Purposeful Faith

Acts of Kindness Matter

Acts of Kindness Matter

There is power in the unseen acts of a friend.

Not so long ago, I had been delivered soul-crushing news.
News that gave me a new revelation of the past.
News that made me wonder if I was still good, worthy and valuable.

It made me see myself in a new light. It was I-don’t-know-if-I-can-handle-it type news.

I knew God says, “They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:23)

But, did God really have faithfulness stored in this?

It seemed this news, this turmoil, and this trouble now excluded me from His promises.

Attempting to push past feelings, I called out to God with all my heart, saying, “Come Lord. Save me in this situation. Heal me and help me.”

Shockingly, as I drove up my driveway later that morning, something caught my eye. A white as snow gift-wrapped box leaned against my garage door.

I couldn’t find a name, but when I opened it and was awe-struck with its contents. What it contained inside changed my entire perspective.

It was as if the very heart of God was delivered to me in a box. It was as if a giant hug and a note of his faithfulness was sent.

Inside lay a picture frame with the words, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14)

These words were the exact message that I needed; they healed my heart and spoke to the depths of my pain.  I was touched by God, but I was so deeply touched by the love poured out by a friend.

She had been used as an angel of God that day.
She never sought recognition or acclaim.
She had no idea of my pain, but did a nice act all the same.

What she probably doesn’t know is that this act meant all the difference. It changed my vision. 

It wasn’t about her recognition or acclaim. She had no knowledge regarding my issue – but, all the same, she offered a gesture of love. Love that was sacrificial, that took her time, that used her money, but that healed a heart.

I was brought to my knees. I was touched. I felt so loved.

I don’t know who this woman is. I may never know. But, what I do know is that God has special rewards for her in heaven. I also know that she taught me a lesson in friendship that day.

She makes me wonder:

Do I go out of my way to make small acts of love?
Do I give my time and money intentionally?
Do I see the friend who is likely hurting?
Do I shower them with advice or do I love them under the radar?

This friend inspires me to love through the power of God. Because friends are often the messengers of God’s faithfulness. I want to deliver Jesus’ messages.

Small acts of kindness do matter and love does conquers all. Friends are the best vehicles for his love, mercy and grace. They drive his truth home in our hearts.

Small acts of kindness matter; they completely transform lives.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” – C.S. Lewis

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Get Rid of Jealousy (Link-up)

Get Rid of Jealousy Once and For Al

CLICK HERE  TO LISTEN (2)

I could only see the distance God took her.

The places she was set to go.

The open doors she got to walk through;
they same ones that slammed shut in my face. 

The must-have-been joy all on her face
as comments galore flooded her blog.

I could taste the sourness in my mouth
and feel the irritation well up in my heart.

She had everything and I walked away with nothing.

I used to be this kind of girl. The kind of girl that wanted only me to succeed. The kind of girl who couldn’t deal with the success of others. I really hate to say it – because it’s embarrassing to see this always in turmoil, always watching, never happy girl.

Jealous girl. Greedy girl. Needy girl.

I have fought this girl time and time again. I have told her to take a hike. I have told her she is wrong. I have told her she is ungodly.

She normally didn’t care much because she always returned. Despite my best attempts to push her underground, to pretend she didn’t exist – that dang girl kept haunting me.

But, one day, God prompted my heart to make one small change. And, oh my goodness, I just praise him that I listened.

Because this one small step of obedience changed the entire terrain of my heart. It’s as if this one step of obedience invited a landscaper in to level everything. His work left my mouth dropped.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)

When God calls us to untraveled, unlevel places of faith, he brings us there to transverse the most astounding, the most astonishing and the most breathtaking terrain of our lives. Terrain that leaves us charged to go to new places.

We leave knowing it was his work, because in this place, we got to behold his glory, perceive his beauty and witness his loyalty. We leave, perceiving life from a different perspective. Our soul is compelled to go new distances and new places.

It feels like the Israelites as they muster the courage to step into our promised land. We get faithful and then he brings us there.

He did this for me.

He called me to more.

He asked me to leave comparison behind.

To wave goodbye to inadequacy.

And to begin encouraging and uplifting.

As I did this, my dry desert heart began to sink away and an amazing thing replaced it.

The more I encouraged my fellow bloggers through
the #RaRalinkup, the more my heart was replenished.

The more I saw each person’s pain and hardships,
the more my heart softened.

The more I lifted another up,
the more my love grew for them.

The more I felt a heart uplifted,
the more mine was.

The more I saw their love for God,
the more I wanted them to succeed.

Christ’s love was taking over.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 Jo. 4:18)

Each step of love, is a step towards life. Each step of encouragement, is a step towards excitement. Each step of faith is a step towards something greater than me and loftier than my sole vision.

God has opened my eyes up to the power of his body – a body working together in unison.

Rather than rallying against them, we rally together on Twitter and the blogosphere in the name of Christ. There is no fear in love. We are so much more effective as a whole than as a part. I see God accomplishing big Kingdom-work through this group of women.

Together we are powerful.

God pushed me to encourage. Now, I only want the best for these women I once envied. I delight in their successes and mourn at their losses – authentically. I truly want God to take each one of them to his greatest heights. I delight in cheering for them. I want to help them.

What a transformation. Am I always perfect, no, but who is? But, I am 99% changed.

I praise God because he is the great Transformer. He is always ready to lead us to more. The question is – are we listening? I saw how one small prompting could open a floodgate of love and change a heart completely.

So, it inclines my heart to wonder, what other small things is he speaking? Am I missing them?
How is he calling me to greater love?
Because I have learned, when he calls us somewhere it will stagger us.

When we let God in, he truly changes the landscape of our heart. He works and reworks everything that is out of place. When we get rid of jealousy, we see God’s beauty.

A Note to the #RaRalinkup Linkup Team,
My heart beats for what makes your heart beat. Thank you for teaching me true love. God has used you mightily in my life. I am forever grateful. You encourage me more than I could ever begin to encourage you.

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Surrender Gives Freedom

Control

Today, in a rare instance, I am opening up my blog to a guest poster. She is excited to get her book out into the world, “My 30-Day Journey to a Fulfilled Life.” Welcome Ifeoma! More details on her book here.

Post by Ifeoma Ezitonye-Samuel  

The harder I worked, the more pressured and tense I became.

Cracking, under the pressure of doing things my way, I was slipping into disappointment.

The harder I fought, the more difficult the situation became.

I was focusing too much on me.

This New Year was supposed to be about me!
My goals and not anyone else’s! Selfish? Maybe.

If you have ever given up your personal desires you understand my shoes. If you have laid down your time, efforts and sacrificed your space and comfort for others, then you can relate to my thoughts.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (2 John 3:16)

You see, everything was tilted – towards me – and in my mind I had the right to justify my actions. I acted defensively.

Until God reminded me of this scripture:

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (Hebrews 6:10)

So I struggled within me to surrender my selfish intentions.
Saying, Lord, I want “me-time”.  I have been handling everyone’s business.

When am I going to handle mine?

Can I get on with my own business without
receiving your nod of approval?

And God answered.

He showed me that he doesn’t cheat his people.
He will never use you, only to discard you when he is done.
He rewards every labor in the vineyard.

You see, I can’t control what happens in my day
but I can choose to commit my day into His unfailing hands.

Does this mean we don’t set plans?

The truth is: God’s counsel will stand regardless of our plans.

We all want things to go the way we plan, but God’s way of settling issues in our lives may be very different, more profitable and even peaceful than we ever considered.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The moment I start to control, I remember that God is in charge and not me. This gives me the peace required for that situation. I am free from the burden of control.

We experience freedom
when we yield to His counsel for our lives.

Prayer:

Lord, help me to surrender to your will for my life.
Heavenly Father, I enjoy peace and freedom from yielding my life to you in Jesus Name.

Do you ever struggle to yield yourself to God’s agenda for your life?

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When Excuses Rule

When Excuses Rule

Being a good mom is hard work.
It means being patient, kind and loving.
It means not pulling my hair out when I can’t get one second alone.
It means not having a second to do one little task without being tackled.
It means answering the same question, in the same way, for the 100th time.

Motherhood takes will power to be good.

Many times, I just don’t have it. But, I pretend I do. So, I load myself up with a lot of excuses to make my insides not feel like my outsides.

I try to tell myself – any mom, would get annoyed!

“Moms look at their cell phones all the time.”
“It’s natural to want to hide when things get tough.”
“If they would act right, I would too.”
“At least I am better than the worst time.”
“I did that because they have to learn how to act right.”

Excuses are funny.

Aren’t excuses really just little sweet lies covered with a smile?
They’re chocolate on the outside, yet have arsenic on the inside.

Crutches that keep us in sin?
We walk with them, but we stumble over ourself again and again never really getting anywhere.

Hinderances to our recovery?
We try to look fully recovered, but we don’t let God heal.

I am tired of barriers. Barriers just block us out for God’s great promised land of joy waiting for us. Every time. They. Block. Us. Out.

With this, on this very good day, this very good day that cost one so much. I plead with God to help me take down all the boundaries that keep me from him.

I am humbled at the thought of him.

One who walked the road to Calvary with no excuses.
One who could have said, “Why should I die for those sinners, I am so much better than that.”
Or “I’m not doing a thing for them, for who have mocked me, tormented me and beat me.”

But, he didn’t utter excuses at the cross.

Instead he carried our load, he carried our cross, he endured the shame and the pain and didn’t run the other way. He took it all so that we could take our place next to him in heaven. 

He is entirely good. No pretenses. No facades. No excuses. Simply good.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

I praise God that he is good. Because in him, I am good too. I am released from all excuses and free to accept his free grace. My inadequacies are covered.

No excuse is every required, because whatever it is I am trying to excuse is already covered. In this, I am free to bring everything to him without shame, without regret and with a humble heart. In his hands, he will change my ways and help me to be more than myself.

The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. (Ps. 145:9)

Free grace is continually poured out due to his goodness. Abundant love is always being extended due to his sacrifice. My life will never be the same; he marked all days as “good enough”. My days are forever changed.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Ps. 136:1)

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Today I join #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.


Wanting to be More

Wanting to Be More

Have you ever tried to be better than yourself – for God?
Have you ever tried to win him over by your acts of goodness?

I have.

I hate to say it, but I have totally tried to be the good girl, the impressive one. You know, the one who everyone says, “Wow, that girl has it all together.”

Even today, I tried my absolute hardest with my husband. He had told me what he needed and I was going to SO impress him. I was going to show him who’s boss! Who was “on it”!

Except for one thing, I’m not boss – God is.  Sometimes, I need some reminders.

So, even though I stood ready to show off, in the end, all I ended up showing off was a wounded ego.

I fell down. I messed up again.

So often, the fact of the matter is that my best efforts are simply – bad. My best efforts lead me to confront my worst fears as devastation overwhelms me. It’s almost like I was expecting a blockbuster show, but ended up with a meaningless charade. My heart feels empty and my best efforts worthless.

“…and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Is. 64:6)

The prideful do fall. (Prov. 16:8)

Was God teaching the arrogant one who is boss?
Does God look down on me and chide me for who I am?

Does he look and say, “There she goes again, that Kelly, she can’t ever just trust me.”?
“She can’t ever do anything right. Sure, I love her, but really, get it together girl!”

When I immerse Word of God, I see he doesn’t condemn me – and he doesn’t condemn you either.

He sees more than a problem child.
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Eph. 1:5)

He sees more than a weak failure of a person.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… (Ps. 139:14)

He sees higher than our continual mess-ups.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Is. 55:8)

He sees farther than our painful past – straight into a fresh future.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! (Isaiah 43:19)

He offers us abundant power that far transcends our largest limitations.
He offers help and humility that conquers our greatest barriers.
He offers hope that leaves us the opposite of hopeless.

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)

We have extraordinary power – in Christ. He has poured his authority all over us. His power transcends mistakes, the past and circumstances. All through God, all the time, all the days, all weaknesses fade away and all love pours down on us from high.

Will we choose to see it? To embrace it? To live in his power? Or, will we live wishing God had given us something more?


Wanting to be More

Wanting to Be More

Have you ever tried to be better than yourself – for God?
Have you ever tried to win him over by your acts of goodness?

I have.

I hate to say it, but I have totally tried to be the good girl, the impressive one. You know, the one who everyone says, “Wow, that girl has it all together.”

Even today, I tried my absolute hardest with my husband. He had told me what he needed and I was going to SO impress him. I was going to show him who’s boss! Who was “on it”!

Except for one thing, I’m not boss – God is.  Sometimes, I need some reminders.

So, even though I stood ready to show off, in the end, all I ended up showing off was a wounded ego.

I fell down. I messed up again.

So often, the fact of the matter is that my best efforts are simply – bad. My best efforts lead me to confront my worst fears as devastation overwhelms me. It’s almost like I was expecting a blockbuster show, but ended up with a meaningless charade. My heart feels empty and my best efforts worthless.

“…and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Is. 64:6)

The prideful do fall. (Prov. 16:8)

Was God teaching the arrogant one who is boss?
Does God look down on me and chide me for who I am?

Does he look and say, “There she goes again, that Kelly, she can’t ever just trust me.”?
“She can’t ever do anything right. Sure, I love her, but really, get it together girl!”

When I immerse Word of God, I see he doesn’t condemn me – and he doesn’t condemn you either.

He sees more than a problem child.
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Eph. 1:5)

He sees more than a weak failure of a person.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… (Ps. 139:14)

He sees higher than our continual mess-ups.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Is. 55:8)

He sees farther than our painful past – straight into a fresh future.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! (Isaiah 43:19)

He offers us abundant power that far transcends our largest limitations.
He offers help and humility that conquers our greatest barriers.
He offers hope that leaves us the opposite of hopeless.

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)

We have extraordinary power – in Christ. He has poured his authority all over us. His power transcends mistakes, the past and circumstances. All through God, all the time, all the days, all weaknesses fade away and all love pours down on us from high.

Will we choose to see it? To embrace it? To live in his power? Or, will we live wishing God had given us something more?


Wanting to be More

Wanting to Be More

Have you ever tried to be better than yourself – for God?
Have you ever tried to win him over by your acts of goodness?

I have.

I hate to say it, but I have totally tried to be the good girl, the impressive one. You know, the one who everyone says, “Wow, that girl has it all together.”

Even today, I tried my absolute hardest with my husband. He had told me what he needed and I was going to SO impress him. I was going to show him who’s boss! Who was “on it”!

Except for one thing, I’m not boss – God is.  Sometimes, I need some reminders.

So, even though I stood ready to show off, in the end, all I ended up showing off was a wounded ego.

I fell down. I messed up again.

So often, the fact of the matter is that my best efforts are simply – bad. My best efforts lead me to confront my worst fears as devastation overwhelms me. It’s almost like I was expecting a blockbuster show, but ended up with a meaningless charade. My heart feels empty and my best efforts worthless.

“…and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Is. 64:6)

The prideful do fall. (Prov. 16:8)

Was God teaching the arrogant one who is boss?
Does God look down on me and chide me for who I am?

Does he look and say, “There she goes again, that Kelly, she can’t ever just trust me.”?
“She can’t ever do anything right. Sure, I love her, but really, get it together girl!”

When I immerse Word of God, I see he doesn’t condemn me – and he doesn’t condemn you either.

He sees more than a problem child.
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Eph. 1:5)

He sees more than a weak failure of a person.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… (Ps. 139:14)

He sees higher than our continual mess-ups.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Is. 55:8)

He sees farther than our painful past – straight into a fresh future.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! (Isaiah 43:19)

He offers us abundant power that far transcends our largest limitations.
He offers help and humility that conquers our greatest barriers.
He offers hope that leaves us the opposite of hopeless.

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)

We have extraordinary power – in Christ. He has poured his authority all over us. His power transcends mistakes, the past and circumstances. All through God, all the time, all the days, all weaknesses fade away and all love pours down on us from high.

Will we choose to see it? To embrace it? To live in his power? Or, will we live wishing God had given us something more?


Wanting to be More

Wanting to Be More

Have you ever tried to be better than yourself – for God?
Have you ever tried to win him over by your acts of goodness?

I have.

I hate to say it, but I have totally tried to be the good girl, the impressive one. You know, the one who everyone says, “Wow, that girl has it all together.”

Even today, I tried my absolute hardest with my husband. He had told me what he needed and I was going to SO impress him. I was going to show him who’s boss! Who was “on it”!

Except for one thing, I’m not boss – God is.  Sometimes, I need some reminders.

So, even though I stood ready to show off, in the end, all I ended up showing off was a wounded ego.

I fell down. I messed up again.

So often, the fact of the matter is that my best efforts are simply – bad. My best efforts lead me to confront my worst fears as devastation overwhelms me. It’s almost like I was expecting a blockbuster show, but ended up with a meaningless charade. My heart feels empty and my best efforts worthless.

“…and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Is. 64:6)

The prideful do fall. (Prov. 16:8)

Was God teaching the arrogant one who is boss?
Does God look down on me and chide me for who I am?

Does he look and say, “There she goes again, that Kelly, she can’t ever just trust me.”?
“She can’t ever do anything right. Sure, I love her, but really, get it together girl!”

When I immerse Word of God, I see he doesn’t condemn me – and he doesn’t condemn you either.

He sees more than a problem child.
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Eph. 1:5)

He sees more than a weak failure of a person.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… (Ps. 139:14)

He sees higher than our continual mess-ups.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Is. 55:8)

He sees farther than our painful past – straight into a fresh future.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! (Isaiah 43:19)

He offers us abundant power that far transcends our largest limitations.
He offers help and humility that conquers our greatest barriers.
He offers hope that leaves us the opposite of hopeless.

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)

We have extraordinary power – in Christ. He has poured his authority all over us. His power transcends mistakes, the past and circumstances. All through God, all the time, all the days, all weaknesses fade away and all love pours down on us from high.

Will we choose to see it? To embrace it? To live in his power? Or, will we live wishing God had given us something more?


Why We Need Revival (Linkup)

Truth Lies Rooted In Him

By Angela Parlin

Even with truth living in and around me, somehow the lie came along too.

I believed in Jesus so young. No major questions, just a big Yes, I believe. I don’t ever remember saying yes to the lie, but it followed me anyway.

It’s the oldest lie on the books, the same lie that poisoned Eden. It wears the mask of something more, something better. But it spoils. After it weasels in to take root in our hearts.

God doesn’t truly love you, not enough. You need more. That’s the lie.

Did you know we can hold the truth in one hand, and reach for something better with the other?…

Continue reading this post at Angela’s blog – click here. And don’t miss the #RaRaLinkup today as Angela Parlin hosts it on her blog!

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Finding Renewal in Christ

Finding Renewal in Christ

The other day, as we (meaning my husband) shoveled back the snow from our house, I spotted this:

IMG_7142

I was amazed at how, even though 2-feet of snow had covered these daffodils for months, they will were still pushing up from the ground.

How does that happen?

The truth is – nothing can thwart God’s plan. Nothing can hold back his growth.

Things may look covered by foot-after-foot of weight,
but he is still at work underneath it all.

When the time – is the time – his seed will grow.
When our hearts are ready – he will bloom us.
When our life is perfectly prepared – our beauty can be seen by all.

Yet, the deep freeze is part of the process. We sometimes have to endure the cold times to get to the warm times, blooming times. And sometimes we have to endure the cold times, to appreciate the warm times.

So, when life gets grey, dull and gloomy, this does not mean that God is not at work, because he is. Even if we can’t see what he is doing, even if we feel like we are buried under pounds of pounds of snow, even if it seems that spring will never come and our season will never change, God is always at work.

We don’t have to see it to believe it.
We believe it because he has promised it.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

I have felt buried so many times. I have been buried under finances, under a promised diagnosis of MS, under relationship strains, under worries, under anxiety, under my past, under a hopeless future – my friends, you probably name it – and I have been under it.

Yet, looking back, I see that God was always growing me. He was always restoring what should have been dead. 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Pet. 5:10)

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25)

Whether the locusts ate it, the land froze it or
your heart buried it,
God restores, rebuilds and renews..

He renews the buds that are within and waters them to grow again.

Seasons come and seasons go, but God’s love endures forever.

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