Purposeful Faith

Category - peace

For Bad Moms

For Bad Moms

Car screamers.
Table screamers.
Mommy blamers.
Head shakers.
Mess makers.
Leg holders.
Peace breakers.
Early wakers.
Distraction forgers.
Time takers.
Kids.

Sometimes, the days feel more like I am stuck in an epic disaster than a classic romance story. I battle to push away wars not bubbles, tears not swing seats and fears not frozen stances of awe. Often, I feel like I am a baby entering a battlefield unprepared, rather than a soldier entering in with the arsenal of the Pinterest mommy.

Then, I feel guilty for being bad.
I feel the burden of being the deadbeat mom.
I feel shaken by the small blowups regarding small circles of cereal.

Before you say things to me, my mom friends. I know stuff.

I know stuff like:

Even though my heart longs for the quiet tenderness of God’s arms, God’s arms extend to the disheveled mayhem of my day.

and

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

and

A moms job is her highest calling.

Got it. And thank you for that.

Now that we have that out of the way, can I be honest with you for a second? Can I ask you one honest, woman-to-woman question?

Why did God take woman and tell her to be still with him,
only to throw her to the wolves of toddlerism?

Why does he seemingly remove peace with God
to replace it with war with kids?

My heart has taken these questions, ripped them apart, shred by shred, and sat with the fragments of ugly reality. The shards, torn even more apart by my apparent inability.

And, I realize…

Sitting in the center of shards – is just where God wants me.
Sitting in the center of shards – is where God’s repair is found.
Sitting in the center of shards – is sitting in the center of needy,
the place where he knows first-aid is crucial.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Is. 40:29

God doesn’t tell me to buck up and press on,
he tells me to hunker down and cry out like a child.

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 18:3

He whispers, “Hand me the shards.
I will knit together a house called holy.”

“Hurry up and tantrum before me,
and I will calm your worst fears.”

“You don’t have to look like a Christmas portrait of excellence,
because I am your excellence.”

I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:10

God doesn’t leave the mess, their mess, our mess and call it an abomination to all his white-laced glory. He looks at it to say, “Dear child, don’t miss it, you are standing in the midst of my glory. And I love how you run to receive my help.”

Carry on, friends, carry on.

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

 

 

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.

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

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.
     Loading InLinkz ...

When Friends Turn The Unfamiliar Into Home

Post by: Christy Mobley

There we sat, my husband and I, uncomfortable in the unfamiliar.

We were in an unfamiliar class in an unfamiliar church, with unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar city.

Hubby and I had just moved away from twenty years of comfortable and I was desperate for a friend to help me get from the prickly new to the worn and smooth feeling of home.

So while I looked like I was listening intently to the Sunday school lesson being taught, my eyes were actually discreetly scanning the room. Much like a woman scans a shoe department for a good-looking, well- fitting pair of shoes, I was shopping for a friend.

Ah ha! The right side of the room held promise. On the end of a row perpendicular to mine sat a lady in a “smart” suit wearing classic pearls. I thought to myself, she and I could be friends. Her articulate answers and slow southern draw sweetened the package.

Yes, classic-pearl lady was friend material and after class I would go introduce myself and ask her to meet me for lunch the following week.

That was the plan

Proverbs 19:21 “ You can make many plans but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” NLT

On the opposite side of the room sat a lady with spiky blonde hair (with one strand of purple in front) and with a thick Rhode Island accent she asked the Sunday school teacher … well, a lot of questions. She reminded me of the kid in school who always held us up from recess, and that irritated me.

I thought to myself, she’s not my type. We have nothing in common. Spiky-hair lady and I will never be friends.

1 Samuel 16:7b, “…The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks a the heart.” NLT

After class, David and I went to grab lunch.

We arrived at a restaurant a short ride from the church, a trendy place that was beyond crowded.

There was no available seating except at a six-top where two people were already seated. The pair were none other than Mary, the spiky-hair lady, and her husband, Craig. They spied us searching for a seat and waved us over to join them.

As we shared and broke bread together or more accurately the best flatbread pizza in the world, we discovered, even though we didn’t necessarily mutually agree on style, the four of us melded on matters of the heart. We had a hunger for Jesus, a desire for authenticity and a feeling of being displaced.

You see, even though Mary and Craig had been living there for three years, like us they felt restless. It was as if God had another place for them to be and they were in a holding pattern. If Mary had owned a pair of ruby-red slippers she would have surely tapped them together and chanted, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” But neither Craig nor Mary were sure where the feeling of home was.

From that day forward because of what we shared in common, God forged in us a deep and lasting friendship. Mary and Craig became like family. Our hearts blended together like warm bread and butter.

At the end of three years, doors opened for David and I to return to Jacksonville.

Oddly enough within a few months of us leaving, God pointed Craig and Mary to Seattle Washington where they found their resolve.

A multitude of God things took place during the three years we lived in Tampa not the least of which was our friendship with the spiky-hair lady, and her husband Craig.

I’m not writing this story to school you on choosing friends (though this is a good lesson on what not to do!) but to say, as believers we are all on mission for God and sometimes that means we find ourselves serving in the unfamiliar.

If and when you find yourself there, in the dwelling of the new and prickly, let me encourage you, the God who hears your cries and sees you heart, will fill your needs as he promises in Philippians 4:19…

“My God will will meet all your needs
according to the riches of his glory.” 

And that includes providing a friend who will help you get from the uncomfortable space to the well-worn place that feels like home.

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

Purposeful Faith Contributor

Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road.

You can find Christy at Joying in the Journey, Twitter, and Facebook.

How to Fly Above Daily Problems

Fly Above Daily Problems

Kids fight back my words of instruction. I get anxious.
The car won’t start. I get anxious.
Relational conflict brews. I get anxious.
The day looks difficult ahead. I get anxious.
It looks like I am going to be late. I get anxious.
The schedule appears too much to manage. I get anxious.
Traffic sits. I get anxious.
Temper tantrums of toddlers ensue. I get anxious.
An unexpected bill arrives. I get anxious.
Home issues pop up. I get anxious.

Do you ever feel like me? So busy preparing for tsunami problems that your heart is unprepared for the small ruptures?

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (Ps. 139:23) 

God is testing me to know my anxious thoughts.

I can’t help but wonder, when he does, if he likes –
not my biblical, spiritual and theological heart –
but my moment-by-moment heart?  

And why such a clean one want to see such anxious filth?

After much time treading through the waters of wonder, I arrived at these points:

God tests us, because he wants to bless us. 

He wants to know us, because he loves us.

He still thinks of us, in precious terms, even if he knows our most ugly terms (Ps. 139:17).

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Ja. 1:2-4

He gives us baby tests, to applaud our baby steps of trust.
He sends us exams, in hopes that we walk across his graduation stage of peace.
He prepares us, because he truly is preparing us.
He is not trying to wear us, because he doesn’t care for us.
But loving us, because he wants love – in us.

Don’t doubt that your trials are building triumph!

Trials are higher education learning opportunities that build the brain power of perseverance and endurance that deliver us to the grade of “complete” in Christ Jesus.

Why would I run from these opportunities? Why would I fear the establishment that is meant to establish me?

Shouldn’t I be looking at trials not as crying grounds, but as blessing grounds? Not as fearing rooms, but as giving rooms? Not in doubt, but in faith – of the mighty work that God is about to do in me?

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Ja. 1:12

So, may we descend on “scary” like falcons,
driving into them at speeds of 200 miles per hour,
not tremoring, but trusting,
not resisting, but persisting,
not fighting, but flying.
Soaring high above the worldly,
beyond the grime of life,
on the horizon of God’s great opportunity.
To see the glory of his test,
giving permission for him to be our rest.
And suddenly, a great shift persists,
for on our plains we must see a new way,
from spiritual eyes – and not earthly,
from godly plains and not normal.
And we do.
We go with God.
We go to beauty, peace and power –
to heights unseen
and places unknown,
and lands untraversed,
in the completion of his will,
in the fullness of his grace,
in the lightness of his wind.
We find ourselves powerful not our powerless,
trusting the sacred – in the sticks of the mess –
for here, it’s the place, the power place – and the resting place – all the same,
the place where God weaves holiness into the very fabric of our being.
​We rest down and continue to fly on his triumphant ways.

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

Bloggers,

  1. I am extending the guest post submissions deadline until today. Copy and paste your post on to my web form. Last chance!
  2. Join the Cheerleaders for Christ Facebook page!
  3. Remember that Monday, 12/7 is our Twitter party of encouragement. We encourage other bloggers using #RaRalinkup.
 Loading InLinkz ...

Your Small Obedience Counts

She was old and ornery. While her 90-year old mind seemed to continually sashay on stages of acting past, today it was breaking down. But, not enough to lose its power to teach me a lesson I’d never forget.

The trip to her was a nightmare: traffic was dead stop, arguments abounded and multiple side of the road discussions ensued. My husband and I nearly aborted mission, we nearly ended in the battlefield of argument and we nearly said this is just too far, until we remembered that…

God only calls those he plans to use.

Her house was a museum of past memories, frames of far-off children, piles of yesterday and smells of inactivity, yet the spitfire lady sitting in the middle of it all still breathed the unsaid words, “Please help me.”

We tried. Our eyes saw her need, our hands prayed and our mouths shared the heartfelt, but humanly mismanaged, truth about the one person who meant everything to us.

We shared the gift that makes everything change.
We shared the pulse of what days on earth all add up to.
We shared the only thing that ever really mattered to us.

Then, this young dancing actress, in the body of an old fragile woman, came alive, when she finally saw the one character that really mattered – Jesus.

She saw what she had missed for far so long.

And we all celebrated, for we knew the power of this knowledge.

Tears rolled down her cheeks and she clenched the bible as if she might devour it. She knew she would be okay. She knew that when her life ended, she finally would have something to live for – and that mattered. It mattered a lot. What she most feared, dissolved upon saying the simple words, “I believe.”

New dreams emerged as the curtain to one stage closed for Mary and the next one gloriously opened. All I know is that, this spit-fire, is sure to be putting on one class act in heaven.

Yet, as time passed after leaving Mary’s house so man long years ago, getting by seemed impossible. We freaked out, then surrendered finances in the way one can only do when there is nothing left to do.

When you lose it all to God, all of a sudden you find, what was lost – is found.

One day, completely unexpectedly, Mary danced her way into our hearts – and mailbox – yet again. A letter of her willed monetary love covered our rent and our hearts with God’s faithfulness.

When we follow through on God’s mission – he does his part to progress it along too.

As we pour out, he always pours in.
Not always as we may have originally wanted, but always as we needed.

How many times does God have gifts of faithfulness waiting for those who obey? What if we never made it to see Mary?

We thought we were giving, but we were certainly the ones also receiving. 

God never drops us at the doorstep of need alone and without a key. She showed us hand-cupped offerings of nearly empty are multiplied by God into fire hydrant outpourings of God’s love.

God stands ready to move, the question is – will we?

We can’t even begin to imagine what he will do with our small offering of, “I love you.”

Then, perhaps, one day, the final producer will look at us to say, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant!” Mt. 25:23  

What a better close to a show is there than that? 

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

The Love Of God You Probably Don’t Know

The Love Of God

Sometimes, I look at my family and think, “I want to give you so much more. I want to love you more. I want to be there for you more.”

I have this longing, but then the action seems far from me. I grew up believing that you just work harder, you try harder and you push harder to do the right thing. You simply give your best effort and then God will love you, then you might be good enough, then you might make it through those pearly gates of glory.

But, striving only ends up producing in an overworked blown-out child.

Striving gives us the false belief salvation is on our shoulders and not God’s.

Striving pushes the need for love far and the will of self first and foremost.

Amidst all this striving, it is almost impossible to let the love of Christ’s sacrifice pour over you? Just think, there is no sitting with working. No relying with striving. No space for grace.  It is called captive service.

You serve and do and be for God–or you don’t get in!

This makes me think, where is the love?

Even more, no matter how amazing our parents were, no matter how fantastic their love – the plain ‘ole fashioned truth is that they can never love us like Jesus did. They have flaws. And because of their inadequacies and flaws, we learn an inadequately flawed love too. We walk receiving, knowing and giving partial love.

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child,
God has made you also an heir. Gal 4:7

Even God gets this point. This is why he tells us we are not a slave: a captive striver, an excessive worker, a ruled-over peon, an owned tool or a beaten serf. No. God tells us rather, that we sit in the full glory of who he is.

We are fully loved by the only one who created the definition of love. We are God’s child.
We get the glorious inheritance that is only stored away for God’s own. We are heirs.
We have the same love line as Christ running through us. His DNA is power. We are God’s child.
We are secure in what our father wants to bestow on us; our laziness can’t push it away. We are heirs.
We are new creations, being reformed into the full image of Jesus Christ. We are God’s child.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Ro. 8:17

May your sufferings not be seen as agony,
but as gifts that confirm your destiny.

May your pain not be run away from,
but held as the ticket that shows how loved you are.


May your agony not be lived in agony,
for it is simply a precursor to the glory that will shine on you.

Why?

Because your whole self is sealed in a way that can never be torn apart. The Spirit lives in you. You can never eliminate his presence or the temple in you, as a child of God.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” Eph 1:13

The Spirit confirms your belonging.

The Spirit speaks to your very heart.

The Spirit leads you in all truth.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Ro. 8:16

No matter what turn we make, as a child of God, we are united with the Spirit that confirms our Father’s love. It holds us in all love, safety and significance. This eternal kingdom, belonging to “the children”, cannot be undone. Or erased. It is finished, on our behalf, by Jesus Christ.

Now, we can walk love. We can be love. Real love. Not from a place of doing, but simply from a place of being. Being a son or daughter of the most high king.

We love because he first loved us. 1 Jo. 4:19

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

Control Challenge: 30 Days of Not Talking Back To Husband

Not Talking Back To Husband

Epiphany! It is a risk. It is a breakthrough. It is a rarity. Unbelievably, it just happens. We can’t demand it or force it. But, when it happens, your insides do a million little cheers because what you couldn’t see before all of a sudden makes sense. Yes! It happened to me. God pushed down a blockade that has been at least 10-years old and 10-yards thick. With my insides broken, things look different. The potential looks frankly fantastic and tangibly terrifying all at the same time.

Here is the deal, for so long, my agenda is always to have an agenda: 

You have a problem?
This is what you should do.

The kid is crying too much?
I have to figure out every last thing to get him to stop so my head won’t explode.

The plan is unsure?
I will worry my little mind off until something formalizes in my mind.

The husband and I are working together?
I will tell him exactly how to move the couch in the right way.

A family member is in a bad mood?
I tell them to get feeling better so we can start enjoying the day.

God doesn’t answer?
I will be under-the-skin angry at him for not showing up my prayed for “way.”

I fail?
I am horrified at my inability to succeed. I am embarrassed you see me. I defend myself tooth, nail and mouth running 100 miles an hour.

When we manage life, life ends up managing us.

It manages to put us into a hole of anxiety, turmoil and defeat. It manages to make our feelings slaves to other’s emotions, circumstances and outright fear.

How can we be in service to God, while we are in service to fear?

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Ro. 8:38

If this is the truth, if nothing separates me,
shouldn’t my heart be almost laying right on top of God’s in every
encounter, situation, and moment?

Shouldn’t I almost feel our hearts beating together and moving as one?

Shouldn’t I not be standing on my feet, but trusting, or “bittachon”ing in Hebrew, which means leaning on?

Shouldn’t I be less concerned about standing up and
more concerned with falling into God’s fix-it, love-it, help-it, I-have-it hands? 

Then, perhaps, I actually won’t feel separated. Then, I won’t hold him and others at an arms length. Then, I won’t be ruled by the same driving force that compels the devil’s parade for power. Then, I will actually give God a chance to work. Then, God and I will be one. In my terrifying moments of uncertainty, he will actually become my certainty. He will be the only surety, the only hope, the only way.

Not through my way, but by me actually living God’s way.

Can you imagine the faith-strides that will happen through a true core belief that says,
in every single solitary situation, “God, this one-is-all you”?

What role do you need to forgo to see God’s hand go wild on your behalf?

Is it being a “mom”ager, a dictator, a fixer, an “advice”r, a “peace-maker,”
a ruler, a helper, a planner or an antagonizer?

Maybe you want to join me on this 30-day challenge?

Will you join me in picking one way that you want to pack away for 30 days?

For me, it looks like this: I am making one small decision to bow down to my husband. Starting today, I will not advise, fix, control, manage, plan, help, counsel, instruct, teach, come up with different ideas, endlessly question, give the one-eyebrow raise or offer the silent treatment to get what I want. For thirty days, I will answer everything he says by “leaning in” on God. I will not offer comebacks. I will learn to offer R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the places where I have relied on D-I-S-T-R-U-S-T.

I will say, “yes,” rather than give my off-the-cuff “no.”

I am going to lay it all down to honor him. For one month, I am going to see what it feels like to shut my mouth, open my ears and to soften my heart. I trust that God will open great plan in the places where I might feel defeated, unsure, and tumultuous. 

For 30-days, I am going to let my husband rule unhindered. What a risk! What craziness! What a nut! Yes, I am, I am so nutty that I think God will do some absurd, fanatical and wild things; I am willing to see what I have missed out on for so long. For 30 days, I can survive. For 30 days, I can see what happens. 

What is God calling you to go a little bit “wild” on?

Is it a challenge like mine?

Or maybe he is calling you in an entirely different way to submission? To service? To love?

Maybe his calling you to step out, so he can work-in-
as you trust him.

Every Monday for the next 3 weeks, I am going to reflect on this journey, my progress and letting go of control. I would love for you to join me as I “Say no to saying no to my husband,” and as you ____________ (tell me in the comments)?

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ…Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. Eph. 5,7-8

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

7 Encouraging Words from The Blogosphere

Encouraging Words

7 Bloggers. 7 Heart-Inspiring Mini-Posts. 7 New Bloggers to Check Out.

Join me today as I welcome mini-guest posts on my blog. We can’t read everything online, so I hope to provide a quick rundown of some great words being written. Check them out!

1. Valerie Murray

My mommy! My daddy! Does your child ever possessively announce that you are “his/her” mommy/daddy? Isn’t it because of who you are to them and how you love and take care of them?

When I remember that I am loved by God and my family because of who I am to them, I tend to worry less about my reflection and focus more on my character.

God thinks you’re beautiful because he created you!

God formed man from the dust and personally breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

He created you in his image. True beauty comes in the pursuit to reflect the image of Christ in our lives.

And clothe yourself with the new nature, which was created according to God’s image in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24

Read More…

2. Lisa Murray
Follow on Twitter

I was simply stunned from my less-than-gracious tumble, humbled by the gaze of concerned onlookers, and grateful that my husband saw me and picked me up, lovingly lifting me to my feet again.

Isn’t this what God does for us?
Isn’t He the one who sees us in our distress and lovingly picks us up?
Isn’t He that present with us in our lives?

I am reminded of David in Psalm 145:14 (NIV), when he says, The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.

How great is the love of God that doesn’t leave us in such a pitiful state lying on the ground.  He holds up all who fall – ALL.  That means ME!  That means YOU!

What moves me more than anything is to realize that in order for Him to pick us up, He had to be there, right there, watching all along.  He saw.  He sees.  He knows. Read More…

3. Samantha Citty
Follow on Twitter

This kind of guilt was not from God.

Here was the problem: I was looking for answers at all the wrong places.  I was turning to blogs and social media instead of the One who comforts us in our time of need.  The opinions and words of other people became more important than the Word of God.  I didn’t realize that “the fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected (Proverbs 29:25).

So I read the entire Bible cover to cover and noticed one of several themes about God.  He doesn’t leave or forsake us (1 Chronicles 20:20, Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5).  He’s not looking down from heaven judging whether or not we’re “good Christians”.  Because without Christ, we aren’t good.  Only He is good.

Not everyone will agree with our choices.  For a while, I took these opinions more seriously than what God thought of His own children.  Since He gives good things to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11), I can trust He has good intentions for me and my family.  His blessings are beyond the guilt and shame we put ourselves through.  Read More…

4. Lori Schumaker
Follow on Twitter

That day, as I experienced the betrayal, I felt my thoughts pulling me into the downward cycle of self-blame, unworthiness, and bitterness.

I wanted to hide away, hardening my heart to relationship. I craved a sense of safety, and the enemy beckoned for me to hide my goodness from the world. He beckoned me to hide my light.

In that moment it was tempting. Hiding the good in me away forever in order to protect it from all future attacks, seemed my safest act.

But I’d walked that road before and recognized the lie. In Matthew 5:17 we read, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Truth declares hiding as contrary to His desires for us. If I choose to live contrary to the way in which God has called me, I will only feel a greater sense of unworthiness and bitterness in my soul.
Read More…

5. Sarah Travis
Follow on Twitter

I see others around me succeeding at running. I feel left out when I can’t track my Couch-to-5k journey along with friends or take part in Tough Mudder!

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14 NIV

We all have to keep moving forward with our eyes focused on the Lord and not what others around us are doing. You see friends, if I run it sets me back rather than moving me forward. I can experience pain that can prevent me from even power-walking. When we strive to be like others, and become bitter because we are not able to be like them, we are keeping ourselves from what we have been created to do.

Ephesians 2:10 says I was “…created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us {me} to do.”  The Lord prepared my assignments before I was even born! I don’t want to miss what He has created me to do because I am too busy looking at the assignments my friends have been given.
Read More…

6. Jenny Shinsky
Follow on Twitter

I ran under the goal post and past the scoreboard before a friend caught up with me. “You ran the wrong way,” she said. “You just scored for the other team.”

I wore blinders that day. Once the ball was in my possession, I became focused on one thing –  to get a touchdown and win the respect of my classmates.

All those the father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me, I will never drive away. John 6:37

God created us with a need to be loved and accepted. When we expect others to fulfill that need, we set ourselves up to be emotionally hurt. God never meant it to be that way. No one can completely fill our need to be loved and accepted.

Only God can do that. He wants to fill that need.
Read More…

7. Carolyn Newell
Follow on Twitter

She stood there humiliated and ashamed as her accusers publicly condemned her before Jesus. After catching her in the act of adultery, the men were eager to cast stones at her, but the stones were already being hurled. Stones in the form of words. Adulterer. Tramp. Worthless. Had she heard these words before? Perhaps they had been the labels her conscience had given her.

Jesus stooped down and began writing with His finger on the ground. Nobody knows the words that Jesus wrote that day. What if He replaced the insults of her accusers with the words of a loving Savior? Words like blessed, chosen, and holy. He replaced the labels of the men with labels of blameless, loved, and predestined. He could have identified her as an adopted daughter, accepted in the beloved. Redeemed and forgiven heir. Sealed with the Holy Spirit.

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11b (NKJV)
Read More…

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

6 Ways to Talk Like Jesus, Not Yourself

Talk Like Jesus

Like an inspector, I spot the clues that lead to wrong. I can see the details of the injury and I must find out who did it. I must know the who’s, what, why’s and when’s. If I know, it will add up to a greater picture to create a greater plan.  Then, I can really put my thinking cap on, add up the details and get busy with repairing what went wrong.

Ever been there?

Ever nodded your head yes to your inner inspector
believing your top cap holds all the rights to another’s wrongs?

Ever become the investigator,
the mediator
(and eventually the intimidator),

rather than the relater to pain?

Jesus models an image of perfect communication; while he never came across as a Mr. Fix it, fixing was naturally accomplished.

6 Ways to Effectively Communicate like Jesus:

1. Know who you are talking to, what they need and how to listen.

He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. Jo. 2:25
Know what is inside, outside, around and under a person, so you can see how to sit with, not preach to, a heart in need.

2. Understand that you could stand where that person stands.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Heb 4:15
There, but for the grace of God, go I.

3. Let the Spirit be the orchestrator of your words. Speak from God’s righteousness, verses your Godly righteousness.

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. 1 Cor. 2:4-6
When leader, the confirmer and the sealer of Christ’s work, the Spirit, guides your words, your words become meaningful.

4. Believe in your words and your words will become believable.

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:28-29).
All the authority of Jesus Christ has been handed you to you for present day purposes – act like it.

5. Encourage others in life application of their faith – so they figure it out, without you figuring it out.

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. Lu. 8:32
You might be sending someone into a monsoon, but soon they’ll likely find God.

6. Ask questions and then ask more(from the depths of love). Questions lead people to their own answers.

Where is your faith?” Luke 8:25
When a person comes up with their own answer, they come up with their own plan of action, which will always work one hundred times better than ours. 

Rather than relying on our inspector and fixer habits, we can rely on the Savior’s and healer’s habits. In the end, our mouths will speak not answers and solutions, but a glorious “Amen”, “God is working” and “Yes, yes yes!”

Yes to a calm heart that understands the Master is the master over all problems.

Yes to a deeper faith that trusts God’s needed working space between the major problem and a hurting person.

Yes to insightful prayer that go to the altar, before going to the table of action plans, contracts and how-to’s.

Yes to expectancy at how God may show up to Shalom, or welcome, one into his family, his truth and his love.

Yes to truth, wild truth, spoken with wild belief that seems to test the yes intention of our own heart to all Godly intentions.

What happens is glorious and marvelous – we see the Lord at work. We see his ways prevail in another’s heart a million times better than our policies, procedures and programs could have ever reigned.

We see his glory fall – and one who sees glory – sees God.

And, what we find, oftentimes, is the other one with stronger faith in the end – is us.

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

Linking with #LiveFreeThursday, #FiveMinuteFriday and #DanceWithJesus.

Learning to Find Rest

Find Rest

My 4-year old son asks me a million questions a minute. Rapid fire, it’s like a barrage of bullets that I feel I can’t dodge sometimes. But, he wants to know, he must know. He won’t quit until he DOES know.

It’s a personal pursuit for him; he is trying to figure out how he fits into this grand ole thing called – the world.

I answer.
He always believes. 
And asks more. 
And is eager. 
Hungry. 
Hopeful. 
Listening. 
Ready.

Willing to learn. Expecting to hear.

My son makes me think…

We love to focus on this verse: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Mt. 11:28-29

We jump up and down when we read this one: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Mt. 11:30

But, we hardly consider the verse just a couple lines above it: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; Mt. 11:25

Could it be that verses are related?

Might we not feel our burden is light,
because we haven’t really established God as our sight?

Perhaps, we haven’t fought after God’s ways like a child would – like my son would.

A child might beg, “What things do I need to learn? How do I do it? Tell me. Tell me. Tell me. Show me too. I want to learn! I want to do it!”

Do we want to learn? Not in a heady, heavy and show-offy sort of way, (like the wise and understanding ones that God hid truth from), but like the hungry, listening, watching and active children that are rambunctious for truth.

God easily hands out rest to those seeking children; they need it – they tire themselves out with their relentless pursuits. He lays them down in the comfort of his safe pastures, under the wings of eagles and in the safe refuge of his mighty tower.

God lets the hungry be full – with his nourishment that never stops filling.

They seek God and they find him.
They hope for an answer and they hear one.
They wait and they receive the power of his Word.

Hungry. Hopeful. Listening. Ready. Eager to know the one driving them around all the time, leading the way, staying close minute by minute to make sure they stay in good health. 

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Mt. 11:27

The Father knows the son, the Son knows the Father.

How can we expect to know the Son, without asking to see him?

Pleading to see him,
leaning in to know him and
crying for a chance to behold him.

God picks up the whiney children wailing for more,
and carries us to make our loads lighter.

Then, we lay up against rest and lean on trust.

Gone, is the weight of striving and, present, is the hope found in abiding.

Our daddy takes good care of us, as he always does for a loved child. Our souls find the rest after listening to the answers for our million questions we were always hungry for. 

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

Linking with #DanceWithJesus and #FiveMinuteFriday.