Purposeful Faith

Tag - mercy

Mercy, Grace, and the Wall-Eyed Fit

Post by: Jami Amerine

Our foster-love has entered into the broad world of the wall-eyed fit.

We have epoxy-stained concrete floors in our house.  It only took a couple times for her to rethink throwing her entire body weight onto the floor and screaming her head off.
It hurts, so the effectiveness of showing her frustration was overruled by the knot on her noggin.

Now, when she is frustrated she gently sits, then lies blithely on the floor… and then proceeds to throw a fit.

We cannot help but giggle as the drama of her tantrum is overridden by her cautious technique of getting to the pinnacle of the spectacle.

Often we wonder, as long as it took her to get prostrate had she forgotten what she was mad about?

And this may seem silly but recently I was upset with God.  I felt He had pulled the rug out from under me.  I found myself flat on my back, hurt and angry that He hadn’t been there to stop the insanity train from leaving the station.

For the better part of two days, I ignored my habitual instinct to “pray without ceasing.”  I found myself audibly saying, “I am not ready to talk to you about this…”

I went so far as to get out some stationery and pen to write out my complaint. With Thesaurus in hand and my gift for the written word, I would tell God exactly how I felt about the current downward spiral.

Yet the longer I postponed the tantrum, the more I worked through the calamity, the more my vision cleared… and all of the sudden I had new clarity.

He didn’t do this to me.

There were natural consequences for our current trial.  He was not dishing out troubles, yes He allowed them and then walked with us through them, but He was not in the business of destroying us.

When did I first believe Him to be cruel I do not know?

But I am rejoicing in the new-found message of GRACE.

Freedom in Jesus wasn’t something He promised just to hear Himself talk.
If we are free… then we are free indeed.

How I love falling into His arms.

How I need Him to catch me and show me it is all okay.

He makes all things new.  And all things work together for good for those who love Him.  In the midst of a trial, I was refreshed and renewed that He was for me.

He is for my marriage.
He is for my children.
He is for my good will.

Who is this God who we encourage others to adore?  Is the walk of salvation a trick manifested just to get others to fall in line?  Or is this the real deal?

Pray, I say to you He is so real… so dear and wise.

In my folly, I have questioned Him. In the explicit moments, He has welcomed me, without judgment or harshness, and allowed me to lie at His feet and worship.

What God is this that shows such mercy and love?

My God… my love and life’s breath.  He will never leave me or forsake me.

He is for me and He is with me, affording mercy and grace… even unto the carefully executed wall-eyed fit.

Matthew 10:16 (NASB)”Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” 

 

 

Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

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When You Let God Down

Let God Down

Half my life I lived like this man, saying: “What good thing must I do to reach eternal life?” (Mt. 19:16)

Within my mind, I figured the answer was, “Kelly, fix everything you’re doing wrong.” Jesus responds in a similar fashion to this man, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have…” (Mt. 19:21)

If I want to be perfect, go and offer more play time to my children.
If I want to be perfect, go and make better dinners.
If I want to be perfect, go to the store and buy tableware for get-togethers.
If I want to be perfect, go and find God and stop feeling guilty.
If I want to be perfect, go to Africa or India and be a missionary.

What do you need to do to be perfect?
What are you constantly criticizing yourself about?

Jesus goes on, “It’s harder for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” (Mt. 19:24)

I know a person who feels so guilty about money. Their money makes them feel like they’ve been caught red-handed and God will slap them for having it. They nearly hate themselves for it. I am sure, they’ll probably hand it all out the very second before their last breath, just to make up for the guilt of holding on to it so long. Just to make sure God knew, they didn’t really need it after all.  I think they’ve missed the point.

But, who am I to judge? I am guilty too. I am just as rich…

I am rich in my self-sufficiency.
I am rich with my desire to manage daily happenings.
I am rich in comfort.
I am rich with my judgments of others.
I am rich with own opinions.
I am rich with the desire to have earthly security.

I am hardly poor and deeply in need of Christ. I am hardly poor and wanting the fullness of him in every moment. I am hardly poor and wanting less of my flesh and more of his Spirit.

I am so rich. So rich, I feel Jesus might not like me anymore. You’ve ever been there? Feeling so off course that you’ll land shipwrecked and stuck frostbitten in Antartica without a God to save you?

Jesus’ disciples finally asked, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus said, “This is impossible for human beings, but for God, everything is possible.” (Mt. 19:26)

And, there it is. Like the ending to an epic movie – in sweeps the hero, the rescuer, the knight who saves the day – it is Jesus. He knows what we are without him is — ruined. But, he also knows, who we are with him is – rescued.

Jesus knew we’d never be perfect.
Jesus knew we all act – rich.

And this is the point. Jesus’ on-earth arrival points to the fact – there is none perfect, nor rich, except Jesus. Yet, in the gap of our wealth, we have available the wealth of Jesus. When we accept it, we intercept spiritual riches earth could never muster.

Jesus hands out what we believed the world never could. Jesus changes what we figured was written in stone. Jesus blasts through barriers, even when the barriers appears like our own wretchedness.

Underneath everything, Savior saves; he brings the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, not to enforce Christian guilt, but to relieve it.

Inhale. Jesus knows failings; he releases them in the sight of his grace. And, what we are left with is not only an amazing ending, but an amazing here and now. A place we can rest.

Related Reading:
When Life Comes Down On You
When You Feel Abandoned By God
5 Personal Vulnerability Points That the Devil Attacks

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5 Things That Self-Destruct Faith (Which You’re Probably Doing)

Self-Destruct Faith

Faith.

It is the best thing we have and, yet the hardest thing to walk by.
It is the gift of moving beyond our self, and all the same, the gift of seeing into our self.
It is the know-how that we don’t know-how.
It is the reasoning, others call mis-reasoned.
It is the bootcamp for endurance and perseverance.
It is the beginning of progress and the end of self-loathing.
It is both our movement and the mercy of Jesus co-mingling.
It is the knowledge that what we can’t do, we always can do – through Christ.
It is a step towards the unknown, where we trust the known is holding us.
It is the access point to amazing.
It is the hope of all glory laid down on earth.

It is our calling, the thing that I love and the thing I so often hate. It stretches me. It pushes me. It calls me to the cliff, in a way, it wraps it’s hands around me and shoves me over m cliff of safety. It makes my heart pump. It gets me sweaty. But, all the same, it works every time, when I let it.

So why don’t I let it work?

I just went to Allume, a bloggers conference. It was destined to be a glorious time! A time God had cut out for me to love others, to offer prayer and to walk with him. Yet, at the very beginning of the event, faith started to walk out and doubts started to walk in. All I seemed to be  left with was a slip and slide experience of doubts ready to splash away all my dreams of excitement.  Whoosh! Away she goes.

So, what is one to do when we see ourselves slipping away from God? When we find the trigger point to our doubting point has been pulled? We have to find out what compelled us to pull the trigger in the first place.

5 Ways We Self-Destruct Daily Faith

  1. Forgetting Grace

    When we walk hitting our self with the force of all we can never do right, we walk with an internal wrecking ball that stands to tear down the joy we have in the Lord.  Forgetting grace means, building a monument to shame that you can’t stop looking at.

    TRUTH: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. La. 3:22

  2. Being Someone Else

    The second we walk in someone else’s skin is the second our own skin ends up crawling in discouragement and doubt. We can’t expect to feel full when we are emptying all that God created us to be on to the floor to be trampled upon.

    TRUTH: For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7

  3. Looking at Other’s Best Pictures

    When we take those horrid both-eyes-closed-with-a-double-chin pictures and compare them against others glamour shots, it is no wonder we feel like God couldn’t love us.

    TRUTH: (Nothing) will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 8:39

  4. Thinking There Really is No Plan

    When we think he’s not sending us anywhere, we start sitting nowhere. We will fall back on the couch – stagnant, scared, indignant and like repellant to change. Loaded schedules, relaxation, timidity and entertainment become the pursuit of our life.

    TRUTH: So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev. 3:16 (to be considered in light of John 3:16)

  5. Not Keeping an Always-Eye Out for God

    When we go through the day living by our minds rulings, we consistently miss who is ruling. It is the fastest way to move away from God, fast.

    TRUTH: In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Prov. 16:9

God has great stored for you. Will you open it? Will you walk to it?

For me, at Allume, my soul got right with faith on day 1, so that on days 2, 3 and 4, God could walk through. And he did. I praise Him for this return, because if I didn’t there is no doubt I would have wandered like a lost little red riding hood.

What I came to see was the faith-eating wolves where really sheep that God wants to use to bless me far beyond my greatest pre-conceived dreams. Taking a stand in faith, is always the best stand one can take.

Where will you stand – lost? Or found in God’s great plan?

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Do Feelings Rule You?

Feelings Rule

Guilt.

It hits me with a sledgehammer a lot. Normally, it concentrates it’s whacks in one place. For me, it is in my mothering. So often, I ask myself: Am I fun enough? Caring enough? Playful enough? Instructional enough? I walk around trying my hardest, while, all at the same time, feeling at my neediest, my guiltiest.

Just the other day, my 4-year old son looked at me and said, “Mommy, I love daddy a little bit more than you.”

HUH? After all I do for you! (then the tsunami rushed over me sweeping away all value I have as a mother).

Do you, son?

Yes, but not a ton, just a little bit more.

May I ask you why?

Well, you look a little strange, mom. I mean, your body is more odd than mine. If you were like daddy and me, then I would love you the same.

And there you have it. While I was walking around defeated, hunched over and breathless at the thought of piles and mounds and landfills of failing, my son was just being a 4-year old in his 4-year old world. He was simply saying, it’s not you mommy, it’s just a phase.

How often do we look at things that have nothing to do with us
and immediately feelings of guilt?

In a way, we load up all the bad things about ourselves into a huge offering of inadequacy and put it before the feet of Jesus and say, “I stink. What are you going to do about it?”

Certainly we don’t want to do the opposite and act like this: “This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’” Prov. 30:20

One unable to see their wrongs is one
unable to allow Jesus to make them right.

Yet, we have no need for this: When anyone is unfaithful to the LORD by sinning unintentionally in regard to any of the LORD’s holy things, they are to bring to the LORD as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect…It is a guilt offering. Lev. 5:15

Sacrificing our own animal instincts, unloved emotions and bad feelings
upon an altar of guilt is not a standard that God upholds anymore.

So, why do we keep doing it?

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor. 5:21

The one without defect is not found in our self.

The one without defect is not admonished of guilts
through a continuous offering of side effects.

The one without defect never has been and never will be us.

The one without defect is the one sledgehammered to a cross to abolish us from the painful rendering of guilt-laced feelings so long ago.

If we feel unsure. His blood says, “Do your best and trust me with the rest.”
If we reside in shame, his blood says, “Don’t hang out with lowly feelings, let me clean you through my healing.”
If we sin, his blood says, “Confess and know that I have covered that.”

What cause to celebrate! What need to rejoice! What once noosed us has no rope. What held us back is no longer the starting gate we can’t leap out of. What cripples us is let go in the free grace of Jesus’ love.

A love that says, “Live free. I will take you to where you need to go, trust me in the process. I don’t demand no flaws, just full trust.”

As I look at my Savior, I see full acceptance. And I see that what grips me so often is gripping his life out of me.

Do you live by the pulse of your feelings
or do you live by the pulse of God’s great heart beating only for you?

Lord, may our conscience align with your truth. Not the truth of our feelings, but only truth as only outlined by your Word. May we live full of the fact that you are not demanding perfection, but are aware of our imperfection until the day that you make it complete in Christ Jesus. More and more we are growing into you. Until then, we have all we need to live complete. Give us a fresh outpouring of your grace, so that we can know it and live it. Amen.

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Linking with #FiveMinuteFriday, #LiveFreeThursday and #DancewithJesus.

Mercy for a Broken Spirit

Mercy for a Broken Spirit

I gossip.
I lie.
I am prideful.
Jealous.
Discontent.
Impatient.

When I see the face of my sins, it nearly breaks my spirit. It burdens.

But, broken pieces draw us to the original crafter –
the one who puts all things back together again.

And in his light I can see:

I did everything wrong, but Christ did everything right.
I did nothing of worth, but he is entirely worthy.
I dropped the ball, but he holds it – the entire earth is in his hands.
I am destined to death, but he took death on the cross so I wouldn’t have to.

I come to him a broken daughter
and he leaves me as a beautiful bride.

Mercy. Mercy after mercy, time after time, minute after minute, offense after offense the Lord never stops extending, keeps offering and keeps keeping on – after a broken heart that continually draws wayward from him.

What I don’t deserve, he gives. What I am not, he is.

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. (La. 3:23)

He never stops giving. 24-hours later, new mercies arrive.
His ways are greater than our days.

His mercy makes us worthy and his grace keeps us blessed.

Mercy definition (Google):
compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

Grace definition (Google):  
the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Mercy brings us into the goodness of God; grace is the extension of it.
Mercy saves us from punish; grace brings us into joy.
Mercy takes what was ours (punishment); grace gives us what isn’t.

What we don’t deserve we get. What we deserve was taken from us. In this, all offenses are seen through a new light, the light of Jesus sitting in glory on high.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

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Mercy Inspires Worship

In View of God's Mercy

Post By: Angela Parlin

Everyone worship the Lord.

Ascribe Him the glory due Him. Proclaim His majesty.

Be in awe before such power.

Come worship wonderful Yahweh, in all His holy beauty.

Give Him the honor due His name!

(Excerpts from Psalm 29, NIV & Passion Translation)

One of my highlights this year has been sitting with the Lord alone most days, praying without multitasking. In this time, I worship and adore God, confess my sins, thank Him for an incredible amount of blessings, and pour out my cares before Him, asking for His help.

I had no idea worship would become the part of my prayers I long for most.

I didn’t realize I would set out to give the Lord the honor due His name–yet I would receive so much blessing.

It’s not that I failed to worship the Lord before. It’s just that I didn’t take regular time away from other people–and other tasks–in order to worship Him alone. To worship without multitasking.

But what is worship, really? Worship is often more than sitting with God alone, in prayer and song.

Look up the definition of worship, and you’ll find a number of ideas. Some think worship is a service you attend, a feeling you have toward a deity, or homage paid to God or another sacred object.

Oxford Dictionary defines worship as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”

Paul, the apostle, offers another definition of worship in Romans 12:1-2,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… (NIV)

True worship begins with a view of God’s mercy.

We have done nothing to deserve His kindness, yet He heaps it upon us.

His mercy includes His unending love for us, even while we were yet sinners, His grace and forgiveness, eternal life by faith, our reconciliation to God, the gift of the Holy Spirit, newness of life, peace, joy, hope, freedom, and even more than all of this.

Just try to remember God’s mercies toward you, without being moved to worship. It’s impossible!

So we worship God, by focusing on His mercies, by preaching the gospel to ourselves again and again, because we so easily forget who God is, the depths of His love for us, and all we have IN Him.

Paul urges us further, to offer our bodies, our whole selves, to God. This is our action step.

We present–or give over to God’s control–our bodies, including our heart and thoughts and attitudes. We do not follow the pattern of the world any longer, because as we offer ourselves to God, He cleans and changes and renews us. 

This practice of viewing God’s mercies, of simply remembering who God is and telling Him, has surprised me this year. The more I worship God, the more I adore Him in my heart.

My whole life falls into clarity when I adore God and remember who He is, and who I am in light of Him.

My cares and concerns don’t disappear–but they fade behind the majesty of God.

So everyone, let’s worship the Lord. Let’s remember who He is, in all His holy beauty, and give Him the honor due His name.

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Angela Parlin

 Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 

Do You Want to Be Blessed?

want to be blessed

Do you want to be blessed? Maybe life has kicked you while you’re down and you need a pick-me-up. Or, maybe nothing exciting has happened in your life for a while? Or maybe you feel you deserve something good.

We all want blessings.  And, we serve a God who delights in giving good things. He loves us like a father. He wants to bestow his love & his gift. It doesn’t get much better than being blessed by the Lord.

But, if we want to be blessed, we are wise to take a look at our part in the process. What are values that the Lord loves to bless…Read the rest of my post on Abby McDonald’s blog, Fearfully Made Mom.

***Plus, be sure to sign up for the Kelly Balarie & Friends Blog Posts via email.  We have so many exciting things to say.  Click here. And, you will be entered to win an Amazon gift card!