Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Drawing Deeper into Jesus

Drawing Deeper

He is your child.
The good one.
The favorite one.
But slightly different than that,
for your child had lips of purity and feet of good intentions,
not one time, but every single time.

His faithfulness, kindness and gentleness are worn like a crown upon him,
your eyes can’t fathom the love, the humility and the grace he wears like a heart
that continually pumps nourishment to the world.
His way is to simply be and what he sees are things far greater than you ever could,
things that extend beyond your own comprehension, intentions and dissensions.
He offers people a way, loaded with truth and that forges new life.

It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless,
spotless Lamb of God. 1 Pet. 1:19

He is the spotless lamb that you watch go to the slaughter.
The courageous one that you love, led to the cross.
The surrendered one you call out to saying, “He did no wrong!”
The generous one, treated unfairly.
The compassionate one who you can’t stand to be treated with insults and injuries and injustice.
He is that one.

He is the obedient one that your heart aches for as you see him take his last breathe. He is that one.
He is the sacrificial one you follow as he is led to the tomb.
He is the only one you completely adore, even from behind the seemingly hopeless rock that guards him.
For you know who he is; and that is all that matters.  Jesus, your love, your heart, your joy of all joys.

You weep, but you don’t give up hope.

Because by truly knowing Jesus, no one ever does.

And, true to his promised form, his glory then shows up: “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.” Mt. 28:6

He is gone. He is risen. He is faithful. He is true. He is who he says he is. He does what he says he does. Again he proves his trustworthiness.

In many cases, he is all you ever need and then again all you never had. 
He is all you never dreamed of and all of your best dreams collected.
He is all of your hope and all of your fears demolished.
He is a gift to the poor and a wake up call to the rich.
He is the beginning of life and the end of death.
He is the promise of eternity and the breaking of enmity. 

He saves. He loves. He heals. He helps. He listen. He understands. He relates. He trusts. He hopes. He teaches. He equips. He cares. He empowers. He leads. He calls. He feels. He knows. He guides. He embraces. He cries. He gives. He advocates. He reigns. He rules.

And one thing is for sure: with Jesus everything is an adventure. Everything is not as it seems. Everything is a journey. And with that, you are okay, for you know he will be true to his promises, for his life proves it.

He might not be your son, but he is your friend and you are his child. His love for you is a million times a million times greater than yours could ever be for him. Just imagine that.

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The Love Of God You Probably Don’t Know

The Love Of God

Sometimes, I look at my family and think, “I want to give you so much more. I want to love you more. I want to be there for you more.”

I have this longing, but then the action seems far from me. I grew up believing that you just work harder, you try harder and you push harder to do the right thing. You simply give your best effort and then God will love you, then you might be good enough, then you might make it through those pearly gates of glory.

But, striving only ends up producing in an overworked blown-out child.

Striving gives us the false belief salvation is on our shoulders and not God’s.

Striving pushes the need for love far and the will of self first and foremost.

Amidst all this striving, it is almost impossible to let the love of Christ’s sacrifice pour over you? Just think, there is no sitting with working. No relying with striving. No space for grace.  It is called captive service.

You serve and do and be for God–or you don’t get in!

This makes me think, where is the love?

Even more, no matter how amazing our parents were, no matter how fantastic their love – the plain ‘ole fashioned truth is that they can never love us like Jesus did. They have flaws. And because of their inadequacies and flaws, we learn an inadequately flawed love too. We walk receiving, knowing and giving partial love.

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child,
God has made you also an heir. Gal 4:7

Even God gets this point. This is why he tells us we are not a slave: a captive striver, an excessive worker, a ruled-over peon, an owned tool or a beaten serf. No. God tells us rather, that we sit in the full glory of who he is.

We are fully loved by the only one who created the definition of love. We are God’s child.
We get the glorious inheritance that is only stored away for God’s own. We are heirs.
We have the same love line as Christ running through us. His DNA is power. We are God’s child.
We are secure in what our father wants to bestow on us; our laziness can’t push it away. We are heirs.
We are new creations, being reformed into the full image of Jesus Christ. We are God’s child.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Ro. 8:17

May your sufferings not be seen as agony,
but as gifts that confirm your destiny.

May your pain not be run away from,
but held as the ticket that shows how loved you are.


May your agony not be lived in agony,
for it is simply a precursor to the glory that will shine on you.

Why?

Because your whole self is sealed in a way that can never be torn apart. The Spirit lives in you. You can never eliminate his presence or the temple in you, as a child of God.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” Eph 1:13

The Spirit confirms your belonging.

The Spirit speaks to your very heart.

The Spirit leads you in all truth.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Ro. 8:16

No matter what turn we make, as a child of God, we are united with the Spirit that confirms our Father’s love. It holds us in all love, safety and significance. This eternal kingdom, belonging to “the children”, cannot be undone. Or erased. It is finished, on our behalf, by Jesus Christ.

Now, we can walk love. We can be love. Real love. Not from a place of doing, but simply from a place of being. Being a son or daughter of the most high king.

We love because he first loved us. 1 Jo. 4:19

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Living Encouraged Not Discouraged

Living Encouraged Not Discouraged

I see so many things called “impossibilities” right now. Blockades to progress. Markers of all I haven’t been able to push through. Barricades of defeat. A funny thing happens with these things. Maybe you have noticed? The more we pass them, ponder them and pay attention to them, the less they look like barriers and the more they look like graven images.

They normally are the things God didn’t fulfill. Things left undone. Things that torture a soul with the word, “unknown.”

They exist and then they start to rule over us, like this:
I deserve to live in defeat.
I can’t do it.
I will never find days “better”.
Quicksand is my destiny.
God doesn’t really care that I am stuck.
He won’t help me out.
I can’t make it.
I can’t do this thing before me.
I will fall down and get hurt.
Others have it easier.

Yet, when we know the end from the beginning, we know we will end up okay. Just consider this...

  • It is easy to look at our kids and say, “Trust me, when you get older, it will get better, people won’t be as mean.”
  • Or to be stuck in traffic and say, “I am dead stopped, but soon enough I will get moving.”
  • Or to watch a movie and know, “I will be okay at the end of this show, this ordeal will end.”

Never give up.
Our bodies may be dying, but our spirits are being renewed every day.
For troubles are small and won’t last,
but they are producing great glory that will last forever!
So don’t look at the trouble you see,
look at what you have not seen.
Your troubles will soon be over,
but ur joys will last forever.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

When we really know the “agony” will end,
we don’t agonize.

When we stop relying on what we see, we start seeing 
God’s predictable and promised outcome. We feel safe.

When we see the finish line of pain,
we start to live in courage, rather than discouraged.

When we believe in what will come together, we consider less what never has.

I wonder, how are you living? His Word is sure-fire. More sure-fire than any of those circumstances above. We can’t always see his workings, but we can be certain they will fire through to change the landscape of everything, always.

It’s not so much about what we see and it is always about what we don’t. It is not so much about what we “get,” but always about what he is working to give. It is not so much about there here and now, but much more about the “will come” – and the holiness that also arrives in our own heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Prov 3:5-6

We don’t have to understand,
we just have to stand to believe he is working
under the gears of our lives.

Stand to know encouragement: that the pain that stands before you – will end.
Not discouragement: that what you are confronted with will always be.

Where are you dwelling? In lands of possibilities or impossibilities?

Are you looking at what will never change or at what God has all power to change?

When we fear the unknown, we actually fear the idea of being out of control. We fear that we are losing our ability to impact a darn think – and we actually are. This is the point; God doesn’t want you in control – he wants you to know he is. Not once. Not twice. But all the time. 

Yesterday, I offered a challenge of losing “control”. Of walking in greater surrender. I would love for you to join me in this pursuit to “let go and let God.” For 31 days, we will push through a slice of control we continually want to eat. What is it for you? Might you consider releasing? If so, join in.  The bloggers who take part in this will be writing about it on November 9. I am excited to share a portion of their journey too.

Let go. What we let go of, can’t rule us inside. The hole that it leaves is replaced by more of God. More hope. More renewal. More encouragement. More life.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

Enjoyed “Living Encouraged”? Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Bloggers, I have moved the guest post submission deadline out to November 16. I know many of you have a busy October.

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Control Challenge: 30 Days of Not Talking Back To Husband

Not Talking Back To Husband

Epiphany! It is a risk. It is a breakthrough. It is a rarity. Unbelievably, it just happens. We can’t demand it or force it. But, when it happens, your insides do a million little cheers because what you couldn’t see before all of a sudden makes sense. Yes! It happened to me. God pushed down a blockade that has been at least 10-years old and 10-yards thick. With my insides broken, things look different. The potential looks frankly fantastic and tangibly terrifying all at the same time.

Here is the deal, for so long, my agenda is always to have an agenda: 

You have a problem?
This is what you should do.

The kid is crying too much?
I have to figure out every last thing to get him to stop so my head won’t explode.

The plan is unsure?
I will worry my little mind off until something formalizes in my mind.

The husband and I are working together?
I will tell him exactly how to move the couch in the right way.

A family member is in a bad mood?
I tell them to get feeling better so we can start enjoying the day.

God doesn’t answer?
I will be under-the-skin angry at him for not showing up my prayed for “way.”

I fail?
I am horrified at my inability to succeed. I am embarrassed you see me. I defend myself tooth, nail and mouth running 100 miles an hour.

When we manage life, life ends up managing us.

It manages to put us into a hole of anxiety, turmoil and defeat. It manages to make our feelings slaves to other’s emotions, circumstances and outright fear.

How can we be in service to God, while we are in service to fear?

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Ro. 8:38

If this is the truth, if nothing separates me,
shouldn’t my heart be almost laying right on top of God’s in every
encounter, situation, and moment?

Shouldn’t I almost feel our hearts beating together and moving as one?

Shouldn’t I not be standing on my feet, but trusting, or “bittachon”ing in Hebrew, which means leaning on?

Shouldn’t I be less concerned about standing up and
more concerned with falling into God’s fix-it, love-it, help-it, I-have-it hands? 

Then, perhaps, I actually won’t feel separated. Then, I won’t hold him and others at an arms length. Then, I won’t be ruled by the same driving force that compels the devil’s parade for power. Then, I will actually give God a chance to work. Then, God and I will be one. In my terrifying moments of uncertainty, he will actually become my certainty. He will be the only surety, the only hope, the only way.

Not through my way, but by me actually living God’s way.

Can you imagine the faith-strides that will happen through a true core belief that says,
in every single solitary situation, “God, this one-is-all you”?

What role do you need to forgo to see God’s hand go wild on your behalf?

Is it being a “mom”ager, a dictator, a fixer, an “advice”r, a “peace-maker,”
a ruler, a helper, a planner or an antagonizer?

Maybe you want to join me on this 30-day challenge?

Will you join me in picking one way that you want to pack away for 30 days?

For me, it looks like this: I am making one small decision to bow down to my husband. Starting today, I will not advise, fix, control, manage, plan, help, counsel, instruct, teach, come up with different ideas, endlessly question, give the one-eyebrow raise or offer the silent treatment to get what I want. For thirty days, I will answer everything he says by “leaning in” on God. I will not offer comebacks. I will learn to offer R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the places where I have relied on D-I-S-T-R-U-S-T.

I will say, “yes,” rather than give my off-the-cuff “no.”

I am going to lay it all down to honor him. For one month, I am going to see what it feels like to shut my mouth, open my ears and to soften my heart. I trust that God will open great plan in the places where I might feel defeated, unsure, and tumultuous. 

For 30-days, I am going to let my husband rule unhindered. What a risk! What craziness! What a nut! Yes, I am, I am so nutty that I think God will do some absurd, fanatical and wild things; I am willing to see what I have missed out on for so long. For 30 days, I can survive. For 30 days, I can see what happens. 

What is God calling you to go a little bit “wild” on?

Is it a challenge like mine?

Or maybe he is calling you in an entirely different way to submission? To service? To love?

Maybe his calling you to step out, so he can work-in-
as you trust him.

Every Monday for the next 3 weeks, I am going to reflect on this journey, my progress and letting go of control. I would love for you to join me as I “Say no to saying no to my husband,” and as you ____________ (tell me in the comments)?

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ…Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. Eph. 5,7-8

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10 Things The Devil Doesn’t Want You To Know

The Devil Doesn't Want

I knew where I needed to go and I was laser-focused on my goal. I was running hard, pushing with the endurance and perseverance that God calls for, until…

…until I hit a little snag in the road. Until I started to feel like all the goodness I had been orchestrating with God was anything but that. Like the project at hand was really going to be the project that lost.

I started to say things to myself like:

I am going to fail.
No one really cares about this goal.
My progress is short-lived.
God won’t help me
This is going to stink.

If I have learned one thing, over my small life-span as a Christian, it is this: When the red flags of doubt and discouragement start waving, we can be sure that we stand on the starting line of the devil. He loves to send us off on a race of futility.

Where do you stand?

Are you listening to his mumbles, messages and mixed up words of defeat
or are you listening to God’s powerful words of “I am with you?”

10 Things The Devil Doesn’t Want You To Know
(and what God does)

1. You must fight to win in this thing called life. Work hard and do your best and some day you may be good enough.

Truth: You already have the victory in Christ Jesus. Step out and act like you believe it.

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb… Rev. 12:11

2. You have no identity. Find it in other things: work, men, partying, affairs, perfectionism, etc. If you can’t find it, there’s another way-simply, numb the feelings with suppression of feelings, food, alcohol, and drugs.

Truth: Your security in Christ’s plan is more stable than the cross that Jesus died on.

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

3. You are not forgiven. That thing will mark you forever.

Truth: The second you repent, your sins fall off of you faster than you can say “I can’t forgive myself.” Your sins are moved as far as the east is from the west, to the depths of the sea, where they are counted no more and where there is no charge against you.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 Jo. 1:9

4. God doesn’t guide people like you. He abandons the poor and powerless on the curb of unloved.

Truth: Sinners are God’s greatest calling.

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Lu. 5:32

5. It’s fine if you know God’s Word, but you can’t know God’s love. Then your heart may take flight and seek to live it in all you do. Can’t have that!

Truth: There is no fear in love. Find love, find faith. Find love, find peace. Find love, find grace.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13

6. It’s all about your needs. YOLO and FOMO rule!

You only live once (YOLO) so do whatever makes you feel good, no matter the cost.

Be fearful of missing out (FOMO). Overextend yourself so you can never overjoy your heart in the overflowing peace of God.

Truth: Moving at high speeds only serves to move us away from our first love.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Ps. 62:5

7. Walk by feelings, not by faith. Feelings make you feel good, so why not follow their leadings?

Truth: You can sidestep discouragement and despair by walking around feelings to solely stand on the rock of God’s promises. Believe only what God says about you and you will not be shaken.

The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He. Deut. 32:4

8. Live in the past. Dwell on your pain, keep the band-aids of injured on, be angry, irritated and a hoarder of all the things and people that hurt you. Remember, so that you can live guarded, hardened and resistant to others.

Truth: Today is the only day we presently have. If we live in yesterday, we miss the gift of now, which is the only working ground for real life transformation.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Is. 43:18

9. Fear everything. Look at life as a catastrophe on the near verge of exploding death and to imploding your dreams. You will walk stifled and baffled at how you are getting nowhere. You will tread in the currents of failure and be no threat to me.

Truth: God is more with you than the hairs on your head.

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6

10. God saved you for eternity, but he doesn’t save on earth. God is only good for getting you through the heavenly gates, then you are stuck exposed, crazy and delusional in this dank and dark world. Good luck out there. I am coming to get you.

Truth: He will run to arm you with the protection of his love.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. Ps. 91:14-15

Stand bold. Stand firm. Stand on truth. God always holds all power. He loves us and is our greatest advocate.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish
what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Gen. 50:20

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3 Ways: Keep in God’s Presence (As Modeled By Jesus)

Keep in God’s Presence

How can you stay in the presence of God with the presence of a hundred and one things working against you?

Often, the world comes in like a wrecking ball of faith, knocking down the tall temples of love established in the morning. It knocks down our reliance on Christ, our submission to his will and our connection to his Word, if we are not careful.

Our “He is for me,” turns into “I better figure this out.”
Our “Thy will be done,” ends up as “My will is getting done.”
Our “I trust you,” turns into “Where did he go?”

The presence of God – is often exchanged for the presence of our anxieties.

Then, we feel alone – lost in the woods, without a helper, without a guide, without a hope and full of aggravation at how we allowed ourselves to get so deeply misguided by all that surrounds us.

Shame pushes us away from the One who casts no shame.

Yet, God never intended for us to live our lives like yo-yos of faithfulness – up one moment in the heights of his love and down the next in the depths of despair.

Distraction hits and our will loses traction with God. 

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Jo. 15:4

What are we to do, when “prone to wander” kicks in?

We copy the only One who was entirely real, reliant and receptive in relationship with his father – Jesus.

The One, who faced the anguish of the world,
yet was not swayed by the earths’ chatter.

The One who, despite the outcries to “crucify Him,”
knew who to cry out to.

The One who could see the looming pain,
but kept his eyes only on the end goal – eternity.

The One who dwelled not on our offenses,
but his power to save our fair-weather hearts.

Despite everything that promised to break his back, he ministered to us, the sinners, the weak, the broken, the distracted, the annoyed, the betrayers.

3 Ways to Stay with God, as Jesus teaches:

1. Let your will be his will.

(Jesus said), “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
    as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” Hebrews 10:7

When we know that all is for him, through him and by him, for his glory, forever and always, until eternity arrives (Ro. 11:36), our heart learns to live at rest. The inner-knitting of our faith rests in the idea that God is sovereign, he has a plan, his will is best, his leading is unparalleled and his protection is perfect.

2. Come out of hiding.

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
Luke 22:45

When we come out of hiding, we start abiding. Jesus didn’t run from his desire to escape his turmoil. He brought this hope to God. He didn’t say, “this is not a Godly feeling or Godly request” and decide to brush it under the carpet, instead he was open, transparent and willing to receive the will of God.

God’s power is perfected in our weakness, it is ordained through our reliance on him and it uncovered through a humble heart.

He hears our lowly calls for help.

3. Remember, remember – and then remember again.

“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

Jesus’ near final words instruct our heart to remember. Not to remember once, but to remember over and over again. Dwelling on God’s faithfulness resets our internal dialogues to the truth and the power of what has been done for us.

BONUS: Pray.

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God…You don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. Ps. 119:1-8

We are not soaked by life’s downpours, but covered by the protection of God’s great love as we go with him.

God is calling us to hold hands with him as we skip down straight roads of life towards his great purposes.

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Do You Deflect Amazing Grace?

Do You Deflect Amazing Grace?

We stood at the toll being reprimanded by the officer, “You deserve a ticket!”

Just like I deserve a good whacking for yelling at my kids.
Just like I deserve a talking to on how to do things right with my family.
Just like I deserve to be punished for how my jealous heart of comparing surfaces.

Just as I, apparently, deserve two points for this offense. Man, I messed up again. Why can’t I just get things right?

“Pull on up and pull over to the side of the road. I will be with you in a minute.” We did. We pulled up and waited and prayed and hoped that the worst case scenario wouldn’t come true.

Our hearts pumping, our minds plotting, our hands rubbing, anxiety filled the car. The policeman sauntered up to our window, looked at us and said, “Go ahead. Move along.”

We got no ticket. We were freed.

What we deserved was passed off.
The hand slap that should have come down on us was caught.
The frustration at our mistake, quickly dissipated.
The weight of anxiety on our shoulders, was exchanged for praise – we were saved.

Grace saves every time. Not just to push us, deviants, into heaven, but to push us, deviants, into God’s hands moment by moment, interaction by interaction and thought by thought. Not embraced just on bad days, but also on good days. Not just according to repentance, but according to our daily living.

Grace is:

Knowing that no word spoken against you can overpower the truth
that you’re “blameless.”

Extending kindness to yourself because there is not one time Jesus wouldn’t.

Telling your children, “We all make mistakes. Mommy does too.”

Not tossing out that coloring drawing you did in front of your son
because you think it is ugly.

Speaking “peace” to a heart that is guilt-laden with the overwhelming feeling
it can’t do right.

Finding a way to condone a good action, rather than to condemn a bad one.

Letting your heart be encouraged by the idea that you are a work in progress,
not a work of failure.

Remembering that all beginnings of beauty,
have a starting point that is treasured by God.

Abiding through the bad, because, with Jesus,
you are always on the brink of his great.

Believing in God’s ability to save in the same way you tell others they should.

Being okay with not winning, because Jesus already has.

Understanding that Christ has won, this moment, right here, right now, for you.

Keeping your mouth shut, in the assurance that your sovereign God
will take care of things.

Speaking love when your first thought is to speak fire, annoyance,
frustration, criticism and condemnation.

Walking towards one that you desperately want to walk away from. 

Embracing the one who has historically battle-wounded you
to the point where you feel crippled.

Believing God could actually love one who fails as much as you –
and as much as others have failed you.

Letting go of lingering shame and walking into the idea that grace fully “counts.”
Forgiving your own heart even when it did the worst.

Finding hope in situations that appears hopeless.

Finding Jesus no matter what.

Finding praise as a result.

Finding peace.

Breathing in love.

Exhaling relief.

This is amazing grace. It is the weight of all the bad that everyone deserves, everyone earned and everyone should confined to. It is weight that sits dense, heavy, burdening. It is the weight, we love to sling around, hitting ourselves and others.

Yet, grace is the due burden that God decides should no longer be our burden.

So, I wonder, why do we walk around carrying it?

Take a moment, remember your most recent mess up. One that you really came down hard on yourself for. Can you see it?

Jesus also sees what you did.
He hands you the ticket envelope.
You look at it. You feel it. You hate it.
You messed up.
You did wrong.
You failure.
You idiot.
You almost tuck it away, not wanting to really see what God has for you.
But, you don’t.
You open it.

Inside the envelope, you see it…
Nothing.

There is no ticket there.

While you thought you were convicted,
Christ leaves you unafflicted.

While you figured you were done,
Jesus says you have only yet begun.

You walk with your fine, but Jesus says,
with me, you’re just fine.

Do you live this way? I often don’t.

But, I should because:

One who is uncharged, is unchained to shame.
One who is unchained to shame, is the greatest player in God’s game.
One who is in God’s game, is giving fame to his name.

One who gives all fame to his name, is the greatest threat to the devil.
They are kingdom-makers on earth.
They are peace-forgers in war-torn lands.
They are shame-healers to other’s pains.
They are heavenly-visionaries of Christ’s love.
They are the wonder, the awe and the thrill of all the grace always falling from the cross.
They are the magnets that draw in the bleeding, gasping and dying hearts just barely surviving the world.
They are looking to see how we handle what we call – amazing.

Are we capsules of his amazing grace,

ready to pour out his medicine,

or do we allow shame to close down the effectiveness of God’s grace?

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor. 12:9

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Loving Past Our Fears

Loving Past Our Fears

How do you press in to relationships that are hard?

How do you let your heart show up
when it has the inclination to run?

How do you push past fears,
when God is calling you to a great,
but difficult, mission?

Author, Jill Lynn Buteyn faced questions like these as endured with friend and blogger, Kara Tippetts, as she travelled a painful road from life to death to terminal cancer.

What a story! I couldn’t be more delighted today to welcome Jill to Purposeful Faith today for an interview as she teaches us a lesson on loving, listening and just showing up.  Welcome Jill!

Kara&Friends_00621. What moments and memories of Kara do you hold closest to your heart?  

Kara had such a great sense of humor. I don’t know if I remember really big moments as much as I just remember laughing and joking around.  It was a joy to be with her.

She would still ask questions of her friends—about our marriages, our families. One night I stayed with her in the hospital and when she woke in the middle of the night, she asked me who was checking on a friend of ours who had moved away.

Many of my memories revolve around her being sick—she was sick much of the time that I knew her. But we still talked deeply and celebrated life. 

2. How do you “Just Show Up” to be present with someone in the face of pain, difficulties and hard times?

Often the reason we aren’t there for someone who’s in pain or sick is because we fear we won’t know what to do or say. These are legitimate fears, but if we can fight through them (and we delve into some details about this in the book to help) there are so many blessings to be found when we walk through hard with each other. I would tell them to take a step toward a friend… to start somewhere, maybe with something small, and watch for the blessings God has planned.

3. What tangible steps might you give to help others overcome their fears?

Ask God for help, to show you what you can do and how to help someone else. If you fear entering into community, you might need to start slowly. That’s okay. Just taking a step toward others is such a huge thing. It’s lonely without community. Try to find a few safe people to grow friendships with. And in terms of fearing how to be there for someone who’s sick or in pain, a good place to start is in simply choosing them. Decide that you’re in, even if you’re afraid, and that you’re going to make movement toward them. Lean in. Don’t head in the other direction. Honestly, that’s where it starts. It can be scary getting in the trenches with someone, but it gets easier the more you do it.

4. What bible verse provided you comfort and how did it come alive in your life?

My favorite is Isaiah 41:10. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

I love this verse because it’s all about HIS strength and not mine. He’s holding me up. The picture this paints is such a comfort to me, and I constantly have to remind myself that it’s not about what I can do but what HE’s going to do.

5. What fears did you hit during this period and as you wrote the book, “Just Show Up”?

Well, I am exceptionally good at fear. Ha! Not something one wants to brag about. I was afraid people wouldn’t want to read what I had to say—that they’d only want to hear from Kara. She was beloved, and for good reason. It was hard for me to think someone might pick up the book wanting to read only from Kara. Though really, people obviously know it’s written by both of us, so I’m not sure why that fear gained so much traction.

The phrase that would often go through my head was, Lord, let me be enough. I feared me and my writing wouldn’t be enough. And God never failed to ask me, for whom? He reminded me I only needed to be enough for him, and I already was because of what he’d done for me.

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About Jill Buteyn

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 4.25.15 AMJill Lynn Buteyn is a co-author of Just Show Up with Kara Tippetts, and the author of the inspirational romance novel, Falling for Texas (as Jill Lynn). A recipient of the ACFW Genesis award for her fiction work, she has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University. Jill lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and two children.
Connect with her on social media, at Jill-Lynn.com, or at MundaneFaithfulness.com where she guest blogs.

Taking the Risk to Let Others In

Let Others In

Fight for yourself.
Take care of your own.
Make a way for your ways.
It’s eat or be eaten.
Don’t let people take advantage of you.
No one understands.
Be number one.
Give it your all.
Do whatever you can to get ahead.
At all costs.
Make money and please self.
Be first in line.
Forge a way.
Only the strong survive.

This would be all fine and dandy, except God flips the script of the world on it’s ugly head to say:

1. In me and through me, you make up one body, with many parts. 1 Cor. 12:12

2. Your role on earth is to prepare people for good works of service, so that the body of Christ is built up until we all reach unity in the faith…attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Eph. 4:11-13

3. You belong to each other, each member forms one. Ro. 12:5

These words make us contend with a different vision of purpose. We have to take care of our family. Our united, although seemingly divided, unit that Christ has deemed worthy of all godly affection.

If God sees it that way, shouldn’t we?

So as one, we can move to become a different one, a loving one, a bonded one.

Not one fighting for one. But one many fighting for many.

Not one clawing and scratching to the top of the pack,
but one laying and paving a way for other to step into glory.

Not one finding pride in self-achievement,
but one seeing achievement being other’s progress too.

This makes me consider, am I a Spirit-keeper or a flesh-keeper?

A uniter or a divider?

Do I keep the bond of love, peace and togetherness glued by the Spirit
or do I keep the bond of my agenda, vision and plans that only make my eyes stick to myself?

A life sticking to vanity, is one wasting away in the mirror of carnal. It is staring at what will never come to be. It is relying on an image that will one day fade away to the glorious day where all join hands to sing, to resound and to clap–together–at the glory of the Lord.

…to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment–to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Eph. 1:10

God desires that we get a slice, a piece, a helping of this unity on earth too.

The question is, will we we take a bite believing it tastes good?

As we grab hands, we are grabbing the life we always thought we were fighting for. We find kindred hearts that understand our plight, so we can give a better fight. We will find encouragement, in the face of “despair.” Hope in the face of, “I can’t.” Life in the face of “struggle.”

We find family, not perfect family, but blessed family-in the name of Jesus Christ. Because, his body? He makes it work, move and run. It’s not by our perception of it’s effectiveness, but by his benediction of it’s power.

And, there we have it. We thought we were responsible for moving ourself, but God is ready to move a body in unison towards greatness.

I guess the question is-will we go? Do we trust him enough to allow others to help us?

We are better together. Can move farther together. Can beat resistance together. Can’t be broken together. Can’t go as wayward together. Will live united together, forever.

Why not start now?

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Finally Soften Your Harsh Side

Soften Your Harsh Side

He was trying to talk using a “strong voice” not a whiny one. Harshness.
He was seeking to come home early to help me when I was sick. Harshness.
She was just speaking the truth of her heart. Harshness.
He opened up the door to pain that he could have hidden deep-down under layers of safety. Harshness.

My reaction, whether spoken through condemning words or condemning thoughts, no matter, led to the same destination. The place where they all say: by your accounts, we can’t ever seem to win.

Is it even worth trying?

I can’t blame them questioning. My squinty-eyed look, quick remarks, stand-offish lean and utter silence sets the stage for mean. It claims it not good enough, worthy enough or full enough, to meet my measure.

How did I become the tailor and maker of perfect standards that others must abide by?

I don’t know how I have allowed, what I call “strong stances”,
to take precedence over a stance of love?

Strong stances that say discipline triumphs the spirit of trying.
Strong stances that say others can’t have down days.
Strong stances that receive opinions as insult and injury.
Strong stances that are threatened by other’s heart-felt truths.
Strong stances that set rules so people abide by them.
Strong stances that only see progress and not the protagonist.

I tell myself I am compassionate, but when “push” comes to shove me in the face with a face that is threatening “happy,” I tend to push back. I get insensitive. I get jerky. I get ways that I can justify right now. Stepping away from the moment, helps me see I can’t really justify a heart that doesn’t relate to pain, authenticity and vulnerability.

It doesn’t really matter so much what my insecurities are. Because even when my emotions seem like a liability, the truth is I don’t have to be consumed by my instability.

When others begin to sink, and we go with them,
there is no chance for us to be involved in God’s great rescue.

When we react, rather than act in obedience to God’s truth,
we exact damage on relationships.

When fear moves in to the home of our heart
to reminds us of our homes= of origin,
an alarm should sound telling us to evacuate these thoughts
and move to God’s promises.

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Ps. 40:1-3

Notice the 6 step process here:

1. We wait patiently for God.
2. God hears our cry.
3. He lifts us out of the pit we are about to sink into.
4. He puts us on a protected rock where we can step with assurance and a clear mind.
5. He gives us a new song, new words, a new tone of voice, a heart of thanksgiving, a beat of joy.
6. Many see us and fear and choose the Lord too.

Rather than lashing out, we start waiting through. Waiting through so we can start pouring out the cries of our heart with a desire to hear his response that might not align with our original plans. This is it, for us. The rest is up to God.

I don’t know about you, but this assures me. It takes some pressure off. I can do these two things. I can wait to speak. I can wait to respond. I can wait to think so much. I can wait to cry out. And, I can certainly cry when the time is right. I have that part covered; I can cry my heart out. I can do this.

And, God can too. In fact, he already did.

He did it on the cross. They waited 3 days. But, he heard the cries. His response? He lifted our feet onto the rock of eternally secure. He placed us, new creations, upon the only rock where we can continually draw from his ever-present glory. We almost can’t help but sing new songs, redemption songs. As a result, many taste and see that the Lord is good; they want to bask in his glory too.

Glory to God. He is faithful.

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