Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

I’m Being Honest: This Bible Verse Ticks Me Off

ticks me off

I wouldn’t admit this in church, but there’s one verse that continually ticks me off. It’s this: In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:6

I guess you could say I have multiple issues with it:

  1. In all ways acknowledge God.  When you acknowledge someone it’s as if you’re offering a late gesture. Like, they did something for you, and you can’t forget to bring them up, lest you feel guilty that you didn’t pay them back well enough. I mean, you certainly don’t want them to feel slighted or, even worse, to punish you afterward. “Acknowledge” plays out like an after-thought. I did all this stuff…oh, shoot, can’t forget – I’ve got to acknowledge so-and-so. It lacks authenticity.
  2. Make straight your path. I imagine someone walking down the sidewalk, picket-in-hand, yelling in my face, “You better acknowledge God, or else! You better let him make straight your path – or you’re a goner!” This thought entirely stresses me out. It burns my insides with the fear that no matter how good of a daughter I think I am, I’m going to burn in hell one day. It somehow makes me feel like there is no good that is good enough for God. Why try?

Sitting today, just me and this verse, I decided to decode it. If I’ve learned anything it is this: If God’s Word doesn’t give you more vision, it’s probably because you’re looking at it through the wrong glasses.

God, give me new lenses to see. What does acknowledge really mean?

Yada. That’s the Hebrew word for it. It means to “come to know someone by observing, reflecting and experiencing.”

Now this makes sense.

I can almost hear God saying, “In all your ways, come to know me by observing me, by reflecting on me and experiencing me…”

And, I want to. I need to.  Because to acknowledge God is to hang a welcome sign on your heart. It is to open your heart to his movement, rather than to demand your mouth to give him due credit. It is being a hostess rather than a hopeless speaker of things, even you aren’t even sure if you yet believe.

Here, there is no pressure, but peace.
No self-demands, just connection with the love of your life.
No hard work, but an easy yoke.
Less striving, more relaxing.

I feel content with the answer to my gripe #1. But what about #2?

What about the path?

God, do you yell in my face, “make straight your path, girl…or else!?

And, where God focuses my eyes, is here, on this very verse: “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Ps. 23:2-3

When we “acknowledge” or “experience” God, He sets us on a path of refreshment, restoration and righteousness. Where we are, the path is so straight, we get more of a glimpse of him at the end of our every road. Our vision, even more, focuses, targeted and clear. We know what we are running after. We see the end goal. We pursue eternity.

God is right before us. And, all we want is more. We’ve found our straight road.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

This is for You: Get Up!

Get Up

Get up.

Someone sitting on a couch of complacency, who now grabs a remote more than the Word of God, whose heart feels let down by God – needs to hear this. It is why I am dedicating this blog post to this very person.

Get back up again.

You have not been forgotten. You’ve not been left behind. Just because you’ve pulled away, does not mean that God is pulling away from you. He’s not. He’s pulling even closer. He’s chasing you down, pursuing you, on this very blog page. He’s letting you know that he sees. He sees your tightly clenched jaw. He sees the way you’re shying away from talking to him. He sees your insides that ache. He sees your loss. Your grief. Your shame. He sees your feelings that say – I cannot continue. 

He knows when you lay down or when you get up.
He’s got every single move, all your thoughts,
all your ways and all your actions in his hands.
He’s deeply familiar with you (Ps. 139:1-2).

You are not outside His vision. You have not journeyed to wild places where God doesn’t exist, lost friend. That’s impossible! It’s simply impossible to go where he isn’t. He’s everywhere.

I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going. Ps. 139

It’s about here, you say: But, Kelly, it’s my shame that keeps me from him. I feel too embarrassed. I’ve gone too far away now, you say.

I say, no one is ever too far for God. We were far, but now are close. Jesus dropped from the paradise of heaven to hit the grime- and stink-laden earth. Why? He came close so we don’t have to live far forever. He took our shame and owned it, to annihilate forever shame. His body broke, so ours could be repaired, restored and renewed according to his glorious riches. He felt agony, so we could learn peace. Jesus cried out so one day we will cry no more, our every tear will be wiped away by Him.

My friend, when you’re in Him, you’re in righteousness – not temporary, but permanent; not moody, but consistent; not dependent on you, but independent of you.  He is in you. Period.

Remind yourself of these 3 things:
1. It is done.
2. It is finished.
3. I am secure today and tomorrow, in this minute and the next, in this situation or the next.

When we remember Jesus won our security, we can, once again, get up in victory.

Then Jesus said to him,
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Jo. 5:8

Friend, pick yourself up and walk. You’re not as incapacitated as you’ve told yourself. You’re not as sick as you want to believe. You’re not as ruined as circumstances say. You’re not as done as the enemy says. Forget all that…

Walk, I say!
Walk, He says!

Enough is enough, because God is enough. What He gives is enough.

And, time is awastin’, days are a progressin’ yet, better said, God’s love endures forever. It is behind you, with you and moving for you. Go with it. Head to the great places He’s prepared in advance for you. Don’t miss the chance!  Step in! Grab Jesus. You’ll come alive in ways you’ve never experienced on your safety mat. Get up!

And go….today is the start of your new day.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

 

***Bloggers…When I wrote this, I felt sure there was someone who desperately needed this message. Perhaps it is one of your readers. I pray we reach that person so their heart can be restored in truth, love and security. May your heart feel blessed too. Much love to you all!

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When Others are Thinking ____ about You

Others are Thinking

I sat in the group. I remember it clear as day. She thinks I’m a know it all, a God-goody two shoes, a high and mighty bible thumper.

My shoulders tucked under, my eyes looked down, I almost immediately clammed up, turning into myself and away from them.

There’s no use in being me because being me – is far too much for them. I am coming across too strong, so I need to appear more weak. Appear weak, and they’ll like you. They’ll want you. You won’t intimidate them or throw them off because of your intensity, strength or willingness. You’ll pacify everyone and then you can go and eat that brownie after the group, hungry for it. But, hollow and empty on the inside. 

Do you ever hide yourself to appease others? Restrain who you are to make sure others aren’t put off?

It happened again to me yesterday. She’s going to be jealous when she hears about this. Should I not do it? Brush it under the carpet and pretend it isn’t happening?  Out of guilt, respond to her with some sort of sundae-with-a-cherry-on-top offering that will make her smile again? 

Do you ever confuse serving others with taking care of them because of your own guilt?

Guilt makes a woman do all sorts of nasty stuff, things that God never assigned her to do. She gives up a part of herself. She gets involved in the constant cycle of thinking about others emotions. She signs away her dreams to makes sure others pick up theirs. She forgets about God’s heart to care for others and thinks she’s the Good Shepherd.

God is the only Good Shepherd. He calls us to care for people from a place of love, not guilt. Why?

Because actions out of obligation lead to destruction:

Resentment
Frustration
Regret
Irritation
Bitterness
Retaliation

How do you know if you’re operating from a place of guilt and not love? If you’re leaving behind God’s calling to remediate someone else’s, you’re on the wrong path. If you’re trying to fix someone’s problems to make your own heart feel happy again, you’re on the wrong path. If you’re coming to the rescue of people who feel insecure, and your changing your identity to meet them, you’re on the wrong path. This is a guilt-offering, not a God offering, nor a good offering.

Love instead, works like this:

God, in his timing and in his way, will take care of them.
He’ll instruct me on the way I should go.
I am not the manager, fixer or orchestrator of others’ feelings.
Often the best way to love is to make space for God to swoop in with his rescuing love.
Not everyone was happy with Jesus, even when he did God’s will, not everyone will be happy with me.K
Sometimes the higher calling is the low road, where discomfort is.
God leaves behind no one and he won’t leave me behind as I am true to who he’s created me to be.
I can follow through on God’s callings, no matter what others think, say or do.

I can say no.
I can be true to who God created me to be.
I can go my own way, have my own opinion and stand firm.
I can relax and love as God calls me to, rather than how my insides demand I do.

What would our life look like if we were unhinged from having to tie up everyone’s shoelaces? Would we then allow ourselves the ability to look up and see God’s unique callings?

How might we thrive? How might we minister rather than manipulate? How might love grow within us then bloom so that many can be changed by its beauty?

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

A Prayer That Turns Bad Days, Good.

In my own mind, I am weak.

Especially this week, with husband out of town and toddler girl waking nightly seeing “bad things”, repeatedly, nearly every hour – I am tired. It didn’t help she came down with pink eye, the mysterious condition that makes your eyes seep out goo that should only be reserved for icky monsters on kid cartoons. Needless to say, the goo spoke saying, “Get her to urgent care ASAP.”

Which was almost impossible because it was nearly blizzarding and pelting ice like hockey pucks. But, not entirely impossible, so we pulled on winter gear, slushed through the mush and made it, unscathed, to 3 urgent care locations. Closed. Each and every one of them. Closed. Closed. Closed.

I considered laying my head on the horn, making a SUV tribal sound, indicating to the world, “Rescue me.” I didn’t. I knew no one would come.

Upward and onward!!! Moms don’t give up. We got her meds.

Then, I got pink eye. Then, Madison got a mysterious fever only showing up during the hours of school. She got banned for 24 hours from returning. I got frustrated because every single mission I am trying to work on is getting thwarted. Every moment of time I have to do great things, is getting stolen. Every dream I am pursuing is becoming ruined by sickness and no sleep and storms and people and…the whole world is buckling, it is falling down on the sides. The box is breaking and I can’t hold it up. It isn’t listening!!!

Did I mention, I feel weak?

Jesus says, “Our flesh is weak.”  (Mt. 26:41)

He knows how it goes.

He also says our “spirit is willing.” (Mt. 26:41)

“Spirit” in this case is the Greek word pneuma, our own soul or mind.

In translation, this means: Our flesh is weak and our mind is willing. Or better said, our flesh is weak and our mind tries…

Our mind tries, just like the disciples’ minds probably tried. They tried to stay awake, I’m sure, but, they didn’t. They fell asleep in  Jesus’ hour of need. Jesus returned to find them, not praying and watching, but asleep – again.

I think if Jesus returned to find me, he’d find me, not praying, but weak to his power in my life.

That thought scares me.

But, what wakes my true Spirit up in me, not the try-hard, die-hard, spirit in me, is this: “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.” (Eph. 3:16-17)

When I get in the posture of prayer, I can awaken my Spirit of Faith. God wants to pour out revival in my own soul. He wants to replenish what is depleted. He wants to overpower my spirit with His. And this, returns me to power. It awakens me to purpose. It reminds me: My flesh is weak, my spirit is willing, but His Spirit is alive, moving and activating things that need tending to in my life.

Will you let God in?

Perhaps you join me today and pray this simple prayer: God, I pray out of your riches, you strengthen me with power through your Spirit in my inner being. Father, I want Christ to dwell in my heart through faith. You are the only answer when everything seems impossible. You are the only answer when I feel I can’t. You are the answer when everything goes wrong. My spirit is willing. My flesh is weak. Increase the power of your Spirit within me and by decrease my spirit response, so that I might live full of faith and full of you as I go through my day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Feeling all the Feels…Riding the Wave

Post by: Jami Amerine

My week has been – ridiculous.

The list of life-altering changes include, a transitional end to our foster-love’s time in our home, the departure of our oldest son to Marine Bootcamp, our oldest daughter’s upcoming wedding, the release and launch of my book, potty training debacles, enormous new developments in my husband’s company, and the persistent comedic drama symptomatic of a household of nine.

On the evening after dropping our son at the Marine MEPS for his departure to San Diego, I couldn’t sleep.  My nose was slammed shut, my eyes were swollen, my heart was aching, and about 1:45 am I sat on the couch in our loft, fully clothed, and let loose.

Ugly cry is not even close to a valid definition of the performance.

I am surprised, no entirely amazed that I had that much left in me.  And I begged God for relief.  Out loud, alone in the dark I whimpered-wailed my need for His help.  Up until that moment, I had just rolled with the emotions.  I’d been laughing at sweet memories, crying at the unknown, smiling at the thoughts of what was to come, and angry it went by too fast.

I couldn’t take anymore.

I needed some sleep.

I needed Him to stop the ride and let me get off… even if it was only for 5 hours.  I pleaded, “Please Jesus, help me… please, I am so tired, I just need to…”

Just then, my phone rang with a caller I.D. from California.

It was 1:48 a.m.

Just as I’d been informed, I heard my son’s voice is a sea of other hollers;

This is Marine Recruit…  I have arrived safely… the next time you hear from me it will be by postage mail in 2 to three weeks. I love you.  Goodbye.”

The scripted call I’d been told about at just that moment in the midst of heartbreak came, I can still hear him.  He sounded tired, stressed, and… hungry.  Whatever, I know him. That was his “I want a grilled cheese sandwich” voice.

And, I let loose a brand new emotion… gratitude.  I remember I started my new brand of weeping about 1:49 a.m…

I remember nothing else until 7:00 a.m… when my alarm went off to wake the children.  Fully clothed, jewelry, streaks of tear stained make-up, and my shoes –  I was startled awake and painfully crooked.

Somewhat refreshed, with a perpetual lump in my throat I limped through packing lunches and fixing hair, the toddler sons said something delightful and I giggled.  A tween left a wet towel on the bathroom floor and I grumbled.  An email popped up from an old friend offering prayers and another tear escaped.

This rollercoaster of emotions is indicative of this life.  The relief when I need it comes from my Jesus.  The rest… the rest is a blessing.  The release of tears celebrating, missing, wishing, and hoping for change or good – are part of the creation He fashioned.  Not to punish or test me, but to give me release and a reminder of my design.

In the midst of that gift, when I was most in need, He answered.  He sent a phone call, sure – it was due, but it came right when it was most needed… in the midst of my pleas.  And then, He blessed me with unconsciousness and much-needed reprieve.

My emotions and nerves are on high alert.  I am a compulsory explosion of sunshine and rain.  I am hitting every single cylinder.  And I am confident He who created me, will walk through this with me.  He is for me.  He came to bind my broken heart.  He came to comfort, heal, and nurture.  To grieve or rejoice, I am nearer to Him.  He knows me and adores me.

In my weakness He is strong.

He is my rock and my fortress.

I will ride this wave, reveling in these reactions, delighting in this life, and I will not go down with the ship.


Psalm 89:9You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.

Jami AmerineJami 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 onFacebook or Twitter.

How to Take Care of Yourself

Take Care

A few weeks ago, I told you about a flower that got pulled out by the bulb. I replanted it.

I also told you how, I believe, the enemy wants nothing greater than to pluck out the bulb of our faith. Deep truth in fertile soil only survives.

We talked about this…we pondered those beautiful flowers.

So, everything was fine and dandy, until, snow got in the forecast. Until, my beautiful budding beauties were about to clobbered by a mega snowstorm.

Then, my heart started up again. Worrying like I do. About – flowers?!

What?! While most worry about finances, pension funds, and pilgrimages to far away lands, here I am – worrying about flowers!? While other people are fretting about unsaved folk, disaster planning due to health catastrophes and pleading coverage for substance abuse therapy – here I am worrying about petals – yet, again?!

Normally, I’d silently call myself stupid! and call it a day. But, not today.

Today, I’ve learned to create space for what God is speaking. The Spirit is always working, ever-counseling and constantly grabbing for the attention of our hearts and mind. Will I listen? Will you?

No matter what they all think? No matter how stupid we look or feel?

By not listening, just think of all we miss: How much we deny ourselves. How we look past what God is doing, because we feel we have to be on this hamster wheel of progress, schedule and monotony. How we think we are running after the right stuff, only to find out chasing urgent is all wrong.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 1 Cor. 3:18

I consider those flowers in the snow. And, when it is snowing, I give them a second glance on the way to the car.

Their little yellow noses pop up from under the white blanket of freezing. I smile at them.

Then, I think, what God wants me to see. It comes: They are closed.

Before, when they were in light and warmth the petals were open. Picture-ready flowers.

Yet, now, while being battered by ice, snow and wind they are closed. Closed and shuttered for a non-tropical hurricane. There’s no getting in. 

I hold on to the message given to me, as if it is a clue for Kelly Balarie as she traverses this dangerous world. It’s this: When the high winds of the world come (and they will!), close your shutters and pull in close to God.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4

It works like this:

When you feel frazzled because you aren’t dazzling the world,
shut out the show and slow things down.

When people are speaking at you from five different sides,
shut off the voices and find His voice of peace.

When life keeps telling you, you’re no good,
shut off the messages and read God’s Word.

When social media reminds you you’re a step short,
shut off the computer’s power and rest in His power.

When you feel as weak as a woman one day short of death,
shut down, be still and know that He is God.

When everything and then everything goes wrong,
shut off negativity and ask for God’s objectivity.

When you feel stupid for doing something,
shut off your inner-voice to see if God’s voice is calling you deeper still.

When you remember all them laughing,
slam shut the memory and open up truth:
you can do exceedingly abundantly more than you ask or imagine.

When you’re afraid you’ll fail, shut out doubt.

Just as God feeds the birds, He’ll feed us. Just as God protects the flowers, He makes way for us to protect our hearts.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Don’t Blame the Devil!

Not the Devil

Was my heart going to break? I wasn’t sure, but I surely wasn’t waking up in worship and praise like most days. This day, I woke up pressed against a problem. My mind circled it as if, by treading and stomping around it, I’d knock down its walls.

It wasn’t happening. Overthinking never works that way.

It’s her fault. If only she didn’t rush me like that. If only she took a second to think about where I was coming from. If only she was nicer. If only, I was nicer too, I guess. Why do these things happen to me? Why am I being hit by the enemy the first minute I wake up? It is his fault.  I am so frustrated. The enemy is coming after me. He’s stealing this day from me and God!

But was he?

Sometimes we cast on the enemy, what guilt we need to own ourselves. Often, our knotted and torn heart is not anyone’s doing, but ours. Our distance from God, doesn’t belong to opposition, but to us. Even when our insides get turned inside-out, it might not be the devil chasing us down, but God – because He loves us.

The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. (Heb. 12:6)

God loves us so much, he wants to correct us and help us back along his way.

I didn’t want to say I’m sorry. Not that!!! It’s embarrassing to return back to someone you hardly know and admit that you acted like a buffoon on no sleep, high caffeine and low wisdom. No God, not that!!! Anything but that!

Pride wars against wisdom.

Repentance returns us to it.

I considered this thought, but, still, my “right” side warred. It wanted opinions to rule and self-preservation to guide:  Kelly, they weren’t entirely in the right either. Kelly, you’ll look stupid.

A choice presented itself: Will I press on through the day with nagging and gnawing guilt or would I cease and desist, rest and return to God’s path, his insight, instruction and leading?

It’s not always an easy thing to admit your wrong.

What do you need to apologize for? Confess to God? Clear out of the gutters of your mind so you can think straight? So you can get back on God’s path? So, wisdom rather than worry can return?

God says: Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord… (Acts. 3:19)

If refreshment is what repentance gets, I want it. Don’t you?

Maybe you’ve been blaming a husband for his high and mighty ways?
Nitpicking a child for her pre-teen tone of voice?
Coming down hard on yourself for not doing more in life?
Silently cursing a neighbor for her unthoughtful tending of her yard?
Overthinking your life and literally, everything you do?
Criticizing a person’s success and demeaning your own?

Why refreshment might your loving daddy want to walk you to?

I finally decide I want it. So, I get down on my knees and say I am sorry. I crawl, almost on all fours, to the person I hurt and say, I’m sorry. I look not at the devil, I consider not every way he is at fault, I consider, instead, how I am at fault, and I just move. I get where I need to go. I speak it. I take it out of my heart. I send it up to heaven. I hand a peace offering across to them.

And, just like that, the weight is lifted, the treading, stomping and circling ends. My heart beats freely again.

Confession is hard in a moment, but comfort returns right after. Refreshment arrives.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

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6 Tips: Go From Defensive to Offensive Faith

Defensive to Offensive

Life, no doubt, lives like war. Daily, we wake, and don’t know what attack might come our way. We don’t know if we might get that phone call, if our small health issue may turn into a big problem or if we may hit a relational snag that leaves us knot-tied for weeks.

We wake up. Usually, we blindly head into it.

I don’t know about you, but a lot of days, I feel like I wake vulnerable, open for attack and easily knocked down. The battles move so fast, some days, it is hard to get ahead of them. It is hard be be one step faster or to create a battle plan, especially when you don’t know what is coming.

But, lately, I’ve been thinking much about moving from defensive faith to offensive faith. I think the stance makes all the difference.

A defensive faith stance is:

– Waking and going through the motions

– Reading God’s Word in the morning then going into the day

– Praying when troubles hit

– Asking people to help you when you are in a serious ditch

– Acknowledging God when something really great happens in your life

An offensive faith stance is:

– Waking and proclaiming God’s truths over your life (God is with me, for me, above me, before me…)

– Moving God’s word from your head to your heart by dwelling on it throughout the day

– Praying perpetually, in the car, in your house, in your free time.

– Having a team of people to support your faith walk. Knowing they will check in on you.

– Praising God as you see his glory through your day.

– Thanking God continually for all you have.

A Christian on offense moves into the battlefield not only able to withstand war, but ready to win. They see not only what is coming against them, but they are prepared with a tactical plan to love, when usually they’d be prone to fear. It changes their eyesight. Rather than being a pawn they are now a son or daughter of the King, one loved, provided for and helped along the way. They are an active force of good on the spiritual game board of good and evil. God knows they are ready, I believe. He sees their faith and willingness to prepare. He rewards them for seeking him diligently.

This person understands, it is not their own willpower that wins, it is not their mindset that overcomes, but it is the blood of Jesus that won for them. In humility, they stand under God so that he can move over their lives and into the lives of others.

This kind of person proclaims: Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.” (Psalm 144:1)

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called A must read, Breathtakingly honest and a Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear. Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

How to Seek Wisdom For Tough Decisions

Seek Wisdom

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

– Edward Hersey Richards

His big, dense, coal eyes looked at me. And, I looked at him.

What does he see – in me?

In him? I saw wisdom: Eyes in no rush to move. A being okay with being. A head made up of regal feathers of grey and white.

He was caged, contained, but still, somehow, he appeared content. Our gaze connected us, yes, but what bothered me was – he seemed to know something. In all his wisdom, was he on to something I could not see?

I walked away from his cage, but in the end, all I wanted to do was return. When I did, his branch was empty and while I peered through the fence for him, he wasn’t so easy to spot.

There he is! The owl of wisdom. He’s in the back of the cage.

But almost as soon as I found him, I realized something I’d missed all along. There was another owl, right next to him. I hadn’t seen him, not even one bit.

I gazed deeper now, wondering if my eyes were still betraying me…

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. Prov. 8:17

The harder I looked, the more I saw: There was a 3rd owl, right next to the first two.

Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
Prov. 8:34-35

Could there be more? Should I keep looking? Search harder? I did: another one, a 4th one was right before my very eyes!

How are my eyes deceiving me?
How much more do I miss in life?

Often wisdom is right before our eyes, but we can’t see it.

We think wisdom is much like everything else in this world. We think it will just show up like a boxed up UPS deliver on our doorstep. But, guess what? It doesn’t work like that.

Wisdom isn’t something we trip over. It’s something we’ll miss if we don’t seek it. It is something we’ll step past if don’t pursue it. It is something we won’t find if we don’t hunt for it.

Wisdom, we must pursue.

Because, often wisdom is camouflaged in our environment, in the environment of the world. Just as I couldn’t see the owls, often we can’t see wisdom because we are: too distracted, too worried, too rushed, too preoccupied, too concerned about people, too critical or too annoyed.

But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death. Prov. 8:36

And, with this, as far as I can see, I believe we have two paths – a way of wisdom or a way of destruction. We have a way of seeking or a way of delusion. We have a way of wonder or a way of wreckage.

God doesn’t make it hard for us to seek wisdom, to find it under the cover of our world, to glean it out of our places of uncertainty, he simply says to ask him for it…

“If any of you lacks wisdom,
you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.” Ja. 1:5

Then: Watch. Seek. Pursue. Wonder. Wait. Marvel. Pray. Ask. Follow. Look. Crouch low. Keep looking.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called A must read, Breathtakingly honest and a Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear. Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

How 1 Small Thing Will Change Your Life

Change Your Life

Pop Quiz: What is a very small thing in size that has a gigantic impact regarding the direction of your life?

Clue: It moves, kind of flippantly, up and down.

Got it yet?
Not yet?

This should help: “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” James 3:3-6

The tongue.

It can speak liberty or captivity that sinks a heart.

It can speak faith or fear that you’ll always live in the basement and never get anywhere in life.

It can tell you you’ll be stuck in that dead-end job with a boss you hate or
it can profess glory, glory, glory and holy, holy, holy!

It can rip a person apart and spit them out like day old coffee or
it can savor the goodness of others and remind them of it with an intentional word of kindness.

It can blabber about a person who never should have taken your parking space like that,
a family member who is so wrong, an insensitive and unthoughtful husband,
or it can cut through the tension and speak aloud every virtue of God.

It can send you into high places, with high people to confess high things of importance,
or it can keep stuck in the gutter, speaking a whole litany of unholy words that keep you unhappy.

It can halt its movement and literally change the density of another’s heart,
moving a person from defensive to receptive in an instant.

How do you use your tongue?

I can almost hear you all glaring back at me, saying, “Well, Kelly, how do you use your tongue?”

Not so well, friends. This lesson, and every lesson I write, really, is for me because, much more than dwelling on the immensity of God, I taste and swallow negativity. I constantly internally talk about the ways I’m failing to make good meals, spend enough time with the kids before bedtime and open up the door to my husband when he arrives home with a smile and thoughtful motives, like not bombarding him with the daily happenings at first sight of his brown hair. I, then, throw out words, like daggers, because I feel bad about myself.

It’s not easy.

The problem is, my tongue likes to go. My mouth wants to speak, incessantly. My complaints, grievances and objections are many. It is very hard to shut the trap when it wants to catch something wrong, and, golly day, and fix it with my words.

But, fault-pointing words usually fix nothing. And, all they end up trapping is me – in dejection, demotivation and frustration. Get me out of here – I’m stuck!!!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”  Prov. 18:21

By looking deep into this verse, it appears, just as much as my words can get me stuck in a rut – or kill me, they can also lift me out of ruts, and feed me. I like that. I like the idea my words can literally provide me sustenance, food and energy. I like that by changing the course of my words, I can change the course of my life. I can move into into go-mode, into vision and into purpose that surpasses my own thoughts, limitations and plans.

5 Ways to Use Your Tongue to Change the Course of Your Life (for the better):

  1. Constantly speak what is excellent, true, pure, good, right, honorable, admirable, praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). If it doesn’t fall in one of those categories, carry it on over to the trash can and dispose of it. It should be taken to the dump instead of coming out of your mouth like a stinky mess bound to hurt you and leave you overwhelmingly frustrated that your life doesn’t look better.
  2. Let Praise Be Your Chatter. If you lift God up with your tongue, you’ll lift your mind up too. It is natural. You can’t be acknowledging the magnificence and the righteousness of God and still be stuck in a hole. He grabs you and pulls you up to heavenly perspectives when you do some fine-tuning.
  3. Say thanks. Thank you that you have great plans for me, God. Thank you, husband, you are so thoughtful. Thank you, children, you are listening so well. Thank you, self, you are giving your whole heart to speaking carefully and intentionally. Thank you, world, I have such a great opportunity not to react, but to reach out to you and share Jesus
  4. Speak humility. Best said, this means letting the voice of Jesus go before you. It means letting his heart be your words. It means letting his holy verses take flight so they come shooting out of your mouth before your own perceptions or intentions rule you (I know, not easy!). But, it is possible. We have the mind of Christ, which means, it should change us to speak with the mouth of Christ.
  5. Don’t use it: don’t open your mouth, don’t utter a word, don’t speak a sigh, don’t offer a grunt, don’t release a criticism, don’t give flight to judgement. There are times, when the best speech you can give is silence. The best course of treatment you can give is dead air. Why? Because it is often in the lack of words, that God pours out the abundance of grace that changes a person’s heart from contemptuous to contrite.

This very small part has the ability to lead people to Christ, to change demeanors, to open eyes, to counsel the needy through disasters, to promote love, to inflict compassion and to listen. It’s amazing.

Let’s choose to use it as it was intended to be: a weapon of goodness that cuts through people’s hearts using the sword of the spirit, God’s Word. This is effective speech:

Parlaying his majesty into the day that lays ahead of you.
Speaking his glory into the places where you feel hurt.
Highlighting truth in the midst of emotions that are as wild as a bucking bronco.
Correcting another (or yourself) with the tone of compassion, grace and mercy.
Singing wonder about all that He has created.
Recounting the many times – God’s shown up in your life and how he remains consistent.
Reflecting on the limitless nature of His power and being okay with it sitting on you.
Declaring his faithfulness, returning to this truth once again.
Demonstrating his humility, speaking less and listening more.

Let it out. Be not ashamed. Be not restrained. Be forthcoming. Be powerful. Change your life and change theirs.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called A must read, Breathtakingly honest and a Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear. Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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