Purposeful Faith

Category - blessings

God’s Love Never Fails

I stood at the front door, waving bye to my husband…

He was flying to a different state to be at his father’s bedside (keep him in your prayers).

Frankly, I didn’t know when he’d get home and this was okay. Not too long after he left, I sat down and started scrolling on Facebook.

I remembered Mother’s Day was Sunday. I figured I’d be home alone, in quarantine, with two kids, no church, and some potato chips to quell my feelings. The more I sat there, the more I wished some friends would drop by to wave hi, call, drop off something or give me a bag of chocolate. My mind was fantasizing about being loved. But, I knew it wouldn’t happen.

No one is coming. No one knows me, here, really…

Being hard on myself, I berated my actions over the past six months: I’ve been busy. I’ve had too many things to do. I’ve been focused on other issues. I haven’t been a good enough friend.

No one will care for me, because I haven’t cared enough for them.

As I sat there, I determined post-social distancing that I would be the friend I want.

I would do this through:
– Availability: I would make time and space to meet with key people. I wouldn’t wait to be invited, but I would become an  — inviter.

– Intentionality: I would go deeper with these people. I would seek to encourage, love, and help others, recognizing their times of need.

– Transparency: I would seek to be honest with others, about where I am at — allowing them to encourage me, offer hope, and help. It’s okay to cry, with the right people. I can share my story and listen to theirs.

To have a friend, I must be a friend. I tucked that lesson in my pocket and went on with my day. But, it wasn’t a short time later that I got a text. A woman I loved knew I was home alone. She invited me to her house for dinner.

God touched my heart: He does see me. He knows exactly where I am.

“The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man.” (Ps. 33:13)

I guess I haven’t been a horrible friend, after all…

The next day, I didn’t get one, but a ton of loving messages. I am loved! It is funny how our mind tricks us and tells us that we’re down and out, left behind and unwanted.

Lies.

God’s love tells us a different story: He knows our story. He sees us. He always takes care of us. He always provides. He always helps us out of our pits. He has gone the Calvary Road distance to save us. His love never quits. While we may have times alone or things may not feel right, His love will always be there for us.

“God’s love never fails.” (Ps. 136:1)

 

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I Can’t Believe I Just Said That!

said that

Post by: Sharon Jaynes

My friend Catherine and I set out for a lazy summer stroll through the neighborhood just before the fireflies emerged to start their party. We chatted about raising boys, working husbands, and decorating dilemmas. When we arrived back at her house, she invited me to come in and look at some fabric swatches for a new sofa. Before I knew it, a few minutes had turned into a few hours.

“Oh, my!” I exclaimed. “It’s ten o’clock. I’ve been gone for over two hours! I bet Steve’s worried sick. He doesn’t even know where I am. I’d better give him a call before I start back home.”

When I dialed our number, the answering machine picked up…which made me just a little mad.

“Steve, I was calling to let you know I’m at Catherine’s. I thought you’d be worried, but apparently you don’t even care because you won’t even pick up the phone!” Click. I said my goodbyes to Catherine and left feeling dejected. “I’m wandering around in the dark all alone and he doesn’t even care,” I mumbled to no one in particular. “I could be lying in a ditch injured, or dead for that matter! I don’t think he even loves me.”​

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed Steve coming toward me on his bicycle.

“Where have you been?” Steve desperately asked. “I’ve been riding all over the neighborhood looking for you! Do you know what time it is?”

When we arrived home, I quickly erased that angry voicemail. Whew, I thought. That was close.

A few days later, Steve called me from work. “Sharon, have you listened to the voice mail lately? There’s something you need to hear.”

So, I used my cell phone to call my landline.

The message went something like this: (The voice of sweet Southerness) “Hello, you’ve reached the Jaynes’ residence. We’re unable to answer the phone right now… (enter the voice of Cruella De Vil) “I was calling to let you know I’m at Catherine’s. I thought you’d be worried, but apparently you don’t even care because you won’t even pick up the phone!” (Return of sweet Southerness) “At the sound of the beep, leave a message, and we’ll get back with you as soon as possible.”

“Oh, my goodness!” I screamed. “How did this happen! How many people have heard this over the past three days?”

I called the phone company, and they explained that most likely during the thunderstorm we had a few days earlier, a lightning strike must have merged and scrambled the message.

I was mortified. I think God was too.

The Bible says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10). That all went down in one single voice mail.

As women, I am amazed how quickly we can flit back and forth between blessing and belittling, praising and putting down, cheering and critiquing—all in a matter of seconds. God has given us incredible power in our sphere of influence, and it begins with the words we speak.

In Genesis 1, we read that God created everything we see with but a word. He said, “Let there be,” and then there was. Then on the sixth day, when He created man and woman in His own image, He did something amazing, astonishing really—He gave us the gift of words.

Few forces have greater impact then the utterances that pass our lips. Our words can embolden a child to accomplish great feats, encourage a husband to conquer the world, reignite the dying embers of a friend’s broken dreams, cheer on a fellow believer to run the race of life, and draw a lost soul to Christ. Words start wars and bring peace—globally, and right in our own homes.

Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and author of 24 books, with close to a million sold. For ten years, she served as vice-president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and co-host for their daily radio program. Sharon is the co-founder of Girlfriends in God, Inc., a ministry that touches nearly 500,000 women daily through internet devotions. Sharon is also a popular guest on radio and television programs such as Focus on the Family and Family Life.

 

 

In The Power of a Woman’s Words, bestselling author Sharon Jaynes will show you how to:

  • exchange careless words that hurt for intentional words that help others succeed
  • recognize words that tear down confidence and replace them with words that build others up
  • overcome the negativity that pushes people away and become a well of positivity that draws others in
  • tame your tongue by practicing practical principles that help you think before you speak
  • stop being disappointed in your lack of control by taking hold of the power of the Holy Spirit

 

 

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You Won’t Get it Right All The Time!

You won’t get it right, all the time.

Last Thursday, as the blog post I wrote about “patience” hit your inbox, let me tell you — my patience was running thin. Here I was telling you why you should be patient, yet, I was snapping at my kids…

What I thought I had it figured out when I wrote the post on Tuesday, was an issue again on Thursday!

The fact of the matter is — we don’t get it right, all the time.

Some of us need to hear this loud and clear today: you won’t get it right all the time. You’ll yell when you meant to be sweet. You’ll sweat when you should have stayed cool. You’ll be anxious when you determined to have peace. You’ll doubt when you determined to believe.

You’ll say to yourself, “Why can’t I do better? Be better? Act better?”

You may put your head down, in defeat. Yet, I imagine, God lifts it up again, whispering in your ear, “Child, I still love you. Even though…  Always…”

Let that relief sink in…  You see, where we are human; God is grace. Where we feel “fed up and ready to head out”; God still wants us. Where we are moody; God is constant.

Oh, how I celebrate this! He wants me, He wants me, He wants me. Even during all my — there I go again… why can’t I… I only wish…moments. He wants you too. It is His love that changes us. His love lifts us out of our pit of condemnation and sets us on a path of transformation, so we don’t do that thing we hate that we do.

Rest under His ever-flowing grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

It is not by your work that you change — lest you boast.

Little-by-little, step-by-step, it is God who carries us up and out of our old pit to new actions and reactions.  He gets the credit. He owns the work. We meet Him as he prompts our new steps, sure, but he ultimately transforms and conforms us to His image, not to a pattern of repeat-wrongs.

Acceleration comes, in this process, by receiving grace. Otherwise, you strive and then seek to take credit for His glory. Or, you start comparing your self-righteousness against the next girls.

No. Grace is a gift and, through it, all glory belongs to the Lord.

Do you see the beauty here?

There is rest available to you. Accept His grace. Open your hands. Allow God to change you, renew you, free you, form you and fashion you. Obey Him as He leads. You are His masterpiece and His possession. He cares for you.

The Master is at work. Rather than putting your eyes on what you do wrong, confess, and put your eyes back again on Him. He will shape you. Entrust yourself into His hands. And, He will do it.

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Walking in the Blessing of Today

blessing

Today cannot be a time of blessing, can it? After all, we are social distancing, staying 6-feet away and looking at others like walking-viruses, ready to attack.

God, what do you have for me, here, in this weird place? This is an important question to ask.

I believe there are blessings available for those who ask. A blessing, not a cursing — for those with eyes to see. A bounty, not a backbreaking burden — for those at home.

Is that you? Or, do you feel it is unbiblical to be blessed? To seek a blessing?

You know, my friends and family…

for a long time, I could not receive a blessing. Nor, would I ask God for one. It felt self-indulgent to say, “Lord, will you bless me?” It felt unbiblical to say, “God, I want your blessings.” There are so many people who need so much more than I do. Who am I to ask. I should be a servant, not a seeker for myself…

Yet, a Psalm, written by David, a man after God’s own heart — set me straight. Within it David says:

With all my heart I want your blessings.” Ps. 119:58

If David wanted a blessing, and God inspired these very words in His Word, who am I to disagree? I can ask for a blessing, with my whole heart, without shame!

“God, I want your blessings. With all my heart, I want your blessings. In a time of Coronavirus I want your blessings!”

The fact of the matter is — I need God’s blessings — His unmerited favor, right now, in my time of trouble, more than ever. Anything less than me needing God’s blessing is likely pride in-action.

To think I can do it without God’s help and generous giving is probably self-work or pious self-proving.

Thanks to God’s wisdom on this, during this season, I have received His blessing. This is why this time of “social distancing” has become a different time. Rather than “social distancing”, it is a time of “family gathering”. I have gotten closer to my kids and husband. I have laughed more. I have played more. I have gotten to know fun without big price tags.

I am blessed! What is simple has trumped what is complex and the peace of the Lord is here — in my house.

Because of this, I give him thanks. All glory to Him; I am blessed.

Might you ask God for a risky thing: to be blessed today…?

Prayer: Father God? I ask you for more, today. More blessings! More of you! More of what you have for me! I ask without shame! I ask expecting to receive. I ask ready to give all thanks and glory back to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Patience in Turbulence

patience

I snapped. He raised his voice and snapped back. We gave each other squinty-eye looks.

After all, we’ve been in close proximity, in tight quarters for over a week. We’ve been cooped up and trying to stay positive… We’ve been walking around the block, many times a day…  I’ve been homeschooling the kids… Add all this to the constant influx of bad news…and…

I’m not complaining. We are all just trying to make it, aren’t we? It is what it is. However, we can’t deny: it’s easy to get fed up and fired up at those we most love.

Distance doesn’t always make a heart grow fonder; in many cases, it is making us more irritated at those who are close to us.

The dishes left on the counter can feel personal. The person who snaps back is attacking us. The mistimed comment is a trigger. People feel too close for comfort.

So what do we do?

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Col. 3:13)

My husband and I have agreed, in order to make it this season– it must be a period of “extreme grace”.

This means we don’t (as much) comment on small issues. We don’t hold things against each other. We keep our mouth shut more often than we comment on meaningless things. We extend love even though. We make a decisive decision to look for the best in one another. We allow things to roll off our shoulders. We forgive rapidly. We remember that tensions are higher. We choose to reach out with patience more than to operate from panic.

We extend the very grace we desperately want to receive. We don’t count the price, but offer free love, despite ___(whatever).

I won’t say I am doing it perfectly. I can’t say he is either. But, I can say that more and more, we are keeping peace in our house and acting differently than the world around us. We aren’t fearing. We aren’t setting our kids up for a tense environment. We aren’t opening the door to other outside issues because we’ve let our guard down. This is good.

In this, we can far more walk with the Prince of Peace than the panic of this world.

What about you? How are you doing?

Prayer: Father God, these times are odd. We, in many ways, don’t know what we are doing, where we are going or how things will happen. The ground feels unsteady. But, we know that you are our rock. You are our steady-footing. We are in your fortress. We are in your strong tower. We are your children. We are your beloved. We thank you for how you are taking care of us in this hour. You are near. You are with us. You are our helper. You are our refuge. We are safe.

Father? Help us to receive your love so that we might love others well. Fill us with your mercy, grace and help this hour. We love you, Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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The Bad is Good

bad is good

A friend looked at me and said, “With God, the bad is good.”

Hmm…she had my wheels turning now…

I wonder, how many of us can see the truth in her statement?

The bad boyfriend that we, at one time, thought was good for us?
We can see now, it is darn good that we didn’t marry him.

The bad health scare that we figured would kill us?
Well, it is good that we are still alive and, not only that but, we now have more faith than ever.

The bad news that we lost our job?

It is good that God repositioned us. We hated every minute of that job and now God has us on unique-assignment, impacting specific people.

What bad has become good, in light of your prayers and God’s grace? Think back. Recount. Reflect. Remember. Restore your countenance.

What looks bad, becomes good, with God.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 2:20-22)

With God, through Christ, it is: “Yes!” It is good. It is God’s promises, delivered. It is God’s grace, right here and now. It is what looks bad, coming into the light of Christ. It is what hope we cannot see, becoming manifest.

See beyond your natural eye and you will see again. See beyond circumstances and issues to hope in Christ, once again. See beyond panic and you will see The Prince of Peace. See beyond what everyone else is doing and you will see Him. By the natural eye, we are blind, but by the Spirit-eye, we see: God’s promises are yes and amen. Jesus is greater. Jesus has conquered. The war is done. We are safe, forever. God is the Pre-eminent Ruler of The World. And, we are His children.

There is goodness waiting for you — right here, right now. Bad becomes good in light of God’s mercy and grace.

Glory to God!

Friends, during this time that can feel scary, panicked or stressful, I am doing more videos on Facebook and on Instagram. Come join me there, as I pray and share God’s Word to encourage your heart.

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What People Think

I put the broken sunglasses on anyway…even though I knew they’d sit crooked, even though they were broken. I guess you could say — I don’t care.

I don’t care what you think about me.

I don’t care if you give me a side-eye glance because one of the two arms are broken off and the glasses are becoming more vertical than horizontal.

I don’t care that I look odd and that you may be thinking weird things about me.

I don’t care, because I choose to be comfortable outside, more than to care about your inward thoughts towards me.  I don’t care because the only other pair of glasses I own are now lost in some other state.

So, I plop the crooked glasses on my face and confidently hop outside with the couple we’re having over. I don’t care. If you don’t love me because of — my sunglasses, you would have never loved me anyway…

After a bit of chatting and sitting, one of the guests looks at me. He says, “Kelly, your glasses are so ministering to me.”

Really? That’s odd. I’m intrigued now. I sit up and lean forward.

“It’s as if you are saying, ‘I don’t care’.” He explained.

It’s true.

I love you, but…
I don’t care about impressing you.
I don’t care if you think I am too much for Jesus.
I don’t care if you call me intense.
I don’t care if I look odd when I tell people how much God loves them.
I don’t care if I don’t do what everyone else does, because it leads my heart down wrong-paths.
I don’t care if you judge me because of how I look.
I don’t care if you think you have more bible knowledge or good theology than me.

I do not fear you, so I can love you. With this, more and more, do not care…

What I do care about is God and what He is calling me to. I care about love that is pure and without pretense. I care about authenticity and welcoming others to be real. I care about real connection, despite looks. I care about what God is really saying and doing and leading us into, as a family, much more than I do about appearances.

Although a growth process, one of my greatest joys has been God teaching me to — not care! Now I am free! This is life and boldness for the Kingdom of God — like no other.

God speaks the best words over me, so I don’t have to be controlled by yours.

What do you care far too much about? How might God be calling you to — throw up your arms to say, “I don’t care! By George, I don’t care anymore…!”

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ( 2 Cor. 3:17)

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The Value We Don’t Realize

I had no idea that a hobby would teach me so much.

My son started collecting pennies. He is radical about it. He consistently wants to knock on our neighbor’s doors to ask if they have any spare pennies. And, this sounds odd, but, we actually ventured to a stranger’s house after posting on a community Facebook page that we were ‘in need’ of pennies. A kind soul answered. Not too long ago, we also brought a few of my dollars to the grocery store and exchanged them for penny rolls. He has a one-track mind, these days: Pennies. Pennies. Pennies.

Everywhere in the house, he spreads out coins, to examine them. We look for errors. Because errors mean “worth”.

After all, I know about pennies, and how much value they could potentially have, I can’t believe how carelessly I’ve treated the pennies, in the past. I’ve likely thrown out “worth”, tossed aside value, and given away a penny that could be worth hundreds, thousands, or even a million dollars.

The issue was: I didn’t know what I held.  Many of us don’t know: what we hold.

This is an issue, because: when we don’t know what we ‘hold’, we don’t value it.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9)

I am a chosen race. I am a royal priesthood. I am a woman who is God’s possession.

When I forget these things, I forget the light of Christ in me. I throw out the beauty of Jesus in me.  I doubt my existence. I feel insecure. I shirk back under the pressure of what others think of me.

But, when I know what I hold? Then, I “proclaim the excellencies of him who has called me.” I shine. I share. I walk with a purpose. I am called-to-action. I am intentional. I am focused. I am on-fire.

What about you? Do you know the value of what is in you? Of Christ in you? Or, do you just trash it and toss it aside.

We are a prized possession of the High King. Let us not forget: we hold value.

On another note, as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I wanted to let you know that I was SO blessed to receive a free copy of The Jesus Bible, Artist Edition. I particularly loved the large margins on the side of the bible. It left me ample room to write notes. I am enjoying the commentaries from various biblical scholars. Just letting you all know in case any of you may be looking for a bible with wider-margins. It feels good to be able to keep a log of all the ways God is speaking through His word. I love looking back at my words, years later. For artists too – it may be a good investment.

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The Right Perspective

I didn’t expect this to happen… I stood at the window and watched multiple birds land on the bird feeder. It was an almost empty feeder. With this, time after time, bird after bird, none of them were eating anything. They just figured there was nothing left for them. So, they landed on the rod and…flew off…

But, one was different. He stuck his head in — and then — he got all the remaining food. He just sat there eating up what everyone else couldn’t see. Simply because he reached in…

I think a lot of us have lost hope. We have sort of given up on believing like we did before. So, we don’t reach up to heaven to pray anymore… We just sit there, and — worry, stress or fear…

But, for those who reach-deep and reach-up to God, who keep believing in “God’s more” and who keep seeking– they are the ones who find the bread of life.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13)

Remember when I prayed for so many of you weeks ago? God did breakthrough. For one, someone got miraculous transportation provided for her ministry.

Do not give up on prayer. God hears.

I was just reading this morning in 1 Kings 19 that Elijah prayed seven times — seven times!! — for rain. Even Jesus prayed more than once for the “man who saw trees.”

Just because you haven’t seen it — doesn’t mean you won’t. All is not hopeless. Keep persevering in prayer. God hears. It may not be on prayer #1, but on prayer #8 that breakthrough finally comes.

Persist. God is faithful.

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How To Keep Jesus Front-and-Center This Christmas

While I’m undoubtedly hesitant to admit this to you today, I’m going to: I missed the point of Thanksgiving this year. With all the travel, the family happenings, the busy rush of getting everything ready — I didn’t even think of what I was thankful for until. . . after Thanksgiving.

Then, I hastily jotted down the “10 Things I Am Thankful For” in my bible like I do every year. After, what took a few minutes, I shut the book on it.

Looking back, I feel a little guilty and convicted about my lack of thought or care around this important holiday. Things just got the better of me, I guess. . .

With all this said, I don’t want this to happen again, this Christmas. It’s easy to get caught up in things — the menus, the meals, the silverware, the decorations, the gifts, the parties, the details, the people coming over. With such little time to accomplish everything, it feels like there is no time for God and thinking about what Jesus has done.

But, I vehemently refuse, to be detoured from what matters most this time around. God, help me. . . 

This is Christmas — is Christ’s party. All this is for Him, not them.

You, like me, may have a heart to put Christ first this season. How can we do it? Here are three ideas that I am focusing on:

One: Look upon the tree.

When I look upon the Christmas tree in my house, I can be reminded to look upon Jesus. Trees lined the ground outside his barn. Shepherds most certainly passed through them. Jesus was put up on one. I can look at the tree and ponder it. Think upon how Jesus was a simple man who walked among trees, to save me.

What can you think about as you look upon your tree and ponder Jesus?

Two: Sit.

While everything demands I move a mile-a-minute, I can revolt! I can just sit, when my body says, “Do!”  I don’t have to listen to all the demands and desires, I can sit with Jesus, if only for a bit to say, “Thank you for coming into this earth to save me.”

Three: Marvel.

Driving in the car, or doing mindless tasks, I can marvel. What kind of God is this who would leave the high and luxurious places of heaven to come to this death-filled and deplorable earth? What kind of God is this who chooses to enter into my life, in humble form and kindness? What kind of gift, have I not yet tapped, in Jesus?

I am adamantly intent on receiving Jesus this season. While everyone else wouldn’t receive the King in their hotel, I do not want to have a “No Vacancy” sign on my heart. What about you?

Prayer: God, apart from you, I’ll miss you. There is so much to do, to handle, to accomplish, to wrap, to give. . . the list goes on and on. . .  I am asking you to invade my heart this season. Give me a crushing and burning desire to meet you, to connect with you and to see your heart for me, afresh. I want the best of you this Christmas. I want to honor you in all your ways. I want to thank and glorify you for coming into this world to save me. You are worthy of all my heart this season. Give me all I need to honor you rightly.  You are my best gift. I am so honored to be your daughter. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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