Purposeful Faith

Category - prayer

Do you Live with Unspeakable Shame?

Unspeakable Shame

It’s your self-hatred.
It’s your hand that wants to slap yourself sometimes.
It’s that memory that classifies you as horrible.
It’s the action that ruined who you are.
It’s the person and what they did that you can’t get past.
It’s what holds you captive to the flesh.

Shame moves as unending pain…

You get angry at yourself about it. You hate that part of you. If you could scalpel away the emotions, you might. But, you can’t, because you feel stuck; you’ve been branded as sinful, horrible or tainted.

I know – shame. Shame is this little beast that lives inside. What he does is summon up guilt, guilt so insurmountable it’s untamable. Then, that very guilt goes so wild; he rips apart holy.

He tells you…

“You can’t be a temple, when you were tempted and tainted in that way.”

“You can’t be God’s child, when you hurt another like that.”

“You can’t be in God’s light, when you found yourself so sullied in the dark.”

“You can’t win when you’ve already decided your inadequacies make you a loser.”

“You can’t be of worth, when everyone else has declared you – worth nothing.”

If Jesus is hero, shame is enemy #1.

This enemy captured me for a large portion of my life. I declared myself, silently, as an unworthy follower of Jesus because shame spouted off his propoganda – and I listened!   I knew truth, but I couldn’t accept it. I knew who I was, and I figured, God knew too. We had a silent agreement – shh… I wasn’t good enough.

Are you living by a silent agreement?

Shame takes sons and daughters, ones declared pure as snow and tells them they’re as tarnished as sin. He says, “Wash as you may, but your disgust and disdain can never be washed off.”

How has he marked you irredeemable?

He marked me too. I finally realized something, however: I can’t walk free if I am walking chained. Seriously. It’s an either/or choice.

Either I will walk in the fullness of freedom or I will walk in the chains of shame.  And, at risk of sounding too simplistic, because I know making your way to the other side can seem like a mountain-wide length of difference, in some ways it is a simple belief that frees us.

God says:

  1. All things are possible. (Mt. 19:26)
  2. Even more than what you believe possible – is possible. (Eph 3:20)
  3. There is almost nothing more God wants to do than to free you. (Lu. 4:18)

So, what feels impossible to let go of, with God, is possible. What feels insurmountable to forgive yourself for, with God, is forgiven. What feels unspeakable and incarcerated in the jail-cell of “don’t talk about it” – is let go by God’s grace.

The Lord reaches his hand out to you. Will today be the day you grab it? For, he wants to lead you somewhere. He wants to bring you to more. He wants to set you free so you set others free. Open up and let Jesus sit down with you right now. Let him wrap you in the cover of forgiven and forgotten, and thrown as far as the East is from the West. He longs to bring warmth to the cold lies shame has told you for so very long.

Dear Lord Jesus, right now, I ask you to draw near to my friends who are suffering in shame. Perhaps they’ve been suffering for a long, long time. Perhaps, right now, they feel undone. Perhaps, they don’t know what to do. Put your arms around them. Pour out your love. May they see your face of compassion and redemption. May they know your heart to love them. I pray they hand over what is not theirs to carry any longer. May they know you carried it on the cross. It is finished, done and over. May they release it now into your great abyss of love. Amen.

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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Need A Miracle? This Is Breakthrough…

need a miracle

Do you feel unable? Do you have a dream no one believes in? Have you hit an impossible roadblock?

Maybe you’re after a miracle.
Even worse, maybe your not.
Maybe, you’ve given up.

I am well aware, we all have our – “if onlys”, “it’s impossible” or “that couldn’t happen” scenarios. They loom like harbingers of how we will self-destruct, how those we love will get hurt or how we will never come out the other side – alive.

The enemy loves to tell us we can look, but can’t touch. He tells us good things are out of reach. So, instead we put on anti-faith, which is doubt cloaked in the covering of Christian-like behavior. We pretend.

We forget about this: Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Jo. 16:23

Our real problem isn’t that it’s out of reach, it’s that we don’t believe God’ll put it within reach.

The difference between a miracle and a mirage – is prayer.

If only we asked.
And believed.

For 80% of my life, I lived not believing. I mean, half-believing, I guess…if that is such a thing. I lived attending church. I lived trying my best. I lived praying. But, for the most part I lived doubting: doubting I’d ever do good, doubting God would really forgive me, doubting God could use me, doubting people would ever like me.

Fear was my slave master and my inadequacy his whip. I stayed in line.

Until, I started praying. Prayer is the liberator every woman needs, but has no idea how to find.

Me? A girl who stayed back in 3rd grade. A girl crippled by a chest that clenched its own self. A woman afraid that everyone would hate her. A quitter. An anorexic who felt she had to be perfect. A woman who hid from opportunities because she didn’t want to fail. A lady who was told she’d never write, nonetheless be an author.

Me? God saved me – from the overwhelming anxiety of being me.
Me? God opened up purpose and passion.
Me? God lit vision and destroyed the power of rejection.
Me? God inspired my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Fears.
Me? God just put my book on the Today Show. Kathie Lee Gifford named it one of her Favorite Things.
Me? God showed me – He can do anything, free anyone or rescue anyone – if only they ask.

We don’t ask though. This is the real problem.

What if you asked God to be fearless?

What might your life look like?

Where might God take you?

No doubt, underneath this stark movement in my life, were countless prayers.  Above it, stood a limitless God. Between these two places, was my belief. I watched everything collide.

God is calling us to step deeper and walk further into the fullness of all he can do. You see, we don’t have to imagine it, or perceive it – forget all that – we just have to believe it.

This is what my book Fear Fighting is all about. It’s about linking arms with the Savior, the Redeemer and the Creator of all good, so that we, as sisters, may walk bold and brave. It’s about leaving behind trembling so we can walk, on sure foundation, into God’s greatest callings. It’s about exchanging comparison and jealousy for the life-charging power of I-am-loved, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s about seeing yourself as God sees you. It’s about stepping out when every voice from your past tells you to step in. It’s about finding the you God created you to be.

Join the Fear Fight. The time is now. Your God waits. He will help you. Prayer will be your guide and God will not steer you wrong. Your greatest miracle is just ahead.

Buy Fear Fighting!

Join the Four Days to Fearless Challenge.

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More Reading:
When You Let God Down
5 Ways: Calm the Inner-Rumbles of Rejection
When Your Picture Is Not Pretty

1 Clear Way to Victory When in a Losing Battle

Losing Battle

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.

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

Other Reading:
12 Power-Prayers: Sourced from all Paul’s Prayers
When Prayer Goes Unanswered
Grace Changes Hearts

12 Power-Prayers: Sourced from all Paul’s Prayers

12 Power-Prayers

Sometimes praying feels like throwing darts – with your eyes closed. You hurl some words heavenward and wonder if you’ve hit the bulls-eye of progress. You hope something sticks.

What have you been praying for? Do you wonder if God hears your prayers? If they matter?

Lately, I’ve been thinking, I don’t want my words to just touch heaven, but I want them to move heaven’s power on my behalf. I want to pray knowing, all I am – needs all of Him . I want – what I throw up, to fall back down with such strength – God’s fingerprints, clearly, handled my every word. Even more, I want the Lord’s will to fall on earth, not because I am good (far from it), but because He is good, all good. And, more than enough.

I want God to touch even the smallest details of my life and the lives of those I love.

Do you desire the same?

I’ve been wondering how to be effective in prayer.

And, when I think of it, if ever there was a prayer warrior – it was Paul. If there ever was a man who moved the needle of this world (besides Jesus) – it was Paul. And, if there was ever a man who prayed with power – it was Paul.

What would happen if we prayed like Paul?

God got me asking this question. So, I searched every prayer Paul prayed (below) to find the essence of God’s power held within his words. What I found were 12 categories of prayer. I hope they bless you as much as they did me!

Here are 12 Power-Prayers Sourced from Paul:

  1. “God, I thank you for others. I ask you to fill them, and myself, with knowledge of your will, with wisdom and understanding. Even more, may I pursue others with love, through prayer, while building unity. “

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3–6)

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. (Romans 1:8–10)

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Eph. 1:15)

We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. (Col. 1: 9-10)

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2–3)

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. . . . (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6) 

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:16-18)  

2. “God, may others be saved. May they understand the fullness of your love.”

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 5–7)

3. “May my life, and the lives of those around me, be filled to the measure of the fullness of God (through love, hope, power, strength, faith, grace and mercy). Through this, may your name be glorified.”

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  (Romans 12:12)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 215–23)

For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thess. 3:13)

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 1:11-12)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

4. “May the power of Jesus Christ continually fill with joy, grace, peace and hope, through the Holy Spirit. Encourage our hearts, Lord God, so we may we be pleasing to you.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. (1 Corinthians 16:23)

We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:9–14]

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

5. “May our hearts be in continual prayer. May you open doors to our messages. May we proclaim Jesus. May we refresh others. May the mysteries of Lord Jesus Christ be open as we fearlessly convey the gospel.”

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:2-4)

I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Romans 15:30-33)

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19-20)

6. “God, praise be to your name for all your goodness. All goodness is you. We praise you for who you are, what you do and how you’ve blessed us with a new standing in Christ Jesus.”

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. . . . (Ephesians 1:3)

7. “We offer all thanks to you, God. You do all things, You bring life and You deliver hope. Thank you for enriching us, keeping us and equipping us with spiritual blessings. We lack nothing. We praise you.”

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way— in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has give you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:12-15)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Phil. 4:6-7)

8. “God, may you heal us. If we do not see healing, please speak your truth into our heart. May we know that all you give is more than enough and that, in us, you are still working.”

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take (thorn in flesh) away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Cor. 12: 8-9)

9. Father, may holiness and love – thrive. Sanctify us more and more.”

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. [Philippians 1:9–11

Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. [2 Corinthians 13:7–9]

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. [1 Thessalonians 5:23–24]

10. “God, may grace abound in me, to me and through me.”

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. [Galatians 6:18]

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. [Philippians 4:23]

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. [1 Thessalonians 5:28]

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. [2 Timothy 4:22]

Grace be with you all. [Titus 3:15b]

11. “May you protect me and those I love. Strengthen us too.”

And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. [2 Thessalonians 3:2–5]

12. “God, again, we cry, thank you, Father. Thank you for blessing us with the ability to serve you.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. [1 Timothy 1:12]

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When Prayer Goes Unanswered

prayer goes unanswered

I stared out the window.  My eyes squinted, not because the sun was blinding me, but because I was furious with God.

Absolutely. Stinkin’. Furious.

He failed me. And from where I stood in that moment, on those knees that were bended in prayer for the past six months – my view wasn’t pretty. I pleaded and postured and trusted to no end – and I saw nothing for it. I believed God was going to come through for me – and now I am left looking at a pile of nothingness. Even worse, I am looking at damages.

God not only didn’t come through, he hurt me.

So, like any good Christian girl, I went to church. And when they sung, “How great is our God,” I lip-synced. When they asked us to pray, I kept my insides empty. And when my husband asked what stood out in the pastor’s message, I grunted, “Mmm…hmmm….”

Do you feel that God abandoned you?

Maybe someone is still sick. The spouse is still mean. The dog is still lost. Your heart is even more lost. A child still won’t return. Your finances are in the dumps. A friend has gone and hurt you. Your past is not healed. You live in a place that is horrible. Your car won’t stop breaking down. Your face is getting old. Your kids are getting obnoxious. Your life looks ugly.

Whatever is going wrong, it’s because God is gone rogue.
Whatever is broken is because Mr. Fixer Upper didn’t do his job right.
Whatever makes us feel uncomfortable is because the God of comfort lost his magic.

Oh, I know these feelings alright. To say they’ve never existed is probably to lie.

But, years later, upon reflection of this bitter hour, I see things through a different prism, a different angle. Whoever said time heals, knows its true. And it is. Looking back, I see both Him and me through time and things played out. Sense arrives.

I’ve observed:

1. Sometimes you don’t get the lesser prayer because God is answering a bigger prayer.
Let me tell you about my son. He was a screamer on steroids. He’d wail so hard a lung would nearly pop out.  I’d pace. I’d try to keep him together. I’d try to keep me together. It was a song and dance, an anxious time. God didn’t answer my prayer that he sleep. But, you know what? In retrospect, it was an anointed time. It kept my husband up, and me too, so we could pray my numb legs and hands were not an actual diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. You know what? God answered that prayer.

2. Seasons come, but seasons also pass. 
Back to the 10-pound screamer…he screamed, but six months later, he stopped screaming. I no longer had to endlessly bounce, with a broken back and arms that felt as if they might fall off. He, miraculously, like an angel, fell asleep on his own. Not only that, he made it through the night! What is hard today, may often becomes joy the next morning.

3. Waiting produces patience.  What we often fail to realize is that patience = faith. We pray, “God make me more faithful.” This is usually the equivalent of praying, “God make me a better waiter.” It is in the wait that we learn faith. It is here where iron meets the road and we either stick it through with God – or we bail.

4. God’s sole job is not to keep me happy. There is no law that says God must keep me happy. He often does, because he loves me. But, also, because he loves me, he teaches me. Just as I allow my son to learn from his mistakes, often God lets us live out ours, so we can return closer to him.

5. What looks like rejection is often protection. We see life horizontally. God sees life horizontally, vertically, cross-diagonally and inside out, he sees it up and down and all around. He sees how person A affects person B and how person B may know Jesus if person A goes here or there. He also sees how shutting a door may prevent our foot from getting jammed in it.

God hasn’t given up on the disgrace that is you. He doesn’t have better or more important people to deal with. He doesn’t discount your prayer as stupid, frivilous or worthless. He doesn’t see you as needy. He loves your need. He loves your longing. He loves you voice that calls out for his name.

Even more, God has a plan. It isn’t a plan that looks like your days activity. It looks like a matrix, a flow-chart and a high-level war plan for greatness that is being worked out on spiritual, eternal and visible levels. You can’t understand it. But, you’re not meant to.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

Surely, as I have planned, so it will be and as I have purposed, so it will happen. Is. 14:24

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5 Ways to Bear Amazing Fruit in and through you

Bear Amazing Fruit

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!

Bear Amazing Fruit

“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.

bear amazing fruit

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

bear amazing fruit

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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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2010/may/18/growing-tomatoes-tips

What Age Do You Feel on the Inside?

pray God holds sky

Post By: Angela Parlin

“It’s kinda boring in here, Mom. There’s nothing colorful about this place.”

She says this a little sassy, from a plain old emergency room bed. She’s drawing a picture in her fancy notebook, and watching Liv & Maddie on the corner television. Most importantly, she’s breathing slower. She’s acting like herself again.

We wait for medications to wear off, and these unplanned hospital hours have me thinking. A Carrie Underwood song I played last week, on the day I turned 40, runs through my head:

“Whenever you remember times gone by,

Remember how we held our heads so high.

When all this world was there for us,

And we believed that we could touch the sky…”

(“Whenever You Remember” lyrics)

Time has a way of humbling us, doesn’t it?  I no longer believe I could touch the sky. Not like that anyway. I also don’t feel 40.

The age we feel on the outside never seems to match the way we feel on the inside.

Do you know what I mean?

When I turned 30, a friend asked me if I felt older. I said I felt about 17. I told my older sister yesterday, now that I’m 40, I feel a good strong 27 inside. Maybe it’s only lingering optimism, although it wasn’t all pretty then.

On my 27th birthday, I woke, sobbing, with Temporary Insanity. My overdue “little tiny” still had not joined us. I thought I’d be pregnant forever with that one.

Eventually, he arrived, and 27 began this giant growth spurt that is motherhood.

I started questioning my ability and doubting my own strength. Looking back, that’s where my real growth began. I wanted to depend fully on God, but something was in the way. Youth, maybe? So I regularly exhausted my own efforts, research, and ideas, and just after that, called on the name of Jesus.

It’s funny the way life changes us.

You go from believing you could almost touch the sky–to knowing the limits of your power.

You go from holding your head high, feeling the wind of the world beneath your wings–to bowing down, carried by One who moves like wind or however He chooses.

It’s upside-down, but this is where life gets good. Because now you’re falling upward. In the corner of your bedroom. In the emergency room. And everywhere in-between.

“My heart beating, my soul breathing,

I found my life when I laid it down.

Upward falling, spirit soaring

I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.”

(Hillsong United, “Touch the Sky” lyrics)

You fall to your knees, like it all depends on the GOD who holds up the sky.

You’re singing a new song, because now you really believe.

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. James 5:13, NLT

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Angela ParlinAngela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. From her home in North Carolina, she writes about the Jesus, grace, and motherhood, because there’s always “So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.” In addition to writing, she spends her days homeschooling, putting meals on the table, and wiping countertops. When she can’t be found, she’s hiding in the closet, devouring another novel, because stories are her favorite.

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.”

Here’s How It’s Gonna Be….

Post by: Jami

Our four-year-old son Sam is a riot.  Perhaps because he is so much younger than our four biological children, he is used to being the center of attention. He is accustomed to his demands and commands being heard and implemented.  We all roar laughing when he says, “Wisten to me, here’s how it’s gonna be…. I want a sammich and some juice box. Den I going to watch Batman.” And no, we don’t fully comply. Yes, we correct him. Still he says it.

I am really no different than Sam.

I think I am in control.

In the mass treasure trove of things God finds entertaining, I am certain I am on His play list. And no, I don’t think He sits on high with a jeweled remote control making me dance. I believe in free will, unfortunately not only do I believe I have free will I like to verbalize my free will in an obnoxious fashion.

When we started our foster-to-adopt journey I told God, “I will take in any child, as long as they are foster-to-adopt. I don’t want to get hurt and losing a child would hurt too much.”

And I have free will, no one is the boss of me and like a four-year-old I assert myself.

Here’s how it’s gonna be….

As we readied our home for two adoptable little girls, I prayed that they would be happy with us and I asked God to bless them. I told God that after their placement we were done.  When my phone rang and I saw the caller ID I knew, my girls were finally coming. We would be a family of nine. I would be a super mom! We would adopt them and live happily ever after.

But the voice on the other end of the line informed me the girls were moved to another city and they would not be coming to us.

I got hurt. 

A few months later we got a phone call, late in the evening, about 10:30 pm. The call was from our agency. An infant baby boy was alone at the hospital. He was injured very badly.

I questioned, “Is he adoptable?”

And the caseworker replied, “Well Jami, I don’t know, but he’s alone.  And he is hurt.

As I drove to the hospital I told God,Here’s how it’s gonna be…. I will go sit with him.  I will pray for him and I will cuddle him. I won’t fall in love with him.  I don’t want to get hurt.” Later in the sterile hospital room, lit only by city lights and a beeping bedside monitor,  I held the tiny battered cherub and read scripture to him. I told him about Jesus and prayed for God to ease his pain. I was overcome with love. And as we both drifted off to sleep I heard a voice, deep in my soul whisper,

“Here’s how it’s gonna be…. This is going to hurt.”

The journey was filled with anxiety and heartache, it was a rollercoaster of the unknown, and a division of my heart like I hadn’t known was possible.  As much as I adored this boy, I wanted good things for his family.  I didn’t want them to lose him, and I didn’t want him to lose them.  I told God how to fix it and I told God what I would do.  But no one is the boss of the God of Israel.

A few months ago our agency called. They had an infant baby girl that needed placement within the hour.  We accepted and I went into the closet to “pray.” And I told God, “Here’s how it’s gonna be…. We will care for her. But we won’t fall in love and after this one, I am done.” And we loved on her and played with her and bought sweet little girl clothes.

Then I met her parents.  Walking wounded, in love with their baby. Good and decent sinners, just like me.  And I heard a still small voice deep in my soul whisper,

“Here’s how it’s gonna be…. This is going to hurt.”

I recognize my prayer life is no different than the verbiage our four-year-old son implements when he is telling us Here’s how it’s gonna be….” My prayers are rarely prayers of submission. I believe I am in control.  I organize and coordinate how I want things.  And these aren’t really prayers. These are bossy demands.

A colossal contradiction to prayer in communion with a God that seeks to bless not curse.  A God that delivers us from evil, and parts seas for safe travel. A God who brings the Savior of the World via a virgin birth. He is master of all that is creative and spectacular. He is the maker of heaven and earth.

Here's How It's Gonna Be.... (2)

Much like we laugh at Sam for thinking he is the boss of us, I picture my God on high shaking His head. A gentle smile and a sweet adoration for me, His girl. A booming chuckle escapes Him. And a small voice deep in my soul whispers,

“Oi vey, Jami, here’s how it’s gonna be. This is going to hurt. But you are mine, I will not leave you or forsake you. You will follow this calling I have put on your heart. You came to serve, not be served. You will be last, not first. I am right here, work with Me – chin up darling – let’s do this together.”

And my soul is well – with my God in charge of how things are gonna be.

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:7-8

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

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Way to Handle Life

pray handle life

Years ago, I took one of those 20-question quizzes, which used to populate our email inboxes. Before Facebook took over, we replied to all and read our friends’ answers one by one as they replied to ours. Remember that?

This quiz included questions about your favorite fruit, your most embarrassing moment, and how many days a week you cry. Random.

Guess what I learned?

Most people don’t shed tears every day.

Or at least that group of my friends didn’t. After I sent out my answers, some of them wondered if I was depressed. But I didn’t have anything to hide—I’ve just always been an easy cry.

I’ve been studying the book of Hebrews, where we see Jesus as superior to angels and prophets and the law that came through Moses. He’s our High Priest who gives us continual access to God’s Presence.

But we also see Jesus living out of his humanity, displaying strong emotion.

We see Him crying and praying fervently about what was to come.

We see Him struggle and still obey God, even through suffering.

We see Him fully dependent on God His Father day after day.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Hebrews 5:7

It’s the emotion here that stops me—fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him.

This points to His time in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus asked His Abba, Father to take this cup from Him. He was asking God to not let Him die in such agony–with the sins of the world heaped upon Him.

He didn’t want His Father to turn away from Him.

And He was heard because of His reverent submission. This last part of the verse is important.

Jesus asked for a different way, but He submitted to the Father’s will.

Yet not what I will, but what you will. Mark 14:36b

Is this the attitude you carry into your prayers?

It’s often not where my heart is, when I come to God with a need. I’m thinking, MY will, Lord, just say yes! I’m assuming I can see far enough ahead to know my way will work out best. I’m sure I know what I need.

But often, God shows me that what I need more than anything is to walk with Him and depend on Him.

What I need most is to lay my requests at His feet and say, Not what I will, but what you will.

Jesus endured His life on earth with regular time away from everyone else, praying to His Father–even though there were endless people to help and things to do.

Our lives, also, are meant to be handled with prayer.

May we follow Christ’s example to actively trust in God and depend on our Father through prayer. May we pray as an offering, sometimes including tears. Every day if needed.

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Angela Parlin is Dan’s 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 each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.