Purposeful Faith

Category - Jesus

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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When You Hate What God Gave

God Gave

My 3-year old daughter and I were playing a game. She was behind a box “counter”, I stood in front of it: ordering. I was supposed to buy some food, because, this was a restaurant.

I told her I wanted a salad and ice-cream. Trying to be good, but wanting to indulge, this was my kind of order. Add a chocolate dip to the ice cream and this is what summers are made of. I digress…

Anyway, daughter fixed up my food, looked me in the eye, while handing over my imaginary goodies, and declared “Now, you get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

My jaw dropped. She nailed it.

So many of us internally chide our self with this same kind of diatribe, as if God says this to us. As if this is how we are supposed to cope with life. As if, we are meant to get a crumb and tell our stomach to feel okay with it. Now don’t get upset!!!

Surely, I know this verse: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Phil. 4:12)

Yet, somehow I think we’ve got it all wrong. God never told us to lie.

Yet, we’re convinced we must show the world we are strong, we tell our self, “We get what we get and we don’t get upset.”

Outside we look like a gracious kid at a candy shop, while inside we are throwing a fit like an irate toddler because we’re unseen by the world, unrecognized for who we are and uncared for.

I notice Paul, in the verse above, mentions the words, “I have learned. . .”  Why are we ashamed of learning? Of journeying? Of admitting we feel the struggle?

So often, we already can sense when this is the case with someone. Why do we hide so?

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Today, consider this: In the light of God’s glory, there is no shame in transforming.

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 Are You Waiting For?

waiting king of world

Post By: Angela Parlin

My last semester of college, I moved to North Carolina for an internship at a giant computer corporation.

I hated to leave school early, but they offered me a chance to work into my first real job, and I couldn’t pass it up. Just before I moved, my boyfriend proposed, and we decided to get married less than 6 months later. Just after college graduation. It was an exciting time, to say the least.

So I transitioned into a new job, and moved into what would become our first apartment. I learned our new city and made some new friends. And after setting up our apartment with just the basics, I laid out pieces of wedding paraphernalia on the nightstand beside my bed. It was a daily reminder of my new life to come, the life I was eagerly waiting for.

Do you remember a time when you longed for something new, just around the bend?

I studied a verse earlier this week, and it reminded me of this anticipation.

“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:28, ESV

Let’s talk about that last phrase for a minute. To save those who are EAGERLY WAITING for Him.

Jesus will come again, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.

I have a question for you, and it’s probably going to hurt a little. But I hope it brings you to a better place, and a new perspective.

Are you eagerly waiting for Jesus?

He is coming to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. But there’s just one problem.

We love the world instead.

We are eagerly waiting for all our dreams to come true in this life. We are waiting, for everything we love right here—for the work and accomplishments and people and events and promotions and possessions and all the plans we desire for our families, for our lives. Right here.

I hate to admit it, but my desires and dreams for this life compete with my desire for Jesus.

I’ve been involved in a love affair with this world, and it has prevented me from waiting eagerly for Jesus to come again. But the Holy Spirit used this passage to make me aware, and to lead me to repentance. There’s no better place to be, because repentance brings refreshment.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

I don’t want to be waiting on all the amazing possibilities of this world.

I want to be waiting for the King of the world.

Let’s hope He finds us waiting for a new life to come. Waiting eagerly for Jesus.

Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

The Women We Want Our Daughters To Be

women daughters

Post By: Angela Parlin

“Mommy, can I read something for all of us?”

From the backseat on the way home from school, my daughter couldn’t wait to share something from a book she’d checked out at the library.

“Okay, I need everyone to close their books and phones and listen.”

All the boys groaned. Isn’t it annoying when little sisters act like moms?

She read a verse to us from a little red devotional book. Then in her 9-year-old strong voice, she walked us through the explanation and application.

Later, she and I were heading across town for an errand. Again, she opened up her devotional and asked me if she could read to me.

Tears dripped down my cheeks as I listened. Because I remembered in that moment, there are a million ways I hope she grows past me…

Read the rest of this post at Angela’s site today, where she’ll be hosting the #RARALINKUP!

Feeling all the Feels…Riding the Wave

Post by: Jami Amerine

My week has been – ridiculous.

The list of life-altering changes include, a transitional end to our foster-love’s time in our home, the departure of our oldest son to Marine Bootcamp, our oldest daughter’s upcoming wedding, the release and launch of my book, potty training debacles, enormous new developments in my husband’s company, and the persistent comedic drama symptomatic of a household of nine.

On the evening after dropping our son at the Marine MEPS for his departure to San Diego, I couldn’t sleep.  My nose was slammed shut, my eyes were swollen, my heart was aching, and about 1:45 am I sat on the couch in our loft, fully clothed, and let loose.

Ugly cry is not even close to a valid definition of the performance.

I am surprised, no entirely amazed that I had that much left in me.  And I begged God for relief.  Out loud, alone in the dark I whimpered-wailed my need for His help.  Up until that moment, I had just rolled with the emotions.  I’d been laughing at sweet memories, crying at the unknown, smiling at the thoughts of what was to come, and angry it went by too fast.

I couldn’t take anymore.

I needed some sleep.

I needed Him to stop the ride and let me get off… even if it was only for 5 hours.  I pleaded, “Please Jesus, help me… please, I am so tired, I just need to…”

Just then, my phone rang with a caller I.D. from California.

It was 1:48 a.m.

Just as I’d been informed, I heard my son’s voice is a sea of other hollers;

This is Marine Recruit…  I have arrived safely… the next time you hear from me it will be by postage mail in 2 to three weeks. I love you.  Goodbye.”

The scripted call I’d been told about at just that moment in the midst of heartbreak came, I can still hear him.  He sounded tired, stressed, and… hungry.  Whatever, I know him. That was his “I want a grilled cheese sandwich” voice.

And, I let loose a brand new emotion… gratitude.  I remember I started my new brand of weeping about 1:49 a.m…

I remember nothing else until 7:00 a.m… when my alarm went off to wake the children.  Fully clothed, jewelry, streaks of tear stained make-up, and my shoes –  I was startled awake and painfully crooked.

Somewhat refreshed, with a perpetual lump in my throat I limped through packing lunches and fixing hair, the toddler sons said something delightful and I giggled.  A tween left a wet towel on the bathroom floor and I grumbled.  An email popped up from an old friend offering prayers and another tear escaped.

This rollercoaster of emotions is indicative of this life.  The relief when I need it comes from my Jesus.  The rest… the rest is a blessing.  The release of tears celebrating, missing, wishing, and hoping for change or good – are part of the creation He fashioned.  Not to punish or test me, but to give me release and a reminder of my design.

In the midst of that gift, when I was most in need, He answered.  He sent a phone call, sure – it was due, but it came right when it was most needed… in the midst of my pleas.  And then, He blessed me with unconsciousness and much-needed reprieve.

My emotions and nerves are on high alert.  I am a compulsory explosion of sunshine and rain.  I am hitting every single cylinder.  And I am confident He who created me, will walk through this with me.  He is for me.  He came to bind my broken heart.  He came to comfort, heal, and nurture.  To grieve or rejoice, I am nearer to Him.  He knows me and adores me.

In my weakness He is strong.

He is my rock and my fortress.

I will ride this wave, reveling in these reactions, delighting in this life, and I will not go down with the ship.


Psalm 89:9You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.

Jami AmerineJami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

Do You Need A Lift?

when-you-need-a-lift/

Driving in Texas, I saw a tow truck with tow lift in the back that looked much like a cross.

It reminded me: With Jesus, we’re never stalled.  Jesus who was high and lifted also lifts us and carries us to safety.

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Ps. 91:11-12

For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock… Ps. 27:5

Jesus is our ever-present tow truck…He carries us, in his power to where we were meant to go. He delivers us to safety when we let Him bring us.

Just think, when life stalls, Jesus is our hope.
When we feel we might break down, he waits for us.
When we are quite certain we just got our self into a car crash –
he lifts us above the shattered glass and broken metal – to safety.
When we feel down and out, he lifts our spirits up as we seek an eternal view of our problems.

Where does your life feel stalled? Broken? Injured? Unrecoverable.

You know, when I was about 17, I totaled my parent’s van. It wasn’t my fault – a Mac truck hit me. My gas chamber exploded on impact and, when the police arrived, the said they were surprised I was alive. They said that the car should have exploded – with me in it. Things reeked of gas.

My van got towed away. I stood there.

We never know the small ways God is saving us, the ways he is towing us to something greater.

But, every day, we can choose faith. Faith that says: Father, daddy, I believe that you have a plan in my heartache and a plan through my pain.

For the fact of the matter is – if you’re still breathing, God is still purposing to use you. If you are still waking in the morning, he is still working. And, if you are still moving, he is guarding you.

Do not lose hope. Don’t lose faith. And, certainly, don’t give up.

God is towing you to straight into deliverance – whether on earth or in heaven. Hope in him and his great power to lift us, really, can never be lost.

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 the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

 

 

 

Mercy, Grace, and the Wall-Eyed Fit

Post by: Jami Amerine

Our foster-love has entered into the broad world of the wall-eyed fit.

We have epoxy-stained concrete floors in our house.  It only took a couple times for her to rethink throwing her entire body weight onto the floor and screaming her head off.
It hurts, so the effectiveness of showing her frustration was overruled by the knot on her noggin.

Now, when she is frustrated she gently sits, then lies blithely on the floor… and then proceeds to throw a fit.

We cannot help but giggle as the drama of her tantrum is overridden by her cautious technique of getting to the pinnacle of the spectacle.

Often we wonder, as long as it took her to get prostrate had she forgotten what she was mad about?

And this may seem silly but recently I was upset with God.  I felt He had pulled the rug out from under me.  I found myself flat on my back, hurt and angry that He hadn’t been there to stop the insanity train from leaving the station.

For the better part of two days, I ignored my habitual instinct to “pray without ceasing.”  I found myself audibly saying, “I am not ready to talk to you about this…”

I went so far as to get out some stationery and pen to write out my complaint. With Thesaurus in hand and my gift for the written word, I would tell God exactly how I felt about the current downward spiral.

Yet the longer I postponed the tantrum, the more I worked through the calamity, the more my vision cleared… and all of the sudden I had new clarity.

He didn’t do this to me.

There were natural consequences for our current trial.  He was not dishing out troubles, yes He allowed them and then walked with us through them, but He was not in the business of destroying us.

When did I first believe Him to be cruel I do not know?

But I am rejoicing in the new-found message of GRACE.

Freedom in Jesus wasn’t something He promised just to hear Himself talk.
If we are free… then we are free indeed.

How I love falling into His arms.

How I need Him to catch me and show me it is all okay.

He makes all things new.  And all things work together for good for those who love Him.  In the midst of a trial, I was refreshed and renewed that He was for me.

He is for my marriage.
He is for my children.
He is for my good will.

Who is this God who we encourage others to adore?  Is the walk of salvation a trick manifested just to get others to fall in line?  Or is this the real deal?

Pray, I say to you He is so real… so dear and wise.

In my folly, I have questioned Him. In the explicit moments, He has welcomed me, without judgment or harshness, and allowed me to lie at His feet and worship.

What God is this that shows such mercy and love?

My God… my love and life’s breath.  He will never leave me or forsake me.

He is for me and He is with me, affording mercy and grace… even unto the carefully executed wall-eyed fit.

Matthew 10:16 (NASB)”Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” 

 

 

Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

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

10 Question Quiz: Do You Block God’s Love?

Block God's Love

My son lives like a son. Meaning, he takes all momma wants to give him. If I walk in with a plate of cookies, he dives into them. If I offer him a hug, he runs up to get it in full. If I sit down with him, he delights in showing me things. If he gets injured, he runs to me and asks how I might help. He takes what I give, eagerly and willingly.

Somehow he knows where he is –is safe. And, what I am giving – is good.

Christians aren’t always good children. It’s not because we aren’t loved, adored and chosen, we completely are, but it’s mostly because we grew up.

I’ve been meeting a lot of children of God in need lately, but when he tries to use me to love them, they shut it down.

Here’s how it tends to go:

  • I say, “Need prayer?” They say, “Nope. But, I know someone who does.”
  • I say, “Are you struggling with anything?” They say, “Nope. Not at all.”
  • I say, “I’d like offer you a gift – God has put you on my heart.” They say, “Nope. I never take gifts from others.”
  • I say, “You are courageous.” They say, “I don’t want to talk about me. Let’s talk about you.”

Rather than living as a needy children, we living as arrogant adults. To turn away the love of Christ is to turn down the greatest gift moving on earth. We do it often.

Why?

Maybe, because we don’t want to owe people things. Maybe, because we feel guilty or embarrassed. Maybe because we feel undeserving.

The maybe’s don’t matter.

What matters is, like children, we open our arms up to hold the gifts God is outpouring through others. What’s important is that we see all the ways he is trying to love us. What is important is that we let this love in, so we can let this very love out.

God wants us to sit at his feet and feel his love. He wants us to grow in community. He wants us to receive the glorious inheritance of his riches, which often walks into our life through the other body parts of Christ. He wants us to stand in need, so we see that he can stop what is making us bleed.

10 Questions to ask yourself: Are you not receiving God’s love?

Do you let his love in?
Do you embrace what God is offering you?
Do you make time to sit next to God?
Do you listen?
Do you remember God’s goodness?
Do you notice God through your day?
Do you seek spiritual eyes to see?
Do you trust by faith?
Do you push off distraction?
Do you renew your mind when it gets off track?

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

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

A 3-Point Plan to Beat The Enemy

Beat The Enemy

Sometimes, in the summer I get lazy. Real lazy. You see, when I go out to sit in the backyard and to soak in the summer sun, I just grab my books, my towel, my chair and my lemonade – and go. I forget the pests. I forget about those nasty mosquitos- that bite.

And, bite they do. It is usually the next day – I’m scratching my legs off.

If only I would have picked up that bottle of repellant so that I would have held up against the suckers. That would have been good.

Even more, with all this talk of Zika, I start to fear. What if I get sick? What if some disease is passed to me with all these bites?

Some days, I worry about mosquitos, most days I worry about something.

I don’t have a fight-plan either. Well, I guess by definition, if you have no plan, you do have some plan – its just a bad one.

Mine looks like this:

  1. Kelly, stop worrying.
  2. Kelly, do something to fix what is coming against you.
  3. Kelly, didn’t I tell you to stop worrying?

My fight looks like me on defense, not Christ on offense. But, Jesus never told us to sit around like doormats anticipating a good stomping. He never told us hang out in the midst of blood-sucking mosquitos.

He gave us self-protection on the cross. Jesus shows us a way out. He gives us a plan to repel what is coming against us.

Do you know it?

It looks like an unconventional fight:

Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Eph. 6

3 Point Offensive Fear-Fighting Plan:

  1. Pick up. Grab faith so you can fight life-sucking fear.
  2. Hold it up. Hold up faith founded on truth during spiritual, emotional and physical attacks. When you feel fear popping up, remember: God is for you. God is with you. God won’t leave you.
  3.  Blow up the fiery arrows of evil. Go forward in faith like it is your personal repellant to the enemy. You see him coming? Spray him with faith.

No spiritual attack can hurt you spiritually, unless you walk into life unprotected, uncertain, of God’s great love for you.

Take up your faith, hold up your shield and blow up every strategy that is trying to take down your trust in your first love. Fear Fight. Stand firm. Don’t back down.

How Many Christians Live Grace All Wrong

Grace All Wrong

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

Easy, right? Hardly.  This is just about one of the hardest callings.

Imagine:

You toss potato salad at my face? I smile and speak in an angelic tone to soothe you.

You throw me under the bus with my boss and steal my promotion? I make allowance for your mistake and let go.

You con me out of all my money? I humbly confront you with words of kindness.

How is this possible?

Not by my own strength, I’ll tell you. My own strength would have you pressed up against the wall with a lesson stuffed down your throat. It is not easy to respond with humility, gentleness, patience and allowance for mistakes.

In fact, it’s pretty much impossible.

All our righteous acts are like filthy rags… (Is. 64:6)

It’s impossible by our own strength because we are weak. We either muster up humble-arrogance, which looks a whole lot like pious Christianity, or brute force, which ruins relationships.  Either way, the result is not from God and it’s quite ugly.

…For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil. 2:3

God works in us and God wills us to act out his good purpose. God moves then we move forward in love.

Yet, I often live backwards-grace. This is where I muster up good within myself and force it on the world. It usually ends up looking a whole lot like manipulation rather than ministry. Yuck.

Backwards-grace is fruitless. It leaves Christians dejected, demoralized and discouraged. It flat-out doesn’t work. What does work is getting with Savior. Seeking his heart. Letting him mend yours. Allowing him to grow you. Returning again to the wealth of his truth. Letting his grace cover your failings. And then, from the place of heart-change, allowing that very shift, within you, to work kindness, patience and humility into the world.

If you let God into your heart, you’ll find he changes it.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Ps. 51:10

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