You’ve been with him for so long now. You know, love and treasure Him. He is God. Jesus cannot be harmed by common men who aren’t God. You must protect Him. You must keep Him from harm. He must remain with you.
You pull Jesus aside to address his comment that He must suffer. You say, “Jesus, far be it with you. This will never happen with you.”
You’re only trying to help. You’re only trying to save Him. You’re only trying to preserve Him from harm.
Jesus replies to you, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt. 16:23)
You were a stumbling block. Why?
You had good intentions, but you injected yourself where you weren’t invited to intervene.
The plan was owned by Father & Son , not Father & Son + disciple.
We can do the same thing in the lives of those we love. The plan is between Father & son or Father & daughter. Yet, we weasel our way right in, saying, “Nope this right here is about Father & Son + me + my opinions + my fear!” We take out our chisel and crack into God’s good plan. Woe to us who break what God is building in others.
We often break God’s good plan in others when we:
1. Tell people what to do.
2. Decide how people should think.
3. Instruct people based on our opinions.
4. Try to run in and fix bad situations.
5. Demand others think well of us.
6. Rescue people from their feelings of sadness, loneliness, etc.
7. Excuse away people’s issues, rather then letting them confront them.
I assure you: when a lesson is delivered by us, it’s forgettable. But delivered by God, it is unforgettable, undeniable and unbelievably life-changing.
Let’s make room for what God is doing. He has things handled.
I also love that as I love you, I get a chance to learn who you really are. You send me emails and thank yous and little stories of the giant hurdles you’ve made in life. And yes, even though you call them small, God and I know they’re giant.
You all are great. You make me smile. You make me shed tears. You make me pray. And while I can’t always respond to every email via the computer I always try to respond with God. I ask him for the best for you, for your situations and for your heart. I ask him to show his lavish love in your life.
You are amazing. You gift me a lot more than I gift you. Daily, so many of you give to my heart. Quietly, I know others inwardly offer up thanks. Readily, I know there are prayers going out for the wider community of gals who read these words.
To know we are fighting together, battling through our hang-ups, and sticking to the King of Kings on this road is beyond helpful to my heart.
We rage on – in love.
I once thought this blog was about me “getting my healing.” Now I know it is about all of us “becoming healed” and supporting each other along the way. Thank you for helping me realize I need you just as much as I need God.
You are often a vessel for His voice. A voice of encouragement that pops up via email at just the right time. A prayer note that I needed. A living testimony of what you are reading.
All glory to God! He is working right here. We read and write only holy ground, together. And I love it! I cherish it. I rejoice in the fullness of what He has prepared for such a time as this.
While social media rages with hate, anger and dissension, we pull together in love. We smile and keep on with Jesus. We do our part to do our best to change our little slice of the world one small act of love at a time.
I am grateful for you. I want you all to know that. God has given me so much in this community of lovers. I praise Him for you today.
My prayer for you: Sweet Jesus, thank you for the reader of this post today. Thank you that you see her heart. Thank you that she pursues, loves and follows you. I ask you to open every door unto her, so that she can meet and know you with immense passion. I ask that there would never be a question in her mind as to how much you love her. I ask that there would never be a question in her mind about how immensely loved she is. I ask for an increase of your heart on this very blog that reaches hearts day-in and day-out. I ask for your activating faith to pour out on every reader in profound ways in the coming days. I ask for your will to be done in all ways. We thank you Jesus. Amen.
I remember sitting on the beach, watching a man who owned the water. Unlike the lady I watched five minutes before, he ran up to the gigantic waves and dove straight into them. He didn’t inch forward with trepidation. He didn’t put his arms out to balance. He didn’t look back to his wife beach-bumming-it on the sand. He owned that water. He went in, looking far stronger than the waves. I couldn’t help but think his water-approach said much about our spiritual life approach.
When we walk out on the world with the confidence of God, we aren’t easily knocked over.
To say, “My heart is confident in you, O God” (Ps. 57:7) is the equivalent of saying, “I can run up to that 6-foot wave and dive right into the middle of it and be fine.” Why? Because God is greater than any force that wants to pummel me. Nothing can eat me alive.
To say, “This I know: God is on my side” (Ps. 57:9) is to silence opposition in just eight words. Distraction and irritations lose their effect. If God is for me, who or what can be against me?
To say, “God will fulfill his purpose for me.” (Ps 57:2) is to dismantle doubt. God will do what He purposes to do.
To say, “All the Lord’s promises prove true” is to walk fortified with the solid rock of Christ in you. All that God says is real and God really is good.
How will you approach the waves of your life? Ready to be tossed around or ready to thrust right through them?
“How blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.” Ps. 40:4
There’s this small activity I’d love you to join me in doing. I believe it will bring a huge smile to your face and your heart. Will you indulge me for a moment?
Think all the way back to the moment right before you were saved. Was it 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago?
Think of that old you visiting the new you today? What would she notice about you? About your life, attitudes, and perspective? About what God has done? What he has given you?
Note how far you’ve come. How faithful God is. All the small things you take for granted.
We usually can’t see what’s behind us. This means while we’ve run 10,000 miles, we usually keep our eyes stuck on the ten feet we’ve got to go, rather than the 9,990 miles we’ve come. We forget to celebrate the goodness, the providence and the wonderfulness of God.
I believe the Lord delights when we stop our race for just a moment, set down our plans and celebrate what He’s done. He’s done a lot, hasn’t He? In so many ways, He’s filled our cups, hasn’t He? Beyond measure, He’s done a good work, hasn’t He?
He’s carried us far.
He’s changed our minds.
He’s reshaped our worlds.
He’s increased joy.
He’s given us wisdom.
He’s gotten us out of trouble.
Take note of all that God has done.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Phil. 4:4
My tracks tend to be on auto-pilot. What about yours? Routinely, I’m interested in what I need to get done, who needs help around me, and what tasks need to be accomplished for the family and God. The order of our day does matter. Our priorities reflect what we believe about our identity.
Let me explain…
A religious man said to Jesus, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” (Lu. 18:21)
Essentially he said, “I’ve done what mattered, I’ve obeyed you, I am good.”
His identity was: A Rule-Follower.
Jesus replied, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Lu. 18:22).
Essentially Jesus said, “Your treasure is not what you’ve done, but is found by continually following me. In me, is your identity.”
In Christ we are:
Children of God.
Yet, as we let other treasures cloud the treasure found in following Jesus, we start to believe we: must work hard to be loved, follow every rule, do more to achieve eternal glory, look good to man, and get everything done in our day to be successful.
Where is your treasure? Is it in following and staying close to Jesus? Or is it in doing stuff, accomplishing more, and keeping up with the world in order to stay protected and safe?
What is the one thing that tends to distract you from following Him?
The best lovers of Jesus are the best releasers of what they hold tight to. The more they let go and cling to the robe of Jesus, the more they find their world healed by His love. They follow Him at all costs. They find treasure.
Jesus says to you today, “Leave that one thing behind and come. Follow me.”
A person taken advantage of by a boss.
Another in desperation because there is no way out of a marriage.
One uncertainty about what the future holds because children are now gone.
A friend in deep need to be healed not only of cancer, but emotionally.
We see these people, but we often feel helpless. We don’t know how to help. What to say.
The apostles perhaps felt the same when they saw thousands without food. They instructed Jesus to send them away, to “villages so they could find food” because “there is nothing here in this deserted place.”
Jesus had none of that. He replied, “You feed them.” (Lu. 9:13) He says the same to me. You feed them.
You feed her – the daughter who needs to know you’re listening.
You literally feed him – the husband who is tired and comes home starving.
You feed them – the couple who looks downtrodden at church every week. Go to them and see how you can get to know them.
You feed that one – the person who has been on your heart for weeks, but you haven’t taken a step towards.
Even if you say, “What, God? Me? Don’t you see I am in a deserted place? I have nothing to give.”
Jesus replies, “You feed them.” (Lu. 9:13)
This Christmas season, neighbors left and right came out of their house with little cookies for me and my family. I was far from home and without family nearby, but they came – and they came with smiles. Some with gifts. And every one with a heart of love.
This season, I got fed. I feel full. I told my husband it was like we were with family for Christmas.
These people didn’t count up their own deserted land and have a pity party of their own. They picked up their tin and came over. This is what Jesus means by feeding. Just get out there and do it. It matters. Small things offer others big heart strides.
And the truth is, all of us have a something, even if we have nothing. His name is Jesus. He is always our something. He is always our first leading to our best thing to do, to give, to hand away no matter how big or small. Size never matters in God’s economy. What is little gets big, in the name of Jesus.
You feed them.
Prayer: God help us to do the small things you instruct our heart to do. Give us a will of follow-through. Give us intent to love. Give us your vision and your hearing so that we might love a world in need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The exterior of my house looks like a junkyard. I am not exaggerating. Out front is a broken desk; it was shattered during our near-cross country move. Out back are two sets of patio furniture. Ones I picked up and off the neighbor’s lawn.
I’ve never done that before. I really wanted patio furniture. So, the first second I saw the first set, the wrought iron white chairs, I declared them as cute as could be. That is, until a couple weeks later rust stains started showing up everywhere. I haven’t gotten rid of the chairs yet. My deck now is etched with tons of full-blown brown circles.
The other set was the replacement for the first set. I spotted the two big brown wicker chairs set aside as “throw-away items” in a neighbor’s yard. I rapidly snagged them (may I remind you, I’ve never been a trash hunter…I really wanted patio furniture). Like a sleuth agent, I threw them in my back yard before anyone could see.
Only later did I come to find out that the majority of the legs were missing. I guess they had enough legs to fool me at first. Go figure.
So, now, when I go outside, front-yard or back, I am overcome with junk. Junk that is rusty. Junk that is wasteful. Junk that is annoying. Junk I now have to figure out how to dispose of. Junk that leaves stains I also have to get cleaned. Junk that pesters me. And, no patio furniture, to boot.
What junk are you dealing with in your life? An old house? An old wardrobe? An old annoying habit that drives you nuts? A problem you can’t fix? A person you can’t de-stain? Baggage that feels to internally weighty to unload?
We can shift our attitude. Did you know that? I tried it. Sitting on the said-white chairs, the other day, I recommitted to God to be positive about it all. That is. . .until I looked left. . . and saw the brown chairs. Grr…not them again. My thoughts wandered off to lands of annoyed and not-bueno.
God, how do we continually see the good, while we are surrounded by the bad?
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18, NIV)
What if we were really go give thanks in (and for) ALL circumstances, good and bad?
God thank you that these rusty patio chairs remind me: earthly things rust, eternal things last.
God, thank you that the brown chairs, flipped over, with their broken and legless limbs up to the sky speak: on earth we don’t get everything, but in Christ, we have all we ever need.
God, thank you that the broken table out front is symbolic of seasons: they change, but your love, God, always stay the same.
God, thank you that what looks like junk can be seen through a new light. Thank you that what looks broken is a reminder of my brokenness and how you’ve repaired me. Oh God, I give thanks that you haven’t left me broken, but you are repairing me. You are good.
To give thanks for our bad, is to, undoubtedly, find God’s good. It is to let victimhood, despair and frustration drop off you and to let a high and lofty view come in you. It’s powerful.
Junk has purpose. Thank you God, my deck kind-of, now, looks like art work.
God, help me to give thanks. So many times I see what is bad, but through you, I ask for vision to see what is good. I ask you for a voice full of praise and thanksgiving. I ask for understanding of what you are doing through the hard times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Relieve yourself of this. You don’t have to have it all marked out with lines pointing to things, with circles around events, checkmarks next to your part and supporting roles delineated.
It’s not your show. It’s not your story to write.
God is Creator. He is also Author God. Let him write a better story than you can. Give up your need to theorize, summarize and categorize people and all the details that go with them.
If Jesus wanted you to be ruler, he would have let you know this before he died, but he didn’t.
His grace is your grace when you give Jesus space to fill the blank lines. Then, you actually get a chance to see God work. But if you already have every line filled in and filled up, what room does this leave an active, always-writing, ever-working God?
Avoid your need to know. Eve wanted to know everything. Satan wanted to know he was higher than God.
Knowing is not our goal. Abiding is. Stick to abiding. Self-soaked ambition masked in some cover of godliness is still nastiness. Intellectual know-how covered with a know-it-all attitude still stinks.
Jesus talked to the Pharisees like this:
“You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Mt. 23:27-28
Choose instead to let Jesus wash you. White. Clean.
Let him be highest. The highest scheduler. The highest orchestrator. The highest lover. The highest mountain. The highest plan.
You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to know every detail. You don’t have to be in tune with the whens or the whys. You know the WHO. It’s Jesus. He has you. He has a plan.
Prayer: Jesus, it’s all about your heart. It’s all about your desires. It’s all about you coming to earth, so that we could come to heaven and be with you always. Don’t let us lose sight of what matters. What a waste it is to have eternity with you, but to miss daily life with you. We want every moment with you. Restore that to us. We repent of what is not ours to keep, manage and rule. We trust you with what you want to give us. We lean on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I didn’t used to think a name amounted to much. Until years later…
Now, you all might see me as a fighter kind of girl. If you’re read this blog long enough, you know I wrote a book called, “Fear Fighting.” But, what you may not know is I am also writing a book called, “Battle Ready.” You’ll meet it come July.
The point is not me; it is my name. My name means “warrior”. Kelly is warrior. I never knew that. I never knew I was a warrior, until God called me to write these books.
Before this point I would have laughed at this idea. But, now. Now I say, “Wow, God, I really am who you say I am. You knew day #1 who I would be, even though I never believed in who you made me to be.”
He is amazing.
Even though I used to call myself other names, like… “You stupid!,” “You idiot!”, “You worthless piece of…”
Still, God never had names like those for me.
What names do you give yourself? What name might God give you?
Did you know, even if your name has no obvious meaning…God gives you names: daughter, loved, friend, royal priest, light of the world? These are your names, even if you can’t believe them now, Christ’s fulfillment is written over each and every name, just like I learned mine was.
I pray you come to see…
Sometimes, I doubt my name. I am all…I am not a warrior today. But, do you know what is best of all? Jesus always is Jesus. Father always is Father. Daddy is always still there.
Knowing the firm names of God supersedes the names of doubt we call ourselves.
This is why, this Christmas, I delight in the names included in the Christmas book, “The Unwrapping of the Names of Jesus” by Asheritah CiuCiu.
King of Kings (the height above any height moving on our behalf) Light of the World (the light that casts out all darkness, always and forever) Lion of Judah (the roar that makes every knee bow) Alpha and Omega (the start of everything and the end that has no end) Prince of Peace (the only answer to peace and the fulfillment of it in our lives) Bread of Life (the only truth we eat to feel full) Lamb of God (the lamb slain so that we don’t have to be when we feel self-doubt and shame)
Jesus’s name is the height of all names. It gives cause to my name, even when I doubt myself. This does not matter, because God remains the same, consistent and power-full.
This Christmas Season, what if you were to usher in, not just the baby, but the power of Jesus’ name with a humble in-awe view of the saving light it casts on you?
How might, through Christ, you begin to see yourself differently?
I have very good intentions to meet daily with God. As much as I can, I carve out morning time to spend with him. Most mornings, I put him first when I wake up. Although not lately.
This burdens me. Jesus is seed for my life. I either grow life, or…I don’t.
Many of us find seeds thrown down, but as shown in Matthew 13, one of these 4 things happens:
1. The birds eat them after they were thrown on the path.
The enemy comes and gets you caught in discouragement, despair or doubt. He steals clarity regarding this word and replaces it with confusion. Nothing takes root.
2. They fall on shallow soil with rock underneath. Plants spring up quickly, then die in the sun because they don’t go deep.
Your heart is not prepared to embrace it and the insecurity and worry underneath prevents it from growing. Trials become issues that cut off the life God wants to grow. Nothing takes deep root, so you fall over when heavy winds come.
3. Thorns choke out the tender growth.
Distractions of the world (phone notifications, schedules, agendas, television, worries and worldly pursuits) crowd out the faith, hope and love God desires to grow within you.
4. They grow deep into fertile soil.
Deep within you, roots grow. They reach not just the surface level of your being, but the inner heart-places of your being. They change you from the inside out with true and lasting transformation.
To let God in you, into the deep, is to have your life deeply changed.
What can you do to cultivate fertile ground? How can you prepare your heart to receive the best of God?
Here are a couple ideas and resources…
1. Seek God with humility: Be prepared to have him point out areas in your life He wants to change.
2. Get a good daily devotional. For example, I am a contributor to the 365-day (in)Courage devotional called, “A Moment to Breathe.” It is a great way to start your day from the place of the heart. Learn more.
3. Look for God. Take notice of themes and of moves of God in your life. He may be calling you to something or re-teaching you something he really wants you to grasp.
4. Yield to His ways. Rather than pushing forward with what seems right (see: #3), go with what God says is right and let him teach you through your discomfort along the way.
Fertile hearts get deep roots that keep standing during the worst of storms. The high winds and trials of life can’t knock them over.
About “A Moment to Breathe”
With 365 readings, from 80 writers (including myself) each day begins with a passage of Scripture, tells a story of everyday faith, and encourages you to take a moment to breathe with a simple but fun way to complete your day. So kick off your shoes and join us for a relaxing but special time, where friends come together and share the real stuff of everyday faith.