Purposeful Faith

Category - faith

When You Crave Things

When I was in college, I remember sitting in the car dealership, asking my dad, “Please dad, please! Can I get this car???”

The amazing thing was — my dad wasn’t buying it for me. Somehow, though, I needed his permission. Yet, I was the one walking out of the dealership with a title and a $500 monthly payment on a vehicle. It didn’t matter, I was enthralled. It seemed my whole life was about to change.

The car was a convertible. For the first week, I was internally on-fire every time I drove that car. I wondered if people were looking at me. I wondered if I could feel better than I did when I sat in those fire-red leather seats.

Then, the buzz wore off.

It wasn’t long until it became an ordinary car. It didn’t feel as special. It didn’t look as shiny. The rear window cracked a little. The monthly payments were taking a big chunk of my monthly paycheck.

“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law. . . ” (Phil. 3:7-9 NLT)

Ten thousand times, I thought all these things were valuable, until. . .

One: They didn’t taste as good as Jesus.
Two:  Their joy ran out.
Three: I got bored with them.
Four: They actually became slavery.
Five: I wanted something else better.

What have you thought “was life”, only to find out– in the end –it wasn’t? A new car? A house? A better wardrobe? A new husband? A perfect job?

Everything pales in comparison when laid up against the One Thing, Jesus, who is everything. Treasures are trinkets once you get a taste Jesus’ love.

My heart, these days, wants to invest — less in goods — and more in love. What about you? What are you searching for? What do you believe will fulfill your greatest hopes, dreams, desires, and wishes?

“I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.” (Phil. 3:9-10)

So, today, more than ever, I invest in faith.

Faith is to believe God, despite what you see; to trust God more than you know; to rest on God more than makes sense for your running mind to comprehend. Because it is faith that gets to know Christ and to experience His mighty power that, astoundingly, raised Him from the dead.

Prayer: God, today, I ask for a transfusion of faith to happen. I ask that every reader of this post would be filled with fresh faith that we would all feel on-fire for you. I ask that lesser things fade away and that you as the One Thing come into pre-eminent position. We want you. We need you. We trust you. Fill us with your love, power, and goodness. We ask to know you more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Your Light Has Come

darkness surround

They were little lights, with huge impact. My son pointed them out as we drove my mom to the airport. Lined, all the way down the road were little matchstick lights strategically placed so airplanes wouldn’t mistake our road for a runway.

“Mommy.” He said, “But, how will airplanes ever see them?”

“Oh, they will,” I said. “Even the smallest light shines in the darkness.”

The catastrophic is thwarted by light. The airplanes will know their way because of this light. The light will give way to sight that will set people on the right-path.

Just a small light that many passer-byers don’t even notice.

Light in the darkness is massive. And, the light of Christ is here, today. It is effective to save, to heal and to empower. It is greater than anything you face. It doesn’t have to be a spotlight to be life-changing, it may look small, worn or faltering.

This doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how dim your family looks, how dire the world around you appears, how desolate your heart feels today, how dark your outlook has become. He who knows no darkness, casts out darkness as you trust His light to save. No power of hell, no scheme of man, no work of an enemy, no condition or malady that can stop the strength of light from going out to accomplishing its saving work.

What do you face today?

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

What mindset tries to tell you that your future will stay dark?

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46

What thing have you been trying to fix on your own?

“For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.” Psalm 18:28

Flesh is darkness; Spirit brings light, and life.

Today, I ask the Light of the World, to open your eyes up to His wondrous light, to His glorious plan and to His incredible breakthrough power. I ask that you would walk by faith and not by sight, as you trust His light to open a path before you. I ask that you rest in the arms of your, Savior. Your light has come. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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3 Ways to Speak Life Into Others

“What’s wrong with you?”
“Why can’t you be better?”
“Why do you always?”

If you are a mom or dad, you’ve probably spoken a statement you’ve regretted. We’ve all been there.

I’m not one to critique; I’ve said some pretty horrible things to my husband, like:

“You always. . . ”
“Why don’t you ever. . . ”
Plus, some unmentionable statements spoken under my breath (which I won’t get into).

I’m not proud of this. Why? Because words reflect one’s heart.

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” (Mt. 15:18)

My words don’t only damage others, they damage me. Untimed and uncontrolled words cause arguments, frustration, anger, irritation, bitterness, strife, worry, restlessness, anxiety, divorce, job loss, court losses. . . (the list goes on).

Plus, when I go about . . . complaining, whining, insulting, attacking, gossiping or faulting someone. . . I never feel good inside. Do you?

I regret my words. But, the hard part is knowing — how to “not say” what I know I “shouldn’t say”. Sometimes my words get out of my mouth before my mind catches up with them.

What is a fast-speaker to do?

THREE VERSES THAT GIVE WISDOM:

ONE: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col. 4:6

Reflect before responding. Consider: How might Jesus respond? What might God want this person to know? How can I speak truth full of overflowing love (you have to really check your motives on this one)?

TWO: “The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Prov. 15:4

Our words make or break people. They give life or steal life. Before you speak, ask yourself: Is what I am going to say life-adding or depleting? Will it produce blessing or increase fear? Not every story needs to be told. Not every detail needs to be divulged.

THREE: “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” (Prov. 21:23)

It is a matter of a wise woman to pause before she speaks. If it is not holy, righteous, of good report, worthy or true, shut-eth the trap-eth.  Ask God what He wants you to say. Then, respond-eth accordingly.

Along the way, extend yourself grace. Remember, if you spew some horrible-blahness on someone and you didn’t mean to — thanks to Jesus, your mistakes become investments in learning. Be sure to learn from the lesson and develop a plan to speak more wisely next time. If you change your words, you will change other’s lives. Be an encourager, a blesser, a visionary, a hope-filled friend, a source of life and someone people can trust in. Test it out and let me know how it goes.

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Making Room for People’s Faults

Whenever she does something – it’s off.

There’s one particular friend who can’t seem to do things exactly right. It’s as though when she buys me a gift, it’s the one color I dislike. When she says she’ll see me soon, she forgets because she “had to run more errands” and shows up 30 minutes late. When she’s trying to be thoughtful, it’s awkward.

Now, issues like this would be fine as an isolated incident, but she always and repeatedly acts this way.

I know her heart, but she lets me down  – even though her intentions are good.

It is easy for me to judge her. And, I have. Her wrong timing. Her wrong words. Her wrong ways.

But, recently, I’ve been wondering if I’ve been wrong?

God says: “Bear with each other . . . ” (Col. 3:13 NIV)

Where God wants us to bear with one other, the enemy wants to tear us apart.

Recently, I started noticing my 7-year old son’s tendency for ungratefulness. I’ll buy him the world and he acts as though I owe it to him. I go out of my way to reverse my car so he can see one particular person that looks like his teacher and he gets upset I didn’t do it fast enough. I make him a special dinner and he hardly notices. He tells me he wanted something different.

I’m like my son. I get ungrateful. I don’t see the good. I want things to cater to me at times.

I repent of this. The reality is, this friend is not perfect, but she’s pursuing relationship as best she can. She has many outstanding characteristics about her. She is giving. She makes time to show up. She goes out of her way to be thoughtful.

I’ve been hard on her. I’ve made a mistake.

I am sorry God. Father, will you help me to see the good in others, before critiquing the bad? Will you help me give thanks for the beauty you’ve created in them, even when it is hard to see?

“Make allowance for each other’s faults . . . ” (Col. 3:13 NLT)

May I make allowance so I can draw closer rather than giving enemy room to drive us apart. Thank you for your help, Father God.

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Monday Morning Prayer

Father God,

Today, we pause from our normal blog posts, to say thank you.  We pause from the busyness of our morning to honor you and to reconnect with you. We pause our mind to think of you. We set down our schedule to recognize all you’ve given us.

You are worthy of praise.

In the midst of life’s curveballs, you are worthy of praise. When we experience mountaintop successes, you are worthy of praise. When we dive into valley-low places, you are worthy of praise.

In all this, and through every learning, dream, failure, and realization…we say, “Thank you.” You are good and your love endures forever.

Jesus, thank you that you came and died to set us free. Thank you that your love changes us, time and time again. Thank you that by your stripes, and your stripes alone, are we healed.  Thank you that no matter how much the enemy spits at us, we remain covered by grace.

We rest in your mercy. We rest in your love. We rest in your love-equipping power. You are more than able to do all things, at all times, in any way, and we rest in that. This is peace.

Thank you that you love us so much.  You give us the giftings we do not deserve, blessings we could never afford and love unduly warranted. No matter, you rejoice over us with singing.

You want us. You chose us. You call us holy, because of Jesus.

When we truly and deeply think of you, you truly and deeply amaze us.

Your love is overwhelming and your guidance is unparalleled.  May we honor you, every day and in every way. When we feel overwhelmed, may we unwind through surrender and fall into your arms. You always rescue us. Even if we can’t swim; you rescue us. Time and time again. Therefore, we lean not on our own strength, wisdom, power or might. We lean onto you, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. We praise you for the grace that allows us to repent and realize sin. It is a good thing, a life-transforming thing. Anything that draws us nearer to you is — good.

All praises, all glory, all honor, all acclaim to your name. Nothing we can do can add to what you’ve already done. It is finished. Praise!  You did it. You. The Promise Maker, the Promise Keeper, and the Promise Ruler. Everything is in your hands; you have the whole world in your hands. You ARE the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega, the Lion and the Lamb. We entrust ourselves to you. We love you. And you love us. And, for this, we are eternally thankful.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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The Assault of Distraction

“Get that (insert curse word) thing away from me!”

The man screamed at me with all his might. Not only did he scream, but rage filled him, his face became red and he appeared to want to beat me up. Very scared, I walked away. He caught up to me with his bike next to him. Fully aware he was there, I didn’t look his way. I just prayed with all my heart that he wouldn’t hit me and I kept walking. God answered my prayers. He passed by.

Now, that morning, I never set out to get verbally assaulted, but I suppose it was my fault. . .

I decided to go to the beach for a walk with God. My goal was to pray, connect with God and to listen to some worship music. I was in the zone. I was loving talking to Jesus. So, as I approached a beautiful scenic boardwalk that ended with the ocean in sight, I opened up my camera app; I wanted to remember the moment. I did see the far-off man a little to the right side of my picture frame, but he made the shot look even better, so I snapped the photo anyway.

And, that’s where my problem began. In retrospect, I didn’t consider that he may not have wanted a photo taken of him. I started to get angry at myself. I made a mistake. I should have been more thoughtful. I ruined my time with God.

It was as if, after this event, my connection to God was — gone.

And, here, it occurred to me that this whole encounter was symbolic of a greater issue: distraction.

If the enemy can’t keep us away from God, he’ll try to distract us away from Him.

How often does a to-do in your mind occur to you right when you start to meet with God?

How often does a text message come in right when you are praying?

How often do house-needs seem to demand you take care of them first?

In my case, a raging man wanted to steal away my time with God, but similarly, silent or quiet demands pull me away in the same way. Power comes when we recognize them for what they are and stay with God anyway.

If your mind gets distracted, just choose to return back to the last thought you can remember you had with God. He waits.

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

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How Forgiveness Moves us Forward

By Guest Contributor: Joy A. Williams 

Forgiveness feels good when it comes my way. It scratches my itch for another chance. It lets me back in when I should be left out.

But when it’s time for me to forgive, forgiveness may feel awkward or even unfair. I know it’s the right thing to do. It’s what Jesus did for us on Calvary’s Cross. It’s what He does for me daily.

O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. (Psalm 86:5 NLT)

Forgiveness moves us forward. I was reminded of its force when I saw a church sign a few years ago.

It read “If you stole our stuff, we forgive you.”

As I consider hurt feelings over a recent relationship struggle, the words on the sign inspire me to say: “Although you stole my stuff, I forgive you.”

I don’t know what items were missing from the church. But I do know the “items” missing from my heart.

Trust. Treasured memories. Future plans.

Are stolen items missing from your heart too?  Are chunks of dignity or pieces of a dream absent? Forgiveness doesn’t change what happened, but it changes what could happen if we don’t forgive.  We may become bound to the thing we disdain instead of becoming free to walk in God’s purpose.

And yet, I’m still learning.

Forgiveness is how we grow in front of people. Bitterness is how we grow weary by what happened.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31 and 32 NLT)

Letting go of an offense is a strenuous “growth opportunity.” Our pain matters.  But what Christ did for us matters too. We must decide if what He did matters most.

I can be tempted to fix things myself with a sharp-tongue or misguided perspective until I realize…

Forgiveness acknowledges what went wrong while trusting God to make it right.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5 and 6 NLT)

It’s not always easy, but He can always be trusted.

I hope the person who stole the church’s items stepped up, made amends and met the Savior.  I see Christ working in my struggling relationship in both tough and tender moments.

I want Him to take over my perspective when forgiveness is required.

I praise Him for taking what was meant for evil and turning it into something good.

If your “stuff is stolen,” God knows all about your pain. Whether you need to meet the Savior or need to grow in front of people, may you be restored by His grace and move forward.

About Joy A. Williams

Joy A. Williams is an author, blogger, and speaker. She has served as a small-group Bible study leader, Women’s Conference and Retreat speaker for over twenty years.  Her years of experience of encouraging others with God’s grace has deepened her enjoyment of sharing His life-changing truth in Christ.

She is the author of Friendship MAPS: A Journey through Maturity, Aspirations, Perspectives, and Struggles. Joy shares “hope for the heart and joy to the soul” on her weekly blog (at https://joyAwilliams.com) and she loves living life in North Carolina with her husband Brady and their son.

In addition to subscribing to her weekly blog, you can also connect with Joy on Twitter or Facebook @joytothesoul and on Pinterest @joy2thesoul.

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Be a Blessing

I am delighted to have a dear friend, a prayer warrior, and a true lover of Jesus join me today. Adrienne Young, welcome! It is a pure honor to feature you today on Purposeful Faith. I know your words will be a blessing…

Post by: Adrienne Young

“Don’t make me miss my blessing.”

That’s an odd thing to hear while standing in line at Goodwill, but I ignored the cashier and kept going through my cart to see what items “sparked joy” and what would I discard.

As I got closer to the register, she lit up and said through her smile, “I’m so glad you didn’t get in the other line when it opened up. You are my blessing! I know you don’t come in here often, but every time you do, people gravitate toward you, and you always bless me by asking how my day is going.” Wow! I asked her for her name and how I could pray for her.

Darlene told me she was going through a custody battle and knew the enemy was attacking her but she trusted God. She came from behind the counter to hug me as I prayed for her.

This one trip to do what I love to do, what I wrote a book about doing, and what I thought was a normal 8 PM quick trip turned into thrifting with a purpose. . .

You see I had planned to go to my local store just minutes away, but the Holy Spirit led me to this one. What if I decided not to go that night and ignore His voice? What if I would have been so consumed with the purchases that I missed the purpose in going?

My sister, what if we decided to ask God to use us in our everyday life to bless those we come into contact with? What if we took God at His word according to Romans 12:1 MSG?

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.

Prayer: Father, with your help, we will take our everyday ordinary life – our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around-life, and place it before you as an offering. Help us to recognize how we can be a blessing to those who come into contact with, even when we are enjoying our hobbies. Use us for your glory and help us obey the voice of the Holy Spirit so that we can join in where He is working. In Jesus name, Amen.

About Adrienne Young

Adrienne Young’s mission is to love, live and lead on purpose with a purpose in every area of her life.  She is 100% committed to helping women of faith do the same in their lives and businesses.

Sought out by Fortune 500 companies for professional development, Adrienne combines her John C. Maxwell leadership training with 16 years in education to take organizations from start-up to implementation via her company Adrienne Young Ministries, LLC.

She is the founder of Remnant Warriors Global, Inc., Women Who War, and is the author of the best selling book Don’t Go Thrifting Without Me. Adrienne serves in ministry with her husband Edward. They have two sons, Emmanuel and Elisha, love football, and reside in Fort Mill, SC.

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Soul-Important Information

You matter.

Nowhere did Jesus tell people to “Who I created you to be doesn’t matter.” No time did Jesus look a woman in the eye and say, “You don’t matter as much as she does.” Not even once, did Jesus say to someone, “I have too much on my hands to help you.”

All of God is available to all of us. Right now.

Right here. Right now.

God never left you. He never got tired of your whining and left you. He never deserted you to your negativity. He never walked away from your hopelessness. He’s right here. Talk to him if you want to if you need to. He hears your cry. You matter.

At the same time, I believe, He’s not content where you are. He’s not content to leave you the same. Because He knows what He created you for. You were never meant to wallow. You were never meant to stay stagnant. You were never meant to call your comfortable place your dwelling place.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. (Col. 3:10)

Here, as if Jesus is calling us out of our shell — I believe, He desires hearts of radical obedience, far more than proclivities to modern-day conveniences.

I find TV convenient. I find shortcuts convenient. I find doing what the herd does convenient because it is easy and not shunned upon. But, I’m convicted, my desire for modern convenience can never shut off His sometimes random or impromptu calls to radical obedience.

If one keeps on shutting these off, their heart grows cold and hardened. There’s the real potential their conscience may get seared.

And, this is where a major problem presents itself.

You matter to God, but so do your choices. Do you pick God or other things?

Yes, God loves you

Yes, God cares about you.

But, also God cares for your daily choices.

Radical obedience knows when to turn away from modern conveniences (like a TV show that’s gone way-wrong, too much TV, staying in an area your supposed to leave, telling God no, gossip, slander, old routines, busyness, etc)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Ro. 12:2)

Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. (1 Sam. 2:30)

This year, tear down every barrier, blockage, between you and God.  Tear down your TV, your fear of man, your self-hatred, your hibernation-like tendencies, your shopping issue…whatever…if you need to do so.

How? There’s no back-breaking pressure. Simply, ask God where to change and how. Submit to His plan. Take a small step. Keep doing it. You’re half-way there… Not by your power or might, but through the Spirit — choose to love God this year.

“If you love me, keep my commands.” (Jo. 14:15)

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God will Put Everything “Right”

“I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball.” I’ve noticed this is a catch-phrase for financial analysts when on TV.  They love it. They’re point being, they have no idea what the market will do. No one knows. But, much like us, everyone wants to know…

I want to know what God is doing. I want to know why things have happened the way they have: I want to know the reason a family member passed away, why I am still stuck in different areas in my life and how God is going to show up in the future. I want to demand answers from God on many a day.

Tell me! I need to know.  Like Eve, I say, let me “know”, God!  ASAP!

Knowing is not always beneficial.

I keep Christmas gifts a surprise to my kids. Why? Because there is nothing better than seeing the joy written all over their faces when they open up that morning-surprise. I don’t tell them all the details about the “birds-and-the-bees” yet. Why? Because there is a right time for that message. I don’t let my son see what’s on those late-night cable channels. Why? Because wisdom says, “He doesn’t need to see that — ever.”

Have we ever considered? Not knowing makes us fortunate.

“David confirms this way of looking at it, saying that the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man…” (Romans 4:8 MSG)

You don’t have to know the whys.

Or, understand the whens.

Or, get answers to every question you have.

God will put-everything-right.

Blessed is the man who trusts God to put-everything-right, without knowing-every-nitty-gritty-detail regarding how.

Our knowledge doesn’t make things right, God’s good work does. It handles all those things we most fear.

“…Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jo. 20:29)

When we believe anyway, we are blessed. When we trust, we are fortunate.

Where do you need to let go of any unresolved pain, bitterness, grief, misunderstanding, anger or worry? Where do you need to let God off-the-hook for the answers, in order to find peace? Where do you need to bask in the fortunate you’ve obtained; the fact that, for you, God no longer “keeps score” of your sin? (Ro. 4:7 MSG) Today is the day. Ask God to forgive you for carrying around these burdensome demands; let His help come in and rescue you.

God will put-everything-right.

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Learn more about Kelly’s new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.