Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

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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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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Grace Changes Hearts

Grace Changes Hearts

I did everything all wrong.

And when I mean wrong, I mean – wrong. Really wrong. Horribly wrong.

Wrong where it makes your heart beat out of your chest because you are a good Christian blogger girl and those type of good girls aren’t supposed to act in these types of bad ways – in a mean-girl kind of way, in a self-righteous kind of way.

Whoops.

This person was loaded to the brim with a huge loss and I let their response to my prayer throw me off the my clear running pattern of love.

To add insult to this horrible injury, I also retaliated. I retaliated with vengeance over a mean dispute about – (brace yourself) – prayer.

I can only imaging God’s delight
as I fought so vehemently for his truth, can’t you
(please sense the sarcasm)?

Instead of arguing over theology,
what if I was set on praying for humility?

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Tim. 2:23-24

I let my pride walk like a bully
in front of another’s aching need to vent a pain-ridden heart.

I let her shot take me down,
completely missing the fact that she just needed a straight shot of love.

Her words weren’t ever about me, they were all about her and her dire situation.

Why is it that sometimes in the moment we can’t see?

I can’t help but think, this is why our wise God so often instructs us
to listen more than we talk.

When we can see that others piercing words are really just responses to their own threats, we can act in compassion. 

How can we get angry with those people who are in deep pain, frustration and irritation?

So often people block what they most need, because the severity, the weight and the presence of their issue is suffocating. And, sometimes, coming above water means miles of vulnerability that is frankly too scary to swim through. The distance can seem daunting and shoreline can seem unreachable, so they act in fear.

And, fear is never known for staying contained, it seeps out to reach its gnarly arms around all those it encounters, it hurts those it never intended to. It causes pain.

Yet, when grace meets another’s fear, God’s supernatural placating abilities are activated.

When we:

die to self no matter how the opposing side treats us,
see another’s needs above our own,
remember that we have acted much in the same way,
grab on to the truth that God has placed us in this person’s path for such a time as this,
extend a hand when it looks like the other person might cut it off
and we believe, hope and trust that he will forge truth in the unsaid…
we are operating from grace-power accessed at God’s throne.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16

Christ’s grace is the lifeline to hope.
It’s the split-second that a person has to find the light of Christ through their moment of need.

Not by our rescues, or by our insults, or our control or our power, but through his small words spoken in the silence of need.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Pet. 4:10

Then, the door to safety, truth and fearlessness appear – to us and to them. All are granted an opportunity to see the way, the truth and life of Christ in this moment.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11

Grace changes hearts – including ours.

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Need Rescuing?

Need Rescuing

I remember the times when I didn’t know who I was or where I was going.
I certainly didn’t think I had the power to hold firm, fast and strong in the face of big waves.
My life bounced left, right, up and down and I seemed to move with the winds.

I felt out-of-control and as lost as a shipwrecked vessel looking for it’s next savior.

And, then I found him.
He showed up.
And anchored me.

He set my feet on new paths, through new ways, giving me a new hope.

But, what is so amazing about his anchor that it is not like a traditional anchor. What history proves is that anchors of yesterday are made of solid rock.

And, this makes a whole lot of sense to me, because as one who was pulled from the meaningless sea of nothingness and turmoil and fear and hopelessness, I remember where my security was derived. I remember that rock; I know it well.

It is him. 
The rock who is precious.
Bursting at the seams with hope.
Expanding my view with his power.
Exploding with virtue to continually rescue.
The corner stone.

For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 1 Pet. 2:6

Oh, how once I was disappointed, but now I am not.

This stone gives new strength in the winds of failure, of not being, of not knowing.

This stone, time and time again, gives us a chance to see new places, new people (and old for that matter) from new sight. In our safety we can see their heart wrestling through their own storms, verses solely focusing on ours. It revises our view of the world as we burrow deep down into his safety.

His anchor holds normal anchor power, but at a magnified rate. His rope is always attached, confirming we are taken, owned. This rock can’t leave us. It is always nearby. It sometimes steadies us for a time of enjoyment, of pleasure and other times it steadies us to prepare us for something greater, something bigger – like preparing our heart, fishing for men, or for traveling afar to bring good news.

The solid rock of Christ doesn’t always remove us from the storm,
but it always secures us as we get through it.

The point is – it is hope encapsulated.

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? Ro. 8:24

It sums up the definition of hope; this rock has hit death in the face and knocked down it’s power to fight us back from eternity. Hope is resurrected.

Plus, it is certainly the only way to endure a storm to encounter, not just peaceful, but joyful and celebrating waters.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Heb. 6:19

It can’t be untied from our bow; if we know that rock, he is forever tethered to our soul.
This rock is as present as the reality of the pains that hit us; they can’t take us down.
It secures the deepest places that shake inside of us, so we become steadfast in his will.

The eye of the storm has no power of the rock that holds our lives together.

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Expecting a Dream

Expecting a Dream

What happens when your mind is dead set on expecting a dream?

You visualize the smiling and congratulatory faces as it comes true.
You hear the cheers of acclaim wildly reverberating in your heart.
You can only imagine how things would change, “If…”

You see it – your heart could finally lay down and rejoice, find relaxation and peace, if only…

This is how it works for me.

My dreams seem to hold the power to be the
Creator and Originator of my present anxious feelings. 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Mt. 7:7

Surely, God loves to hear my prayers,
I think he just doesn’t want to have to lay his eyes on my idols.

So often, I have grabbed on to the future’s potential like a kid trying to grab hold of a cloud. I have tried to hug what was never mine to begin with. I have tried to own what was miles away, as if by continuing to see it and reach it and demand it and cry about it and keep my eyes set on it and daydream about it and talk about it- it will never have the chance to fade away.

But, sometimes it does.

It just vaporates. It just disappears.

And then I am left devastated, demolished and simply agitated
at God for abandoning me.

Does the God of peace intend this turbulence of our hearts?

I realize that in the times I expected big bucks, big cheers and big sensational feelings – I missed my big God. I missed the quiet moment of expecting his comfort, his leading and his power as he tried to guide my heart down a different path. I missed the powerful show of his presence in small ache of my heart as I cried out for “more”- because my eyes were set on “my dream.”

How often do we say, “I’m not looking at you God. I want this!”?

Why does it feel that what we claim, should be ours? Front Seat, I called it!

As if when we do enough “knee-time” God sees exactly how dream-worthy we are. Can’t he see I am doing the “hard time?”

I think God made me a dreamer. Not for my glory, but for his. Not for my wild imaginings, but for his outpourings.

My ways lead to foolery. (Prov. 12:15)
My ways seem right and end in death (Prov. 14:12)
I may chart my course, but the Lord owns my footsteps. (Prov. 16:9)

If God owns the way I head, how can I war against him?

Ask not – what are my dreams, ask what are his dreams – for me?

His will will be done, no matter how much I hold “my will” hostage, saying “you’re not going anywhere.” And, even if my will is permitted, in the end my heart will suffer the damage.

God loves us. He loves our dreams. He loves our passion. Even more, he loves our heart.

May the internal knitting of our dreams always be stitched up tight into the fabric of his love, his grace and his power. May the patches of our hope link together solely through the power of his Spirit in us. May our ears be inclined to listen and our eyes be inclined to see – his paths, his heart to love and his example of death when he desired life.

The paths of humility.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Ja. 4:6

Where do you want us to go God? Not our will, but your will (truly, honestly, hopefully) be done. We know, by our own power we will fall straight down and bruise our knee. We can’t get out of ourself, but with you – and your example of Jesus – we can get back up again and walk towards your purposes by your Spirit that removes the old us, from the new us. Amen.

the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Ps. 147:11

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A Powerful Tip to Becoming Doubtless

A Powerful Tip to Becoming Doubtless

I felt down. Sometimes my emotions move with the wind, with the circumstances.

Certainly, I know God says not to be like one tossed to and fro like the doubting waves (Ja. 1:6). I’ve got this. I understand this. But, I still do this.

I don’t want to, but I do.

And then I hate myself for doing it – for being a doubting Thomas, demanding to see God’s purposes for the surrounding injuries.

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Jo. 20:27

You arrogant girl, God doesn’t bless girls like that! He hates that.

Good “Jesus girls” don’t have to witness the details of the wounds to trust there is a better plan. So why do I?

I don’t have to see the holes to know that God put them there for a good reason. Can’t I trust? Can’t I just see that the pain of today is there because God has a plan in tomorrow?

Many times I can. Other times I can’t.

And, when I can’t,  shame becomes the holding cell that distances me from God.

Certainly, grace keeps the jail cell doors wide open, unlocked and unobstructed, but shame holds me in, telling me this is where I belong – contained and convicted. It bars my mentality to a purposeless state. It makes me feel like a life-sentenced prisoner doomed to isolation for my bad behavior as a Christian mess-up. 

Girls who act like that never get out. They can’t be used without faith.

The bars of this cell open and close like clockwork:

1. Emotions of fear lead to…
2. Doubts about God which lead to…
3. Shame about my doubts, which leads to…
4. Distance (due to: embarrassment, worthlessness, anxiety) from God

But, I am tired, dead tired of being trapped in a cell – a cell that doesn’t have to be literal to trap you. I am tired of breathing in the anxiety of God’s wrath and the fear of my worthlessness.

Because the truth is, this cell is dingy, old and full of fear; it’s not helping me much anyway.

I have the bounty of grace right before me, and it’s about time I seize it.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” Lu. 4:18

And I did something different and it worked! I was astonished.

Let me explain:

1. Know your past. Where you were hurt in the past is likely where you will feel damaged in the future. Old dog, same tricks. The devil knows our sore spots and he loves to reopen them.

2. Identify in God’s word the truths that hit your past and current pain points.

3. Speak these truths over yourself. Proclaim them. Speak them. Preach them. Teach them. I don’t care, just get up and walk around and own them. Rather than sitting like a prisoner waiting to be someone’s fresh bait, step up and realize Jesus was already the (perfect and complete) bait for you. He won and you will win too – come the day of Christ Jesus.

4. Believe in the words you say. Receive the full authority that Christ has placed in you, by the power of his Spirit, when you believed. Don’t half heartedly pray or meekly say, “I trust.” Make your words your anthem, your pledge of allegiance, your covenant. Let them be binding truth and declarative words.

(Please note: I am not talking about declaring riches or blessings over yourself, I am talking about declaring truth about who God says you are and what he has done.)

Here is what it looked like for me:

(Imagine: Standing Kelly, walking Kelly, powerful Kelly, vocal Kelly, speaking aloud)
Lord, you reign. There is none beside you. There is none more powerful. You don’t hold doubts against me, as I confess, you forgive me. You free me to your purpose. There is absolutely no condemnation in Christ Jesus. I am loved, entirely, fully, completely. You bring all truth to light and you set  captives free, you will set me free. You have a plan and you will see it through…(and you get the point).

But, the point is, the more I spoke, the more I believed, and the more I believed, the more I felt relieved.

His active Word cut sharply through the sludge of my mind to unveil the new creation that I am – to myself. As the junk moved, the truth shined.

Christ’s power, mixed with the illuminating light of the Spirit, always uncovers truth.

Yesterday, I came doubtful, afraid and as spazzed as a kid on sugar, but through belief and ownership of his Word, I seized God’s renewing power for myself. I didn’t see the enemy near. I didn’t see my problems. I didn’t see trepidation. I didn’t see my regrets. I realized that the enemy cannot stand against one standing up.

I am a warrior for Jesus – and he doesn’t need wimps, he needs fearless children unafraid to speak truth.

Who run to the tomb no matter the cost.
Who see a mission during their long wait for the Promised Land.
Who see the dead things around them and speak life into them.

We are these warriors.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle;
 he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples under me.

Ps. 144:1-2

How can we be warriors when we sit downtrodden in cells of worthlessness and shame?

God has life-altering power ready to be poured out over us. Do we speak it like we believe it?

Lets us live in the purpose that Christ has already won for us.

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A Heart of God Over a Heart of Fear

Heart of God

I have been on a wild and crazy hunt to figure out how to get more of God – into me. 

It’s wild because I often live in the wilderness – in the rocky ups and downs of faith. It’s just wild that a great God like him would want to dive into the disobedient heart of a girl like me. My head says yes, but sometimes, my heart says, it’s too off his beaten path.

It’s crazy because, I can’t even conceive how someone so “everywhere” and “always”, so above-it-all and so robe-laden, someone who made everything and with so much to do, could want to reside in measly me? Aren’t there a lot more exciting and missional places that he wants to focus?

But, it’s true.

God practically offers us all of him on a golden platter saying, I give you my heart. Will you take it? He doesn’t offer a part, a sliver, a shard, a splinter; he takes his whole body and throws it on the table for us, for vulture-like beings who did nothing to earn his gift of death.

“Take and eat; this is my body.” Mt. 26:26

He offers, but do I even value his gift?

The truth is the presence of his body, his life and his power is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

But, I must make a choice to eat his spiritual nourishment.

When my stomach turns in knots,
when holes trip me up,
when I shake in the darkness,
I must look up, verses looking around and see the one who is always ready to be found.

He is always ready to lead me in right ways.

His hand leads to truth.
Truth leads to love.
Love leads to fearlessness.
Fearlessness leads to passion and joy.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 Jo. 4:8

I wonder how often I hold back me – from God?

I wonder how much I fear his presence in me
because he seems too great above me?

How often I fear condemnation?
Even though I know his condemnation doesn’t even exist for me (Ro 8:1).

I forget “he who began a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)

How often do you hold back because you feel unworthy?

Or try to gain worthiness?
Even though it’s impossible to be the weight lifter of his power.

Only one can carry (and carried) that weight.

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Eph. 3:16-17

The reality is, we need to the strength of the Spirit
so that we can welcome in the strength of the Savior.

Then, the strength of the Savior more and more pushes out
the strength of the sinner.

It’s like the Spirit does the internal cleaning,
so the temple is clean, prepared and ready to be inhabited.

Jesus silences sins through surrendered faith. The sinner is siphoned away and more and more the new creation takes over. The sinner’s fears are left in the dust; the Spirit and Jesus become the only ones to trust.

I want this to happen more and more for me, don’t you? This happens when we call on the power of the Spirit to expand the territory of the Savior. 

It doesn’t matter where you live – in the wilderness, in trials, in temptation, in sin – confess and call. That’s it.

Then we will find the power of God will move in – to move out – all that keeps us from him.

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Drowning in Inadequacy

Drowning in Inadequacy

Just yesterday, I watched my husband and son in the pool. For them, it was fun and games. Laughs flew left, water flew right, my son bounced up, yet all that splashed into my heart was fear. 

Cold, bitter, shiver-inducing fear.
Fear that erases smiles and creates armors of protection.
Fear that ruins snap-shot moments in families.

“I am not as good of a mother as he is a dad.”
“My son really doesn’t like being with me that much.”
“I stink at connecting.”
“I can’t seem to approach him right.”
“He will never love me.
“Let’s be honest, I am not really that good of a mother.”

Drenched with inadequacy, my fears were ready to send me out to fight or on a far-off flight.

All that seemed to bubble out of my heart was the idea that I am not lovable, not worthy and not good enough. It made me want to march right out to say, “Hey, what about me? Do you all even see me? I am good too! (imagine the hands on the hips)”

And, let me tell you, there would be consequences if I wasn’t acknowledged.

That’s how demands of “what about me” work.  These ploys serve as the antithesis, the foil and the opposite of love. They topple down opinions, values and truths of others to erect their own statues of needs.

They basically say:
Hey, you, it’s all about me.
If I can’t fill that hole inside me, I will beat around the bush until I get what I need.
You better or I’ll ___________ .
If all else fails, I’ll  simply shut down shop and take off!

Far from any cooler soaked victory, my feelings place me on the sidelines as if I play for team “better luck next time.”

Better luck, loser momma!

Why must I always be the winner? The SUPER MOM to the rescue?!

Perhaps, luck isn’t what I need, Jesus is.

It’s not super amazing, double with a half-twist dive into family praises that transforms me, but God’s entire wrapping over my life, my heart and all the steps I take. Because, the hard and fast truth is that some days, I will feel like a Super-loser (_____) (momma, worker, friend, spouse, sister, daughter, church member).

But, I can’t help but think that there are other loser _____s out there who need an understanding shoulder on which to rest their head. I know I need theirs. Because, there will be days, I won’t feel  good enough and there will be days they won’t be good enough too.

When we open up our hearts to share “I-am-not-good-enough” moments, they become the passing point to the love of Christ. It is as if the doors of the drawbridge open and Jesus sails straight through to our precise destination of need.

Yet, so often we shut this part down. We say, “I am a loser today, I better put on some makeup.”

But, Jesus never said he cared much for makeup. And, he doesn’t care much for us making ourselves over with fake products to get what we need. They don’t work to well at covering shame anyway!

Winning status’ aren’t on his play board either- unless it’s about pouring out the victory that has already been won in Christ.

He has heard our prayers, now he wants our heart.

Jesus, convicts my heart. The truth is it’s not about my feeling good, looking good or winning good, but it’s about you loving good through me.

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Mt. 20:16

Jesus models this so well.

He takes the those limping like the least of these,
to make them the most of these.

He rides in on a donkey,
with the power of God behind him, to save the world.

He gets down onto a dirty floor, cuddles up next to the grime of another’s feet
and shows us the way.

Jesus never said, “Yo! Over here! See me! See my height, my stature, my awesomeness.”
He never said, “You better be perfect.”
He never said, “You will never feel bad.”

He simply says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

So, as I start to put on that can-never-match-up cape, I hope I can stop to remember:

1. The Word of God drowns inadequacy with the promises of God.

2. Jesus tramples the idea that we should beat ourselves down for who we are today. He came to rescue us this way.

3. Less makeup = more chances to make up with our faith-floundering heart. Then, we can send it out to make up the world with the markings of Jesus’ love.

4. I would be a loser if it wasn’t for Jesus, but he stripped me of that status when he died on the cross, forever securing my title of “victorious in him.”

Bottom line: Jesus doesn’t care so much about feelings of superiority or even adequacy, as much as he does about his all-nourishing adequacy.

There is no one like him,
no one above him,
no one who can match him, or beat him or control him,
no other name reigns like his.

He is the everything of all we want to be…
he is the gate that opens to the humble road
that leads to the ultimate filling place of our deepest desires.

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Bloggers, are you attending She Speaks? Let’s meet for breakfast first thing Friday at the Embassy Suites (people not staying can still eat or have coffee there).

If you are going to She Speaks, there are 2 things to do:

1. Please RSVP here for the morning #RaRalinkup get together/breakfast.
2. Join the #RaRalinkup FB page to exchange more details and specifics.

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Rubbed Raw with Worry

raw with worry

When I saw it, I immediately knew something was wrong.

The A, B, Cs where there. I was anxious, burdened and out-of-control as I cast my eyes on what was asymmetrical, border-weird and color not-normal.

My days of laughs in the sun,
felt like they were being exchanged for tears at the mirror
as I looked at my back from every angle known by man.

The possibility of cancer, the pain of removal and the fear how long it had been there swung like a wrecking ball in my chest. Whatever was resurrected for Jesus, was all broken today.

Have you ever noticed that,
a heart that dwells on the looming possibilities of fear,
tumbles down the great possibilities of God?

I’ve noticed.

It’s a pack-up-your bags, furious move from residing under the shadow of God’s wing to living in a battle-soaked village of doom and gloom.

The more I looked at that mole, the more I knew I had to do something. So, I picked at it. Then, I started to rub. With no progress, I grabbed the great tool of exfoliating cream and dug into it.

This thing was coming off!
I rubbed some more…

Until all that remained was the bloodied marker of all that was threatening me
and an open sore filled with discouragement and embarrassment.

That’s how it is with worry, isn’t it?

The more we move the chair of our thoughts back and forth over that same spot,
the more we dig deep tracks of distrust into our heart.

We rub, and rub and rub – the same spot.

The more we dig deep these tracks of distrust,
the more we follow these ill-conceived tracks to illogical solutions.

We rub with exfoliating cream.

We ruin the floor of our faith with the imaginations of our future. We take action to things only God had the best action for.  What ruminates in our mind, dominates in our life.

Then we ask:

God, where are you? 
God, why did you let this happen? 
God, do you not care? 
God, are you going to let _____ happen?

It’s like we allow our all-powerful problems
convict our seemingly low-power god –
a god who is entirely lacking in the love department.

We get squinty-eyed at the one who loves us most. We do what we don’t want to do.

God, return my heart and my presence back to you. I am sorry.

Confession is the flashlight to clarity.

Worry doesn’t stop what destroys, it just steals joy.

Worry self-centers us. People, needs and ministry move to the outskirts.

Worry erases the idea that we are living for God’s glory, his plan and his will.
It makes invisible the prayer, “Thy Will be done.”

Worry is like a bouncy ball stuck in a box, it will keep you up all night and get you nowhere.

Worry places our eyes on our present problems, rather than our present God.

What do I really believe?

Do I believe God is an all-sufficient problem handler or
do I believe that he is absent, I am all alone, in the woods, by myself, fending against all my worst fears by the strength of my own might?

Is God the warrior or am I?

The truth is: God has us, he won’t let us go, he has a plan, he will bring us through all pain, he will provide for our every need, he will not forsake us, he will never let us go, he will not let our foot slip, he will pick us up if we fall, he will guide us through suffering as he has suffered, he will bring glory to our pain, he will lead others to know him through our trials.

But the real question is, do I believe this deep down -where it counts?

Hearts that believe God is good, give thanks for their good God.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil. 4:6

Thanks breathes in God and exhales bitterness.
Thanks makes us see all we have versus all we could lose.
Thanks brings into remembrance all of his past faithfulness.
Thanks puts into perspective our present perspective.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7

What can you find to be thankful for?

What praise can you immerse your one-track mind in
so that you don’t rub yourself raw
with feelings of God-has-left-me?

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How Can You Fix Your Bad Feelings? (& 2-Min Encouraging Word)

How Can You Fix Your Bad Feelings?

Encouragement in less than 2-minutes:

 

Post: How Can you Fix Your Bad Feelings?

I have been known to step into a deep dark place.

It’s a lonely place.
A-no-one-cares-about-me place,
an I’m-never-going-to-amount-to-anything place,
an I-will-always-fail kind of place,
a God-will-never-use-a-girl-like-me place.
I-am-not-worth-anything place.

It’s risky, because this hole of hopelessness can easily become a trapping cave-of-no-return. A cancer that grabs the anesthesia of alcohol, addiction, disorders, complexes, shopping, porn or whatever else if not careful.

Due to my past struggles with this place, I’ve realized,
you have to watch for the invitations to this place of isolation.

Because this place makes you miss Gods’ face – and it leaves you in disgrace.
It makes God small and  problems big.
It takes shame and guilt and places them on the centerstage of the heart.
It places you so deep into yourself, you can’t see others that need you.

Our God is not a haunter and taunter and he never developed a hell-hole like this.

Now I know, I have to run like the wind
when the devil starts to lure me in with lies.

I run hard, and I run fast because even the smallest step into that blackness
includes a return trip with miles of internal turmoil.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7

Sometimes we think our resistance is recognizing this place or praying against this place or throwing some truth out against this place, but oh no, my friends, it involves even more…

We aren’t called to sit around and have a light coffee before we leave,
we are called to flee- ASAP!

We aren’t called to go through the motions of life,
but to eyes open and to kick ourselves into high gear. 

We aren’t called to wait for a rescuer – a knight in shining armor.
We already have one – his name is Jesus – and we are already rescued.

And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Mt. 5:30

God is not afraid of instructing us to take big measures against our small steps into these dwelling places of lies. This means we see beyond our world, into the transcending world around us. We become aware, looking, understanding, interpreting, searching, fighting and surrendering. We flee.

We flee by not throwing out verses, but by letting them become the knitting of our heart.

We flee, not by praying for our will, but by praying for his.

We flee, not by accepting or excusing sin, but by rejecting it.

We flee, unveiling our heart of agony to our maker. (Feelings aren’t bad, but distrust of God is.)

We flee by choosing the right counselors to instruct us when we become blind in our life.

We flee by letting go of the tide of our emotions, to grab on to the ocean of God’s truth.

We flee by extending grace to ourselves on hard days.

We engrave these truths upon our heart like stone:

We are more than just conquerors in Christ Jesus. Ro. 8:37
Nothing can overtake us, because God has overtaken the world. Jo. 16:33
There is no weapon forged against us that can prosper. Is. 15:47

We know nothing can really ever come against – no cancer, no abuse, no financial issues, no heartache, no agony, no marital issues, no heartaches, no _______.

We know it doesn’t matter,
because if we’ve lived it, he has beaten it.

So, dear friend, be not discouraged, but be wildly encouraged: If he conquered the world, he can conquer your agony, your despair, your hopelessness and your fears.

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