Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

When You Don’t Know What to Do

I can’t.

How many times have we thought this?

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to proceed. What does this person need to hear in order to start acting differently?

There’s validity to our questions. In reality, our wisdom leads to dead ends. Over-strategizing doesn’t work. When we control others, we grip a slippery wall, powerless.

The flesh is death.
The Spirit is life.

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Ro. 8:6

One disappoints.
The other points us to Christ as we await his best thing.

One musters up faith through actions and reactions.
The other leans on God through heart connection.

One is reactive to insults.
The other is reflective and submitted to truth.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Ro. 8:26

The Spirit in us gives life to us. He not only cares our your problems, but groans on our behalf, the exact words we cannot muster.

Do you feel unaccounted for? Do you feel left behind? Do you not know what direction to head? Fear not, whatever you don’t know, God does. His plan is not to hide the plan, but to reveal it.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed it to us by the SpiritThe Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:9-10)

There is goodness prepared for you. There is an uncovering of your way being revealed by the Spirit. Therefore, wait, with faith. Trust, with hope. Be governed by the Spirit. He is always your best way.

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When You’re Afraid to Take That Step of Faith

Blog post by: Abby McDonald

“Don’t look down, Mom!”

Immediately, I wish my son hadn’t said that. I can’t help myself. My eyes drift to the expanse below and my feet wobble. What was I thinking when I agreed to do this?

I try to regain my composure and remember my harness. The 4-story high ropes course stretches out before me, and I know there was only one way out: through it.

If you fall, the harness will catch you.

I tell myself this repeatedly as I inch across a rickety bridge that seems a mile long. My son moves to the other side with ease, turning around at the end to cheer me forward.

“You’ve got this! Keep going!”

When I get close enough to the next platform, I take a giant step to the safety of a solid surface. I stop and breath deeply, thankful for a minute to relax my legs. As I survey the rest of the course, I take a mental note of how much further we have to go before we can make the trek back down to the bottom. My mouth is dry and I can hear my stomach starting to rumble.

When my husband suggested I embark on this adventure with my boys, my first instinct was to say no. First, I am not a fan of heights. And second, our one-year-old daughter was the perfect excuse for me to stay on the ground.

But then I felt a little nudge.

Say yes.

My parents were with us, and they were more than happy to watch their granddaughter. So I went. With harness tightened securely around me, I made my way to the top. And with my nine-year-old as my cheerleader, I kept going even when my balance was awkward and my footing unsure.

Even though I was afraid, I moved forward.

Even though my stamina was tested, my resolved to finish was greater. And you know what? I will never forget those minutes spent amongst the trees with my family.

When my feet were firmly planted back on the ground, I realized God was teaching me a valuable lesson. Without my even realizing it, he painting a picture.

You see, lately God’s been asking me to be brave. He’s asking me to step out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Speak more. Lead more. Trust him more. And my first instinct, like it was with my husband, is to say no.

God, I’m not qualified.

God, you have the wrong person.

God, I have no experience in this area.

But he keeps gently nudging me forward, waiting for me to take the leap. Desiring obedience, even when I stubbornly keep my feet planted in one place.

After making a lot of excuses, I said yes to one step. And then another. With each one, he shows me his presence never leaves. Even when my feet falter, he’s there.

Having a forward-moving faith doesn’t mean we’ll never fall. It means we trust a God who never fails.

So when we slip, he’s the harness that catches us and keeps us from hitting the ground. When our balance sways, he’s the secure grip that steadies us and enables us keep going.

“It is God who arms me with strength

and keeps my way secure.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;

He causes me to stand on the heights.”

 2 Samuel 22:33-34

Friends, we serve a God who wants us to live life to the fullest.

He wants our faith to move us to new heights so he can show us the depth and width of his love. A love that surpasses all understanding. A love that will change others’ hearts, minds, and lives. But we have to be willing. We have to get off the ground.

When we do, the view is spectacular. When we do, our image of God expands with each shaky step.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

 

When You Feel Undeserving

Do you ever think, “Everything is going so well…I wonder when is God going to pull the carpet out from under me?”

Or, “I don’t deserve good stuff.”
Or, “I feel guilty for accepting…”

I think this way sometimes. As if God’s given me too much and suddenly needs to put me in my place. Or as if I’m spoiled by the fact He is good. Or like He is a killjoy who is out to punish me for my happiness.

Why do I do this?

Recently, I asked God for something. It was small, but I prayed for it to “get better”. Amazingly, I immediately did, to a degree. I saw God move in incredible ways. Then, I wanted to ask him for something else, something more. I almost prayed…but then I heard:

Bad Kelly! You want too much.

Bad Kelly! You think God is there to give you everything.

Bad Kelly! You are selfish.

Bad Kelly! You know there are others who have it much harder than you.

Afraid to take too much from God, I almost missed the opportunity to see how much He really loves me. I almost stopped asking. Why? Because I counted the nature of God equivalent with the nature of man.

God gives abundantly. Many give, but then take for themselves.

God does even more than we ask or imagine. Man does and then expects something in return.

God continually pours out the best of who He is on our behalf. Man halfway gives and then gives up.

When we assign the track record of man to God, we always lose. In fact, we close down the opportunity to see the abundant nature of an abundant God. We essentially hold an arm up to God and say, “You’re a little bit good, but not that good.”

What are you believing about God today? In what ways have you held an abundant God back? How have you let the past hurts of man create a false view of God?

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jo. 10:10

“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jo. 6:33

 

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The Ministry of “Not Today Folks!”

Jesus gave to everyone, always. Right?

Jesus ministered to every man who needed him. Right?

Jesus never stopped giving, ever. Right?

Wrong.

One evening after sunset the people brought Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  (Mk. 1:32-34)

Notice, Jesus healed “many.” But, as I see it: many is not all.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”(Mark 1:35-38)

Notice, while the crowds of people waited… While people were still searching him out… He did what?!!!

He went off.

He turned away from the demands of man to connect to the voice of God. Away from the calls of man, He could once again to hear the call of God. We see Jesus restating his purpose to the disciples when he said, “This is why I have come.”

Jesus let go of a “very good call” (taking care of every person’s waking need), for a better one: going where the Father desired Him to be and following through on his vision/mission as planned.

What might you be doing today that is thwarting God’s mission for tomorrow?

We are wise to look into our life to see:

  1. If our heart to do things is causing us to lose peace.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  2. If we feel upset at others for all we’ve done for them.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  3. If we are so tired, we can hardly love people anymore.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  4. If we feel God has something new for us to do.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  5. If others want us to do something more than we can do.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.

Prayer re-centers us, not on the plans of man, but on the purpose of God in our lives.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Winter Means Waiting

Post by: Christine Hoover

In winter, I spend an inordinate amount of time holed up in my home under a blanket, guzzling hot coffee, and longing for spring’s arrival. It’s not my favorite season, but favorite or not, winter is important. Despite what we see with our eyes, the earth in winter is busy creating life. We only know this is so because spring eventually comes, and then we marvel at what that life looks like.

Is it possible that God designed winter and the earthly cycle of life, death, and renewal in order to speak a deeper truth? I believe, because the Bible says it’s so, that everything in creation is designed speech about its Creator. Just as we find him on warm summer days, standing in the sand, listening to the waves crash against the shore, we find him in the stillness of winter.

Winter, however, often speaks of a barrenness we don’t want to hear about.

Annie Dillard writes, “All that summer conceals, winter reveals.” And so we need a life with winters, because we need our hearts revealed. Winter comes to strip us bare of our delusions, to make us face reality: we have imperfections that we can’t perfect. We are helpless to find a formula to reason or act our way out of our helplessness. We are human, and we, in our barrenness, must be acted upon if we’re to experience eternal life, joy, and the supernatural.

Winter then, after stripping us bare, points us to the invisible motion as if in invitation to these very things: life is happening. God is at work, acting upon us.

The harshness of our waiting winter tells us that this world has nothing for us and that we have nothing for ourselves. We have this hope–one, and only one–that there is life waiting for us beyond death.

Although we are not yet in that world, we have reasons for our hope: the words of God. With words, he formed the earth and its seasons and cycles. With words, he continues creating. We can trust his words. In our winter, we must draw ourselves under the warm blanket of God’s promises, a sure comfort in the darkest of hours.

This is what God did with the prophet Jeremiah:

“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, ‘I see an almond branch.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.'” (1:11)

In Jerusalem, the almond tree, the first to bud in the spring, was said to “watch for spring.” God used the almond branch to comfort Jeremiah in his lamentable circumstances. The almond branch was a reminder that God is always in process of keeping his promises, that he is, at this very moment, hurtling all of us toward eternal spring. He pointed to the almond branch—the coming of spring—and told Jeremiah to watch and wait.

We too watch and wait, not in fear of this winter in which we live, nor in fear of our own spiritual poverty or even final death. We watch and wait, comforted, because all of this God is right now working for our true life, when winter will forever turn to spring.

Christine Hoover is a Bible teacher and the author of several books, including Messy Beautiful Friendship. Her latest book, Searching For Spring: How God Makes All Things Beautiful in Time, frames the life of faith according to the seasons and according to Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” Searching for spring is really a search for God’s redemptive work, where suffering and death become fruitful life. Christine invites readers like you, who may be weary and withering, to join her on a treasure hunt for beauty in both familiar and unexpected places.

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What Faith Does

Look back and think of some miracles God has done in your life.

My miracle: He completely healed me from an eating disorder.

My miracle: He brought money into my mailbox on the very day I believed, many years ago when I couldn’t pay rent.

Your miracle: ____

Your miracle: ____

These past miraculous mile-markers serve as huge celebrations. Essentially, we said to God at that time, “Father, I want to ____. I need to ___. Only you can ___.” Then, Jesus did.

Times like this are recounted again and again in scripture. For example, a blind man said to Jesus, “I want to see!” (Lu. 18:41)

Jesus replied: “Receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” (Lu. 18:42)

It was this man’s faith that healed him. Faith permitted him to receive his healing versus doubting it and blocking it. He opened up his arms to a new idea, versus crossing them. Doing this was powerful, because look what happens. . .

We are told, “Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.” (Lu.18:4e)

Notice the progression at work here…
Our faith leads to our receiving: This becomes our seeing.
Seeing leads to following Jesus.
Receiving and seeing creates a life of praising.
Our praising makes others start praising.

Where might your small mustard-seed-size faith start a wildfire of praise in this world? Don’t discount a small beginning of faith; God does not despise it. Instead, remember the wonders of old and recount the faithfulness of yesteryear. Re-establish that your God is able. And believe. Get ready to receive God’s new thing.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Reasons Why Others Don’t Control Your Destiny

I recently noticed an increasing problem in my life. I can’t stand it if people think poorly of me. If they don’t email me back, I think there’s an issue. If they don’t answer my call, I decide they no longer like me. If I did something in the past and asked for forgiveness, I still figure I’m on the people-we-don’t-like list. The issue is not so much that I haven’t forgiven them. It’s that I think, “They couldn’t have forgiven me.” Which lends to a problem: shame.

And when shame shows up, we can always be sure its makings are from the enemy. And when he shows up, we can know we need to fight back.

How do we fight back? We realize, on many levels, it is not man who is in charge, but God.

Here are 25 Reasons Why Others Don’t Control My Destiny:

  1. What matters is not what man builds, but what God builds.
    “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1
  2. Every single battle belongs to the Lord. When He fights, He wins.
  3. Jesus had people against him. Guess what? He kept His eye on the mission, and as a result was still victorious.
  4. I may plan my way, but God ultimately directs my steps. (Prov. 16:9)
  5. God is actively working in others’ hearts in a way I cannot see, manage or predict.
  6. I think far more about how I appear and “come off” than others do. They usually are thinking far more about how they “appear” and “come off” than about me.
  7. What I dwell on, people tend to forget, especially if I’ve apologized.
  8. Another’s silence could also mean: they are busy, out of town, struggling or forgetful.
  9. God is my maker: nothing can unmake His plans for me.
  10. If I remember who annoyed me 10 years ago, they are practically a non-issue today.
  11. For every desperate no-way-out problem in the bible, God drop-kicked its walls and cleared way for victory, for those who trusted Him.
  12. Waiting with trust is the first step to seeing a miracle.
  13. What I can’t see being worked out, God can.
  14. Shame doesn’t rule me. God’s truth and Spirit does.
  15. I’ve been made to focus my attention on God, not on other’s wavering emotions, reactions and motivations.
  16. God knows my heart. He stands behind and protects the hearts of the righteous.
  17. The Spirit in me will guide me and lead me down the best paths.
  18. I am not perfect, but I can trust the one who is to help me.
  19. Jesus’ mission was never thwarted by those against Him.
  20. God-dropped learnings result in my growing, when I steer clear of self-condemning words.
  21. My path is God’s, not the trampled-down wide road the herds travel. Charting a new course with God always takes determination.
  22. It is God’s rod that comforts and protects me, not the response of man.
  23. I am made by God, not by other’s opinions.
  24. I am the daughter of the Most High King. He will provide all I need (and then some).
  25. God is the maker of every man, not the opposite.
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Your Fight Back Strategy!

When it is “You vs. The Enemy”…you must be prepared.

You must.

Because in this world it truly is eat or be eaten. Eat God’s Word or be eaten.

Fight or be killed. Fight back with truth or be killed.

I know this firsthand. The times when I try to do everything on my checklist so I feel accomplished, or work really hard to look better than others, or hear a million reasons why I am no good. . .here, I have one of two choices.

I can:
1. Ignore what is going on within me, do nothing, and thereby proceed into the lion’s den,

or,

2. Square up to the one who desires to make me doubt, fear, worry, stress, overdo it, give up, get defensive or hide.

Choice 1 leads me to: eating a whole bunch of the enemy’s stomach-churning bull.
Choice 2 leads me to: finding the truth that has just set me free.

Choice 1 ends with: doubt, discouragement and despair.
Choice 2 ends with: faith, hope and love.

Always use truth when you face a liar. He can’t stand up against it. So that is what we will do today. We will use truth so choice two becomes your only end and option.

Here is arsenal for your fight:

Nothing can come against me in Christ Jesus.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn. (Is. 54:17)

The Spirit in me always trumps what is coming against me.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

No evil will overcome me, because Jesus is in me. 

No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent. (Ps. 91:10)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Gal. 2:20)

How can the enemy own what he can’t find?

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)

I’ve been given divine power to demolish the strongholds set up against me.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

God will faithfully protect me against the evil one.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thes. 3:3)

Whatever evil comes against me will be annihilated by God.

The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. (Deut. 28:7)

God will not lose me; I am not outside His love.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. (Jo. 6:39)

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Learning to Trust God

I didn’t push the girl’s sheet of paper. I didn’t. She was the one who kept inching her colored sheet over mine and trying to irk me all throughout art class. And despite my best efforts to ignore her, she wouldn’t stop. She did something else annoying too. She kicked me under the table. It was taking everything in me not to respond.

Until, I did. She pushed too far. So I screamed out in the middle of the elementary school classroom, “Stop it.” The girl barked to the teacher that I’d been pushing her sheet. But I hadn’t.

I got in big trouble. The girl sat there unscathed.  I sat in the punishment seat. The girl sat there smiling. I sat fuming. The girl sat in victory.

Where was my defender? Who stood up for me? Why didn’t God bring justice? I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

I still ask these questions, even as an adult.

Why? Why did all that happen? Where were you God? Why did I go down those roads? Where were you God? Why did I get hurt like that? Where were you, God?

When I look back and see God’s absence, it makes me believe He was negligent.

But was He?

While horrible stuff happened, it never kept me away from God’s love. While things went wrong, I still lived. While stuff hurt my insides, it never ruined me. While there were some close calls, I often squirmed right past.

Just because we can’t see God work doesn’t mean He isn’t working.

There is so much I can’t see in the moments when I believe He’s not defending me.  Like His hands holding things back, the angels He sends on my behalf, and the wisdom He pours down from high to help me understand things. Like the arms wrapping around me when I think I am alone, the heavenly court docket that has no record of my wrongs, and the road he reroutes to make sure I am take care of.

Don’t discount the Protector working in the unseen just because you can’t see Him.

Here I stand today. I may have fallen and felt alone yesterday, but I stand victorious in Christ. I stand wanted and in His love. I stand whole and wholly loved. It looks like God took care of me pretty well. He continues to. He does the same for you.

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***Bloggers, don’t miss it!
Join me, today, as I talk on The Declare Podcast about,
Fighting Fear in Blogging, Writing and Publishing. ***

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Really, Do Not Worry

I have got so much to do and I don’t know how I can ever take care of everything because there is not enough time in the day plus I can’t even begin to get on top of that laundry and the family needs clothes and I wish I was a better organizer…it seems everyone else has buckets and labels for all the things they have so that everyone knows where things are located…and I can’t seem to keep track of where the scissors went…plus I am hardly making dinners, most nights it is quick-eats, not gourmet dinners and I need to get my kids more nutrients because they need to have strong bones and I really should be taking my daily vitamins but I am not even doing that and what if when I get old my bones crack in half and I am hunched over and have to spend the rest of my life sitting in a lawn chair or strapped to a recliner…

“Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.” Lu. 12:29

God knows our needs.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” Lu. 12:30

Seeking the Kingdom first = Getting everything you need.
Letting go of the mind-rubbish consuming you to let God’s plans consume you = Getting everything you need.
Seeing the world as God’s drawing board and you as the paintbrush = Getting everything you need.
Getting love loosened from you and into the world = Getting everything you need.
Keeping your eyes on the kingdom of God, versus the kingdom of your every-waking-need= Getting everything you need.
Being watchful through prayer and diligently pursuing God = Getting everything you need.

God knows what we need. He has a good plan to give it to us. We need not worry about our fiefdom; it is all about His kingdom.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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