Purposeful Faith

Category - mercy

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.

When You Feel Like a “Problem”

Feel Like a "Problem"

Lately, I’ve been looking like the frumpy mom. It’s time things change.

So, I head to the store and grab a whole bunch of clothes, as if they will radically revamp what is helter-skelter – the stuffed drawers, the haphazard dinners, and my own disheveled look. New pants will fix it all.

I put on the first pair.

But, they’re made wrong. All wrong. I can’t get the dang things over my hips.

I throw them down and grab the next pair, dark jeans. These will do the trick. Except they don’t; they don’t trick anyone. And, that’s the problem. I can see the bulges. Another defective pair! Be gone!

I suck in, lengthen my torso and slightly lean over, as if my moves will grease the fabric. They don’t. The pants move like chalk on sandpaper. They suffocate my insides.

Ugh. It’s not only the pants, my hair looks horrible and my nose looks big too. Plus, these shadows in here are horrendous.

I squint at myself, silently hating – everything.  These pants are all – problems!

Or are they?

What if the problem isn’t the pants?
What if it isn’t this room with dim lights?
What if the problem isn’t fabric,  but  – me?

What if I am more of a mess than I know?

What if these pants that reject me –
are symbolic of a world rejecting me?

What if my inability to look good
represents my incapability to do good in life?

What if I’ll never be more than me?
What if I always fall short?

Ever noticed that when one piece doesn’t fit, if you don’t get it before God, suddenly everything else doesn’t work either?

I inhale.

Will I turn to face him? Will you?

No matter where we stand? In a dressing room? In discouragement? In despair? In frustration? In aggravation? In ruin? In darkness?

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. (Psalm 112:4)

God’s dawn is lighting. It is for us. We think it is for others, but it is for us. Right there – in our dark rooms, the spaces that highlight our worst, that feature our folds and that cast bad shadows…

…even in these very places, God says, light is dawning…

For us, those who walk, not perfectly, but willingly, with God.
For us, ones gracious: kind and pleasant to our own selves.
For us, ones compassionate to the colossal shortcomings and massive mess-ups we are on the daily basis.
For us, ones growing in righteousness day-by-day.

And, for others, people we know – are aware of our faults.
For people, who can bust us.
For people, who no doubt can point out our flaws.
For people, who also make mistakes.
For people, who sometimes appear as problems.

God flips the light, in our darkness, as we flip our reactions over to love, peace and faith.

What happens is – through Christ – is we start seeing ourselves in good light.

More Reading:
When you Don’t Feel Gifted
When You Long to Do Something Bad
5 Ways God Cares (More Than You Think)

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When Life Comes Down On You

Life Comes Down

You. I know you feel sad, down or discouraged that things aren’t going so well.

That person? Yep. They aren’t so much changing.
That dream? Yep. It isn’t so much happening.
That pain? Yep. It isn’t so much going away.
That trial? Yep. It’s very much still there.
That bill? Yep. It’s not going away.

And, there you are in the middle of that rainstorm feeling tossed to and fro. You can nearly feel the pain of things that are going to hit into you. You nearly see the rocks and pebbles heading towards you. Add, the past? It howls with the whipping of regrets of yesteryear.

The power of God moves, you just aren’t sure if it is moving for you.

Do you just lay down and give up? Do you run?

But, run where?

There appears to be no covering, no safety from the onslaught of water falling. There appears to be no parting in the sky.

But, what if, what I saw as doom and gloom, God was working for my good?

I shall give you rains in their season,
so that the land will yield its produce
and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Lev. 26:4

While we see rain, God sees gain.
While we see storms, God sees the seed of new starts.
While we see downpours, God sees the fruit he’ll bear.
While we see darkness, God sees the light that will shine the next day.

God calms calamity and turns it into spiritual prosperity. Believe.

There is more than the eye can see.
There is more than the ear can hear.
Faith is more than your senses can perceive.

There is more than your mind can conceive.

God is higher than your loftiest vision.
God is bigger than your largest memory.
God is not contained within your own perceptions.

Even more, he is good.
Not good sometimes.
Good all the time.
Not good on some days.

Good everyday.
Not just good to other people.
Good to you.

He won’t fail you either.

 

The Care and Keeping of a Mean Girl

Post by: Jami Amerine

At a recent doctor’s appointment, I learned my physician suspected that the greatest health crisis I was facing was… dehydration.  That’s right, I am thirsty.

I consider myself fairly intelligent when it comes to health and nutrition.  I confess, I am embarrassed by this diagnosis.  Alas, I knew he was correct.  And the fact of the matter is, I don’t have time to drink eight, 8 oz. glasses of water a day.  On the days I do get that much water in my thirsty body, I don’t have time to make it to the bathroom in an efficient ratio of water in, urine out… so I am fairly miserable for 90% of the 64 ounces.

Needless to say, I left my doctor’s office feeling defeated, depleted and discouraged. There isn’t any way that my scale can be ten pounds lower than his. Is he just a vindictive mad scientist?  I sat in my car and had a hale and hearty cry and then as I examined myself in the mirror, I began to multitask. I reapplied mascara and lip gloss while listing all things I find most awful about myself.

Fat.
Loser.
Lazy.
Dehydrated.
Whiner.

Horrible at math, mostly weights and measures.

Exasperated.
Phoney.

And the worst of all… mean.

I am a very mean girl.

I called the friend who was babysitting our young son and two foster placements and told her I would be there in an hour. I went to the store and bought her a lovely fall floral arrangement and the ingredients to put a fragrant squash soup in her crock pot for dinner. Crusty bread and an apple pie were added to my basket.

I would take great care of my friend for helping me.

On my way to the checkout, I stopped and grabbed chocolates for my sister, my husband’s favorite cookies, and the children’s favored frozen pizza.  I scurried to the other side of the store and thoughtfully picked lovely greeting cards to bless my friends, our foster-daughter’s birth mom and her caseworker too.  Just before I checked out, I filled my basket with an abundance of toiletries for our three oldest children  who are at college. Then I made my way to the gift wrapping aisle to find bright colored bags to put the shampoos, shaving gels, creams, lotions, and deodorants in;  if I hurried I could leave the bags at their dorms before I picked up my babies.

When I climbed back in my car, quite pleased with the purchases, I would bless my darlings with, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Immediately I began to admonish myself, I forgot to grab myself any water.  I rehashed the list of my faults:

Chubby.

Dumb.

Slothful.

Parched.

Grumbler.

Frustrated.

Fake.

And the worst of all… mean.

I am a very mean girl.

About that time my daughter called to ask about my doctor appointment. I reported to her my struggle and she chirped, “OH MY GOSH MOM!  You must get this new app!  It’s called plant nanny!”

I followed her instructions and downloaded the app. I picked a cute little cartoon plant and begrudgingly entered my weight and read my results. The plant nanny decided how much water I must drink to keep my little imaginary plant conscious alive. The little seedling blinked at me with trusting animated eyes and I cooed at the psychological entrapment that would force me to drink enough water to nurture the cybernetic life into a blooming dependant illusion.

Over the next few days, I became more diligent in my pursuit of water. My iPhone would alert, my little make-believe Japanese succulent would bat her eyes at me and I would drink, click, and apply “water” to my H2O conscious companion.  I treated that animated being like royalty, then on the 4th day, a tragedy arose.

I lost my phone.

I turned the house upside down, it was nowhere to be found.  Later that evening, I recovered my phone between the  couch cushions.  When I opened the plant nanny app I knew immediately, the app had died of thirst.

Fat.

Loser.

Lazy.

Dehydrated.

Killer of simulated Japanese succulents…

And the familiar voice hummed in my ears, “You are so mean… you were so good to tend to that imaginary plant.  You are so kind to your neighbors, orphans, and case workers. You observe such careful and tedious attention to everyone, but you are so mean to My girl.”

I know this to be true.

The things that come out of my mouth toward myself are brutal. The TLC I afford those around me is stellar. The attention I bestowed upon the animated succulent … was criminal compared to the neglected efforts I make to grab myself, His girl – an artless glass of water.

I am most convicted of this, I may look as though I love my neighbor… but how could I possibly when I so blatantly despise myself?  How can I be so hard and ugly to the daughter of the Most High?  How can I spend so much energy on what I deem righteous and be so cruel to myself?  He who died for me, that I might be called blameless… His girl. I agreed with Him. It was not what He wanted for me. He wants me to recognize, I am clothed in His goodness. He sees me as perfected. He adores me as His own.

I have neglected the gift of my inheritance, daughter of Jehovah.  I deleted my plant nanny app.  I applied mascara and powdered my nose.  I grabbed my glass off the table and filled it with new water.

Water that this beautiful girl needs to bless the nations with wealth, prosperity and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

A champion for the little guy, a woman on a mission. Refreshed and adequately warned, don’t mess with His girl.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God – a sweet fragrance. Ephesians 5: 2

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

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)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.

 

 

 

When You Long to Do Something Bad

Beauty In Imperfection

I was in the store. I looked left and I looked right. I winked at my co-conspirator. I knew what I was going to do was wrong. Real wrong. But, I wanted to follow through. I wanted the thrill, the goods and the joy of her knowing I could do this. I grabbed the shirt and ducked in the dressing room.

Guilt followed me.

Is there something you’re doing behind the curtain?

Is there something you know you shouldn’t do,
but feel inclined to do anyway?

What is done in secret is still seen by God.

Ouch! That hurts right?  The reality is, we don’t want to stop. We want to keep going because the idea of approaching it the right way feels too difficult, emotional or vulnerable. It is hard to stop what you already have going, what you’ve already invested in. Stopping sin, sometimes feels like stopping a freight train going 100 miles an hour with your bare hand.

Just this morning, I wanted to approach something the easy way. There was a clear-cut solution to a difficult problem. I saw a direct path; it was wrong. I convinced myself it wasn’t really wrong. I counted up the ways, it could be right. I negotiated with my holy side – God can make a little allowance for this one.

God didn’t agree. He gave no peace.

“Just this once, God?”

When I try to grant permission to the wrong way,
I miss seeing God’s way –
 finding the reward at the end of the path called, “faith.”

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Heb. 11:6

Faith is believing in God so much, you do the right thing. It is deciding it is hard, but determining he will take care of you. It is believing that even without the thrill, he’ll thrill your heart. It is believing, even if you have to do it the long way, he’ll give shortcuts. It is believing, pain in the making is all about the new God is creating.

You can go the right way because God’s way always treats you right.

Provider will provide.
Lover will love.
Helper will help.
Guider will guide.
Creator will create opportunities.
Healer will heal.

When you open yourself up to God’s will pushing from behind you,
his new life-giving way opens up before you.

Will you believe by faith so you don’t walk fretting bad decisions?

Certainly, the result of one who walks by faith is being near to God. But, the lengths of God’s blessings don’t stop there, friends, he goes beyond this. He says he “rewards” the person who seeks him.

When you walk in obedience, by faith, he rewards in abundance – that very faith.

Imagine that?!  What you want, will be greater, if by faith, you let him give it to you.

Fear not.
Strive not.
Lust not.
Drink not.
Compare not.
Want not.
Steal not.
Lie not.
Worry not.

God has the best gift waiting for you.

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean…”  (Heb 10:22)

Let nothing come between you and the giver and sustainer of life. He has what you need. He is what you need. So,drop all that holds you back and walk towards him, unhindered, into all that he is ready to give you.

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Related Reading:

Sometimes, Failing Precedes Blessings

How to Really Fight Back using the Sword of the Spirit

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You No Longer Have to Force Happy

force happy

I ran into a friend today.

She said to me, “If you see my face and I look not as happy, just know it is because some things are hurting right now.”

I loved her honesty. I think she felt like she owed me something though; I think she felt like she had to prove that she, as a Christian, was okay to feel down. It kind of bothered me.

Jesus didn’t say, “Happy face required” to follow me.”

He didn’t say, “Pull yourself together and say what I want to hear.”

He didn’t say, “If you are having a hard time, you can’t be near me.”

He didn’t say, “Isolate yourself in a little bubble of protection if you feed sad.”

On the contrary he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Mt. 11:28

Notice, he doesn’t say: I will give you giggles, a smile and a facade that looks all squeeky clean.

Here is what I have to say to you, brothers and sisters today, who are struggling:

  1. It is okay to feel down, Jesus can handle it.
  2. It is okay to wonder the whens, whys and hows – and to bring them to the Lord.
  3. It is okay to tell us you are struggling, we often are too.
  4. It is okay to say you need time away to pray; God will show up.
  5. Greater is God than your greatest weakness.
  6. God is mighty to save you from anything and everything.
  7. Deep learning is in the deep reflection found through pain.
  8. Trials that peel away self, so we find self looking a whole lot more like Christ.
  9. Jesus suffered. He gets you and your pain.
  10. There is no kind of bad attitude that will push God away from you.

Keep going.

Keep loving.

Keep surrendering.

He has you.

Keep abiding.

Keep asking.

Keep listening.

He will not abandon you.

Keep pressing on.

Keep moving your feet.

Keep trusting by faith. 

He sees you.

Days will pass, emotions will ride out – and before you know it – you  will be in a new season.

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Shooting Back Fear (Response to San Bernardino)

Shooting Back Fear

San Bernardino.
17 dead.
14 injured.
Me…
Questioning.
Wondering.
Asking..

How everything around me moved from the safety of
white-picket fences and neighborhood playgrounds
to a territory where the wild things are?

What will happen to me?
Is this world going to eat me alive?
Will my kids be okay?
Will I be punished for my beliefs?
Stripped of my goods?
Hurt?

Today, we seem to live in risky territory. Raw territory. Hunt and be hunted territory. Even a head in the sand can’t hide this fact. It can’t take away the feeling that we don’t know what to do or, really, how to even prepare.

Fuzziness ingrains fearfulness.
Panic invokes more panic.
Rage makes us rage.

Then the unknown makes us certain our demise will become known.
The potential of “anything” swirls like a reality-bomb ready to explode.
The people against us become big and the people with us – become little.

Even when we tell ourselves “we are getting extreme again” and try to check ourselves in to a better mindset, we still don’t do well, for our mind comes undone, yet again, at the next catastrophic world blow-up.

We return to square one at this point, asking God, “Why do you allow this stuff?”

His answer looks something like this: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:12)

God doesn’t hide the truth from those who want to hide their head under the blanket of this-all-can’t-really-be-happening. And, maybe, just maybe this is the point.

It is what it is. And God is who he is.
And fear is profitable when channeled properly.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling… (Phil. 2:12)

When I start to fear my big God, that stands over all world problems – I find peace. I find hope. I find resolve.

Hope that looks like:

He will save us
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
 He will cover us with his feathers,
    and under his wings we will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be our shield and rampart.
 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday. (Ps. 91:3-6)

Open your eyes and turn from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God, makes way for forgiveness of sins and a secure inheritance among the sanctified (Acts 28:18).

Protect us, God will. Because he loves, he will rescue. Why? Because we acknowledge his name. We will call on him and he will answer. He will be with us in trouble. He will deliver us as we honor him. As we satisfy him all of our days, he will show his salvation to us (Ps 91:14-16).

Eternal glory in Christ Jesus will be ours, after we have suffered a little while, for he will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Pet. 5:10

Hope that leads to RESOLVE. RESOLVE to believe. RESOLVE to stand, no matter what. RESOLVE with fear. But, RESOLVE, nonetheless. Not in a fake way, not in a shallow way, not in a comfortable way, but in a I-can-only-do-it-with-you way. In a you-won’t-abandon-me-way. In a if-I-stay-in-your-truth-you-have-me-covered-way.

RESOLVE.

Reaching to a God who saves.
Expecting him to fulfill his promises.
Searching for his teaching amidst the terror.
Obedient to his steady promises above wavering feelings.
Leading our mind to his dwelling not the dwelling of the agonizing, torturing and demoralizing.
Vindicating and convicting, left to him.
Entering the holy dwelling place of the Spirit to reside with the comforter, the leader, the teacher and speaker of all truth.

Resolve in the name of Jesus. Resolve in the name of true belief. Solid gold, unbendable, unbreakable and untorchable belief. Believe that he is protector. Believe he is mightier. Believe he is more powerful.

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5 Things That Self-Destruct Faith (Which You’re Probably Doing)

Self-Destruct Faith

Faith.

It is the best thing we have and, yet the hardest thing to walk by.
It is the gift of moving beyond our self, and all the same, the gift of seeing into our self.
It is the know-how that we don’t know-how.
It is the reasoning, others call mis-reasoned.
It is the bootcamp for endurance and perseverance.
It is the beginning of progress and the end of self-loathing.
It is both our movement and the mercy of Jesus co-mingling.
It is the knowledge that what we can’t do, we always can do – through Christ.
It is a step towards the unknown, where we trust the known is holding us.
It is the access point to amazing.
It is the hope of all glory laid down on earth.

It is our calling, the thing that I love and the thing I so often hate. It stretches me. It pushes me. It calls me to the cliff, in a way, it wraps it’s hands around me and shoves me over m cliff of safety. It makes my heart pump. It gets me sweaty. But, all the same, it works every time, when I let it.

So why don’t I let it work?

I just went to Allume, a bloggers conference. It was destined to be a glorious time! A time God had cut out for me to love others, to offer prayer and to walk with him. Yet, at the very beginning of the event, faith started to walk out and doubts started to walk in. All I seemed to be  left with was a slip and slide experience of doubts ready to splash away all my dreams of excitement.  Whoosh! Away she goes.

So, what is one to do when we see ourselves slipping away from God? When we find the trigger point to our doubting point has been pulled? We have to find out what compelled us to pull the trigger in the first place.

5 Ways We Self-Destruct Daily Faith

  1. Forgetting Grace

    When we walk hitting our self with the force of all we can never do right, we walk with an internal wrecking ball that stands to tear down the joy we have in the Lord.  Forgetting grace means, building a monument to shame that you can’t stop looking at.

    TRUTH: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. La. 3:22

  2. Being Someone Else

    The second we walk in someone else’s skin is the second our own skin ends up crawling in discouragement and doubt. We can’t expect to feel full when we are emptying all that God created us to be on to the floor to be trampled upon.

    TRUTH: For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7

  3. Looking at Other’s Best Pictures

    When we take those horrid both-eyes-closed-with-a-double-chin pictures and compare them against others glamour shots, it is no wonder we feel like God couldn’t love us.

    TRUTH: (Nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 8:39

  4. Thinking There Really is No Plan

    When we think he’s not sending us anywhere, we start sitting nowhere. We will fall back on the couch – stagnant, scared, indignant and like repellant to change. Loaded schedules, relaxation, timidity and entertainment become the pursuit of our life.

    TRUTH: So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev. 3:16 (to be considered in light of John 3:16)

  5. Not Keeping an Always-Eye Out for God

    When we go through the day living by our minds rulings, we consistently miss who is ruling. It is the fastest way to move away from God, fast.

    TRUTH: In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Prov. 16:9

God has great stored for you. Will you open it? Will you walk to it?

For me, at Allume, my soul got right with faith on day 1, so that on days 2, 3 and 4, God could walk through. And he did. I praise Him for this return, because if I didn’t there is no doubt I would have wandered like a lost little red riding hood.

What I came to see was the faith-eating wolves where really sheep that God wants to use to bless me far beyond my greatest pre-conceived dreams. Taking a stand in faith, is always the best stand one can take.

Where will you stand – lost? Or found in God’s great plan?

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The Thing You Know, But Do Not Believe

Do Not Believe

There is one small shiny nugget that will make all the difference in your faith walk if you truly dig down and find it.

Not in a cliched,
I have known this forever,
of course it’s truth,
I say I believe it…kind of way.

But in a real, 
I seizing it,
I am rushing to it,
I will never depart from it
or let go of it –
kind of way.

Moving this foundational truth from background noise to real and present truth, changes it all. Moving it from head to heart will transform your faith.

You’ll more easily move from claimed by the past to claimed by God.
From owned by people’s words to owned by the owner of it all.
From feeling guilty forever to feeling exalted forever.

The small nugget is: knowing, not just thinking, God loves you.

So many times, I have lost my way without this deep-down heart-felt belief (usually when trials hit me 100-mi/min). Yet, when every morsel of my being, and every part in my heart feels unsure, unsteady and unable, I am starting to tap into God’s unbelievable strength. It stands waiting to become my fall back position, resuscitating my life – if only I give it that chance.

Is God’s real and valid love your fall back position? 

Does it catch you from landing in pits of fear, anxiety and depression?

Does it fly you high to new levels of peace and security? 

As we fall into this iron clad truth, the lies explode, and combust.

Lies can’t exist amidst the full power of peace.

Knowing this, I want to seek God’s love like a gold rush. I want to go after it. It is that valuable. I need it. I almost can’t live without it; I certainly can’t live joyfully.

May we rush after God’s love as much as we rush after plans to fix and change the things that ail us. Perhaps, then we will find the greater gift.

As we park ourselves in God’s heart of love – as we sit down in it –
we rest under the safe-covering of his hand.

When the burdens of life smother, sit down in his love.
When the feelings of I can’t come at you a mile a minute, sit down in his love.
When the weight of finances crush like a 100-pound gorilla, sit down in his love.

Love that says:

I engraved your name on my hand. Is. 49:16
I know how many hairs are on your head. Mt. 10:30
I love you in an everlasting way. Jer. 31:3
You sinned, I eagerly died for you. Ro. 5:8
I sent my own kid to rescue you. 1 Jo. 4:10
You may fall, but you can’t fall from me. Ro. 8:39

His love is best summarized as this: freeing handcuffs that lock you as forever his, not because of what you did, but because of what he did.

His love can’t be undone. Not when you remember back, not when you feel like you left God, not when you said that thing, not when you did that thing, not when you accept him at the last minute, not when you feel shame, not when regrets hit you, not when problems surface.

It always is. It always is – for you.

God wants you to have it.
Nothing can thwart it.
It belongs to you.

Life can’t hold you back from it.
Trials can’t keep you from it.
God defines it.
Yet, He waits for you to receive it.

Keep in God’s love.

Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 1:21

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Uncover Your Light So You May Shine Bright

Uncover Your Light

Oftentimes, all seems well in my Christian life until one small thing happens to completely knock me down.

It could be an unexpected bill.
An unexpected argument.
An unexpected tantrum.
An unexpected suspecting mole.
An unexpected heartache.
An unexpected injury.

But, no matter what kind of unexpected thing comes to tackle me, it usually takes my eyes right off the ball – right off of Jesus.

As one unexpected issue heads at me straight on, another issue comes to pound me, and then another. It’s like everything is set to force me to the floor. All of life’s opponents are after me. 

In this moment, I wonder,
How can I keep my eyes on Christ
when all I can think about is preserving my life? 

Because all I can only see the weight of the issue from this vantage point; I have no sight beyond that.  I can only see the weight of things on top of me; the things that are loaded one after another, like a big pile of worry. They keep me from seeing the light. They make me feel like I am suffocating.

They avert my eyes from the light of Christ’s glory and grace. They make me want to run – but their heaviness reminds me – I’m stuck.

How do I release myself from the powerful force of these issues?

Because, one thing I know, one covered, can’t be shining.

One loaded under the weight of issues,
can’t be radiating love and light through the earth.

Either I am uncovered by the grace of Jesus
or I am covered by the weight of worry and fear.

This truth calls me to rise above my momentary troubles. It calls me higher than defeat; it calls me to fly high to grace. To fly high above the problems that plague me to see the beauty that I hold.

Not a ball, but Jesus Christ.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Ro. 8:11

Life is always available through Jesus Christ.

If my life is set to his playbook and I seek to run into the world with his light,
doesn’t he call me to more than defensive living?

Doesn’t he call me out to live offensively?
In the light? With his power? Understanding his grace?

I am being called to lay down my fears so that the love of Christ can shine into my dark places and the world’s dark spaces.

You are the salt of the earth. Mt. 5:13

Then, and only then, will I be able to shine the light he gives me.

I won’t be able to contain it.
I will shine it into the hearts that come against.
Into the situations that seek to tumble me.

It will shine as a beacon of his love, calling all to know and love him.
It’s light will cast away my issues, and illuminate the issues of those around me.
It will light the steps towards love, verses the step towards fear.

The light of Christ makes the difference. It guides us in the way we should go. We no longer have to live defensively, because the light of Christ let’s us move offensively.

The more we think of Jesus, the more we see our issues fade and his light takes over. 

We can stop letting the unexpected things throw us down, and instead, let the unextinguishable light of Christ propel us forward.

God says:

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
Like a lighthouse set on a hill, the light of his love will not contain us. We will radiate love.

“Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Phil. 2:15
Like stars, our light testifies to the Creator’s majesty. We will draw awe and wonder at the display of his great beauty. The presence of God is displayed through us through light.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 Jo. 1:7
Light = Fellowship, unity and purity. Light draws out love and extinguishes fear.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Dan. 12:9
As wise children, we shine heaven far and wide to brighten the path to Jesus. We reveal the glory of his eternal destination.

“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
As torch-bearers, we cast his light into the darkest pits of despair. Glory shines in places where there once was no hope.

“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”1 Thes. 5:5
We stay in the day, where we are safe in his ways.  We are children of the light! Our light can never be put out.

Eternal light can never be covered. It will always shine. There is no opponent who can defeat it or unexpected threat who can beat it. We always have hope.

Even more, we serve as the present day light-carriers of Jesus Christ. There is too much at stake, too much important work to do, to allow our lights to get put out. People are desperate for this light. We need this light to thrive and to revive – the world.

Uncover your light, so you may shine bright in Christ.

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