Purposeful Faith

Tag - faith

The Power of Words

Our words have power.

Perhaps, you hear those words-of-old still reverberating within you. . .

You’re SO __.

You’ll always be ___.

You’ll never ___.

You’re such an ___.

No matter who you were – a child, a dreamer or vulnerable one, negative words like these can hurt us. They don’t always have to be spoken to be damaging, either. A picture or a face can say in a moment what the thousand-word put-down could never say.

Recently, I heard a mom inform a daughter, “You’ll never get that award for good character. You’re mean like me.”

Upon hearing this, my head sank down and my heart nearly cried out. I could almost imagine the girl thinking, “I guess I won’t try next year. My mom knows who I am. I’ll never be good enough for that kind of good award.”

At the same time, how many times have I proclaimed things that bind people?

“You’re like me. . . you’re so. . .”

“You are not clean.”
“You never listen.”

Jesus spoke differently. He spoke “to proclaim good news to the poor. . . to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. . . recovery of sight for the blind. . .(and) to set the oppressed free,. . .”  (Lu. 4:18)

To talk restorative words, like Jesus, I must do 2 things:

ONE: Forgive the people who spoke things over me — and receive God’s truth. 

You always __, you never __, you are so __, you can’t __, or you are a burden-type of statements of old must be recognized. Who said them to you?  Forgive these people. Why? Not because they deserve it, but because Christ didn’t “deserve it”, but still paid the price for you.

Seek the Word, God’s heart and through prayer obtain the actual truth about yourself. For some it may be: I am growing in this area. I am not an idiot or stupid, but wise through Christ generously gives wisdom to all who ask (Ja. 1:5). I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. I am now holy, blameless and pure, because of Jesus.

TWO: Resolve to speak blessings. 

Decide to speak blessings. I realize, not every word can be a blessing, as we have to say things like, “Can you pass the butter?” but if it opposes Jesus’ words to — “set free, build up, send forth or proclaim freedom”, then censor it and don’t speak it. Look for the good. The worthy. Use encouragement. Do this, even with inner-words you speak towards yourself.

Also, be freed friend, there is absolutely no “perfection” in this process. Since I’ve started thinking about what I am speaking about, I have caught myself 50 times being too quick to speak. This is okay. God is faithful. He will teach us. He will free us. He will help us. He will give us eyes to see the good, both within our self and within others.

There’s grace for our going and for our speaking.

Amazingly, the more grace-filled words speak, the more they’ll exist within us. Rather than looking for the bad, we’ll start looking for the good, even within our own lives. As we redirect our words, our mind will hone in on the heartbeat of Christ.  Rather than going down dark and discouraging roads, we’ll hope on paths that speak and promise new life.

We can do this! I believe in you — and most importantly, Christ in you.

 

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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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When You Feel Nameless

I saw the other author from afar. Sure, conference attendees were blocking her, but I knew it was her, so I approached to say ‘Hi’.

Sitting down right next to her, I smiled. She stared back tentatively. I waited for her to recognize me (we are after all in a similar circle with similar friends). Yet, her face was blank.

“Hey there, it’s so great to see you,” I proclaimed. She muttered back a one-word answer.

Perplexed, I asked her, “Hey ___, don’t you know me? I’m Kelly Balarie. I am an author too.”

She answered, “Nope, I don’t know you. I’ve never heard your name.”

She what?!!! Bricks hit my chest. My chest hit the floor. I sat like an exposed duck full of embarrassment.

I’m unknown.

I’m unwanted.

I’m unseen.

What a fool I am to think I’d be “known”.

I’m so full of pride. I should have known better to think someone would “know my name”.
 It was so arrogant of me pre-suppose I’d be recognized.

Here, it was as if every childhood diss hit me afresh. Me – the girl sitting alone on the curb at recess. Me – the one made fun of because of my big nose. Me – the one the cool girls walked away from. Kelly? Huh? Who is she? We don’t know her name. 

I want to blame all them. As if they’re the reason I want to be wanted and I need to be needed. 

They’re why I cry out for attention.

But are they?

Growing up, I was the oldest of six kids, a mom on some days, a daytime babysitter on others, a back-up disciplinarian, a school-supply checker, a number amongst other important numbers…but, at the center of all this – I always wanted to be seen, known, wanted, valuable.

Is this wrong?

To want to be wanted? Do you feel this way too? Perhaps you want your husband to talk to you more. Perhaps you want that boss to finally give you the promotion you deserve. Or you want to be recognized for the friend you really are. Or as the sister who is super patient and forgiving

I don’t think God hates our desire to be seen, as much as we detach from it and call it “icky pride”. I don’t think He’s as embarrassed by our desire to be wanted as we are. I don’t think He shames us because we want to be known.

Because God fulfills each and every one of these desires – in us.

The question is are we looking to Him or to man for this infilling?

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10)

7 Truths that Show How Much God Sees & Knows You: 

God “Knows the plans He has for us.” (Jer. 29:11)

He calls us “children of God; and so we are.” (1 Jo. 3:1)

He creates us as His “worksmanship”, a beautiful work reflecting His glory. (Eph. 2:10)

God looks at us and sees Christ in us. (Ro. 8:10)

God wants us; He gave his most precious possession for us. (Jo. 3:16)

Our names are written on the palm of His hands, our hairs are counted and our words are known before they’re even spoken. (Is. 49:16, Lu. 12:7, Ps. 139:4)

He loves us first – before ever loved Him. (1 Jo. 4:19)

Do you feel alone? Disappointed? Are you struggling? It is not too late to get the Journey Together All Access Pass, full of 40+ how-to videos from authors and women’s ministers – click here for more information: www.journeytogethersummit.com

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I Don’t want to Take a Step Back

What if your power to move ahead, was in stepping back? What is not pressing ahead, but sitting out?

I recently heard a story that captured me. A group of All-star basketball players went to meet an elite coach. His instruction was that they step back; he wanted to re-structure their basketball shot. The mechanics and technique of their shooting arm needed to be entirely reworked to take them to the pro level. For this change to happen, they’d have to go back to the drawing board for 3 months. They’d need to essentially sit it out on the sidelines as they learned a new way.

The sad part was many of the players couldn’t, or wouldn’t do this. They wouldn’t listen to the coach. They didn’t want to lose thier all-star status.

Yet, what they didn’t realize was to compete on the next big stage, they needed this new skill. The coach knew: refinement was required.

A rich man essentially said to Jesus, “I’ve followed your commands. Now, Jesus, what do I still lack?”

Jesus replied, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mt. 19:21)

To get ahead, we sometimes have to go back.

To follow, we sometimes have to give away.

To move forward, we must release.

To meet with God, we relinquish other important things even if it appears we will be set back, halted or we will lose out.

I don’t like moving backward. In fact, I believe so much in the message God wrote in the book, Battle Ready, these days, I want to keep working harder to make sure every person in need gets a copy. I believe in the transformation I am seeing happening in people’s lives. I see how mindsets are being renewed. I want to push, push, push…and get Jesus’ message out far and wide.

Yet, still, God whispers: Kelly, rest. Trust me (even if it feels like you are moving backward). Surrender.

To not strive, to not push, to not do anything….feels like I’ll lose what God is giving me. It feels like I’ll fail. It makes me feel nervous.

But, God never leaves us behind. Surrender never counts us “out.”

The truth is we only follow Jesus, when we follow him. We only can go where He is going, when we obey. It’s not easy to follow with the world on our shoulders. Nor can we follow when we clench our history and won’t let go of it. Following doesn’t look like demanding results.

Today, if it looks like you are moving backward, be encouraged. Christ did not bring you this far to drop you on your face, to leave you behind, to fail you, to discourage you or to hurt you. He brought you to this place to love you, to equip you, to ready you, to prepare you and to be with you.

Time spent reworking your life is not a waste. Time spent with kids is not idle. Time spent praying is not inconsequential. Time spent seeking answers is not useless. Time spent sitting at Jesus’ feet is not without merit.

Move backward and see Jesus change the trajectory of everything as you move forward. God is good and He truly does have goodness for you.

Women who are battle ready know this – and live it.

Learn more about the book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

BLOGGERS, 4 Winners will receive (in order of votes):

1. A 15-minute Literary Agent Meeting with Amanda Luedeke from MacGregor Literary. (2 People)
2. A 15-minute Publishing Appointment with Baker Books editor, Rebekah Guzman. (1 Person)
3. A 15-minute blogging, writing, life-coaching or platform consultation with Kelly Balarie (1 Person)

Learn more about the Battle Ready Contest.

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“When Faith Doesn’t Take the Pain Away”

POST BY: Kendra Broekhuis

It would have been our daughter’s third birthday. At least, in a perfect world where mothers don’t bury their babies, it would have been.

I laid in bed imagining what our baby might have been like as a three year old. A curly red head like her mom? A brown eyed brunette like her dad? A sassy pants like her older sister? On the third anniversary of her stillbirth, the only thing that streamed as heavily as my imagination were my tears.

Sometimes I think it’s a miracle my faith has remained intact since this devastating loss. I chalk that up to a huge dose of mercy, really. My beliefs about Jesus are no longer phrases I learned to regurgitate in Sunday School, rather truths that anchor my soul:

He is victorious over death. {John 11:25}

He is working all things for my good. {Romans 8:28}

He is close to the brokenhearted. {Psalm 34:18}

But even though faith stuck around, that hasn’t stopped grief from practically bulldozing me over sometimes – like the day our daughter would have turned three. And on those days I learned that the presence of pain doesn’t mean there is an absence of faith.

Our pain simply reminds us that not all is right with the world, that we aren’t dwelling in the perfect garden paradise God first created us to. And therefore, our faith and our pain are forced to coexist. Nancy Guthrie describes this coexistence well:

The day after we buried {our daughter}, my husband said to me, “You know, I think we expected our faith to make this hurt less, but it doesn’t. Our faith gave us an incredible amount of strength and encouragement while we had Hope, and we are comforted by the knowledge that she is in heaven. Our faith keeps us from being swallowed by despair. But I don’t think it makes our loss hurt any less.” {Guthrie, Holding On To Hope}

Before Jesus returns, there will always be tension between our hope in heaven and our current reality living in a broken world. It’s not a matter of either/or, but and. We can have faith in a sovereign, victorious God and admit to Him the heavy pain we are bearing. We will face trials and God will strengthen us through those trials. We will walk through valleys and He will ultimately rescue us. We will grieve and one day He will wipe away all of our tears.

So whatever trials, valleys, or grief you are facing today, let God’s promises both anchor your soul and remind you that He is near, carrying you and tending to your broken heart.

Pray that even when faith doesn’t take the pain away, hope will remain steadfast too.

 

Prayer:

Lord, I pray that in Your great mercy You will strengthen the faith of Your people. Remind Your children in mighty ways that Your promises are true, even when life’s circumstances can take remarkably painful and unexpected turns. And show us through Your miraculous provision that You are mending our broken hearts. Amen.

 

Bio:

Kendra is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor. The book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’s “I love you’s” in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’s “I love you’s” to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee. Kendra’s love language is Dove chocolate.

 

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Here-Goes-Nothing-Introverts-Reckless/dp/0718083261/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Website:

www.kendrabroekhuis.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/kendrabroekhuisauthor/

Instagram:

@kendrabroekhuis

Let’s Count the Ways: God Watches You

“Are you watching me?”

My 6-year-old son puts on shows. Willy Wonka, Moses in the wilderness, Box Car Children- you name it, and he acts it out. And he always asks this question.

“Are you watching me?”

Half the time, I’m not. I mean to be, but I’m also human. I’m trying to tackle things like bills, emails, text messages, phone calls, dishes, laundry, dinner…you get the point.

The fact of the matter is, our parents didn’t watch us non-stop either. I know there were times I put on shows and my mom or dad didn’t watch. It’s not because they didn’t want to, but because they were human.

But you know what? God is not human and He is watching. This fills the desires of all our hearts. The desire that says, “Someone, please, be watching me. Watch out for me. Watch me and know my ways. Watch me and protect me. Watch me and help me.”

God watches, carefully.

God is always with us.

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Ps. 139:7-8

God’s watched our days before they’ve even happened.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” Ps. 139:16

God’s intimate thoughts about us don’t stop.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.” Ps. 139: 17-18

God is aware of our most intricate workings, habits and ponderings.

“You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.” Ps. 139: 3-4

He watches you to protect you.
“You hem me in behind and before.” Ps. 139: 5

God watches it all. Every song, dance, move, time you sit down, stand up, and twirl around. You are precious in His sight.

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Trading Fear for Confidence in His Unshakeable Grip

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

If you were completely confident in God’s unchanging, irrevocable love for you, would it change how you walked? If you knew that no matter how many times you fell, he would be right there to catch you, would it change the way you lived your life?

I believe it would.

Several years ago, God showed me what confidence in a daddy’s grip can do. Our firstborn was six, and he set out to conquer a new set of monkey bars at a state park we were visiting. But after climbing the ladder and surveying the height, fear overtook him. I could tell he wanted to cross, but he convinced himself he wasn’t able to do it.

After spending a few minutes observing our boy, my husband walked over. He spoke words of encouragement and told him he would walk with him, arms out and ready to grab him if he slipped.

Our six-year-old hesitated another moment and then went for it. He made it all the way across without falling, and then there was no stopping him. He immediately went back for more.

The smile on his face spoke for itself, but for the rest of the afternoon he told everyone about his new accomplishment. Our friends. The neighbors. People he met on our hike to the waterfall.

Everyone heard, “Daddy wouldn’t let me fall, so I knew I could do it.”

It’s amazing what that kind of confidence can do for us, isn’t it?

When we know someone is walking with us and cares about every detail of our lives, we can move forward without fear. Even when circumstances look bleak, we can put one foot in front of the other because we know we aren’t doing it alone.

Can I tell you something? You have someone too.

If you’ve surrendered your life to the living God, he goes with you, behind you and before you.

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” Psalm 139:5 NLT

Even if everyone in your life has let you down or abandoned you. Even if your earthly father never gave you the love and assurance you needed.

God’s love is not fickle. It is patient and enduring. It withstands in the places where human loves fails.

This is the type of love that transforms our walk. It’s the type of love that enables us to do things we would never do before, because we know with him standing in the gap with us, we will never be alone.

Claim this truth as your own today. Speak it out loud when the lies of the enemy threaten to overtake your thoughts. I can promise when you do, you will see a change. And the change will be in you.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is 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.

God Fights Our Battles

My son is at a new school.
He’s still getting used to making friends.
He’s not on the basketball court during recess.
He’s a little shy.
He’s pretty small for his age.
I’m quite sure he’s desperately wanting to be liked, approved and wanted.

We all are.

At his school relay race I hoisted him on my back. As I did, the little guy bent down towards my ear and said, “Mommy, run as hard as you can.” Something took over me. I was going to do this run for him. I’d carry him so well, so proud, so fast – he could finally have a moment to feel proud.

And I did just that. At “Go!” I exploded. Fast. Focused. Almost wild-like.

A mom told me, “Kelly, you ran so fast. I was a little worried, but you made it.”

The reality is: I wanted to redeem my son’s story. I wanted to give him a moment to be proud of. I wanted him to understand his mommy would always carry him.

God does the same for us.

We aren’t struggling alone. We aren’t stuck in some environment where no one sees us.

“When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.” Ps. 138:3 NIV

Almighty God has a mighty eye on us.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Ps. 32:8

All-knowing God understands what we’re going through.

“This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chron. 20:15 NIV

All-powerful God is working on our behalf even when we don’t think he is.

“Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.” Deut. 3:22 NIV

All-loving God would do anything to see our breakthrough.

“Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” Ps. 144:1 NIV

Already-two-steps-ahead Father has a good plan in motion.

“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” Is. 45:2 NIV

Altruistic Daddy would carry us, knight-in-shining-armor style out of any predicament.

“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Zech. 4:6 NIV

Always, we are not alone, not left behind, not destroyed, not ruined, not the laughing stock, not forgotten, not ignored, not destroyed, not crushed, not left to rot. Always, we are helped, loved, carried and guided.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:57 NIV

Oh yes. I thank God for this today. What about you?

 

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How to Prevent Yourself from Stumbling

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This (suffering, pain death) shall never happen to you!” (Lu. 16:22)
Jesus replies to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt. 16:23)

What is a stumbling block?

It is anyone or anything that tries to stumble you as you move on God’s road. Like Peter, people may have good intentions. Their words may even be comfortable, harmless, or normal, but if they’re stumbling you, they’re worth investigating.

Stumbling blocks often make us say, “Wait, was I really meant for all this? Will God really pull through for me? Is He really that good? Is his Word really true?” 

When I consider stumbling block words, they tend to: question God’s plan, doubt his ability to show up, discourage what He is imprinting on a heart.

They speak fear instead of life and doubt instead of faith.

Will God really…?
How is that possible…?
Are you sure you want to…?

Wise people receive wise words from others.

But like Jesus, we are wise to rebuke voices contrary to the clear moves of God happening in our heart. Indeed, Satan often uses people to do his worst handiwork.

However, we can recognize his schemes. They tend to deter us from…

  1. Holiness
  2. God’s clear call for our life
  3. Loving people as God is calling us to

Here, we can:

  1. Rebuke the enemy within our mind, and ask God to give us fresh courage to see things through.
  2. Forgive others if their words hurt us.
  3. Pray and ask God what he wants us to learn through this situation.

Just because someone said something, doesn’t mean we have to own it. And just because we don’t own something, doesn’t mean we ignore what others have said. Perhaps they have a good point. Wisdom knows to sift it through God’s Word and prayer before deciding to accept or reject it.

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Undoing The Need to Be Perfect

What do you when you find your 6-year-old son’s drawing of a long-haired woman with a mean, massive frown?

You consider it’s you, of course. You consider you’re a cruddy boar, a horrible attempt at a caring, loving, and generous momma. And you wonder if underneath his smiles and bedtime hugs he might hate you.

Could this be possible?

You think of all the times he’s repeated, “Mommy, didn’t I tell you that already,” “You don’t listen,” and “You don’t cuddle with me.”

You recount that you do indeed cuddle, but you also think of how at the end of your day you’re very tired and this cheek-to-cheek (or as he does, it cheekbone on top of cheekbone) business can’t go on forever.

But still, the thought persists like a gnat.

What if, you’re not good enoughAnd worst of all, what if he’s busted you for it? 

Ever felt this way?

…Like no matter what you say to your spouse, he’s really thinking you don’t match up to the wife he wanted?

…Like no matter how hard you try at work, your boss still isn’t happy?

…Like despite your encouraging words to the woman, she still is cold with you?

…Like you can’t escape being the little girl who let people down?

…Like no matter how hard you try, you can’t win?

Of course, I understand. But what I also understand is this: The goal to perfectly “win” all the time is a warped one. It’s not only warped, but impossible. It’s like keeping a sparkly, gold trophy shiny. The second you clean it, fingerprints arrive again and you’re back wiping again. The only problem is that you can never step back and enjoy the prize, because all you’re doing is keeping up facades. Every flaw sucks you into yourself, and you miss the whole point.

I’ve been there. I am there.

Yet, I suppose I see a little better after writing all this: I can’t love my son when I’m fearing him. Nor can I enjoy him when I’m critiquing myself. Nor can I connect well with him when I’m not setting boundaries.

In the space of accepting my imperfections, he’ll learn to accept his own. In the space of seeing me growing with Christ, he’ll discover how he can grow with Christ. There’s some sort of non-speaking, God-testifying wisdom that will speak here.

What about you? What over-emphasized flaws have stolen the feelings of joy in your moments? What grace have you not afforded yourself? What over-trying attitude is stealing your peace? What new approach could you take to conquer these annoying feeling of self-doubt?

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