Purposeful Faith

Deeply Root Yourself in God’s Love

Deeply Rooted in God's love

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“Love.” What happens when underneath it all – we don’t feel God’s love in our deepest being? When we know Jesus, but we have a hard time believing he loves us?  Perhaps, the world has jaded us, people have hurt us or we have done the unthinkable.

We think God’s love is nice, but we know it as “distant”.

We know love in our mind, but don’t feel it in our heart.
We know love accepts us, but still, our past defines us.
We know love is the answer to freedom, but the chains remain.

What happens here?
How do we move from knowing in our minds – to believing in our hearts?
From knowing about love – to knowing love?

Sometimes, I feel like I live partially loved by God.
Like a daughter who is visited by her step dad a couple times a week.
Like a girl who is not always seen.
Like one who needs constant affirmation.
Like one who wonders if she is forgotten.
Like one who needs to earn approval.
Like one who feels unworthy.
Like one who is forgotten.
Like one who doubts.
Like one who falters.

Is this a picture of a loved daughter of the most high King?

Can I truly love others – and God, when I haven’t embraced depths of his love?
His unceasing, unbelievable and unending love?

Perhaps my earthly experiences have shaped my capacity to perceive God’s love.
Can I only know love to the depths that I have been loved?

In my search to answer these questions, God is teaching me that to walk in love is to walk by faith.

Because none of us have been loved the way he loves.
None of us can understand the depths of his actions for us.
None of us can perceive the immensity of his presence before us.
None of us can comprehend the lengths he goes to fight for us.

His love is unbelievable in a sense.

Because of this,
we have allowed our perceptions and our tribulations
to create realities of God’s love for us.

Yet, his power extends beyond these created idols of love.

Like the many miracles of Jesus; true power is found by faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

Faith is where the love of Christ is found. It is found when we receive what he gives, even though the gift is so immense we can hardly receive it – or believe it.

He gives:

– His own son – for us. He gave the ultimate (Jo. 3:16)
– His life for us – for people who can’t stop sinning. (Ro. 5:8)
– A life that is alive with Christ. He goes with us. (Eph. 2:4-5)
– A saved life. His presence. His rejoicing spirit. A presence that quiets our active soul. (Zeph. 3:17)
– Steadfast, never-ending love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)
– Mercy & graciousness. (Psalm 86:15)
– His own Spirit – a constant companion and help – to live within us. (2 Tim. 1:7)
– A position as a child of God (1 John 3:1)
– An owned status, which nothing – no way, no how – can ever separate his love from us. (Ro. 8:31-39, Ps. 24:1)
– A secure position which – no one, no way – can pluck away. (Jo. 10:28)
– No condemnation even though we deserve it all. (Ro. 8:1)
– Gifts that he delights in giving because we are his children. (Gal 3:26)
– An acceptance and approval of who we are. (Ro. 14:18)
– A powerful care about our daily doings. (Ps. 139:2)
– An ever-flowing rhythm of grace that can never be obstructed. (Jo. 1:16)
– An eternal home that has been prepared just for us. (Jo. 14:2)
– An earthly plan and purpose for our lives. (Prov. 16:9)
– A promise to make us more and more like him. (2 Cor. 3:18)
– A nearness, a shelter and a hope that is beyond compare. (Ps. 46:1-6)
– An advocate who fights on our behalf. (1 Jo. 2:1)
– One who is ALWAYS for us. (Ro. 8:31)
– One whose compassions never fail. (Lam. 3:22)

God is so good that, in a small way, it doesn’t really matter how much we grasp his love because his love will still remain for us. His love is so unconditional that it is not contingent on understanding. He loves us despite us.

Freedom is found in this place. Because, even when our world, our past and our choices have proven that we are unworthy of love, we still remain, as believers, in Him. Then, in faith – we can step out to grab the power of God’s love. This is the way.

We can grab hold of love by faith by:

1. Praying. Lord, let us be deeply rooted in you.
2. Seeking. Lord, let your words of truth shoot as arrows of love to our deepest needs.
3. Meditating. Lord, let us see your love pour over us as we close our eyes.
4. Receiving. Lord, let creation testify to the power of your love.
5. Communing. Lord, let us relish in the daily gifts you pour out on us.
6. Abiding. Lord, let us remain in you – and you in us. Help us to see this give and take.

I am done living fatherless from the most high king, distanced from the one who cares for me the most and duped into believing I am alone. I am done with the fear.

Because isn’t fear just a deep knowledge that no one is near?

But, God is. He was. And, he always will be. The Alpha and Omega never changes.

He is even when I don’t think he is. This is the ultimate love. His love is so all consuming that my eyes cannot begin to absorb his immensity. His love is so great that I can’t even fathom it. I can’t even take it.

I will set my mind, by faith, on the power of his love and trust that it will accomplish all it is set forth to do.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Ps. 138:8)

My life is secure, never to be forgotten, in the palm of his love.

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The Best Response You Could Ever Have

The best response

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I walk in to see my son’s underwear, pants and toys stuffed into the toilet.  I go off.
I take personally the advice my husband’s offering. I act irritated.
I am late to my son’s school. I get anxious.
I get in the slow checkout lane at the grocery store. I tap my foot with impatience.
I get stuck on a customer service call, it takes forever and I get nothing done. I snap at them.
I talk with a family member who has issues. I immediately respond with advice.
I hear a person talk about their problems and pains. I jump in to rescue.
I listen to a friend talk. I cut them off.

The common denominator? I just can’t wait. In a flash, I respond.

But, what if, I changed my course of action?

What if I decided to have a “reaction of inaction” instead of a “reaction of dissatisfaction”?

Might things change?

Would a simple one second wait change my fate?
Might I evaluate and not retaliate?
Could I see more and not end up being one I abhor?

When we take a second to wait, we actually set our paths straight.
We not only delay our reaction, but we delay our heart from going the wrong way.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)

I don’t have to react based on my understanding, I can grab hold of a “reaction of inaction” so that in every moment, I seek to trust the Lord. I don’t have respond to a stimuli, but only to the will of God.

God offers me freedom from my circumstances.

If I seek him, he will be faithful to guide me.

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Is. 30:18)

Even more, what would happen if I considered that the Lord is ready to be gracious to me in these tense moments?
Would that change my response?
My perspective?

Because He is waiting to be gracious. He is waiting to show mercy. Imagine that – in our tense, overwhelming and frustrating moments, he just waits to see how he can pour out on us.

I don’t want to miss that. Do you?

Our “reaction of dissatisfaction” robs us of joy, but through a “reaction of inaction” we have the opportunity to seize joy.

Inaction for one simple second might entirely change the course of our relationships. We don’t have to be the wild responder; because we can now be the grace-filled responder.

I want to invest and not divest in my relationships. Don’t you?
I want to practice myself in the wait.
I know God will be, as he always has been, faithful to me.
And, he will be to you too.

Let’s trust him as we wait. We can choose the one response that will leave us blessed instead of feeling stressed.

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lam. 3:25)

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Happy to be joining the #fmfparty today.


Are You Weighed Down With Worry?

weight of worry

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What good are you?
What do you offer?
How do you help?

I have carried you far and wide.

The thing about you is that sometimes you are small and my bag is light. In this case, you allow for other things to fit – like joy, peace and rest. Other times, however, you are so big, there is no room for any of that. There is just room for a self-focus – a self focus that deters me from the reality of truth.

I hate it when you take up all the room.
The zippers don’t close and you tend to squeeze right out the sides of my life.
I want to hide you, contain you within, but you always come out.
Maybe that is what bothers me the most.

I’m tired.
You weigh me down.
You consistently focus me – on me.

Worry, you have to go.

I want to leave you behind. I want to go to baggage claim and never claim you again.

Because you are like a carousel –
round and round go the thoughts in my mind, but I never get anywhere.

You are like a leech.
You suck joy, peace and the power of presence right out of my life.

You are like an old lady crossing a busy 3-lane highway.
When you walk in, I can’t see anything else but you in my life.

But, most of all, you are who you are, a loaded, weighted, burdensome, inconvenient bag stuffed with entirely no use.

How have you tricked me so often?
I must falsely believe inside that you serve some purpose.

You don’t change anything.
You distract me from God.
You dwell my heart on fear.
You condition me to live based on “what if’s”.
You fight my sleep.
You steal moments with my kids.
You leave me inactive.
Who knows what you do to my health? I have heard it isn’t good.

I am done.

I hope you feel the swift kick to the curb I offer you today.

I know it won’t be easy, but I have a plan of action so that you don’t show up on my doorstep again.

1. When the winds of worry waken my fears, I am going to start wondering about what I wonder about.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

I am going to be thinking about what I am thinking about. I am going to be evaluating what I am watching. I am going to be considering what I am believing. If it doesn’t line up with Jesus Christ and his gospel of grace, the truth that he is always with us and his promise that he will give us all we need – I am kicking these fears out the door too.

2. I am going to choose to be thanks-filled about the trial-filled moments.

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

Will this be hard? Indeed. Worth it? You bet. Underneath it all, I know this is the antidote to worry.

How can we worry and be truly thankful at the same time?
Thankfulness focuses our mind on all we have,
while worry focuses our mind on all we hypothetically may not have.
These two enemies cannot co-exist.

3. I am going to remember that worry doesn’t rule me, Christ does.

Thanks be to you Lord Jesus; you have all authority. You rule on high. No one can take you down.  No situation can overcome you. You are the definition of power, the force of love and the fixer of all things. I don’t have to take the world on my shoulders because you took the cross on yours.

I bow down.

I humble myself and let go of prideful worry that fools me into thinking that I can actually do something to change my situation. Again, Lord, it is all about you.

God is so much more effective than this bag of tricks I have ineffectively relied on for so long.

So, today, I take that ugly, frustrating bag of worry and let go. What a relief it is! I can almost see my steps quicken, my arms pump a little faster, and my step lighten a tad. I feel free. I feel connected in love.

Does this mean that bad things won’t happen to me? Or that worst case scenarios may never come true? No.

But this does mean that I know deep, deep, down in my heart that my troubles are momentary and that my trials will pass and that I serve a God greater than these things. In this – I can choose to let go of this bag with imprints of my hand so deeply marked on its handles. This bag that I have clutched so tightly.

You don’t serve me. You don’t rule me.

I can release my grip and wave goodbye.

Bag, you are no longer my load to carry.

Today I am delighted to join Suzie Eller’s #LifeFreeThursday.

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Do you Need God to Move Mountains?

God to move mountains

 

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We plan our ways. We think we are heading the right direction – and then we get stopped.  Dead in our tracks – we get stopped.

This can be so entirely frustrating when we are giving it our all, when we are trying our best and when we are submitting oursevles to the Lord’s will.

Why would God hinder us?
Why would he present us with this type of problem?

With all of my heart I knew God called me to follow, to write and to speak for Him. And, with all that I am – I was being obedient to his call. I was seeking him as I climbed his tallest mountains of purpose.

That is, until I ran right into it…

Until a rock came right up against me and stopped me in my tracks.
It was a big opportunity that was quickly taken away from me.
It broke my heart.
As I stood face to face with the immensity of it, I immediately felt discouraged.

I couldn’t move it. 
I couldn’t cut it.
I couldn’t climb it.
Or push it.

It was outside of my control. It was no longer mine to have. It belonged to someone else.

Do you know how frustrating it is to feel blocked in life? To see where you need to be, but not to be there?  How do we address the insurmountable rocks in our lives?

Because rocks, left unchecked,
turn into barriers that keep us angry.

Rocks, left unchecked,
become heavy weights of uncertainty that make us question God’s love.

Rocks, left unchecked,
dwell our minds on the “what if’s” and the “how come’s”.

Rocks, left unchecked,
focus our heart on our performance verses God’s.

Rocks, left unchecked,
make us feel they will forever stay in our way.

Truly, when we focus on the size of the barrier before us,
we miss the size of our God above us.

When we focus on the obstacle in our way,
we don’t realize that He may have a better way.

When we focus on how we can’t move,
we start to feel like we have something to prove.

God has something better for us.

He has his promises: 

– God is for us. (Romans 8:31)
– God has a plan. (Proverbs. 16:9)
– God’s timing is perfect. (Ecclesiastes. 8:6)
– God renews our strength in a time of wait. (Isaiah 40:31)
– God’s ways are greater than ours. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
– There is no thwarting the purposes of the Lord. (Isaiah 14:27)
– God’s will be done – not our will be done. (Luke 22:42)
– There’s no one who can guide us like God. (James 1:5)
– Rocks in our path prove as opportunities to flex our faith muscles. (Romans 5:4)
– We can wallow in sadness or we can step forward in faith. (Hebrews 11:1)
– We are more than just conquerors in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:37)
– Never was there one victory of the Lord that wasn’t accomplished. (1 Cor. 15:57)
– Nothing holds God back from his purposes. (Proverbs 19:21)
– We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)
– As we lean on the Lord, he will faithfully guide us in his ways. (Psalm 32:8)
– God can move mountains. (Mark 11:23)

Sometimes the rocks that stand as the biggest barriers – are the rocks where we can best see Jesus.  As we look up to him, he helps us get over them. He comes to our rescue. Where may fall and scrape ourselves a little, but he binds us up – bigger and better than we ever were. He uses the opportunity to grow us.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:6)

God can move any mountain that stands before us.

He may choose to move it, he may choose to quake it or he may just walk us right over it.

He said to them, “…For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

If he wants it gone – it will be gone.  And, if he doesn’t move it, he will pivot us. In the end, we will move towards greater faith, expanded trust and powerful confidence in his ways.

Let’s choose to believe this.
Let’s not give up.
Let’s push on to the goal the Lord has set before us, knowing that God is for us.
If God is for us, who can be against?  

This rock may look like a barrier, but it’s through this rock we will overcome – through the power of Christ who works within.  Whether he leads us over, pivots us, crumbles the mountain or draws us closer to him – choose to cling to him, the solid rock.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. 

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For The One Who Doubts God’s Call (Linkup)

For the One who Doubts God

I am delighted to welcome Abby McDonald
as a guest host for the linkup today.
She brings God’s truth to light in a gentle, yet profound way.  

I take deep breaths in and out, trying to calm the rapid pulse of my heart. It’s no use. My hands shake as I rummage through my purse for lip gloss, trying to silence the voices of defeat. Every five seconds, I look over my shoulder for my husband. Where is he?

When the worship band begins playing, I focus on the words.

Holy Spirit you are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

Yes, God, yes. Your Spirit will get me through the next five minutes in front of a sea of faces.

I’ve committed to giving my testimony to our church congregation that morning, but as I watch person after person pour into the sanctuary, thoughts of self-doubt and defeat create an endless chatterbox in my mind. What was I thinking? I’m not a public speaker….Continued…

...Read the rest of Abby’s McDonald’s story – and, if you are a blogger, Linkup – at A Fearfully Made MomPlease click the linkup button at the bottom of her post and it will open up a new tab where you can link.

*Also, be sure to sign up for the #RaRalinkup Prayer Group on Facebook so we can get to know each other more and pray together.

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What Holds You Back From Jesus?

What Holds You Back From Jesus

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What holds you back?
What hinders you?
What prevents you from going all-in, crazy wild for Jesus?

Is it others?
Your schedule?
Your fears?
Your money?
Your family?

What is it?

When I look at my life, I see a whole lot of blessings, but I also see a whole lot of comfort. Comfort that wraps me warm and snuggly. So warm, that sometimes I don’t want to look beyond my TV – or even the walls of my house.

Comfort that second-guesses spending time with others.
Comfort that makes it difficult to give and to let go.
Comfort that doesn’t allow me to see all that God has for me.
Comfort that keeps me stuck.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36)

Are we gaining the world or are we gaining God?

Because a life stuck in this world is a life stuck in futility.
And a life stuck in futility, is a life without utility.
To live without utility, gives us no ability to glorify God’s nobility.

Complacency, comfort and carelessness about our condition become our greatest inhibition.

But, God is calling us. Wooing us. Pleading that we come.

Do you hear Him?
He is waiting.
Ready.
Hopeful.
He has more for us than the good “American Life”.

He will blow our socks off.
Knock us down with purpose.
Stagger us with joy.
If we let him.

Or, we can continue living in the status-quo, as we always have – content.

But are we really content?
Satisfied?
Is enough ever enough?
The house?
The family?
The money?

Perhaps God is saying…”Accepting good, is missing amazing.”

When we exchange good things for our great God, we miss the immense blessings he has prepared for us.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

It’s easy to walk by stagnant faith, rehearsed truths and clichéd lines, but if we want to see crazy exciting acts of God, we have to step out of “safety” and into “risky”.

“Risky” that takes time to hear God’s call.
“Risky” that prays for equipping.
“Risky” that sacrifices all to accomplish his purposes.
“Risky” that doesn’t see the way, but walks by faith.
“Risky” that doesn’t stop, that keeps going, that presses on until the work is completed.
“Risky” that avoids demanding approval or affirmation, but instead trusts in eternal rewards.

Why aren’t I risky like this?  When I take a deep look, I see, what holds me back – is me, myself and I. I am afraid. I am afraid to go to the place where I lose all control. I am afraid to see where he will take me. I am afraid.

Will it really be good?
Will he really be there for me?
Will I be good enough for Him?

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Heb. 11:1)

When we can’t see, we walk by real faith, life changing faith and powerful faith.

We can walk this way, because he has proven his faithfulness time and time again.

He has helped us and he will help us.
He has guided us and he will guide us.
He has shown up and he will show up.

Remember his faithfulness – in the past – to follow his call – today.

We are called “followers of Jesus”, so let’s do the following part.  Let’s cast aside all that holds us back and go “risky” with Jesus. It’s so worth it! He will equip us. He will help us. We can do this.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Heb. 12:1)

What holds you back from Jesus?


Abandon Your Heart to Jesus

Abandon your heart to Jesus

God calls us deeper – to abandon our heart to Jesus.  To go further and further into his waters of love. Waters that feel like they may overtake us, overwhelm us or overpower us, but still, he calls us there.

I want to go to that depth with him.

I want to see his supernatural power as he prompts me to walk on water.
I want to jump at the chance to walk scary, turbulent distances by faith.
I want to know, the only way to survive is by grabbing hold of his outstretched arm.

This kind of faith-life has been luring me. It has been calling.

And, here – as I plead to go this length – the Lord is faithfully unravelling truth.

Truth that says, “Come, share your heart. To go deeper, you have to let me go deeper.”

If I want to understand the depths of God’s love,
I have to open up the depths of my heart.

If I want to understand the power of his saving love,
I have to offer him the chance to save me.

If I want to see the deep mysteries of God,
I have to let him do deep ministries on me.

It is not about protecting self, it is about dying to self.
This is when we find ourself.

Do you want to go to the depths of love with Jesus?

He stands waiting.
He beckons us through love.
Calls us by grace.

He will share all of who he is, as we share all of who we are.

Enter the water. Enter the depths of his love. Enter into his heart. The one he stands ready to share.

Go deep. Let go of fear, let go of anxiety, let go of frustration, let go of control, let go of shame and grab hold of the heart of God.

What he will reveal to us is not just plain and rehearsed head knowledge of love, but deep and impactful heart knowledge of love.

I want that. Don’t you?

I want that deep unending, unconditional and unbelievable source of love.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jer. 29:13-14)

 


My will or Thy will?

My wil or thy will

Post by: Christy Mobley

1 Samuel 8:6, “But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all they say to you,  for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.'”

The Israelites were always whining and complaining wanting their own way. Their own will. They were never satisfied. They didn’t trust God to do what was best for them. They always wanted something else.  I’m sorry to say I can relate.  For most of my life I’ve been no different. Oh, I would have told you I trusted God, but still, I always thought I knew what was best.  I knew a better ending to the story. My story.

About 15 years ago (in my guesstimation) my pastor sent out an email to the members of our church. I don’t remember the exact purpose of the email but I do remember reading a few lines on prayer and God’s will that stuck in my craw. Mostly because at the time the words bewildered me.  Those words read something like this:

If you want healing, pray for God’s will to be done.

If you want safety, pray for God’s will to be done.

If you need a job, pray for God’s will to be done.

If you need financial help, pray for God’s will to be done.

If you are looking for peace, pray for God’s will to be done.

I recall thinking,  what about my will? What if God’s will and my will aren’t the same? What if His ending doesn’t look like mine? Doesn’t God care about what I want? 

It wasn’t long after, I decided my husband was bored with his job. (Notice, I said I decided.)  I felt he needed something more challenging, a promotion perhaps. And I circled it in prayer.  A lot of prayer.  I thought I knew what was best for him, for us. Never mind what God thought.  Not once did I pray honestly about my feelings and my struggles, or what was in my heart. Nope, instead I forged on, telling God my agenda, and asking Him to oblige with an answer.

And He did.

But it was not the answer I contrived in my mind. Nope, God loves me more than that.

Have you heard the saying, “Be careful what you pray for?”

God answered my selfish prayer.

He gave me what I wanted to show me what I didn’t. 

He gave me my own way to show me how His way is better.

The next  seven years were challenging to say the least.  But God used everything that took place within those seven years to mold me for His purposes. Though God did indeed answer my prayer, the path He led me down would not have been one of my choosing. I can see now that it was necessary and it gave me a clear and personal understanding of Romans 8:28, “God  works everything for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”  Because it was during this trying time God showed me –

A way out of my spiritual desert.

How to be totally honest in prayer.

How to depend on Him and not on myself.

How to be joyful in all circumstances.

How His will is better than mine.

And how He is always faithful.

In the key passage from 1 Samuel, the Israelites weren’t satisfied with God and His way. They wanted human kings like all the other nations. And God gave them their human kings. He gave them what they wanted to show them what they didn’t need.

I believe it is important to lay our hearts open to our Heavenly Father and honestly tell Him our wants and desires. He wants that, but He also wants our surrender. Because at the end of the day He knows what ‘s best.  And today I know that full well.

Jesus gave us the perfect example when he prayed “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….”

Thy will not my will. Amen

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When Facebook Hurts

When Facebook Hurts

Tears welled up in my eyes. I felt hurt.

I saw the fun.
I saw the laughs.
I saw the friends.
I wasn’t there.
I wasn’t invited.
I was left out.

How do we cope when Facebook hurts you?  Because frankly, people open their lives up like books and sometimes we read into things only to feel left behind or insulted.

How do we overcome the laughs we weren’t a part of?
How do we get past the offensive words?
How do we move forward in love, when we feel hurt?
How do we let go of annoyances?

These were all things I struggled with as my heart broke a little.

I guess for me, it wasn’t just this person that hurt me, but it was all the little ways I saw I wasn’t being included.

I felt left out of the pictures, the recap comments and the moments.  I saw the smiles. I saw the joy. I saw the fun.

Where was I? How could they leave me out?

The small offenses all rushed over me.

But, then I got to thinking – have I really been pursuing others?

Because, no one is going to invite you into relationship if you aren’t available.
No one is going to welcome you to laugh, if you never welcomed them into your house.
No one is going to remember you, if you let the busyness of your day steal the good intentions of your heart.

I am so busy.

These Facebook pains walk me right up to truth –
the Lord loves relationship.

They also remind me that I can’t control what others do. They can do what they do, but God will always be here to help me through. People will hurt me. They will abandon me. They will drop me at the door. They will write things that offend. They will insult too.

But, we can find refuge in the Lord. We can seek his ways. So can you. Let’s open up to take risks, because we are kept under the safety of his wing – kept close, like a protected child.

Under his protection, he will show us how to act.
He will instruct us in truth.
He will arm us with the right mentality.

He releases us from the power of others’ insulting actions, so we may find freedom in the power of his unending love.

Frankly, we all offended Jesus. We actually offend him daily. We insult, we overlook, we leave him out.

But, does he stop loving us? Does he stop pursuing us? Does he still call us into relationship?

We prompts us to extend grace, just as he has.

So, let’s remember:

1.  We are who Christ says we are. Our identity is secure in Christ, not dependent on Facebook.
2.  We can’t expect to be pursued when we are not pursuing relationship.
3.  People are quick to speak and slow to think. We can be like this too.
4.  Jesus shows us unending grace; we can fall into his grace to extend grace.
5.  If we can let go of how others act on us, we can grab hold of how Christ wants us to act to others.
6.  The more we keep our eyes – and heart – on what is true, noble, upright and of good report, the more peace and joy that will be ours. Offenses lose their power.

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31)

Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)

It strikes me that we can let go of insults, injury and inadequacies, when we grab hold of truth, God’s truth.

Because, truly, there is only one book that defines us – and it’s not Facebook.


Is Your 1-Word Resolution Holding You Back? (Linkup)

Resolution holding you back

When I found myself getting irritated at the wide pronouncements of one-word resolutions, I started to wonder, “What’s my issue?”

How can someone not like words like:
Deeper?
Embrace?
Love?

Why am I so frustrated as others passionately pursue the Lord?

Sure, I picked a word – it’s “patience.” It was wisely given to my by a friend.

Patience in writing.
Patience with my husband.
Patience with my kids.
Patience in growth.
Patience in relationships.

Yes, I see the value.

But, what I can’t handle seeing – at the end of my year – is failure. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see the shame, regret, fear and embarrassment tied into that. Why should I set myself up for this?

So I find, it’s simpler to get annoyed and to avoid.
It’s easier to hate than to embrace.
It’s safer to go protected than to become dejected.

So, I push goals, dreams and hopes out of the way to protect a heart that could break along the way.

Truth is, I know I will fail in many ways.

I won’t be patient. I will get irritated. I will blow up at my kids and probably my husband. I will drop the ball. I will mess up. I just know it – and I hate that.

I hate that I can’t reach out to all I want to be – and grab hold of it.

And, underneath it all, I guess this is what really aggravates me about 1-word resolutions.  We will all fail in our own way.  We will all do the exact opposite of what our 1-word is.

Good luck on that 1-word friends!

For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)

And, he is not content with stagnant hearts that hide from his life-giving, love-producing, purpose-provoking truth.

So he says to me, “Kelly, running from failure is running from me.”

And, who can argue with that?

Failure is the beginning of something new.

Failure is the meeting point of love.
Failure is the hidden treasure – we let go of self and grab hold of Christ.
Failure is the heart of growth.
And the starting point of hope.

Jesus doesn’t stand as a judge of 1-word resolutions.
He doesn’t demand a 1-year illusion – here today and gone tomorrow.
He is not a master of confusion.
Ready to throw us into seclusion.

This is not our Lord. He never withholds love –
and he doesn’t shame us based on failures.

In this, I realize our resolutions don’t stand as a barrier to his love –
but as a conduit for it. 

I realize if I stop aiming to please him, I can start aiming to just behold him.
Because a student best receives, when she isn’t trying to do things her own way.

failed resolutions

Deeply, so deeply, I want to remember:

  • We are safe in his sacrifice. Held tightly, cupped in his loving hands.
  • Secure. So secure in our position as children of the most high King.
  • In the safety of his love – and the finality of his sacrifice – we can embrace grace and all the gifts extended through it.

A grace that doesn’t stop at our failings.
A love that is never given to be taken away.
An eternal position that can never be snatched.
A God that doesn’t give to steal away.

What kind of God would that be?

Truly, all wrath is gone.
All that remains is love.

Because of Jesus, I am safe – safe to move forward in perfect love. Love that casts out all my fear. Love that conquers all.  Love that makes me an overcomer. Love that let’s the Spirit of God pour out from me. I can’t even comprehend the start and end of this grace.

So, the Lord just says to me…

Patience, Kelly. Patience.
You are my work in progress.
It is not you that is at work – but it is me.
At the proper time, you will be exalted.
Do you trust me?
In my good time (which may well be more than a year), you will be patient.
You are my work, my craftsmanship, my love.”

And, in these truths, I can rest. I can rest because there is no condemnation left for me. It’s gone. It is gone for me and it is gone for you.

So for now, it just becomes a journey to his destination. In his timing. In his way. Until the day until he flings open the gate to welcome in his new creation – that he made me to be.

Until then, I will rely on him during the process of being patient.

And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 JB)

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