Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

3 Proven Tactics to Let Go of Fear

Let Go of fear

Sometimes we see life gearing up to deliver a punch that we think can take us down. We see it winding back, we see it gaining power and we immediately know what to do – we get afraid.  We curl up in a ball of fear – aggravated, tormented and usually alone.

Why? Because we see every detail of the punch- the blood, the anguish, the embarrassment and the feelings.  And we know one thing is for sure – we are in for it.

I can’t even begin to tell you the places my mind has wandered, the things I believed would come true and the ditches I thought I would be in.  I was the queen of fear and I still struggle with it today to a degree.  My fears would stop me in my tracks.  They would consume my mind.

But, I noticed, when I was fearing, it was impossible to be worshipping.  When I was worrying, I couldn’t be glorifying.  When I was plotting, it was impossible to be loving.   Fear consumed my mind – and I turned inward. I became all about me.  Because of this, I knew I had to change.

Fear was holding me back from God’s plan. If I was so consumed with fear, I couldn’t be consumed with his calling.  I couldn’t be consumed with his glory. I could only be consumed by how bad the blows of life would hit me.  My fear made me motionless, serviceless, useless and passionless.  Fears depleted me.  

How often do we let the unknown consume our minds?  How often do we let it trick us into thinking we can control it?

Somehow we think that by worrying, we are gaining control over the situation.  It’s almost like we think we have power to change the unchangeable.  Until we come face to face with the reality that we aren’t in control – and then we fear more.

So, can we take charge of this bully called “fear” and prevent it from ruling us? From mocking us?  From pushing us around?

I have tried every trick in the book to combat fear: the imagine-the-worst-case-scenario trick, the worries-only-happen-99%-of-the-time strategy and the just-don’t-fear approach – I have tried it all. None worked.

But, there is one approach that helped me to stand up to this bully called fear – and I think it will help you too.  But, in order to be successful at this, you have to get ready to feel like an underdog. You have to see yourself for what you are – a small warrior.  And, you have to relate to another small guy who gets your predicament  – David!

Little David stood up against one big bad bully named Goliath.   Could he have cowered in fear?  Yes. Could he have walked away from God’s mission because it was scary?  You bet.  Could he have told the Israelites to get out here in fight instead of him?  Absolutely. But he didn’t.

David fought what could have been decapitating fear in 3 ways:

1. He remembered and drew strength on God’s faithfulness in the past.
The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (1 Sam. 17:37)

God was faithful to him in the past, and he would be faithful to him today.

2.  He looked up to the One Giant larger than the giant.

He looked upon the strength of his Lord, not at the strength of his arms.
He looked at the power of his God, not the power of the obstacle in front of him.
He looked at the might of the Almighty, not at the might of other possible fighters.
He knew that nothing could stand against the power of the living, working, powerful armies of God.

“…Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam 17:26)

3.  He didn’t listen to the naysayers.  He didn’t look at the circumstances.  He didn’t let who he was hold him back from what God had set before him.

“But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” (1 Sam. 17:28)

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” (1 Sam. 17:33)

If you are not fearing something today, you likely will be tomorrow.

What if you were to approach the looming punch differently?  What if instead of cowering down to the giant bully called “fear”, you choose to do something differently?

Imagine for a moment, a little boy.  He stands before the meanest, baddest, strongest bully the school has ever seen.  But, for some reason this boy stands smiling.  This boy stands proud, fearless and courageous.  He stands strong.

We might wonder why?

He is able to let go of fear, because he sees something the other kid cannot – his own Father.  His father stands directly behind the bully and he stands waiting to help his son, to protect him and to ensure the right outcome to this situation.

And, your father is standing right behind your giants too.  Maybe you can’t see him today, but he is there.  Maybe you can’t feel him right now, but he is there.

If you believe God is right there for you, could you approach your giant differently?

There is no giant bigger than the giant of God.

Rather than running to hide, living anxious or cowering in fear, look to Him to gain strength.  See how he has delivered you in the past.  Lean on his faithfulness.  Don’t let naysayers intimidate you or circumstances rule you.  God will deliver you when you trust him.

Our God is greater.  Our God is stronger.

God will put the giants of your life into perspective.  He Is. They aren’t. With God, we can let go of fear.

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Labor vs. Love

Post by: Katy

With the Thanksgiving feast only a few weeks away I can’t help but think about the feast preps made famous by Jesus. One feast that two women treated completely different. One woman loved. The other labored.

Jesus’ disciple, Luke, recorded the exchange: Martha invited Jesus into her home then went to work. But her labor peeled her away from His presence. Mary, consumed by her Savior, chose to sit at His feet.

Labor cumbered Martha. Love consumed Mary.

I can’t blame Martha. I imagine her chopping away in the kitchen thinking, “If I don’t do this, who will? Somebody has to do it!” Her chops grew harder. Her blood boiled a little hotter then finally, “That’s it!” she silently screamed.

“And she went up to him [Jesus] and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.'” Luke 10:40 (ESV)

Woah. Crazy lady alert. Can you see her standing in the doorway, hand on hip, jaw clenched, tapping her foot? In this story it’s easy to spot the girl gone wild and her major misstep. Hello! Jesus is in your living room! And you’re complaining about what? Sit down and shut up already!

But if I give it a minute to soak in, this picture hits uncomfortably close to my home. Look at these two gals. Martha stands for chaos, frustration, fatigue. Mary points to a calm, peaceful, purposeful presence. I want to be Mary, but when there’s much to be done it’s hard to choose love over labor. The key word there is choose. Love, often mistaken for a feeling, is actually a choice.

Love serves with a smile as her thoughts swirl around who her hands will serve and how they will benefit. Labor grinds with a grumble as she stands preoccupied with what must be done.

In the very midst of writing this post, opportunity knocked.

My toddler alerted me to the mess with squeals of despair. I hurried around the corner to find him on his back in a growing puddle of water. By the time I arrived, an overflowing toilet bowl had turned the bathroom into a wade pool and threatened to expand into the hallway. I have no clue about plumbing, so I couldn’t make the water stop gushing over the edge. I pushed, pulled and twisted everything on the toilet that moved. Finally, I jammed a bottle of hand soap under something.

I lovingly mopped up the minor flood, piled the sopping towels in the middle of the bathroom, shut the door and ordered no one to use that bathroom until Daddy got home.

No, we did not all have a hearty laugh in the midst of the bathroom fiasco, but we did escape the chaos caused by panic, raised voices, and an overwhelmed spirit. We worked together. The big boys gathered towels and helped the little ones grab a snack.

No, I did not feel like smiling and speaking softly as the kids galloped through the water like I intentionally put it there for them to splash through; but the choice to love made the moment easier to manage.

My Jesus, may my chore never become greater than your choice to love me first, so that I may love. (1 John 4:19)

Leave a Comment! Who do you identify most with? Mary or Martha? Why?

I’d love to hear from you friend!

Sincerely, Katy

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it's safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don't look quite like they did ten years ago, but I've learned along the way dreams do come true ... even if you're not a Disney World.

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not a Disney World.

Don’t miss any updates on Purposeful Faith! Click Here to receive blog posts to your email inbox.

Shame in the Bible

Shame in the bible
I messed up again.Guilt hit me like a wrecking ball pounding into a damaged building ready to crumble.  It hit me hard and when the shame came – it effectively ruined me. Defeated, crumbled, laying in pain – I hurt.   I wondered, what does God say about shame in the bible?

Starting up at the sky, I realize, I lost sight of Christ, what he has called me to do, his unique plan for me, his purposes, his might, his power, his authority.

I lost sight of it all.

I looked at another person and decided God’s blueprint for my life wasn’t as good – wasn’t so possible – after all.

Where did I go wrong? I saw all that I wasn’t.  I saw all that she was.  And, as I saw all of her – I saw less of me.  I saw none of God.

Then, the shame overpowered my guilt.  It crushed me because I lacked faith.  It left me feeling embarrassed that Miss “Encourage” was “Discouraged” (I am called the “Cheerleader of Faith” after all).  It said I am defined by my sin of envy, jealousy and comparison.

My guilt said I messed up – but, my shame said I would always mess up.

Isn’t that how it is with shame? Shame says we are selfish.  Shame says we will always steal God’s glory.  Shame says we will always fail.  Shame says we may as well give up.  Shame said we can’t do any good – why try?

Shame tumbled me.  It came to thwart God’s plan – to knock me down.  Unrecognized, it would have succeeded.

But, as I stared at my wreckage, God got me to thinking…

I got wrecked, because I took my eyes off of Christ.

I got wrecked to divert me from God’s mission.

God has great plans for me.
The Devil wants to wreck anything that brings glory to God above himself.
Jesus didn’t die so I could be condemned; there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
God loves me; he will take the wreckage  and reconstruct me as I ask for forgiveness.

We can’t let shame knock us down.  We can’t let shame win.  Because, you better bet it will try to tell us that we aren’t good, holy or lovable.  Shame will come to trap us under the bricks, holding us down so that we can’t accomplish God’s purposes.Shame is one of the devil’s best tools to chisel away at our faith walk.

He has used it since the very first days – days when all was happy and joyful and peaceful in the garden of Eden.  He offered sin on a plate – and now we talk about this apple over and over again.

The devil offered, Eve accepted, the world defected.

Sin distanced us from God.  In fact, we see shame in the bible, as Adam and Eve hid from God (Genesis 3:8) after they sinned.  The were so burdened by shame and so overwhelmed that they didn’t want to stand in front of their glorious maker. They wanted to hide, to go unseen, to cower in fear, to go under the radar, to pretend it didn’t happen.  They wanted to avoid God at all costs.

Shame makes us run.  It makes us hide.

The devil knows this. He knows if he can get us to move towards sin, he can hit us with his powerful wrecking ball. He has a plan to hit us – and to hit us hard.

  • Hit them with regret.
  • Hit them with  fear.
  • Hit them with embarrassment and shame.
  • Hit them so hard they can’t get up and walk to the foot of the cross.
  • Hit them so they move away God, not towards repentance.
  • Hit them so they forget that God forgives.
  • Hit them so they walk away from believing in God’s grace.
  • Hit them swiftly and trap them in sin.
What if Adam and Eve ran to God, instead of hiding?  What if they called out to Him?  Their shame didn’t protect them, or absolve them or benefit them in any way.

…and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9)

The Lord could still see them clear as day.  He knew where they were – and what they had done. There is no hiding from God.

And, today, we don’t have to hide because there is no more shame in Christ Jesus. Christ absolved us of all shame, because he endured all shame.  Enough.  It’s done.  It is finished. (John 19:30).  Released.  Gone.  Done. Complete.  As believers, we are secure.

God wants us to come to Him – open, vulnerable and ready to receive what he has done.

Reveal your shame, and he will reveal grace.  Come to him out of hiding and he will come to you with healing. Run to his arms and confess and he will give you rest.

God’s story of redemption is beautiful.  It all circles back to Him.  Even when we mess up – it is all about Him.  Praise you God.

God loves us.

God calls you from hiding.  He has important words to speak to you about shame in the bible:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus… (Romans 8:1)

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. (Phil. 3:13)

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

We can’t stand accused when we stand forgiven.  Confess sin, accept grace, sin no more and rob the devil of his best tool.  

The Key to Freedom

Blog Post by:  Abby McDonald

“It’s not about you.”

The words hit me with a palpable force. My pride wanted to take over and convince me that the statement was a lie.

But deep down, I know it was the truth. How long had I been running from God? Months? Years? I couldn’t remember the last time I just rested in the comfort of his presence.

Like so many young adults, my feelings toward the church had become jaded after high school. Leaders who I looked up to had let me down. I’d been hurt by people I trusted, and projected their faults onto a perfect God. I turned my back on Him and the church and for many years, I ran.

Now I had a new baby and a husband, and I knew I needed to somehow get it together. I was trying so hard to behave, to be the perfect wife and mother, but I knew I was failing miserably.

We had recently moved to a new area and begun attending a church, and I attempted to play the role I thought I was supposed to play. I abandoned destructive habits. I watched my mouth. But my heart was still guarded and hurting.

A bitter root had planted itself deep within me, and I didn’t know how to displace it.

As I was sitting on the couch one chilly fall evening, I read those words in the opening chapter of a book about our life’s purpose.

“It’s not about you.”

Something inside of me unlocked. I realized that all of my focus for so many years had been inward, but freedom comes when we fix our eyes upward.

When I turned away from God my focus was on myself. When I strove to behave and be the model church attendee, my focus was on myself. Suddenly, instead of fixating on me, I centered my thoughts on the One who gave me life.

Our sacrifices will never replace what God desires from us the most: a surrendered heart.

James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

Humbling myself begins when I say, “God I may not understand everything that’s happened in my life or what you’re doing, but trust you.”

I trust that He is God and that if I love him, he will work it out for my good. (Romans 8:28) I trust that his thoughts are higher than my thoughts and his ways higher than my ways. (Isaiah 55:8)

With a surrendered heart, I see that God is sovereign even in the midst of uncertainty, turmoil and heartbreak. I see that because we live in a fallen world, suffering is inevitable but also a means of growth.

As I focus upward and outward instead of inward, that bitter root begins coming undone, and what was once resentment turns into gratitude.

Is there an area of your life where you’re holding on to bitterness toward God? Can I encourage you to take the following steps?

Pray. Ask God to give you clarity. We serve a big God and our questions do not scare him away. You may receive answers and you may not, but presenting your requests to him will bring peace.
Be honest. God already knows your heart. Don’t be afraid to tell him.
Thank. Thank God for all the blessings in your life. One of the best ways to displace bitterness is with a thankful heart.
Read. Immerse yourself in God’s word. His Spirit will speak to you and bring you understanding.

Friend, as you read this today, I am praying for you. I believe that God is going to do amazing things through you. There’s only one step left to take: Surrender.  Find the Key to Freedom.

Until we meet again,

Abby

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Announcing New Regular Contributors & Contest!

Purposeful Faith is Growing in a Big Way!  

We have 4 new amazing women of the Lord who have some powerful things to say about God, life and renewal.  I am just as eager as you are to learn with these ladies and to grow in my relationship with the Lord.   Get ready for some powerful words, my friends.  These women are not only talented writers, but beautiful on the inside and out.

JOIN ME IN WELCOMING….(imagine the cheering)

1.  Abby McDonald – She will be featured tomorrow!

Guest Contributor

 

 

 
Abby McDonald is mom, a wife and a southern girl, currently living on the mountain side of Maryland, who fell in love with writing at a young age. For most of her life, she never shared her writing with anyone. She started Fearfully Made Mom because she felt God gently pushing her to share her writing with others who may feel alone in their struggles with self-doubt, accepting God’s grace, and finding their identity in Christ. Her desire is to show women they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who will relentlessly pursue them, even during their darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, Abby enjoys hiking, photography, reading, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

2. Katy McCown

Purposeful Faith - Guest Contributor

Katy McCown left her job as a television news reporter to join her husband, Luke, on their adventure in the National Football League. 10 years and 12 moves later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Katy homeschools their 6 children and blogs about “A Football Wife’s Life” at katymccown.com. When she’s not writing, schooling, or packing boxes,
you can find Katy sipping coffee on the porch at their ranch in Texas.

3. Christy Mobley

Purposeful Faith Contributor

Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. A girly girl at heart,  Christy has a passion for fashion and decorating, which is to say she loves to shop and rearrange the furniture. She chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub.

4. Angela Parlin

Purposeful Faith Contributor

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos. 

Purposeful Faith is also Proud to Announce a Contest!
Subscribe to these blog posts via email and be entered to win an Amazon Gift Cards.  Enter Here!  If you have friends or family that may enjoy Purposeful Faith, send them here too!  Or, they can join us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

10 Bible Verses For Hard Times (Part II)

In Part 1, When Life Gets Hard, we saw the life’s wreckage from a different vantage point.  But, it is one thing to see something from a different perspective and quite another to live changed.  So, how do we live out the truth that we are being remade, renewed and recharged?  We go to the Word of God, the Word that is sharper than a 2-edged sword. Let’s take a look at 10 bible verses for hard times to understand what the Lord wants you to believe as you are being transformed.

 

10 BIBLE VERSES FOR HARD TIMES:

1.  We can look to the world to fill our needs – but only God completely fills.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” Phil 4:1

2. We may tend to forget things, but God never forgets anything – especially you.
“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Psalm 31:8

3. Need Help?  God has sent the Spirit, the ultimate Helper.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” John 14:6

4. The word “Provider” is defined in the Name of God.
“They all wait for You To give them their food in due season. You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.” Psalm 104:27-28

5.  God is the ultimate Comfort in a time of need.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

6. The world can tremble, but God still remains sturdy.  He is our strength.
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn…” Is. 54:17

7. God is our hope in what seems like a hopeless world.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

8. God will give you a future and an eternal home; this has already been secured.
“LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” Ps. 16:5

9. When you feel troubled, God will help you a time of trouble.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

10. God offers wisdom, when you have none.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

These 10 Bible Verses for Hard Times illustrate that God stands ready to help us. Even though life may seem like it is crashing before us – God has a plan in the midst of the chaos.

When all else is stripped away – when life breaks down to it’s very core – we see the making of our vehicles.  We see our maker. We see the foundation.  We see God.  We see what is important.  We see what is valuable. We see Christ’s power on the cross.

So, fear not.  Fear not!  Keep your eyes on Him.

Fall into his arms. Rest in Him.  Let him helicopter you out of your personal crash site so that you can view all the little pieces with fresh eyes.

What you will see is beauty.  What you will see is that all the little pieces – broken pieces – are just his way of putting you back together as a new creation. A new you that is being transformed into his image (2 Cor. 3:18).  A new you that lifts others to new heights in their time of need.  A new you that sees your life from a new perspective.

Renewal is not always in our timing.  God sanctifies us according to his timeline – his perfect timeline.

From personal experience, I can assure you – God is the master mess cleaner.  He leaves us sparkling with a new spirit, a new spring in our step a new passion in life.  He gives us more than we ever had.  I have seen this happen and I know it to be true.  God will be faithful in creating a new “you”!

Know, God will not abandon you in the midst of your collision.  He will take care of you.  I promise and more importantly – He promises!  He not only promises, but he delivers! Cling onto these 10 Bible Verses for Hard Times.

 

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When Life Gets Hard (Part 1)

Sometimes life hits hard. It crashes into a million little pieces before our very eyes.  Are you not sure what to do when life gets hard? When anxiety mounts?  When you feel like you can’t cope?To make it through, there is just one thing to grab hold of.  Not memorized words, not detailed theology, not empty promises, not fake words, not shallow prayers.    No, we need to let go of knowing what we feel we should do – and grab hold of knowing God.  Knowing in our heart, and not only our minds.

Knowing in our actions, and not only our words.  Knowing as we bare it all to him, and knowing he will come to our rescue.  Knowing we can be – because he sees.

 

Deeply knowing.

Humbling ourselves to his will.
Letting him embrace us.
Falling in his arms.
Sharing in his suffering.
Relying on his truth.
Praising him as he shows up.
Proclaiming his beauty as he provides.
Seeking him with all we have. Because often life comes at us like a car speeding into a head-on collision.  Life crashes before our very eyes and all we see are the million little pieces around us.  Life hurts. We ache.  We cry. We need. I don’t know what you need today, but we all need. We desperately need.  We need to be filled – with money, with love, with acceptance, with words of encouragement, with a boss who cares, with good health, with peace, with healing.

We travel far and wide – to various gas stations of need. We think we can fill up there.  We look the to the wrong people, in the wrong way.  But, this gas provides doesn’t provide us the energy we seek, in fact, it actually zaps us of energy. 
It robs us of strength. 

It sends us astray.
We get filled up, but with the wrong source of power.
Then, our cars run on empty.We run – but we are almost dying – and we lose steam.The point is – life can hurt.  Situations can stun.  Circumstances can feel like they will break-us-down. If you believe that being a Christ follower is a bag of roses, chocolate and blessings – you have been sold a lie.  We don’t always get the easy road in life.

But, what we do get is a bag of promises that will always endure, will never fail, will lift us up, will comfort us, will help us to thrive – and will be our drive.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Here is the truth my brothers and sisters  – We may feel like life is crashing before us, but that’s ok.  Sound ridiculous?  Maybe.  But it’s not – because we see by faith and not by sight.

What we see are little pieces of ruin, but what God sees is broken fragments of what he wants to create anew.  What we see are shards of glass, but what God sees are hopes and dreams that he has ready to bring to fruition as he puts the pieces back together.

What we see is pain, but what he sees is our gain as we trust him by faith.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Cor. 4:17)

Sometimes, we’re broken so that we can be remade.  We can’t see it in the moment, but in the aftermath all the little pieces come together to form something so beautiful it takes us to places we never dreamed or imagined we could go.

Stay tuned for Part II where you will receive the ultimate words of encouragement for when life gets hard.  Oh, how I can’t wait to share them with you.
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Let your Light Shine Bright

Let your light shine bright
I was in a mom’s bible study. We were there to grow in love of the Lord – to share his work in the midst of the craziness of motherhood, his encouragement when we felt despair and his grace in failures. As much as I was looking to be loved and accepted, I wanted to shine an encouraging word into each of their hearts.
 
God had been transforming my soul in awe-inspiring ways, so I was eager to share. He had been teaching me about trusting him – about reaching outside of myself, stepping outside of my comfort zone and about letting go of things I clenched so tightly.  He was teaching me to let him work out what was his to work out. God was teaching me in a powerful way.
 
But, as I stepped into the spotlight of vulnerability, a dark cloud cast a shadow over me.  I questioned, “Is my story even good enough? Am I overwhelming them? Can they handle all this “Jesus talk”? Am I a “know-it-all”? Do these ladies even care?”
 
I left the group defeated and discouraged. I went in with a flame ready to ignite the group’s passion for the Lord, but I left with burnt ashes in my wake. 
I was confused. Shining my “light” illuminated my vulnerabilities – and highlighted my insecurities.
 
God, I heard your call. Why did this happen?

After much soul-searching, I realized I hid my candle – out of fear of judgment.  The light still remained in my soul, but I took my eyes off of God.

I placed the value of my light on the women in my sight.
Instead of the God who works with all might.
Instead of the God who is completely right.
Instead of the God who shines bright.

God’s glory, his radiance, and his brilliance are not dependent on the responses of others. He is light.

It is impossible for darkness to extinguish light.  It will always shine. It will always be. It does not depend on reactions, perceptions or judgments.  It just is.

Even if you have your flame hidden, it is still there. It stands ready to shine.Because the light he put in us is truth. It is the power he works within us to shine the glory of Jesus Christ in present day life.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6 NLT)

To hide his light, to squelch its power – is to hide the saving and redeeming work of Jesus Christ.  When we do this, we hide the work he has set forth for us to do. But, when we live based on the light that is within us, we are truly living. We are in his will. We are living with purpose and with power. We can see the way we should go. It is amazing. It is powerful.

In Order to Let Your Light Shine Bright, You Should:

  • Not fear the response of man.
  • Speak as the Lord directs.
  • Listen to others opinions and reflect on truth.
  • We run from those who are not willing to listen or hear.
  • Realize that the value of our message is not dependent on the value of others responses.
  • Give glory to the Lord all the time – in all ways.
  • Weigh our words carefully before speaking.
  • Speak truth no matter what, balanced in love.
  • Be who God created us to be, no matter how others feel.
When we shine light – when we let our light shine bright – God sends it into dark places. We  may not even know the distance that our light will shine.  He will send it far and he will send it wide. Our job is to keep our eyes on him and trust him as we let him lead.
 
People will judge us, but his truth will lead us. He will not let our foot slip (Proverbs 121:3). 

Never be afraid to shine too brightly for the one you love; for the light within you is set to light the world on fire with a love of Christ. Let your light shine bright.

 

How to Believe God (over the lies of the world): Part II

How to believe God

In the blog post, Caution: How Not to be of the World, we talked about how taking our focus off of Christ can divert us down a road we never intended to drive.  But, by keeping our eyes on the Lord, nothing can take us down.  Nothing can shake us.  Nothing can keep God away.  He sees us and is right next to us.  We can learn how to believe God and not the World.

And when we do, God will stand next to us and walk us right up to the purpose of our life.  Finally, we can stand before purpose and to grab hold of it.

When we keep our eyes on the Lord, when we keep him at our right hand, we won’t be shaken. (Psalm 16:8) 

We won’t be shaken, because we are who God says we are.  And, we will be who God wants us to be – as we trust him.

God defines us.  God made us. And, God makes us. He answers and he fulfills his promises.

God is greater than the words and messages of the world that are here today and gone tomorrow.

With God:

  • Talking heads waste their words, because rely on the living active Word.
  • “Keeping up with the Jones” loses its power, because God’s our ultimate Superpower.
  • Never having enough is a thing of the past, because God is more than enough.

We don’t need to believe half-truths, when we have “the Truth”.

  • The world says you are less than, God says you are a child of the most high King. (Psalm 82:6)
  • The world says you need power, God says you need Him. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • The world says you need to conform, God says to be transformed. (Romans 12:2)
  • The world says you should find pleasure, God says to find treasure. (Matthew 19:21)
  • The world says to take for you; God says to give of yourself. (Matthew 19:21)
  • The world says to seek beauty above all; God says to love him above all. (Luke 10:27)
  • The world says be happy and fulfilled, God says die to self.  (Luke 9:23)
  • The world says take all you want, God says take up your cross. (Luke 9:23)
  • The world says live for today, God says live forever. (John 3:16)

When we drive down the freeways of the world, we end up in dark depressing neighborhoods filled with pain, shame and regret. God wants to lead us in truth and light.  He wants us to rush into his arms, to collide with his truth and to cruise in life safely.

He has plans that are so much greater than the world’s plans for us.  He has big plans.  But if we are so distracted with the signs of the world, we will miss the highway to him.  We will miss the joy that is him.  We will miss the peace that is him.  We will miss the life that is him.  We will crash.

He wants all of you.  He loves all of you.  He has big plans for all of you.  Give all of yourself to Him.

 

Caution: How Not to be of The World (Part I)

How to not be of the world

We have a choice to make.  Do we believe the World or do we believe the Lord?  We have to live in this world, but we are smart to discover how not to be of the world.

Because the fact of the matter is that you can’t serve both.
You will either serve God or you will serve the world.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.  (Matthew 6:24)

The world tries to tell us that we need to be rich, powerful, successful, beautiful, funny, outgoing and (fill in the blank).

But, as Christians, the World is not our maker  – and it is certainly not our master.

Yet, sometimes we act like it is.  It tells us what we need to believe, how we should act and what we should say.  And we follow in step. Its words can become louder than the Word of God – especially if we aren’t taking time to hear the Word of God.

The world’s magnetic pull draws us close and we tend to get consumed us with its standards rather than getting consumed with the one who holds all life, all love and all power.

The truth is, we can’t focus on two destinations.  It’s impossible.   You can’t drive to two places at once.  And that is exactly what we are attempting to do.  We say we are driving towards Christ, yet that enticing off ramp pulls us off our course.

We continually get distracted when we take our eyes off the road leading to Christ.

We follow signs that direct us to pleasure and enjoyment – and we get sidetracked.  We see the stop sign that offers a perfect moment to look at our needs in the mirror – and our voyage is halted.  We see a billboard that advertises a perfect face of beauty, riches and power – and we get thinking.  Then, we get lost.

Let’s not set ourselves on a crash course.  In order to do this, we must think about what we are thinking about – and we must think about what we shouldn’t be thinking about.   Likewise, we have to look at what we are believing – and not believing. Because, we either have our eyes set on Christ or we are swerving down the roads of the world, ready to head straight into a ditch.

God calls us to focus.  To keep our eyes on Christ.
To avoid looking at what everyone else is doing, being, and saying – and to instead see Him.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God (Hebrews 12:2 The Message)

When our eyes are on Christ, they are not on the world.
And, when our eyes are on the world, they are not on Christ.

Lets fix our eyes on the One who provides all direction, all hope and all purpose by keeping focused eyes.

  • Focused eyes understand He is the One who provides all good things.
  • Focused eyes, let the world become blurry.
  • Focused eyes allow God to magnify the right ministry opportunities.
  • Focused eyes spend time connecting with God on the daily basis.
  • Focused eyes see those that need love.
  • Focused eyes are focused on the needs of others before themselves.
  • Focused eyes are not just focused on TV.
  • Focused eyes understand that God has big plans for them.
  • Focused eyes know that God is greater than any circumstance.
  • Focused eyes know that God has not forgotten them.
  • Focused eyes know that God is alive, well and aware of all things.
  • Focused eyes know God will rescue and restore.

Focused eyes do not veer off the road.  They steer clear of potholes.  They avoid dark areas.

The result is a life that is full of Christ, abundant in love, strong in purpose, weak in pride, engaging in relationships, authentic in grace and powerful in faith.  We all want this.

When we meet Jesus, we want him to turn to us and say, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)

When our eyes are focused, we won’t miss out on what God has for us.  The opposite happens – we see ourselves and our lives with amazing clarity.  We receive the goodness, the peace and the love that God has in store for us as believers because we are not sidetracked.  We need not fear because the Lord will keep us safe.

how to not be of the world

Stay tuned for Part II where we will discover who we are in light of our God.