Purposeful Faith

Category - birth

Crippling Self-Reliance

self-reliance

“Do you have even the slightest reliance on anything or anyone other than God? Is there a remnant of reliance left on any natural quality within you, or on any particular set of circumstances? Are you relying on yourself in any manner whatsoever regarding this new proposal or plan which God has placed before you? Will you examine yourself by asking these probing questions? It really is true to say, “I cannot live a holy life,” but you can decide to let Jesus Christ make you holy. “You cannot serve the Lord…”— but you can place yourself in the proper position where God’s almighty power will flow through you. Is your relationship with God sufficient for you to expect Him to exhibit His wonderful life in you.”  (Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers)

To answer his questions, I do rely on myself. I think, God got me here. Now I need to figure things out. Or, what will I do? How will I do this?

There are so many “I’s” in my thinking — when it is all about Him.

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.“ (Zeph. 3:17).

These words remain true today…

God will do it.
God, my God, is mighty.
God has the way.
God knows my answer.
God knows my name.
Christ’s power is being perfected in my weakness.
Christ’s goodness overshadows what I think is good.
Christ’s victory is sure and steady.

The battle belongs to the Lord.

Today, I am provoked to re-surrender and to let God do things ‘His way’. I am inspired to more FULLY trust Him, believe Him, and to take Him at His Word.

Because…to work by my power is to, often, inhibit God’s power. It gets me ahead of God or it shuts off the mind of Christ, in me, as I run ahead with my own mind and thoughts.

I don’t have to have all the answers – God does. I don’t blaze my way; God does.

I wait, He moves.  I pray; He shows up. Sure, sometimes I meet God, through works He calls me to, but aside from that I love God and others with all my heart and leave the results up to Him… I rest, knowing I don’t have to worry or fear anymore. He has this.

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Enter into Rest

I unloaded my bags in my room, after a 16-hour trip, only to spot BIG black mold on my ceiling.  When the experts came to investigate in the attic they found more. A lot more (thank you, in advance, for your prayers concerning protection for my family).

I don’t like health risks. They make me feel nervous and out-of-control. How can I protect myself from a threat I can’t see? How can I keep us all safe? How can I trust — we’ll all be okay?

Do you feel threatened? Maybe you feel attacked by a silent threat you can’t control. Or a person who is out-of-control. Or the sense that you are not in control. I get it.

All I could do last night, as I prepared to sleep in that room with the black-patch, was to open my bible up to Psalm 91. I rest on that Psalm like a pillow, some nights.

There I read:
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

This verse reminded me —  there are those who choose to live in the shelter and those who don’t.  They stay in worry, or fear, or whatever…

I want to be one of those who actively and decisively come under His shelter. Rest happens when I allow God to shelter me. When I want His cover. Worry and fear always wait, however, as an alternative.

Today, I chose to: enter in. When I enter in, guess where His shelter is? Most High. To be high is to be — above it all. Guess what covers me? His shadow. I am not only protected below but I am protected above and all around too. I am lifted up and covered all around.

This picture God gives me is peace. It is rest for my mind that it needs. Now, I don’t have to circle the same fears again and again.

You too — are protected above, below and around — if you’ll allow yourself to be. Nothing can harm you when you are protected by the Most High God.

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What is it You Really Need?

I think I need a specific thing. I’ve set it up in my mind as a “must have”. I think: If I get that I will be all good. Then, I can ____.

It’s as if my plan will complete me, but it’s depleting me. I think ahead, verses staying next to God’s plan. I get concerned with what will happen if my hope doesn’t happen and it steals hope. I define what God will do rather than trusting His timing and His plan.

I am looking at a “what” instead of my Who.

“And (a rich young man) came to (Jesus) and said, “Teacher, what [essentially] good thing shall I do to obtain eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” Jesus answered, “Why are you asking Me about what is [essentially] good? There is only One who is [essentially] good… (Mt. 19:16-17 AMP)

The rich man here was focused on what he should do… Likewise, I look at what I don’t have or what I think I should have, when there is only One who is good: Jesus.

The second I place my eyes on a “what” instead of Jesus is the second I create an idol. There is only One who is good. But, when I return to expecting God to show up, instead of expecting a thing to pull through for me, my soul gets rightly aligned.

What “what” are you depending on or expecting to change your life? How have you made it the answer, believing it will quell your emotions or transform your life?

To become complete in Christ, we must set down what competes with Him. This begins, I believe, with laying down our own expectations for how things will happen so we can, once again, hope in His BEST plan.

God does things God’s way. On God’s time. In God’s manner. It may not look how we like, but it just may reach 1,000 instead of 1. Or, heal the neighbors family plus our own. Or,  bring our wayward kids back as we become healthy again. Or, give us a whole new perspective on God’s real providence.

Who God is — far transcends — what we think is best.  This mindset is a return to peace and true trust in God. At least this is what I am learning…

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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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Enjoying the Process

Do we yell at our kids because they’re learning?

For instance, when a son arrives home from school, do we come down on him because he had go to school? Do we say, “You should already know this stuff.”

Or, when a kid says, “Why is the world not flat?”, do we berate them for not knowing.

Or, when they make a mistake, like blurting out a comment, do we hold it against them for a lifetime?

No. We know children:

  • are learning.
  • are growing.
  • need grace.

“…For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (children).” Mt. 19:21

Likewise,we are children.

We:

  • are learning.
  • are growing.
  • need grace.

I don’t think God disdains the process of growing and learning as much as we do. He knows we are “becoming” like Christ.

We “are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

This means we don’t already know everything. We will make mistakes. We take off one layer of the onion of __, only to 6 months experience a deeper layer God wants to remove. We find a more complete understanding of God’s Word that sets us free one year, and then it happens to a greater degree 2 years later.

God isn’t angry at us that we had things to learn. That we aren’t perfect. Or, that “only now, are we just getting it”. Or that “we’re so slow.” On the contrary, His process is our progress.

We are becoming, transforming and becoming liberated into the image of Christ. May we not despise the process. May we not run from the crafting work of the Master Creator. May we not think it is because we are ‘bad’ or not good enough. May we not disdain the fact that, like a child, we need Him. That He is helping us understand.

Going to school with God doesn’t mean that you are failing, it means He is growing you, renewing you and readying you for all that He has ahead.

Like a child, be okay with being in school.

“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. . .” (Prov. 3:13)

 

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Rest a Bit. God Has this.

You never have to strive for things.

strive
/strīv/
(Google Dictionary):
make great efforts to achieve or obtain something
struggle or fight vigorously.

Striving is sweating, worrying, fussing, toiling and trying oh-so-hard. I’ve been there.

Strivers run a hamster wheel that never stops. They tend to be tired and annoyed at all God requires of them. They “make’ like they are waiting on God, but push forward like everything will combust if they actually do.

Some may call them “eager” or “over-achievers”. Underneath all of that, they often want to feel special, loved, and are afraid of failure.

Peter was a bit of a striver.

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.  (Jo. 18:10)

I’ll take care of this Jesus. . .
I know what to do. . .
I have the answer. . .
I can defend the situation. . .

“Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Jo. 18:11

Jesus doesn’t need our sword to execute His plan. He doesn’t need our ambition to see through His future. He, who sees the end from the beginning, knows how to take us to where He is going.

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

We plan, God establishes.
We devise, God revises our way.
We see the great thing, God sees His greater thing through.

My latest question to God has been, “God when do you “do it” and when do you want to see me go — do it?”

His answer was, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

If everything is from Him and through Him, all for the purposes of — His glory, why would I ever want to do something through me, and steal His glory?

Striving steals God’s glory.

Prayer: God, you are God enough for me to wait on you. You are good enough for me to trust in you. Give me peace in the wait and joy in the process of seeing you move. Your ways are greater. May they come forth. Give me a heart to give you all glory. I love you, Jesus. Amen.

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Busting The Enemy’s Plan

I pray often. Why?
Because I expect God to answer. I’ve seen him answer countless prayers. I know He has show-up and show-off power so divine — it can change anything and everything, in a split-second. I rely on prayer like breakfast.
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (Jo. 14:13)
Anyway, my husband and I have recently talked about how people — people we don’t even know — are likely praying for us. We just got the sense that God was putting us on people’s heart.

Today, I saw this come to reality. I clicked into my hidden Facebook messages (the ones I hardly ever check) and there were messages. Two said things like, “Kelly, you are on my heart. I am praying for you today.”

Bam! God knows. He sends workers out to help us harvest His fields. Often, we can’t even see them at work, we don’t even know what they are doing or how they are praying with us. You never know who has your back. Some faithful friend, I pray, has you covered.

Anyway, later, I saw another message come in my Facebook inbox. I anticipated that it was, once again, was God and more answered prayers. I immediately went to open it. No. It was not God. It was porn. In motion, playing right before my very eyes.
I clicked out of that thing as quick as my fingers could move and then I thought, “Isn’t this how the enemy works? What seed God is planting the enemy comes to steal with a message that disturbs the mind. That distracts. That pulls away what God is doing in order to replace it with shame.”
“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” (SOS 2:15)
What, in your life, is God blooming, where the enemy is working at stealing? What seed of prayer have you planted that the opposer wants to rip up through doubt?
Just because you see the image, hear the accusation, come under the attack, sit with the pain, feel the calling to sin, doesn’t mean you have to submit to it, to indulge in it or to give mind to it.
Greater is He who is in you, than He who is in the world. Shut down the attack. Move back to glory. Jesus is writing your story. The grapevines that ARE blossoming. Don’t pay due attention to what glory is not due to the enemy.
Prayer: God, thank you that you are greater than every obstacle. You are more powerful than any injury. You are more present than the people around us. You are alive and well, moving and healing, answering our prayer and then answering it once again. You ARE faithful. You WILL show up. For many people reading this blog, you will show up today, in awe-inspiring ways. Let them see you. Let them perceive you. Let them know you. Including me, God. Break into our lives, and break-out peace so divine it touches the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Love Often Feels Awkward

Riding bikes, my 7-year old turned to me and said, “Mommy, I want to go knock on that person’s door and let them know, ‘God loves them.’

Now, I did not know “that person” or how they would react to my son knocking randomly on their door. As I am sure you all know, I’m all about sharing God, but being a door-to-door solicitor for Jesus seemed, well. . . a little beyond me.

All the same, my heart was struck by the thought: If I want Michael to get to know God personally, I have to permit him to personally move towards God. In this, He’ll get to see God show up.

So, I gave him permission. My son parked his bike and I circled in the cul-de-sac with my daughter, trailer-in-tow.

Heart-pumping – while wondering if my child was about to be abducted – I carefully watched from the street. Yet, the more I watched the more I couldn’t believe it – both my son and the lady who he was now talking to were smiling and laughing. Then, the lady handed my son – what?!!! – cash. Yes, money. Her son took out cash and passed it to my son too.

What is going on?

I approached.

After introductions, the blonde lady with a son said, “You know, today at church it was amazing. Instead of taking a tithe, the pastor gave out cash – $10 to each person sitting in the aisles. He said, ‘Give it to someone who has impacted your relationship with God.’ I didn’t know what to do with the money. Earlier today, after church, I told my husband, ‘I have no idea who to give the money to.’ My husband told me, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll know.”

She went on, “And, here you are. You just showed up today. Right on time.”

We all laughed at the goodness of God. At how God sent Michael to this very house out of the dozens we’d bicycled by. . . At how God just “knows. . . ”

Her son said, “I don’t know, mom? This doesn’t really seem believable…”

And, so it is with God. When we submit to him, He does the unbelievable.

And, here, as I reflect back on this whole amazing set-up that God orchestrated, and my sons’ courage, I can’t help but think: It’s often risk-taking that lets us walk into God’s most amazing things. It is when we do things that are out-of-the-ordinary that we get to see God’s extraordinary moves. It is when we put ourselves “out there”, in love, that we feel God’s deep love making its way back into our hearts. It almost always feels comfortable.

I thank my little 7-year old for this “beyond-me” lesson on love.

With this, I wonder, how can you love extraordinarily today? How can you let someone know, “God loves them”, even if it makes you feel weird?

On Earth, you may never know the impact of your love, but I assure you, your love will never fail . . . ” (1 Cor. 3:18)

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How God Sees Me

She’s taking advantage of me.

I’m being used.

They left me behind. 

I’m getting the raw end of the deal.

Kelly: “God, I feel angry at people. I can’t stop thinking of the past.”

God (what I believe He says to me): “Kelly, it is not about them. It never was about them. In actuality, they’re not the blockages to your goals, the answers to your cause, nor the life you are looking for. When you look at them, it is as if you stare at the gutter. Yet, if you want to strike the fullness of life – of me and all I have – you have to look down the lane. Don’t look left or right. Behold, the pins of my glory. Gaze on the beauty of what I am doing. See past the side-shows. Look straight into who I am, how I see you and what I am doing. Choose to see me. Know me and follow me.

Be led by my Spirit; I’ll take care of the rest.”

Kelly: “God I dismantle the lie that I am being taken advantage of. The truth is, God, you are taking care, defending and providing for me. God, I no longer want to dwell in discouragement. You have enough encouragement to set me free.”

God, you are my all-in-all, my friend, hope, cause, love, guide, strength, help, initiative, being, wholeness, Savior, love, life, wisdom, entirety, mission and surroundings. I trust you.”

Kelly: God, who am I to you?

God: “You are my love, my daughter, my special one, my prize, my sight, my friend, my seen one, my speaker, my joy, my reflection, my peace, my heart, my beginning of new things, my growing child, my blooming flower, my eager-beaver, my purpose, my cause, my listener, my prize, my delight, my boldness and, again, my love.”

Wow. Somehow understanding how God sees me changes everything. He wants me. He loves me. He helps me. He watches me. He knows me. I am not alone. I am not left behind. I am not forgotten. I don’t have to fend for myself. I don’t have to look to man to fix my problems. I am free in Christ.

So are you.

Who does God say you are – to Him?

Here’s a hint:

You are altogether beautiful, my love; (because of Christ) there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)

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A Life-Transforming Prayer

A prayer based on Psalm 139:

Lord, your love searches me. It desires to know everything about me. It ministers to the depths that I hide from you.  I can’t believe you desire to see me – to really know me. You want me. My thoughts are like an open book to you. You read me not to criticize me or to size me up, but to know me.

Who am I that you should think of me? But still, you do. Who am I that you should care about my little small and unseen ways? But still, you do. I can’t comprehend why you’re so good to me, but still, you are.

With all the millions and billions of people…when I think of all them – and when I think of you – I feel small. There are far too many daughters for you to care about – and to still consider me. But, you do. You are intimately aware of every thought I have, every movement I make, and every word about to come out of my mouth. How can you really love me like this?

I confess, God, that sometimes it is hard to believe that you really love me. I confess God, it is hard to believe that you really – day-in-day-out, want me. It is hard to believe you have the capacity to love this way.  And, still, you do. My conception of you does not limit you. Even this, proves your greatness. You are amazing. Forgive me for my unbelief. Give me fresh faith to trust, rely and fall back on your love.

The reality is: it’s not my work that earns your love, but Jesus’ finished work that paid for it.

I can let go of the pressure to perform for you. Jesus gave it all, did it all and continually does it all for me.

I can let go of a mind that tries to figure out why you love me. Christ is in me. How could you not love your own son?

I can let go of thought I continually offend you. I am a new creation in Christ Jesus; you see His righteousness in me.

I can let go of the past that plagues my thoughts. If the tomb is empty of shame, guilt, and condemnation, shouldn’t also my mind be? You’ve fought for and secured resurrection life.

I can let go of the inkling that I have nothing to offer people. The Holy Spirit, a heavenly deposit of the fullness of God is in me. You can do far more than I even think I can.

I can let you in. I can let you know me. You aren’t coming to shame me, to hurt me, to criticize me, to embarrass me or to haunt me. You’re coming to love me. You’re coming to let me know how you care. You’re coming to make me aware of all you’ve done and the deep life-impacting significance of it all.

God, show me what I keep from you, so I can really know you. God, show me what keeps me far, so I can get closer to your ways. God, show me how I am terrified of intimacy so I can intimately and authentically seek you.

When I say I want you above all else, I really do.

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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