Purposeful Faith

Category - grace

When You Crave Things

When I was in college, I remember sitting in the car dealership, asking my dad, “Please dad, please! Can I get this car???”

The amazing thing was — my dad wasn’t buying it for me. Somehow, though, I needed his permission. Yet, I was the one walking out of the dealership with a title and a $500 monthly payment on a vehicle. It didn’t matter, I was enthralled. It seemed my whole life was about to change.

The car was a convertible. For the first week, I was internally on-fire every time I drove that car. I wondered if people were looking at me. I wondered if I could feel better than I did when I sat in those fire-red leather seats.

Then, the buzz wore off.

It wasn’t long until it became an ordinary car. It didn’t feel as special. It didn’t look as shiny. The rear window cracked a little. The monthly payments were taking a big chunk of my monthly paycheck.

“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law. . . ” (Phil. 3:7-9 NLT)

Ten thousand times, I thought all these things were valuable, until. . .

One: They didn’t taste as good as Jesus.
Two:  Their joy ran out.
Three: I got bored with them.
Four: They actually became slavery.
Five: I wanted something else better.

What have you thought “was life”, only to find out– in the end –it wasn’t? A new car? A house? A better wardrobe? A new husband? A perfect job?

Everything pales in comparison when laid up against the One Thing, Jesus, who is everything. Treasures are trinkets once you get a taste Jesus’ love.

My heart, these days, wants to invest — less in goods — and more in love. What about you? What are you searching for? What do you believe will fulfill your greatest hopes, dreams, desires, and wishes?

“I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.” (Phil. 3:9-10)

So, today, more than ever, I invest in faith.

Faith is to believe God, despite what you see; to trust God more than you know; to rest on God more than makes sense for your running mind to comprehend. Because it is faith that gets to know Christ and to experience His mighty power that, astoundingly, raised Him from the dead.

Prayer: God, today, I ask for a transfusion of faith to happen. I ask that every reader of this post would be filled with fresh faith that we would all feel on-fire for you. I ask that lesser things fade away and that you as the One Thing come into pre-eminent position. We want you. We need you. We trust you. Fill us with your love, power, and goodness. We ask to know you more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Are You Experiencing A Dry Season?

Are you going through a dry season?

Maybe you are waiting for God’s help with your health, with your children, with your work situation or within your household. . . Maybe you’ve been calling out to God for years. . .  Like an arrow to your heart today, I hope to send you one simple message: don’t lose hope.

God cares for you.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:7)

God knows exactly what you are facing.

The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man. (Ps. 33:13)

God is near and hears.

The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. (Ps. 145:18)

God looks to strengthen those with a heart for Him.

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.  (2 Chron. 16:9)

God will provide.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mt. 6:30)

God will sustain you through whatever you face.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Ps. 55:2)

Worry accomplishes nothing; faith trusts God for everything. And sees heavenly results.

“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea…By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” (Heb. 11:29-34)

Believe, even when you cannot see. Trust, even if you don’t have the way.

I know how hard it can be when it feels the world is falling on you or when you don’t know what to do, but if I’ve learned one thing, it is this: In the long run, God’s plan is always infinitely better than ours.

What we thought looked good, we later learn isn’t so good. What we thought we needed, would actually be our demise. The timing we demanded would have prevented us from going through a door we didn’t even know we’d need to enter.  The people that needed to be involved would be ready just a little bit later. God’s views are so high, He sees the map of all our ways, all the people involved and every outcome. He fashions things for our good and for his glory every time. We can trust Him. He is faithful, true and good.

 

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Intimate Words from a Father

I love how God wants to speak to us, intimately. Through prayer, I have gotten such a glimpse for his heart for me, for you and for all we are facing.

This is how I believe God might want to speak, personally to you today… Oh, how I hope these words and bible verses speak to the deep of you!

My child,

What you cannot see, I can. I know the plans I have for you – for prospering – and not for harming you. What would it look like for you to really trust me? To lean on me? To know me?

(Kelly’s response: I guess, God, it would look like me: seeing you in all things, choosing to ask for help, waiting on you, and having a willing heart to change).

Daughter, I know your path. I see the end goal and how I’ll get you there. If you will follow me, all these things will be added onto you. Truly, you come into what you most want, when you most want me.

(My response: God, will you help me to most want you?)

It is a joy to teach you. But, like a child with their hands over their ears, I can’t give what you won’t let in. Will you be willing to hear me in new ways?

(My response: God, I need your help. I want to.)

I am a good teacher. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. With my loving eye upon you: I will not fail you. Hold my hand. Follow me. There is increase for you. I am the creator of all things. Imagine what I can create in your life. Don’t rule out my goodness. If I sent Jesus to die for you, how much more will I do for you?

Lean on me. It’s okay to relax on my strength. You can trust me to hold you up. To equip you. To engage your heart in a tender way that changes you. I am good to you. In me, you’ll find rest.

(My response: Yes, God, I want that. I really do. I want to know and love you more. May you pour out the grace for me to draw near to your heart.)

Love,

Your daddy

Bible Verses to Ponder:

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)

Whoever has ears, let them hear. (Mt. 11:15)

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

He has said: “This is the place of rest, let the weary rest; this is the place of repose.” But they would not listen. (Is. 28:12)

 

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Learn more about Kelly’s new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

Let’s Count the Ways: God Watches You

“Are you watching me?”

My 6-year-old son puts on shows. Willy Wonka, Moses in the wilderness, Box Car Children- you name it, and he acts it out. And he always asks this question.

“Are you watching me?”

Half the time, I’m not. I mean to be, but I’m also human. I’m trying to tackle things like bills, emails, text messages, phone calls, dishes, laundry, dinner…you get the point.

The fact of the matter is, our parents didn’t watch us non-stop either. I know there were times I put on shows and my mom or dad didn’t watch. It’s not because they didn’t want to, but because they were human.

But you know what? God is not human and He is watching. This fills the desires of all our hearts. The desire that says, “Someone, please, be watching me. Watch out for me. Watch me and know my ways. Watch me and protect me. Watch me and help me.”

God watches, carefully.

God is always with us.

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Ps. 139:7-8

God’s watched our days before they’ve even happened.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” Ps. 139:16

God’s intimate thoughts about us don’t stop.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.” Ps. 139: 17-18

God is aware of our most intricate workings, habits and ponderings.

“You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.” Ps. 139: 3-4

He watches you to protect you.
“You hem me in behind and before.” Ps. 139: 5

God watches it all. Every song, dance, move, time you sit down, stand up, and twirl around. You are precious in His sight.

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“No Strings Attached”

No Strings Attached

We’ve moved across state and country lines three times over the past six years, and with each move I’ve dreaded the exhaustion of making new friends. Women can be so nice and welcoming and awesome. And women can also be terrifying.

After our second major move, we began the search for a new church. We liked the idea of attending church in our own neighborhood, so we decided to visit the one across the street from our apartment complex.

It was a smaller church, with around forty people attending that day, and when the service was over, it took at least forty-five minutes to exit the building. People wanted to know where we were from and where we’d been and if we preferred the Chicago White Socks or the Cubs. Albeit tiring, I was glad these complete strangers were making an effort to get to know us.

And then someone took it to the next level.

A woman named Beth came up to me again and asked if my daughter and I would like to come over for a play date at her place sometime that week.

If my jaw didn’t physically drop right then and there, it hit the floor metaphorically. She had only met me ten minutes ago, yet she didn’t hesitate to welcome my child and I into her daily life.

I thought protocol was that you had to commit to a church before the people in that church would be willing to commit to you. And yet, Beth welcomed us in – no strings attached. Not worrying if our presence would mess up the groove of the friendships she had already established.

As the newbie in town, I was so grateful for the generous welcome God provided in what would eventually become our church home and the source of many life-giving friendships. And as the one feeling awkward and lonely, I was so grateful Beth didn’t let fear hold her back from both saying hello and, “Would you like to come over?”

May we all be the same beacon of welcome to the people in our everyday lives – to those in our homes, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:3

Prayer:

Lord, one of the greatest gifts that You gave us was the church. I pray that You will provide life-giving friendships for those of us who feel lonely. And I pray that You will help us recognize ways we can invite others into our daily lives – no strings attached. Amen.

About Kendra Broekhuis:

Kendra is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her NeighborThe book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’s “I love you’s” in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’s “I love you’s” to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee. Kendra’s love language is Dove chocolate.

 

 

When You Give Your Best Away

give your best

“Give Thanks.” That is what the mug said.

Looking at it, I considered the thought deeper. I hadn’t been giving a lot of thanks lately. Mostly just gripes to God about people, timelines and the endless cause of trying to keep my house clean. In reality, I’d forgotten about thanks.

So when I considered which of the mugs to give away, it was hardly shocking that I nearly heard God say, “Kelly, thanks is made to be given away.”

Here, a mug short, I picked up the “Give Thanks,” mug. I would give it away with a heart of thanks. . .

…for, thanks is meant to be given away.

And this is the heart of hospitality. You give because you are thankful. You receive and say thank you.

So when the ladies came to my house for the event (I told you all a couple of weeks ago, that I was completely nervous about) and they selected little mugs to take home, I nearly kissed my favorite mug goodbye. Except. . . I didn’t.

When the event was over, the mug still remained on my counter. After texting the group to ask who left it, I got no response. So what I gave away in thanks, I kept.

What we give away to God, in thanks, we also keep…

We keep a smile on our face when we think of that precious moment of joy.
We keep a memory of a moment that we will treasure forever.
We keep a belief that God really will come through.
We keep a hope that God really can do the miraculous time and time again.
We keep a heart that is willing to change because God’s results are great.
We keep a fresh perspective on how much we have.

We give: thanks. We keep: everything. God doesn’t take away our cup; He fills it.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

 

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A Tested Way to Change What is Bad

The exterior of my house looks like a junkyard. I am not exaggerating. Out front is a broken desk; it was shattered during our near-cross country move. Out back are two sets of patio furniture. Ones I picked up and off the neighbor’s lawn.

I’ve never done that before. I really wanted patio furniture. So, the first second I saw the first set, the wrought iron white chairs, I declared them as cute as could be. That is, until a couple weeks later rust stains started showing up everywhere. I haven’t gotten rid of the chairs yet. My deck now is etched with tons of full-blown brown circles.

The other set was the replacement for the first set. I spotted the two big brown wicker chairs set aside as “throw-away items” in a neighbor’s yard. I rapidly snagged them (may I remind you, I’ve never been a trash hunter…I really wanted patio furniture). Like a sleuth agent, I threw them in my back yard before anyone could see.

Only later did I come to find out that the majority of the legs were missing. I guess they had enough legs to fool me at first. Go figure.

So, now, when I go outside, front-yard or back, I am overcome with junk. Junk that is rusty. Junk that is wasteful. Junk that is annoying. Junk I now have to figure out how to dispose of. Junk that leaves stains I also have to get cleaned. Junk that pesters me. And, no patio furniture, to boot.

What junk are you dealing with in your life? An old house? An old wardrobe? An old annoying habit that drives you nuts? A problem you can’t fix? A person you can’t de-stain? Baggage that feels to internally weighty to unload?

We can shift our attitude. Did you know that? I tried it. Sitting on the said-white chairs, the other day, I recommitted to God to be positive about it all. That is. . .until I looked left. . . and saw the brown chairs. Grr…not them again. My thoughts wandered off to lands of annoyed and not-bueno.

God, how do we continually see the good, while we are surrounded by the bad?

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18, NIV)

What if we were really go give thanks in (and for) ALL circumstances, good and bad?

God thank you that these rusty patio chairs remind me: earthly things rust, eternal things last.

God, thank you that the brown chairs, flipped over, with their broken and legless limbs up to the sky speak: on earth we don’t get everything, but in Christ, we have all we ever need.

God, thank you that the broken table out front is symbolic of seasons: they change, but your love, God, always stay the same.

God, thank you that what looks like junk can be seen through a new light. Thank you that what looks broken is a reminder of my brokenness and how you’ve repaired me. Oh God, I give thanks that you haven’t left me broken, but you are repairing me. You are good.

To give thanks for our bad, is to, undoubtedly, find God’s good. It is to let victimhood, despair and frustration drop off you and to let a high and lofty view come in you. It’s powerful.

Junk has purpose. Thank you God, my deck kind-of, now, looks like art work.

Prayer:
God, help me to give thanks. So many times I see what is bad, but through you, I ask for vision to see what is good. I ask you for a voice full of praise and thanksgiving. I ask for understanding of what you are doing through the hard times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Beware of Forcing the Wrong Season

I worked really hard to get up the hill. Pumping, huffing, standing, sitting, then standing again, I. Was. Going. To. Make. It. To. The. Top.

Nothing would stop me and my bike.

It’s often easy to get on a mission. We want to get somewhere and when we’re really committed, we see it through.

I made it to the top. Then came the decline.

Victory. As I glided down, I kept on peddling hard. Why?

No, really. . . why?

Why did I feed the need to peddle when it was a time to glide?

God says there is a time for everything:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ec. 3:1KJV

There is a season to pump our legs hard; there is a season to glide; there is a season to cry; there is a season to rest; there is a season to give; there is a season to take.

Peaceful living, I am determining, has much to do with knowing the season God has placed you in. You don’t want to be laughing in the midst of your spouse’s grieving.

As I went down the hill, it was representative of a season: to glide. To let go of worries. To trust God with all the stuff I normally do. To hear his voice calling me to ministry outside of the internet. To wonder and awe at him doing really special things alone with me.

To step away from life, demands, blog requirements, and doing stuff as usual, because it’s not God’s heart for today…(noticing is half the battle).

Letting go is the other half. It’s recognizing that our current season doesn’t have to look like our last. In fact, I have to tell you, it shouldn’t. This is my opinion, however. It is my belief that when we push a round peg into a square hole, frustration feels as ever present as a hangnail.

But to move with the grace of God. . . this is like windsurfing in the direction of God’s move. You go with him. You let go of what you think things should be. You enjoy the wind on your face. You feel the moment. You come alive in what he is doing.

What season is God calling you into? What if instead of despising it, you decided to embrace it?

Prayer: God, in your presence there is fullness of joy. Keep me in your presence and peace. Keep me going in the direction you desire for me, and nowhere else. Let me go not according to what I think I should do, but according to what your heart is for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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7 Ways to Be Spiritually Fit

spiritually fit

Everyday, I know I should at least fit a walk into my schedule.  I should get my shoes on and move beyond the boundaries of my complacency, so I don’t:

– lose strength

– waste away

– gain unintended weight

– make my heart unhealthy

We all think about our physical health, at least sometimes. We take vitamins, make vegetables, drink water, take the stairs. Even if we aren’t so good at it, we normally think about it, or how to improve it. We know it is important to our vitality.

But how often do we consider our spiritual health? Our spiritual fitness?

So we don’t:

– lose strength in the Lord

– waste away, only to find ourselves one with the world

– gain unintended weight, or baggage, we are not meant to carry

– find our our heart unhealthy

Today, let’s stop for a moment and consider why our strength and fitness in the Lord is so important.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” 1 Cor. 9:26-27 MSG

We want to be spiritually fit. But what does that mean?

I believe it means we:

  1. Are led by the Spirit and not the flesh.
    In the Spirit, we are strong. But if we’re driven by our own efforts, we quickly learn — we’re weak.
  2. Follow Christ’s life, truth and ways.
    “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps. 91:11
  3. Be fishers of men.
    When God calls us to cast our nets into risk, and we do, he often encourages our hearts to keep doing it. Here, we learn to be risk-takers instead of home-dwellers.
  4. Fellowship with God, constantly.
    In Christ, we come out of our weakness, stress and fears to find ourselves equipped and empowered by his grace.
  5. Have a readiness to go.
    The more we get our running shoes on, the easier it gets to move out the door.
  6. Stand firm in our identity.
    When we know who we are, it doesn’t work so well when the enemy tries to tell us we are someone else.
  7. Seek purity.
    When sin drops off of us through confession, we become more and more alive. We’re aware of the God who lives in us and all the promises he has for us. Rather than getting caught up in our shame, we become enamored with His name, Jesus.

Today, may you and I choose to walk in spiritual fitness.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

My Shiny Pet Rock: Sin I Love to Hate

http://sacredgroundstickyfloors.com/2017/11/14/sin-i-love-to-hate/

This thing, this terrible thing that I have struggled with for years, is something I cannot seem to shake.

So what is a girl to do?

I did what any good church-going gal would do.  I signed up  for every single bible study, every retreat, and any and every special session.  All the things, I believed would help me finally understand why I don’t do what I like, but instead, do what I hate.

Among my friends and acquaintances, I was known for my devotion to the study.  The study of that which they believed was an adoration for my God, but in reality was a desperate attempt to finally break free.

Bible Study Sister.

Jesus fan-girl.

Devoted.

Good people.

A Proverbs-31 woman.

I did all the things. The things that were suggested, the things I believed were essential to 1.  Freedom.  2.  Worthiness.

Yes, I believed I must earn my salvation, and when I finally achieved this worthiness, maybe then I would be able to overcome this thing.  The thing, the thing that I cannot seem to get over, that I cannot leave behind.

Perfection evades me.  As much as I love order and perfection, I love this … this monster I call my sin.

Mine.

What would I do with my time, with my mind, if not for the sin I tend to?

So back I went to my studies, with my highlighters, fancy pens and markers. The bible bag I carry with all my tools has a fancy cross embroidered on the front.  It is decorated with pins asking “what would Jesus do?”  But as much as I study, as much as having memorized, I swear.. I do not know.

I did not know what Jesus would do.

And I could not figure out how to be just like Him.

Truth be told, no matter how much I dedicated to the study of my sin, the sin was all I knew.  And then a friend brought this to my attention.

I was a classic case of a Christian with a sin god…. continue reading and link up here!!!