Purposeful Faith

Category - No Fear

Embarrassing Bravery and Insane Courage

courage is required as we free fall into grace quote by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

There is a captivating quote in the movie, We Bought A Zoo: 

You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.

For ten years my husband and his sister wanted to go skydiving together. Their plan was to go once she turned 18. Time went by and the dream remained tucked away, but not forgotten. Then a few years ago there was a great deal on Groupon for skydiving nearby—and the rest is history.

These adult siblings demonstrated insane courage and embarrassing bravery as they plummeted to the earth (I have to say that their father and I also displayed some too by promoting, watching, and documenting the experience). I am proud of them. Ultimately, it was a lesson of trust, growth, and quite the bonding experience.

Isn’t this like our faith?

When we “sign-up” we count the cost and take a leap into unknown territory. The Lord asks us to trust Him in the midst of fear, obstacles, and at times scary and exciting circumstances.

The giants are present, but the slingshot is in hand. The hand looks weak, but the power is in the One Who called, Who holds together.

God equips for the task at hand. For what is laid out, He knows the course. We ride this journey, tandem.

What is God asking you to trust Him with?

Is He calling you to something that seems impossible in your own strength? Is it self-control, parenting well, mending a relationship, being kind to that “hard-to-be-nice-to” person, getting out of debt, faithfully spending time with God, learning a new skill?

My father-in-law once preached a great message about how, with God, the impossible is possible (Matthew 19:26). We might find ourselves between a rock and a hard place so we will trust and look to Him, and not rely on our own strength.

I have a few friends right now who are facing impossible types of circumstances. It’s hard to watch as the winds of loss, pain, and injustice beat against their face. They find themselves between a rock and a hard place, and the outcome is uncertain. Yet, I’m reminded of Moses, God put him in the cleft of rock while His glory passed by.

Could it be that when we are in a hard place, or a seemingly impossible season, that God’s glory is very near?

and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Exodus 33:22

Courage is required as we free fall into grace. Bravery is needed as we trust God in the midst of the unknown. We do not go alone, as we take a leap of faith. Our Lord has gone before us, and goes with us.

Look to the cross, Jesus is definitely the example of insane courage and embarrassing bravery.

1 Corinthians 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

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Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations

Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

5 Ways God Cares (More Than You Think)

God Cares

I stared out the window. The outside was about ready to teach my insides a deep lesson.

What caught my eyes were two birds frolicking, jumping and having fun. They didn’t care; they chased, played and enjoyed the beauty of the day. Before not too long, a few friends even joined in. Life seemed to be a blessing not a burden.

I think they had no idea of when the next storm was approaching, but all they same, it didn’t seem to matter.

They didn’t seem worried about what they didn’t have;
they just went about enjoying what they did.

 

What is it you don’t yet have?

What is it that distracts your eyes from beauty?

I know it’s crazy, but wonder if somehow birds have an understanding that we don’t, like:

1. God’s nature is to forever take care of me. It is impossible for him not too.

2. Every season eventually ends and God provides. I will trust that.

3. God is who he is. Just as he makes the sun come up every morning and the moon fall, he will be true to his word.

4. I don’t have to fear I’ll be hungry for my next best thing, God remains my best thing.

5. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

I want to be like these birds – free to fly high. Soaring. Enjoying. Living.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

I try to store away so much: 

Stress.
I fill myself with action plans.

Fear.
I load up on maneuvers to self-protect.

Distraction.
I let it divert my mind from what God wants to heal.

Frustration.
I let my storehouse get shaky because God hasn’t yet shown up.

What do you store in your barn?

When we fill our barns to the brink, we always feel about to sink.
But, when we trust that God will provide the next meal, we are ready to fly. 

We break out of molds. We rise up from our nest. We don’t think about the next storm. We approach the edge of our safety and we jump out to dance in the air of providence.

We remember his voice of faithfulness, the “I will take care of you” voice. We hear it rise to its heights.

It sounds like:

1. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Gen. 28:15

2. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb. 13:8

3. Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

4. And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today… (Ex. 14:13)

5. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

God is calling us to delight in the gap between of uncertainty and his next big gift. Will we?

Will we choose to delight in his faithfulness or die in ungratefulness?

I don’t want to settle for second worst when I have second best. What I want to do is run, jump and fly with God to the places he has set to take me. Care to join me?

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Circus Slaves, The Show & Cutting The Music

Circus Slaves

Circus Slaves

Have you heard of circus slaves? It sounds odd, I know. But, it is a horrible and very real thing.
Imagine the music. The applause. The fanfare.

circus

Children are led in, smiles taped on. A woman grips a rope with her teeth and spin herself around. An odd one, a short one and, perhaps, a misfit one, under age 10, contort themselves on stage. In India, they’re trapped. Perhaps, beaten. The rings, nor the stakes to perform, couldn’t be higher.

Deep calloused pain sits heavy for circus slaves.

The Show Goes On

I sat in megachurch, thinking, “Maybe the Pastor will notice me.” 
Maybe he’ll look over and say, “That one. I want to meet her. She’s something special.”

I tried extra hard, declaring, “The harder you work, the bigger you rise and the better the chance of going noticed and getting ahead.”

Untitled design (22)

I sat blogging,  praying, “If only (insert big name here) would help me. If I had her endorsement on my book that would mean everything. It would get my message where I only dreamed it could go.”

I sashayed as a child, planning, “I’ll sing. I’ll sing and dance. Surely they’ll see and adore me.”

Cutting the Music

There’s this pull for me to enter the grand tent of the circus–flying colors, flips and all.

Do you feel it too?

It’s an invitation to wow the crowds, to stand tall and to swing above the fray – up to the places where a platform is set just for you.

It’s the call to rise to greater heights. Do you know it?

It lures us with the thoughts like:  I have to meet certain numbers. I have to appease publishers. I have to be the best dressed mom. I have to drive that car. I have to do as good as that person.

It plays out in our lives like: Checking in on where others are. Keeping an eye focused on the crowds. Getting consumed with self-tactics. Filling yourself up with either pride or self defeat.

After many shows, a girl gets tired of the big show. She starts to see that the tent really is full of hot air and it always falls down at days end.

The floodlights nearly blind me with truth: When we look for man to see or save us, we miss how God does. We miss God all together. And, if Jesus isn’t there, what’s there — is slavery. 

“For freedom Christ has set us free;
stand firm therefore,
and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
 Galatians 5:1

A girl stands there. A girl who realizes, “I am not performing, I’m just enslaving and depraving myself from God’s very best.”

She looks left and right and sees the others who are enslaved and depraved just like her. She sees ones trying and fighting, pining and clawing, hoping and dreaming to maybe be seen. Not all, but some, and her heart breaks for her fellow playmates who have been forced into hard labor, by themselves.

She calls out to them,
“Let’s sneak outta here. I know the secret for us circus slaves,
want to hear it? It is the words of Jesus. . .”

“But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.” Luke 14:10

Take the lower seat.
Sit down.
Serve.
Love.
Know Christ.
Let him recognize you.

When we sit with the other unseen and uncared for, we suddenly find that we are seen and cared for. We find that Jesus recognizes us, calls us friend and invites us to dine in his “best place.”

What could be better than that? It is called being freed to dine and delight in God. It is called your place to spin, sing, dance–a place where Christ sees and loves your every move made just for him.

circus

Is Jesus inviting you there too?

Take the lower seat– that ends up being called the honored seat. It looks nothing like a flashy tent called slavery, because it is much more a heavenly seat called sitting right with Christ (Eph. 2:6).

Let’s go ladies, let’s go. Let’s go and remember it is not about how high we can rise, but really about how low we can go in service to Christ.

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Standing firm in Faith Over Fear

Standing Firm

Occasionally, you know you met someone with a heart of gold – this is how I feel about Gwen Smith. Her all-in pursuit of Jesus, her authentic spirit and her ability to instantly connect, as both a teacher and a girlfriend, is a gift that is so unique to her. I have gotten a chance to deep dive into her new book, “I Want It All” and her words have helped me grab hold of the fullness of God’s extraordinary that he has uniquely carved out for me. Thanks Gwen.

I am delighted to welcome Gwen Smith to Purposeful Faith. I hope you will too. 

Post by: Gwen Smith

The book of Esther shows us what our lives can look like when we trust in the sovereignty of God and expect Him to be powerful in the midst of desperate circumstances that could cause us to cower in fear. God positioned this young Hebrew girl to be queen of Persia so that she could rise up in His strength and courage when her people, the Jews, faced imminent death. She fasted and humbled herself before the Lord through prayer. And though it was risky to the point of death, she went to the king and courageously spoke up on behalf of the Jews. The result? God used Esther to save her people from genocide.

I want to be brave like that. I want to live with so much God courage that I don’t go soft when life gets hard. So I take note of what Esther did. She didn’t cave in to fear; instead, she fixed her focus on God and His power to save her and His people. She fasted and prayed and asked for Him to intervene.

Like Queen Esther, we can live with great expectations of God because He loves to do amazing things through average people— people with worries and warts and weaknesses, like you and me. If we want it all, we need to be women who stand firm when our emotions threaten to overwhelm us and courageously believe God for big things.

So… how CAN we stand firm in faith like Esther
did when our knees knock?

The first step to standing firm in faith is to know Him.

Generally speaking, I don’t trust someone I don’t know. Plain and simple. I’m guessing you don’t either.

God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about the importance of our knowing Him:

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he under- stands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23–24 ESV)

The apostle Peter also wrote about the importance of knowing God. At the beginning of his first letter, he stated that the grace, peace, and power we need are connected to our knowledge of Christ:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Pet. 1:2–3)

How can you know God? Read your Bible, study His character, and remember the ways He has delivered in the past. Such things are Faith 101. When you are overwhelmed by life, don’t shy away from God. Don’t isolate: investigate. Look to Him. Explore His goodness.

I learned recently about the familiar “trust God” verses in Proverbs 3. You know them. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (vv. 5–6 ESV).

The second part never made sense to me. I wondered, Why would my acknowledging God motivate Him to make my paths straight? In the New Testament, even the demons acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God, so why would my acknowledging Him make my paths straight?

I looked up the root word and found a gold mine. The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” is yada’,1 the primitive root of which means “to know.” It means “to understand, to grasp or ascertain; especially to be familiar or acquainted with.” So, “in all of your ways acknowledge him” really means this: in all of your ways yada’ Him; in all of your ways know Him and seek to understand Him; be familiar with Him; be acquainted with Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Ah! Clarity!

The key to a straight path, the key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances and way more about my God.

When we’re intimately familiar with God, when we don’t just know about Him but really know Him, the most crooked roads we travel are made straight. Not because life is easy. Sifting through emotions like anger, depression, hopelessness, insecurity, and so on is hard stuff! But because when we know God, we know all of this as well:

His STRENGTH that is accessible in our weakness

His COMFORT that meets us as we mourn

His MERCY that withholds the punishment our depravity readily deserves

His PEACE that defies our unrest

His JOY that kisses the cheeks of our sorrow

His COURAGE that makes our weary hearts brave and casts away fears

His REDEMPTION that reworks our brokenness into beauty

His LOVE that binds us to eternity and delights over us with singing

Even when the one-two punches come and feelings are frazzled, I can confidently trust God by faith. Not because I understand all the circumstances, or even like them, but because I know Him. And because I know Him, I can trust that He will provide all I need to process pains, heal from wounds, and move forward in strength, grace, and peace.

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Gwen Smith, author of I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact, (March 1, 2016, David C Cook) unapologetically urges her readers to want more. “You and I were born for greatness,” Smith writes. “Not for the world’s greatness, but for eternal greatness: to know God and showcase God.”

Standing firm

Smith is quick to say that she is not saying more is better. More may include setbacks, more may include being misunderstood and discouraged, and more may include suffering. But more also means knowing God more deeply, even in the midst of pain. The deepest question behind this search for more from God is this: Do I trust Jesus? Smith helps readers explore this question in light of disappointment and unmet expectations in life.

Pre-order today: I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact; it is 40% OFF… plus, Amazon is offering a $5 coupon (found under Special Offers section)! This means, you get a book that retails at $16.99 for only $5.11.

More on I Want It All:

About Gwen:

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 6.47.00 PMGwen Smith is an author and volleyball enthusiast who lives in sunny North Carolina and has been married to her college honey, Brad, for 23 years. They are tired parents to three tall, competitive-sport-playing teens who keep them on their toes and on their knees. Her online friends meet at GwenSmith.net to connect and be encouraged, and her goal is to help women think big thoughts about God and be inspired to live out the grace and truth of Jesus. Gwen’s new book, I Want It All, (David C. Cook) released on March 1, 2016. She speaks, leads worship, and eats potato chips at women’s events everywhere, and she is a cofounder of the conference and devotional ministry Girlfriends in God.

CHANCE TO WIN: Bloggers & readers, Gwen will be selecting one of you at random to win her books and music. Support Gwen today:

    1. Join her Thunderclap!
    2. Share this post.
    3. Tweet the below tweets or Facebook updates about “I Want It All”!

Tweet: I want to live with so much God courage that I don’t go soft when life gets hard. @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall http://ctt.ec/ezUl_+

Tweet: We can live w/ great expectations of God bc He loves to do amazing things thru average people @GwenSmithMusic http://ctt.ec/Yg3cU+

Tweet: “The key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances & way more about my God.” @GwenSmithMusic

Facebook: “If we want it all, we need to be women who stand firm when our emotions threaten to overwhelm us and courageously believe God for big things.” @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall

Facebook: “The key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances and way more about my God.” @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall http://amzn.to/1Tk179P

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Living as a Mighty Warrior

warrior

Friends, I am feeling discouraged. I am trying to write this thing called book, with what does not appear to be tremendous success. Getting feedback of average is making me feel average. It is making me feel as if I am a failure for God. It is making me feel as if my purpose, my calling, is now null and void.

Ever been there?

Ever thought you were doing okay only to greet
discouragement face-to-face through
circumstances, opinions or sudden obstacles?

Discouragement can be the detour to defeat if you’re not careful.

It happens when we let our progress become our identity. When feedback is what feeds us. When we see our reflection as a byproduct of work.

Truth is:

God is maker.
He is refiner.
Knowledge.
The commander of hows, whens and whys.
Helper every time.
Rescuer to the drowning.
Hope to the inquirers.
The power to the least of these.
The strength in weakness.

Many times, what he is doing – in us –
is far more important than what we hope he does – through us.

For accolades, awards and acceptance speeches will fade, but adoration will last forever.

The world will wane and purity will reign.

What are we seeking? What are we believing in?

Take a look at the Israelites. For seven years, they got off track (which is also means they did “evil in the eyes of the Lord”), and landed in the hands of the Midianites (Judges 6:1). The Midianites were killers by nature; they killed the land, they killed the animals and they simply sucked out the the air of hope around the Israelites (Judges 6:4-5).

At this point, the Israelites could have said, “Let’s forget God, he has forgotten us.”
They could have said, “We have lost his love; he is not for us anymore.”
But instead, after 7 years, they said, Lord, will you help us (Judges 6:6)?”

Deliverance appeared in the form of a prophet, but also as an angel to Gideon, saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12

This line, this word from the angel, is what dead-stops my heart. It is what calls me to attention. It declares both power of God and his intent.

The defeated one is declared the mighty one.

The unsure one is made the warrior one.

We are the present day Israelites – wandering, waiting and wading the world – calling out “Lord, save us.”

I imagine, God looks at us, much in the same way and says, “Child, you have the riches of my everything. You have the fullness of the kingdom. Everything is at your disposal. Be mighty in me. Be warrior for my cause. Don’t let doubt make you think you’re being held for ransom. Keep your eyes on me and go where I go.”

These words. The power.

I am mighty warrior. You are mighty warrior.

Being mighty in God’s ways; it changes things. It brings new charge.

We have an opportunity when we drive down the detour of discouragement – we can see truth for truth. It often looks like a red and white sign that says, “WRONG WAY”. The only thing to do at that point is to turn around, call out to God saying, “Lord, save me” and to get on the right road again.

Then our drive becomes his drive.  Lowly. Gentle. Humble.
His passion is our passion. Giving. Gracious. Generous.
Our great love makes his love shine more. Bright. Brilliant. Reliant.
It becomes less about us, but then, somehow, he gives everything to us. Daddy. Loving. Caring.

We try less, but God gives so much more.

We become more than we dream,
even though he is far more than our best dream can conceive.

That is called faith.

We become warriors, who march over our worrier.
We become mighty, serviced beyond marginal.
We become listeners, who don’t have to be controllers.
We become waiters, who trust in his perfect plan.
We become believers, rather than achievers.
We become lowly, seeing past pride.
We become passionate, delighting in the Kings will.
We become determined, keeping our eyes on our own Promised Land.
We know we are his, and already, we have all we need.

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Does Facebook Make You Angry?

Facebook Make You Angry

I looked at this girl, who I thought was my friend. In person, she was fun, inquisitive and giving. Yet, on Facebook, she was straight up opinionated, degrading and arrogant.

Facebook made me want to hate her. It made my sweet-as-pie, good-as-gold, mother friend morph into an under-the-radar malevolent dictator. Suddenly, she was a ruse sent by evil forces, a propagandizer working for unseen purposes and a tyrant sent to take over online rule.

What do you do when the person you like
becomes the person you hate – on Facebook?

When everything wants to make you defriend a good friend?

I wasn’t sure what to do.

She was telling people the best food that they should be eating. 
She was writing political disclaimers and guidelines.
She was shaming people left and right.
She was boasting about her wise decisions.
She was highlighting stupid things others do.
She was acting holier than thou.
She was pushing agendas, annoyance and aggression onto others.

Who does she think she is?!

And, really, who do I think I am? Look at how I am judging her. Look at how I am hating her. Look at how I am being just as bad as she is. Look at how I am ready to write her off in a split-second.

My anger turns towards Facebook.

4 Ways Facebook Makes you The Person You Don’t Want to Be

1. It makes you judge.

“You show off! Political Idiot! Get off your soapbox! You call yourself moral?!”

When we find the wrong in another, far more often than not, it has much to say about the wrong in us.
Seeing all the wrongs in the world, helps us avoid ours.
Finding yourself above another, has never been the way of Jesus.

2. It makes you compare.

I can never be as good looking as her.
He got that job, while I have this one. I stink.
Their kid dresses almost as good as mine. I win.
They have a vacation home. What do I need to do to make that happen.

When all you see is another’s beautiful selfie, it makes your self feel like crud. Never once has stacking yourself against another added an inch of height to anyone. They only thing added is discouragement.

3. It makes you talk like that person.

That person (Choose an answer):

a. Cussed
b. Posted a selfie
c. Liked that TV show
d. Raved and ranted like an ignorant fool
e. Got opinionated
f. Wants to vote for ______.
g. Is self-absorbed.

When you look for the bad in another, you find it. When you see bad, you start thinking bad. When you start thinking bad, you start speaking bad, and before you know it, your just like them.

4. It makes you jealous beyond compare.

That person is downright successful. I must be too.
That person is sick. Finally something not-so-god happens in their seemingly perfect life.
That person is thin. In a few years they will gain weight like me. Either way, wrinkles are bound to get ’em.

Jealousy steals happy, ties him up and holds him for ransom.

“Get yourself to where that person is or you will never get happy back!”

We won’t get tied up by jealousy if
we choose to wrap ourselves
in thanks for what we already have.

Am I telling you that Facebook is evil, horrible and not Christian?
Of course not. It is not outside forces that pre-set holy, it is our internal force of the heart.

Nobody is forcing me on Facebook.  No one is forcing you either. This is not the point.

The point is that if you can’t make your way onto this platform without continually landing on an altar of frustration, you should find yourself another place to be.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phil. 4:8

What does Facebook viewing make your mind view?

What you look at is what you think of, what you think of – is what you become. 

For me, I am making a decision to “bounce” on Facebook. Meaning: I’ll allow myself to see updates, but I won’t land on their personal page to dissect every nook and cranny of wrong. I’ll try to give others the benefit of the doubt, rather than doubting they were good. I’ll remember what I love about them, rather than letting an online update become their DNA. I’ll try to see them through God’s eyes, rather than seeing them through a machine where all show best-self.

It’s a process. It’s a journey.

Will I always do it well? Doubtful.

Will they? Doubtful.

And maybe that is the point.

We are all learning, but the only one I can change is me. The only way to change is to do something different. The only way to find God, is to seek him. So, I will try my best and see how it goes.

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Swinging in Trust

Swinging in Trust

He stood there. He looked up at the bars.

“Do you think I can do it Mommy?”

“Yes, son, I do.”

This kid was nearly a blackbelt at monkey bars. He lives them, he breathes them, he scampers across them at nearly every playground we go to. There was no doubt he could swing across, even if they were 3 times as high as the others.

“Son, just keep your eyes looking ahead – and move – one by one, bar-by-bar.”

At this point, the hyperventilation begins, the “I can’ts”,  the “It’s impossibles” and the “I don’t want tos” come about. At this point, I draw near, look him in the eye and say,

“Don’t give up. You can do it. I will help you. I will not leave your side. Do you trust me?”

And in this split-second moment, as soon as my words left the safety of my mouth, I knew they were not only meant for him, but for me.

“Don’t give up. You can do it. I will help you. I will not leave your side. Do you trust me?”

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. Is. 43:2

The bars God calls me to climb, even when descent is miles below, are always bars for which he has well prepared me. Just as I put my arms around my son to encourage, comfort and catch him – God does the same with me.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber. Ps. 121:3

Will we trust him?

So often, we are so like me son, aren’t we?

We find moving across the bars of known and familiar is clockwork,
but, pushing ahead into risky is not.

We find evaluating catastrophe,
more valuable than believing he will really rescue our fall.

We know that God is near,
we just are not sure enough that he will really catch us.

The heights of big, high and different,
negate God’s bootcamp of preparation.

We see the different,
God sees how he is always the same.

Somehow, when we see the heights of new,
we forget the victories of old already proved.

Then, like my son, we question things, we look down and say, “Whoa, God, this? You want me to do this?”

Then, we question things.
We let our mind run laps.
We procrastinate.
We analyze.
We rationalize.
We justify.
We give marching orders.
We disaster prepare.
We get bunker supplies.

Do you allow the risky heights of what you see,
divert you from the ample love of the one you can’t?

For the truth is, the adventure which you stand, looking at, considering and questioning, is the exact one that God wants to use to encourage you. It is the exact activity that will bring you to the other side saying, “Whoa God, look what we did together. What else can we do?”

It is ground you end up dancing upon, spinning upon, jumping upon, cheering upon. It’s a place where you look at the vastness of new faith straight in the face. It reminds you that you were always safe, you always are safe and, with God, you always will be safe.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Ps. 37:3

Next time, when you stand on the cold bar of fear with your heart pumping, I don’t know, perhaps you think of my little guy and how much he could absolutely do it! Perhaps you just take a deep breath, move in, move arms and move forward knowing God has you.

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3 Reminders:

  1. #RaRalinkup Twitter Party is this coming Monday. Encourage a friend, blogger or author using #RaRalinkup on Monday. Your words may make the difference between an okay day and a great one.
  2. Join the Cheerleaders for Christ Facebook page where we encourage and support one another.
  3. Don’t miss the guest blogger post on Monday. You will be blessed.
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You Are Not Safe

not safe

It’s the thing we are on a constant pursuit of – but can never quite grab.
The thing that promises peace, yet looks miles away.
The carrot we run after but can’t seem to touch.

We dream of being armored up, impenetrable, uncompromised,
so we save up our bank account money,
we get alarms to keep bad people out,
we put up internal walls to keep other bad people out,
we run from love,
we hide from ourself,
we pick up vices,
we seek a way out…

..all to feel safe.

I know that I have done many of these things.
Finding safety in a man.
A hope.
A dream.
Finances.
People.
Compulsive habits.
Controlling pursuits.

Somehow I thought if I could only help God out just a little, maybe he would do the same for me, maybe I could make all things right and maybe I could avoid all the crud that constantly comes after me.

But, my best attempts always prove out my biggest flaw (I hate that): I simply have no control. Like a drug addict, I take another hit – seeking more control to fill the empty hole that shows I have no control.

It’s like I know the truth, but as one chasing the wrong hope, I move from pain to pain.

It seems, the more I seek to play the hand of God,
the more I play into the hand of the devil
(he wrote the book on control-seeking after all).

He has a field day with hearts in right field, the ones looking all around, rather than looking up to see the ball God launched to save the day, to make us cheer and to help us win. 

When we aren’t looking, sometimes God lets us get hit by the ball to learn who really had the ball all along.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8

You see, without God, we will likely be shaken. We will likely feel lost. We will feel like the inside of us is rocking and we have no control over it.

David knew this.

He seemed to know the more he pushed out his shaky feelings to his steady God,
the more his shaky feelings would be unshaken.

David had every reason to feel unsafe, but he leaned on all the reasons God would make him safe.
He spoke it to himself like a man trying to pound belief into himself. And, it worked.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Ps. 4:8

He also knew this verse to be true: My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Ps. 121:1

Perhaps this is why God had declared him: ‘…a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22

How did he do it?
He believed in unstoppable power of God’s lightning ability to save –
and acted accordingly.

Like David, how often do we face the dire with God’s fire?

Words of fire that says:

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:7–8).

Safety is never a feeling.
Safety is never a circumstance.
A result.
A change of heart in another.
A structure that protects you.
A gift in life that makes it all ok.
A physical condition.

All of that can go in a blink of an eye.

It is simply knowing that God is the only structure that will one day bring complete eternal safety – and, until then, he is the only house that keeps guard over your inner shell protecting it from the pain of the outer world.

He can always keep your heart safe. Surely, sometimes he changes circumstances, but, what he always does protect is your heart – if you just let him.

And isn’t that really what we are after – at the core?
Hearts that feel ok?
That know they have the ultimate way?
That can be at rest.

God has you. You are safe in him. He will lead you on the way you should go. He is for you, with you and in you. Be encouraged – you are armored up in his protection, his love and his grace.

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Linking with Suzie Eller.

How Can You Fix Your Bad Feelings? (& 2-Min Encouraging Word)

How Can You Fix Your Bad Feelings?

Encouragement in less than 2-minutes:

 

Post: How Can you Fix Your Bad Feelings?

I have been known to step into a deep dark place.

It’s a lonely place.
A-no-one-cares-about-me place,
an I’m-never-going-to-amount-to-anything place,
an I-will-always-fail kind of place,
a God-will-never-use-a-girl-like-me place.
I-am-not-worth-anything place.

It’s risky, because this hole of hopelessness can easily become a trapping cave-of-no-return. A cancer that grabs the anesthesia of alcohol, addiction, disorders, complexes, shopping, porn or whatever else if not careful.

Due to my past struggles with this place, I’ve realized,
you have to watch for the invitations to this place of isolation.

Because this place makes you miss Gods’ face – and it leaves you in disgrace.
It makes God small and  problems big.
It takes shame and guilt and places them on the centerstage of the heart.
It places you so deep into yourself, you can’t see others that need you.

Our God is not a haunter and taunter and he never developed a hell-hole like this.

Now I know, I have to run like the wind
when the devil starts to lure me in with lies.

I run hard, and I run fast because even the smallest step into that blackness
includes a return trip with miles of internal turmoil.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7

Sometimes we think our resistance is recognizing this place or praying against this place or throwing some truth out against this place, but oh no, my friends, it involves even more…

We aren’t called to sit around and have a light coffee before we leave,
we are called to flee- ASAP!

We aren’t called to go through the motions of life,
but to eyes open and to kick ourselves into high gear. 

We aren’t called to wait for a rescuer – a knight in shining armor.
We already have one – his name is Jesus – and we are already rescued.

And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Mt. 5:30

God is not afraid of instructing us to take big measures against our small steps into these dwelling places of lies. This means we see beyond our world, into the transcending world around us. We become aware, looking, understanding, interpreting, searching, fighting and surrendering. We flee.

We flee by not throwing out verses, but by letting them become the knitting of our heart.

We flee, not by praying for our will, but by praying for his.

We flee, not by accepting or excusing sin, but by rejecting it.

We flee, unveiling our heart of agony to our maker. (Feelings aren’t bad, but distrust of God is.)

We flee by choosing the right counselors to instruct us when we become blind in our life.

We flee by letting go of the tide of our emotions, to grab on to the ocean of God’s truth.

We flee by extending grace to ourselves on hard days.

We engrave these truths upon our heart like stone:

We are more than just conquerors in Christ Jesus. Ro. 8:37
Nothing can overtake us, because God has overtaken the world. Jo. 16:33
There is no weapon forged against us that can prosper. Is. 15:47

We know nothing can really ever come against – no cancer, no abuse, no financial issues, no heartache, no agony, no marital issues, no heartaches, no _______.

We know it doesn’t matter,
because if we’ve lived it, he has beaten it.

So, dear friend, be not discouraged, but be wildly encouraged: If he conquered the world, he can conquer your agony, your despair, your hopelessness and your fears.

Are you a blogger? Join us for the linkup on the next post.

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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.