Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

When You Have to Forgive, Again!?

The problem with forgiveness is when you let things go, only to have “that person” go and be offensive again. That’s why I don’t like forgiving. It makes me feel like I am giving someone a green pass to hurt me again. It seems if I let them off the hook they won’t have to watch themselves. It seems they’ll have removed the burden-of-improvement removed. They’ll have no feelings of guilt causing them to change.

This is the mental theology I’ve created around the “benefits of unforgiveness.”

Recently, a person I forgave did something really in-my-face. It felt a little arrogant. A little I’ll show you anyway. The second it happened, feelings of hurt resurfaced.

My mind returned back to the “benefits of unforgiveness” list. In this I decided: I can be a little short with this person. I can avoid them now. I can internally pick apart their wrongdoings.  

So, I began judging their actions. They’re wrong. They’re rude. They’re prideful. 

…Until I got convicted.  I am the one boiling with hatred. I am the one deciding exit-paths from love. I am the one judging.

If God gave me no magnifying glass into another person’s heart, how can I know what they are doing?

They’re “offense” could have been:

1. Unintentional
2. Derived from their own pain.
3. A prompting by God to follow through a certain way (in my case, it didn’t have direct sin tied to it).

I remembered how Paul used to tell so many churches at the beginning of his letters, “Grace and peace to you” (2 Cor. 1:2). I wonder if he did that not only for the general church folk, but if he also extended these words, with wisdom, to those who may rub him wrong?

I tried it with the person who faced me, I said, “God, grace and peace to that person.” As I did, I noticed that I not only felt unburdened by their issues, but I also felt willing to receive that same grace and peace for myself.

I think Paul was onto something…we all need grace and peace. Then, we can extend it to others.

Grace doesn’t make wrongs right. It extends to people the very thing, even we, don’t deserve. Just like Jesus did for us.

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Tired and Weary

Are you tired of your troubles? Worn by your worries? Do you want to give up?

Lately, I’ve been seeking God’s direction. Yet, I haven’t heard clearly from Him. I haven’t gotten the answers I need. The transition of everything happening around me feels turbulent. Where are you, God? Why haven’t you shown up yet? Did you forget about me?

Everything is off-kilter. But, does this mean that God is off-kilter or does it just point to the fact that I am?

Father God, please help me never to blame on you – what is a usually a waiting-issue happening in me. 

The vast majority of the time, I run from waiting – and run circles on a treadmill. Almost out of strength, working harder, going faster and trying more gets me nowhere. And, there God waits. As if He is calling me off that machine of life to sit down on the chair in the corner of the room right next to Him.

To say something like this:

“O (insert your name), how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.

He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Is. 40:31)

Prayer: Father God, may we all trust in you today. May we find new strength in the shadow of your wing. May we sit next to you and hear your love and care.  May you remind us of your truth in ways that change everything. We admit that you are the answer to our every need. Every problem is handled through you and by you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Why Remorse

Just now, as I took a walk, I saw a twisted piece of plastic on a telephone line. Oddly, it was mangled and wrapped around the phone line in a way that seemed to make no sense.

This is how my mind is when I make a mistake. Remorse wreaks havoc in my mind, until I’m in a twisted mess of: I’ll never be good enough. I always make mistakes. I can’t get anything right. I’ll always offend God.

God doesn’t intend for us to live mangled; Jesus came so we could live untangled from shame.
So, what’s the problem with me?
The story of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, has a little to say on this subject matter.
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse…and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.
 
“Remorse gripped Judas and he returned the money.” (Mt. 27:3)
 
Isn’t it amazing that he returned the money and was remorseful? Amazingly, this wasn’t enough.
 
Then, Judas said, “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” (Mt. 27:4)

He even realized his sin.
 
The priests replied, “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” (Mt. 27:4)

I only wish He’d talked to Jesus. 
 
“…Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Mt. 27:5)
 
Remorse without repentance kills us internally. It leaves us in a balled up mess of self-condemnation, ridicule, embarrassment and shame. It kills our insides and has even been known to take a life.

What do you need to repent of? What do you need to release to God? What do you need to finally get over, so it doesn’t destroy you? The price Jesus paid is enough to cover over any mistake you’ve made. There’s nothing His grace won’t cover. Isn’t it about time you finally receive that grace and forgiveness too?

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Heb. 8:12)

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into the place of highest privilege where we now stand and confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Ro. 5:1-2)
 

When You’re Not Enough

I sat with a power-house minister. Well, kind of. He’s actually an ordinary, non-ministry degreed man. And he’s my husband. Anyway, a profound thing was happening. My husband was on fire!!! As he prayed for a person in need, everything he said was wise. Everything he spoke was powerful. Everything was changing the situation. My mouth dropped open. God was moving.

People affirmed him. “Mr., your prayers are powerful. You don’t know how much they matter; they are personally impactful.” Mountains got moved.

Which was all fine and dandy, except for one thing. I prayed for that person too, you know, and they didn’t mention my prayers… What about me, God?

Do you ever size up your impact against another’s, like me?  Deciding that because they’re powerful, you’re weak?

This mindset couldn’t be further than the truth. And, in this situation, I should have known better… The enemy will always try to make us believe we’re only as good as our last bit of stellar work. He’ll always attempt to make us chase performance, and to call it “godliness.”

It’s how he forms and fashions – pride. We become imprisoned to one-upping each other in order to keep some sort of prized status. This is a form of the pit of hell, I’m sure of it.

Yet, in God’s economy, it is never about one-upping, it is always about one getting low. Low enough to lift the other up. Low enough to make room for others gifts. Low enough to see God really work the way He wants to. Low enough to believe in His work more than you have to self-exalt your plans.

So, today, I thank God that my husband is impactful, full of God and a mountain-mover. I praise God that he has a heart to bless others. I see the beauty of his impact. I celebrate who he is.

And, I confess, God has more than enough good ministry moments in store for me. I am not a product of what-I-do-for-him, but who-He-is-in-me and what-Jesus-has-already-done-for-me. In this, I can allow humility to make room for others. I can celebrate others’ successes. And, most of all, I can trust God and all that He is doing in and around me.

He always has a good plan.

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Truth That Heals

I don’t like admitting things, do you? It’s as if – if I hide the truth, I’m excused of its guilt. If you don’t see it – it never happened. As if – what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas if no one ever knows.

Or, that’s the lie the enemy tells me. Don’t admit it and you’ll avoid it.

Lies. We always get a sense of our inner truth, don’t we? And if we don’t face it, the face of it still shows up, doesn’t it? As anxiety. Or as not-able-to-place-my-finger-on-it guilt.

Not-facing-things can wreak inner-havoc on one’s emotions if left unchecked.

Today, my husband pointed something out to me. I didn’t want to see it; so I told him his delivery was off. But, it wasn’t him (if I really admit the truth). I didn’t want to come face-to-face with the fact I imperfectly responded. Sometimes, it’s easier to blame than to accept guilt.

I was struck this morning in a similar fashion by my daughter Madison, as she sat and played with a Rubics cube. She wanted to move all the reds to the one side of the cube. But, the more she turned the thing, the more agitated she became.

“I can’t mommy.” She said.

I turned towards her and spoke the truth of the situation, “Madison, it is hard. That game is hard. It’s a hard thing to do that.”

Admitting truth for truth is freedom. After saying this to her, it was as if she received the freedom of knowing that there is patience for her growth. There is room for her learning. It is okay for things to be hard.

I say the same thing to myself. Kelly, change is hard. Growth is hard. Learning is hard. But, God is good. He will be faithful to change me, to grow me and to lead me. I don’t have to work it up on my own. The truth is – the truth will set me free. It points out what God wants to heal in me – and I don’t have to be ashamed of that.

“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…” (Eph. 4:15)

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Find Rest for Your Soul

As people, we’re prone to look for anchors in life. Little things to tie ourselves down to in order to feel safe. We may anchor to a certain neighborhood; it makes us feel known. We may anchor to a car; we feel good because we are worthy of this sort of vehicle. We may anchor ourselves to our clothes; we feel strong and beautiful when we have the right outfit on. We may anchor to the appearance of our kids; we appear like we have it all together when they do. We may anchor to our job; it shows we are smart. We may anchor to the future; we think it will save us from what we hate.

Anchors are little holds on our life. We hold on to “it” and “it” holds onto us.

Lately, God has been in the process of un-anchoring my life:

– We moved to a city with no furniture.  Due to issues there, we almost immediately needed to move again.

– We pretty much let go of alcohol and rarely drink now.

– We don’t feel beholden to a location or neighborhood.

– We’re fine without the constant pull of TV on our life.

– We don’t really know what the future holds and we’re okay with it.

It is not that I advocate “un-anchoring” the way I did for everyone. It is just the place where God has me. God may have something like this for you in your season, He may be calling you to it or He may be doing something different.

Either way, today I am saying: God, I don’t really feel attached to anything anymore.

“That’s the point, Kelly.”

In the past, I’ve looked at things taken away from me and felt robbed. Today, I look at the things taken away from me and feel blessed. It’s incredible. I don’t online shopping anymore, I skip my red wine and I don’t binge-watch make-yourself-feel-better shows – and I’ve never been more happy, more full and more alive.

Most definitely, it’s not by my work, that’s for sure. It has to be God.

To un-anchor is to let go and find rest.

For me, losing what seems like “everything” gains me greater intimacy with God. Plus, a deeper calling, increased vision and unusual joy and faith.

What might God want to “un-anchor” in your life?

A nightly TV ritual?
Your twirling and swirling worries?
A friend who is leading you down the wrong road?
A mindset that focuses on disappointment?

Let go of something that’s holding you captive to fill the gap with God.

The less you hold on to, the more of God you can grab onto.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10)

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The Missing Puzzle Piece (Debbie Kitterman)

Post By: Debbie Kitterman

I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and a deep darkness as I looked at the face of the young girl standing in front me.  She was maybe all of 16 years of age.  I bowed my head and began praying for her when I had the thought enter my mind that she was suicidal.  I knew I couldn’t just blurt it out, and yet I knew I needed to speak truth and life over her.  I prayed quietly some more, silently pleading with the Lord to give me something encouraging to say to her.

She was a beautiful girl, but it was obvious she was struggling with something in her life. I had just stepped off the stage at a women’s event and the women’s leader announced that I would be available for prayer and ministry time.  I no sooner had set my Bible and notes on the table when I looked up to see a line forming of people wanting ministry.

Now, this young fragile, beautiful girl stood in front of me, wanting prayer and ministry and yet, I couldn’t speak out the very thing I felt like God had just showed me. It wouldn’t be encouraging to her in the least bit. Especially if she was suicidal.

Sometimes when God speaks to us about others, it isn’t so we can speak it out, it’s so we can pray it through.  I knew I couldn’t ask her, “Are you suicidal?” nor could I say to her, “You’re contemplating suicide, aren’t you?”  Instead, I asked God for His heart for her.  I asked if there was something specific she needed to know or that He would have me share with her.  Immediately, I saw a flash of a picture in my mind of a beautiful, intricate puzzle, with thousands of pieces.  The puzzle was complete, except for one missing piece.

I immediately knew what God was saying, He was telling me, she was the missing piece.  I shared the picture with her and the message that went with it. She was a part of a beautiful intricate design and if she wasn’t here, the picture wouldn’t be complete, could never be complete.

She quietly began to cry and said, “you have no idea, I don’t feel like I belong anywhere, and no one cares.”  I reached down and gently placed my hand under her chin and tilted her head up, so she was looking me in the eye.  I said, “Yes, I do know, and I can tell you God wants you to know that you are an important piece to the puzzle. If you weren’t here, then this world and people around you would be missing an important piece.”  I went on to minister and pray for her. Then with her permission, I walked her over the pastor’s wife and explain the situation.

This girl was going to need someone looking out for her.  She needed someone local to check in with her, to encourage her, to build her up and to speak truth to her.  She needed more help than I could give her since I lived several hours away.  But God knew her, and He knew what she needed that day.  He needed someone to speak life to her and not call out death.  God needed someone to pull out the gold that was inside of her and speak the truth to her. God needed someone to make her feel valued and cared for.

There are people around us today that feel the same way this young woman did.  They need us to share God’s heart. They need us to speak truth. They need us to breathe words of hope and life into their dry and lonely soul. They need an encounter with a real Jesus.

This is exactly why I wrote “The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement: Hearing the Words of God for others.”

We live in a time, where those around us are in desperate need of a real encounter with Jesus and in need of encouragement. We are called to encourage one another daily (Hebrews 3:13), and to build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

We all have the opportunity to #BeTheGift of encouragement others need today.

The gift of prophetic encouragement is a necessary gift, one that the Church is in great need of during these last days.”—from the foreword by Wayne Cordeiro, president, New Hope Christian College; author, The Divine Mentor

Giving Thanks Is a Mighty Weapon

Post By: Sally Burke

Did you know that thanksgiving is a mighty weapon in the armor of God? Thanksgiving activates an important part of the armor: the shield of faith. Each time you thank God, it automatically lifts up your shield of faith.

Think about how the shield of faith is described in Ephesians 6. “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16 emphasis added).

God says all! So our shield of faith can extinguish everything the enemy is sending our way! As we begin to thank God, our faith will grow and the enemy will lose his foothold in our lives. Every thanksgiving defeats the enemy and empowers you forward.

Each year, the women of Moms in Prayer International go to battle for the lives of the children and schools around the world through prayer. We are witnessing revival and spiritual awakening worldwide as we pray. At the end of the school year, many of these women will gather to celebrate the answers to their prayers. I call it a Holy Spirit party! Every time we thank God, it is a time of great joy and victory. It is also a time of transforming one’s heart. Many women can lose hope until they spend time remembering what God has done for them. If you want a victorious life in Christ, Thanksgiving is the key!

The people of Israel were to do that which was impossible in Joshua 4!  They were to cross the Jordan River at the height of flood season. God miraculously led them through the river to the promise land. Then He told them to take 12 stones from the river and place them on dry land. It was to be a memorial to the sons of Israel forever. There would be more battles ahead for the Israelites, but they could look back on these rocks and remember what God accomplished for them. By the end of the book of Joshua, the children of Israel were victorious and had a time of rest.  Joshua told them to never forget all God had done on their behalf, so they could live securely in the land God had given them.

What impossible situation are you facing today?  How can making stones of remembrance build your faith to be victorious? Are you praying for a prodigal child who has wandered from the faith? Begin to thank God for what He has already done. Are you struggling in a marriage or with a friend or relative? Transform your thinking by focusing on what you’re thankful for in that situation, and watch God bring healing.  He wants to lead you to your promised land!

God knows what you are facing today! As you begin to thank God, your shield of faith comes up and your worries, problems, and fears go down. Make a thanksgiving list and have your own Holy Spirit party— share with others so they can celebrate with you.

“Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” Psalm 40:5 (niv)

Sally Burke, President of Moms in Prayer International

From her latest book “Start with Praise.

When You Feel Nameless

I saw the other author from afar. Sure, conference attendees were blocking her, but I knew it was her, so I approached to say ‘Hi’.

Sitting down right next to her, I smiled. She stared back tentatively. I waited for her to recognize me (we are after all in a similar circle with similar friends). Yet, her face was blank.

“Hey there, it’s so great to see you,” I proclaimed. She muttered back a one-word answer.

Perplexed, I asked her, “Hey ___, don’t you know me? I’m Kelly Balarie. I am an author too.”

She answered, “Nope, I don’t know you. I’ve never heard your name.”

She what?!!! Bricks hit my chest. My chest hit the floor. I sat like an exposed duck full of embarrassment.

I’m unknown.

I’m unwanted.

I’m unseen.

What a fool I am to think I’d be “known”.

I’m so full of pride. I should have known better to think someone would “know my name”.
 It was so arrogant of me pre-suppose I’d be recognized.

Here, it was as if every childhood diss hit me afresh. Me – the girl sitting alone on the curb at recess. Me – the one made fun of because of my big nose. Me – the one the cool girls walked away from. Kelly? Huh? Who is she? We don’t know her name. 

I want to blame all them. As if they’re the reason I want to be wanted and I need to be needed. 

They’re why I cry out for attention.

But are they?

Growing up, I was the oldest of six kids, a mom on some days, a daytime babysitter on others, a back-up disciplinarian, a school-supply checker, a number amongst other important numbers…but, at the center of all this – I always wanted to be seen, known, wanted, valuable.

Is this wrong?

To want to be wanted? Do you feel this way too? Perhaps you want your husband to talk to you more. Perhaps you want that boss to finally give you the promotion you deserve. Or you want to be recognized for the friend you really are. Or as the sister who is super patient and forgiving

I don’t think God hates our desire to be seen, as much as we detach from it and call it “icky pride”. I don’t think He’s as embarrassed by our desire to be wanted as we are. I don’t think He shames us because we want to be known.

Because God fulfills each and every one of these desires – in us.

The question is are we looking to Him or to man for this infilling?

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10)

7 Truths that Show How Much God Sees & Knows You: 

God “Knows the plans He has for us.” (Jer. 29:11)

He calls us “children of God; and so we are.” (1 Jo. 3:1)

He creates us as His “worksmanship”, a beautiful work reflecting His glory. (Eph. 2:10)

God looks at us and sees Christ in us. (Ro. 8:10)

God wants us; He gave his most precious possession for us. (Jo. 3:16)

Our names are written on the palm of His hands, our hairs are counted and our words are known before they’re even spoken. (Is. 49:16, Lu. 12:7, Ps. 139:4)

He loves us first – before ever loved Him. (1 Jo. 4:19)

Do you feel alone? Disappointed? Are you struggling? It is not too late to get the Journey Together All Access Pass, full of 40+ how-to videos from authors and women’s ministers – click here for more information: www.journeytogethersummit.com

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How God Sees Me

She’s taking advantage of me.

I’m being used.

They left me behind. 

I’m getting the raw end of the deal.

Kelly: “God, I feel angry at people. I can’t stop thinking of the past.”

God (what I believe He says to me): “Kelly, it is not about them. It never was about them. In actuality, they’re not the blockages to your goals, the answers to your cause, nor the life you are looking for. When you look at them, it is as if you stare at the gutter. Yet, if you want to strike the fullness of life – of me and all I have – you have to look down the lane. Don’t look left or right. Behold, the pins of my glory. Gaze on the beauty of what I am doing. See past the side-shows. Look straight into who I am, how I see you and what I am doing. Choose to see me. Know me and follow me.

Be led by my Spirit; I’ll take care of the rest.”

Kelly: “God I dismantle the lie that I am being taken advantage of. The truth is, God, you are taking care, defending and providing for me. God, I no longer want to dwell in discouragement. You have enough encouragement to set me free.”

God, you are my all-in-all, my friend, hope, cause, love, guide, strength, help, initiative, being, wholeness, Savior, love, life, wisdom, entirety, mission and surroundings. I trust you.”

Kelly: God, who am I to you?

God: “You are my love, my daughter, my special one, my prize, my sight, my friend, my seen one, my speaker, my joy, my reflection, my peace, my heart, my beginning of new things, my growing child, my blooming flower, my eager-beaver, my purpose, my cause, my listener, my prize, my delight, my boldness and, again, my love.”

Wow. Somehow understanding how God sees me changes everything. He wants me. He loves me. He helps me. He watches me. He knows me. I am not alone. I am not left behind. I am not forgotten. I don’t have to fend for myself. I don’t have to look to man to fix my problems. I am free in Christ.

So are you.

Who does God say you are – to Him?

Here’s a hint:

You are altogether beautiful, my love; (because of Christ) there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)

Don’t miss out on the 2018 Journey Together Summit today as various bestselling and wise authors (Shannon Ethridge, Sharon Jaynes, Cherie Lowe, Bonnie Gray, Joanna Weaver, Kat Lee)…share about their struggles. Watch the free videos today: www.journeytogethersummit.com

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