Purposeful Faith

Category - guilt

Living Without Fear

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

Post by Katy McCown

In Proverbs 31 God introduces us to this woman,

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

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

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

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

How does your sentence end?

She ________ ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In her book Living So That, Wendy Blight writes,

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

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

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

She laughs, because she trusts.

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

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

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

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

Bzzz … Bzzz … Bzzzzzzzzzz!

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

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

Bzzz … Bzzz … Bzzzzzzzzzz!

Strategy #1: Ignore it. 

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

Strategy #2: Avoid it. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To actively keep my heart, I employ 3 Strategies:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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,
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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From Bad Self-Talk to A Good God (Linkup)

Bad Self Talk


I think to myself:
You are not doing that right.
You’re coming off as a know-it-all.
Kids don’t love a mom who acts annoyed.
You always drop the ball with your husband.
You are being too selfish.
You are a continual mess-up.
God won’t bless that.

Condemnation. Like rain, it sure can pour down. Yet, somehow I have grown to think it’s an ordinary part of life.  It’s like a fly in the house. Sure, it’s annoying, but I can deal with it. Sometimes, it even becomes familiar. Provided it doesn’t bother too much, we can co-exist.

But I wonder, how much does it hurt me to co-exist with condemnation?

Because when I think of it, I see that self-condemnation left unchecked…
leads to self-loathing and self-loathing left unchecked…
leads to self-inadequacy and self-inadequacy left unchecked leads to…
a fear-filled turned-in spirit that doesn’t turn-out towards God or others in faith.

Condemnation may not injure our current actions, but it sure impacts our future ones. It may not hold us back from dreams, hope and a future in the present, but it’s lasting effects do bite.

And yes, friends, I do know that God says, “There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus,” but sometimes I just don’t consider that in the moment – the moment when the thoughts move in as fast as a freight train.

Mostly,  in that moment, I am just trying to get by, to live the hand of cards dealt – even when they leave me flushed with thoughts of how much I lack, what I can’t do and where I can’t go.

Sure, I hate those cards, but at the same time I am used to them. That doesn’t make them right though.

Yet, as I stare intently at those cards, wanting something more, my eye starts to focus on the King, the King who wears the crown. The King who is high. The King who can change the game.

I remember his love, I see his royalty and I admire his crown.  I see something. I grab hold of something…

I realize the King’s love has already condemned condemnation.

Thinking of it in this way, allows me to grab hold of this truth.

His love is what changed – and changes – the game. And it is what changes my thoughts.

Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Prov. 4:25

If I can keep my eyes fixed on what is love – Jesus – my thoughts will follow him. He will lead my mind in truth. The King will teach me the right way to go.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Lu. 6:45

I know Jesus calls me towards obedience. I can’t help but think of this verse: take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?” 2 Cor. 10:5

I want to be obedient.

Next time, that hand is dealt and that fly buzzes, I am going to ask myself 3 questions:

1. How does Jesus see you in this moment?
2. Is this thought rooted from a place of Christ’s love?
3. Could I imagine Jesus speaking these words to me?

Perhaps, then, I can discard the things that trump his love and grab hold of the ultimate King of hearts. Perhaps then bad hands won’t be a precursor to bad actions. My eyes will be set on the King.  

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How God Makes All Things New

God Makes All Things New


There was a woman sent from God. Her name is Kelly.

When once she was sad, lonely and afraid,
today she’s found peace.

When once she used to fear dark land mines set in her room,
today she only hears the whisper of Jesus confirming, “You’re mine.”

When once she used to look to anyone to confirm her worth,
today her worth is found in the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ.

When once she used to try to be the Savior to a family of 8,
today she is a simple mom of 2 – with a Savior of One.

When once she lived afraid of whom she was, what she would become
and what others might do to her,
today she walks with confidence of God’s purpose set before her.

When once she crafted her words and actions to meet other’s needs and desires,
today she crafts her heart around the one who crafted hers.

When once she held herself to the standard of perfection,
today she let’s walls fall so Jesus can address her imperfections.

No doubt, I am this Kelly.
I am the Kelly that was lost – lost to fear.

Lost from life. Lost from love. Lost from hope. Lost from purpose.

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. (Luke 15:32)

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because (Kelly) was dead and is alive again; (Kelly) was lost and is found.'”

My knight and shining armor came – and rescued me – and he will come again. He will come in on a white horse to save the day…

…to more and more set us free.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. (Rev 19:11)

When once we were in the world, surrounded by darkness,
one day we will rejoice with our maker in the eternal light of significance and security.

On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. (Rev 21:25)

When once pain, cancer, conflict and wars prevailed,
one day we will Jesus Christ prevail at the right hand of God on his mercy seat,
reigning and pleading in all power and might.

Who then is the one who condemns? No one.
Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Ro. 8:34)

When once we sang songs of earthly despair crying tears of agony,
one day the angels will sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” and every tear will be no more.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away. (Rev. 21:4)

When once we ached to find more,
one day we will learn what the definition of “more” really means.

…To be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment-
-to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Eph. 1:10)

From freedom to freedom.
From power to power.
From love to love.

God is always moving us deeper and deeper into his love.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor. 5:17)

Jesus erases the power of “once” to delight us in the power of “new”. God makes all things new.

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Today I am linking up on #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

Finally, Know Full Well He Will Keep You

he will keep you


I try, I fail.
I parent, I don’t do a good enough job.
I try to do right with my husband, but I take the wrong approach.
I reverse my car and slam it into my babysitter’s.
I serve another and get anxious in frustration.
I pray to be patient, but I’m impatient with the never-ending tears.
I want to be a good daughter, but feel like I have no time.
I say more of you God, but get distracted by life.

All the time, I feel not good enough, not together enough and not smart enough to do things right.

All the time, I drop the ball in one way or another.

But, under the surface of all my failings, below the layer of trials that lay on me, I have a choice to make.
Under the muck that seeks to keep me stuck in little lies that could lead to my demise, yes, this choice still remains:

Will I believe what God says about me?
Or will I believe what I feel about me?

Because the truth is, my feelings will sink me deeper and deeper into guilt, shame and a feeling of hopelessness, while God’s truth will lift me higher and higher into peace, power and a sense of fullness.

The truth is: God will keep me.

He will keep me in the palm of his hand.
He will keep me from harm.
He will keep his presence in front of me, behind me, above me and below me.
He will keep me in the beauty he displays through the sun, the wind and the waves.
He will keep my foot from slipping.
He will walk me in truth.
He will show me another way when the enemy comes to tempt.
He will guide me by the Spirit.
He will pray for me when I don’t even know how.
He will forgive and throw out every stone of sin I have confessed.
He will never let me go.
He will never forget me.
He will always keep me.
He will prepare a room in heaven for me.
He will comfort me in the meantime.
He will listen to my every prayer.
He will work all things together for good for me, because I love him and am called according to his purpose.
He will always be for me.
He will always advocate for me.
He will help me in my moments of distress.
He will give to me as a father gives to a beloved daughter.
He will be by my side.
He will always know my heart.
He will always know my thoughts.
He will always provide me his truth.

And, he will never pluck me from his hand.
He will never say goodbye to me based on my actions.
He will never ever no-way, no-how, stop loving me.

This is how good my God is!

His words speak like a permanent love letter to my heart.

Because God is who He is. He is the great I AM.  If you just ARE, you can never change.

I can change, but he can’t.
I can do a bad thing and feel plucked from his hand, or fall and feel less than or I sin and feel unforgivable, but his character can’t be altered.
I can change how I act, but he is always the same. He is always one ready to forgive, standing right beside me, hand on my shoulder – willing to love.

The question is, “Will I believe it?”
Doesn’t it really come down to faith?

Will I believe he will keep me?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. (Ps. 139.13-14)

Did you notice this line – “I know that full well”?

Do you know it full well that you are always his, eternally adored and always accepted because you are a child of the living King?

Let’s go from believing by the power of our mind to believing by the depths of our soul.

It will make all the difference in the world – to know full well.

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Linking with #livefreeThursdays and Five Minute Friday.

When Forgiving Yourself is Hard (Linkup)

When it's hard to forgive yourself


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.


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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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.  

Caution: How Not to be of The World (Part I)

How to not be of the world

We have a choice to make.  Do we believe the World or do we believe the Lord?  We have to live in this world, but we are smart to discover how not to be of the world.

Because the fact of the matter is that you can’t serve both.
You will either serve God or you will serve the world.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.  (Matthew 6:24)

The world tries to tell us that we need to be rich, powerful, successful, beautiful, funny, outgoing and (fill in the blank).

But, as Christians, the World is not our maker  – and it is certainly not our master.

Yet, sometimes we act like it is.  It tells us what we need to believe, how we should act and what we should say.  And we follow in step. Its words can become louder than the Word of God – especially if we aren’t taking time to hear the Word of God.

The world’s magnetic pull draws us close and we tend to get consumed us with its standards rather than getting consumed with the one who holds all life, all love and all power.

The truth is, we can’t focus on two destinations.  It’s impossible.   You can’t drive to two places at once.  And that is exactly what we are attempting to do.  We say we are driving towards Christ, yet that enticing off ramp pulls us off our course.

We continually get distracted when we take our eyes off the road leading to Christ.

We follow signs that direct us to pleasure and enjoyment – and we get sidetracked.  We see the stop sign that offers a perfect moment to look at our needs in the mirror – and our voyage is halted.  We see a billboard that advertises a perfect face of beauty, riches and power – and we get thinking.  Then, we get lost.

Let’s not set ourselves on a crash course.  In order to do this, we must think about what we are thinking about – and we must think about what we shouldn’t be thinking about.   Likewise, we have to look at what we are believing – and not believing. Because, we either have our eyes set on Christ or we are swerving down the roads of the world, ready to head straight into a ditch.

God calls us to focus.  To keep our eyes on Christ.
To avoid looking at what everyone else is doing, being, and saying – and to instead see Him.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God (Hebrews 12:2 The Message)

When our eyes are on Christ, they are not on the world.
And, when our eyes are on the world, they are not on Christ.

Lets fix our eyes on the One who provides all direction, all hope and all purpose by keeping focused eyes.

  • Focused eyes understand He is the One who provides all good things.
  • Focused eyes, let the world become blurry.
  • Focused eyes allow God to magnify the right ministry opportunities.
  • Focused eyes spend time connecting with God on the daily basis.
  • Focused eyes see those that need love.
  • Focused eyes are focused on the needs of others before themselves.
  • Focused eyes are not just focused on TV.
  • Focused eyes understand that God has big plans for them.
  • Focused eyes know that God is greater than any circumstance.
  • Focused eyes know that God has not forgotten them.
  • Focused eyes know that God is alive, well and aware of all things.
  • Focused eyes know God will rescue and restore.

Focused eyes do not veer off the road.  They steer clear of potholes.  They avoid dark areas.

The result is a life that is full of Christ, abundant in love, strong in purpose, weak in pride, engaging in relationships, authentic in grace and powerful in faith.  We all want this.

When we meet Jesus, we want him to turn to us and say, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)

When our eyes are focused, we won’t miss out on what God has for us.  The opposite happens – we see ourselves and our lives with amazing clarity.  We receive the goodness, the peace and the love that God has in store for us as believers because we are not sidetracked.  We need not fear because the Lord will keep us safe.

how to not be of the world

Stay tuned for Part II where we will discover who we are in light of our God.

Why Can’t I Be Better?

Have you ever had that pull on your heart?  That ache that tells you that something is not quite right?  The persistent call that tells you that you have messed up yet again? The one that makes you ask, “Why can’t I be better?”

It’s a feeling of shame, mixed with regret, all combined with a ton of guilt.

I hate these feelings sometimes.  Even worse, I hate how I feel when I am not sure what I should do.  I hate not knowing if I will ever “be better”, “do better” and “love better”.  I hate feeling like I will never get it quite right.  I hate feeling afraid to take the risk to go “there”.

Sin weighs me down. It crushes a spirit.  It burdens a heart.  It stifles a purpose.

Sin comes and:

  • It laughs at us
  • It makes us afraid
  • It shames us
  • It makes us uncertain
  • It tells us, “why bother?”
  • It condemns us
  • It defines us
  • It confirms we can never change
  • It makes us self conscious
  • It covers us in chains
  • It discourages us
  • It attempts to hold us back from our purpose
  • It steals peace
  • It embarrasses us
  • It robs us of joy
  • It lies
  • It hurts
  • It lasts
  • It scars

It knocks on the doors of our lives attempting to lure us.  It stands ready to rob us.  And after it does, it leaves us injured, broken and lying on the floor unsure what to do next.

But it is in this place of vulnerable pain where our hurts drive us to admission.  It is in this place where we have to take a risk.  Where we have to step out of our comfort zone.

And, it is in this exact place where God is best seen.  This is where we see him from an authentic, open and receptive heart.  And, when we come to God, he heals and binds up our pain better than we could have ever imagined.

When we confess, and move towards God through changed actions, he comes to us – and we come to him.

And he says:

  • I forgive you
  • I love you
  • I will embrace you
  • You are my workmanship
  • Your actions don’t disqualify my plans
  • Your sin doesn’t mean you can’t win
  • Your ways don’t supersede my ways
  • I am more successful than your failures
  • My grace extends further than your guilt
  • I live inside of you.  I can’t give up on myself.
  • You are more than a conqueror because of Christ Jesus.
  • You are my work-in-progress

Do you believe me?  

If so, let it go.  As far as the east is from the west.  Let. It. Go.

Watch me work.

I can change you.

I am perfecting the beauty that is “me” within you.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

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