoration, there was that moment when I walked right up to Abba in my brokenness and pitiful rebellion, and we embraced.  I can only imagine that for Him in that moment with me, all that mattered was that His child who was lost had now been found.

I was found — in that moment.  I was home.

My Reflection: How might you be running from God today? How might he receive you if you would only return? I think he would cry tears of joy to see you return in that one small way to him.

6. Ifeoma Samuel with Purposeful and Meaningful says:

I relied on my hard work to get things done.

Maybe you think more work represents more results like did.  

How wrong I was!
I heard him whisper’ “The race is not to the swift”.

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong… Ec. 9:11

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 2 Cor. 3:5

My Reflection: It’s not about how fast we run, it’s about how fast we rely on the one who runs it all.

7. Lois Flowers from LoisFlowers.com says:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. (Deut. 31:8) 

When you pass through waters, I will be with you. (Isaiah 43:2)

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

God is with us.

Whether we pray for Him to be or not. Whether we feel it or not. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we think we deserve it or not.

In good times and in bad, He is with us.

My Reflection: God stands nearer than the fear in your air.

8. Amy Talbott from The Laundry Pile says:

The world may not see my pain, but God does. The duties may not go away, but God will walk beside me and help me to carry the load.

Not only does God see my pain, but He is near to my pain. And he has promised to heal my broken heart.

Can you picture that?

God wants to pick you and me up gently in his arms and hold us tightly and remind us that even when the world is crashing down around us…

He loves us.
He is in control.
He is good.
He has conquered the world!
There is HOPE.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy ­laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28­-30

9.  Sandra from Sandra’s Ark says:

God takes care of us.

If I had not told the kids then (about the cancer):

  • Daniel wouldn’t have known that there was an opportunity to help his mum.
  • I would have felt very lonely sitting on my own waiting in the hospital for the scan and mammogram and then the results.

Who would I have had to be thankful with that it was not cancer?

God planned it all.

He planned that I would tell the kids because He had planned how He would show me His love and care for me through them.

Reflection: People can only help us, when we give them the opportunity too. Letting others move in, means that God gets a chance to work through them.

10. Kim Jones from says Hunt and Host:

God called me away from everyone else’s thoughts and ideas and invited me to spend time in His word. Just the two of us. No other influence or interpretation. No other filters or explanations.

Just him talking to me through the Bible.

Friends, I’m not kidding taking a break from bible study was scary for me. I was afraid of loosing the accountability. Afraid I’d miss the social aspect. Honestly, I  was afraid I wouldn’t understand a thing I read. I’m still somewhat new to this whole bible study thing.

God kept gently calling, asking me to trust Him.

He was right.

My reflection: Sometimes getting away from talking heads, helps you to hear the one who is at head. Sometimes, all we need is his voice.

11. Kristi Woods from KristiWoods.net says:

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Psalm 118:6

Are you facing something new?
Did you hear God call?
Are you questioning whether you heard correctly?

Make a calculated decision in the face of fear, with eternity in focus. Continuing the venture into new territory, I learned about and submitted various stories and articles, often proceeding with knees knocking (Kristi took the risk of facing rejection and walked intentionally even though she was scared).

It was about God, about eternity, not me. Battles in the Old Testament were calculated as well. Think Jericho. They “heard” what to do, then they “did” what God called them to do. The victory wasn’t as quick nor easy as a snap of the fingers. They didn’t eat from fear’s plate. They ate of the Lord’s faithfulness instead. You and I can too.

My reflection: We may not feel safe, but we can move forward with whatever stands before us knowing that we are!

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10 Reasons to Stop Being Hard on Yourself

Hard on Yourself

I should have done better.
Why did I do that?
I am such an idiot.

Ever spoken these words over yourself? I have.

I take all the things I have done and I judge them for my performance, my worth and my value.

As if these things are the summation of all that I am, can do and will be.

As if these things determine my day, my faith walk and my feelings.

I am hard, oh so hard on myself – hit-myself-with-a-2×4 hard sometimes.

But, is this even godly?

Is this even biblical?

The truth is:

1. He already handled them as he poured them all out over Jesus on the cross. (Is. 53:6)

2. He seizes them up and throws them out. (Jo. 1:29)

3. They are taken and covered by his holiness, grace and righteousness. (Ro. 4:7)

4. God moves my sin as far away as my hometown is from Chinatown. (Ps. 103:12)

5. They are lost, not to be found. Pardoned, for those he has saved. (Jer. 50:20)

6. Like a dead body thrown in the water, never to be seen again, God throws our old sins into the depth of the sea. (Mic. 7:19)

7. He remembers no word of them. (Heb. 10:17)

8. He blesses us in the process of removing our sin. (Ro. 4:8)

9. The guilt, the shame, the part that we feel responsible for – he nailed to that cross. (Col. 2:14)

10. He leaves us white, holy, renewed, revived, whole, complete, righteous, pardoned, sanctified and justified in him. (Ps. 51:17)

As the weight of sin moves out the weight of hope can move in.

A weight of hope that shows us:

  • We are holding the hand of the innocent lamb, until the day his kingdom comes.
  • There is a future, a plan and a glory awaiting us
    because we belong the one to whom all our sin belonged.
  • There is nothing that can come against us,
    because the deal is done, the war has been waged and the victory belongs to Jesus Christ.
  • The power of love is as attached to us as an arm-brand marking us as owned.
    Jesus’ love is forever ours.
  • We have still-water peace always available through the power of knowing God,
    not striving for him, but simply knowing.

Jesus died so we didn’t have to.
He sent the Spirit so we could live day-by-day with a new and living hope.
This power is alive and active – in us.

Do we rely on it?

Do we see it?

Or, do we operate by pounds and pounds, weight over weight of shame and guilt?

When we let the power of shame, guilt and discontentment take hold, the power of God is squelched. Yet, when we see God’s power for what it is – powerful – and his sin bashing skills for what they are – working, we live free to walk in the hope, love and grace that is Jesus. 

I think I hear God calling me today, to let go of performance, praise and perfectionism. I pray, that with humble hearts, we all can let go of what we are not, to grab hold of all that Christ is (death that ends our death so that we can have life).  The truth is that he rejoices over us and wants us to believe and activate the power he has already handed over.

“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17

Linking with #DanceWithJesus and #FiveMinuteFriday.

You Are Not Safe

not safe

It’s the thing we are on a constant pursuit of – but can never quite grab.
The thing that promises peace, yet looks miles away.
The carrot we run after but can’t seem to touch.

We dream of being armored up, impenetrable, uncompromised,
so we save up our bank account money,
we get alarms to keep bad people out,
we put up internal walls to keep other bad people out,
we run from love,
we hide from ourself,
we pick up vices,
we seek a way out…

..all to feel safe.

I know that I have done many of these things.
Finding safety in a man.
A hope.
A dream.
Finances.
People.
Compulsive habits.
Controlling pursuits.

Somehow I thought if I could only help God out just a little, maybe he would do the same for me, maybe I could make all things right and maybe I could avoid all the crud that constantly comes after me.

But, my best attempts always prove out my biggest flaw (I hate that): I simply have no control. Like a drug addict, I take another hit – seeking more control to fill the empty hole that shows I have no control.

It’s like I know the truth, but as one chasing the wrong hope, I move from pain to pain.

It seems, the more I seek to play the hand of God,
the more I play into the hand of the devil
(he wrote the book on control-seeking after all).

He has a field day with hearts in right field, the ones looking all around, rather than looking up to see the ball God launched to save the day, to make us cheer and to help us win. 

When we aren’t looking, sometimes God lets us get hit by the ball to learn who really had the ball all along.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8

You see, without God, we will likely be shaken. We will likely feel lost. We will feel like the inside of us is rocking and we have no control over it.

David knew this.

He seemed to know the more he pushed out his shaky feelings to his steady God,
the more his shaky feelings would be unshaken.

David had every reason to feel unsafe, but he leaned on all the reasons God would make him safe.
He spoke it to himself like a man trying to pound belief into himself. And, it worked.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Ps. 4:8

He also knew this verse to be true: My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Ps. 121:1

Perhaps this is why God had declared him: ‘…a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22

How did he do it?
He believed in unstoppable power of God’s lightning ability to save –
and acted accordingly.

Like David, how often do we face the dire with God’s fire?

Words of fire that says:

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:7–8).

Safety is never a feeling.
Safety is never a circumstance.
A result.
A change of heart in another.
A structure that protects you.
A gift in life that makes it all ok.
A physical condition.

All of that can go in a blink of an eye.

It is simply knowing that God is the only structure that will one day bring complete eternal safety – and, until then, he is the only house that keeps guard over your inner shell protecting it from the pain of the outer world.

He can always keep your heart safe. Surely, sometimes he changes circumstances, but, what he always does protect is your heart – if you just let him.

And isn’t that really what we are after – at the core?
Hearts that feel ok?
That know they have the ultimate way?
That can be at rest.

God has you. You are safe in him. He will lead you on the way you should go. He is for you, with you and in you. Be encouraged – you are armored up in his protection, his love and his grace.

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Linking with Suzie Eller.

Are you Ashamed of the Gospel?

Are you Ashamed of the Gospel?

4-years old and on fire for God, who can say that isn’t a great thing?
It’s all find and dandy until your son starts to push the small parameters of your own faith.
Then things start getting sticky.

Just yesterday, although this certainly is not the first time, he ran up to me saying, “See those kids playing over there? I am going to ask them if they know God. Is that ok mommy?”

He loves to do this. He tells them about God. About Jesus. About the bible (like I said, he loves God).

Shouldn’t I be happy?

Yet, my first reaction is often:
Their mom is going to hate me.
My son is going to get hurt one day.
I am going to feel embarrassed.

Part of me wants to protect him from feeling alone and cornered for what he believes.
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Tim. 3:12

Part of me thinks that I must protect his faith and his feelings, like a mother bird guards a nest.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 1 Cor. 16:13

Part of me wants to protect myself from how his words and Christianity make me feel.
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mk. 8:38

But this kid and my “self”, don’t even belong to me,they belong to God,
so how can I let them rule me?

God is the only one in control
and it is his Word and his will that will rule, reign and refine forever.

My efforts are fruitless; his Word is fruitful.

I don’t want my heart boiling with the fire of God
while my actions are cool with the complacency of social correctness.

I don’t think that is cool with God.

So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–
I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev. 3:16

How can God’s Word slice and dice broken hearts
into powerful, new and free creations 

when we tremble over the cutting process?

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mk. 16:15

Perhaps, God is calling us to see the world, much through the same eyes of my 4-year old.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 18:3

Through eyes that see:

A world needing the joy and love that he knows.
Friends who we want to meet in heaven.
People in need of Jesus.

My son doesn’t seem to care too much about the smiles, the cordial greetings or the good gossip spoken over him, but simply the heart that stands before him.

He seems to have not been jaded yet.

Somewhere along the way though, I have.

I have let people’s opinions become as valuable as gold,
while letting God’s standard go beneath the fold.

Have you?

Perhaps instead, we refine our first thoughts to ask, “Do they know Jesus?”

Of course, it may not be the first question we ask, but perhaps now we will recognize it as their first need. Then we can ask ourself, “How might I first speak Jesus into their heart?”

To internalize this question is to verbalize life-defining words that endure the test of time. 

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Linking with Holley Gerth and Jennifer Dukes Lee.

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