Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

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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A Grave & Scary Mistake

I’ve tried my best to not to agree with fear this CoronaVirus season. And, for the most part, I’ve won. I’ve been at peace in the midst of this mayhem-producing world. Until, today, a Walmart incident got the best of me…

I was on a school supply hunt with my two, I-have-a-bazillion-and-one-questions, kids in tow. Trying to focus, while looking high and low, I found treasures and shoved them in my cart. Then, I marked the things off my list. I had this shopping-thing down. The only issue came when — near the toilet paper lane — I inadvertently drew a black pen mark right down the side of my brand new light pink purse. Grr…

Completely not thinking, I ripped my mask off. I licked my finger and rubbed, rubbed, rubbed. I licked and rubbed. I wasn’t about to let that ink, set in.  I got it; I won!

Or did I? Then, it settled on me —  what had I just done?!

I just licked the finger…that had touched that Walmart cart, that held the 50+ school supplies I had handled, which also swiped the much-walked-over floor when my school supply paper dropped only a few aisles back. The very cart that probably dozens of other people had used, before me. What had I done?

In a split-second my heart started pumping.  Am I going to get sick now?

Fear wanted to grip me. It wanted to make me anxious. It wanted to make me relive that moment. It made me think about myself sick, within a week. I could hardly listen to my kids.

What would I do? I stood at a crossroads. I could either obey God and not fear or I could let my worries overrule His command.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

I could either walk by a Spirit of fear or by the Holy Spirit…

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Grr… I know the enemy too. If you give him an inch he’ll, before long, take a mile. If you fear for five minutes, by the time you get home it will be full-blown. If you worry about it endlessly, by the end of the day it will be all you can think about.

I repented of my fear and released my body into God’s care. If He created the whole of me,  He can protect me from a measly germ.

And, then I went on enjoying my kids, singing music, and enjoying the breeze of the day.

Where is fear trying to gain an inch in your life? Shut him down and shut him down, quickly…lest he gain a mile.

 

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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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Did They Take Advantage of You?

take advantage

Someone has taken advantage of me. By all appearances, it seems they’ve used a position of power to force my hand. They’ve taken from me. It smells like trickery because I am left the fool. Now, I have no choice but to do what they want. Grr…

Yet, the more I pray, the more I feel God nudging my heart: not to fight back, but to give-in. Yes, to give in to what they want.

It feels like the lesson of this situation wants to stick to my heart. It tries to teach me that I am weak. It wants to convince me that people will take advantage of me again.

I can’t trust again.
I must rise up and be powerful, so I don’t get hurt.

Yet, God speaks differently.

In His Word, I am reminded of the time the Arameans were coming against Elisha and the Israelites. Here, the enemy had the whole city surrounded and was about to strike. Elisha was trapped; the others had a clear advantage.

At this point, Elisha used wise prayer; He asked God to blind His enemies. When the forces finally opened their eyes, they quickly discovered they were defeated. They went in the wrong direction. The Israelites had won.

Although Elisha used a powerful powerful prayer strategy, this is not the part that most speaks to me. The part that speaks to me is how Elisha appeared to give way, to give in, to an enemy.

Take a look…

Once they had the Arameans trapped, “The king of Israel … shouted to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? Should I kill them?”

“Of course not!” Elisha replied. “Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master.”

So the king made a great feast for them and then sent them home to their master. After that, the Aramean raiders stayed away from the land of Israel. (2 Kings 6:21-22)”

The enemy didn’t just get food, they got a feast. Why was this able to happen? Because they trusted God more than the people who hurt them.

And, this is what speaks to my heart today. I can trust God more than the person who hurt me. Why? Because God holds all power. God holds the purse-strings to everything. God makes armies bow. God brings redemption where things were stolen. God restores. And, He is always faithful.

Much more do I want to rely on God, than to allow a person’s actions declare who I am or how I will act. No. I won’t do that. God wins. He knows.

So, I go ahead and prepare a feast for someone who is acting like an enemy.

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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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Don’t Lose Hope

lose hope

I want to encourage you. With God, there’s always a way.

You may be saying, I don’t know how… Or, I don’t have enough… Or, it doesn’t look like it is possible.

God is not beholden to the natural; He is the Orchestrator of the supernatural.

Mary probably thought, there is no way that I can carry “the son of the Most High” (Lu. 1:32). It must have seemed preposterous when an angel said she would. But, with God, she did — it happened — she birthed the Son of God.

David must have figured he’d end up managing sheep all his life. King? I wonder if he thought that impossible. Sure enough, Samuel, the prophet, passed by His strong, and probably good-looking, brothers and picked David. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” (1 Sam. 16:12)

The Lord promoted David, independent of looks.

It wasn’t until more than a decade later that David became King. Sure, he could have thought, forget this, God has forgotten me. But, God never forgot. He doesn’t forget you, either.

God is outside of time, yet always on time.

God showed up and David became King.

Don’t lose hope. God is always on time. He is independent of your perfection, your bank account, or your perfect actions. God is always faithful. And, right on time.

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Considering All That’s Going on…

love

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

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

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

Love mercy. Act justly. Walk humbly.

“Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:8).

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s the be ones to start it…

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

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

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

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

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

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Under God’s Cover

This morning my 6-year old daughter wondered if there was a tornado coming. Out of fun, I checked the weather. Oddly enough, she was right. There was a tornado warning for our area. For the next hour, we should: beware.

Laying on the bed, while trying to calm her fears, I said, “Do you know what I would do, Madison, if a tornado came this way?”

“What, Mommy?”

“I’d throw my body over you, like this…” I then, laid right over her, acting like a mammoth overhead-covering so she wouldn’t get hit by the imagined fray and swirling winds.

At that second this verse popped in my head…

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge…” (Ps. 91:4)

God does what my instinct as a parent has me do….He covers.

God covers us to shield us from the worst, coming at us. Jesus proves this. His very own skin was damaged to defend us from the oncoming ravages of sin and death. Jesus, thrown up on the cross, covered our every mistake with His body as He took our pain on.

God not only protects, but He covers.

With this, let me ask you a question: If God sent His very own son to protect you this bloody way, how much more will He protect you today?

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)

He cares to protect you. He wants to keep you.

Yes, the winds of fear surround us. But, rest is available right here — in the midst of this — under the cover of His love.  Will we enter in? God will never force us, but He will always welcome us. How? How do we this?

We:

  • Remember the cross when we get weary or doubt-filled.
  • Believe that He will protect and keep us.
  • Remind our heart of specific instances of His past-faithfulness in our lives.
  • Give Him all worry or fear. Repent.
  • Thank Him for His care and choose to dwell our mind on it.
  • Entrust our wellbeing into His hands, allowing Him to be our shield.

“He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Prov. 30:5)

To those who choose to take refuge — they will rest under His cover. With this, don’t look left or right to size-up what is happening with other people. Don’t get sucked into the Evening News. Don’t get pulled into fear because someone said that cats or dogs are carriers. No. Keep your eyes on Jesus; let Him cover you with His perfect peace.

Prayer: Father God, I give you my fear, my worry, my stress, and my anxiety. I don’t want to be covered by things that keep my heart nervous and tense. I don’t want to be covered by a cloud of gloom and doom anymore. I choose to move out from under these things so I can rest, under your cover. Will you forgive me for carrying all this? You are the Prince of Peace. I choose to follow you in all things, in all ways. Pour out your grace on me so I may walk near you, all my day. You are my only and my best “cover”. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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How the Enemy Smells Fear

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

I wouldn’t have it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t be discouraged.

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

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

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Are you Hating Your Waiting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glory to God!

 

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