Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Every time, God is Greater.

Two nights ago I awoke in the middle of the night with “concerns”.

I got up at 12:05 and sat on the couch in my living room for 2 hours.

There I:

  • worried about my son and something he said.
  • became concerned about a get together with a critical friend.
  • felt guilty about doing something I knew I should not have done.

My first instinct when dealing with all this was to develop my own attack plan.

First step: In the morning, I’d tell my husband how to “talk” to my son. I’d also suggest he take him out for a “boy trip”.

Second: I’d think more about the friend and whether to avoid her, confront her, or ignore her.

Third step: I’d just sit there and think more about how to not allow these things to happen. . . (while fearing that they might.)

What are you fretting these days? What wakes you up at night? What is breaking your heart? Calling you to manage it? Convincing you — you will always be a mess-up?

While all the other steps led me to anxiety, worry and more sleepless minutes on the clock, finally I made the right step. I cracked open my bible to Psalm 27.

It jumped of the page:

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?

(God saves. God brings light to situations. God is Rescuer. He will come and make the wrong things right. He is mightier. He is stronger. What am I afraid of?!)

The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?

(He puts me in His fortress. No arrow can hit me. As I trust Him, I am safe. Enemies can’t reach me when I am hidden in Christ. I am eternally loved.)

When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

(Jesus is Ruler. People are people. He is my defender, keeper and the watcher of my soul. I am safe, in Him. With the armor of faith on, his promises become my shield)

Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident. (Psalm 27:1-3 NLT)

(What can touch me when Jesus is for me? Who can come against me, when He is with me? What can take me down when I am confident in His ways and not mine.)

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Do you Expect the Worst?

I have something to admit. . .

Whenever I get an email in reply to one of my blog posts, I brace myself. Before I even open it, a sense of dread settles over me. I anticipate words that will make my heart hurt.

Oh no, I must have said something wrong.
I wasn’t helpful.
I got cited the wrong verse.
They found an issue with my perspective.

It is a completely unwarranted expectation. The number of people that write words of thanks, encouragement, and life — far, far, far, outweigh other comments. Yet, still. . .

The other day, I opened an email.

It said,

“Thanks for the emails you send. Today’s post felt like it was out there just for me. . .”

I stopped in my track. She said it was “out there”. They must have thought I pulled something out of left field. I wonder why it was “out there” to her and how I skewed things so much.

Then, I re-read it. And, as I did, I caught the true meaning of what she meant. She meant it was — out there in her email inbox — just for her.

God hit me. How often do I anticipate the worst and then find it because it’s what I feel I deserve?

How often do I see the negative in my children, because I don’t feel like “that great of a mom”? Or, how often do I hear an underlying message behind someone’s words, when they’re not even saying that?

We find what we are looking for.

I don’t want to find what is dark, demoralizing and negative. I want to find God’s goodness and light.

I want to have this attitude: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:13)

I want to look for God and find Him.
I want to expectantly wait for Him and see Him.
I want to think of Him and rejoice in the blessings of His goodness.

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Is. 30:18)

 

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Let God Lift You, Today

I woke this morning feeling down. Upon my first step out of bed, a headache hit me. And, because the kids had to get to school early, I had no morning moments to spend with God.

I ran through the house finding uniforms and packing snacks, picking up plates and finding my keys. All the while, mini-assaults hit my mind. . .

That person never got back to you; she abandoned you. . .
You make mistakes Kelly; people see them. . .
You should be ashamed at how you are acting in front of your family. . .

I grunted some short words to my husband and headed out of the door.

Later, I decided to fight back. I refuse to be ruled by feelings, sickness, past issues, rejection, or annoyances.

What is ruling you? Do you feel down because of a person? Rejected because of how things played out? Ruled by what was? Tormented in your mind? Thrown off by how you act?

God broke my downcast spirit these three ways.

One: I spoke to myself, saying, “Insides, you will submit to the truth and Lordship of Jesus. You are under Him.”

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Ja. 4:7)

Two: I considered how much God loves me.

“The Lord will not reject His people; he will not abandon His special possession.” (Ps. 94:14)

Despite what people do, God will do what He will do. He works independently of “man”.  He cares about me, His special possession.

I told God about my sadness, then I received (and spoke) the truth that He is NOT rejecting or abandoning me. He will not do that.

Three: I vowed to God to return to trust. I asked God for fresh faith-in-believing.

How blessed and greatly favored is the man who trusts in You [believing in You, relying on You, and committing himself to You with confident hope and expectation]. (Ps. 84:12 AMP)

God will be good, no matter what. It is who He is. Sometimes, our minds may get out of alignment, but the Word of God readjusts us back into place. Nothing can contend against the Sword of the Spirit.

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God’s Heart for You

If you know someone, they respond to you. For instance, if you phone someone that you know, they’ll recognize your voice. They may say, “Oh, hey there. I knew it was you.”  If, however, a telemarketer calls, the voice is foreign. They may even hang up on the unknown caller.

Jesus said we respond to Him because we know Him.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—” (Jo. 10:14)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (Jo. 10:27)

We listen to God’s voice.
We know God’s voice.
We follow Him.

The “knowing” instructs our going. Or, at least it should.

Sometimes I act quickly before seeking, praying and asking. These are the times I bang up against hard issues or react pridefully, making things more complex.

How often do you bulldoze ahead without fully knowing and seeking God’s heart? What He is saying?

The sheep know God’s voice; they “listen” to His voice.

The Greek word for “listen” — akouō, means, according to Blue Letter Bible: to understand or to perceive (with the ear) something being announced in one’s presence.

We are wise to “listen to God’s voice” being announced in our presence. As we listen. As we seek. As we read His Word. As we hear His words. As we notice what He is doing. As he takes us where He wants us to go.

In rightly perceiving God, we rightly find our way.

Beyond this, we come to understand that God really knows us — and loves us anyway. He has a plan to help us to be conformed to the image of Christ. He encourages our heart.

I believe God wants us, daughters, to hear things today, like:

You are mine, all mine.
You make me proud; I love who I created you to be.
You are my delight.
You are fully loved.
You are wholly mine.
You are chosen.
You are holy in Christ Jesus.

I love you.

What can you hear Him say about you? To you?

Every word aligning with the Word of God. But all His words – words from God’s heart, change our heart.  To know God is to know peace. To hear His words is to gain courage, faith, hope, and love.

What might God hoping you perceive or understand today? What message might he want to get through to you? Ask. Seek. Knock. The door will be open unto you.

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Rest a Bit. God Has this.

You never have to strive for things.

strive
/strīv/
(Google Dictionary):
make great efforts to achieve or obtain something
struggle or fight vigorously.

Striving is sweating, worrying, fussing, toiling and trying oh-so-hard. I’ve been there.

Strivers run a hamster wheel that never stops. They tend to be tired and annoyed at all God requires of them. They “make’ like they are waiting on God, but push forward like everything will combust if they actually do.

Some may call them “eager” or “over-achievers”. Underneath all of that, they often want to feel special, loved, and are afraid of failure.

Peter was a bit of a striver.

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.  (Jo. 18:10)

I’ll take care of this Jesus. . .
I know what to do. . .
I have the answer. . .
I can defend the situation. . .

“Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” Jo. 18:11

Jesus doesn’t need our sword to execute His plan. He doesn’t need our ambition to see through His future. He, who sees the end from the beginning, knows how to take us to where He is going.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.  (Prov. 16:9)

We plan, God establishes.
We devise, God revises our way.
We see the great thing, God sees His greater thing through.

My latest question to God has been, “God when do you “do it” and when do you want to see me go — do it?”

His answer was, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

If everything is from Him and through Him, all for the purposes of — His glory, why would I ever want to do something through me, and steal His glory?

Striving steals God’s glory.

Prayer: God, you are God enough for me to wait on you. You are good enough for me to trust in you. Give me peace in the wait and joy in the process of seeing you move. Your ways are greater. May they come forth. Give me a heart to give you all glory. I love you, Jesus. Amen.

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Have Things Been Stolen From You?

Has the enemy stolen something that belongs to you?

Perhaps, you hoped for something, to go somewhere, or to be with someone. Perhaps, you expected to be further along? Or, that you would have met Mr. Right. Maybe you were close. Nearly there. Right about to do well. . . and then. . .

Bam!

. . . your fruit, hope, money, dreams, health, opportunity got — lost, taken, obliterated.

Or, maybe you thought God had great plans for you (you may have even had sight of them), but over time, after days, or years, they became nebulous (clouded) and out of sight. That is enemy theft too, you know.

Gradual theft doesn’t mean it’s any less a hold-up.

I am furious at the enemy. Thanks to God, I am seeing the enemy’s plans, playing out all around me in the lives of those I love, for what they are: Schemes meant to bring discouragement. To thwart us from seeing God’s goodness. To keep us stuck in the muck of “what could have been”.

No. Not on my watch.

It is written in scripture, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.” (Job 1:21). This is true. But, He never does so to ruin us, to cripple us or to steal from us.

God is love. Love repairs wrongs. It makes wrong things right. Delivers us from evil. Restores what is lost.

Take hope today.

Job was tormented, in pain, dealing with “wearisome nights” and “futility” (Job. 7:3), for months.  Then, he got to a moment of restoration.

He said to God, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.” (Job 42:2)

Look at the result: the Lord restored His fortune, He gave Him twice as much as before, people he loved gathered around him for a feast, he got the consolation and comfort he likely needed, people brought him gifts of money and a gold ring, God blessed Job in the second half of His life more than the first half, he had seven more sons and three more daughters, he lived to 140 years, seeing the fourth generation of his children. (See: Job 42:10-15) What joy!

“He died and old man who had lived a long, good life.” (Job. 42:17)

There’s nothing that was taken, that God can’t restore.

Tell God: I know you can do anything, God.  I know you can restore everything. I ask you to do so. No one can stop you. You are in control. I am not powerless, Father. My daddy is power-full. He loves me. You will restore me. I trust you. Circumstances don’t rule me, you do. Amen.

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Praise be to the Lamb. He is worthy.

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus.

Thank you. . .

You came for me.
You died for me.
You gave thought of me, forgoing the blessings of eternity to find me.

A hundred-million thank you’s is not enough. A billion flowers does not give you justice.

Your death makes my life worth living.
Your grace makes my days right.
Your love leads me safely, always.

Jesus, what you’ve done is not erasable.
What you’ve accomplished cannot be changed.
What love has triumphed, triumphs over every wrong, every fault and every fear.

It is done.

There is no power of hell that can stand against you, the precious lamb.
There is no serpent who can poison your faithfulness.
There is no way, your rule will be overthrown.

It is finished.

And now, thru your death, I have real sight.
By your body broken, I find healing.
By your blood shed, I live in shame no longer.

You are resurrection power-life and you are at work today, in my world.

Oh, Jesus, I thank you.

I praise you.
I adore you.
I want everything about you.
I enthrone you.
I admire you.
I worship you.

I love because of you.

I must be near you all the days of my life — nothing is better than you.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. (1 Jo. 3:16)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (Jo. 10:11)

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (Jo. 15:13)

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Are you Worried and Afraid?

My husband told my son, “Don’t go in the trunk of the car, son. It’s not safe in there.”

He explained to my 7-year old how a kid recently got stuck in a trunk; he lost his life.

My son, took my husband’s words extremely seriously. . . He turned and said to me, “Oh no, mommy you have to check the trunk every 10 minutes just in case I forget and go in. Mom, what if I forget a week later and get stuck in trunk? How many minutes will I be able to breathe for?”

Then he disappeared. Fifteen minutes later, I catch the front door slamming.  My son is walking back into the house.

“What have you been doing out there?” I ask.

“I taped the trunk closed. I am coming in to get more tape.”

Oh really? You taped close the trunk?

Outside, my son worked again, furiously adding more and more packing tape to the outside of the trunk without rest. My husband watched, then asked, “Son, is that tape strong enough to protect you or is Jesus?”

Some of us need to ask ourselves the same question. . .

Is my endless worry strong enough to protect me or is Jesus?
Are my strategies strong enough to protect me or is Jesus?
Are my words strong enough to save me or is Jesus?

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” (Ps. 18:2)

Every man-made, taped-up strategy is cuttable. Strong defenses set up by the Lord are impenetrable. Good ideas seem right in a moment. Nuggets sent from high transcend understanding. Attempts to protect our own lives are worthless. Yet, when the Lion roars enemies fall, flee or panic 7-ways.

The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. (Deut. 28:7)

Who can stop the Lord Almighty? Are you taping up life to keep it safe or are you trusting in Him who saves?

“The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” (Ps. 20:6-8)

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You are a daughter

You are a daughter. A daughter of the King of Kings. A daughter of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. A daughter of the One and Only.

For what seems to me to be an odd thing to do, I’ve always taken inventory of daughters. I’ve seen daughters of CEO’s. Their dads groom them from day #1 to take over. My friend in high school — her dad would pick her up and bring her to my favorite store then, South Moon Under and buy her all new summer clothes.  Then, there was the dad who took his daughter on summer trips — far and wide they’d go to the far reaches of the world. The dad who is a pastor and for His daughter, sends her message out to the world in a super-generous way.  The dad who rants about his daughter like she is the only light in his world. . .

Dads go far lengths for daughters. . .
They give their best for daughters. . .
There is no gift they withhold for “her” whom he loves. . .

Good dads give.

Father gave His son,
then, Jesus gave His life,
to make us daughters. . .
beloved daughters,
chosen daughters,
wanted daughters.

Being a daughter changes everything.

“You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. ” (1 Thess. 5:5 MSG)

Daughters dance in freedom because they know where they stand.

Their Father God just loves them. And loves them, no matter what.

In this, they don’t need to prove. Over-try. Try to make something out of nothing. Prove through acts of service they are good. Get angry at themselves when they fall and skin a knee.

The good dad picks them up and loves them again. Even when they acted bad. Even when for a time, they left the dad. Even when for a time, they were ungracious. Even when they couldn’t see their own faults. Why? Good dads love daughters. They want them.

What God put together, no man can separate.

Love poured out and there is no taking it back. Father wanted us as daughters and it is done. No power of hell, no scheme of man, no thought, no word, no place, no person, no thing is “able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro. 8:39)

Do you live like a permanent daughter of the Most High King?

Daughters rest in love.
They understand God is working.
They lean into His love.
They accept His help in a time of need.
They are okay not having all the answers.
They understand they’re getting taken care of.
They do not wonder if they’re good (The righteousness of Jesus now made them good).
They make peace with the confessed-past that Daddy doesn’t consider anymore.
They dance under the open-sky.
They rejoice because they are forever-loved.
They aren’t afraid of mistakes that lead to learning.
They are loved. You are loved.

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God, Please Come Fight My Battle

Some of you may feel like David, declaring:

“But “they” are glad now that I am in trouble (they are cheering my demise); they gleefully join together against me (they never wanted me to succeed). I am attacked by people . . . (nobody ever does right by me)  they slander me constantly (I am embarrassed). They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me.” (Psalm 35:15-16)

Maybe you feel taken advantage of, sad, lied about, mocked, persecuted, slandered, battered, misunderstood or bruised. You’re saying, “I didn’t do wrong. I’ve sought to handle things rightly. I’ve been faithful.”

If that’s you, God highlighted Psalm 35; I believe there is relief for you today. . .

. . because there was a man who understood your plight. David. David admitted truth, his hardship. But, he didn’t sulk in it, He lifted it up to meet the mightiness of God.

How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?

“Rescue me from their fierce attacks….
O Lord, you know all about this.
Do not stay silent.
Do not abandon me now, O Lord.
Wake up! Rise to my defense!
Take up my case, my God and my Lord.” (Psalm 35:17, 22-23)

Take up my case, David said.

Only God owns – your case. If God owns you, He most certainly owns your case. (1 Pet. 2:9).  God fights and wins. If the battle belongs to the Lord (2 Chron. 20:15), the methods through it certainly belong to Him. God brings victory through Christ Jesus. In light of His wonder and grace, Jesus WAS and IS and IS to COME, victorious.

What if you were to let Jesus reign in full in the center of your issue? What would fresh surrender look like? The enemy has no grounds to fight you when you’ve already given up.

Then, the King of Glory comes to fight your case. Sure, He may change your view along the way and shuffle you around a bit on the inside, but it is all about beauty. You’re growing in it.  You’re learning. You’re discovering the joy of real love.

With this, may I encourage you?  It’s less about your words, what you did, how you are seen, what people say about you, how “they” should have approached things differently. . .

As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (Ro. 10:11)

Let it go — to let God fight your cause.  And He will. And when God fights for you, He wins — even if you have to fight to unclench your hand a little along the way.

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