Purposeful Faith

Tag - peace

Fight Trials Like Jesus

Fight Trials Like Jesus

What if Jesus was ready to redefine the way you endure hardships?
Would you listen?

What if – rather than trying to run from that tsunami of terror,
you were to find some peace as you head into it?

For me, it sounds kind of crazy, because normally when I see trials on the horizon I ball up like a hundred and one rubber bands balled up and ready to break at the same time. My tension is high, my anticipation is big and my worries run fast.

Jesus though, didn’t run from what threatened him, he threatened what tried to make him run.  We may not think of Jesus as an aggravator or a reprimander, but hold tight, because in one way his strategy was just this.

Before we get into that, Jesus teaches us much about resetting our mindset when we are being set up to be torn down.

Here’s how his ways can restructure ours:

People hated Jesus for no reason. Jo. 15:25
He said they will hate us too.

God had the power to save him from suffering through prayer. Mt. 26:42
Prayer is the one door that never closes. When we walk through it we always find God.

His “kingdom did not belong on here.” Jo. 18:36
When we know our true home, we don’t get as concerned when our earthly one gets ransacked.

He had complete authority, always and at every minute. Jo. 19:11
When we know that Jesus is in complete control, suddenly we realize he holds the handle on all that wants to sweep us under.

“I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am.” Jo. 15:11
If Jesus could find some happiness in the road leading to death, we can too.

Jesus knew he was under control of the one completely in control.

To walk Jesus’ walk, we have to walk, like him, doubtless and faith-full.

I get Jesus’ approach, because every time I let the doubts creep in, the faith creeps out.

The devil said,

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

The devil challenged Christ’s ability, status and loyalty.

Do you ever feel challenged in doubts of what you can do,
what God can do for you and how he will get you through?

Jesus, doesn’t stick around playing games with these kinds of words, these change agents of faith, instead he fights back by:

1. Using the word of God as his best weapon.
“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Mt. 4:4

2. Telling what is bad, what is full of questions about God, to move aside.
Away from me, Satan! Mt. 4:10

3. Knowing who is in control of all control that ever controlled and that will control.
For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Mt. 4:10

When the devil started to show Jesus a way out of the trial, Jesus knew, sometimes the calling is through the fire. He wasn’t going to sit around while his strength was depleted.

Even when the man after God’s own heart, Peter, spoke doubts as he pulled Jesus aside, Jesus spoke: “Satan, get away from me! You are thinking like everyone else and not like God.” Mk. 8:33

If we think like God, God will help us think in a way where we endure, where we make it, where we aren’t burdened, but blessed by our trials.

He will get us through.
He will hold our hand.
He will fight on our behalf.
He will pave a way to eternity.
He will lead us in all truth.
He will hold us on the pillow of his love.
He will not leave our side.

Let’s fight back like Jesus.

When we do, we will see, like Jesus that:

God is for endurance and the devil is for discouragement.
Doubts pull us away from our mission, yet faith commissions.
The Word of God is the Word that helps.
God’s control, brings our heart under control.

Fight trials like Jesus. Go in his faith. Know that God is with you.

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Dodging The Arrows of Life

arrows of life

Here I am.
This is me, Lord.
I am waiting.
And just trying to dodge the arrows of life.

Will you run to my rescue and save the day?

I stand in a field of open vulnerability – arms wide open, head lifted, hoping. The darkness is thick and the opponents are many. I can cut the weight of circumstances with a knife and it seems they might cut me too. 

Am I going to get hurt?  Much like the good samaritan,
will I be left crying, on the side of the road?

They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. Lu. 10:30

Why do you leave good people, with bad problems God?

My beating chest is unsure,
but you say – what comes to beat me, you’ve already beaten.

What terrorizes to take me down,
was already taken down when you were lifted up.

What appears to be breaking will not only be fully molded and made, but also fully established.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 
1 Pet. 5:10

So, though my heart feels arms wide open to pain, my soul relishes in the idea that I am rescued from it.

I wrap my arms around the here, the now and say, if I don’t have faith, I don’t have anything – except fear.

Faith makes God my primary weapon.

It hushes “I can’t” and loudens “I can.”

It restores what life tries to steal: Peace in you, through you and for you.

It takes hold and makes you go.

So, I tell myself: God will do it.

He won’t abandon me to fear.
He’ll make a way for hope.
He won’t let peace go.
He will shield me from the arsenal of arrows.
If they seem to hit me, he will seemingly restore me one day.

God is closer than the pain – if I really let him reign.

He flips bad circumstances so they never look the same.
What seemed down, gives us new meaning as we look up.
What looked dark, becomes light.
What wanted to leave me for dead, leaves me with new life.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. Lu. 10: 34

As the good samaritan is rescued, so am I.

Do you see your rescue? Do you believe in it?

Like the good samaritan, left for dead, you are being brought back to life:

He was despised & forsaken. 
A man of sorrows & grief.
One from whom men hide their face – despised.
We did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried; 
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken…
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, 
He was crushed for our iniquities; 
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, 
And by His scourging we are healed.  
Is. 53:3-12

The more we hook up to this truth, the more we strengthen in the recharging power of amazing grace.

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Linking with #FiveMinuteFriday and #DancewithJesus.

 

Filling Your Discouragement Hole

Discouragement Hole

God do you see me?

I know you say:
You are with me,
you strengthen me,
you help me,
you take my hand and keep me from falling. (Is. 41:10)

I know you say these things, I do.

But, do you really see me? Because sometimes I feel alone.

And sometimes, I look for your uplifting voice to be carried in by a messenger of your life-giving word. Sometimes I look for that. I watch for it. I wait for it’s arrival.

Is that bad God?

Certainly, I don’t want to get all of man’s approval only to lose yours.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10

If we are seeking our utmost for our highest,
we won’t demand utmost from our neighbor.

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Mt. 6:1

With God, our plays to be seen, only result in us being unseen.
Our dreams to look good, only steal our good robes and crowns.
A heart that is set on the scale of perceptions, is simply led in deception.

Yet, the crumb-size difference between reliance on man and reliance on God resides in the heart. Its always here that we can magnify our intentions to see if there is any true value in our pursuits. 

The heart that says, “God you are my master. I am serving you at all times” is the heart that God pours into. God uses all of his resources to healthily build into this kind of person: two of which are his Word and the word of others.

And, boy, you know I need it, sometimes, don’t you God?

God has placed us in a world among man for a reason.  God is the author of a timely spoken word for a reason, because he wants to fill our heart – with him.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Heb. 10:24-26

Sometimes, it’s that detailed word or a shared celebratory victory dance
that beats off despair, discouragement and doubt.

It’s the fist bump with a co-laborer
that often brings God’s next big dream to the surface.

It’s that small word of love that wipes away
the tears of “I can’t do this anymore.”

At times when you feel like you can’t lift another foot.
When you don’t know if your making a difference.
When you can’t understand how God could use a person as jacked-up as you.
When you are unsure if his great purpose will ever be fulfilled.

It’s those times, encouragement is vital, called for and a great power play in the toolbox of God.

If we need these words, these confirmations, then how much more might others need them too?

The other day, God dropped this at my feet (literally), as I was walking my son to his Vacation Bible School. A cross was lying on the floor by the door, it said:

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

God will fulfill it. He will do it. He will bring us through.

But, how often do we listen to the other voice, “God won’t do it. He will drop us. He will leave us. We can’t do it.”

Who reminds us of this truth-line? 
Do you remind others? They are dying for it.

God calls us to broadcast this truth with a megaphone – not in a shy, guilty or self-seeking way, but in a loud, proud and glory-inducing way.

For, the time is now. The stakes are high. The purpose is huge. The call is great. The hands must unite. The people must pull together. The sisters and brothers must live like sisters and brothers, because God’s church is waiting.

The bottom line is, I need you sisters and brothers. If I want to keep going on this thing called perseverance of faith, I can’t do it alone. You can’t either.

We all need that little push to push us beyond our own self. Christ did it when he died on the cross to push us into the unreachable places of hope and he calls us to do the same here on earth – to push others into new hope.

Hope that spreads faith,
then spreads his power,
to spread new purpose.

The more we spread it, the more God ends up spreading his own love on the slice of our heart that needs it most.

discourgement hole

So, I ask you all with the most humble heart, will you come alongside me?
Will you come alongside others?

Will you upbuild the most prized possession of God – the church –
the most active movement of Jesus Christ on earth?

This means speaking thank you to that person who can’t do it alone.
This means sharing how a message impacted you.
This means offering a small act of kindness to the one who constantly gives week after week.
This means sending a verse of love to one who may be on their last leg.
This means keeping in prayer those who always keep you in the faith.
This means generating faith in those who are starting to feel weary.

Encouragement is more than lip service
it is active service to those in need.

ANNOUNCING #UROCK!
It is your way to get involved in building the church up so high that it reaches the full heights of heaven.  #UROCK is a day of encouraging the encouragers. Whether it is your pastor, women’s minsitry director, worship leader, bible study teacher, mentor, favorite radio host or whomever, send them a tweet, FB message or email using #UROCK to tell them how much they mean to you. Offer them a prayer, a hope or a verse – it may make all the difference. Learn more.

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Bloggers, don’t miss out on our Cheerleaders for Christ Facebook page. 

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The Thing You Know, But Do Not Believe

Do Not Believe

There is one small shiny nugget that will make all the difference in your faith walk if you truly dig down and find it.

Not in a cliched,
I have known this forever,
of course it’s truth,
I say I believe it…kind of way.

But in a real, 
I seizing it,
I am rushing to it,
I will never depart from it
or let go of it –
kind of way.

Moving this foundational truth from background noise to real and present truth, changes it all. Moving it from head to heart will transform your faith.

You’ll more easily move from claimed by the past to claimed by God.
From owned by people’s words to owned by the owner of it all.
From feeling guilty forever to feeling exalted forever.

The small nugget is: knowing, not just thinking, God loves you.

So many times, I have lost my way without this deep-down heart-felt belief (usually when trials hit me 100-mi/min). Yet, when every morsel of my being, and every part in my heart feels unsure, unsteady and unable, I am starting to tap into God’s unbelievable strength. It stands waiting to become my fall back position, resuscitating my life – if only I give it that chance.

Is God’s real and valid love your fall back position? 

Does it catch you from landing in pits of fear, anxiety and depression?

Does it fly you high to new levels of peace and security? 

As we fall into this iron clad truth, the lies explode, and combust.

Lies can’t exist amidst the full power of peace.

Knowing this, I want to seek God’s love like a gold rush. I want to go after it. It is that valuable. I need it. I almost can’t live without it; I certainly can’t live joyfully.

May we rush after God’s love as much as we rush after plans to fix and change the things that ail us. Perhaps, then we will find the greater gift.

As we park ourselves in God’s heart of love – as we sit down in it –
we rest under the safe-covering of his hand.

When the burdens of life smother, sit down in his love.
When the feelings of I can’t come at you a mile a minute, sit down in his love.
When the weight of finances crush like a 100-pound gorilla, sit down in his love.

Love that says:

I engraved your name on my hand. Is. 49:16
I know how many hairs are on your head. Mt. 10:30
I love you in an everlasting way. Jer. 31:3
You sinned, I eagerly died for you. Ro. 5:8
I sent my own kid to rescue you. 1 Jo. 4:10
You may fall, but you can’t fall from me. Ro. 8:39

His love is best summarized as this: freeing handcuffs that lock you as forever his, not because of what you did, but because of what he did.

His love can’t be undone. Not when you remember back, not when you feel like you left God, not when you said that thing, not when you did that thing, not when you accept him at the last minute, not when you feel shame, not when regrets hit you, not when problems surface.

It always is. It always is – for you.

God wants you to have it.
Nothing can thwart it.
It belongs to you.

Life can’t hold you back from it.
Trials can’t keep you from it.
God defines it.
Yet, He waits for you to receive it.

Keep in God’s love.

Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 1:21

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Wrecking Trying

Wrecking Trying

I am wrecked by this one idea. It throws me off every time. It surprises me in its truth. I almost can’t accept it and so many times have difficulty doing so. It’s the one thing that rains down and can never be blocked with the umbrella of self. 

When I spew that nasty comeback. Its rain flows.
When I yell at that innocent face of the 4-year old before me. Its rain flows.
When I bark orders like a militant leader in need of children followers. Its rain flows.
When I let the house problems send my soul into a tizzy. Its rain flows.

No matter how hard I try to look the other way. It flows. It pounds.

It downpours on my soul, knocking my umbrella of self-condemnation and mutilation away. This rain wrecks my heart in the wild oceans of love, in the turbulent seas of Christ’s sacrifice and calms it by God’s rushing still water of his forgiveness.

to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Eph 1:6

Even when I slap God’s hand, it is still given.

Grace is not just given, but unlike normal dealings, it comes with no strings attached, no paybacks, no debts owed and no loan shark trying to chase me down for what it appears I stole.

What sweet relief Jesus! Without you, Jesus, I couldn’t, I wouldn’t…

I am simply wrecked by the idea that you are not wrecking me.
I am floored by the idea that you are not pressing me to the floor.
I am humbled by your humility in your approach towards me.

Who am I to get your best?

Best of all, I don’t even have to try to win your smiles, hugs and applause. Without my lame attempts, war plans and business objectives, it is still effective!

Grace:

1. Moves us from orphanhood to sonship.
It’s not earned through trial and error, but through believing and receiving his grace.
No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. Acts 15:11

2. Makes a construction zone out of our heart.
The more grace showers down and seeps inside the more we look up and are changed inside.
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up… Acts 20:32

3. Has benefits that never end.
It is the only free gift that keeps on giving, again and again and again – and forevermore.
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32

4. Gives us VIP access to God.
The door swings open so we may converse, confide and collaborate with the author and perfecter of faith.
through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Romans 5:2

5. Sets warring hearts at complete peace with God.
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  Romans 5:1-2

Grace is not a trying zone, but a high-flying zone for people that are anything but ship-wrecked.

They are just wrecked by the word of grace and God’s power to never stop loving, working, pleading, helping, shielding and revealing on our behalf.

Grace moves to friend status, instead of foe.

And, for that, in the unending downpour of rain we will forever dance – free, uncharged and unobstructed.

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Linking with #livefreeThursday, #FiveMinuteFriday and #DanceWithJesus.

Finding Holiness When You Feel Unholy

Finding Holiness

I went in praying, but I left repenting.

It was supposed to be a time of joy, connectedness and unity, but everything went wrong. My heart didn’t want to align with God. It didn’t want to follow his marching orders, and instead marched to it’s own beat: a beat of I have to figure this out, I have to work to get right with God, I have to be better than myself and I have to stop sinning.

Sure, God does tell us to put off our old self, which is “being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22-24

There is a taking off of the stinky, the putrid and the worn out shirt of self and a putting on of the new, sparkly, purposeful and intentional dress of holiness and righteousness.

Sounds amazing right?

Certainly, I knew what I wanted to wear, but somehow it seemed like that new dress was out of my price range. It was out of my reach. It wasn’t so easy to obtain.

Why try?

My ears became so focused on my bad self-talk, that I couldn’t hear God talk. His small promptings passed right over my shoulder.

I was so so focused on, “I have got to figure out the mess than I am, God” rather than the “Come with me, Kelly, I have something for you.”

We speak words of condemnation,
but God stands ready to hand out words of consolation.

When we get to the end of our self, we get to the start of God – and that is what happened to me.

It’s not just about not sinning – about removing the old stink and putting on the new outfit – but it’s about the renewal of the mind. Only then, can we walk forward in the new.

We renew our mind by:

Bringing it to the altar of transformation, which is prayer.
Immersing it in the irrevocable truth of God’s Word.
Knowing that the one in us is greater than the world around us.
Making it new in the promises of God.
Finding a space with God when we feel like we have no space for him.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Jo. 15:5

I listened.
I stopped.
I prayed.
I asked.
I humbled myself.
I waited.
I listened.
I heard.

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14 
God rests my soul, as I find rest in him.

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Ps. 55:2
As I hand my burdens over, God hands me his hand that holds me upright.

The answer to putting on the shiny dress of new self is giving God the first chance to suffocate the old. Then, we leave clothed in promised robes of righteousness and holiness.

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Staying Faithful When Issues Mount

When Issues Mount

They start small until they climb on your back and squeeze the air of faith right out of you.

They have a way of making the stack of  bills reign higher than the power of God.

The medical issues stand taller than God’s capacity to care.

The relational problems break you into tears rather than into submission to the One who knows.

They are called mounting issues. Personal. Medical. Relational. Financial. Mental.

They take you on a ride like this:

1. You start with faith, looking straight ahead at God.
2. You talk with people, think of the issue and dwell on the problem and get afraid.
3. Your eyes start to look left, and right and left and right.
4. Your worst nightmare starts to take form.
5. You become sure of it’s overwhelming power to take you down.

Then they make you feel like this:

I’m going down.
It will never work out.
God, where are you?
They will always hate me.
I will never recover.
I will never be left the same.
I can’t do it.
I am horrible.

Problems of today have a way, of making us fear the feelings of yesterday.

I remember the fortress of my school.
The incapability of one girl who was powerless to change anything.
Who was uncertain about the next pain that may come my way.
Who felt the result of people’s issues rather than a product of their love.
I remember the embarrassment.

That past mocks all my dreams.
It reminds me that pain will repeat.

It reminds me I either need to fight or flight. 

What does the past claim true about you – today?

The reality is – it’s gone,
and fighting proves worthless
because you can’t fight something that isn’t real;
if it’s not truth it simply doesn’t exist.

But, hushing away feelings never works. The only way to go is to see the one who sees far more than the stalker of fear living in your mind. To see the one who waits, looking, hoping, believing that you will see him – the one who is always following you.

And, while you may think it is over, he doesn’t.

He knows it has only just begun.

Because he is ready to come close, to know, to stay with. He is ready and willing to aid and assist.

He is amazing that way.

He sees the inadequate, unable, and unsure one and says, “You can do it with me, because of me and for me. Stay right there with that truth. You will be okay.”

He spoke these same kind of words to Joshua -the second string, the rookie.
He spoke belief into a man who had monumental issues in front of him: uncertainty, a sea that stood in his way and a towering fortress shining his incapabilities.
He said, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Josh 1:5

What if God was to show up and to say that to you?

“Hey (fill in name here),
I was with Moses,
so I will be with you (name),
I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Might these words make a difference?

Might you remember the bush, the manna, the Red Sea, the God, the hope,
the promises, God’s faithfulness to you?
Not if you just heard them, but if you really believed them.

Perhaps, then, you, like Joshua, might think,
“Wow, this God is really for me.”

Perhaps then you would have the courage to open your sea of despair to allow a new heart of courage to carry you to your promised hope.
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Josh. 3:5

Perhaps then, you might set your forehead-to-floor knowing one stands higher than all your perceptions.
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” Josh. 5:14

You might even hear the way to go, the heart to have and the whispers of truth
rise above the status of your bank account, your health check-up or your kid’s report card.

You might even have the heart to march around what stands against you to shout the truth of God over it, around it and before it to see God work through it.  And to, even, maybe, see it all fall down (if that is what God has planned for you).

On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Josh 6:4-5

Imagine seeing the walls of pain and piles of grief standing before you crumble. They aren’t bigger than your God.

The truth is that in all cases he may not make them completely disappear, but God has the power to crumble circumstances authority over your feelings. He has the authority to set you on a new path, to forge a new way to bring you into the promised land of his peace.

Hear the words the Lord said to Joshua as he was preparing to be courageous and do not let them lightly pass over you (seize them as he seized the city): “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:9)

Mounting issues, the past and our feelings are not our inheritance, God’s promises are – and we have already made it to the Promised Land, let’s lay claim to it much like the Israelites.

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3 #RaRalinkup Updates:
1.  Sign up for the NEW Cheerleaders 4 Christ #RaRa Facebook group page (this is different than the prayer one I set up). We will be rolling out a new element to the #RaRalinkup that I want you to be a part of. Details are forthcoming soon. Join here.

2. RSVP for the #RaRalinkup breakfast at She Speaks. Exciting news, prizes and challenges will be shared at this event.

3. Visit next Monday. All of the bloggers who submitted guest posts will be featured on July 13. I couldn’t pick just one, this is not the spirit of the #RaRalinkup or this blog. All win, all are chosen, all are loved! Mark this day in your calendars. Support your sisters by retweeting and mentioning them on Twitter. 🙂

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Being a Perfect Christian

perfect christian

Proud, happy and all buttoned up, I’ve been the good-girl Christian skipping along my merry way.

Moving just a little faster.
Standing just a little taller.

That is, until my face meets the concrete and a land flat on my face, bruising my image.

Injured and shocked, the impact of the hit
impacts my heart with the truth, I’ve been missing Christ.

Have you ever gotten so concerned with your image that you missed His?

Believed your faith is what makes others want his?

Or, let your high standing in Christ’s family, make you feel just that – high and better off?

When performance leads our charge, when we think we have all our stuff packed perfectly, tightly and detailed into our favorite bible of choice, when we parade a little taller, a little higher, with a little more insight, when others are not doing things right all the time – we better yell, “Stop” to our heart, because we are about to fall.

I know I should have done that.

Perhaps, I would have saw things more clearly, before letting the critiques of others spill out on the floor. Perhaps then, my contents wouldn’t have displayed a load of pride and a pound of judgement and a dash of negativity. These things don’t taste good and they certainly don’t go down with feelings of Christ’s love.

For the most part, others turn and run at their stench.

Oh Lord, let this not be me.

Yet, somewhere along my way, I mistakenly began believing that godliness equates to giftedness, goodness and greater access. 

I became that unfavorite person I so often look down on.

A Litmus Test: Are You Better-Than-Thou?

Do our prayers sound more like this? 
‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ Lu. 18: 12

Or do we come and pray more like this?
“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” Lu. 18:13

When we see our sin nature as a worldwide epidemic that hasn’t left us spared, we see we really are just like the taxman slumped in the corner of mistakes, turmoil and pain.

We see we are that jacked up. No better or worse than others – just saved.

Saved, not from neediness, but from eternal fallenness.
Our embrace of this truth gives legs to humility
not a heart set on growing in earthly nobility. 

Perhaps this is why Christ looks at the first man, the Pharisee, and says, “If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Luke 18:14

I learned the hard-knock way.

I am more a Pharisee than a needy sinner, and it feels good to see. Christ does not condemn me. He loves me. This realization returns my heart to Jesus like the slumped man needing a fresh touch. It returns me to the place of need, where I, like all my fellow man, sit.

This place is a place of unity, togetherness, hand-holding, anticipation of Christ’s work.

A place of relief; it removes my show-off, to turn the power of God on.

It brings Christ to the places that I can’t deal with –
leading me to the most downtrodden, contagious and dirty people.

It brings him into my weakness, into my pain.

perfect Christian

May I boast only in my weakness.
Paul knew this is the power prayer.

May it be one of our favorites too: God, help us to boast only in weakness. Forgive us God, sinners. We miss you and need you. Teach us your ways God and lead us in your paths, lest we fall on our face. May our humility be the artery that allows your work to flow to us and through us. Amen.

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Linking with #DanceWithJesus and Five Minute Friday.

Let’s Choose Humility Over Pride

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I turned from the swing and saw him standing there, fresh cut flowers in hand and a smile on his face.

“I’m sorry. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

I embedded my face in his chest and wrapped my arms around him. An apology and flowers weren’t what I was expecting, but I was grateful for both. I breathed in the soft, earthy scent of the lilies and took them inside.

He wasn’t sleeping well, and I knew the early wake up call from our son didn’t help. We’d exchanged some harsh words and tones that morning, and our day hadn’t gotten off to a good start.

But instead of trying to justify himself that afternoon and push the issue, he chose to extend love and grace. He chose humility.

As I stood over the kitchen counter, trimming the stems and arranging the buds in a tall vase, I thought about my husband’s actions. How much better would our relationships be if we chose to grace over our need to be right?

So often, I feel like I’ve lost my ability to breathe if I can’t get someone to see things my way. But the longer I’m married and the more I work to build strong, thriving relationships, the more I see it’s often the way we respond to conflict which makes us grow.

Can you imagine how boring life would be if everyone thought exactly the same way you did? Many times I think it would make things easier, but it is our differences which stretch and grow us.

As often as I find myself in the world of black and white, there is much grey. There are areas where we have to let the Spirit give us discernment and wisdom.

When I dig into the word, it does not tell me how the wise person is the one who asserts her view of every situation and proclaims it as the ultimate truth.

No, James speaks of a different kind of wisdom.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13 NIV

Wisdom is shown through humility and service, not the loudness of our voice.

A wise pastor once told me Jesus didn’t go through his earthly ministry proclaiming, “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and follow me.” Although there were times, such with the Pharisees, when Jesus pointed out the immorality of people’s actions, he spent much more time healing the sick, binding up the brokenhearted, and leading by example.

There will be times when conflict is necessary and we must speak the truth in love, many disputes are best handled with a simple apology. Even if you are not the person in the wrong, sometimes God calls us to put aside our pride and put the relationship first.

When my husband left work one Tuesday afternoon, he chose humility. He exemplified the very nature of Christ, and chose grace over his need to be right.

And as his wife and someone who often picks the wrong path, I am inspired to follow his example.

I pray God will fill me with his Spirit, so I can extend grace in my time of need.

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Guest Contributor

 

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her    darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

What God Gave – Stinks!

What God Gave

God abandoned me in my time of need.
He left his daughter in the desert of nothingness.
The blessing-keeper forgot his role.
The one who was supposed to come through, didn’t.

I am not afraid to admit for a moment, I whined like this – like a baby.

I didn’t get what I wanted.

Waaa!!!! I cried, until I found my daddy and found consolation in his arms. As he held me in love, I could start to grab hold of the truth: not getting could be God’s bigger gift. It highlights the barriers blocking contentment.

It was a lightbulb, sight-in-the-darkness, there-is-power-in-the-pain kind of moment.

Surely, when we “get” – all is good. We are happy, joy-filled and thankful, but, what happens when we don’t get the good gifts we expect?

Here, we start to see what our heart is really after.
Our spiritual thought life surfaces.
We can take notice of our sprint (or crawl) time to prayer.

Do we throw a temper tantrum
or do we temper our hearts in the truth of God?

The desire, idols and pursuits of our heart shine in this place. We can see them for what they are.

What do you see when God doesn’t give to you?

Our tantrums highlight the great heart work will complete.
He sees our pain and it certainly doesn’t pains him too.
But, he allows it because he is working something even more magnificent, more fantastic and more glory-filled than our initial want.

Many times, he doesn’t settle for the immediate gift, because he is working an entire heart makeover.

“Not getting” teaches us how to put this (often seemingly impossible) verse into action:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Phil. 4:12)

God’s best gift is learning how to keep our dedication
as steady as an arrow
and our feelings as sure as a bullet,
despite the size of the enemy coming against.

Then we can find true joy and peace.

This gift lasts forever.
It doesn’t rust and end up in the attic months later.

When we find God, we find stability. Not stability due to a circumstantial blessing, hope, dream or wish, but steady footing in the knowledge he is bringing us to a better place.

I pray, today, that I can see all that I don’t get as an indicator of all that I already have. I pray that I will take notice of my heart condition to see how it may need a course-redirect. I ask God not to always give me what I want in order that I can receive the better gift, which is him. The power is not in the getting, but in the beholding.

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