Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Bringing Life to What Looks Dead

“Look!” I said.

All four of us turned our head to look out the car window. Dozens of buzzards were feeding on a dead dear. It’s gross, I know.

They devoured it. They were shredding it. They were ruthless.

All this got me to thinking. . . the enemy feeds on death.

Whereas, “Jesus is . . . life.” (John 11:25)

When I am filled with Jesus, I am filled with life. There is nothing for the enemy to feed on. When I am filled with the Spirit, I abounding in the spiritual. There are no wounds for the enemy to gnaw open. When I am praying to the Father, there is no decay the enemy can use against me.

I realize, for many of us the attacks, the discouragement, the devastating news, the demoralization around us, the lay-offs are prevalent around us. I have seen it too. I know it is hard sometimes.

But, some of us need to do an about-face and look at life again — from a different angle. We need to look to Jesus. Because, the enemy is feeding off your despair, discouragement, and doubt. And, you’ve let Him for far too long.

The tide changes when you look full in Jesus’ face. When you access, remember and meditate on His mercy and grace.

Do something new.

Tell your own spirit, “No more. Then, remind yourself: ‘Jesus is resurrection and life. He can bring back, restore or renew anything.”

Then, focus on His names:
King of Kings
Light of the World
Prince of Peace
Son of God
Lamb of God

Remember what He’s done, look full in His face — and let Him bring you, again, new life.

“Jesus said to the dead man, “Young man, I say to thee, arise!” And he who was dead, sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” (Lu. 7:14-15)

Prayer: God, give me eyes for you. Above all I see, I want to see you. I ask for you to grant me deeper knowledge of your providence and care. Will you help me to take my eyes off of the heaviness that surrounds so that I might see and seek your face, in full? Give me grace to know and love you more. Come to my rescue. Bring life to what appears dead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Clean-Up Day!

I can’t handle a dirty, crumb-laden counter when I sit down to write. Before I place my computer on my black-granite counter, I need to have a clean counter. I need to have fresh space I can work on. I need to have the ability to work without a million little pieces surrounding me.

This lets me focus on what most matters.

I wipe it all down before I start. I get it ready. I prepare my surroundings so I see the bigger thing, God, without little things getting in the way.

I believe God loves it when we come to Him with clean hearts too. Here, as I’ve discovered it, rather than Him needing to address a million little stray things, He can bring us deeper into Him.  Here, He has fertile soil to do His best work. Here, brings us deeper levels of wisdom through His Word and through prayer.

There isn’t so much ancillary work to be tackled.

Just like we come to communion with God by clearing out things that are not of Him — so that we can meet Him. Today, I strongly feel God desires us to clear our table of what blocks us, distracts us or keeps us from Him.

What is that for you?

Is it an over-spill of self-wrath? Have you been talking to yourself like the accuser of the brethren?
Is it grimy fear of the future? Has it been building up in you?
Is it 1000 crumbs of daily distraction? Are they filling your mind more than God?
Is it the overwhelming clutter of worries? Do they make you feel like you have to handle things rather than God?
Is it the boiling anger you have at a child? Is it all you see?

Clean tables meet God in more intimate and free ways. There isn’t as much stuff to get ready before the real food is set on the table. This way, you seek Jesus — and you find Him, in a fresh way. You move past the clutter and behold His heart.

Today, be still and let God search your heart. His best roads are ahead of you — but, to find them, let the blockages be cleared. So you can find your roads to eternal abundant life. . .

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life. (Ps. 139:23-24 MSG)

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The Free Gift that Surpises Me

“Mom. . . ! You promised you would bring money.”

The only thing was, I didn’t.

“You are always forgetting it.” He was right about that. I’d once again forgotten, to grab the couple dollar bills to buy him a treat. The man in a pick-up truck on the side of the road had been selling boiled peanuts for weeks and my son desperately wanted to try them. I felt bad, but I didn’t have the money. It just was what it was. I told him to continue walking home.

My son’s eyes darted across the street at the man while we moved. His sister and I carried on, headed home. That is — until the man got out of his pick up. The strong-build man, peanut bag-in-hand, headed across the street. Towards us.

Was there any way he heard us? No, that couldn’t be. We were too far away.

He walked up and said something. A car passed by and I didn’t quite hear him, so I answered, “We don’t have money.”

He replied, “If I wanted you to have money, do you think I would have said, ‘have these for free.'”

Wow. After my son accepted the nuts and we parted ways, I told him, “Son, that was a complete gift from God — to you. Out of nowhere that guy came over and gave you what you didn’t deserve — for free. It’s like God knew.”

And, so it is with Jesus. He gave us what salvation we didn’t deserve — for free. He gives us, so many times, what blessings — we don’t deserve — for free. And, He blesses us in ways we don’t even expect — without deserving it — for free.

He gifts us time and time again.

Keep on the lookout for Jesus. His grace is so powerful it will cover you. It will bless you. It will make a way for you. It will give things to you. It will help you. It will provide for you.

Don’t lose hope; keep the faith. God’s amazing; He provides when you least expect it — even when you do nothing to deserve it. We have so much to give thanks for.

“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” (Jo. 1:16)

 

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3 Responses: When People Share Their Heart

Have you ever conversed with a person who indirectly cuts you down? Negating your dreams? Dissing your hopes?

Perhaps, you share what you are working towards and they reply, “Ya, I’ve been there; it didn’t work out because (list: the 100 reasons why)” Or, you share vulnerably and the person suddenly turns the story back around to themself. Maybe even, you let them know details about your child that makes you a little nervous and they expand on the conversation with a horror-story — that only compounds your worry.

We cannot control people’s reactions, but we can ask ourselves wise-questions before we share things with people:
–  Is God calling me to share this story, right now — with this person?
– Might this person respond with advice or insight that is driven by fear, jealousy, worry or comparison?
– Does this person usually offer Godly perspectives, wisdom, and encouragement?

We don’t have to share everything — with everyone. We reserve the right to use: wisdom.

At the same time, of course, we know, no one is perfect. In fact, many times, even the best of Christians will have poor responses (I’ve made these mistakes too). Grace abounds.

In light of this fact, let’s flip the tables for a second — to look at our own self…

Ask yourself: How do I respond when people share their heart — with me?

1. Do I listen?
2. Do I consider what God wants me to say before I speak?
3. Do I put away anger, or other negative emotions, until I have fully processed, with God, what is being said? So that I can speak from a place of love?

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19)

Prayer: Father, it is hard not to react. However, I ask you to give me the grace to listen before I speak, to understand before I counteract, and to gain perspective before I claim to know it all. Give me your vision for the people and the issues that come towards me. May I be your mouthpiece, for your glory and for your purpose — all the time. Teach me in your ways. Lead me in wisdom on who to share with and what to say. And, may I be both careful and tender with other’s hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Cultivating Quick-Obedience

quick obedience

There is power to quick-obedience.

How many of us have said, “I really need to call. . .(so-and-so)” but we never follow-through?

Good intentions do not equal good execution. I’m guilty of this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to bring a new momma dinner and then forgotten about them. Or, the countless times I’ve meant to give time to someone who asks me for help and then I just — don’t. Oops.

Recently, I was telling my kids how I dream of giving back to their school in the future — to beautify it a bit.

My son replied back, “We should start small, mom. We could buy them a bench or something.”

He had a point, but. .  .

How many of us add a “but” to our good intention?

Just about a week ago, I attended his parent-preview. This is where you walk through his classroom. My son pointed out these dry-erase boards that were broken and old.

“Look at these, mommy. We are waiting for someone to give new ones.”

Something rose up in me.

It’s most clearly expressed as the very words I tell my own kids: See a problem — be the solution.

Rather than putting off what could be done for tomorrow, God was calling out — it’s time to take action today. It’s time, right now, to take out your checkbook. No more delay.

God-prompted, working-obedience acts fast.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once (immediately, now, with urgency) they left their nets and followed him. (Mt. 4:19-20)

See a person in need? At once, address their need– before doubt cripples you.
See downcast spirit? At once, be the one to offer a word of encouragement.
See something you want to complain about? At once, ask how you can be the solution.
See an injustice you can’t stand? At once, seek the ways you can become involved.
See a person God has put on your heart to help? At once, give.
See a need? At once, address it in the little way you can.

For this is pleasing to our Lord.

 

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How Saved We Are, In Christ

It is easy to forget how far we’ve come.

This is normal. It’s like after you get a few cavities filled and a root canal done — 3 years later you forget it even happened. Life is back to normal and you hardly think about how glad you are that all of that was accomplished and finished. And, how easy it is to chew now.

Likewise, it is easy to forget about Jesus the same way. It is easy to forget HOW MUCH He has done for us. HOW MUCH He has saved us from. HOW MUCH He has accomplished. It is not that we don’t love Him or have faith in Him, but, at times, we take for granted HOW MUCH He rescued us and how far we’ve come.

Do you realize, it’s as if we made it “in” to His family by the skin of our teeth?

We didn’t bring anything. . .

We didn’t prove anything. . .

It was simply because God chose to become flesh. . . to accomplish the greatest mission ever. . .

If it weren’t for Jesus what would happen to us and our sin???

If we never faced-God, what we would we have faced?

But, Jesus. He came, like a rescuing-Savior and jerked us out of our position of distress, unrest and stress. He came, and lifted us out of our pit. He came, and walked us across His bridge of life — so that we could be with Him, forever.

Like a damsel in distress — He saved us.

But, Jesus. But, only, Jesus.  Jesus came and changed everything. He made me alive with Him (Col.  2:10), free from the power of death (Romans 8:2), a joint-heir, a chosen daughter, a beloved treasure, a kept kid, a wanted person, and best of all he wiped the face-of-my-everlasting transgressions, clean.

Oh, may I never forget! 

Jesus has not only saved me, but He has improved me. Grown me. Changed me. Made me. Helped me. Answered me. Lifted me. Removed an eating disorder from me. Rescued me dozens of times. Given me wisdom beyond understanding. Healed me emotionally and physically. . . (the list doesn’t end).

I am nicer now. I am kinder. I am gentler. I am more-so filled with joy. I am filled with new perspective.

What about you? What has He saved you from and brought you to? What life circumstance is radically different now that He is in your life?

What sort of epic-save did Jesus conduct on your behalf? The King of resurrection-life does not enter a life without resurrecting life. The Glory of God does not transform a heart and leave it the same.

Look deep and you’ll find His fingerprints on your heart, on your life and on your soul — even if you once missed seeing them. Even if today they look small…

The Two Responses:

Do you know Jesus? If not. . .

Outloud, through your words, invite the King of Kings into your heart. Tell Him that you want your life to be resurrected through Him, by Him and for Him. Tell Him you are sorry for your mistakes, botch-ups and issues. Ask Him for forgiveness and His help. Thank Him today for becoming the Savior of your Life. Explain to Him that you want to hand your life over so that His life can become yours.

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Ro. 10:9)

Then, rejoice! You are saved (helped, equipped, taught, forever-with-Jesus, eternally His…). You get to be forever, with Him. Forever, in His love. My encouragement to you? Grab His Word (the bible), get in a strong Christ-focused church and walk into all the fullness God has for you.

Do you know Jesus?

Rejoice. Undoubtedly, there are things that Jesus has done for you that you “know”, no one else could have ever done for you. There are strides, there are lessons, there are answers, there are miracles, there are areas of growth — only He could have done for you. There is relief only He could have brought. Give thanks. Give praise. Give honor, where honor is due.

 

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God’s Soil is Life

You all should know by now that I love taking walks. I go outside and just enjoy the air. Usually, I look at trees and all around. But the other day, a singular flower caught my eye. All by itself, it poked out of a massive pile of leaves within a wooded area. But, there it was. It stood bright.

Then, my kids and I approached our house after a day-out, and right in the middle of the mulch was another one. A flower. It popped up out of nowhere right in our mulch. Amazingly, there are not other flowers of its kind. But, there it was. Bright as day.

This morning, I walked through a grassy area and — guess what caught my eye? A purple flower shooting up. There weren’t any around it. Just an isolated flower.

Something woke up in me: God’s full-ability to turn any wilderness-wasteland into beauty. He specializes in this.

You see, what we see as ‘a nothing area’ or a ‘blah area’ is actually fertile ground for God’s growth. It doesn’t matter how we perceive it; it matters how God sees it.

God can do anything, anywhere. He makes beauty for ashes in the middle of the most war-torn marriage. He springs up the oil of gladness rather than mourning, even in the greatest loss. He rebuilds ancient ruins,  from nothing, even if the foundations are cracked. He proclaims freedom to the captives in the most torturous of locations.

God is God; He is mighty to save?

What area of desolation are you facing?

Jesus came to. . .
“..bind up the brokenhearted,
proclaim freedom for the captives
release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion…
..to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
…the oil of joy instead of mourning. . .” and the list goes on (See Is. 61).

This scripture has been fulfilled through Christ.  Whatever desolate area you face, know that Christ has all-ability to spring life. Ask Him to do it; He is faithful.

Jesus said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lu. 4:20)

Stop Getting Hit

This morning I walked my son to school. Unfortunately, there is a part of our walk that has no sidewalk. We usually carefully walk on the curb or tread through the dew-wet grass.

This morning, as we walked, my son looked at me and said, “Mom, what would happen if I hopped down in front of a car and said, ‘Stop!'”

Half-way mortified at the idea, I said, “You’d die.”

Then I added, “You have no authority to tell those cars to stop, so they wouldn’t listen to you. If you were a cop, they may stop, but a kid. . . one can only hope. . .”

When you have no authority, you have no power to make things obey. Likewise, when you have authority, you can make change. You have abilities. Things listen to you.

Jesus said, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”  (Lu. 10:19 NIV)

Note, Jesus did not say I’ve given you authority to overcome “some” of the power of the enemy, but He said, “I have given you authority…to overcome ALL the power of the enemy.”

Are you an overcomer or are you getting hit, continuously, by things coming against?

Rise up. The Lord has given you things: You don’t wear a ‘hit me’ sign. You wear the armor of God. You don’t wear a defeatist attitude, you wear “Faith”, like a shield. You don’t wear a beaten and bruised face from attack-after-attack. You wear and wield prayer and truth like a sword. You don’t wear an old identity. Christ has given you a new identity. Tell yourself about it.

Take authority over the lies and make mistruths bow to Jesus. You have been given authority. Use it.

In so many ways, you can stop the undue spiritual traffic that is coming against you.

Prayer: God, I ask for you to make known to every daughter her spiritual authority, through Christ Jesus. May she become aware that she is an Overcomer. May she know that you have fought the ultimate battle –and won. May she rest in your victory and come alive through your Word. May she stand taller than what comes against to powerfully move forward through prayer. I ask that every defeatist attitude be gone in Jesus’ name. Where the Spirit of the Lord is — there is freedom!!!  I pray that your freedom brings liberty and life to those who feel dull and down, today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Keep Asking

Remember this story?

We traveled to a new state, secured a new home, then headed back home — a hundred of miles and a dozen-hours . . . only to find out the owner of the house changed her mind. Only to find out that she wasn’t going to move after all. And that we had no home.

I want to give all of you an update. . .

Weeks went on and I kept searching for a new place. I found one house: way too small. Another: way too big. Something popped up the next day: too far.

Nothing was working. We were down to the wire.

So much so, one day, I burst out in tears, saying, “God, I am upset we don’t have a home. I don’t know what to do. We are moving in a few days. We need your help.”  Then, I prayed a bold prayer, “God bring back that first house. Let her call me. Make it still work out.”

It wasn’t but a couple hours later that my phone rang. It was the original owner; she changed her mind. Within days we settled in.

“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” (Lu. 18:2-5)

Do not give up on prayer. Sometimes, it is not the first prayer that is answered, but the 5th. Sometimes, it is your raw heart that touches God. Sometimes, it is the relentless nature of you pursuing what you know is right. Sometimes, it is just asking — that changes everything.

 

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It’s for Your Protection

Three times.

I am not even kidding with you all. Three times, my car got hit by people.

The first-time was a hit-and-run. My husband parked the car in a mall parking lot and when he returned to the parking garage there was a huge dent in the back.

The second time we were at the outlets. I got my daughter a little dress there and, when we got back, a huge football-sized dent was now a part of it.

The third time, my husband and kids were out. A guy reversed and put a hole right into the front bumper.

I drive around now with a triple-dented vehicle.

I’m not really sure how or why this is happening.  I’m kind of wondering about it. .  .

Are you in a situation where you are saying, “Why, God, why?”

Why am I here?
Why am I not out of this hole?
How come this is happening; it is not my fault?

For our family, we have to pay a lot of money to get the majority of these costs fixed.

Why, God?

1 Thess. 5: 18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.”

All? All things? How you give thanks when life is acting on you? When you feel like you’re the victim? When everything is deteriorating before your very eyes?

I couldn’t stop getting frustrated at the dents (and now the sunroof and trunk weren’t working too -grr…). That is. . . until my husband stopped me, as he said, “Kelly, you just don’t see it. What you see as demolition, is really God’s protection.”

Huh? It is?

He went on, “All of those hits could have been huge accidents. Our kids could have been hospitalized. The car could have been demolished. People could be in the hospital. But none of this happened. Sure, there were hit-and-runs and fender-benders — but, we are fine.”

He is right: We are fine. And, I realized: I’ve been acting wrong.

God has been protecting me all along. I just didn’t have eyes to see it. Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in our misfortunes, we miss the picture of His greater protection.

How has God been protecting you? Where might you need to stop, and say, “Thank you, God”?

Prayer:

Father, it is easy to see what is coming against. Often, it is hurtful, painful or costly. We know when it hits. But, at the same time, will you help us see you in all things? So we can give thanks in all things? So many times you are keeping and protecting; helping and guiding; leading and loving us — even in the worst of times. Give us eyes to see you and a heart to understand what you are doing. Forgive us for all the thanks we have failed to rightfully give to you — the things we could not perceive. I thank you, although it is so hard, for my trials. In many ways, it is teaching me to rightly come to you, rely on you and find all my hope in you. This is good. You are good. I trust in you. I trust your plan. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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