Purposeful Faith

Category - Love & Health

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Be Encouraged Today!

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Be Encouraged. God loves you. He loves you and He loves you… He wants you and wants you still.. He cares for you and continually cares for you…

Nothing, no nothing, separates you from His love (see: Romans 8:31-39).

We are looking for a new home. With the market as it is, I’ve seen a hundred people vying for the same home. Nothing is available. We applied one place and were beat out. We looked at another; it did not work. We have two weeks to go until we must  move and, yet, no home. I can’t stop looking online. I don’t know where are going (thanks for your prayers).

It’s easy to think in this place — where are you God? Did you forget me? It’s even easier to worry.

Yet, to think about God (I mean, to really think about God) and who He is — is to recover peace. Here’s the truth:

God does not forsake or abandon His children.

“…God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”(Heb 13:5)

This means, even if it feels that He is not there, not working, or not available — He’s right there, with us.

God cares for us. 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7)

In my situation, I worried. I noticed, as I opened the door to this sin, I started to worry about everything. Yet, God gives us an alternate solution to a mind that can’t stop or that keeps circling the same mountain — He gives us Jesus. Jesus took on all our issues (sin, shame, etc.) on the cross and God still calls us to cast our issues on Him. He is SO good to us. He continually is SO good to us.

God keeps us from shame as we hope in Him.

“No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame…” (Ps. 25:3)

What a promise! My hope in God actually keeps me from what I fear the most — shame. That thought gives a heart rest and leads to fresh hope and faith.

God guards our heart and mind.

“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)

As we forgo anxiousness and worry and turn to prayer and petition, the God of Peace shows up. He, like a guard, keeps our heart and mind. His peace protects us. This is powerful and encouraging.

I want God’s peace guarding my heart and my mind, don’t you?

Friends, brothers and sisters, above all know: God cares for you. In this, we can rejoice. In this, we recover hope. In this, we are protected. He will show up. He will help. We are never forgotten children.

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Prayer: Father, thank you that you do not give up on me. Thank you that you do not turn your back on me. Thank you that you are for me. Thank you that you lead me. Thank you that I can trust you. Thank you that you provide. Thank you that, right now, I can cast my every worry, fear and issue on you. I am so grateful that you take these things for me. It is inconceivable, actually, after all that Jesus already carried. But, you love me…you love me…you love me. You are amazing. I love you. Forgive me for carrying worry and fear. Thank you, again, for loving me. I am so blessed to be in your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Want to Change?

Often we look at our past and declare it our present. Because we’ve seen it, we expect it. Because we’ve lived it, we know it’ll repeat.

I see how I am as a mom and figure I’ll always respond the same way. You look at your husband and figure — it’s hopeless. You see your body and — want to give up.

But, what if I told you God has the power to move — quickly?

This morning, when I was in the bathroom, a gnat kept bumping into my face. I simply clapped my hands and the gnat was a nuisance no more. With just a simple move, a clap, everything changed. Likewise, through simple praise, simple truth, a simple word, God can accomplish much…

Ask Paul.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” (Acts 16:25-26)

Suddenly and at once, everything can change, with God. At once, your mind can be renewed with Jesus. At a moment’s notice, the enemy has to flee at the sound of your praise-filled clapping. All of sudden, you are released from what you figured would imprison you forever!

When big faith shows up, we get the chance to see a BIG God move. What if — all of a sudden — God is ready to break through in your life? Do you believe it to be possible? Do you believe He can? Do you believe He is bigger than the molds you have placed on Him?

I want to invite all those in search of a great God to meet with me this Saturday for the next Breakthrough Retreat. On this Saturday, March 6 (10 ET – 1 PM ET via Zoom), we will meet God through worship, His Word and wonder. I am expectant that our simple act of — showing up, will yield much fruit. He is faithful. Come if you would like transformation in your life!

At once, so much really can change. Our God is that great.

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When Dealing with Repeated Mistakes

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“Mom, you have to come!”

The face on my 7 year-old, with her head jutting through my bedroom door, said it all… There was an issue.

Oh no…what happened?

Once I got to the living room, I knew: Bright red lipstick was striped all down the arm of my living room chair.

She looked up at me, “Mom, it is not just on that one chair, but it is on the other one too.”

At this point, she apologized profusely. But, my insides boiling and turning within me… I was angry! These weren’t just any chairs, but expensive chairs. If I hadn’t told her once, I’d told her 500 times not to sit on those chairs with food and not to put on my lipstick without asking.  But, there she was — caught red-handed…

Grr…

Yet, after a bit, I forgave her. Why?  Because if I’ve learned anything from ministry it is that to hold unforgiveness — is to hold yourself in bondage. But, to let go — is to let go of bitter pain targeted to hit your hearth in the future.

I forgive you, Madison.

“Mom,” she said. “I’ll pay for those chairs.”

“You can’t afford them, Madison. The price I paid for them is far too high.”

The second these words came out of my mouth, the second it felt like Jesus’ sacrifice was talking straight to my heart….

The price I paid for you, Kelly…
You could never afford it.
The price I paid was far too high for you to pay.
But, I paid it on your behalf and I still forgive you…for it all.

It was as if…just as I wiped Madison’s art-chair clean…Jesus was reminding me how He wiped my slate clean too. I deserved so much punishment… I still make  mistakes — yet, Jesus. Jesus paid the complete (and expensive) price to wipe me clean. To make me whole. To mark me holy. To see me as righteous.

I am off-the-hook because Jesus hung on the cross.

He “bought (me) with a price…” (1 Cor. 7:23)

A price I could never pay on my own.

And, the price He paid still covers me. When I make a mistake… When I talk in a way that I shouldn’t… When I think that thought… When I don’t do what I want to do… Still, His grace and His love cover…my many I’m sorrys.

I spent a good amount of time washing those lipstick chairs. When I look at them now, I keep noticing the way they are matted-down, imperfect. But, you know what? I’m like those chairs, imperfect. And, Jesus loves me anyway. He still wants me too.

Despite my flaws, Jesus marks me more than enough, more than helped, and more than equipped, even though… Those imperfect chairs stand as reminders that His perfect price was more than enough to make imperfect me  — white as snow!

Jesus’ love continually wipes the marks right off me. Now, I am clean, accepted and loved, always.

Glory to the King!

Prayer: Oh, how I thank you, Jesus, for the price you paid. Oh, how I praise you for how you wipe me clean again and again. You free me — not once, but all the time. You save me, not just for eternity, but for today. I cannot thank you enough Jesus. I cannot praise you enough. I receive all the grace and mercy I so desperately need. You are faithful. You love me and see me as righteous, holy and pure…all because of your blood, Jesus. Thank you. Amen.

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Stir it Up!

stir it up

If you don’t stir the pot while something is cooking, it sticks to the bottom of the pan. Before you know it, you have clumpy mess that will not move. And, that is hard to clean up.

I, in the past, got clumpy this way. I got in ruts where I mechanically read God’s Word. I became defeated because I lost hope in a greater thing. I got plowed down because people weren’t nice.

Yet, these conditions-of-heart were on me. The fact-of-the-matter was I didn’t stir my own pot. I allowed myself to get clumpy.

“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Tim 2:6 KJV)

The early Christians were reminded to stir! They were told to stir up the gifts given to them by God. To stir means to “kindle up” or to “fan into a flame”.

The responsibility here belongs to us. We fan our own God-given flame. We stir things up.

How?

Well, how has God gifted you? I am an encourager. What are you? A giver? A teacher? A helper? A builder? Consider your passion and how God likes to use you.

Even if you can’t think of your gifting, you can still stir things up. We all have been gifted with grace upon grace thanks to Jesus. Remind yourself of this fact. You are loved, equipped and empowered. Christ lives inside you. He has, and currently does, call you to great things in and through Him.

Stir up your gift. Fan your flame. You are here for a purpose and on purpose.

Another way to stir things up is to use your gifting. Love others. Speak truth. Encourage. Share what God has put on your heart. Step outside the bounds of comfort.

We don’t need continual comfort anymore than we need last month’s paper. Be a pioneer through God’s Spirit rather than retracting from this world in fear. Stir your gift up.

Activate it by engaging with it, as you love others. Love them BIG, and love them bold!

The more you do this, the more on fire for Jesus you will become. You’ll be excited about your faith. You will rekindle the excitement for Jesus you once had. Stir things up.

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Do You Have Childlike Faith?

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We make things far more complex — when, in so many ways, the Kingdom of God is simple.

My kids ran around my car last night like kids. It was simple. They had fun chasing each other down. The driveway was a playground. They were not worried about what dinner would be. They were not thinking about what they needed to do next, for bedtime.  They were present in the fun, in the joy, in the moment. Complexities did not weigh them down.

“Truly I tell you anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Lu. 18:17)

The practice of receiving the Kingdom of God is not a heavy task; it is light. Childlike.

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt. 11:30)

Some of us love to weigh down the Christian walk. It’s so hard. I have to do this…. I’ve gotta wake up and spend time with Jesus. I don’t know how to obey. I’m always…(doing such and such).

With such a heavy burden on oneself to accomplish and figure out God’s work, one almost — can’t…

Kids, with good parents, don’t fixate on self-issues. They know dinner comes. There’s an excitement about what’s to come. Worry isn’t necessary; they’ll be taken care of. Children believe God on face-value. Faith is easy.

Are you a child or do you feel weighed down by religious expectations that feel impossible to meet?

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things….” (Ro. 11:36)

“(Now the God of peace)…make you perfect in every good work to do his will…” (Heb. 13:21)

Somewhere along the lines, we picked up a bag of “self-effort” and began to think the work was up to us. But, every work of God belongs to the Lord. It starts from Him, it is by Him, and then, it is back to Him.

Let’s not get confused, lest a yoke of heaviness weigh us down.

Prayer of Repentance: Father, forgive me for carrying a heavy burden that is not mine to carry. This is pride. I repent of thinking that I have to do more or be more to be loved more by you. Jesus, you died for me while I was yet a sinner. I receive your grace today. Equip me and Empower me to be like a child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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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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You’re More Loved than you Know

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We tend to either think, “I am so bad”, or “God is so good”.

It can be easy to go down the “I am so bad” track. I am sinful. I make mistakes. I am not perfect. I don’t have great relationships. I am not ___ enough.  I ____ (fill in your own despicable blank). We’ve all thought this way one time or another. Here, we allow the crushing weight of how things seem, overpower the great price Jesus paid for us. We get focused on us when it is all about — HIM!

When this happens, we don’t have to stay here. We can consciously break through the static of mind and thoughts — and return back to “God is so good” land — by remembering two words: But God.

But God is greater than my emotions.
But God still loves me.
But God sent Jesus and this changes everything.

But God showed His great love for (me) by sending Christ to die (for me and to save me) while (I) was still a sinner.” (Ro. 5:8)

But God, despite all of my flaws, still wants me.
But God, eternally and faithfully says, “She’s still mine…”
But God shows us He still wants us.

Nothing. No power, no scheme, no circumstance, no condition, no angel, no demon, no height, no depth, no worry, no fear, nothing — can separate us from Christ’s love.  (see Ro. 8:38) Nothing.

God is faithful to love me, always. To keep me, eternally. To help me, continually. To want me, entirely.

I am not disowned, dismissed, dejected or denied.

I am His. He is mine.
You are His, child of God. He is yours.
Forever. Completely. Entirely.
Wanted. Loved. Cherished. Chosen.

These words are not just words; they are absolute ownable truth for sons and daughters of the Highest Ruling King. King Jesus.

This changes everything. To know God more than a hypothesis, beyond theology, deeper than words…allows the very heartbeat of Christ to resound within you. It beats like unconditional, incredible love that never ends. It brings both security and significance that cannot be altered by men or circumstances. Because you own it, it can’t be sold away, taken or stolen.

And, if you don’t yet know Jesus? He wants to love you like this… Give Him your heart today. Tell him, “God, I want to know your love. The truth is: I sin. I mess up. I haven’t always done the best things. But, today, I ask for your forgiveness for all these things. Thank you that you freely forgive because Jesus freely gave His life on the cross, for me. With this, I am now free to receive all of your love. With this, I accept Jesus into my heart as my Lord, My Savior, My King, and The Lover of My Soul. I want you, above all!  I surrender all of me, to all of you, so I can receive your best for my life and so I  can live-out your most incredible plans. Thank you that your saving-grace now allows me to know your unconditional and unwavering love, forever…”

Friend? If you prayed this…please comment on this post and let me know. All of heaven and all of us — celebrate with all of you. May the rich and lavish love of Christ so flood your heart that nothing is ever left the same!

I love you all.

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Am I Good Enough?

That I would be good if I didn’t encourage everyone…
That I would be good if I didn’t raise my hand to serve…
That I would be good if I had nothing to say…
That I would be good if I was sick for the rest of my life…
That I would be good if I didn’t say wise things…
That I would be good if I was never seen…
That I would be good if I didn’t get everything right…

That I would be good if, aside from doing things or being things for you, I was still loved. The most basic desire is to know: we are still loved, even though. Apart from what we do… Apart from what we say… Apart from what we bring… Apart from how we appear…. We are still — wanted.

Do you ever feel that you have to do, to be, or to have things — to be loved. To feel wanted?
One of the greatest freedoms I’ve ever experienced is to experience: God love — no matter what.

“…Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Ro. 8:38)

We are so in God’s love, no lack of us can ever pull us out of it. We are still good even when we’re bad. We are still wanted, even when we don’t want to say yes. We are still cared for even when we don’t care to have or be like everyone else. This gift? Jesus’ gift, the leeway to be free, is — lavish.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

When Jesus looks at me, despite my sin, my mistakes, my lack, my situation, my appearance — He sees His righteousness and holiness. It is incredible! I am loved, always. I am wanted, always. I am cared for, no matter what.

This is no license to disobey or to do whatever I want. On the contrary, this is a license to freely love and obey God with all my heart — not from the place of burden but from a heart that is truly blessed. This difference makes all the difference. We’ve seen people serve from burdened obligation. Even when they act their best and do amazing works, they still have a small huff-and-puff about them or high-and-mighty self-righteous attitude. They tell everyone about it. But, one who serves because they are loved and free? Oh, the joy of it! Oh, the heart of it! Oh, the connection with God! No one ever has to know.

Where might you be working out of burden and obligation rather than out of freedom and a loved-position? Have you ever considered that you are not earning, through obedience, favor with God? You already have it.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that we are now, because of you: holy, blameless and righteous in your eyes. We are wholly wanted. We are chosen. We are loved, no matter what. We are positioned in you and you are in us. May we never lose eyes for you, our first love. May we serve and love others from a pure heart, rather than a heart that tries to prove its own worth. We love you Jesus. Even if we do nothing, you still love us. Even if we make mistakes you still love us. Even if we never amount to much, you still love us. You are amazing. You are incredible. You are almost unbelievable, except, we believe. We believe you love, want and have chosen us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Dealing with Difficult People

Christmas is here. We all know it. You can’t help but look around and see all the blaring advertisements, the waiting-emails, the timely-coupons, the house-lights. At times, it all feels bombarding.

Also, with Christmas, comes get-togethers with people of all types — family members we haven’t seen for ions, cousins that are long lost, and get-togethers with people of varying opinions. Christmas can thrust us into conversations we don’t feel prepared for. . .

How do we keep things peace-full? Loving? And, uplifting?

You may encounter a complainer. You may talk with someone who 100,000% disagrees with your political outlook. Another may criticize you for something you did 10 years ago, lighting a flame under your seat.

How will you react?

Basically, no matter how you are triggered, annoyed or unsettled — every time, it comes down to: how will you react?

Our reactions are what we are responsible for. Even Jesus was tempted in the garden by a devil. Just because He may have had a momentary inclination to respond a certain way — He didn’t take the bait.

We can simply resolve, this season, to — not take the bait.
When a mean word comes, don’t take the bait.
When the assault hits, don’t take the bait.

When someone tells you what to do for the umpteenth time, don’t take the bait. Half the time, offenders don’t even realize how offensive they come off. It is not about you, but usually about some sort of inner anxiety or turmoil they haven’t yet figured out how to deal with.

Inhale. Ask God for help. Receive His peace. Wait for His words of life. Release them. Or, simply walk away until you can gather yourself.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing (you lack wisdom), pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.” (Ja. 1:5 MSG)

This is what wisdom looks like. Wisdom doesn’t walk into situations without a plan, nor does it do what its always done, banging its head against the same tinseled window.

Wisdom stops, asks God and then moves a new way, with His life-giving answer.

I am praying for you: Father God, sometimes we don’t know what we’ll encounter, until we are right in the middle of the moment, encountering it. I am asking for grace this Christmas season — as we encounter difficult spaces and places. Help us so that we can respond with wisdom and love. Protect us with your loving hand. Lead us in all your ways. Teach us what to say in hard moments. Guide our path. Give us all your words. Thank you that you always love us. May we, habitually, remember that. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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3 Responses: When People Share Their Heart

Have you ever conversed with a person who indirectly cuts you down? Negating your dreams? Dissing your hopes?

Perhaps, you share what you are working towards and they reply, “Ya, I’ve been there; it didn’t work out because (list: the 100 reasons why)” Or, you share vulnerably and the person suddenly turns the story back around to themself. Maybe even, you let them know details about your child that makes you a little nervous and they expand on the conversation with a horror-story — that only compounds your worry.

We cannot control people’s reactions, but we can ask ourselves wise-questions before we share things with people:
–  Is God calling me to share this story, right now — with this person?
– Might this person respond with advice or insight that is driven by fear, jealousy, worry or comparison?
– Does this person usually offer Godly perspectives, wisdom, and encouragement?

We don’t have to share everything — with everyone. We reserve the right to use: wisdom.

At the same time, of course, we know, no one is perfect. In fact, many times, even the best of Christians will have poor responses (I’ve made these mistakes too). Grace abounds.

In light of this fact, let’s flip the tables for a second — to look at our own self…

Ask yourself: How do I respond when people share their heart — with me?

1. Do I listen?
2. Do I consider what God wants me to say before I speak?
3. Do I put away anger, or other negative emotions, until I have fully processed, with God, what is being said? So that I can speak from a place of love?

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19)

Prayer: Father, it is hard not to react. However, I ask you to give me the grace to listen before I speak, to understand before I counteract, and to gain perspective before I claim to know it all. Give me your vision for the people and the issues that come towards me. May I be your mouthpiece, for your glory and for your purpose — all the time. Teach me in your ways. Lead me in wisdom on who to share with and what to say. And, may I be both careful and tender with other’s hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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