Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

Changing When You Hate Change

Hate Change

After college, I fled my home on the east coast and rushed to a west coast adventure. My new boss and I flung around the sun-soaked city streets of L.A. in a black Mercedes. I felt free. I felt ready. She was teaching me the ropes of sales and how to close the deal with men who were in high positions. I was a sponge – ready to learn, ready to train and ready to acquire knowledge – but, her instruction? It stopped me…

“Kelly,” she said, “You just do what you have to do – to get the deal done.” 

My heart sunk. I got the subliminal message.

Smiling (and with what I am now convinced was a – wink?), she pulled next to my dream car – a luxury red-hot convertible. It shined succulent. She looked at me and said, “Bite it.” No, she didn’t say that, but almost, she said, “Kelly, if you want that car, it is yours…”

Hate Change

And there I was. I stood on the cliff of decision.

Would I welcome change or would I be changed forever by not changing jobs?

Change is interesting. It is like an unwelcome demand by someone (namely God) to do something I am not ready for. It almost always comes at the wrong time – and I’m almost always resistant.

Are you resistant?

Usually, a silent warning lays right under its surface…“You better do something about this or you are going to get hurt….”

Pondering this, and gazing out the window, I couldn’t help but think that God doesn’t demand nature change seasons. It is gradual and seamless. Natural. Welcome, even. 

What is the difference?

What am I missing?

Author Daniel Strain, from Science News, describes nature’s budding process like this: “The buds suck up water, growing until they are ready to explode. The petals and sepals – the outer, greener portion of a flower gradually invert, then peel open like a banana and form a blossom.”

Hate Change

4 Things That Buds Know About Change That We Don’t:

1. The buds “suck up” water. Do I? Do you? Do you drink in the living water of love so that when you hit the desert you don’t think it’s your new home?

“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” Jo. 4:14

2. The buds are ready to “explode”. If I fill myself up with truth about what God will do, I will much more be able to explode into life change.  I just remember: 1.) God is with me 2.) God is for me 3.) He always has a very, very good plan.

3. The outer portion of “the petal turns inward”, before turning outward. Changing hurts; this is why you draw in. You have to cover, pray and seek God, before you can bust out and shine.

Hate Change

4. They peel open “like a banana”. Getting peeled like a banana, well, it doesn’t sound too buttoned-up and managed. It sounds humble. Willing. Receptive to what is happening. It sounds much like losing control, in trust, that God is in control.

God is consistent. Nature knows. It awaits the beautiful about to explode from barren.

Maybe we become like nature?  We might then be able to believe and proclaim, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

Hate Change

We will know – all will turn out okay…

We just suck up water, explode with truth, turn in and then – unfold into the new creation that, God, all along, has been working us into.

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10 Lessons: Don’t let Worry Steal Your Joy (One Day Longer)

I spun like a crazed woman on a treadmill, except for the fact that I was actually on an elliptical. My arms moved as if they were ready to punch the world right out of my way. My eyes focused as if I was really going to finally get myself somewhere. My legs moved trying to knee pressing issues right out of the way.

I was the wild gym-goer –
the girl trying to force herself to new ground –
ground that was unattainable to get to.

I kept spinning. Spinning worries. Spinning problems. Spinning up things that could go wrong. Building a whole lot of motion that was moving me nowhere.

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Motion.

In my mind’s dictionary, it means: 
1. Trying to force yourself to go, make progress or get ahead.

In the dictionary of classical mechanics (which, I know by heart – joke!), it means:
      1. A body either is at rest or moves with constant velocity, until and unless an outer force is applied to it.

An outer force? There was no outer force around me, just an inner force, an inner force of doubt driving my pursuits.

I didn’t trust “Outer Force” would work on my timeline, or according to my demands or with my outcome. God may have some answer like, “Kelly, wait.” Or, “Kelly, my will is being done.”

I get frustrated with those kinds of answers. I get internally irate and put an arm up – choosing worry over wonder.
Do you?

Pumping. Sweating. Pressing in – to my more. I considered God.

And, as if the clouds parted and my mind hit some new parallel of peace, it landed – softly.

Worry Steal Your Joy

I watched him through the giant window. Chilling. Eating. Laughing, almost, at me. He came to teach me something.

10 Lessons Taught by A Bird:

1. Don’t ever forget this verse when you start to worry: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Mt. 6:26)

2. God doesn’t look at his answers for us as limited, but unlimited. Just as the birds pluck for ample food on the ground, so does God have ample food for me.

3. Life is not feast or famine; it is a continual feast I have to choose to believe in. The birds don’t walk heads down, they walk heads high, knowing God is right about ready to deliver them to their next feed.

4. It doesn’t matter what everyone else has.

Worry Steal Your Joy

God has intentionally mined the ground with “glorious riches in Christ Jesus” meant just for me. (Phil 4:19)

5. There is no need to bump up against other people who don’t do what they should. God has them on their own path for food and joy.

6. There is an invitation by God to frolic and fancy life. In between his great providence, there is a game of “chase” going. We can join in like a little baby bird, who knows life is short and troubles pass.

7. What looks like a dark, vast covering of trees before you, is really just a call to adventure. It is the place you fly into knowing that God is going to take you on a ride that will thrill you. You just have to grab onto his carpet and let him lead.

8. Be present and be calm. Birds don’t have one dang concern about pending storms or world issues. I don’t see them building bunkers or walking around with defensive artillery. It seems they let go of threats that surround them – and let God ground them.

9. To see God everywhere is to see peace, joy and answers abound. Birds keep looking. They move their head left and right like little pendulums. Somehow, I guess, they are soaking things in.

Worry Steal Your Joy

10. We see life through the vantage point of me, myself and I, yet God’s view is sky-high – like a bird sees. There are things up there we can’t see. Probably, things that would blow our mind – disappointments that were used by God to create divine appointments, things like that. It’s a symphony of eternity; it reverberates beyond us.

These birds. They speak to me – almost – singing, “You gotta trust the bird’s eye view to get through.”

My velocity and intensity settle. My arms feel like they can finally be – at rest. I look and soak it all in.

Worry Steal Your Joy

God has this.

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HGTV, Pinterest, and the Things That Matter {Link-up}

the things that matter

I have a love-hate relationship with HGTV. And Pinterest. And all of those fixer-upper shows.

My husband and I moved into a fixer-upper several years ago, and while we’ve done a lot of cosmetic upgrades, there are still things I’d like to change. But life doesn’t stop for remodels and the kids don’t stop needing new shoes, so for now we pushed the pause button.

Most days I’m perfectly happy having friends over to eat in my 70’s kitchen. But every now and then, I hear those voices saying what I have to offer isn’t good enough.

It’s a dismal truth, but it’s there.

Those voices interrupted my thoughts several weeks ago when I was having a dear friend fly in to speak at our local MOPS group. She was staying overnight, and in the weeks leading up to her arrival we made some preparations to ensure she was as comfortable as possible.

I was excited to have her visit and for the chance to connect in person, since she lives several states away. That is, until I visited her home. A couple of weeks before her visit, I joined some friends at her house for a weekend retreat.

Today the #RaRaLinkup is being hosted over at Abby McDonald’s place. Click here to join us!

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When No One Sees or Cares

When No One Sees

I remember as a kid that door knock. People from everywhere walked up to our cracked doorstep. People with knives, people with vacuums, people with contraptions and people with frozen foods. When the doorbell rang, you never knew what you were going to get. I always hoped it would be chocolate and something with a cherry on top; my luck was never that good.

Every time, my inclination was to run right up to the door, open it and say, “Show me your presentation, show me the process and tell me the story.” They always had a story and it always left you wanting to shell out hundreds of dollars on things you knew you never needed – but, all the same, felt great handing over in large sums.

These people knew how to reach deep within you and pull out – compassion.

Yet, the other inclination within a household, was to shut off the lights upon their arrival, to run to the bathroom or to get vertical against a wall. All of these were good techniques to be left safe, secure and unhassled. You just leave that person waiting, sweating, hoping and alone on a doorstep…unseen.

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Despite all the great things they bring to the table – you leave them unseen.

Despite all the preparation they have put into their project – you leave them unseen.

Despite all their dreams someone will care – you leave them unseen.

Despite a vision to forge into something more,
something risky and something powerful – you leave them unseen.

I stand on the doorstep sometimes. Do you? I stand trying to knock, in the best way I know how, not much succeeding – with no one really caring.

No one says to me, “Keep pressing on. You are doing something important here.” I keep moving, door after door, each time feeling like I am just left with cold air and a twisted ankle on the way back down the stairs.

I am sensitive, I guess. Aren’t, we all?

God, if you see me, why don’t you encourage me?

This makes me think of – her. She walked up to that well as if it was already a slammed door on her face. She knew what to expect: 1.) She wouldn’t be spoken to by men 2.) She was a Samaritan and Jews wouldn’t give her the time of day 3.) She was shady and unworthy all the same.

I imagine as people saw her coming, they hid behind the safe refuge of the well…

When No One SeesOne man saw her, though, saying, “Will you give me a drink?” (Jo. 4:7).

She answered with (imagine: an inner finger wagging at itself, “This is impossible”),
“How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9).

Sometimes we feel so unseen, we feel so unworthy of being seen, we annihilate the love that tries to penetrate us. We let it burst into smithereens. Inside we nod our head saying, “There is just no way…”

I do this.
I believe what I have always known to be true.
I justify the case, rather than considering what could actually be the case.
I excuse others good intentions, saying, “If history is any indicator, they are bad.”

When No One Sees

Jesus says, “If you knew the gift of God … ” (Jo. 4:10)

If only, I knew it, I guess…

I might taste refreshing and rejuvenating water as she did.
(Jo. 4:10)

I might draw water from a well that gives new hope and vigor all the way up to eternity. 
(John 4:14)

I might beat down the lie – that strongarmed the truth – in order to hold me back.
“Go, call your husband and come back” (John 4:16)

I might confess.
“I have no husband.” (John 4:17)

I might find myself knocking on every door to share how me, the lame one, is now seen.
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29).

Have you considered the reason why you feel unseen
is because you want to keep – unseen?

I can’t help but think, what if we let in what we have kept out? Might we find it is the love of Christ that has been knocking on our door for so long?  What might happen if we stopped hiding and opened our gates?

When No One Sees

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5 Personal Vulnerability Points That the Devil Attacks

Devil Attacks

I didn’t know where the thought came from. Like an unwelcomed visitor, it showed up unannounced. It just pushed its way in – and sat down.  Holy had to leave. It doesn’t do well with things vile, deplorable and downright not from God. Worship left the air too. All eyes were on the house warming gift of worry in the middle of everything; it was tied up with the bow of anxiety. It’s a horrible gift.

In me, what felt like a temple, now felt tainted.

 Devil Attacks

Certainly, I let in a monster that wasn’t supposed to be around, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. When you let this kind of thought in, they don’t leave – they are rude like that.

So rude, that sometimes they keep you up all night as you try to wrangle them like untamed and bucking broncos. They rise and let you know how tall they are. They contort around you spelling out the word D.O.O.M.

I hate them, usually.

Knowing this, I come to these very important question…

How do I block the random attacks of the enemy that arrive like arrows in the night?

And, are there certain conditions that make me more vulnerable?

I think there are. Paul lets us know that we should be wise to their schemes (2 Cor. 2:11).

If we want to stand firm, we have to keep up our defenses up and our knees down to the ground.

You see, to be aware is to stand active in prayer.

So that your heart does not pursue an enemy affair.

 Devil Attacks

Prayer is our best defense. God is our best offense.

Beyond this, if we know when the devil is prone to attack us, we can raise up our requests and calls for protection during these times. In essence, we can F.I.G.H.T back!

5 Times the Devil Loves To Attack Christ Followers…When they are:

  1. Famished.
    If you are hungry for life and not filling up on God, you are prime meat.
    If you are hungry for food and are feeling a little off kilter, you are a tasty choice.
    If you are head in iPhone, not soaking in the love of God, you are often – toast.
  2. Irritable.
    If you are off-footed and nearly falling, even more the devil knows his punch will knock you out.
    If you are in a bad mood, he knows you will open the door to his negativity.
  3. Gullible.
    If you are open to lies, he will feed them to you.
    If you are willing to listen to pride, he will lure you to it.
    If you are up for misunderstanding God, he will distort him to you.
  4. Hurt.
    If you are discouraged, he will lure you to quick-fixes.
    If you are beaten in relationships, he will feed you bad words about the another person.
    If you aren’t seeking God, the devil will seek you and make you wonder if God is really good.
  5. Tired.
    If your mind is confused, he will confuse it some more.
    If your will is weary, he will wear it down to its breaking point.
    If people get testy, he will test your limits.

We can’t blame everything on the devil. Nope. That would miss this thing called flesh (Gal. 5:16) that works in its own self-serving way. But, when the devil is at play, the fertile ground described above is primed soil ready for insecticide-ridden hands.

Yet, when left protected and guarded, God grows something new –  it is called perseverance and determination.

 Devil Attacks

F.I.G.H.T.!!!

Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

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Living Beyond Comparison

Living Beyond Comparison

I am delighted to have the fabulous Kristine Brown join us today as she shares about comparison. This can be sure-fire way to lose perspective and her blog reminds me to keep the focus of my eyes narrow and the intentions of my heart clean. Thank you Kristine – and welcome today! I hope you are blessed.

Guest Post by: Kristine Brown

She lived in the shadow of someone else. Someone pretty important, as a matter of fact. Day in and day out she watched this graceful lady. From where she stood, it looked as if this other woman had God’s hand of blessing on her all the time. Of course, it was hard to see clearly when walking behind her at a distance.

She couldn’t get used to her new life in the shadows. And on top of that, she endured ridicule. If only I had a friend, she thought. She struggled to see beyond her bitter circumstances.

Her name was Hagar.

Hagar found herself in a new role as servant and handmaid to Sarah. Conflict started early in their relationship. And as the family dynamic changed, tension grew between the two women.

Sarah sat in a place of honor as Abraham’s wife. Abraham had heard a solid promise from God that he would be the father of a great nation. God also assured him this promise would begin with a son from Sarah. But Hagar’s position as the mother to Abraham’s first-born only increased the difficulties between Sarah and her servant.

Soon that son arrived. Sarah gave birth to Isaac. And with this new addition to the family, the comparison voice grew louder and louder. Hagar felt unnoticed and unimportant compared to Sarah. Without realizing it, she allowed comparison to lead her away from the God who saw her.

Our situations may be different, but Hagar and I have a lot in common. We both let the destructive voice of comparison whisper into our hearts.

I too have felt the compulsion to compare myself to another woman. I’ve listened to the lies comparison tells me – lies that sound something like this…

She is more talented than me.

She is more capable than me.

She is noticed more than me.

Maybe you’ve heard them too.

If so, then you understand how devastating this voice can be. You know the doubt it causes. And maybe – like me – you’re ready to silence it once and for all.

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2 ESV

The comparison battle once affected every area of my life.

My parenting. My role as a wife. My work. My ministry.

I couldn’t see the beauty of God’s plan. Comparison distracted me from the path He created just for me.When I realized how much I’d let its condemning words alter my thoughts, I resolved to find a solution. I went straight to God’s Word, and my discovery began in Hagar’s story…

When Hagar had enough of the hurt, she called out to the God of Abraham and Sarah. That day she learned a vital truth.

God desired to be the friend Hagar so desperately wanted. He was not only the God of Abraham and Sarah. He was her God too, and He made her a steadfast promise just like he did for Abraham – a promise she could count on.

Tweet: Relying on God’s promise is my first step in conquering comparison. – #OverItBook

“The angel added, ‘I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.’” Genesis 16:10 NIV

God had a plan for Hagar. By listening to His voice instead of the destructive words of comparison, she took a bold step. She believed the promise.

Sometimes that first step is all we need to get back on the right path. The question is:

Am I ready to take that bold step? Am I willing to rely on God’s promise and let go of comparison?

My answer is a resounding yes. Will you join me? I’d love to share with you more about Hagar and two other remarkable women in Scripture. Through their stories we can uncover the secret to overcoming comparison.

And when we do, we will also discover God’s plan for us is more than we could ever imagine possible.

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Over It SPINE (1)The Over It book is available on Amazon in paperback or e-book.  To purchase your copy, click here. ***Proceeds from the sale of each book will benefit the More Than Yourself, Inc. scholarship program.

Author Bio 1Kristine Brown is a writer, dramatist, and teacher. She helps women and teen girls navigate the ups and downs of real life. Kristine devotes her time to family, freelance writing, and her non-profit ministry, More Than Yourself, Inc. You can read more about her book at www.morethanyourself.com/over-it. Connect with Kristine on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

When You Keep Losing What You Want

When You Keep Losing

My dear friend, Christy Underwood, is joining us today. As you will see, her endurance and perseverance is both admirable and touching. I saw it in action as she went through this trial. Today, her story reminds me that even when we feel like the world is hurting us, still, God is always pursuing us. 

The nurse came into the room. The test came back negative. My fears were confirmed. I was not pregnant. I had lost the baby. It was difficult but I was thankful that it was early on in the pregnancy and I had minimal physical side effects from the miscarriage.

The doctor told us we should wait a few months before trying again. In the meantime, I went to a women’s conference with our church. A girl at our table told us about a book she was reading called, “Heaven is for Real.” She shared a part where the little boy meets his sister who had died in his mom’s tummy. I excused myself from the table, went to the bathroom, and cried. The Lord spoke to me in those moments. It hit me that the baby we lost is God’s child too, just as I am God’s child. I had focused too much on how I lost MY baby. I was able to see how God loves our/His child the same way He loves me. I realized that God wanted life for His child just like I did. He is the Creator of life. So, why did our child die?

Because we live in an imperfect world.

God could have intervened – but He didn’t.

He chooses not to control our world, because He wants us to have the free will to choose – Him or not. 

A few months later, I got pregnant again. I was scared but knew I had to trust the Lord. Our sweet girl is 3 years old now.

After lots of trying – and waiting – to get pregnant again – it happened. Yet, when they did the initial ultrasound, they couldn’t find the heartbeat.

“Take this medication and return in a week.” That’s what the doctor said.

That week was one of the hardest, most anxiety provoking weeks of my life. Nothing had changed. They could see that I had been pregnant, but we lost the baby again. I waited for my body to do what God designed it to, but I was on an emotional rollercoaster. I sought the Lord and He spoke to me. I questioned if God understood my pain, my loss. He said that He indeed understood more than I would ever be able to understand.

He allowed His Son to bear our sin and pay the price, so that we could have a relationship with Him.

“This is how God showed love among us:
He sent His one and only Son into the world
that we might live through Him.”
(1 John 4:9)

Time passed, and I got pregnant again. The technician was able to show me the baby and the baby’s heartbeat but the baby was measuring a little smaller than expected. I was hopeful but nervous. I went back a couple weeks later and the baby had barely grown. There was no longer a heartbeat. Again, Lord?

We lost this baby the day before my daughter’s 3rd birthday.

For some, this may have ruined the day. For me, I saw God working. I was thankful to have a brief time of mourning and then found myself rejoicing in the child He had already given us. The Lord was reminding me of all I had to be thankful for. I knew he was going to teach me something. The message I heard this time was, “Praise Me. Focus on who I am.” A song came back to me that I had briefly focused on during my last miscarriage, “Praise You in This Storm,” by Casting Crowns.

Here are some of the lyrics:

I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am

And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

What storm are you trying to survive?

How is God calling you to praise Him in the midst of this storm?

It comes down to a choice. Will we choose Him or not? Let’s keep our eyes on Him no matter what a fallen world sends our way.

We don’t know what the future holds or what God’s plan is for our lives, but I know – I will do my best to trust Him and seek His will above all else.

Will you?

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Christy (left) is a wife, a mother to one sweet girl, and a speech therapist. She’s lived in Southern California her whole life. Kelly and Christy met in their early 20s at a church retreat and have supported each other through all of the crazy transitions life keeps bringing.

Kelly’s must-add words about Christy: Christy inspires me to be a better friend. She asks the real questions, the tough questions and the caring questions. She is honest and fun all at the same time. She is a woman who seeks after God with her whole heart. I thank God that he made matched us together, two friends who “get” each other. I can’t wait for all the years she and I have ahead of us – in this crazy ride called life.

Thank you, Christy, for using your story for God’s glory!

Don’t Settle for Safe

settle for safe

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“God, take the decision out of my hands.”

I didn’t say the prayer out loud, but I may as well have. For months, I had gone back and forth over a life-altering choice that would change our family forever: whether or not to have another baby.

And every time I thought I’d decided, the endless trail of what-ifs froze me in my tracks. What if we lost the baby? I’d reached the age some doctors consider “high risk”, so what if the baby was born with a birth defect? Of course, I’d have to have another surgery and what if it didn’t go well?

So instead of making a decision, I remained in a state of inertia. The unknowns loomed over me like an unpredictable storm, and I my feet were stationary.

One day in early spring, something shifted. My mama instincts kicked in and I knew the possibility of new life was real. I could taste it. Fear and excitement overwhelmed me in alternating waves, and I spent the morning waiting to buy the test confirming my suspicions were right.

God handed us this gift of life and said, “Here. I know the desires of your heart.”

Sometimes, God knows what we need better than we do.

We try our best to protect our hearts, but he simply wants us to trust Him.

“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 John 4:18 NIV

He wants to give us good and perfect gifts, but we’re often clenching our fists too tightly to receive them. We move around the spheres of our lives, thinking if we can hold onto the gifts we have we will be happy, but God wants to give us so much more.

We have to keep our hands open to receive what he has for us. And as I watched the colors on the stick change and the clear positive sign appear, it was as though God was saying, “I am for you, child. I am not against you.”

I know there are still a lot of ifs on the road ahead of us. Every morning when I wake up, they try to overtake my thoughts like the steam engine that courses through our town at regular intervals.

But when the darkness of the unknown hits, I repeat this truth over and over: My God is for me. He is not against me. Do you believe he is for you too?

If we live our lives stuck in a state of what if, our what ifs will become could-have-beens. And I don’t want to live my life that way.

I want to live a life fueled by the One who never settled for safe.

As this new spirit continues to grow inside of me, so does the passion to move forward into unchartered waters. It may not always be easy, but heaven knows it will be an adventure.

Will you take his hand and come with me? I’ll see you past the break tide.

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View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015

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.

When Jesus Puts You On the Blacklist

Decimate Shame

She and I? “We’ve known each other practically forever, so, I wondered, “Why is she hurting me so much?”

She stood far, whispering deep thoughts to others. All I knew, was – I was getting the cold shoulder and, clearly, I was now bumped right out of her ring of friends.  When she finally did speak to me, hardly two words escaped her mouth. I wasn’t sure what I had done wrong, except for I had been a vocal about sharing different perspectives. I had given words to a different path than her; I guess she didn’t like it.

As Christians, there is a risk to sharing the light of faith. You can get burned.

And, even worse, sometimes afterwards, you leave with the heavy weight you did it:
A. At the wrong time.
B. In the wrong way.
C. With the wrong words.
D. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Often, when the sting of embarrassment sets in, 
we more want to run from Christ, than reflect him again.

Ever noticed?

It makes it nearly impossible to be Christ to the least of these,
when we feel like the least of these.

To walk full of love,
when dragging a bag of shame and uncertainty.

To think about caring,
when all you’re doing is caring about yourself.

A mind going bonkers, like this:
“I didn’t show Christ.”
“She hates me.”
“I looked like an imbecile.”
“I should have connected better.”
“I am now the talking point of the game ‘Telephone'”

Doesn’t as easily dwell on thoughts like this:
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5)

It is easy to let what you didn’t do, become the focus of who you are, unless you let the Word of God redefine it…

Romans 8. It did it for me.

It is a stirring chapter; you can apply it to nearly any circumstance where you feel:
1.) Off Track
2.) Self-Consumed
3.) Unclear about how to proceed.
4.) Busted and left for ruin.

Do you feel any of these in your life?

Check it out. Let’s Pray Romans 8:

Thank you God that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

There is no erasing that, through Jesus, and the Spirit, I have life and am set free from sin and death. (Romans 8:2) With this, I need not fear what I have done wrong or what I am prone to do wrong. I will fail, but Jesus never can. This is my hope and this is my future. This a change-maker in me and through me.

Lord, help me to live according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh, so that I can have my mind set on what the Spirit desires (Romans 8:5).

Shift my thinking your way.
Shift my attitude your way.
Shift my love your way.
Shift my plans your way.
Shift my heart your way.
Keep my mind stayed on Spirit.

If my mind is on Spirit, and in Spirit, I will naturally shift towards life and peace (Romans 6:8). Keep me there. If I think anything else, besides, life and peace, help me wake up to the idea that I am driven by flesh. I don’t want to be hostile to God or have a mindset which you, God, clearly say cannot please you (Romans 8:7,8).

Help me shift, Lord.

Let me not forget, God, the power that is in me. There is incredible power that I can access and rely on, when only I seek and submit to it, “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit.” (Romans 8:11) What is in me, has the ability to make hug the rude.

Thank you Lord, that the those who are led by the Spirit are children of God (Romans 8:14). Through this, I am not a slave, bowing down to fears, but I am a daughter of the most high King. He will take care of me, he will fight for me, he will love me and he will endure for me. I can cry “Abba, Father,” by the Spirit and with full knowledge that I am okay (Romans 8:15).

God, help me endure sufferings, because your promise was not that we wouldn’t hit them, it was just that you would bring us through them (Romans 8:17), and even more, you say those who share in sufferings, share in your glory. Give me your eyes to see this perspective and lead me. Teach me. Help me. May I submit to Spirit. May I pray continually and may I seek to love and lay down my life as Christ has. Amen.

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Missing Your Real Calling

Missing Your Real Calling

Day in and day out, I write on this blog.

Monday comes. I write.
Tuesday. I write.
Wednesday. I write.
You get the point…

When God goes about calling,
one is wise to go about doing the following.

We all know that, right?

Three things normally happens when one listens to God:
1. They learn things shocking about themselves or become shockingly healed.
2. They get a chance to break their selfish bones and regrow more humble.
3. They find themselves falling in love – more and more with Christ.

So, what confounds me is – if there are so many wins about serving God,
why do I sometimes feel I am running a losing game?

One where I get dry-heaving on a track that never ends
and all the same never gets me past my personal victory line?

It sometimes feels like an endless cycle of wanting – more?
Is this how God intended it to be?

When I began writing, each morning, I prayed. I asked God to give me the right word for the right person at the right time. It need not reach millions, just one. I sought his heart over mattered. I worked accordingly.

I listened. I expected. I believed.

Yet as time went on…

Little voices started to out-speak God. Other megaphones got louder, and his soft whisper got muted. Other’s progress got apparent and mine looked lousy. Other holes of insignificance and insecurity developed within me, and I demanded writing fill them.

I rushed. I hurried. I doubted.

I planned and agenda’d. I saw futures, perhaps, he didn’t. I told people to get close to God, when I myself, was existing not as close to God.

I sounded a little like this:  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” (Luke 18:12)

Recognize the voice? It is called: Pharisee.

Pharisee = One who talks God but walks far from God.
Pharisee = One who tells others, but can’t hear himself.
Pharisee = One consumed with facades and not the face of his heart.
Pharisee = One driven by power, not powerlessness before the Powerful One.
Pharisee = One who resembles purity on the outside, but looks like dead and flaky sin on the inside.

Do you look something like a Pharisee?

In work? At home? With kids?

With your husband? In life?

In a way we all do.
Little tip: Admission and confession is the first way to stop Pharisee in its tracks.

Jesus had these kinds of words for Pharisee-types: You Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses are in for trouble! You’re nothing but show-offs. You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. You won’t go in yourselves, and you keep others from going in. (Mt. 23:13-14)

Wow! Them are hefty words! Certainly, Jesus won’t shut out believers, but we can certainly shut the door right on his face!

Clearly, Christ warns – he doesn’t endorse this kind of behavior. It never does, nor never will, get his stamp of approval, his blessing nor his push behind it.

And, if it doesn’t have Jesus, I don’t want it, do you?

Really, receive this word for a moment – If it doesn’t have Jesus, I don’t want it.

Do you believe that? Live that way?

Jesus stands at the door and knocks (Rev. 3:2). Will we open it and welcome him in?  Not voices, not pressures, not demands, not schedules, not editors, not pride, not progress-climbing, not  one-upping, not social climbing, not ambition – but Jesus? Love.

Love in. Love poured out.
Humility restored. Humility abounding.
Grace upon grace. Grace upon grace dispersed.
Open arms. Grabbing the likes of our poor soul – others who need help.

Jesus always brings wins (see number 1-3 above for reminder), when we abide in him, with him and through him in every moment of our limited moments that make up this thing called – life.

Let’s not outpace the champion, for I fear, at some point, we might look back and see we ran the race as – the loser.

We don’t want this. We want to live in Christ’s victory. We want to go – with Him, because he is the way. The only way. The winning way. Every. Single. Time. Let’s hold on to that.

God, I am sorry. Please help me. Help me and then help me some more. You are all I need. Amen.  

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