Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

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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Considering All That’s Going on…

love

So much is raging. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you. CoronaVirus and racial tensions are high. You’ve likely seen or heard the stories of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. My heart breaks.

Like me, you may be asking, how do I deal with all this? How do I stay near God and not fear? How do I act justly in the face of things I cannot control?

“And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Mi. 6:8)

Love mercy. Act justly. Walk humbly.

“Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:8).

When the outward position of our heart is love, the inward strength of our spirit gets revived.

When I respond with mercy and humility, the love I give WILL NOT fail them, or me. It cannot. God says it is so. It doesn’t matter if my love seems small. If it appears insignificant. If it only affects one person. It will NOT fail.

One small act can change the world.
One small blessing can heal wounds.
One small person can make a huge difference.
One small word can bring justice to many.

A mosquito is small but can have a huge impact if you spend all night with it. A headlight isn’t too big but shows you the way to greater lands. A hug is small but it can change everything when you haven’t had one in 4 months.

Scientifically, it’s even been proved that a small act of love can start a chain reaction of love.  Love is contagious. Just think of what happened after Jesus came on earth; now Christianity is all over the world. And, it happened through love.

Just as much as fighting can spread, so can a wildfire of love…

Let’s the be ones to start it…

We will not win wars on Facebook. Or, with political grandstands. Or, with high and grandiose opinions of how things need to change. We will win the war of the world through love, the love of Christ — touching nations, touching people, touching hearts, reaching out, listening, helping, understanding, sacrificing, and uplifting those who need help. Defending, the oppressed. Being present with those in need. Speaking up.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
    ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
    and see that they get justice.” (Prov. 31:8-9 NLT)

We were poor and helpless in our sin and Jesus stood up for us. His love won the day and, now, it wins our every day, from this point straight into eternity…

I don’t have every answer. Far from it. But, what I do have is a wild and unbelievable belief in the love of Christ to change the world. Let’s become activated in it. Let’s do instead of sit around and wait for politicians and people to come up with the answers. We have Christ in us! HE is the hope of all glory! (Col. 1:27)

Prayer: Father, fill us with your love. Grace us with your power. Show us the marginalized, the people in need, those that are taken advantage of…we want to help them. Give us eyes to see how we can help and move. Do not permit us to carry bitterness and anger towards others. May we be change-agents according to your cause. We love you. May we love every person, everyday independent of color or nationality. Teach us how to love like Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Can’t Decide?

Recently, we bought a car.

I pointed at a car online and told my husband, “I should get the black one with these features.”

But, later, I decided, “No, it’s too expensive.”

A couple of hours later, I completely changed course, “Maybe that’s not a good type of car after all.”

I couldn’t make up my mind. Once I settled on something, I found another thing that was wrong about the car. I prayed to God to guide me, but this kept happening. Grr… I was being double-minded.

Like me, are you ever double-minded? Is it hard for you to make decisions? To stick to your word? To stand firm on what you decide? To not regret the choices you’ve made?

Maybe you go left, but then wish you went right. Or, commit and then reconsider things the next day. God’s Word has insight for those like us…

“If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].” (Jms. 1:5-8 AMP)

I am beginning to see: to doubt God’s wisdom is to block His provision.

I don’t want to do that! Underneath it all, I think I am afraid: I’ll be left with a lemon, disappointed or unhappy with my choice.

But, what is the worst-case scenario? What if this actually happens — I buy a lemon or a smelly car. Here, how do I handle things when I trusted wisdom I thought was from God?

In this sort of case, I can handle my perceived disappointment by thinking or saying:

– “This situation may turn-around and surprise me.”

– “I am getting braver, stronger and wiser through this.”

– “God will show me the way to go here.”

– “I may uncover unexpected joy or blessings as I trust God in this.”

– “There is a plan here. Maybe God has some unique plan, like — I return to the dealership and speak to someone about Jesus!”

– “My faith pleases God, even in the face of hard situations.”

Perspective is everything. Wisdom keeps asking, “God, what do you want me to know in my situation?”

And, then, it simply trusts, knowing that in His goodness, His benevolence, He has a very good plan, no matter how it looks.

 

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Something out of Nothing

When I look at things — if I see nothing I tend to think — it is nothing. And, will be, nothing …

For instance, I am a little nervous. Come next September, I am supposed to be releasing my next book, “Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy (available for pre-order now).”

Frankly, I don’t feel prepared. I have no strategies. I haven’t shared much lately on social media. I haven’t done the stuff expected of an author. I’ve been homeschooling…because of CoronaVirus…because I still need to be a good mother…

With this, there’s an inclination not to expect much of the book.

But, Holy Spirit reminds me of a different truth; my God has the power to make anything and everything out of nothing.

Just think, He made John come-forth out of Elizabeth’s barren womb. He made Jesus come out of a tomb to resurrection life. He made disciples and thousands of people, thereafter, come to Jesus. Where there looks like nothing, with Jesus, there can become something.

“The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.” (Ps. 33:6)

It takes only a word from God and He can make something out of nothing. Don’t be discouraged.

You might feel like you see nothing much. Like your world has amounted to nothing. That you have made nothing out of your time. That there is nothing left for you to hope in. That you have a nothing relationship.

Don’t lose hope.

God is greater than the nothing you see; He is the Giver of Life. He hears prayer. He answers prayer. He sees your every path to life. He is known for making good things come out of nothing. Only just…believe.

 

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The Power of Christ

The news tells us we’re powerless.

“Cover your face, or else… ”
“We just don’t know when we will all be okay…”
“There is no telling how many people will die…”

The endless discussion is enough to make even the most faithful Christian weary, tired or uncertain. Many of us have taken down our defenses. Now, it seems we are prey.

We feel powerless.

Yet, we are not powerless. Christ has not left us powerless, but power-full.

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 1:19-20)

Can you even imagine? The same power that raised Christ from the dead AND seated him in the place of honor — is for us!!!

This is not theory or hearsay; this is truth.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim. 1:7)

We have a spirit of power.

Power to turn off the TV.
Power to pray.
Power to love.
Power to say I don’t agree with what I am hearing.
Power to use wisdom in accordance with peace.
Power to rise above the mayhem and into God’s rest.
Power to cast what is bothering us unto God.
Power to engage with God’s Word.
Power to have great faith.
Power to see God’s great moves in action.
Power to bless and heal others, through Christ’s love.

We are not powerless — like the enemy wants us to feel — we are power-full!

The difference between the two is often the difference between mental health and deterioration.

Prayer: Father God, I thank you that you have not left me powerless. You have not deserted me. You have not left me behind. I am not without a friend. Jesus is my friend. You are my Father. I have family. I am loved. It is well with my soul. It is well in my world. You have given me power, through Christ, to effect godly change in this world. And, I will do so! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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I Have Kept the Faith

kept the faith

I want this to be said of me…

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:7)

I want to “keep the faith!” What about you?

To keep something is to hold it. It is to hold it as dear, hold it close and hold it far from harm. It is to keep using it, practicing it, and leaning on it.

Are you “keeping” faith?

Keeping faith is very practical.  It is asking God to keep you and to increase your faith. It is worshipping, praising, and reading God’s Word.  It is to pray and listen.

Do you feel full of faith? Are you believing that God is the God of the impossible or just the mundane happenings in your life? Do you believe God will show up in your day or are you just trying to make it through? Do you expect God to hear and answer prayers or are you just lobbing up words because you are supposed to?

Faith believes in the exceedingly abundantly more of God; it sees God show up. It trusts even when it cannot see, even when the promise feels far. It hopes, again and again.

I think I lost hope for a while. I started to give up. If you have given up — it is a sign you have lost hope. If you are in this place, it is okay. God is faithful to restore and renew. Just give him your disappointment, your pain, your history, your trauma, your offenses and let him bring you back to new life again. Let Him restore your faith.

Prayer: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) May your faith be so great that it acts out with extreme love. And, may your King Jesus, be glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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I Can’t Believe I Just Said That!

said that

Post by: Sharon Jaynes

My friend Catherine and I set out for a lazy summer stroll through the neighborhood just before the fireflies emerged to start their party. We chatted about raising boys, working husbands, and decorating dilemmas. When we arrived back at her house, she invited me to come in and look at some fabric swatches for a new sofa. Before I knew it, a few minutes had turned into a few hours.

“Oh, my!” I exclaimed. “It’s ten o’clock. I’ve been gone for over two hours! I bet Steve’s worried sick. He doesn’t even know where I am. I’d better give him a call before I start back home.”

When I dialed our number, the answering machine picked up…which made me just a little mad.

“Steve, I was calling to let you know I’m at Catherine’s. I thought you’d be worried, but apparently you don’t even care because you won’t even pick up the phone!” Click. I said my goodbyes to Catherine and left feeling dejected. “I’m wandering around in the dark all alone and he doesn’t even care,” I mumbled to no one in particular. “I could be lying in a ditch injured, or dead for that matter! I don’t think he even loves me.”​

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed Steve coming toward me on his bicycle.

“Where have you been?” Steve desperately asked. “I’ve been riding all over the neighborhood looking for you! Do you know what time it is?”

When we arrived home, I quickly erased that angry voicemail. Whew, I thought. That was close.

A few days later, Steve called me from work. “Sharon, have you listened to the voice mail lately? There’s something you need to hear.”

So, I used my cell phone to call my landline.

The message went something like this: (The voice of sweet Southerness) “Hello, you’ve reached the Jaynes’ residence. We’re unable to answer the phone right now… (enter the voice of Cruella De Vil) “I was calling to let you know I’m at Catherine’s. I thought you’d be worried, but apparently you don’t even care because you won’t even pick up the phone!” (Return of sweet Southerness) “At the sound of the beep, leave a message, and we’ll get back with you as soon as possible.”

“Oh, my goodness!” I screamed. “How did this happen! How many people have heard this over the past three days?”

I called the phone company, and they explained that most likely during the thunderstorm we had a few days earlier, a lightning strike must have merged and scrambled the message.

I was mortified. I think God was too.

The Bible says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10). That all went down in one single voice mail.

As women, I am amazed how quickly we can flit back and forth between blessing and belittling, praising and putting down, cheering and critiquing—all in a matter of seconds. God has given us incredible power in our sphere of influence, and it begins with the words we speak.

In Genesis 1, we read that God created everything we see with but a word. He said, “Let there be,” and then there was. Then on the sixth day, when He created man and woman in His own image, He did something amazing, astonishing really—He gave us the gift of words.

Few forces have greater impact then the utterances that pass our lips. Our words can embolden a child to accomplish great feats, encourage a husband to conquer the world, reignite the dying embers of a friend’s broken dreams, cheer on a fellow believer to run the race of life, and draw a lost soul to Christ. Words start wars and bring peace—globally, and right in our own homes.

Sharon Jaynes is an international conference speaker and author of 24 books, with close to a million sold. For ten years, she served as vice-president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and co-host for their daily radio program. Sharon is the co-founder of Girlfriends in God, Inc., a ministry that touches nearly 500,000 women daily through internet devotions. Sharon is also a popular guest on radio and television programs such as Focus on the Family and Family Life.

 

 

In The Power of a Woman’s Words, bestselling author Sharon Jaynes will show you how to:

  • exchange careless words that hurt for intentional words that help others succeed
  • recognize words that tear down confidence and replace them with words that build others up
  • overcome the negativity that pushes people away and become a well of positivity that draws others in
  • tame your tongue by practicing practical principles that help you think before you speak
  • stop being disappointed in your lack of control by taking hold of the power of the Holy Spirit

 

 

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You Won’t Get it Right All The Time!

You won’t get it right, all the time.

Last Thursday, as the blog post I wrote about “patience” hit your inbox, let me tell you — my patience was running thin. Here I was telling you why you should be patient, yet, I was snapping at my kids…

What I thought I had it figured out when I wrote the post on Tuesday, was an issue again on Thursday!

The fact of the matter is — we don’t get it right, all the time.

Some of us need to hear this loud and clear today: you won’t get it right all the time. You’ll yell when you meant to be sweet. You’ll sweat when you should have stayed cool. You’ll be anxious when you determined to have peace. You’ll doubt when you determined to believe.

You’ll say to yourself, “Why can’t I do better? Be better? Act better?”

You may put your head down, in defeat. Yet, I imagine, God lifts it up again, whispering in your ear, “Child, I still love you. Even though…  Always…”

Let that relief sink in…  You see, where we are human; God is grace. Where we feel “fed up and ready to head out”; God still wants us. Where we are moody; God is constant.

Oh, how I celebrate this! He wants me, He wants me, He wants me. Even during all my — there I go again… why can’t I… I only wish…moments. He wants you too. It is His love that changes us. His love lifts us out of our pit of condemnation and sets us on a path of transformation, so we don’t do that thing we hate that we do.

Rest under His ever-flowing grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

It is not by your work that you change — lest you boast.

Little-by-little, step-by-step, it is God who carries us up and out of our old pit to new actions and reactions.  He gets the credit. He owns the work. We meet Him as he prompts our new steps, sure, but he ultimately transforms and conforms us to His image, not to a pattern of repeat-wrongs.

Acceleration comes, in this process, by receiving grace. Otherwise, you strive and then seek to take credit for His glory. Or, you start comparing your self-righteousness against the next girls.

No. Grace is a gift and, through it, all glory belongs to the Lord.

Do you see the beauty here?

There is rest available to you. Accept His grace. Open your hands. Allow God to change you, renew you, free you, form you and fashion you. Obey Him as He leads. You are His masterpiece and His possession. He cares for you.

The Master is at work. Rather than putting your eyes on what you do wrong, confess, and put your eyes back again on Him. He will shape you. Entrust yourself into His hands. And, He will do it.

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The Art of Patience

We honked. Actually, we didn’t honk, but I really wanted to… The woman ahead of us was — the. slowest. drive-thru. orderer. ever!!!

Add this to the fact that we had hungry kids in the back of the car, and a near brush with a police officer who was still behind us, and people in gloves and masks all around us…and I felt nervous. C’mon lady. Move it.

Is she ever going to go? What is wrong with this person?!

I looked in the rearview mirror and then looked straight ahead trying to see what the issue was. I leaned forward looking for an escape. Tension rose in my chest.

When we finally reached the Chick-Fil-A attendant, she said, “I am going to switch to the passenger side of your car for your order. The woman ahead of you was deaf so I got closer so I could hear her.”

She was — what?! Deaf.

In my impatience, I cursed a woman most in need of — patience. I felt horrible. She was doing a great job “getting out” and here I was critiquing her.

You know, we never know what it is to walk in another’s shoes. We never know the history of someone else’s hurt. We never know all their physical limitations. The details of their day. Why they delay or act wishy-washy or make us wait.

But, God knows… He knows their quirks as much as He knows ours.

In retrospect, I wish I extended patience, instead of getting — pushy. I wish I would have been patient.

Patience is never wrong. Even if it takes time. Even if it slows us down. Even if we listen longer. Even if we have to talk more. Even if we have to get out of our own mind and into someone else’s. Even we delay our mouth or our progress…

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph. 4:2)

Patience is love. It quiets discontent. It softens its response. It lets go of its own personal agenda. It loves by the Spirit. It discerns how to go. It makes space for others’ needs. It waits with a smile on its face. It pauses with the goal of lifting the other person up. It dismisses gripes.

It is kinds to oneself. It extends grace.  It remembers how patient and kind God has been — to us — so it can really love others.4

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Staying Calm and Wise

I was pretty sure: I knew my husband’s problem. I knew what was causing him issues — the thing he couldn’t quite put his finger on… I also knew what would help him and change his ways. All the same, I also knew it wasn’t the time, the place, the hour to tell him.  It wouldn’t go over well.

While my every emotion said, “Tell him, now. Get it out, already.” Wisdom said, “Stay quiet, Kelly. Wait.”

Grr…

Ever been there? You almost certainly have because we are all — living on top of each other! Here, more than ever, we easily see things about people: their quirks, annoyances, little things they need to know, and everything they should do.

In this environment, it can be easy to voice to quick advice. Or, to problem-solve with rapid-fire solutions. Or, to offer missile-like snap-backs at a moment’s notice.

What is annoys you? How do you react and respond? What do you voice and verbalize?

With my husband, in this case…I listened to wisdom; I didn’t speak. Instead, I prayed about God making-known the issue to him. About three days later, my husband approached me and said, “Kelly, what do you think about….?”

I told him everything. He listened and changed course.

I learned something critical here: more important than what I do say is what I don’t say. A withheld-word is wisdom-in-action. It is the difference between a person knowing my opinion and God’s breakthrough.

“A man of knowledge restrains his words, and a man of understanding maintains a calm spirit.” (Prov. 17:27 Berean Bible Study)

More than my knowledge my husband needed God’s breakthrough. More than my kids hearing my complaint, they need a positive environment. More than me having every answer, may my family experience Father God’s leading. More than perfection, may we all embrace grace.

There is so much that doesn’t need to be said — so that Jesus can speak a better word.

The less I say, the more room they have to hear.

Prayer: Father God, may we have the wisdom to know what to speak, when to pray, and how to say what needs to be said. May we be thoughtful about our home environment and how our words affect it. May we be life-bringers instead of hope-stealers. May we walk in an abundance of wisdom. May we trust you to do the work, our mouths are inclined to do. May you breakthrough in every area of need as it pertains to our relationships. You are a much better teacher and instructor than we are. We call for you help today. You have the best answers. We lean on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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