Purposeful Faith

Category - Holy Spirit

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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Peace, Be Still

peace

More than anything else I think, today, we need peace.

Many of us are beyond concerned. Everyone had an opinion online. The TV is telling us this or that. We wonder where things are headed?

More than anything else, today, we need: peace and prayer.

Tackling prayer is easy, we ask: Father, you will be done.

Peace can feel more elusive. This my reasoning for including 7 verses of peace for you today. I advise that you read them aloud and that you pray them over yourself.

7 Verses that Bring Peace

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps. 46:10)

Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. (Ps. 100:3)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. (Is. 26:3)

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful. (Col. 3:15)

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Nu. 6:26)

Prayer:  May the peace of God reign in your heart today, no matter what you face, no matter what you see. May you remember who you are in Christ and whose you are.  May you remember that God is in charge. May you rest in knowing that He has the whole world in His hands. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Staying Strong Like Jesus

My young daughter looks at me and cries, “Mommy, I’m falling!” I know it’s a test. In actuality, her falling-off-the-couch body is just half a foot away from the ground. It doesn’t matter. For her, this is a test. She’s asking, “Mommy, can I trust you to catch me? To really be there for me?”

I’ve asked these very same questions of God during various trials. God, how will You possibly show up when my bank account is tens of thousands of dollars in debt? Will You be there for me when Multiple Sclerosis makes me unable to walk? Will You abandon me too, like those people did? Will You really be able to help me overcome my depression?

God, how can I be sure You’ll do what You promise? Especially when doubts exist.

Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there today, facing fear, doubt, a boss who isn’t nice, a friend who hurt you, a husband who is absent, a daughter who is astray, a home that is too expensive, a dream unmet, or a wait never-ending.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my trials, it’s this: To respond reactively sinks me emotionally. However, to prepare proactively is to triumph. We triumph only through Christ who triumphed.

Why? Because Jesus the victory belongs to the Lord. And, He left us with a battle plan: His Word. We have a clear-plan from God.

I learn a lot from Jesus…

Jesus: Respected and honored appointed times for change. For instance, Jesus began ministry at the age of 30. (Luke 3:23) Why not earlier?
Jesus Did Not: Get to the age of 21 and demand a timing change from God by saying, “I am tired of waiting around. I am tired of seeing all these issues. I need to fix them now by doing something about them. I’ll die right now and save the world.”

Jesus: Trusted His Father’s ultimate plan to fight the battle and to win the war.
Jesus Did Not:
Retaliate, injure or fight the people accosting, intimidating, or threatening Him.

Jesus: Reached out to the convicted sinner next to Him on the cross.
Jesus Did Not: Focus only on Himself as He suffered.

Jesus: Used God’s Word as a shield to block the enemy darts and temptation.
Jesus Did Not
: Listen to the enemy’s talking points.

Jesus: Enlisted and equipped simple fishermen who accomplished unbelievable works.
Jesus Did Not: Enlist only perfect people to be His ministers after His death.

It doesn’t matter how things appear. With God, we’re always just a half-foot above the ground, even if it feels like we’re in a free-fall plummet. He protects. He helps. He calls. He equips. He guides. He answers. He strengthens.

“I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

There is a plan. God knows what He is doing.  We are right in the center of it.

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I Have Kept the Faith

kept the faith

I want this to be said of me…

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:7)

I want to “keep the faith!” What about you?

To keep something is to hold it. It is to hold it as dear, hold it close and hold it far from harm. It is to keep using it, practicing it, and leaning on it.

Are you “keeping” faith?

Keeping faith is very practical.  It is asking God to keep you and to increase your faith. It is worshipping, praising, and reading God’s Word.  It is to pray and listen.

Do you feel full of faith? Are you believing that God is the God of the impossible or just the mundane happenings in your life? Do you believe God will show up in your day or are you just trying to make it through? Do you expect God to hear and answer prayers or are you just lobbing up words because you are supposed to?

Faith believes in the exceedingly abundantly more of God; it sees God show up. It trusts even when it cannot see, even when the promise feels far. It hopes, again and again.

I think I lost hope for a while. I started to give up. If you have given up — it is a sign you have lost hope. If you are in this place, it is okay. God is faithful to restore and renew. Just give him your disappointment, your pain, your history, your trauma, your offenses and let him bring you back to new life again. Let Him restore your faith.

Prayer: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) May your faith be so great that it acts out with extreme love. And, may your King Jesus, be glorified. 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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Stop Getting Hit

This morning I walked my son to school. Unfortunately, there is a part of our walk that has no sidewalk. We usually carefully walk on the curb or tread through the dew-wet grass.

This morning, as we walked, my son looked at me and said, “Mom, what would happen if I hopped down in front of a car and said, ‘Stop!'”

Half-way mortified at the idea, I said, “You’d die.”

Then I added, “You have no authority to tell those cars to stop, so they wouldn’t listen to you. If you were a cop, they may stop, but a kid. . . one can only hope. . .”

When you have no authority, you have no power to make things obey. Likewise, when you have authority, you can make change. You have abilities. Things listen to you.

Jesus said, “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 NIV)

Note, Jesus did not say I’ve given you authority to overcome “some” of the power of the enemy, but He said, “I have given you authority…to overcome ALL the power of the enemy.”

Are you an overcomer or are you getting hit, continuously, by things coming against?

Rise up. The Lord has given you things: You don’t wear a ‘hit me’ sign. You wear the armor of God. You don’t wear a defeatist attitude, you wear “Faith”, like a shield. You don’t wear a beaten and bruised face from attack-after-attack. You wear and wield prayer and truth like a sword. You don’t wear an old identity. Christ has given you a new identity. Tell yourself about it.

Take authority over the lies and make mistruths bow to Jesus. You have been given authority. Use it.

In so many ways, you can stop the undue spiritual traffic that is coming against you.

Prayer: God, I ask for you to make known to every daughter her spiritual authority, through Christ Jesus. May she become aware that she is an Overcomer. May she know that you have fought the ultimate battle –and won. May she rest in your victory and come alive through your Word. May she stand taller than what comes against to powerfully move forward through prayer. I ask that every defeatist attitude be gone in Jesus’ name. Where the Spirit of the Lord is — there is freedom!!!  I pray that your freedom brings liberty and life to those who feel dull and down, today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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5 Ways to Be Led By Holy Spirit, Not Flesh

holy spirit

Meanie: Dropped the ball and never answered me when I emailed her.
Selfish & silent: Promised me something and then didn’t follow through.
High-priced: Charged me an arm and a leg, ran away and left me standing with a huge bill.
Go-Getter: Hurt me.
Liar: Rejected me with a bold-faced lie I can’t seem to get past.
Forgetter: Didn’t invest in my heart; she dissed it.
Abandoner: Walked away not following through on a promise.
Hater: Ignored me and grabbed hands with the popular folk.
Condemner: Tore my good intentions apart.

The story is titled: They’ll all reject you.

The cast is nefarious.

The plot goes like this: I’m a speck of dust. Everyone knows I am forgettable, invaluable and pretty much unseen within the grand story called their life, their plans and their needs. I’m disposable.

Bah-humbug! 

The enemies appear to be everyone. That’s a problem. That’s a big problem. I recognize it.

Because, in reality, the enemy isn’t these enemies, the enemy is the enemy. He’s thriving when he contriving. He’s jumping for joy, when he’s ruined ours. He’s grinding up love into tiny grounds that spread hate. The longer he let’s them brew the more bitter it tastes. When we drink, and we get poisoned, not with eyes to see God, but with eyes of anger and vile.

What has been brewing in your heart – is it peace and God’s presence or is a list of people who’ve hurt you?

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:13-14

My flesh wants to teach these people a lesson. My Spirit knows people are hurting, just like me. My Spirit knows, you can’t read the motives on one’s heart. My Spirit knows, people need love, not condemnation.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Gal. 5:22

If I am in the Spirit, I shine Spirit. But, how do I move back to peace-calming Spirit rather than anger-brewing flesh?

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

5 Ways to Be Led By the Holy Spirit, Not Your Flesh

  1. Ask God to fill you with all joy and peace.
  2. Ask God to help you trust him more.
  3. Move into a place of continual worship, praise and thanksgiving.
  4. Dwell only on what is good, true and excellent.
  5. Be open to how God is teaching or leading you in a given moment.

As I practice my heart through the continual cycle of this list, I find my heart is no longer being wrung through the ringer. It softens. It sees others pain. It knows, God has a plan, even in my pain.

The Spirit confirms, I am His child and the love he surrounds me with, is more than enough to fill every hole of damage.

Don’t miss taking part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge. Or, order my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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Are People Always Judging You?

Sizing you Up

For the longest time, judgments have thrown me off.

If I saw you looking at me weird, I was convinced you hated me.
If you had a comment that I wasn’t doing things right, I’d be devastated.
If you raised an eyebrow at my parenting style, I’d want to go climb into a hole and stay there until you are long gone.

It’s been hard for me to contend with people who condemn.

With certain people, I expect them to act a certain way. I can almost hear the words they’re going to say before they say them. I can almost see the pain strike my heart before the words are even formed in their mouth. With this, I internally fear and steer clear of them. I put up layers so they don’t prick me. I hide to protect my own hide.

I think, today, though, I am ready to admit, I am pretty much tired of this approach. I no longer want to relegate myself to a hole like a tiny mouse unworthy and unable to be myself. I want to step out – into the light – and do my thing, gnaw on cheese, squeak with joy or pounce around without caring what you, or anyone else, for that matter, thinks.

Jesus didn’t tell us to hide our light. He told us to shine it.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Mt. 5:15-16

Recently, I met with a friend. She’s spent every day of her life being who a family member wanted her to be. I could see how it had taken a toll on her. I could see she was ready to, like a butterfly, break out of her cocoon and fly-free. I wanted to see her colors. I knew God had something great for her – when she’d start being – who he made her to be.

God is helping me to see things. If we let external criticisms dwell as internal truths, we’ll live imprisoned. You see, the peanut gallery will always have comments as to who we should be. Yet, we don’t have to be who they say we should be. Who we should be is – who God created us to be.

What if Jesus changed who God created him to be in order to accommodate man’s standards? In order to please Pharisees or religious elite?

Jesus didn’t let criticism and condemnation define him. With this, God gives man’s condemnation no room to define us either. There is simply no one who has the power to destroy us. Because Jesus believed in who Father made him to be, and walked accordingly, he duct-taped the world’s mouth shut. No one could waver the mission of Jesus, because Jesus never gave them the chance to.
I want to be like that. Do you

Like Jesus, if we just hear the Word of God and walk accordingly, it doesn’t matter what man says. He can’t change our destiny. He can’t wreck our future. He may try to tell us we are ugly, we will never succeed or we are always falling short. But…blah, blah, blah he goes.
Jesus is in me.
The Spirit is alive.

The fruits of the Spirit are growing.

With this power working from me, I can turn right back around and say to him words of: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.

Why? Not because I am good, but because Jesus’ good love holds me tight and says, I am untouchable. I am unremovable from his care. I am undeniably chosen and wanted. For Jesus is attached in me, not the words of someone trying to take me down.

Other reading:
Dealing with Super Annoying People
When People Complicate Things
Dethrone Mean People

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10 Ways to Develop Rock-Solid Faith

Keep Going

That place that you are desperately scared of? God has already gone there.
The people you are afraid to confront? God knows your best approach.
The doctor’s appointment you can’t stand to think of? He has the answers.
The relationships that you don’t ever think can be healed? God sees the way.
The rejection you deeply fear. God knows how to take it from there.
The positive mindset you can’t seem to claim as your own. He is working on your behalf.

While today you may see all that – is not, God sees all that – will be. It doesn’t scare him. It doesn’t shock him. It doesn’t look impossible. He knows he can do it all. 

He’s not one to waver, to toss and turn about whether or not to care about you. He cares because he is the completeness of care. He works, because he can do it all.

He can do it all. Do you know that?

Rock-Solid Faith

Don’t lose hope.

Don’t back down.

Don’t lay down and give up.

Don’t see life only through your eyes.

You have a King behind you.
You have the #1 Ruler favoring you.
You have glory around you.
The Comforter assisting you.

Don’t look at who you are, look at who He is.

Don’t see impossibility, see the inevitability that He’ll show up.
See with certainty, the soon-to-be miracle in your heart.
Walk with surety, he’ll direct you to his goodness in this land of the living.

God sees the end in sight and it is not far. All loose ends, with God, tie up in goodness. He has a vision. A hope. A work of love being worked out on your behalf. It all makes sense to God.

Grab hold.

BELIEVE.

Declare not only these truths in word,
but, believe – in your heart.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Ro. 10:9

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Ps. 19:14

The heart holds the difference between love that endures and love that fades after it slips off the tongue. It is the wellspring of life (Prov. 4:23).

If you are talking the talk,

but losing the battle in your walk,

the issue comes down to your heart.

What’s in there? Fear? Guilt? Shame? Doubt? Anxiety? Uncertainty? Disappointment? Discouragement?

Let your heart:
1. Be honest with God & return to God.
2. Stand on guard. Not every voice is a needed voice.
3. Be full of praise.
4. Make way for more holy.
5. Take a firm stand in belief.
6. Return to God throughout the day.
7. Hope in Christ’s love.
8. Meditate on truth.
9. Stay humble.
10. Remain open to God’s growth.

Rock-Solid Faith

When we give God our heart, what we find is, our eyes widen – we delight in his ways (Prov. 23:26). Suddenly, we don’t only speak, but we believe, because God kindles us in his love. We step out as bright temples that representing faithfulness that never ends.

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That’s “Nacky”

Do you have a funny word you embrace in your home that is totally understood by everyone under your roof, coined by a toddler?

When my sons were babies they called my daughter Maggie, “Yaya.”  We still call her this.

My cousin called underwear “O-di-os.” And we rarely say underwear, they are O-di-os.

And it spans the generations. My husband’s family still teases about getting your “baby-soup” on so we can go swimming, a term my husband used as a toddler.

I am 44-years-old, and my family still calls washcloths hoffcloths.” I have never lived down that which I said… when I was two.

Our oldest son John called spoons “Mooshes” and nasty “Nacky.” At our youngest son’s 1st birthday the 3-year-old John was exasperated by his baby brother’s “nacky” face after he ate cake with his hands instead of with a “moosh.”

These word oddities are habits, often we must correct ourselves in public as the nonsense isn’t appropriate outside the clique of family.

Recently one of our kids made a mistake, he was mortified. The man-child went on a rant about his foolishness. I consoled him and encouraged.  He couldn’t get past his folly and berated himself ruthlessly.

It broke my heart to him speak so harshly of himself. I rubbed his shoulder and mused, “Oh you are just being NACKY! Stop!”

He softened a bit and rolled his eyes.  At 6’3” with a full beard, I am certain he wishes he could break away from the baby talk.

A couple days later I had to get on the scale at the doctor’s office.

Ugh.

My encounter with too many “Mooshes” was making my “O-di-os” too tight and my body was not ready for “baby-soup” season.

I grumbled at myself – disgust.

I mumbled ugliness about my lack of self-control and my disdain for my current state.

I blew my nose and wiped some tears and heard a familiar, still voice from deep within.

“That’s nacky.”

And I knew the voice.

And I knew the term.

And I knew the voice meant my critical assault on self, not the size of my hiney.

I was being “nacky.”

And more than tears over my current physical struggles, I was slain by a wave of love from my Heavenly Father. 

I was reminded that “nacky” feeling I had when my son was hating on himself for making a mistake. A mistake that could be remedied. A mistake that was done without malice, simply an earthly mistake. In an instant I was in unison with my Lord and all the ways, He parents me.

He wanted me to ease up. He wanted me to turn to Him and talk, ask for help, and then let go.  And no, not let go and continue to not care for myself, His daughter. But to stop haranguing myself with “nacky” self-hatred.

Just like the horribleness I felt when my child was so unforgiving with his folly, God opened my eyes to the parallels of my punitive words.

His gentleness continues to move me. A good Father, encourager, and devoted parent who craves a chance to nurture and love on me.  He died that I might have amity with this life. His spirit lingers, whispering tender love and peaceable direction.

His love is perfect.

His parenting flawless.

He is completely void of nackiness….

 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  –1 John 3:1

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami