Purposeful Faith

Tag - life

Hating Your Ugly Scars A Little Less

Ugly Scars

I was in middle school, having the time of my life. One morning, I took off running after my friend at her beach house. Laughing, screaming, having fun, all was good until I fell and scraped my knee against the ground.

I screamed in pain.
She screamed that I should hush down.
I’m almost certain I screamed louder.

The gash ran deep, the pain was bad, but I felt like no one else really knew. It was my pain. It was my deal.

I can’t help but think I later delighted in the size of the scar; it seemed to prove my pain. It seemed to be the one marker of something I could show to others and say, “Look what I went through.” So much of everything else was unseen, but having people know, it meant something. 

I look at that big chunk of ugly skin on my knee sometimes and remember things. I remember her, my friend; she is one of those girls who has a spirit, a joy and a life you can’t ever forget. All the same, I remember how our scars are ours and how they’re really just what we make of them. Victory markers or vile eaters of worth…

I’m making a choosing to see victory scars…

Lines that prove we actually got up and walked again.
A threshold of pain we know we can conquer.
The proof that we can and will endure.
The reminders of those deep injured cells that cry out for self-care.

Each scar is worthy of a memory, a glance and a pondering.

You can choose which way you look at them, you know?

Scars can either bring us to victimhood or victory. The choice is ours.

Victimhood: I have been cut so much there is no way all the King’s horses or all the King’s men, could ever put me back together again. Things are said and done; I will live in pain and pain will come again and again. Good things don’t happen for me, one who looks far less porcelain doll and far more like the shredded woman in a horror film. I don’t know if I can take the idea of being cut again.

Victory: The wounds that look like they may kill me, have the greatest potential to heal me. They are what walk my feet right up to the throne of Christ, so I can see his wounds. The wounds that healed, saved and freed us all.

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Is. 53:5

Victory isn’t found through the absence of pain, but through God’s deliverance through it.

He was pierced (for us), he was crushed (to work through our issues), he received punishment (to bring us peace) and he was wounded (so we could be healed).

What deliverance might your battle wounds bring?

What might your victory story look like?

His wounds know our wounds. His pain understands ours. His love quenches our fear. He can’t help but heal; it is who he is and what he does. Healing may not always come on the exterior, but make no mistake it will remodel the interior. And to know this is to know victory.

I hated every moment of being cut. I probably spoke to God things non-repeatable on a blog like this. But, still, with him, we moved and went. I might have wondered how we would make it through, but I got to see how he could bring me through. And one thing I know is you can’t remove a woman from her miracle; it is something that lasts, like scars, and for this I am eternally thankful.

Jesus turns scars into memorials of his faithfulness.

I am not surprised that after he died and rose, he came back to earth scars front and center (John 20:27), I think he knew they weren’t something to hate, but to love, to hold and to remember. For in each scar, there is a story of redemption if we let it work for us.

What evil wanted to hurt me, Christ used to heal me. He wants to do the same with you too…

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20 Reasons: Why Your Suffering is Good

suffering is good

Suffering stinks. It is hard stuff. There is no two ways about it. It brings tears, it surfaces pain and it hurts – bad. It feels torturous…like being one wrung dry. Twisted, squeezed and stuck.

Ever felt so tightly squeezed by pain, you’d do nearly anything to relieve the pressure?

I have.  It’s at this point that I try to fix, finagle and figure my way out. What I normally finagle my way into is a greater mess with higher levels of stress.

But, what if Christ had a different way for me?

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. (1 Pet. 4:1)

Have the same attitude as Christ in suffering?! This verse nearly knocks me off my rocker! It nearly makes me choke on the coffee I am downing right now. It halts me…

But it is true…

I can walk strongly and confidently to my Calvary Hill,
because it means I am walking strongly and confidently to
less of me and more of him,
less flesh and more life
and less world and more eternity.

Walk into pain with an attitude of gain, because Jesus Christ already gained everything. There is nothing else to lose. 

Do you need to change your attitude on pain – and exchange it for the view of gain?

20 Reasons Why You Can Delight in your Suffering:

1.  Our earthly troubles bring eternal glory. (2 Cor. 4:17)

2. Our hearts draw near in the face of great fear.

3. We find a training ground for a breaking down of self and a restoring ground of God.

4. There’s a deep search for Christ – and we find him.

5. Spiritual things take precedence over demanded things.

6. God’s glory shines through the darkness of a buzzed world.

7. Comfort comes close, then we learn to extend that same comfort to others (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

8. God restores, making us “strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Pet. 5:10)

9.  We encounter a great God deliverance. (Ps. 34:19)

10. When become less, Christ more. (John 3:30)

11. In our weakness, Christ power activates in us. (2 Cor. 12:9)

12. Grace becomes all-sufficient to get us through. (2 Cor. 12:9)

13. Our current pain is brings Christ-like gain; we reflect him more.

14. We are blessed. (1 Pet. 3:14)

15.  We suffer with Christ; we learn to understand his love for us more. (Phil. 1:29)

16. We become like Christ in death – and ultimately in life. (Phil. 3:10)

17.  We lose our life, but we end up finding it. (Mt. 10:39)

18.  We come to depend on the Word of God. (Deut. 8:3)

19.  We learn that life is more than earth and God more than the worldly things we want.

20. We get a chance to see prayer work out God’s good and perfect will in our life.  (Lu. 22:42)

When I look at this list, I can see an attitude shift in me. Sure, I am being wrung out, but it’s all about retraining; it’s not a mission in paining. It is all about beholding beauty; it’s not about staying stuck in futility. It is all about developing spiritual sight that sees beyond the constant fight.

God is constantly chasing us, to push us into greater. The push may hurt, but sometimes the push is exactly what is needed to get the bird to fly. And, when we do, we finally see why.

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How Do You Receive a Drop-In? (Link Up)

When I was growing up I remember my mother’s friends dropping-in from time to time. It seems the art of the drop-in has been all but lost in our generation and I think it’s too bad.

Guests coming by unexpectedly can brighten our day if we let go of our need to have everything just the way we want it.

Sure, I appreciate a text or heads-up before my friends swing by unannounced—tightly wound woman here, remember? But there is beauty found in learning to be flexible.

God used a bible verse to illuminate my need for readjustment when faced with the unexpected.

“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” -Matthew 18:5

In our case, we are actually welcoming a child into our family in late May. I want to receive this unexpected gift by welcoming her as I would welcome Christ, both into my home and heart. This verse in Matthew prompted me to examine whether or not I am receiving well or carrying on with a fast-paced, overly ambitious agenda, as usual.

Too often I miss the beauty in the unexpected because
I like to be in charge and set the plan for my days.

How about you? How do you respond when you are redirected or interrupted?
Will you choose to welcome the drop-in? Whether God is bringing a child, an unannounced guest or some other form of unexpected circumstances into your life, how will you receive it?

Will you drop what you’re doing to receive the drop-in or
insist on sticking to your agenda?

Maybe the drop-in is a creative assignment that has you shaking in your cowgirl boots?
Maybe the drop-in is a new friend that needs a lot of prayer and a listening ear?
Maybe the drop-in is a season of suffering that will refine you as gold?

Let’s embrace the unexpected, even when it’s inconvenient or intimidating. Let’s trust the God who dropped love into our lap when we were lost in sin.

Let’s continue this discussion over at Katie’s place. Today the #RaRaLinkup is being hosted at Katie M. Reid’s blog. Click this link to join us… 

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Miss This View of Faith & You’ll Miss So Much

View of Faith

Don’t forget, because this is vital:
Live your life in a way where you can look back and say – for Jesus – I did everything I could.
Not because you had to, but because you wanted to…
Not because you were earning something, but because you were loving the one thing.

Do it, so that one day you see yourself:
Victorious, dressed in white (Rev. 3:5)
Acknowledged, not blotted out, before Father God and his angels. (Rev. 3:6)
Seated with Jesus, just as Jesus is seated with the Father (Rev. 3:21)

How do you practically live like this? What does this mean for you and me?

It means we hear beyond the sound and the thrills and the notifications of this world. It means we have ears to hear (Rev. 3:6) what God most desires. It means we focus on the limited running of time, the blip that is our life, to see the ongoing riches of the cross.

We stay eternally minded, and remember, we are earthly endangered.

He is “coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Rev. 3:11)
What we have is eternity.

The victorious become part of the temple of God (Rev. 3:12).
Will that be you? Will that be me?

I don’t want to be so lost in this world, that I lose the greater vision of God that will endure forever. I don’t want to bow down to  stress and anxiety only to stand up and realize that I missed greatness, glory and holy. I don’t want to get it all here, and miss it all there.

Do you know what I mean?

There is no hidden agenda or secret formula. The path is clear.
Here’s what it looks like to be a type that can look back and say, “I did everything I could”:

1. Wake up! (Rev. 3:2)
2. “Strengthen what remains and is about to die” – leave no good deed unfinished. (Rev. 3:2)
3. Remember what you have received and heard; hold it fast. (Rev. 3:3)
4. Turn yourself back to face Christ. (Rev. 3:3)
5.  Be ready. I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Rev. 3:3)

He is coming not to hurt us, but to love us.
Not to tear apart believers, but to keep them.

He encourages our heart (Jo. 16:33) with the force of heaven.
The Spirit pleads (Ro. 8:26)  for our win and Jesus does as well (1 Jo. 2:1).
Don’t give up.
Don’t lose hope.
It is a race.
We are winning.
God is for us.
He is helping
We are not alone.
He will lift us when we fall low.
He will guide us when we don’t know where to go.
So, put a stake in the ground and declare,
“Jesus, again, I hand it all to you. I am all in.”

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Standing firm in Faith Over Fear

Standing Firm

Occasionally, you know you met someone with a heart of gold – this is how I feel about Gwen Smith. Her all-in pursuit of Jesus, her authentic spirit and her ability to instantly connect, as both a teacher and a girlfriend, is a gift that is so unique to her. I have gotten a chance to deep dive into her new book, “I Want It All” and her words have helped me grab hold of the fullness of God’s extraordinary that he has uniquely carved out for me. Thanks Gwen.

I am delighted to welcome Gwen Smith to Purposeful Faith. I hope you will too. 

Post by: Gwen Smith

The book of Esther shows us what our lives can look like when we trust in the sovereignty of God and expect Him to be powerful in the midst of desperate circumstances that could cause us to cower in fear. God positioned this young Hebrew girl to be queen of Persia so that she could rise up in His strength and courage when her people, the Jews, faced imminent death. She fasted and humbled herself before the Lord through prayer. And though it was risky to the point of death, she went to the king and courageously spoke up on behalf of the Jews. The result? God used Esther to save her people from genocide.

I want to be brave like that. I want to live with so much God courage that I don’t go soft when life gets hard. So I take note of what Esther did. She didn’t cave in to fear; instead, she fixed her focus on God and His power to save her and His people. She fasted and prayed and asked for Him to intervene.

Like Queen Esther, we can live with great expectations of God because He loves to do amazing things through average people— people with worries and warts and weaknesses, like you and me. If we want it all, we need to be women who stand firm when our emotions threaten to overwhelm us and courageously believe God for big things.

So… how CAN we stand firm in faith like Esther
did when our knees knock?

The first step to standing firm in faith is to know Him.

Generally speaking, I don’t trust someone I don’t know. Plain and simple. I’m guessing you don’t either.

God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about the importance of our knowing Him:

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he under- stands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23–24 ESV)

The apostle Peter also wrote about the importance of knowing God. At the beginning of his first letter, he stated that the grace, peace, and power we need are connected to our knowledge of Christ:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Pet. 1:2–3)

How can you know God? Read your Bible, study His character, and remember the ways He has delivered in the past. Such things are Faith 101. When you are overwhelmed by life, don’t shy away from God. Don’t isolate: investigate. Look to Him. Explore His goodness.

I learned recently about the familiar “trust God” verses in Proverbs 3. You know them. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (vv. 5–6 ESV).

The second part never made sense to me. I wondered, Why would my acknowledging God motivate Him to make my paths straight? In the New Testament, even the demons acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God, so why would my acknowledging Him make my paths straight?

I looked up the root word and found a gold mine. The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” is yada’,1 the primitive root of which means “to know.” It means “to understand, to grasp or ascertain; especially to be familiar or acquainted with.” So, “in all of your ways acknowledge him” really means this: in all of your ways yada’ Him; in all of your ways know Him and seek to understand Him; be familiar with Him; be acquainted with Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Ah! Clarity!

The key to a straight path, the key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances and way more about my God.

When we’re intimately familiar with God, when we don’t just know about Him but really know Him, the most crooked roads we travel are made straight. Not because life is easy. Sifting through emotions like anger, depression, hopelessness, insecurity, and so on is hard stuff! But because when we know God, we know all of this as well:

His STRENGTH that is accessible in our weakness

His COMFORT that meets us as we mourn

His MERCY that withholds the punishment our depravity readily deserves

His PEACE that defies our unrest

His JOY that kisses the cheeks of our sorrow

His COURAGE that makes our weary hearts brave and casts away fears

His REDEMPTION that reworks our brokenness into beauty

His LOVE that binds us to eternity and delights over us with singing

Even when the one-two punches come and feelings are frazzled, I can confidently trust God by faith. Not because I understand all the circumstances, or even like them, but because I know Him. And because I know Him, I can trust that He will provide all I need to process pains, heal from wounds, and move forward in strength, grace, and peace.

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Gwen Smith, author of I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact, (March 1, 2016, David C Cook) unapologetically urges her readers to want more. “You and I were born for greatness,” Smith writes. “Not for the world’s greatness, but for eternal greatness: to know God and showcase God.”

Standing firm

Smith is quick to say that she is not saying more is better. More may include setbacks, more may include being misunderstood and discouraged, and more may include suffering. But more also means knowing God more deeply, even in the midst of pain. The deepest question behind this search for more from God is this: Do I trust Jesus? Smith helps readers explore this question in light of disappointment and unmet expectations in life.

Pre-order today: I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact; it is 40% OFF… plus, Amazon is offering a $5 coupon (found under Special Offers section)! This means, you get a book that retails at $16.99 for only $5.11.

More on I Want It All:

About Gwen:

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 6.47.00 PMGwen Smith is an author and volleyball enthusiast who lives in sunny North Carolina and has been married to her college honey, Brad, for 23 years. They are tired parents to three tall, competitive-sport-playing teens who keep them on their toes and on their knees. Her online friends meet at GwenSmith.net to connect and be encouraged, and her goal is to help women think big thoughts about God and be inspired to live out the grace and truth of Jesus. Gwen’s new book, I Want It All, (David C. Cook) released on March 1, 2016. She speaks, leads worship, and eats potato chips at women’s events everywhere, and she is a cofounder of the conference and devotional ministry Girlfriends in God.

CHANCE TO WIN: Bloggers & readers, Gwen will be selecting one of you at random to win her books and music. Support Gwen today:

    1. Join her Thunderclap!
    2. Share this post.
    3. Tweet the below tweets or Facebook updates about “I Want It All”!

Tweet: I want to live with so much God courage that I don’t go soft when life gets hard. @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall http://ctt.ec/ezUl_+

Tweet: We can live w/ great expectations of God bc He loves to do amazing things thru average people @GwenSmithMusic http://ctt.ec/Yg3cU+

Tweet: “The key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances & way more about my God.” @GwenSmithMusic

Facebook: “If we want it all, we need to be women who stand firm when our emotions threaten to overwhelm us and courageously believe God for big things.” @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall

Facebook: “The key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances and way more about my God.” @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall http://amzn.to/1Tk179P

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My Confessions & Our Return Back to God

my confessions

Lord, I don’t want to go through life thinking wrongs are normal.
I don’t want to go about striving, thinking that I am thriving.
I don’t want to do anything, thinking you won’t help me.
I don’t want to waste my life, thinking that you’re average.
I don’t want to take my hurts and brush them under the carpet.

When we let the piles of wrong build up inside,
they end up cover our eyes,
and blind us from the most majestic view – of you.

We follow a shadow of darkness and box God’s power to a limited distance.

No more God! I want to hear your voice.
No more going through motions! I want to see your face.
No more trying to do better! I want to hand everything over to you.

So here it goes:

Lord, I am sorry. I am sorry I pursue self over selfless. I am sorry that so often I make my needs King. I am sorry that I try to Lord over people. I am sorry that I don’t trust you in the gap of the unknown. I am sorry that I miss so many pre-set opportunities for faith, because I allow myself to sit in the agonies of fear. I am sorry that my pride makes me think I need to pry doors open. I am sorry that I listen to the voice of victimhood instead of your voice, the sound of eternal victory.

I am sorry that rather than living by your very Word, I have been living by rushed standards of this world. I am sorry that my mind is quick to dwell on nothingness rather than the vastness of you. I am sorry that I first see how you won’t be there for me, rather than how you will. I am sorry that I determine where I should be, rather than just being in you. I am sorry that I forget to thank you for all your little and unseen protections. I am sorry for how I have believed you won’t come through, when you promise you will.

Will you forgive me? For I want all of you. I don’t want to settle for a half-way God, a marginal interpretation of your love, I want the full deal. I want the whole kit and caboodle. I ask you to restore trust and to rebuild my life in ways that are exceedingly abundantly greater than I could even ask think or imagine.

God, I know when all I need is you,
I get everything I really need (Ps. 37:4).

This is truth; you are all I need.

You are all the answers to my greatest questions.
You are the sustainer to my very breathe.
You are the pipeline to my wildest dreams.
You are the beginning of life change that doesn’t cease.
You won’t ever fall from high.
Your throne won’t ever break.
Your power won’t ever cease.
Your mercy won’t fail to work.
Your grace can’t possibly give up.

You bring me high as I let you carry me.
You pursue my heart every waking hour.
You lead me to repentance so I can walk in complete assurance.
You give me power, even when I feel week.
You strengthen me in the face of opposition.

There is not a day you are not for me.
There is not a week you aren’t working on my behalf.
There is not a month you will turn the other way when I mess up.
And there is not a year that you will not delight over me with singing.

For you are love,
and your love is mine.

You are salvation,
and salvation is here,
it waits for me – literally every hour, every milli-second even, of every day.

I want to turn into it,
I want to miss it no longer,
for in many ways following Jesus,
is about returning back,
again and again.
It is a life dedicated to a grand return.

A return like hurt child runs to her daddy;
So I will run to your arms,
and you will lift me up,
swirl me,
hold me,
squeeze me
and then I will know,
there is nothing that can ever remove me from your love (Ro. 8:38).

I will know that you and me, we are once again united and such a bond like this – it can never be broken.

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Can you Change God’s Mind with Prayer?

Change God's Mind

God, I want this. Silence.
God, I need this. Silence.
God, do you hear me? Frustration.
God, answer! Dejection.

Ever noticed? When tiredness sets in, so does discouragement. We, then, set aside prayer because we feel God has set aside our most valuable request.

I guess it is human nature – when we feel shunned, we tend to shun. When someone treats us rudely, we stop talking. When God doesn’t seem to care, we say, what is the use? We give up. 

Yet, I don’t want to give up; I want to go into prayer with deep focus, reliance and fervor. I want to keep pressing in, knowing God hears. I want to believe, even when it feels like there is no use. After all, isn’t that what faith really is?

I can either be faithful in prayer or
prideful in rapid-fire demands.

The ability to wait well seems to make all the difference.

I will be the first to admit to you, I am so much more the latter than the former. Yet, I want to learn; I want to discover prayer that God loves. I want to go deeper, not to just get what I want, but to uncover what he wants, so that I can discover all the spiritual riches he has planned for my life.

5 Ways to Pray Prayers That God Loves

1. Trust your good God has all the power and ability to give you good things.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mt. 21:22

2. Let your motives align with God’s. Then, Let your motivation move with his.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Ja. 4:3

3. Stand in righteousness and trust all things will be added onto you.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Mt. 6:33

4. Keep on keeping on in prayer. Then, pray more.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Mt. 7:8

5. Have confidence in approaching God, knowing he hears.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Can you change God’s mind?

Have you considered that maybe it is more about God
changing your mind than you always changing his?

When we get our heart set right up against his, often we find our heart changes pace. Rather than running a course that we determined was bound to get us to where we want to go, we see a charted path and glorious path. We see miles and miles of opportunity that may look different than we ever expected, but far greater. We find, we get all we really ever wanted, it just wasn’t on our terms.

Prayer changes us – as much as it changes our circumstances.
It steadies believers lives in the hands of their great God.
It offers sweet intimacy between a loving daddy and his beloved child.
It is heard by a God who knows all our deep needs.
It brings back the dead into the very will of God.
It comforts the weak and humbles the proud.
It squeezes in truth to compel service.
It speaks love and signs hope.
It matures our hearts.
It works.

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5 Transformational Tips: Make God’s Word Come Alive

Come Alive

Another day.
Another bible reading.

Skimming. I’ve read it before.
Half listening. I know what to expect.
Not discovering. I know the punchline.

Does the bible ever fall flat because you have flattened out
and read its pages so many times?

 

Does your mind have a hard time idling on God’s Word,
because the world speeds too fast around it?

 

I can’t seem to keep my heart in the place where the heart of God is – and that is the problem.

This problem, if not addressed, will, before long – stamp and deliver my heart to destinations I never intended to arrive at.  Frustrationville or Aggravationmount or some place like that. It could just as easily bring me to Jealoustown or Pridebury. Either way, they are places that reek of self and shame and guilt. Their roads are rocky and tumultuous. Every time, they leave me with a stomach turning knots over itself.

I’d rather not.

So, how do you dive into God’s Word, like a fresh glass of lemonade on a hot day? How do you dive into it, knowing that you have had it one hundred and one times, but still, wanting and needing it? Craving and desiring it? Thirsting and salivating over it?

5 ways to make the Word of God come alive:

1. Let your senses sense what the sentiment was.

Imagine being the lead role in the story. See yourself there. Sense your sin and the idea that you or your family has done something terribly wrong. Feel the judgement of the Pharisees upon you. Wonder if God really can and will heal you. Let your heart beat.

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. Jo. 9:6

2. Take your part in the redemption story.

Hear the words of Jesus leave his mouth. Feel the mud in your hand. Experience vision. Look amazed at what surrounds you. Set your eyes on Jesus.

Then, see yourself run to the masses to share the glory of the only one who could heal in this way. Take a snapshot of the story with your senses. Know that while this was his story, it is also your story.

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Jo. 9:25

3.  Ask yourself, “What about this experience is calling me to think, do or say differently?”

When you take a moment to think of all God has done, you can’t help but think of all he wants to do. His will makes your will jump up and down just at the thought of serving him.

The (once blind) man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.”  Jo. 9: 30-31

4.  Believe: He loves you, just as much as he loved them.

Just because you feel less than, doesn’t mean that God sees you that way. Believing that you are worthy of his gifts, love and encouragement, will allow your heart to receive them. Rather than keeping up defenses to his Word, you will lay them down and He will enter in.

The Once- Blind Man: “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.” Jo. 9:32

5. Avoid boxing God in (and you might just find your way out of your box).

When you believe in you heart, what Jesus did through Scriptures, you’ll find in your mind you can conceive the great things he wants to do through your life.

It sounds simple, but simple belief is so often what it comes down to.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. Jo. 14:12

When you approach God’s Word in this way, you realize you hold living water that is not bitter, old or common. Instead, you taste the fruit of what God has done and is about to do. It fills, it satiates and it refreshes. Like lemonade on a parched day – it’s a drink you can’t wait to indulge in, lap up and embrace word by word. It is peace and replenishment all in one.

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Whose Reflection Do You See?

reflection

Post by: Christy Mobley

A few weeks ago, after a long morning at the hospital with my mom and sister, I came home to take a shower, wash my hair and get my second wind.

As I picked up the blow dryer I stared into the mirror. For one split second the reflection I saw was that of my mother. It was weird. I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again and then shook the event off as simple exhaustion. Turning back to the mirror I pulled up a strand of hair  and proceeded to go off on a ridiculous tirade about frizz and gray and such. And that’s when it me.

Oh my gosh, I look like my mother and sound like my sister!

I. AM. THEM.

Freaky!

Was I caught up in some twisted episode of the Twilight Zone?

Click here to read more and to #RaRalinkup on Christy’s blog…

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Guard your Heart Like America’s Best Soldier

guard your heart

Lately, I have been pondering maybe the most important question of Christian faith:
How do you successfully guard your heart? 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov. 4:23

Above all else = the most important thing.
Everything you do = every single small and solitary thing
Flows from it = it is the blood supply to our spiritual existence

The heart is the command center to your life.

An unguarded heart is a compromised life.

Using this line of reasoning, we can figure: If we are straying from God, we’ve been displaying our heart open for attack.

So how do we truly guard it?

Guard it in a way where bad thoughts bounce off?
Guard it in a way where lockdown is secure?
Guard it in a way where attackers don’t even give it a passing glance?

This is what my heart has been sitting on lately. Wondering. Strategizing. And sure didn’t want a quick-fix answer of “try better”, “work harder” or “just do it”; these are the type of answers that always keep me failing.

So, while I considered not failing, I watched the snow falling on morning news – until one image nearly sent me falling right out of my chair. It was the answer to my wonderings.

21 steps forward.
21 steps back.
Guarding.
Protecting.
The presence of who was.
No sleep.
No rest.
Back.
Forth.
Diligence.
Perseverance.
Dedication.

The sentinel. He moved with purpose as the high winds of cold hit his face. He moved with discipline as snow ravaged around him. He moved with confidence next to the most important cause in his life. He moved to guard the presence of one unknown by so many; just as our Savior was and is today.

He moves, then another one moves, and then another, on 24 hour shifts, but, make no mistake, someone is always moving at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. It is never left unmanned, untouched and unprotected.

During storms – armed.
When everything seems shut down – manned.
When things are quiet – protected.
When the place gets hectic – watched.
When the face gets frostbitten – defended.

Do we guard our hearts in such a way?

Do we see it of such value that we keep 24-hour vigilance
on what takes aim around it? 

Guns blazing, gloves moistened, to aide in grip,
are we protecting with discipline, dedication and decisiveness?

Back and forth, do we run over our mind to see
if there is any way unpleasing to the Lord?

21 steps forward, 21 steps back,
do we give pause for prayer to ensure we are effective?

The Sentinel does not do an about face when reaching the end of 21 steps, he turns and looks at the tomb.

Do we? Do we turn to look at the tomb consistently and continually throughout our day? The tomb of Jesus that is empty? The one that reminds us of who we are fighting for? The one that tells us to keep on 21-stepping?

When stop to look at Jesus’ tomb,  we see the tomb of emptiness found in anything
and everything else put above him.  

Lives that pace on his goodness, dance with his freedom.
Feet that walk back and forth on righteousness, find life.
Soldiers who see guarding their hearts as paramount, mount up on wings like eagles.
They find hope, flight and new might,
for enemies flee at the sight of real duty.

Guard your heart like nothing else matters.

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