Purposeful Faith

Crack Shack to Love Shack to Judgement Free

Judgement free

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

Is this a crack house?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judgement is:

1. an attempt to rise above our own weaknesses, so we feel better about ourselves.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Mt. 7:3

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

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

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

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

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

We are all people on the great hunt for love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did you like “Crack Shack to Love Shack to Judgement Free?”
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Are you a blogger? Linkup to Tuesdays post. 

Linking up with Holley Gerth and the #loftlinkup today.


Rubbed Raw with Worry

raw with worry

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve noticed.

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

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

This thing was coming off!
I rubbed some more…

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

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

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

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

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

We rub with exfoliating cream.

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

Then we ask:

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

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

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

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

Confession is the flashlight to clarity.

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

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

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

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

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

What do I really believe?

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

Is God the warrior or am I?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can you find to be thankful for?

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

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

Guest posts are open – details here.

 Loading InLinkz ...

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

How Can You Fix Your Bad Feelings?

Encouragement in less than 2-minutes:

 

Post: How Can you Fix Your Bad Feelings?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We flee by extending grace to ourselves on hard days.

We engrave these truths upon our heart like stone:

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

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

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

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

Are you a blogger? Join us for the linkup on the next post.

Did you like “Fix Your Bad Feelings?” Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.


Why Not Giving Could Hurt You

Not Giving Could Hurt You

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

She is so impressive!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What would happen if we poured out like she did?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are a blogger, join us for Tuesdays #RaRalinkup.

Today I am linking up with Five Minute Friday, #DanceWithJesus and Weekend Brew.


Running When You Feel Like A Loser

When You Feel Like A Loser

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

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

It’s a dichotomy I just can’t beat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today I am linking up with the fabulous Suzie Eller for #LiveFreeThursday.

If your a blogger, don’t miss out on the Purposeful Faith #RaRalinkup every Tuesday. Link up to this weeks post.


How To Keep Standing When The High Winds Hit

How To Keep Standing

I want to stand upright when hurricane winds come. “With God, I am strong.”
I want to not be concerned with the earth falling all around me. “God has me.”
I want to not let my fruit not get dried out by circumstances.“God has the best in mind.”

But I don’t, instead I tend to fall over like a redwood with no roots when the winds come.  Worry grips me and the crash resounds so loudly in my heart. It’s the weight of I should have done better, I wish I acted differently, I can’t believe I didn’t trust.

But God says, the man who trusts in the Lord is blessed. (Jer. 17:7)
I want to be that woman – full, complete, with entire trust in God.

And what God says in verse 8, really gets my heart pumping for more:

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jer. 17:8)

We can steer clear of fear, stay green when life gets mean,
not have bouts of doubt in the drought
and share the spirit rather than throw a fit?

Now, I am listening.

If I can just plant my roots down.

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend…and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph 3:17-19

One who has faith in Jesus – and believes what he says –
is nearly unreachable by the devil.

One who has their deep earthly arms wrapped around the love of Jesus, 
can’t be pulled off of him when circumstances strike.

One who knows the cost of the cross and 
draws strength from the purchaser of all sin – 
let’s that sacrifice keep them in a place of eternal standing.

One who clenches the truth with all their might, isn’t afraid to some roots show.
They glow to the world and highlight the giver of all sustenance.

One who is rooted, gets the fullness of God,
not just for themselves but to share with the world.

God holds the one upright whose arms reach deeply  and steadfastly
into his Word to seek out all that he is.

This one stands tall, firm and powerfully.

All of this gets me wondering,
how can the devil cut down a tree with roots so plentiful,
so deep, so meaningful, so abundant and so apparent?

Must be hard.

IMG_1592

When we deeply plant roots into the love of Christ, we become standing trees who raise our branches in continual worship.  We suck in the living water of Jesus Christ and are renewed with his life-giving nutrients, embraced by his creation and stand tall in adoration and appreciation.

Deep roots, forged down, grip the heart of Christ; this is where strength is derived.

They extend needily into his sacrifice and hungrily into promises and God blesses that with renewal, replenishment and revival to the world.

From dead and wanting, to fed and giving in the blink of an eye.

From down and discouraged, to up and encouraged through the nails on the cross.

From hopeless and ruined, to hopeful and 100 feet tall through roots that can’t be touched by the world.

God’s fruit becomes our great food bank and it is the best tasting thing after fried ice cream.

I’ll take some of that – and all of the benefits of deep roots.

The bottom line? It comes down to:
I (God) love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Prov. 8:17

We love God, we seek God, we find God, we find peace, we find life, we find love for others, we find hope in this world, we send it out and nothing can knock us down. Period.

Love = God
God = Love
Love = Deep roots that receive his love.
Love = The way to endure this life.

If your a blogger, don’t miss out on the #RaRalinkup. Link up to yesterday’s post.

Liked “How To Keep Standing When The High Winds Hit?” Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.


Beauty in the Cracks of Life

Cracks of Life

Usually, I am prepared for the big breaks. I arm my heart with truth and prayer to beat the all-out smashes of life, but it’s those small cracks, those unexpected issues, that so often send my heart in an emotional tailspin.

Last week, I went on my 10-year anniversary trip. My expectations were higher than the empire state building and all signs were directed to fun.

I drew a line in the bright sandy beach that said “all my eggs are in this vacation basket, nothing can mess with this.”

Vacations are off-limits, aren’t they?

Then, my blog internally crashed.
Email after email couldn’t resolve it.
Four different people couldn’t find a solution.
My husband had various concerns of his own.
The kids were waiting for fun and I felt like there was work to be done.

I knew I had a choice, I could see the big issues in my sight, or I could fight fright to grab hold of God’s might. I chose to fight – to see the great God above me rather than the issues before me.

And, it worked, for, a bit..

…until God whapped me upside my head.

Yes, you heard me right, my friend.

As I entered the pool like the cool, calm and collected “faith in Jesus” girl that I was, I giant bird pounded my head with the speed of a world cup soccer kick.  Apparently this crazy bird thought my bun was nothing less than a tasty soft bun.

Whap! My head seemed to spin with the velocity of all that was coming at me.

And it was in this moment that my hands fell by my side, the tears broke through my face and my heart was cracked wide open. I asked,“Lord, why are you hitting me while I am down? Do you not care about me? What is it that you want to get through my thick skull!?”

Dang. We can fortress ourselves up like Jericho, but still, the cracks find their way, don’t they? They break us down and shatter our worldly and emotional well-being, leaving us saying, “God, how did I end up here? Why did you leave me?”

We amp up our lives with God in the big,
but his volume can seem low in the little. 

Why bother God with something we should be able to handle, right? 

God loses his “needed-status”; he becomes our opponent, rather than our encouragement.

And, this brings me to my patio…(this will all tie together, I promise you).

I first noticed this:

FullSizeRender (1)

Abundant dirt in the place where abundant flowers were supposed to reside. So much for nursery promises.

But, then God unveiled this:

IMG_7773

Flowers all throughout the little cracks of my patio.

Flowers, not contained or restrained, potted or predictable, but simply flowers sent on a mission from God.

These flowers helped me see beyond my toddler-like demands of expectation, to see God’s best working ground is in my foundation – in the grime, in the dirt, in the cracks.  

This is the soil where he grows beauty. It’s the soil where things bloom. It’s where the deep roots of faith are sowed.

How often do I take for granted God’s gentle cracks of beauty,
because I am too caught up in the pot that contains no flowers?

How often am I so dead set on my plans,
that I miss God’s desire to spread his seed beyond me?

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world–just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. Col. 1:6

Fertile soil is a powerful breeding ground for the message of Jesus Christ, it says, “Your will be done, Lord, not mine.”

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Lu. 22:42

Cracks are God’s holy ground.

Our cracks, turn us back to say, “I need you Jesus.” They bring us into his presence. They call us in by name. They set us on our knees. They focus our thoughts on his Word. They humble our hearts into receptivity.

Great seeds of life-growth take root, not always as expected, but in a way where Christ is reflected, where love is invested and so we are redirected.

Ultimately, the cracks launch Christ’s arrows of love straight into the dry-soil of our deep-set emotional issues.

The question is – will we view the small flowers in the cracks as buds of his glory
or will we keep our eyes dead set on what we deserve?

Will we allow attacking birds and cracks in our perfect lives to become messenger’s
of God always-redeeming story – the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Beacons of the great work that God is doing in us.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. Is. 60:1

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

#RaRalinkup Crew – I have decided to open up guest posting on my blog.

Here is how it will work for now:
guest posts will go live the second Wednesday of: January, March, May, July, September & November.

Please submit your posts by the last day of the previous month (Example: if sending for January, please send to me by Dec. 31) to be considered. Some months, I may choose to do a compilation of various bloggers posts. I may also post this compilation to Crosswalk.com as a “What’s Hot in the Blogosphere World.”

So get on my contact page and send your posts in! I can’t wait to see what you write and to highlight your work on Twitter, Facebook, to readers and to all our #RaRa friends.

I haven’t done this before, in part, because I don’t want anyone to feel bad if they are not chosen. I can’t choose everyone, but I am entrusting your feelings to God as we go through this process. Please, always know, you are deeply loved and so valued by me.

Submission details.

 Loading InLinkz ...

Tearing Down Your Tower of Self

Tower of Self

Sometimes I scare myself.

I see that ugly side of me, the side I normally try to hide from the camera.

The Kelly who wants to be someone.
The Kelly who wants adoration, affirmation and appreciation.
The Kelly who needs to be seen and loved.

It normally appears in a crutched moment of inadequacy where I require dose of feel-better medicine to get me feeling good about myself again.

In these moments, I start believing:

Greatness and prominence trump Christ’s gift of significance.
That no one notices humility, but they notice desirability.
That recognition is fuel and that submission is old school.

I am learning I have to keep an eye on the thermometer of my heart, because when the its-about-me heat starts to rise, my heart grows cold, love freezes over and I lose track of the one I love most.

Me. Myself. I.
How am I seen? What will I do?
What will I build? Am I as good?

Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:4

To make a name.

Is that what I want?

Because, I full well know, it is only about one name: The name above all names, the alpha and omega, the lion and the lamb, the great I AM, the hope of glory, the Savior of the world, the beginning and the end. It all starts and ends with him.  

At days end, my name will be worth nothing and his will be worth everything.

At days end, accomplishments will fade and all that will remain is love.

At days end, stages vanish.  The great stage of godliness, purity and humility will be all that endures.

Anything done in my name will be a signature destined for a shredder upon my final days, but anything done in his name will last forever.

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. Ps. 127:1

Without Jesus, my best words are babble. If it’s not spoken in the dialect of love, it’s spoken in the dialect of stupidity.

It’s like speaking worthless syllables of a tribal language to a two-year old – they are destined to be edited, obliterated or forgotten. They just speak confusion.

Therefore its name was called Babel (close to Hebew word confusing), because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. Gen. 11:9

Am I babbling in futility or am I loving in humility?
Am I striving by my efforts or am I receiving love through his?

Everyone loses when agendas move away from the foundation of Jesus. Love is averted. Unity is destroyed. Life-change is missed. People get hurt.

Heaven is missed.

I don’t wan’t to miss that glimpse, not even one slice of heaven – of goodness. I want the whole pie! I want to be so doused in the sweetness of heaven that I have no teeth left and I don’t even care.

If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Cor. 3:14-15

May our eyes soak in the height of the mercy showered on us. May we embrace a vagabond hearts to become traveling temples of God. May we not see any service as meaningless, but ask Christ if he agrees with this mentality when we begin to.

With Jesus, no person is too low, no place off-limits, no heights untouchable, but if it is not done with him, it is done for self.

Jesus, let every ounce of us be poured out for every ounce of your blood – your love.

A job well done. May the person end up loving you more.
An amazing ministry time. No pride, just deep praise for the great God at work.
An awesome business opportunity. May more know Christ.
A financial outpouring of blessings. A means to bring an end to someone’s captivity.
An outstanding compliment. A way to point to the glory that is God.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Cor. 13:3

If we can’t do it in love, we may as well be doing nothing.
Lord, let our love mean something!

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


The Electrifying Power of Christ in You

Christ in You

Without Jesus I’d be like a car accident with no repair shop,
a mental-case of self-doubt,
a walking shot of vodka times twenty.

Without Jesus in me,
I would travel from place to place
as a leech seeking my next feel-good prey.

That would be me.

You know what the crazy part is?  I’ve realized it’s ok if I still leech. Jesus doesn’t mind how much I leech on to him. 

I can grasp on, pull out everything that IS him and still get every ounce of what I desperately need. I pull in all of his goodness to breathe out all of it wherever I go.

Jesus practically says leech off of me
and I will give you all-surpassing peace.

You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Is. 26:3

I never thought it should work that way. But, it does. It really does.

He is the rescuer, the ambulance, the paramedic who now runs to my rescue. Not from the physical issues that most likely would have plagued me, but, to the deep emotional hurts. He doesn’t even bandage them – but simply touches them with his gentle hands to bloom what once was bruised.

I don’t need much else besides him. He is the all-inclusive package to life.

I can seek him until I am blue in the face, and still uncover greater sustenance.

He’s better than the straight shot of alcohol because his intoxication heads directly into my heart.

He works in me, through me and for me.

to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col. 1:27

Now I have hope. What once looked like a world full of hurt, crud yet-to-come and accidents waiting to happen, now looks like a world of hope-at-bay, peace-at-work and joy-yet-to-come.

It’s a mystery, but once you have Jesus in you – it all becomes clear as day.

You don’t have to worry about today, because God holds tomorrow.

You don’t have to fret about lost dreams, because God works beyond our visual screens.

You don’t have to be anxious, because God is working through the piles of trash that seem all around you.

You don’t have to feel alone, because God’s presence is greater than the blue sky that covers.

You simply rest in him, knowing he is working. That is Christ in you.

A person cheating and swindling?  Compassion for their needy heart.
Christ in you.

An obnoxious customer service call? Grace to the one who gets rejected all day long.
Christ in you.

Another call at church to give more money? An outpouring of money to those in need.
Christ in you.

Things you could never comprehend pouring out,
were always poured out by Jesus.
Christ in you.

I am realizing that the only requirement is a desire to keep blockages of his glory far, far away. To keep those things that trip you up distanced. That’s it. It’s not even so much that I have to do the hard labor, Christ in me, handles that for me, I just have to be willing to bring it to him.

To acknowledge it – you know, the opposite of deny it.

Then we can see his radiant glory shining out and when it shines it changes everything you look at.  Christ in us. The power is staggering.

It’s addictive. More of you Jesus, let me leech onto you.

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

Today I am joining #LiveFreeThursday, Five Minute Friday and #DanceWithJesus.


When Prayer Gets Hard

When Prayer Gets Hard

Guest post by: Kelly O’Dell Stanley

Praying for YOU is easy.

If you come to me and ask for prayer, these are the words I will have for you:
All things are possible. God is a healer. Hold tight to your faith. Just believe.

I will carry your request to God, believing He can do anything. And that He will.

Absolutely.

It’s easy enough to pray for my friends. I don’t even hesitate.

But for me?

Sometimes the only words that will come are ugly, insidious whispers:

You are not enough.
You don’t deserve what you want.
You haven’t been faithful enough.
You haven’t trusted Him enough.
He’s not going to come through for you, so don’t get your hopes up.

It’s a form of self-flagellation at its worst. Beating myself up and living in the assurance that because of all of my failures, God, too, will fail. Or, at the very least, will fail to act.

It’s a cruel torture that leaves a mark as surely as a whip would do.

A few months ago, I found a lump in my breast. Instead of a regular mammogram, they scheduled me for a high-res, diagnostic ultrasound. I had to wait longer to get in. And I knew, I just knew, that the best thing I could hope for would be an assurance that “it’s probably nothing, but we need to do a biopsy.” I figured I’d have to schedule a procedure or two. And wait. And wait a little more.

Instead of leaning on God, I snapped at my husband. Criticized everything in sight. And tried and tried to pray, but all I could manage was, “Dear Lord,” before I’d stop.

Stumped. Afraid. Before I’d dwell on the fact that Mom died of cancer. That my dad had cancer. That my sister’s best friend died from breast cancer. That one in eight women will get it. And that there’s no reason in the world why that should not be me.

As I sat in that waiting room, with the little pink shirt-gown on, while my technician prepared the machine, I couldn’t focus.

I finally cried.
And I was so afraid.
Too afraid to really pray.

So I tried to block out all of my thoughts with a simple melody. The melody to Hallelujah (You Never Let Go), sung by Jeremy Camp came into my mind, and I thought-sang-prayed, You are with me, Hallelujah. You are with me, Hallelujah…

And I let those words push away my fears.
I let them drown out the what-ifs and oh-nos.

It’s so easy to forget God is with us. That He. Is. Right. There. With. Us.

No matter what we feel. No matter where we go. So I just kept repeating that chorus. Until I believed it.

Felt it. Rested in it.

After the ultrasound, the radiologist assured me that there is nothing there. It’s normal fibrous breast tissue. No cyst, no tumor. Nothing. I’m fine. I could have sighed with relief and moved on, like we often do, forgetting about it now that I’m past the scary part.

But the situation got me thinking.

I believe with all my heart in the power of prayer (so much so that I wrote a book about it). And if I still have my moments of doubt, if I still think that maybe God will come through for everyone else but not listen to me, then many of you probably feel that way, too.

What if, just for today, we let ourselves pray as though God is everything we want Him to be?

Everything that we think He is or should be?

 What if we prayed full of belief?

What if we stopped torturing ourselves for our failings?

What if God shows up?

What if this is the moment when everything will change?

What if I can summon as much faith for myself as I can summon for you?

What miracles do you suppose we’d see?

                                                                                                                       Let’s find out.

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

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.02.22 AM

Kelly O’Dell Stanley is a graphic designer, writer, and author of the new book, Praying Upside
Down, which releases May 1. With more than two decades of experience in advertising, three kids ranging
from 21 to 14, and a husband of 24 years, she’s learned to look at life in unconventional ways—sometimes
even upside down. Full of doubt and full of faith, she constantly seeks new ways to see what’s happening
all around her. Subscribe to her blog (www.prayingupsidedown.com) to download her free ebook, Praying
in Full Color, along with this month’s prayer prompt calendar to jump-start your prayer life.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 11.02.46 AM

Purchase links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
*Also available at christianbooks.com, Lifeway, Books-a-Million, Parable, and others

Join Kelly on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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

 


Sign up for Purposeful Faith blog posts by email!

I'll also send you "3 Ways to See More of God."

Enter your Email:

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe!