Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

6 Ways to Find Refuge When Finances Tumble

Ways to find Refuge

What do you do when finances take a hard swing, threatening to tumble all you have built in about a split second? What do you when the force of debt, loans and goods become the wrecking ball to a once-sturdy foundation of security?

Dire finances can pull apart a foundation of hope. They can crash into established dreams. They can bulldoze temples of peace shining for the Lord – if one is not careful.

Is your bank balance dictating your emotional balance or
is your great God balancing your mind with his never wavering foundation of his truth?

God knows this trial is not easy and I love how he loves us. He gives us a helping hand when obligation seem to rise higher than our devotion.

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea… Ps. 46:1-3

If you are in need of help, God is your run-to-the-rescue deliverer. He offers incredible-Hulk-like strength. He brings an I-will-not-fear mindset.  With God, the-world-can-fall-around but theology still remains sturdy and steady.

Do you find refuge in God
to find God’s rescuing and aiding help?

6 Ways to Find Refuge:

1. Dwell in the presence of God with you and for you.
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge…” (Psa. 73:28).

2. Find the goodness of the Lord, amidst the harshness of the world.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house;  (Ps. 36:7-8)

3. Love the one with the power to protect you.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”  and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him (Ps. 91)…

4. Continually dialogue with the only one with the real power to save.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Ps. 62:8

5. Confess your wrongs and find freedom.
The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned. Ps. 34:22

6. Be confident in the one who has all control.
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge. Prov. 14:26

God blesses those who take refuge:

They drink the river of God’s delights (Psalm 36:8-9).
No harm will hit (Ps. 91).
Protection will come (Ps. 91).
They find help (Ps. 46).
No disaster will arrive. (Ps. 91).
Angels guard. (Ps. 91).
Praises abound (Ps. 91).
Big enemies are beaten (Ps. 91).
Lifted on a rock (Ps. 27).
Find safety (Prov. 18:10).

Refuge is one who sits in the center of God’s heart.
He finds all he needs from the pulse of God’s truth.
All his hope is from the promise of God’s security.
All his courage from the picture of what awaits.
It is not always found on earth, but it is always promised in heaven.
There is no fear for this one because he sits next to the throne of the one in control.
He is with the God who promises to be for him and with him.
He trusts the one whose hand rules all the details of his life – and he feels at ease.
​Refuge lays his head on the shoulder of his first love, waits and expects to receive goodness.

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The Best Way Out of Fear

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

All I wanted him to do was pedal.

I pleaded and coerced, ran behind the bike and offered words of encouragement.

“You can do this. You know how. Just keep going.”

But as soon as I let go of the seat, his feet went down. Every time, without fail. And as much as I tried to hide my frustration, I knew it was as obvious as the sweat gleaming on my face.

I wanted him to succeed at this, but I couldn’t do it for him.

We put the bike away for a few weeks and he went back to racing his Dodge Viper around the cul-de-sac. Yes, my six-year-old was driving a nicer car than his Mama, complete with a rechargeable battery, radio and gear shift.

Little brother rode shotgun, occasionally grabbing the wheel and crashing the car into the overgrown flowerbed. A loud mixture of laughter and aggravated shouts poured out of the vehicle.

I buried myself in my latest copy of Hello, Darling and told myself the training wheels would come off eventually. He wouldn’t start high school with them on, right?

Skimming over the pages, one article grabbed me. The authors, both child psychologists, were talking about fear. Yes, this was what I needed. Some sound advice from those who understood how the mind of a child worked.

Their advice? Tell him it was okay to be afraid. Tell him it was okay, but he had to walk through it.

In the words of my favorite poet, Robert Frost, “The best way out is always through.”

Yet so often instead of confronting the fear, we want to run and hide.

I know. I’m an expert, and I’m sure my son’s behavior was modeled after his mom, the master hider.

When we hide from our fears we do nothing but fuel them.

When we confront them head on and walk through them, we expose them for what they really are: lies. And the father of lies would like nothing more than for us to live life cowering behind a self-made façade of what-ifs.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

The following day I sat down with my son and the mid-summer heat.

“Hey buddy, you want to give the bike a try again?”

“No.”

He didn’t elaborate.

“Why not?”

He paused, considering his answer.

“Because I don’t want to fall again,” he said in all honesty.

I looked him straight in the eyes and silently prayed my words would sink in.

“Buddy, it’s okay to be afraid. But it’s not okay not to try.”

He stood there, thinking about my words and taking his time. Then he turned on his heels and ran toward the garage, not waiting for me to follow him.

That evening, my son rode his bike without training wheels for the first time. His joy was contagious, and within hours he couldn’t even remember why he was scared.

As I stood there watching, God pressed his message on my heart. While fear of the unknown was as certain as the sunset, my response to it didn’t have to be.

Sometimes we just have to do it afraid.

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*photo credit

Guest Contributor Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly   pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Are You Stuck Waiting?

Waiting for Help

I could feel it – but I didn’t want to “feel” it. I didn’t want to deal. I didn’t have time for it.

I was too busy living days of baby insanity –
coping with a screamer who didn’t know night from day or day from night,
that mom sometimes needs 5-minutes without high-pitched wails and
that spit-up is actually the worst kind of perfume.

Babies don’t get all that.

So, even though my legs were going numb and my vision was faltering, I ignored it. Even though it seemed I was wearing 3-D checkerboard glasses of black & white, I said, “Plug on! Mamma, ain’t got time for that.”

Pull, it together, body, you can do it. We have feedings, poopings and sleepings to handle. 

But, as avoidance always does, it catches up; it grabs an just an inch of your leg and doesn’t let go.  It always leaves you with the stark reality of all that is happening and a feeling that you won’t survive.

The words Multiple Sclerosis hit me like a freight train. I longed for those spaces of denial once again. Safe spaces. Known spaces. Comfortable spaces. But, I found myself in hated spaces – waiting rooms.

My waiting rooms turned into fearing rooms with cool magazines and no windows.

My waiting rooms turned into holding cells where worst-case dreams come true.

My waiting rooms turned into agony for ones who hate being hurt.

And, the thing about waiting rooms, is they don’t have to be windowless to trap you. They don’t have to be small to make you claustrophobic with the thought you will never breathe the same again.

I waited to be tested to see if I was going to spend a good part of my life in a wheelchair, to see if the face of my life would be forever changed and tested by God for who knows why.

I wanted to say, “I trust you,” but all I could mutter was “set me free.”  
I wanted to say, “your will be done,” but all I could think was “change my situation.”
I wanted to say, “help all the other people with issues that sit around me,” but I could only whisper “get me out of this torture chamber.”  

Aren’t we all stuck in a place of wait – in one way or another? 

Waiting.
Waiting for a cure.
A release.
A pain to go away.
Deliverance from finances.
A Job Solution.
Children Worries.
Fears.
Family dysfunction.
Relationships.
A legal issue.
An unreachable dream.
A let down.

We are all waiting.

Our waiting rooms can make us feel like an imposition, relying on a paper prescription, that keeps us focused on our affliction. Our waiting rooms seem to hold us captive by an assailant who says, “You will never come through. I will get you.” Our waiting rooms become fights against life, where we always become the projected loser.

What do you when everything is breaking?

When your very body can’t seem to deal with life?

For me, my screaming baby midnight hall walks, turned into screaming midnight baby prayer talks. I called from the depths of my heart for a “great fixing” of all that was wrong. So did my husband, so did countless others.

Sometimes, all you have left to do is pray.

And, sometimes, all you needed to do was pray.

Prayer opens the waiting room door to the Great Physician.

His healing work may not always bind up broken bodies,
but it is always binds up broken hearts.

His surgeries always work,
always bring newness, always surface peace.

His work turns fearing rooms into hoping rooms –
because he clears new room for love.

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

My doctors were positive of MS.  My symptoms said yes, but test after test after test – after multiple MRI’s – they still couldn’t fully diagnose me.   So, what was a certain reality, became certainly “not MS.”

God hears prayers. Miracles can – and sometimes do – happen.  But, sometimes the greatest miracle is not the answer to the prayer, but God’s answer in to what plagued our heart. 

He always goes for the greatest healing.

So, don’t give up because you think the great physician has left the office.
Don’t give up because you feel forgotten.
Don’t give up because he is attending to others first.
God has the perfect course of action for you.
He hasn’t forgotten you.
He asks you, will you trust me?
Will you believe that in this wait I have something amazing for you?

And, as we do, he does something amazing.

He changes it all.

Our fearing rooms turn into trusting rooms.
Our holding cells turn into praying cells.
And, our fear turns into a deep knowledge God is near.

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A Moment We All Need to Give Ourselves

A Moment We All Need

Occasionally you meet a person you know is an instant friend. Location doesn’t matter, distance doesn’t care and methods of communication aren’t valid – what you know is that this one counts for something. This is how I feel about Rachel Macy Stafford. She shines all things pure and beautiful and it is my delight to know and love her.

R.Stafford headshot

In other exciting news, Rachel’s latest book, HANDS FREE LIFE, has permanently marked my heart with awe-inspiring and heartfelt life change. I feel my life going from bouncy ball crazy, to focused and intentional. I feel my attention moving from scattered to attentive. I feel my heart charging from empty to full again.  I feel grace speaking, rather than condemnation. This book has reserved a permanent spot on my bookshelf of “keepers;” I will be referencing her words for my whole life, I know that. Thank you Rachel, just thank you. I feel your love in this book.

Welcome to Purposeful Faith as a guest contributor for a day.

Post by: Rachel Macy Stafford

Understandably, many people want to talk to me about distraction. More specifically, they want to tell me about the distraction incidents they witness in their neighborhoods, at restaurants, parks, and sporting events. They want to tell me about the texting drivers sitting next to them at stoplights. Many well-intentioned people want to tell me how sad it makes them feel to see distracted people oblivious to their loved ones.

I must admit, these comments make me uncomfortable.

My mission for sharing my Hands Free journey is not to bash the distracted people of the world. My mission for sharing this journey is to bring awareness … namely, self-awareness … the kind of self-awareness I was lacking a few years ago.

Because you see, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about where I came from.

I was that distracted person oblivious to her loved ones.

I was that distracted person texting at stoplights.

I was that distracted person who made excuses as to why I was too busy to spend quality time with my family.

I was that distracted person who couldn’t see my beautiful life slipping right through my busy little fingers.

But I can assure you the judgment was harsh. The judgment was cruel. It was downright unbearable at times. But this condemnation didn’t come from an outside observer, well-meaning friend, or loving companion. Oh no, this ridicule came directly from me.

If you have read my “About Hands Free” page then you know that taking an honest look at the way I was living (or more accurately, not living) was a necessary step in my Hands Free life transformation. In fact, meaningful efforts to let go of distraction would have never happened (or lasted) without honestly evaluating the cost of my distraction.

But despite the fact that assessing my behavior was a vital step in changing my distracted ways, living in regret was not. I’ve come to realize that continually berating myself over what I missed is a waste of precious time. Self-forgiveness and healing have been just as much a part of this journey as my difficult truths.

But every now and then I get waves of remembrance—a taste of “life overwhelmed”, just enough to sting me, just enough to bring tears to my eyes.

It happened the other day. I’d stayed up too late working the night before. I had several deadlines to meet, and I was not as close as I hoped on any of them. I needed to get the kids to a swim meet. We were late. I was tired. The word “Mama” began every single sentence that came from my children’s lips whether I was actually needed or not.

And there I stood in front of the pantry, unable to remember what I came there to get. Part of me wanted to shut the door to that little space, huddle under the boxes of Fiber One cereal, and cry.

That’s when I heard it.

That voice.

It didn’t use the exact phrase that originated in the years of my highly distracted life, but it came painfully close.

“You are a bad mom” was the token phrase my inner bully liked to hiss during my highly distracted years whenever I felt like I was falling short in the parenting department. I’d almost forgotten I used to say such hurtful things to myself.

But then again, I don’t think I will ever completely forget.

I gave up on whatever it was that I intended to get from the pantry and told my children I needed a moment. I went to my bedroom and turned on my fan for soothing white noise and began reminding myself.

I reminded myself that The One who loves me, The One who took my hand and placed me on this transformative journey, still loves me even when I fail miserably.

I reminded myself that I am not perfect and that even the “best” parents have their moments of self-doubt and frustration.

I reminded myself of how I reacted when a tornado came scarily close to our house. It was the day I realized the fierce love I have for my family outweighs my shortcomings, failures, and imperfections.

I would run through fire to spare them.

I would beg kidnappers to take me in order to free them.

I would offer my plasma, my organs, and every single one of my limbs to save them.

I would sacrifice my life without hesitation, without question, if it meant allowing my loved ones to live.

Even in my most distracted, overtired, stressed-out state, my fierce love for my family is always ready, willing, and able.

Once I was finished reminding myself of these important things, I said a prayer of thanks and released a heavy sigh. I centered my disheveled, puffy-eyed self directly in front of the bathroom mirror and said one word.

“Grace.”

As in: Give yourself some, Rachel.

DSC_0509 (1)

A few minutes later, my children and I were on our way to the swim meet. I turned on one of our favorite songs, which beautifully articulates the value of human scars and imperfections. I felt a slight smile come to my lips as I listened to my children belt out the chorus from the backseat:

“These bruises,
Makes for better conversation
Loses the vibe that separates
I
t’s good to let you in again
You’re not alone in how you’ve been
Everybody loses—we all got bruises.”

~Train

I suddenly feel better.
I just needed a moment.|
Don’t we all?

I think we all do—at some point in our day … our week …  our life—need a moment.

And so when I hear someone describing the unbecoming behavior of a distracted person, I cannot join in the condemnation. I once was that person and remain a work-in-progress.  And that is okay. That is human.

The other day, someone I love and respect as a parent and human being said something powerful to me. My mother said, “Rachel, even at your most distracted, you were always a good parent.”

With those words, the divine light of forgiveness shined like a beacon for my misdirected soul.

Even on days when I can’t tear myself away from my distractions …

Even on days when I overreact over something trivial …

Even on days that I obsess over bulges and wrinkles and things that don’t matter one bit in the end …

Even on days when I want to lock myself in the pantry and weep …

Even on days when I am at my worst,
I remain that person who would sacrifice her life
to spare her loved ones from pain and tragedy.

Perhaps you know someone who would make the same sacrifice. I bet you do.

So when you see that less-than-perfect woman or man staring back at you in the mirror … or the one at the restaurant who can’t quite seem to put down the phone and see the gifts in front of him or her … I ask that you extend grace, rather than judgment.

We are not the sum of our distractions.

Sometimes we just need a moment.

And every moment is a chance to start anew.

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BIO:

R.Stafford headshot

Rachel Macy Stafford is the founder of www.handsfreemama.com where she provides simple ways to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters most in life. She is the New York Times bestselling author of HANDS FREE MAMA. Her highly anticipated book, HANDS FREE LIFE, releases in one week! It is a book about living life, not managing, stressing, screaming, or barely getting through life. Through truthful story-telling and life-giving Habit Builders, Rachel shows us how to live better and love more despite the daily distractions and pressures that try to pull us away.

 

Those who pre-order Unsaved Preview DocumentHANDS FREE LIFE from now
until September 7 receive the FREE e-book of HANDS FREE MAMA
.

Click here to learn more about the book and pre-order bonus.

Bloggers, share this offer with your readers and with @handsfreemama!

 

 

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Why You Lack Friends

lack friends

You talk too much. Alone.
Your words are simply dissertation on yourself. Alone.
You judge others. Alone.
You live too far. Alone.
You make me feel uncomfortable. Alone.
You don’t go deep enough. Alone.
You are a square peg in the round hole that I have designed for my ideal friend. Alone.
You are only free when I am busy. Alone.
You just didn’t end up being who I wanted you to be. Alone.

No wonder I lack friends right now.

I never intended to feel so isolated and so absent of peace in the friend category, but this is what happens when your standards are higher than Mount Everest, when busyness takes precedence over connectedness and when people become more burden over blessings.

I kind of know it is my fault. I do. I have forgotten the fact that unity, relationships and bonds are a calling. When you are called to something, sometimes the jog over to the destination is a bumpy road filled with pot-holes, but all the same – you go the distance – for God.

God will always give the “go,” when all appears impossible. We simply rely on him and he shows us His way.

I implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.… Eph. 4:2

Paul tells us we can do it.

We can walk like people who know, in the end,
their God will take care of them.

We can go in humility, making way for people’s weaknesses. What better way is there to show someone you love them?

We can show tolerance – loving others just as they are, exactly as they are. What better way is there to confirm to our heart that God loves us just the same way?

We can show patience that excuses the mishaps that drive us nuts. What better way is there to become a person that doesn’t drive others nuts with high demands?

We preserve the unity of the Spirit knowing that if this person is a brother or sister in Christ we are bonded forever. What better cause for celebration and unity is there?

The result is staggering. It feels worthy of a jump-up-and-down celebration and a big victory arm raise to my bond-decayed heart: God bonds me over again with his bond of peace.

What is better than that? Suddenly, what looks fallen apart has hope for being pulled back together again.

It’s making sense. While I thought peace was found by running from the horribly unpeaceful, I’m seeing, sometimes, it’s about submitting to the seemingly awful.  As we release our high demands, our relationships fall into better hands. Hands that heal, rather than steal our joy.

Friendships aren’t just about me; I am learning. It seems obvious, but sometimes it can be, oh, so hard.

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Linking with #FiveMinuteFriday and #DanceWithJesus.

It Is Not My Fault

Not my Fault

This was kind of a thing in my house. If something went missing into the great abyss and you were at that point (you know, the one where your ready to pull out every last hair), the accusations would start flying.

Suddenly, all people in the house became, not family members, but culprits.  Bad guys, not common blood. Offenders, not friends – who should be charged, judged and accused. Suspicions would run high. Who misplaced that item?

Why is it so easy to point the finger?
To blame?
To say something like, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

I at because of him!
It wasn’t me!
You see that bite in the apple? Not may fault!
Him! That one! Look over there.
Blame him.

We hunt for relief from our shame, a shelter from the burden, a hope that we don’t have to carry its load. Can I offload on you?

God’s big lesson is less in Eve’s response and more in his question, “What is this you have done?” Gen. 3:13

He knew what she did, but wanted her to know too.

Hitting a hard realization, often pushes us away from immediate rationalizations.

Knowing he sees us, is knowing we can’t pull a fast one on the great one.

The beginning of recommission, often starts at admission.

In fact, just hearing his voice – and answering it – makes us immediately aware of where we stand – naked and hiding in a bush deathly afraid. 

We push away our sin on to someone else because we don’t want it to land on us. It would wreck our good girl image, our seemingly great place and space in God’s garden, our joy in being free as a child of God, or so we think.

So, we scramble and pick up the gameboard of God’s players and try to scramble the board, we mess up progress in a way where no one knows who did what – hoping that chaos will realign the whole mat.

But, we forget who the master player is, don’t we? The one who stands it all the whole time. Just like a kid getting ready to cheat, our moves are made from the same place – we want to win in the end.

I do. I don’t want to disappoint him. I don’t want to let him down. I want to stay child – numero uno. I want to be in good graces. I want to still be loved.

And, that, right there, is the greatest lie of the devil isn’t it? That if we bite into the apple that we will never be loved again. He gets us on that one.

It’s our biggest fear, it’s what makes us rip off our clothes in shame, hide in a bush and beat our knees together out of a pulsating heart of fear.

But, here, we listen to the wrong voice. The other voice, the voice of God says, “You can’t do something that will ever make me stop being something, doing something or giving something for you.” 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 8:38-39

When we stand on God’s ground, we stand on loved ground.

When we find Christ, we are branded as his.

When we find love, we can’t be thrusted outside of its confines, no matter how bad we act.

With these anchors as our holders, we can be okay with God’s instruction that “each one should carry their own load.” Gal. 6:5  

We can carry our own load, because Christ carried his all the way to the point that complete forgiveness was poured out.

In the end, we will be okay. We will be pulled in tighter than a mom with a loved child. We will be held close as our mouths force out the words, “I am sorry.” We will find the lesson under the mat of the gameboard and it will bring us closer to God.

We will look at ourselves and see – we were wrong.

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Fight Trials Like Jesus

Fight Trials Like Jesus

What if Jesus was ready to redefine the way you endure hardships?
Would you listen?

What if – rather than trying to run from that tsunami of terror,
you were to find some peace as you head into it?

For me, it sounds kind of crazy, because normally when I see trials on the horizon I ball up like a hundred and one rubber bands balled up and ready to break at the same time. My tension is high, my anticipation is big and my worries run fast.

Jesus though, didn’t run from what threatened him, he threatened what tried to make him run.  We may not think of Jesus as an aggravator or a reprimander, but hold tight, because in one way his strategy was just this.

Before we get into that, Jesus teaches us much about resetting our mindset when we are being set up to be torn down.

Here’s how his ways can restructure ours:

People hated Jesus for no reason. Jo. 15:25
He said they will hate us too.

God had the power to save him from suffering through prayer. Mt. 26:42
Prayer is the one door that never closes. When we walk through it we always find God.

His “kingdom did not belong on here.” Jo. 18:36
When we know our true home, we don’t get as concerned when our earthly one gets ransacked.

He had complete authority, always and at every minute. Jo. 19:11
When we know that Jesus is in complete control, suddenly we realize he holds the handle on all that wants to sweep us under.

“I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am.” Jo. 15:11
If Jesus could find some happiness in the road leading to death, we can too.

Jesus knew he was under control of the one completely in control.

To walk Jesus’ walk, we have to walk, like him, doubtless and faith-full.

I get Jesus’ approach, because every time I let the doubts creep in, the faith creeps out.

The devil said,

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

The devil challenged Christ’s ability, status and loyalty.

Do you ever feel challenged in doubts of what you can do,
what God can do for you and how he will get you through?

Jesus, doesn’t stick around playing games with these kinds of words, these change agents of faith, instead he fights back by:

1. Using the word of God as his best weapon.
“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Mt. 4:4

2. Telling what is bad, what is full of questions about God, to move aside.
Away from me, Satan! Mt. 4:10

3. Knowing who is in control of all control that ever controlled and that will control.
For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Mt. 4:10

When the devil started to show Jesus a way out of the trial, Jesus knew, sometimes the calling is through the fire. He wasn’t going to sit around while his strength was depleted.

Even when the man after God’s own heart, Peter, spoke doubts as he pulled Jesus aside, Jesus spoke: “Satan, get away from me! You are thinking like everyone else and not like God.” Mk. 8:33

If we think like God, God will help us think in a way where we endure, where we make it, where we aren’t burdened, but blessed by our trials.

He will get us through.
He will hold our hand.
He will fight on our behalf.
He will pave a way to eternity.
He will lead us in all truth.
He will hold us on the pillow of his love.
He will not leave our side.

Let’s fight back like Jesus.

When we do, we will see, like Jesus that:

God is for endurance and the devil is for discouragement.
Doubts pull us away from our mission, yet faith commissions.
The Word of God is the Word that helps.
God’s control, brings our heart under control.

Fight trials like Jesus. Go in his faith. Know that God is with you.

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Letting Go of Control

control

I just read a book. It’s not even on a topic I thought I was struggling with, but good words always tend to find a good home in one ready to receive them.

These words did more than just that; they took my heavy baggage, bent them up and dropped them at my feet in a time-to-let go kind of way (dang, Lord, I wasn’t intending this!).

You see, when baggage breaks, it’s time to dump ’em, toss ’em and be done with ’em. And, now, I can see how messed up my baggage really is; it’s filled with stolen items, things I could only pretend to fully own. Things I tried to make myself believe would always be mine – that I could use to fill my needs.

But, I never owned them to begin with.

What we think is ours, always has and always will
belong to God.

He lends us what we love,
so we can see his love – for us.

What is lent is always called back home sometime, in God’s time.

In my heart, God is calling back the idea that I own my kids, my husband and my dreams – because I don’t. They always have and always will belong to him.

But letting go, feels like letting a dog run without a leash. It’s scary. Risky. Uncertain.

To let go of what I clench, to release my imprints and to undo my harness – it’s not work for the faint of heart. For so long, I have relied on these crutches as my own personal hopes of glory, hidden, but golden tickets to personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

But, what happens, one day, when God decides,
that I can no longer clutch and crutch –
right around his great promises?
What happens then?

Because, you see, something like this could happen: “My son purchased drugs which, combined with a beer later that evening, caused respiratory distress, resulting in death.” (Dance With Jesus, by Susan B. Mead)

What would I do then? When the kid that I supposedly owned, ruled and managed ended up – gone? Would I go down with him? Would my crutches be so swiped out from under me that my face would break in a million little pieces?

I think it might. I don’t know what I would do.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

I suppose I am learning, it is in the taking away, that we often find the praise. At least that’s what happened with Susan, when she lost her son.

She says, “Do I want him back with me? Yes- for a moment. Then I realize how selfish that would be because he is now in Paradise with Jesus.”

Amen, sweet Susan.

Her words knock me in the head. She found her praise as she rose up her hands in abandon to the one who held her most prized possession.

She found her praise – in that. Wow. And, rightfully so, he can take care of her child far greater than she ever could (no offense dear).

He can take care of my family far better than I can too.

The more I let go, the more space my loved ones have to learn HE IS
who I am preach HE IS.

The more I let go, the more they know the great rescuer God,
verses the great rescuer mom, wife, daughter, sister.

The more I let go, the more they see Jesus step in,
rather than my need-based insecurities step up.

Then, people can start to Dance with Jesus – without crutches that limit their movements before a great God who delights in them.

They dance.

And, I dance – as I let my child climb in his seat by himself, as I let my husband make that mistake I know he is about to make, as I see a disaster ready to happen and trust God, as I step back when my kid may take a learning-lesson tumble, as I don’t give the advice a sister really should follow and as I humbly listen to all God’s plans for the main characters in this game called life.

I am free.

To find glory in the death of my goals.
To find renewal in God’s new breath of life.
To find hope outside of my 5-inch working hands.

Where do you need to be freed – to dance? To rely on the gentle guidance of one who cares?

This movement is powerful;
it’s a waltz that follows the lead of a One true God
who we actually believe is the One true God.

Real needs surface, then the rescue happens, but what we find out is that – it was always intended for us.

Finally, our hands open, our praises fly, our hopes belong to him. We no longer have strings attached to others. We cup and offer, and he answers and pulls these hearts even closer to him (whether they be on earth or in heaven).

Why do we let go? Because we love them, but most of all, we love him, we know him, and we trust him. In this, as Susan so vividly pictured in her book, we can let them – and us – dance with Jesus.

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God's miracles

My thoughts on Dance with Jesus: This book transports me to a different time and a different place. It wraps its arms around me to pull me into the life of Susan B. Mead, and boy, does she take me on a ride. The unique and charming characters in this book rally your heart and lure your soul into deep healing, joy and release all at the same time. The miracles of God’s wonder move you from a place grief to relief. Thank you Susan for jump-starting me on the journey of letting go.

 

Protecting What God Loves Most in You

God Loves Most

There are voices that speak devastation, demolition and destruction to the temple of God.

Can you hear them?

Ordinary words that travel extraordinary distances to injure.
Words that cut deeper than a machete and further than a scalpel.
Ones that appear to rip the seams of God right out, if you let them.

They are ready steal your passion for bended knees, raised hands, and uplifted eyes. They charge into your face, yelling, “You little, …(fill in the blank.) You always…. You never…. You can’t….”

Maybe the voice isn’t even so loud, but the injury is.

Words a mile a minute – the pressure can seem inescapable. These declarations of powerlessness became my anthem song, they defined my ins and outs, my worth and value, and my hope and future.

Yet, God moves technology, just as he does our hearts and these old cassette songs became just that old – it was time for something that doesn’t take up so much space and without the weight. God gave me a new song.

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:17

My temple is sacred.

Am I protecting it? Am I keeping it strong guarded?

Sometimes you have to. People seem to come at you.

But I will encamp at my temple to guard it against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch. Zech. 9:8

The temple of God always was and always will be a monument God calls us to enforce.

As temple carriers, we must strong-guard it from foreign objects, set up to desecrate and devastate it’s beauty.

Remember Jesus in the temple? He flipped false goods, on their heads. Just the same today, he doesn’t want us accepting falsities or hyperboles about our self – in his house.

What have you let dwell in the temple of the most high God?

What labels, libels and litanies from years past still hang out?

What humiliation, intonations and accusations from today won’t leave?

What doesn’t start and end with God, usually starts and ends with shame. What stands outside his holy grounds, usually tries to force a way in to ransack his house.

God is a fan of forged walls, when they are ones that protect his sonship covenant with us – a covenant that always says: I love you. I am for you. I will not hold you – against you. I will rush back every time you call on my name.

When we let God’s promises become do what they were intended to do – protect, we no longer:

Push out godliness to usher in helplessness.
Wash out purity to welcome in fragility.
Remove honest humility to greet a faith disability.

God’s temple always waits to be our refuge, our safety, our barrier, our new confine, our hope, our insight, our wisdom, our future. We don’t need a magic ball, because we have the majesty of Christ’s Spirit in us.

The walls of God’s temple wrap us in love and fortify our hearts in truth. They continually confess our hope of glory. 

When atomic warfare is thrown at God’s temple, the temple that bears his name, we can take refuge under the bomb shelter of his love.

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov. 18:10

5 Lies You Believe (Yet May Not Realize)

lies you believe

What if I told you that as you walked outside there was a predator looming in your bushes? He not only wanted to take a bite of your skin, but entirely rip it off – savor it and devour it.

Sound creepy? Yes, I completely realize it does.

But, if this were the case, would you keep your eyes a little more open?
Might you look a little more left and right?
Prepare yourself in case of attack?

Might you do everything you could to find out who had the power to get rid of this creeper?

Of course you would.

But, do you?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8

Usually, we live more like busy-bodies than watch dogs.

We don’t look up – or around – we only look down – at our iPhones. 

We look to our extensive to-do’s, rather than our exponential God.
Destination rules on high.

Feelings of worthlessness, uselessness and hopelessness often whip us around.
Meanwhile, we don’t see the abuser standing next to us.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Jo. 8:44

When the devil lies, he often makes us lie down in defeat.  Are you discerning is voice?

5 Lies the Devil Wants you To Believe (and you usually do)

1. God doesn’t really love you that much.
How could a god that big, love one who is so small?

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Jo. 15:3
God’s love is the only thing that is always permanent and always present.

2. Your scars of the past will always blind your eyes in shame (abortion, alcohol, depression, anger, mental issues, insecurity).
You messed up so bad, you’re marked as forever bad.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
God doesn’t blind us with what we did wrong, he binds us up in what he did right.

3.  You will be destroyed by your circumstances, your relationships and your trials.
That thing is going to take you down and ruin your life; you won’t be okay.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps. 118:6
If God is on your side, you are on the winning side – walk in His stride.

4. You deserve no trials.
A good god would never let you hit bad trials.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jo. 16:33
Your good God knows bad trials will make you even better.

5.  The bible doesn’t really say that. That would negatively impact your happy meter.
God wants all happy, happy, joy, joy feelings for you – go and get it (under breath: you spoiled little brat). Consume it – the world is your oyster.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Lu. 9:23
God doesn’t say consume, he says exhume your ways and reassume his.

The devil almost always says, “God can’t – and you can’t – unless you can –  with sin. The world will eat you up, the bible will fake you out and your past will kick you out of God’s purpose.”

The devil offers: same lie, different day.
But we have: the same God, everyday.

Our best defense is knowing God is on offense.

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
​Nu. 23:19

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