Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Seek The Heart of The Matter

The man got out of his pickup. He ran down the stairs quickly. As he did, as if I was sizing up a suspect, I noticed his cut-off sleeves, his see-through thin white shirt, his scruffy beard, hid tattooed arms and his body that was far too thin. Was he on drugs?

I saw him dispose of something next to the sidewalk. What is he doing? Is there evidence he wants to get rid of?

Suspiciously, I kept my eye on him, as he quickly ran off…back to his car.

What did he do? I was determined to find out. So, as I approached the area of the sidewalk where he “disposed of his stuff”, I looked down. And, right between the side-walk and the water, was the evidence — a little turtle.

This “evil” man had rescued a turtle from the road to bring it to the water. He saved it from death to bring it to life.

And, as I looked at that turtle, I saw the reality of me: I size people up too quickly, by appearance, without knowing the reality of their heart.

My head dropped as I walked on. I am well acquainted with another group — who did a similar thing…the Pharisees.

They accused Jesus of healing on the Sabbath, without considering “the heart” behind Jesus’s motives (see: Mt. 12:15-21)

They misinterpreted Jesus intention to heal, missing His heart, by attributing the power to the devil. (Mt. 12:22-37)

They missed the whole new covenant because they couldn’t perceive the heart of God, through Jesus, in flesh and blood.

Let’s not judge, before we seek to understand — real truth. We are quick to size up what we can’t understand. Our natural mind demands we draw conclusions, rather than to wait on the Lord’s answer. Or His deeper meaning. So, we label people before our heart has come to know their real heart-motivation.

But, what if we were to give those around us “the benefit of the doubt”? What if we were to “believe the best”? Wait before sizing-up?

For instance, rather than judging people different than us, we can suspend our thoughts and pray a blessing over them.

Rather than picking apart our husband’s actions, we can choose to say, “I know he loves me. He is doing his best.”

Rather than assuming a friend doesn’t like us anymore, we can say, “I better call her and see how she is doing. Maybe she is having a hard day.”

Rather than believing God has forgotten us, we can say, “I don’t see answers to my prayers now, but I know God has all my requests in His hands.”

We can do something different: preserve our heart. When we wait on the Lord — He usually has a better answer. There are better heart-interpretations than ones we lean on though instinctive reactions.

What might you need to step back from in order to see from your heart? Where might you need to wait, instead of drawing conclusions?

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Prayer’s We Can Pray

Now, more than ever, we need to pray. We cannot change the climate of this day unless we pray. I am convinced of this. So much so, I feel an urgent need to create a reservoir of prayers to assist us in praying. Be it a daily prayer, a safe-keeping prayer, a repentance prayer, a protection prayer or a night’s end prayer. The goal of these prayers is to help you: persevere, gain courage, fight-the-good-fight and overcome through Christ Jesus.

While this is the first of a multi-part blog post of powerful prayers, it will eventually end up as a dedicated landing page on my blog with all the prayers listed. You can return to the page, to pray (more on that page link, later).

As you pray these, remember: 1. God hears. 2. There is power in persistent prayers. 3. God answers prayers.

Print these pages. Keep them prayers close to you. Share them with others (I will be posting these prayers on FB if you want to share it there).

Prayers to Pray (Part I):

“Accepting Peace” Prayer

Father God, the world is moving 1000 miles an hour. Often, I can’t keep up. I can’t keep track of the news coming at me. I can’t figure out my best way. I can’t manage every detail. I can’t make people do what I want. Things are beyond my control.

I feel restless in waiting. Unsure about what my future holds. Not knowing what to do.

But, Father God? I thank you that you have all control. Jesus, you as my Prince of Peace,  have left me peace. Today, I choose to accept this peace.  I take a moment to truly receive what you have given. I cast my cares on you and receive the peace you have given.

I also choose to stay near you today. I choose to think upon you. For it is written, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Is. 26:3)

Today, Father, give me the grace to keep my eyes on you, my ears attuned to you, my heart in check with you, and my feet following you. Then, I will live peace.

Today, I choose to fix all of me, on all of you!

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“Resting in the Arms of a Good Father” Prayer

My Daddy God, you love me. I am loved by a good, good Father.

This is amazing! Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for keeping me as your own. I am so glad it pleased you to save me. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that I am loved and wanted, but I AM!

My Father God? Will you, today, reveal to me your fathering heart? Will you help me to see the million ways that you take care of me, provide for me and love me? I want to see your ways, above my own. I want to behold your faithfulness and goodness in fresh and life-inspiring ways.

The truth is: you are miles, lengths, widths, and depths — BIGGER  –than my mind can even conceive. I cannot even begin to fathom.

You have small-me in your big-hands. And, your hand IS “the mighty hand of God.” Your hand IS mighty-to-save, mighty-to-move and mighty-to-provide. The bigness of you transcends even my faintest conception of You. Your ways far exceed mine, your goodness is far greater than mine, and your thoughts are galaxies above mine.

Today, I choose to rest all of me, in all of you! I can trust you.

For,

Everything belongs to you!
All kingdoms rest in your hands!
All money is yours!
You rule over everything!
There is nothing you can’t do!

Even more, you ARE faithful! Always and forevermore.

Daddy, I want to be close to you. Will you give me a more complete understanding of your goodness and your vastness? Wil you unveil yourself to me?  Will you give me spiritual understanding so I may go, faithfully walking, by your Word?

In this, I will become more full of life and power that comes from you!  I will more so love others with that same love in which you loved me. I will rest under the cover of you — a good Father — who loves me with love like I’ve never known before.

Fill every place of me, with every bit of your Spirit.

May I, down to the cellular and mind-level, know:
I have nothing left to prove.
I have no work left to do to gain love.
I need no weight of worry, for Jesus already carried the weight of the cross.

Everything has been proven on the cross. It is done.

Praise be to you, Father of Lights and giver of every good gift. I am loved! I am helped! I am protected! I am kept! I am led! I am equipped! I am called! I am whole!

Glory to you, God. And, thanks be to your son, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

“Affirming Your Identity in Christ” Prayer (See: Romans 6)

Father God, I thank you that it is done! Because of your son, I am now dead to sin and alive to Christ Jesus. My sin nature has NO power in my life (Romans 6:6). Praise be to the Lamb! I am dead to sin and now alive to Christ!

Christ is my living-reality. Christ is my vantage-point. Since I am united, with him, in his death, I am also raised with up him to new life (Ro. 6:4). With this, I live new life. I see new life. I believe in new life for all those I reach with his gospel.

This affects — all my life. I am not down and out. I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies. I am not ruined, I have a new heavenly vantage point. I see above earthly realities, for the Holy Spirit in me, illuminates all truth. I live by the Spirit and not my flesh. I am led by the Holy Spirit and not my flesh. Fill me afresh, today, Holy Spirit.

I am alive!

Because of this, in everything, today, I choose to see higher. I choose to see above my problems and my issues. I choose to set my eyes on the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). I am no longer a slave to sin. I am set free from the power of sin and death. I now live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus!

When I make a mistake, I repent and move on, by your grace. It is that simple. I receive forgiveness and I forgive myself too. Your grace always makes way for a new habit or response. I live in the newness of life, not in the old. Not in the past.

I walk in the newness of life, all-the-time! I walk in righteousness and connected to righteousness.

With this, I am completely given-over to you, God. I live my life, through Christ, by Christ, with Christ, and for Christ. I shine the light of Christ.  I am submitted. I am reliant. I trust God in all things, as I move with Him. No forces of hell or schemes of the enemy can stop the life of Christ that is working in and through me.

My body is a tool, unto the glory of God. This is why I choose to: get sleep, eat right and receive rest. I take care of my temple. I honor it. All of me is a worthy vessel, for all of you, my Father.

I also walk by faith and not by sight. I walk in obedience not in self-destructive self-sacrifice. I walk in hope and not disappointment.

Right now, I cast off any sin or hindrances that easily entangle me from moving forward with you.

I receive all the grace I wholeheartedly need today. I boldly approach throne of grace.

Here, I remember: I am adopted. I am a child of God. I am beloved. I am chosen. I am part of God’s royal family. I am free. I am always loved. I am whole. I am thriving. I am showing Jesus to the world. I am unafraid.

Whom the son has set free is free indeed. I am free.

Through God, I produce good fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Good deeds, flow easily through me, as I am submitted to the Holy Spirit working through me. I am not bound by the letter of the law, but free by God’s grace.

Shame has no claim to me.
Fear cannot touch me.
Sin has no weight over me.
Feelings of ‘less-than” don’t rule me.

I abide in Christ. I believe God’s Word is true. I focus on what God says about me. I trust God in all things. I love others with all my heart. I am alive and it is well with my soul!

All glory to God, who is worthy of all my praise, affection and adoration. Worthy is the Lamb!

In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

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Under God’s Cover

This morning my 6-year old daughter wondered if there was a tornado coming. Out of fun, I checked the weather. Oddly enough, she was right. There was a tornado warning for our area. For the next hour, we should: beware.

Laying on the bed, while trying to calm her fears, I said, “Do you know what I would do, Madison, if a tornado came this way?”

“What, Mommy?”

“I’d throw my body over you, like this…” I then, laid right over her, acting like a mammoth overhead-covering so she wouldn’t get hit by the imagined fray and swirling winds.

At that second this verse popped in my head…

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge…” (Ps. 91:4)

God does what my instinct as a parent has me do….He covers.

God covers us to shield us from the worst, coming at us. Jesus proves this. His very own skin was damaged to defend us from the oncoming ravages of sin and death. Jesus, thrown up on the cross, covered our every mistake with His body as He took our pain on.

God not only protects, but He covers.

With this, let me ask you a question: If God sent His very own son to protect you this bloody way, how much more will He protect you today?

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)

He cares to protect you. He wants to keep you.

Yes, the winds of fear surround us. But, rest is available right here — in the midst of this — under the cover of His love.  Will we enter in? God will never force us, but He will always welcome us. How? How do we this?

We:

  • Remember the cross when we get weary or doubt-filled.
  • Believe that He will protect and keep us.
  • Remind our heart of specific instances of His past-faithfulness in our lives.
  • Give Him all worry or fear. Repent.
  • Thank Him for His care and choose to dwell our mind on it.
  • Entrust our wellbeing into His hands, allowing Him to be our shield.

“He is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Prov. 30:5)

To those who choose to take refuge — they will rest under His cover. With this, don’t look left or right to size-up what is happening with other people. Don’t get sucked into the Evening News. Don’t get pulled into fear because someone said that cats or dogs are carriers. No. Keep your eyes on Jesus; let Him cover you with His perfect peace.

Prayer: Father God, I give you my fear, my worry, my stress, and my anxiety. I don’t want to be covered by things that keep my heart nervous and tense. I don’t want to be covered by a cloud of gloom and doom anymore. I choose to move out from under these things so I can rest, under your cover. Will you forgive me for carrying all this? You are the Prince of Peace. I choose to follow you in all things, in all ways. Pour out your grace on me so I may walk near you, all my day. You are my only and my best “cover”. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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God answers prayers!

God answers prayers.

A couple months back, I asked, “How can I pray for you?”  The response was overwhelming, so much so that I didn’t even think I could pray for everyone. But, I did.

And when I did, I somehow knew many would see breakthrough! I expected BIG answers. Why? For many reasons…

Because we serve a BIG God.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Eph. 3:20)

Because prayer moves mountains.

“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” (Mk. 11:23)

Because God answers prayers for those who believe.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mk. 11:24)

Because God hears those who don’t quit asking.

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Lu. 18:4-7)

Friends, keep asking. Keep believing.  And, be persistent.

Requests sent up DO NOT fall on deaf ears. Actually, the time we spend speaking to God is far more effective than the time we spend speaking to anyone else about our issue. Prayer effects change, whereas small-talk  — sits us down in pain.

Prayer works.

For example, earlier this week, I got an email. It read:

Hi Kelly..

I trust this finds you well.

I was looking through my old emails and I came across this. Your prayer (for me) was answered totally and I just want to let you know I am very grateful…I won’t send you pictures but you would not believe it if I did.

Kindest regards…”

We pray, God listens. Even when we sleep, God doesn’t. He never sleeps.

“He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.”  (Ps. 121:3-4)

God moves, even when we don’t.

I got another email. This one read:

 “God finally answered a long-awaited prayer yesterday by blessing my husband with a new job right smack in the middle of a pandemic! And not just any job, a massive promotion to the executive level. Only God can perform such miracles and I believe he will do more miracles on the worldwide scale through this pandemic. I can’t wait to see what He does next!”

Friends —  prayers open up God’s miracles. So, let’s pray for one another. Your breakthrough could only be one prayer away. A sister’s breakthrough could be the difference between you lifting her up and you moving along to another online thing.

Dear ones, we need each other now more than ever. We ARE the body. And, this IS the church. More than grandiose sermons, ample programs or big church buildings — this basic, elementary practice of prayer is Jesus’ great vision for “church”. Let’s get back to the heart of the matter…

“And He said to them, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer’” (Mt. 21:13 NASB)

Let’s pray:

Papa God, we ask for breakthrough for every person who reads this post today. We ask that you would extend such grace — such peace unexplainable and joy uncontainable that it would touch each and every one of us today. We ask that situations be transformed under your glory and grace.  Where there is fear, bring faith. Where there is devastation, rebuild. In the face of depression, bring healing and great devotion to you. I ask for life in the place of death and hope in the midst of disappointment.

As the body, we also pray that:
prodigal children, return home.
the sad, be comforted.
the sick, be healed with new strength.
the hungry, be fed.
the weak, be renewed.
the lost, be found.
the marital issues, be transformed.
the pride in us, be humbled.
the fearful, receive faith.
the pain, be sorted out.
the bitter ones, forgive.
the broken, find breakthrough.
those waiting, get wisdom.
the unseen, know your care.
the hopeless, find hope in you.
the bound up, proclaim Jesus.
all glory, makes it to your throne.

Jesus, you are — our answer, our hope, and our ONLY way.  In you, we place all our trust. Your way is our best way. In this, we lay down our good way, so that we walk your best way. Give us fresh vision to see and fresh ears to hear all you want us to understand in this hour. Make us, not just hearers of your Word, but understanders, who naturally become do-ers. May every bit and morsel of glory go to you. May we live all our life for: your glory, your honor, your acclaim and for your kingdom purpose! We pray in agreement. We lift all these things up to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

*Friends, if you find that God answered this prayer in a beautiful way, please share the testimony with me. I am expecting great things from our collective prayers. Thank you, Father God, that you hear us! We love you!

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Need help in this battle? Read Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously to gain new hope and Godly thought habits.

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Easter Resurrection Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Walking in the Blessing of Today

blessing

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

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

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

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

You know, my friends and family…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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God’s Divine Protection

peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Am I Good Enough?

That I would be good if I didn’t encourage everyone…
That I would be good if I didn’t raise my hand to serve…
That I would be good if I had nothing to say…
That I would be good if I was sick for the rest of my life…
That I would be good if I didn’t say wise things…
That I would be good if I was never seen…
That I would be good if I didn’t get everything right…

That I would be good if, aside from doing things or being things for you, I was still loved. The most basic desire is to know: we are still loved, even though. Apart from what we do… Apart from what we say… Apart from what we bring… Apart from how we appear…. We are still — wanted.

Do you ever feel that you have to do, to be, or to have things — to be loved. To feel wanted?
One of the greatest freedoms I’ve ever experienced is to experience: God love — no matter what.

“…Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Ro. 8:38)

We are so in God’s love, no lack of us can ever pull us out of it. We are still good even when we’re bad. We are still wanted, even when we don’t want to say yes. We are still cared for even when we don’t care to have or be like everyone else. This gift? Jesus’ gift, the leeway to be free, is — lavish.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

When Jesus looks at me, despite my sin, my mistakes, my lack, my situation, my appearance — He sees His righteousness and holiness. It is incredible! I am loved, always. I am wanted, always. I am cared for, no matter what.

This is no license to disobey or to do whatever I want. On the contrary, this is a license to freely love and obey God with all my heart — not from the place of burden but from a heart that is truly blessed. This difference makes all the difference. We’ve seen people serve from burdened obligation. Even when they act their best and do amazing works, they still have a small huff-and-puff about them or high-and-mighty self-righteous attitude. They tell everyone about it. But, one who serves because they are loved and free? Oh, the joy of it! Oh, the heart of it! Oh, the connection with God! No one ever has to know.

Where might you be working out of burden and obligation rather than out of freedom and a loved-position? Have you ever considered that you are not earning, through obedience, favor with God? You already have it.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that we are now, because of you: holy, blameless and righteous in your eyes. We are wholly wanted. We are chosen. We are loved, no matter what. We are positioned in you and you are in us. May we never lose eyes for you, our first love. May we serve and love others from a pure heart, rather than a heart that tries to prove its own worth. We love you Jesus. Even if we do nothing, you still love us. Even if we make mistakes you still love us. Even if we never amount to much, you still love us. You are amazing. You are incredible. You are almost unbelievable, except, we believe. We believe you love, want and have chosen us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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How the Enemy Smells Fear

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

I wouldn’t have it.

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

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

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

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

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Lu. 10:19)

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t be discouraged.

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

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

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Patience in Turbulence

patience

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

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

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

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

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

So what do we do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What about you? How are you doing?

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

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

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