Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Crippling Self-Reliance

self-reliance

“Do you have even the slightest reliance on anything or anyone other than God? Is there a remnant of reliance left on any natural quality within you, or on any particular set of circumstances? Are you relying on yourself in any manner whatsoever regarding this new proposal or plan which God has placed before you? Will you examine yourself by asking these probing questions? It really is true to say, “I cannot live a holy life,” but you can decide to let Jesus Christ make you holy. “You cannot serve the Lord…”— but you can place yourself in the proper position where God’s almighty power will flow through you. Is your relationship with God sufficient for you to expect Him to exhibit His wonderful life in you.”  (Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers)

To answer his questions, I do rely on myself. I think, God got me here. Now I need to figure things out. Or, what will I do? How will I do this?

There are so many “I’s” in my thinking — when it is all about Him.

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.“ (Zeph. 3:17).

These words remain true today…

God will do it.
God, my God, is mighty.
God has the way.
God knows my answer.
God knows my name.
Christ’s power is being perfected in my weakness.
Christ’s goodness overshadows what I think is good.
Christ’s victory is sure and steady.

The battle belongs to the Lord.

Today, I am provoked to re-surrender and to let God do things ‘His way’. I am inspired to more FULLY trust Him, believe Him, and to take Him at His Word.

Because…to work by my power is to, often, inhibit God’s power. It gets me ahead of God or it shuts off the mind of Christ, in me, as I run ahead with my own mind and thoughts.

I don’t have to have all the answers – God does. I don’t blaze my way; God does.

I wait, He moves.  I pray; He shows up. Sure, sometimes I meet God, through works He calls me to, but aside from that I love God and others with all my heart and leave the results up to Him… I rest, knowing I don’t have to worry or fear anymore. He has this.

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Few Words, Big Difference

God answers prayers, but our prayers may not always come easy.

Not too long ago, I rode down a long highway. A kid had to go to the bathroom. We stopped at a rest stop. There, I noticed 3 girls standing outside the bathroom looking aimless, dizzy almost.  I walked past them, but felt a check in my spirit.  Were they okay? There were two pre-teens and one crying toddler who looked disoriented. I hesitated and didn’t talk to them, figuring I’d check on them after I got out of the bathroom. The only thing was — after I got out of the bathroom they were (poof!) gone. A distance from me, I could see a man carrying the kid away with the two girls getting in a car.

Something didn’t sit right with me about the whole thing. I wish I would have checked in with the girls to make sure they were okay. I talked to my husband about how child trafficking breaks my heart. Who knows what story these girls have, but I wish I would have acted faster. Darn.

More recently, we got in the car for a road trip. I remembered that situation as we set out. I essentially prayed, “God, bust every child trafficker or abuser today up and down this highway. Expose them. Bring justice, this morning!”

It wasn’t but a few hours later that my husband saw a huge conviction go down online.  A huge child abuser source was stopped and brought in.

When did it happen? As the article conveyed the time; they got busted the same time I prayed.

This is not my win; it is God’s.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

God used what looked like a horrible situation before, to bring immediate liberation to kids today. But, I couldn’t give up — I had to pray!

Do not allow a defeat to steal Christ’s victory that is right before you. Pray to see His better way!

Get down on your knees. Ask. Seek. Hope. And, believe again. Just a few words could make all the difference.

 

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Are You Headed the Wrong Way?

Today, I completely missed my turn. I took a new route to the supermarket and, because I thought the entrance would look the same as before, I drove right past it. I knew the store would be on the left. However, because I  came from a different direction, it was on the right.

Because I expected an old thing, I missed the new. Likewise, many of us — looking for an old thing — miss God’s new. We expect people to hurt us like yesterday, so we stay in our house, away from relationship and, yet again — we are hurt. We expect our finances to never change, so we don’t bother changing anything and live continually strapped. We expect our kids to never change so we dismiss them because they’ve hurt us and God’s love doesn’t reach them.

We go our way, yet God has — His way. One we may not even be able to perceive.

Today, what if we were to open our eyes up to perceive that God may have for us — a new way?

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Is. 43:19)

Be it yesterday or today, Isaiah or Romans, Moses or Paul, God continually does new things. He breaks through. He restores. He transforms. He offers new life. New opportunities. Healing. Help.

The question is not — “Is God Healer, Helper, and Restorer?” The question is — “Do we believe Him to be these things?”

Where might God want you to perceive His new? If you have been banging your head in one particular area, this is a sign that God may be calling you to do things a new way. If you feel constantly stuck, look out for His new way. If you feel like there must be more, expect Him to show you something new.

All His ways are good.

Prayer:

God, help me to perceive your leading and direction. I don’t want to be so stuck in an old thing that I can’t walk into your new thing for me. I thank you that transition and change are part of your heart. I thank you that as I wait on you that you will renew my strength. Today, I choose to trust your leading and guidance. I trust you to provide and to help me. I ask that all I do, think and say might bring glory to you. Help me to trust and love you even more. Thank you that I can do this by laying down my ways and by trusting yours. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen

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Don’t Lose Hope

lose hope

I want to encourage you. With God, there’s always a way.

You may be saying, I don’t know how… Or, I don’t have enough… Or, it doesn’t look like it is possible.

God is not beholden to the natural; He is the Orchestrator of the supernatural.

Mary probably thought, there is no way that I can carry “the son of the Most High” (Lu. 1:32). It must have seemed preposterous when an angel said she would. But, with God, she did — it happened — she birthed the Son of God.

David must have figured he’d end up managing sheep all his life. King? I wonder if he thought that impossible. Sure enough, Samuel, the prophet, passed by His strong, and probably good-looking, brothers and picked David. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” (1 Sam. 16:12)

The Lord promoted David, independent of looks.

It wasn’t until more than a decade later that David became King. Sure, he could have thought, forget this, God has forgotten me. But, God never forgot. He doesn’t forget you, either.

God is outside of time, yet always on time.

God showed up and David became King.

Don’t lose hope. God is always on time. He is independent of your perfection, your bank account, or your perfect actions. God is always faithful. And, right on time.

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Where’s My Passion?

Where’s the passion I used to have? The determination to run with strength? The boldness?

I hear people think-out-loud along these lines. They wonder how their motivation disappeared, or why they procrastinate or feel so stuck. They can’t seem to rev their wheels anymore. They get stuck in the mud.

I relate.  I’ve tried to get started on certain projects and then they’ve just — fallen through. Not all the issues are me, but still — the outcome feels embarrassing.

Ever been there? Maybe you have a big dream but you haven’t followed through. You have hopes for a relationship. You want to stop a bad habit. Or, go a new way…but you just can’t seem to succeed. There seems to be a stopper right ahead of you.

This morning, this verse spoke to me in a powerful way:

“So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us…”  (Heb 12: 1-2)

I must let go — to go. It is only by letting go of old wounds and sin that I can run ahead.  For, no one can run effectively ahead while looking back. To run looking behind you is to run into things. To bang yourself up. Reconsidering and rehashing (aka. looking back) prohibits one from seeing the good thing God has ahead.

I realize I must (REALLY) let go of what lays behind me. Only then, can I “run life’s race with passion and determination.” Only then can I easily go down God’s path already “marked out” before (me).

God offers me a new beginning today. He gives you one too! Wonder is knowing that Jesus presents us with an endless amount of new beginnings. Today you start over. Repent if you need to… Then, you trust that the Author and Perfector of faith, Jesus Christ, is doing His best work. Believe that the Shepherd of all shepherds is protecting you from what happened in days of old. Fully rely on The Light of the World to illuminate your world in an exciting and joy-filled way.

When we look ahead at the beauty of Him, we won’t as much want to look back. Instead, I believe, we’ll move with fervor, passion, and excitement, like never before. We’ll be able to perceive the light of His goodness ahead. We will focus on Jesus, and with Him, we’ll go again.

Prayer: God, give us the grace to let go of what lays behind. We don’t want to look back anymore and miss what is ahead. Come and help us to look to Jesus, constantly. Give us undivided attention and renewed fervor. We love you. We want to live all-out for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Enter into Rest

I unloaded my bags in my room, after a 16-hour trip, only to spot BIG black mold on my ceiling.  When the experts came to investigate in the attic they found more. A lot more (thank you, in advance, for your prayers concerning protection for my family).

I don’t like health risks. They make me feel nervous and out-of-control. How can I protect myself from a threat I can’t see? How can I keep us all safe? How can I trust — we’ll all be okay?

Do you feel threatened? Maybe you feel attacked by a silent threat you can’t control. Or a person who is out-of-control. Or the sense that you are not in control. I get it.

All I could do last night, as I prepared to sleep in that room with the black-patch, was to open my bible up to Psalm 91. I rest on that Psalm like a pillow, some nights.

There I read:
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

This verse reminded me —  there are those who choose to live in the shelter and those who don’t.  They stay in worry, or fear, or whatever…

I want to be one of those who actively and decisively come under His shelter. Rest happens when I allow God to shelter me. When I want His cover. Worry and fear always wait, however, as an alternative.

Today, I chose to: enter in. When I enter in, guess where His shelter is? Most High. To be high is to be — above it all. Guess what covers me? His shadow. I am not only protected below but I am protected above and all around too. I am lifted up and covered all around.

This picture God gives me is peace. It is rest for my mind that it needs. Now, I don’t have to circle the same fears again and again.

You too — are protected above, below and around — if you’ll allow yourself to be. Nothing can harm you when you are protected by the Most High God.

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What is it You Really Need?

I think I need a specific thing. I’ve set it up in my mind as a “must have”. I think: If I get that I will be all good. Then, I can ____.

It’s as if my plan will complete me, but it’s depleting me. I think ahead, verses staying next to God’s plan. I get concerned with what will happen if my hope doesn’t happen and it steals hope. I define what God will do rather than trusting His timing and His plan.

I am looking at a “what” instead of my Who.

“And (a rich young man) came to (Jesus) and said, “Teacher, what [essentially] good thing shall I do to obtain eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” Jesus answered, “Why are you asking Me about what is [essentially] good? There is only One who is [essentially] good… (Mt. 19:16-17 AMP)

The rich man here was focused on what he should do… Likewise, I look at what I don’t have or what I think I should have, when there is only One who is good: Jesus.

The second I place my eyes on a “what” instead of Jesus is the second I create an idol. There is only One who is good. But, when I return to expecting God to show up, instead of expecting a thing to pull through for me, my soul gets rightly aligned.

What “what” are you depending on or expecting to change your life? How have you made it the answer, believing it will quell your emotions or transform your life?

To become complete in Christ, we must set down what competes with Him. This begins, I believe, with laying down our own expectations for how things will happen so we can, once again, hope in His BEST plan.

God does things God’s way. On God’s time. In God’s manner. It may not look how we like, but it just may reach 1,000 instead of 1. Or, heal the neighbors family plus our own. Or,  bring our wayward kids back as we become healthy again. Or, give us a whole new perspective on God’s real providence.

Who God is — far transcends — what we think is best.  This mindset is a return to peace and true trust in God. At least this is what I am learning…

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Staying Strong Like Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

I learn a lot from Jesus…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What I’ve Learned

I have learned something that has changed my family. It is simple and profound.

The learning is founded on these 2 concepts:

One: Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6)
Two: I follow Jesus.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (My.16:24 ESV)

Note here: Jesus is not the Prince of Conflict. Nor the Prince of Double-Mindedness. Nor Prince of fear.

Here, in the busyness of my day — I can ask myself: Am I following and pursuing peace, or lesser things?

Doing this makes me a wiser decision-maker.

For instance, this helps me to:

– consider if hanging out with the friend with the gossipy-potty mouth will make bring me peace afterwords.
– if saying yes to the 60-hour a week job will create a peace-filled home.
– if debating my husband is increasing peace between us.

The amount or lack of peace in our life often is a good indicator of how we seek and follow Jesus in our lives.

Sometimes, often actually, I have to literally go the other direction from my feelings which seem to scream at me to attend to them.  Yet, when I do this, the result is almost always a million times better than the short-term pleasure of reacting. I can benefit in this way, when I take time to consider outcomes.

God is powerful enough to fight my battle!

Do you seek and pursue peace?

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14)

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Attack-Proof

He said, “You may want to invest in some snake boots.”

Snake boots? Who’s heard of such a thing? I certainly hadn’t. I had no idea snake-proof boots even existed. But, apparently, in this part of the country you don’t want to go near water without them. You just might find a Copperhead attached to your ankle.

The whole way to our trip location, all I could think about was — these snake boots… We’ve got to be safe…

Finally, we pulled off the highway to head into an outdoor store. Handling the boot, I noted — it was heavy. The material was tough and strong, thick and heavy. So much so, a snake couldn’t penetrate.  Nothing would harm my kids with that boot on. Because of the foresight put into it — it was bulletproof, or fang-proof for that matter.

Foresight is not only protection for snake predicaments but for life’s problems and attacks.

Ephesians 6 emphasizes this:

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:11-12)

These days, we MUST put on God’s armor:

The belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.

If you’re wearing truth, you won’t be overrun with worry and fear. If you remember that you have right standing with Christ, your every wrong won’t try to ruin you. You’ll remember nothing can steal your eternal position with God.

The shoes of peace that come from the Good News.

Jesus defeated death. He has overcome the power of sin. He is ruling and reigning. His kingdom has no end. There is good news available to us, all the time. This is peace.

Peace guards it’s heart and mind in Christ Jesus, remembering — there is always hope.

“Take heart! (Jesus has) overcome the world.” (Jo. 16:33)

The shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

Doubt opens us up to enemy assaults. Here, we question what we are doing, why we are doing it and we wonder if God really will…

Faith in God pleases God. Faith believes. It hopes. It prays. It often sees God show up in amazing ways! It is the answer to many of our problems.

Salvation as a helmet, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (see Ephesians 6)

The more we fill our mind with truth of God’s Word, the more arsenal we have to kill the lies of the enemy. Truth not only establishes us — but to reestablish a brother or a sister in need. We are strong when we are strongly rooted and founded in God’s Word.

God’s Word will never fail; God’s word stands forever.

When we remember that salvation is our destiny, we find real and present rest. Nothing can steal the joy of knowing where we’re going. We live for eternity rather than here and now.

Ultimately, we are strong in the power of the Lord’s might. We don’t need snake boots; we have the armor of God!

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