Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

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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Few Words, Big Difference

God answers prayers, but our prayers may not always come easy.

Not too long ago, I rode down a long highway. A kid had to go to the bathroom. We stopped at a rest stop. There, I noticed 3 girls standing outside the bathroom looking aimless, dizzy almost.  I walked past them, but felt a check in my spirit.  Were they okay? There were two pre-teens and one crying toddler who looked disoriented. I hesitated and didn’t talk to them, figuring I’d check on them after I got out of the bathroom. The only thing was — after I got out of the bathroom they were (poof!) gone. A distance from me, I could see a man carrying the kid away with the two girls getting in a car.

Something didn’t sit right with me about the whole thing. I wish I would have checked in with the girls to make sure they were okay. I talked to my husband about how child trafficking breaks my heart. Who knows what story these girls have, but I wish I would have acted faster. Darn.

More recently, we got in the car for a road trip. I remembered that situation as we set out. I essentially prayed, “God, bust every child trafficker or abuser today up and down this highway. Expose them. Bring justice, this morning!”

It wasn’t but a few hours later that my husband saw a huge conviction go down online.  A huge child abuser source was stopped and brought in.

When did it happen? As the article conveyed the time; they got busted the same time I prayed.

This is not my win; it is God’s.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

God used what looked like a horrible situation before, to bring immediate liberation to kids today. But, I couldn’t give up — I had to pray!

Do not allow a defeat to steal Christ’s victory that is right before you. Pray to see His better way!

Get down on your knees. Ask. Seek. Hope. And, believe again. Just a few words could make all the difference.

 

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Considering All That’s Going on…

love

So much is raging. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you. CoronaVirus and racial tensions are high. You’ve likely seen or heard the stories of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. My heart breaks.

Like me, you may be asking, how do I deal with all this? How do I stay near God and not fear? How do I act justly in the face of things I cannot control?

“And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Mi. 6:8)

Love mercy. Act justly. Walk humbly.

“Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:8).

When the outward position of our heart is love, the inward strength of our spirit gets revived.

When I respond with mercy and humility, the love I give WILL NOT fail them, or me. It cannot. God says it is so. It doesn’t matter if my love seems small. If it appears insignificant. If it only affects one person. It will NOT fail.

One small act can change the world.
One small blessing can heal wounds.
One small person can make a huge difference.
One small word can bring justice to many.

A mosquito is small but can have a huge impact if you spend all night with it. A headlight isn’t too big but shows you the way to greater lands. A hug is small but it can change everything when you haven’t had one in 4 months.

Scientifically, it’s even been proved that a small act of love can start a chain reaction of love.  Love is contagious. Just think of what happened after Jesus came on earth; now Christianity is all over the world. And, it happened through love.

Just as much as fighting can spread, so can a wildfire of love…

Let’s the be ones to start it…

We will not win wars on Facebook. Or, with political grandstands. Or, with high and grandiose opinions of how things need to change. We will win the war of the world through love, the love of Christ — touching nations, touching people, touching hearts, reaching out, listening, helping, understanding, sacrificing, and uplifting those who need help. Defending, the oppressed. Being present with those in need. Speaking up.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
    ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
    and see that they get justice.” (Prov. 31:8-9 NLT)

We were poor and helpless in our sin and Jesus stood up for us. His love won the day and, now, it wins our every day, from this point straight into eternity…

I don’t have every answer. Far from it. But, what I do have is a wild and unbelievable belief in the love of Christ to change the world. Let’s become activated in it. Let’s do instead of sit around and wait for politicians and people to come up with the answers. We have Christ in us! HE is the hope of all glory! (Col. 1:27)

Prayer: Father, fill us with your love. Grace us with your power. Show us the marginalized, the people in need, those that are taken advantage of…we want to help them. Give us eyes to see how we can help and move. Do not permit us to carry bitterness and anger towards others. May we be change-agents according to your cause. We love you. May we love every person, everyday independent of color or nationality. Teach us how to love like Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Seek The Heart of The Matter

The man got out of his pickup. He ran down the stairs quickly. As he did, as if I was sizing up a suspect, I noticed his cut-off sleeves, his see-through thin white shirt, his scruffy beard, hid tattooed arms and his body that was far too thin. Was he on drugs?

I saw him dispose of something next to the sidewalk. What is he doing? Is there evidence he wants to get rid of?

Suspiciously, I kept my eye on him, as he quickly ran off…back to his car.

What did he do? I was determined to find out. So, as I approached the area of the sidewalk where he “disposed of his stuff”, I looked down. And, right between the side-walk and the water, was the evidence — a little turtle.

This “evil” man had rescued a turtle from the road to bring it to the water. He saved it from death to bring it to life.

And, as I looked at that turtle, I saw the reality of me: I size people up too quickly, by appearance, without knowing the reality of their heart.

My head dropped as I walked on. I am well acquainted with another group — who did a similar thing…the Pharisees.

They accused Jesus of healing on the Sabbath, without considering “the heart” behind Jesus’s motives (see: Mt. 12:15-21)

They misinterpreted Jesus intention to heal, missing His heart, by attributing the power to the devil. (Mt. 12:22-37)

They missed the whole new covenant because they couldn’t perceive the heart of God, through Jesus, in flesh and blood.

Let’s not judge, before we seek to understand — real truth. We are quick to size up what we can’t understand. Our natural mind demands we draw conclusions, rather than to wait on the Lord’s answer. Or His deeper meaning. So, we label people before our heart has come to know their real heart-motivation.

But, what if we were to give those around us “the benefit of the doubt”? What if we were to “believe the best”? Wait before sizing-up?

For instance, rather than judging people different than us, we can suspend our thoughts and pray a blessing over them.

Rather than picking apart our husband’s actions, we can choose to say, “I know he loves me. He is doing his best.”

Rather than assuming a friend doesn’t like us anymore, we can say, “I better call her and see how she is doing. Maybe she is having a hard day.”

Rather than believing God has forgotten us, we can say, “I don’t see answers to my prayers now, but I know God has all my requests in His hands.”

We can do something different: preserve our heart. When we wait on the Lord — He usually has a better answer. There are better heart-interpretations than ones we lean on though instinctive reactions.

What might you need to step back from in order to see from your heart? Where might you need to wait, instead of drawing conclusions?

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Easter Resurrection Power

“You aren’t listening.”
“I don’t feel loved.”
“I’m alone.”

Friends, while I hate to admit it — this week has been hard. The flesh-side of me wishes I could blame it on my husband, but I can’t. It takes two to tango.  I’ve accused him within my mind. I’ve raised my voice in the house. I’ve changed the atmosphere from peaceful to stressful. I’ve taken it out on the kids. I feel bad about all this…

I wonder if things might be hard at home for you too? We are living in a fishbowl, after all. Right on top of those we love, 24/7. Unable to get time alone, like before. It is a condition ripe for conflict.

Yesterday, I took a walk. One house along the path was lined with beautiful blooming flowers.  I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a picture of grace. In the midst of virus mayhem is grace-filled beauty. Spring has no mind for the madness.”

Neither does Jesus’ resurrection have a mind for madness. It is the exact opposite of mayhem. Whereas we may argue, panic, or worry, the resurrection of Jesus is righteousness, peace and joy. For, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Just like those flowers pushed out of the dark ground, to find the bright of day — Jesus, through the resurrection, pushes out darkness to bring new light — by demolishing sin, denying the power of death, and shaming the powers of darkness…

Jesus always brings light to the darkness. He does so, even today. Even, here, in quarantine.

With this, I can’t help but think, there is a boundless nature to what Jesus can do.  Even in this time of quarantine, marriages can be healed, hope restored, depression removed, habits renewed, mindsets rewritten, finances helped. Everything is possible through Christ. Think BIG and reach towards Him in BIG ways.

Forget what the world says. The triumphant reign of Jesus is amongst us. The Spirit is in us. The Prince of Peace is present. The King of Glory is in full of glory.  Jesus has risen — and is rising up new life in the here and now.

Oh, how we praise you, Jesus! Oh, how we love you! Oh, how we need you! Oh, how we rely on you! Oh, how we surrender to you! Oh, how you are worthy! Oh, how you are everything, Jesus. We want to give you all the worship, this Easter!

Friends, can you see it? We cannot be in the darkness when we are: are in the light. We now stand in the light of an empty tomb, with the stone-rolled back and a risen King over us and — ruling!!!

“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” (Col. 1:13-14)

The transfer already happened. We get eternity forever! Oh, the riches of that. And, thanks to the Lamb of God, the resurrection-life power of Jesus is moving in our homes. Jesus is ever-working, ever-healing and ever-transforming us. Look for him this season. Talk to Him too.

Whatever appears dead in a tomb in your life, is not. Jesus conquered the grave.

Friend, if you feel depressed, if you feel misunderstood, if you feel anxious, if you feel worried, if you feel shameful, if you feel disappointed, if you feel bad, if you feel ruined….I pray you see: new life. Starting today.

Just like those flowers busted out of darkness, in the midst of madness, Jesus can bust through any darkness or madness in your life — to bring beauty.

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How the Enemy Smells Fear

She jumped back! The goose was sounding, “Honk! Honk! Honk!” He approached her, hissing and threatening. Terrified, my 6-year old daughter shirked back and bent over. She didn’t know what to do. She looked around, helpless. Only a half a foot taller than the goose, the goose smelled fear. He knew he ruled. So, he fed on her fear. He pushed her back even more.

I wouldn’t have it.

I walked over to him like a military woman taking charge and I shoved that goose back in the water with my heavy approach. I said, “Oh no you don’t. You don’t mess with my little girl that way. You get outta here.” The goose had to move.

Many of us are cowering in fear and hoping the enemy of our soul will move. We are whispering and telling him to get back. We are turning into ourselves.

Yet, fear doesn’t move our enemy, it feeds him. It draws him to us. It gives him a louder sound and makes his approach stronger.

The enemy of our soul only moves when we approach with strength and confidence. When we use our authority, our strength of size, and our power vested in us by the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Lu. 10:19)

I don’t know what sort of goose you face today. Maybe he looks like a giant. Maybe he is squawking loud. Maybe he’s hissing in your face. Maybe he is coming at you. Maybe he is getting you down. Maybe you feel depressed.

Get out of your chair. Speak up and kick him in the face. Tell him to get away because you aren’t going to listen to his lies anymore.

Make him — get behind you. Proclaim truth. Seize what God has to say to you. Tell your emotions to bow under the truth of God. Tell your heart it will be okay. Tell the mean words to get outta here.

Then, do the opposite of what he is telling you to do. Clearly, he is aiming to hold you back from something.  Love those who need loving. Help those who need helping. Give to those who you see are in need. Commit to being positive. Speak life to others. Listen only to the words in your mind that are truth, and only truth. Make yourself pray in the gaps of your day.

Many times, the only way to beat the enemy is to beat him at his own game. You have to take control of the thoughts he wants to control. The second you do that, you get back on track again.

Don’t be discouraged.

You are under a greater force — His name is the Lord Jesus Christ.  With Jesus, all lesser evils have to submit to the Power, the Might, the Strength and the Lordship of His name. We always have the upper-hand, through Christ. Many of us, myself included, need to start praying and believing this as the truth.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you are in control. You rule all. You are over all. You have the whole world in your hands. All things work together for your good and our good. You know what you are doing. We are not being tossed like the wind; you love us like a good good father. We trust you. We believe in your good plan. We listen, not, to the enemy’s voice any longer. Pour out your grace and mercy on us. We need you, so desperately. In Jesus’ name.

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Are you Hating Your Waiting?

It’s as if God sat me down, to say, “Kelly, you, sit and wait. Wait for me, for your breakthrough. Wait for me, for your answers. Wait for me, and I will do it.”

Many of us are seated this way, waiting. Be it for a job, an answer, a child that needs saving, a financial saving,  a mental-healing or whatever, God has us sitting down. Sitting there and — waiting.

You may be saying, “For what? For what God am I waiting?” You may feel like you are twiddling your thumbs or counting dust particles in the sky. Or, that you are being a bad child for not moving. Or, that there is some sort of sin-problem you have.

On the contrary, God does not shame waiters, He blesses them.

“Surely none who wait for You will be put to shame…” (Ps. 25:3)

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Is. 40:31 KJV)

God has for those who wait-well, new strength. He has for those who believe in His calling to trust, new heights. He has for those who are searching, a new walk. A running into what is ahead.

Boring-ole waiting and hoping is strength-renewing, when we see how it is all part and process of God’s faith-building and doing.

You are not wasting away in waiting, you are becoming a warrior, a special vessel who knows how to trust in the Lord, even in the hardest of times. Stay encouraged. Stay near to God’s heart. Stay active in His Word.

Waiting is not doing nothing; it is staying activated in Christ Jesus. It is believing He has a good plan, anyway. It is loving others, on full-throttle, knowing: God will do it! Jesus will come! God has your way! If not today, on the very best day — He will certainly come!

Glory to God!

 

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Conquering Your Lack of Confidence

Today, I don’t feel like writing. Today, I don’t feel like I am that great. Or, that God has that much to say through me. Frankly, I am coming off an argument that hurt my heart. I’m still bothered by it.

So, what do I have to give you? I can hear all the reasons why I can’t… or I shouldn’t… or I‘ll never… They try to tell me to shut my computer down and to walk away from it all…

Ever been in a place like this?

In this place, there’s a very real and present inclination to agree with the enemy, who says, “Eh, just give up and don’t write today.”  So, there’s that. And, there is also the idea that I can just — carry on, anyway.

Carry on, even though I feel — “blah”.
Carry on and believe God can handle my imperfections.
Carry on and trust that God works in weakness.
Carry on and show up anyway.
Carry on and believe — His grace is more than enough.

Jesus carried on. He showed up on a war-torn earth. He obeyed Father God in the midst of shamers and religious accusers. He carried on with the cross, anyway — unto the point of death. And He, therefore — He brought life.

Our carrying-on may look like the death — of us, but, through Christ, it always brings life — to us (and others).

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (Jo. 11:25-26)

Jesus demonstrated life from death is not only for heaven, but can also be — on earth. Jesus, soon thereafter stating this, went on to raise Lazarus from the dead.

Death — took new life.

We must beware of letting emotions kill the very things that God has for us to work on. These small deaths can, day-after-day, mount up into huge losses. You may not feel ready..or equipped or good enough. Don’t worry about that.

Carrying on and showing up is part of the process of growing up. All false pretenses fall and we know it is God doing our best work, not us. See? In this place, all the glory goes to God, It wasn’t us, It was HIM!

Glory to God!

My encouragement to you today is: Press on no matter how you feel. Don’t look back. Don’t waver. Carry-on, anyway.  God will carry you. His grace lifts you above the fray. You’ll make it to a clear day (and I will too!) I love you all.

 

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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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