Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Easter Resurrection Power

“You aren’t listening.”
“I don’t feel loved.”
“I’m alone.”

Friends, while I hate to admit it — this week has been hard. The flesh-side of me wishes I could blame it on my husband, but I can’t. It takes two to tango.  I’ve accused him within my mind. I’ve raised my voice in the house. I’ve changed the atmosphere from peaceful to stressful. I’ve taken it out on the kids. I feel bad about all this…

I wonder if things might be hard at home for you too? We are living in a fishbowl, after all. Right on top of those we love, 24/7. Unable to get time alone, like before. It is a condition ripe for conflict.

Yesterday, I took a walk. One house along the path was lined with beautiful blooming flowers.  I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a picture of grace. In the midst of virus mayhem is grace-filled beauty. Spring has no mind for the madness.”

Neither does Jesus’ resurrection have a mind for madness. It is the exact opposite of mayhem. Whereas we may argue, panic, or worry, the resurrection of Jesus is righteousness, peace and joy. For, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Just like those flowers pushed out of the dark ground, to find the bright of day — Jesus, through the resurrection, pushes out darkness to bring new light — by demolishing sin, denying the power of death, and shaming the powers of darkness…

Jesus always brings light to the darkness. He does so, even today. Even, here, in quarantine.

With this, I can’t help but think, there is a boundless nature to what Jesus can do.  Even in this time of quarantine, marriages can be healed, hope restored, depression removed, habits renewed, mindsets rewritten, finances helped. Everything is possible through Christ. Think BIG and reach towards Him in BIG ways.

Forget what the world says. The triumphant reign of Jesus is amongst us. The Spirit is in us. The Prince of Peace is present. The King of Glory is in full of glory.  Jesus has risen — and is rising up new life in the here and now.

Oh, how we praise you, Jesus! Oh, how we love you! Oh, how we need you! Oh, how we rely on you! Oh, how we surrender to you! Oh, how you are worthy! Oh, how you are everything, Jesus. We want to give you all the worship, this Easter!

Friends, can you see it? We cannot be in the darkness when we are: are in the light. We now stand in the light of an empty tomb, with the stone-rolled back and a risen King over us and — ruling!!!

“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” (Col. 1:13-14)

The transfer already happened. We get eternity forever! Oh, the riches of that. And, thanks to the Lamb of God, the resurrection-life power of Jesus is moving in our homes. Jesus is ever-working, ever-healing and ever-transforming us. Look for him this season. Talk to Him too.

Whatever appears dead in a tomb in your life, is not. Jesus conquered the grave.

Friend, if you feel depressed, if you feel misunderstood, if you feel anxious, if you feel worried, if you feel shameful, if you feel disappointed, if you feel bad, if you feel ruined….I pray you see: new life. Starting today.

Just like those flowers busted out of darkness, in the midst of madness, Jesus can bust through any darkness or madness in your life — to bring beauty.

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Walking in the Blessing of Today

blessing

Today cannot be a time of blessing, can it? After all, we are social distancing, staying 6-feet away and looking at others like walking-viruses, ready to attack.

God, what do you have for me, here, in this weird place? This is an important question to ask.

I believe there are blessings available for those who ask. A blessing, not a cursing — for those with eyes to see. A bounty, not a backbreaking burden — for those at home.

Is that you? Or, do you feel it is unbiblical to be blessed? To seek a blessing?

You know, my friends and family…

for a long time, I could not receive a blessing. Nor, would I ask God for one. It felt self-indulgent to say, “Lord, will you bless me?” It felt unbiblical to say, “God, I want your blessings.” There are so many people who need so much more than I do. Who am I to ask. I should be a servant, not a seeker for myself…

Yet, a Psalm, written by David, a man after God’s own heart — set me straight. Within it David says:

With all my heart I want your blessings.” Ps. 119:58

If David wanted a blessing, and God inspired these very words in His Word, who am I to disagree? I can ask for a blessing, with my whole heart, without shame!

“God, I want your blessings. With all my heart, I want your blessings. In a time of Coronavirus I want your blessings!”

The fact of the matter is — I need God’s blessings — His unmerited favor, right now, in my time of trouble, more than ever. Anything less than me needing God’s blessing is likely pride in-action.

To think I can do it without God’s help and generous giving is probably self-work or pious self-proving.

Thanks to God’s wisdom on this, during this season, I have received His blessing. This is why this time of “social distancing” has become a different time. Rather than “social distancing”, it is a time of “family gathering”. I have gotten closer to my kids and husband. I have laughed more. I have played more. I have gotten to know fun without big price tags.

I am blessed! What is simple has trumped what is complex and the peace of the Lord is here — in my house.

Because of this, I give him thanks. All glory to Him; I am blessed.

Might you ask God for a risky thing: to be blessed today…?

Prayer: Father God? I ask you for more, today. More blessings! More of you! More of what you have for me! I ask without shame! I ask expecting to receive. I ask ready to give all thanks and glory back to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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God’s Divine Protection

peace

I was amazed. My daughter didn’t fall once; she fell two times, nearly unscathed. In both instances, she rounded a turn on her bike and skidded out. Her wheels flipped over and her body hit the ground, with force. Tears welled up in her eyes.

She had been riding fast. Her helmet flew off her head. But, when I asked her where she was hurt, she didn’t know. There was only but the smallest scrape on her. She escaped, nearly untouched…

“For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.” (Ps. 27:5)

For in the day of trouble, in the hour of trouble, in the moment of trouble…God is here. Emanuel. God with us.

“God with us” sends His angels to guard us. His power to keep us.  His wisdom to guide us. He is over all and in all.

We don’t know every detail of how He protects us. Or, why He doesn’t protect others.  We don’t fear what has come upon other men. We don’t fear the plague that may befall us. Don’t get entrapped with another man’s story. God deals with each of us as He chooses.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” (Prov. 29:25)

Keep your eyes on your own lane. Keep your attention on your own family. Keep your words headed up to heaven. Trust God’s provision and protection to fall down on you. He has you covered. Choose to stay under the protection of his wing and not to wander elsewhere.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you are above all. You are over all. You are ruling all. We declare you as Lord over everything we face and see. We are not wavered by the news, by people or by fear. We stand under the shadow of your wing. We choose to place ourselves under your loving-care and put ourselves under your protection. You have us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

You are a blessing, brothers and sisters in Christ. I love you, beyond measure. My hope is that I can bring much of His treasure, back to you… XOXO!

 

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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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How the Enemy Smells Fear

She jumped back! The goose was sounding, “Honk! Honk! Honk!” He approached her, hissing and threatening. Terrified, my 6-year old daughter shirked back and bent over. She didn’t know what to do. She looked around, helpless. Only a half a foot taller than the goose, the goose smelled fear. He knew he ruled. So, he fed on her fear. He pushed her back even more.

I wouldn’t have it.

I walked over to him like a military woman taking charge and I shoved that goose back in the water with my heavy approach. I said, “Oh no you don’t. You don’t mess with my little girl that way. You get outta here.” The goose had to move.

Many of us are cowering in fear and hoping the enemy of our soul will move. We are whispering and telling him to get back. We are turning into ourselves.

Yet, fear doesn’t move our enemy, it feeds him. It draws him to us. It gives him a louder sound and makes his approach stronger.

The enemy of our soul only moves when we approach with strength and confidence. When we use our authority, our strength of size, and our power vested in us by the Lord Jesus Christ.

“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)

I don’t know what sort of goose you face today. Maybe he looks like a giant. Maybe he is squawking loud. Maybe he’s hissing in your face. Maybe he is coming at you. Maybe he is getting you down. Maybe you feel depressed.

Get out of your chair. Speak up and kick him in the face. Tell him to get away because you aren’t going to listen to his lies anymore.

Make him — get behind you. Proclaim truth. Seize what God has to say to you. Tell your emotions to bow under the truth of God. Tell your heart it will be okay. Tell the mean words to get outta here.

Then, do the opposite of what he is telling you to do. Clearly, he is aiming to hold you back from something.  Love those who need loving. Help those who need helping. Give to those who you see are in need. Commit to being positive. Speak life to others. Listen only to the words in your mind that are truth, and only truth. Make yourself pray in the gaps of your day.

Many times, the only way to beat the enemy is to beat him at his own game. You have to take control of the thoughts he wants to control. The second you do that, you get back on track again.

Don’t be discouraged.

You are under a greater force — His name is the Lord Jesus Christ.  With Jesus, all lesser evils have to submit to the Power, the Might, the Strength and the Lordship of His name. We always have the upper-hand, through Christ. Many of us, myself included, need to start praying and believing this as the truth.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you are in control. You rule all. You are over all. You have the whole world in your hands. All things work together for your good and our good. You know what you are doing. We are not being tossed like the wind; you love us like a good good father. We trust you. We believe in your good plan. We listen, not, to the enemy’s voice any longer. Pour out your grace and mercy on us. We need you, so desperately. In Jesus’ name.

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Patience in Turbulence

patience

I snapped. He raised his voice and snapped back. We gave each other squinty-eye looks.

After all, we’ve been in close proximity, in tight quarters for over a week. We’ve been cooped up and trying to stay positive… We’ve been walking around the block, many times a day…  I’ve been homeschooling the kids… Add all this to the constant influx of bad news…and…

I’m not complaining. We are all just trying to make it, aren’t we? It is what it is. However, we can’t deny: it’s easy to get fed up and fired up at those we most love.

Distance doesn’t always make a heart grow fonder; in many cases, it is making us more irritated at those who are close to us.

The dishes left on the counter can feel personal. The person who snaps back is attacking us. The mistimed comment is a trigger. People feel too close for comfort.

So what do we do?

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Col. 3:13)

My husband and I have agreed, in order to make it this season– it must be a period of “extreme grace”.

This means we don’t (as much) comment on small issues. We don’t hold things against each other. We keep our mouth shut more often than we comment on meaningless things. We extend love even though. We make a decisive decision to look for the best in one another. We allow things to roll off our shoulders. We forgive rapidly. We remember that tensions are higher. We choose to reach out with patience more than to operate from panic.

We extend the very grace we desperately want to receive. We don’t count the price, but offer free love, despite ___(whatever).

I won’t say I am doing it perfectly. I can’t say he is either. But, I can say that more and more, we are keeping peace in our house and acting differently than the world around us. We aren’t fearing. We aren’t setting our kids up for a tense environment. We aren’t opening the door to other outside issues because we’ve let our guard down. This is good.

In this, we can far more walk with the Prince of Peace than the panic of this world.

What about you? How are you doing?

Prayer: Father God, these times are odd. We, in many ways, don’t know what we are doing, where we are going or how things will happen. The ground feels unsteady. But, we know that you are our rock. You are our steady-footing. We are in your fortress. We are in your strong tower. We are your children. We are your beloved. We thank you for how you are taking care of us in this hour. You are near. You are with us. You are our helper. You are our refuge. We are safe.

Father? Help us to receive your love so that we might love others well. Fill us with your mercy, grace and help this hour. We love you, Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Let’s Pray

lets pray

With all the stockpiling, the fear and the panic…with all the feelings of “will God be there for me,” “are we going to be okay” and “how long will this last…” — the heart of our feelings must be addressed.

This is essential, because —denying (shoving away, pretending they aren’t there, ignoring) feelings does not help us feel good. It doesn’t work.  Only God’s truth and promises can supersede the feelings trying to overrule us.

Prayer is a divine interchange. It is a warm bath for our feelings. Through prayer, we cast what we carry on Jesus — and then He carries it. Think: Jesus, carrying the cross. He takes what we cannot carry and He carries it. He takes what we can not fix and fixes it. We must let Jesus carry the burdens we can’t handle. We were never designed to carry this weight.  Although, I get caught up in worry and fear, sometimes, I must admit: worry and fear is sin. In my pride, I accomplish something through worry. But, I never do.

Only prayer and casting my cares on the Lord ever helps me. Only trust and believing God is sovereign brings me through. Only remembering who my Protector is — really gives me rest.

Today, we need prayer, more than we know.  Let’s pray for each other. Let’s link hands.  Let’s press in.  I want to use Psalm 84 to guide us in prayer…

Father God,

As brothers and sisters, as children of your heavenly family, we virtually join hands.  We need you.  We pray for another. We think of one another.

Father, we thank you that you are here with us.  That you love us.  That you hear us.  We put our trust in you once again.  We hand to you our fear, worry, anxiety and unrest.  Forgive us, Papa.  We don’t want to partner with these things any longer. We know you will as Sovereign King, Reigning Ruler and Lord of all Lords have a better view of what to do with them, than we do. Forgive us.  We ask for your grace to fall on us now.  Empower and equip us afresh to stand in hope and faith. Give us wisdom to who and what we listen to.  Guide our daily paths. Lead us in new routines and reveal to us what is good. Encourage us in all your ways.

Father God, we thank you that you are our Protector and Keeper. You say in Psalm 84, “Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”  We choose to ever praise you today.  You say, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.”  Today, we know our strength comes only as we rest in you. With this, we set our hearts on you, on your small calls and on all your ways.  Even more, you say, “As they pass through the Valley of Bakah, they make it a place of springs, the autumn rains also cover it with pools.”  We trust and hope in you to make water out of the pools of sickness, hope out of despair and life from sickness.   You say, “They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” As we lean in, we will find strength.  Keep us under the shelter of your protection. Lead us with wisdom. Keep us near your help.

We are not defenseless, hopeless or helpless, we are watched-over by God. We are yours, Papa.  We are loved and kept. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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The Bad is Good

bad is good

A friend looked at me and said, “With God, the bad is good.”

Hmm…she had my wheels turning now…

I wonder, how many of us can see the truth in her statement?

The bad boyfriend that we, at one time, thought was good for us?
We can see now, it is darn good that we didn’t marry him.

The bad health scare that we figured would kill us?
Well, it is good that we are still alive and, not only that but, we now have more faith than ever.

The bad news that we lost our job?

It is good that God repositioned us. We hated every minute of that job and now God has us on unique-assignment, impacting specific people.

What bad has become good, in light of your prayers and God’s grace? Think back. Recount. Reflect. Remember. Restore your countenance.

What looks bad, becomes good, with God.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 2:20-22)

With God, through Christ, it is: “Yes!” It is good. It is God’s promises, delivered. It is God’s grace, right here and now. It is what looks bad, coming into the light of Christ. It is what hope we cannot see, becoming manifest.

See beyond your natural eye and you will see again. See beyond circumstances and issues to hope in Christ, once again. See beyond panic and you will see The Prince of Peace. See beyond what everyone else is doing and you will see Him. By the natural eye, we are blind, but by the Spirit-eye, we see: God’s promises are yes and amen. Jesus is greater. Jesus has conquered. The war is done. We are safe, forever. God is the Pre-eminent Ruler of The World. And, we are His children.

There is goodness waiting for you — right here, right now. Bad becomes good in light of God’s mercy and grace.

Glory to God!

Friends, during this time that can feel scary, panicked or stressful, I am doing more videos on Facebook and on Instagram. Come join me there, as I pray and share God’s Word to encourage your heart.

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Are you Hating Your Waiting?

It’s as if God sat me down, to say, “Kelly, you, sit and wait. Wait for me, for your breakthrough. Wait for me, for your answers. Wait for me, and I will do it.”

Many of us are seated this way, waiting. Be it for a job, an answer, a child that needs saving, a financial saving,  a mental-healing or whatever, God has us sitting down. Sitting there and — waiting.

You may be saying, “For what? For what God am I waiting?” You may feel like you are twiddling your thumbs or counting dust particles in the sky. Or, that you are being a bad child for not moving. Or, that there is some sort of sin-problem you have.

On the contrary, God does not shame waiters, He blesses them.

“Surely none who wait for You will be put to shame…” (Ps. 25:3)

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Is. 40:31 KJV)

God has for those who wait-well, new strength. He has for those who believe in His calling to trust, new heights. He has for those who are searching, a new walk. A running into what is ahead.

Boring-ole waiting and hoping is strength-renewing, when we see how it is all part and process of God’s faith-building and doing.

You are not wasting away in waiting, you are becoming a warrior, a special vessel who knows how to trust in the Lord, even in the hardest of times. Stay encouraged. Stay near to God’s heart. Stay active in His Word.

Waiting is not doing nothing; it is staying activated in Christ Jesus. It is believing He has a good plan, anyway. It is loving others, on full-throttle, knowing: God will do it! Jesus will come! God has your way! If not today, on the very best day — He will certainly come!

Glory to God!

 

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What to do When You Fear

I was afraid. The second I saw the picture of my kids, fear climbed up my arm. Undoubtedly, it wanted to go straight into my heart.

They did what!? They know I hate it when they wear public hats.

Friends, I admit: I fear my kids getting lice. I know what it entails. Growing up the oldest of 6 kids meant we got lice more than a time or two. I remember the itching. I remember the endless washing and boiling of brushes and laundry. I remember covering of furniture and the constant search up the nape of my neck.

Frankly, to return home from a weekend trip to see my kids pictured with the hat that every-kid-at-the-city-museum put on– did. not. bring. me. comfort. Instead, I was — provoked to nervousness.

The more I stared at the photograph, the more I knew: I stood at a crossroad. What would I do? Where would I head?

I could worry, and wander from God.
Or, I could cast my care on Him, allow Him to care for me and discover — how He cares for me.

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil. 4:6-7 MSG)

Far too often, I worry away God’s wonderful care. But, when I pray I get to stay under God’s providential care. I find His help.

With the hair-issue, to fend off worry, I made a decisive choice to:

ONE. Not panic. I remembered God’s truth.
TWO. Pray over both my kid’s heads.
THREE. Stop looking at that photograph.
FOUR. Return to prayer anytime my mind wanted to return to the issue.
FIVE. To (physically and emotionally) let this issue go, into God’s hands.

You can do the same. Just because fear announces, “I am here”, doesn’t mean you have to pay attention to it. Just because Corona Virus is all-up in your face, doesn’t mean you have to live shackled to the news, or your hand-sanitizer. Just because you figure horrible is going to happen, doesn’t mean that it is. God is greater. Nothing halts His care.

God is up to wonderful things. Give Him a space and a place to work, clear your table of worry and begin to behold His wonder.

I let it that photograph — go. Later that night, I hugged my kids with their hair all tangled up in mine. I laid down on what could have been “infected” pillows, without concern. I spent time with God, without wandering off to a hat or a kid’s head of hair in my mind. I stayed with God.

You can too.

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