Purposeful Faith

Tag - faith

One Holy Connection

I was recently at a friend’s house with some other gals and the subject of prayer came up.
We all agreed our heart’s desire was to stay in the presence of God more and the best way to do this was through prayer. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and that does seem to be the logical way to stay connected because God is always listening. (Psalm 34:15)

But how in the world do we pray without ceasing when our distractions never cease to end?

We talked about food fasting (you can read about this numerous places in the Bible, Luke 2:37, Matt 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Matt 6; 16-18) but the two who were hypo-glycemic (yes I was one of them—I get hangry) nixed the idea. So for that night we went our separate ways with no solution.

The next morning one of my friends texted a brilliant idea on how we could remind ourselves to pray. She didn’t present it as a challenge but being the competitive gal I am I took it as a challenge. A holy one.

She said the phone was her biggest distraction. The plan was, if her phone rang she would answer it (might be one of her kiddos) but if she wanted to look at Facebook, text, Instagram, email, or Google, she would offer up a prayer first.

Fast the phone and feed the prayer.

It was a brilliant idea to me because I pick up my phone like a nicotine addict lights up a cigarette. If I’m bored, nervous, sad, hungry, agitated, frustrated, impatient, or fidgety I pick it up.  I thought, if I were to pray before I lit up my phone, others would be blessed and in the process I’d get a blessing of being less bored, sad, agitated, frustrated, impatient and fidgety.
Perks of staying in God’s presence.

It took me a couple of tries to get in the habit but that’s exactly what it became—a habit.

A praying habit.

I prayed while I was driving. I prayed while I was shopping. I prayed while I was exercising. Every time I heard an alert on my phone I prayed or praised God.

And this is what ihappened:

~ I became much more aware of time and space and what I was doing with each. I must have prayed 25-30 times between when I started in the morning and dinner.

~ I felt more connected to God. (But I guess so, we talked a lot!)

~ My attitude and the quality of my day changed. I couldn’t contain my joy and I shared with everyone else what I was doing.

~ And with all this I came to understand a deeper meaning to the verse in Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. in all your ways submit to him and he will keep your paths straight.”

That’s exactly what happens when you pray without ceasing. You are in a virtual all day extended conversation with The Almighty, asking Him about your every step.

And this phone thing, it had a pleasant ring. The message began spread.

I shared it with this sweet woman who owns a gift shop I frequent. And about an hour later my friend who unknowingly gave me the challenge walked in the door and the shop owner shared it with her!

I told another girlfriend about it and she told her mother…and so on.

The Holy Spirit sets our hearts a blaze when we pray.

Today I challenge you my friend, if only for a day, to use your phone as a prompt to pray. And share it with someone else. See what a difference it makes in your life and the lives for whom you offer petitions.

And if you choose to take this challenge I will make this guarantee:

When you light up the heavens instead of your phone you’ll not only get better reception but you’ll also get a holy connection every time!

May God bless you as you stay connected to Him.

Looking forward, pressing on and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.

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Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law (soon to be grandmother), mentor, and speaker. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and circumstance they encounter.

Christy is also a girly girl at heart who chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub.

You can connect with Christy at Joying in the Journey christymobley.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

More Reading:

Peace Restoration Prayer

10 Bible Verses: How Jesus Prayed

What Does Casting Our Cares Even Mean?

When People Take Advantage of You

Take Advantage

She told me, “I deserved more.”

Do I?

I hadn’t thought of it like that. But, perhaps she was right.

I should get it. I am owed it. I’ve missed out, been singled out, treated poorly.  Suddenly, she confirmed my worst fears.

I’ve been taken advantage of.

In a split second, her statement touched an open nerve, exposing all I-don’t-have, but should. The words grabbed me hook line and sinker. They make me want to get mad, to fight. Maybe, with some effort to get what I really deserve; I’ll feel 100% happy. 

What do you feel you deserve? What have you been passive-aggressively implying you’re owed?

I suppose, under the cover of my steel lid, I’ve been slowly simmering with the idea I deserve respect, answers, and kindness from people. I deserve them to pull through for me. I deserve their help.

Yet (and this is the part that really gets to me – and hard to embrace), Jesus didn’t demand much. Jesus wasn’t known for saying he deserved things – even though he deserved everything. Actually, rather than taking what he deserved, he gave to the world what they didn’t deserve – his very own body.

He got broken for me, when he could’ve stayed enthroned, without me.

If Jesus is my role model…

If I really follow him…

I deserve nothing…
but, through Christ, gain everything…
the ability to love…
to receive grace
and to delight in the journey of being with God...
…it is more than enough.

It really is. It truly is.

I lose peace when I start to think otherwise. I lose freedom too.

I can do nothing on my own…I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. Jo. 5:30

It’s a war of the world for the heart. There’s a tug one direction saying: fight for yourself. Then, there’s the Spirit’s tug the opposite direction saying: Die to yourself and live with me. And, there’s God’s truth saying: While you are silent, I’m fighting for you. (Ex. 14:14)

What if we gave up all our ways – to seek God’s? What might happen? I wonder what might happen to the world if – instead of fighting, we started loving? Call me simplistic or idealistic, but somehow, I not only think this is what God calls us to do, but he, in the process, sets us free to do.

The power isn’t in getting, but in giving.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. Prov. 10:12

Love never fails… 1 Cor. 14:7

Quick-fire Prayer: May I have eyes from above to shed love. May I not seek to gain the world, but extend a hand to it. May I fight not for my ways, but give up all my ways, in order to find Jesus.

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

More Reading:
Have You Lost Peace?
The Good Found in the Darkness (Linkup)

What’s Blocking you from Christ?

Are You Getting Nowhere – Fast?

Getting Nowhere

Are you wondering if God will be faithful to you?

Maybe he’s called you to something…
Maybe he’s led you to something…
Maybe he’s pushing you to DO something…
Maybe he’s prompting you to change something…

Yet, sometimes, excuses can hold one captive within a fortress wall. They encircle, blocking the greater thing. I should know, I’ve made excuses my whole life. I am not good enough. Smart enough. Able enough. Willing enough. ____ enough.

Are you really going to work, God?

Are you really with me?

God, is it really possible that you will work – if I don’t?

In this place of, God…I-trust-you-uhh,-kind-of…., there are 101 reasons why the plan won’t work. Here, there visions are demise, prayers like desperate pleas and a will all about self. I should know.

Just the other day, I found myself sitting on the couch with these exact emotions. So, not knowing what else to do, I asked God to meet me and walked outside to my front porch…

Was I in a bird sanctuary? As they sounded off, something in me came alive, I was no longer trapped in my vision, my mindset, and my will.  I’d pushed beyond the first protective wall. God was taking me somewhere.

I asked him for greater eyes to see; he gave them to me. First, I noticed the nest in my tree – the one neighbor called “a nest for squirrels”. The thought repulsed me at the time. I could somehow imagine them burrowing themselves in my gutters and then my attics and somehow- before the clock struck midnight – right into my bed – and under my covers. Over my dead body – (literally)!

But, as I stared at that nest, it wasn’t rabid squirrels that came out, but the tiniest and cutest of baby birds. 
New life.
New life always exists outside our walls of our disbelief. 

Getting Nowhere

 

I ventured out more, walking my ordinary path. The extraordinary birds sang something, but what did God want me to come to?

Kelly, if I hold the world together, don’t you think I can hold your dreams together?
Your life together?
Your moving parts together?

…in Him all things hold together. Col. 1:7

A bird swooped down in front of me. Not too long after, another one took a nose dive right along my path.
Follow me. Like the disciples followed me, you need only follow me. It’s that simple.

Go as I go.
See as I see.
Where I go, I give new view.

“They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” Mt. 19:20 MSG

It all sounded good. Because, seeing like me, a manipulating and self-steering girl, gets tiring. There’s a whole lot of things to worry about and people to please and things to do; frankly, I’m overbearing. Just going as he goes, sounds, well? Relaxing almost. So, I walk on and try to just welcome God into my space. I want to see as he sees and to go as he goes. And, what I notice is something I haven’t noticed all the other 200 times I’ve taken this walk. I see nests – ones almost invisible. Big nests. Small nests. Miniscule nests. Leaf-filled nests. I stop. How could I have missed them before?

Kelly, you don’t always see what I am birthing behind the scenes.
But, let me assure you – where I go, I bring life.
Every time you trust by faith, I hatch something.

“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23

With this, God fills me up in some sort of transcendent way. He offers me His goodness – and I’m addicted. I crave more. I want more. I really want more. I desperately want more. I believe, God intends it this way, he must know: He’s the best dependency. 

Upon arrival at home, my fortress looks different. The drawbridge is down and the front door stands welcoming. And, what I notice out of the corner of my eye are birds giving a final salute. They jump and frolic, enjoy and bathe in the puddles. They live – happy. Unconcerned with the future.

Getting Nowhere

I never celebrate what God has done – for very long.
I, so quickly, move on to the next thing.

Is God calling me to celebrate, in advance, what He’ll do through faith?

Kelly, I have a flight plan for you.
Joy launches with it.
It’s never a fight to be on my plight,
for my load is light. 

Peace flies in. I decide to go with God. I no longer need excuses, nor fear (read more on my journey to bravery, in my upcoming book, Fear Fighting).

Quick-fire Prayer: May I celebrate what I cannot yet see. May I trust in what I do not know. May I rest in where, with him, I’ll go. Fear need not be my companion, nor excuses my guide. For there is one true fact, and that is, you God, will not leave my side. Amen.  

More Reading:
Chasing God
7 Reasons Why God Is Allowing Your Trial
Do you Need a New Perspective?

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Are People Always Judging You?

Sizing you Up

For the longest time, judgments have thrown me off.

If I saw you looking at me weird, I was convinced you hated me.
If you had a comment that I wasn’t doing things right, I’d be devastated.
If you raised an eyebrow at my parenting style, I’d want to go climb into a hole and stay there until you are long gone.

It’s been hard for me to contend with people who condemn.

With certain people, I expect them to act a certain way. I can almost hear the words they’re going to say before they say them. I can almost see the pain strike my heart before the words are even formed in their mouth. With this, I internally fear and steer clear of them. I put up layers so they don’t prick me. I hide to protect my own hide.

I think, today, though, I am ready to admit, I am pretty much tired of this approach. I no longer want to relegate myself to a hole like a tiny mouse unworthy and unable to be myself. I want to step out – into the light – and do my thing, gnaw on cheese, squeak with joy or pounce around without caring what you, or anyone else, for that matter, thinks.

Jesus didn’t tell us to hide our light. He told us to shine it.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Mt. 5:15-16

Recently, I met with a friend. She’s spent every day of her life being who a family member wanted her to be. I could see how it had taken a toll on her. I could see she was ready to, like a butterfly, break out of her cocoon and fly-free. I wanted to see her colors. I knew God had something great for her – when she’d start being – who he made her to be.

God is helping me to see things. If we let external criticisms dwell as internal truths, we’ll live imprisoned. You see, the peanut gallery will always have comments as to who we should be. Yet, we don’t have to be who they say we should be. Who we should be is – who God created us to be.

What if Jesus changed who God created him to be in order to accommodate man’s standards? In order to please Pharisees or religious elite?

Jesus didn’t let criticism and condemnation define him. With this, God gives man’s condemnation no room to define us either. There is simply no one who has the power to destroy us. Because Jesus believed in who Father made him to be, and walked accordingly, he duct-taped the world’s mouth shut. No one could waver the mission of Jesus, because Jesus never gave them the chance to.
I want to be like that. Do you

Like Jesus, if we just hear the Word of God and walk accordingly, it doesn’t matter what man says. He can’t change our destiny. He can’t wreck our future. He may try to tell us we are ugly, we will never succeed or we are always falling short. But…blah, blah, blah he goes.
Jesus is in me.
The Spirit is alive.

The fruits of the Spirit are growing.

With this power working from me, I can turn right back around and say to him words of: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.

Why? Not because I am good, but because Jesus’ good love holds me tight and says, I am untouchable. I am unremovable from his care. I am undeniably chosen and wanted. For Jesus is attached in me, not the words of someone trying to take me down.

Other reading:
Dealing with Super Annoying People
When People Complicate Things
Dethrone Mean People

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

4 Reasons Why God Changes Plans

Feel Like a "Problem"

“I just want you to be able to earn a good living.”

“Don’t you want me to be happy?”

“What is happiness, Kelly?”

All I wanted to do, as I sat there and stared at the college buildings before me, was declare my major Psychology. Dad didn’t agree. He wanted to make sure I was provided for, secure and set on a good track for the rest of my life.

“Kelly, I think business, law or medicine makes the most sense for you.”

The plan was changing before my eyes. I’d no longer change the lives of the brokenhearted, heal their pain and comfort them in their time of need – I’d work on a profit and loss sheets. My shoulders slumped, because, in motion, was a huge change of plans.

Four years later, I graduated from business school.

A change of plans can feel heartbreaking. Frustrating. And, sometimes, heart-damaging.

It can leave you asking God:

Why did you leave me behind?
Didn’t you know I wanted this?
How could you do this to me?

What change of plans has left you hands-on-hips frustrated?
In a place you don’t want to be? Rejected?

They seem to pop up all the time. Sometimes I expect them to come. Sadly, I feel my excitement is about to be stomped out and I go into life fearing. You too?

With this, I figured, it’d be interesting to discover the biblical-why to changed plans.

Here are 4 reasons why plans change:

Satan thwarted the plan. Sometimes, where you’re going is so opposed, you can’t move forward. I don’t confess to know why God permits it, but what I do know is we serve a good God, who takes bad situations and makes them work to our favor. In that we can trust.

For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, did, again and again–but Satan blocked our way. 1 Thess. 2:18

God wants to bless you with spiritual riches. I am sure to Simon, carrying the cross was the last thing he expected to do. In the moment, he probably hated carrying that grueling load. Looking back, however, it was probably the greatest honor of his life. He got to be there – with Jesus and for Jesus – in his time of need.

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross” (Mark 15:21).

God is moving us back to his will. We might think our way is the best way, but no matter how odd, difficult or unusual, God’s will always is what is best for us.

Matthew 16:21-23 21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and be killed and on the third day…Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

The Holy Spirit is directing you according to the will of God. God knows where he needs his foot soldiers. He knows where to send his paramedics. He sees the field of war from the air. He is moving with a clear mission.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. Acts 16:6

Change of plans are not outside God’s plan. Make no mistake, our changes of plans are under the authority of the One who controls all plans. Where you are today, is not an accident or an impediment to how God wants to use you, grow you or send you out. It is not a red light to your dreams or a path that cannot be met in full come the future. It is not a lost opportunity, but one that can be made up in a split-second, a million times better than you ever imagined.

Don’t lose hope. God is God for a reason. We are under his reign because his reign is best. We can rest, heart calm, in this fact.

Just look at me today, I am a blogger, encouraging people like me – ones who at times feel brokenhearted, discouraged or downcast – people who need a helping hand. Isn’t it interesting how God brought me back around to what he created me to do? As I figure it, my role is even more valuable than a counselor, for I point people to the only Counselor who truly heals – Jesus. He had a plan.

Not only this, but my business degree has aided me in the publishing world. I’m releasing a book, “Fear Fighting: Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears” in January.  I don’t think I could have done this if I didn’t have a little bit of business acumen. God knew.

God always knows.

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

More Reading from Purposeful Faith:

Chasing God
1 Way to a Better Day: Challenge
Are you Behind Schedule?

Grief Isn’t a Lack of Faith

Post by:Jami Amerine

From the windows of my bedroom on the second story of our home on our 640-acre ranch, I could see the sky morphing from daytime to a water colored twilight.

The master bedroom glowed with purple hues.

My husband Justin, always generous and thoughtful, had excused me for the evening.  I could hear the acquainted sundown clamor.  One of the college children was home to help. Our 14-year-old daughter would help too.  The three youngest, our two adopted toddler sons and our infant foster daughter laughed, hollered, and then one of them began to cry.  Dishes clapped, a chair scraped across the dining room floor. All the normal sounds heard on any normal evening in our normal lives played out like a recording.

Tonight wasn’t normal.

Having just learned we would begin the transitioning of our foster daughter to her birth home I was a wreck.  Make no mistake, I have championed her momma, I love her.  She is my friend, she is a good mom.  Still, this sweet child has brought nothing but joy and laughter to our home.  She is delightful.  For the last year, she has been a cherished part of our family.

I was slain with grief.

I ignored my instinct to remove my mascara. I was not interested in protecting my 800-count white cotton sheets.  I needed to cut loose and grieve.  My phone buzzed alerts on my nightstand, I didn’t move.  I just cried heaving sobs and blew my nose, repeatedly into a tattered Kleenex… eventually crying myself into a deep slumber.

Later, sticky eyes pried open to a pitch black room.  I reached to my side for Justin, he wasn’t there.  I picked up my phone and tried to make out the time.

2:17 am.

And then… I remembered.  Grief washed over me again. Safely alone I said it out loud, “God, I am so sorry I lost it. I am so sorry my faith is so weak.  I am so sorry for…”

Grieving?

Crying?

Mourning a loss?

I sat up, my head pounded.  My nose was efficiently slammed shut.  “No, I am sorry… “

That you will miss that baby girl?

That your relationship with she and her momma are now irresolute?

That your work, work you love, is ending?

I reached for the lamp on my nightstand and switched it on and then opened a package of makeup removing wipes.  I wiped my face and continued to attempt to repent for… grieving.

In my sorrow, I had convinced myself I was somehow lacking.  In my hurt, I had managed to negate the gift of tears.  In my uncertainty, I had belittled my role as daughter of the Most High, having every confidence that stoic patented me faithful.

Rest.

Cry.

Let me comfort you.

I kicked off my shoes, removed my earrings and in a most artistic fashion, removed my bra without so much as unbuttoning my blouse. I switched off the light and heard Justin’s muffled snores coming from the family room.

Thank you for Justin.

Thank you for the children.

Thank you for the gift of tears.

I yawned and my lungs burned with the fatigue of grief.  Hot tears escaped my weary eyes. Yet I knew, this was not a sign of my unbelief. No, this was a sign I was blessed among the mourning and loved and cared for as the weary.  I lamented the times I had missed out on being fully loved and favored for by my Father in Heaven, somehow believing the lie that grief was indicative of a lack of faith.

A lie from the enemy.

I do not doubt the Father’s love.  I do not question His devotion to the baby girl I have loved as my own.  I do not believe He will not continue the good works he has instilled in her birthmother.  Why would I feel that my heartache counts me less than devout?

My breath steadied, and I felt myself slipping back into the comfort of His blessing, rest.  Good Father, Mastermind, and Creator of tears, laughter, and all emotion, every state of being and every stage of life. He blessed me with these life affirming emotions, no longer will I consider they somehow nullify the gift of my salvation – the majesty of faith – faith that counts me worthy.

Thank you, Jesus.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Read More:
Grace for One Who Self-Condemns
Why God Really Has A Better Way
Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

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

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

Change The Face of Your Problems

Face of Your Problems

My face. It must speak a thousand words. Words like, my day was bad, I no longer feel like a good mom, I am dead-tired and ready to pass out.

I need not say a word, my husband simply looks at me for a picture of my previous 9-hours. I guess, if I look down, it was not a good day. If I tighten my lips, it was a horrible day. If I run up to him with a smile, it was a fantastic day.

I think our face tells more about us than we know. Two days ago, I looked into a girlfriend’s eyes. She was smiling on the outside, yet her eyes were droopy sad. I could tell something was wrong.  Some days, when wait at a stop light, I stare out my window at the cars turning in front of me. They don’t realize it, but almost everyone is frowning. I guess the majority people’s days aren’t going so well.  Sad. I do like the look my son gives his sister – its an under-cover smile. I think he’s proud of her.

I like that look.

What look do you convey?

I want my insides to project an outward love of Christ.
I want what God is doing in me to outshine through me.

I wonder if it does?

Just recently, I read about Moses. He and God were tight: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his best friend.” (Ex. 33:11)

I love those words. There is a sweet familiarity and comfort between Moses and God. It feels easy. Unforced. Natural. To me, it sounds like an everyday, I-want-to-meet-you kind of thing. It sounds welcoming. Relaxed. Connected.

God honors this kind of approach. He brings people who meet with him like this – deeper. He shows them things. He tells Moses, “I Myself will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim the Lord before you…” (Ex. 33:19)

Can you all imagine seeing “all God’s goodness” pass before you?

What an honor! What might that look like? How might that affect you?

Moses couldn’t even look at God straight on; his glory was too much to be seen in that light. But what I love is this – Even though Moses couldn’t see God’s face, Moses face was changed by God’s goodness.

“The skin of Moses’ face shone” so bright, he had to wear a veil around the Israelites.

And this really gets me thinking, you see – be with God – and you’ll be different.
Let his love shine on you – and it’ll no doubt shine upon others.
Face God and see him change your tightly clenched face into a radiant face.

I want this. I want my bad days’ soothed by God’s good love. I want my anxiety, quenched by Him who leaves none thirsty. I want He who is light, to make my countenance bright. I want what I can’t face, to go face-to-face with him who is Peace.

If like Moses, I get before God, if we get before God like this, we’ll never be the same. Those we love won’t be either. Approaching God head-on, accepting his face of love– will change the face of our life, I am convinced.

Prayer:

God, help us get before you. Help us to come to you when trials hit or when fears feel like they may drown us. Bring us into your light, into your peace. Shine your glory upon our face, so we may face the world with your light. Equip us and empower us according to your will. Amen.

More Reading:
When Your Good Intentions Fail
How Many Christians Live Grace All Wrong
The Care and Keeping of a Mean Girl

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

 

The Silent Faith-Killer (You Likely Allow)

Faith-Killer

My son lives like a son. Meaning, he takes all momma wants to give him. If I walk in with a plate of cookies, he dives into them. If I offer him a hug, he runs up to get it in full. If I sit down with him, he delights in showing me things. If he gets injured, he runs to me and asks how I might help. He takes what I give, eagerly and willingly.

Somehow he knows where he is –is safe. And, what I am giving – is good.

For the most part, Christians aren’t good at being children. It’s not because we aren’t loved, adored and chosen, we completely are, but it’s mostly because we grew up. We think we can’t accept all that – all that the Father wants to lavish on us.

I’ve been watching, us, his children shut down his love.

Here’s how it tends to go:

  • I say, “Need prayer?” They say, “Nope. But, I know someone who does.”
  • I say, “Are you struggling with anything?” They say, “Nope. Not at all.”
  • I say, “I’d like offer you a gift – God has put you on my heart.” They say, “Nope. I never take gifts from others.”
  • I say, “You are courageous.” They say, “I don’t want to talk about me. Let’s talk about you.”

Rather than living as needy children, we living as arrogant adults. To turn away the love of Christ is to turn down the greatest gift moving on earth. We do it often.

Why?

Maybe, because we don’t want to owe people things. Maybe, because we feel guilty or embarrassed. Maybe, because we feel undeserving. Maybe, we don’t even notice he wants to hand it to us.

The maybe’s don’t matter.

What matters is, like children, we open our arms up to hold the gifts God is outpouring through others. What’s important is we see all the ways he is trying to love us. What is vital is we let this love in, so we can let this very love – out.

God wants to hand us his best, yet so often, we either walk right past it or reject it. Then, we get angry that God doesn’t answer our prayers, or reach out to us in our time of need. Guess what?! He’s been doing that all along. If only we’d just open our arms and hold close all he is pouring out.

He made us worthy.

What have you denied? Held at an arms length? Shut down? Walked away from? Turned away?  Sit down, look up and let in what love is pouring out from others onto you – receive what the Father wants to give you. You will be shocked at how it impacts your life.

Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. Jo. 16:24

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More Reading:
A 3-Point Plan to Beat the Enemy
When You Don’t Feel Gifted
25 Verses About God’s Protection

A 3-Point Plan to Beat The Enemy

Beat The Enemy

Sometimes, in the summer I get lazy. Real lazy. You see, when I go out to sit in the backyard and to soak in the summer sun, I just grab my books, my towel, my chair and my lemonade – and go. I forget the pests. I forget about those nasty mosquitos- that bite.

And, bite they do. It is usually the next day – I’m scratching my legs off.

If only I would have picked up that bottle of repellant so that I would have held up against the suckers. That would have been good.

Even more, with all this talk of Zika, I start to fear. What if I get sick? What if some disease is passed to me with all these bites?

Some days, I worry about mosquitos, most days I worry about something.

I don’t have a fight-plan either. Well, I guess by definition, if you have no plan, you do have some plan – its just a bad one.

Mine looks like this:

  1. Kelly, stop worrying.
  2. Kelly, do something to fix what is coming against you.
  3. Kelly, didn’t I tell you to stop worrying?

My fight looks like me on defense, not Christ on offense. But, Jesus never told us to sit around like doormats anticipating a good stomping. He never told us hang out in the midst of blood-sucking mosquitos.

He gave us self-protection on the cross. Jesus shows us a way out. He gives us a plan to repel what is coming against us.

Do you know it?

It looks like an unconventional fight:

Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Eph. 6

3 Point Offensive Fear-Fighting Plan:

  1. Pick up. Grab faith so you can fight life-sucking fear.
  2. Hold it up. Hold up faith founded on truth during spiritual, emotional and physical attacks. When you feel fear popping up, remember: God is for you. God is with you. God won’t leave you.
  3.  Blow up the fiery arrows of evil. Go forward in faith like it is your personal repellant to the enemy. You see him coming? Spray him with faith.

No spiritual attack can hurt you spiritually, unless you walk into life unprotected, uncertain, of God’s great love for you.

Take up your faith, hold up your shield and blow up every strategy that is trying to take down your trust in your first love. Fear Fight. Stand firm. Don’t back down.

When You Don’t Feel Gifted

Not gifted

Baseball. It taught me who I am and what to never, ever, do.

It all started on the bus ride to a game…

“Hey….Kelly,” the men’s Italian voices echoed in unison as I walked down the center aisle, clothed brightly in both team colors and Disney World-like smile. Breathing it all in, I could fully sense the air of excitement: it smelled like Syran-wrapped ham sandwiches with American cheese, it sounded like a portable pre-game radio talk and it felt like the freedom of crunched peanut shells underfoot.

Crackerjack box in hand, I left that bus and walked the stands like I owned the place. This day, I’d be – encourager. The fans would hear my chants, they’d see my team colors and, like last year, I’d start the wave. No doubt, where two or more are gathered, my sister and me? We’d move mountains – or the masses in this case.

We did. We cheered and the wave moved the stadium. The game was groundbreaking. I didn’t watch a lick of it. Still, I learned: she who thinks she is small is big when she let’s loose God’s gifts within her.

I liked that idea, very much. What I didn’t like was all this talk about the pitcher’s slump. Apparently, he lost his luck, which was ironic since he did a little song and dance before every pitch. Plus, I couldn’t figure out how he could possibly be in a “slump.” He was still the same man as yesterday. He wasn’t hurt or crippled. He could still throw 102 miles an hour. He still was strong and powerful. Yet, somewhere along the line, his mind failed him. I guess he figured, “I’ve lost my effectiveness,” or “I’m a fraud.” Maybe he thought, “They’ll all laugh at me if I do bad” or “I really never was as good as I thought.”

That pitcher? The fear that stole his could, was the mindset of – I can’t.

I’ve had his mind of anxiety lately – one of I can’t. I can’t act godly enough. I can’t love my kids well enough. I can’t do what God is calling me to. I can’t find my way. I can’t get out of the hole of discouragement. God can’t really love me, can he?

Fear has sent me to left-field looking for daisies.

And that gift of encouragement? The one that rises people out of their seats, the one that can move masses, the one that sings Jesus’ name? It’s a crumb in the bleachers.

What gift of God feels lost? Frightened away by fears?

What spiritual base of – I can – through Christ – has been stolen by the mindset of – I can’t?

Perhaps, like the pitcher, we recognize, our mind may say we can’t, but the grace of Jesus says, “We can.”

Grace says we are:

Loved beyond the very definition of the word.
Cared for infinitely and intimately.
As much saved today as yesterday.
As free as the grave is empty.
As victorious as Jesus is lion.
As gifted as always.
Irrevocably called.

Our mindset doesn’t define us, a mind set on Christ does.

Choose to win.

Baseball is a fight to win. So is the Christian walk. You can’t walk out on the field of dreams without the armor of grace, truth and love. That’s a fight in futility friends. I’ve played like that – in defeat – for 36/38ths of my Christian life. I remained – slumped.

Sure, I knew Scripture.
Sure, I knew about God.
Sure, I knew the right thing to do.
But, surely it was in my head, not my heart.

A switch must occur. Have you heard of a switch-hitter? It is a player who can hit from either side of the plate. God is calling us to switch to a new mindset that can attack any fear, fret or fury from any side. With a mind set on Christ, led by the power of the Holy Spirit, nothing can stop us.

Today, let’s be switch-hitters – ones with eyes set on Christ, ones ready to fight -and win.

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