Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

A Heart of God Over a Heart of Fear

Heart of God

I have been on a wild and crazy hunt to figure out how to get more of God – into me. 

It’s wild because I often live in the wilderness – in the rocky ups and downs of faith. It’s just wild that a great God like him would want to dive into the disobedient heart of a girl like me. My head says yes, but sometimes, my heart says, it’s too off his beaten path.

It’s crazy because, I can’t even conceive how someone so “everywhere” and “always”, so above-it-all and so robe-laden, someone who made everything and with so much to do, could want to reside in measly me? Aren’t there a lot more exciting and missional places that he wants to focus?

But, it’s true.

God practically offers us all of him on a golden platter saying, I give you my heart. Will you take it? He doesn’t offer a part, a sliver, a shard, a splinter; he takes his whole body and throws it on the table for us, for vulture-like beings who did nothing to earn his gift of death.

“Take and eat; this is my body.” Mt. 26:26

He offers, but do I even value his gift?

The truth is the presence of his body, his life and his power is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

But, I must make a choice to eat his spiritual nourishment.

When my stomach turns in knots,
when holes trip me up,
when I shake in the darkness,
I must look up, verses looking around and see the one who is always ready to be found.

He is always ready to lead me in right ways.

His hand leads to truth.
Truth leads to love.
Love leads to fearlessness.
Fearlessness leads to passion and joy.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 Jo. 4:8

I wonder how often I hold back me – from God?

I wonder how much I fear his presence in me
because he seems too great above me?

How often I fear condemnation?
Even though I know his condemnation doesn’t even exist for me (Ro 8:1).

I forget “he who began a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)

How often do you hold back because you feel unworthy?

Or try to gain worthiness?
Even though it’s impossible to be the weight lifter of his power.

Only one can carry (and carried) that weight.

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Eph. 3:16-17

The reality is, we need to the strength of the Spirit
so that we can welcome in the strength of the Savior.

Then, the strength of the Savior more and more pushes out
the strength of the sinner.

It’s like the Spirit does the internal cleaning,
so the temple is clean, prepared and ready to be inhabited.

Jesus silences sins through surrendered faith. The sinner is siphoned away and more and more the new creation takes over. The sinner’s fears are left in the dust; the Spirit and Jesus become the only ones to trust.

I want this to happen more and more for me, don’t you? This happens when we call on the power of the Spirit to expand the territory of the Savior. 

It doesn’t matter where you live – in the wilderness, in trials, in temptation, in sin – confess and call. That’s it.

Then we will find the power of God will move in – to move out – all that keeps us from him.

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The Horsepower of Words

The Horsepower of Words

Her stance said it all. Her head was cocked to the side in just the right way, her eyes looked from left to right and her lips almost kissed the ear of the woman she was speaking to.

It’s interesting how the sin we think we keep so discreet is often so apparent.

She was gossiping. Clear as day, I could tell just by looking at her that she was gossiping.

And, sure enough, as I walked by her, I heard the complaints running a mile a minute about another.  I also felt them run like a rabid animal right into my heart. I felt like my insides were being eaten with the venom she was speaking because I had trusted her with my own heart. 

The truth is if someone speaks poorly to you about another, they are likely speaking poorly to another about you. Deep down you know you can never trust that person again, because they will plaster your heart on the biggest billboard in town.

Words cut faster than a paper cut and their effects last a lot longer.

They scar.
They pierce.
They push others away.
They can make you untrustworthy.

Do your words build trust or deplete it?

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:8

While I am sure her discussions were just a way of connecting with another,
or showing that she was valuable and interesting,
or highlighting all the pain that she is going through,
or bringing up issues that she thought were important,
or making herself feel good,
they sure weren’t healing, helping or heartening.

But her words get me thinking about my words.

Although they may not be prone to gossip,
how prone are they to injury?

Am I piercing or healing?
Helping or hurting?

I don’t want to be the one remembered for the horsepower of my mouth.

Or by the crippling force of my words.
Or for my steamrolling comebacks.
Or for my speedy concierge advice.

Yet, the hard truth is, my words have not always been flowers to a broken heart.

They injure my husband when I question his plan.
My son, when I give him a “Ya, ya, ya” and then look at my iPhone.
My loved ones, when I snap back annoyed.
Myself, when I chide my heart for bad actions.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prov. 16:24

My words compel my heart to forgive her bad words. Will I share my heart with her again? Likely not.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Mt. 7:6

I certainly don’t want to be trampled again, yet, I won’t condemn her for her bad actions, because I am just as at fault as she.

When we forgive the one who has hurt us, we are acknowledging and activating the power and grace of Jesus Christ. We all need more of that.

What power of Jesus do you need to let flow from you?

Who might God be placing on your heart to forgive?

Likewise, who might you need to turn to and request forgiveness for words that have cut to the core?

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— Eph. 2:4-5

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Drowning in Inadequacy

Drowning in Inadequacy

Just yesterday, I watched my husband and son in the pool. For them, it was fun and games. Laughs flew left, water flew right, my son bounced up, yet all that splashed into my heart was fear. 

Cold, bitter, shiver-inducing fear.
Fear that erases smiles and creates armors of protection.
Fear that ruins snap-shot moments in families.

“I am not as good of a mother as he is a dad.”
“My son really doesn’t like being with me that much.”
“I stink at connecting.”
“I can’t seem to approach him right.”
“He will never love me.
“Let’s be honest, I am not really that good of a mother.”

Drenched with inadequacy, my fears were ready to send me out to fight or on a far-off flight.

All that seemed to bubble out of my heart was the idea that I am not lovable, not worthy and not good enough. It made me want to march right out to say, “Hey, what about me? Do you all even see me? I am good too! (imagine the hands on the hips)”

And, let me tell you, there would be consequences if I wasn’t acknowledged.

That’s how demands of “what about me” work.  These ploys serve as the antithesis, the foil and the opposite of love. They topple down opinions, values and truths of others to erect their own statues of needs.

They basically say:
Hey, you, it’s all about me.
If I can’t fill that hole inside me, I will beat around the bush until I get what I need.
You better or I’ll ___________ .
If all else fails, I’ll  simply shut down shop and take off!

Far from any cooler soaked victory, my feelings place me on the sidelines as if I play for team “better luck next time.”

Better luck, loser momma!

Why must I always be the winner? The SUPER MOM to the rescue?!

Perhaps, luck isn’t what I need, Jesus is.

It’s not super amazing, double with a half-twist dive into family praises that transforms me, but God’s entire wrapping over my life, my heart and all the steps I take. Because, the hard and fast truth is that some days, I will feel like a Super-loser (_____) (momma, worker, friend, spouse, sister, daughter, church member).

But, I can’t help but think that there are other loser _____s out there who need an understanding shoulder on which to rest their head. I know I need theirs. Because, there will be days, I won’t feel  good enough and there will be days they won’t be good enough too.

When we open up our hearts to share “I-am-not-good-enough” moments, they become the passing point to the love of Christ. It is as if the doors of the drawbridge open and Jesus sails straight through to our precise destination of need.

Yet, so often we shut this part down. We say, “I am a loser today, I better put on some makeup.”

But, Jesus never said he cared much for makeup. And, he doesn’t care much for us making ourselves over with fake products to get what we need. They don’t work to well at covering shame anyway!

Winning status’ aren’t on his play board either- unless it’s about pouring out the victory that has already been won in Christ.

He has heard our prayers, now he wants our heart.

Jesus, convicts my heart. The truth is it’s not about my feeling good, looking good or winning good, but it’s about you loving good through me.

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Mt. 20:16

Jesus models this so well.

He takes the those limping like the least of these,
to make them the most of these.

He rides in on a donkey,
with the power of God behind him, to save the world.

He gets down onto a dirty floor, cuddles up next to the grime of another’s feet
and shows us the way.

Jesus never said, “Yo! Over here! See me! See my height, my stature, my awesomeness.”
He never said, “You better be perfect.”
He never said, “You will never feel bad.”

He simply says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

So, as I start to put on that can-never-match-up cape, I hope I can stop to remember:

1. The Word of God drowns inadequacy with the promises of God.

2. Jesus tramples the idea that we should beat ourselves down for who we are today. He came to rescue us this way.

3. Less makeup = more chances to make up with our faith-floundering heart. Then, we can send it out to make up the world with the markings of Jesus’ love.

4. I would be a loser if it wasn’t for Jesus, but he stripped me of that status when he died on the cross, forever securing my title of “victorious in him.”

Bottom line: Jesus doesn’t care so much about feelings of superiority or even adequacy, as much as he does about his all-nourishing adequacy.

There is no one like him,
no one above him,
no one who can match him, or beat him or control him,
no other name reigns like his.

He is the everything of all we want to be…
he is the gate that opens to the humble road
that leads to the ultimate filling place of our deepest desires.

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5 Ways to Fight the Tricks of the Devil (& 2 Min. Encouraging Video)

Join me for an encouraging word.

Get your week started off on the right track with this 2-minute encouraging video.

5 Ways to Fight the Tricks of the Devil

This past week, my eyes were on God, but it felt like my heart was being towed to Never Never Land. I didn’t want it go, but away it went. People, issues, problems, doubts, uncertainties and fears all came into sight, as my great God moved far from sight – into the horizon of peace, where I surely wasn’t.

Shame backfired in my heart, burning me with the thoughts, “You have issues. Big issues. God doesn’t value a girl like that. God has left you.”

Ahem. What?!

Now we all know that these words aren’t true.

But in the moment, lies seem as true as the rabbit that magically appears out of the hat,
don’t they?

Sometimes, in order to see truth,
we have to take a different position to see the reality of what is happening.

Then we get a chance to shift our mindset from the destructive power of feelings
to God’s instructive hand of healing.

We begin to see:

“You stink” is really sent from one who wants us to sink.
“Not enough,” is an attempt by the great thief to replace Gods’ “more than enough”.
Utterances excluding grace are like shots of mace sent to blind our face.

The devil loves to use fear as the springboard to inadequacy. Because then, he can plunge us into the ocean of shame, if we don’t step off that mind-dizzying, nausea-inducing board of agony quick enough.

God never condones oceans of condemnation.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17

Knowing Christ never condemns helps me see the one who always does.

I don’t want to be listening to his lies.

5 Ways to Drive out Lies and to Drive in God’s Truth

1.  Determine which Father to serve. The father liar or Father God?

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires…there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Jo. 8:44

When we acknowledge our wrong direction, we can finally get on the right one.

2. Let God take his rightful standing. God is higher than opposition, man or my feelings.

But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Mt. 16:23

When we tell the devil to get back, we invite God to step forward.

3. Pledge allegiance to the one who has already claimed me. Allow the General of Love to rule over thoughts and actions.

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming.
He has no claim on me… Jo. 14:30

When we realize who has already claimed us, we also realize who has no claim on us.

4.  Get low to grow. So I don’t have a hard go.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7

Submission leaves no permission for the devil to enter in. He flees.

5.  Recognize: what God sees goes much farther than me.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD. Is. 55:8

The vantage point of God is all-knowing, all-powerful and just-right. His will will be done. We can fight by our might or let go by his will. The choice is ours.  

God is always waiting for us. His truth will always set us free.

As we break down God’s truth,
lies break down,
leaving space for God to breakthrough.

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Seeing the Power of Christ

Power of Christ

What I don’t see anymore is the weight of not being enough…
of not matching up,
of striving to win affection,
so I feel valuable enough
and caring enough to get into heaven.

All that has faded as God’s life-giving truth has surfaced…

I no longer see my Savior as a taskmaster
who lays down the law requirements of love.

Or as an authoritarian father ready to slap my hand if I do bad.

Or as the One who keeps me from feeling good about myself.

I no longer walk as a scared little girl who knows it’s nearly impossible to win his affection or who feels, even if she won it in a second, it could be gone the next minute.

The weight of the world is no longer on my shoulders. It doesn’t strain my black and blur my vision to barely make out the way to heaven, now it now sees the super-highway straight in.

The world and all it’s trappings, the rules and all it’s details, others and all their expectations, a heart for perfection and all it’s burdens…all of those things are now distanced. They fade behind the horizon of Jesus Christ’s all-consuming grace.

He has all of those things wrapped up in love and covered by his blood-soaked grace he won thousands of years ago on that cross in Calvary.

Grace:

– lifts the fear of what you are not, so God’s love can shape all that you are.
– permanently places unsteady feet on the steady ground of acceptance.
– uncovers the heart of Jesus from the Word of God.
– wins the worst souls a spot in the best place – eternity.
– is never deserved but freely given through the blood of Christ.
– is the impetus that launches a heart to act in pure, holy and unselfish obedience.
– is the only thing that given to your failings, to make them whole.

Grace is like giving a the best gift to your worst enemy.  It transforms them into your best friend. It brings the unity, it unites your spirits, it brings healing. It’s beautiful.

God’s grace can’t stop. It’s like a faucet that can’t be turned off. It’s ready to fill us up to overflowing. It’s ready to pour out into the hearts of friends, family as friends as we take a fresh drink. It will nourish us more than we ever thought.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. Ja. 4:6

Are you in humility turning to your Father non-stop to get grace
or are you assuming that you have all you need?

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

The more grace you find for the big things, for the little things, for the I-messed-up moments, for the arguments, for the accidental hiccups and for every little detail of your life, the more you can pour out onto a world in desperate need of a little love.

Grace makes us different. We are no longer acceptance suckers, we become whole. The world takes notice.

God stands ready to extend grace to all, but first all have to want it.

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

Let’s make God’s grace known.

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Crack Shack to Love Shack to Judgement Free

Judgement free

This shack caught my eye. Roaming chickens looked for their next meal. A swing set made of tires and recycled metal stood as an eye-sore. Men congregated in chairs on top of a dirt yard. And, one man climbed through the side window as if it was his front door.

Is this a crack house?

That man hanging out by the front door, he must be out of work.

The woman, whose knees I could just barely see through the open front door, she must be baking in that 100 degree house with no A/C.

Then I saw her, a little girl. One much the own size and stature as my own little girl. One who would make your heart say, “Awww”. She came running out of the house with all her might and beelined to the play set next to my traffic-stopped car.  Her mom, rose from her sitting postion, chased her, swooped her deeply into her neck and gave her one giant love hug.

A mother, much like me.
A mother driven by love.
Overwhelmed with God’s gift of motherhood.

My heart instantly connected to this woman because her great love was apparent. It shone like the top of the Chrysler Building.

And it touched me.
It reached over the fence to say, “You may live miles away from this woman. You may live entirely differently, but you are still driven by the same thing LOVE.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35

Love is the universal language that meets all hearts.
You may not know what to say, but love does.

Love transcends the boundaries of society, etiquette and race.
It is the greatest wonder of the world.

Love tramples down the barrier of initial perception;
it is the amplifier of real connection.

This woman pierced my heart. We may live miles away – she in Costa Rica and me in the US. We may have entirely different lifestyles, me in comfort and she with little, but she was the one with the lesson to teach me.

She taught me that when I judge, and often when I feel badly for someone, there is pride hanging out under that hood. If I really take a hard look into my inner workings, there is a girl wanting to stand a little taller, be a little prouder and seem a little wiser.

There is a girl that says, “Too bad they aren’t like me.”

It may be disguised in a heart of service or care, but I should never fool myself into thinking I am the great giver. Because when I make the choice to stand above, rather than with, I lose the opportunity to let God work – in.

I wear the guise of power-girl instead of seeing God as power-full!

Where do you hold power, see your power and exert your power?

How might God be calling you to lay down your status of power,
to raise up the power of his cross?

Judgement is often derived from one who (knowingly or unknowingly) thinks they stand in the power position – or at least that is how it worked for me.

Judgement is:

1. an attempt to rise above our own weaknesses, so we feel better about ourselves.
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

2. self-mutilation.
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Lu. 6:37

3. a quick-opinion on what could stand as a life-long struggle for another.
Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. Jo. 8:7

4. a roadblock to the grace which is available to all hearts, at all times in all ways.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph 2:8

5. a prohibition of authenticity in our relationships.
We become fearful that others may smile and slap us in the face much in the same way we have done to others.

Judgement rides your worth high for a moment and then drops you in shame before you know it.  It puts an ocean of differences between two people who have much of the same mess, playing out in different ways.

We are all people on the great hunt for love.

We are all just crazy, sometimes lonely, often emotional, people
in search of something to bring us peace, hope and joy.

We are all searching, but if we are judging,
how can we help others to go about finding the answer – Jesus?

I don’t want to be so caught up in the wrongs of others, that I forget to reach them with the rights of Christ.

In this, I will never forget this woman, not because of where she lived, which is memorable, but because of how she loved. In that moment, I saw our great connection – she and I could be friends.

She taught me to see the things that are the same, to see the love and to make that the connection point.

I never expected to get this lesson from her, in this way, but, there are probably many who have gotten a lesson in pride along a trafficked road.

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Rubbed Raw with Worry

raw with worry

When I saw it, I immediately knew something was wrong.

The A, B, Cs where there. I was anxious, burdened and out-of-control as I cast my eyes on what was asymmetrical, border-weird and color not-normal.

My days of laughs in the sun,
felt like they were being exchanged for tears at the mirror
as I looked at my back from every angle known by man.

The possibility of cancer, the pain of removal and the fear how long it had been there swung like a wrecking ball in my chest. Whatever was resurrected for Jesus, was all broken today.

Have you ever noticed that,
a heart that dwells on the looming possibilities of fear,
tumbles down the great possibilities of God?

I’ve noticed.

It’s a pack-up-your bags, furious move from residing under the shadow of God’s wing to living in a battle-soaked village of doom and gloom.

The more I looked at that mole, the more I knew I had to do something. So, I picked at it. Then, I started to rub. With no progress, I grabbed the great tool of exfoliating cream and dug into it.

This thing was coming off!
I rubbed some more…

Until all that remained was the bloodied marker of all that was threatening me
and an open sore filled with discouragement and embarrassment.

That’s how it is with worry, isn’t it?

The more we move the chair of our thoughts back and forth over that same spot,
the more we dig deep tracks of distrust into our heart.

We rub, and rub and rub – the same spot.

The more we dig deep these tracks of distrust,
the more we follow these ill-conceived tracks to illogical solutions.

We rub with exfoliating cream.

We ruin the floor of our faith with the imaginations of our future. We take action to things only God had the best action for.  What ruminates in our mind, dominates in our life.

Then we ask:

God, where are you? 
God, why did you let this happen? 
God, do you not care? 
God, are you going to let _____ happen?

It’s like we allow our all-powerful problems
convict our seemingly low-power god –
a god who is entirely lacking in the love department.

We get squinty-eyed at the one who loves us most. We do what we don’t want to do.

God, return my heart and my presence back to you. I am sorry.

Confession is the flashlight to clarity.

Worry doesn’t stop what destroys, it just steals joy.

Worry self-centers us. People, needs and ministry move to the outskirts.

Worry erases the idea that we are living for God’s glory, his plan and his will.
It makes invisible the prayer, “Thy Will be done.”

Worry is like a bouncy ball stuck in a box, it will keep you up all night and get you nowhere.

Worry places our eyes on our present problems, rather than our present God.

What do I really believe?

Do I believe God is an all-sufficient problem handler or
do I believe that he is absent, I am all alone, in the woods, by myself, fending against all my worst fears by the strength of my own might?

Is God the warrior or am I?

The truth is: God has us, he won’t let us go, he has a plan, he will bring us through all pain, he will provide for our every need, he will not forsake us, he will never let us go, he will not let our foot slip, he will pick us up if we fall, he will guide us through suffering as he has suffered, he will bring glory to our pain, he will lead others to know him through our trials.

But the real question is, do I believe this deep down -where it counts?

Hearts that believe God is good, give thanks for their good God.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil. 4:6

Thanks breathes in God and exhales bitterness.
Thanks makes us see all we have versus all we could lose.
Thanks brings into remembrance all of his past faithfulness.
Thanks puts into perspective our present perspective.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7

What can you find to be thankful for?

What praise can you immerse your one-track mind in
so that you don’t rub yourself raw
with feelings of God-has-left-me?

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How Can You Fix Your Bad Feelings? (& 2-Min Encouraging Word)

How Can You Fix Your Bad Feelings?

Encouragement in less than 2-minutes:

 

Post: How Can you Fix Your Bad Feelings?

I have been known to step into a deep dark place.

It’s a lonely place.
A-no-one-cares-about-me place,
an I’m-never-going-to-amount-to-anything place,
an I-will-always-fail kind of place,
a God-will-never-use-a-girl-like-me place.
I-am-not-worth-anything place.

It’s risky, because this hole of hopelessness can easily become a trapping cave-of-no-return. A cancer that grabs the anesthesia of alcohol, addiction, disorders, complexes, shopping, porn or whatever else if not careful.

Due to my past struggles with this place, I’ve realized,
you have to watch for the invitations to this place of isolation.

Because this place makes you miss Gods’ face – and it leaves you in disgrace.
It makes God small and  problems big.
It takes shame and guilt and places them on the centerstage of the heart.
It places you so deep into yourself, you can’t see others that need you.

Our God is not a haunter and taunter and he never developed a hell-hole like this.

Now I know, I have to run like the wind
when the devil starts to lure me in with lies.

I run hard, and I run fast because even the smallest step into that blackness
includes a return trip with miles of internal turmoil.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7

Sometimes we think our resistance is recognizing this place or praying against this place or throwing some truth out against this place, but oh no, my friends, it involves even more…

We aren’t called to sit around and have a light coffee before we leave,
we are called to flee- ASAP!

We aren’t called to go through the motions of life,
but to eyes open and to kick ourselves into high gear. 

We aren’t called to wait for a rescuer – a knight in shining armor.
We already have one – his name is Jesus – and we are already rescued.

And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Mt. 5:30

God is not afraid of instructing us to take big measures against our small steps into these dwelling places of lies. This means we see beyond our world, into the transcending world around us. We become aware, looking, understanding, interpreting, searching, fighting and surrendering. We flee.

We flee by not throwing out verses, but by letting them become the knitting of our heart.

We flee, not by praying for our will, but by praying for his.

We flee, not by accepting or excusing sin, but by rejecting it.

We flee, unveiling our heart of agony to our maker. (Feelings aren’t bad, but distrust of God is.)

We flee by choosing the right counselors to instruct us when we become blind in our life.

We flee by letting go of the tide of our emotions, to grab on to the ocean of God’s truth.

We flee by extending grace to ourselves on hard days.

We engrave these truths upon our heart like stone:

We are more than just conquerors in Christ Jesus. Ro. 8:37
Nothing can overtake us, because God has overtaken the world. Jo. 16:33
There is no weapon forged against us that can prosper. Is. 15:47

We know nothing can really ever come against – no cancer, no abuse, no financial issues, no heartache, no agony, no marital issues, no heartaches, no _______.

We know it doesn’t matter,
because if we’ve lived it, he has beaten it.

So, dear friend, be not discouraged, but be wildly encouraged: If he conquered the world, he can conquer your agony, your despair, your hopelessness and your fears.

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Why Not Giving Could Hurt You

Not Giving Could Hurt You

I have this one friend – almost everywhere she goes, she gives gifts. Roses to teachers, journals to me, and flowers to so many. She is a gifted in gifts.

She is so impressive!

I am normally the one loaded with 2 kids, a purse loaded with the rock of baby wipes and a to-do list times one thousand. Getting out to buy gifts feels as impossible as moving a herd of animals through the eye of a needle.

Giving is something I always want to do, but it takes a back seat to my life.
It’s something that I love to get, but have a hard time extending.
I know it blesses, but it also heightens my stresses.

Yet, research has proven that giving:
– increases the health of those with chronic illnesses (Stephen Post, Why Good Things Happen to Good People)
– decreases the risk of dying in the elderly after volunteering (Doug Oman, University of California, Berkeley)
– lowers stress and blood pressure.

Clearly giving is a great thing. The more we outpour the more that in pours to us.

A woman came with a special sealed jar. It contained very expensive perfume made out of pure nard. She broke the jar open and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head. Mk. 14:3

This woman outpoured a ton – a year’s worth of salary.  Her deep sacrifice was a true outpouring of her heart. There is no mention of the kids screaming at home, the wipes in her bag or the lists of things she had to do, she just poured out.

When we keep our eyes on Jesus,
suddenly our excuses grow small and our causes grow big.

This woman poured out great love through this great gift,
a great sacrifice for a great God
and a great example for the great, great, great…grandchildren of Jesus today.

What would happen if we poured out like she did?

Might Jesus say to us: She has done a beautiful thing to me… Mark 14:6

Might our name be more greatly etched into the world and eternity?

What she has done will be told anywhere the good news is preached all over the world. It will be told in memory of her.” Mk 14:9

As she stood…weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Lu. 7:38

When we pour, like this woman and then our hearts melt like wax. The wick of our pride, selfishness and complacency melt down to the ground, leaving us on our knees, where we receive and give our very best.  We take our hair and we wipe the feet of others. We get into the nitty gritty of grime, into the places where it feels uncomfortable, into the places where we prepare others for a new life.

It’s in the offering of our greatest – in the wiping of the dirty – that we get to kiss the feet of the one who walked into desolate dry hearts to make abundant new life.

When we touch these needy, unseen and untouchable places with our greatest gift, love, we find our hearts are restored.

We find it’s so much less about the other and so much more about Jesus reconfiguring our vision.

We find deeper connection with the recipient and with the one who is all sufficient.

My friend’s outpouring of love inspires my heart to see…

Giving is the only gift that hands-back more than we could ever hand-out. It’s one of the only ways to get more than you ever asked for.

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Running When You Feel Like A Loser

When You Feel Like A Loser

My mouth says I want to “run with endurance the race that is set before (me)”, (Heb. 12:1), but my feet often go in the opposite direction.

I get set, and ready to go, until I fall and am ready to cry.

It’s a dichotomy I just can’t beat.

I snap back at my husband when I know a kind word turns away wrath.
Prov. 15:1

I think bad thoughts towards a rude person when I need to forgive as I have been forgiven.  Col. 3:13

I yell at my children, when God says to bear up under one another in love.
Eph 4:2

I judge a sister in Christ when God tells me to first look at the log in my own eye.
Mt. 7:3

I take pride in my work when God tells me at the proper time I will be exalted.
1 Pet. 5:6

While my mind says, it’s all for you God, I am running hard and fast for you, my actions say, “it’s still kind of all about me.” I can’t let go. I can’t break through. I can’t succeed with God.”

The pounding of my feet on the sidewalk of God’s mission, start to turn into fists pounding on my heart, saying “Why can’t you just do better?”

Pound. You gotta get it together.
Pound. People won’t see Christ in you.
Pound. Are you really a Christ follower when you mess up so much?
Pound. You are selfish.

And one who is beaten to the ground, can’t be running a good race for Jesus.
One who is pounding themselves, can’t be pounding the ground.
One fallen, can’t be encouraging others.
They can’t “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Cor. 9:24)

As I investigate my heart, my sin, and my desire, I am coming to see that God understands this roadblock too.

In order to run, run, run, we are instructed to unload, unload, unload: “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance…” (Heb 12:1)

Why?

so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Phil 2:6)

Jesus understands the struggle of a heart striving towards him. He doesn’t come to point our our lagger tendencies. He tells us to unload and rise up. To let go, and to move our feet. To say I am sorry, and to speed into his love. To send the failure fits to the sidelines and to move forward in faithful fury.

I’ve noticed, as I can let that go, I no longer feel like a girl running in circles, I no longer feel like the big loser on Olympics day, but instead I start to move forward – in a straight line – gliding into forgiveness, forging into peace, wholeheartedly striding into hope and joyfully pumping into the cheering applause of my loving Savior who roots me on with all that he is.

So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 1 Cor. 9:26

The question is not will I fall, because I will. The question, is – will I unload, confess and believe the promises of God (aka – get back up again), because this is where the race is won. This is where I stop pounding myself for every bad action and start pounding the streets with the message of Jesus Christ crucified and glorified.

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