Purposeful Faith

Category - peace

God (Really) Loves You

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8)

We often look at these verses and think, “This is how I need to act. This is how I should treat others. This is what I have to do to be loving. . .”

But, how often do we consider — this is how God loves us. . .

“God is love.” (1 Jo. 4:8)

With this, God is patient to you today. If you’re having a hard time changing, His grace is there to help on your way.

God is kind. His kindness can overpower your meanness to yourself if you allow His Words to become your words.

God is not envious, boastful or proud. He wants the best for you — without anything else. There’s no additional, “But. . .”, or exclusion, or disclaimer.

God is not dishonoring, self-seeking, or angry. While people may act one way, God’s way is the good-way, the right way, the heart-honoring way. Above people’s ways, you can always find His. This is a freedom-place for you.

God does not keep a record of your wrongs. The second Jesus died, He created-way for wrongs to be replaced with the righteousness of Christ. To receive Christ is to find relief.

God does not rejoice in evil, but delights in truth. Whereas the world may celebrate dysfunction and laud evil, God delights in truth as truth. What is hidden — He brings to light.

God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. He is always protecting you — and worthy of trust. He has all vision and plans in His hands. And, His love for you, will persevere all trials and hardships.

God’s love for you will: never fail.

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2 Prayers That Changed Everything

I’ll never really know all that God saved my son from, but what I do know is that protection came through one thing: prayer.

I visited my son at school during his lunch hour. Something about him seemed off lately. His eyes looked a little sad. His shoulders seemed a little slumped over. His spirit of wanting to play around seemed to be missing. I just wanted to sit with him. We had a great lunch hour. I didn’t pay attention to anyone or anything else, but him.

Yet, the next day when I was praying for my 5-year old, something incredible happened.  My words to God were normal. They sounded something like: “Father, please help my son. Whatever it is that is missing at school, please provide it for him. Wherever he feels sad, comfort him. Whatever it is, I need to do, let me see it. Help me to know what to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

I wrapped up my time of prayer, but immediately something came over me. It was a feeling — or a prompting — that hit me right after I prayed. It seemed God was nudging my heart back to my kid’s school for his lunch hour again.

“But, God, I just went there, yesterday,” I said.

No matter, obedience is obedience. I somewhat hesitantly lifted myself off my bed and hustled out the door.

Once there, at a table full of rambunctious kids, I opened my eyes a bit more, rather than honing in just on my son. Here, I saw things I did not see the previous day. I saw how some kids were making fun of him at the table. How they laughed at him because His face got a little messy. How there was a gang of boys at work. How they were fearless in their pursuit of him even with me by my son’s side. How they whispered with their hand cupped over their mouth. I saw the defeat on my son’s face.

How did I miss this before?

No matter, I thanked God on the drive home from that lunch. I now knew what I needed to do. There were other concerns with the school. We immediately decided to pull him out of the school. But, where would he go now?

Once again, I returned to prayer. My husband and I needed to know what school to send him to as we were new to the area. We prayed. We prayed. We prayed and prayed.

Then, one day, while eating dinner, we saw a young family pass by on a walk outside. We’d wanted to meet them for weeks, so we ditched our meal and ran outside. Once there, shaking hands, we learned that the man before us was the pastor of a school that many people had been telling us about. God brought him right to our door. He explained about the “no bullying” policy at his school.

What we asked for, God answered. Not once, but twice.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 Jo. 5:14-15 NLT)

These are not hollow words that we half-way believe, but The Living Word of God. They are true and at work in your life and in mine.

We pray. God hears.

We ask according to His will. We have confidence in it.

We ask like this. We “have” what we asked for.

God, through prayer, takes unseemly scenarios and flips them over. Time and time again. I could tell you countless stories.

What are you facing? What seems impossible? Where do you need wisdom? Ask God, believe He hears you, walk confidently in the prayer you prayed and trust Him to answer. Be open to how He may lead you.

He may speak through a person, a predicament, His Word or some unusual way like He did for me. But, God speaks. He answers. He hears. Your every prayer matters.

Today? My son is thriving at a school full of love and grace. God led Him to just the place He needed to be.

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Nothing Can Stop the Lord Almighty

I was telling my 5-year old daughter about a Jesus story. He’d been teaching people all day and now the people were hungry. The disciples recognized a problem; there were only 5 loaves and 2 fish.

My daughter looked at me, oddly. . .

“If I was them I’d say, ‘Bring what you have to Jesus!'” She said.

Childlike faith nearly screamed out of her, “Just bring it to Jesus already”, “He’ll do it!”, “He can do anything!”

So, today, let my daughter’s words speak to you afresh: Bring what you have to Jesus!

Even if it looks like not enough. . . Not enough money. Not enough time. Not enough know-how. Not enough answers. Not enough knowledge. Not enough wisdom. Not enough ability to ___. Not enough ability yourself to fix it. Not the right past actions. Whatever.

Just bring it to Jesus; run up to Him and say, “Jesus, this thing I’ve been handling — or mishandling for that matter – feels impossible, ugly, and unfixable. Frankly, it’s an issue I don’t know what to do with. I need you to handle it for me. Give me wisdom and instruction. I ask you for a miracle answer. You can do it!”

“Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves…They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”  (Mt. 14:19-20)

All of Jesus can take your “hardly anything”, and multiply it into more-than-enough, with leftovers. Don’t doubt.

Asking is humility. Trust is your answer.

“For every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory.” (1 Jo. 5:4 NLT)

Do you trust? If not, today’s your day to start afresh. To defeat the evil rising against you. To stand up against what has pushed you down for far too long.

Nothing can stop the Lord Almighty. May we agree and trust in Him today.

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Are You Experiencing A Dry Season?

Are you going through a dry season?

Maybe you are waiting for God’s help with your health, with your children, with your work situation or within your household. . . Maybe you’ve been calling out to God for years. . .  Like an arrow to your heart today, I hope to send you one simple message: don’t lose hope.

God cares for you.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:7)

God knows exactly what you are facing.

The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man. (Ps. 33:13)

God is near and hears.

The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. (Ps. 145:18)

God looks to strengthen those with a heart for Him.

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.  (2 Chron. 16:9)

God will provide.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Mt. 6:30)

God will sustain you through whatever you face.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Ps. 55:2)

Worry accomplishes nothing; faith trusts God for everything. And sees heavenly results.

“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea…By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” (Heb. 11:29-34)

Believe, even when you cannot see. Trust, even if you don’t have the way.

I know how hard it can be when it feels the world is falling on you or when you don’t know what to do, but if I’ve learned one thing, it is this: In the long run, God’s plan is always infinitely better than ours.

What we thought looked good, we later learn isn’t so good. What we thought we needed, would actually be our demise. The timing we demanded would have prevented us from going through a door we didn’t even know we’d need to enter.  The people that needed to be involved would be ready just a little bit later. God’s views are so high, He sees the map of all our ways, all the people involved and every outcome. He fashions things for our good and for his glory every time. We can trust Him. He is faithful, true and good.

 

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The Best Pause When Life Feels Frantic

Blog Post By  Angela Parlin

I love so many things about the month of December.

The memories, the gatherings, the excitement for what’s coming. Twinkle lights everywhere after dark. Remembering the story of Jesus’ birth with the angels and shepherds and a star leading souls toward a newborn King—the one who changed everything.

One of my favorite things is looking back to remember. Another favorite is looking forward. It’s the in-between that trips me up. Do you know what I mean?

I’m at that point in December—like every other year—where I feel buried by the schedule and all the many to-do’s. It’s like I have to keep running, running, running–to make this pick-up time and that deadline and those purchases and these events. None of it is too much, on its own. But add it all together, and I’m one frazzled Mom.  

Today, however, I read a passage that transformed my frantic feelings, and I wondered if you need this too. Do you need to press pause on all the things, in the middle of December, in order to behold the glory of God?   

I know a place where we can always go–not to hide from our lives but to find refuge instead.

I hope you’ll come with me. Let’s dig into the Word of God, and let Him do His beautiful thing in our hearts. Right now. Today. 

I hope you’ll spend some time reading these scriptures, and read the passages around them as well. I like to copy the words by hand, sometimes on a colored card or along the edges of my day planner…yes, I still use paper planners. 😊 You may want to read them repeatedly, even memorize them. Any time you spend focusing on the Lord will be a gift to you.

5 Places to Pause When Life Feels Frantic

There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV)

Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Exodus 15:11

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? 2 Samuel 22:32

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2  

I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:5-6

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

My Jaw-Drop Moment

Moment

Getting rid of my furniture, indeed, was hard. As each person came to pick up their new goods, a little part of me went out the door with the cushions, the tables, and the lamps…. It’s just stuff, Kelly! 

But, it was my stuff!

So, trying to make the best of a hard situation, we turned on music. My three-year-old daughter jumped around and my son ran all over the room. We sang words about God’s faithfulness, goodness, and promises. But, I never expected what happened next…

Son took all his money, contained in a large Ziploc bag. The pennies, quarters, and dimes he’d been saving for weeks. The money he’d earned through lemonade stands, house chores and online book sales. The pile he’d been guarding like a military soldier. He dug deep into the bag and – fistful by fistful – he threw it in the air so it landed before the throne of God.

“More. I’ll give God, more,” He’d say, returning to the bag, until it was all gone.

Why? He said, “I felt God wanted me to give this money to him.”

My son gave his treasure. He said: It’s all God’s.

What I have: is all God’s.
What you have: is all God’s.

How do we use God’s money to bless Him?

After our worship session was done, I asked my son if he wanted to give that money to our church. He said, “No mom, I still want to get a drone.”

And, while, for a moment, I was unsure about his reply, the more I thought about it, the more I realized, God doesn’t guilt us into giving.

“God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)

I mentioned to my son he might want to: think about sharing it, let a friend borrow or ask God how he can use it in a way that serves his purpose.

How might God be calling you to honor him with your resources – your time, your passions, your money, your heart, your life, or your living room furniture? How might it look to adorn his throne with what you’ve been given?

It’s all His. It’s all entrusted to you. It’s all waiting to be used for his glory, with no guilt attached.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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Want a Prayer to be Answered?

Prayer to be Answered

I know many of you are like me, we want our prayers answered.  So how do we pray with confident assurance that God will hear and answer our prayers?

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him,” says 1 John 5:14-15.

What a powerful promise! God says he will give us “anything” we ask for according to His will. Isn’t that amazing? It doesn’t say that he might answer the prayer, or that sometimes He’ll say “no.” He says “we have what we have asked of him.” That’s 100 percent of the time! Granted it might not be in our timing, but it’s always in God’s perfect timing. The answer is, “Yes.”

But there is one caveat: We must ask according to God’s will.

Ah…now that’s the tricky part. How can we possibly know God’s will? The only way to truly know God’s will is to pray the Scriptures. As it says in 2 Timothy 3:16, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

When I (Sally) was a young mom and a new believer in Christ, I had never actually prayed out loud. So when I stepped into my first Moms in Prayer meeting, I listened. Just listened. For six weeks I prayed along in my heart, but didn’t say a word. I loved hearing the other women’s Holy Spirit-directed prayers for my children. Yet I was too afraid to pray out loud. After about six weeks, I was brave enough to pray the Scripture for my child out loud. The Holy Spirit gave me the courage to speak out His Word, to pray His truth for my son. What an amazing experience, praying for my son, hearing other moms pray for my son. This was my new top priority for my kids.

God’s answers poured out like a flood that first year; our group witnessed dramatic miracles. God healed children of major illnesses. We saw changes in kids’ attitudes and behaviors. We prayed that every child would hear the good news—and He brought a Good News Club to our campus. And several teachers at our elementary school accepted Christ as Savior!

Eventually, I was leading my own Moms in Prayer group. We’d pray for our public school teachers adapting verse Acts 26:18: “May [teacher’s name] open his/her eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ.”

One day a mom came into the group upset about a certain teacher. I said, “That’s the teacher we’re going to pray for today!” And every week we prayed for her. As we prayed week after week for this teacher, God grew our love for her. Soon, she came to know the Lord, and my two youngest got to be in her class. I felt so privileged to be able to talk with her about the Lord and about prayer. It was amazing to watch and see her grow in Christ. But that wasn’t the only teacher that became a Christian on that public school campus. Eleven other teachers came to Christ as we prayed Acts 26:18 over them!

Want to see God at work? Pray the Scriptures over the people in your life. How do you know if God is going to answer your prayer? If you pray according to His will. And His will is the mighty Word of God, which never comes back void. It always fulfills His purpose and His plan.

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,  so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11

My prayer for each one of you, is that you will “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16.  And every day has a time of need.

Related Resources:
Want to learn how to remain unshaken in our crazy world? Sally Burke, the president of Moms in Prayer International, and Cyndie Claypool de Neve explain how in their new book, Unshaken. Want to go deeper? Experience what it really means to be unshaken through the innovative companion study guide.

Enjoy the peace and power of praying with other women for your children. Visit www.MomsInPrayer.org to learn more.

 

 

 

Fear of Time: Does it rush, pressure or stress you out?

fear of time

I approached him, “Get your backpack. We need to get in that car.”

He marched right past me holding the shovel like a sword, swinging it as if he just won a war. He wasn’t going anywhere, this I knew. My words floated over him like the wind. His eyes were dead set on the game he was playing.

I was annoyed, for what stood between me and peace – was a 5-year old, a pretend game and a wrestling match of words that was about to explode.

What is standing in between you and peace?  Between you and God?

For me it is distractions. Consider this: Just 5 minutes before my son’s victory march I was praying to God, asking him to be with me and wanting to walk forward in his love.  So, what happened?

(Deep breath.) 3 distractions bubbled up – ones that so often pull me off track:

  1. I let the demands of this world, steal my delight in the Creator.
  2. I allow urgency to replace intimacy – between me and God.
  3. I let destination take precedence over God’s invitation to let loose.

(Another deep breath.) When I am worried about time, (I don’t have enough of it, I am stressed out by it, I am going to be late, I am missing out, I am too old, I am too young, I should be somewhere already, I don’t want to wait, I must think about my future, rather than be present) I work myself into a tizzy. And, here, in all my trembling – I can’t see God.

…But all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life…so no fruit is produced. (Mark 4:19)

I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord the best, with as few distractions as possible.  (1 Cor. 7:35)

If I am distracted I can’t as easily be engaged with God. If I am worried about many things, I can’t be enthralled by the One thing. If I am trying to press through a tight knit schedule, I can’t as easily press peace into this world.

I want more. Do you?  I want to take God through my day with me. Not just in the morning time, but all the time. Not just when I think of him, but as I do everything. I want to invite in his love so I can spread his love.

No longer do I want to fear the rush, the clock and the game – that calls me to sprint ahead, but I want to stop and sit and savor and sip up God’s goodness. Maybe you do too…

For we serve a God who is limitless and unbound by time. The truth is, he can work within any barrier that lays before us. He just outstretches his hand and it expands in a way where we can do what we once thought we couldn’t.

We believe by faith. And God handles the rest.

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Breaking Through the Barrier of Tired

Barrier of Tired

I snapped off the news. Nothing there but terrorism and guns. Who needs all that?!

My heart felt tired, unsure, but, all the same, I figured I should get with God. Maybe try to muster the strength to get up and fill my mind with excellence and good report.

“I should watch something uplifting.”

Unable to discern what, I just stayed put on the couch. Immobile. In tiredness. In a body unable to even gain the strength to end the day’s war under the covers of “tomorrow’s going to be better.”

I just lay there.

“God, why am I missing you lately? Why do you seem far?”

I got the sense of God whispering back to me, “Kelly, I am not far, you are.”

Am I?

I used to spend my days looking for God, now I spend my days looking at how I am messing up.
I used to offer thanks, now I offer myself solutions for how I can improve.
I used to consider momentary lessons, now I consider how God really needs to teach me a lesson.
I used to just delight with letting God be, now I pressure him to show up.
I used to let fears fly out the window, now I roll it up.
I press my eyes tighter and ask, “What happened God?”
I hear nothing. Figures.

I wait.

“You’re missing the moment where I am, because you fear the moments where you are.”

Lighten up.
Lay loose.
Live lightly.
Let in love.
Land in my arms.
Let me carry you.
Leave behind demands.
Let’s go.

My closed eyes – relax. God is inviting my mind to travel – with him. No demands. No requirements. No facades. No prerequisites. No achievements. No guilt. No shame required.

He wants my attention in the moment. So, without distraction, I can see him in the moment.

I open my eyes.

And then I see. God brings clarity: He loves me. He died for me. His light is always pursuing me.

My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest. Ex. 33:14

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

1 Clear Way to Victory When in a Losing Battle

Losing Battle

There is one tactic that can literally change the outcome of your daily wars (you will see exactly how below). It can help with people problems. It can reconstruct your mental state. It can abolish the feelings of despair. Do you know it?

Likely not. I think the majority Christians – know of it, but they know not – the power of prayer. 

There are 3 reasons why:

1. They got hurt.  They prayed for something big, yet nothing big happened. They, now, figure prayer is an outdated practice.

2. They have to wait. They give up before God gets up to fix their predicament.

3. They get bored. They think prayer is pleading endlessly about other people; there’s nothing for them.

Prayer sounds good on face value but on our knees?

Well, we’d rather be anywhere else, doing anything else, to fix our something else  –
than praying. We’d rather be – doing, than – praying. We’d rather be – posturing, than – praying.

This is our problem; this is why we stay stuck. 

Being on our knees hurts. Our very feet that want to go, fix and control circumstances are cut out from under us.

Yet, what if this is the point?

Perhaps, God has us on our knees, because our feet can’t bring us where our knees will.

And, this I am learning: A man will get more done on his knees than he ever will a lifetime on his feet.

The power of prayer is sometimes subtle, but it is also potent. I call my husband sometimes, and say, “I’ve been praying for you.” He replies, “I know. I can tell. Keep it up.”

You don’t think that changes his moment? It changes mine. My faith is renewed in a God – who answers.

This is not an isolated incident either. Prayer works, I’m finding. It wants to release captives from shame. It wants to change circumstances 360 degrees. It wants to restructure bodies, broken. It wants to change hearts, today.

Moses lifted his hands in prayer and look at how it worked for him:

As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. (Ex. 17:11-13)

Our power to win is often held within the power of prayer. 

When Moses lifted his hands to pray, the Israelites were front-runners. When he dropped them, and grew weary, they fell behind.

Someone had the insight to realize this. Someone noticed the power of prayer. Do we?

Aaron and Hur responded; they seized constant prayer by: holding “his hands up – one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” They made it happen.

Do we make constant prayer happen?

There are mountains God, with us, God wants to move. (Mt. 17:20)

Prayer isn’t pleasantries. It isn’t niceties offered up to appease a mean God. It isn’t a way to gain favor with God for the bad stuff you did yesterday. It is the real charge of heaven falling on earth. It is strength for weakness. Hope for despair. Renewal for recovering addicts. Recovery for controllers. Realizations for the real pursuers of God’s heart.

Lift your hands; you’ll win. I think it is that simple. It’s the faith that makes it so. So believe.

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Other Reading:
12 Power-Prayers: Sourced from all Paul’s Prayers
When Prayer Goes Unanswered
Grace Changes Hearts