Purposeful Faith

Category - grace

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!!!  

 

 

 

When You Say My Situation Is Impossible

Impossible

I get your emails. I know a large majority of you have impossible situations.

Many times, I can’t read your words without reaching my hand up to my heart or crunching up my face in sadness. You all have some heartbreaking stuff going on in your life. I do wish I could fix it. I wish I could reach right in and just tidy up what is terribly wrong.

God hasn’t given me this ability. He hasn’t given it to you either.

But what he has given us is remembrance. He’s given us remembrance of faithfulness. Can you remember it?

Can you think of another horribly desperate and difficult time? A time when you believed there was no way, yet God made a way? Let it come to you. If you can’t remember, sit with this for a minute.

“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.” Is. 46:9

Your God, who no man is like, who transcends this earth, who has all resources in his hands, who is the specialist of the impossible, who made a way through the Red Sea, who broke the power of death, who would climb any mountain to find you, who died to save you. . . is God. Your God, who sees your tears, who bottles them up, who knows your every thought, who sees your every move, who sympathizes with your every weakness, who will one day wipe away your tears, is your God.

Your God is unlike any other. He does things unlike any human. He fixes (remember: David, Jonah, Job) unlike any way we could come up with.

He will arrive. He always shows up. His love never fails. His faithfulness endures forever.

He is not a God who lets daughters down. Hold firm in faith. God is moving in the places you cannot see.

 

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.

What it Means to Have a Good Father

Good Father

I am God’s daughter. I am the daughter of a good, good father.

What does this mean?

To my heart it means:

  1. God inclines his eyes to watch me.
  2. He enjoys me.
  3. He is glad he made me.
  4. He wants me.
  5. He delights in giving to me.
  6. He will always help me.
  7. He opens up his inheritance to me, gladly.
  8. He sees me as a reflection of him.
  9. He cheers me on as I go the right way.
  10. He seeks to grow me, so I can thrive.
  11. He wants me to know I am safe with him.
  12. He believes in me.
  13. He thought of me before creating me and liked his workmanship.
  14. He considered my abilities, strengths, character, and frame.
  15. He speaks over me that I am good.
  16. He wants to be near me.
  17. He loves it when I spend time with him.
  18. He delights over me with singing.
  19. He declares I am altogether beautiful, flaws and all.
  20. He gives grace in good measure, without casting down shame.
  21. He hands out wisdom and understanding with good pleasure.
  22. He blesses me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
  23. He freely gives the best of himself to me.
  24. He encourages me to unite in heart-centered relationships with other women.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship  through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. . .” (Eph. 1:3-6)

What number from above do you need to let soak in? What truth seems a little distant from you? What do you have a hard time believing?

Ask your good Father to comfort you in that way and make known that exact nature of his good, good character. He will.

And this makes all the difference. When a daughter knows she has a good father, she finally finds peace.

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.

Don’t Ever Give up

Give up

Today, I am compelled to tell you: Don’t give up.

Don’t. Don’t give up on the kid who won’t listen.
Don’t give up on a dream you’ve never accomplished.
Don’t give up on a hope that seems hopeless.
Don’t give up on the spouse that you think is too far gone for you to ever love.
Don’t give up searching out that great friend you’ve always longed for.

God sees all that you’re enduring. He knows the desires of your heart. He cares for each and every one of them.

And God loves you. I fear this sounds contrite, like wasted words and that somehow, like my daughter, you’ll respond: I know this already. Tell me something I don’t know. . .

But do you really know?

Jesus loving you and dying for you is the equivalent of him jumping in between you and an assault, pushing you out of harm’s way so he can take the blow, and entering a war that feels like a huge loss, all so that you can be lifted above it.

It is like him jumping into the scene of your life to fix it, permanently and eternally.

If he cared for you that much, doesn’t he still care for you that much — today?

Don’t give up: on Him, on you or on those around you.

To not give up means to keep going. It means to you can feel kind of icky, tired, or weary and worn, but you keep at it. Not working hard, or doing more, or pressing ahead, or sweating it out, but simply pursuing him with all your heart. It’s keeping your time intact with him who is love. It’s not letting life encroach on his territory.

This is not giving up.

Getting his love gives hearts new air to breathe, room to move, and a helping hand up.

Our high aim and our lifting hand always is Him.

“Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn.” (Ps. 37:4-6)

 

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.

5 Ways to NOT get distracted from God

NOT get distracted

My son can’t keep his eyes on me when I talk to him. Granted, he is only six, but his small eyes wander left and right when I’m giving instruction. It drives me nuts.

“Hey boy, Mama is over here, not under the table…”

I hate it the most during those lean-in kind of conversations, the ones where I really need him to pay attention because I have something important to say. When his head starts spanning the ceiling, I just know he isn’t listening. I’ve lost him somewhere. It is usually hard to bring him back and get him to hear me.

Like my son, we can’t easily hear God when our eyes are off him.  We can’t easily follow what He is doing when we look left and right and all around.

We miss His directions. God may be standing in the center of our intersection called “life,” waving his arms, trying to tell us where to go. But if we have our head turned in other directions, thinking about random thoughts, annoyances, pestering people and pain-soaked problems, we won’t see what he is doing or saying to lead us.

So how do we keep our eyes on God so we can follow him? How do we focus our attention on his Word, on prayers and on his beauty so we find ourselves full of his joy?

I’ve mulled over this question long and hard, day after day, week after week and the more I consider it, the more I am finding these steps keep intimacy in this crazy world.

5 Ways to Keep Focus on God:

  1. Give yourself allowance. You have a human mind that does human things. It gets distracted. It wonders about random people. It notices ancillary objects. It tallies up its list of to-dos.Don’t hate yourself for getting off track. Just choose to get back on.
  2. Go back to where you last were with God. Example: If you are reading the bible and you find your mind has gone off another trail, return it back to where you last were.Pick up on the last place you remember being with God.
  3. Swap what you listen to. I watched a Nazi film last night. I couldn’t think about God, nonetheless sleep. But on the nights I pray before bed, I go to bed thinking, dwelling and at peace with God.Sometimes you have to swap what you watch or partake in.
  4. Ask for God’s help to stay awake to him.Then, act like it’s Christmas. Know that today, God has something good for you and you don’t want to miss it.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jer. 33:3

     5. Shut it all down. Literally.Shut down your phone, computer and your active-lifestyle. Pick a certain amount of time and call it off limits. Let no one, no how, no way encroach on that time with God. Then, during this time, refer to items 1-4 above.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Is. 26:3)

The more you practice these things, the more these things will seamlessly and effortlessly become part of your life. They’ll soak into your thinking, living and doing. . . and before you know it, you’ll find yourself walking with God far more often than you’re not.

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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The Simple Way to Strength

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.” (Is. 40:29)

When I read these verses, do you know what I think?

I think: That’s great He does all that – for them.

It’s great that he cares for the weary people who have cancer, or the poor people in India or the single mom in Detroit. He is SO loving to all them. But, I never apply God’s Word to me…

…even though I fall entirely in this camp. I am weary from packing up my whole house and carting boxes all the way to a new state. I am weak from trying to sell off my whole house and I am lacking might in the kindness department as night gives way to another night of no sleep.

But, I hardly count myself like them. I hardly place myself in the camp of the needy and poor people who should get God’s best.

“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;

the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.” (Ps. 41:1)

What about you? Do you regard yourself?

Do you easily admit you are:

  1. Weary
  2. Weak
  3. Lacking might
  4. In trouble

What strikes me is that when we admit these things, we receive strength and power. It’s what this scripture says will happen. But, part of it happening is allowing it to happen.

You know, we can stop it from happening…

I’ve never been able to shove a popsicle in a kid’s mouth who didn’t want it. Nor have I been able to make my husband accept time of rest when he didn’t want it. Nor have I been able to fully feel God’s love when I didn’t make time for it.

David, the man who wrote this Psalm, even said, “Have mercy on me, Lord, heal me, for I have sinned against you” and “Even my close friend, someone I trusted…has turned[ against me.” (Ps. 41:9)

He admitted his gunk. What’s yours?

Psalm 41 says God:

– protects
– preserves
– does not give people “over to the desire of their foes”
– sustains
– restores those who are weary and lacking.

Seems like everything I need. What about you?

 

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.

Renew Your Weary Perspective

A few years ago, I thought I wanted a big house. I wanted massive square feet. I wanted a big yard, a long driveway and grass to plant flowers. I wanted it all. At least I thought. Until, I realized what I didn’t want: I didn’t want house problems, like leaks. I didn’t want snow plowing, every winter. I didn’t want, lawn mowing bills every week. I didn’t want house cleaning all the time. I didn’t want furniture bills up to my neck. I didn’t want housework without kid playtime. I didn’t want to live far away from friends. And, I didn’t want to feel like I was drowning under house chores.

That year, we sold the house – at a huge loss.

In retrospect, I realize, after selling the house, I stood at a decision point…

I could either wallow in my misery, thinking, I always lose money. I wasted so much cash on furniture I didn’t need. I cannot figure things out. I’ll always be lost. I’ll forever feel I don’t belong.

Or, I could recognize the issue, bring it to God, reframe my situation, and think differently. Like this:

Money comes and goes, but God’s care and providence for me endure forever.

Worth is what I invest in heaven, not what I see here.

My value is not my home, but God’s vast love for me.

What issue do you face? What seems to impossible to fix? How might you reframe it?

Begin by infusing into your problem what you’re thankful for. Then, move to praising your God for who he is thru your problem. End by requesting from God for eyes to see your problem afresh.

And always remember: There is no victory Christ can’t bring.

 

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.

When Your Past Returns to Haunt You

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“Are you a pagan?”

I sat in a body-piercing studio with the owner gazing at a tattoo displayed on the nave of my back. It was a gnome, sitting on a mushroom and playing a fife. Everything about it screamed pot-smoker, hippy and apparently, pagan.

And to think I got it because I thought it looked cool. To me it said, “Outsider,” a label I gave myself during my younger years.

The man’s question caught me off guard. I was twenty-one at the time and wasn’t sure who I was, let alone what I believed.

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly. The artist seemed as surprised by my answer as I was. Immediately, I felt ashamed.

Who was this person, anyway?

I spent the next eight years trying to figure out the answer to that question. Eventually, I realized all of the places I ran to seek my identity were fickle and fading.

It wasn’t until I started with the One who gave me my eternal name that I would know my true self.

These days, my tattoo is usually hidden. But the other day, while on family vacation, I was changing into my swimsuit and my five-year-old saw it.

“Mama, what’s that on your back?”

I told him what the picture was and explained how a tattoo is like a permanent picture on your skin. Then, my mind went back. Back to the person I was. Back to the mistakes I made and the years I spent wasting my life. Things much bigger than a silly tattoo that shape the person I am today.

For a little while, I let the voice of condemnation darken the light in my soul.

Scenes of things I wish I’d never seen replayed in my mind. Faces of people who left this life for the next one burned in my memory and left my heart heavy.

Perhaps you’ve been there? You’re walking in the new life Jesus freely gave you, and then all of a sudden you’re hit with a blatant reminder of the mess you used to be? That, despite your best efforts, some days you still are?

In those dark moments when I’m not sure I can escape my past, God often gives me a reminder. This time was no different.

We arrived at the pool and found it closed because of an incoming storm. After playing for a while in the arcade next door, we made our way back to the campsite. As we made dinner, a beautiful site caught my eye.

A spectacular sunset over the river.

The sun was big and radiant, dipping to the horizon in a circular blanket of clouds. I hurriedly got my camera and ran down to the beach.

I must of snapped a dozen pictures, but when I flipped through them in my viewfinder I was disappointed. This huge ball of light and fire looked tiny and dim. I couldn’t capture its draw. It was uncontainable.

As I sat in our camper later that evening, I felt that gentle whisper in my spirit.

Don’t try to put limits on my grace, Abby. It’s more limitless than the sun.”

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:16 ESV

I was putting God in a box again, thinking I could somehow run outside his grace. But it doesn’t just cover me. It drenches me.

We can’t put finite limitations on the grace of an infinite God.

And the moment we stop trying to put God in a box, we find we don’t want Him there. We find freedom. We find joy and rest.

So today, if your past is trying to haunt you, take a lesson from my tattoo. Remember it shapes you, but it doesn’t define you.

God can take the shattered pieces of your life and turn them into something far more spectacular than a sunset. He does it each and every day. Sometimes we just need a reminder of who he is.

Sometimes we have to take him out of the box and come to the altar. 

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

A Big Blog Correction from Kelly Balarie

Last week, at the end of my blog post, I wrote, “He who saves just might show up.” I want each and every one of you to know, I spoke a LIE. I was wrong. Dead wrong.

I completely botched that message– right on the last line. Nothing could be further from the truth.

So, here is my correction: “He who saves just might (WILL) show up.”

There is a 0% chance that God “might” show up in your life. There is a 100% chance God will show up. Revise this in your mind. Cross it out and post this one on the doors of your heart.

Because:

  • God is faithful.
  • God is true to his Word.
  • God redeems all, today, tomorrow or in heaven.
  • God is Savior and he keeps saving.
  • God is aware of everything you are going through.
  • God draws near to the brokenhearted.
  • God cares about those who are suffering.
  • God has a plan.
  • God knows your way.
  • God is in the details of your life.

None of this is dependent on you. Not anything.

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13)

Faithful even if we’re faithless, that is our God. Working, even if we haven’t the faintest idea how, that is our God. Mending, even if we don’t know where to even begin, that is our God.

He loves us anyway. He’s there for us always. And, our God? He WILL show up. No matter what you are facing, doing or believing. Faithful and True is faithful and true.

 

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.