Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

When You Hit A Wall and Love Breaks

Love Breaks

He built a tower. 

The effort that he put into it was great.
The focus he had was serious.
The progress he made was tremendous.
The magnetic blocks were stacked high into a sculpture of uniqueness, creativity and awe.
Then, he placed the last block on the top, and a section of it crashed to the ground.

My son, lost of all joy, looked at his partially destroyed tower, angry, frustrated, and dejected. He leaned back, lifted his hand up and destroyed the entire creation.

How often are we just like my son?

How often does a portion of our well-constructed earthly tower fall, only leaving us ready to lean back and swipe away the idea that God really cares?

We construct our family.
Add in the focus of good words.
Build into saving our finances.
Add the block of doing things right for God.
Stack on prayer.
We love what we have, the way we had it and how it was – and then, it comes down.

A portion of our tower, crumbles.

Why do you allow this God?

Whey do you let the good fall?

Didn’t you see how hard I was trying for you?

Don’t you get how much this meant to me?

Yet, what if we look at what stands against us differently. What if, rather than if a wall of unscalability comes before us or a falling wall of unpredictability, we still see a land of opportunity?

What if we realized, the things that are falling, are just the preparation for our great calling?

Think about Joshua, so many years ago.

The Israelites finally pushed through wandering and doubting
to make it to the so-called “Promised Land.”

They spent 40-years pushing on to make it to this place of “milk and honey.”

They built a mission that was ready to celebrate the victory,
to see the beauty and to bask in what they had.

They were probably so excited, eager and hungry to see the fruits of their labor.
I bet they imagined greatness.

But, guess what they were confronted with upon arrival?
Just guess?

A big ole’ ugly and tall wall!

A wall that was the barrier to their progress of family.
A wall that would hold them back from living well financially.
A wall that would not allow the sick to get help.
A wall that would seem to keep relationships stuck, people frustrated and temperatures high in their hearts.

A wall that could almost make them want to turn back around, say “What is the use?” and return to slavery.

God, though, he doesn’t leave us useless standing hopeless
before barriers and broken dreams. 

God is ready to offer a plan, so those who will seek it.
He is ready to offer instruction to those, who read his instructions.

He is ready to offer a fix, to those who leave the fixing to him.

God to Joshua: “I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Josh. 6:2-5

God claims the victory. The walls fall.

He handles the situations that look like hopeless situations to make them hopeful.

We may look like marching idiots in the process of his whispered plan,
and we may feel like we are simply standing in front of defeat,
but if we follow through, whether on earth or in heaven, God will win our behalf.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. Heb. 11:30

Let us not look at gigantic barricades or the fallen towers of our life in defeat, for what God is building will be reconstructed a million times better than what our small hands could do on our own. 

Where is God calling you to keep the faith? March on, dear friend.

For he is building something the best way, not our way.
He is building character that lasts, not falls.
He is creating spirits that can go the length, and not tumble at every tumbling.
He is giving wisdom that lasts beyond our confronted problem, not evaporating.
He is working progress into the areas of our defeat, so that he is the victor, not us.

And then, joy is ours, because what we see at the end, much like my son, is that what was rebuilt with God’s help, is the best thing we really could have asked for. My son? He jumped up and down. He cheered. He loved his new creation. He celebrated, much like the Israelites probably did when they had their breakthrough.

God has good stored up for you.

Until then, let’s just believe – and keep marching wildly on.

***Don’t miss my post today on Sacred Ground Sticky Floors! This is a site, I just love! Today I talk about the one thing I wish people would stop saying to me. It really gets to me. I hope you enjoy it.

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10 Ways to Know: Are You Listening to God or the Devil?

Listening to God

I go about my day, but sometimes my day goes about wrecking me. It goes about making me overwhelmed in a moment of frustration, angry at others, beaten by circumstances, discouraged by my actions and frustrated that I am not more of a “halo” Christian.

Ever felt this way?

When I come to think about it, I think it has much to do with what I am thinking about.

Because what we think, we live.

Are you listening to the conviction of the Spirit
or the condemnation of the devil?

10 Ways to Know:

1. The Spirit infuses love, the devil accuses with shame.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Ro. 8:16 

2. God draws us near, the devil pushes us lonely into fear.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears”  Psalm 34:4

3. The Spirit hands out an invitation, the devil speaks accusations. The Spirit invites us to life-change and liberation while the devil invites us to death.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Cor. 3:1

4. The Spirit makes us new, the devil makes us dwell in the old. The Spirit works in the now, the devil reinforces yesterday.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor. 3:6

5. The Spirit speaks correction, the devil speaks destruction.
The Spirit reinforces the Word of Life, while the devil rips it apart, reworks it and denies it to suit his needs to destroy us.
When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. Jo. 16:8

6. The Spirit reveals, the devil steals.
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 1 Cor. 2:10

7. The devil pushes legalistic law, the Spirit pushes life-giving liberation.
If the devil can make you work hard to be loved, he will. The Spirit is always at work to confirm your position as child.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Ro. 8:15

8. The devil sends us on a parade of feelings, the Spirit sends us into a journey through God’s Word. 
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph. 6:17

9. The devil reminds us how bad we were, the Spirit reminds us of how secure and significant we will be as we turn back to God. 
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph. 2:8

10. The Spirit brings self-denial, the devil encourages self-will, self-promotion and selfishness.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Gal. 2:20

The Spirit is a force of freedom, a revealer of God’s wisdom and an offerer of love, the devil comes simply to steal, kill and destroy. May we walk bad voices right out the door, so the peace of God may walk in. Then, our temples will shine Christ far and wide.

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6 Ways to Transformed (When It Seems Impossible)

Ways to Transformed

Moments. It is all we have. A sliver of opportunity. A second of time, a blink of hope, added one upon another. How do we make the most of them? How do we stop ourselves from tripping up even before we take our first step?

These are the type of questions I am trying to ask myself. Because the truth is, far too often, I am the one left standing, looking back, asking, “Why did I fall face first into a pile of “didn’t do right” dung, now covered and smelling like the rot of the earth? How did I allow myself to end up here? And why do I feel so bad?”

What if, rather than living a life in remorseful retrospect,
we lived a life of relaxed in our retraining and reforming –
as we are made into a new image?

Would things look different? Amazing, even?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Ro. 12:2

If we actively relax into transformation,
rather than subconsciously running against it,
perhaps we might find our self – right in the middle of it.

This means instead of chiding, we get to abiding.
Instead of the fear of pain, we draw near to pain.
Instead of thinking God hates us, we remember he loves us.
To get the power of transformation in motion.

Don’t get up and run at the sound of “transformation.”  Because, if you are anything like me, the sound of that word may make you want to jump up with all your might to take flight, saying,

“Transformation?
That’s gibberish for the “good folk”.
Not for a sin dweller and rebeller like me.
That was meant for apostles or disciples or saints,
not for one who feels like she may faint.”

But, what if…
What if the method wasn’t as wild and wooly as the result?

What if the answer was simply:

  1. To think about what you are thinking about.
  2. To dwell on what your heart dwells on.
  3. To see where these mind patterns have taken you.
  4. To pray about that.
  5. And then to listen.
  6. Not just to listen as you always have, but listen to really hear. To listen like a mom listens for the cry of a baby.

Then, perhaps, God will redirect every mind-path and membrane
to his transformative unfolding.

I am just saying. It is worth a chance, isn’t it?

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ? 2 Cor. 10:5

Might you even see that your fortune cookie is bad,
because the message that you write to yourself is – bad?

When our power is derived from thoughts that are powerless, our drive dies out en route. But, when our power is sourced from the Word of God, it lives and churns and burns the midnight oil of our mind into magnificence, into the sacred and into the holy. Then it works: It liberates. It testifies. It magnifies. It propels and compels. It leads and bleeds love.

Even while our world circles on a grey scale, God’s never has. His light is the way, the truth and the life.

Where do you the thoughts of your life exist –
in the dark and grey or in the white and light?

God offers clarity like: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phil. 4:8

The more we think of God, the more we get consumed with God.
The more he lights us the more we shine.

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Eph. 5:13

Our job is easy, we simply let him light up our thoughts. We lay them down at the feet of Jesus so that the beams, the rays, the glory, the all-consuming brightness can swallow them whole and we keep our eyes dwelling on his majesty. Light makes the dark bright, it can’t help it – it consumes the unknown fears lurking behind what you cannot see.

Will you allow it to work for you?

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Control Challenge: 30 Days of Not Talking Back To Husband

Not Talking Back To Husband

Epiphany! It is a risk. It is a breakthrough. It is a rarity. Unbelievably, it just happens. We can’t demand it or force it. But, when it happens, your insides do a million little cheers because what you couldn’t see before all of a sudden makes sense. Yes! It happened to me. God pushed down a blockade that has been at least 10-years old and 10-yards thick. With my insides broken, things look different. The potential looks frankly fantastic and tangibly terrifying all at the same time.

Here is the deal, for so long, my agenda is always to have an agenda: 

You have a problem?
This is what you should do.

The kid is crying too much?
I have to figure out every last thing to get him to stop so my head won’t explode.

The plan is unsure?
I will worry my little mind off until something formalizes in my mind.

The husband and I are working together?
I will tell him exactly how to move the couch in the right way.

A family member is in a bad mood?
I tell them to get feeling better so we can start enjoying the day.

God doesn’t answer?
I will be under-the-skin angry at him for not showing up my prayed for “way.”

I fail?
I am horrified at my inability to succeed. I am embarrassed you see me. I defend myself tooth, nail and mouth running 100 miles an hour.

When we manage life, life ends up managing us.

It manages to put us into a hole of anxiety, turmoil and defeat. It manages to make our feelings slaves to other’s emotions, circumstances and outright fear.

How can we be in service to God, while we are in service to fear?

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Ro. 8:38

If this is the truth, if nothing separates me,
shouldn’t my heart be almost laying right on top of God’s in every
encounter, situation, and moment?

Shouldn’t I almost feel our hearts beating together and moving as one?

Shouldn’t I not be standing on my feet, but trusting, or “bittachon”ing in Hebrew, which means leaning on?

Shouldn’t I be less concerned about standing up and
more concerned with falling into God’s fix-it, love-it, help-it, I-have-it hands? 

Then, perhaps, I actually won’t feel separated. Then, I won’t hold him and others at an arms length. Then, I won’t be ruled by the same driving force that compels the devil’s parade for power. Then, I will actually give God a chance to work. Then, God and I will be one. In my terrifying moments of uncertainty, he will actually become my certainty. He will be the only surety, the only hope, the only way.

Not through my way, but by me actually living God’s way.

Can you imagine the faith-strides that will happen through a true core belief that says,
in every single solitary situation, “God, this one-is-all you”?

What role do you need to forgo to see God’s hand go wild on your behalf?

Is it being a “mom”ager, a dictator, a fixer, an “advice”r, a “peace-maker,”
a ruler, a helper, a planner or an antagonizer?

Maybe you want to join me on this 30-day challenge?

Will you join me in picking one way that you want to pack away for 30 days?

For me, it looks like this: I am making one small decision to bow down to my husband. Starting today, I will not advise, fix, control, manage, plan, help, counsel, instruct, teach, come up with different ideas, endlessly question, give the one-eyebrow raise or offer the silent treatment to get what I want. For thirty days, I will answer everything he says by “leaning in” on God. I will not offer comebacks. I will learn to offer R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the places where I have relied on D-I-S-T-R-U-S-T.

I will say, “yes,” rather than give my off-the-cuff “no.”

I am going to lay it all down to honor him. For one month, I am going to see what it feels like to shut my mouth, open my ears and to soften my heart. I trust that God will open great plan in the places where I might feel defeated, unsure, and tumultuous. 

For 30-days, I am going to let my husband rule unhindered. What a risk! What craziness! What a nut! Yes, I am, I am so nutty that I think God will do some absurd, fanatical and wild things; I am willing to see what I have missed out on for so long. For 30 days, I can survive. For 30 days, I can see what happens. 

What is God calling you to go a little bit “wild” on?

Is it a challenge like mine?

Or maybe he is calling you in an entirely different way to submission? To service? To love?

Maybe his calling you to step out, so he can work-in-
as you trust him.

Every Monday for the next 3 weeks, I am going to reflect on this journey, my progress and letting go of control. I would love for you to join me as I “Say no to saying no to my husband,” and as you ____________ (tell me in the comments)?

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ…Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. Eph. 5,7-8

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Moving Into The Scary

Moving Into The Scary

Do you trust yourself? I mean, really, trust yourself?

I have noticed a little trend in my house. My son asks me for something, I clearly say no and then he asks me again and again until I say yes. Feeling frustrated that I gave in, I ask myself, “Why can’t I hold firm?”

Underneath it all, I know it is because I doubt my decision. I fear that my direction is all wrong, that he will suffer as a result and that things will not work out in my favor.

This kind of thinking is not isolated to parenting. In many arenas of life, I ask myself:

Will people want to move with me if I am honest?
Will they get angry if I tell the truth?
What will they think of me if I am real to me?
How will things play out if I take a hard stand?

This gets me to wondering, what would happen if I happened to stand in the shoes of John the baptist, or rather, in the water with him? As I stood there, face-to-face with Jesus, looking into his eyes, him standing before me, would I repeat the same words as John?

“I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” Mt. 3:14  

Absolutely, I would!

But, the real question is-how would I respond when Jesus replied, “Let it be…? Mt. 3:15

Would I argue with him? “But Jesus,
I really am just this sinner who has no right to honor you in this way?”

Would I laugh and hand the baton to someone else saying,
“I don’t want to be responsible if things don’t go well”?

Would I baptize but be filled with grief
that I am not performing up to the standards of – ahem – God?!

Would I put his body under, yet miss the moment,
because I was filled with anxiety?

When we live unsure of our calling, we miss the chance to live it.

I praise God that John was obedient, submissive and honoring to the will of God, despite his flaws.

When we live questioning our abilities, we live by inability.

Yet, because John listened, Jesus was able to display incredible humility, submissive honor to God and a relatable human-nature that is touching to see.

When we letting our minds pull us around on a leash, we live chained like a dog.

John received an honor that no one in the whole world would ever have, only because he accepted.

Do you act decisively and accept the gifts of God
or do you run, skip and hike over them, landing on safer ground?

One who answers the call of God, has an opportunity to hear the incredible and sees the unthinkable. Taking a step towards his will, means taking a step towards his heart.

The result is sometimes unexplainable:

At that moment heaven was opened, and (Jesus) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Mt. 3:16-17

Could you imagine the honor John must have felt to be a part of this extravaganza? Can you imagine the heart-pumping honor it would be to watch the literal presence of God, the Spirit, descend like a dove? Can you imagine the million little light bulbs that would be flashing in your mind as you heard the approval that God grants over his beloved children? 

I praise God that John basically said, “This is me. I am unsaintly, perhaps unsightly, unable and unworthy to have this honor, but if God is entrusting it to me, I will do it anyway.”

How often should we speak the same to our self? “This is me. I am unsaintly, perhaps unsightly, unable and unworthy to have this honor, but if God is entrusting it to me, I will do it anyway.”

What glorious unveiling may we be walking into-and not even know?

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10 Things The Devil Doesn’t Want You To Know

The Devil Doesn't Want

I knew where I needed to go and I was laser-focused on my goal. I was running hard, pushing with the endurance and perseverance that God calls for, until…

…until I hit a little snag in the road. Until I started to feel like all the goodness I had been orchestrating with God was anything but that. Like the project at hand was really going to be the project that lost.

I started to say things to myself like:

I am going to fail.
No one really cares about this goal.
My progress is short-lived.
God won’t help me
This is going to stink.

If I have learned one thing, over my small life-span as a Christian, it is this: When the red flags of doubt and discouragement start waving, we can be sure that we stand on the starting line of the devil. He loves to send us off on a race of futility.

Where do you stand?

Are you listening to his mumbles, messages and mixed up words of defeat
or are you listening to God’s powerful words of “I am with you?”

10 Things The Devil Doesn’t Want You To Know
(and what God does)

1. You must fight to win in this thing called life. Work hard and do your best and some day you may be good enough.

Truth: You already have the victory in Christ Jesus. Step out and act like you believe it.

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb… Rev. 12:11

2. You have no identity. Find it in other things: work, men, partying, affairs, perfectionism, etc. If you can’t find it, there’s another way-simply, numb the feelings with suppression of feelings, food, alcohol, and drugs.

Truth: Your security in Christ’s plan is more stable than the cross that Jesus died on.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me. Gal. 2:20

3. You are not forgiven. That thing will mark you forever.

Truth: The second you repent, your sins fall off of you faster than you can say “I can’t forgive myself.” Your sins are moved as far as the east is from the west, to the depths of the sea, where they are counted no more and where there is no charge against you.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 Jo. 1:9

4. God doesn’t guide people like you. He abandons the poor and powerless on the curb of unloved.

Truth: Sinners are God’s greatest calling.

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Lu. 5:32

5. It’s fine if you know God’s Word, but you can’t know God’s love. Then your heart may take flight and seek to live it in all you do. Can’t have that!

Truth: There is no fear in love. Find love, find faith. Find love, find peace. Find love, find grace.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13

6. It’s all about your needs. YOLO and FOMO rule!

You only live once (YOLO) so do whatever makes you feel good, no matter the cost.

Be fearful of missing out (FOMO). Overextend yourself so you can never overjoy your heart in the overflowing peace of God.

Truth: Moving at high speeds only serves to move us away from our first love.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Ps. 62:5

7. Walk by feelings, not by faith. Feelings make you feel good, so why not follow their leadings?

Truth: You can sidestep discouragement and despair by walking around feelings to solely stand on the rock of God’s promises. Believe only what God says about you and you will not be shaken.

The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He. Deut. 32:4

8. Live in the past. Dwell on your pain, keep the band-aids of injured on, be angry, irritated and a hoarder of all the things and people that hurt you. Remember, so that you can live guarded, hardened and resistant to others.

Truth: Today is the only day we presently have. If we live in yesterday, we miss the gift of now, which is the only working ground for real life transformation.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Is. 43:18

9. Fear everything. Look at life as a catastrophe on the near verge of exploding death and to imploding your dreams. You will walk stifled and baffled at how you are getting nowhere. You will tread in the currents of failure and be no threat to me.

Truth: God is more with you than the hairs on your head.

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6

10. God saved you for eternity, but he doesn’t save on earth. God is only good for getting you through the heavenly gates, then you are stuck exposed, crazy and delusional in this dank and dark world. Good luck out there. I am coming to get you.

Truth: He will run to arm you with the protection of his love.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. Ps. 91:14-15

Stand bold. Stand firm. Stand on truth. God always holds all power. He loves us and is our greatest advocate.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish
what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Gen. 50:20

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3 Ways: Keep in God’s Presence (As Modeled By Jesus)

Keep in God’s Presence

How can you stay in the presence of God with the presence of a hundred and one things working against you?

Often, the world comes in like a wrecking ball of faith, knocking down the tall temples of love established in the morning. It knocks down our reliance on Christ, our submission to his will and our connection to his Word, if we are not careful.

Our “He is for me,” turns into “I better figure this out.”
Our “Thy will be done,” ends up as “My will is getting done.”
Our “I trust you,” turns into “Where did he go?”

The presence of God – is often exchanged for the presence of our anxieties.

Then, we feel alone – lost in the woods, without a helper, without a guide, without a hope and full of aggravation at how we allowed ourselves to get so deeply misguided by all that surrounds us.

Shame pushes us away from the One who casts no shame.

Yet, God never intended for us to live our lives like yo-yos of faithfulness – up one moment in the heights of his love and down the next in the depths of despair.

Distraction hits and our will loses traction with God. 

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Jo. 15:4

What are we to do, when “prone to wander” kicks in?

We copy the only One who was entirely real, reliant and receptive in relationship with his father – Jesus.

The One, who faced the anguish of the world,
yet was not swayed by the earths’ chatter.

The One who, despite the outcries to “crucify Him,”
knew who to cry out to.

The One who could see the looming pain,
but kept his eyes only on the end goal – eternity.

The One who dwelled not on our offenses,
but his power to save our fair-weather hearts.

Despite everything that promised to break his back, he ministered to us, the sinners, the weak, the broken, the distracted, the annoyed, the betrayers.

3 Ways to Stay with God, as Jesus teaches:

1. Let your will be his will.

(Jesus said), “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
    as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” Hebrews 10:7

When we know that all is for him, through him and by him, for his glory, forever and always, until eternity arrives (Ro. 11:36), our heart learns to live at rest. The inner-knitting of our faith rests in the idea that God is sovereign, he has a plan, his will is best, his leading is unparalleled and his protection is perfect.

2. Come out of hiding.

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
Luke 22:45

When we come out of hiding, we start abiding. Jesus didn’t run from his desire to escape his turmoil. He brought this hope to God. He didn’t say, “this is not a Godly feeling or Godly request” and decide to brush it under the carpet, instead he was open, transparent and willing to receive the will of God.

God’s power is perfected in our weakness, it is ordained through our reliance on him and it uncovered through a humble heart.

He hears our lowly calls for help.

3. Remember, remember – and then remember again.

“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

Jesus’ near final words instruct our heart to remember. Not to remember once, but to remember over and over again. Dwelling on God’s faithfulness resets our internal dialogues to the truth and the power of what has been done for us.

BONUS: Pray.

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God…You don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. Ps. 119:1-8

We are not soaked by life’s downpours, but covered by the protection of God’s great love as we go with him.

God is calling us to hold hands with him as we skip down straight roads of life towards his great purposes.

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Do You Deflect Amazing Grace?

Do You Deflect Amazing Grace?

We stood at the toll being reprimanded by the officer, “You deserve a ticket!”

Just like I deserve a good whacking for yelling at my kids.
Just like I deserve a talking to on how to do things right with my family.
Just like I deserve to be punished for how my jealous heart of comparing surfaces.

Just as I, apparently, deserve two points for this offense. Man, I messed up again. Why can’t I just get things right?

“Pull on up and pull over to the side of the road. I will be with you in a minute.” We did. We pulled up and waited and prayed and hoped that the worst case scenario wouldn’t come true.

Our hearts pumping, our minds plotting, our hands rubbing, anxiety filled the car. The policeman sauntered up to our window, looked at us and said, “Go ahead. Move along.”

We got no ticket. We were freed.

What we deserved was passed off.
The hand slap that should have come down on us was caught.
The frustration at our mistake, quickly dissipated.
The weight of anxiety on our shoulders, was exchanged for praise – we were saved.

Grace saves every time. Not just to push us, deviants, into heaven, but to push us, deviants, into God’s hands moment by moment, interaction by interaction and thought by thought. Not embraced just on bad days, but also on good days. Not just according to repentance, but according to our daily living.

Grace is:

Knowing that no word spoken against you can overpower the truth
that you’re “blameless.”

Extending kindness to yourself because there is not one time Jesus wouldn’t.

Telling your children, “We all make mistakes. Mommy does too.”

Not tossing out that coloring drawing you did in front of your son
because you think it is ugly.

Speaking “peace” to a heart that is guilt-laden with the overwhelming feeling
it can’t do right.

Finding a way to condone a good action, rather than to condemn a bad one.

Letting your heart be encouraged by the idea that you are a work in progress,
not a work of failure.

Remembering that all beginnings of beauty,
have a starting point that is treasured by God.

Abiding through the bad, because, with Jesus,
you are always on the brink of his great.

Believing in God’s ability to save in the same way you tell others they should.

Being okay with not winning, because Jesus already has.

Understanding that Christ has won, this moment, right here, right now, for you.

Keeping your mouth shut, in the assurance that your sovereign God
will take care of things.

Speaking love when your first thought is to speak fire, annoyance,
frustration, criticism and condemnation.

Walking towards one that you desperately want to walk away from. 

Embracing the one who has historically battle-wounded you
to the point where you feel crippled.

Believing God could actually love one who fails as much as you –
and as much as others have failed you.

Letting go of lingering shame and walking into the idea that grace fully “counts.”
Forgiving your own heart even when it did the worst.

Finding hope in situations that appears hopeless.

Finding Jesus no matter what.

Finding praise as a result.

Finding peace.

Breathing in love.

Exhaling relief.

This is amazing grace. It is the weight of all the bad that everyone deserves, everyone earned and everyone should confined to. It is weight that sits dense, heavy, burdening. It is the weight, we love to sling around, hitting ourselves and others.

Yet, grace is the due burden that God decides should no longer be our burden.

So, I wonder, why do we walk around carrying it?

Take a moment, remember your most recent mess up. One that you really came down hard on yourself for. Can you see it?

Jesus also sees what you did.
He hands you the ticket envelope.
You look at it. You feel it. You hate it.
You messed up.
You did wrong.
You failure.
You idiot.
You almost tuck it away, not wanting to really see what God has for you.
But, you don’t.
You open it.

Inside the envelope, you see it…
Nothing.

There is no ticket there.

While you thought you were convicted,
Christ leaves you unafflicted.

While you figured you were done,
Jesus says you have only yet begun.

You walk with your fine, but Jesus says,
with me, you’re just fine.

Do you live this way? I often don’t.

But, I should because:

One who is uncharged, is unchained to shame.
One who is unchained to shame, is the greatest player in God’s game.
One who is in God’s game, is giving fame to his name.

One who gives all fame to his name, is the greatest threat to the devil.
They are kingdom-makers on earth.
They are peace-forgers in war-torn lands.
They are shame-healers to other’s pains.
They are heavenly-visionaries of Christ’s love.
They are the wonder, the awe and the thrill of all the grace always falling from the cross.
They are the magnets that draw in the bleeding, gasping and dying hearts just barely surviving the world.
They are looking to see how we handle what we call – amazing.

Are we capsules of his amazing grace,

ready to pour out his medicine,

or do we allow shame to close down the effectiveness of God’s grace?

“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

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Taking the Risk to Let Others In

Let Others In

Fight for yourself.
Take care of your own.
Make a way for your ways.
It’s eat or be eaten.
Don’t let people take advantage of you.
No one understands.
Be number one.
Give it your all.
Do whatever you can to get ahead.
At all costs.
Make money and please self.
Be first in line.
Forge a way.
Only the strong survive.

This would be all fine and dandy, except God flips the script of the world on it’s ugly head to say:

1. In me and through me, you make up one body, with many parts. 1 Cor. 12:12

2. Your role on earth is to prepare people for good works of service, so that the body of Christ is built up until we all reach unity in the faith…attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Eph. 4:11-13

3. You belong to each other, each member forms one. Ro. 12:5

These words make us contend with a different vision of purpose. We have to take care of our family. Our united, although seemingly divided, unit that Christ has deemed worthy of all godly affection.

If God sees it that way, shouldn’t we?

So as one, we can move to become a different one, a loving one, a bonded one.

Not one fighting for one. But one many fighting for many.

Not one clawing and scratching to the top of the pack,
but one laying and paving a way for other to step into glory.

Not one finding pride in self-achievement,
but one seeing achievement being other’s progress too.

This makes me consider, am I a Spirit-keeper or a flesh-keeper?

A uniter or a divider?

Do I keep the bond of love, peace and togetherness glued by the Spirit
or do I keep the bond of my agenda, vision and plans that only make my eyes stick to myself?

A life sticking to vanity, is one wasting away in the mirror of carnal. It is staring at what will never come to be. It is relying on an image that will one day fade away to the glorious day where all join hands to sing, to resound and to clap–together–at the glory of the Lord.

…to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment–to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Eph. 1:10

God desires that we get a slice, a piece, a helping of this unity on earth too.

The question is, will we we take a bite believing it tastes good?

As we grab hands, we are grabbing the life we always thought we were fighting for. We find kindred hearts that understand our plight, so we can give a better fight. We will find encouragement, in the face of “despair.” Hope in the face of, “I can’t.” Life in the face of “struggle.”

We find family, not perfect family, but blessed family-in the name of Jesus Christ. Because, his body? He makes it work, move and run. It’s not by our perception of it’s effectiveness, but by his benediction of it’s power.

And, there we have it. We thought we were responsible for moving ourself, but God is ready to move a body in unison towards greatness.

I guess the question is-will we go? Do we trust him enough to allow others to help us?

We are better together. Can move farther together. Can beat resistance together. Can’t be broken together. Can’t go as wayward together. Will live united together, forever.

Why not start now?

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The Secret Well of Continual Peace

Well of Continual Peace

Now.

These 3 letters signify all we have. They signify husbands who hope to receive a smile. Children who simply want our presence. Parents who are eager just to hear our voice. Friends who deeply desire to be understood.

They signify the only thing we are guaranteed and the only place where it is possible to make change. They signify our present purpose. They signify the meeting ground for our heart and God’s – a God who stands waiting, hoping and eager to meet us.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Ps. 16:11

Yet, what I also notice is that staying in “now” is just about as hard as staying in constant peace, which I figure may be almost one in the same.  And, just this thought, this pressure of staying in peace, nearly sends me into a tailspin where that notorious hook comes to pull me off the stage of God’s purpose and peace.

Adios, bad girl! Where are the tomatoes?

As I step away from the faces, the eyes, the hope, the joy and the love longing for me in the here and now, I almost can’t help but dwell in the two places no human, known to man, has ever been able to ever control: the past and the future. I start to see all that I am not and all that God can’t possibly do for me: He can’t possibly be with a girl like me, he can’t possibly promise to help in this situation, he can’t possibly do good things here.

Feet that walk from the vibration of God’s
truth, love and presence

walk into the trepidation of discord, doubt and defeat.

I’ve done it one too many times; I should know.

One too many times that makes me think one more time about my approach (And, yes, observant friend, I realize this is going to the past, but occasionally we go to the past, with the goal to move past the past) and something is stirring.

Living in the moment and living in striving
are mutually exclusive. 

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14

Notice God does the going and we do the resting.
We just behold him and he holds us.
We be with and he works in. 

Simple stuff. And, that’s how it is to live in the “now,” it’s simple. It simple laughs, simple tears, simple words heard, simple hearts held, simple games played, simple words shared and simple love bestowed. But, what it all adds up to at the end of ones life, far surpasses simple and far beyond normal. It ends up nearly exceeding glorious, or perhaps being the sum of it – because what we see in our future, a day that will finally come to a close is that we really loved. We loved deeply and wildly and passionately and greatly and meaningfully.

But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13

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