Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Part I: God’s Heart Towards Fear

There’s almost nothing more soul-dropping than when fear hits you like a free-dropping roller coaster. Friends, I am going through a health scare. Ahhh!!! 

The “what-ifs” feel giant. Monsterous. Looming.

Will you pray for God’s healing hand to move in my body?

Although this issue is different, I’ve been here before. Years ago, they thought I had Multiple Sclerosis. Praise God, I turned out okay. Yet, I deeply know how “scary” feels.

This 2-part series on fear is meant to encourage you, your friends, or family standing face-to-face with fear (be it: a job loss, a health issue, a marriage that’s crumbling, financial distress . . .). I want it to be a post people can lean on, return to and keep near.

Here’s what I believe God might want to say directly to fearing hearts, like mine:

Dear Child that I love,

You are mine. All mine. Entirely mine. Do not fear, for I am near. Nearer than the reality of your ever-present fear is me — the one who loves you. Choose to be unafraid and to stand strong in the power of my might. In me, in my strong tower, no winds can tumble you, no force can overtake you and no enemy can remove you from me.

Remember, you are hidden in Christ Jesus.

Wait for me. Trust in me. Pray to me. Expect from me. Expect to see. What you want, I know of, care for, and have the vision to see through. I see from high heights. I know what you don’t know. I have you and I’ll instruct you. I’ll show you the way to walk and then you’ll walk in it. I’ll be with you. Fear is an illusion. The only thing it serves to do is to block you from me — from hearing me, praying to me, and knowing me habitually in your mind. Do not allow what is not — of me to steal my words — from you. I am yours and you are mine. Forever.

The Lord will protect you from all danger; he will keep you safe. (Ps. 121:7)

If you struggle with fear, check out my books, Battle Ready or  Fear Fighting 

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Soul-Important Information

You matter.

Nowhere did Jesus tell people to “Who I created you to be doesn’t matter.” No time did Jesus look a woman in the eye and say, “You don’t matter as much as she does.” Not even once, did Jesus say to someone, “I have too much on my hands to help you.”

All of God is available to all of us. Right now.

Right here. Right now.

God never left you. He never got tired of your whining and left you. He never deserted you to your negativity. He never walked away from your hopelessness. He’s right here. Talk to him if you want to if you need to. He hears your cry. You matter.

At the same time, I believe, He’s not content where you are. He’s not content to leave you the same. Because He knows what He created you for. You were never meant to wallow. You were never meant to stay stagnant. You were never meant to call your comfortable place your dwelling place.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. (Col. 3:10)

Here, as if Jesus is calling us out of our shell — I believe, He desires hearts of radical obedience, far more than proclivities to modern-day conveniences.

I find TV convenient. I find shortcuts convenient. I find doing what the herd does convenient because it is easy and not shunned upon. But, I’m convicted, my desire for modern convenience can never shut off His sometimes random or impromptu calls to radical obedience.

If one keeps on shutting these off, their heart grows cold and hardened. There’s the real potential their conscience may get seared.

And, this is where a major problem presents itself.

You matter to God, but so do your choices. Do you pick God or other things?

Yes, God loves you

Yes, God cares about you.

But, also God cares for your daily choices.

Radical obedience knows when to turn away from modern conveniences (like a TV show that’s gone way-wrong, too much TV, staying in an area your supposed to leave, telling God no, gossip, slander, old routines, busyness, etc)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Ro. 12:2)

Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. (1 Sam. 2:30)

This year, tear down every barrier, blockage, between you and God.  Tear down your TV, your fear of man, your self-hatred, your hibernation-like tendencies, your shopping issue…whatever…if you need to do so.

How? There’s no back-breaking pressure. Simply, ask God where to change and how. Submit to His plan. Take a small step. Keep doing it. You’re half-way there… Not by your power or might, but through the Spirit — choose to love God this year.

“If you love me, keep my commands.” (Jo. 14:15)

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2 Steps: Renew Your Hope & Your Faith

Hope deferred makes the heart sick… (Prov. 13:12)

This is a real condition. Sickness, due to a loss of hope.

Are you struggling with it? Perhaps you’re facing a marriage that is going the opposite way you thought it would. A dream that won’t seem to come to life, despite the time you’ve spent studying to make it happen. A person who keeps turning away from your heartfelt words about God.  A health scare that won’t leave you.

When you hope in God and are met with the same stuff, day-in-and-day-out the sickness of doubt and discouragement tries to settle in.

Doubt and discouragement defer hope.

Yet, faith ignites it.

“Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” (Eph. 6:16)

In fact, faith not only ignites hope, but it can stop an attack in its tracks.

You hold up the shield. The arrows have no place to stick to you. You are protected with steel over your chest. Your heart can’t be injured. You have the shield of faith, the enemy has no way of assault any longer.

Gaining faith in the middle of a physical, emotional or spiritual attack is not hard to do — although the enemy would try to convince us of that.

2-Step Remembrance Plan to Regain Faith

1. Remember what God did.

I remember, when my husband and I just got married, I used to get so angry when a plate broke. I would ‘go off’. It was as if the world was going to end. Yet, today, if something falls, I sweep it up without a care in the world. God healed me of momentary and heated anger that came out of nowhere.

What has He healed you of? Where has He brought you from? What work has He done in you over the years that you forget to give thanks for?

2. Remember what Jesus did.

Speak aloud to Jesus. Yes, right there, wherever you’re reading this. Say: Thank you that you died for me. Thank you that you saved me. Thank you that, through Christ, I am holy, righteous and pure. Thank you that I am redeemed. I am a new creation and I am in Christ. I am blessed. I cling on to this. I believe in your plan. I trust you. Amen.

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (Rev. 12:11)

Learn more about Kelly’s new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

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The New Year Letter I Feel You Need To Read

Overnight everything can change. Everything. The previous day it was an old year. Today it is a new.

New year = New Beginnings.

You know, 2018 wasn’t necessarily the easiest year. Sure, I hit discouragement, doubt, despair at times, I hit pain, tears, issues, and physical scares. . . but, who cares?

Who cares. What is old is old and what is new is new.

“Do not call to mind the former things; pay no attention to things of old.” (Is. 43:18)

What God sees as an “old thing” has no influence as His hand creates “our new”.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Is. 43:19)

Just as one has to close an old book, to pick up a new book, I strongly feel we must close our books of “old” — old pains, injuries, insults, attacks, discouragement, despair, rejection, unforgiveness and sin to break into the best story of all time — to grab hold of His greater story, the gospel.

We must:
Ditch old memories, for the memory of Jesus on the cross.
Toss out feelings of separation of God, for the reality that God grants us bold-access to the throne of grace.
Let go of every 2018 mess-ups, because we can’t steal-back what Christ’s blood already paid a hefty price for.
Give thanks that the righteousness of Christ far surpasses the lack of faith, hope and love we failed to muster yester-year.

His book of “new life” falls open for us to read afresh. Here it is. Jesus waits to meet you. He says something like, “Close the book on that “old story” and partake in my new one.”

For Jesus’ life is now yours.

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Ro. 6:5)

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

“…Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Cor. 517)

Jesus routinely made old issues new: the blind see, the lame walk, the poor became rich in His love, the afflicted get relief, the guilty are relieved and the dead come back to life.

Jesus is resurrector. He rebuilds broken bridges. He awakens lost loved ones. He heals pains and burdens. He restores finances. He answers. He shows up. He creates new callings. He reaches into pits. He fixes.

None of it depends on old stories you’ve written in your mind; all of it depends on the story of Jesus. He paid it all for you to walk into an extreme, abundant, love-filled 2019 like never before. Grab His hand, receive His new life and expect that this new year will be like never before. Jesus will never fail you. Ever.

What feels dead, let go of it. Walk forward this year, into the goodness of God. He will do all things in and through you as you trust Him.

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

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That Time I Got Insulted.

“They’re renters.”

That’s how my husband and I were introduced. “So and so, meet Kelly and Emanuel, they’re renters.”

Yes. We are.

We’ve been renters off and on throughout our lives. God’s called us left and right, North and South, East and West — we’ve gone everywhere. We’ve been called to do certain things, no matter the cost. I try not to be ashamed about who I am, our calling or our present situation…

…but the way this person introduced me, unsettled me. Not only this, the woman seemed to avoid saying hi to me after finding out we were “renters.” I wondered why she didn’t stop to talk at all. Yet, after her introduction, it all made sense.

We’re renters. She’s right.

When I got home, her words kept on repeating in my mind, “They’re renters.”

Declaring my worth.”They’re renters.”
Slighting us. “They’re renters.”
Proclaiming the totality of who I am. “They’re renters.”
Summarizing my inadequacy. “They’re renters.”
Circling my lack of worthiness. “They’re renters.”

I began to get upset at her. How can a person judge someone based on where they live?

Yet, almost a split-second before I finished this internal question, it was as if God had a comeback, “Kelly, how often do you look at yourself as better-off than the homeless person you see on the street? Just because you have a home. . . ”

Oh my goodness! I am just like this woman. Subconsciously, I feel better-off, more worthy, more together, more valuable and more blessed, than a lesser-person. Why? Solely, because I live in a home and sleep in a bed — and not on a sidewalk.

Forgive me, Father, so often, I know not what I do. If I was at a party, I’d probably steer clear of the stinky, lowly homeless woman who is unable to give me anything too.

“God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor. 1:28)

All this gets me to thinking. . . this season, as we sit around the Christmas table — what if we let go of classifications? Immediate judgments? Old gripes because we’ve been wrongly classified?

The hard-to-face-fact is, many times: we’re just as guilty, in our own right. And, just as we want to be loved for who we are, so do others. We all want — a chance to change. Let’s afford others the ability to walk into new ground. We never know someone’s background.

Pray with me:
God, today we let bygones be gone by the blood of Jesus. We acknowledge — our deep roots of love, in you, make us strong enough to withstand the effects of hard-to-love people. We choose to honor them, Jesus, just as you honored us on the cross. We never deserved it, but still, you did it. You teach us how to rise above. Pour out grace. Teach us. Grow us. And may we never put ourselves above others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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How We Unknowingly Block God’s Plan

If anyone had the right to be bitter, it was Jesus…

“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him! 

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Mk. 15:12-14)

Jesus did nothing wrong. Jesus stated the truth. Jesus was coming to do good. To help the people who wanted to hurt him. He had the best intentions. A pure heart.

Yet, he was completely misunderstood. Maybe you feel the same way today.

Maybe someone has accused you of something you didn’t do, or they’ve name-called you in the past, put you down, embarrassed you in front of other, charged you with something that you don’t deserve, criticized you in front of man, chosen someone else to get something better than you. . .

Maybe you feel like Jesus, unduly prosecuted by man.

I’ve noticed a couple of things along Jesus’ journey as it pertains to addressing hurts like these:

  • Saying less is saying more.

So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. (Mark 4:5)

To lay down your defense is to find God’s. The King of Glory moves in (see Psalm 48 for more on this defense).

  • Giving up is not losing.

In worldly terms, a person who “surrendered” in war is the loser. They wave the white flag and they’re out. They lost. They gave up. Well, Jesus “gave up” too — “and when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit (Mt. 27:50)”.

By giving up, Jesus gained everything: our salvation, eternity and a complete shut-out of the eternal power of the forces of hell. Things are not as they look. If you give up to God the offenses you’ve been carrying, you’ll assuredly gain new life too.

  • Bitterness has to go to accomplish God’s plan.

Jesus was mocked, scorned, abandoned, rejected, mutilated, embarrassed, shunned, laughed at. . . If anyone had any right to feel bitter, it was Jesus. How did He fight this?

Notice these words that He spoke on the cross right before he “gave up his spirit”, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lu. 23:34)

Jesus allowed no bitterness. He realized that we may not have realized what we were doing. Then, he forgave us. Who do you need to forgive?

Bitterness can be the biggest stopper to God’s plan in your life. Let it go.

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How To Stop a Spiritual Attack in Its Tracks

While reading the final chapter of the final book in the bible, I felt horrified. This line froze me, solid: “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Oh my goodness. “All the liars” — will go . . . into the fiery lake . . .of burning sulfer. That’s me. . . “

The immensity of fear suddenly gripped my chest.  I am a liar. I lie when I don’t mean to. I get defensive, thinking I am telling the truth, only to realize later my husband was right. I cover up my real emotions when people ask how I am. I don’t like to look weak even though, there are many times when I am. I am a pretender. I am a liar.

God throws people like me away — into burning sulfur.

Thinking hardly anything about wonderful Jesus, and a whole lot about horrible me, I decided: I am not enough, I may not make it “in” and how I may be fooled and not be saved.

I was under a massive spiritual attack. Friends, a spiritual attack is anytime the power of you speaks louder than the sacrifice of Jesus. It’s when your issues look massive and Jesus becomes a passive figurine. It is when faith flees and your failures and future looks abysmal. It is when your feelings get so enlarged, truth can’t squeeze in.

To stop a spiritual attack, return to the gospel. Come back to scripture and truths like these:

-It is all about Jesus.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'” (Jo. 1:29)

-It is all about the price He paid.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them.” (2 Cor. 5:18-19)

-Jesus accomplished everything, even when I can’t seem to fix anything.

“For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (Romans 5:17)

-Grace will change me.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8)

The provision of grace means the revision of me. Rather than hiding myself away from God, in fear that I am not enough, I can come to Him with an unveiled face, as He helps me realize that I am enough in Christ — and that He will change me.

The same goes for you. . . All of Christ is more than enough to save all of you, no matter how far off you perceive yourself to be.

Then, give thanks and worship God. By doing this, you’ll rub mud in the face of the enemy.

 

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God will Put Everything “Right”

“I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball.” I’ve noticed this is a catch-phrase for financial analysts when on TV.  They love it. They’re point being, they have no idea what the market will do. No one knows. But, much like us, everyone wants to know…

I want to know what God is doing. I want to know why things have happened the way they have: I want to know the reason a family member passed away, why I am still stuck in different areas in my life and how God is going to show up in the future. I want to demand answers from God on many a day.

Tell me! I need to know.  Like Eve, I say, let me “know”, God!  ASAP!

Knowing is not always beneficial.

I keep Christmas gifts a surprise to my kids. Why? Because there is nothing better than seeing the joy written all over their faces when they open up that morning-surprise. I don’t tell them all the details about the “birds-and-the-bees” yet. Why? Because there is a right time for that message. I don’t let my son see what’s on those late-night cable channels. Why? Because wisdom says, “He doesn’t need to see that — ever.”

Have we ever considered? Not knowing makes us fortunate.

“David confirms this way of looking at it, saying that the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man…” (Romans 4:8 MSG)

You don’t have to know the whys.

Or, understand the whens.

Or, get answers to every question you have.

God will put-everything-right.

Blessed is the man who trusts God to put-everything-right, without knowing-every-nitty-gritty-detail regarding how.

Our knowledge doesn’t make things right, God’s good work does. It handles all those things we most fear.

“…Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jo. 20:29)

When we believe anyway, we are blessed. When we trust, we are fortunate.

Where do you need to let go of any unresolved pain, bitterness, grief, misunderstanding, anger or worry? Where do you need to let God off-the-hook for the answers, in order to find peace? Where do you need to bask in the fortunate you’ve obtained; the fact that, for you, God no longer “keeps score” of your sin? (Ro. 4:7 MSG) Today is the day. Ask God to forgive you for carrying around these burdensome demands; let His help come in and rescue you.

God will put-everything-right.

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Learn more about Kelly’s new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

When You are Tired of Waiting

I sat on the curb after practice, wondering, “Is mom ever going to come?” It was a particularly hard high school year. For one, my nose got hit with a field hockey stick. Even today, it sits a little crooked. And on this particular day, after all those sprints, shooting pains shot up my legs. I could hardly sit. Every position was agony. So with my teammates long gone, I moaned. Then, I replayed everything: the shots I didn’t make, the girls that were faster than me, and how I must have looked downright stupid.

Five minutes turned into twenty. Would she ever come?

Times of waiting are battles – the sense of “not knowing” compounds everything. Here, we tend to think, “If she isn’t there for me, God won’t be there either. I’m unworthy. I’ll be left behind. I brought on this problem. I’m stuck. Bound to fail. Surely, I’ll make a fool of myself again.”

I find it is here that old injuries, gut-wrenching feelings of abandonment, and age-old failures come back to attack. They often rob our faith.

Yet, I can’t help but wonder: If waiting times aren’t uncommon to Biblical men and women, why do I think they’ll be uncommon to me?

I mean, Sarah waited decades to have a baby. Blind people waited what probably felt like forever to be healed by Jesus. Mary waited while Jesus grew up. The other Mary waited for her brother Lazarus to get healed. Moses waited to get out of Egypt. Jesus waited decades to start His ministry, then about three years to die on the cross to defeat death.

Even in the worldly sense, waiting times have value. A delayed inheritance makes a son wise. A pregnant mother gives nine months time for the baby to grow. A toddler girl learns to swim before jumping in the deep end.

What if our times of waiting aren’t meant to torture us, but to grow us? And to prepare us for a greater land ahead?

“The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden… It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” (Deuteronomy 11:10, 12, NIV)

The new land has new terrain. New obstacles. New preparation is needed for that place.

Consider, if you want to adventure through new terrain, you must prepare for it. If you’re traveling over rocky ground, you need the right wheels. Perhaps an SUV. If you are climbing a new mountain, you need to have a harness, and one you trust. Waiting gives us time to prepare to go to the places God has planned for us.

We can wait well. Here are few ways to do just that:

Remember the cross.

Encourage yourself by saying, “Jesus’ sacrifice fully covers me and now protects me from any assaulting words of the enemy. Even if I don’t do things perfectly, through the sacrifice of Christ, I am hidden in Christ.”

Reconsider who you are.

Think, “I am a daughter of the most-High King. He knows how to take care of me.”

Reestablish who God is.

Say, “God is on my side. He will pull through for me, help me and rescue me. I can trust Him.”

Remind yourself: Waiting ground is faith-proving ground.

Choose to delight in and dwell on the little blessings God gives day-to-day.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You are well acquainted with everything happening in my life. Help me to trust You in all ways. Increase my faith.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

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Check out Kelly’s new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

Jesus Saves, Again and Again

I say this sometimes to my kid: “If mommy and daddy had all the kids of the world in front of us, and we had to choose one, we would search and search until we found you. We examine every kid face-to-face, looking far and wide FOR YOU. And, we’d keep going until you were safe in our arms. And, when we found you, we’d pick you and keep you forever as our own.”

My friend in Christ, Jesus did that very thing — for you.

He wants you.

He chose you “before the creation of the world…in love.” (Eph. 1:4) Though (Jesus) was rich (in Heaven), for your sake he became poor (by coming to this earthly world)…to make you rich (see: 2 Corinthians 8:9). He chose you, then He found you. Without an ounce of your proving, defending or trying, He died for you, while you were a sinner. (see: Ro. 5:8) A Savior came to save you.

Going right for your heart, Jesus searched you and called you in by dying for you on the cross. He wants you.

Consider: We don’t save someone we don’t want. We don’t go to the lengths of injury and pain to rescue someone we deem worthless. We don’t enter a slum-land, forgoing riches, unless we figure the mission is so critical, it’s worth the risk.

Apparently, you’re worth the risk to God. You, (insert your name here), are worth the conquest. You’re worth Jesus’ pain and suffering. You’re worth the shame He endured. You are chosen, wanted and saved. Delivered and loved.

Your worth is not because you proved yourself good, or holy or righteous, or perfect, or beautiful or all-together, or worthy, but it’s simply because Jesus is worthy. The same is true for us today.

Worthy is the lamb who was slain! He proved: Worthy is our calling in our life – if He chose to save it. Worthy, are those we love – if He calls us to do so. Worthy, is His plan, even if sometimes we can’t understand it or don’t believe in it.

Worthy Savior is our King. Saving is His business. He does the work. You don’t merit it by what you do, how holy you sound, or what you prove. All this? It is a point already proven by Jesus on the cross. To prove Jesus’ point is pride.

Power comes when we let Jesus save us, again and again. When the price He paid takes complete ownership of our life.

Friend, if you feel unseen in the midst of your family, if you feel unloved no matter how much you give, if you feel unworthy even though you try so hard, if you feel alone and rejected by man, if you feel hurt and left behind, if you feel neglected by your husband, if you feel you’ll never amount to anything, if you feel down and a little depressed, if you feel worn out from proving…might you consider this?

Jesus, can and will save you today. Savior is His name. There is no daughter, situation, person or issue too far gone for His saving work. Run into His arms; they’re open to you. He doesn’t need anything from you, except a willingness to receive, in order to give you everything.

You are safe in His arms.

Check out Kelly’s new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

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