Purposeful Faith

Category - blessings

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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When you Want Deeply

“You want what you don’t have…” (Ja. 4:2)

How many of us desire what we do not have? We want a bigger house, a better husband, a different school year, a more satisfying job, a better family situation… then, life would be good.

There are things that I want. I desire them. Badly. Yet, the time isn’t right. Nothing’s changed. I am at a standstill.

I believe, one of life’s greatest hurts is mental fantasies, unrealized. We create storylines about how things should be. Yet, the more they are not the way we think they should be, the more hope deferred we feel.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Prov. 13:12)

Our sickness causes us to act out with schemes to help ourselves feel better… We get jealous of others. We demand people do things our way. We take things into our own hands. We bang our head against the wall out of frustration. We retaliate.

“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them…”  (James 4:2)

But, what if we stopped — to pray God’s way?

James 4:2-3 continues on……”Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3)

What if God was our greatest motive? Our love for Him, our greatest pursuit? Our hope, His way of showing up? Our belief, who He says He is — Provider, Shepherd, Keeper of our Soul, Comforter, Redeemer. Our steadfast belief, He is greater than any fear or worry we face.

God will show up; it just may not look exactly as we think. Are we willing to surrender our thoughts of how things should be for His best plan?

Prayer: God, let me desire you more than anything else on this earth (see: Psalm 73:25) All other things will fall into place as I trust you. You have a good plan and you are worthy of all my trust and faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Encouragement: God Will Provide

God is Provider. He shows up just on time. He provided His Son, at just the right moment, to literally save our souls. He knows what He is doing. He has a pulse on every detail that we need. He knows everything He is working together. He has us in the palm of His hand.

“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” (Is. 49:16)

God has us so much so — that we are engraved in the palm of His hand. We are ever-before our Maker. He thinks of us. He has a mind — to mind us.

He also has a plan to provide.

If you’ve lost hope around God providing a way, a means, a hope, finances, or a great rescue for a need, allow Him to renew your hope…

28 Verses Showing: God Provides

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb. 11:6)

I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it(Psalms 81:10)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Ps. 84:11)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mt. 6:33)

The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked. (Prov. 10:3)

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Ro. 8:32)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  (Eph. 3:20)

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Ps. 18:2)

Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. (Gen. 22:8)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. (Gen. 9:3)

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Ps. 34:10)

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mt. 21:22)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (Jo. 15:6)

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Mal. 3:10)

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … (Mt. 6:25-34)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Mt. 7:7-8)

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Eph. 3:16-17)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (Jo. 14:13-14)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (1 John 3:22)

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (Jo. 14:26)

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:13)

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:15-16)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:9)

 

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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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Are You Headed the Wrong Way?

Today, I completely missed my turn. I took a new route to the supermarket and, because I thought the entrance would look the same as before, I drove right past it. I knew the store would be on the left. However, because I  came from a different direction, it was on the right.

Because I expected an old thing, I missed the new. Likewise, many of us — looking for an old thing — miss God’s new. We expect people to hurt us like yesterday, so we stay in our house, away from relationship and, yet again — we are hurt. We expect our finances to never change, so we don’t bother changing anything and live continually strapped. We expect our kids to never change so we dismiss them because they’ve hurt us and God’s love doesn’t reach them.

We go our way, yet God has — His way. One we may not even be able to perceive.

Today, what if we were to open our eyes up to perceive that God may have for us — a new way?

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Is. 43:19)

Be it yesterday or today, Isaiah or Romans, Moses or Paul, God continually does new things. He breaks through. He restores. He transforms. He offers new life. New opportunities. Healing. Help.

The question is not — “Is God Healer, Helper, and Restorer?” The question is — “Do we believe Him to be these things?”

Where might God want you to perceive His new? If you have been banging your head in one particular area, this is a sign that God may be calling you to do things a new way. If you feel constantly stuck, look out for His new way. If you feel like there must be more, expect Him to show you something new.

All His ways are good.

Prayer:

God, help me to perceive your leading and direction. I don’t want to be so stuck in an old thing that I can’t walk into your new thing for me. I thank you that transition and change are part of your heart. I thank you that as I wait on you that you will renew my strength. Today, I choose to trust your leading and guidance. I trust you to provide and to help me. I ask that all I do, think and say might bring glory to you. Help me to trust and love you even more. Thank you that I can do this by laying down my ways and by trusting yours. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen

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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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God’s Love

God's love

God’s love is better than life. 

I can’t say why, but, this phrase is resonating in my spirit. It’s not that I’m saying life on Earth is not worth living or giving up on for heaven. Not at all. I am not saying that.

But, what I am saying is  — God’s love is better than life. It is better than the best thing I’ve ever gotten here on Earth. It is better than my best day ever. It is better than the best feeling I’ve ever experienced.

I believe this is why Paul desired the Ephesians understand God’s love more…

“And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love,  be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [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. 3:17-19 AMP)

God’s love is EVERYTHING. Yet, I’ve learned, only when I conceive God’s love, do I receive God’s love. And, only when I receive God’s love, do I become so full that I have “the richest experience of God’s presence in (my) life.”

God’s love changes everything.

Suddenly, in light of God’s glory, grace, and love what happens is — the minors get minor. Stresses don’t bother as much. Worry fades. Fear is far more unimportant. And, the majors become major heavenly pursuits. I want to go with God and do God-centered things, everywhere.

Have you experienced God’s love? Why not ask Him to help you receive His love? To know the depths, widths, and lengths of His care…

I believe an amazing thing will happen.

In light of God’s love, we see more. We see we already have anything and everything we need!  We see everything else is worth giving up for His goodness. We see how to love others from pure motives. We see how God is calling us to give away things we thought we needed. We get unhooked from the world because His presence and love call us elsewhere.

God’s love is better than life. It calls us deeper today…

 

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The Power of Christ

The news tells us we’re powerless.

“Cover your face, or else… ”
“We just don’t know when we will all be okay…”
“There is no telling how many people will die…”

The endless discussion is enough to make even the most faithful Christian weary, tired or uncertain. Many of us have taken down our defenses. Now, it seems we are prey.

We feel powerless.

Yet, we are not powerless. Christ has not left us powerless, but power-full.

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 1:19-20)

Can you even imagine? The same power that raised Christ from the dead AND seated him in the place of honor — is for us!!!

This is not theory or hearsay; this is truth.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim. 1:7)

We have a spirit of power.

Power to turn off the TV.
Power to pray.
Power to love.
Power to say I don’t agree with what I am hearing.
Power to use wisdom in accordance with peace.
Power to rise above the mayhem and into God’s rest.
Power to cast what is bothering us unto God.
Power to engage with God’s Word.
Power to have great faith.
Power to see God’s great moves in action.
Power to bless and heal others, through Christ’s love.

We are not powerless — like the enemy wants us to feel — we are power-full!

The difference between the two is often the difference between mental health and deterioration.

Prayer: Father God, I thank you that you have not left me powerless. You have not deserted me. You have not left me behind. I am not without a friend. Jesus is my friend. You are my Father. I have family. I am loved. It is well with my soul. It is well in my world. You have given me power, through Christ, to effect godly change in this world. And, I will do so! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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