Purposeful Faith

Tag - hopes

A Power Boost in Christ Jesus

We can be like tires, after a lot of mileage, we run down. We loose our traction to God’s Word. We slip and slide into worldliness. We can feel it happening, we sense the tug, we know we are a little out of control, the problem is, sometimes, we are not so sure what to do about it.

I feel it in my life. I’ve had a series of frustrating situations: the babysitter backed our car into the mailbox, my feelings got hurt by a friend, and my prayer life with God landed in the doldrums.

Fortunately, I’m beginning to get eyes to see, if I don’t change something at the first sign of a slide, I’ll land in a ditch of faith.  I don’t want this. Neither do you, I bet.

And, what about you? Are you, like me, slipping and sliding today?

– Letting arguments or distance with another dictate your worth.
– Finding yourself alone, tired and doubtful in your house.
– Resting on your own abilities to accomplish things, and not God’s.
– Endlessly worrying about your “situation” and having a hard time giving it to God.
– Recounting all that went wrong and not knowing how to get your mind off it.
– Returning to the sense that you are not really cared for by God.
– Battling your own will to avoid the temptation before you.
– Forgetting your quiet time or prayer time with God.

No matter where you stand, even if you feel completely on fire for the Lord, our goal is to boost your traction. So you cling on to the King of Kings, grip his paths, and stay on them.

The first step along this path is to:

  1. Offer Forgiveness: Even if you need to forgive the same person 50 times. God endorses this behavior. He tells us to forgive 77 times – times 7 (Mt. 18:22).
  2. Ask God: Will you help me to receive your Words and believe your words in a way where they relieve my heart?
  3. Proclaim Godliness: Speak the truth (out loud). Speak it over yourself. Now, don’t fear, while you might feel dumb, you don’t look dumb to God, you look quite wise, actually, for getting your little self back on his path.

    Speak this:I am beloved; I am God’s child and nothing can ever change that.

    I am chosen; Father God never turns his back on those he wants.

    I am helped; in everything I do, God will help me.

    I am equipped; the Lord gives me what I need to accomplish his will.

    I am restored; Jesus didn’t come to earth to leave mankind broken and he won’t leave me this way either.

    I am forgiven; what was done on the cross is as permanent as marker
    there is no erasing its power.

    I am renewed; I am being transformed into the image of Christ Jesus.

    I am not perfect; I am growing and moving from glory to glory.

    I am strong. In Christ Jesus, I have all I need to walk into this life;
    his grace is more than enough.

    I am able. There is nothing that God can’t help me do;
    there is no mountain I can’t move, through prayer.

    I am destined. I am destined to the fullness of heaven and
    no scheme of the enemy can take that from me.

    I am alive. This is my one life to go all out for God – and I will.

    I am talented. God has given me works to do in advance,
    not so I can doubt them, but so I can unleash them.

    I am in love. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are my affection. Through them, I spread love.

    I am called. I will go as God calls me to go.

    I will lay it all down to follow my King, Master and Prince of Peace.

    I am daughter; I am cared for in the kindest ways.

    I am covered; God’s faithfulness will bring me through.

    I am safe; God’s protection never breaks.

    I am whole in Christ Jesus and if he is for me – no one can be against.

    Believing and speaking these words restores tread and traction in our heart. We reattach to the vine and abide in his love, so much so, our mind realizes, we are not operating in this world but in HIS world. Getting to this place, to the place of spiritual eyes, is what brings us back to a heart that is on fire for God. It is what makes us go out in the world and pass the torch to another person. Rest here.

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

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

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Are you Behind Schedule?

Behind Schedule

I am delighted to welcome Marlinda Ireland to Women’s Ministry Monday. Marlinda’s words inspire my heart not to fret the timing but to trust the maker. This is just what I needed to hear. Welcome Marlinda!  

Have you prayed and prayed for open doors of opportunity,
but heaven is silent?

Are you tempted to act on some long-held desire?

Yet, deep down you know that the timing isn’t right. Perhaps God has not yet brought the necessary pieces of your purpose together and you’re feeling, well, stuck!

Now, it feels as if your life is behind schedule.

Let’s face it, waiting for answers from the God can be frustrating and discouraging. If we’re really honest, waiting can even make a strong woman weak. Having patience with God is especially hard in our microwave millennium.  We’re often judged by how quickly we reach the proverbial brass ring.  If you’re not married with two children, making a six-figure income, living in a five-bedroom house and enjoying all the finer things in life by age thirty-five, you’re labeled as someone who’s behind schedule.

In reality, most of us are judging our insides by other people’s outsides.

Pressure to conform to unwritten timelines set by society is intense. However, comparing yourself to others only leads to jealousy, envy, competition and discouragement. I have to admit that this was how I felt, not too long ago.

David and I married while I was still in college. However, because of our financial needs as newlyweds, I was unable to continue my education. So, the dream of being the first in my family to graduate from college was put on hold. Two years later I became pregnant with our first child, our lovely Danielle, and the dream was delayed again. Time passed and we had another beautiful baby girl, Jessica. Then, David transitioned from consulting engineering into full-time Christian ministry. So, I became the proverbial pastor’s wife. That was my title! Poof! Before I knew it, my dream was so behind schedule that catching up seemed impossible!  Please don’t get me wrong. I was grateful for our flourishing family and ministry. But, secretly, other parts of my soul were dying on the vine.

I also felt God calling me to participate in missionary journeys to other countries.  When David was away on such trips, well-meaning friends frequently asked me, “Why don’t you travel, too?” At that time, the question made me feel like I was doing something wrong…that I was not being a strong, assertive woman.  So, in desperation, I cried out for wisdom. One day, God spoke to my heart, “Marlinda, personal goals and ministry opportunities will always be around for you to nurture. However, your children will not.

Boom, it was crystal clear that our children were indeed my number one priority in that season. As David traveled, I was to hold down the fort. God was not releasing me to even leave our children with friends or family.

Still, at that time, I didn’t fully understand the principle of divine delay—how He uses them to prep us for the future. So, it was a struggle to feel content in His timing for my life. Then, just as the girls were finishing up high school and I was about to give up on these desires, opportunities for their fulfillment came into view. I felt moved to apply and was accepted into a graduate program that made allowances for people who had many years of ministry experience and several years of college. They even waived my tuition. Then, invitations to speak in the U.S. and overseas started flowing into my office. God’s blessings and timing were perfect.

The Bible declares“God has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, Amplified Bible). Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Lazarus all experienced divine delays.

Can you trust that God has established
a unique timeline for you, too?

Our lives are similar to fruit bearing trees.

Different kinds of fruit ripen and mature in different seasons.  Similarly, we each have a special timetable wherein we blossom and ripen into the plans of God.  The rate in which this happens is not always determined by our own efforts or schedules—it’s also based on God’s divine timing. So, perhaps, you’re not really behind schedule. Perhaps, you’re in a divine delay!

Whatever the concern, rest assured that God’s in full control!

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About Marlinda

img_0143Marlinda is a wife, a mom, Bible teacher, and a “creative.” She is the co-founder, an associate pastor and the women’s ministry director at Christ Church in Montclair and Rockaway, New Jersey.

Through all of the challenges and joys that go along with her many life-roles, the Father has etched on her soul the meaning of full-blown-surrender. It’s out of this internal imprint that she does life, loves the broken and encourages the chosen.

Palaces that Prepare Us

Prepare Us

I am delighted to welcome Sheree DeCouto from Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, GA to Women’s Ministry Monday. Sheree’s words encourage my heart – even our best dreams, can still be difficult.

Thank you, Sheree.

Post by: Sheree DeCouto

Is it just me, or have you ever wondered what happened after Cinderella and Prince Charming rode off into the sunset? As a little girl I bought the “happily ever after” ending hook line and sinker; as a grown woman I’ve learned that palace life doesn’t always turn out to be what I expected.

Whether it be a relationship, job or ministry… our happily ever after scenarios often lets us down.

I’ll never forget the day I landed my first full-time job in women’s ministry. I thought I had arrived. For years I had dreamed of what it would be like to work for God. My head was full of all the wonderful things I was going to do for God now that He had brought me to my palace, so to speak. Finally, someone had recognized the call of God on my life and given me a chance to make my dreams of becoming a published author and sought-after speaker come true.

Needless to say, palace life has been harder than I expected.

Lately, I’ve been studying the ultimate dreamer Joseph, and I’ve wondered if he too might have grappled to reconcile his expectations with his reality. Obviously, he must have been disappointed when his brothers sold him as a slave. But, I wonder what he thought when he was purchased by Potiphar, who was Pharaoh’s captain of the guard, and put in charge of his entire household. It was a lofty position for sure. Could he have thought, Someone has finally recognized my potential; I’m finally at a place where my dreams could come true?

If you know Joseph’s story then you know Potiphar’s palace was only another step in his journey. It was a place where he gained valuable leadership experience learned the importance of integrity. When I consider his time at Photiphar’s palace as simply a step toward God’s ultimate calling on his life I am encouraged re-think my own palace experience.

All of us yearn for the happy ending but few of us experience joy during in the journey toward it. I’ve found hope by remembering these three truths:

1.     It’s not our final destination: All of life is preparing us for the ultimate happy ending when we meet Jesus face to face.

2.     Tests are part of it: Make no mistake. . . our dream job, dream marriage, and dream life will be full of  challenges to test us. (Thankfully they are all open book tests; the Bible gives us the answers we need!)

3.     Our reaction in the gap between expectation and reality determines our level of joy. We choose our response when life doesn’t turn out the way we expected. Joseph’s life story gives us an excellent example of how to move past our past and toward the ultimate call of God on our lives. In the end Joseph considered God’s will more valuable than his own desire for success.

What palace is God using to prepare you? Are you passing the tests, or has your chosen response kept you from enjoying the journey? If I’m honest, I have to admit that the gap between my expectation and my reality caught me off guard. I haven’t passed all of the tests. But today I’m determined to consider God’s will more valuable than my own desire for success. I choose joy in the midst of my circumstances and I thank God that He is still preparing me for the ultimate happy ending.

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About Sheree

Sheree(3)-0051Sheree serves on staff as the Women’s Ministry Director at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. She is a Bible teacher, speaker, spiritual coach for leaders, event coordinator, writer, and mentor–and that’s just what she does for her day job! She is also a wife, the mother of three sons, and a mother-in-law to her first daughter-in-love. Her passion is to bring the “real” factor to everything she does. Whether she’s speaking to a large audience, writing, or mentoring, her goal is to be transparent about the struggles she faces so that others feel free to do the same.

How God Will Make Your Impossible – Possible

Impossible

When there is nothing left to do in a day, and my mind has nowhere left to go, right or wrong, Facebook and I get friendly. It’s the mindless scroll that numbs a mind. It’s the old faces that remind me of days yesterday. It’s a knowledge that somehow everyone is okay. It is just seeing and being. Yet, this time, God wasn’t content to let me sit. He wanted to show me some little things; little things ready to teach me big things.

First, an old friend caught my attention…

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 4.53.39 AM

My beautiful friend‘s husband made her a special contraption for “little arm” so she could blow dry her hair without issue. Hmmm…powerful. Her husband helped her to do what was difficult for her to do.

God, let me see what you want me to see…

My thumb got arthritical again. I scrolled, then I hit this video (Life).

It was daddy, super-daddy, I’ll call him – he made a super-duper, over-the-hips harness holder for his son, who I am sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, had never walked a day in hisScreen Shot 2016-04-29 at 5.12.59 AM life. The pure joy written all over his face made that clear. He was all things laughs, exuberance and pleasure. It was his moment on daddy’s toes. Not black and white, but shades of alive.

I want my moment on daddy’s toes.

Where he rescues me. Where he helps me to move in ways I never considered. Where he blesses me beyond measure. This is life. This is what pixels and images of years passing all add up to.

That boy’s face explained it – it is the elation that you are loved.

God, teach me, right here and now, teach me…

In his unfathomable love, God does not see our lackings, but he sees the makings of incredible about to explode.

We don’t have to see it – to believe it.
He’s a good, good, daddy.

Where we feel incapable, he is capable.
Where we feel down, he is ready to lift.
Where we say, I can’t, he says, “You will – just wait.”

We just believe and then we, fly into his purposes…

Will I give him a chance? Will you?

What if my friend didn’t accept the gift or the gesture? What if that boy pushed away the over-the-hip harness holder? What would have happened?

How often do you – or do I – miss the insane workings of God because we get prideful and believe we can do it on our own?

God, don’t let us miss it anymore.

I am faulted. I need you.
I feel incapable. Show me.
I am handicapped in so many regards. Reconstruct me.

I want to fly.

I believe.

I believe in God’s power to love me like family. I believe in his power to make a miracle out of my control issues. I believe in his power to banish shame. I believe in his artistic genius to make a gizmo so wild it will soar me right up to – alive.

It will save me, right as I wait on daddy’s toes. And like that boy, I Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 5.05.53 AMwill dance. I will smile, laugh, giggle and wonder –  attached to daddy – loaded up with all the gadgets of his goodness.

I will. You will.

Where do you feel broken? Faulted? Injured? Less than?

Know this: Daddy is building a doohicky. Accept it. Put it on. Believe in it. Trust it to work. Smile. Let go. Feel his love. It is the answer.

God, indeed, takes our limitations and makes them into proclamations of his goodness…when we let him.

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Take Off from “Blah” to Blazing New Heights

Blazing New Heights

I know, I know, this is going to sound weird. I am infatuated with the whole idea of airplane take-offs. Always have been.

I feel the rumblings of something new, the speed towards adventure and the call towards something greater.

I love it.

New places.
New people.
New encounters.
New opportunities.
New feelings.

Usually, as the plane rises, I know I am about ready to head to somewhere better.  The stress is off; I have no control over the speed, the timing and the path – it is all in the captain’s hands. It is a trusting kind of thing; I know he will do his job.

I wonder though, why day-by-day I don’t rise with this same sort of
eager expectation towards life?

What really makes it any different?

I could wake excited.
Knowing God will send me.

I could look expectantly.
Believing God will lead me.

I could anticipate.
Seeing life from the heights new opportunities.

I could be willing.
Letting in feelings of purpose and passion, all the while – nodding yes.

All vision of my end destination belongs to him. All the controls are in his hands.

Why not let go?

We need no plans, except to be with him. He steers, we fly. He leads, we end up at the good works he has already designed for us.

If we have expectancy,
we won’t be prone to live complacency.

We see new journeys.
New heights.
New views.
New callings.
New pressures that he alone manages.

And right in the center of it all is our chosen seat. The one that allows us to enjoy the heights of his glory, the sprawling colors of his ownership and the gentle covering of his clouds.

So we go. We let go. We move. We explore. We adventure.

Tomorrow, let the morning alarm goes off. But, take a new look at your new day. Let expectations rise and – fly.

Will you join us?
Sure, there may be turbulence,
but rest assured there will be magnificence too.

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7 Verses for Relational Encouragement

Relational Encouragement

Christmas is here, but so is family tensions.
Christmas is here, but so are dysfunctional relationships.
Christmas is here, but so are old habits.
Christmas is here, but gone are people we love.
Christmas is here, but baggage of old still exists.
Christmas is here, but fears surface.

God says, “I see all that, and I can handle all that.”

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. Is. 41:10

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7

Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

What looks unscalable, God boosts you over.

What seems unbearable, God brings you through unbelievably.

What can’t be managed, God says let down your guard and I will guard you.

Will you throw your cares upon God’s shoulders? He is the only one that can hold the weight of them without breaking his back.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

sustain
transitive verb sus·tain \sə-ˈstān\

  • : to hold up the weight of (something)

As you cast it over, God gets under its crushing weight (just like he did at the cross).

The weight is no longer on you, so when you walk, talk, eat or digest other’s insults, you don’t fall. You are preserved, whole and entire.

Press in and God will press his being through you.

Cast your cares and he will care for you.

Be strong and trust – God is about ready to rescue you!

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Loving Past Our Fears

Loving Past Our Fears

How do you press in to relationships that are hard?

How do you let your heart show up
when it has the inclination to run?

How do you push past fears,
when God is calling you to a great,
but difficult, mission?

Author, Jill Lynn Buteyn faced questions like these as endured with friend and blogger, Kara Tippetts, as she travelled a painful road from life to death to terminal cancer.

What a story! I couldn’t be more delighted today to welcome Jill to Purposeful Faith today for an interview as she teaches us a lesson on loving, listening and just showing up.  Welcome Jill!

Kara&Friends_00621. What moments and memories of Kara do you hold closest to your heart?  

Kara had such a great sense of humor. I don’t know if I remember really big moments as much as I just remember laughing and joking around.  It was a joy to be with her.

She would still ask questions of her friends—about our marriages, our families. One night I stayed with her in the hospital and when she woke in the middle of the night, she asked me who was checking on a friend of ours who had moved away.

Many of my memories revolve around her being sick—she was sick much of the time that I knew her. But we still talked deeply and celebrated life. 

2. How do you “Just Show Up” to be present with someone in the face of pain, difficulties and hard times?

Often the reason we aren’t there for someone who’s in pain or sick is because we fear we won’t know what to do or say. These are legitimate fears, but if we can fight through them (and we delve into some details about this in the book to help) there are so many blessings to be found when we walk through hard with each other. I would tell them to take a step toward a friend… to start somewhere, maybe with something small, and watch for the blessings God has planned.

3. What tangible steps might you give to help others overcome their fears?

Ask God for help, to show you what you can do and how to help someone else. If you fear entering into community, you might need to start slowly. That’s okay. Just taking a step toward others is such a huge thing. It’s lonely without community. Try to find a few safe people to grow friendships with. And in terms of fearing how to be there for someone who’s sick or in pain, a good place to start is in simply choosing them. Decide that you’re in, even if you’re afraid, and that you’re going to make movement toward them. Lean in. Don’t head in the other direction. Honestly, that’s where it starts. It can be scary getting in the trenches with someone, but it gets easier the more you do it.

4. What bible verse provided you comfort and how did it come alive in your life?

My favorite is Isaiah 41:10. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

I love this verse because it’s all about HIS strength and not mine. He’s holding me up. The picture this paints is such a comfort to me, and I constantly have to remind myself that it’s not about what I can do but what HE’s going to do.

5. What fears did you hit during this period and as you wrote the book, “Just Show Up”?

Well, I am exceptionally good at fear. Ha! Not something one wants to brag about. I was afraid people wouldn’t want to read what I had to say—that they’d only want to hear from Kara. She was beloved, and for good reason. It was hard for me to think someone might pick up the book wanting to read only from Kara. Though really, people obviously know it’s written by both of us, so I’m not sure why that fear gained so much traction.

The phrase that would often go through my head was, Lord, let me be enough. I feared me and my writing wouldn’t be enough. And God never failed to ask me, for whom? He reminded me I only needed to be enough for him, and I already was because of what he’d done for me.

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About Jill Buteyn

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 4.25.15 AMJill Lynn Buteyn is a co-author of Just Show Up with Kara Tippetts, and the author of the inspirational romance novel, Falling for Texas (as Jill Lynn). A recipient of the ACFW Genesis award for her fiction work, she has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University. Jill lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and two children.
Connect with her on social media, at Jill-Lynn.com, or at MundaneFaithfulness.com where she guest blogs.

Putting God Above the Need to Please

Need to Please

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I’ll never forget the sound. It was hundreds of pounds of files and metal crashing down on my three-year-old son but to me it sounded like one thing: disaster.

The impact was followed by the shrill scream of my child. In complete panic I ran from my parents’ kitchen to see him lying there with the filing cabinet on top of him.

With strength I didn’t know I possessed, I lifted the weight from him, consoled him and examined his body. As I wrapped my arms around him my mind repeated the question, “How did this happen?”

Later, when my family discussed the mishap, my husband explained how our son didn’t need to be able to move the entire cabinet on his own. He simply had to put it off balance. Once several drawers came out, it only took a small push to send it toppling over.

So often in life, I am like my son. The drawers are projects, service opportunities and responsibilities, and often I have several pulled out at the same time. My balance gets awry and I need to lighten the load, but instead I take on more.

I put the desire to please others above the gentle nudges from God to rest.

The longer I ignore his promptings the more irritable I become, until I am a frazzled mom and wife with little left to offer anyone other than scraps of time. Like the crashing filing cabinet, I lose all sense of stability. Instead of being intentional with my priorities, I am a mess.

 In Romans, Paul tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV

When I listen to the world instead of that still, small voice, I take on more assignments than I can handle. His love cannot pour out of me because I am a depleted vessel.

God wants to transform our minds so we can discern what he has for us rather than heeding to every tug of those around us. He desires the best for our lives, and is glorified when we use the gifts and abilities he’s given us. Often, this means declining requests for our time so we can spend it where the he wants us to be.

To this people pleaser, the hardest word to tell others is “no.” But often this is the exact word God is asking me to say.

After watching my son over the next day, we were confident he was alright. I uttered praises for God’s protection in a moment which could have been devastating.

The beautiful truth is that those moments when life is reeling and we lose our balance, God can still redeem our time. When we listen to his voice instead of the world’s, he can turn our mistakes into testimonies of his grace.

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*Photo Credit

Guest Contributor

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

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

The Joy Found Four Steps Back

Joy Found

I started running around a little.
Seeing other people.
Jumping in with them only to realize I shouldn’t be doing it.

Well, it is actually not as bad as it sounds, but it is actually still really bad. You see, I got online and started looking at all the people doing more than me. I started looking at how God is using them, gifting them and providing for them.

I saw their glow – and my mediocrity.
Their gifts – and my struggles.
Their smiles – and my sadness.

Like an album of poised perfection, as they radiated –  all my faults were punctuated.  Facebook seemed to exclaim, “Your really not that special.”

I hate it when it does that, don’t you? It can be an obnoxious friend. It’s shiny albums so often lead to dirty shame.

They have that? I wanted that too.
They went there? Why not me God?
They accomplished that? I will never.

Tsunamis in motion cannot be stopped; the hand of a human man doesn’t have the strength to hold them back. The thoughts roll in and they seem to take us down.

The stuff I have? It’s cruddy.
My clothes? They’re ugly.
My summer trips? They are small fry.
My status. It’s average.

How do I stop feeling this way God?

I don’t want to live like a pauper amidst your riches.

I don’t want to live thinking you won’t pull through,
when you already have.

I don’t want to live coveting,
when your life-injection power is found in praying.

How do I flip the switch of my hungry soul
to access the power of your nourishing being?

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully-grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15

God’s truth: By the time we have gotten to sin,
we have arrived too late.

The holiness party is long gone;
it was found 4 steps back.

Here is how it works:

1. We have a desire. I want more happiness and more riches and more recognition.

2. It tempts us. Kelly, don’t you deserve more happiness, more riches and more recognition?

3. It lures us.  Look at them. See what they have. See what you don’t.

4. It gives birth to sin.  Covet! Envy! Judge! Be prideful!

5. It leads to death.  Take what should be yours, at any cost. Put to death the temple within.

We beat sin not at the point of sin (#4), but at the point of disbelief (#1).

What is the impetus to your disbelief?
What little whispers coerce dissatisfaction in your life?

For me, it’s the whisper that I deserve to be happy, like really happy, slideshow-picture-perfect happy, glow-in-the-eye happy, arms-wrapped-around-each-other-so-tight-your-shoulders-get-smooshed happy.

MapQuest better send me there! A straight shot and no accidents please! That would throw off my happy meter.

It’s the whisper that small beginnings don’t count.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zech. 4:10

Even the disciples started as fisherman so they could understand the words, “Be fishers of men.”
David started by first being faithful to sheep.
The tiny amount of loaves and fish were only the beginning of God’s miracle.
God rejoices in the motion of faith-reliant beginnings.

It’s the whisper (and quite an embarrassing one) that I need you to love me. I kind of want that – for you to see all of me and say “Oh, wow, that girl, that gal, Kelly, she has it. I want to be her friend. I want to know her.”

Jesus died open handed and he calls us to
open the hands of our desires, our longings and our hopes to him.

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. Prov. 10:28

Then I see what is really in my hands – nothing.
And who entirely fills them – Him.

I can:

Deal with sin and be delivered from pain.
Run to him like a prodigal child runs to a long-lost daddy.
Be shocked by radiant truth that liberates needy hearts.
Suck in his gift of always-love that never runs out as I open my heart.

When we find God, we find what our heart was always searching for.

I want that. Do you?

It is called joy – feeling-ruling, comparison-busting, overpowering joy.

It sees Him, who hands out his best.
Eye on the prize, it knows who is active and adorned.
It envisions the heavenly banquet table of camaraderie waiting.
It sits in a place of hardship with a smile of gratitude.
It often grows from pain (earthly crosses and nails water it).

It’s unlike any album on Facebook.

It is unlike any heart that seeks a new and shiny
bridegroom or idol online.

It is unlike anything we could scavenge up on earth.

It’s joy in the all-consuming presence of the one who consumes our deepest longings. It’s atypical, absolute and anesthetizing.

It’s fruit that keeps on satiating and replenishing our soul’s ravage hunger. It keeps us going.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 
​because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Ja. 1:2–3

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Dreaming of Being Used By God

used by God

Here I am Lord.
Will you use me?

I am trying Lord.
Will you help me?

I am hoping Lord.
Will you come through for me?

I am dreaming Lord.
Will you send me?

It is easy to look at our dreams and think they are the answer to our joy.
It is easy to look at another and think they have all we dreamed of – and more.
It is easy to face our rejections and to let them destroy us.

In many ways, we have set up our structures of hope and we have decided how they should be built. We know who needs to be involved, how we will put them together, what will make up the parts to success, but do we miss out in this process of self-promoting and self-reliance?

Does God have more hidden behind that structure
we have erected in our mind that we can’t see?

Might it be waiting, unseen,
because our mind is sprinting in another direction?

I know, for me, I miss out when:

  • I start becoming so focused on my blue prints that
    I miss the blessing God has sheltered in the “now”.
  • I see that girl and decide my structure looks like a shack in a third world country.
  • Questions become probing inquiries to steal my goods.
  • A request becomes an opportunity for another to use me.
  • My accomplishments become the savior of my insecurities.

This is exactly why God speaks this verse: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Phil. 2:3-4

God is so smart; sometimes he has to protect me from me.

God seems to know that the greatest gift is not found in me, but it is found in the outpouring of love found in him.

It’s almost like God says,
“Hey, you’re blocking the view of what I really have for you –
the needy hearts in front of you.”

“You will miss them with your eyes focused on your own plans,
your own ways and your own dreams.
If it is my dream, I will make it for you.
You need not stress, but until then, don’t run after ambition,
run after a heart to love.
I fill in all the gaps.”

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Mt. 6:33

I am going to listen to the truth of these words. Will you?

There are so many around. So many who need us.

They hurt and wait for someone to see that tear in their eye.
They hurt and hope for an arm to go around their shoulder.
They hurt and dream of a helping hand.
They hurt and they wait for our love.
They hurt and God wants us to meet them.

Much in the same way we hurt – they are hurting too.

What we will see is that, often, we end up needing them more than they ever needed us. God ends up using them to shape us and form us and make us into the vehicle that brings our dreams to life. 

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Are you a She Speaks Attendee?
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1. When the Recognition Doesn’t Come by Abby McDonald
2. When You’re Cheering on the Sidelines by Katie Reid
3. Where Are My Blessings God? by Kelly Balarie