Purposeful Faith

Tag - life

Beware of Being Battle Worn & Weary

He offended me. The fighting words my husband launched hours ago were now causing my entire afternoon to be thrown off.  It wasn’t my fault, or so I thought. But, now, rather than being nice to my kids, I was snappy. Rather than being present, I kept thinking of how he was so wrong. Rather than tidying the house and helping out, I went on a silent protest in my room. Rather than dwelling on love, I wanted to release my own missiles.

In retrospect: His words were an attack sent by the enemy (one point for team-enemy!).

Usually we can recognize attacks. They are:
– issues that pop up out of nowhere.
– people problems that seem completely random (or odd).
– sin that makes you feel so guilty that you are unlovable (this issue starts with us and is leveraged by the enemy).
– past wounds that are intentionally re-hit.
– old tapes that get repeated by people to keep us stuck.

There is wisdom in asking: Is my unconfessed sin or my unrepentant heart holding on to what the enemy will use to his advantage?

Think for a moment. Judas got here…: “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Mt. 27:5)

…even though He said this: “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” 

Indeed, he was “seized with remorse”, but He failed to go to the Redeemer who could heal him. Sadly, he died by his own hand.

Beware of confessing to others, but not to God. Beware of carrying burdens, only Jesus was meant to carry. Beware of leaving unforgiveness untidy and unruly within your heart. Even the most specially-chosen disciple can fall. 

If someone so close to Jesus could go down, so could we.

Today is the day to let go and let live with Jesus.

Do you need to ask God, “Will you forgive me?”
Do you need to tell God, “I forgive _____?”
Do you need to say to God, “Today, I let go of this (offense).”?

Do it.

The price of holding on to guilt, shame and pain is death. The price Jesus paid to free us from it, becomes our new life.

Be Battle Ready today, by letting go of what pain you cannot manage any longer and putting it into the arms of Jesus. What will come about is restored connection and renewed hope.

Be Battle Ready.

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“The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us. We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!”

Lysa TerKeurstNew York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Available now wherever books are sold.

Amazon comments:

“This book inspired me to make positive changes in my life!”

“It’s more of a reference tool—a guide, a manual. It’s one of those books you stick on your bedside table and refer to often throughout the ups and downs of life.”

“Finally, someone put together a book containing actual tools to help you face life’s trials and tribulations. 

“It is not meant to be read and put on your bookshelf, it is meant to be a companion to The Bible.”

Be Battle Ready.

Undoing The Need to Be Perfect

What do you when you find your 6-year-old son’s drawing of a long-haired woman with a mean, massive frown?

You consider it’s you, of course. You consider you’re a cruddy boar, a horrible attempt at a caring, loving, and generous momma. And you wonder if underneath his smiles and bedtime hugs he might hate you.

Could this be possible?

You think of all the times he’s repeated, “Mommy, didn’t I tell you that already,” “You don’t listen,” and “You don’t cuddle with me.”

You recount that you do indeed cuddle, but you also think of how at the end of your day you’re very tired and this cheek-to-cheek (or as he does, it cheekbone on top of cheekbone) business can’t go on forever.

But still, the thought persists like a gnat.

What if, you’re not good enoughAnd worst of all, what if he’s busted you for it? 

Ever felt this way?

…Like no matter what you say to your spouse, he’s really thinking you don’t match up to the wife he wanted?

…Like no matter how hard you try at work, your boss still isn’t happy?

…Like despite your encouraging words to the woman, she still is cold with you?

…Like you can’t escape being the little girl who let people down?

…Like no matter how hard you try, you can’t win?

Of course, I understand. But what I also understand is this: The goal to perfectly “win” all the time is a warped one. It’s not only warped, but impossible. It’s like keeping a sparkly, gold trophy shiny. The second you clean it, fingerprints arrive again and you’re back wiping again. The only problem is that you can never step back and enjoy the prize, because all you’re doing is keeping up facades. Every flaw sucks you into yourself, and you miss the whole point.

I’ve been there. I am there.

Yet, I suppose I see a little better after writing all this: I can’t love my son when I’m fearing him. Nor can I enjoy him when I’m critiquing myself. Nor can I connect well with him when I’m not setting boundaries.

In the space of accepting my imperfections, he’ll learn to accept his own. In the space of seeing me growing with Christ, he’ll discover how he can grow with Christ. There’s some sort of non-speaking, God-testifying wisdom that will speak here.

What about you? What over-emphasized flaws have stolen the feelings of joy in your moments? What grace have you not afforded yourself? What over-trying attitude is stealing your peace? What new approach could you take to conquer these annoying feeling of self-doubt?

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When You Feel Undeserving

Do you ever think, “Everything is going so well…I wonder when is God going to pull the carpet out from under me?”

Or, “I don’t deserve good stuff.”
Or, “I feel guilty for accepting…”

I think this way sometimes. As if God’s given me too much and suddenly needs to put me in my place. Or as if I’m spoiled by the fact He is good. Or like He is a killjoy who is out to punish me for my happiness.

Why do I do this?

Recently, I asked God for something. It was small, but I prayed for it to “get better”. Amazingly, I immediately did, to a degree. I saw God move in incredible ways. Then, I wanted to ask him for something else, something more. I almost prayed…but then I heard:

Bad Kelly! You want too much.

Bad Kelly! You think God is there to give you everything.

Bad Kelly! You are selfish.

Bad Kelly! You know there are others who have it much harder than you.

Afraid to take too much from God, I almost missed the opportunity to see how much He really loves me. I almost stopped asking. Why? Because I counted the nature of God equivalent with the nature of man.

God gives abundantly. Many give, but then take for themselves.

God does even more than we ask or imagine. Man does and then expects something in return.

God continually pours out the best of who He is on our behalf. Man halfway gives and then gives up.

When we assign the track record of man to God, we always lose. In fact, we close down the opportunity to see the abundant nature of an abundant God. We essentially hold an arm up to God and say, “You’re a little bit good, but not that good.”

What are you believing about God today? In what ways have you held an abundant God back? How have you let the past hurts of man create a false view of God?

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jo. 10:10

“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jo. 6:33

 

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The Ministry of “Not Today Folks!”

Jesus gave to everyone, always. Right?

Jesus ministered to every man who needed him. Right?

Jesus never stopped giving, ever. Right?

Wrong.

One evening after sunset the people brought Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  (Mk. 1:32-34)

Notice, Jesus healed “many.” But, as I see it: many is not all.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”(Mark 1:35-38)

Notice, while the crowds of people waited… While people were still searching him out… He did what?!!!

He went off.

He turned away from the demands of man to connect to the voice of God. Away from the calls of man, He could once again to hear the call of God. We see Jesus restating his purpose to the disciples when he said, “This is why I have come.”

Jesus let go of a “very good call” (taking care of every person’s waking need), for a better one: going where the Father desired Him to be and following through on his vision/mission as planned.

What might you be doing today that is thwarting God’s mission for tomorrow?

We are wise to look into our life to see:

  1. If our heart to do things is causing us to lose peace.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  2. If we feel upset at others for all we’ve done for them.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  3. If we are so tired, we can hardly love people anymore.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  4. If we feel God has something new for us to do.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.
  5. If others want us to do something more than we can do.
    Consider: Stepping away and praying.

Prayer re-centers us, not on the plans of man, but on the purpose of God in our lives.

 

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.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Winter Means Waiting

Post by: Christine Hoover

In winter, I spend an inordinate amount of time holed up in my home under a blanket, guzzling hot coffee, and longing for spring’s arrival. It’s not my favorite season, but favorite or not, winter is important. Despite what we see with our eyes, the earth in winter is busy creating life. We only know this is so because spring eventually comes, and then we marvel at what that life looks like.

Is it possible that God designed winter and the earthly cycle of life, death, and renewal in order to speak a deeper truth? I believe, because the Bible says it’s so, that everything in creation is designed speech about its Creator. Just as we find him on warm summer days, standing in the sand, listening to the waves crash against the shore, we find him in the stillness of winter.

Winter, however, often speaks of a barrenness we don’t want to hear about.

Annie Dillard writes, “All that summer conceals, winter reveals.” And so we need a life with winters, because we need our hearts revealed. Winter comes to strip us bare of our delusions, to make us face reality: we have imperfections that we can’t perfect. We are helpless to find a formula to reason or act our way out of our helplessness. We are human, and we, in our barrenness, must be acted upon if we’re to experience eternal life, joy, and the supernatural.

Winter then, after stripping us bare, points us to the invisible motion as if in invitation to these very things: life is happening. God is at work, acting upon us.

The harshness of our waiting winter tells us that this world has nothing for us and that we have nothing for ourselves. We have this hope–one, and only one–that there is life waiting for us beyond death.

Although we are not yet in that world, we have reasons for our hope: the words of God. With words, he formed the earth and its seasons and cycles. With words, he continues creating. We can trust his words. In our winter, we must draw ourselves under the warm blanket of God’s promises, a sure comfort in the darkest of hours.

This is what God did with the prophet Jeremiah:

“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, ‘I see an almond branch.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.'” (1:11)

In Jerusalem, the almond tree, the first to bud in the spring, was said to “watch for spring.” God used the almond branch to comfort Jeremiah in his lamentable circumstances. The almond branch was a reminder that God is always in process of keeping his promises, that he is, at this very moment, hurtling all of us toward eternal spring. He pointed to the almond branch—the coming of spring—and told Jeremiah to watch and wait.

We too watch and wait, not in fear of this winter in which we live, nor in fear of our own spiritual poverty or even final death. We watch and wait, comforted, because all of this God is right now working for our true life, when winter will forever turn to spring.

Christine Hoover is a Bible teacher and the author of several books, including Messy Beautiful Friendship. Her latest book, Searching For Spring: How God Makes All Things Beautiful in Time, frames the life of faith according to the seasons and according to Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” Searching for spring is really a search for God’s redemptive work, where suffering and death become fruitful life. Christine invites readers like you, who may be weary and withering, to join her on a treasure hunt for beauty in both familiar and unexpected places.

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What Faith Does

Look back and think of some miracles God has done in your life.

My miracle: He completely healed me from an eating disorder.

My miracle: He brought money into my mailbox on the very day I believed, many years ago when I couldn’t pay rent.

Your miracle: ____

Your miracle: ____

These past miraculous mile-markers serve as huge celebrations. Essentially, we said to God at that time, “Father, I want to ____. I need to ___. Only you can ___.” Then, Jesus did.

Times like this are recounted again and again in scripture. For example, a blind man said to Jesus, “I want to see!” (Lu. 18:41)

Jesus replied: “Receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” (Lu. 18:42)

It was this man’s faith that healed him. Faith permitted him to receive his healing versus doubting it and blocking it. He opened up his arms to a new idea, versus crossing them. Doing this was powerful, because look what happens. . .

We are told, “Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.” (Lu.18:4e)

Notice the progression at work here…
Our faith leads to our receiving: This becomes our seeing.
Seeing leads to following Jesus.
Receiving and seeing creates a life of praising.
Our praising makes others start praising.

Where might your small mustard-seed-size faith start a wildfire of praise in this world? Don’t discount a small beginning of faith; God does not despise it. Instead, remember the wonders of old and recount the faithfulness of yesteryear. Re-establish that your God is able. And believe. Get ready to receive God’s new thing.

 

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.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Reasons Why Others Don’t Control Your Destiny

I recently noticed an increasing problem in my life. I can’t stand it if people think poorly of me. If they don’t email me back, I think there’s an issue. If they don’t answer my call, I decide they no longer like me. If I did something in the past and asked for forgiveness, I still figure I’m on the people-we-don’t-like list. The issue is not so much that I haven’t forgiven them. It’s that I think, “They couldn’t have forgiven me.” Which lends to a problem: shame.

And when shame shows up, we can always be sure its makings are from the enemy. And when he shows up, we can know we need to fight back.

How do we fight back? We realize, on many levels, it is not man who is in charge, but God.

Here are 25 Reasons Why Others Don’t Control My Destiny:

  1. What matters is not what man builds, but what God builds.
    “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1
  2. Every single battle belongs to the Lord. When He fights, He wins.
  3. Jesus had people against him. Guess what? He kept His eye on the mission, and as a result was still victorious.
  4. I may plan my way, but God ultimately directs my steps. (Prov. 16:9)
  5. God is actively working in others’ hearts in a way I cannot see, manage or predict.
  6. I think far more about how I appear and “come off” than others do. They usually are thinking far more about how they “appear” and “come off” than about me.
  7. What I dwell on, people tend to forget, especially if I’ve apologized.
  8. Another’s silence could also mean: they are busy, out of town, struggling or forgetful.
  9. God is my maker: nothing can unmake His plans for me.
  10. If I remember who annoyed me 10 years ago, they are practically a non-issue today.
  11. For every desperate no-way-out problem in the bible, God drop-kicked its walls and cleared way for victory, for those who trusted Him.
  12. Waiting with trust is the first step to seeing a miracle.
  13. What I can’t see being worked out, God can.
  14. Shame doesn’t rule me. God’s truth and Spirit does.
  15. I’ve been made to focus my attention on God, not on other’s wavering emotions, reactions and motivations.
  16. God knows my heart. He stands behind and protects the hearts of the righteous.
  17. The Spirit in me will guide me and lead me down the best paths.
  18. I am not perfect, but I can trust the one who is to help me.
  19. Jesus’ mission was never thwarted by those against Him.
  20. God-dropped learnings result in my growing, when I steer clear of self-condemning words.
  21. My path is God’s, not the trampled-down wide road the herds travel. Charting a new course with God always takes determination.
  22. It is God’s rod that comforts and protects me, not the response of man.
  23. I am made by God, not by other’s opinions.
  24. I am the daughter of the Most High King. He will provide all I need (and then some).
  25. God is the maker of every man, not the opposite.
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Your Fight Back Strategy!

When it is “You vs. The Enemy”…you must be prepared.

You must.

Because in this world it truly is eat or be eaten. Eat God’s Word or be eaten.

Fight or be killed. Fight back with truth or be killed.

I know this firsthand. The times when I try to do everything on my checklist so I feel accomplished, or work really hard to look better than others, or hear a million reasons why I am no good. . .here, I have one of two choices.

I can:
1. Ignore what is going on within me, do nothing, and thereby proceed into the lion’s den,

or,

2. Square up to the one who desires to make me doubt, fear, worry, stress, overdo it, give up, get defensive or hide.

Choice 1 leads me to: eating a whole bunch of the enemy’s stomach-churning bull.
Choice 2 leads me to: finding the truth that has just set me free.

Choice 1 ends with: doubt, discouragement and despair.
Choice 2 ends with: faith, hope and love.

Always use truth when you face a liar. He can’t stand up against it. So that is what we will do today. We will use truth so choice two becomes your only end and option.

Here is arsenal for your fight:

Nothing can come against me in Christ Jesus.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn. (Is. 54:17)

The Spirit in me always trumps what is coming against me.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

No evil will overcome me, because Jesus is in me. 

No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent. (Ps. 91:10)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Gal. 2:20)

How can the enemy own what he can’t find?

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)

I’ve been given divine power to demolish the strongholds set up against me.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

God will faithfully protect me against the evil one.

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thes. 3:3)

Whatever evil comes against me will be annihilated by God.

The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. (Deut. 28:7)

God will not lose me; I am not outside His love.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. (Jo. 6:39)

 

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.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

The Curse of the Capable

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,

 just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

I am the oldest of two kids in my family. While growing up, it was hard not to notice that my mom seemed to spend all of her time helping my younger brother. To be fair, he needed more help than I did but it was sometimes hurtful that I didn’t get the same level of attention. It kind of forced me to become independent. When I was an adult, married with kids, I asked my mom why there was such a disparity in my youth and her response was, “You didn’t need any help. You were perfectly capable.”

Now I call it the curse of the capable. Because you don’t need help, you won’t get any.

I’ve seen this curse play out a dozen different ways since then. For example, my husband and I are both independent people, and while we love to be together, we don’t always need each other. That can be good sometimes because I don’t have to wait until the weekend change a smoke detector battery or kill a spider. It can be a bad thing, however, because it’s easy for independent people to grow apart. We have to be careful about noticing when we’ve drifted and come back together.

I have also seen the curse among women. I am a natural born encourager. I use phrases like, ‘to die for,’ or ‘phenomenal’ when I’m cheering for you. I’m the friend that will literally jump up and down screaming when you share good news. I like to think I’m the ‘there for you’ friend in good times and bad. The problem I have seen is that as a natural encourager, it’s often hard to find encouragement for myself.

On the outside, it can appear as if I am confident and capable, therefore I don’t need anyone to build me up. Inside though, I am still the little girl thirsting for comfort in an arid desert. I have come a long way in this area. I found Jesus later in life and knowing I have his never waning encouragement is the most phenomenal comfort of all. But I have to admit that I still think it’s nice to get some affirmation from friends, family, and community.

If you are independent or competent, you may be under the curse of the capable. Maybe you are an encourager that needs to be affirmed or a mom who could use a reminder that she’s a good one. Perhaps you are a leader who would love some help but feels bad asking for it because you ‘should’ have it under control. Take heart, friend. As someone under the curse myself, I see you. I think you are doing a great job!

I want to invite you today to take a minute and think about someone in your life that could use a little boost. Even if that person seems like they have it all together, a quick note or message from you may be what she needs most. When we take the time to pour into others, the curse breaks and being capable becomes a blessing.

Father God, you are the ultimate encourager. Please help us to encourage one another regardless of whether or not we need it. Help us never to give up and to break the curse for people we love or admire and that in turn, it would be broken in our lives as well. Amen.

About Anne Watson:

Anne is a former sleep in on Sunday’s girl who didn’t meet Jesus until way later in life. She recently quit trying to be holy, however, after spending an inordinate amount of time trying to shuck her unholy habits to fit into the Christian world. As a bullying survivor, Anne knows first hand the pressure to belong and why changing yourself doesn’t work. She now spends her time fiercely encouraging women to be badass for Jesus by being who God created them to be…themselves. She is a writer, a speaker, and a podcast host for the Declare Conference. She and her husband are raising three hysterical kiddos and are also in the process of going broke while paying for college. You can find more from Anne on her blog, GodDots.com.

Learning to Trust God

I didn’t push the girl’s sheet of paper. I didn’t. She was the one who kept inching her colored sheet over mine and trying to irk me all throughout art class. And despite my best efforts to ignore her, she wouldn’t stop. She did something else annoying too. She kicked me under the table. It was taking everything in me not to respond.

Until, I did. She pushed too far. So I screamed out in the middle of the elementary school classroom, “Stop it.” The girl barked to the teacher that I’d been pushing her sheet. But I hadn’t.

I got in big trouble. The girl sat there unscathed.  I sat in the punishment seat. The girl sat there smiling. I sat fuming. The girl sat in victory.

Where was my defender? Who stood up for me? Why didn’t God bring justice? I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

I still ask these questions, even as an adult.

Why? Why did all that happen? Where were you God? Why did I go down those roads? Where were you God? Why did I get hurt like that? Where were you, God?

When I look back and see God’s absence, it makes me believe He was negligent.

But was He?

While horrible stuff happened, it never kept me away from God’s love. While things went wrong, I still lived. While stuff hurt my insides, it never ruined me. While there were some close calls, I often squirmed right past.

Just because we can’t see God work doesn’t mean He isn’t working.

There is so much I can’t see in the moments when I believe He’s not defending me.  Like His hands holding things back, the angels He sends on my behalf, and the wisdom He pours down from high to help me understand things. Like the arms wrapping around me when I think I am alone, the heavenly court docket that has no record of my wrongs, and the road he reroutes to make sure I am take care of.

Don’t discount the Protector working in the unseen just because you can’t see Him.

Here I stand today. I may have fallen and felt alone yesterday, but I stand victorious in Christ. I stand wanted and in His love. I stand whole and wholly loved. It looks like God took care of me pretty well. He continues to. He does the same for you.

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***Bloggers, don’t miss it!
Join me, today, as I talk on The Declare Podcast about,
Fighting Fear in Blogging, Writing and Publishing. ***

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