Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

When Forgiving Yourself is Hard (Linkup)

When it's hard to forgive yourself

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When I heard the bloodcurdling scream, worry welled up in me.
When I saw the agony on her face, anxiety overwhelmed me.
When I analyzed the deep gash across her toe, guilt washed over me.

Could you imagine being the one to cause your baby girl so much pain?
The one to crush an innocent toe into a slamming door.
It was me who did this.

Pain  – all I could see was all the pain I caused.
Pain as she got stitches.
Pain as we found out it was broken.
Pain as she looked up at mommy.
Pain as she longingly looked to be saved.
Pain as I saw her tears coming down.
Pain as I noticed her toenail was gone.

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I left the hospital with a damaged baby and a bag full of guilt.

How could I?
Why did I?

I knew that I needed to come to terms with this. I knew that Jesus tells us to forgive – ourselves included. I knew that this was an accident – but still…

What do you have for me God?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

He died for BIG wrongs, BIG mistakes and BIG traumas.
For the ones who, without him,
could never find consolation, reparation or exoneration.

 

For the ones who, without him, deserve nothing but condemnation.

And, this is me. I am this kind of sinner. Not just in this case, but in so many shameful ways.

Jesus agrees.

He agrees, but he doesn’t cast shame or blame.
He agrees, but doesn’t make me retreat in defeat.
He agrees, but rather than enslave, he saves.

He removes the enslaving power of shame, guilt and regret – and replaces it with love.

A love that is victorious and makes us glorious.
A love that showers compassion, with passion.
A love that doesn’t end, but mends.

Much like me with my daughter:
Jesus cries over our pain.
He so deeply desires to wipe every tear away.

Jesus stands ready to save our day.

And, much like I cried over her trial and her agony, Jesus cries over mine.

But, Christ went to one place I can never go. He went one distance I can never cover. He went to one length that sealed the definition of  “love”: He took my place. He stepped in. He absorbed all the wrath, torment and agony that was set aside for me.

He did this so I could be forgiven (and so that we could forgive others).

Who am I to take that away from him?
Who am I to negate the incredible sin load that he suffered?

Who am I to think that the power of my enslaving sin could overcome the power of my life-giving Savior?

When we can’t forgive, we are essentially are saying
that we have more power than the cross of Jesus Christ.

We are saying that our sin is greater than our Savior.
That our actions are more weighty than his.
That our inability to forgive is greater than his ability to love.

Because he forgave, we take eternal forgiveness to the grave.  Because he is mighty to save, we are no longer enslaved. Because he rose out of that cave, we can all be brave.

There is no arguing with that.

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When Facebook Hurts

When Facebook Hurts

Tears welled up in my eyes. I felt hurt.

I saw the fun.
I saw the laughs.
I saw the friends.
I wasn’t there.
I wasn’t invited.
I was left out.

How do we cope when Facebook hurts you?  Because frankly, people open their lives up like books and sometimes we read into things only to feel left behind or insulted.

How do we overcome the laughs we weren’t a part of?
How do we get past the offensive words?
How do we move forward in love, when we feel hurt?
How do we let go of annoyances?

These were all things I struggled with as my heart broke a little.

I guess for me, it wasn’t just this person that hurt me, but it was all the little ways I saw I wasn’t being included.

I felt left out of the pictures, the recap comments and the moments.  I saw the smiles. I saw the joy. I saw the fun.

Where was I? How could they leave me out?

The small offenses all rushed over me.

But, then I got to thinking – have I really been pursuing others?

Because, no one is going to invite you into relationship if you aren’t available.
No one is going to welcome you to laugh, if you never welcomed them into your house.
No one is going to remember you, if you let the busyness of your day steal the good intentions of your heart.

I am so busy.

These Facebook pains walk me right up to truth –
the Lord loves relationship.

They also remind me that I can’t control what others do. They can do what they do, but God will always be here to help me through. People will hurt me. They will abandon me. They will drop me at the door. They will write things that offend. They will insult too.

But, we can find refuge in the Lord. We can seek his ways. So can you. Let’s open up to take risks, because we are kept under the safety of his wing – kept close, like a protected child.

Under his protection, he will show us how to act.
He will instruct us in truth.
He will arm us with the right mentality.

He releases us from the power of others’ insulting actions, so we may find freedom in the power of his unending love.

Frankly, we all offended Jesus. We actually offend him daily. We insult, we overlook, we leave him out.

But, does he stop loving us? Does he stop pursuing us? Does he still call us into relationship?

We prompts us to extend grace, just as he has.

So, let’s remember:

1.  We are who Christ says we are. Our identity is secure in Christ, not dependent on Facebook.
2.  We can’t expect to be pursued when we are not pursuing relationship.
3.  People are quick to speak and slow to think. We can be like this too.
4.  Jesus shows us unending grace; we can fall into his grace to extend grace.
5.  If we can let go of how others act on us, we can grab hold of how Christ wants us to act to others.
6.  The more we keep our eyes – and heart – on what is true, noble, upright and of good report, the more peace and joy that will be ours. Offenses lose their power.

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31)

Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)

It strikes me that we can let go of insults, injury and inadequacies, when we grab hold of truth, God’s truth.

Because, truly, there is only one book that defines us – and it’s not Facebook.

Is Your 1-Word Resolution Holding You Back? (Linkup)

Resolution holding you back

When I found myself getting irritated at the wide pronouncements of one-word resolutions, I started to wonder, “What’s my issue?”

How can someone not like words like:
Deeper?
Embrace?
Love?

Why am I so frustrated as others passionately pursue the Lord?

Sure, I picked a word – it’s “patience.” It was wisely given to my by a friend.

Patience in writing.
Patience with my husband.
Patience with my kids.
Patience in growth.
Patience in relationships.

Yes, I see the value.

But, what I can’t handle seeing – at the end of my year – is failure. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see the shame, regret, fear and embarrassment tied into that. Why should I set myself up for this?

So I find, it’s simpler to get annoyed and to avoid.
It’s easier to hate than to embrace.
It’s safer to go protected than to become dejected.

So, I push goals, dreams and hopes out of the way to protect a heart that could break along the way.

Truth is, I know I will fail in many ways.

I won’t be patient. I will get irritated. I will blow up at my kids and probably my husband. I will drop the ball. I will mess up. I just know it – and I hate that.

I hate that I can’t reach out to all I want to be – and grab hold of it.

And, underneath it all, I guess this is what really aggravates me about 1-word resolutions.  We will all fail in our own way.  We will all do the exact opposite of what our 1-word is.

Good luck on that 1-word friends!

For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)

And, he is not content with stagnant hearts that hide from his life-giving, love-producing, purpose-provoking truth.

So he says to me, “Kelly, running from failure is running from me.”

And, who can argue with that?

Failure is the beginning of something new.

Failure is the meeting point of love.
Failure is the hidden treasure – we let go of self and grab hold of Christ.
Failure is the heart of growth.
And the starting point of hope.

Jesus doesn’t stand as a judge of 1-word resolutions.
He doesn’t demand a 1-year illusion – here today and gone tomorrow.
He is not a master of confusion.
Ready to throw us into seclusion.

This is not our Lord. He never withholds love –
and he doesn’t shame us based on failures.

In this, I realize our resolutions don’t stand as a barrier to his love –
but as a conduit for it. 

I realize if I stop aiming to please him, I can start aiming to just behold him.
Because a student best receives, when she isn’t trying to do things her own way.

failed resolutions

Deeply, so deeply, I want to remember:

  • We are safe in his sacrifice. Held tightly, cupped in his loving hands.
  • Secure. So secure in our position as children of the most high King.
  • In the safety of his love – and the finality of his sacrifice – we can embrace grace and all the gifts extended through it.

A grace that doesn’t stop at our failings.
A love that is never given to be taken away.
An eternal position that can never be snatched.
A God that doesn’t give to steal away.

What kind of God would that be?

Truly, all wrath is gone.
All that remains is love.

Because of Jesus, I am safe – safe to move forward in perfect love. Love that casts out all my fear. Love that conquers all.  Love that makes me an overcomer. Love that let’s the Spirit of God pour out from me. I can’t even comprehend the start and end of this grace.

So, the Lord just says to me…

Patience, Kelly. Patience.
You are my work in progress.
It is not you that is at work – but it is me.
At the proper time, you will be exalted.
Do you trust me?
In my good time (which may well be more than a year), you will be patient.
You are my work, my craftsmanship, my love.”

And, in these truths, I can rest. I can rest because there is no condemnation left for me. It’s gone. It is gone for me and it is gone for you.

So for now, it just becomes a journey to his destination. In his timing. In his way. Until the day until he flings open the gate to welcome in his new creation – that he made me to be.

Until then, I will rely on him during the process of being patient.

And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 JB)

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How to Go with Jesus

How to Go with Jesus

Life gets so hectic. It gets busy. It gets overwhelming.

Many times, I sit with two children screaming their heads off and I don’t even know what to do. Or, I look at a pile of work that needs to be done, but I have no time. Or, look at the Mount Everest of trials and I have no idea how to ski down.

In these moments, I have to wonder – what do I send?

Do I send love?
Life?
Encouragement?
Empowerment?
Peace?
Joy?

Or, do I send irritation, aggravation and frustration?

Because a lot of the time, the world seems to act on me. It seems to send me into a tailspin. One where I just spin in circles trying to grab hold of a tail I can never quite reach.

And, my aggravation, at my lack of control, often sends me on a rampage to dump frustration on those I love.

My environment becomes a result of my circumstances.

I know God calls me to rise above this, but why can’t I? What holds me back?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

Is it that I send my mind down roads of thought that they shouldn’t be traveling on?

When life breaks down, when circumstances come to topple – I can choose to send my heart to Jesus. I can choose to send my thoughts to the Word of God. I can choose to send out to others a heart that ministers to their needs, instead of one that is being swallowed up with mine.

Jesus will help me.
He understands trials.
He knows the chaos of life.
He has the right answer for me.
He can get me through.

Jesus, you have told me to go. Send me down your paths, send my according to your ways. Send me, so that I may find true, joyful and meaningful life – because when you send, no one who is encountered by you is ever the same.

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3 Encouraging Truths When You Feel Stuck

When you feel stuck

Do you feel stagnant? Like you are trying to accelerate, but your car is going nowhere? There are truths when you feel stuck.  Do you know them?

At times, we all feel stuck. We wonder, “Are we making a difference? Serving a purpose? Changing lives? Impacting the world? Is our life adding up to anything meaningful?”

Like a car spinning its wheels, we feel the same. Round and round we go – going nowhere. Pushing and pushing with all our might – but we stay suck. Pressing and pressing our gas pedals – but our wheels dig in deeper.

It’s aggravating. Frustrating. Demoralizing.

It doesn’t matter if we steer in the right direction, because we aren’t going anywhere. So, we look up to God, and ask, “Why?” We feel like giving up.

I sludged around in the mud for so long. I spent much of my life working in jobs that never satisfied. I often arrived to work with a smile – and left for home with a frown. I felt purposeless. Passionless. And, disappointed in myself.

During this time, I realized:
To live without cause is to feel like a fraud.
To not make a difference is to become indifferent.
To fake like you’re okay is to put on a good play.
To not see results feels like an insult.

I believed – and still believe – this is not how God intends us to live. God desires us to be authentic, patient and enduring.

Yet, so many days, I can return to this place of “stuck”. I may want bigger progress. More lives changed. I may want to do better spiritually. Or to be a better mom. Or to have circumstances improve. I may just want to feel closer to God.

Often, I just feel stuck.

But, God is faithfully teaching me that, many times, he is diligently at work to get me unstuck from life’s muck. Even more, we tend to best receive the Lord’s sermons when we are stuck in muck.

It is here where we can’t move, where we have to wait, where we must be still. And, we hear the Lord in profound ways.

The Lord has 3 critical lessons he wants us to grab hold of, instead of our life’s steering wheel:

1. God has us just where he wants us to be.

He knows where we are. He sees us. He has not forgotten about us. This place of frustration is a place of transformation. It is in this place, where we must stop and wait on him.  It is here where we can find his love, his direction and his guidance.

It’s in these places of “wait” where God’s work really gets started. This muddy ground is his best working ground. It is here, where he molds us – growing us in patience, endurance and perseverance.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

2. He is preparing, reforming and transforming us to do his work.

Fear not. Even though we feel stuck, it doesn’t mean our lives have gone amuck. Because it’s here we can choose to trust, grow and sow. As we sow faith, we let go of fear. As we let go of fear (sometimes the fear of mediocrity), true purpose surfaces – it is here we find – our calling.

The bottom line of true calling is pleasing and serving the Lord.
When we let go of fear and indifference – we start making a difference.
We understand that he is at work – in us – instead of us demanding to have him work – through us.

We spin our wheels less and he produces more and more fruit. Fruit that we can go share with others. In this, we find rest, encouragement and renewed passion.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)

3. God put a calling in our hearts. Listen and follow.

God made us with a purpose and for a purpose. Perhaps we are still in the training stages. An Olympian cannot just walk out on the track and get the gold. Likewise, there are hard training days that accompany our work for the Lord. We have to put the hard work in. Work that is endless, tiring and ongoing.

God is sovereign; he decides the proper time to exalt us. We can wait on him. Even if that time of exaltation is at heavens door, we can still trust in his plan.

Let’s not miss the moment. Because the most important calling for our lives is not the one we dream of – but the one that he has already placed in front of us – for this exact moment. Let’s not miss it.

Let’s call out to the Lord.
He will help us.
His words will guide us in our way.

When we stop focusing on our circumstances and start focusing on him – things start to happen.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Ps. 32:8)

We can’t give up our drive; this was placed in us by God. But, we must keep our eyes on the one who provides “the way”. Then, in God’s perfect timing, our wheels will stop spinning – and start moving us to destinations we never dreamed.

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5 Truths to Replace The Lies Servants Believe

Lies Servants Believe

I love writing.  I love sharing. I love encouraging.  I love following the call of the Lord so that I can call others to know the Lord more. I love giving it all for the one who gave it all.

Yet, sometimes, when my eyes stray from the Ultimate Servant, I start to think I am the ultimate giver.

When this happens two things normally happen:

1.) I start feeling insecure, because I think results rely on my shoulders.
2.) I attempt to steal the Lord’s glory.

Tired. Worn. Weary. My eyes wander from Christ. I desire appreciation and require affirmation.

It’s so easy for the servant to be replaced with one wanting to be served.

With just the slightest perspective change, we are lured in. Why? Because serving is hard. Being less than is hard. Ministry is hard. It’s tireless. It’s sacrificial.  It’s never ending. 

It’s easy to think, “I have given so much, what about me?”

Have you ever felt this way?

Often, we servants have 5 predominate lies that grow thick and take over our mind.   God stands ready to cut them down with his awesome two-edged sword of truth.

1. “I should be doing more. My work isn’t enough.”  

We wrongly think that God values big things, big endeavors and huge results. We feel marginalized by God. Less than. We believe our work won’t count until it is bigger and better.  Sometimes, we can wonder why we are even trying…

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much… (Luke 16:10)

 TRUTH: If you are being faithful with what God has given you to do, you are being faithful. Period. The big – or small – the Lord has set before you is just what he wants you to tackle.  At our days end, we will be valued – not by how big we did things – but by how we loved, how we believed and how we trusted God with what we were given.


‘Well-done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Mt. 25:23)

 2. “Look what they’re doing. They are so much better than I am.”

The second we take our eyes off of Christ is the second we start getting big eyes for other’s accomplishments. We see. We want. We envy.  

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Phil. 2:3)


TRUTH: We are all working for the Lord.  We have the same boss – and the same goals. True joy is found when we co-labor with our neighbor.  God desires community, relationships and teamwork. He never intended for us to mark our territories – as we pursue our agenda’s. 

Instead, he tells us to consider others better than ourselves.  Why?  Because he wants us to experience the full joy of serving, working and loving others.

3. “I feel worn down. I can’t find strength.”

Tired. Worn. Weak. Weary.  We feel that ministry has become a daily grind.

…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Is. 40:31)

TRUTH: We renew our strength by renewing our relationship with the Lord.  Meaning: we remember why we are doing this, whom we are doing it for and why we have been called.  If he called us, he will clear a way for us.  We can stop striving and start resting in his plan. As we do this, he will renew our strength.

4. “Does what I do, even matter? I am not making a difference.”

We doubt the difference we are making.  We question our purpose.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Mt. 25:40)

TRUTH: If we affected one, we have pleased One.  God values the least of these. He is not looking for numbers; he is looking for changed hearts.  What you are doing does matter.  If someone has been changed, your work has had huge impact.  And, imagine all the people you have impacted who have never even told you.

5. “No one has affirmed me.  I am not any good.”

We can feel discouraged, waiting to be encouraged. We need people to fill us up, in order to feel full.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt. 6:33)

 TRUTH: When we seek after God, his kingdom, and his righteousness, we don’t need to gas up on approval. Because know we are already approved. In this, we can stand secure.  This means we don’t have to spin wheels seeking approval and affirmation. He has everything covered. 

The Lord sees us. And, as he sees fit – he gives.  He gives it right to us as we are seeking after him.  He makes it easy, he just tells us, “Seek after me and I will give you all the rest.”  

We were created to serve. When we serve based on the promises of God, we can serve from a whole-hearted place, instead of an insecure place.  It makes all the difference in the world.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk. 10:45)

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Cheerleading Link Up –

Hey Bloggers, I hope you had fun encouraging each other yesterday on Twitter (#RaRaLinkup). I sure had a blast. Click the button below to participate in the Cheerleading Linkup.  Be sure to return every Tuesday as the fun continues.

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Duped by Darkness

God does not desert us

Darkness can be alluring. It calls us, saying, “You won’t get hurt. Come and see what I have for you. Go your own way. No one will ever know. No one will see you.”

But often, what we hide in the dark ends up snagging us, catching us and having us for dinner. What we think is carefully hidden away, bites us when we least expect it.

It reminds me of the story of Little Red Riding Hood. She was cute. She was adventurous. She had good intentions. She was bringing delicious food to a sweet old grandmother, after all. It doesn’t get much more honorable than that!

Eager to give, happy to serve and ready to love – she was the ideal target for a hungry wolf. A wolf hiding and waiting to snatch her, so that she could not live out her calling.

He succeeded. Because our adorable Little Red Riding Hood, skipping with her basket of fruit, jumped at the chance to do things her own way…

…Continue reading this story at (in)Courage.  You will love where this story leads!

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3 Proven Tactics to Let Go of Fear

Let Go of fear

Sometimes we see life gearing up to deliver a punch that we think can take us down. We see it winding back, we see it gaining power and we immediately know what to do – we get afraid.  We curl up in a ball of fear – aggravated, tormented and usually alone.

Why? Because we see every detail of the punch- the blood, the anguish, the embarrassment and the feelings.  And we know one thing is for sure – we are in for it.

I can’t even begin to tell you the places my mind has wandered, the things I believed would come true and the ditches I thought I would be in.  I was the queen of fear and I still struggle with it today to a degree.  My fears would stop me in my tracks.  They would consume my mind.

But, I noticed, when I was fearing, it was impossible to be worshipping.  When I was worrying, I couldn’t be glorifying.  When I was plotting, it was impossible to be loving.   Fear consumed my mind – and I turned inward. I became all about me.  Because of this, I knew I had to change.

Fear was holding me back from God’s plan. If I was so consumed with fear, I couldn’t be consumed with his calling.  I couldn’t be consumed with his glory. I could only be consumed by how bad the blows of life would hit me.  My fear made me motionless, serviceless, useless and passionless.  Fears depleted me.  

How often do we let the unknown consume our minds?  How often do we let it trick us into thinking we can control it?

Somehow we think that by worrying, we are gaining control over the situation.  It’s almost like we think we have power to change the unchangeable.  Until we come face to face with the reality that we aren’t in control – and then we fear more.

So, can we take charge of this bully called “fear” and prevent it from ruling us? From mocking us?  From pushing us around?

I have tried every trick in the book to combat fear: the imagine-the-worst-case-scenario trick, the worries-only-happen-99%-of-the-time strategy and the just-don’t-fear approach – I have tried it all. None worked.

But, there is one approach that helped me to stand up to this bully called fear – and I think it will help you too.  But, in order to be successful at this, you have to get ready to feel like an underdog. You have to see yourself for what you are – a small warrior.  And, you have to relate to another small guy who gets your predicament  – David!

Little David stood up against one big bad bully named Goliath.   Could he have cowered in fear?  Yes. Could he have walked away from God’s mission because it was scary?  You bet.  Could he have told the Israelites to get out here in fight instead of him?  Absolutely. But he didn’t.

David fought what could have been decapitating fear in 3 ways:

1. He remembered and drew strength on God’s faithfulness in the past.
The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (1 Sam. 17:37)

God was faithful to him in the past, and he would be faithful to him today.

2.  He looked up to the One Giant larger than the giant.

He looked upon the strength of his Lord, not at the strength of his arms.
He looked at the power of his God, not the power of the obstacle in front of him.
He looked at the might of the Almighty, not at the might of other possible fighters.
He knew that nothing could stand against the power of the living, working, powerful armies of God.

“…Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam 17:26)

3.  He didn’t listen to the naysayers.  He didn’t look at the circumstances.  He didn’t let who he was hold him back from what God had set before him.

“But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” (1 Sam. 17:28)

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” (1 Sam. 17:33)

If you are not fearing something today, you likely will be tomorrow.

What if you were to approach the looming punch differently?  What if instead of cowering down to the giant bully called “fear”, you choose to do something differently?

Imagine for a moment, a little boy.  He stands before the meanest, baddest, strongest bully the school has ever seen.  But, for some reason this boy stands smiling.  This boy stands proud, fearless and courageous.  He stands strong.

We might wonder why?

He is able to let go of fear, because he sees something the other kid cannot – his own Father.  His father stands directly behind the bully and he stands waiting to help his son, to protect him and to ensure the right outcome to this situation.

And, your father is standing right behind your giants too.  Maybe you can’t see him today, but he is there.  Maybe you can’t feel him right now, but he is there.

If you believe God is right there for you, could you approach your giant differently?

There is no giant bigger than the giant of God.

Rather than running to hide, living anxious or cowering in fear, look to Him to gain strength.  See how he has delivered you in the past.  Lean on his faithfulness.  Don’t let naysayers intimidate you or circumstances rule you.  God will deliver you when you trust him.

Our God is greater.  Our God is stronger.

God will put the giants of your life into perspective.  He Is. They aren’t. With God, we can let go of fear.

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Shame in the Bible

Shame in the bible
I messed up again.Guilt hit me like a wrecking ball pounding into a damaged building ready to crumble.  It hit me hard and when the shame came – it effectively ruined me. Defeated, crumbled, laying in pain – I hurt.   I wondered, what does God say about shame in the bible?

Starting up at the sky, I realize, I lost sight of Christ, what he has called me to do, his unique plan for me, his purposes, his might, his power, his authority.

I lost sight of it all.

I looked at another person and decided God’s blueprint for my life wasn’t as good – wasn’t so possible – after all.

Where did I go wrong? I saw all that I wasn’t.  I saw all that she was.  And, as I saw all of her – I saw less of me.  I saw none of God.

Then, the shame overpowered my guilt.  It crushed me because I lacked faith.  It left me feeling embarrassed that Miss “Encourage” was “Discouraged” (I am called the “Cheerleader of Faith” after all).  It said I am defined by my sin of envy, jealousy and comparison.

My guilt said I messed up – but, my shame said I would always mess up.

Isn’t that how it is with shame? Shame says we are selfish.  Shame says we will always steal God’s glory.  Shame says we will always fail.  Shame says we may as well give up.  Shame said we can’t do any good – why try?

Shame tumbled me.  It came to thwart God’s plan – to knock me down.  Unrecognized, it would have succeeded.

But, as I stared at my wreckage, God got me to thinking…

I got wrecked, because I took my eyes off of Christ.

I got wrecked to divert me from God’s mission.

God has great plans for me.
The Devil wants to wreck anything that brings glory to God above himself.
Jesus didn’t die so I could be condemned; there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
God loves me; he will take the wreckage  and reconstruct me as I ask for forgiveness.

We can’t let shame knock us down.  We can’t let shame win.  Because, you better bet it will try to tell us that we aren’t good, holy or lovable.  Shame will come to trap us under the bricks, holding us down so that we can’t accomplish God’s purposes.Shame is one of the devil’s best tools to chisel away at our faith walk.

He has used it since the very first days – days when all was happy and joyful and peaceful in the garden of Eden.  He offered sin on a plate – and now we talk about this apple over and over again.

The devil offered, Eve accepted, the world defected.

Sin distanced us from God.  In fact, we see shame in the bible, as Adam and Eve hid from God (Genesis 3:8) after they sinned.  The were so burdened by shame and so overwhelmed that they didn’t want to stand in front of their glorious maker. They wanted to hide, to go unseen, to cower in fear, to go under the radar, to pretend it didn’t happen.  They wanted to avoid God at all costs.

Shame makes us run.  It makes us hide.

The devil knows this. He knows if he can get us to move towards sin, he can hit us with his powerful wrecking ball. He has a plan to hit us – and to hit us hard.

  • Hit them with regret.
  • Hit them with  fear.
  • Hit them with embarrassment and shame.
  • Hit them so hard they can’t get up and walk to the foot of the cross.
  • Hit them so they move away God, not towards repentance.
  • Hit them so they forget that God forgives.
  • Hit them so they walk away from believing in God’s grace.
  • Hit them swiftly and trap them in sin.
What if Adam and Eve ran to God, instead of hiding?  What if they called out to Him?  Their shame didn’t protect them, or absolve them or benefit them in any way.

…and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9)

The Lord could still see them clear as day.  He knew where they were – and what they had done. There is no hiding from God.

And, today, we don’t have to hide because there is no more shame in Christ Jesus. Christ absolved us of all shame, because he endured all shame.  Enough.  It’s done.  It is finished. (John 19:30).  Released.  Gone.  Done. Complete.  As believers, we are secure.

God wants us to come to Him – open, vulnerable and ready to receive what he has done.

Reveal your shame, and he will reveal grace.  Come to him out of hiding and he will come to you with healing. Run to his arms and confess and he will give you rest.

God’s story of redemption is beautiful.  It all circles back to Him.  Even when we mess up – it is all about Him.  Praise you God.

God loves us.

God calls you from hiding.  He has important words to speak to you about shame in the bible:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus… (Romans 8:1)

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. (Phil. 3:13)

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

We can’t stand accused when we stand forgiven.  Confess sin, accept grace, sin no more and rob the devil of his best tool.