Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Find Someone Else More Worthy

Her text floored me. She said, “Kelly, I want to go with you to one of your speaking events. And, there, I want to wash your feet.”

Ummm . . . what?

Does this girl even know who I am? Does she even know how I battle pride? How I try to be less at these events, not more? Has she even considered how this act might make me feel? My heart is, continually, to be less about “Kelly’s performance or opportunities”.

It certainly IS NOT about being exalted more. Nor is it about seeing her beautiful face down on the ground washing my feet.

“No way” wanted to be my response to her.

I don’t deserve it.
I am the last person whose feet she should be washing.
I am flawed.
I mess up.
I hurt people.

Wash someone else’s feet who deserves it more than me.

And then, the Holy Spirit nudges my insides, “Kelly, you are missing the point. You are missing the heart. . .

Your worth has never been about “your” worth.
Your value is not about you “proving your value”.
Your getting your feet washed has nothing to do with you.

You can receive because Christ lives in you. Whereas in the old days, you’d 100% know you were unworthy and laugh in her face, today you can 100% know you are unworthy alone, but because of Christ and all His worthiness – he makes you worthy.

Because He gave it all, you can receive it all, even when you feel like the last person on this green earth who deserves it.

This is called unconditional. Unmerited. Undeserving. LOVE.

It’s not about you. It’s just not. It’s about Jesus. It’s about what Jesus may do when she gets low. It’s about how he might want to whisper to your heart, ‘You did nothing to warrant my love, Kelly, but I gave my life for you anyway.’. It’s about you understanding that you never have to prove anything to God to get His good stuff. It’s about love so divine doing everything for you, even though you are stinkin’ dirty.”

Grrr…I supposed I’ll say yes to her. It’s hard to though. I would much rather be washing her feet. I’d much rather be building her up. I’d much rather be low.

Sometimes it’s easier to be humble than it is to appear proud. Sometimes it is in the receiving our heart is really learning.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Pet. 5:6)

Sometimes receiving is humility. And, if I’ve learned one thing, it is this: love uncaptured, can’t be released. Somehow, I think God, wants to capture me more with His love.

How might God want you to capture love? To let go of feeling unworthy to experience His worthiness?

I am going to say yes to my friend.

 

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What Eavesdropping Taught Me

Ever noticed, in an airplane, it’s nearly fair-game to eavesdrop? With every word in ear-shot, you can’t help but hear. Yet, this time, I needed the words.

The woman a seat ahead of me said, “You know, I can tell if my employees love me. If they do, they’ll work hard for me.”

She went on, “But if they don’t. They’ll just show up and punch a clock.”

Right there. Right there in that packed-like sardines plane, God sucker-punched me (in a good way).

Heart-struck, I cried out internally in prayer, saying, “Oh, Lord, you know I’ve been slacking off a bit. Oh Lord, you know, I’ve started to some things in my day that are not pleasing to you. That are not “all-out.”  Rather than praying, I started playing online daytime video computer games (it’s true, you all. My 7-year old got me into it). Rather than trusting, I started fretting things I haven’t done. Rather than, doing the little itty-bitty God-moves He wants me to do, I started doubting. Oh Lord, to love you is to serve you. To follow you is to know you. To cling to your heart is to make room for it in my life.  I never, ever, want to punch a religious clock of going to church, or doing things for people, or looking right on the outside and like spiritual death on the inside — and call it a day. Forgive me, Father. I do love you. I love you with ALL my heart, soul, body and strength. I always want to serve you.”

So, I return here:
“We love because he first loved us.” (1 Jo. 4:1)
I receive His love.

I move-out here:
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jo. 13:35)
I love those in need around me.

I let His goodness shine forth from me:
You will know them by their fruits. (Mt. 7:16)
He owns the fruit-growing process; I just display it.

Joy wells up in me to do what He calls me to do, not because I have good plans, a smart mind or I work hard, but because I have come to “know Him” and love Him:
We know that we have “come to” know him if we keep his commands. (1 Jo. 2:3)
I get up and get going into all God wants me to do.

What is God calling you to forsake so that you can better partake in His love today? What might He do, if you just give Him the chance to see it through?

 

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When You Want God’s New Thing

My kitchen table. . . you don’t even understand what it looks like. . . The legs broke during one of our moves; now, they’re superglued. The kids did “paint projects”; now, splotches of many colors mark the wood. Sisters in Christ came over for a prayer gathering; now, a huge black mark is on the table. A fire burned through a candle.

Even now, as I type on this table, crumbs are placed all around me.

I’m like this table.

Sometimes, I feel like: I’ve been through it. Marks of old still live in me.  I remember them. I still see the scars in me and on my knees. I see things I am not proud of. I’ve wrongly accused people I love. I’ve wrecked a car a couple — or, maybe a handful of times. I’ve gotten prideful and had the Lord bring me back to the reality that He is 100% in charge. I’ve gotten fearful and worried-filled – like when my basement got flooded, or when I got that lump in my chest, or when I thought I would never be good enough.

I can still see marks. Things that I don’t want people to see. Even today, I still mark things up — I get upset at my kids or anxious because I’ve asked them 3 times to put their shoes on and they’re still munching down on breakfast, with laughs.

It’s not only the table, friends — there’s a chair-issue too. They shed off these weird-white pleather-like pieces everywhere. They’re practically unsweepable. But, the funny thing is — God hasn’t given me leeway to get rid of these things. The table and chairs stay with me. Front and center. The stark oddballs of the room, sitting on top of a rug that’s far too small for the space.

They’re like me.

I stand-out in weird ways at times. I have faults. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. Marks of yesterday, and even today, I can still see.

They’re front and center if I l let them be. The awkwardness of them could overwhelm me if I let them.

Or . . .

I can say, “. . . But Jesus. . .”

But Jesus. .  .sees it all so differently.
But, Jesus sees my “weird” and doesn’t want to throw me out.
But Jesus, like that burn mark, has burnt a hole of unparalleled, unquenchable and unbelievable love right in me.
But Jesus, makes all things beautiful in due time.
But Jesus, is okay with the process of life working in and through me.
But Jesus, has covered every sin and makes me white as snow.
But Jesus, has a plan for every scar, scratch, and mark; it will all be used for His glory.
But Jesus, looks at what was and declares what is new – I am a new creation, in Christ Jesus!!!

The disarray of old is fashioned into the glory of new. We cannot despise the process of life, of growth.

For all these good works belong to Him. We are His possession. His daughters. His treasure. And, He now loves what He sees. There’s a good plan for all of it.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)

Today, in the center of “lack”, I give thanks for His abundance. What appears to be not enough, in light of Jesus, is more than enough. I am blessed!

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My God will:

My kids.
My husband.
My family.

Saying, “my ___” has real value, signifies ownership, belonging and love.

A friend of mine, when God breaks through says, “My God.” As He shows up, she speaks, “My God!”

As if He did it just for her. . .

Her words touched me; He did do it just for her. He also did it just for Daniel when he was stuck in the den of lions:

“Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”

Daniel answered, “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” (Dan. 6:19-22)

Notice what he said: “My God”! 

My God rescued.
My God delivered.
My God knows my needs.
My God answers my prayers.
My God has a way out.

Do you know your God — as My God?

The one who moves on your behalf. The one who you proclaim as “My God” after victory. The one who sees, hears, understands and captures the picture of where you are and what you need?

“Not a scratch was found on Daniel because he had trusted in “his God.” (Dan. 7:23)

Not a scratch will be found on you as you trust in “your God”.

My God!

My God! He’s faithful.
My God! He shows up!
My God! He knows what I’ve gotten myself into.
My God! He knows how to get me out of it.
My God! He had the answers before I even encountered the problem.

He shuts up the mouths of lions.

Beats opposers.
Quiets lies.

My God! My God! My God! Just say it out loud – “My God!”

Take ownership of those two words. My. God.

My. God. You. Have. A. Plan. And. It. Is. Good.

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A Promise for the Days You Wonder if Anyone Sees

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

The screaming started as soon as the plane began descending into Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

To say I was mortified is an understatement. I tried to console my two-year-old son with toys and promises that we’d be there soon, but it was no use. I silently wished I could hide somewhere until we reached the terminal.

As I journey through motherhood, God repeatedly shows me it’s a continual process of refinement. And often, he uses situations I never desired to remind me his work is still in progress. This experience on the plane was one of them.

Travel with young children means trying to prepare yourself for the unknown. Need entertainment? The DVD player goes into the carry-on. Check. Need to regulate ear pressure? Sippy cups and binkies are packed. However, nothing can prepare you for the crying toddler who refuses to be calmed. You feel the tension of hundreds of eyes staring at you, silently yelling, “Quiet that kid down!” Only, you can’t.

My son and I were in route to visit my parents after our second cross-country move in five years. After months of house hunting, my husband and I had finally found a place near his new job, and he was doing some DIY projects before closing. This quick trip presented an opportunity for my son to see his grandparents while giving Chris space to work. It seemed like a win-win. But now, I was second-guessing myself, wishing I could buy everyone noise-cancelling headphones.

Questions circling my head turned to doubts about my mothering abilities. I was tired and drained from the stress of the last few months, and was sure my son was tired too. Did these people see how hard I was trying?

Did God?

After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived and I had one agenda: to get off the plane immediately. With our belongings thrown into the diaper bag, I swung my son onto my hip, ready to beeline it. Then, I heard a voice behind me.

“You’re really doing a great job. Keep it up.”

I froze, dumbfounded. Turning, a slightly older man stood there, smiling with sincerity in his eyes. Was he talking to me? He nodded, as if to answer the question I didn’t ask out loud. I mumbled a thank you, trying not to cry, and turned to leave.

Without even realizing it, this stranger gave affirmation I desperately needed in a season of uncertainty and doubt. God was speaking through him, straight into my heart, and I realized something. Every second I poured into my child made a difference.

In one of his letters to the church at Corinth, Paul encouraged followers of Christ not to give up, saying,

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV

Paul wanted to motivate the church at Corinth to keep pursuing Christ, showing that our sanctification is an ongoing process and not an immediate transformation.

While our right standing with God is instantaneous, the journey to becoming like him continues our whole lives.

As parents, we give ourselves fully to our kids, day in and day out. We wipe noses, change diapers and receive 3 AM wake-up calls. We care for sick babes and sometimes wonder if anyone sees us. And then when they cry on airplanes, we wish we were invisible.

But God sees. And He’s working. Even when we’re not sure He is.

No matter how mundane some of our work may seem, none of it is in vain when it’s done for the Lord.

And one afternoon on a plane full of strangers, He reminded me. He gave me the push I needed to keep going, and to continue letting Him transform me from the inside out.

Author bio:

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is to show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

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When You Crave Things

When I was in college, I remember sitting in the car dealership, asking my dad, “Please dad, please! Can I get this car???”

The amazing thing was — my dad wasn’t buying it for me. Somehow, though, I needed his permission. Yet, I was the one walking out of the dealership with a title and a $500 monthly payment on a vehicle. It didn’t matter, I was enthralled. It seemed my whole life was about to change.

The car was a convertible. For the first week, I was internally on-fire every time I drove that car. I wondered if people were looking at me. I wondered if I could feel better than I did when I sat in those fire-red leather seats.

Then, the buzz wore off.

It wasn’t long until it became an ordinary car. It didn’t feel as special. It didn’t look as shiny. The rear window cracked a little. The monthly payments were taking a big chunk of my monthly paycheck.

“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law. . . ” (Phil. 3:7-9 NLT)

Ten thousand times, I thought all these things were valuable, until. . .

One: They didn’t taste as good as Jesus.
Two:  Their joy ran out.
Three: I got bored with them.
Four: They actually became slavery.
Five: I wanted something else better.

What have you thought “was life”, only to find out– in the end –it wasn’t? A new car? A house? A better wardrobe? A new husband? A perfect job?

Everything pales in comparison when laid up against the One Thing, Jesus, who is everything. Treasures are trinkets once you get a taste Jesus’ love.

My heart, these days, wants to invest — less in goods — and more in love. What about you? What are you searching for? What do you believe will fulfill your greatest hopes, dreams, desires, and wishes?

“I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.” (Phil. 3:9-10)

So, today, more than ever, I invest in faith.

Faith is to believe God, despite what you see; to trust God more than you know; to rest on God more than makes sense for your running mind to comprehend. Because it is faith that gets to know Christ and to experience His mighty power that, astoundingly, raised Him from the dead.

Prayer: God, today, I ask for a transfusion of faith to happen. I ask that every reader of this post would be filled with fresh faith that we would all feel on-fire for you. I ask that lesser things fade away and that you as the One Thing come into pre-eminent position. We want you. We need you. We trust you. Fill us with your love, power, and goodness. We ask to know you more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Your Light Has Come

darkness surround

They were little lights, with huge impact. My son pointed them out as we drove my mom to the airport. Lined, all the way down the road were little matchstick lights strategically placed so airplanes wouldn’t mistake our road for a runway.

“Mommy.” He said, “But, how will airplanes ever see them?”

“Oh, they will,” I said. “Even the smallest light shines in the darkness.”

The catastrophic is thwarted by light. The airplanes will know their way because of this light. The light will give way to sight that will set people on the right-path.

Just a small light that many passer-byers don’t even notice.

Light in the darkness is massive. And, the light of Christ is here, today. It is effective to save, to heal and to empower. It is greater than anything you face. It doesn’t have to be a spotlight to be life-changing, it may look small, worn or faltering.

This doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how dim your family looks, how dire the world around you appears, how desolate your heart feels today, how dark your outlook has become. He who knows no darkness, casts out darkness as you trust His light to save. No power of hell, no scheme of man, no work of an enemy, no condition or malady that can stop the strength of light from going out to accomplishing its saving work.

What do you face today?

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

What mindset tries to tell you that your future will stay dark?

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46

What thing have you been trying to fix on your own?

“For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.” Psalm 18:28

Flesh is darkness; Spirit brings light, and life.

Today, I ask the Light of the World, to open your eyes up to His wondrous light, to His glorious plan and to His incredible breakthrough power. I ask that you would walk by faith and not by sight, as you trust His light to open a path before you. I ask that you rest in the arms of your, Savior. Your light has come. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Don’t Quit

Don’t give up. Don’t quit in love. Don’t decide God has left you.

And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. (Eph. 1:23)

Christ is filling all things, everywhere with himself. He is filling you! You are alive with Christ (see: Eph. 2:5). You are equipped through Christ. You are empowered with Christ – in you.

“Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor. 13:5)

If Christ is in you, how can you ever give up  — on you?

You are called to bring the light of Christ everywhere you go. It’s not about you. It is not about yesterday. It is not about your insecurities, inadequacies or inefficiencies. Forget all that. It is all about Jesus. You go and let Him shine.

“Because the God who said, Out of darkness light shall shine, is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us.”—2 Corinthians 4:6-7

The excellency of Jesus, the light of the world, the glory of God, the wonder of His power is reflecting on you, in you and through you. Be not discouraged or dismayed.

Go by faith. Even that you don’t have to fret about. All faith belongs to God anyway. Faith is a gift. He just gives it to you.

Blaze forward. Reflect Jesus everywhere. Touch the poor. Reach out and extend a hand. Be a word of encouragement. Light a fire in a neighbors heart. Pray for the sick. Counsel the weary. But, do not give up.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners (Is. 61:1)

 

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On that Day we Meet Jesus

The other night, I had an odd dream. In it, I accidentally stepped into an area of water next to my house. Like quicksand, the water and mud pulled me under. I was dying.

I know, it sounds morbid, but stick with me. . .

When I was dying, I called out to God, “God, I only hope I was good enough for you.”

When I awoke, I was not only startled by the dream but also shocked at the words I spoke.

It really made me think of my heart, what I think about God, and how it will be to die – to meet Jesus. I have to admit, I was a little shocked to hear myself call out, “I hope I was “enough” for you, Jesus.”

The reality of the gospel is not that ‘I am enough’, but He is enough. In this, I don’t have to – on my final day or today – fear that I am bad, not good, didn’t do things I should have or that I could have done more.

The blessing of Jesus and the price that He paid is that – all His righteousness got put on me. I only need to receive it.

“I am overwhelmed with the joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.” (Is. 61:10)

He wants me!
He chose me!
He saved me!
It is done.
Finished.
Completed.

When I meet Jesus and Jesus looks at me – I believe, Jesus’ main goal won’t be to search out the worst in me. He’ll be seeing me dressed in salvation, draped in righteousness, full of Christ Jesus. He’ll know me because He knows himself.

Praise be to the lamb who was slain. All glory, honor, power, and strength belongs to you!!!

In this, today, I receive afresh the fact that Jesus saved me, 100% apart from anything I’ve done or anything I will do. In an act of sheer sacrifice, Jesus paid it all for me, so that I could be free of me. I no longer have to worry if I am enough. I’ll never be enough to reach the standard of God, but Jesus is enough for me to reach heaven. Praise God! Jesus is enough! More than enough! He fills in my every gap and then some. He calls me His own. Father calls me daughter. I am adopted. I am free in His love. I am known and in His care. I am saved and kept eternally, forever.

So on that sweet day, when I go, I will — without fear (with God’s help) — run into Jesus’ arms, knowing HE is good enough and that He did enough to save me. Praise God.

How sweet it is to be loved by Jesus. How sweet to be saved. How sweet to let all else fade away and to feel yourself in his glory-filled arms, on that special day.

Prayer: Until then, God, will you give us an intimate knowledge of how much we are saved, loved and enough, in you, so that we can run into your arms on that glorious day, without shame? Will you let us know how much it is all about you, and so little about us? We need your grace, love, and peace to understand. Thank you, Father.

 

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What do they Think of Me?

I wonder what they think of me? How did I do? 

It’s a subtle thought  – but a dangerous one.

How did “I” do? How did “I” appear? 

Whether you are bringing a dish to a sick neighbor in need, giving money to your kid’s school, or spending your time with people in need -there’s one important question to ask yourself:

Am I doing it onto them or unto God?

I can tell if I’m doing it onto them if I:

expect accolades.
look at results.
decide that I did a good job according to how people react.
need feedback.
gain worth based on how I did.

I can also tell if I am doing it unto God if I:

am at peace no matter how things look.
am thankful.
understand that all good things from him.
get my worth from Christ’s acceptance of me.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10)

Pride masks itself as a need – to know, to want recognition, to appear a certain way, to have all the answers, to be loved by everyone, to be seen in good light. Humility, on the other hand, let’s all things go to God and understands that anything good, worthy, true, noble and of good report is the working of God anyway. He created it all from the start. He gave it.

A humble person is not “made” or destroyed by results, or even by God’s good gifts. They love the giver of the gifts more than the blessings of the gifts.

Where do you fall?

I’ve fallen to pride too many times to count. If you are there today, let me assure you, you can get right back up again. Ask God to help you remember His faithfulness, how far He has brought you, what He is doing and how He is helping you. Acknowledge both His goodness and your need for Him. Thank Him for His faithfulness. Thank Him that He is the one doing and seeing everything through. Lean on Him in your time of need. He is there for you. He is restoring you.

 

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