Purposeful Faith

Category - peace

Confession Is Good For The Soul

Confession Is Good

Post by: Karina Allen

I feel like confession is one of those topics that is wildly misunderstood and feared. I grew up in the really traditional religion of Catholicism. I went to Catholic schools all of my life and every week, we went to confession. I never had a super firm grasp as to why we needed to go to a Priest and confess our sins, but I did it. It was what we did. It was all I knew. I didn’t question it, I just went with the flow.

During those times of confession, I never really had any new or concerning issues. I was a very compliant child. To this day, that still holds true. I pretty much stated the same list of sins to the Priest. My main one, was that I didn’t speak respectfully to my grandmother. I tend to be a bit sarcastic. I never seemed to have any new struggles.

Today, is a different story. I have struggle on top of sin on top of struggle. I need help and I recognize that I need help. That’s the first step, right? Now, I have no issue with thinking of all of the ways I fail and fall short. I’m sure you do too.

There are two main areas where confession must happen in our lives…with God and with others.

Jesus is our great High Priest.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

The idea of confessing our sin to the Lord should never scare us or intimidate us. We should never feel embarrassed or ashamed. We can trust Him with every sin. He is a safe place for us. God is a loving Father who never brings condemnation. He knows everything there is to know about us and loves us still. Our confession to Him is not for His benefit. It is for ours. He sheds the light of His truth on our dark places and ushers in hope and healing. The enemy of our souls wants to keep us bound to our sin. The Lord wants us free!

Confession in community is God’s design.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Don’t let this freak you out. This is not a call for us to share every intimate detail of our lives with everyone we meet. But, it is a call for us to get brave and to get intimate with a chosen few.

Guard your heart out there. All are love-worthy. Not all are trustworthy. Authenticity with all. Transparency with most. Intimacy with some.” Beth Moore

God’s intent for us was never to live in isolation. We were created for one another. This verse in James clearly states for us to confess to and pray for each other. We don’t do this with everyone but we do do this with a select few.

There is a healing that only comes when we confess to one another.

Jesus had the 12. He had the 3. Then, He had the 1. He modeled what covenant friendships are supposed to look like. If He believed these relationships were important. How could we believe anything less?

Do you feel safe to confess to God and others? I’d love to pray for you today.

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BjBC4hzUKarina 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.”

5 Ways to Keep your Eyes on God

Keep your Eyes on God

I brought my kids to the beach. I needed to find some refuge to let them a.) play so that I could b.) get a moment with God. Doing this kind of thing is essential, in life, by the way. Sometimes, you have to break away from what you are immersed in so you can find yourself immersed in love, that way when you are re-immersed into life (mothering, relationships, work, health issues, etc.) you survive. This is what I figure, anyway.

Doing this kind of thing is like pre-CPR, it saves you before your signs go vital – from the anxieties and worries of life that intend to put you 10-feet under. I knew the warning signs for myself, so I hightailed myself over to my personal refuge.

The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him. Psalm 37:40

When the beach party was done and all were packed in the car, I slowly meandered down the road to home. The birds chirped, the seagulls floated on the water, the landscape was cloud layers perfectly hovering right above the ocean horizon. I breathed deep, inched on and turned my head ocean to road, ocean to road. Life was good.

your eyes on God

I wasn’t missing anything! So big, and so proud – God’s love nearly gave me a hug. We united and it was a beautiful thing.

Until, that guy did his thing. Until, he became – a tailgater. My face tensed, my eyes squinted, “If only he could get a glimpse of me and my contorted and ugly face through the rearview mirror.” Left and right I scooted trying to make sure he saw me!

He was ruining it all. He was my problem. My heart was pumping with the fresh blood of aggravation.

your eyes on God

All I knew was that I was getting tailed by pressure, and it was stealing peace. I guess it happens all the time, when I stop, and really think about it.

I feel that others are climbing faster and farther and quicker into writing success than I am. They tail me.

I let demands tower high – be a great mom, author, marketer, wife. Don’t mess up. They tail me.

I have issues, pressing things that need to be handled – bills, agendas, contracts, promises that may not come through. They tail me.

What is tailing you, demanding you to take your eyes off of God?

Work? Others? Finances? Fears? Demands? Children? Health? Progress? Pride?

When we allow external pressures to make us testy,
we can easily miss God’s majesty.

Yet, when we let people or things do what they may do, but we keep our eyes straight, we find ourselves driving straight into peace, calm and serenity. 

How do we do this?

Let’s investigate 5 Ways to Keep our Eyes on God:

1. Be present – If you look for God everywhere, you will find him.

2. Delight in him – If you worship him and commune with him like a best friend, he will become your best friend.

your eyes on God

3. Detangle with him – Let the best counselor, the Holy Spirit, counsel your heart when it goes haywire (John 14:26). He will, you know, and you’ll find a way.

4. Observe Gods’ teachings intended for you – Consider the question, “What is the Lord trying to teach me through this?”

5. Say thanks – When you get offering thanks, you get knowing who you really are – a loved child, who God will always provide for. You relish in the feeling, your God and your forever standing.

Sure, that man nearly bumped me. He nearly bumped my heart right away from receiving the love of God, but this is the ultimate truth: Even if you get away for a moment, as a believer, your heart will never be removed for an eternal lifetime.

With this, we can just get our heart, our being and our focus back on his trajectory. We can drive, and keep our eyes on God, knowing that we are heading into his glorious riches. 

***All pictures taken by my 4-year old son! 😉

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When People Are Disgusting

When People Are Disgusting

When you have toddlers, you have to make a lot of trips to the bathroom. It’s never too fun either. Public bathrooms ARE ENEMY #1!

So, when I walked in and saw a lady doing what I am about to tell you, my stomach turned. It flipped and flopped and, all I can tell you is, my eyes so badly wanted to squint tight, silently telling her, “What the heck are you doing?”

Lined up on the counter were six triangular shaped pieces of toilet paper in a row. Each one of them had blood drenched tips. In her nose were two wads stuck up tight. She pulled them out – more blood.

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This is disgusting! Who does this?

After finally getting dear daughter all set, we pushed out the door and played with the toys right beyond the bathroom door. But, as I sat, God pricked, “Kelly, where is your compassion. What happened to your heart?”

I remembered another woman. She was a bloody woman too. She was so bloody she was legally unclean. She was disgusting, she was deplorable. She was a societal “issue”.

For 12 years she lived like a walking fountain of sickness (Luke 8:43), likely shunned, scorned, and embarrassed. Likely, feeling like she even hated herself. Likely, feeling alone.

Did people even care to know what was wrong with her? Did people hate to see “her issue”?

I am just like them.

Who disgusts you?
What issue do you hate to look at?
What makes you sick?

“And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” (Luke 8:46)

She simply touched his hem, but did you notice what Jesus gave this woman? What he handed out? I have not heard in other places Jesus mention “virtue” as his healing.

Virtue in greek means dunamis.

Dunamis = power & might

Jesus restores not just what outwardly plagues us,
but restores insecurity and worry
with power and might. 

It looks a lot like blood; blood poured out on the cross.

The lowly one healing.
The hated one loving.
The despicable blood moving, transforming, reforming…

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To be like Jesus, we might consider doing the same – extending our strength to the unworthy? God’s kindness leads to repentance, after all (Romans 2:4).

Who do you need to offer virtue to?

What if, when you get brushed against disgusting and despicable, you – strengthened the person?

By:
Hugging them.
Loving them.
Telling them God cares.
Showing your heart.
Explaining that you want to see theirs.
Offering compassion with no strings attached.
Letting your heart come to life…

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I am not saying it will be easy, because the last thing I wanted to do was approach that lady. But, as she walked out the door, head down, and eyes trying to quickly catch my disdain – it is exactly what I wish I would have done. I only wish, I would have stopped her, talked to her, understood her and, maybe even, prayed for her.

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3 Steps: From Pain to Peace

Pain to Peace

Guest Post: By Lisa Murray

It was the tipping point.  The beginning of the fall.  No, it wasn’t a crash, a sudden impact dive that you didn’t see coming.  I saw this coming.  I could feel it making its way toward me and yet, I was entirely helpless to stop it.

It was a slow, distinct unraveling.  That moment where you can feel the wheels teetering ever so slightly out of balance until the whole thing comes unhinged.  My heart, that is.

This was the season of my undoing.

I was quite certain I had never planned for this.  My life was a well-structured agenda of fortitude, perseverance, accomplishments.  They needed me in some misconstrued way, yet I needed them more.

From my earliest memories, I can recall that feeling, deep in my bones, that insane and horrific gnawing that I was not enough.  That I would have to prove myself.  I needed to be special.  I needed to feel worthy.  Loved.

I heard people say,
If you try hard enough, you can accomplish anything.

I believed them.

So I set my face like flint against the wind, I measured my sails, and I set out to prove my worth to the world.

Whatever it takes, that was my motto.

Whether that meant hours of studying or practicing to be good enough.  Whether it meant endless miles running wrapped in plastic wrap to be skinny enough, I did it.  That was me.

I thought there would be some point where I arrived.  Where I would attain.  Where I would be enough.

Yet, inside I knew there was something adrift.  If I was quiet enough, I could hear the tremors begin to quake. I felt the muffled pangs just beneath the surface.

I told myself,
Just keep pushing and everything will turn out fine.

So I kept pushing.  I pushed real good for awhile.  I achieved what many said I’d never achieve.  Nobody noticed the foundation beginning to crumble around me.  I noticed.

I wanted to be healed.  I longed to know what wholeness felt like.  I craved peace more than anything I could imagine.

That must be for someone else, I thought,
but it must not be for me.

I often felt like the woman in Scripture reaching out, desperate to touch the threads that lined the hem of Jesus’ robe.  Surely if I could touch Him, she must have thought, then I would be healed(Mark 5:21-34)

I understood the longing of the blind man, who day after day, hoped and prayed that he would one day see.  How could he have known his Savior, his Healer would come with a little clay and a little spit near the pool of Siloam and give him everything he’d ever hoped for.  How? (John 9:1-12)

I could see myself like Peter, shivering in the waves and wind as he stepped out of the boat onto the Sea of Galilee.  If only I had enough fortitude to keep my eyes on Jesus, I could have walked on water without sinking beneath the waves of doubt and fear that pulled me under.  (Matthew 14:22-33)

And then my healing came.  Not in the way you’d expect.  Jesus ushered me into a sacred place.  A sacred season.  Jesus led me to this season of healing and He never let go.

I heard Him whisper to me, “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 (NIV)

I needed rest.

God gave me rest and He gave me so much more.  Over the years of my healing journey, I discovered an abundance that was more than I had ever imagined.  God was showing me how to build and live a life of peace.  It was all I had ever hoped for.  Longed for.  To breathe.  To feel solid and sure.  To experience wholeness.  To experience abundance.  Physical abundance, spiritual abundance, emotional abundance.

3 Ways To Walk From Pain to Peace

  1. Embrace Maximized HOPE! – Without a doubt your hope lies first and foremost in the person of Jesus Christ.  He is your foundation spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  As you learn to appropriate His hope, His healing into the emotional area of your life, you will experience the fullness, the abundance of hope He promises.

Jeremiah 29:11(NIV) states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

  1. Discover Complete WHOLENESS! – God wants you to be not only healed, but whole. God doesn’t want his children limping through life, barely surviving.  He wants you to thrive.  He wants you to discover your unique calling, your passion and purpose so that you can make a difference for His kingdom.  As individuals become whole, the entire body of Christ becomes whole.

2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP) tells us that, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well- balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

  1. Enjoy Enduring HARMONY! – You were not meant to live in chaos.  Your relationships were never supposed to be a rollercoaster of pain and disappointment.  God wants us to learn how to foster peace and strength in our relationships so that we can enjoy them without being dependent on them for our happiness or wellbeing.

Romans 15:5-6 (AMP) shares, “Now may the God Who gives the power of patient endurance (steadfastness) and Who supplies encouragement, grant you to live in such mutual harmony and such full sympathy with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may [unanimously] with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

This is the life God has for you.  Don’t settle for anything less than Maximized Hope, Complete Wholeness and Enduring Harmony.  In my book, Peace for a Lifetime – Embracing a Life of Hope, Wholeness, and Harmony through Emotional Abundance, I walk with readers through whatever season of life they are in, and lay out simple, practical life-steps that will help them find healing and will nurture abundance in every area of their lives.

You don’t have to keep trying so hard to prove your worth.  You don’t have to keep pushing, hoping that everything will turn out okay.  Healing isn’t just for someone else.  Healing is for you.

Jesus is whispering to you, Come to me…

Will you come to Him today?  Will you accept the peace He has for you?  Will you let Him walk you from your season of pain right into His peace?

You can experience the love for which you long.
You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine.
You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow.

You can experience peace —for a lifetime.

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About Lisa Murray

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 4.09.48 AMLisa is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, coffee lover, and wife.  Her online community lisamurrayonline.com provides a compassionate place in the midst of the stresses and struggles of life.  While she grew up in the Florida sunshine, she and her husband now live just outside Nashville in Franklin, TN.

 

 

About Peace for a Lifetime

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 4.09.38 AMIn her new book, Peace for a Lifetime, Lisa Murray shares the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Lisa discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with herself, God and others. Through Lisa and other’s stories you’ll realize you can experience peace, not just for today, but you can experience peace —for a lifetime

 

Find Peace for a Lifetime on Amazon.com.
Watch the Book Trailer.
Join Lisa’s Thunderclap campaign.

Can you Change God’s Mind with Prayer?

Change God's Mind

God, I want this. Silence.
God, I need this. Silence.
God, do you hear me? Frustration.
God, answer! Dejection.

Ever noticed? When tiredness sets in, so does discouragement. We, then, set aside prayer because we feel God has set aside our most valuable request.

I guess it is human nature – when we feel shunned, we tend to shun. When someone treats us rudely, we stop talking. When God doesn’t seem to care, we say, what is the use? We give up. 

Yet, I don’t want to give up; I want to go into prayer with deep focus, reliance and fervor. I want to keep pressing in, knowing God hears. I want to believe, even when it feels like there is no use. After all, isn’t that what faith really is?

I can either be faithful in prayer or
prideful in rapid-fire demands.

The ability to wait well seems to make all the difference.

I will be the first to admit to you, I am so much more the latter than the former. Yet, I want to learn; I want to discover prayer that God loves. I want to go deeper, not to just get what I want, but to uncover what he wants, so that I can discover all the spiritual riches he has planned for my life.

5 Ways to Pray Prayers That God Loves

1. Trust your good God has all the power and ability to give you good things.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mt. 21:22

2. Let your motives align with God’s. Then, Let your motivation move with his.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Ja. 4:3

3. Stand in righteousness and trust all things will be added onto you.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Mt. 6:33

4. Keep on keeping on in prayer. Then, pray more.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Mt. 7:8

5. Have confidence in approaching God, knowing he hears.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Can you change God’s mind?

Have you considered that maybe it is more about God
changing your mind than you always changing his?

When we get our heart set right up against his, often we find our heart changes pace. Rather than running a course that we determined was bound to get us to where we want to go, we see a charted path and glorious path. We see miles and miles of opportunity that may look different than we ever expected, but far greater. We find, we get all we really ever wanted, it just wasn’t on our terms.

Prayer changes us – as much as it changes our circumstances.
It steadies believers lives in the hands of their great God.
It offers sweet intimacy between a loving daddy and his beloved child.
It is heard by a God who knows all our deep needs.
It brings back the dead into the very will of God.
It comforts the weak and humbles the proud.
It squeezes in truth to compel service.
It speaks love and signs hope.
It matures our hearts.
It works.

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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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Whose Reflection Do You See?

reflection

Post by: Christy Mobley

A few weeks ago, after a long morning at the hospital with my mom and sister, I came home to take a shower, wash my hair and get my second wind.

As I picked up the blow dryer I stared into the mirror. For one split second the reflection I saw was that of my mother. It was weird. I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again and then shook the event off as simple exhaustion. Turning back to the mirror I pulled up a strand of hair  and proceeded to go off on a ridiculous tirade about frizz and gray and such. And that’s when it me.

Oh my gosh, I look like my mother and sound like my sister!

I. AM. THEM.

Freaky!

Was I caught up in some twisted episode of the Twilight Zone?

Click here to read more and to #RaRalinkup on Christy’s blog…

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Guard your Heart Like America’s Best Soldier

guard your heart

Lately, I have been pondering maybe the most important question of Christian faith:
How do you successfully guard your heart? 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov. 4:23

Above all else = the most important thing.
Everything you do = every single small and solitary thing
Flows from it = it is the blood supply to our spiritual existence

The heart is the command center to your life.

An unguarded heart is a compromised life.

Using this line of reasoning, we can figure: If we are straying from God, we’ve been displaying our heart open for attack.

So how do we truly guard it?

Guard it in a way where bad thoughts bounce off?
Guard it in a way where lockdown is secure?
Guard it in a way where attackers don’t even give it a passing glance?

This is what my heart has been sitting on lately. Wondering. Strategizing. And sure didn’t want a quick-fix answer of “try better”, “work harder” or “just do it”; these are the type of answers that always keep me failing.

So, while I considered not failing, I watched the snow falling on morning news – until one image nearly sent me falling right out of my chair. It was the answer to my wonderings.

21 steps forward.
21 steps back.
Guarding.
Protecting.
The presence of who was.
No sleep.
No rest.
Back.
Forth.
Diligence.
Perseverance.
Dedication.

The sentinel. He moved with purpose as the high winds of cold hit his face. He moved with discipline as snow ravaged around him. He moved with confidence next to the most important cause in his life. He moved to guard the presence of one unknown by so many; just as our Savior was and is today.

He moves, then another one moves, and then another, on 24 hour shifts, but, make no mistake, someone is always moving at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. It is never left unmanned, untouched and unprotected.

During storms – armed.
When everything seems shut down – manned.
When things are quiet – protected.
When the place gets hectic – watched.
When the face gets frostbitten – defended.

Do we guard our hearts in such a way?

Do we see it of such value that we keep 24-hour vigilance
on what takes aim around it? 

Guns blazing, gloves moistened, to aide in grip,
are we protecting with discipline, dedication and decisiveness?

Back and forth, do we run over our mind to see
if there is any way unpleasing to the Lord?

21 steps forward, 21 steps back,
do we give pause for prayer to ensure we are effective?

The Sentinel does not do an about face when reaching the end of 21 steps, he turns and looks at the tomb.

Do we? Do we turn to look at the tomb consistently and continually throughout our day? The tomb of Jesus that is empty? The one that reminds us of who we are fighting for? The one that tells us to keep on 21-stepping?

When stop to look at Jesus’ tomb,  we see the tomb of emptiness found in anything
and everything else put above him.  

Lives that pace on his goodness, dance with his freedom.
Feet that walk back and forth on righteousness, find life.
Soldiers who see guarding their hearts as paramount, mount up on wings like eagles.
They find hope, flight and new might,
for enemies flee at the sight of real duty.

Guard your heart like nothing else matters.

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Failproof your Resolutions

resolutions

With Christmas down, this is the time of year we move our hearts away from awe and wonder and drive them straight into strategy and planning.

I have got to lose 10 pounds.
I am going to “kill it” at work.
No more coffee.
I will set up that savings plan starting this year.
I will be a more loving mom.
I will start eating more healthy.
I will find a new job.
I will get that graduate degree.
​I will make more friends.

We become resolute to be resolute.
We plan to make a plan.
We drive into drive.
We see our win.
We know our strategy.
We. Will. Make. It. Happen.
Nothing. Will. Stop. Us.

“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”  Ps. 127:1

Is the Lord building your house or are you?

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Prov. 16:9

I can’t help but think, this is where the resolution buzzkill sinks in. Even though we game planned, strategized and attacked our resolution, the small whisper still emerges, “Is this your solution or mine? Is this your will or mine? Am I going with you or are you going out there alone?”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Mt. 7:7

God whispers, “Are you asking me or are you deciding yourself?”

With God, we endure.
With God, we press on.
With God, we find strength.
With God, he renews hope.
With God, we find fresh encouragement.
With God, we get a helping hand.
With God, he speaks truth and humility.
With God, he refocuses us in love.
With God, he redirects our paths, as he holds our hand, so that we don’t end up falling over the cliff of failure. Instead, he grabs us and leads us where he wants us to go – and we feel okay with it. It make sense, for he is the leader. It makes sense, because sometimes he is more concerned with our spiritual than our physical.

Are your plans to go – with God – or are they with an insatiable drive to succeed, win and to thrive?

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Prov. 16:3

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