Getting rid of my furniture, indeed, was hard. As each person came to pick up their new goods, a little part of me went out the door with the cushions, the tables, and the lamps…. It’s just stuff, Kelly!
But, it was my stuff!
So, trying to make the best of a hard situation, we turned on music. My three-year-old daughter jumped around and my son ran all over the room. We sang words about God’s faithfulness, goodness, and promises. But, I never expected what happened next…
Son took all his money, contained in a large Ziploc bag. The pennies, quarters, and dimes he’d been saving for weeks. The money he’d earned through lemonade stands, house chores and online book sales. The pile he’d been guarding like a military soldier. He dug deep into the bag and – fistful by fistful – he threw it in the air so it landed before the throne of God.
“More. I’ll give God, more,” He’d say, returning to the bag, until it was all gone.
Why? He said, “I felt God wanted me to give this money to him.”
My son gave his treasure. He said: It’s all God’s.
What I have: is all God’s.
What you have: is all God’s.
How do we use God’s money to bless Him?
After our worship session was done, I asked my son if he wanted to give that money to our church. He said, “No mom, I still want to get a drone.”
And, while, for a moment, I was unsure about his reply, the more I thought about it, the more I realized, God doesn’t guilt us into giving.
I mentioned to my son he might want to: think about sharing it, let a friend borrow or ask God how he can use it in a way that serves his purpose.
How might God be calling you to honor him with your resources – your time, your passions, your money, your heart, your life, or your living room furniture? How might it look to adorn his throne with what you’ve been given?
It’s all His. It’s all entrusted to you. It’s all waiting to be used for his glory, with no guilt attached.
I know many of you are like me, we want our prayers answered.So how do we pray with confident assurance that God will hear and answer our prayers?
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him,” says 1 John 5:14-15.
What a powerful promise! God says he will give us “anything” we ask for according to His will. Isn’t that amazing? It doesn’t say that he might answer the prayer, or that sometimes He’ll say “no.” He says “we have what we have asked of him.” That’s 100 percent of the time! Granted it might not be in our timing, but it’s always in God’s perfect timing. The answer is, “Yes.”
But there is one caveat: We must ask according to God’s will.
Ah…now that’s the tricky part. How can we possibly know God’s will? The only way to truly know God’s will is to pray the Scriptures. As it says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
When I (Sally) was a young mom and a new believer in Christ, I had never actually prayed out loud. So when I stepped into my first Moms in Prayer meeting, I listened. Just listened. For six weeks I prayed along in my heart, but didn’t say a word. I loved hearing the other women’s Holy Spirit-directed prayers for my children. Yet I was too afraid to pray out loud. After about six weeks, I was brave enough to pray the Scripture for my child out loud. The Holy Spirit gave me the courage to speak out His Word, to pray His truth for my son. What an amazing experience, praying for my son, hearing other moms pray for my son. This was my new top priority for my kids.
God’s answers poured out like a flood that first year; our group witnessed dramatic miracles. God healed children of major illnesses. We saw changes in kids’ attitudes and behaviors. We prayed that every child would hear the good news—and He brought a Good News Club to our campus. And several teachers at our elementary school accepted Christ as Savior!
Eventually, I was leading my own Moms in Prayer group. We’d pray for our public school teachers adapting verse Acts 26:18: “May [teacher’s name] open his/her eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ.”
One day a mom came into the group upset about a certain teacher. I said, “That’s the teacher we’re going to pray for today!” And every week we prayed for her. As we prayed week after week for this teacher, God grew our love for her. Soon, she came to know the Lord, and my two youngest got to be in her class. I felt so privileged to be able to talk with her about the Lord and about prayer. It was amazing to watch and see her grow in Christ. But that wasn’t the only teacher that became a Christian on that public school campus. Eleven other teachers came to Christ as we prayed Acts 26:18 over them!
Want to see God at work? Pray the Scriptures over the people in your life. How do you know if God is going to answer your prayer? If you pray according to His will. And His will is the mighty Word of God, which never comes back void. It always fulfills His purpose and His plan.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11
My prayer for each one of you, is that you will “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. And every day has a time of need.
Want to learn how to remain unshaken in our crazy world? Sally Burke, the president of Moms in Prayer International, and Cyndie Claypool de Neve explain how in their new book, Unshaken. Want to go deeper? Experience what it really means to be unshaken through the innovative companion study guide.
Enjoy the peace and power of praying with other women for your children. Visit www.MomsInPrayer.org to learn more.
I approached him, “Get your backpack. We need to get in that car.”
He marched right past me holding the shovel like a sword, swinging it as if he just won a war. He wasn’t going anywhere, this I knew. My words floated over him like the wind. His eyes were dead set on the game he was playing.
I was annoyed, for what stood between me and peace – was a 5-year old, a pretend game and a wrestling match of words that was about to explode.
What is standing in between you and peace? Between you and God?
For me it is distractions. Consider this: Just 5 minutes before my son’s victory march I was praying to God, asking him to be with me and wanting to walk forward in his love. So, what happened?
(Deep breath.) 3 distractions bubbled up – ones that so often pull me off track:
I let the demands of this world, steal my delight in the Creator.
I allow urgency to replace intimacy – between me and God.
I let destination take precedence over God’s invitation to let loose.
(Another deep breath.) When I am worried about time, (I don’t have enough of it, I am stressed out by it, I am going to be late, I am missing out, I am too old, I am too young, I should be somewhere already, I don’t want to wait, I must think about my future, rather than be present) I work myself into a tizzy. And, here, in all my trembling – I can’t see God.
…But all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life…so no fruit is produced. (Mark 4:19)
I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord the best, with as few distractions as possible. (1 Cor. 7:35)
If I am distracted I can’t as easily be engaged with God. If I am worried about many things, I can’t be enthralled by the One thing. If I am trying to press through a tight knit schedule, I can’t as easily press peace into this world.
I want more. Do you? I want to take God through my day with me. Not just in the morning time, but all the time. Not just when I think of him, but as I do everything. I want to invite in his love so I can spread his love.
No longer do I want to fear the rush, the clock and the game – that calls me to sprint ahead, but I want to stop and sit and savor and sip up God’s goodness. Maybe you do too…
For we serve a God who is limitless and unbound by time. The truth is, he can work within any barrier that lays before us. He just outstretches his hand and it expands in a way where we can do what we once thought we couldn’t.
I snapped off the news. Nothing there but terrorism and guns. Who needs all that?!
My heart felt tired, unsure, but, all the same, I figured I should get with God. Maybe try to muster the strength to get up and fill my mind with excellence and good report.
“I should watch something uplifting.”
Unable to discern what, I just stayed put on the couch. Immobile. In tiredness. In a body unable to even gain the strength to end the day’s war under the covers of “tomorrow’s going to be better.”
I just lay there.
“God, why am I missing you lately? Why do you seem far?”
I got the sense of God whispering back to me, “Kelly, I am not far, you are.”
I used to spend my days looking for God, now I spend my days looking at how I am messing up.
I used to offer thanks, now I offer myself solutions for how I can improve.
I used to consider momentary lessons, now I consider how God really needs to teach me a lesson.
I used to just delight with letting God be, now I pressure him to show up.
I used to let fears fly out the window, now I roll it up.
I press my eyes tighter and ask, “What happened God?”
I hear nothing. Figures.
“You’re missing the moment where I am, because you fear the moments where you are.”
Let in love.
Land in my arms.
Let me carry you.
Leave behind demands.
My closed eyes – relax. God is inviting my mind to travel – with him. No demands. No requirements. No facades. No prerequisites. No achievements. No guilt. No shame required.
He wants my attention in the moment. So, without distraction, I can see him in the moment.
I open my eyes.
And then I see. God brings clarity: He loves me. He died for me. His light is always pursuing me.
My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest. Ex. 33:14
There is one tactic that can literally change the outcome of your daily wars (you will see exactly how below). It can help with people problems. It can reconstruct your mental state. It can abolish the feelings of despair. Do you know it?
Likely not. I think the majority Christians – know of it, but they know not – the power of prayer.
There are 3 reasons why:
1. They got hurt. They prayed for something big, yet nothing big happened. They, now, figure prayer is an outdated practice.
2. They have to wait. They give up before God gets up to fix their predicament.
3. They get bored. They think prayer is pleading endlessly about other people; there’s nothing for them.
Prayer sounds good on face value but on our knees?
Well, we’d rather be anywhere else, doing anything else, to fix our something else –
than praying. We’d rather be – doing, than – praying. We’d rather be – posturing, than – praying.
This is our problem; this is why we stay stuck.
Being on our knees hurts. Our very feet that want to go, fix and control circumstances are cut out from under us.
Yet, what if this is the point?
Perhaps, God has us on our knees, because our feet can’t bring us where our knees will.
And, this I am learning: A man will get more done on his knees than he ever will a lifetime on his feet.
The power of prayer is sometimes subtle, but it is also potent. I call my husband sometimes, and say, “I’ve been praying for you.” He replies, “I know. I can tell. Keep it up.”
You don’t think that changes his moment? It changes mine. My faith is renewed in a God – who answers.
This is not an isolated incident either. Prayer works, I’m finding. It wants to release captives from shame. It wants to change circumstances 360 degrees. It wants to restructure bodies, broken. It wants to change hearts, today.
Moses lifted his hands in prayer and look at how it worked for him:
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. (Ex. 17:11-13)
Our power to win is often held within the power of prayer.
When Moses lifted his hands to pray, the Israelites were front-runners. When he dropped them, and grew weary, they fell behind.
Someone had the insight to realize this. Someone noticed the power of prayer. Do we?
Aaron and Hur responded; they seized constant prayer by: holding “his hands up – one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” They made it happen.
Do we make constant prayer happen?
There are mountains God, with us, God wants to move. (Mt. 17:20)
Prayer isn’t pleasantries. It isn’t niceties offered up to appease a mean God. It isn’t a way to gain favor with God for the bad stuff you did yesterday. It is the real charge of heaven falling on earth. It is strength for weakness. Hope for despair. Renewal for recovering addicts. Recovery for controllers. Realizations for the real pursuers of God’s heart.
Lift your hands; you’ll win. I think it is that simple. It’s the faith that makes it so. So believe.
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We should all spend time outside each day. I don’t know about you, but I spend too many hours indoors.
As a remedy, sometimes I work at the kitchen table near the propped-open door to the deck. Hearing the wind rustling through the trees and birds fighting over seeds at the feeder does something for my heart. It’s not all the way outside, but it’s close.
Long ago, I posted this poem, one of my favorites, on the bulletin board at my desk, the one I don’t actually work at very often.
The Peace of Wild Things
By Wendell Berry
“When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be.
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
I wonder if so often when we misplace our peace, if the answer is simply to spend more time outside.
I say I wonder, but I already know what kind of person I become when I spend extended minutes under the sky. There I see the rest of the beauty, and it’s not that I forget the chaos of the day. It’s not that the challenges disappear or the discouragement dissipates.
Out there, we realize we can walk away for a bit and the whole thing doesn’t all fall down.
Ohhh, right–it wasn’t really me holding everything together.
In the presence of still water or even angry waves, we remember again we have no control over the things we fear.
We remember Who does control all things—He Who is good and true and beautiful and eternal.
Who is acquainted with all this growing old and wearing away and falling down and rising up again. He Who endures forever and ever, Who is seen at the center of all this worldly beauty.
The Lord is God, and He has made His light shine on us. Psalm 118:27
It takes a few minutes, but I confess the truth. I’ve been taxing my life again, imagining losses that haven’t even happened. Why do I continue to repeat this?
Once again, I return to the wild. I take a walk in the woods past the yard, thick with green and a melody of snapping sticks underfoot. I imagine snakes hiding out like sharks in the ocean, while hoping they’re at least as rare.
Somehow I’ve left the rest of the world behind me. I come into the peace of wild things, and their holy message sinks ever deeper to my core.
Like Berry, I rest in the grace of the world—and I’m free.
From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2
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Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.
Do you get in the car and, immediately,
start running down your list of worries?
Do you try to keep calm
but inevitably lose your cool with that one person?
Do you try to be near to God,
only to get caught up with fear things won’t turn out well?
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Is 26:3
I’ve got to figure out what it means to be steadfast because one thing I know is that – I want peace.
Lately, I’ve been moving my two kids in duck-formation; they know by now, they better follow Mama. I am going places. Doing things. Accomplishing stuff. There’s order, discipline and diligence in our house. People, best follow in line.
I think it is pretty apparent to all – I’m running my house like a jerk. I’ll be the first to admit it.
Wake. Breakfast. Don’t spill it on the floor. Get your plate to the sink. Get those clothes on. Why isn’t your lunch box in your bag? Can’t you get those shoes on yourself. Shuttle. Home. Dinner. Get a book. Hustle kid. Move it. Don’t talk back. You are getting time out. Clean that floor. Lights out.
I look like the wicked step mother, my kids look like Cinderella incarnate. I horrify myself.
You will not keep in perfect peace, those who minds are controlling, obnoxious and abhorrent because they trust only in themselves. Kelly 1:1
You all, I am not God, but I am a woman who knows the opposite of Isaiah 26:3 and it is what I wrote above.
I feel convicted.
Truly, to only see my way is to miss God’s. To be demanding is to raise the flag of pride. To bark marching orders is to lose pleasure in Him.
But, to release a mind into the fullness of his Word, leading, promptings and character – is dig up perfect peace.
I feel released.
Able to see more clearly, I realize: She who stays in peace is she who dwells on Him, who is Peace.
On the other hand, she who stays in worry and anxiety is she who settles for fakes. She’s like a girl who walks down the streets in New York City and grabs imitation handbags when she has wads of cash in her pocket. She’s the rich girl, the one with everything, who picks up and studies 5th rate Chinese Chanel bags because she thinks she doesn’t have enough. She forgets she is rich, so she settles. She suffers. She buys up stress instead of the real deal – God’s peace.
I buy up stress instead of staying steadfast and certain in God. Do you?
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” Jonah 2:8
I don’t know about you, but I often rely on vain idols:
The Facebook F: Here, I focus in on a girl’s clothes, and completely forget about my devotional time. The Pinterest P: With this idol, I figure my friends will judge me based on napkins and centerpieces. I try to be perfect. A mirror: I stare at it and criticize myself. My bank account: I think it will protect me more than God.
The prized possession of steadfast peace is lost
when a girl bends down to grab lower shelf goods and gods.
What are you reaching for?
Let me remind you, steadfast love always sits high and mighty.
To identify it from fakes, it looks like this:
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
Steadfast love looks not like a crazed girl on an elliptical trying, sweating and endlessly pumping – but a gal just being, just sitting, in Christ’s love. It is one open, ready and willing to receive his riches. One who lets God determine her value.
What does this practically look like?
It looks like:
Seeing devotional time as sitting time,
not striving time, with God.
Viewing success as Godly-connection
rather than always-perfection.
Letting go of the psychotic pace to
continually dwell in God’s grace.
Quieting your inner-hater,
to find the Always-Lover.
Relaxing with God in the moment,
rather than demanding he reconstruct your future.
Remembering all Jesus did,
not what you need to accomplish.
To be stead–fast is to walk steady in the idea you will not move fast.
It is to walk steady at God’s pace – moving only with him.
So, today, rather than rushing, huffing and puffing – and blowing our house down, this truth we can cling to. We don’t have to push ahead. We don’t have to yell and scream and feel anxious that people are going to mess up. We only need to slow down, grab his hand and trust, He will carry us through- straight up to perfect peace.
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I’m a doer by nature. I’m always on the go. I’m a mover and a shaker. My schedule is full and my planner is happy. I like it that way. However, sometimes my body does not.
Like right now. I think my body hates me. I have been exhausted for the past several weeks. Summer, for me is just as busy as the rest of the year. I’ve had a few trips and the travel always wear me out.
So here I am. Pretty much every morning I have woken up tired, which makes for an incredibly long day.
So, what do I do about? If you are in the same place, what do you do about it?
I’ve been sensing that Lord wants His children to rest a bit more and strive a bit less.
The Lord knows what’s best.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;” Psalm 23:2-3
I more than often think I know best. I tend be strong and independent. I push myself to the limit expecting not to crack. The last thing I want is to experience burnout. But that is where we are heading if we continue to move at a breakneck speed. It’s interesting how these verses in Psalm 23 say that He makes me lie down. God knows that we don’t want to stop. We don’t want to rest. We don’t and sometimes can’t be still. But that is when He does His best work.
Restoring comes out of resting.
God is the giver of rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Matthew 11:28-30
Rest doesn’t have to be a fight for us. God intended for it to be a gift to us. He delights in giving us rest. We trade off our heaviness and weariness in exchange for His joy and ease. Problems don’t disappear. Hardships still exist but The Lord’s joy brings us strength. So the weight of our circumstances don’t crush us.
If you’re feeling weighed down and overwhelmed, do not lose heart.
Trust that God knows best.
Trust that He will give you His rest.
Trust that He delights in restoring your soul.
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Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.
Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”
I bit into a nectarine. It was straight from the rural farms of deliciousness. As I bit down, sweetness with undertones of sour exploded. Frankly, it tasted like heaven. I stared, turned it over and over again in my hands and asked, “How could this be? What produces something like this?”
It both looked and tasted like a sunset in my mouth.
Fruit is fruit, but rare is it that it tastes good. Rarely, does it make you want a second and third helping. Rarely, does it leave you holding it, staring it and wondering how something could actually – do that!
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit…” Jo. 15:16
If I am supposed to be bearing fruit, does it taste like this?
Like love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23)?
Or am I producing a watered down and unripened variety?
People should taste heaven when they encounter me.
They should stand back to consider the power of God – in me – because God stands out – through me.
What I fear, though, is I try to be like everyone else. I fit a mold of Christianity. I hinder God from making me unique. I fear being too great, vocal or in love with Christ. I fear being too much. Do you?
Then, I end up as the ordinary garden variety of grocery chain fruit; I taste average.
Bor-ing… Blah…. Been there done that… It tastes a little lukewarm. Jesus regurgitates those types (Rev. 3:16). I don’t want to be that, I want to be so jaw-dropping, so succulent people have to step back to consider who could produce this. Imagine that?! Where all people want – is more. More Jesus. More love. More Spirit.
Where they walk on up and say, “Give me some of that!”
I want to hand out “…fruit that will last…” Jo. 15:16 I want to hand out fruit that unites people at a table of love.
I want to hand out fruit with seeds to bear more fruit. I want people to ask how something like this could happen.
That is what I did. I searched online to see how good fruit is produced. I found practical tips to growing good fruit. But, what grew under each of these practical tips, were God-tips. Tips that would instruct me on how to be flavorful and full of God’s life-changing juice.
Tips to Growing Good Fruit*:
1. Place them in direct sun. Get in the light of God’s word. Let it grow you.
2. Make sure they have shelter from high winds. Dwell in safe places:Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps. 91:1
3. Add compost or manure to the soil. Pray that your heart is open to change and you’ll have the courage to endure as he does.
4. Give them support, netting or canes. Lean up against God:“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Mt. 11:28
5. Cut off the top of the plants. Let God shape you, even when it hurts: “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Jo. 15:2
Simply said: Let God water you straight into delicious. Then, the world will take a bite and fight to know how God makes something that good. They will hear, and peace will reign. Your fruit will produce fruit.
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We sat on those stairs – five siblings, with a serious itch to take-off. Our high-pitched anxious voices said it all, we wanted to move into the living room like energetic bulls on parade. You see, what laid on the other side of the hall wall was what dreams were made of. On the other side of that wall wait perfectly wrapped, beautifully adorned – Christmas gifts and the power of Jesus unleashed.
Joy. Love. Peace. Smiles. Laughs. Cheers. It was all there and we could all – nearly taste it.
Our parents always made us wait, though. Wait for the pictures to be taken. Wait for coffee to percolate. Wait to hear the Christmas story. Wait to make sure everyone had good “picture-clothes” on.
Sometimes, the wait is agonizing.
Some days, I feel like I live on those stairs again and again. It’s like I know joy is on the other side of a wall, but I just can’t get there. I have to wait. I have to wait for life to happen. I have to wait for others to improve. I have to wait to be more Christ-like. I have to wait for my prayers to be answered.
Truth is, I want to bust into the fullness of God. I want to cross-over to the complete joy of Jesus, as if I am experiencing the joy of Christmas every single day. I don’t want to wait; I want God’s peace, life and grace to surround me. I want to enter his gates with thanksgiving in a powerful way. I want to run into each day, expecting to unwrap God’s glory.
Why do I have to wait?
As I consider this question, I also consider the fact Jesus never said, “Joy to the World only on Christmas” nor did he say, “My peace I leave you – only on good days.”
God speaks goodness over me. To me, I imagine it sounding like:
“She is full equipped with my joy.”
“Through the abundance of my love,
she can walk everyday in peace.”
“My love endures.”
And, somehow, I feel like dropping everything and running to open the riches of God’s Word – one by one. I want to see what else, what other encouragement God speaks over my heart. Here’s what I uncover:
1. God’s affection lasts for me – forever. He is always good. (Psalm 100:5)
2. His love, uncontaminated and unblemished, knocks fear down. (1 Jo. 4:18)
3. He adores me. I am his loved daughter (1 Jo. 3:1)
4. He doesn’t love only sometimes, a little, on occasion, randomly, now and then, no. He loves lavishly. (1 Jo. 3:1)
5. He sees my pain, my suffering, my injury. He essentially says, “Those ones, I love them so much, I will die for them.” (Ro. 5:8)
6. God nearly cries with our cries. He understands our turmoil. (1 Jo. 4:9)
7. He gives us, Christians, the right to eat from the tree of life, in paradise. (Rev. 2:7)
8. He chooses me, not because I am great, but because he is good. He has good plans to use me for his glory. (1 Pet. 2:9)
9. He won’t let anyone, no way, no how, snatch us out of his hand. We are his and he wants us. (Jo. 10:28)
10. He takes us and makes us more than ourselves, making us more and more holy, until we look a whole lot like him. (Jo. 10:28)
And, what my heart runs, straight into, is the idea – God is wonderful. He is my greatest gift. I can open up a part of him everyday. And, somehow, with this, it seems like I am experiencing Christmas all over again.
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