Purposeful Faith

Category - faith

You’re Loved

Late at night, I inched open the door and looked at my kids. Staring at them, I thought something like this, I’ll love them always, no matter what. Nothing will ever change, I will always love my babies. . . 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession. (1 Pet. 2:9)

If God has chosen you; you cannot be ‘unwanted’.
If He declares you royal, He gives you enough worth to receive love, to display love, and to accept love from Him.
If you’re holy,  the mistake from last week cannot mark you ‘a bad Christian’.
If God owns you, a special possession, He doesn’t return you back — like an unwanted good.

You are not who man says you are…nor are you who you ‘feel’ you are…or who you ‘thought you were’. You are who Christ says you are. You are wanted and in His love.  Like a treasure, you sit on His hand. No one can steal treasure from a King’s palace, and certainly not from — His hand.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (Jo. 10:28)

There you sit. Loved. Wanted. Chosen. Holy. Righteous — because of HIM.

No matter how the wind blows — good day or bad — you remain — loved as a daughter. No matter how the conversation ended — there you are — still His. No matter how much you need mounds and mounds of forgiveness — there He goes again — loving you, dusting you off, helping you up and teaching you how to walk again.

You can walk any distance, but you cannot walk out of His love.

Because of Jesus we are holy. Because of God’s goodness we are kept. Because God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son — we are always wanted. This is love.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 Jo. 4:10)

Love is not that we proved our self perfect or pretty or pious one day. But, it is simply because one man proved everything, then defiantly busted out of the grave. With this, we get a new life and a new perspective on life.

It doesn’t matter what your history says about you… What appearances made of you… What people think of you… What that person did to you… What you ‘figure’ about you… What condemnation is saying to you… What is happening to you… What you wish was happening to you…

It is finished. Love is here. Love is always. Love helps you to change and grow.

You are: Chosen. Wanted. Holy. Pure in God’s eyes.

Praise be to the unblemished lamb that was slain! He has completely changed everything for you and for me.

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Loving Hard-to-Love People

It is easier to give up than to endure with people. It is easier to walk away than to listen and understand. It is easier to “be right” and to decide them “all wrong” than to hear another perspective.

For years, I decided: 1. People would not understand me. 2. They’d hardly Listen. 3. They’d never change. So, when difficult conversations arose, irritants surfaced, or things got tough to handle — I’d pull-the-carpet out from under all of us. I’d quit the job. I’d run from the relationship. I’d decide the other party wasn’t – godly. I’d figure they didn’t have good intentions. I’d decide they were carrying too much “baggage”.

Areas where God wanted to grow me, I ran from. I started over with other people, rather than going deeper with people I’d already spent years getting to know. My loss.

What relationships have you run from?

In more recent years, my whole paradigm has shifted. Now, I realize:

  1. People are growing just as I am.
  2. When I give leeway, love, and a listening ear, others find radical growth with God.
  3. More than changing them, God is usually up to changing me.
  4. Fighting for “relationship” — and accepting hard truths about yourself — often means gaining a life-long friend or spouse.
  5. There is usually more than meets the eye when it comes to a person’s offensive action.

Seeking to understand before seeking to run away is to uncover a deeper level of intimacy. This doesn’t mean there aren’t cases where it makes sense to put up a boundary, to set some distance or to end a relationship (that is a whole other post, for another day).

(Love). . . always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor. 13:7)

Love hopes: It hopes in the good coming for others. It hopes, believing they have good intentions. It hopes for great outcomes during hard-to-have conversations. It hopes in the Lord when the going gets tough. It hopes in miracles that proceed ardent prayer. It hopes to grow personally, more than it wants to fix others relationally.

Love perseveres: It tries again. It goes back to the drawing board to listen. It sees the potential and believes God to show up. It tells the truth, despite how hard it is. It shares the core-issue rather than covering over it and hiding it away. It gives the abundant grace needed, as much as it wants it for itself. It dies to fleshly responses.

“Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:8)

Anything done in love, in God’s eyes, cannot fail. With “love,” you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Love lasts straight through earth into eternity. . . No man can halt, hinder or stop the lasting power of love you unleash.  It is not dependent on them, but always reliant on God. To the complete extolment of God.

Love is never wasted.

 

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When God Takes Away

god takes away

Are you in a ‘taking-away’ season?

This season, the enemy attempted to ‘take away’ some much hoped-for stuff from me, for sure. . . It feels like a season of stripping. Hopes of doing big things with people Ioved slowly evaporated from my eyes. Dreams of aligning with certain people to see love come forth in powerful ways got halted. A project I worked so hard on, just went kaputz in the natural.

The enemy takes away, but so does God.

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. (Job. 1:21)

We cannot completely blame on the enemy, what praise is due to God.

Are you in a stripping season? One where you feel like you are losing material items, dreams, things, relationships you counted on, more of what you wanted, expectations, your plans?

Listen, I get it. But, what I also get is that when you have nothing left to rely on, you still have everything.

Stripping-seasons remove so much flesh, we’re left blazing Holy Spirit.

We begin to speak things like:

I expect nothing, but trust God for everything.
There is nothing I want, but Him.
There is no other rescuer, than my King.
I have no plan anymore, but His.
Nothing can restrict me when everything has been removed.
Nothing now can lure me, more than ‘My God’.
Nothing controls me, but the Holy Spirit.
Every opportunity is available to me, as I rely on Him, and Him alone.

Stripping-periods are humbling, no doubt, but they’re also giving periods.  When a parent takes something away from a child, they almost undoubtedly do it with the hopes of giving them back something better. Take away the candy — to give better health. Say no to the toy — so they appreciate the plenty they’re about to get on their birthday. Say no to TV — so their mind can grow smarter through play-time learning.

When God says no, He also has a better yes.

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job. 1:21)

Blessed be His name.

I wanted __, He gives character.

I demanded __, He comes back and delivers wisdom.

I thought __, He has increase — given in a way that I carry with humility.

I expected ___, He brings me a strengthening that helps me run my race to the end.

I thought ___, He offers me fresh gratitude.

I believed ___, He gives me eyes to see past the great thing to His greater thing.

Prayer: I resolve, today, to trust you, God. You have the best plan for me, Daddy. I don’t have to see to believe that your end is good for me. I lay down ‘what was’ for ‘what will be’ in accordance with your heart’s desire. You know what you’re doing. My feelings may send me left and right, but your love endures forever. I can rest in that place and you work out good. I love you, God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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The Power of Words

Our words have power.

Perhaps, you hear those words-of-old still reverberating within you. . .

You’re SO __.

You’ll always be ___.

You’ll never ___.

You’re such an ___.

No matter who you were – a child, a dreamer or vulnerable one, negative words like these can hurt us. They don’t always have to be spoken to be damaging, either. A picture or a face can say in a moment what the thousand-word put-down could never say.

Recently, I heard a mom inform a daughter, “You’ll never get that award for good character. You’re mean like me.”

Upon hearing this, my head sank down and my heart nearly cried out. I could almost imagine the girl thinking, “I guess I won’t try next year. My mom knows who I am. I’ll never be good enough for that kind of good award.”

At the same time, how many times have I proclaimed things that bind people?

“You’re like me. . . you’re so. . .”

“You are not clean.”
“You never listen.”

Jesus spoke differently. He spoke “to proclaim good news to the poor. . . to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. . . recovery of sight for the blind. . .(and) to set the oppressed free,. . .”  (Lu. 4:18)

To talk restorative words, like Jesus, I must do 2 things:

ONE: Forgive the people who spoke things over me — and receive God’s truth. 

You always __, you never __, you are so __, you can’t __, or you are a burden-type of statements of old must be recognized. Who said them to you?  Forgive these people. Why? Not because they deserve it, but because Christ didn’t “deserve it”, but still paid the price for you.

Seek the Word, God’s heart and through prayer obtain the actual truth about yourself. For some it may be: I am growing in this area. I am not an idiot or stupid, but wise through Christ generously gives wisdom to all who ask (Ja. 1:5). I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. I am now holy, blameless and pure, because of Jesus.

TWO: Resolve to speak blessings. 

Decide to speak blessings. I realize, not every word can be a blessing, as we have to say things like, “Can you pass the butter?” but if it opposes Jesus’ words to — “set free, build up, send forth or proclaim freedom”, then censor it and don’t speak it. Look for the good. The worthy. Use encouragement. Do this, even with inner-words you speak towards yourself.

Also, be freed friend, there is absolutely no “perfection” in this process. Since I’ve started thinking about what I am speaking about, I have caught myself 50 times being too quick to speak. This is okay. God is faithful. He will teach us. He will free us. He will help us. He will give us eyes to see the good, both within our self and within others.

There’s grace for our going and for our speaking.

Amazingly, the more grace-filled words speak, the more they’ll exist within us. Rather than looking for the bad, we’ll start looking for the good, even within our own lives. As we redirect our words, our mind will hone in on the heartbeat of Christ.  Rather than going down dark and discouraging roads, we’ll hope on paths that speak and promise new life.

We can do this! I believe in you — and most importantly, Christ in you.

 

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What’s in it for me?

We are all busy. Moving. Doing this and that. Answering emails to stay on top of things. Attending to the car that needs an oil change. Driving here and then there. Addressing the infinite immediate needs — but how often do we see beyond all this — to the heart of Jesus?

Recently, I had a project. Much of it was about organizing and recruiting people. In a sense, I had to show people the worth of their involvement in it. Some people said, “Yes, I want to be included.” Others, said, “No.”

But, what I figured was underneath it all, many were asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?”

What do I get?
Will it advance my cause?
How does it work out for me?

That is — until one woman’s reply broke the power of my over-generalizing words, when she wrote, “Yes, and, please let me know how I can help you.”

What?!!! She wants to — help me?  You mean she is not looking at this — from what is in it for her?

Wow. While I’d probably asked a hundred people the same question, only one returned to say — and how can I help you?

It reminded me of this story.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Lu. 17:15-19)

10 were healed.
1 came back.

Who are we in this story?

Are we the one who looks to take the good stuff from God — only to go ahead with our own agenda? Or, do we come back and say, “Oh, my God! Thank you so much for what you are giving and doing! You’re amazing.”

Are we the one who says, “This story is all about me.” Or, are we the one who turns to the person next to us and says, “What’s your story and how can I help you today?”

Are we the one who keeps talking without considering the person’s desire to talk or share? Or, do we make room for their voice within the conversation?

Are we the one who sees God answer a prayer, only to consider the 501 other things that should be better by now, God? Or, are we the one who falls down and says, “Thank you, Father, you’re doing it! Thank you. I can’t see the rest, but I trust you!”

I’ve been both at times. When I was like the nine, I felt rushed, anxious and tense. Overwhelmed by the next thing I had to do and accomplish. When I became the 1, I rejoiced in how: Jesus saw me, showed up for me, and how I got to hold His hand in the celebration of His goodness. I somehow grabbed a deeper hold of Jesus.

Friends, often our thanks, when done by faith, makes us well. How do you need to turn back to Jesus today to say, “Thank you”? Maybe it is not only done by word, but through action.

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Let God Lift You, Today

I woke this morning feeling down. Upon my first step out of bed, a headache hit me. And, because the kids had to get to school early, I had no morning moments to spend with God.

I ran through the house finding uniforms and packing snacks, picking up plates and finding my keys. All the while, mini-assaults hit my mind. . .

That person never got back to you; she abandoned you. . .
You make mistakes Kelly; people see them. . .
You should be ashamed at how you are acting in front of your family. . .

I grunted some short words to my husband and headed out of the door.

Later, I decided to fight back. I refuse to be ruled by feelings, sickness, past issues, rejection, or annoyances.

What is ruling you? Do you feel down because of a person? Rejected because of how things played out? Ruled by what was? Tormented in your mind? Thrown off by how you act?

God broke my downcast spirit these three ways.

One: I spoke to myself, saying, “Insides, you will submit to the truth and Lordship of Jesus. You are under Him.”

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Ja. 4:7)

Two: I considered how much God loves me.

“The Lord will not reject His people; he will not abandon His special possession.” (Ps. 94:14)

Despite what people do, God will do what He will do. He works independently of “man”.  He cares about me, His special possession.

I told God about my sadness, then I received (and spoke) the truth that He is NOT rejecting or abandoning me. He will not do that.

Three: I vowed to God to return to trust. I asked God for fresh faith-in-believing.

How blessed and greatly favored is the man who trusts in You [believing in You, relying on You, and committing himself to You with confident hope and expectation]. (Ps. 84:12 AMP)

God will be good, no matter what. It is who He is. Sometimes, our minds may get out of alignment, but the Word of God readjusts us back into place. Nothing can contend against the Sword of the Spirit.

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God’s Heart for You

If you know someone, they respond to you. For instance, if you phone someone that you know, they’ll recognize your voice. They may say, “Oh, hey there. I knew it was you.”  If, however, a telemarketer calls, the voice is foreign. They may even hang up on the unknown caller.

Jesus said we respond to Him because we know Him.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—” (Jo. 10:14)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (Jo. 10:27)

We listen to God’s voice.
We know God’s voice.
We follow Him.

The “knowing” instructs our going. Or, at least it should.

Sometimes I act quickly before seeking, praying and asking. These are the times I bang up against hard issues or react pridefully, making things more complex.

How often do you bulldoze ahead without fully knowing and seeking God’s heart? What He is saying?

The sheep know God’s voice; they “listen” to His voice.

The Greek word for “listen” — akouō, means, according to Blue Letter Bible: to understand or to perceive (with the ear) something being announced in one’s presence.

We are wise to “listen to God’s voice” being announced in our presence. As we listen. As we seek. As we read His Word. As we hear His words. As we notice what He is doing. As he takes us where He wants us to go.

In rightly perceiving God, we rightly find our way.

Beyond this, we come to understand that God really knows us — and loves us anyway. He has a plan to help us to be conformed to the image of Christ. He encourages our heart.

I believe God wants us, daughters, to hear things today, like:

You are mine, all mine.
You make me proud; I love who I created you to be.
You are my delight.
You are fully loved.
You are wholly mine.
You are chosen.
You are holy in Christ Jesus.

I love you.

What can you hear Him say about you? To you?

Every word aligning with the Word of God. But all His words – words from God’s heart, change our heart.  To know God is to know peace. To hear His words is to gain courage, faith, hope, and love.

What might God hoping you perceive or understand today? What message might he want to get through to you? Ask. Seek. Knock. The door will be open unto you.

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Rest a Bit. God Has this.

You never have to strive for things.

strive
/strīv/
(Google Dictionary):
make great efforts to achieve or obtain something
struggle or fight vigorously.

Striving is sweating, worrying, fussing, toiling and trying oh-so-hard. I’ve been there.

Strivers run a hamster wheel that never stops. They tend to be tired and annoyed at all God requires of them. They “make’ like they are waiting on God, but push forward like everything will combust if they actually do.

Some may call them “eager” or “over-achievers”. Underneath all of that, they often want to feel special, loved, and are afraid of failure.

Peter was a bit of a striver.

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.  (Jo. 18:10)

I’ll take care of this Jesus. . .
I know what to do. . .
I have the answer. . .
I can defend the situation. . .

“Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Jo. 18:11

Jesus doesn’t need our sword to execute His plan. He doesn’t need our ambition to see through His future. He, who sees the end from the beginning, knows how to take us to where He is going.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.  (Prov. 16:9)

We plan, God establishes.
We devise, God revises our way.
We see the great thing, God sees His greater thing through.

My latest question to God has been, “God when do you “do it” and when do you want to see me go — do it?”

His answer was, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

If everything is from Him and through Him, all for the purposes of — His glory, why would I ever want to do something through me, and steal His glory?

Striving steals God’s glory.

Prayer: God, you are God enough for me to wait on you. You are good enough for me to trust in you. Give me peace in the wait and joy in the process of seeing you move. Your ways are greater. May they come forth. Give me a heart to give you all glory. I love you, Jesus. Amen.

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How to Trust In The Lord

Many of us say to God, “Father, I can’t see where you are taking me or what you are doing. How do I trust, when I don’t know? What instruction do you have for me?”

I believe that wisdom wants to speak to you today, saying:

“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.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
    Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.” (Prov. 3:5-10)

God encourages our heart, by reminding us: Just trust me.

“Trust in the Lord and do good.
    Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.

HE WILL make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
    and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.” (Ps. 37:3-6)

You will be brought to the land, as you trust. You will be given your heart’s desires as you – take delight. You will be helped as you commit. It all goes hand-in-hand. But, the keywords are: HE WILL DO IT. All this is done by God and through God.

Prayer: God, will you increase my faith? Will you help me trust you, follow you, and take delight in you? I, today, commit my every way, every thought and everything to you. I place it all under your love, care, direction, and authority. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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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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