Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

Being Dissed. The (real) bad – and good of it.

Being Dissed.

She looked at the girl sitting next to me, and said, “Hey it is so great to see you” and continued on not even giving me the time of day.

Who does that?

Who completely ignores someone when they completely know someone?

Boiling hot, I was about ready to make a primed kettle sound.  Wwwhhh….
Someone was going to get burned, and I had a feeling it was going to be me.

In an instant, my mind returned to a time of old,
me, the new girl, trying out for the team,
her, a potential friend that I really enjoyed being with,
all was good, until…
[walk in villian],
her age-old best friend walked in… (dun. dun. dun.)
and whispered to my potential laughing-mate,  “Don’t be friends with her.”

Things went cold, I went hot. Wwhhh!!!

Discouraged. Dejected. Demotivated. I lost my athletic swagger.
I was rejected from the team.

I felt rejected by everyone. Wwhhh!!!

Clearly, it was apparent that there was something deeper going on here.

I couldn’t help but think:

Boiling over happens because of past pain that lays under.
Yesterday returns to sear us with the markings of – unwanted today.
The devil is a avid scorcher, using his red trident of age-old shame – time and time again.

He hits us with it – and we almost can’t help it. We jump out of our seat, jump on the person and rip the person apart from the insides out. We say, you won’t mess with me or rule over me or hurt me ever again. Our eyes close, our fists move and our whole will is determined not to live on repeat. Except, when we open our eyes, the person we look at is not the girl on the field, but the thirty year old with two kids and a whole heaping lot of problems just like us.

Hmm…

I want to cut off this record on repeat that won’t stop playing,
“I think I am dumb. I think that is why. People don’t love me. They will always pass by.”

This kind of song makes you live in limbo. It makes you live believing people have one foot in and one foot out. It makes you live expecting the next diss. It makes you live wondering when you will feel hurt again. It makes you wonder if God will be out the door on you too.

Wwhhh!!! It starts to rise in you. You feel like hitting again. Except when you open your eyes you realize who you would be hitting, and you remember – he was already hit.

Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Mt. 26:67

You want to get angry, but as you start to soften your face, you remember:
‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone… Mk. 12:10

The stone that keeps the unsteady fabric of beings from falling over.
The stone that was never thrown.
The stone that binds eternal life.
The stone that knows the depth of rejection.
The stone that rose up to build a church that unites hands around the world today.
The stone with a clear purpose, despite the mocks, slanders and accusations of others.
The stone that was raised on high.
The stone that the Father adored.
The stone that seals us as always accepted.
​The stone that pursues us and loves us and owns us always and forever and then forevermore.

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7 Reasons Why God Is Allowing Your Trial

Allowing Your Trial

Life is good.
Life is great.
Life is manageable.

Until it breaks down at it’s core and the serial killer of joy, (aka your trial) comes back to haunt you again.

Ever noticed that what hit you yesterday,
still threatens to come after you today?

Same vein, different day, but all the same pain. 

It threatens to hurt you like it did.
It threatens to arrive when you least expect.
It threatens you with the same feelings of yesterday.
It threatens you into fearing like you once did.
It threatens to pop right out of your bushes, saying “Now is the time to hit!”

Then you hear the smallest rustle of the bushes makes you think, “I am doomed.”
A resemblance to his tactics of yesterday make you cower, “I can’t.”
The scars of past cut deep, making you say, “Why me?”

Why does God allow our beaten evil to return?

Why doesn’t he annihilate them and say, “You can never touch my child again”?

Paul said, Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 2 Cor. 12:7

7 Likely Reasons Why God is Allowing your Trial

1. To keep you humble.

Pride goes before the fall (Prov. 16:8). If Paul had fallen, Christianity would not have risen. If Christianity did not rise, it easily could have meant our demise.

2. To keep you in training.

Olympic runners aren’t built without sprinting through walls, forging through exhaustion and getting up again when they want to quit. It is in the pain that we find our greatest spiritual gains – to become more and more like Christ.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Ja. 1:2-3

3. To gift you with the grace of God.

It often takes the face of crisis to see the smile of God’s grace over you. It is here you learn to stop saying things like, “I oughta”, “Why can’t I?” and “I should have”. Instead a quiet and gentle prodding arises within; it is one that begins to know “with God, all is possible”, “no weapon forged against me shall prosper” and “I am a work in progress and I will get there”.

4.  To make you start thinking spiritually, not carnally.

When you have nothing left, you start to see all that is left – and all that matters – God.  Sometimes the stripping, is much more about clothing you with Spirit things than it is about hurting your earthly things and body.

Strip yourselves of your former nature.… And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude]. Eph. 4:22-23 (AMP)

5. To show you growth.

When you hit bad, you can start to see the forming of your good. Meaning, you see how less anxious you are, how less worried you feel and how much more you know God will take care of you.  It becomes a cause for praise.

6. To change things in your unseen.

We forget that while we are living our song, God is conducting a blaring orchestra with moving instruments around us. All rise up to sing, “Glory to God on the highest and peace to his people on earth”! Our sound may play odd, but in the grand scheme of his leading, all things are working together just as he wants them to. Things are being accomplished. People are being reached. Lives are changing. We just don’t know what he knows.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Is. 55:8

7. To develop you into eternal gold, not rotting dollar bills.

When delivered, what emerges from the rot of a once selfish body? Praise. Glory. Honor. Things that are worthy, valuable and eternal.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Pet. 1:7

God uses what is coming to get you, not to ruin you, but to make you.

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When God is Punishing You

God is Punishing

You kind of figure, because of you,
because of all your bad actions,
he’s going to open the heavens,
rain down lightening like pocket knives
​and  land one straight on your head.

Maybe it is already happening. All is plummeting and God is: hitting you with health issues, cutting into finances, shredding a marriage, stabbing emotional well-being, hurting your kids, slicing out pain at work and dicing up trials for your course du jour.

And, it has to be you, right? All you have done, you deserve it. All you keep doing, it makes sense. All of your past, you get it. You are a degenerate in so many ways.

You may not hear his words from his mouth, but you certainly hear them in your head:

 “Get your bad self to your room. Don’t return until you act better.”
“Get yourself together.”
“What is wrong with you?”
“You can’t do anything right.”

Exasperated, you wait to hear from him, expecting a whole lotta words on how you are a royal mess-up and a giant loser. You expect to hear a list of practial law and rules and insights and plans that you need to stick to.

Instead, a whole different picture rises – a picture that puts God’s truth first.

It is painted.  Not in muted shades of pained grey, but with the spectrum of new life. It beckons you to step in and to feel the warmth, to participate in growth and to enjoy the ride, so you listen and hear things like: 

1. You see all you do wrong, I see so much that you do right.

2. You’re my first love. I don’t want to hurt you, I want to prosper, grow and see my glory shine through you.

3. You see your mistakes, I see how your mistakes are the starting of new.

4. You get discouraged and defeated by relational hiccups, but I see the pauses as space for me to work.

5. You’re the child I created, I love you exactly the way you are – strengths with weaknesses, weaknesses with strengths.

6. You don’t have to have it all figured out in the today, because I have it all figured out in the tomorrow.

7. Your repentance is the start of my next best thing. You turn away and then you see me.

8. Other people acting badly, is the best chance to show holy.

9.  When you turn towards me, in turn you see my kindness.

10. When you say you’re sorry (and mean it), I say, “I forgive you” (and mean it).

Staring at the image, your mind dwells on the new story:

“God’s face looks a whole lot different than mine. His love is ten times more infusive than mine. His ways are galaxies more compassionate than mine. His grace is tanks more abundant than mine.

While I look at the immediate, he sees the long-term. While I get defeated in battle, he cheers the victory over the course of the war. While I get angry, he knows that anger does not produce righteousness (Ja. 1:20)”

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. Ps. 145:8

The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Nu. 14:8

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Ps. 86:5

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. Ps. 25:8

But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. Ps. 130:4

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 Jo. 4:8

God calls you in.
Deeper.

God calls you out.
To head towards grace.

God dares you to hear him.
To listen to his true sounds.

For to know him,
is to know love.

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Regular Contributor, Katie Reid, is delighted to have a memoir piece published in Tales of Our Lives: Reflection Pond by Matilda Butler. The book launches today on Amazon for only 99 cents! Don’t miss it.

Cutting Ties from The Need to Please

Cutting Ties

You live to make others happy. String.
You can’t be happy if others are upset. String.
You are burdened if you made a wrong choice. String.
You can’t disagree about life issues or opinions. String.
You feel responsible for how others act. String.

Ever wondered how to live life with no strings attached?

For so long, I have walked like a shoe with warn down treads and strings wrapping me. These strings seemed to both keep me together and squeeze me. They seemed to be known and detested at the same time. For so much of my life, I would tie these strings up and say, “I just care a whole lot, a whole lotta lot about people. I would give everything for them and to them.”

The only thing about strings so tight like that is – they squelch the very person wearing them.

When we give everything to everyone, we really become a no one to everyone.
When people seem to control our every move, we move into places of anxiety and fear.
When we don’t have a way, we allow others to define our way.
When God is not making our way, we lose our way.
When we hand over our identity, we live insecurity.
When we live insecurity, who lose all surety.
When we are at the beckon call of man, we find ourself far from the peace an’ call of God.

Have you ever considered that being an over-giver is unhealthy?

Have you ever pondered how eyes on man divert eyes from God?

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10

I am considering all of this. Deeply. Meaningfully. Carefully.

I choose to seek the approval of God.

With this, here is what I have come to:

1.  I can’t help another, if I haven’t given God a full chance to help me.
2. I can’t control the environment of happy, peace and calm by telling others what to do.
3. I can’t make others see, do or say what I need them to in order to keep me balanced.
4. I can observe a situation or happening without making it declare me bad.
5. I can give space and grace rather than side glances of judgement and disappointment.
6. I can be free to be me, when I trust it is God, not man, that will take care of me.
7. I can say that I am beautiful, when I stop believing man thinks I am not.
8. Others opinions belong to them, not me, and I am not any less for their correct or incorrect assessment.
9. God wants me tethered to him, not tethered to ties that keep me stuck to the past, emotions or fears.

So, take that strings! Take that, because I am cutting you!

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Prov. 29:25

For each will have to bear his own load. Gal. 6:5

But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel,
so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
1 Thes. 2:4

Snap,
strings unleashed,
movement unknown,
plans uncontained,
life unrestrained,
unmoved by the shaking,
but uncovered in the trembling,
Trekking towards the once declared “impossible”,
yet moving all the same,
to the place where surrendered feet stand on holy ground,
God’s ground,
the place where you know all will finally be okay.

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I Doubt, Now What?

I doubt

It creeps. It crawls. It slithers. We move fast, running with a paper towel to try to kill that blasted thing before it shows it’s disgusting face. We. Must. Kill. The. Yuck. We can’t see that. We can’t admit that. Don’t let anyone know that exists…

It would change the face of everything.
It would risk who we are.
It might make us reconsider things.
It might make others declare us un-Christian.
It might make God angry.

Just the other day, feeling overwhelmed by the this’ and thats of our great joyride called life, I stood in the center of it all, dropped my arms and practically screamed, “God, can you really help me get out of this mess? Do you really help?”

I have probably said it a hundred ways, on other days –
sounding something like this: 

God if you are so good, why haven’t you saved me yet?
Jesus, if you are all love, why did that happen?
What if my beliefs are all wrong and I chose the wrong way?
Why would you let the innocent get hurt?
Do you really want me?
I can’t be good enough (which truly is saying Jesus isn’t good enough).
Does prayer really change anything?

Even writing these things evokes feelings of shame. Shame that I would much rather gather between my fingers, pinch and let the insides squirm out. Shame that I want to hide for fear of a quick rebuke, but hiding never went unseen in the garden and it doesn’t on earth either.

So it makes me consider, what if speaking doubts
is the best way to speak in new faith? 

What if talking with God about the unknown
is the best way to make him more known?

I think about one man. His name was John. He baptized. But, before he did that, he went to the wilderness and started to preach and to call people to repentance. People came. They came from Jerusalem and Judea and the whole region of Jordan (Mt. 3:5-6). They confessed and were changed.

This man. He was on fire for the Lord. This man. He was preparing the way for Christ.

This man. Not too long after, doubted.

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jo. 11:2

Sometimes our prisons of despair make us feel certain
God doesn’t care.

Sometimes when we get all alone, our loneliness makes us believe God left us too.

Sometimes, when doubt kicks in, we have to kick out our fears to Jesus’ feet
and let him stomp them out.

That is what John did. He sent his disciples to Jesus with his question.

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Jo. 11:4

When we remember what God has done, we start to realize how much more he can do.

When we see all that he has fulfilled, we begin to believe he will fill in our gaps.

Jesus doesn’t tell us to go around squashing and squishing every question, fear or uncertainty that arises. He doesn’t chide John for his question and send him off without any care. Jesus tells us to come to him, to dive into his Word and to taste and see that the Lord is good.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Ps. 34:8

When we feel blocked in by the bars of life, we can reach out to receive the Word of life, in order to be refreshed by the Spirit who provides life.

Then, with new strength and new hope, we can call out and say something like: “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

And God does, because he is. And our heart becomes stronger; it beats louder, gets more oxygen and pumps more blood and we know that we did the right thing by being honest for he honestly changed our doubts into belief. We become confident he answers prayer.

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God’s Love Letter for You

love letter

Dear Father God,

I am struggling.
My heart is ripping in two with the thought of how I hurt you.
My defensiveness is boiling, spilling over, with the burning effect of protect or be harmed.
My guilt is cascading onto those I love.
My fears seem to keep me stuck immobile, feeling more like a pillar of salt than the salt of the earth.

There is a insidious inclination to look at myself, in these moments, and to say, “I hate you.”

“I hate how you can’t get things right.
I hate how you don’t love properly. I hate how you make others feel.”

In these moments, it seems like I’m riding a roller coaster that is only descending, that is only heading into the swamplands of no movement, no progress and eternal frustration. I don’t want to go…still though, I move there, even despite my best efforts.

God, why can’t I be all you want me to be?
Why can’t I do better and be better?
Why do I fall into my own traps of defeat?
Why can’t I beat my mind so I can be a “good” follower of you?

Kelly

Dear Child,

Love. Do you feel it? Do you know it? This is all I have reserved for you. It is the only seat I offer you, it is front row to my unending offering of everything I have. For you are mine and I am yours. Love. Move in and let it sink in.

Even when you may feel like you are pulling up the covers, turning off the lights and laying down in disappointment and discouragement, flick the switch, see the light and dead-stare into my eyes. I wait, not to give you the evil eye, but to let you know that you are mine. 

Inhale.

I want all of you. I delight in all of you. The places where you are falling, are the places I am uprising. Will you trust? You see the skinned knees, I see the miraculous renewal. I don’t just bandage and regrow, but heal and remake a zillion times more abundant than your smallest comprehension of new.

My work transcends earthly and rebounds into the spiritual
which far surpasses what you consider – natural.

For nothing will be impossible with me (God). Lu. 1:37

So, dear child, don’t be angry at yourself, for this is all part of the process. Don’t cast your efforts into class “loser”. Don’t tell yourself you need to go to bed with no dinner. You will fail, fall and falter. But, here is the truth:

I don’t want to return you to the orphanage and wipe my hands of you.
I don’t want to drop you off on the side of the road, unless you put a smile on your face.
I don’t want you to know that you better – shape up or ship out. 

I just want you, all of you, in my hands, moldable, breakable, pliable, makeable and malleabe so that I can make you incredible as you lay back into the warmth of my will.

Stay with me.
    Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
    Stay with me.

Ps. 27:14 MSG

Don’t fear my process of remake, but open yourself up to it. Let love sink in – into the cracks, into the chaffed edges and into the unseen – so I can revive every cell you believe is of disrepair. I promise, I work wonders for beauty.

You see, my love is the healing point of all pain.
My love is the answer to your lash-outs.
My indwelling love is the answer to your out-dwelling peace.
My love is the end of condemnation and the beginning of affirmation. 
My love is the termination of avoidance and the conception of acceptance.
My love is arms around you when agony is too.
My love is the only current that removes the constant buzz of unbelonging.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again;
rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Ro. 8:15

Will you give it a chance? A chance to just – be? A chance to sit on your heart as you sit quiet on your couch? A chance to change you? A chance to remake you?

Cherished child, don’t let love become cliche. Common. Normal. Ordinary. See it afresh. Consider it anew. Resign yourself to know that you can never know the fullness of my love; there is always more and more to it.

So, step back, hold on tight and let it flood your insides so that it floods your world, not with proper actions, but with me.  

You will be astonished at what comes out when you let my love move in.

Forever yours,

Daddy

 

Daddy,

When I find your heart, things change. What was up is down and what was down is up, meaning you, God, move down, and the enemy moves far, far, away. Rather than feeling like all the walls are caving in, rather than feeling suffocated by sub-par Christianity, I feel young again. I feel uninhibited, released and restructured. I feel like running downhill, arms wide open, body receiving, will disappearing, all the same emerging. Emerging into a better me, not because of me, but because of you.

The wind of your gentle Spirit strips away the old, the useless and the unneeded, to pack in new, useful and entirely needed. You bring me to your destination and, as I trust you God, it is great adventure, with great joy and great power in distinct and purposeful movement. God, keep me there. Keep me in the place where my heart says let’s go! Let’s go wild and free down your journey of adventure.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25

You love me, oh how you love me,

Your daughter

 

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Bloggers,

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When God Makes Your Bad Day Worse

Bad Day

Faith is easy when life is simple.
Faith is tested when life gets infested.
Infested with: trials, trauma, ticks, testing, tainted people, tiny bank accounts, T-Cell Cancer

Then, we start to lose our marbles, we run after them as they spread left and right and downhill and diagonally. We think that somehow they are our source of pleasure, our primary need, our must haves to stay in this competitive game called life.  When they go wild, we go wild. We zig and we zag, frantic with the what ifs, the how comes and the if onlys. We run tired with metastasized doubt.

Just the other day, my bag spilled out.
Kids were going to bathroom in places they never should go.
Water was being poured faucet-to-floor.
Shoes were being protested as we headed out the door.
Bad news was arriving via telephone.

Later, I sat in my car, zoned, and seeking: “Dear Lord, please help me right now. Send me some encouragement that will uplift my heart.”

I stared out the front windshield, a tad dazed, yet I still saw it, a beacon of hope, a blessing in the making and a little valentine from God – I was sure this card tucked under the wiper was the answer to all my days wrongs.

“God, this must be it. What is on that card, you have written for me, to encourage me. Please Lord, let it be.”

I plucked the card out and, with excitement, read it, sure of my oncoming peace. But, what it said shocked me, it nearly broke me, “Alert: You park like an idiot.”

bad day

And, boom! There it was, the hammer that broke the frozen dam of pent up wild, the final condemnation I needed to lose and the final word on what was already written up as horrendous day.

Have you ever been there? Just needing a little pat on the back, only to get a great whack?

What I never considered, until I got the chance to consider how much of a parking idiot I really am, is that no one ever really knows our situation.

While that person placed a card on my windshield to help all mankind, they had no idea that a man of my kind was near her breaking point. They had no idea that I parked the car like that because kids will not be able to open the backdoor if the car is too close. They had no idea that leaving two littles in the center of a crazy parking lot to back up and load them in is frankly idiotic.  They had no idea that my head was going to explode from the pressure of all the marbles that were already hitting all the walls of discouragement.

How often do I judge someone before I know?

How often do I see bad moves and curse the person
for not moving another way?

How often do I miss the chance to love and lift
for a decision to kill and destroy?

That person had the chance to change my whole day for the better, I bet they had no idea.

All the same, in that moment, for a split second, another marble came loose. It was the marble with the name God on it, for a split-second it started to roll – away, far far away.

I watched it.
Would I get it?
Not sure.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Ro. 8:28

I know this verse, but sometimes it is hard to believe this verse. Sometimes it is hard to live in the eye of tornado and still keep an eye on truth.

Truth like:
God cares less about wiping our feelings clean and more about wiping our souls clean.
God sometimes let’s us go through the fire, so we get a chance to see the miraculous undoing of our self. 
God is holding our heart, even when we lose heart.
More important than earthly mayhem is spiritual peace. Mania makes us motivated to find it.
People don’t drive our standing in God’s Kingdom, Jesus did.

If I stop chasing marbles, I start to get back into God’s game. I start to think strategy, promises and peace to myself. I start to find life abounding in the face of myself rebounding.

I start to think of how all this bad is made for all God’s good.

I start to feel calm again, steady and ready to stick solidly to all that really matters in this world.

Sense starts to boil up from all the nonsense – and that is enough for me.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3

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Celebrating Conflict

Celebrating Conflict

It is that thing that pretty much all of us hate.
It’s what we would rather run from – than run straight into.
It’s what makes us think bad thoughts, nasty thoughts and mean accusations to our closest.
It’s what drives us batty and crazy because we wonder if we will ever be understood.
It’s what sends us to mindsets of sin instead of the peace of holiness, faster than one can whip out a quick retort.

It’s conflict. The worst 8 letter word around.

It is that thing that we don’t know why, we as Christians even have to deal with, but, still, we do. Somehow and sometimes, we are bound to hit it. And as ugly as it is, we often stand right in the midst of it, wondering how something so icky, so yucky and so unsavory, could exist in one who is trying to pursue God so hard?

How a God seeker could turn into more of a raging lunatic than a calming saint?

How this very growth of mold could threaten to swallow whole God’s very light shining on it?

But, yet, if we stop and think, this is the point isn’t it? There still is light. God’s light is still shining on it, right? There is no amount of disgrace, shame and darkness that can remove the ray of light that is above you. Light won’t let go of your hand, it won’t stop warming you and it won’t stop quenching darkness. So, even though you feel your feet stand in the death and decay of relationship, have you ever considered…

…maybe it’s more about focusing your eyes on the land of repair, instead of the face of despair.

Let’s reflect…

Maybe, just maybe, instead of focusing on all that person didn’t do, it is much more about focusing on what God is about to do – in you…
How God is preparing you.
How God is molding you.
How God is bettering you.
How God wants outstanding for you.
How God uses people to reconstruct you.
How God cares more about his life in you, than your happy life around you.
How God can fix the most complex junkers into complete beauties in his perfect timing.

In any rotten moment,
God extends his hand of love out to you.

Will you take it?

Hold on to it. And let him lead you?

Conflict is the body shop of God’s repair, for it is here that he points out, kneads and buffs out the greatest defects of our hearts.

But, it requires we get open, real and ready for his work; it means we get humble.

For a heart bowed down, clears more space for the light of Christ to rest over it.

The light is always the answer. It is the proving point to a mind that thinks like this:

Be not discouraged, he is helping us.
Be not dismayed, he is with us.
Be not disgraced, he calls us to see.
Be not downright angry, he leads us to listen.
Be not debased, he calls us to set our ways down.
Be not defeated, he calls us to victory in Christ.
Be not dejected, he calls us to new ways of thinking.
Be not defamed, you are always loved in his eyes.
Be not defensive, the correction spoken might be your ticket to fullness.
Be not down and out, you are always Christ’s new creation, created in his image.
Be not disqualified, nothing can remove you from the hand of God.
Be not denied, Christ already died to fully accept you.

Thinking like this leads a person. When they feel ready to fall prey, they simply fall down and pray. Suddenly and often, what they find is – God has the best way. Imagine that.

They find themselves being and doing the wild and crazy things they never dreamed they had in them or available to the mean folk who love to come against them:  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col. 3:12

And, what they find is – real love. From God and to man.

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Move From Detrimental Fear to Reverential Awe

detrimental fear

What is most effective thing at stopping someone?

Fear.

It makes you sleepless and hurried and doubting and fretting.
It makes you freeze like a statue of uncertainty in the face of family issues.
It makes you lash out at those you love because of how they’re treating you.
It makes you avoid truth, because you can’t handle facing it.
It makes you not want to leave your house, breaking at the thought of happenstance situations.
It makes you turn from the face of God towards the face of your man-made solutions.
It makes you run ineffective circles to try to calm and fix yourself.
It makes you quiet when you know you should be speaking out.
It makes you grab on to those you love in unhealthy ways.
It makes you a worrier, an anxiety ball and a mangled line of hooks that hurt.
It makes you a spectator and not an promoter of Christ Jesus.
It makes you forget God and remember self.
It makes you takes your “this little light of mine” – and hide it under a bushel.

Have you ever considered?

Perhaps fear is the exact place the enemy wants you to be.

For then, you won’t see God. You will miss him only to see the shape of dark clouds taking form over your head. You’ll see them move, like a harbinger of all you don’t want to happen, they’ll consume your eyes with the possibilities and then divert them from the one moving them all along. Suddenly, you become so fixated on colors of dark and shadows of gray, you become certain you are alone, unprepared and ready to be drenched.

Yet, all this while, what you did not realize, is that the Lord, with his clouds and his movement, was creating a dramatic masterpiece in this sky. Perhaps, he was just showing his ownership of everything below it. Perhaps, he was showing his ability to water the world, not to ruin it. To create new seeds, not to demolish them.

What will we see? How will we see it?

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. Lu. 1:30

Truth is – you can’t follow fear – and the Lord – with the same fervency.

You can’t be a shiner and a hider.
A complainer and a worshiper.
A victor and a cowerer.
A force and a fort of self-protection.

You will either be thrilled by God
or thrilled into shock of all that surrounds you.

You will either walk on water, keeping your eyes steadfast,
or you will sink fast into the waters around you.

You will either walk by faith, and not by sight
or your sight will become marred, mangled and, ultimately, blind.

You will either be determined, diligent and dedicated to the race or you will fall on the sidelines.

Small choices make all the difference.

Think Judas. This disciple took his own life.
Think David. He fell right into adultery.
Think of Lot’s wife. She looked back towards sin, and became a pillar of salt.

Fear makes a whole lot of people do a whole lot of things they never wish they did –
but still, they did.

We have a decision to make.

Will we move nowhere in fear, or will we move somewhere – even towards the face of God – in spite of it?

Is this too intense for you? Maybe this is the point, intense is what we need. Intense is what we crave. Intense is what we have to be to fight back intense.

Intense times call for intense measures.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev. 3:15-16

Never let your mind forget: God is not a fan “I fall somewhere in the middle.”

He is a fan of small movement towards something different, of small beginnings, of pivots…and he is a tremendous fan of you …

A big fan.
A huge fan.
A fan that he wants watching his game.
The game of encouragement, hope and life.
The game that will rise you out of your seat and make you chant his name.
That is the game that counts – the one to watch.
The one where its fans get a little roudy – on his behalf.
The one that never ends.
The one that looks bad, but ends well.
If you watch this star, you are sure going to win.
You are sure going to make strides.
You are sure going to do his will.
You are sure going to find hope.
You are sure going to be sure.
You are sure to be equipped.
You are sure to be carried through.
You are sure to get all you need.

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?
We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Mt. 2:2

The star in the East.
​It hits us.
Dropping us first to our knees.
In submission to the magnitude
of the force that is forcing nature to move.
Then it raises us up in worship,
it beckons us to look high,
to notice what is high,
to take notice of our lows,
and to thank God for this glow.
Our hearts are compelled to worship,
and worship him we do,
then our feet move to follow.
They follow to the place,
a place we don’t know,
but he does,
and that is all that matters,
for he is there,
the beating love of Jesus.
And he waits for our will to want him,
to pursue,
to arrive,
to be,
for then we can
breathe it in
and consume every part of goodness.
We can inhale love
and exhale grace.
And when we do,
nothing is ever the same again.

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When Others Make you Uneasy

Others Make you Uneasy

When I was with her, like a mind-reader, I could sense her emotions.
I could feel her temperatures rising – to the heights of Pluto.
I could sense all was not well with her soul.
Her words were shorter, her breathing tighter and her laughter less.

And all I could think was – what can I do to make her feel better?

Do you ever feel like me? Responsible to make others happy?

It wasn’t that life was crashing in. She was just handling groceries, dishes and daily clean up.

Yet, still, no matter how I talked, or what I did, her feelings didn’t seem to clean up. They didn’t. Despite my underlying words of: “Pull it together, so we can have fun together,” she didn’t budge.

And, then, what I did made it ten times worse, I’ll tell ya’ll, because I literally walked over, picked up her feelings and placed them inside me. I attached them to my heart like a fungus that even armies can’t beat. I wore anxiety just the same as her.

If you can’t beat ’em, join em,
unless you’re trying to minister to ’em,
and then you have probably just wrecked ’em.

Stepping back has given me the chance to see some things:

  1. The wounded can’t easily be rescued by the wounded.
  2. The wounded often need the Master Physician not the master fixer.
  3. The wounded are hurting and sometimes space is the place where their heart finds peace.
  4. If you want to minister and not manipulate, you have to terminate your need to placate.
  5. If you want to stay at peace, you have to let others own their own feelings.

I am not the peace-maker, the joy-jester or the emotion-keeper, I am just as much a sinful soul that could fall down right next to that person if I am not careful.

I could fall down with the thoughts:
I did something wrong.
It is all my fault.
She will not return to happiness today.
I will have a horrible day.
I don’t know what is about to happen.

Knowing this, there is only one place to land oneself in a moment like this –
at the melting-point of God’s Word:

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps. 118:6

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Prov. 3:5

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… 1 Jo. 4:18

If God is in charge, I don’t have to be.

If I can leave him with my anxieties, I don’t need them.

If I trust him, I can trust he will work out that persons issue.

If I let him work, he will accomplish change in atmospheres better than I ever could.

If I let go of worrying about others, I can find peace.

If I step back, I can see his power at work between the space of me and them.

If I lean on God in the turbulence of fear, I can find strength in the face of hope.

Where might God be calling you to lean in?

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