Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

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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Why Not Giving Could Hurt You

Not Giving Could Hurt You

I have this one friend – almost everywhere she goes, she gives gifts. Roses to teachers, journals to me, and flowers to so many. She is a gifted in gifts.

She is so impressive!

I am normally the one loaded with 2 kids, a purse loaded with the rock of baby wipes and a to-do list times one thousand. Getting out to buy gifts feels as impossible as moving a herd of animals through the eye of a needle.

Giving is something I always want to do, but it takes a back seat to my life.
It’s something that I love to get, but have a hard time extending.
I know it blesses, but it also heightens my stresses.

Yet, research has proven that giving:
– increases the health of those with chronic illnesses (Stephen Post, Why Good Things Happen to Good People)
– decreases the risk of dying in the elderly after volunteering (Doug Oman, University of California, Berkeley)
– lowers stress and blood pressure.

Clearly giving is a great thing. The more we outpour the more that in pours to us.

A woman came with a special sealed jar. It contained very expensive perfume made out of pure nard. She broke the jar open and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head. Mk. 14:3

This woman outpoured a ton – a year’s worth of salary.  Her deep sacrifice was a true outpouring of her heart. There is no mention of the kids screaming at home, the wipes in her bag or the lists of things she had to do, she just poured out.

When we keep our eyes on Jesus,
suddenly our excuses grow small and our causes grow big.

This woman poured out great love through this great gift,
a great sacrifice for a great God
and a great example for the great, great, great…grandchildren of Jesus today.

What would happen if we poured out like she did?

Might Jesus say to us: She has done a beautiful thing to me… Mark 14:6

Might our name be more greatly etched into the world and eternity?

What she has done will be told anywhere the good news is preached all over the world. It will be told in memory of her.” Mk 14:9

As she stood…weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Lu. 7:38

When we pour, like this woman and then our hearts melt like wax. The wick of our pride, selfishness and complacency melt down to the ground, leaving us on our knees, where we receive and give our very best.  We take our hair and we wipe the feet of others. We get into the nitty gritty of grime, into the places where it feels uncomfortable, into the places where we prepare others for a new life.

It’s in the offering of our greatest – in the wiping of the dirty – that we get to kiss the feet of the one who walked into desolate dry hearts to make abundant new life.

When we touch these needy, unseen and untouchable places with our greatest gift, love, we find our hearts are restored.

We find it’s so much less about the other and so much more about Jesus reconfiguring our vision.

We find deeper connection with the recipient and with the one who is all sufficient.

My friend’s outpouring of love inspires my heart to see…

Giving is the only gift that hands-back more than we could ever hand-out. It’s one of the only ways to get more than you ever asked for.

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Today I am linking up with Five Minute Friday, #DanceWithJesus and Weekend Brew.

Running When You Feel Like A Loser

When You Feel Like A Loser

My mouth says I want to “run with endurance the race that is set before (me)”, (Heb. 12:1), but my feet often go in the opposite direction.

I get set, and ready to go, until I fall and am ready to cry.

It’s a dichotomy I just can’t beat.

I snap back at my husband when I know a kind word turns away wrath.
Prov. 15:1

I think bad thoughts towards a rude person when I need to forgive as I have been forgiven.  Col. 3:13

I yell at my children, when God says to bear up under one another in love.
Eph 4:2

I judge a sister in Christ when God tells me to first look at the log in my own eye.
Mt. 7:3

I take pride in my work when God tells me at the proper time I will be exalted.
1 Pet. 5:6

While my mind says, it’s all for you God, I am running hard and fast for you, my actions say, “it’s still kind of all about me.” I can’t let go. I can’t break through. I can’t succeed with God.”

The pounding of my feet on the sidewalk of God’s mission, start to turn into fists pounding on my heart, saying “Why can’t you just do better?”

Pound. You gotta get it together.
Pound. People won’t see Christ in you.
Pound. Are you really a Christ follower when you mess up so much?
Pound. You are selfish.

And one who is beaten to the ground, can’t be running a good race for Jesus.
One who is pounding themselves, can’t be pounding the ground.
One fallen, can’t be encouraging others.
They can’t “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Cor. 9:24)

As I investigate my heart, my sin, and my desire, I am coming to see that God understands this roadblock too.

In order to run, run, run, we are instructed to unload, unload, unload: “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance…” (Heb 12:1)

Why?

so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Phil 2:6)

Jesus understands the struggle of a heart striving towards him. He doesn’t come to point our our lagger tendencies. He tells us to unload and rise up. To let go, and to move our feet. To say I am sorry, and to speed into his love. To send the failure fits to the sidelines and to move forward in faithful fury.

I’ve noticed, as I can let that go, I no longer feel like a girl running in circles, I no longer feel like the big loser on Olympics day, but instead I start to move forward – in a straight line – gliding into forgiveness, forging into peace, wholeheartedly striding into hope and joyfully pumping into the cheering applause of my loving Savior who roots me on with all that he is.

So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 1 Cor. 9:26

The question is not will I fall, because I will. The question, is – will I unload, confess and believe the promises of God (aka – get back up again), because this is where the race is won. This is where I stop pounding myself for every bad action and start pounding the streets with the message of Jesus Christ crucified and glorified.

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Today I am linking up with the fabulous Suzie Eller for #LiveFreeThursday.

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Living Without Fear

Purposeful Faith has been delighted to have Katy McCown join us as a guest contributor. Her insights have compelled our heart to love God more and more. We wish her only the best as she follows God in the next chapter of her life. Katie, thank you for being you. You glorify God in a powerful way!

Post by Katy McCown

In Proverbs 31 God introduces us to this woman,

“She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)

And the hearts of all God’s girls say, Yes, please!

But deep down we wonder, Is this really attainable? Does her newspaper tell the same stories mine tells? No way she considers college costs and laughs.

Before we talk about the laugh we long for, let’s assess our current condition.

How does your sentence end?

She ________ ?

To help you fill in the blank, consider how you might respond in this moment:

You expect your husband (or friend, sister, mom, etc.) to meet you for dinner. You wait 30 minutes and he’s a no-show. What thoughts race through your head while you wait?

  1. He’s hurt. Your heart beats faster and your palms begin to sweat. What route did he take to get here? You check your phone for a missed call from a number you don’t know and consider grabbing your keys to bolt for the car and re-trace the path he would have driven to the restaurant.
  2. He doesn’t care. While you wait you replay all the ways you don’t measure up. Your head drops and a tear may even cloud your eye as you pick yourself apart and tear yourself to shreds. No wonder he’s not here.
  3. He’s not worth it. Your fingers drum the table as your blood pressure rises. You run through the long list of demands still on your plate. How dare he waste my time.

If number one is your instinctive response, your blank may be filled with words like: She worries. She fears. She panics.

If you identify with number two, maybe these words strike a chord: She compares. She doubts.

If option three nails you on the head, then maybe you describe yourself as: She erupts. She controls.

Maybe you’re like me (and Goldilocks) and you’ve tested all three seats, but still haven’t found the one that’s just right. The bad news is that leaves us all scared, sad or sorta mean. But there is good news!

In her book Living So That, Wendy Blight writes,

“Emotionally, our faith is often muddled by fear, hesitancy, and doubt. But our feelings become irrelevant when Jesus is the object of our faith – when He alone is the One in whom we trust.”

Our faith hangs not on the future, but on the One who holds the future.

The woman God paints in Proverbs 31 fears nothing – not because of earthly security or stable emotions, but because of the position and condition of her heart.

She laughs, because she trusts.

“My friends, we are not those who give up hope and so are lost; but we are of the company who live by faith and so are saved.” Hebrews 10:39 (The Voice)

A few days ago all the stars aligned and every, single, one of my six children.

Fell asleep at the exact, same, time during the afternoon.

I tip-toed to my room as fast as tip-toes can carry a tired mama and nestled into the pillows with a smile from one ear to the other. Thank you, God, for the blessing of these few minutes. Thank you, God, for rest. Thank you, God, for

Bzzz … Bzzz … Bzzzzzzzzzz!

Get out! I screamed to the fly as I fanned my hand in circles. I tried to sink back into my tranquil state but to no avail.

Someone left the door open and let a pest in the house.

Bzzz … Bzzz … Bzzzzzzzzzz!

Strategy #1: Ignore it. 

Failed. How does one tiny fly know just where to buzz to drive a person millions of times bigger than him CRAZY.

Strategy #2: Avoid it. 

Success! Or so I thought. With the help of some spare pillows, I erected a teepee-type structure around my head. And it worked. No more fly. No more buzzing. Back to sweet dreams and silence.

The only problem … I painted myself into a corner. Even the slightest shift of an arm would bring the teepee tumbling down.

Instead of freeing myself from the problem, I trapped myself with a faulty solution.

Is there a pest wreaking havoc in your heart? In your haste to handle the problem, have you set up walls that prevent growth instead of providing protection?

If we want to laugh without fear of the future it’s time to clean house … or heart. Drive out the pests that torment & trap.

If you’ve ever tried to get a fly to do anything you know the dilemma. It reminds me of Shakespeare, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.

The pests in our hearts put up a fierce fight. Sometimes they outwit. Sometimes they hide or blend into the surroundings. Sometimes they outlast us.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

The pest in your heart has a name. The devil pursues you. He waits for the crack in the door. He invades and attacks with relentless force. Something tells me you know this already.

Defeating the devil requires you to do more than ignore or avoid.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23

To actively keep my heart, I employ 3 Strategies:

  1. Be Alert! Identify the poison Satan feeds your heart and slam on the brakes (1 Peter 5:8).
  2. Replace lies with Truth! Make every thought obedient to God’s Word (2 Corinthians 10:5).
  3. Choose Faith! Show your belief by what you do (Jame 2:18-24).

So, how would the lady who laughs at the future approach the problem at the restaurant? I bet she prays. She tells God her fears, doubts or anger and begs for His truth to take over. She re-directs her toxic path to one focused on His Words and filled with His promises. And as she chooses to believe Him, she laughs.

“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:23-24 (NLT)

She laughs without fear of the future. Is this attainable?

I have to believe it is and, more than that, anything less is a life not suited for the daughter of the King.

Special thanks to Meagan at Ancient Verse for donating the artwork in the photo at the top of this post.

Katy

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it's safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don't look quite like they did ten years ago, but I've learned along the way dreams do come true ... even if you're not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife's life at www.katymccown.com and I'd love for you to visit me!

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife’s life at www.katymccown.com and I’d love for you to visit me!

Are you a Speaker of Fear? (Linkup)

Are you a Speaker of Fear?

Fear says,

“I don’t want you to do that. You better not go there.”
“I walked down a path and I saw the bad things that resulted.”
“You may get hurt.”
“I will have to carry your load.”

When we speak fear, we speak death into another person’s joy.
We speak the emotions of worst case scenarios into what could be another’s best.
We rain on another’s parade.

I don’t want to be that kind of person.

The kind of person that sees a child with a new balloon – and who then sucks the life right out of it.

I can try to justify it in love:
I don’t want them to be hurt.
I am saving us future pain.
They should know the truth.

But speaking fear is just criticism wrapped with a thin bow of “care”.  The “care” bow doesn’t last, but often it’s the underlying words of fear that endure.

Are you raining on a parade?

Are you letting fear dictate your words to another?
To a spouse?
A child?
A friend?

I am guilty. I look at my 3-year old son, carrying big bucket of water and a huge smile, only to say, “Don’t spill that. I really don’t want to clean that up.”

While I know this is a small example, and it won’t ruin his life forever, it still conveys the point. What if, instead, I was to say, “Wow! That looks like fun. You are up to something cool. I want to be a part of that! Let’s take it outside.”

Instead of stealing joy, I am building into it.

I know, so often, I run so fast to fear…

Fear that ruins.
Fear that cripples.
Fear that overshadows emotions.

Fear stands for:

Fun
Ends
And you’re left…
Rejected

What’s the other alternative? Love.

Love stands for:

Letting
Obstacles
Vanish and
Enduring Faith Win

Love doesn’t see issues, but sees hope.

Love doesn’t see threats, but sees opportunity.

Love doesn’t see differences, but common pain.

Love doesn’t see the words “you can’t”, but encourages through the words “you can.”

​Love doesn’t see the potential downfall, but a chance for greater faith to be forged.

Love doesn’t run to save, but trusts Jesus to.

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Finding What God Has You To Do

What God has you to do

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

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

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

But will they? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t want to miss that.

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

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

The reality is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who doesn’t need more of that?

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

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

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

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

Understanding Heals

Understanding Heals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The simple words “I understand” changed the game.

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

We think no one gets our situation.

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

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

This one is Jesus.

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

As we see that God understands, he:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Find God’s Grace in the Midst of Disgrace

Find God's Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hidden things stay covered.
Stay distanced.
Stay embarrassed.

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

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

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

Do you see it?

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

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

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

Let’s shine bright to display his light!

We have a light that cannot be contained.

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

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

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

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

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

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Overcome Doubt With Faith

Overcome Doubt With Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Ways to Pull Yourself Back Into The Current of Faith

1. Seek to See God and His Surrounding Faithfulness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are held tightly by the power of:

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

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

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

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

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