Purposeful Faith

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God Sees Me

love

“I can’t miss seeing her.” I keep thinking this…

My daughter hasn’t played sports before. She thought she wouldn’t like it, but she now loves it. When she played she ran around the field with a huge smile on her face. I couldn’t be happier. This week, I have a conflict with her practice, however, I want so badly to see her. I just want to watch her, enjoy herself.

Yesterday, with my son, it was a similar sort of experience. He tried out for a role in the school play. I was so happy for him. I really wanted to watch him. I called his dad and prayed for him while he was trying out. I ran into the school beforehand with a snack and a hug. My joy was so full, it felt like I might explode.

After this joy of watching my kids, in their moments, I couldn’t help but think: God has joy in watching me, in my moments too. Just as I want to jump around and celebrate my kids successes, God must really be happy when He sees me doing well. He must want to celebrate with me. He wants to be a part of my world.

Our Father God is “El Roi”, meaning, “The God who Sees Me.”

Somehow, knowing that Father God wants to see me, makes me feel loved. He wants to be involved in my world, in my joy and in my excitement. He knows what is happening. He cares to see. He wants to be a part.

In fact, the mere idea that He wants us to continually abide in Him is evidence of how much He wants to see and know us.

“Abide in me, and I in you.” (Jo. 15:4)

God wants us, to be together. He wants us, to be with Him. I think He likes us too.

We are never alone. We are united with a God who not only cares, but who sees, us. Be encouraged — we are not alone or left behind. He loves us. We are His children.

If we delight in our kids, how much more does He delight in our special moments too?

Prayer: Father, I want to be with you. I want to remain in you. I want to feel your love and understand how much you care for me. Will you help me gain greater understanding of this? I love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Things are Not What They Seem

“You always looked so put together. I didn’t know if I could talk to you or if you would be nice,” said one lady.

The other woman, replied in a similar way, “I wanted to talk to you too but I thought you were…”

Looks are deceiving. That’s all I could think as I sat there listening to these women share perceptions. It seemed, now, they were surprised by how relatable, real, and easy it was to be together. They were becoming fast-friends — all because they got a real chance to know each other, rather than to think things about each other.

How often do we allow what we think we know hold us back from what is truth?

I perceive a lot of things about myself: I haven’t done good at this. I didn’t succeed at that. 

I perceive things about people too: They think this about me. They are doing ___. They must want ___.

Yet, like these women, thoughts not founded in truth, hold me back from real things — real relationships, real progress, real breakthrough.

Look at what happened to Elijah in the Old Testament because of his perceptions…

“Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” (1 Kings 19:10)

Elijah was right in his statement. He did served the Lord “zealously” and the people of Israel had “broken their covenant”. But, what He didn’t perceive right was that he was “the only one left”.

He allowed his loneliness and his discouragement cloud his eyes. Others had been faithful too.

Soon after sharing this with the Lord, God told Elijah, “anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet.” (1 Kings 19:16).

I wonder if Elisha’s perception of his situation led to the culmination of his ministry? One can wonder…

But, one thing I do know is that I don’t want to let — things that appears to be — take me down. Do you? Things are not always what they appear.

Just like your rear view mirror says, “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear,” objects in our life are not always as we see them.

Where have perceptions prohibited you from real relationship? Where are you thinking you are defeated, when God had not declared that over you? Where are you thinking thoughts about others that you don’t know to be true?

The easiest way to get rid of a lie is to repent of it and replace it with God’s truth — then you will be back on the path of life again.

Prayer: God, we don’t want any lies to hold us back. We only want to live by your truth, love by your truth and praise you with truth. Help us this way. Forgive us in any way where we have spoken, thought or carried lies about ourselves or about others. We ask you to give us your thoughts and your heart to love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Only by the Blood of Jesus

love

In the morning, I go outside. I love hearing the birds chirp when the sun rises. I love seeing green land and thinking of who created it. I love swaying trees. What I don’t love is getting attacked by bugs…

This morning, I woke up thinking about some mistakes I had already confessed to God. Grr… I didn’t mean to sin. I want to stop. I need God’s help. To add insult to injury, mid-thought, I looked down at my leg and —  a mosquito was biting me. Annoyed, I slapped it hard. And, when I lifted my hand, I saw —  blood on my hand.

Father, it’s true, I do have blood on my hands.

I make mistakes. I do what is wrong. I think wrong-thoughts. I hate the ick of what I see myself do sometimes.

But Jesus. But, Jesus removed the blood on my hands when he shed His blood on the cross.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…” (Eph. 1:7)

Here, I am no longer under back-breaking, burdening and self-beating sin any longer. By the blood of Christ I have been freed to new life. I am out from under all that. And, the same goes for you too…

The blood of Jesus washes the blood off our hands.
The blood of Jesus shames the powers of darkness trying to tell us we are bad. (Col. 2:15)
The blood of Jesus disarms evil so its schemes and methods do not have lasting-power. (Col. 2:15)

When I forget the power of the blood, I, in a way, negate the price Jesus paid on the cross. I devalue His blood. Yet, His blood is truly enough to forgive me when I repent. It is enough to save me for eternity. It is enough to lead me into new actions as I walk away from old sin.

Jesus’ blood is enough. It has freed me and it continues to free me! The Living Water washes me and it does again! The body-broken heals me and it always will.

I may see blood on my hands, but the blood of Jesus more than overpowers any mistake I could ever make. It is finished. I am free. Amen. Selah. Breath deep. Let go. He loves me.

Prayer: Father, I repent of anything I have done against you or others. I do choose to go a new way with you, God, as you lead me into all righteousness. I thank you for Jesus. Today, I fully accept His sacrifice. I accept the full price He paid is more than enough. There is nothing else that I — or Jesus — owe. It is finished. Thank you that the blood on my hands is washed off by His mercy and grace. Thank you that it is done. Because of Jesus, I walk in the newness of life. I am so blessed. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Not Doing So Good?

As it pertains to mothering. I keep thinking, “What have I done? What have I done to make my child act like this?”

With this line of questioning in my heart, I try to fix myself. I try to act better. I try to talk nicer. I try to hug more. I try to lean in when I talk. I try to soften my voice. I try to share my feelings. I try to listen better.

And, when that doesn’t work, I ask myself again, “Where did I go wrong?”

Ever been there? Ever tried your hardest, only to feel like you’re going nowhere? Not succeeding?

I feel guilty. But, the one simple thing God speaks is: grace.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Cor. 12:9)

“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)

I mess up. God still gives to me…

I don’t handle everything right. God loves me anyway…

I need help. God helps me…

I am not perfect. God shows up for me despite this…

I am not sure about what to do. God leads me to where I need to go…

Jesus meets me in the place of my need. I never need to fix-myself-up for Him.

There He is — perfect and providing.

Here I am — in-need and dependent.

I don’t have to hate my needs. Jesus paid the price so I could take-home all His goodness, without me having to pretend or hate the fact that I am not a better mother. This is grace. And, yes, it is abundant and it is amazing.

I haven’t gone wrong; I have gone right into His arms. What about you? Do you know the face of the loving Father, even when you face a million problems? What does His grace do for you?  What might it want to say to you?

Prayer: Father God? I love you. You are a good Father. And, I am a loved daughter. Will you help me know this — as truth. Real truth. I want it to be more than just mind-truth; I want it to be heart-truth. I want to know your love, more and more. I want to understand your grace, day-by-day. I want to live and breathe from this very place. Help me, God. I love you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Opening Up to Others

I remember when I sat at a coffee table with a new friend.

As I sipped a warm latte, I wanted to encourage her, like I do with most people, yet I couldn’t…

There was a huge block: I felt jealous of the opportunities she was getting. These were opportunities that I was not getting.

Facing my sin, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t stop thinking bad thoughts. So, I did the only thing I could think of…

I mustered up courage and said directly to her face, “Can I tell you something? I feel jealous of you…all the open doors you are getting are things that I’ve been wanting for a long time.  I don’t want to hate you this way. Will you forgive me for this jealousy? God, will you forgive me too. I am so sorry.”

She sat there for a second, just staring at me.

“Wow, Kelly, thank you for saying this.” She said.

Following this moment, we talked together about the areas where I felt sad. We acknowledged the pain I was feeling. We talked about my story. Then, we moved on to how God was working, even in my difficulties.  She encouraged me. Quickly, my feelings of jealousy dissipated.

I was able to celebrate her agin. I loved her even more, in that moment. She loved me too.

Before leaving our coffee date, her parting words were, “Kelly, thank you for opening up about your jealousy towards me.  You really taught me that I can be vulnerable and open about my struggle and jealousy.  Thank you for this.”

Wow. My struggle gave her permission to share her struggle. The amount of connection that I felt with God, and this friend, were on super-high levels now. I was amazed.

Soon after that she, once again, got an opportunity that I wanted.  Yet, as I watched her seize it, I no longer wanted what she had. Instead, I celebrated what she had.  Interestingly, she used a little piece of wisdom I’d previously given her to add to this project — and she acknowledged me. God made me part of this project too. It was a head-nod from God. He knew.

With this, friends, I cheer you on and say — don’t be afraid to confess your sins to one another.  What we reveal to God, and others, gets healed. To receive forgiveness is to restore heart-connection. Even more, healing is not only for us, but often for them too!

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (Ja. 5:16)

Who do you need to confess to? How is God calling to restore connection with Him and others?

Please know, I understand that people may not always respond as beautifully as my sister-in-Christ did. I get this. At the same time, we do not serve man; we serve God. In this, no matter what they say, do or think — you can be sure of one thing: God will be faithful to heal you. God is Healer, no matter how the other person responds. He is forgiver, even if the other person doesn’t take it well. He lifts up, even if the others still put you down.

God is the rewarder, no matter how others act. As we honor Him, He honors us. (see 1 Sam. 2:30)

Be encouraged. Ask for confession. Offer forgiveness. Restore connection.

A Prayer Request from Kelly: On the launch day of my book, “Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy” a toddler spilled water on my computer. My computer does not work anymore. I am now writing these posts on my phone, which cumbersome and difficult.  Can you all pray for my computer to miraculously work again or something like that?! I love you all SO much!

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I Can’t Keep Going

keep going

Rushed. Pressured. Little time. Ever experienced being under the gun?

People. Distractions. Problems. Does it seem like there’s no way for you?

Right now, I am in a coffee shop, trying to write the devotional that you will read tomorrow… It is noisy; I can’t think. People came up to me; they wanted to talk. I couldn’t pull away. Now, I have no time left to write. I need to leave soon. I can’t, not under these conditions. I can’t work for Jesus, like this.  There’s every reason why I should — quit.

There is every rationalization as to why lack will hold me back.

What lack are you experiencing? No time? No money? No way? No people who understand? No resources?

As I sit here, I can’t help but think: Jesus didn’t quit. No. He kept walking with that cross. He kept His eye on the prize. He kept going, even though many of his close friends, the disciples, abandoned him. Even though those He loved, abandoned Him. Even though He was wrongly accused. Even though He went down a torturous, hard road…

Still. Jesus moved.

Jesus walked.
Jesus went.
Jesus loved.
Jesus persevered.
Jesus triumphed.

The many-million reasons why Jesus couldn’t did not ruin the will of the Father, letting Him know: He could.

If Jesus persisted in love, with all the offenses of man all up in His face, can’t I — persist.

Actually…I think I just did. This is nearly the end of the blog post. I persisted in moving my fingers — and God completed the work.

And, you will persist too — because God is equipping you, enabling you and energizing you in all His ways. He will give you strength, no matter what lack you face. It doesn’t matter.

Keep loving.
Keep walking.
Keep praising.
Keep worshipping.
Keep going.

God is for you and helping you.

My prayer for you: “May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith.” (Eph. 3:16-17 AMP)

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Wait and Renew Your Strength

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” (Is. 40:31)

When I wait, I usually don’t feel strength rise. Instead, I’m wondering…

“When will you show up, God?”
“Why is this taking so long?”
“How do I do things differently?”

The more I wonder, the more I feel confused. Ever been there?

Well, I asked God about this verse I could not understand. I knew the issue was not with God, but with me. I needed clarity. Ironically in-line with this bible verses whole concept, I didn’t get an answer from for a while…that is, until He provided me clarity in the most unlikely of places… the ocean.

Surrounded by waves, with my son on top of a boogie board, I was looking into the ocean for just the right wave for him. I explained, “You gotta look for the right wave, son.”

I went on, “If you take any old wave, it will be a dud. If it is a dud, you’ll ride that wave and go hardly anywhere, and then you’ll have to fight all the waves to get back out to where you originally were.  That’ll tire you out.

Wait, son, don’t go too early, and when the time is right — go!”

God hit me in that water. I realized, just like riding dud waves, we often let our mind go where it wills when we are waiting. We ride dud emotions and little lies and let them take us where they will. No wonder we feel tired as we have to work our way back; We fight the tides of opposition to get back to a place of faith and trust in God.

Yet, when we stay near to God, keep our eyes on Him and remember that He has the perfect wave of faithfulness coming our way — we stay at peace. We feel renewed. We often see God’s mini-encouragement show up through His Word or people along the way. We stay afloat with God. There, we can enjoy His creation around us and all He is doing.

Here, we rest.  We rest and see His nature. We rest and wonder at what He is about to do. We rest and remember how good He has always been to us.  We rest and wonder what that beautiful wave of His might look like when it comes…

All these things renew strength. And then, at just the right moment — He breaks through and, boy, were we glad that we didn’t follow every little emotion and instinct that came on us along the way…

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For the Tired and Weary

Do you feel tired? Weary from world happenings? God knows.

Do you feel lonely? Perhaps, many around you — don’t fully understand you. God understands.

There are seasons where God sets us apart to figure things out: us and God. It can feel odd.

I feel this right now. The Lord has positioned me in such a place where there is risk…where I need to pray…where I have to trust Him for big things…where He is working on me…where I have to look at our relationship afresh..where I am not sure what the future holds…where I’ve been going, going, going. Yes, it feels odd, annoying even. I am set apart from what is normal for me.

The feelings could overwhelm me — if I am not careful.

Yet, I know this: a wise person never allows feelings to force them to give up. They see them for what they are — like little waves — that are passing emotions. And, they come to understand the reason they are set apart — is to be with God.

Did you know that the biblical word “holy” (Hebrew: Qodesh) means set apart?  Whether we are John, Jesus, or David, there’s a God set-up for God’s setting us apart. This setting apart was always a part of God’s plan to use them in mighty ways.

John paved the way for Jesus. Jesus paved the way for sinners. We are set apart to pave the way for God’s great moves in our hearts, as we let Him do what He wants to do even through discomfort. We are set apart — so we can meet with Him.

We are set apart so that His leadings, love, and lessons can teach us to not only survive but to thrive, no matter what we face. It is here we learn to rise above other’s opinions, the world’s estimations, and natural limitations.  Here, we learn to completely rely on God.

So, don’t let a feeling throw you. This too shall pass. But, God’s love endures forever. And, perhaps, He is setting you apart because He loves your time together. And so that you can know that He has a very, very good plan for your life… And so you know Him as your truest King, above finances, health or relationships.

Take hope.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Is. 40:29-31)

 

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Did God Really Say?

Sometimes, I say to my kids, “To delay is to disobey.”

For instance, I may instruct them, “Move away from the cake so you don’t end up eating it!”

If they delay and linger by it…eventually, they’ll put their finger smack dab in the center of it and lick the sugary icing off their finger. The temptation will be too great.

So often, to delay is to disobey. It leaves room to ask, “Did God really say…? Maybe it is okay if I…” (See: Gen. 3:1).  It opens the door to justification and rationalization.

Recently, God showed up in a big way in my life. It was an awe-inspiring breakthrough. I got clarity to a decisive next-step from God. On day 1, I was all in. But, day 14? I started to wonder, “Was that really you, God? Did you really say that? I am not sure it can work that way because ___, and ___and ___.”  I got an Eve-complex.

Questions — and all the reasons why it “couldn’t work” — were zapping my faith.

The delay was causing disobey to rise up in me. I began to sway.

It won’t be good because…
What I have here is really good…
It can’t possibly work out…

Rather than looking ahead to where God was taking me, I looked back at my circumstances.

Another woman did this. Her name was “Lot’s wife.”

And, God was not pleased with her behavior: “But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.” (Gen. 19:26)

She looked back at sin, at Sodom and Gomorrah. Today, I repent of looking back, delaying, and rationalizing my own way. I can’t move ahead when looking back. Nor can I go with God, when I’m going against Him. Forgive me, God!

And, He does, forgive me.

What about you? Where have you strayed? Looked back? Delayed? Where does it feel that you are working against God, rather than with Him?

You know, things of God won’t always make sense. They won’t always seem easy. They won’t always come together as we expected. But, this doesn’t mean God isn’t working in our life.  When we trust Him, even though, He helps us. When we keep our eyes on Him, despite what we think, He leads us. When we remember our best work has nothing to do with us, He equips us.

God has your best path and all you need — you already have — through knowing Him.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3)

Be encouraged, even if your way doesn’t make any sense.

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A Face Like Flint

My face has looked like defeat, of late. I really thought big moves of God were going to happen: breakthrough would come, my kids would act nicer to each other, I’d see God open up doors that had never been open before — yet, it’s been much of the same.

In fact, things seem to be moving — s. l. o. w.

Are you in similar shoes? Maybe you’ve prayed and prayed. . . sought God and sought God. . . asked and asked. . . .waited and waited. . .

. . . well, keep doing it and don’t give up. The Lord is not done with you yet. He’s not done with me either. And, if I’ve learned anything through scripture, it is this: He finishes what He starts. He also is no minder of our timelines.

Be it David becoming a King, Jesus getting resurrected or Lazarus getting raised, God is okay waiting days.

What do we do in the meantime?

We set our face like stone.

“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore, I have set my face like a stone,
determined to do his will.
And I know that I will not be put to shame.” (Is. 50:7)

Stone-faced, we set our eyes on Jesus. We determine to only look at Him. We know that we will not be disgraced. We resolve to do His will. We determine to see forth His cause.

We will not give up. We do not back down. We know that we will NOT be put to shame. We keep going.

In some translations, setting our face “like stone” is written as we set our face “like flint.”  I want us to realize that our face, set on God, has the ability to start a fire. It has the ability to light things up in our lives and in the lives of others. Do not discount a face — intent on God.

Be like a warrior. Keep working, listening, loving, helping and looking to God — for your God never fails. Ever. You can trust in that.

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