Purposeful Faith

Category - blessings

You’re Amazing: Here’s Why

love

You are amazing. Seriously.

I know people don’t tell you that often and you probably are thinking, “How can Kelly even say this? She doesn’t even know me that well?”

Well, I know Jesus. And, I also know that, if you are a believer in Christ Jesus, then Jesus is alive in you.

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

This isn’t a tall-tale, but the truth. This isn’t a theory, but a reality. Christ lives in you.

The King of Glory…
The Hope of all Nations…
The One and Only…
The Embodiment of Love…

Wow. He is alive in you. Through Jesus, you are now dead to the overwhelming power of sin and alive to Christ Jesus.

The thought it profound. Can you even imagine how amazing it is that the Wonderful Counseling Holy Spirit has chosen to make His home within – us?  Of all people — you and me?

God wants to be with us. He wants to be near us.

Wow.

If you ever feel bad about you, remember who is in you, the one who chose to live in you. If you ever doubt yourself, remember that you are dead and alive to Christ Jesus. If you ever feel too bad for God’s love, remember the imputed righteousness of Christ Jesus has been won for you thanks to Jesus. When Jesus looks at you He sees goodness. When Jesus looks at you, He loves.

Where and how do you need to receive this as truth? How might God be calling you to receive Jesus’ work in a fresh way?

I tell myself things like this: I am now clean. I am loved. I am whole. I am chosen. I am wanted. I am called. I am infilled by the Spirit. I am busting at the seams with Christ’s love. I am dead to me and alive to Christ’s goodness.

When I remind myself of these truths, I truly feel Christ’s power working out, from the inside-out.

What about you?

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My Sideways Christmas Tree

My Christmas tree is sideways. Kind of. Well, not really…but it’s seriously slanted.

After my son and husband spent all that time hooking the thing up to the top of the car and carrying it in the house, paying special attention to my request that they bring it through the back door and not the front so that pine needles would not get everywhere…I did not have the heart to tell them to straighten it.

So now it is slanted.

It is slanted when I glance at it from the kitchen.
It is slanted when I walk past it in the living room.
It is slanted when people knock on my front door and they walk in my house.
It is slanted when I adjust the presents just-right under it.

Part of me wants to hate the slant. It’s not perfect. The other part of me sees the slant for what it is: a reminder that Christmas imperfections are to be expected.

There will likely be moments when: People get upset. I feel overwhelmed. I go to my closet for my own time-out. I get annoyed. Family does something I don’t like.

Slants in Christmas don’t mean the whole holiday is wrecked, they just remind me that I have and need a Savior. They remind me — I’m human.  They invite me to pray and to breathe deep.

Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Imperfect people desperately in need of a perfect Savior. This is what Jesus came for.

With this sort of mentality, I can remember slants are only moments. They come and they go, but God’s love for me endures forever. I am not defined by a passing moment, I am defined wholly and completely by Jesus’ love. With this, imperfect happenings, traditions, and inflated expectations cannot take me down.

There is a Savior and He came for me — and changed everything.

I see slants, I pray, and then I carry on. I feel offense, I remember how much Jesus forgave me and I move on. I deal with hard people, I throw my hands up and say, “I surrender” to God and I entrust them in His hands.

How can you brush off slanted moments and carry on in His love and grace, both to others and yourself?

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)

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The Gift We All Want This Season

we all want

“You are not listening. You don’t understand what I am saying.”

In some ways, the people who have said these very words to me — are right. Many times I don’t listen. Instead, I am thinking about what I am going to say next. Or, I am sizing up what their words convey. Or, I am deciding what to do  when they are done speaking. Or, I’m thinking about what still needs to get done.

I can grow in hearing, listening and understanding others. At my worst, I completely miss what others are saying. When I try my best, I’ve — at times — even thrown out advice. None of these meet the needs of a heart.

And, what strikes my heart is — if I can’t hear mankind, how can I truly hear God? If I can’t understand the words of another person’s heart how can I understand the deep mysteries of God’s Word?

God wants to raise my bar on hearing, listening and understanding.

“…Let every person be quick to hear…” (Ja. 1:19)

What about you? Do you hear and understand or do you miss things?

Somehow, I think the greatest gift we can give others this season — is our ears. With all the competing voices, opinions and perspectives, what we most want is to be heard by those we love.

We want to be understood, at least — even if others don’t agree.

How do we do this?

Here are some practical ways to be a great listener:

One: Decide you will really hear what the other is saying, without allowing your mind to make a trail elsewhere.

Two: Choose to repeat back what the other person is saying, to make sure you captured their thoughts. Let them clarify, if need be.

Three: Clarify their response, ask questions and/or show interest.

Four: You don’t have to agree, but it can feel validating to someone to acknowledge their feelings. You do this by saying things like, “That must have been tough, “I can’t imagine how that would have felt”, “I get what you are saying.”

Five: Let them know that you appreciate their perspective.

These tips work if you are in arguments. The other person may not be right, but they can be loved and cared for along the way. They also work with contentious people. Likely, they want to be heard far more than they demand you agree with their ideas. They work with kids. Their eyes light up when they know that someone understands their unique perspective.

There is something healing, when people start hearing. Indeed, hearing takes humility, but God gives grace to the humble. You can do it!

Choose to be a hearer more than a speaker and you’ll find new connection with God and others.

***In other news, stay tuned…on Thursday I have some big news coming. I think it is going to bless you. I can’t wait to share it. Don’t miss this Thursday’s blog post.

Prayer: Father, help us to listen before we speak. May we trust you in all our ways and humble ourselves before you. Often this means we have to lay down our agendas, words and ways to see you come through. Thank you that listening clears a way for you, Jesus. We trust you to protect us, to lead us and to help us with all our words. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Being Friend’s with Jesus

Have you ever been with a friend who constantly looks at their phone when they’re with you?

My pet peeve is when I meet someone for coffee and they keep looking at their phone. I can’t help but think…is it me? Is it something I’m saying? Am I not good enough to have their full attention?

This also happens on occasion at social gatherings when a person looks behind me or around me, rather than looking at me when I’m talking. I have to admit, I wonder why they’re so distracted.

It is hard to build a relationship with someone who is only half-in. Or, half-way listening. Or, half-way minding what they’re saying to you.

I couldn’t help but think about all this — this very morning, as I made coffee, while trying to pray…

I muttered some words, but as I got the grinds in the cup, I only half-way put my heart into what I was praying. I spoke some things that sounded good, but as I assembled the cups in the right place, I wasn’t much thinking about what I was saying. I tried to think about God, but I was much more thinking, “Where’s the cream?”

My attention was divided two ways. Looking at coffee, I couldn’t  — in actuality, look at God. It’s like trying to drive ahead while looking out your rear window. You can’t look two places at once.

Good friends focus on each other. They are attentive and available, rather than distracted and double-minded.

“…But I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jo. 15:15)

Good friends set down their phones, their to-do lists, their mind, even — and hone in on what’s happening between them. They talk. They make room to listen. They aren’t trying to do 5 things at one time. They rest in each other’s company.

Are you a friend of Jesus or are you far-more a distracted doer? Are you following a million rabbit trails around you and in your mind — or are you attuned to God’s heart?

I’ve noticed as I’ve set things down, or given my thoughts a time-out, I’ve been able to make space for exceptional times with God and for His breakthrough. I’ve noticed as I’ve said no to other things — I have made space for my first love. With this, I’ve come to know Him on such a deeper  heart level. I believe the same is available to you…

Prayer: Father, I want to know, love and be with you more. Will you give me focus? Will you help me be available to you? Will you pour out grace so that I can leave everything else behind as I read your Word? As I pray? You are my treasure of greatest measure. Please help me to treat you this way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

For more on attentiveness and focus on God, consider my newest book, “Rest Now: 7 Ways To Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy.”

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Your Good Father

good father

The woman, sitting with me at the conference table, did an extraordinary thing…

It all started with my saying, “I love your bible.”

On the spine, I noticed the words “Amplified version” printed. I love the Amplified Version. It gives rich context to the original Hebrew and Greek words in the Word.  I admired her treasure. Yet, what this woman didn’t know was my hunt in the last year to find, not just an “Amplified Version” bible, but a “Classic Amplified” version bible.

“Classic Amplified” bibles are out-of-print and not so easily found. I’ve looked here and there online, without much success. I’ve thought about how I want this translation on multiple occasions.

So, needless to say, I was surprised when she responded, “Well, this is actually a Classic Amplified Version.”

I didn’t want to covet. Yet inside, I wondered if coveting a bible is okay?? I didn’t know. Either way, I oohed and ahhed a little louder.

“Oh my goodness, that is a Classic Amplified Bible?” I said. “I’ve searched far and wide for that very book.”

Then, the conference started up, proceeded on, and before I knew it, it was over.

Looking longingly at her treasure, I waved goodbye to my fellow seatmate saying, “Hey. It was nice meeting you. I hope you really enjoy that bible.”

I wasn’t about 5 steps away when I heard her call my name. I looked back, and I saw her plucking papers out the book.

She extended it towards me. A tear formed in my eye. This woman was giving me her treasure so I could treasure it.

My heart was touched. God knew what I wanted– and He gave it to me. God saw.

My friend, God sees your heart. He knows what you need. He is aware of what you desire. He is a good Father.

If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him! (Mt. 7:11 AMPC — Classic!!!)

The Lord has good and advantageous things to give to you.

Are you asking? Seeking? Hoping? Or, have you lost hope that you have a good Father who cares for you? I’m sure of it — He loves to hear your voice.

My dear friend, I feel strongly led to say: do not give up with your requests. Do not back down. Keep asking. Ask more. Ask louder. Knock more. Talk to your Father; He loves you.

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Breakthrough is For Today

rest now

Do you all remember those MasterCard advertisements?

New dress: $100
Lipstick: $35
New handbag: $90

The look on your ex-boyfriends face when he sees you: priceless.

It is easy to accumulate things to accumulate worth. I remember when I got my first car. I couldn’t afford it. I didn’t have enough money for that beautiful sports car. But, still, I looked at my dad and said, “Can I?”

He said, “Sure.”

So we put a whole chunk of debt down and I worked forever… to pay that baby off. In the moment, it was all thrills. I kept looking to see who was looking at me when I stopped at lights.

Then, the pleasure wore off.

Many of us are searching for this pleasure of a greater measure.

What others think…$100

If we look good…$200
If we do well…$250
If we are better than she is…$99
If we are seen…$800
What we wear…$300
How much bible we know…$400
Our position, our power or our placement in this world… $400
How much money, how many vacations or what social media influence we carry… $1000

Yet, the irony of pleasure-seeking is that it always leaves us wanting: more. We can’t climb high enough. Or, go far enough. Fashions change. There’s a naysayer. There’s that nagging feeling that we’re not enough. We fear exposure.

I remember this hamster-wheel; I lived on it for the longest time…until, I got off.

Until I found a treasure of greater measure:
Knowing Jesus. Priceless.

Just to be clear, the difference from then and now — was more than just accepting Jesus into my heart. It was about choosing to know and dwell with Jesus. You know, we can know about Jesus in our head, yet miss Him in our heart?

This can be one of the greatest tragedies of the Christian faith as I see it…

What about you? Do you know Jesus — in a way where HIs love frees you, where His peace holds you, and His trust overwhelms you?

My hope is “[that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].” (Eph. 3:18-19 AMP)

Dear friends, I want you to experience this love and wholeness. I want you to find soul-rest that shields you from the sweaty pursuit of lesser crud. I want you to have an experiential knowing of a Good Father’s love. I want you to leave worry and anxiety in the dust as you come to know hope and peace like no other. Jesus is my treasure of greatest measure and He is the Prince of Peace in my life.

If this speaks to you at all today, consider getting my new book, Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries, and Seize Joy. t releases today! Your support means everything!!! Through it, I believe God will radically transform your life. He will liberate you in light of His love and care.

rest now

“Rest Now” will not only will bless me but, undoubtedly, I believe it will richly bless you in knowing God and His radical, unconventional peace. My belief is that you will truly find what is: priceless.

About Rest Now
Rest Now offers permission to breathe. It exposes the lies that distract, tire, and bully us, so we don’t strive for rest but love from it, like Jesus did. Learn how to

– create boundaries that allow you to overflow with love
– say no so you don’t hate yourself later
– ditch passive-aggressive behaviors in favor of healthy conversations
– embrace permission-giving thoughts to create mental space for God

Get it.

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Regaining Hope

The reality is, my husband would give me the shirt off his back. He also would lay down what is good for him for the betterment of me. He has sacrificed much so that I can write and pursue ministry work. He gives up things for me. He thinks of me. He helps when I don’t know what to do. He shares wisdom and tips and ideas. He is there when my head gets droopy; he picks up my chin. He shares his heart with me too. He tells me things he wouldn’t tell others.

My husband is my friend. I call him, “my best friend.”

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have a friend like this.”

To you, I want to explain, “Jesus is your friend like this…”

He says, “I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” (Jo. 15:15-17)

Note: everything Jesus learned from the Father he made known. Even today, by the Spirit, He continues to make all things known: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (Jo. 14:26)

Friends share deep things with friends. They share hidden truths. They bring to light what is true. They walk together. They talk together. They laugh together. They cry together. They dream together.

Friends love to take care of their friends. When I see a friend in need, I do my best to — show up. I want to know how they are.  I check-in.

You have a friend in Jesus. He is teaching and reminding you of important things through the Holy Spirit. He is there for you. If you can’t remember the last time you felt close to God, maybe you’ve forgotten that He not only is your Lord but that He also is your friend.

Oh, what a friend you have in Jesus! Lean your heart close to Him and ask Him to share some of the deep treasures. Connect with Him in Spirit and in truth.

Prayer: Father God, I thank you for your Son, Jesus. Oh, what a friend I have in Jesus. I also thank you for the Holy Spirit who leads, teaches, and comforts. Fill me afresh today with your Holy Spirit so that I might be full of you and your love (Eph. 5:18). Fill me afresh so that I might be led by you. Fill me so that I may worship and love you, with all my heart. Fill me so that I may know you more.

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The Blessing of Remembering

“Remember when…?”

This is what my husband says to me if I am ever feeling down.

Remember when God helped you in that situation far worse than this one…
Remember when you didn’t think you’d ever be healthy again and then you were…
Remember when God answered your prayers and how He showed up.

Remembrance recovers faith.

I believe it is why in Joshua 4, God instructed Joshua to build a memorial with stones. God had just parted the Jordan River for these Israelites, so they could make safe passage. Then, he instructed them to gather 12 stones, for the tribes of Israel and to pile them up, in remembrance.

The Lord of Lords said to Joshua, “In the future, your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” (Josh. 4:6-7 NLT)

What memorials do you need to remember? What markers and moves has God made in your life that are unmistakable? What made you stand in awe of your awesome God?

Remember back.

You know, what strikes me in this story is that the stones did not come from any old place… They came from “the middle of the Jordan” and then they were piled “at the place were you camp” (Josh. 4:3 NLT).

God wanted them to take the victory with them, never to forget it. Never to part with it. To see it. Understanding this concept, Joshua also built a memorial in the center of the Jordan. There, it would always be remembered — seen or unseen — that God is faithful.

We build altars of praise when we stop, thank, and praise God for doing the unthinkable.

What great thing is God doing in your life, even right now?

It is wise to write down, to mark, or to memorialize the greatness of God. These things encourage us in the future. They build hope. They crush discouragement. They build us up again at the right time.

Breakthroughs of God, remembered, are great reminders that God will move again! They showcase His power and might.

Little Foxes

little foxes

We just had a fire-drill in my house!

A must-act-now email popped up in my inbox demanding my immediate attention… I got flustered because of what it was requiring me to do. My son was demanding that I play chess with him now. The world needed everything I had in that very milli-second. I couldn’t take it.

Can’t you just wait a second, son?!  Give me a break!

I was so aggravated, both at what was coming at me, and because of this needy child, I lost my composure. Then, I felt guilty about it.

Grr… A stupid email set my house on fire.

Small things cause big damage just as little foxes spoil whole vineyards…

“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” (SOS 2:15)

What little fox tries to attack you? Is it a mistimed word from a family member? Is it your boss’ critiques? Is it a house out of order? Is it people with different political points of view.

The enemy desires to use small things to create big havoc. If we let him… But, we don’t have to.

““Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.” (Mt. 5:9 AMP)

When I keep the peace I literally express God’s character. When I maintain calm, I am blessed with life and joy and God’s favor. When I remain calm, I am a child who trusts God.

I want all to see the character of God being expressed through me. For then, He will calm them. He will heal the situation. He will add himself to my situation, whereas before my anger and frustration would have stopped me from seeing Him. This is favor.

Where is God calling you to new calm and peace?

 

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He’s Already There

The group was going one way; I was intent on going another. I wasn’t about to eat ice cream this late. That was fattening and I still wasn’t over my eating disorder.

Walking away from the retreat group, I headed back to the cabin. That was –until I felt God stop me in my tracks. It was as if I got hit by a 2×4. God placed on my heart, “Turn around. Go back with the group.” I knew to ignore His pull would be direct disobedience. Direct disobedience comes with consequences.

So, I turned around and, somewhat begrudgingly, walked all 23-years of me back into that line. And, as I met up with a group of girls I recognized, I discovered — He was already there.

The man I would marry. He was already there. He saw me pass Him and that’s when he caught up with me to get to know me. Thank God I obeyed God. Not only that, but Jesus was already there too. After that weekend, I accepted Him into my heart.

Jesus was already there. Do you know that whatever boat you may find yourself in today — in singleness, in financial ruin, in hopelessness, in defeat, in confusion — that Jesus is already there?

“So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them. Other boats were there too.” (Mk. 4:36)

Jesus was already in the boat where a wretched storm was about to hit…. He was already there. He knew. He could see. He was aware of what was to come. He was already a step ahead.

“Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves began to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow.” (Mk. 4:37)

Just because a storm is raging doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t already there.

The disciples woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?” (Mk. 4:38)

Maybe you are saying… don’t you care God? Why am I here? What is happening?

Jesus hasn’t fallen asleep on you. He hasn’t lost touch on what you are going through. He goes ahead of you.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)

God is already there — His love goes ahead of you. Be not afraid, my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world (1 Jo. 4:4). This isn’t a cheap line, but truth.

Prayer: God, you are amazing. You go ahead of us. You care for us. You are with us. You strengthen us. You empower us. We say thank you, thank you, thank you. Please add all these things to us as we come into loving you more and more and more. Great is your faithfulness! We do not waver, but trust you today. You have not fallen asleep on us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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