Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

Winning Your Battles: 2 Strategies

Winning Your Battles

What precedes victory?
What sets up a strategy that wins?
What helps solidify an unsure direction?

You probably haven’t heard this explained this way before. Or, maybe you have and have written its power off because it seems too simple, too ordinary and too commonplace. But, activating our hearts in these small two steps, often activates our hearts in new hope.

Let’s look at King Jehoshaphat, named “Yahweh has judged.”
Sound like a scary name?
It would to me. I would probably hide from myself with a name like that.

But, you see, Yahweh had judged him in a good way.

And He not only judged, but also in many cases he also blessed – because Jehoshaphat removed idols, cleaned up the land, purified hearts in truth and focused hearts on the one true God. Sure, he made a mistake or two, but his heart was right.

Mistakes come and mistakes go, but a heart sold out for God, is one God blesses.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Mt. 5:6

Yet, despite his goodness, Jehoshaphat had enemy Moabite armies stacked up to his neck.

Notice, God doesn’t remove hardships from good people –
often, he confronts us with them to release us from them.

Jehoshaphat certainly wasn’t spared – and he wasn’t so scared he couldn’t move.
He pushed harder against the force that wanted to push him down.
Did he realize he would grow stronger in faith by being faithful?

Like Jehoshaphat, our help isn’t found in our artillery,
but it’s found in humility before our God.

Pushing into God pushes us into his plan.

Suddenly we see – God’s deliverance is always had –
it is just a matter of when.

When we push into God, we get all we need to proceed.

So, what did “Yahweh has judged” do to push in when the forces of the Moabites stood against?

2 Things:

1. He prayed: Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. 2 Chron. 20:3-4

Notice that although he felt “alarmed,” he still “resolved.”

Do you “resolve to inquire of the Lord” when alarm bells sound?
Offering the resolve of your heart, your mind, your soul and your strength, will resolve them to God’s will. 

2. He worshipped & trusted: You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you…‘If calamity comes upon us…we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’
2 Chron. 20:6, 9

Seeing God in his true place sets his true ways into place – in us.

Looking up helps the things around, not bring us down.

Remembering Jesus’ victory locks our heart into His victory too.

What might true and faithful worship, in the face of battle, do for you? In the face of finances? In the face of arguments? In the face of poor health? In the face of fear? In the face of wayward children?

Let’s see what it did for Jehoshaphat…

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel…as he stood in the assembly.  He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chron. 20:14-15

The Spirit showed up. God gave instructions on how to win and he also gave his presence that said, “I will be with you.”

When we seek God, we find him. 
When we find his face, he faces us with real truth.
When we know where our help comes from, our help often comes.

What I love even more is how Jehoshaphat literally headed foot-by-foot into war.

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.  2 Chron. 20:21-22

What if our battlegrounds became praying and praising grounds?

​What would go do in us, through us and for us?

This sounds like unstoppable, not easily defeated, winning faith.

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Linking with Holley Gerth.

Protecting What God Loves Most in You

God Loves Most

There are voices that speak devastation, demolition and destruction to the temple of God.

Can you hear them?

Ordinary words that travel extraordinary distances to injure.
Words that cut deeper than a machete and further than a scalpel.
Ones that appear to rip the seams of God right out, if you let them.

They are ready steal your passion for bended knees, raised hands, and uplifted eyes. They charge into your face, yelling, “You little, …(fill in the blank.) You always…. You never…. You can’t….”

Maybe the voice isn’t even so loud, but the injury is.

Words a mile a minute – the pressure can seem inescapable. These declarations of powerlessness became my anthem song, they defined my ins and outs, my worth and value, and my hope and future.

Yet, God moves technology, just as he does our hearts and these old cassette songs became just that old – it was time for something that doesn’t take up so much space and without the weight. God gave me a new song.

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:17

My temple is sacred.

Am I protecting it? Am I keeping it strong guarded?

Sometimes you have to. People seem to come at you.

But I will encamp at my temple to guard it against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch. Zech. 9:8

The temple of God always was and always will be a monument God calls us to enforce.

As temple carriers, we must strong-guard it from foreign objects, set up to desecrate and devastate it’s beauty.

Remember Jesus in the temple? He flipped false goods, on their heads. Just the same today, he doesn’t want us accepting falsities or hyperboles about our self – in his house.

What have you let dwell in the temple of the most high God?

What labels, libels and litanies from years past still hang out?

What humiliation, intonations and accusations from today won’t leave?

What doesn’t start and end with God, usually starts and ends with shame. What stands outside his holy grounds, usually tries to force a way in to ransack his house.

God is a fan of forged walls, when they are ones that protect his sonship covenant with us – a covenant that always says: I love you. I am for you. I will not hold you – against you. I will rush back every time you call on my name.

When we let God’s promises become do what they were intended to do – protect, we no longer:

Push out godliness to usher in helplessness.
Wash out purity to welcome in fragility.
Remove honest humility to greet a faith disability.

God’s temple always waits to be our refuge, our safety, our barrier, our new confine, our hope, our insight, our wisdom, our future. We don’t need a magic ball, because we have the majesty of Christ’s Spirit in us.

The walls of God’s temple wrap us in love and fortify our hearts in truth. They continually confess our hope of glory. 

When atomic warfare is thrown at God’s temple, the temple that bears his name, we can take refuge under the bomb shelter of his love.

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov. 18:10

Dodging The Arrows of Life

arrows of life

Here I am.
This is me, Lord.
I am waiting.
And just trying to dodge the arrows of life.

Will you run to my rescue and save the day?

I stand in a field of open vulnerability – arms wide open, head lifted, hoping. The darkness is thick and the opponents are many. I can cut the weight of circumstances with a knife and it seems they might cut me too. 

Am I going to get hurt?  Much like the good samaritan,
will I be left crying, on the side of the road?

They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. Lu. 10:30

Why do you leave good people, with bad problems God?

My beating chest is unsure,
but you say – what comes to beat me, you’ve already beaten.

What terrorizes to take me down,
was already taken down when you were lifted up.

What appears to be breaking will not only be fully molded and made, but also fully established.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 
1 Pet. 5:10

So, though my heart feels arms wide open to pain, my soul relishes in the idea that I am rescued from it.

I wrap my arms around the here, the now and say, if I don’t have faith, I don’t have anything – except fear.

Faith makes God my primary weapon.

It hushes “I can’t” and loudens “I can.”

It restores what life tries to steal: Peace in you, through you and for you.

It takes hold and makes you go.

So, I tell myself: God will do it.

He won’t abandon me to fear.
He’ll make a way for hope.
He won’t let peace go.
He will shield me from the arsenal of arrows.
If they seem to hit me, he will seemingly restore me one day.

God is closer than the pain – if I really let him reign.

He flips bad circumstances so they never look the same.
What seemed down, gives us new meaning as we look up.
What looked dark, becomes light.
What wanted to leave me for dead, leaves me with new life.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. Lu. 10: 34

As the good samaritan is rescued, so am I.

Do you see your rescue? Do you believe in it?

Like the good samaritan, left for dead, you are being brought back to life:

He was despised & forsaken. 
A man of sorrows & grief.
One from whom men hide their face – despised.
We did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried; 
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken…
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, 
He was crushed for our iniquities; 
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, 
And by His scourging we are healed.  
Is. 53:3-12

The more we hook up to this truth, the more we strengthen in the recharging power of amazing grace.

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Linking with #FiveMinuteFriday and #DancewithJesus.

 

5 Lies You Believe (Yet May Not Realize)

lies you believe

What if I told you that as you walked outside there was a predator looming in your bushes? He not only wanted to take a bite of your skin, but entirely rip it off – savor it and devour it.

Sound creepy? Yes, I completely realize it does.

But, if this were the case, would you keep your eyes a little more open?
Might you look a little more left and right?
Prepare yourself in case of attack?

Might you do everything you could to find out who had the power to get rid of this creeper?

Of course you would.

But, do you?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8

Usually, we live more like busy-bodies than watch dogs.

We don’t look up – or around – we only look down – at our iPhones. 

We look to our extensive to-do’s, rather than our exponential God.
Destination rules on high.

Feelings of worthlessness, uselessness and hopelessness often whip us around.
Meanwhile, we don’t see the abuser standing next to us.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Jo. 8:44

When the devil lies, he often makes us lie down in defeat.  Are you discerning is voice?

5 Lies the Devil Wants you To Believe (and you usually do)

1. God doesn’t really love you that much.
How could a god that big, love one who is so small?

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Jo. 15:3
God’s love is the only thing that is always permanent and always present.

2. Your scars of the past will always blind your eyes in shame (abortion, alcohol, depression, anger, mental issues, insecurity).
You messed up so bad, you’re marked as forever bad.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
God doesn’t blind us with what we did wrong, he binds us up in what he did right.

3.  You will be destroyed by your circumstances, your relationships and your trials.
That thing is going to take you down and ruin your life; you won’t be okay.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps. 118:6
If God is on your side, you are on the winning side – walk in His stride.

4. You deserve no trials.
A good god would never let you hit bad trials.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jo. 16:33
Your good God knows bad trials will make you even better.

5.  The bible doesn’t really say that. That would negatively impact your happy meter.
God wants all happy, happy, joy, joy feelings for you – go and get it (under breath: you spoiled little brat). Consume it – the world is your oyster.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Lu. 9:23
God doesn’t say consume, he says exhume your ways and reassume his.

The devil almost always says, “God can’t – and you can’t – unless you can –  with sin. The world will eat you up, the bible will fake you out and your past will kick you out of God’s purpose.”

The devil offers: same lie, different day.
But we have: the same God, everyday.

Our best defense is knowing God is on offense.

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
​Nu. 23:19

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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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