Purposeful Faith

Category - grace

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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Who Owns Your Known?

Who Owns Your Known?

Post by:  Christy Mobley

I stood at attention like a toy soldier, fisted hands on hips, and a plastered smile so tight the muscles in my jaws twitched. It was there on the floor of the junior high gymnasium, where I awaited my fate.

In Jr High all I wanted be known for was being a duPont Dragon cheerleader.

But on that day when the names were called mine wasn’t among them.

When I wasn’t chosen, I remember feeling  jealous and bitter toward those who were.

That was 44 years ago. Today at 57, do I still want to be known for something?

If I’m totally truthful, yes I do. And you do too.

You might be thinking, No, I really don’t. But stop, and think about it for a minute. We all do.

For me, I want to be known as a good wife, mom, friend, writer, a good dresser, decorator, tennis player, and Bible study leader. And I like to be noticed for my efforts and applauded for a job well done.

We all want people to know us,

approve us,

like us

and sometimes, yes,

even envy us.

We count Facebook likes and our Facebook friends, our Twitter followers, Pinterest pins and our link-ups on LinkedIn.

We want to be known for something or be known by that “somebody” who is known by everybody.

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It starts in our youth and continues as we age. Wanting to be known is as natural as breathing and we all have an insatiable appetite for both.

But therein lies the problem. Our appetites.

Just like our appetite for food can lead us to gluttony and diseases of the body, our appetite to be known can lead us to diseases of the soul – greed, jealously, hatred and bitterness.

To keep our appetite in check, we need to recognize and understand the three P’s of known.

1. Provider – who owns my known?

2. Purpose – what’s my known for?

3. Perspective – is it mine forever or only a season?

John the Baptist was a man who could handle his known.

He had a huge amount of followers for his day in age, that is until Jesus took the majority of his following. When the disciples of John the Baptist asked him why people were leaving him to follow Jesus, John answered by saying …“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Ah, here in John 3:27, we are reminded that God gave John his position. It was not something he gained himself.

Only God owns our known.
He alone is the Provider.
We may put in the hard labor but it is God who swings the doors open.

The purpose of our being known is not to point to us ( it’s not about us folks) but to point to Jesus. John 1:6-7 says, concerning John the Baptist, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John, He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that thorough him all might believe.” God has a purpose and position for each season of our lives so that we may use it to point to Him.

Most importantly we must keep the proper perspective on our known-ness and not hold too tightly to something we may only temporarily possess. Job 1:21 reminds us, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

In the wake of losing our known-ness, be it followers, friends, a job, our family or whatever else, our perspective should always be one of joy in living under the wings of God’s sovereignty. There are times we must take a backseat to another for the spotlight to shine on Jesus.

John 3: 29-30 says, …“That joy is mine and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.

John the Baptist knew where his position came from,
he knew what his position was for and he was content in letting it go
when his time came to step aside.

This past year I received an extra portion of known-ness but when I started to fill it slip, I tried to hang on. And in doing so, I showed the telltale signs of not watching my P’s. I slid down the slippery slope of known into a selfish pile of actions that did anything but point to God.

Today as you take the kids to school, go to work, or check your Instagram account, ask yourself two questions.

What position has God placed me in?

And, in this position, am I pointing to Him?

Who owns your known?

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Purposeful Faith Contributor
Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. You can find Christy on her blog, Joying in the Journey at www.christymobley.com

Dealing With A Scary Future

Scary Future

Just a short while ago, my husband and I were traveling in Texas. We didn’t know the area so well, so when our GPS service broke, we shifted into high-anxiety mode.  We were driving roads that we didn’t know. We had no idea where we were headed, but we most assuredly figured it was all the wrong way.

Have you ever been there? Lost?

In a place of not knowing?

What your future holds?
How God will do it?
Where he will send you?
How he will take you?

The unknown is scary.

It threatens today’s joys with tomorrow’s pain.
It whispers words of fear over faith.
It steals the joy of the moment and replaces it with the stress of questions.

For my family, it wasn’t so much that we thought our life was in danger, but it was that we felt aimless, we felt misdirected and we felt lost.

Underneath the surface worries and anxieties, we felt out of control. We lost our power to handle things, to know, to handle and to plan.

What future seems lost and unknown to you?

A decision?
A living location?
A marriage?
A relationship?
Finances?
Life issues?

God knows.

But, in his all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful way, he decided we shouldn’t.

He hasn’t left us though.
He goes with us.

And, perhaps, what we thought was lost is really found as we turn to God in the midst of uncharted territory.

Because here we get an opportunity to “try on” the glasses of faith. And as we do, our vision sharpens.

Instead of seeing all we can’t grasp, we start seeing the one who grasps everything with perfection – God.
As we see our lack of control, into vision comes the one who controls all our life’s controls.
As we see the maker, we see how he can make all things in our lives work for good.

“I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.” – Amazing Grace 

It’s in the “not knowing” that brings us to our knees in prayer, to lift our hands in honor, to surrender our heart with abandon. Then, we start seeing truth. We start to realize that even when we had sight, we were always lost – without Him.

There is power in admitting you are fully lost without Jesus.

Because then, rather than living lost in the abyss of an unknown future, we can start living lost in the awe of a deeply known Savior.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Ps. 23:4

Imagine:

Through the black darkness of the valley Jesus walks with you saying, “Do not fear.” 

Even though evil seems to lurk around every corner, God rests his hand on your shoulder, saying, “I am the world’s holder.”

As passing shadows, shoot from right to left, Jesus speaks, “These things, too, shall pass, but my love endures forever.”

As death comes in the night, God offers you his rod and his staff.  You know you will find your way, not because you can see, but because you are being led by his always-vision, that sees you through any situation.

The God of comfort is leading, guiding and holding you now – and forevermore.

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. Ps 119.50

We may feel lost, without GPS, but one thing remains true – Jesus will see us through. And, we don’t have to see, in order to believe that God is for us, with us and will never abandon us. No matter what dark roads lurk, we remain secure in Him – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7

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When Excuses Rule

When Excuses Rule

Being a good mom is hard work.
It means being patient, kind and loving.
It means not pulling my hair out when I can’t get one second alone.
It means not having a second to do one little task without being tackled.
It means answering the same question, in the same way, for the 100th time.

Motherhood takes will power to be good.

Many times, I just don’t have it. But, I pretend I do. So, I load myself up with a lot of excuses to make my insides not feel like my outsides.

I try to tell myself – any mom, would get annoyed!

“Moms look at their cell phones all the time.”
“It’s natural to want to hide when things get tough.”
“If they would act right, I would too.”
“At least I am better than the worst time.”
“I did that because they have to learn how to act right.”

Excuses are funny.

Aren’t excuses really just little sweet lies covered with a smile?
They’re chocolate on the outside, yet have arsenic on the inside.

Crutches that keep us in sin?
We walk with them, but we stumble over ourself again and again never really getting anywhere.

Hinderances to our recovery?
We try to look fully recovered, but we don’t let God heal.

I am tired of barriers. Barriers just block us out for God’s great promised land of joy waiting for us. Every time. They. Block. Us. Out.

With this, on this very good day, this very good day that cost one so much. I plead with God to help me take down all the boundaries that keep me from him.

I am humbled at the thought of him.

One who walked the road to Calvary with no excuses.
One who could have said, “Why should I die for those sinners, I am so much better than that.”
Or “I’m not doing a thing for them, for who have mocked me, tormented me and beat me.”

But, he didn’t utter excuses at the cross.

Instead he carried our load, he carried our cross, he endured the shame and the pain and didn’t run the other way. He took it all so that we could take our place next to him in heaven. 

He is entirely good. No pretenses. No facades. No excuses. Simply good.

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

I praise God that he is good. Because in him, I am good too. I am released from all excuses and free to accept his free grace. My inadequacies are covered.

No excuse is every required, because whatever it is I am trying to excuse is already covered. In this, I am free to bring everything to him without shame, without regret and with a humble heart. In his hands, he will change my ways and help me to be more than myself.

The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. (Ps. 145:9)

Free grace is continually poured out due to his goodness. Abundant love is always being extended due to his sacrifice. My life will never be the same; he marked all days as “good enough”. My days are forever changed.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Ps. 136:1)

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Today I join #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

Mercy for a Broken Spirit

Mercy for a Broken Spirit

I gossip.
I lie.
I am prideful.
Jealous.
Discontent.
Impatient.

When I see the face of my sins, it nearly breaks my spirit. It burdens.

But, broken pieces draw us to the original crafter –
the one who puts all things back together again.

And in his light I can see:

I did everything wrong, but Christ did everything right.
I did nothing of worth, but he is entirely worthy.
I dropped the ball, but he holds it – the entire earth is in his hands.
I am destined to death, but he took death on the cross so I wouldn’t have to.

I come to him a broken daughter
and he leaves me as a beautiful bride.

Mercy. Mercy after mercy, time after time, minute after minute, offense after offense the Lord never stops extending, keeps offering and keeps keeping on – after a broken heart that continually draws wayward from him.

What I don’t deserve, he gives. What I am not, he is.

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. (La. 3:23)

He never stops giving. 24-hours later, new mercies arrive.
His ways are greater than our days.

His mercy makes us worthy and his grace keeps us blessed.

Mercy definition (Google):
compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

Grace definition (Google):  
the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Mercy brings us into the goodness of God; grace is the extension of it.
Mercy saves us from punish; grace brings us into joy.
Mercy takes what was ours (punishment); grace gives us what isn’t.

What we don’t deserve we get. What we deserve was taken from us. In this, all offenses are seen through a new light, the light of Jesus sitting in glory on high.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

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