Purposeful Faith

Tag - peace

How Do You Choose to Live?

to live

Catastrophe hit my family, and while I can’t go into the details here, I can assure you it shredded my heart. It scared me silly and caused me to release tirades on people I love. I am not as good as you think I am. Nor am I as good as I thought I was. I’m a whole lot worse.

Yet, through this there’s a hidden blessing: I see how much I need Jesus. His light. Because apart from Him, my thoughts are dark.

Getting to this thought is freedom.

Jesus came “to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” (Jo. 9:39)

Apart from the nature of Jesus (love, kindness, goodness, truth, nobility, purity, loveliness, excellence, wisdom, humility or gratefulness) all I see is darkness. Worthlessness. Vanity. Diversions. Fear. Voids. Schemes. Faking. Swirling tornadoes of emotions that lead to an inward focus, plus a generalized sense God won’t come through.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Mt. 6:22

The choice is ours. . .

Light or dark?
Dark or light?

Reliant on the Living Water?
Departing from Him?

All Jesus, all the time?
Or me, myself, and I, all the time?

While our world hates calling things one way or another and we tend to desire shades of safety, sometimes one-way-or-the-other choices are exactly what God ordered.

What will you choose to be:
Lukewarm?
Or on fire?

All things hope, all things faith, all the time…not done with perfection, but certainly done from a heart of dedication?

What if we were to choose to see faith, hope and love activated by the grace of God, as we. . .

Pick our kids up from school.
Respond to annoying people.
Grab the bills from the mailbox.
Go to that doctor’s appointment.
Contemplate our yeses and nos.
Let go of our defenses.
Follow God.
Seek His guidance.
Deal with unanswered prayers.
Confront our emotions.
Wake up.
Go to sleep.
Live.

What if we chose to really believe?

“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses.” Heb. 11:1 AMP

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Stand Strong During Trials

During Trials

I have very good intentions to meet daily with God. As much as I can, I carve out morning time to spend with him. Most mornings, I put him first when I wake up. Although not lately.

This burdens me. Jesus is seed for my life. I either grow life, or…I don’t.

Many of us find seeds thrown down, but as shown in Matthew 13, one of these 4 things happens:

1. The birds eat them after they were thrown on the path.

The enemy comes and gets you caught in discouragement, despair or doubt. He steals clarity regarding this word and replaces it with confusion. Nothing takes root.

2. They fall on shallow soil with rock underneath. Plants spring up quickly, then die in the sun because they don’t go deep.

Your heart is not prepared to embrace it and the insecurity and worry underneath prevents it from growing. Trials become issues that cut off the life God wants to grow. Nothing takes deep root, so you fall over when heavy winds come.

3. Thorns choke out the tender growth.
Distractions of the world (phone notifications, schedules, agendas, television, worries and worldly pursuits) crowd out the faith, hope and love God desires to grow within you.

4. They grow deep into fertile soil.

Deep within you, roots grow. They reach not just the surface level of your being, but the inner heart-places of your being. They change you from the inside out with true and lasting transformation.

To let God in you, into the deep, is to have your life deeply changed.

What can you do to cultivate fertile ground? How can you prepare your heart to receive the best of God?

Here are a couple ideas and resources…

1. Seek God with humility: Be prepared to have him point out areas in your life He wants to change.

2. Get a good daily devotional. For example, I am a contributor to the 365-day (in)Courage devotional called, “A Moment to Breathe.” It is a great way to start your day from the place of the heart. Learn more.

3. Look for God. Take notice of themes and of moves of God in your life. He may be calling you to something or re-teaching you something he really wants you to grasp.

4. Yield to His ways. Rather than pushing forward with what seems right (see: #3), go with what God says is right and let him teach you through your discomfort along the way.

Fertile hearts get deep roots that keep standing during the worst of storms. The high winds and trials of life can’t knock them over.

About “A Moment to Breathe”

With 365 readings, from 80 writers (including myself) each day begins with a passage of Scripture, tells a story of everyday faith, and encourages you to take a moment to breathe with a simple but fun way to complete your day. So kick off your shoes and join us for a relaxing but special time, where friends come together and share the real stuff of everyday faith.

Learn more about A Moment to Breathe.

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

What if I’m not saved, loved, chosen?

not saved,

Thoughts raced in my head, leaving me rattled.

What if God doesn’t forgive me for all the mistakes I made? What if I only believe I’m freed?

What if I am not good enough for him, when all’s said and done?

What if He doesn’t want me, when he comes back. . . and, I’m the last woman standing as he turns away from me. . . what if?”

Has your mind ever calculated the what ifs of faith? The “What ifs of Faith” say I may not be in God’s love. I might be left behind. I might unlovable. I might never have been included in his saving faith.

Many things can trouble us and make us wonder about our relationship with him. Words of another, your past, your sense of not being good enough, your endless faults, or internal criticism that shouts in your mind, your fears. . .

What, in the rare silence and contemplation of your heart, do you hear?

As I took a walk today, questions stirred. I noted the dark rain clouds, the heaviness of the world and the shifting movement of a life passing me by.

One day Jesus will return. One day he will come for me. It may not be far away. 

I walked, wanting Jesus, needing Him – his truth, his faithfulness.

God, will you show me your glory?

No sooner did I pray that I saw it: a rainbow. A promise so clear, as God’s faithfulness peaked through the heaviness of the dark and despairing clouds covering our pain-ridden world.

God is here.
His promises are true.
Faithful He will be.
What He says will come, will come.
He is who He says He is.
He will come in glory.

And I? I’ll be cloaked in his grace. Covered by it. Dancing in it. Freed by it. Owned by it. Released from every burden that wants to convict or distance me from his love. Jesus did not come to judge the world, but to save it. And I am saved, not by my own actions, but by Him. Released. Taken care of entirely.

What freedom!

Freedom exists behind every dark cloud. Freedom is Jesus. His grace waits to bust you out of the heaviness, regrets or bitterness clenching hold of your spirit. It’s all Jesus.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph 2:8-9

Yes and amen.

Prayer:

Jesus, we proclaim you as the Promise Keeper, the Lord, the King of Kings over everything. We declare you to be our Lord. We confess our sins to you today. We turn away from them. We want you above all else, and nothing apart from you. We give you our life, our heart, our song and hopes. We ask, in your complete goodness to have your way in our life.  Thank you that you cleanse us, restore us and renew us right now. We are living testimonies of your goodness. Your grace and peace frees us. We overflow with contentment and joy. We receive all this, and your full inheritance and give it room to live in our lives. We praise you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

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Give yourself a break

a break

Are you as hard on yourself as I am?

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

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

I rolled my eyes.

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

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

Do you ever question yourself? Constantly?

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

Jesus doesn’t do this. We do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

 

Getting What You Need, First.

Me first.

Me first.

Me first.

I’d never walk up to you and say it, but underneath my smiling and warm veneer, my heart often says…

Me first. I’m not sure I can trust you enough to give to you.

Me first. I want to make sure I am provided for.

Me first. I need to get my words understood before I understand yours.

Me first. I must hold my money tightly to make sure there is enough.

Me first. It is better to keep distance from you, so you don’t irritate me.

Me first. I need to be seen/recognized/loved first, before you are.

Me first. If you serve me, then I can serve you with peace about doing so. 

Me first. If I feel good about me, then I can feel good about you.

Me. Me. Me.

My mouth would never say it, but overwhelmingly and often, my heart does. This is a massive problem.

“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7

What is your heart speaking that your mouth would never admit?

Where are you putting yourself first instead of last?

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Mt. 20:16

Where are you making it about your interests, not theirs?

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Phil. 2:3

Where do you figure because others act this way, you can too?

“When they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Cor. 10:12

Often, we think it’s in going first, getting first, and securing our place first that our life becomes full. What a lie. The enemy was the first liar. He put himself first, before God, and now suffers the consequences: eternity-long discontentment. Me-first mentalities never bring ultimate fulfillment. They may abate an insecurity for a moment, but to the detriment of overflowing soul-contentment.

Contentment is only found when our heart is content in God. And joy is found only God’s way, not via our hyper-dense, over-packed mega-highway to self-glory, achievement and fulfillment. On this road, we only get stuck. In miles and miles of congestion that leaves us breathing in choke-inducing fumes, not peace.

What me-first mentality might God be calling you to surrender today?

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

When You’re Out of God & Need a Miracle

need a miracle

Things in life far from work out perfectly.

I was driving to a conference the other day. With a quarter tank, I had my mind on a gas station, but I didn’t feel tremendous urgency as I drove. Pulling onto a new highway I’d never driven, I realized 20 miles in…I was headed for trouble. Left or right, five miles and five miles, there was not a single exit. Miles grew on miles and little by little, my heart beat with the anxiety of I-am-not-going-to-make it. There was no turning back.

I was deep into the trenches of my problem. Maybe you are today too…

In the pitch dark surroundings of the early morning, I imagined myself stalling onto the shoulder. One that there wasn’t much of. Would my car be stuck, partially out onto this dark highway? I imagined myself confronting a stranger on the side of the road as a random car pulled over.

Maybe your life appears dark today, too. Maybe your imaginings are starting to get out of control.

All I had was God. All I had was him and prayer. A hope and a desire that he, the one who says he is King of the Impossible, could do the impossible. The little gauge to my gas was now below the empty line. I prayed. But when I prayed, I decided to 100% believe God was going to pull through for me.

He was:

  1. Going to pull a gas station exit out of nowhere.
  2. Going to supernaturally fill my tank with gas.
  3. Going to do some other wild thing that would make all of this good.

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Mt. 21:22

I don’t believe this bible verse is dead. It is our deadness – our fleshness, that does.

I believed. I believed in the pitch darkness, no matter how doubt was screaming at me. I didn’t listen. I told it to shut up.

And, I kept believing…until I saw a sign: a service exit was coming in three miles.

I pulled in. God restored the gas. He also restored my mind’s belief that there is no impossible scenario for God. God runs on full, no matter how empty we feel. He sees where we need to head. By believing, we open the spiritual doors to our place of victory.

Believe. Don’t let doubt scream at you any longer. I don’t care how many years you’ve been suffering, how far off your husband is, what you’ve done, or what kind of mess it looks like around you. Let the spiritual truth of God give you supernatural gas to carry you through. He will. Oh yes, he will.

Let me say it again: God will give you the gas you need. He will provide.

Today is your day of belief. Take it. I am believing with you.

Prayer: God, thank you that you can do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we can ask or imagine. We praise you for this. You are not only good, but you are glorious, glory-filled and gracious. Thank you that right here, right now, we can start believing, trusting and abiding in you. You will answer. We will wait on you, in faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Is God Far?

God far

I know the feeling. You tell God you want to be with him, but your mind goes left and right as you read the bible. You get in the car and start to pray on your commute only to get caught up in worry about that one thing or another. You try to pay attention in church only to get distracted by the lady’s shoes and matching handbag. You don’t hear a word that is said. You sing. Empty words.

You lose God.

Where did he go? Why is He far?

But IS God far?

“The LORD is near to all who call on him.” Ps. 145:18

God isn’t far. We are.

We are far from our first love. It hurts to admit it. We are distanced by our own days and ways. It is usually hard to see. We are far because some person, problem or predicament swallowed us whole and we are so caught up in it, we can’t peer over its immensity.

God isn’t far. We are.

This may hurt to admit today. How are you far?  Are you far because you feel hurt? Are you far because you feel unloved? Are you far because life is hard? Because problems mount? Because you feel let down? What is it?

Refreshment and relationship waits for you. There is a simple how-to or must-do that God always answers. One way to bring connection that diminishes isolation. Here it is:

“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.” Acts 3:19-20

Repentance = refreshment. God’s presence comes. You get sent out full of the Lord. This is not a one-time thing, but an all the time thing. All the way up to the day the Lord returns. And you find yourself at home with the Creator.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

When You Say My Situation Is Impossible

Impossible

I get your emails. I know a large majority of you have impossible situations.

Many times, I can’t read your words without reaching my hand up to my heart or crunching up my face in sadness. You all have some heartbreaking stuff going on in your life. I do wish I could fix it. I wish I could reach right in and just tidy up what is terribly wrong.

God hasn’t given me this ability. He hasn’t given it to you either.

But what he has given us is remembrance. He’s given us remembrance of faithfulness. Can you remember it?

Can you think of another horribly desperate and difficult time? A time when you believed there was no way, yet God made a way? Let it come to you. If you can’t remember, sit with this for a minute.

“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.” Is. 46:9

Your God, who no man is like, who transcends this earth, who has all resources in his hands, who is the specialist of the impossible, who made a way through the Red Sea, who broke the power of death, who would climb any mountain to find you, who died to save you. . . is God. Your God, who sees your tears, who bottles them up, who knows your every thought, who sees your every move, who sympathizes with your every weakness, who will one day wipe away your tears, is your God.

Your God is unlike any other. He does things unlike any human. He fixes (remember: David, Jonah, Job) unlike any way we could come up with.

He will arrive. He always shows up. His love never fails. His faithfulness endures forever.

He is not a God who lets daughters down. Hold firm in faith. God is moving in the places you cannot see.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

When You’re 100% Certain: You’re Lost

Lost

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

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

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

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

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

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

More irritation climbed my back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

What it Means to Have a Good Father

Good Father

I am God’s daughter. I am the daughter of a good, good father.

What does this mean?

To my heart it means:

  1. God inclines his eyes to watch me.
  2. He enjoys me.
  3. He is glad he made me.
  4. He wants me.
  5. He delights in giving to me.
  6. He will always help me.
  7. He opens up his inheritance to me, gladly.
  8. He sees me as a reflection of him.
  9. He cheers me on as I go the right way.
  10. He seeks to grow me, so I can thrive.
  11. He wants me to know I am safe with him.
  12. He believes in me.
  13. He thought of me before creating me and liked his workmanship.
  14. He considered my abilities, strengths, character, and frame.
  15. He speaks over me that I am good.
  16. He wants to be near me.
  17. He loves it when I spend time with him.
  18. He delights over me with singing.
  19. He declares I am altogether beautiful, flaws and all.
  20. He gives grace in good measure, without casting down shame.
  21. He hands out wisdom and understanding with good pleasure.
  22. He blesses me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
  23. He freely gives the best of himself to me.
  24. He encourages me to unite in heart-centered relationships with other women.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship  through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. . .” (Eph. 1:3-6)

What number from above do you need to let soak in? What truth seems a little distant from you? What do you have a hard time believing?

Ask your good Father to comfort you in that way and make known that exact nature of his good, good character. He will.

And this makes all the difference. When a daughter knows she has a good father, she finally finds peace.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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