Purposeful Faith

Category - grace

What A Friend We Have in Jesus

The fog was thick; I couldn’t see out the window. Dazed, because I woke at 3:45 this particular morning, I stared blankly into the grey abyss…and then I let my imagination go..

What if Jesus came to me through that fog right now, arms wide open? In that moment, it was as if I could see Him…approaching me. I imagined how it would feel to see — and be seen — by Jesus. Fully exposed, I wanted to run to Jesus, but then I thought…

Jesus, will you like me when you see me?  Am I enough, flaws and all?

Wow. Coming out of this daydream, I have to admit, my thoughts surprised me. I suppose, subliminally, I haven’t completely accepted that Christ completely accepts me. . . my fear in that moment was that He might reject me.

Yet, I know the truth. The truth is, I don’t have to shape-up, be better, or act perfect to be accepted. Jesus doesn’t want or choose me because of what I do — He wants, chooses, and accepts me because of what He did.  Jesus counted the cost, paid the price, and gave me His righteousness. Sure, I repent as I need to repent, but beyond this — the deal is done. The price is paid. My eternal standing is completed, because of Him.

His blood marks you and I — enough.

I pray this truth might sink in. I pray it may sink into every space and place of inadequacy and fear within us. I pray it might touch both our unconscious and conscious reality. I pray it may increase our ability to receive His love and grace. I pray that it exists as more than a mind-reality, but that it becomes a firm-reality. We stand on the solid-rock of Jesus, not shifty ground. May we know that we know this truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

On that day we meet Jesus, we will run into glorious grace. We will run into grace that loves us, grace that covers us, grace that accepts us and grace that wants us, forever and no matter what. Oh, what a Savior we have in Jesus. All Glory to you, Father.

Jesus said, “…I have called you friends…” (Jo. 15:15)

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What Brings Unity? An Answer…

stir it up

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.” (Mark 16:1)

Sometimes I stare at the body of Christ while I am in church.

While everyone else is worshipping, I open my eyes and look at the body of Christ, His people (1 Cor. 12:27). Even while the pastor is speaking about the headship of Christ, I behold Jesus’ body, each precious soul He died to save. I love my sisters and my brothers. I desire to care for their wounds.  I so want them to be anointed in His love.  The body, along with the headship of Jesus — both, are vitally important to Jesus.

Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome came first to care for Jesus’ body. What a ministry of love.  These three women showed up to love — His body, post death. At this moment, it wasn’t about getting more knowledge about Jesus…it wasn’t about memorizing bible verses…it wasn’t about being right politically…it wasn’t about being seen, it was about the body. His precious war-torn body. They came with the best for — His body.

I can’t help but think that there are many Christians, people who make up the body of Christ, who are in pain, in a tomb, discouraged, and hopeless right now. Are we loving the body or we tearing it down. Are we seeing those in need or are we only focused on a stage that speaks of the headship of Jesus?

Oh, to love the very body of Jesus! It is vitally necessary these days. Consider this: what is a head without a body? How effective when a body lays paralyzed and immobile?

This weekend, during the Breakthrough Retreat, all who attended got a chance to love the very body of Jesus. And, oh how souls were revived through it! It was sister-loving-sister. It was hearts coming to Jesus.  The women who joined said it was “amazing”, “inspiring”, “uplifting”, “encouraging”, “timely”, “insightful”, and “hopeful”. The women who watched the recording wrote to tell me of the hope God brought them. This is exactly what I was hoping and praying for.

You know, dear sisters in Christ, it is not too late to join the retreat. If you want to take part, via the recorded version, just sign up below. I will send out the link to you. Even more, stay tuned, I will be hosting another retreat next month.

Breakthrough Retreat 1/27
Make space to encounter God. Gain new strength for this year.
January 9, 2020 from 10 AM ET - 1 PM ET via Zoom.
$29.00

But, until then, look at the body of Christ. It needs you — your love, your care, your words of encouragement, your hope and your attention.

Prayer: Oh Jesus, there is none like you, none before you, and none after that will ever compare. We exalt your name. We love your headship. Father, at the same time, we ask for grace to love the very body of Christ — not forgetting it, no matter how they act and what they do. Pour out your Spirit of Grace upon us to love without measure and to lift each other higher. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Being Friend’s with Jesus

Have you ever been with a friend who constantly looks at their phone when they’re with you?

My pet peeve is when I meet someone for coffee and they keep looking at their phone. I can’t help but think…is it me? Is it something I’m saying? Am I not good enough to have their full attention?

This also happens on occasion at social gatherings when a person looks behind me or around me, rather than looking at me when I’m talking. I have to admit, I wonder why they’re so distracted.

It is hard to build a relationship with someone who is only half-in. Or, half-way listening. Or, half-way minding what they’re saying to you.

I couldn’t help but think about all this — this very morning, as I made coffee, while trying to pray…

I muttered some words, but as I got the grinds in the cup, I only half-way put my heart into what I was praying. I spoke some things that sounded good, but as I assembled the cups in the right place, I wasn’t much thinking about what I was saying. I tried to think about God, but I was much more thinking, “Where’s the cream?”

My attention was divided two ways. Looking at coffee, I couldn’t  — in actuality, look at God. It’s like trying to drive ahead while looking out your rear window. You can’t look two places at once.

Good friends focus on each other. They are attentive and available, rather than distracted and double-minded.

“…But I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jo. 15:15)

Good friends set down their phones, their to-do lists, their mind, even — and hone in on what’s happening between them. They talk. They make room to listen. They aren’t trying to do 5 things at one time. They rest in each other’s company.

Are you a friend of Jesus or are you far-more a distracted doer? Are you following a million rabbit trails around you and in your mind — or are you attuned to God’s heart?

I’ve noticed as I’ve set things down, or given my thoughts a time-out, I’ve been able to make space for exceptional times with God and for His breakthrough. I’ve noticed as I’ve said no to other things — I have made space for my first love. With this, I’ve come to know Him on such a deeper  heart level. I believe the same is available to you…

Prayer: Father, I want to know, love and be with you more. Will you give me focus? Will you help me be available to you? Will you pour out grace so that I can leave everything else behind as I read your Word? As I pray? You are my treasure of greatest measure. Please help me to treat you this way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

For more on attentiveness and focus on God, consider my newest book, “Rest Now: 7 Ways To Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy.”

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Wait for It

This morning my husband laughed when he looked in his coffee cup. I had no idea why…

A little before the laughing, I had asked him, “Do you want cream?”

He said, “Yes.” So, while he was looking away, I poured the cream in. Then, I handed him the coffee, basically saying — here you go… But, when he looked down — he didn’t see anything, so he started laughing.

He pronounced, “Where’s my cream?” We stood there looking at the coffee.

And after a few seconds, the cream rose up to the top. Only then could my husband see what he couldn’t see before — the cream that was already there. He just had to wait for it.

Some of us — are nearly there. We just have to wait for it…just a little more.

There is something rising to the top.

Think of Jesus. Things looked dark in the tomb, but then he rose up to new light.
And Lazarus. Everything was dim when he was dead, but then there was life.
Or, David. He hid out in caves, only to later reign as King.
Even the Israelites were enslaved and, after a time, set free to head off to their Promised Land.

The best things — take time. Just as honey isn’t done before the bees have done their work, likewise — the sweetest things take time to make…

So, don’t give up hope on day 6 when God is coming on day 7. Don’t start cursing God when He is working together a greater glory for your life. Don’t think He won’t show up…when He is working things out.

Jesus told his disciples and friends to wait for a word, at one point. He said, ““And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.” (Lu. 12:12)

Jesus knew — at the proper time, they’d get proper words. But, they had to wait for him to show up. He’d give them what they need — at just the right time.

Do you trust God to give you what you need — at just the right time?

God’s timing is always right on time, no matter how you feel in the meantime. Keep hope and keep looking up. He loves you.

Prayer: God, give me the power to — wait well, to hope in you continually, and to trust you endlessly. Please bring breakthrough in my life. I don’t have the best way, but you do. In this, I surrender afresh. I die to my ways and agree with yours. I trust you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Need more rest? Consider my newest book, “Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy.”

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1 Tip to Combat Stress & Maintain Peace

Not knowing is hard…

I spent Tuesday night glued to the TV, yet now, not knowing which way our country is going — feels unnerving.

Will we be okay?
What is going to happen?
How will this all work out?

I keep refreshing news websites and swiping on my phone. How long until everything is wrapped up.

Maybe you are there today too — in the space of not knowing. Maybe not knowing is making you feel restless, a little nervous or worried. Maybe it isn’t even the election that is bothering you..but, other areas in your life: finances, marriage, relationships, or health.

You don’t know if you are going to be okay. If things will be okay. If everything will work out.

I understand.

I think the one thing cuts through not knowing is remembering: Christ always has the victory.

Always.

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Ro. 8:37 NLT)

Despite natural outcomes, Christ loves us.
Despite what we see, Christ has a good, perfect and pleasing will.
Despite what feels hard, we are being transformed from glory to glory into His by the Spirit (See 2 Cor. 3:18 KJV)

Nothing can remove the love of Christ for us. Nothing can stop the Lord Almighty. Nothing, with God, is irredeemable.

God can work good, in even, what even seems bad.

“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.” (1 Jo. 4:5)

Prayer: Father God, I trust in you. I do not look at what I can see — or what I can’t see. I look at you. I look to you. I wait for you. You are King. You are Lord. You are Conqueror. You are Faithful. Today, I release fear and worry and I take on your faith. I thank you for Jesus, the son, who died for me. I trust Him to continue saving me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Need more peace and less stress? Consider my new book, “Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy.

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Regaining Hope

The reality is, my husband would give me the shirt off his back. He also would lay down what is good for him for the betterment of me. He has sacrificed much so that I can write and pursue ministry work. He gives up things for me. He thinks of me. He helps when I don’t know what to do. He shares wisdom and tips and ideas. He is there when my head gets droopy; he picks up my chin. He shares his heart with me too. He tells me things he wouldn’t tell others.

My husband is my friend. I call him, “my best friend.”

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have a friend like this.”

To you, I want to explain, “Jesus is your friend like this…”

He says, “I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” (Jo. 15:15-17)

Note: everything Jesus learned from the Father he made known. Even today, by the Spirit, He continues to make all things known: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (Jo. 14:26)

Friends share deep things with friends. They share hidden truths. They bring to light what is true. They walk together. They talk together. They laugh together. They cry together. They dream together.

Friends love to take care of their friends. When I see a friend in need, I do my best to — show up. I want to know how they are.  I check-in.

You have a friend in Jesus. He is teaching and reminding you of important things through the Holy Spirit. He is there for you. If you can’t remember the last time you felt close to God, maybe you’ve forgotten that He not only is your Lord but that He also is your friend.

Oh, what a friend you have in Jesus! Lean your heart close to Him and ask Him to share some of the deep treasures. Connect with Him in Spirit and in truth.

Prayer: Father God, I thank you for your Son, Jesus. Oh, what a friend I have in Jesus. I also thank you for the Holy Spirit who leads, teaches, and comforts. Fill me afresh today with your Holy Spirit so that I might be full of you and your love (Eph. 5:18). Fill me afresh so that I might be led by you. Fill me so that I may worship and love you, with all my heart. Fill me so that I may know you more.

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God Fights For You

There’s nothing worse than believing God for victory, only to experience defeat.

Has that ever happened to you?

Recently, I prayed and prayed, without change. I praised, without a breakthrough.  I hoped, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere.

Even now, I need God for everything, yet I wonder how he can possibly show up — in this situation. What if I am left with nothing? 

Fear wants to grip me. It tries to make me focus on the natural over God’s supernatural power.

God, will you really provide? Show up? Help? Can I trust You, God?

The Israelites are a bit like me: They saw the Egyptian troops chasing them down. They got overwhelmingly terrified. They must have figured they were incapable.. They were seemingly angry at their leader, Moses.

Upset with themselves and unable to hold-it-in they even griped, “What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:11-12, NIV)

Slavery was more appealing than trusting God for victory.

I’m like them when I say:

Why am I here, God? Where are you, God? Why haven’t you ____, God? This doesn’t make any sense, God!

Moses replied to the Israelites, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV)

As I’m still, God fights. Wow. This is incredible. Beyond natural sight is God’s greater fight. Far more effective than worry is my Warrior, God. He is bigger than any big issue I face. And stronger than the very definition of the word — strong, as I understand it.

God can accomplish more in a split-second than I can produce in my whole life. I want the work to be His, not mine. He can do anything at any time.

Our God, while we are still — fights on our behalf. Are we letting Him fight for us or are we griping, opining, complaining, and doubting?

God is working, even when you can’t see it.

It doesn’t matter if it looks like God is late. Or, if you would have done it another way. Or, if you can’t really understand. Still, God’s way is the best way.

A kid can’t understand why he gets a novocaine shot at the dentist, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t good reason.

You know, when the Israelites lost faith, God instructed Moses to tell them something. He said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to move on.” (Exodus 14:15) I believe God is saying the same today:

Move on from unbelief.
Move on from fearing your battle.
Move on from counting everything as a deterrent.
Move on from your old outlooks.
Move on from your self-limiting beliefs.
Move on from the idea there is no good plan.

And, trust God to fight your battle. You do this by: making space for God, listening to His heartbeat through His Words, and through ‘saying yes’.

God’s plan is good. Even here, in this instance, He had good reason for doing what He did.  It was so He could gain glory.

“Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground…And I will gain glory through…The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” (Exodus 14:16-18, NIV)

And so the Israelites moved. The miracle happened. The sea parted. And God got all His glory. The Egyptians knew who was God.

Friend, don’t lose hope; there is a good plan in motion.

 

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Are You Headed the Wrong Way?

Today, I completely missed my turn. I took a new route to the supermarket and, because I thought the entrance would look the same as before, I drove right past it. I knew the store would be on the left. However, because I  came from a different direction, it was on the right.

Because I expected an old thing, I missed the new. Likewise, many of us — looking for an old thing — miss God’s new. We expect people to hurt us like yesterday, so we stay in our house, away from relationship and, yet again — we are hurt. We expect our finances to never change, so we don’t bother changing anything and live continually strapped. We expect our kids to never change so we dismiss them because they’ve hurt us and God’s love doesn’t reach them.

We go our way, yet God has — His way. One we may not even be able to perceive.

Today, what if we were to open our eyes up to perceive that God may have for us — a new way?

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Is. 43:19)

Be it yesterday or today, Isaiah or Romans, Moses or Paul, God continually does new things. He breaks through. He restores. He transforms. He offers new life. New opportunities. Healing. Help.

The question is not — “Is God Healer, Helper, and Restorer?” The question is — “Do we believe Him to be these things?”

Where might God want you to perceive His new? If you have been banging your head in one particular area, this is a sign that God may be calling you to do things a new way. If you feel constantly stuck, look out for His new way. If you feel like there must be more, expect Him to show you something new.

All His ways are good.

Prayer:

God, help me to perceive your leading and direction. I don’t want to be so stuck in an old thing that I can’t walk into your new thing for me. I thank you that transition and change are part of your heart. I thank you that as I wait on you that you will renew my strength. Today, I choose to trust your leading and guidance. I trust you to provide and to help me. I ask that all I do, think and say might bring glory to you. Help me to trust and love you even more. Thank you that I can do this by laying down my ways and by trusting yours. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen

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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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Where’s My Passion?

Where’s the passion I used to have? The determination to run with strength? The boldness?

I hear people think-out-loud along these lines. They wonder how their motivation disappeared, or why they procrastinate or feel so stuck. They can’t seem to rev their wheels anymore. They get stuck in the mud.

I relate.  I’ve tried to get started on certain projects and then they’ve just — fallen through. Not all the issues are me, but still — the outcome feels embarrassing.

Ever been there? Maybe you have a big dream but you haven’t followed through. You have hopes for a relationship. You want to stop a bad habit. Or, go a new way…but you just can’t seem to succeed. There seems to be a stopper right ahead of you.

This morning, this verse spoke to me in a powerful way:

“So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us…”  (Heb 12: 1-2)

I must let go — to go. It is only by letting go of old wounds and sin that I can run ahead.  For, no one can run effectively ahead while looking back. To run looking behind you is to run into things. To bang yourself up. Reconsidering and rehashing (aka. looking back) prohibits one from seeing the good thing God has ahead.

I realize I must (REALLY) let go of what lays behind me. Only then, can I “run life’s race with passion and determination.” Only then can I easily go down God’s path already “marked out” before (me).

God offers me a new beginning today. He gives you one too! Wonder is knowing that Jesus presents us with an endless amount of new beginnings. Today you start over. Repent if you need to… Then, you trust that the Author and Perfector of faith, Jesus Christ, is doing His best work. Believe that the Shepherd of all shepherds is protecting you from what happened in days of old. Fully rely on The Light of the World to illuminate your world in an exciting and joy-filled way.

When we look ahead at the beauty of Him, we won’t as much want to look back. Instead, I believe, we’ll move with fervor, passion, and excitement, like never before. We’ll be able to perceive the light of His goodness ahead. We will focus on Jesus, and with Him, we’ll go again.

Prayer: God, give us the grace to let go of what lays behind. We don’t want to look back anymore and miss what is ahead. Come and help us to look to Jesus, constantly. Give us undivided attention and renewed fervor. We love you. We want to live all-out for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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