Purposeful Faith

Category - Jesus

Women’s Ministry Monday: A Televised Awakening

televised awakening

I am delighted today to welcome Diane Maudsley, both a friend and a passionate women’s ministry director to share her story for Ministry Monday. As you will see, God proves he can reach anyone at anytime. Who are you hoping he reaches?  Don’t lose hope…

When the time is right, God will get the right message in front of their sight.

Diane’s story proves this…

It was Easter Sunday, 27 years ago, when the grace of God visited my small apartment living room as I knelt in front of the television listening to an evangelist teaching about forgiveness.

That day was by far one of the most, if not THE most, impactful days in my spiritual walk with God.

I had grown up learning about God, hearing about His magnificence and power, learning in Church and in Christian schools that He created me and this great world, and I knew all about His Son, Jesus, …but did I, really?

My soul was lost and desperate – it was searching the TV airwaves (there was no internet or iPhone then of course) for a glimmer of hope for my wretched life.

The man on TV called it “Resurrection Sunday”!
He was looking right into the camera (into MY eyes).
He told me Jesus died on the cross to forgive ME of MY sins…!!!

Why had I felt like I have never heard that before?

Why did it feel like I was hearing this for the very first time???

27 years later I can tell you why, spoken best by the words of Paul the apostle: “Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation…” (Eph. 3:2-3)

I was given a gift, a “revelation,” as I tuned to the right place at the right time for my heart, my soul, and my mind to receive this free gift of grace from heaven!

It was MY day of visitation!

Have you experienced yours?

When you open your heart to welcome God in,
surprisingly you find he walks right in.

Just as the veil or curtain was torn in the temple when Jesus died on the cross, the veil was removed from my eyes so I could see the Lord’s true forgiveness and grace!

Before this moment, while my life’s journey had taken me on many shallow roads of “doing good,” I was not standing on the solid ground of salvation, therefore I strayed from the “path of righteousness,” being easily swayed by temptation.

Do you subtly stray?

Does temptation often call your name?

Does that thought scare you?

Today I am the mother of 3 amazing gifts from God, my daughter who is 23, a son who is 20 and another son, who is 17.

Sure, it is scary, knee-worthy even, but because of my experience with a saving knowledge of God and His Son’s sacrifice on the cross and glorious Resurrection, I can rest assured that God is in control of their lives, just like He is in control of mine. I pray that they will have great testimonies of redemption and grace in their lives as they find Christ and follow Him to their destinies.

Resurrection always waits: “Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)

It calls us to more: “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies” (Psalm 107:2)

Will you answer?

When I was set on the path of righteousness my life truly began anew. The road was not easy, but it was alive and hopeful and I declare to you today that I have been redeemed from the enemies of shame, guilt and regret.

Let’s remain awake and alive, shining the light of Christ everywhere we go.

God used a television evangelist that morning in my life. May He awaken the sleepers and use our testimonies to raise up a shining army that brings hope to those dwelling in darkness!

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About Diane Maudsley

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 10.23.51 AM
Diane has been Women’s Ministry Director for Hope Church in Wilton, CT for 6 years and loves the women she gets to serve! She thrives on seeing a woman’s faith grow and come alive through the reading and study of God’s Word.
When she isn’t serving at her church, she is  teaching horseback riding to children, most of whom have special needs. She is a PATH certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor since 2011 and loves seeing the children come to life on the back of a horse!

Seizing Resurrection Power

Resurrection Power

What looks without light in your life?

What looks buried over so much that you are convinced is impossible to dig out? 

If you came up with nothing, think deeper. What is it you believe you can’t do?

Remember this thing. 

I am face-to-face with impossible these days. What I want to do, I have tried to do, yet no matter what, I just can’t seem to do it. To make matters worse, the problem sources within me. If it was others – their circumstances, problems or things – those wouldn’t be so offensive, you know, you can more easily brush those off, but what is internal it feels eternal sometimes.

Sure, I said I have forgiven, but truly forgiving is hard when someone keeps on offending.  It is hard when you feel abandoned and ignored. It is hard when those feelings rise to the surface and make you remember stuff.

So I go deep…

I cover my irritation in the darkness, but there it sits.
The pain was a time ago, but irritation sits heavy.
The relationship waits, and I lay immobile to feelings.
The rock lays over me, and I am closed up into myself.
I am tightly wrapped, in my own thoughts about how things should go.
I can’t breathe, I feel upset at myself for not being able to move on.

I feel like I am stuck in a hole. A deep, unscalable, deathly, waterless hole.

But, here is the kicker – so is Jesus.
And, here is the double kicker – he rose from it and will raise you up too! 

In the tomb, where you feel dead,
Christ is ready to rise up in you – to make you alive.

In the tomb where all things seem lost, 
Christ already won that battle.

It is called resurrection power!

“But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb…and did not find the body.” (Luke 24:2-3)
Resurrection power!

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5) Resurrection power!

“He is not here, He is risen.” (Mark 16:6)
Resurrection power!

What looks dead, comes alive.
What seems impossible, becomes possible.
What seems unbearable, becomes bearable.
What seems hopeless, finds hopefulness.

What is it for you that looks dead, dank and dying before you?

Jesus is raising it up to new life. By his stripes you are healed and by his resurrection a new answer to your situation is being revealed.

Jesus both tells and asks you something. Something pointed, like he did to Martha not so long ago, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Do you believe this?

See your situation and believe this verse over it. Grab it like a lifeline. Call it yours.

As you do, he will lift you up out of the pit. You simply: 1.)hand it over to him 2.) let his resurrecting forgiveness wash over it and 3.) feel the promises clean your shame-soaked body.

Here’s what happens – He saturates it with so much light, it nearly blinds you to what was of old. Then, as he raises you to new heights, you move from trauma to transformation (and it doesn’t even feel that hard). Why? Because the power of resurrection sinks right into you…

…if only you believe.

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Waking to the Personal Power of the Cross

Power of the cross

Easter popped up on us this year. I am not prepared. I am not ready.

But, was anyone ready for what was to come? Where the disciples? Was Mary, mother of Christ, ready?

I am sure, none of Christ loved ones were ready to see the son of God, the lamb, the truth, the light, the way, all hope, bread of life and shepherd go.

What did they feel? Was it fear? They did not know what his road held. Sometimes we don’t know what our road holds…

Like them, we want to hold on to Jesus, his all things good- for he is our everything. We want to say, “Jesus stay near, – and let evil stay far. Let us be with you. Give us good, good things!”

We know that he is “called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and we want the fullness of it.

May we know the joy of Jesus, but may we also know his pain. For it is the pain that proves he knows our pain. It is his pain that proves we will one day arrive at gain. And it is through his pain that the whole world, for those who believe are delivered from shame.

May we see, and rely on Christ through:

The mockery: When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Mt. 27:35

The pain: The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe. John 19:2

The cost: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We will be mocked. We will have pain. There is a cost.

Have we considered this?

Because of the cross, we no longer have to fear what comes to injure us, because Jesus lives in us. If he is in us, his power to overcome is extended to everything we face. Imagine that.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Gal. 2:20

So, today, no matter where our hearts have been this week, or this season, let’s bow down, lay low, praise Jesus and thank him for the sweat, the tears and the willpower to stick it through. Let’s look at his crown-laden, bloodied face – and see his victory just moments away. Let’s see our pain too, and our victory awaiting, because the truth is – through Jesus – we are now truly alive!

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ,
and Him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:2

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You No Longer Have to Force Happy

force happy

I ran into a friend today.

She said to me, “If you see my face and I look not as happy, just know it is because some things are hurting right now.”

I loved her honesty. I think she felt like she owed me something though; I think she felt like she had to prove that she, as a Christian, was okay to feel down. It kind of bothered me.

Jesus didn’t say, “Happy face required” to follow me.”

He didn’t say, “Pull yourself together and say what I want to hear.”

He didn’t say, “If you are having a hard time, you can’t be near me.”

He didn’t say, “Isolate yourself in a little bubble of protection if you feed sad.”

On the contrary he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Mt. 11:28

Notice, he doesn’t say: I will give you giggles, a smile and a facade that looks all squeeky clean.

Here is what I have to say to you, brothers and sisters today, who are struggling:

  1. It is okay to feel down, Jesus can handle it.
  2. It is okay to wonder the whens, whys and hows – and to bring them to the Lord.
  3. It is okay to tell us you are struggling, we often are too.
  4. It is okay to say you need time away to pray; God will show up.
  5. Greater is God than your greatest weakness.
  6. God is mighty to save you from anything and everything.
  7. Deep learning is in the deep reflection found through pain.
  8. Trials that peel away self, so we find self looking a whole lot more like Christ.
  9. Jesus suffered. He gets you and your pain.
  10. There is no kind of bad attitude that will push God away from you.

Keep going.

Keep loving.

Keep surrendering.

He has you.

Keep abiding.

Keep asking.

Keep listening.

He will not abandon you.

Keep pressing on.

Keep moving your feet.

Keep trusting by faith. 

He sees you.

Days will pass, emotions will ride out – and before you know it – you  will be in a new season.

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Miss This View of Faith & You’ll Miss So Much

View of Faith

Don’t forget, because this is vital:
Live your life in a way where you can look back and say – for Jesus – I did everything I could.
Not because you had to, but because you wanted to…
Not because you were earning something, but because you were loving the one thing.

Do it, so that one day you see yourself:
Victorious, dressed in white (Rev. 3:5)
Acknowledged, not blotted out, before Father God and his angels. (Rev. 3:6)
Seated with Jesus, just as Jesus is seated with the Father (Rev. 3:21)

How do you practically live like this? What does this mean for you and me?

It means we hear beyond the sound and the thrills and the notifications of this world. It means we have ears to hear (Rev. 3:6) what God most desires. It means we focus on the limited running of time, the blip that is our life, to see the ongoing riches of the cross.

We stay eternally minded, and remember, we are earthly endangered.

He is “coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Rev. 3:11)
What we have is eternity.

The victorious become part of the temple of God (Rev. 3:12).
Will that be you? Will that be me?

I don’t want to be so lost in this world, that I lose the greater vision of God that will endure forever. I don’t want to bow down to  stress and anxiety only to stand up and realize that I missed greatness, glory and holy. I don’t want to get it all here, and miss it all there.

Do you know what I mean?

There is no hidden agenda or secret formula. The path is clear.
Here’s what it looks like to be a type that can look back and say, “I did everything I could”:

1. Wake up! (Rev. 3:2)
2. “Strengthen what remains and is about to die” – leave no good deed unfinished. (Rev. 3:2)
3. Remember what you have received and heard; hold it fast. (Rev. 3:3)
4. Turn yourself back to face Christ. (Rev. 3:3)
5.  Be ready. I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Rev. 3:3)

He is coming not to hurt us, but to love us.
Not to tear apart believers, but to keep them.

He encourages our heart (Jo. 16:33) with the force of heaven.
The Spirit pleads (Ro. 8:26)  for our win and Jesus does as well (1 Jo. 2:1).
Don’t give up.
Don’t lose hope.
It is a race.
We are winning.
God is for us.
He is helping
We are not alone.
He will lift us when we fall low.
He will guide us when we don’t know where to go.
So, put a stake in the ground and declare,
“Jesus, again, I hand it all to you. I am all in.”

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Standing firm in Faith Over Fear

Standing Firm

Occasionally, you know you met someone with a heart of gold – this is how I feel about Gwen Smith. Her all-in pursuit of Jesus, her authentic spirit and her ability to instantly connect, as both a teacher and a girlfriend, is a gift that is so unique to her. I have gotten a chance to deep dive into her new book, “I Want It All” and her words have helped me grab hold of the fullness of God’s extraordinary that he has uniquely carved out for me. Thanks Gwen.

I am delighted to welcome Gwen Smith to Purposeful Faith. I hope you will too. 

Post by: Gwen Smith

The book of Esther shows us what our lives can look like when we trust in the sovereignty of God and expect Him to be powerful in the midst of desperate circumstances that could cause us to cower in fear. God positioned this young Hebrew girl to be queen of Persia so that she could rise up in His strength and courage when her people, the Jews, faced imminent death. She fasted and humbled herself before the Lord through prayer. And though it was risky to the point of death, she went to the king and courageously spoke up on behalf of the Jews. The result? God used Esther to save her people from genocide.

I want to be brave like that. I want to live with so much God courage that I don’t go soft when life gets hard. So I take note of what Esther did. She didn’t cave in to fear; instead, she fixed her focus on God and His power to save her and His people. She fasted and prayed and asked for Him to intervene.

Like Queen Esther, we can live with great expectations of God because He loves to do amazing things through average people— people with worries and warts and weaknesses, like you and me. If we want it all, we need to be women who stand firm when our emotions threaten to overwhelm us and courageously believe God for big things.

So… how CAN we stand firm in faith like Esther
did when our knees knock?

The first step to standing firm in faith is to know Him.

Generally speaking, I don’t trust someone I don’t know. Plain and simple. I’m guessing you don’t either.

God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about the importance of our knowing Him:

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he under- stands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23–24 ESV)

The apostle Peter also wrote about the importance of knowing God. At the beginning of his first letter, he stated that the grace, peace, and power we need are connected to our knowledge of Christ:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Pet. 1:2–3)

How can you know God? Read your Bible, study His character, and remember the ways He has delivered in the past. Such things are Faith 101. When you are overwhelmed by life, don’t shy away from God. Don’t isolate: investigate. Look to Him. Explore His goodness.

I learned recently about the familiar “trust God” verses in Proverbs 3. You know them. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (vv. 5–6 ESV).

The second part never made sense to me. I wondered, Why would my acknowledging God motivate Him to make my paths straight? In the New Testament, even the demons acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God, so why would my acknowledging Him make my paths straight?

I looked up the root word and found a gold mine. The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” is yada’,1 the primitive root of which means “to know.” It means “to understand, to grasp or ascertain; especially to be familiar or acquainted with.” So, “in all of your ways acknowledge him” really means this: in all of your ways yada’ Him; in all of your ways know Him and seek to understand Him; be familiar with Him; be acquainted with Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Ah! Clarity!

The key to a straight path, the key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances and way more about my God.

When we’re intimately familiar with God, when we don’t just know about Him but really know Him, the most crooked roads we travel are made straight. Not because life is easy. Sifting through emotions like anger, depression, hopelessness, insecurity, and so on is hard stuff! But because when we know God, we know all of this as well:

His STRENGTH that is accessible in our weakness

His COMFORT that meets us as we mourn

His MERCY that withholds the punishment our depravity readily deserves

His PEACE that defies our unrest

His JOY that kisses the cheeks of our sorrow

His COURAGE that makes our weary hearts brave and casts away fears

His REDEMPTION that reworks our brokenness into beauty

His LOVE that binds us to eternity and delights over us with singing

Even when the one-two punches come and feelings are frazzled, I can confidently trust God by faith. Not because I understand all the circumstances, or even like them, but because I know Him. And because I know Him, I can trust that He will provide all I need to process pains, heal from wounds, and move forward in strength, grace, and peace.

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Gwen Smith, author of I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact, (March 1, 2016, David C Cook) unapologetically urges her readers to want more. “You and I were born for greatness,” Smith writes. “Not for the world’s greatness, but for eternal greatness: to know God and showcase God.”

Standing firm

Smith is quick to say that she is not saying more is better. More may include setbacks, more may include being misunderstood and discouraged, and more may include suffering. But more also means knowing God more deeply, even in the midst of pain. The deepest question behind this search for more from God is this: Do I trust Jesus? Smith helps readers explore this question in light of disappointment and unmet expectations in life.

Pre-order today: I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact; it is 40% OFF… plus, Amazon is offering a $5 coupon (found under Special Offers section)! This means, you get a book that retails at $16.99 for only $5.11.

More on I Want It All:

About Gwen:

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 6.47.00 PMGwen Smith is an author and volleyball enthusiast who lives in sunny North Carolina and has been married to her college honey, Brad, for 23 years. They are tired parents to three tall, competitive-sport-playing teens who keep them on their toes and on their knees. Her online friends meet at GwenSmith.net to connect and be encouraged, and her goal is to help women think big thoughts about God and be inspired to live out the grace and truth of Jesus. Gwen’s new book, I Want It All, (David C. Cook) released on March 1, 2016. She speaks, leads worship, and eats potato chips at women’s events everywhere, and she is a cofounder of the conference and devotional ministry Girlfriends in God.

CHANCE TO WIN: Bloggers & readers, Gwen will be selecting one of you at random to win her books and music. Support Gwen today:

    1. Join her Thunderclap!
    2. Share this post.
    3. Tweet the below tweets or Facebook updates about “I Want It All”!

Tweet: I want to live with so much God courage that I don’t go soft when life gets hard. @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall http://ctt.ec/ezUl_+

Tweet: We can live w/ great expectations of God bc He loves to do amazing things thru average people @GwenSmithMusic http://ctt.ec/Yg3cU+

Tweet: “The key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances & way more about my God.” @GwenSmithMusic

Facebook: “If we want it all, we need to be women who stand firm when our emotions threaten to overwhelm us and courageously believe God for big things.” @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall

Facebook: “The key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances and way more about my God.” @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall http://amzn.to/1Tk179P

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Are you Missing The Point of God’s Word?

Missing The Point

God loves you. Christ loves you.

You may read about it, but do you really know it?

You may remember the stories about it, but do you feel it?

Do you live in a way where love compels you?

Paul says it is one thing “to know”, it is another to experience. 

And I pray that you…(may) grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:17-19)

Love surpasses knowledge.  Imagine that.

Often I run after knowledge, as if it will bring me to where I need to go, but only love compels real progress.

Everything that is monumental in God’s Word boils down to love:

Jesus heals. Love.
Jesus dies. Love.
Jesus washes feet. Love.
Jesus teaches. Love.
Jesus guides. Love.
Eternity awaits. Love.

Jesus created experiences, so that people could experience.  Do we?

Some days, I wake up with a task list, a group of verses I must get through, pages I must turn, knowledge to acquire, but, what I have noticed in doing this is, often, an internal pressure builds.  It wars against peace, saying, “Kelly, increase”. Increase in being knowledgable. Increase in know-how. Increase in doing.

Yet, God is peace. He is the only thing that should increase- and his love found in the power of sitting, being and absorbing truth into the very molecules of my existence.

…That I “may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19)

Word of caution: If you are trying, more than abiding, every time this is a red flag. You likely aren’t getting full of God – you’re probably getting full of yourself.

I see this in myself; when I end up trying to know, I end up failing to grow, but when I let God’s love flow, when I find a new glow.

It is in the seeing, feeling and being that God takes our hands, gently holds it and walks us up to internal healing.

Paul explains to the Ephesians the wealth they will receive from understanding rather than acquiring things of God.

Paul says to know God, rather than just knowing about him is to:

1. Be strengthened with his power (Eph. 3:16)
2. Dwell (or Exist) with Christ in faith (Eph. 3:17)
3. Move with the power to understand (Eph. 3:16)
4. Experience love (Eph. 3:18)
5. Bask in the depths of this love (Eph. 3:17)
6. Be full of life (Eph. 3:19)

Living like this means living no longer running on low, just trying to find new gas to feel good. It means walking into the immersive waters of grace and laying down, knowing that with God, he will protect, guard and keep your life stable in everything that is him.

God’s love is with you.
He is patient;
his leadings are kind.
Not so you can boast,
walk proud,
find honor,
or find fame (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

He knows, this kind of love does not endure.

God is patient,
seeing past wrongs,
not envisioning anger
or keeping bad records (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

His love endures forever (1 Chron. 16:34).

God delights when you let truth takes root in your heart.
He rejoices over his love within.
For you rising up from it.
Protecting.
Trusting.
Hoping.
Persevering (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

So sink down to where love is risky and then just wade in the trust of #God. 

Then you’ll start looking like him.

You know what matters most: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)

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5 Transformational Tips: Make God’s Word Come Alive

Come Alive

Another day.
Another bible reading.

Skimming. I’ve read it before.
Half listening. I know what to expect.
Not discovering. I know the punchline.

Does the bible ever fall flat because you have flattened out
and read its pages so many times?

 

Does your mind have a hard time idling on God’s Word,
because the world speeds too fast around it?

 

I can’t seem to keep my heart in the place where the heart of God is – and that is the problem.

This problem, if not addressed, will, before long – stamp and deliver my heart to destinations I never intended to arrive at.  Frustrationville or Aggravationmount or some place like that. It could just as easily bring me to Jealoustown or Pridebury. Either way, they are places that reek of self and shame and guilt. Their roads are rocky and tumultuous. Every time, they leave me with a stomach turning knots over itself.

I’d rather not.

So, how do you dive into God’s Word, like a fresh glass of lemonade on a hot day? How do you dive into it, knowing that you have had it one hundred and one times, but still, wanting and needing it? Craving and desiring it? Thirsting and salivating over it?

5 ways to make the Word of God come alive:

1. Let your senses sense what the sentiment was.

Imagine being the lead role in the story. See yourself there. Sense your sin and the idea that you or your family has done something terribly wrong. Feel the judgement of the Pharisees upon you. Wonder if God really can and will heal you. Let your heart beat.

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. Jo. 9:6

2. Take your part in the redemption story.

Hear the words of Jesus leave his mouth. Feel the mud in your hand. Experience vision. Look amazed at what surrounds you. Set your eyes on Jesus.

Then, see yourself run to the masses to share the glory of the only one who could heal in this way. Take a snapshot of the story with your senses. Know that while this was his story, it is also your story.

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Jo. 9:25

3.  Ask yourself, “What about this experience is calling me to think, do or say differently?”

When you take a moment to think of all God has done, you can’t help but think of all he wants to do. His will makes your will jump up and down just at the thought of serving him.

The (once blind) man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.”  Jo. 9: 30-31

4.  Believe: He loves you, just as much as he loved them.

Just because you feel less than, doesn’t mean that God sees you that way. Believing that you are worthy of his gifts, love and encouragement, will allow your heart to receive them. Rather than keeping up defenses to his Word, you will lay them down and He will enter in.

The Once- Blind Man: “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.” Jo. 9:32

5. Avoid boxing God in (and you might just find your way out of your box).

When you believe in you heart, what Jesus did through Scriptures, you’ll find in your mind you can conceive the great things he wants to do through your life.

It sounds simple, but simple belief is so often what it comes down to.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. Jo. 14:12

When you approach God’s Word in this way, you realize you hold living water that is not bitter, old or common. Instead, you taste the fruit of what God has done and is about to do. It fills, it satiates and it refreshes. Like lemonade on a parched day – it’s a drink you can’t wait to indulge in, lap up and embrace word by word. It is peace and replenishment all in one.

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Whose Reflection Do You See?

reflection

Post by: Christy Mobley

A few weeks ago, after a long morning at the hospital with my mom and sister, I came home to take a shower, wash my hair and get my second wind.

As I picked up the blow dryer I stared into the mirror. For one split second the reflection I saw was that of my mother. It was weird. I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again and then shook the event off as simple exhaustion. Turning back to the mirror I pulled up a strand of hair  and proceeded to go off on a ridiculous tirade about frizz and gray and such. And that’s when it me.

Oh my gosh, I look like my mother and sound like my sister!

I. AM. THEM.

Freaky!

Was I caught up in some twisted episode of the Twilight Zone?

Click here to read more and to #RaRalinkup on Christy’s blog…

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I almost died (3 Times): Life and Death Ponderings

Life and Death

I almost died once, actually not even once, three times to be specific. After nearly dying that often, it gets someone thinking…

After having a gas tank nearly explode on you, you inhale and start thinking, life is fragile.

After almost having a tree land directly on you, you look up and start thinking there’s a reason God hasn’t taken you yet.

After doing vehicular twirls on an interstate, you start thinking God has some things prepared by offering another hour on earth.

Not to be deathly morbid,
but aren’t we all just a hair away from dying? 

We are either dead or alive. Can’t be both.

And with all this death talk, it gets me contemplating the difference:

Death is numbing yourself.
It’s blinding self.
Hiding self.
Minimizing self.
Maximizing self.
Rationalizing self.
Guarding self.
Proving self.
Making things all about self.
Overexerting self.
Indulging self.
Starving self.
Admiring self.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Ro. 6:23

Life and Death

But death never represents real life.

Present life is like:
Stripping ones self,
Or removing the sandpaper edges that rub people raw,
Or the fragmented wood planks that stick out of hardened eyes,
Or softening the 20-inch layers of callous that keep love buried.

We don’t nearly equate these kinds of things with life. Because sometimes life breaks us, shreds us and leaves us in torn strips.

Yet, to be stripped is to become equipped with new life.

Life and Death

As the scales fall, new and supple skin emerges.  It is pure, soft, pliable and empowered with complete nourishment to hike the trail headed to the far sunset of God’s predestined calling.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:10

It is called abundant life.
Not abundant health.
No abundant wealth.
Not abundant shoes.
Not abundant amusement.
Not abundant pleasure.
Not abundant power.
Not abundant smarts.
Not abundant gratification.

Abundant life, means you go through the fire of removing self
to find the Spirit
who remakes you in the wake of big waves,
big prayers
and big callings.

It means you fall away from self to land softly in Christ’s open arms.

It means you retreat from your instant inclinations to find retreat in God’s quiet persuasions.

It means you find acceptance in Christ instead of annoyance at self in the face of big errors.

It means you walk untouchable as you proceed to heaven – as a bride, undefined, reserved, whole, sealed and renewed.

It means you know you have more than enough, even if, by the worlds standards you have hardly enough.

It’s life. It’s vision.  It’s truth.  It’s Hope. It’s discovery and recovery, learning and becoming, traveling and sitting all the same.

It’s more than you ever dreamed of, but all the same, exactly what you never imagined. It is pain, but it is always gain. It is joy, but earned through pain. Real pain. Loud pain. Crying pain. Nailed pain. Tortured pain. Ridiculed pain. Cross-ridden, Christ endured pain that signifies our safe return. A return that proves all will one day be okay, even if the worst does happen.

Because death is really life.

Life and Death

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