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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Pursue peace image by Katie M. Reid for purposefulfaith.com

Post By: Katie M. Reid

I’m in denial that it’s August already. I’m thankful we live in a tourist state (Michigan) and don’t start school until after Labor Day. Many of my southern friends are sending their kiddos off to school this month.

Our summer has been a whirlwind and I desperately want it to slow down. I had plans to savor, linger, and slow down—but it feels like I’m trying to swim upstream in a river of gooey molasses.

After deliberations with my sister-in-law, I reinstated allowance in our home. The offspring now receive $3 a week—hey, Hubby and I used to receive 50 cents a week, so it’s an upgrade.

I instructed the children that they should save up for something special and not just fill our home with dollar store treasures (a.k.a. cheap junk). They had their eyes set on larger items until the cash started burning a hole in their pockets. They begged me to stop by the store in the midst of a million-things-to-do kind of day. They would not relent even though I tried to explain how much there was to do.

Much to their dismay we ran out of time and I ran out of energy—lugging the handful of kids around town.

So, I said that we would go the next day. I said it matter-of-fact, with every intent of it happening.

And then it didn’t.

I was achy from trying to do too much, the baby needed to eat, the toddler wouldn’t sleep, I couldn’t nap, and so on.

We ran out of time and steam.

I think there was steam coming out of the kids’ ears as I delivered the world-crushing news that we didn’t have time, again, to stop at the store.

They stomped, they screamed, and they called me a liar (more than once).

While their behavior was less-than-stellar, I felt guilty. I hadn’t mean to lie. It wasn’t my intent to not take them. Life happened and plans changed and flexibility and empathy were needed but not offered.

Mom, you always lie.

You say we’re going to do something and we don’t do it!

You are a liar.

I was mad about the unfair accusations but also convicted that often times I unintentionally don’t keep my word. I wanted to remedy the situation so I apologized for what I could.

Kids, I’m really sorry it didn’t work out to take you to the store. I did say that we were going to go, but I should have said something like, ‘We will try our best to go. Or we will most likely go. Or we’ll see if it works out.’ Will you forgive me?

I want my kids to trust me. I need to more careful when I hand out promises. I want them to believe my words.

It’s no fun to feel like a “liar, liar, pants of fire”.

I pleased to say the next day we went to the store, even though it still wasn’t convenient and we didn’t have very much time—but I kept my word and peace was restored.

Here are 3 ways to pursue peace instead of burning down walls of trust:

  1. Be realistic with what you can offer. Many times you might want to help others but when the time comes to make good on your promise, you are unable to fulfill it. It’s hard to know what life will look like months from now. Be careful that you are not ensnaring yourself with your words. Don’t use this as an excuse to be non-committal but ask God to help you be realistic with what you have time for in this present season. It’s easier to be able to help out when the times comes vs. letting someone down because you can’t make good on what you offered a long time ago.
  2. Don’t burn bridges. You want people to be able to trust you. Even if you’ve done something wrong unintentionally, go to the person and apologize for the way that you’ve let them down. Clear the air of offense and be willing to lay down the need to be right for the sake of the relationship (yeah, this one is really hard, but worth it). I’m not talking about issues of sin here, but letting go of the need to be top dog or have the upper hand. Try a little love and logic, like I do with our tween, I love you too much to argue.
  3. Protect the margins on your calendar. Has your summer been like ours? Many of our commitments were unavoidable, but we need to do a better job of protecting margins. When schedules are busting at the seams, frustration seeps out and peace is compromised. Take a look at the rest of the month. Are there any obligations or activities that can be eliminated or delegated? Make some room to breathe and protect your white space. Some seasons require more commitments than others, but make sure your norm isn’t like a hamster in a wheel—spinning round and round but going nowhere in particular. As we rest we communicate trust that God knew what He was doing when he instituted Sabbath.

So the next time $3 is burning a hole in my kids’ pockets, I don’t want to find my own pants on fire because I’m acting like a liar.

Let’s pursue peace with God and family by being true to the Word and keeping our word.

Let’s choose to apologize when we’ve lied and seek to make amends for the sake of our relationship with the Lord and others.

Let’s stop stuffing schedules to the brim and ask God to help us create margin so we can enjoy Him and be recharged.

Psalm 34:14 “Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.”

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Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

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20 Bible Verses to Help in Goal-Keeping

Goal-Keeping

Setting goals can be hard. Pick one too difficult and you have to contend with the fact you didn’t do it. Pick one too easy and you will be asking why you didn’t pick a real goal. Either way, you want to look back and know that you did great, gave it all and made a real and impactful life change.

How do you go about setting and keeping goals?
How do you pick things that God cares about?
And, what does God have to say about goals to begin with?

These are all questions that I ponder. I want to do what matters to him. I want to change the areas he wants changed. I want to know where I can love more and serve more and not pick some superfluous bag of new law that makes me more stressed and anxious and sinful than I was before.

If I am honest with you all, I don’t really know what new goal to pick. I figure the best way to get clarity is to get under the Lord’s authority and to see what he lays on my heart. I’ll seek his word, then seek his heart in prayer and he will be faithful to speak what he wants changed, not what man wants changed, my ambitions want changed or what vanity wants changed.

“Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light…” Ps. 37:4-6

20 Bible Verses To Think on When Setting Goals

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ” Psalm 37:4

“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Psalm 33:11

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” Psalm 118:8

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14

“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.” Proverbs 3:6

“All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.” Proverbs 13:16

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Pet. 3:18

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

 “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” Luke 14:28

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

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:27

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4

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6 Ways to Talk Like Jesus, Not Yourself

Talk Like Jesus

Like an inspector, I spot the clues that lead to wrong. I can see the details of the injury and I must find out who did it. I must know the who’s, what, why’s and when’s. If I know, it will add up to a greater picture to create a greater plan.  Then, I can really put my thinking cap on, add up the details and get busy with repairing what went wrong.

Ever been there?

Ever nodded your head yes to your inner inspector
believing your top cap holds all the rights to another’s wrongs?

Ever become the investigator,
the mediator
(and eventually the intimidator),

rather than the relater to pain?

Jesus models an image of perfect communication; while he never came across as a Mr. Fix it, fixing was naturally accomplished.

6 Ways to Effectively Communicate like Jesus:

1. Know who you are talking to, what they need and how to listen.

He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. Jo. 2:25
Know what is inside, outside, around and under a person, so you can see how to sit with, not preach to, a heart in need.

2. Understand that you could stand where that person stands.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Heb 4:15
There, but for the grace of God, go I.

3. Let the Spirit be the orchestrator of your words. Speak from God’s righteousness, verses your Godly righteousness.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Cor. 2:4-6
When leader, the confirmer and the sealer of Christ’s work, the Spirit, guides your words, your words become meaningful.

4. Believe in your words and your words will become believable.

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:28-29).
All the authority of Jesus Christ has been handed you to you for present day purposes – act like it.

5. Encourage others in life application of their faith – so they figure it out, without you figuring it out.

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. Lu. 8:32
You might be sending someone into a monsoon, but soon they’ll likely find God.

6. Ask questions and then ask more(from the depths of love). Questions lead people to their own answers.

Where is your faith?” Luke 8:25
When a person comes up with their own answer, they come up with their own plan of action, which will always work one hundred times better than ours. 

Rather than relying on our inspector and fixer habits, we can rely on the Savior’s and healer’s habits. In the end, our mouths will speak not answers and solutions, but a glorious “Amen”, “God is working” and “Yes, yes yes!”

Yes to a calm heart that understands the Master is the master over all problems.

Yes to a deeper faith that trusts God’s needed working space between the major problem and a hurting person.

Yes to insightful prayer that go to the altar, before going to the table of action plans, contracts and how-to’s.

Yes to expectancy at how God may show up to Shalom, or welcome, one into his family, his truth and his love.

Yes to truth, wild truth, spoken with wild belief that seems to test the yes intention of our own heart to all Godly intentions.

What happens is glorious and marvelous – we see the Lord at work. We see his ways prevail in another’s heart a million times better than our policies, procedures and programs could have ever reigned.

We see his glory fall – and one who sees glory – sees God.

And, what we find, oftentimes, is the other one with stronger faith in the end – is us.

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Linking with #LiveFreeThursday, #FiveMinuteFriday and #DanceWithJesus.

Protecting What God Loves Most in You

God Loves Most

There are voices that speak devastation, demolition and destruction to the temple of God.

Can you hear them?

Ordinary words that travel extraordinary distances to injure.
Words that cut deeper than a machete and further than a scalpel.
Ones that appear to rip the seams of God right out, if you let them.

They are ready steal your passion for bended knees, raised hands, and uplifted eyes. They charge into your face, yelling, “You little, …(fill in the blank.) You always…. You never…. You can’t….”

Maybe the voice isn’t even so loud, but the injury is.

Words a mile a minute – the pressure can seem inescapable. These declarations of powerlessness became my anthem song, they defined my ins and outs, my worth and value, and my hope and future.

Yet, God moves technology, just as he does our hearts and these old cassette songs became just that old – it was time for something that doesn’t take up so much space and without the weight. God gave me a new song.

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:17

My temple is sacred.

Am I protecting it? Am I keeping it strong guarded?

Sometimes you have to. People seem to come at you.

But I will encamp at my temple to guard it against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch. Zech. 9:8

The temple of God always was and always will be a monument God calls us to enforce.

As temple carriers, we must strong-guard it from foreign objects, set up to desecrate and devastate it’s beauty.

Remember Jesus in the temple? He flipped false goods, on their heads. Just the same today, he doesn’t want us accepting falsities or hyperboles about our self – in his house.

What have you let dwell in the temple of the most high God?

What labels, libels and litanies from years past still hang out?

What humiliation, intonations and accusations from today won’t leave?

What doesn’t start and end with God, usually starts and ends with shame. What stands outside his holy grounds, usually tries to force a way in to ransack his house.

God is a fan of forged walls, when they are ones that protect his sonship covenant with us – a covenant that always says: I love you. I am for you. I will not hold you – against you. I will rush back every time you call on my name.

When we let God’s promises become do what they were intended to do – protect, we no longer:

Push out godliness to usher in helplessness.
Wash out purity to welcome in fragility.
Remove honest humility to greet a faith disability.

God’s temple always waits to be our refuge, our safety, our barrier, our new confine, our hope, our insight, our wisdom, our future. We don’t need a magic ball, because we have the majesty of Christ’s Spirit in us.

The walls of God’s temple wrap us in love and fortify our hearts in truth. They continually confess our hope of glory. 

When atomic warfare is thrown at God’s temple, the temple that bears his name, we can take refuge under the bomb shelter of his love.

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov. 18:10

Softening the sharps and tuning up normal

softening up sharps

Post by: Christy Mobley

Proverbs 15:1  A soft word turns away wrath but harsh words stir up anger. (NIV)

I scurried into the store and  made a bee line for the customer service counter. It was the holiday season and I was in a hurry to find a specific gift.

There was one other lady standing beside the counter and several  customer service clerks meandering behind it. When I got to the counter one of the clerks immediately approached me and asked me if she could help. I no sooner got  the words, “I wonder if you could tell me where…,” out of my mouth before the woman standing beside me erupted into a soprano sounding hysteria. With sharp staccato inflections, she belted, “Is there something wrong with you? Can’t you see I’ve been waiting and you’re breaking in line? And… you’re taking my help!”

I felt the blood rush to my face and the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I glanced around and saw there was no line and plenty of help available. I have to admit my first reaction was to blast her right back with a big fat piece of my mind. But Someone bigger than me got the better of me. I almost couldn’t believe myself, when I turned to the clerk and asked softly, “Has anyone helped this woman? If not, will you help her?”

Someone bigger than me got the better of me.

Just as the key verse from Proverbs states,  the soft words I spoke turned away this woman’s wrath.

What made her act that way?  I suppose it could have been the holiday rush, too much to do on her to-do-list, or she might have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, but maybe, just maybe, what I witnessed was her normal.

I say that because thirty years ago she, might have been me. Because on many a day that was my normal.

I grew up in a family of yellers. Yelling doesn’t have to mean being loud. Yelling can refer to the tone of your voice as well.   Quick and sharp can sound harsh and brash.  I didn’t  necessarily like some of the tones played out  in my childhood but it was my normal. And you don’t change normal.

But God does.

In my early twenties, it was no coincidence that I married a peacemaker, my polar opposite, a man who could charm the skin off a snake.  Needless to say,  my often sharp and abrupt approach was a shock to his system. He would say to me, “Christy, the way in which you deliver a message is just as important as the message you deliver.”

The way in which you deliver a message is just as important as the message you deliver.

Those words gradually went from my head to my heart. While raising our two boys, and watching them grow, I was growing too  – spiritually. My deepest desire was for my boys to grow up to be godly men with gentle spirits. But whatever children see their parents do in moderation they will do in excess. It was then the Holy Spirit convicted my heart that if I was to be a brighter light I needed to have a softer voice.

Whatever we do in moderation our children will do in excess.

I needed to soften my sharp words and tune up my normal. To make this change I had to do 3 things, admit, commit, and submit.

1. Admit, I was a yeller. I had to admit my approach was often wrong.

2. Commit it to prayer. I couldn’t do this on my own, I needed to ask God for help.

3. Submit to accountability. Finally I had to have a few somebody’s to hold me to it. My boys were more than willing to oblige in that department.

Thanks be to God, He is still at work in me everyday changing me to be more like Him.

Today, I hope all my words will carry the sweet harmony of Jesus, whether it’s to family, friends, the bag boy at the grocery, the girl at the drive-through window,  or a hysterical woman in a department store.

What about you?  At the end of the day, don’t you want to be someone’s melody rather than their malady?

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Post by: Christy Mobley