Purposeful Faith

Did God Really Say?

Sometimes, I say to my kids, “To delay is to disobey.”

For instance, I may instruct them, “Move away from the cake so you don’t end up eating it!”

If they delay and linger by it…eventually, they’ll put their finger smack dab in the center of it and lick the sugary icing off their finger. The temptation will be too great.

So often, to delay is to disobey. It leaves room to ask, “Did God really say…? Maybe it is okay if I…” (See: Gen. 3:1).  It opens the door to justification and rationalization.

Recently, God showed up in a big way in my life. It was an awe-inspiring breakthrough. I got clarity to a decisive next-step from God. On day 1, I was all in. But, day 14? I started to wonder, “Was that really you, God? Did you really say that? I am not sure it can work that way because ___, and ___and ___.”  I got an Eve-complex.

Questions — and all the reasons why it “couldn’t work” — were zapping my faith.

The delay was causing disobey to rise up in me. I began to sway.

It won’t be good because…
What I have here is really good…
It can’t possibly work out…

Rather than looking ahead to where God was taking me, I looked back at my circumstances.

Another woman did this. Her name was “Lot’s wife.”

And, God was not pleased with her behavior: “But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.” (Gen. 19:26)

She looked back at sin, at Sodom and Gomorrah. Today, I repent of looking back, delaying, and rationalizing my own way. I can’t move ahead when looking back. Nor can I go with God, when I’m going against Him. Forgive me, God!

And, He does, forgive me.

What about you? Where have you strayed? Looked back? Delayed? Where does it feel that you are working against God, rather than with Him?

You know, things of God won’t always make sense. They won’t always seem easy. They won’t always come together as we expected. But, this doesn’t mean God isn’t working in our life.  When we trust Him, even though, He helps us. When we keep our eyes on Him, despite what we think, He leads us. When we remember our best work has nothing to do with us, He equips us.

God has your best path and all you need — you already have — through knowing Him.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3)

Be encouraged, even if your way doesn’t make any sense.

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God Fights For You

There’s nothing worse than believing God for victory, only to experience defeat.

Has that ever happened to you?

Recently, I prayed and prayed, without change. I praised, without a breakthrough.  I hoped, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere.

Even now, I need God for everything, yet I wonder how he can possibly show up — in this situation. What if I am left with nothing? 

Fear wants to grip me. It tries to make me focus on the natural over God’s supernatural power.

God, will you really provide? Show up? Help? Can I trust You, God?

The Israelites are a bit like me: They saw the Egyptian troops chasing them down. They got overwhelmingly terrified. They must have figured they were incapable.. They were seemingly angry at their leader, Moses.

Upset with themselves and unable to hold-it-in they even griped, “What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:11-12, NIV)

Slavery was more appealing than trusting God for victory.

I’m like them when I say:

Why am I here, God? Where are you, God? Why haven’t you ____, God? This doesn’t make any sense, God!

Moses replied to the Israelites, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV)

As I’m still, God fights. Wow. This is incredible. Beyond natural sight is God’s greater fight. Far more effective than worry is my Warrior, God. He is bigger than any big issue I face. And stronger than the very definition of the word — strong, as I understand it.

God can accomplish more in a split-second than I can produce in my whole life. I want the work to be His, not mine. He can do anything at any time.

Our God, while we are still — fights on our behalf. Are we letting Him fight for us or are we griping, opining, complaining, and doubting?

God is working, even when you can’t see it.

It doesn’t matter if it looks like God is late. Or, if you would have done it another way. Or, if you can’t really understand. Still, God’s way is the best way.

A kid can’t understand why he gets a novocaine shot at the dentist, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t good reason.

You know, when the Israelites lost faith, God instructed Moses to tell them something. He said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to move on.” (Exodus 14:15) I believe God is saying the same today:

Move on from unbelief.
Move on from fearing your battle.
Move on from counting everything as a deterrent.
Move on from your old outlooks.
Move on from your self-limiting beliefs.
Move on from the idea there is no good plan.

And, trust God to fight your battle. You do this by: making space for God, listening to His heartbeat through His Words, and through ‘saying yes’.

God’s plan is good. Even here, in this instance, He had good reason for doing what He did.  It was so He could gain glory.

“Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground…And I will gain glory through…The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” (Exodus 14:16-18, NIV)

And so the Israelites moved. The miracle happened. The sea parted. And God got all His glory. The Egyptians knew who was God.

Friend, don’t lose hope; there is a good plan in motion.

 

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You’re More Loved than you Know

love

We tend to either think, “I am so bad”, or “God is so good”.

It can be easy to go down the “I am so bad” track. I am sinful. I make mistakes. I am not perfect. I don’t have great relationships. I am not ___ enough.  I ____ (fill in your own despicable blank). We’ve all thought this way one time or another. Here, we allow the crushing weight of how things seem, overpower the great price Jesus paid for us. We get focused on us when it is all about — HIM!

When this happens, we don’t have to stay here. We can consciously break through the static of mind and thoughts — and return back to “God is so good” land — by remembering two words: But God.

But God is greater than my emotions.
But God still loves me.
But God sent Jesus and this changes everything.

But God showed His great love for (me) by sending Christ to die (for me and to save me) while (I) was still a sinner.” (Ro. 5:8)

But God, despite all of my flaws, still wants me.
But God, eternally and faithfully says, “She’s still mine…”
But God shows us He still wants us.

Nothing. No power, no scheme, no circumstance, no condition, no angel, no demon, no height, no depth, no worry, no fear, nothing — can separate us from Christ’s love.  (see Ro. 8:38) Nothing.

God is faithful to love me, always. To keep me, eternally. To help me, continually. To want me, entirely.

I am not disowned, dismissed, dejected or denied.

I am His. He is mine.
You are His, child of God. He is yours.
Forever. Completely. Entirely.
Wanted. Loved. Cherished. Chosen.

These words are not just words; they are absolute ownable truth for sons and daughters of the Highest Ruling King. King Jesus.

This changes everything. To know God more than a hypothesis, beyond theology, deeper than words…allows the very heartbeat of Christ to resound within you. It beats like unconditional, incredible love that never ends. It brings both security and significance that cannot be altered by men or circumstances. Because you own it, it can’t be sold away, taken or stolen.

And, if you don’t yet know Jesus? He wants to love you like this… Give Him your heart today. Tell him, “God, I want to know your love. The truth is: I sin. I mess up. I haven’t always done the best things. But, today, I ask for your forgiveness for all these things. Thank you that you freely forgive because Jesus freely gave His life on the cross, for me. With this, I am now free to receive all of your love. With this, I accept Jesus into my heart as my Lord, My Savior, My King, and The Lover of My Soul. I want you, above all!  I surrender all of me, to all of you, so I can receive your best for my life and so I  can live-out your most incredible plans. Thank you that your saving-grace now allows me to know your unconditional and unwavering love, forever…”

Friend? If you prayed this…please comment on this post and let me know. All of heaven and all of us — celebrate with all of you. May the rich and lavish love of Christ so flood your heart that nothing is ever left the same!

I love you all.

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Crippling Self-Reliance

self-reliance

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

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

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

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

These words remain true today…

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

The battle belongs to the Lord.

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

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

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

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

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Few Words, Big Difference

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not my win; it is God’s.

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

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

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

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

 

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Are You Headed the Wrong Way?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All His ways are good.

Prayer:

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

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Don’t Lose Hope

lose hope

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

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

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

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

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

The Lord promoted David, independent of looks.

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

God is outside of time, yet always on time.

God showed up and David became King.

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

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Where’s My Passion?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Enter into Rest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What is it You Really Need?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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