Purposeful Faith

Beware! (You May Realize You’re Doing This)

I tried “God’s way” without results, so now I’ll do things my way. 

I couldn’t see this malignant heart-belief, but, certainly, it had taken root within me. God has let me down.

Amazingly, I wouldn’t have even recognized it, except I started judging someone, thinking, They’re striving by works, They’re so caught up in their mission, They’re missing the point.

God hit me back with love. Kelly, it is less about them, and far more about the heart-of-the-issue within you.  

Oh really, God??!!

But He was right… After all the prayer…  After all the giving… After all the believing… After all the seeking… All the hoping… All the wanting… All the pursuing… All the doing…

…God didn’t answer exactly how I thought He would.

Therefore, in the place of abiding, I started striving. Perhaps you are there today too.

You may be “there” if you feel:

1. God hasn’t yet shown up for you.

2. You get the sense you’re doing things wrong and have to fix them.

3. Nothing ever appears to change.

4. Greater is the mission God has for you than the work He is doing in you.

5. People are blockages to your goals.

Here, you may be saying, “The going has gotten tough, so the tough in me’s gotta to get going!”

But, daughter or son, beware. Work only toughens the skin around a heart; it never softens it. Additionally, it makes an idol out of impact.

You may, unknowingly or knowingly, be sliding into a works-mentality if:

1. You are becoming judgemental.

2. You are charting out your course, scheming “breakthrough” strategies, formulating outcomes, or believing organizational goals are your “breakthrough”.

3. You tell people what to do and how to do it.

4. You have a passive-aggressive or controlling approach.

5. If you find yourself less and less authentic with God and others.

6. You cannot receive love or help.

These are huge wake-up signs. They woke me up.

The reality is: God does show up. Today, I choose to cast off the lie that I am “in it” on my own, that God has forsaken me, that I fight my own battle and that I have to make people agree with me. Today, I receive the truth, that even when I do nothing, Christ has done everything. Today, I trust that even when I don’t “work” God is working all things out for my good. Today, I ask for forgiveness. Today, I delight in God’s perfect work within me. Today, I rest in love. Today, I trust His work to change others. Today, I make room for the leadings of the Spirit, verses the aspirations of Kelly. Today, I trust His timelines. Today, I breathe in the fresh air of God.

Check out my new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously! Learn how to stand strong and faithful during trials.

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

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Purposefully Faithful Friendship in Seasons of Sorrow

“What can I do to help?” my friend asked. “How can I be there for you?”

I was going through another foggy season of depression, struggling to get out of bed in the morning, unable to focus on tasks I normally enjoyed, and just not feeling like myself. Even though I wasn’t surprised my friend of over fourteen years posed the question, that didn’t make me any less grateful she was willing to ask.

It’s difficult to know how to support friends in their seasons of sorrow, especially if they’re going through disappointments, betrayal, and loss we haven’t experienced before. Thankfully, the Bible offers general principles for being a purposefully faithful friend in seasons of sorrow:

Be quick to listen and slow to speak {James 1:19}.

Proverbs 25:20 says, “Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda.” There are times when using words to address your friend’s pain is not only useless but causes more harm. When words are necessary, focus on acknowledging your friend’s pain or asking questions to better understand what they are going through. We live in a culture that values quick fixes, but some types of heartache are long-suffering or can’t be fixed, especially with words. Have faith enough that God will bring healing, understanding, peace or comfort in His perfect timing.

Pray without ceasing {1 Thessalonians 5:17}.

Your friend may feel so discouraged they don’t have the energy, words, or desire to pray. Remind them their pain and anxieties are still being lifted up to heaven by saying: “Even when you don’t know how to pray, I am praying for you.” And then pray for miracles. Pray for peace that passes understanding. Pray for beauty to be created out of the dark, ugly ashes of your friend’s sorrow. Pray Jesus will come back and wipe away your friend’s tears once and for all.

Contribute to their needs {Romans 12:13}.

Show up in your friend’s life in tangible ways. Bring them dinner, coffee, or a treat you know they love. If applicable, offer to babysit their kids for a couple hours, clean their house, or fold laundry. Instead of saying, “Let me know if you need anything,” offer something specific.

Let your love bear all things and endure all things {1 Corinthians 13:7}.

You don’t know when your friend’s pain will end. This is a hard truth that can make friendship in seasons of sorrow frustrating or downright awkward. But persevere, remembering there may come a time you will need them to be a purposefully faithful friend in your life.

In his book Lament for a Son, Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote, “In commanding us to love, God invites us to suffer.” Learning true compassion means being willing to walk alongside our friends in times of both laughter and tears.

***

Bio:

Kendra recently launched an online community called Mourning Companion to teach readers the lost language of lament and share advice for people supporting friends in seasons of sorrow. Follow along her ministry on Facebook and Instagram as @mourningcompanion. Kendra also enjoys writing about her everyday experiences of motherhood and neighboring on Facebook and Instagram as @kendrabroekhuis. She is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor. The book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize God’s love in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to share that love with her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with three of their children in the city of Milwaukee.

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Here-Goes-Nothing-Introverts-Reckless/dp/0718083261/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Website:

www.kendrabroekhuis.com

Facebook:

General writing page: https://www.facebook.com/kendrabroekhuisauthor/

Mourning Companion page: https://www.facebook.com/mourningcompanion/

Instagram:

@kendrabroekhuis

@mourningcompanion


The Prayer Coin

Post By: Elisa Morgan

We women are praying people. We can hardly help ourselves.  When we lose it and run out of patience – at 9am – already four hours into our day. Under our breath in a moment of frustration. For our friends and husbands and children so in need of hope and help. Over our troubled world. After a stunningly happy surprise. We pray.

And yet, we can find prayer baffling. At times, even unsatisfying. We wonder, does this make any difference? Is God listening? Will he answer? Why is he taking so long? Why do we feel so cut off from him? What if we’re praying in the wrong way?

Like a coin, prayer possesses two sides. We see this in how Jesus prayed. In the deepest hours of his personal life on this planet, in a garden the night before he went to die on a cross, Jesus prayed “Take this cup, yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Two specific prayers: First: Take this Cup. Then: Not my Will. Such a duality powerfully displayed in three of the gospel accounts, and mentioned in the fourth. Two sides of Jesus. Two sides of us. Two sides of prayer. The Prayer Coin.

When Jesus says, Take this Cup, that’s the honest side of the prayer. He reveals his own desire, “This is what I want.”

Then Jesus flips the coin, praying Not my Will, the side of abandon. Abandon is saying to God, “But what do you want, God?”

Notice that in between the two sides of honest and abandon is the word “yet” which forms the edge of the coin – a kind of pivot where we tip back and forth between each side, experiencing one side at a time: honest (what I want) – pivot – abandon (what do you want, God?) – pivot – honest – pivot – abandon.

Take this cup, yet not my will but yours be done.

The Prayer Coin.

I remember my heart beating a bit faster when I paused to take in this realization. It still steps up-tempo even now as I try to put this discovery into words. This prayer is quoted more than any other prayer in the Bible. Yet…(there’s that pivot!), have I ever prayed it? For myself? For those I love? Have you?

Is that even a “thing?” Do I dare consider praying this prayer? I mean, this was Jesus’ garden prayer. He prayed it in the last night of his earthly life. Before his heavenly Father. When he was in torture in the anticipation of death on a cross. Surely my circumstances will never match up to that.

Yet…(again!) in each of the gospel tellings, Jesus repeatedly invites his disciples into the prayer. That their exhaustion sends them to sleep instead is not the point. The point is that Jesus invited his first century disciples (and his twenty-first century disciples as well) to pray a daringly intimate prayer of simultaneous and opposite pleas.

Here – I’m holding out this Prayer Coin to you. Take it? Feel the weight of it as you turn it over and over in your palm. Honest. Abandon. Abandon. Honest.

Now, are you ready to try it out? This Prayer Coin that might just cash in a deeper faith for you?

First – be honest: What are you currently wanting, needing, desiring before God?

  • Maybe you’re concerned about your three-year-old. Is she using enough words for her age? Take this cup of delayed speech God!
  • Your husband isn’t super attentive – in fact, he’s hardly attentive at all and you’re wondering just why you married him. Take this cup of a lukewarm marriage God!
  • You look around at other women you know, all happy in their Pintresty friendships and you wonder what’s wrong with you. Take this cup of feeling so excluded God.

And after you’ve poured out what’s really in your heart, instead of saying what you think you’re supposed to say… try a pivot. Flip the prayer coin to the other side: abandon. What might you want for me Lord?

Abandon asks how far will you go to commit your wants, needs and desires to what God wants for you and your life?

  • Your daughter may need testing – expensive testing – in order to determine her need. I’m willing to sacrifice my coffee money. Not my will, God.
  • Your husband may come from a family where affection was doled out in tiny sips rather than generous doses. I’ll reach out to him rather than insisting he change for me. Not my will God.
  • Women around you may be just as lonely as you are. I’ll go first and risk rejection in order to see if friendship is possible. Not my will God.

And then in each need, back again to honest. Then a pivot to abandon. Again and again, all the while learning more and more about what you really want and what God wants as well.

Prayer is like a coin. On one side is honest: the freedom to be ourselves in relationship with God. On the other side is abandon: the calling to yield to his desires in our lives and in our world. We spend prayer best, like a coin, with the currency of both sides: honest and abandon. Pivoting from one to another. Flipping first one then intentionally turning to other to allow one side to influence the other.

As you do, you’ll journey deeper in your relationship with God, who uses both sides of prayer to draw us closer to him, just as he did in a garden long ago with his Son.

BIO:

Elisa Morgan is an author and speaker.

Her latest book is The Prayer Coin: Daring to Pray with Honest Abandon. Her other books include The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could.

Elisa is the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Connect with Elisa at www.elisamorgan.com, @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.

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Someone needs this post right now…

12 Power-Prayers

I am sending this out right now because I felt, after prayer, that someone needs these prayers to help them where they are right now. Someone is in a struggle and does not know what to do. Someone can’t see from here to where they hope God will take them. Someone is crying. Someone has hands in their head right now. Someone doesn’t believe they can make it through.

Let me assure you of some things:

  1. Every prayer you pray counts.
  2. Every prayer you pray is heard.
  3. Every prayer you pray is powerful.
  4. Every prayer you pray is handled by God.
  5. Every prayer you pray moves the needle in your life.

Do not doubt. Believe and pray. God has something special for you in this day. This is why this email is going out at a random hour on a random day. Receive this message from Him to you. Circle the prayers that will help you.

Rescuing God is coming to rescue some of you right now. Some big prayers will be answered. I trust Him to save you.

Love, Kelly

Here are 12 Power-Prayers Sourced from Paul:

  1. “God, I thank you for others. Even when I can’t understand them, I want to love them. Help me be uniter not a divider.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3–6)

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. (Romans 1:8–10)

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Eph. 1:15)

We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. (Col. 1: 9-10)

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2–3)

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. . . . (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6) 

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:16-18)  

2. “God, may all come into a loving, knowing and abiding relationship with you.”

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 5–7)

3. “God, fill me with your goodness. Through this, may your name be glorified.”

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  (Romans 12:12)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 215–23)

For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thess. 3:13)

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 1:11-12)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

4. “May the power of Jesus Christ continually fill me with joy, grace, peace and hope, in believing, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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)

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. (1 Corinthians 16:23)

We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:9–14]

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

5. “May my heart continually pursue you. May I hear, understand and uncover all you have to say to me through your Word and in prayer. Give me the words and wisdom I so desperatly need.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:2-4)

I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Romans 15:30-33)

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19-20)

6. “God, you are the fullness of all I desire, want, hope for and need. Come and be my everything.”

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 have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. . . . (Ephesians 1:3)

7. “I lack no good thing, Father God. Thank you for everything.”

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way— in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has give you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:12-15)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Phil. 4:6-7)

8. “God, as Healer, please heal me. I trust you will complete the good work you’ve begun.”

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take (thorn in flesh) away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Cor. 12: 8-9)

9. Father, mold me, make me and fashion me into your likeness. May I not hate the process you have, but delight in the journey of doing it with you.”

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. [Philippians 1:9–11

Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. [2 Corinthians 13:7–9]

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. [1 Thessalonians 5:23–24]

10. “God, may I come to know, trust and understand what your grace is.”

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. [Galatians 6:18]

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. [Philippians 4:23]

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. [1 Thessalonians 5:28]

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. [2 Timothy 4:22]

Grace be with you all. [Titus 3:15b]

11. “May you protect me and those I love. Strengthen us too.”

And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. [2 Thessalonians 3:2–5]

12. “God, you are the giver and all you give to me is good. I thank you.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. [1 Timothy 1:12]

 


A Life-Transforming Prayer

A prayer based on Psalm 139:

Lord, your love searches me. It desires to know everything about me. It ministers to the depths that I hide from you.  I can’t believe you desire to see me – to really know me. You want me. My thoughts are like an open book to you. You read me not to criticize me or to size me up, but to know me.

Who am I that you should think of me? But still, you do. Who am I that you should care about my little small and unseen ways? But still, you do. I can’t comprehend why you’re so good to me, but still, you are.

With all the millions and billions of people…when I think of all them – and when I think of you – I feel small. There are far too many daughters for you to care about – and to still consider me. But, you do. You are intimately aware of every thought I have, every movement I make, and every word about to come out of my mouth. How can you really love me like this?

I confess, God, that sometimes it is hard to believe that you really love me. I confess God, it is hard to believe that you really – day-in-day-out, want me. It is hard to believe you have the capacity to love this way.  And, still, you do. My conception of you does not limit you. Even this, proves your greatness. You are amazing. Forgive me for my unbelief. Give me fresh faith to trust, rely and fall back on your love.

The reality is: it’s not my work that earns your love, but Jesus’ finished work that paid for it.

I can let go of the pressure to perform for you. Jesus gave it all, did it all and continually does it all for me.

I can let go of a mind that tries to figure out why you love me. Christ is in me. How could you not love your own son?

I can let go of thought I continually offend you. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus; you see His righteousness in me.

I can let go of the past that plagues my thoughts. If the tomb is empty of shame, guilt, and condemnation, shouldn’t also my mind be? You’ve fought for and secured resurrection life.

I can let go of the inkling that I have nothing to offer people. The Holy Spirit, a heavenly deposit of the fullness of God is in me. You can do far more than I even think I can.

I can let you in. I can let you know me. You aren’t coming to shame me, to hurt me, to criticize me, to embarrass me or to haunt me. You’re coming to love me. You’re coming to let me know how you care. You’re coming to make me aware of all you’ve done and the deep life-impacting significance of it all.

God, show me what I keep from you, so I can really know you. God, show me what keeps me far, so I can get closer to your ways. God, show me how I am terrified of intimacy so I can intimately and authentically seek you.

When I say I want you above all else, I really do.

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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Take Some Rest for Your Soul Today

I like to work hard. I figure, the more stuff gets done, the better off I’ll be. The more accomplished I’ll feel. The more restful I can be later.

Working makes me feel good. Until I read a verse like this:

“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Ps. 127:1)

God says:
my work = vanity
my safeguarding = a waste.

My hard-working is often toiling, when done apart from God. I either tire out or I steal glory from God when I believe it’s “my doing”.

I remember when the disciples returned from a trip. They said, “Hey Jesus, we cast out all kinds of demons. They even obeyed us when we threw out your name. We nailed it out there! We rocked it.” (Luke 10:17, kind-of)

Jesus wasn’t as enthused. He replies, “Don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered as citizens of heaven.”

They rejoiced because of their doing.

Jesus wanted them to rejoice because of their belonging.

There’s a ravine-sized difference between the two – doing and belonging. One, aims to prove its worth to God. The other aims to enjoy its worth from being with God. One is tiring. The other is refreshing. One is empty. The other is eternal. One is self-oriented, the other is self-giving. One knows where it lives, thinks and derives confidence from: heaven. The other knows where it works, strives and toils from: earth.

Citizens of heaven know the fullness of God is behind them, so they don’t have to fully devote themselves to doing things their not called to. They permit the power of God to move in. This changes everything. Because those “who know” they’re citizens, like children, let God bring heavenly answers to their earthly problems.

They trust the God of all might to move. And, He does.

Where do you need the God of all might to move? Might you consider seeing yourself as a citizen of the most royal, the most equipped, the most powerful kingdom ever, rather than simply as a worker out in the field of the world? It will change everything.

Battle Ready  is a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You’ll gain practical wisdom, like how to

· make new habits stick in just five steps
· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women
· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts
· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace
· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters

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

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3 Ways You May Stifle God

hoooLast night, I had a dream. My tarp, the one set up next to the swimming pool, was falling down. It turns out I was turning the screws the wrong direction. Now, the hooks were unfastening and the whole covering had too much slack and was coming undone. The evil person was now going to win.

This dream made me consider all the ways things are about to fall apart in my life.

Maybe you feel this way too: like things are unfastening. Like you are not going to win. Like evil may get ahead of you.

I gleaned an important message from my dream: when, from God’s Spirit, our attention departs, things tend to fall apart. Here, we push the wrong way. We move through life by the limitations of our natural mind. We get frustrated by halted goals. We pulsate with anger because God didn’t come through.

We cannot “force” something by works and at the same time believe God, not by sight. The two are as polar as opposites.

I don’t want to push in the wrong direction. Do you?

Let’s avoid stifling God. Here are 3 main ways we may be doing so: 

1. Fear.

The second we move away from love, we live in fear. Just as you can’t live in Antartica and find tropical weather, you can’t live in fear and dwell easily in love. If you feel your heart consumed with worry, anxiety or the sense God is far and unavailable, return back to daddy.

Return back to the truth that: You are loved. God is with you. He will not fail you. He has done the miraculous before, and certainly, He can do it again.

2. Works.

We are trained to think: He/she who works harder, lives better; the person with the most schooling, gets the best job; practice makes perfect.

God’s economy doesn’t run like ours. Rest in God is often the formula to renewal in the Spirit. And, renewal in the Spirit is the currency of life, peace, joy, hope, direction, fullness and purpose. If there is no life apart from the Spirit, there’s certainly death by works. We all know this: we’ve had moments of feeling overwhelmed, over-tired and over-it.

God honors works, when done from the right heart. Yet, they ring empty, shallow and lifeless – especially when we do them out of religious obligation or shame.

3. Attention Deficit Issues.

If we can not attend our minds to God, we will pay no attention to Him.

I know what it is to have attention problems: I look here, there and everywhere. I see a whole world at play, but at the same time – I see nothing. I see so much, but I have no focus.

The same thing happens when we let the world take center stage. We see the talking heads politicizing, we see the cars moving down the street at 65 miles an hour, we see the to-do list, we see the text messages coming in a mile/min. But, what we do not see or hear is God.

We’ve allowed so much to crowd in, we’ve crowded out the Spirit’s voice, nudges, and revelations.

I am guilty of all of the above; this is why I write about it. Yet, I am also, today, choosing to renew my mind, by praying this: Father, I have turned the wrong way. I have turned away from God. Forgive me. I am going nowhere. I am spinning my wheels. I want to return back to your loving arms. I want to know the way to go: to life. Thank you for forgiving me, for restoring me and renewing me. Holy Spirit, fill me afresh. Amen.

With a clear heart and a ready Spirit, I am now ready to:

1. Cling to God’s promises

2. Dwell on truth, life, and hope.

3. Attune my ear to listen.

4. Be attentive to the Spirit’s promptings.

5. Spend time with God, before I do work on my own stuff.

6. Rest in God.

7. Expect the best from a God who loves me.

8. Ask God what to do next.

9. Give thanks.

10. Lift all glory right back to God.

What about you? Do you feel full of peace and life or are you running on empty or spinning your wheels? Why not turn back to the Spirit of life?

 

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5 Prayers for Breakthrough

Consider how a good parent equips a child…

We don’t send our children to school without their supplies on the first day of school. Nor do we send them to lunch without a brown bag. That would be cruel. In fact, when we find out there’s a kid that is picking on them on the playground, we don’t put them back out on the playground without a strategy. Why? Because we are parents. Parents equip children with the tools they need to succeed.

God equips us the same. As a good Father, He gives us a vital tool: prayer.  With prayer, we don’t stand weaponless on the battlefield. We don’t stand nearly naked and waiting for the onslaught. No. Instead, we stand armed with the ability to ask for everything we need.

God wants to send us into our day, ready and thus the reason why He tells us to pray at all times, regularly and honestly.

We are told to pray, because:

1. God hears our prayers.
2. Our prayers work.
3. God answers prayers.

Yet, we must realize:

1. It is not always on our timeline.
2. The prayer may be answered, but not as we originally demanded.
3. Gods’ ways are always higher, more intricate, and far more detailed than ours.

One of the most important components of being battle ready is being prayer-full. Do you know how to pray?

Here are 5-short breakthrough prayers I’ve seen work miracles in my life:

1. God, I can’t, but you can. So, please come and help me.

Once we realize the battle is not ours to win, we clear way for the Lord to win on our behalf. Usually, it is about us getting out of the way, so the Spirit of God can move in, with power and strength.

2. Pour out on me the Spirit of wisdom, revelation, and understanding.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5 NIV)

3. God, will you increase my faith?

“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” (Mk. 11:23NIV)

4. God, give me the power to understand “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” for me? (Eph. 3:18)

Once we see how deep God’s love goes, the more we’ll understand the lengths He’ll go to help us. The Spirit will lead us into these depths if we make time to hear and understand what He is saying.

5. God, will you strengthen me by “your glorious power”? (see: Colossians 1:9-14)

When God gives strength, it shifts problems, attitudes, misaligned perceptions and strongholds right out of the way. God’s power doesn’t leave us powerless, defenseless…

…or weaponless.

We are not a lone soldier on a chaotic bullet-zipping battlefield. God hands us the weapon of all weapons, prayer, to effect powerful change. Change that silences every enemy, shuts down every opponent and stalls the horrific chariots coming to our direction. Trust in it.

Don’t look at the war; look at Jesus. His bigger, better and is roaring like a lion. Nothing can stand against Him. Take heart, Christ has overcome the world.

(Book image is attached & Kelly Pic) 

 

BIO: Kelly Balarie is the author of the book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously. 

Battle Readyis a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You’ll gain practical wisdom, like how to

· make new habits stick in just five steps
· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women
· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts
· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace
· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters

 

Kelly Balarie, an author and national speaker, is on a mission to encourage others not to give up. Through times of extreme testing, Kelly believes there is hope for every woman. She shares this hope on her blog, Purposeful Faith, and on many writing publications such as Relevant, Crosswalk, and Today’s Christian Woman. Kelly’s work has been featured on The Today Show, 700 Club Interactive, Moody Radio and other television and radio broadcasts.

 

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

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The Blessing of Being Ready

By: Kelly Balarie

I was in the waiting room for the MRI. All that was going through my mind was thoughts of, This is horrible. I am never going to survive. I am not going to be able to walk. There is no way out of this. I will be scared to death in that loud machine. I hate needles and they’ll put one in me.

All I could see there was me. It was me and my problems. Me and my trauma. Me and all the horrible pain that was ahead of me.

Add this to the fact that I was a new mom. My kid had been up screaming all night long. I had been pacing the hallway with him. I had been the one trying to hug him all day long as he screamed his head off. I think he had acid reflux.

I also had a mole that needed to be taken off my chest. We didn’t know if it was cancerous. The doctor gauged my chest. The scar still remains.

Did anyone ever tell you that we have an enemy that roams around like a sneaky, conniving villain in the night, searching out ways to steal, kill and destroy?

He’s likely come after you.

But, may I tell you? Battle Ready women, built up in the Lord, strong in their mind – those who renew their thoughts – know something that others don’t.

They know: It doesn’t matter what the enemy does; It matters what Jesus did.

You see, above our problems, our mayhem, our issues, our dents and dings of life, is a victorious King who reigns and rules. He sees everything. He knows our every tear. He sees our every way. He is a help in a time of trouble. He is our refuge and our strength. He is our way and our life.

He is Overcomer. He is Victorious. He is equipping us with all we need to fight the good fight today. We are not crushed, ruined or abandoned, we are raised up with Christ Jesus in the heavenlies.

Jesus brings resurrection life no matter what situation we’re in. Battle Ready women are not driven by their wide-ranging emotions but by heartfelt dedication to God’s truth, His promises and His purposes. This changes everything.

Rather than seeing the issue, they see the Provider. Rather than seeing the MRI, they begin to see the other woman in the room that they can minister to. This happened to me. I lifted my head there and got to know a woman with bone cancer. She was in so much pain. I prayed for her before she went into her MRI. I told her about Jesus.

How can you do this in the heat of your battle? Here are some ideas?

1. Ask God for his view of your situation.

2. Look around you and see the needs of others.

3. Talk with other people who are struggling. Understand their pain.

4. Pray for yourself, but also things that extend beyond yourself.

5. Ask God for breakthrough.

6. Give thanks.

7. Praise God’s Victorious name.

 

About Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt & Live Victoriously

 

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5 Tools To Help In Hard Moments

By: Kelly Balarie

She didn’t so much as say hi to me. In fact, even worse, she walked right past me, looking the other direction. She pretended I wasn’t there. Hmph!! After all I’ve done for her. After all I’ve given her. After how I’ve gone out of my way to love her. 

Now I’m the one left looking like a crazed waving-at-the-air fool.  Like – an idiot.

humph at her husband along the way to my church seat. Silently, I critique her in my mind, She’s rude. Before not too long, I get side-tracked by own thoughts: Everyone always hurts me. Like that boy, I asked to dance in 4th grade. Like those girls who circled up to whisper about me in that damp locker room. Like the group of women who act like they’re far better than me.

I’m supposed to be listening in church, but who can listen, thinking about all this, all them!?

Here, I find myself, in the heat of a horrible battle. You can always tell if you’re in the heat-of-a-battle. Almost instantly, your soul-crushing problem magnifies 100x larger than your promise-keeping God. Suddenly, you’re standing weaponless, in all-out combat within your own mind. Hardly able to win.

Ever been there?

I’ve struggled through a lot – through massive health-scares, depression, an eating disorder, financial debt and relationship-severing dramas. Battles. Huge, hard-fought battles, loaded with momentary decisions of pain, struggle and uncertainty.

I remember the time:

1. The doctor returned to the room with the clipboard saying, “You really might have Mulitple Sclerosis.”
I thought: How do I keep my thoughts close to God with this kind of news?

2. My colicky newborn made me pace my hallways 24-7. Sleepless, hardly-thinking and powerless to change my health-situation, I didn’t know what to do.

I thought: How do I still love people when my whole life is unraveling?

3. A family member called me to say I really should get on setting up long-term care for myself.

I thought: How do I deal with the fact all my dreams will now look different than I thought?

Through all this, I realized, real wisdom is having a battle-plan.

Let’s talk about Christ-centered battle-plan preparedness. Begin by asking yourself: What am I currently facing?

Identifying your main struggles (resentment, regret, trauma, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, fear) is to allow God to help you win your battle. For example, for me, underneath that issue with the girl, was an old war full of rejection, humiliation, and abandonment from years past. Underneath, were old battles I’d lost – because they were left unaddressed. Therefore, they left me with resentment towards God.

Seeing our battles for what they are, gives us a clear-cut strategy to fight – and win.  It also removes all the pent-up offenses that, like plaque, cover our heart.

What about you? Do you emotionally respond to happenings set before you or do you wisely act based on God’s Word and promises?

Today, you can fight your battle a new way. Consider:

1. Asking God what feelings of fear, worry, anger, resentment, neglect and hurt He desires you give to him.

2. Giving those hurts to Jesus, by saying, “Jesus, I am not meant to carry these. Forgive me. They’ve hurt me for far too long. I know and believe you have peace, joy, life and freedom for me as I give you these things.”

3. Blessing any women who have hurt you.

4. Reframing your moments of hurt. (Example: when she passed by me quickly, she was probably was in a rush, she might have had something to do or she lost in thought)

5. Returning to a heart of love. (Example: Thank you God that you love me and I can love others. In fact, I can love the very person who hurt me by ___.)

This is the start of being Battle Ready. There truly are practical insights, wise biblical instructions and truths that can help you rise above the mayhem of trials and hardships. You can find the light of Christ and step into all God has for you.

The victory belongs to the Lord. Isn’t it time you began to make room for it?

 

About Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt & Live Victoriously

“The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us. We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!”

Lysa TerKeurstNew York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Battle Ready is a hands-on scriptural plan that teaches you twelve easy-to-implement, confidence-building mind-sets designed to transform your thoughts and, therefore, your life. You’ll gain practical wisdom, like how to

· make new habits stick in just five steps
· disarm the seven most common attacks that plague women
· exchange self-limiting thoughts for purpose-driven, love-releasing thoughts
· implement thirty-second mind-lifters that deliver peace
· create boundaries so you live life full of what matters

Buy Battle Ready here: https://amzn.to/2l5qQrw

To get Battle Ready freebies – printables, devotional reminders, a customizable daily Battle Plan and the “Find Your Battle Style” quiz, visit: www.iambattleready.com

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