Purposeful Faith

Category - Love & Health

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The Electrifying Power of Christ in You

Christ in You

Without Jesus I’d be like a car accident with no repair shop,
a mental-case of self-doubt,
a walking shot of vodka times twenty.

Without Jesus in me,
I would travel from place to place
as a leech seeking my next feel-good prey.

That would be me.

You know what the crazy part is?  I’ve realized it’s ok if I still leech. Jesus doesn’t mind how much I leech on to him. 

I can grasp on, pull out everything that IS him and still get every ounce of what I desperately need. I pull in all of his goodness to breathe out all of it wherever I go.

Jesus practically says leech off of me
and I will give you all-surpassing peace.

You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Is. 26:3

I never thought it should work that way. But, it does. It really does.

He is the rescuer, the ambulance, the paramedic who now runs to my rescue. Not from the physical issues that most likely would have plagued me, but, to the deep emotional hurts. He doesn’t even bandage them – but simply touches them with his gentle hands to bloom what once was bruised.

I don’t need much else besides him. He is the all-inclusive package to life.

I can seek him until I am blue in the face, and still uncover greater sustenance.

He’s better than the straight shot of alcohol because his intoxication heads directly into my heart.

He works in me, through me and for me.

to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col. 1:27

Now I have hope. What once looked like a world full of hurt, crud yet-to-come and accidents waiting to happen, now looks like a world of hope-at-bay, peace-at-work and joy-yet-to-come.

It’s a mystery, but once you have Jesus in you – it all becomes clear as day.

You don’t have to worry about today, because God holds tomorrow.

You don’t have to fret about lost dreams, because God works beyond our visual screens.

You don’t have to be anxious, because God is working through the piles of trash that seem all around you.

You don’t have to feel alone, because God’s presence is greater than the blue sky that covers.

You simply rest in him, knowing he is working. That is Christ in you.

A person cheating and swindling?  Compassion for their needy heart.
Christ in you.

An obnoxious customer service call? Grace to the one who gets rejected all day long.
Christ in you.

Another call at church to give more money? An outpouring of money to those in need.
Christ in you.

Things you could never comprehend pouring out,
were always poured out by Jesus.
Christ in you.

I am realizing that the only requirement is a desire to keep blockages of his glory far, far away. To keep those things that trip you up distanced. That’s it. It’s not even so much that I have to do the hard labor, Christ in me, handles that for me, I just have to be willing to bring it to him.

To acknowledge it – you know, the opposite of deny it.

Then we can see his radiant glory shining out and when it shines it changes everything you look at.  Christ in us. The power is staggering.

It’s addictive. More of you Jesus, let me leech onto you.

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Today I am joining #LiveFreeThursday, Five Minute Friday and #DanceWithJesus.

When Prayer Gets Hard

When Prayer Gets Hard

Guest post by: Kelly O’Dell Stanley

Praying for YOU is easy.

If you come to me and ask for prayer, these are the words I will have for you:
All things are possible. God is a healer. Hold tight to your faith. Just believe.

I will carry your request to God, believing He can do anything. And that He will.


It’s easy enough to pray for my friends. I don’t even hesitate.

But for me?

Sometimes the only words that will come are ugly, insidious whispers:

You are not enough.
You don’t deserve what you want.
You haven’t been faithful enough.
You haven’t trusted Him enough.
He’s not going to come through for you, so don’t get your hopes up.

It’s a form of self-flagellation at its worst. Beating myself up and living in the assurance that because of all of my failures, God, too, will fail. Or, at the very least, will fail to act.

It’s a cruel torture that leaves a mark as surely as a whip would do.

A few months ago, I found a lump in my breast. Instead of a regular mammogram, they scheduled me for a high-res, diagnostic ultrasound. I had to wait longer to get in. And I knew, I just knew, that the best thing I could hope for would be an assurance that “it’s probably nothing, but we need to do a biopsy.” I figured I’d have to schedule a procedure or two. And wait. And wait a little more.

Instead of leaning on God, I snapped at my husband. Criticized everything in sight. And tried and tried to pray, but all I could manage was, “Dear Lord,” before I’d stop.

Stumped. Afraid. Before I’d dwell on the fact that Mom died of cancer. That my dad had cancer. That my sister’s best friend died from breast cancer. That one in eight women will get it. And that there’s no reason in the world why that should not be me.

As I sat in that waiting room, with the little pink shirt-gown on, while my technician prepared the machine, I couldn’t focus.

I finally cried.
And I was so afraid.
Too afraid to really pray.

So I tried to block out all of my thoughts with a simple melody. The melody to Hallelujah (You Never Let Go), sung by Jeremy Camp came into my mind, and I thought-sang-prayed, You are with me, Hallelujah. You are with me, Hallelujah…

And I let those words push away my fears.
I let them drown out the what-ifs and oh-nos.

It’s so easy to forget God is with us. That He. Is. Right. There. With. Us.

No matter what we feel. No matter where we go. So I just kept repeating that chorus. Until I believed it.

Felt it. Rested in it.

After the ultrasound, the radiologist assured me that there is nothing there. It’s normal fibrous breast tissue. No cyst, no tumor. Nothing. I’m fine. I could have sighed with relief and moved on, like we often do, forgetting about it now that I’m past the scary part.

But the situation got me thinking.

I believe with all my heart in the power of prayer (so much so that I wrote a book about it). And if I still have my moments of doubt, if I still think that maybe God will come through for everyone else but not listen to me, then many of you probably feel that way, too.

What if, just for today, we let ourselves pray as though God is everything we want Him to be?

Everything that we think He is or should be?

 What if we prayed full of belief?

What if we stopped torturing ourselves for our failings?

What if God shows up?

What if this is the moment when everything will change?

What if I can summon as much faith for myself as I can summon for you?

What miracles do you suppose we’d see?

                                                                                                                       Let’s find out.

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Kelly O’Dell Stanley is a graphic designer, writer, and author of the new book, Praying Upside
Down, which releases May 1. With more than two decades of experience in advertising, three kids ranging
from 21 to 14, and a husband of 24 years, she’s learned to look at life in unconventional ways—sometimes
even upside down. Full of doubt and full of faith, she constantly seeks new ways to see what’s happening
all around her. Subscribe to her blog (www.prayingupsidedown.com) to download her free ebook, Praying
in Full Color, along with this month’s prayer prompt calendar to jump-start your prayer life.

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Purchase links:
Barnes & Noble
*Also available at christianbooks.com, Lifeway, Books-a-Million, Parable, and others

Join Kelly on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Are you a Speaker of Fear? (Linkup)

Are you a Speaker of Fear?

Fear says,

“I don’t want you to do that. You better not go there.”
“I walked down a path and I saw the bad things that resulted.”
“You may get hurt.”
“I will have to carry your load.”

When we speak fear, we speak death into another person’s joy.
We speak the emotions of worst case scenarios into what could be another’s best.
We rain on another’s parade.

I don’t want to be that kind of person.

The kind of person that sees a child with a new balloon – and who then sucks the life right out of it.

I can try to justify it in love:
I don’t want them to be hurt.
I am saving us future pain.
They should know the truth.

But speaking fear is just criticism wrapped with a thin bow of “care”.  The “care” bow doesn’t last, but often it’s the underlying words of fear that endure.

Are you raining on a parade?

Are you letting fear dictate your words to another?
To a spouse?
A child?
A friend?

I am guilty. I look at my 3-year old son, carrying big bucket of water and a huge smile, only to say, “Don’t spill that. I really don’t want to clean that up.”

While I know this is a small example, and it won’t ruin his life forever, it still conveys the point. What if, instead, I was to say, “Wow! That looks like fun. You are up to something cool. I want to be a part of that! Let’s take it outside.”

Instead of stealing joy, I am building into it.

I know, so often, I run so fast to fear…

Fear that ruins.
Fear that cripples.
Fear that overshadows emotions.

Fear stands for:

And you’re left…

What’s the other alternative? Love.

Love stands for:

Vanish and
Enduring Faith Win

Love doesn’t see issues, but sees hope.

Love doesn’t see threats, but sees opportunity.

Love doesn’t see differences, but common pain.

Love doesn’t see the words “you can’t”, but encourages through the words “you can.”

​Love doesn’t see the potential downfall, but a chance for greater faith to be forged.

Love doesn’t run to save, but trusts Jesus to.

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Acts of Kindness Matter

Acts of Kindness Matter

There is power in the unseen acts of a friend.

Not so long ago, I had been delivered soul-crushing news.
News that gave me a new revelation of the past.
News that made me wonder if I was still good, worthy and valuable.

It made me see myself in a new light. It was I-don’t-know-if-I-can-handle-it type news.

I knew God says, “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:23)

But, did God really have faithfulness stored in this?

It seemed this news, this turmoil, and this trouble now excluded me from His promises.

Attempting to push past feelings, I called out to God with all my heart, saying, “Come Lord. Save me in this situation. Heal me and help me.”

Shockingly, as I drove up my driveway later that morning, something caught my eye. A white as snow gift-wrapped box leaned against my garage door.

I couldn’t find a name, but when I opened it and was awe-struck with its contents. What it contained inside changed my entire perspective.

It was as if the very heart of God was delivered to me in a box. It was as if a giant hug and a note of his faithfulness was sent.

Inside lay a picture frame with the words, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14)

These words were the exact message that I needed; they healed my heart and spoke to the depths of my pain.  I was touched by God, but I was so deeply touched by the love poured out by a friend.

She had been used as an angel of God that day.
She never sought recognition or acclaim.
She had no idea of my pain, but did a nice act all the same.

What she probably doesn’t know is that this act meant all the difference. It changed my vision. 

It wasn’t about her recognition or acclaim. She had no knowledge regarding my issue – but, all the same, she offered a gesture of love. Love that was sacrificial, that took her time, that used her money, but that healed a heart.

I was brought to my knees. I was touched. I felt so loved.

I don’t know who this woman is. I may never know. But, what I do know is that God has special rewards for her in heaven. I also know that she taught me a lesson in friendship that day.

She makes me wonder:

Do I go out of my way to make small acts of love?
Do I give my time and money intentionally?
Do I see the friend who is likely hurting?
Do I shower them with advice or do I love them under the radar?

This friend inspires me to love through the power of God. Because friends are often the messengers of God’s faithfulness. I want to deliver Jesus’ messages.

Small acts of kindness do matter and love does conquers all. Friends are the best vehicles for his love, mercy and grace. They drive his truth home in our hearts.

Small acts of kindness matter; they completely transform lives.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” – C.S. Lewis

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Real Love for Real Life

Real life real love

By Purposeful Faith Contributor,  Katy McCown

I remember when Valentine’s Day was a big deal. You either loved the question, What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? because you had ultra-romantic plans. Or you dreaded the question because you had no plans.

Now, Valentine’s Day is really more of an annoyance than anything else. Since neither Luke nor I possess gift giving as a love language we like to say every day is Valentine’s Day, thereby relieving each other of any and all romance-based sweets or surprises. It works for us.

Even so, the day still remains and lots of people spend lots of money to show their love.

Last year I started wondering, though.

Why is the heart this day’s cover girl?

Buy a girl a pack of M&Ms on V-Day and you’re likely to get a roll of the eyes, or worse, in return. But give a girl chocolate in a heart-shaped box and Voila! You made a smile. Kids cut out hearts or make them with macaroni noodles. Stuffed bears hold them. Little girls wear them.

Our baby girl, Leah, wears these pajamas with little hearts all about.


The boys love them because it reminds them of a cow. They’re super cute, but I’m looking at these hearts and thinking,  Is that right? Does a heart really paint the picture of love?

This year, I think if I want to show my love I’ll fashion a picture of my life … laid down.

For him.


And them.


 Because that’s what Jesus did. And that’s what He said.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)

Or maybe I’ll draw a bunch of little brains.

Brains deciding to smile instead of scream.
Or teach instead of tear down.
Or offer mercy instead of judgement.
Or simply be quiet instead of spilling all of my opinions.

No way that image looks as cute as the cow-print hearts, but I think that’s more realistic.

Because isn’t real love a little gritty sometimes?
Isn’t it practical more often than poetic?

But, somehow the real-life love is more romantic than the, “Katy, will you accept this rose?” kind.

Like that night …..

In a rental home in Jacksonville, Florida, Luke and I shared a small room with two big dogs, a newborn baby girl and a knee machine. Two months earlier Luke tore a ligament in his knee. Surgery fixed him. Rehab strengthened him. But rehab came with a machine – in the bed, all night – bending and straightening Luke’s knee. We figured we got the 1920’s version of said machine, since it squeaked and creaked with every extension.

Add the newborn to the mix and an occasional re-positioning of the giant dogs in the corner, and we weren’t sleeping much. Cherry on top: the boys got a stomach bug, and we found out about it in the middle of the night.

While Luke helped Jonah into the shower I scrubbed the carpet. The rest is a blur. Except for one moment.

The next day, after dogs and knee machines and newborns and throw-up, Luke came home from work. I expected him to fall into the nearest chair and snore, but he didn’t.

Instead, he found me. With a smile he bent over to kiss my forehead and said,

“There’s no one else in the world I’d rather clean up puke with at 3 a.m. than you. I love doing life with you.”

You’ll likely never find those words etched on a Hallmark card, but they are etched on my heart forever. Not because they came in a pretty package. Not because I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. But because real love met real life, and it bloomed.

That memory – that awful memory – makes me smile today. And, you know, I think Jesus might say the same.

“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

Have you ever seen real love in real life? Will you share it with me here? Leave a Comment! Let’s celebrate when real love meets real life and blooms!

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Post by Purposeful Faith Contributor,  Katy McCown


Deeply Root Yourself in God’s Love

Deeply Rooted in God's love


“Love.” What happens when underneath it all – we don’t feel God’s love in our deepest being? When we know Jesus, but we have a hard time believing he loves us?  Perhaps, the world has jaded us, people have hurt us or we have done the unthinkable.

We think God’s love is nice, but we know it as “distant”.

We know love in our mind, but don’t feel it in our heart.
We know love accepts us, but still, our past defines us.
We know love is the answer to freedom, but the chains remain.

What happens here?
How do we move from knowing in our minds – to believing in our hearts?
From knowing about love – to knowing love?

Sometimes, I feel like I live partially loved by God.
Like a daughter who is visited by her step dad a couple times a week.
Like a girl who is not always seen.
Like one who needs constant affirmation.
Like one who wonders if she is forgotten.
Like one who needs to earn approval.
Like one who feels unworthy.
Like one who is forgotten.
Like one who doubts.
Like one who falters.

Is this a picture of a loved daughter of the most high King?

Can I truly love others – and God, when I haven’t embraced depths of his love?
His unceasing, unbelievable and unending love?

Perhaps my earthly experiences have shaped my capacity to perceive God’s love.
Can I only know love to the depths that I have been loved?

In my search to answer these questions, God is teaching me that to walk in love is to walk by faith.

Because none of us have been loved the way he loves.
None of us can understand the depths of his actions for us.
None of us can perceive the immensity of his presence before us.
None of us can comprehend the lengths he goes to fight for us.

His love is unbelievable in a sense.

Because of this,
we have allowed our perceptions and our tribulations
to create realities of God’s love for us.

Yet, his power extends beyond these created idols of love.

Like the many miracles of Jesus; true power is found by faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

Faith is where the love of Christ is found. It is found when we receive what he gives, even though the gift is so immense we can hardly receive it – or believe it.

He gives:

– His own son – for us. He gave the ultimate (Jo. 3:16)
– His life for us – for people who can’t stop sinning. (Ro. 5:8)
– A life that is alive with Christ. He goes with us. (Eph. 2:4-5)
– A saved life. His presence. His rejoicing spirit. A presence that quiets our active soul. (Zeph. 3:17)
– Steadfast, never-ending love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)
– Mercy & graciousness. (Psalm 86:15)
– His own Spirit – a constant companion and help – to live within us. (2 Tim. 1:7)
– A position as a child of God (1 John 3:1)
– An owned status, which nothing – no way, no how – can ever separate his love from us. (Ro. 8:31-39, Ps. 24:1)
– A secure position which – no one, no way – can pluck away. (Jo. 10:28)
– No condemnation even though we deserve it all. (Ro. 8:1)
– Gifts that he delights in giving because we are his children. (Gal 3:26)
– An acceptance and approval of who we are. (Ro. 14:18)
– A powerful care about our daily doings. (Ps. 139:2)
– An ever-flowing rhythm of grace that can never be obstructed. (Jo. 1:16)
– An eternal home that has been prepared just for us. (Jo. 14:2)
– An earthly plan and purpose for our lives. (Prov. 16:9)
– A promise to make us more and more like him. (2 Cor. 3:18)
– A nearness, a shelter and a hope that is beyond compare. (Ps. 46:1-6)
– An advocate who fights on our behalf. (1 Jo. 2:1)
– One who is ALWAYS for us. (Ro. 8:31)
– One whose compassions never fail. (Lam. 3:22)

God is so good that, in a small way, it doesn’t really matter how much we grasp his love because his love will still remain for us. His love is so unconditional that it is not contingent on understanding. He loves us despite us.

Freedom is found in this place. Because, even when our world, our past and our choices have proven that we are unworthy of love, we still remain, as believers, in Him. Then, in faith – we can step out to grab the power of God’s love. This is the way.

We can grab hold of love by faith by:

1. Praying. Lord, let us be deeply rooted in you.
2. Seeking. Lord, let your words of truth shoot as arrows of love to our deepest needs.
3. Meditating. Lord, let us see your love pour over us as we close our eyes.
4. Receiving. Lord, let creation testify to the power of your love.
5. Communing. Lord, let us relish in the daily gifts you pour out on us.
6. Abiding. Lord, let us remain in you – and you in us. Help us to see this give and take.

I am done living fatherless from the most high king, distanced from the one who cares for me the most and duped into believing I am alone. I am done with the fear.

Because isn’t fear just a deep knowledge that no one is near?

But, God is. He was. And, he always will be. The Alpha and Omega never changes.

He is even when I don’t think he is. This is the ultimate love. His love is so all consuming that my eyes cannot begin to absorb his immensity. His love is so great that I can’t even fathom it. I can’t even take it.

I will set my mind, by faith, on the power of his love and trust that it will accomplish all it is set forth to do.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Ps. 138:8)

My life is secure, never to be forgotten, in the palm of his love.

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Labor vs. Love

Post by: Katy

With the Thanksgiving feast only a few weeks away I can’t help but think about the feast preps made famous by Jesus. One feast that two women treated completely different. One woman loved. The other labored.

Jesus’ disciple, Luke, recorded the exchange: Martha invited Jesus into her home then went to work. But her labor peeled her away from His presence. Mary, consumed by her Savior, chose to sit at His feet.

Labor cumbered Martha. Love consumed Mary.

I can’t blame Martha. I imagine her chopping away in the kitchen thinking, “If I don’t do this, who will? Somebody has to do it!” Her chops grew harder. Her blood boiled a little hotter then finally, “That’s it!” she silently screamed.

“And she went up to him [Jesus] and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.'” Luke 10:40 (ESV)

Woah. Crazy lady alert. Can you see her standing in the doorway, hand on hip, jaw clenched, tapping her foot? In this story it’s easy to spot the girl gone wild and her major misstep. Hello! Jesus is in your living room! And you’re complaining about what? Sit down and shut up already!

But if I give it a minute to soak in, this picture hits uncomfortably close to my home. Look at these two gals. Martha stands for chaos, frustration, fatigue. Mary points to a calm, peaceful, purposeful presence. I want to be Mary, but when there’s much to be done it’s hard to choose love over labor. The key word there is choose. Love, often mistaken for a feeling, is actually a choice.

Love serves with a smile as her thoughts swirl around who her hands will serve and how they will benefit. Labor grinds with a grumble as she stands preoccupied with what must be done.

In the very midst of writing this post, opportunity knocked.

My toddler alerted me to the mess with squeals of despair. I hurried around the corner to find him on his back in a growing puddle of water. By the time I arrived, an overflowing toilet bowl had turned the bathroom into a wade pool and threatened to expand into the hallway. I have no clue about plumbing, so I couldn’t make the water stop gushing over the edge. I pushed, pulled and twisted everything on the toilet that moved. Finally, I jammed a bottle of hand soap under something.

I lovingly mopped up the minor flood, piled the sopping towels in the middle of the bathroom, shut the door and ordered no one to use that bathroom until Daddy got home.

No, we did not all have a hearty laugh in the midst of the bathroom fiasco, but we did escape the chaos caused by panic, raised voices, and an overwhelmed spirit. We worked together. The big boys gathered towels and helped the little ones grab a snack.

No, I did not feel like smiling and speaking softly as the kids galloped through the water like I intentionally put it there for them to splash through; but the choice to love made the moment easier to manage.

My Jesus, may my chore never become greater than your choice to love me first, so that I may love. (1 John 4:19)

Leave a Comment! Who do you identify most with? Mary or Martha? Why?

I’d love to hear from you friend!

Sincerely, Katy

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 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.

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