Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

From Bad Self-Talk to A Good God (Linkup)

Bad Self Talk

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I think to myself:
You are not doing that right.
You’re coming off as a know-it-all.
Kids don’t love a mom who acts annoyed.
You always drop the ball with your husband.
You are being too selfish.
You are a continual mess-up.
God won’t bless that.

Condemnation. Like rain, it sure can pour down. Yet, somehow I have grown to think it’s an ordinary part of life.  It’s like a fly in the house. Sure, it’s annoying, but I can deal with it. Sometimes, it even becomes familiar. Provided it doesn’t bother too much, we can co-exist.

But I wonder, how much does it hurt me to co-exist with condemnation?

Because when I think of it, I see that self-condemnation left unchecked…
leads to self-loathing and self-loathing left unchecked…
leads to self-inadequacy and self-inadequacy left unchecked leads to…
a fear-filled turned-in spirit that doesn’t turn-out towards God or others in faith.

Condemnation may not injure our current actions, but it sure impacts our future ones. It may not hold us back from dreams, hope and a future in the present, but it’s lasting effects do bite.

And yes, friends, I do know that God says, “There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus,” but sometimes I just don’t consider that in the moment – the moment when the thoughts move in as fast as a freight train.

Mostly,  in that moment, I am just trying to get by, to live the hand of cards dealt – even when they leave me flushed with thoughts of how much I lack, what I can’t do and where I can’t go.

Sure, I hate those cards, but at the same time I am used to them. That doesn’t make them right though.

Yet, as I stare intently at those cards, wanting something more, my eye starts to focus on the King, the King who wears the crown. The King who is high. The King who can change the game.

I remember his love, I see his royalty and I admire his crown.  I see something. I grab hold of something…

I realize the King’s love has already condemned condemnation.

Thinking of it in this way, allows me to grab hold of this truth.

His love is what changed – and changes – the game. And it is what changes my thoughts.

Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Prov. 4:25

If I can keep my eyes fixed on what is love – Jesus – my thoughts will follow him. He will lead my mind in truth. The King will teach me the right way to go.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Lu. 6:45

I know Jesus calls me towards obedience. I can’t help but think of this verse: take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?” 2 Cor. 10:5

I want to be obedient.

Next time, that hand is dealt and that fly buzzes, I am going to ask myself 3 questions:

1. How does Jesus see you in this moment?
2. Is this thought rooted from a place of Christ’s love?
3. Could I imagine Jesus speaking these words to me?

Perhaps, then, I can discard the things that trump his love and grab hold of the ultimate King of hearts. Perhaps then bad hands won’t be a precursor to bad actions. My eyes will be set on the King.  

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Living for Christ in a Selfie World

Less selfie and more Christ

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I’ve got something kind of embarrassing to say, something I kind of hate to admit, but I am sharing it today in hopes that God’s truth helps me overcome this annoying habit.

Here goes: I can’t stop making everything about me.

How that person responded – is about me.
My ministry work – is about me.
Someone getting chosen above me – is about me.
My husband’s response – is about me.
My children’s behavior – is about me.
The response of another – is about me.

Can you see where this is going?

Somehow everything centers around – me, myself and I. And even when I say it doesn’t, I lie.

I don’t want to do this, but it is almost like I can’t help myself. We live in a “selfie” world.

We take pictures of ourselves in the moment and all we can think about is how we performed, how we looked and what kind of response we will get. It is almost as if our worth is dependent on “likes”.  It is almost like others “comments” are vitally important in our missions.

So, I wonder, how do I really die to self instead of pretending all that matters is myself?

God says: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. (Mt. 23:25)

I certainly don’t want to be that dirty Pharisee, but my cup is just the same – dirty on the inside and shiny on the outside. I lure others over with my outer beauty, until they come closer to see what I have inside. Truly, no one wants to be filled by a cup that only pours out black, dirty and tainted water. There is no living water there. Dirty unclean vessels can’t love as Christ would – nor live as he would.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (Phil. 2:3)

How do I get over myself to dive into God’s will?

Because I am tired of swinging on the pendulum of righteousness – either I swing too far to the left and am completely inadequate and selfish or I swing too far to the right and am completely over-righteous and prideful.  

Back and forth I go.

Have you ever felt this way? When we ride this swing, we can never seem to rest in the peace of the Lord. We are always striving to be more, to do more and to give more. Both a guilty shame-filled heart and an overzealous righteous heart both have roots in the “me first” mentality.  

When one falls down, the other side lifts higher. Back and forth they go.

Yet, the middle place on the pendulum, the still place, is the place of love, grace, mercy; it is a restful place.

God calls us here.

So, how do we come to this resting place of stillness, shamelessness and surrender?
The place where we are neither self-centered or self-inflated, but simply self-less? 

Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity… (2 Tim. 1:8-9)

Note:
– The power of God saved us.
– The power of God called us.
– The power of God leads us in our holy calling.
– The power of God works not through our works but through his.
– The power of God works as he purposes.
– The power of God bestows grace over grace.

This is the power we walk in. Anything more or anything less than God’s power is just the endless movement of a pendulum that keeps heading in the wrong direction.

It is solely by the power of Christ that we do anything. When we work through his power, his power at work within us makes us selfless, humble and full of grace.

It reminds me of the lyrics of “Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus”:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

We fade, Christ brightens.
We become selfless, he becomes radiant.
He shines, we take the back burner.

Not by the power of our own might, but only by the power of the great God we have in sight.

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Overcome The Real Enemy of Worry

Overcome the Enemy of Worry

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“Mommy, can you just be with me.”

The look in his eyes, says it all – he is worried and scared about the perceived “real enemy” on TV.

Fear and worry fills his face, but, my son seems to know that having mommy next to him makes all the difference.

He knows that with the presence of a parent, he is safer.
That the TV is not real and that his mommy is.
That nothing can come against when is mommy is there.

I love both his faith in me and his desire to draw near to me in this moment.

But, I wonder am I this way when I come face-to-face with worries?

Do I choose to sit with the enemy and dwell on his tactics
or do I choose to sit with my Father and dwell on his goodness?

Do I choose to let God protect me, guard me and speak truth into my soul
or I do I choose to let the show and all it’s details play on and on and on? 

Do I choose to sit with the fear-consuming, worry-ravaging, all-powerful Father 
or do I choose a screen that replays my worst fears,
my worst case scenarios and my enemy’s worst threats?

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Ps. 16:8)

I keep my eyes on the Lord!  I. WILL. NOT. BE. SHAKEN.

Eyes on God can’t have eyes on problems.
Eyes beholding nature’s beauty can’t be beholding life’s injustices.
Eyes beholding God’s love can’t be beholding the world’s hate.
Eyes beholding God’s truth in a still moment, can’t be running circles in fear.

When we have our eyes set on God’s perfect love, and we receive it in a moment of close embrace, fear is cast out. (1 Jo. 4:18).

The presence of God that sits with us when we fear, gives us a new perspective on what looms near.  His presence confirms to our soul – we are his.

By faith he (Moses) left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Heb. 11:27)

Moses seemed to know God is “Emmanuel” – meaning, “God with us”.  He seemed to know, when God is with us, nothing can come against us.

When we dwell on God’s nearness, worry fades and strength pervades.

Moses knew he could move forward with “God with him”; He could persevere verses cower in fear.

He saw the one who is right there.
Always present.
Always helping.
Always leading.
Always loving.
Always protecting.
Always giving.

Do we see “God with us” in our problems? Do we allow his real and powerful presence to cast aside all our worries?

Because when we pull near, he is there and there is no room left for fear. His love pulls up and fills us up – in a real and powerful way. Then, worry has to leave.

Suddenly, we overcome the face of fear through the power of faith.
We know he is closer than any looming disaster and more powerful than they enemy.
We see him with us as we go through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4).
We remain in God – and he remains with us.  (John 15:4-5)

Worry and worship aren’t friends. When one comes, the other leaves. Stillness and a racing mind don’t hold hands either. One runs away from the other.

When we choose “God with us”, we seemingly find our way of escape, our protector, our strength, our hope, our defense. We can trust he is working all things out for his purposes, which are always good.

Enemies can try to come against, but when God is with us, we send their bags packing, because God wins every time.

Dear friend, I know what it is like to worry. I know the pain, I know the agony and I know the despair, but today, God is calling you to something greater. God is calling you to get real, honest and transparent; he is calling you to bask in his presence.

Will you call him near as the screen of life portrays images that invoke fear?  He offers the ultimate protection.

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Today, I linkup with #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

Do You Have Eyes to See?

Do you have eyes to see?

I remember when I was young, I went to the PGA US Open when it was held near my town.

Amidst the thousands of people,
amidst my sister who turned into a lunatic,
amidst people pushing and shoving,
I remember tottering on my tippy toes just to see.

I just wanted to see the world famous Tiger Woods.

I knew that I wouldn’t really get a hello from him or a handshake – there were too many people and he was too famous. I was too average and he was too important.

But I just wanted to grab a look.

Wasn’t it similar for Zacchaeus?

And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. (Luke 19:3-4)

He just wanted to see.
He knew he was small.
He knew he was guilty.
He knew he was unworthy.
But, he just wanted to see the man who had power.

He wanted to cast his eyes on the one who could entirely change the game. So much so, that little Zacchaeus went to new heights – in a tree- to see new depths – in the an unforseen King.

Jesus rewarded this “go-to-any-lengths-mentality.”
Jesus rewarded this heart that wants to view his glory.
Jesus rewarded this will to see from a new view.

Jesus rewards a simple desire to see.

Jesus responds in such a different way than any earthly celebrity would.

He is less concerned about his destination (Lu. 19:1), and more concerned about salvation.

He halts all his plans, just to to see one man everyone probably hates – and he turns it into a opportunity to heal.

Can you imagine for a moment how it is being in a crowd of people? Jesus would not be able to see ahead or behind him, but Jesus knew the only way he needed to be looking – was up.

He never had the need for speed, but instead had a deep desire to fill an aching need. He stopped, he saw and then he went the extra distance and met the man in the most intimate of places – his home.

Jesus saw the one who truly needed eyes to see.
He put his plans on pause, for a greater cause.
He saw the need of the moment, rather than the plan of the hour.

He saw what no one else wanted to see – “the sinner”. (Lu. 19:7)

Zacchaeus had eyes to see.
Jesus had eyes to see.

Do we?

Do we seek to see Jesus from new perspectives?
Do we give all our heart to find him?
Do we risk climbing difficult trees to seek him?

And, what do we see in the midst of the hustle and bustle?
What do we see in the spaces between our to-do list action items?
What do we see in the faces of those we love?

Because, when we stop to see, what we often end up with is a great visit
by the great Comforter –
who never ceases to leave us unchanged.  

He knows our needs and ministers to our hearts.

Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today. (Lu. 19:5)

I want Jesus to visit me in my house, don’t you?

Because a visit from Jesus, changes our hearts, our minds and our lives as nothing else can.

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Lu. 19:9)

What does Jesus stand ready to give you when you only seek to see?

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I am happy to be joining Five Minute Friday today.

Surviving the Worst Storms of Life

Surviving the Worst Storms of Life

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God leads.
I follow.

God sets a destination before me.
I trust in him to bring me there.

God goes silent.
I start to panic.

I question his plan,
doubt his cause,
and fear his promptings.

I wonder, where did my Lord go?

Have you ever been in these shoes?
Sure of where you are going – only to question, shortly thereafter, if God has fallen asleep on you?

You are not alone.

Jesus’ closest friends felt exactly how you felt.

You see they had a destination. Jesus said to the disciples, after a time of deep and meaningful life instruction, “Let us go across to the other side (of the sea).” (Mk. 4:35)

They knew where they were headed; they had a destination and Jesus was going to take them there.

But plans were changed as a storm threatened their boat.
Despite their effort to move, to go and to make progress something stood against.
It not only seemed their journey a lost cause, but they probably felt that way too.

How often are we like the disciples?

We scream out in our storms, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” (Mt. 8:25)
“Where are you Lord? I am drowning here.”
“Lord, didn’t you tell me – to go?”

And, sometimes he answers.
And, other times – it seems – he doesn’t.

When he doesn’t, we wonder:

1. What did I do wrong?
2. How did I go wrong?
3. What is Jesus doing wrong?

We almost want to grab him and say, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’  (Mk. 4:38)

We are here Lord, we are in this rocky, turbulent boat called life, Lord!  Do you see us? Do you care? Where are you? How come you are not directing us to our destination like you planned?

We try to shake him.
We try to wake him.
We know we only need his touch – because it will do so much.

So, we bawl and we call.
And, he sees our squall.
Not to let us fall. He comes to our rescue as our all-in-all.

But, only then do his words brush up against our heart saying, “Dear one, why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mk. 4:40). Or, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ (Mt. 8:26)

And, in this moment, we realize, he was with us the whole time.
We already had the touch that we desired so much.
But, we missed his saving power.
We lost sight of him.

What if we actually believed -through the storm, rather than fearing – in the storm? 
What sort of miracle would Jesus do? 
What would we behold?

A deep sense that “we missed it” floods over us.

Because, while we thought he was sleeping and dreaming of things other than us, he was always planning to bring us through – according to his ways.

He was always in our turbulent boat, right there next to us.

We saw the storm raging, and felt alone, but he was right there – in the midst of it – not leaving our side.

While we feared waters would cover us and we would never reach the promised land, the Lord always had a hand of protection over us – even though we couldn’t see it.

Jesus calls us to grab hold of faith in storms that appear to prevent us from charting the course he set before us.

Faith that he won’t leave us.
That he is with us.
That he can be silent and working at the same time.
That he has a plan despite the circumstances around us.
That he is greater than our best efforts to calm any storm.
That prayer and joy and an eager expectancy of his rescue is the only way to go.
That he is greater than the nature of the world that surrounds us.

Jesus didn’t fall asleep on the cross. He knew where he was going.
He never lost his touch.
He is always touching.
He has already conquered all storms, all sin and all sadness.
He knows our destination and his destination for us. Nothing will come against.
Jesus always saves.

I wonder if the disciples wondered if Jesus had fallen asleep – and forgotten them – for 3 days after his death?

Or, did they remember this little boat in a big sea, that tossed like leaf in a windstorm, that threatened their destination and that made them fear?  Did they remember that Jesus was always near? That despite how things seemed, the Lord has a greater dream for them.

I wonder.

Perhaps, when the Lord greeted them this time, in heaven, he looked at them and said, “You of great faith, oh, how you have pleased me!”

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I am delighted to be joining Suzie Eller for #LiveFreeThursday!

Just Do It Scared

Post by: Christy Mobley

And without faith it’s impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

I stood at the bottom my friend’s staircase as we discussed what to do. Give it away or keep it? Give it away or keep it?

I said, “Just do it. Give it away.”

With some hesitation she relinquished her excuses and then boldly stated, “I’m going to do it.  I’m going to give it away.” And then sheepishly added, ” But not today.”

She needed to get rid of some old clothes that were cluttering her house and driving her crazy. I guess her struggle was not so much in the giving away, but in the fear of giving away. Fear of the doing.

Fear forbids us to move forward.
It keeps us from doing what we know we should.

Her situation seemed easy enough to me. Cut and dry.  I’m a throw away girl. I can’t stand clutter, so it’s easy for me to get rid of extra stuff. Give it away, or throw it away. I don’t fear I’ll need it later.

Like NIKE, I can just do it.

Ah, but I’m not that way with everything.

As a matter of fact, recently I felt God tugging at me to make a couple of phone calls but I had a hard time picking up the phone.

I was paralyzed with fear.

It’s wasn’t like God was asking me to do anything so dramatic as when He asked Mark Batterson to kneel down in the middle of an airport like Batterson recounts in his book, Draw the Circle or brush some old man’s long gray hair, like Beth Moore talks about in one of her videos. (I think that was in an airport too.) It was just a couple of phone calls for heaven’s sake.  No, these phones calls weren’t dramatic, for me they were traumatic. Somewhere I had drummed up an irrational fear.  But everyone has their own “hang up’s” right?

Fear takes hold when our perception of reality gets skewed.

On this particular day the devil had planted an irrational fear in me and the more I dwelled on it, the more skewed my reality became.

When something like this happens how do we walk through it, and just do it?

I shared my feelings with my friend Danya, and she told me something she heard Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter) say. “If you’re feeling God leading you to act and you feel fearful… do it anyway.  Do it scared.”

Most people think doubt is the opposite of faith, but it’s not. Fear is.

Fear stands on the opposite side of faith.

The devil wants us full of fear.
God desires us to be full of faith.

The devil wants to keep us trapped.
God wants to set us free.

Fear traps us.
Faith frees us.

The reality is, God stands by us in our fear and in us as we step into our faith.

When we just do it scared, we cross over the boundary that separates our faith from fear.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it’s impossible to please God. But dear friends, God is gracious and gives each one of us our own measure of faith, (Romans 12:3) and we are expected to use it.

I’m not sure if my friend ever got rid of those clothes cluttering her house, but because of the encouragement I received, I made two very important phone calls. And when I did my anxiety was squelched. It was freeing.

And, I bet God smiled. ( :

Is God prompting you to step out in faith today but you feel a tinge of fear?

If so, let me challenge you to just do it. Do it scared.

Put a smile on God’s face by stepping over the fear and into your faith.

 

Purposeful Faith Contributor

Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. You can catch up with Christy at Joying in the Journey

Finally, Know Full Well He Will Keep You

he will keep you

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I try, I fail.
I parent, I don’t do a good enough job.
I try to do right with my husband, but I take the wrong approach.
I reverse my car and slam it into my babysitter’s.
I serve another and get anxious in frustration.
I pray to be patient, but I’m impatient with the never-ending tears.
I want to be a good daughter, but feel like I have no time.
I say more of you God, but get distracted by life.

All the time, I feel not good enough, not together enough and not smart enough to do things right.

All the time, I drop the ball in one way or another.

But, under the surface of all my failings, below the layer of trials that lay on me, I have a choice to make.
Under the muck that seeks to keep me stuck in little lies that could lead to my demise, yes, this choice still remains:

Will I believe what God says about me?
Or will I believe what I feel about me?

Because the truth is, my feelings will sink me deeper and deeper into guilt, shame and a feeling of hopelessness, while God’s truth will lift me higher and higher into peace, power and a sense of fullness.

The truth is: God will keep me.

He will keep me in the palm of his hand.
He will keep me from harm.
He will keep his presence in front of me, behind me, above me and below me.
He will keep me in the beauty he displays through the sun, the wind and the waves.
He will keep my foot from slipping.
He will walk me in truth.
He will show me another way when the enemy comes to tempt.
He will guide me by the Spirit.
He will pray for me when I don’t even know how.
He will forgive and throw out every stone of sin I have confessed.
He will never let me go.
He will never forget me.
He will always keep me.
He will prepare a room in heaven for me.
He will comfort me in the meantime.
He will listen to my every prayer.
He will work all things together for good for me, because I love him and am called according to his purpose.
He will always be for me.
He will always advocate for me.
He will help me in my moments of distress.
He will give to me as a father gives to a beloved daughter.
He will be by my side.
He will always know my heart.
He will always know my thoughts.
He will always provide me his truth.

And, he will never pluck me from his hand.
He will never say goodbye to me based on my actions.
He will never ever no-way, no-how, stop loving me.

This is how good my God is!

His words speak like a permanent love letter to my heart.

Because God is who He is. He is the great I AM.  If you just ARE, you can never change.

I can change, but he can’t.
I can do a bad thing and feel plucked from his hand, or fall and feel less than or I sin and feel unforgivable, but his character can’t be altered.
I can change how I act, but he is always the same. He is always one ready to forgive, standing right beside me, hand on my shoulder – willing to love.

The question is, “Will I believe it?”
Doesn’t it really come down to faith?

Will I believe he will keep me?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. (Ps. 139.13-14)

Did you notice this line – “I know that full well”?

Do you know it full well that you are always his, eternally adored and always accepted because you are a child of the living King?

Let’s go from believing by the power of our mind to believing by the depths of our soul.

It will make all the difference in the world – to know full well.

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Linking with #livefreeThursdays and Five Minute Friday.

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

Resolution holding you back

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I see the value.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck on that 1-word friends!

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

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

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

And, who can argue with that?

Failure is the beginning of something new.

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

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

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

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

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

failed resolutions

Deeply, so deeply, I want to remember:

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

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

What kind of God would that be?

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

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

So, the Lord just says to me…

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

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

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

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

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

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3 Encouraging Truths When You Feel Stuck

When you feel stuck

Do you feel stagnant? Like you are trying to accelerate, but your car is going nowhere? There are truths when you feel stuck.  Do you know them?

At times, we all feel stuck. We wonder, “Are we making a difference? Serving a purpose? Changing lives? Impacting the world? Is our life adding up to anything meaningful?”

Like a car spinning its wheels, we feel the same. Round and round we go – going nowhere. Pushing and pushing with all our might – but we stay suck. Pressing and pressing our gas pedals – but our wheels dig in deeper.

It’s aggravating. Frustrating. Demoralizing.

It doesn’t matter if we steer in the right direction, because we aren’t going anywhere. So, we look up to God, and ask, “Why?” We feel like giving up.

I sludged around in the mud for so long. I spent much of my life working in jobs that never satisfied. I often arrived to work with a smile – and left for home with a frown. I felt purposeless. Passionless. And, disappointed in myself.

During this time, I realized:
To live without cause is to feel like a fraud.
To not make a difference is to become indifferent.
To fake like you’re okay is to put on a good play.
To not see results feels like an insult.

I believed – and still believe – this is not how God intends us to live. God desires us to be authentic, patient and enduring.

Yet, so many days, I can return to this place of “stuck”. I may want bigger progress. More lives changed. I may want to do better spiritually. Or to be a better mom. Or to have circumstances improve. I may just want to feel closer to God.

Often, I just feel stuck.

But, God is faithfully teaching me that, many times, he is diligently at work to get me unstuck from life’s muck. Even more, we tend to best receive the Lord’s sermons when we are stuck in muck.

It is here where we can’t move, where we have to wait, where we must be still. And, we hear the Lord in profound ways.

The Lord has 3 critical lessons he wants us to grab hold of, instead of our life’s steering wheel:

1. God has us just where he wants us to be.

He knows where we are. He sees us. He has not forgotten about us. This place of frustration is a place of transformation. It is in this place, where we must stop and wait on him.  It is here where we can find his love, his direction and his guidance.

It’s in these places of “wait” where God’s work really gets started. This muddy ground is his best working ground. It is here, where he molds us – growing us in patience, endurance and perseverance.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

2. He is preparing, reforming and transforming us to do his work.

Fear not. Even though we feel stuck, it doesn’t mean our lives have gone amuck. Because it’s here we can choose to trust, grow and sow. As we sow faith, we let go of fear. As we let go of fear (sometimes the fear of mediocrity), true purpose surfaces – it is here we find – our calling.

The bottom line of true calling is pleasing and serving the Lord.
When we let go of fear and indifference – we start making a difference.
We understand that he is at work – in us – instead of us demanding to have him work – through us.

We spin our wheels less and he produces more and more fruit. Fruit that we can go share with others. In this, we find rest, encouragement and renewed passion.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)

3. God put a calling in our hearts. Listen and follow.

God made us with a purpose and for a purpose. Perhaps we are still in the training stages. An Olympian cannot just walk out on the track and get the gold. Likewise, there are hard training days that accompany our work for the Lord. We have to put the hard work in. Work that is endless, tiring and ongoing.

God is sovereign; he decides the proper time to exalt us. We can wait on him. Even if that time of exaltation is at heavens door, we can still trust in his plan.

Let’s not miss the moment. Because the most important calling for our lives is not the one we dream of – but the one that he has already placed in front of us – for this exact moment. Let’s not miss it.

Let’s call out to the Lord.
He will help us.
His words will guide us in our way.

When we stop focusing on our circumstances and start focusing on him – things start to happen.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Ps. 32:8)

We can’t give up our drive; this was placed in us by God. But, we must keep our eyes on the one who provides “the way”. Then, in God’s perfect timing, our wheels will stop spinning – and start moving us to destinations we never dreamed.

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The Gift of God-With-Us

Post by: Angela Parlin

For a couple months, we’ve looked forward to hosting two sisters, who are orphans, in our home this Christmas. We selected clothes for them to wear, rearranged bedrooms, stocked up on groceries, and scheduled outings. We shopped for Christmas gifts, wrapped them all in red and black glittery paper, and hid them in a closet.

It’s been great fun, preparing for Christmas and getting ready to welcome these little ones into our family for a month.

But then, this week happened, the last week before they arrive. You wouldn’t believe how many things went wrong. (As in, not according to plan.) My stomach feels knotted up. I’ve had to remind myself to breathe. I’m having a really hard time slowing down, especially enough to pray.

We’ve known all along that this could be an amazing month–or it could be a very difficult month. But it’s like this news just now caught up to my insides, for the first time. All the concerns, what ifs, and fears floated to the surface.

I want to look forward with faith, to anticipate great things from God. I don’t want to feel so incapable, or worry about details. I don’t want to give fear some big, shouty platform in my life.

But I don’t feel I have much control over my anxiety right now. So last night, I put myself to bed early. But first, I read a chapter of Luke, where an angel tells Mary she’ll give birth to Immanuel (God With Us). And then I fell asleep thinking about something he told her:

The Lord is with you.

We need that reminder, don’t we? Because sometimes, we know it in our heads, but we live as if we’ve completely forgotten.

Today, I’m still fighting anxiety, so I looked up some places where the Bible repeats this truth, The Lord is with you.

I read about Jacob, who dreamed of a stairway between heaven and earth, where the Lord stood and clearly said to him, I am with you. He woke up and realized, The Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. (Genesis 28)

I can relate. Can you? I have not felt the Lord with me this week. I’ve fixed my eyes on my concerns and to-do lists, more than I’ve fixed my eyes on Jesus. But the Lord is in this place, in this week, even when I don’t feel that way.

I read about Moses, when he considered himself unqualified to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God said, I will be with you (Exodus 3), and then showed Himself to Moses in so many visible and miraculous ways.

I found numerous reminders of God’s nearness in the Psalms. The Lord is near to His children; The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. (34) God is an ever-present help in trouble. (46) The Lord is near to all who call on Him. (145)

I read parts of Isaiah, where the prophet shares these words from the Lord—So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41)

I read about when Jesus arrived in this world, as God-With-Us in the flesh. And then before He left again, He told His followers–Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28)

I could keep going, keep on finding this truth repeated.

The Word of God offers us this beautiful gift—The Lord is with you. It’s a truth we need to remember, and a truth we need to act on.

Whatever your struggle this Christmas, whatever your anxiety, whatever your pain, whatever difficulties you face, please remember this, friend–the Lord is with you. So take your concerns to Him!

God’s Word promises:

  • He will give you rest.
  • He will fill you with peace.
  • He will help you.
  • He will strengthen you.
  • He will give you what you need.
  • He will uphold you.

May we remember, the Lord is with us. Let’s unwrap the gift of God-With-Us this Christmas.

~Angela Parlin

ang3

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.