Purposeful Faith

Tag - love

Living for Christ in a Selfie World

Less selfie and more Christ


I’ve got something kind of embarrassing to say, something I kind of hate to admit, but I am sharing it today in hopes that God’s truth helps me overcome this annoying habit.

Here goes: I can’t stop making everything about me.

How that person responded – is about me.
My ministry work – is about me.
Someone getting chosen above me – is about me.
My husband’s response – is about me.
My children’s behavior – is about me.
The response of another – is about me.

Can you see where this is going?

Somehow everything centers around – me, myself and I. And even when I say it doesn’t, I lie.

I don’t want to do this, but it is almost like I can’t help myself. We live in a “selfie” world.

We take pictures of ourselves in the moment and all we can think about is how we performed, how we looked and what kind of response we will get. It is almost as if our worth is dependent on “likes”.  It is almost like others “comments” are vitally important in our missions.

So, I wonder, how do I really die to self instead of pretending all that matters is myself?

God says: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. (Mt. 23:25)

I certainly don’t want to be that dirty Pharisee, but my cup is just the same – dirty on the inside and shiny on the outside. I lure others over with my outer beauty, until they come closer to see what I have inside. Truly, no one wants to be filled by a cup that only pours out black, dirty and tainted water. There is no living water there. Dirty unclean vessels can’t love as Christ would – nor live as he would.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (Phil. 2:3)

How do I get over myself to dive into God’s will?

Because I am tired of swinging on the pendulum of righteousness – either I swing too far to the left and am completely inadequate and selfish or I swing too far to the right and am completely over-righteous and prideful.  

Back and forth I go.

Have you ever felt this way? When we ride this swing, we can never seem to rest in the peace of the Lord. We are always striving to be more, to do more and to give more. Both a guilty shame-filled heart and an overzealous righteous heart both have roots in the “me first” mentality.  

When one falls down, the other side lifts higher. Back and forth they go.

Yet, the middle place on the pendulum, the still place, is the place of love, grace, mercy; it is a restful place.

God calls us here.

So, how do we come to this resting place of stillness, shamelessness and surrender?
The place where we are neither self-centered or self-inflated, but simply self-less? 

Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity… (2 Tim. 1:8-9)

– The power of God saved us.
– The power of God called us.
– The power of God leads us in our holy calling.
– The power of God works not through our works but through his.
– The power of God works as he purposes.
– The power of God bestows grace over grace.

This is the power we walk in. Anything more or anything less than God’s power is just the endless movement of a pendulum that keeps heading in the wrong direction.

It is solely by the power of Christ that we do anything. When we work through his power, his power at work within us makes us selfless, humble and full of grace.

It reminds me of the lyrics of “Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus”:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

We fade, Christ brightens.
We become selfless, he becomes radiant.
He shines, we take the back burner.

Not by the power of our own might, but only by the power of the great God we have in sight.

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Dealing with an Annoying Person

Dealing with an Annoying Person

I had friend; she was sweet, beautiful and helpful, but sometimes, she had a way of getting under my skin. Normally, I just shoved my irritation through the door of my heart and locked it there with a key. After all, sometimes it feels easier not to deal with things.

I remember one specific day – she asked me to borrow a coat. But, as I handed it to her, she looked at it with disdain. I knew her. I knew she had her eye on one specific coat in my closet. I knew her mind was set, even though she put me through a song and dance trying on each one – I knew where this charade was headed.

In that moment, I wanted to say, “Wear the coat I gave you. I am wearing this one.”  I wanted to send a message that I knew what she was up to. I wanted her to see that her approach was wrong.

But, as I evaluated how to deliver this message, the quiet whisper of my heart said, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Lev. 19:18

God’s truth spoke to my heart saying, “Others may annoy you, but it doesn’t matter what they do, it matters what I tell you to do. What matters is – love.”

We headed out. She, wearing the beautiful coat – I, wearing the old one.

As I returned from dropping her off at her house, I recounted all her offenses against me. My irritation levels were on high alert in general, so you can only imagine my frustration when I arrived at the front door, to find it locked and dead-bolted, with absolutely no way in.

Try as I may, this house was impenetrable – and my heart felt imbittered.

But, as I shoved my hand into my old not-so-nice coat, the coat, I felt something; it was just what I needed- a bobby pin – one she has left in my pocket while trying my coat on.

It was this bobby pin that allowed me to pry a screen off a window, so I could climb in to unlock my front door.

In that moment, my whole perspective shifted. I found the key to unlock both my resentful heart – and my front door. 

It unlocked all the small annoyances.
The truth is, the hurting person is hurt. They need love.

It unlocked the power of seeing over small offenses.
God rewards a heart that forgives, that shows mercy and that looks beyond offenses. He rewards a heart that sees a heart.

It unlocked the power of sacrificial love.
True love means we put another before our self. When we look past the exterior, God wows us with the interior of the one who stands before us.

It unlocked my mind from anger and resentment.
When we open the door of our hurts to the great God who understands hurts, all we can do is run into his open arms to receive forgiveness. Then, we can start seeing the ministry work the Lord has set before us to do in the heart of another.

It unlocked a new reality; true love costs something.
Love means we lay down what we have, so we can see how God wills us to reach the other. Sometimes it may cost us a coat, sometimes our time, but no matter, we lay it down in love.

We are all fallen, hurt and imperfect, but as we see past these things, our well-maintained fortresses are penetrated, our walls are taken down and true relationships are forged.

Truly, love surpasses locked doors. It opens up a whole new world.

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Do I Need to Forgive?

Do I need to forgive?


I wasn’t aware I had unforgiveness in my heart.

But, I wondered, “Do I need to forgive?”

So, I sat before the Lord and asked the Spirit to reveal to me if there was anyone I needed to forgive. Someone did come to mind. Someone rather unexpected.

This person had hurt me again and again.
They had stepped on my toes.
They had left me annoyed.
They had let me down.

I had forgiven them in the past, but new offenses had taken the place of their forgiven place.

I thought, in my mind I thought, “This person – again? How many times do I have to go back to this person?”

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Mt. 18:21-22)

Jesus doesn’t call us to forgive and be done. He knew that one who is forgiven once, likely needs to be forgiven and forgiven again and again. He doesn’t call to a blanket statement forgiveness system, but a system of ever-flowing, ever-aware and ever-outpouring forgiveness.

How many times does Jesus forgive me?

He calls us to seek out the unknown pits of resentment  we hide- in us –
to uncover the known depth of love that he stands ready to outstretch – through us.

A moment of prayer highlighted my black tar within. I never would have realized it if I hadn’t asked. I had forgiven this person so many times, I thought they were covered. I thought I had forgiven.

Jesus knows that people hurters (like you and me) are likely to hurt again and he calls us to forgive them again. Why? Because we are called to something greater – agape love. Not love that says, “I love this day, I love your hair, I love that shirt. I love this place.” Not a shallow, convenient or useful love, instead we are called to the hard depths of real love. We are called to a love like Christ loved.

To love with a love that says, “Despite what you did to me (Example: nailing me to a cross):

I see who God made you to be.
I offer unconditional benevolence towards you.
Nothing can hold me back from offering deep goodness to you.
Christ shows me how to turn the other cheek.
Nothing can conquer the deep heart I have for you.

“…The greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)

“As the Father loved me, so have I loved you, now remain in my love.” (John 15:9)

Does a bag of unforgiveness weigh you down? Have you been carrying around load of unneeded junk?

I noticed, the only back unforgiveness was breaking was mine.

It didn’t cause pain to the person that hurt me.
It didn’t teach them a lesson.
It didn’t make them change.
But, my shoulders slumped, my heart felt a little more heavy and my walk with God was burdened.

Yet, as I sought God; he revealed to me new view that changed my perception on forgiveness.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19)

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Mt 18:18)

When we forgive and we remove junk out of our purse,
the Lord doesn’t leave us with an empty hole.

He doesn’t leave that space unoccupied.

When we forgive the Lord comes back in to fill us up again.

You see, forgiveness is an exchange of our weighted junk for his refreshment.

Refreshment that offers wave after wave of grace, mountain after mountain of joy, an eternal hope of glory, solid-rock security, never ending significance and a waterfall of constant renewal.

Will we accept all that he has for us?
Will we reach out and grab it?
Becuase he holds this refreshment out to us.
The question is – will we seek to forgive?

Let’s ask God who to forgive.

Then he will remove the weight of unforgiveness that ties us down to resentment, so we can run our race unencumbered.

As we humble ourselves in love, God fills our bag. He fills it so high it brims with his goodness. 

We let go of the stronghold we have on the straps, we realize we are strongly held by him. He removes the weight of our straps and lightens our load in his love – to love.

The power of forgiveness is immense. Love transforms, lightens and lifts. Don’t miss the chance to ask God who you need to forgive today. He will pack your bag so full, you will finally see that what he offers is far greater than that ugly bag of junk you have carried around so long.

“…Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:47-48 

Do You Have Eyes to See?

Do you have eyes to see?

I remember when I was young, I went to the PGA US Open when it was held near my town.

Amidst the thousands of people,
amidst my sister who turned into a lunatic,
amidst people pushing and shoving,
I remember tottering on my tippy toes just to see.

I just wanted to see the world famous Tiger Woods.

I knew that I wouldn’t really get a hello from him or a handshake – there were too many people and he was too famous. I was too average and he was too important.

But I just wanted to grab a look.

Wasn’t it similar for Zacchaeus?

And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. (Luke 19:3-4)

He just wanted to see.
He knew he was small.
He knew he was guilty.
He knew he was unworthy.
But, he just wanted to see the man who had power.

He wanted to cast his eyes on the one who could entirely change the game. So much so, that little Zacchaeus went to new heights – in a tree- to see new depths – in the an unforseen King.

Jesus rewarded this “go-to-any-lengths-mentality.”
Jesus rewarded this heart that wants to view his glory.
Jesus rewarded this will to see from a new view.

Jesus rewards a simple desire to see.

Jesus responds in such a different way than any earthly celebrity would.

He is less concerned about his destination (Lu. 19:1), and more concerned about salvation.

He halts all his plans, just to to see one man everyone probably hates – and he turns it into a opportunity to heal.

Can you imagine for a moment how it is being in a crowd of people? Jesus would not be able to see ahead or behind him, but Jesus knew the only way he needed to be looking – was up.

He never had the need for speed, but instead had a deep desire to fill an aching need. He stopped, he saw and then he went the extra distance and met the man in the most intimate of places – his home.

Jesus saw the one who truly needed eyes to see.
He put his plans on pause, for a greater cause.
He saw the need of the moment, rather than the plan of the hour.

He saw what no one else wanted to see – “the sinner”. (Lu. 19:7)

Zacchaeus had eyes to see.
Jesus had eyes to see.

Do we?

Do we seek to see Jesus from new perspectives?
Do we give all our heart to find him?
Do we risk climbing difficult trees to seek him?

And, what do we see in the midst of the hustle and bustle?
What do we see in the spaces between our to-do list action items?
What do we see in the faces of those we love?

Because, when we stop to see, what we often end up with is a great visit
by the great Comforter –
who never ceases to leave us unchanged.  

He knows our needs and ministers to our hearts.

Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today. (Lu. 19:5)

I want Jesus to visit me in my house, don’t you?

Because a visit from Jesus, changes our hearts, our minds and our lives as nothing else can.

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Lu. 19:9)

What does Jesus stand ready to give you when you only seek to see?

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I am happy to be joining Five Minute Friday today.

How God Makes All Things New

God Makes All Things New


There was a woman sent from God. Her name is Kelly.

When once she was sad, lonely and afraid,
today she’s found peace.

When once she used to fear dark land mines set in her room,
today she only hears the whisper of Jesus confirming, “You’re mine.”

When once she used to look to anyone to confirm her worth,
today her worth is found in the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ.

When once she used to try to be the Savior to a family of 8,
today she is a simple mom of 2 – with a Savior of One.

When once she lived afraid of whom she was, what she would become
and what others might do to her,
today she walks with confidence of God’s purpose set before her.

When once she crafted her words and actions to meet other’s needs and desires,
today she crafts her heart around the one who crafted hers.

When once she held herself to the standard of perfection,
today she let’s walls fall so Jesus can address her imperfections.

No doubt, I am this Kelly.
I am the Kelly that was lost – lost to fear.

Lost from life. Lost from love. Lost from hope. Lost from purpose.

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. (Luke 15:32)

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because (Kelly) was dead and is alive again; (Kelly) was lost and is found.'”

My knight and shining armor came – and rescued me – and he will come again. He will come in on a white horse to save the day…

…to more and more set us free.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. (Rev 19:11)

When once we were in the world, surrounded by darkness,
one day we will rejoice with our maker in the eternal light of significance and security.

On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. (Rev 21:25)

When once pain, cancer, conflict and wars prevailed,
one day we will Jesus Christ prevail at the right hand of God on his mercy seat,
reigning and pleading in all power and might.

Who then is the one who condemns? No one.
Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Ro. 8:34)

When once we sang songs of earthly despair crying tears of agony,
one day the angels will sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” and every tear will be no more.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away. (Rev. 21:4)

When once we ached to find more,
one day we will learn what the definition of “more” really means.

…To be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment-
-to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Eph. 1:10)

From freedom to freedom.
From power to power.
From love to love.

God is always moving us deeper and deeper into his love.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor. 5:17)

Jesus erases the power of “once” to delight us in the power of “new”. God makes all things new.

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Today I am linking up on #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

Real Love for Real Life

Real life real love

By Purposeful Faith Contributor,  Katy McCown

I remember when Valentine’s Day was a big deal. You either loved the question, What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? because you had ultra-romantic plans. Or you dreaded the question because you had no plans.

Now, Valentine’s Day is really more of an annoyance than anything else. Since neither Luke nor I possess gift giving as a love language we like to say every day is Valentine’s Day, thereby relieving each other of any and all romance-based sweets or surprises. It works for us.

Even so, the day still remains and lots of people spend lots of money to show their love.

Last year I started wondering, though.

Why is the heart this day’s cover girl?

Buy a girl a pack of M&Ms on V-Day and you’re likely to get a roll of the eyes, or worse, in return. But give a girl chocolate in a heart-shaped box and Voila! You made a smile. Kids cut out hearts or make them with macaroni noodles. Stuffed bears hold them. Little girls wear them.

Our baby girl, Leah, wears these pajamas with little hearts all about.


The boys love them because it reminds them of a cow. They’re super cute, but I’m looking at these hearts and thinking,  Is that right? Does a heart really paint the picture of love?

This year, I think if I want to show my love I’ll fashion a picture of my life … laid down.

For him.


And them.


 Because that’s what Jesus did. And that’s what He said.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)

Or maybe I’ll draw a bunch of little brains.

Brains deciding to smile instead of scream.
Or teach instead of tear down.
Or offer mercy instead of judgement.
Or simply be quiet instead of spilling all of my opinions.

No way that image looks as cute as the cow-print hearts, but I think that’s more realistic.

Because isn’t real love a little gritty sometimes?
Isn’t it practical more often than poetic?

But, somehow the real-life love is more romantic than the, “Katy, will you accept this rose?” kind.

Like that night …..

In a rental home in Jacksonville, Florida, Luke and I shared a small room with two big dogs, a newborn baby girl and a knee machine. Two months earlier Luke tore a ligament in his knee. Surgery fixed him. Rehab strengthened him. But rehab came with a machine – in the bed, all night – bending and straightening Luke’s knee. We figured we got the 1920’s version of said machine, since it squeaked and creaked with every extension.

Add the newborn to the mix and an occasional re-positioning of the giant dogs in the corner, and we weren’t sleeping much. Cherry on top: the boys got a stomach bug, and we found out about it in the middle of the night.

While Luke helped Jonah into the shower I scrubbed the carpet. The rest is a blur. Except for one moment.

The next day, after dogs and knee machines and newborns and throw-up, Luke came home from work. I expected him to fall into the nearest chair and snore, but he didn’t.

Instead, he found me. With a smile he bent over to kiss my forehead and said,

“There’s no one else in the world I’d rather clean up puke with at 3 a.m. than you. I love doing life with you.”

You’ll likely never find those words etched on a Hallmark card, but they are etched on my heart forever. Not because they came in a pretty package. Not because I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. But because real love met real life, and it bloomed.

That memory – that awful memory – makes me smile today. And, you know, I think Jesus might say the same.

“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

Have you ever seen real love in real life? Will you share it with me here? Leave a Comment! Let’s celebrate when real love meets real life and blooms!

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Post by Purposeful Faith Contributor,  Katy McCown


Deeply Root Yourself in God’s Love

Deeply Rooted in God's love


“Love.” What happens when underneath it all – we don’t feel God’s love in our deepest being? When we know Jesus, but we have a hard time believing he loves us?  Perhaps, the world has jaded us, people have hurt us or we have done the unthinkable.

We think God’s love is nice, but we know it as “distant”.

We know love in our mind, but don’t feel it in our heart.
We know love accepts us, but still, our past defines us.
We know love is the answer to freedom, but the chains remain.

What happens here?
How do we move from knowing in our minds – to believing in our hearts?
From knowing about love – to knowing love?

Sometimes, I feel like I live partially loved by God.
Like a daughter who is visited by her step dad a couple times a week.
Like a girl who is not always seen.
Like one who needs constant affirmation.
Like one who wonders if she is forgotten.
Like one who needs to earn approval.
Like one who feels unworthy.
Like one who is forgotten.
Like one who doubts.
Like one who falters.

Is this a picture of a loved daughter of the most high King?

Can I truly love others – and God, when I haven’t embraced depths of his love?
His unceasing, unbelievable and unending love?

Perhaps my earthly experiences have shaped my capacity to perceive God’s love.
Can I only know love to the depths that I have been loved?

In my search to answer these questions, God is teaching me that to walk in love is to walk by faith.

Because none of us have been loved the way he loves.
None of us can understand the depths of his actions for us.
None of us can perceive the immensity of his presence before us.
None of us can comprehend the lengths he goes to fight for us.

His love is unbelievable in a sense.

Because of this,
we have allowed our perceptions and our tribulations
to create realities of God’s love for us.

Yet, his power extends beyond these created idols of love.

Like the many miracles of Jesus; true power is found by faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

Faith is where the love of Christ is found. It is found when we receive what he gives, even though the gift is so immense we can hardly receive it – or believe it.

He gives:

– His own son – for us. He gave the ultimate (Jo. 3:16)
– His life for us – for people who can’t stop sinning. (Ro. 5:8)
– A life that is alive with Christ. He goes with us. (Eph. 2:4-5)
– A saved life. His presence. His rejoicing spirit. A presence that quiets our active soul. (Zeph. 3:17)
– Steadfast, never-ending love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)
– Mercy & graciousness. (Psalm 86:15)
– His own Spirit – a constant companion and help – to live within us. (2 Tim. 1:7)
– A position as a child of God (1 John 3:1)
– An owned status, which nothing – no way, no how – can ever separate his love from us. (Ro. 8:31-39, Ps. 24:1)
– A secure position which – no one, no way – can pluck away. (Jo. 10:28)
– No condemnation even though we deserve it all. (Ro. 8:1)
– Gifts that he delights in giving because we are his children. (Gal 3:26)
– An acceptance and approval of who we are. (Ro. 14:18)
– A powerful care about our daily doings. (Ps. 139:2)
– An ever-flowing rhythm of grace that can never be obstructed. (Jo. 1:16)
– An eternal home that has been prepared just for us. (Jo. 14:2)
– An earthly plan and purpose for our lives. (Prov. 16:9)
– A promise to make us more and more like him. (2 Cor. 3:18)
– A nearness, a shelter and a hope that is beyond compare. (Ps. 46:1-6)
– An advocate who fights on our behalf. (1 Jo. 2:1)
– One who is ALWAYS for us. (Ro. 8:31)
– One whose compassions never fail. (Lam. 3:22)

God is so good that, in a small way, it doesn’t really matter how much we grasp his love because his love will still remain for us. His love is so unconditional that it is not contingent on understanding. He loves us despite us.

Freedom is found in this place. Because, even when our world, our past and our choices have proven that we are unworthy of love, we still remain, as believers, in Him. Then, in faith – we can step out to grab the power of God’s love. This is the way.

We can grab hold of love by faith by:

1. Praying. Lord, let us be deeply rooted in you.
2. Seeking. Lord, let your words of truth shoot as arrows of love to our deepest needs.
3. Meditating. Lord, let us see your love pour over us as we close our eyes.
4. Receiving. Lord, let creation testify to the power of your love.
5. Communing. Lord, let us relish in the daily gifts you pour out on us.
6. Abiding. Lord, let us remain in you – and you in us. Help us to see this give and take.

I am done living fatherless from the most high king, distanced from the one who cares for me the most and duped into believing I am alone. I am done with the fear.

Because isn’t fear just a deep knowledge that no one is near?

But, God is. He was. And, he always will be. The Alpha and Omega never changes.

He is even when I don’t think he is. This is the ultimate love. His love is so all consuming that my eyes cannot begin to absorb his immensity. His love is so great that I can’t even fathom it. I can’t even take it.

I will set my mind, by faith, on the power of his love and trust that it will accomplish all it is set forth to do.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Ps. 138:8)

My life is secure, never to be forgotten, in the palm of his love.

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How to Go with Jesus

How to Go with Jesus

Life gets so hectic. It gets busy. It gets overwhelming.

Many times, I sit with two children screaming their heads off and I don’t even know what to do. Or, I look at a pile of work that needs to be done, but I have no time. Or, look at the Mount Everest of trials and I have no idea how to ski down.

In these moments, I have to wonder – what do I send?

Do I send love?

Or, do I send irritation, aggravation and frustration?

Because a lot of the time, the world seems to act on me. It seems to send me into a tailspin. One where I just spin in circles trying to grab hold of a tail I can never quite reach.

And, my aggravation, at my lack of control, often sends me on a rampage to dump frustration on those I love.

My environment becomes a result of my circumstances.

I know God calls me to rise above this, but why can’t I? What holds me back?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

Is it that I send my mind down roads of thought that they shouldn’t be traveling on?

When life breaks down, when circumstances come to topple – I can choose to send my heart to Jesus. I can choose to send my thoughts to the Word of God. I can choose to send out to others a heart that ministers to their needs, instead of one that is being swallowed up with mine.

Jesus will help me.
He understands trials.
He knows the chaos of life.
He has the right answer for me.
He can get me through.

Jesus, you have told me to go. Send me down your paths, send my according to your ways. Send me, so that I may find true, joyful and meaningful life – because when you send, no one who is encountered by you is ever the same.

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Exalt Christ Amidst Christmas Busy

Use Christmas Busyness to Exalt Christ

Note: Bloggers – today is Part I of the Cheerleading Link up (We tweet encouragement using #RaRaLinkup).  Tomorrow is the actual linkup day.

Christmas is that time of year when I mark off the calendar as “busy”.  It’s that time of year where I continuously pull out my checkbook to “gift” and to “card”.  Christmas is that time of year, where parties can just leave me tired. Where people can leave me drained. Where giving can feel not so gracious.

Why?  Because I feel worn.  I feel tired.  It’s year-end and I have given and given and given myself.

It sometimes gets me feeling guilty too – like I am missing the point.  And, it makes me wonder – where’s Jesus amidst Christmas busy?  Where’s Jesus in this hustle and bustle?  Does he look down on this kind of behavior?

See the True Gift

Yet, while pondering these questions, the Lord placed the most wonderful gift in my lap – a gift of truth. And, as I held this adorned box, staring at it’s meaning, I started to understand the beauty of Christmas busy. It’s not all about the wrapping paper, about the bows, about the act of wrapping, but it is about the heart – a receptive heart.

And, as I open God’s gift to me. The heart of the matter comes to light; I see the love of Christ. Authentic. Deep. Heartfelt love.

I admire the gift of Jesus – a gift I am called to share with others.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

I realize, if I can’t find joy in the gift giving, I have entirely missed the gift-giver and the heart of the gift.

Because we have joy when our joy is derived from Christ.  Suddenly, through the amazing gift of Christ, all we can do is give, sacrifice and love. Suddenly, all the Christmas busy isn’t seen as acts of drudgery, but as acts of service, of adoration, of worship.

What True Giving Is

Christ endlessly gave – not out of obligation, but out of love.  There is no greater gift than to give.  We are blessed when we give. We find meaning to life when we give from a cheerful heart.

Let’s let our busyness come from pure motivations not busy obligation.  Because in many ways, busyness is the essence of Christmas. Busyness that relies on Christ. Busyness that feels overwhelmed but trusts God. Busyness that is fueled by the Spirit. Busyness that shines Christ. Busyness that extends grace. This is where the joy of Christmas is found.

Just as Christ served, preached and loved endlessly, we can give, host, serve and love endlessly too – through his power and strength at work within us.

Helpless we come in this world, and through the amazing gift of Christ – he helps us.  He empowers us, he equips us and he calls us to his work.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– (Eph. 2:8)

Truly, the greatest gift we ever received is the one that lies in a humble manger. The one who calls us to purify our hearts. The one who can never stop handing out grace. The one who reached others tirelessly with truth.

Behold Christ

Behold the gift of Christ, his grace and his enduring love. Let go of striving and grab hold of the ultimate gift – who lays in a manger in a town called Bethlehem.

He lays ready to be embraced and adored.

In a little town of Bethlehem, lays a baby who was never afraid to sacrifice.
In a little town of Bethlehem, lays a baby who extends grace beyond compare.
In a little town of Bethlehem, lays a baby whose power is perfected in weakness.

In that little town of Bethlehem, lays the heart of Christmas giving.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

As believers, we have a perfect gift.  This perfect gift frees us through the covering of grace. And, through this gift, we can joyfully give it all and exalt Christ.

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Will They Love My Gift?

By: Katy

“Hey when ya get a chance today, find one of those big empty boxes in the garage and have the kids start getting stuff to give away.”

A text from my hubby on his way to work one morning just before Christmas last year. How sweet. How noble. What a great Dad. None of those, however, crossed my mind. Instead, I kinda went, “Ugggggghhhhhh.”

Doesn’t he know we all still have the flu? Doesn’t he know I have disinfecting to do? Doesn’t he know the kids all have attitudes?

But in the spirit of Christmas I turned off the television, grabbed a box, and sat our little army all in a row.

“It’s time to clean out the toy box.”

They know the drill. We do it bi-annually. Once before birthdays. Once before Christmas. Clear out the clutter before we add more. I know what stays and what goes before we begin. Toys on top we play with on a regular basis. Those stay. Toys on the bottom – those are the forgotten, broken or replaced toys the kids are willing to part with.

Except for last year ….


Micah Sean, my rough and tough 3rd born with a hard head and a soft heart, sat on the rug with his little legs crossed. One of the first toys out of the box – Dad the Moose. Micah named him. Micah loves his Daddy and loves his moose, so it seemed appropriate.

Dad the Moose sleeps tucked under Micah’s arm. Dad the Moose travels with us wherever we go. Dad the Moose is Micah’s buddy, maybe even his best buddy.

So when I pulled the moose out of the box and said, “Give or keep,” I already knew the answer. “Keep!” Micah yelped and squeezed Dad the Moose close. We continued with several more “keeps.” Then,

“Wait,” Micah said with urgency. “I want to give Dad the Moose.”

And he tossed him into the box. I looked at Micah. Did he really mean it? Does he know what he’s doing? He’ll miss that moose! A few minutes later Micah changed his mind and dug the moose back out of the box. Three times this happened. Moose in. Moose out. Moose in. Moose out.

I watched this little boy struggle. Something inside him said give. Give away your moose. But something inside him also ached. Dad the Moose belonged to Micah. He chose that moose. He named him. He loved him.

And then he did it. Once and for all, he gave his moose away.

“Mom, someone else can have Dad the Moose.”

Elijah, our resident animal lover and stuffed animal collector, warned, “Micah, another boy or girl may not call him Dad.”

For fear of Micah’s tender heart breaking any more than it already had I jumped in … “But that’s okay. Because when we give, we also trust, that whoever gets our gift will love it as much as we did.”

I put my hand on Micah’s little leg and through tears I praised him for his selfless act. I told him about the boys and girls who won’t have much on Christmas and how happy they will be to receive this special gift.

Then I watched … as one gift of love spilled over.

“Okay, Mom, I’ll give Louie.”

Louie, Elijah’s stuffed owl. Just a few weeks earlier, Elijah walked all over the store, carefully considering every option before he picked Louie. He chose him. He named him. He loved him.

“I’ll give away pythor too, Mom.” And here came Jonah with his prize python. Jonah didn’t even like his siblings to play with this stuffed animal. Pythor morphed into a jump rope or super hero sling. His scales were blue, Jonah’s favorite color. Jonah chose him. He named him. He loved him.

But Louie and Pythor joined Dad the Moose in the box.

photo 2  photo 1

All of a sudden this box seemed so cold. How could these gifts given from such a tender place land in a torn, dirty, plain, brown box? They mean too much. They don’t belong here …….

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)

For God so loved the world, he gave. He gave his Son.

He chose Him. He named Him. He loved Him.

Did He really mean it? Does He know what He’s doing?

God knew some would not call him by his Name. Some would not call him Savior. King. Emmanuel. But still, God gave.

He means too much. He doesn’t belong here. How could His gift land in such a torn, dirty, plain world? 

But Jesus did.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (ESV)

Our box filled up pretty quick after that.

Turns out once you give away what you hold dear, everything else is easy to release.

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8 (ESV)

God gave it all, because He loves you and me. May that truth grace your heart in a new way today. And by His grace, may this greatest gift of love ever conceived spill out of your life into the hearts that surround you.


I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it's safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don't look quite like they did ten years ago, but I've learned along the way dreams do come true ... even if you're not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife's life at www.katymccown.com and I'd love for you to visit me!

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife’s life at www.katymccown.com, and I’d love for you to visit me!

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