Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Where Are My Blessings, God?

where are my blessings

That girl has it together.
She has what counts.
She speaks, and people listen.
She lights the room.
And blesses so many.
Who am I?

That girl, she is special.
She must be God’s favorite.
She must be the apple of his eye.
He really loves her.
Who am I?

Look how he blessed her.
Who am I?

Who am I if God doesn’t show me that I am worth something?

Who am I if God doesn’t push me a little bit further ahead than her?

Do I still count?

Sometimes, we look at our faith walk, like a race of worth. Sometimes we look at our blessings as medals of accomplishments.

It only looks like we are winning when we are not losing.

Do you ever feel this way?

Imagine for a moment, if the disciples had let this kind of thinking creep in.

If Peter looked at John to say,
“If you are beloved, I am not loved.”

If Elizabeth looked at Mary to say,
“You birthed Jesus, my womb is now worthless.”

If Jesus turned to his father to say,
“You reign higher, my lowly position has no place.”

How would Christianity look today?

Might living this way send us down a similar road as Satan? A road of orphanhood?

I praise God that these movers and shakers of faith didn’t move away and shake frozen in their boots – as God chose to bless some and not others.

Sure, the disciples had their moments, “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Lu. 22:24

I have these moments too. I have moments where I want that girl’s stuff so badly. But, I am realizing that my needy declarations are, more than often than not, just proud questions demanding his marks of approval.

Questions like: “God do you love me?  Do you count me worthy enough to bless me too? Why are you forgetting me and exalting her?”

I kind of want to be God’s favorite loved child. Do you?

I kind of want to finally secure my place in his eyes.  I want people to think, “that’s the girl God blesses.”

I am prone to think my blessings count me worthy,
but God says – and always says –
my son has already marked you approved.

He was marked, to forever mark me  – loved.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time 2 Tim. 1:9

God pursues our holiness, many times, on our behalf; he knows what is best for our heart, our needs and our spiritual development.

He looks at his gifts to us, much like we look at ones for our children, likely asking,
“Will it delight them or spoil them?” 

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. Lu. 15:31

He is less concerned with the everyday, all the time blessings because he knows, everything he has is already ours.

He is not so much interested in playing into our insecurities, he is interested in healing them.

I wonder, do we realize, just like the lost son at home with his father,
that we aren’t missing out on anything? 

That the whole time, even though a brother strayed and was blessed,
we already had everything we needed to begin with?

Jesus never sets a value on one child over another.

All the same, all the time, equally adored, accepted and loved, he waits with arms wide open for: the losers, the winners, the victorious, the downtrodden, the proud, the humble, the rich, the poor, the sinful and the less sinful, the loved and the unloved.

He doesn’t have super-pipes of one-directional love. His love flows unhindered, ungated, unrestricted, all the time, into all the hearts that need his love, his gifts, his blessings and his perfect ways.

We are all worthy, every moment of every day, because Jesus Christ was crucified, covered, guarded, uncontained, glorified and magnified.

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Updates for #RaRalinkup Friends:
1. Visit this Thursday when Abby McDonald will share another powerful sucker punch to the devil’s work.
Don’t miss it!
2. Join us on the #RaRalinkup Facebook page for an almost daily dose of encouragement.
3. Attending She Speaks? Sign up for the #RaRalinkup breakfast.

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No Good Dirty Rotten Christian

Dirty Rotten Christian

I am good at organizing my faith. It means I line up all the little pieces of my life in a straight line and expect them to fall like perfect dominos.

I expect my plans to fall into place.
I expect that the dominos will hit the ground – and not me as I sin.
I expect that my perfectly placed pieces will keep my faith in a straight line.

Perhaps, this is why I feel so devastated, so demolished and so pushed over when I do wrong. It is as if all my attempts to control my faith, my sin and my progress press on my shoulders, compacted and ruined.

It’s nearly back-breaking.

How can God’s ways be light when this work seems so hard?

Is this light-load wording really even truth?

Because if it is, I am living by a lie.  Again and again, my faith falls and I do too.

But, what if? What if?  I am looking at everything all wrong?

What if my inability to carry, isn’t so much because of him – but, because of me?

One with the weight of shame,
can’t really pass out the grace of Christ.

One whose hands cover her face,
can’t let God hold her hand.

One who laying down in despair,
can’t see up in hope.

One lining everything up,
can’t help but take everything personally when it all falls down.

And, in a heart-pumping way, I can’t help but think, maybe this line of thinking is real progress.

Because my way = the wrong way.
God’s way = a chance to see his work at play.

God’s way is his Word and it restructures our approach:

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy. . . Jude 1:24

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude 1:20

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5

And he said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace. Lu. 7:50

He makes us stand before his presence.
He grants us joy.

He keeps us from stumbling.
He holds us in the love of God as we pray in the Spirit.
He increases our faith as we ask him.
He makes our faith win when we rely on him.

We don’t need us, we just need him. We don’t need strategy, we just need prayers. We don’t need plans, we just need the Spirit. We don’t need holy roller practices, we just need help.

Every time, we need his help.
All the time, we need his help.
Every hour, we need his help.

Bottom line, as our heart cries out for faith by his Spirit, he will keep us and help us. He makes our load light as we lay our load on him.

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

You, Stop Hurting Me

Stop Hurting Me

How could he do that?
What was he thinking?
What am I doing wrong now?

Everything he did, said and thought seemed to be a judgement about who I was, am and one day will be. His eyes spoke volumes about the magnitude of his disdain for me.

So I shut down. I shut things down faster than a prison cell at lockdown. I packed it all up, made it all tight and kept myself behind the distance of bars. The risk of injury was too high and I had been hurt one too many times to know that you don’t go around prison like a sitting duck waiting for its next attack.

Nope. I got smart.
Not this time.
You can’t get me again.

Yet, as much as I felt I was doing the right thing, I didn’t. The other side of me hated that I was locking it all up, closing it all down, hiding myself away. I didn’t want to be isolated, I wanted to be free. Free of pain, free of the looks of condemnation, free of having to pretend I am someone I am not.

It was like I was at tug-of-war with myself.

God wants me to be open, vulnerable and transparent. Tug.
No. God wants me to protect my pearls and not be injured again. Tug.

I am not being a good Christian by not loving. Tug.
I am better able to love when I don’t feel so hurt. Tug.

He has treated me cruelly. Tug.
I am to die to self as Christ died for me. Tug.

What do you do when “relationship” means
forging into enemy territory feeling alone and open for attack?

Do you take the risk, the barrage of open-fire,
for the dream that you can one day be free?

I did. I headed straight in.

Because God was saying: check your own eye, daughter. Just as much as you think his eyes can’t see you – yours can’t see him. I want restoration for your heart and for his. I want to clean things out for your good.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Mt. 7:3

Really God? I want it to be all his issue.

But, the truth is that as I analyzed his wrongs, so I was wrong. 

Isn’t how it so often happens? What we see in another as their main flaw is really the flaw that we carry around – we just try to hide it under an inch of makeup, don’t we?

As I figured it, the only natural place to go after you realize you have wronged is to make right. So I did.

I confessed to him that I judge and can’t seem to hug, that I sneer and can’t be near and that I fail and often feel frail.

I faced the captor knowing that One already had secured the victory on my behalf.

He may have looked bruised, beaten and defeated himself, but he never was – he won my freedom.

In this, I was freed to love.

Who do you need to apologize to?

Might they look like someone who has a mile-long list of wrongs?

Perhaps, you the tiniest power to make things a little more right?

I won’t say that all things are right between me and him, but what I will say, is that we moved a step closer to intimacy, to openness and to healing. The door to my cell is open.  I am starting to take more walks towards him so he can see who I am is not all bad – maybe sometimes good even – and what I am starting to see are the same things about him.

It’s amazing what forgiveness can do when you let it work.

So often, we see the one who really needed healing is – us.

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Linking with Susan B. Mead, Suzie Eller and #FiveMinuteFriday.

 

Killing Fear

Killing Fear

My health haunted, “Kelly, you’re going to waste into something no one will will want to love.”
My past taunted, “You were marked, damaged and used.”
My finances tricked, “You won’t make it!”
My feelings tumbled, “I can’t do this. Things are never going to work out.”

Fear Rising. Debilitating fear. ICU worthy fear.

Have you experienced it?

Fear that leaves you feeling bruised, battered and wondering
where you’re rescue will come from?

Fear that leaves you laying paralyzed, comatose on a cot of uncertainty? 

For me, it creates an underlying feeling that I am either not going to make it or that others will pull the plug on me.

That no one will rescue – and all will abandon.
But, someone will…

Do we see him?

It’s the great physician. And, as bad as your charts may appear or the specialists may indicate, you are not left with a sense of doom. You see, for your fears may destabilize and metastasize, but they can never tranquilize God’s power.

One pretty gal, turned queen, understood this. If she didn’t speak up, her fellow Jews wouldn’t live on. They’d die. And truly if she spoke up to the King, she would die too.

Could Esther follow God’s plan, despite the pending threat ready to kill her?

This woman needed an IV of courage.

And, she got it. Likely Esther noted that:

Fear is almost always the wall to one’s greatest calling. 
Esther’s dream may have been for the jews to live free, but could she step up to the King?

It’s the superhighway that leads the opposite direction of the way, the truth and the light.
Esther could die if she spoke to the king, but could she really step up?

It usually arrives when your comfort and safety levels don’t expect it’s shock. 
Esther was living in the kings court after all.

It throws big obstacles in your path that seem impossible to tackle.
Haman’s wrath on the Jews was palpable.

Did she see the details of her pain, people and problems
are never lost charts in God’s billions of files?

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb. 4:13

Her declaration in response to all of this was, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

She knew her need for critical care – and she sought the right care-takers.

She didn’t lay around considering the ceiling art in her court, she:

1. Embraced the reality of the situation and didn’t halt in stagnation.  
Mordecai told her she could be killed for speaking out, but still, she knew who stood above it all.

Fear can’t grow under the great physician’s light of truth. Perfect love casts out fear after all.

2. She got serious. Most fasts are just absent of food. Yet, Esther asked for no fasting from food or drink. Meaning, she didn’t take her feelings lightly and knew she needed an extraordinary, not an ordinary rescue of her feelings.

How often do you call on the prayer support of the faithful when fear starts to mount?

3. She was decisive. There was no, “I want to wear that shirt, no this shirt, no that one. I can’t decide.” She heard the truth, she got the support, she lifted the prayer and made the decision to act.

How often do you walk confidently after you have sought God confidently – trusting that the feelings may not be there, but your God is?

When we trust God and act like Esther, we don’t need critical care units to bring us back to life, because we become the critical care units to dead. We bring new life, just as she did.

We bring Jesus’s transformation. 

It’s risky.
It’s unfashionable.
It’s sometimes death-worthy.
But, it’s powerful – and we are called to it, just as she was.

We have the same force behind us. We have the same support network available to us today.

Will we reach out to it when we need it?

The truth is – we can’t beat the force of fear, unless we know the force of God. And, if we don’t know and believe in the force of God we will remain IV’d to the poison of fear.

It leeches life.
God teaches life.

It isolates.
God placates.

It threatens to kill.
God sets free.

It puts you in a bed of despair.
God offers a lifeline of hope.

Where will you set your eyes?

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Linking with Holley Gerth and #TellHisStory.

Denying Discouragement

Denying Discouragement

It’s days like these that can really cause havoc…

Days where these kids head to time-out, over and over, despite the repeated talks on love.
Days when work doesn’t work-out.
Days when the marriage just goes off kilter.
Days when friendships irk.
Days when finances continue to dwindle.
Days when God doesn’t immediately show up. Days that can turn into weeks…

It’s days like these when you wonder
why in the world things don’t work better when you are working so hard?

It’s days like these that compel your heart to want to give up, to run and hide.

Why is it that the train-wreck days sometimes
 seem far easier to get over than these kind of slow-gnaw-type-of-days?

At least with the train-wreck days, you can clean up the toys at the end of the day and start over with a clean slate. You can file these days away in the “once-in-a-blue-moon” cabinet knowing they won’t repeat too soon.

But, slow-gnaw days are called faith-busting day. Over time, they cut your faith away.

They make you question your worth, your heart, your value, your plans, and your God.

They make me lay in the bed, look up at the ceiling, and say, “Why do I even try, God. When are you coming through? What do I have to do?”

We tend to think that way, don’t we?

That for some reason, we are responsible to fix the hand of God.

As if our actions are the precursor to his decisions.  

Who owns the hand of God – HIM or me?

Yet, I think of another who had a serious loss of heart. I think of another who had a series slow-gnaw days that could have eaten him alive – if he let them.

Imagine hearing these words: But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  Luke 22:32
And then hearing this: “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Lu. 22:34
Only to do this: “I don’t even know him!” Lu. 22:57

Might Peter thought, “I’d never! That day will never come! I am strong!” Likely.

But he did – 3 times he did. And he wept. Beyond that, I imagine the next days must have been excruciating as he, probably left in discouragement and despair, saw his savior crucified, dead and buried.

What happened to his purpose?

What use was his life, after in Jesus, he practically twisted the knife?

Peter’s actions must have gnawed worthlessness, pain and struggle.

But, Jesus never leaves the failures, the forgotten or the futureless.

Peter’s inability to stick it through in the moment didn’t disqualify him from Jesus’ love, neither did his past actions.

Nope. Remember this? “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”  Luke 22:32
And, it didn’t.

How often do we arm ourself up with faith like Jesus did for Peter? His prayer was answered.

How often do we pray preemptively for war? We are at war.

I can only speak for myself, but with faith like mine,
I should make this prayer my living-mantra.

Because it worked for Peter who:

  • Was bound up in forgiveness and recommissioned by Jesus with the words: “Tend My sheep.”
  • Was filled by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to preach and lead 3000 to Christ.
  • First cried for himself, and later cried with passion for the church built above his foundation.
  • Spread the gospel far and wide with crazy love for his Savior.
  • Completed his life as the rock – to the point of death, not as sand – breaking under the pressure of life.

We think Jesus uses heroes, he often used the ones who felt like zeros.

We think it’s about perfection, but it’s simply about his resurrection.

We think Jesus looks for the perfect, but he always finds the willing.

We try to be faultless, but God grows the repentant faulted.

Peter was never disqualified because he doubted.

His days were never marked as fake and tossed out like bad meat
(we read his lessons time and time again).

He wasn’t left in the dust without a purpose or a cause.

He hit gnawing days, battling days and downright discouraging days, yet Jesus chose him, ate with him, replenished his heart and restored his mission so he could go awesome, outstanding and amazing distances for God’s glory.

He waits to do the same with us; Jesus waits to recharge us into his purpose.

What is really amazing is, after all was said and done, Peter, wasn’t just changed for himself, so he could reach some high-and-lofty goal like sitting at the right hand of God, or going before God, or looking good to man, but he was changed to one who learned to deny self (no matter the cost).

He became chief-tender over Jesus’ greatest love – the sheep, just as Jesus always believed he would.

Jesus said to Peter (pre-denial), “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32

And, Peter did.

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2 #RaRalinkup Updates:
1.  Sign up for the NEW Cheerleaders 4 Christ #RaRa Facebook group page (this is different than the prayer one I set up). We will be rolling out a new element to the #RaRalinkup that I want you to be a part of. Details are forthcoming soon. Join here.

2. RSVP for the #RaRalinkup breakfast at She Speaks. Exciting news, prizes and challenges will be shared at this event.

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10 Encouraging Words For Your Heart

What bloggers

10 Bloggers. 10 Heart-Inspiring Mini-Posts. 10 Reflections I Share On Their Words.

Join me today as I welcome mini-guest posts on my blog. We can’t read everything online, so I hope to provide a quick rundown of some great words being written. Check them out!

1. Jess from Masters Calling says:

Our Savior didn’t hide his scars, he showed them; he shared where He’d been wounded and in sharing – He proclaimed the power of God!

“Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).

Our weaknesses can become the stage, where broken vessels witness the strength and power of God’s Word!

My Reflection: Lord help us not to be afraid of the damage we can see, but to bring it to you.

2. Carolyn Dale Newell from Mountain of Faith says:

Fear freezes us. It keeps us from moving ahead. It stops us from witnessing. Fear paralyzes us when God tells us to serve Him. It mutes us when He says, “Speak!”

I don’t have to know what is ahead.
God knows, and when I walk by faith, that is enough.

Friend, what fears are holding you back today?

Learning to depend on God will be the greatest blessing you can experience.

Through my disability (loss of sight), God gave me abilities.

He enabled me to trust him completely.
He gave me the ability to serve him and to encourage others through writing and speaking.
He has shown His mercy, because four years later, I still have some vision.

My Reflection: Perhaps it’s not so much what we see, but what God wants us to see as we trust our disabilities to him.

3. Sheila from SheilaKimball.com says:

Anytime we flip the switch in our minds and hearts and focus on pleasing God more by pleasing our mate something changes deep inside our heart. It’s like the door called self opens and love and light flow into the place once darkened by negativity or complaining.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

My Reflection: Sheila says switching power is found through clenching God’s Word. This is how we flip the switch. Then we see the truth and we walk differently.

4. Christy Pearce from Faith Like Dirty Diapers says:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

I needed help with my shopping tendencies, so I told my bible study girls to “get in my business.” Something radical had to happen. I gave them a pass to speak truth into my life even if it meant my own embarrassment and humiliation.

P.S. I felt led to sell a purse at a consignment store as an act of obedience. When I went to pick it up, the owner told me that she couldn’t understand why it didn’t sell. 

But I knew. 

God gave that purse back to me, and now I carry it as a reminder of His mercy and grace—with confidence!  Whenever I carry that one, I am careful to share my story of grace with anyone who will listen! 

My Reflection: How can we grab the support of others to finally push through that loitering sin?

5. Lisa Murray from LisaMurray.com says:

When I saw him, all I can say is that what I felt was pure joy.  After 3 years, three months, and two days (of agony-filled waiting), my child who was lost had been found, and that was all that mattered.

Wasn’t that how I came to God?

Wasn’t He the one who was waiting for me,
watching for me in the far-off distance
when I wandered home in my ruinous pain?

Before there was an explanation, a repentance, a hope of restoration, there was that moment when I walked right up to Abba in my brokenness and pitiful rebellion, and we embraced.  I can only imagine that for Him in that moment with me, all that mattered was that His child who was lost had now been found.

I was found — in that moment.  I was home.

My Reflection: How might you be running from God today? How might he receive you if you would only return? I think he would cry tears of joy to see you return in that one small way to him.

6. Ifeoma Samuel with Purposeful and Meaningful says:

I relied on my hard work to get things done.

Maybe you think more work represents more results like did.  

How wrong I was!
I heard him whisper’ “The race is not to the swift”.

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong… Ec. 9:11

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 2 Cor. 3:5

My Reflection: It’s not about how fast we run, it’s about how fast we rely on the one who runs it all.

7. Lois Flowers from LoisFlowers.com says:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. (Deut. 31:8) 

When you pass through waters, I will be with you. (Isaiah 43:2)

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

God is with us.

Whether we pray for Him to be or not. Whether we feel it or not. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we think we deserve it or not.

In good times and in bad, He is with us.

My Reflection: God stands nearer than the fear in your air.

8. Amy Talbott from The Laundry Pile says:

The world may not see my pain, but God does. The duties may not go away, but God will walk beside me and help me to carry the load.

Not only does God see my pain, but He is near to my pain. And he has promised to heal my broken heart.

Can you picture that?

God wants to pick you and me up gently in his arms and hold us tightly and remind us that even when the world is crashing down around us…

He loves us.
He is in control.
He is good.
He has conquered the world!
There is HOPE.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy ­laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28­-30

9.  Sandra from Sandra’s Ark says:

God takes care of us.

If I had not told the kids then (about the cancer):

  • Daniel wouldn’t have known that there was an opportunity to help his mum.
  • I would have felt very lonely sitting on my own waiting in the hospital for the scan and mammogram and then the results.

Who would I have had to be thankful with that it was not cancer?

God planned it all.

He planned that I would tell the kids because He had planned how He would show me His love and care for me through them.

Reflection: People can only help us, when we give them the opportunity too. Letting others move in, means that God gets a chance to work through them.

10. Kim Jones from says Hunt and Host:

God called me away from everyone else’s thoughts and ideas and invited me to spend time in His word. Just the two of us. No other influence or interpretation. No other filters or explanations.

Just him talking to me through the Bible.

Friends, I’m not kidding taking a break from bible study was scary for me. I was afraid of loosing the accountability. Afraid I’d miss the social aspect. Honestly, I  was afraid I wouldn’t understand a thing I read. I’m still somewhat new to this whole bible study thing.

God kept gently calling, asking me to trust Him.

He was right.

My reflection: Sometimes getting away from talking heads, helps you to hear the one who is at head. Sometimes, all we need is his voice.

11. Kristi Woods from KristiWoods.net says:

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Psalm 118:6

Are you facing something new?
Did you hear God call?
Are you questioning whether you heard correctly?

Make a calculated decision in the face of fear, with eternity in focus. Continuing the venture into new territory, I learned about and submitted various stories and articles, often proceeding with knees knocking (Kristi took the risk of facing rejection and walked intentionally even though she was scared).

It was about God, about eternity, not me. Battles in the Old Testament were calculated as well. Think Jericho. They “heard” what to do, then they “did” what God called them to do. The victory wasn’t as quick nor easy as a snap of the fingers. They didn’t eat from fear’s plate. They ate of the Lord’s faithfulness instead. You and I can too.

My reflection: We may not feel safe, but we can move forward with whatever stands before us knowing that we are!

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10 Reasons to Stop Being Hard on Yourself

Hard on Yourself

I should have done better.
Why did I do that?
I am such an idiot.

Ever spoken these words over yourself? I have.

I take all the things I have done and I judge them for my performance, my worth and my value.

As if these things are the summation of all that I am, can do and will be.

As if these things determine my day, my faith walk and my feelings.

I am hard, oh so hard on myself – hit-myself-with-a-2×4 hard sometimes.

But, is this even godly?

Is this even biblical?

The truth is:

1. He already handled them as he poured them all out over Jesus on the cross. (Is. 53:6)

2. He seizes them up and throws them out. (Jo. 1:29)

3. They are taken and covered by his holiness, grace and righteousness. (Ro. 4:7)

4. God moves my sin as far away as my hometown is from Chinatown. (Ps. 103:12)

5. They are lost, not to be found. Pardoned, for those he has saved. (Jer. 50:20)

6. Like a dead body thrown in the water, never to be seen again, God throws our old sins into the depth of the sea. (Mic. 7:19)

7. He remembers no word of them. (Heb. 10:17)

8. He blesses us in the process of removing our sin. (Ro. 4:8)

9. The guilt, the shame, the part that we feel responsible for – he nailed to that cross. (Col. 2:14)

10. He leaves us white, holy, renewed, revived, whole, complete, righteous, pardoned, sanctified and justified in him. (Ps. 51:17)

As the weight of sin moves out the weight of hope can move in.

A weight of hope that shows us:

  • We are holding the hand of the innocent lamb, until the day his kingdom comes.
  • There is a future, a plan and a glory awaiting us
    because we belong the one to whom all our sin belonged.
  • There is nothing that can come against us,
    because the deal is done, the war has been waged and the victory belongs to Jesus Christ.
  • The power of love is as attached to us as an arm-brand marking us as owned.
    Jesus’ love is forever ours.
  • We have still-water peace always available through the power of knowing God,
    not striving for him, but simply knowing.

Jesus died so we didn’t have to.
He sent the Spirit so we could live day-by-day with a new and living hope.
This power is alive and active – in us.

Do we rely on it?

Do we see it?

Or, do we operate by pounds and pounds, weight over weight of shame and guilt?

When we let the power of shame, guilt and discontentment take hold, the power of God is squelched. Yet, when we see God’s power for what it is – powerful – and his sin bashing skills for what they are – working, we live free to walk in the hope, love and grace that is Jesus. 

I think I hear God calling me today, to let go of performance, praise and perfectionism. I pray, that with humble hearts, we all can let go of what we are not, to grab hold of all that Christ is (death that ends our death so that we can have life).  The truth is that he rejoices over us and wants us to believe and activate the power he has already handed over.

“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17

Linking with #DanceWithJesus and #FiveMinuteFriday.

You Are Not Safe

not safe

It’s the thing we are on a constant pursuit of – but can never quite grab.
The thing that promises peace, yet looks miles away.
The carrot we run after but can’t seem to touch.

We dream of being armored up, impenetrable, uncompromised,
so we save up our bank account money,
we get alarms to keep bad people out,
we put up internal walls to keep other bad people out,
we run from love,
we hide from ourself,
we pick up vices,
we seek a way out…

..all to feel safe.

I know that I have done many of these things.
Finding safety in a man.
A hope.
A dream.
Finances.
People.
Compulsive habits.
Controlling pursuits.

Somehow I thought if I could only help God out just a little, maybe he would do the same for me, maybe I could make all things right and maybe I could avoid all the crud that constantly comes after me.

But, my best attempts always prove out my biggest flaw (I hate that): I simply have no control. Like a drug addict, I take another hit – seeking more control to fill the empty hole that shows I have no control.

It’s like I know the truth, but as one chasing the wrong hope, I move from pain to pain.

It seems, the more I seek to play the hand of God,
the more I play into the hand of the devil
(he wrote the book on control-seeking after all).

He has a field day with hearts in right field, the ones looking all around, rather than looking up to see the ball God launched to save the day, to make us cheer and to help us win. 

When we aren’t looking, sometimes God lets us get hit by the ball to learn who really had the ball all along.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8

You see, without God, we will likely be shaken. We will likely feel lost. We will feel like the inside of us is rocking and we have no control over it.

David knew this.

He seemed to know the more he pushed out his shaky feelings to his steady God,
the more his shaky feelings would be unshaken.

David had every reason to feel unsafe, but he leaned on all the reasons God would make him safe.
He spoke it to himself like a man trying to pound belief into himself. And, it worked.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Ps. 4:8

He also knew this verse to be true: My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Ps. 121:1

Perhaps this is why God had declared him: ‘…a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22

How did he do it?
He believed in unstoppable power of God’s lightning ability to save –
and acted accordingly.

Like David, how often do we face the dire with God’s fire?

Words of fire that says:

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:7–8).

Safety is never a feeling.
Safety is never a circumstance.
A result.
A change of heart in another.
A structure that protects you.
A gift in life that makes it all ok.
A physical condition.

All of that can go in a blink of an eye.

It is simply knowing that God is the only structure that will one day bring complete eternal safety – and, until then, he is the only house that keeps guard over your inner shell protecting it from the pain of the outer world.

He can always keep your heart safe. Surely, sometimes he changes circumstances, but, what he always does protect is your heart – if you just let him.

And isn’t that really what we are after – at the core?
Hearts that feel ok?
That know they have the ultimate way?
That can be at rest.

God has you. You are safe in him. He will lead you on the way you should go. He is for you, with you and in you. Be encouraged – you are armored up in his protection, his love and his grace.

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Linking with Suzie Eller.

Staying Faithful When Issues Mount

When Issues Mount

They start small until they climb on your back and squeeze the air of faith right out of you.

They have a way of making the stack of  bills reign higher than the power of God.

The medical issues stand taller than God’s capacity to care.

The relational problems break you into tears rather than into submission to the One who knows.

They are called mounting issues. Personal. Medical. Relational. Financial. Mental.

They take you on a ride like this:

1. You start with faith, looking straight ahead at God.
2. You talk with people, think of the issue and dwell on the problem and get afraid.
3. Your eyes start to look left, and right and left and right.
4. Your worst nightmare starts to take form.
5. You become sure of it’s overwhelming power to take you down.

Then they make you feel like this:

I’m going down.
It will never work out.
God, where are you?
They will always hate me.
I will never recover.
I will never be left the same.
I can’t do it.
I am horrible.

Problems of today have a way, of making us fear the feelings of yesterday.

I remember the fortress of my school.
The incapability of one girl who was powerless to change anything.
Who was uncertain about the next pain that may come my way.
Who felt the result of people’s issues rather than a product of their love.
I remember the embarrassment.

That past mocks all my dreams.
It reminds me that pain will repeat.

It reminds me I either need to fight or flight. 

What does the past claim true about you – today?

The reality is – it’s gone,
and fighting proves worthless
because you can’t fight something that isn’t real;
if it’s not truth it simply doesn’t exist.

But, hushing away feelings never works. The only way to go is to see the one who sees far more than the stalker of fear living in your mind. To see the one who waits, looking, hoping, believing that you will see him – the one who is always following you.

And, while you may think it is over, he doesn’t.

He knows it has only just begun.

Because he is ready to come close, to know, to stay with. He is ready and willing to aid and assist.

He is amazing that way.

He sees the inadequate, unable, and unsure one and says, “You can do it with me, because of me and for me. Stay right there with that truth. You will be okay.”

He spoke these same kind of words to Joshua -the second string, the rookie.
He spoke belief into a man who had monumental issues in front of him: uncertainty, a sea that stood in his way and a towering fortress shining his incapabilities.
He said, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Josh 1:5

What if God was to show up and to say that to you?

“Hey (fill in name here),
I was with Moses,
so I will be with you (name),
I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Might these words make a difference?

Might you remember the bush, the manna, the Red Sea, the God, the hope,
the promises, God’s faithfulness to you?
Not if you just heard them, but if you really believed them.

Perhaps, then, you, like Joshua, might think,
“Wow, this God is really for me.”

Perhaps then you would have the courage to open your sea of despair to allow a new heart of courage to carry you to your promised hope.
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Josh. 3:5

Perhaps then, you might set your forehead-to-floor knowing one stands higher than all your perceptions.
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” Josh. 5:14

You might even hear the way to go, the heart to have and the whispers of truth
rise above the status of your bank account, your health check-up or your kid’s report card.

You might even have the heart to march around what stands against you to shout the truth of God over it, around it and before it to see God work through it.  And to, even, maybe, see it all fall down (if that is what God has planned for you).

On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Josh 6:4-5

Imagine seeing the walls of pain and piles of grief standing before you crumble. They aren’t bigger than your God.

The truth is that in all cases he may not make them completely disappear, but God has the power to crumble circumstances authority over your feelings. He has the authority to set you on a new path, to forge a new way to bring you into the promised land of his peace.

Hear the words the Lord said to Joshua as he was preparing to be courageous and do not let them lightly pass over you (seize them as he seized the city): “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:9)

Mounting issues, the past and our feelings are not our inheritance, God’s promises are – and we have already made it to the Promised Land, let’s lay claim to it much like the Israelites.

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3 #RaRalinkup Updates:
1.  Sign up for the NEW Cheerleaders 4 Christ #RaRa Facebook group page (this is different than the prayer one I set up). We will be rolling out a new element to the #RaRalinkup that I want you to be a part of. Details are forthcoming soon. Join here.

2. RSVP for the #RaRalinkup breakfast at She Speaks. Exciting news, prizes and challenges will be shared at this event.

3. Visit next Monday. All of the bloggers who submitted guest posts will be featured on July 13. I couldn’t pick just one, this is not the spirit of the #RaRalinkup or this blog. All win, all are chosen, all are loved! Mark this day in your calendars. Support your sisters by retweeting and mentioning them on Twitter. 🙂

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Grace Changes Hearts

Grace Changes Hearts

I did everything all wrong.

And when I mean wrong, I mean – wrong. Really wrong. Horribly wrong.

Wrong where it makes your heart beat out of your chest because you are a good Christian blogger girl and those type of good girls aren’t supposed to act in these types of bad ways – in a mean-girl kind of way, in a self-righteous kind of way.

Whoops.

This person was loaded to the brim with a huge loss and I let their response to my prayer throw me off the my clear running pattern of love.

To add insult to this horrible injury, I also retaliated. I retaliated with vengeance over a mean dispute about – (brace yourself) – prayer.

I can only imaging God’s delight
as I fought so vehemently for his truth, can’t you
(please sense the sarcasm)?

Instead of arguing over theology,
what if I was set on praying for humility?

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Tim. 2:23-24

I let my pride walk like a bully
in front of another’s aching need to vent a pain-ridden heart.

I let her shot take me down,
completely missing the fact that she just needed a straight shot of love.

Her words weren’t ever about me, they were all about her and her dire situation.

Why is it that sometimes in the moment we can’t see?

I can’t help but think, this is why our wise God so often instructs us
to listen more than we talk.

When we can see that others piercing words are really just responses to their own threats, we can act in compassion. 

How can we get angry with those people who are in deep pain, frustration and irritation?

So often people block what they most need, because the severity, the weight and the presence of their issue is suffocating. And, sometimes, coming above water means miles of vulnerability that is frankly too scary to swim through. The distance can seem daunting and shoreline can seem unreachable, so they act in fear.

And, fear is never known for staying contained, it seeps out to reach its gnarly arms around all those it encounters, it hurts those it never intended to. It causes pain.

Yet, when grace meets another’s fear, God’s supernatural placating abilities are activated.

When we:

die to self no matter how the opposing side treats us,
see another’s needs above our own,
remember that we have acted much in the same way,
grab on to the truth that God has placed us in this person’s path for such a time as this,
extend a hand when it looks like the other person might cut it off
and we believe, hope and trust that he will forge truth in the unsaid…
we are operating from grace-power accessed at God’s throne.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16

Christ’s grace is the lifeline to hope.
It’s the split-second that a person has to find the light of Christ through their moment of need.

Not by our rescues, or by our insults, or our control or our power, but through his small words spoken in the silence of need.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Pet. 4:10

Then, the door to safety, truth and fearlessness appear – to us and to them. All are granted an opportunity to see the way, the truth and life of Christ in this moment.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11

Grace changes hearts – including ours.

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