Purposeful Faith

Tag - life

What does Faith look Like?

faith look like

A group of friends, full of strength, lowered a sick man from roof to floor, desiring to get him in front of Jesus. Jesus, seeing their faith, healed the man. (Luke 5:20)

Another man told Jesus, “say the word from where you are and my servant will be healed.” Jesus did. From afar and the man was healed. After Jesus remarked, “I haven’t seen faith like this in all the land of Israel” Lu. 7:9

A woman said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Mt. 9:21  She simply grabs Jesus’ hem and finds herself healed. Jesus tells her to “take heart.” I bet she did.

What do all these three examples have in common? Two things. Desperate need and infinite faith.

Do you have these? Desperate need? Infinite faith?

Coupled, they’re powerful. Yet, one without the other doesn’t work as well. If you have need without faith, you’ll likely camp out in your basement crying. If you have faith without need, you’ll fool yourself into believing Jesus for the wrong things.

What does your heart truly need? What, internally, are you crying for? What would you go any lengths to ask Jesus to do, heal, rectify, fix, or renew?

There is no shame in need. There is hope. Run to Jesus, lower yourself before him, call on friends to pray, grab Him in outstanding ways, cry, reach. . . but no matter what, go and get before Him. Desperately. Hungrily. Believing immensely in his power.

Desperate seekers loaded with wild faith find Jesus.

He notes their belief. He sees their struggle. He tends to their needs. He gives the words that encourage them to “take heart.”

Your desperation, whether hidden, apparent or ignored, is not bad. It is good when brought before a loving Father wanting to love. This is who God is. One with a greater capacity to care than even the best man. One with greater insight to teach than even the best teacher. One with greater ability to counsel than even the best therapist.

Faith believes God can.

Need lets Him in.

Open the doors to your heart. Then run after Jesus, ready to be changed.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you that you are not after pretty images of perfection, nor righteous people who know everything, nor biblical experts of ancient times, nor striving hearts that never relax. You are after hearts in need. It was for those people, you stopped. It was for the sinners, you came. Help us to turn toward you in need and receive the best of you, in belief. Do a new thing.  Give us the faith to trust you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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.

A Truth I love

“Believing we can have it all, all the time is a myth and a lie and a joy-stealer. What I do believe is that we can have God’s best for us. A full life and a life to the full are two very different things. One is about grasping, the other is about receiving. One is about cramming in, the other is about room to breathe. One is about striving, the other is about trust. One is about control, the other letting go – sometimes for a moment and sometimes for always.”

When I read this, in Holley Gerth’s new book, Fierce Hearted, all I could think was, yes, yes, yes. She nailed it and was saying everything I was living. You see, God recently invited me into this beautiful place of, “Set it all down Kelly. Come. And follow me.

Set down the social media stuff. Follow me.

Set down your plans. Follow me.

Set down your busy work. Follow me.

Set down your dreams. Be with me.

My answer was, “Yes, God!!!”

But you see, it’s easy to speak, but much more difficult to do. To leave behind the striving to be seen, to turn away from the control that comes with manhandling my schedule and to surrender my busyness that covers over the sense of lack I don’t want to see. . . well, it all sounds nice, but. . .

It leaves me feeling exposed. What if I am not doing what I should be? What if I miss out? What if I am left behind? What if I don’t get what I dream of? What if my time spent with God ends up (and I’d probably never vocalize this). . . wasted? What if I get disappointed?

Yet I am finding it is always in the letting go that God works his way in. It is always in the relinquishing that we get a broad-stroke view of what God is doing. It is always in carved-out space that we see God draw new stories right over the old versions of insecurity.

But we must give leeway to His ways. It’s the only way.

When we clear out everything so God can come, He does. With power, strength, dignity, honor and a pen that redraws all we ever wanted – and more. He also has an eraser. One that doesn’t feel like denial, remorse or pretending, but recovery.

“Our everything” is not found in “our doing,” but “His everything” is found in “our undoing” before Him.

Ahh…peace.

Come, Jesus. Restructure us. Let us let go of what we clench so tightly so we can find ourselves held tight in the power of your love. Amen. (and thank you Holley!)

Buy Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely on Amazon or wherever books are found.

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Your Worst Enemy Isn’t Them…

wrong enemy

Have you hurt someone, but can’t seem to apologize?
Is there an argument you feel completely entitled to uphold?
Does anger overwhelm you?
Do you have the feeling your assumptions were completely off base?
Are you ashamed of what you’ve done?

Sometimes, I internally know I am 100% wrong, but externally cannot admit the truth. It’s like my heart knows what it needs to do, but my mouth can’t speak.

It feels like everyone might hate me or turn away. It feels like I might be the bad egg that falls down the chute. Bye-bye…Kelly….!

Ever been there?

Perhaps, you’re trying to maintain a good status at work, or defending an issue you know you need to change your mind on or coming down on hard on one specific person because you always have. Maybe you do this. . . all to the detriment of truth.

But, it is the truth that sets us free. (Jo. 8:32)

John Piper boils this vicious cycle down to one issue. He puts it like this:

“Pride is the enemy inside us that speaks to us like a friend. Its counsel sounds so much like self-protection, preservation, and promotion we are often blinded to the fact that it’s destroying us and others. It rises in great indignation as a prosecuting attorney when others’ pride damages us, but it minimizes, qualifies, excuses, rationalizes and blame-shifts our behavior when we damage others. We can easily be deceived into believing that our pride wants to save us, when really, it’s our internal Judas betraying us with a kiss.” – John Piper, DesiringGod.com

What if rather than being tethered to insular pride, we were released to outpouring love? What freedom might God have for us?

“And the truth will set you free.” Jo. 8:32

 

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.

What is in a Name?

a name

Names. What is in a name?

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.

Jesus is:

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?

Learn more about Asheritah’s new book, Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional.

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

The 5 Components of “Fear of the Lord”?

fear of the lord

A couple of weeks ago, I panicked. After reading some random comments about God on a webpage, I suddenly got the sense I wasn’t good enough for God. I became stressed, thinking, “I needed to be the keeper of my faith.” I thought if I didn’t perform well enough for God, He wouldn’t want me. Or, if I didn’t do enough “make-God-happy” stuff, He wouldn’t bless me. It terrified me, shook me and got me thinking about his truth.

With the space of days, I began to see clearly from the woods.

Here, I noticed:

– God doesn’t speak like an accuser.
– Condemnation is not the sound of His voice.
– Conviction is his method, but truth spoken in love is always his manner.

Understanding these dynamics about God offered me a deep breath. And a baseline for the judgments and critiques coming against me. This was important because I desperately wanted to let in what was from God and let go of what wasn’t. We all want this, don’t we?

But how?

After much searching, I was left with one realization, described in 4-words: fear of the Lord.

I must have a healthy fear of the Lord. Not an unhealthy one.

An unhealthy “Fear of the Lord” thinks:

– God will get me and ruin me if I do bad.
– God has a heavenly taser ready to zap me.
– If I do good, God will be good to me.
– If I act like a bad girl, God will desert me and go on to the next girl.
– Doubt and complacency is okay because it keeps me from sinning and making Him angry.
– Father might take from me and give to the next girl if I keep making mistakes.
– My vulnerability with God opens me up to getting hurt.
– I need to panic and stinkin’ figure things out, ASAP.

Healthy fear of the Lord thinks:

  1. To know God is better than life.
  2. Allowing His Word to become my words restructures my life.
  3. Contesting and detesting sin and its power to hold me back reenables my life.
  4. To hope in the Lord and to believe Him at His Word re-energizes my life.
  5. To trust in Him and to rest under His love renews my life.”The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life to avoid the snares of death.” Prov. 14:27

“He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” Ps. 145:19

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.

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Get off Your Boat

Do you know what a boat is? I sure hope so!

A boat is what you float around in so you don’t get wet. It is what takes you safely from one place to another. It is what feels comfortable. It is the go-to way to get where you want to go when you’re not on land. It is what brings you to where you want to go by your own driving efforts.

It’s an easy way. A man-driven way. Walking on water is a hard way. It requires God.

What would it look like to get out of your boat? To give God a chance to do the miraculous? To answer Jesus’ call to, “Come,” by putting yourself out there in ways that look risky?

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. (Mt. 14:28-29)

Notice, before you can ever walk on water, you have to get out of your boat. You have to get out of your boat, despite the high waves, the strong winds and the boat that’s tossing to-and-fro.

You have to do what Peter did and say, “So what? God is bigger than this stuff around me.”

What is your boat? Is it reactionary tactics that keep your heart safe from people who may hurt you? Is it manipulative words? Is it compulsive tendencies? Is it rote prayers? Is it going to church on Sunday but staying far from God on the weekdays? Is it a heart shut down to your husband?

We all have our boats. Mine is the fear I’ll go the wrong way and somehow not do right by God.

So what? Even if I fear I might not do right by Him, does that mean I stop writing? Or, do I get out of my boat and trust he will, “rescue those who love me and protect those who trust in my name.” (Ps. 91:14) Indeed, I don’t shut down. I hop out da’ boat. I write and trust Him to take care of my soul.

To hop off the boat is powerful. Because it makes us see Jesus right before us. It puts us in a place of reliance, where all our soul needs — is Him. He is our only hope. I believe this type of walk is beautiful to God. It removes the waste on the left and the right and teaches our mind to need Him, Jesus.

How is God calling you, right now, to hop out of your boat and to need Him? Do it. It just might turn into the greatest miracle of your life.

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.

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Stand Strong During Trials

During Trials

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.

Learn more about A Moment to Breathe.

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

Giving Thanks Even When It Hurts

Post by: Micah Maddox

It was a Thanksgiving I’ll never forget. We gathered around a beautiful table and grasped hands for prayer. As I lifted my head and glanced across the table, I locked eyes with my dad, who had just been diagnosed with head and neck cancer. The incision on his neck was still healing and the extensive surgery to his mouth was so extreme it was hard for him to form words.

I tried to hold back the tears, but the sight of suffering was too much. I let the tears flow. We all did. No longer was Thanksgiving about the delicious turkey or pumpkin pie. Dad couldn’t eat any of it.

This Thanksgiving Day was different. It was a day to truly grasp hold of the people around the table and be grateful for their presence. We didn’t rave about the food or brag on the cook. We focused on each other this time.

We learned so many difficult lessons that year. We learned to live beyond the normal routines and traditions, and find joy in just being together.

We learned patience and strength as we watched dad struggle to speak and learn to eat again. We learned life is brief and you truly never know when you will sit around the table for the last time. We learned life is worth fighting for, even when it feels like the end is near. We learned to take our time and sit around the table for more than just the food.

Thanksgiving is always a time to remember and be grateful. But it’s taken on a new meaning for us. It’s still about gathering and gratefulness, but it’s more about who is seated around the table.

The seating arrangement changes from year to year, but I’m looking forward to glancing across the table at a cancer-free dad this year. And when I look at him this time, I will thank God for all we’ve been through because it bonds us, binds us, and brings us back to the table, stronger.

We might shed a tear or two, but what I’m looking forward to most is being together.

Who will you share Thanksgiving with this year? Let’s grasp hands and promise to be thankful for those seated at our table, for we never know when it’s our last chance to love, listen, and lean on each other.

Thriving through the hard times isn’t something that comes easy to any of us, but Micah has discovered the key to living a life full of God’s power when our circumstances make us feel power-less. You can find out more about Micah’s new book Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World at micahmaddox.com.

BIO: Micah Maddox is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, writer, blogger, and author of Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World. She is passionate about helping women find purpose, peace, and calm in our chaotic world. As a pastor’s wife and mother of three, she contributes her time to her local church – including serving as a women’s ministry leader.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/micahmaddoxencouragement/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mrsmicah/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mrsMicahmaddox/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1501848674/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_dp_.JN.yb52FVPZT

Give yourself a break

a break

Are you as hard on yourself as I am?

So, last night I met with a bunch of women. With one of them . . .let’s just say I was a little overzealous to connect. My mouth got ahead of my mind and I blurted out some totally weird comment. Later, when saying good-bye, I uttered an I-don’t-know-what-to-say-so-I’ll-complain comment.

“Oh, I’ve got to head-out. I’ve got to wake up at 5:30 AM to be with my kids.”

I rolled my eyes.

Why? I have no idea why. I have no idea why I just released a complainy comment in my awkward absence of words. But, I did. It came out of nowhere. Ever done that?

Well, these little mishaps didn’t end at that get-together. I got in the car and felt all guilty about me. I questioned what kind of Christian I am. I wondered why I can’t do things right. I kept wondering if the women thought less of me or if I seemed odd.

Do you ever question yourself? Constantly?

Jesus doesn’t do this to us. This is not his voice. He doesn’t tail us like we do. He doesn’t chase us at our heels saying, “Why did you do that? You really messed up this time. You really don’t know how to be like me, do you?”

Jesus doesn’t do this. We do.

What if we were to give ourselves a break? Like Paul does when he addresses the early believers and says, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What if we were to say to ourselves, in the heat of our self-hating moments, “Grace and peace to me, right now, from God my Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

And then, we let it in. What hooks might come out of our skin? What new places might our heart move to? What truth may we begin to swim in because we give our mind free reign to consider something other than self-condemnation?

It’s okay to be hungry for grace. Horribly. Desperately. Ravagely hungry for it.

Jesus knew we needed it. It’s why he died on the cross. Because we’ll never be perfect. We’ll never be spot-on. We’ll never be without fault.

We need him and we need grace. What if you gave yourself a break today and received his peace and grace so much that it set your mind free to receive Him?

 

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.

 

When You’re 100% Certain: You’re Lost

Lost

As my husband put it, “Kelly, you need a day of relaxation.”

I tended to agree. Recently, stress sat on my shoulders. Grievances were monumental annoyances. My mind was having an affair with worry. To-dos were growing longer. Much was adding up to – too much.

With this, I knew: God was calling me elsewhere – to something greater. So, I went.

I drove to a local park to take the day off and to walk. I was confident I’d found relief right after the 30-minute drive of grueling, never-ending traffic. Except it wasn’t.

As I pulled up to the address shown on Google, the gates were slammed shut. Closed for business. No entry. Bye-bye day of relaxation.

No-go, Kelly.
No-go to where God called you.

More irritation climbed my back.

Have you ever gone where you believed God wanted you to go, only to find it a no-go? Only to have the gate shut? Only to feel lost?

Frustrated, but determined not to give up, I circled the mile-long block a couple times, wondering if there was another entrance. There wasn’t. I returned to the gate with the word “STOP” on it, trying to inch forward and back to see if it would open. It wouldn’t. I called a number to find out if it really was closed. It was.

“God, why did you take me here? To drop me? To leave me?”

“Kelly, I never dropped you or left you.”

I looked down on my lap, and I could see that along the drive to this location, God had been speaking all kinds of blessings to me. Words of encouragement, thoughts of learning, discoveries about my day. He had been with me all the time.

He invited me to a drive of delighting in him. Not to a destination I demanded of him.

He never left me.
He never dropped me.
He never lost me.

Often, we declare we’re lost when God knows we’re in the process of being found. We see our way as long and burdensome, but I believe God thinks, “I’m doing something amazing along this way. I am transforming this woman, my way.”

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:17)

Perhaps today, you don’t lament where you are, but you grab on to it and see what God has for you.

Friends, as a heads up, Jami Amerine’s book, Stolen Jesus is now available. Don’t miss it. 

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.