Purposeful Faith

Author - purposefulfaith

How to Pray

This morning my husband happened to flip over a vase in our house. Surprisingly, little pieces of folded white paper fell, like snow, from this vase and danced to the ground. My son was enthralled. Immediately, he fell to the ground and opened the little pieces, like it was Christmas.

They were our old prayers. Prayers from, about a year ago…all splayed out on the floor.

The more we opened them, the more our mouths opened wide: God had answered so many of them. He had literally helped my daughter to stop sucking her fingers. He provided blueprints to my husband’s business. He gave me fresh wisdom for another book and the means to get there. Answer upon answer, breakthrough upon breakthrough, word upon word — HE did it.

Oh, how easy it is to miss all the things God is doing — and has done.

Dear friends, let me tell you something, I don’t think the timing of this downfall is a coincidence. With this happening this morning, I believe God wants you to know: He is moving through the power of prayer. It is no wonder that I’ve been praying for you – and you have been praying for me — and now He splays out answered prayers on my floor.

God IS answering prayer. Believe! Believe, afresh. God IS doing it.

Needless to say, I feel inspired to share all-splayed-out-on-the-floor prayer-process with you today. . .

It started with my friend, and wise Pastoral Counselor, Karen Mortensen, who — way back when — taught me about a “Casting Bowl”.  She, with wisdom, explained that we can take our worries, our fears, and areas we want to control and “cast (our) cares onto the Lord, for He cares (for us).”

In this, we can hand to God what is no longer ours to carry. We begin to “cast”– by writing it down on a little paper, and then we give it to him — by casting it into a little bowl or vase.  Here, we literally – let. it. go.

I like to think of this symbolic action as, “transferring, or putting, our trust in Him.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jer. 17:7-8)

This is how it looked like in my household: First, I had my whole family write down their worries, fears, and areas of control like a prayer request  — on a piece of paper. Second, we casted each one onto God as we let it fall into our vase. Third, we chose to let Him carry what we usually carry. This includes fear, anxiety and stress. We gave it up. Then, we decided, as these things “come back” or try to pester us again, we pray for them. And, chose not to “take them back” from God’s hands.

I did this imperfectly, I might add.

But, still, God answered me!!!!!  He was faithful!

I believe He will do this for you. I believe He has actually answered many of your prayers of old (if you truly think about them). There are probably so many things you’ve prayed and forgotten, but God has moved. He has moved and IS moving.

Take faith. Take hope. Take courage. Christ has overcome the world. And, He is more than enough to overcome all your problems.

I love you all.

 

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Breakthrough, for you!

While scrolling through the “prayer request” emails, I sulked to my son Friday morning, saying, “I can’t reply to all everyone by email and this is hard for me. I so want to. I have so much to write to each one of them, but there are so many. . . ”

He replied, “Tell them how much you wish you could have written each of them. . .Let them know how much you care. ”

So, today I want you to — hear my heart. First, the weight of what so many of you face? Either big or small, it made me wish I could reach through the computer screen, pull you in my arms and just hold you, close. Second, I pray you know how much I care. You see, I could have written long paragraphs to each of you.  Your stories hurt my insides, and your plights broke my heart and your desire for God to be with you was everything.

I prayed for each of you — by name. I asked God for breakthrough — for husbands, sons, daughters, your future, your insides, for salvation, for jobs, for feelings, for futures, for your situation, for healing, and for your faith with your God — a grand rescue. I expect great answers and moves. God is faithful.

Some of you even wrote to me, “Kelly, I never ask for prayer. . . .“, “I really needed prayer, but I didn’t realize it” or you simply told me that you feel “alone”.

I want you to know today: you are NOT alone. If you had read what I read — all those prayer requests — you would see loads of other ladies struggling with similar struggles: hope-deferred, inner-pain, loss, grief, anger, betrayal, rejection, financial issues, family problems, salvation needs and more. . . Your heart would break for them too.

May I tell you? We need each other. 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (Ja. 5:16)

Our healing is in coming together; more than it is in worrying apart, in separate worlds.

I am praying for ways to unite us in prayer.

Beyond this, in regards to your prayer request, please know:

Our God is a God of breakthrough. Believe!!!  He has saved me from an eating disorder. He has saved me from debt. He has saved me from loans I needed to pay. He has saved people around me. He has broken the tides of depression. He has deterred people who wanted to hurt me. He has allowed me to get a job when it seemed impossible. He has made what sin I couldn’t break, gone. He has changed people around me. He has brought me closer to my husband. He has answered my prayers time and time again. He has given me new vision. He has restored me from discouragement.  He has turned things radically-around!

God is faithful to move. He hears us. And, prayer is effective; it works.

May I remind you? Your Rescuer, Redeemer, and Restorer is not asleep; He is on your cause. God is on your side. He knows your time. He sees your way. He has you in the palm of His hand.   He hears your requests, that line up with His heart. He knows your way.

With this, I stand in the gap with you today. I raise your arms. I expect answers. I won’t relent in asking for you. Even now, I ask again, “Father, hear our every prayer.”

As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (Ro. 10:11)

The key is: Don’t give up. Pray unceasingly. And let the God of all God’s guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Beyond this, please pray for your other sisters who read my emails; they need you more than you know! Think about the collective power of all our prayers lifted up for each other. . .  And, to wrap this all up — as breakthrough happens — please let me know.

I love you.

My prayer: ” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Ro. 15:13) May He rush into your cause, and resurrect life, where there appears death. May you know that you are not alone. May your soul thrive under the goodness of His love. May you walk in His light, with all clarity. May you be filled with His Spirit in fresh ways that revive your heart. May you see the God of All Rescues come in and — change everything. May the God-of-Turnaround light your day, today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Need Prayer? Your Day is Today.

When is the last time you asked someone to pray for you?

We have a way of qualifying things in our minds, don’t we? This isn’t big enough to ask others to care about. This isn’t as worthy as her issue — she’s sick after all. I don’t want to bother them or bog them down with my issue.

We’re so afraid of being a burden. Or a kill-joy. Of being ___(Fill in the blank).

So, we press on, and buck-up and — feel all alone. A singular person on our own deserted island.

Some of you are struggling today. The load feels back-breaking. The situation feels excruciating. Your mind can’t think about it anymore. You feel like you live in a fog now.

And you’re fending this and facing this, all alone?

This morning, I opened the most blessed email from a reader. She said, “Kelly, I want to encourage you. . . .I felt like you needed prayer.” In it, she included some verses on her heart for me. It touched my heart.

Did I need prayer? Sometimes, we don’t even know what we need. We’ve been so much fighting in the battle that’s raging, we hardly realize we’re a bit bruised. The world will do that to us. But, she was right. I needed prayer and I didn’t even think to ask. . .

With this, I want to do two things today. .  .

First, I want to ask you to pray for me and my family. Will you pray for direction? For breakthrough? For God’s providence in everything we face? For new friendships? And, a new fire in my heart — so that I can see through every single thing God has for me to do on Earth?

Second, I want to ask — how can I pray for you? I want you to reply to this email and let me know. I will not reply to your email (you can only imagine how many there will be). But, what I will absolutely do — is to stop and pray for every person who responds. I will say a prayer out loud for you, with God, when I get your response. I will stand with you. I will ask God on your behalf. I ask God to detour the enemy for you.

You are not alone. You are not on an island of despair. A sister stands with you. She loves you. And, so does God. I believe He will help you. I can’t wait to pray. I can’t wait to see what God Almighty — will do.

We are in this together.

“In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (Eph. 6:18 MSG)

 

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A Face Like Flint

My face has looked like defeat, of late. I really thought big moves of God were going to happen: breakthrough would come, my kids would act nicer to each other, I’d see God open up doors that had never been open before — yet, it’s been much of the same.

In fact, things seem to be moving — s. l. o. w.

Are you in similar shoes? Maybe you’ve prayed and prayed. . . sought God and sought God. . . asked and asked. . . .waited and waited. . .

. . . well, keep doing it and don’t give up. The Lord is not done with you yet. He’s not done with me either. And, if I’ve learned anything through scripture, it is this: He finishes what He starts. He also is no minder of our timelines.

Be it David becoming a King, Jesus getting resurrected or Lazarus getting raised, God is okay waiting days.

What do we do in the meantime?

We set our face like stone.

“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore, I have set my face like a stone,
determined to do his will.
And I know that I will not be put to shame.” (Is. 50:7)

Stone-faced, we set our eyes on Jesus. We determine to only look at Him. We know that we will not be disgraced. We resolve to do His will. We determine to see forth His cause.

We will not give up. We do not back down. We know that we will NOT be put to shame. We keep going.

In some translations, setting our face “like stone” is written as we set our face “like flint.”  I want us to realize that our face, set on God, has the ability to start a fire. It has the ability to light things up in our lives and in the lives of others. Do not discount a face — intent on God.

Be like a warrior. Keep working, listening, loving, helping and looking to God — for your God never fails. Ever. You can trust in that.

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Bringing Life to What Looks Dead

“Look!” I said.

All four of us turned our head to look out the car window. Dozens of buzzards were feeding on a dead dear. It’s gross, I know.

They devoured it. They were shredding it. They were ruthless.

All this got me to thinking. . . the enemy feeds on death.

Whereas, “Jesus is . . . life.” (John 11:25)

When I am filled with Jesus, I am filled with life. There is nothing for the enemy to feed on. When I am filled with the Spirit, I abounding in the spiritual. There are no wounds for the enemy to gnaw open. When I am praying to the Father, there is no decay the enemy can use against me.

I realize, for many of us the attacks, the discouragement, the devastating news, the demoralization around us, the lay-offs are prevalent around us. I have seen it too. I know it is hard sometimes.

But, some of us need to do an about-face and look at life again — from a different angle. We need to look to Jesus. Because, the enemy is feeding off your despair, discouragement, and doubt. And, you’ve let Him for far too long.

The tide changes when you look full in Jesus’ face. When you access, remember and meditate on His mercy and grace.

Do something new.

Tell your own spirit, “No more. Then, remind yourself: ‘Jesus is resurrection and life. He can bring back, restore or renew anything.”

Then, focus on His names:
King of Kings
Light of the World
Prince of Peace
Son of God
Lamb of God

Remember what He’s done, look full in His face — and let Him bring you, again, new life.

“Jesus said to the dead man, “Young man, I say to thee, arise!” And he who was dead, sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” (Lu. 7:14-15)

Prayer: God, give me eyes for you. Above all I see, I want to see you. I ask for you to grant me deeper knowledge of your providence and care. Will you help me to take my eyes off of the heaviness that surrounds so that I might see and seek your face, in full? Give me grace to know and love you more. Come to my rescue. Bring life to what appears dead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Clean-Up Day!

I can’t handle a dirty, crumb-laden counter when I sit down to write. Before I place my computer on my black-granite counter, I need to have a clean counter. I need to have fresh space I can work on. I need to have the ability to work without a million little pieces surrounding me.

This lets me focus on what most matters.

I wipe it all down before I start. I get it ready. I prepare my surroundings so I see the bigger thing, God, without little things getting in the way.

I believe God loves it when we come to Him with clean hearts too. Here, as I’ve discovered it, rather than Him needing to address a million little stray things, He can bring us deeper into Him.  Here, He has fertile soil to do His best work. Here, brings us deeper levels of wisdom through His Word and through prayer.

There isn’t so much ancillary work to be tackled.

Just like we come to communion with God by clearing out things that are not of Him — so that we can meet Him. Today, I strongly feel God desires us to clear our table of what blocks us, distracts us or keeps us from Him.

What is that for you?

Is it an over-spill of self-wrath? Have you been talking to yourself like the accuser of the brethren?
Is it grimy fear of the future? Has it been building up in you?
Is it 1000 crumbs of daily distraction? Are they filling your mind more than God?
Is it the overwhelming clutter of worries? Do they make you feel like you have to handle things rather than God?
Is it the boiling anger you have at a child? Is it all you see?

Clean tables meet God in more intimate and free ways. There isn’t as much stuff to get ready before the real food is set on the table. This way, you seek Jesus — and you find Him, in a fresh way. You move past the clutter and behold His heart.

Today, be still and let God search your heart. His best roads are ahead of you — but, to find them, let the blockages be cleared. So you can find your roads to eternal abundant life. . .

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life. (Ps. 139:23-24 MSG)

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The Free Gift that Surpises Me

“Mom. . . ! You promised you would bring money.”

The only thing was, I didn’t.

“You are always forgetting it.” He was right about that. I’d once again forgotten, to grab the couple dollar bills to buy him a treat. The man in a pick-up truck on the side of the road had been selling boiled peanuts for weeks and my son desperately wanted to try them. I felt bad, but I didn’t have the money. It just was what it was. I told him to continue walking home.

My son’s eyes darted across the street at the man while we moved. His sister and I carried on, headed home. That is — until the man got out of his pick up. The strong-build man, peanut bag-in-hand, headed across the street. Towards us.

Was there any way he heard us? No, that couldn’t be. We were too far away.

He walked up and said something. A car passed by and I didn’t quite hear him, so I answered, “We don’t have money.”

He replied, “If I wanted you to have money, do you think I would have said, ‘have these for free.'”

Wow. After my son accepted the nuts and we parted ways, I told him, “Son, that was a complete gift from God — to you. Out of nowhere that guy came over and gave you what you didn’t deserve — for free. It’s like God knew.”

And, so it is with Jesus. He gave us what salvation we didn’t deserve — for free. He gives us, so many times, what blessings — we don’t deserve — for free. And, He blesses us in ways we don’t even expect — without deserving it — for free.

He gifts us time and time again.

Keep on the lookout for Jesus. His grace is so powerful it will cover you. It will bless you. It will make a way for you. It will give things to you. It will help you. It will provide for you.

Don’t lose hope; keep the faith. God’s amazing; He provides when you least expect it — even when you do nothing to deserve it. We have so much to give thanks for.

“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” (Jo. 1:16)

 

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3 Responses: When People Share Their Heart

Have you ever conversed with a person who indirectly cuts you down? Negating your dreams? Dissing your hopes?

Perhaps, you share what you are working towards and they reply, “Ya, I’ve been there; it didn’t work out because (list: the 100 reasons why)” Or, you share vulnerably and the person suddenly turns the story back around to themself. Maybe even, you let them know details about your child that makes you a little nervous and they expand on the conversation with a horror-story — that only compounds your worry.

We cannot control people’s reactions, but we can ask ourselves wise-questions before we share things with people:
–  Is God calling me to share this story, right now — with this person?
– Might this person respond with advice or insight that is driven by fear, jealousy, worry or comparison?
– Does this person usually offer Godly perspectives, wisdom, and encouragement?

We don’t have to share everything — with everyone. We reserve the right to use: wisdom.

At the same time, of course, we know, no one is perfect. In fact, many times, even the best of Christians will have poor responses (I’ve made these mistakes too). Grace abounds.

In light of this fact, let’s flip the tables for a second — to look at our own self…

Ask yourself: How do I respond when people share their heart — with me?

1. Do I listen?
2. Do I consider what God wants me to say before I speak?
3. Do I put away anger, or other negative emotions, until I have fully processed, with God, what is being said? So that I can speak from a place of love?

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19)

Prayer: Father, it is hard not to react. However, I ask you to give me the grace to listen before I speak, to understand before I counteract, and to gain perspective before I claim to know it all. Give me your vision for the people and the issues that come towards me. May I be your mouthpiece, for your glory and for your purpose — all the time. Teach me in your ways. Lead me in wisdom on who to share with and what to say. And, may I be both careful and tender with other’s hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Cultivating Quick-Obedience

quick obedience

There is power to quick-obedience.

How many of us have said, “I really need to call. . .(so-and-so)” but we never follow-through?

Good intentions do not equal good execution. I’m guilty of this. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to bring a new momma dinner and then forgotten about them. Or, the countless times I’ve meant to give time to someone who asks me for help and then I just — don’t. Oops.

Recently, I was telling my kids how I dream of giving back to their school in the future — to beautify it a bit.

My son replied back, “We should start small, mom. We could buy them a bench or something.”

He had a point, but. .  .

How many of us add a “but” to our good intention?

Just about a week ago, I attended his parent-preview. This is where you walk through his classroom. My son pointed out these dry-erase boards that were broken and old.

“Look at these, mommy. We are waiting for someone to give new ones.”

Something rose up in me.

It’s most clearly expressed as the very words I tell my own kids: See a problem — be the solution.

Rather than putting off what could be done for tomorrow, God was calling out — it’s time to take action today. It’s time, right now, to take out your checkbook. No more delay.

God-prompted, working-obedience acts fast.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once (immediately, now, with urgency) they left their nets and followed him. (Mt. 4:19-20)

See a person in need? At once, address their need– before doubt cripples you.
See downcast spirit? At once, be the one to offer a word of encouragement.
See something you want to complain about? At once, ask how you can be the solution.
See an injustice you can’t stand? At once, seek the ways you can become involved.
See a person God has put on your heart to help? At once, give.
See a need? At once, address it in the little way you can.

For this is pleasing to our Lord.

 

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How Saved We Are, In Christ

It is easy to forget how far we’ve come.

This is normal. It’s like after you get a few cavities filled and a root canal done — 3 years later you forget it even happened. Life is back to normal and you hardly think about how glad you are that all of that was accomplished and finished. And, how easy it is to chew now.

Likewise, it is easy to forget about Jesus the same way. It is easy to forget HOW MUCH He has done for us. HOW MUCH He has saved us from. HOW MUCH He has accomplished. It is not that we don’t love Him or have faith in Him, but, at times, we take for granted HOW MUCH He rescued us and how far we’ve come.

Do you realize, it’s as if we made it “in” to His family by the skin of our teeth?

We didn’t bring anything. . .

We didn’t prove anything. . .

It was simply because God chose to become flesh. . . to accomplish the greatest mission ever. . .

If it weren’t for Jesus what would happen to us and our sin???

If we never faced-God, what we would we have faced?

But, Jesus. He came, like a rescuing-Savior and jerked us out of our position of distress, unrest and stress. He came, and lifted us out of our pit. He came, and walked us across His bridge of life — so that we could be with Him, forever.

Like a damsel in distress — He saved us.

But, Jesus. But, only, Jesus.  Jesus came and changed everything. He made me alive with Him (Col.  2:10), free from the power of death (Romans 8:2), a joint-heir, a chosen daughter, a beloved treasure, a kept kid, a wanted person, and best of all he wiped the face-of-my-everlasting transgressions, clean.

Oh, may I never forget! 

Jesus has not only saved me, but He has improved me. Grown me. Changed me. Made me. Helped me. Answered me. Lifted me. Removed an eating disorder from me. Rescued me dozens of times. Given me wisdom beyond understanding. Healed me emotionally and physically. . . (the list doesn’t end).

I am nicer now. I am kinder. I am gentler. I am more-so filled with joy. I am filled with new perspective.

What about you? What has He saved you from and brought you to? What life circumstance is radically different now that He is in your life?

What sort of epic-save did Jesus conduct on your behalf? The King of resurrection-life does not enter a life without resurrecting life. The Glory of God does not transform a heart and leave it the same.

Look deep and you’ll find His fingerprints on your heart, on your life and on your soul — even if you once missed seeing them. Even if today they look small…

The Two Responses:

Do you know Jesus? If not. . .

Outloud, through your words, invite the King of Kings into your heart. Tell Him that you want your life to be resurrected through Him, by Him and for Him. Tell Him you are sorry for your mistakes, botch-ups and issues. Ask Him for forgiveness and His help. Thank Him today for becoming the Savior of your Life. Explain to Him that you want to hand your life over so that His life can become yours.

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Ro. 10:9)

Then, rejoice! You are saved (helped, equipped, taught, forever-with-Jesus, eternally His…). You get to be forever, with Him. Forever, in His love. My encouragement to you? Grab His Word (the bible), get in a strong Christ-focused church and walk into all the fullness God has for you.

Do you know Jesus?

Rejoice. Undoubtedly, there are things that Jesus has done for you that you “know”, no one else could have ever done for you. There are strides, there are lessons, there are answers, there are miracles, there are areas of growth — only He could have done for you. There is relief only He could have brought. Give thanks. Give praise. Give honor, where honor is due.

 

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