Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

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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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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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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Are you Hating Your Waiting?

It’s as if God sat me down, to say, “Kelly, you, sit and wait. Wait for me, for your breakthrough. Wait for me, for your answers. Wait for me, and I will do it.”

Many of us are seated this way, waiting. Be it for a job, an answer, a child that needs saving, a financial saving,  a mental-healing or whatever, God has us sitting down. Sitting there and — waiting.

You may be saying, “For what? For what God am I waiting?” You may feel like you are twiddling your thumbs or counting dust particles in the sky. Or, that you are being a bad child for not moving. Or, that there is some sort of sin-problem you have.

On the contrary, God does not shame waiters, He blesses them.

“Surely none who wait for You will be put to shame…” (Ps. 25:3)

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Is. 40:31 KJV)

God has for those who wait-well, new strength. He has for those who believe in His calling to trust, new heights. He has for those who are searching, a new walk. A running into what is ahead.

Boring-ole waiting and hoping is strength-renewing, when we see how it is all part and process of God’s faith-building and doing.

You are not wasting away in waiting, you are becoming a warrior, a special vessel who knows how to trust in the Lord, even in the hardest of times. Stay encouraged. Stay near to God’s heart. Stay active in His Word.

Waiting is not doing nothing; it is staying activated in Christ Jesus. It is believing He has a good plan, anyway. It is loving others, on full-throttle, knowing: God will do it! Jesus will come! God has your way! If not today, on the very best day — He will certainly come!

Glory to God!

 

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What to do When You Fear

I was afraid. The second I saw the picture of my kids, fear climbed up my arm. Undoubtedly, it wanted to go straight into my heart.

They did what!? They know I hate it when they wear public hats.

Friends, I admit: I fear my kids getting lice. I know what it entails. Growing up the oldest of 6 kids meant we got lice more than a time or two. I remember the itching. I remember the endless washing and boiling of brushes and laundry. I remember covering of furniture and the constant search up the nape of my neck.

Frankly, to return home from a weekend trip to see my kids pictured with the hat that every-kid-at-the-city-museum put on– did. not. bring. me. comfort. Instead, I was — provoked to nervousness.

The more I stared at the photograph, the more I knew: I stood at a crossroad. What would I do? Where would I head?

I could worry, and wander from God.
Or, I could cast my care on Him, allow Him to care for me and discover — how He cares for me.

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil. 4:6-7 MSG)

Far too often, I worry away God’s wonderful care. But, when I pray I get to stay under God’s providential care. I find His help.

With the hair-issue, to fend off worry, I made a decisive choice to:

ONE. Not panic. I remembered God’s truth.
TWO. Pray over both my kid’s heads.
THREE. Stop looking at that photograph.
FOUR. Return to prayer anytime my mind wanted to return to the issue.
FIVE. To (physically and emotionally) let this issue go, into God’s hands.

You can do the same. Just because fear announces, “I am here”, doesn’t mean you have to pay attention to it. Just because Corona Virus is all-up in your face, doesn’t mean you have to live shackled to the news, or your hand-sanitizer. Just because you figure horrible is going to happen, doesn’t mean that it is. God is greater. Nothing halts His care.

God is up to wonderful things. Give Him a space and a place to work, clear your table of worry and begin to behold His wonder.

I let it that photograph — go. Later that night, I hugged my kids with their hair all tangled up in mine. I laid down on what could have been “infected” pillows, without concern. I spent time with God, without wandering off to a hat or a kid’s head of hair in my mind. I stayed with God.

You can too.

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Do you Accidentally do this?

We need a breakthrough in my family.

We need God to show up in time, or we will be out of time. I am sure many of you may know this feeling. You need God’s help in time to make a decision. You need His counsel in time to know how to approach someone. You need His understanding in time to change within your heart.

I wonder if Jesus felt like He needed to see what Father God was doing, in time, in the wilderness? When Jesus was starving and being tempted by the devil? When Jesus was considering which scripture to use to combat the enemy’s attacks? Was Jesus hoping He would be delivered in time?

At one point, in this place, the devil spoke to Jesus, saying, ““If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]” (Mt. 4:6-7)

Essentially, Jesus said, “Don’t you dare put God to the test.”

After reading these words, “don’t put God to the test,” I had to admit: I have no idea what it is “to put God to the test”. Whatever this is — I know, I don’t want to do it. So, what is it?  

The more I looked into this, the more I learned how the Israelites tested God. For example, God met Moses. And, at this place, Moses made water come out of a rock through His staff.

But, notice what happened here. It is written: “Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?” (Ex. 17:7)

Testing and arguing with God sounds like: “Is the Lord here with me or not?”

Like:
Is the Lord here to help me with this issue — or not?
Is the Lord really going to come through — or not?
Is the Lord really going to give me answers — or not?
Is the Lord really thinking about me — or not?
Is the Lord really Provider — or not?

Friends, let’s not test the Lord our God. We do not want to be held back, like the Israelites, because of our heart posture. We don’t want to be pawns used by the enemy. We don’t want to let spiritual pride lead us off-track.

God is who He says He is. He will do what He says He will do. He is faith-full over every situation. This means He has all the faith to faithfully keep every promise. He has all the hope to bring us out of even the direst situations. He has all the counsel we need, every time. He is ever-present and active in our lives, always.

Arguing and testing God is fruitless, and, often, stalls the abundant life Jesus has for us.

Today, proclaim: I trust you, God. I don’t test you.

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What People Think

I put the broken sunglasses on anyway…even though I knew they’d sit crooked, even though they were broken. I guess you could say — I don’t care.

I don’t care what you think about me.

I don’t care if you give me a side-eye glance because one of the two arms are broken off and the glasses are becoming more vertical than horizontal.

I don’t care that I look odd and that you may be thinking weird things about me.

I don’t care, because I choose to be comfortable outside, more than to care about your inward thoughts towards me.  I don’t care because the only other pair of glasses I own are now lost in some other state.

So, I plop the crooked glasses on my face and confidently hop outside with the couple we’re having over. I don’t care. If you don’t love me because of — my sunglasses, you would have never loved me anyway…

After a bit of chatting and sitting, one of the guests looks at me. He says, “Kelly, your glasses are so ministering to me.”

Really? That’s odd. I’m intrigued now. I sit up and lean forward.

“It’s as if you are saying, ‘I don’t care’.” He explained.

It’s true.

I love you, but…
I don’t care about impressing you.
I don’t care if you think I am too much for Jesus.
I don’t care if you call me intense.
I don’t care if I look odd when I tell people how much God loves them.
I don’t care if I don’t do what everyone else does, because it leads my heart down wrong-paths.
I don’t care if you judge me because of how I look.
I don’t care if you think you have more bible knowledge or good theology than me.

I do not fear you, so I can love you. With this, more and more, do not care…

What I do care about is God and what He is calling me to. I care about love that is pure and without pretense. I care about authenticity and welcoming others to be real. I care about real connection, despite looks. I care about what God is really saying and doing and leading us into, as a family, much more than I do about appearances.

Although a growth process, one of my greatest joys has been God teaching me to — not care! Now I am free! This is life and boldness for the Kingdom of God — like no other.

God speaks the best words over me, so I don’t have to be controlled by yours.

What do you care far too much about? How might God be calling you to — throw up your arms to say, “I don’t care! By George, I don’t care anymore…!”

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ( 2 Cor. 3:17)

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What You Tolerate

The social media image said, “You get what you tolerate.”

I paused from scrolling for a second to ask myself questions: What have I been tolerating? Putting up with? Grinning, and bearing?

Scripture doesn’t say, “Tolerate the enemy.” It says, submit to God. Resist the enemy and he’ll flee. (Ja. 4:7)

Never once, did Jesus meet a person and say, “Oh, so you are struggling with sin? That’s okay. Not a big deal; grin and bear it.” Neither did He say, “So, you are feeling attacked? Just keep going, pretend that what you’re facing is not there and hang out with it for a while.”

No. We DO NOT tolerate attacks, bondage, lies or defeat. We do not give room for lesser things to overrule God’s great truth. We shut annoyances up and shut them down. Immediately, in the name of Jesus!!!

Never, ever, should we permit lesser lies to overrule our prominent position in Christ Jesus. We are dead to sin and alive to Christ! We do walk with a new nature! Nothing can take away what Christ has done for us…unless we allow our mind to agree with falsehoods. Or, we decide to ignorantly walk in sin.

With this, we must allow nothing to steal our identity in Christ Jesus.

Instead, we can choose to adamantly, radically, and furiously block lies, attacks, offenses, unforgiveness, bitterness, rejection and self-pity from redefining who we are. From morphing us into something or someone we are not.

To do this, we must disallow anything from putting separation between us and our first love.

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” (1 Jo. 5:21)

Because we are children of God.
Because we are eternally loved.
Because we are chosen.
Because we are called.
Because we are wanted.

Forever. And ever. And ever. And ever, more.

We are not slaves to fear. We are not defeated foes. We are not forgotten. We are not working to gain back ground. Or, trying to work around an angry father. We are not made to shirk or shrink back. We are not defined by the past. Or the sum of what others have said about us.

We are children. We have a dad who loves us. Who chose us. Who wants us. We have a Savior who died for us. A great path ahead of us. Nothing can stop us, in Christ Jesus.

Cast off whatever is entangling you. The enemy is a liar.

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Are You Truly Honest?

All was fine until I had to decide whether to lie or not. . .

Let me explain. Today, I sat in a new church with new people at a bible study group. Here, as the youngest, amidst all the white-haired heads, I felt free.  I didn’t care about fitting in.

The Pastor mentioned to the group that I wrote books, namely: “Fear Fighting” and “Battle Ready: Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously“.  And, then we continued . . .  reading and learning — that is — until, the pastor stopped, looked at us, and asked, “Is anyone here struggling with fear?”

The room sat still. No hands raised.

But, my heart thumped. Why? Because I knew I should raise mine.

But, how can I? The girl who wrote the book about fear?  How can I admit today that I am struggling with fear? What will they think of me? How will I look? I’m a shame. I should be better than I am.”

But, I knew “my truth”. How I get afraid of powerless moments when I don’t know how to react. How I feel nervous that God won’t make a way for my dreams. I feel afraid that I may misinterpret scripture and lead his people or myself, astray (my worst nightmare). . .

As the man waited, I had to decide: Would I lie before man and God — by keeping my hand down — or would I admit my struggle, and raise it up?

I slowly inched my hand up, somehow signaling to the group: I am not perfect, not altogether and I struggling. . .

I half-expected them to laugh at me, to raise their chin up just a little higher than mine, or to question why I even write books. . . but they didn’t.

Then, the most interesting thing happened. As the group wrapped up, a bunch of women came over to me. They said,  “How do you spell your last name? We want to get your book. . . ”

And, so I consider today:

Maybe people don’t hate our weakness as much as we think they do.
Maybe our truth-telling doesn’t make people want to run as much as the enemy tries to convince us it does.
Maybe people aren’t looking for perfect friends, as much as they are honest ones.

Are you honest before man? Before God? Or, are you trying to hide the worst of you, because you figure no one will want you anymore?

Our revealing before God — and man — is our healing. But, our hiding often is — our increase of shame.

“Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,[c] circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,[d] slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” (Col. 3:9-11 NLT)

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I’ve Got to Do Better than Her

She is going to make me look like a fool. It’s me against her. I have to come out on top.

Deep in me, there lives a competitive beast. One that promotes selfish ambition and untoward conduct. One that looks at other gals and compares them to me.

The beast says:

I need to be super impactful, smart and powerful. Or, I’m disposable.
I can’t let others get ahead of me. No one will pay attention to me anymore.
I should desperately fear being left behind. I’ll be useless without impact.

Competitiveness is a horrible beast to be chained to. It demands we control the uncontrollable. It sets us up to fail.

Does jealousy, fear, selfish ambition or a competitive nature threaten you, like me?

Lately, I’ve become so sick and tired of it’s bullying tactics. I’ve decided – through a deep investigation of scripture – to fight back.

Here’s how:

1. I humble myself under the mighty hand of God, knowing at the proper time (and in God’s proper way), He’ll exalt me.

2. I remember Christ rules over everything. He has all authority and every victory belongs to the Lord. If it is my victory, it is an empty one. But if it is God’s, it is fruitful.

3. I ponder the idea that by my strength, I get tired. But by His, I become empowered.

4. I bless those who hurt me, persecute me, laugh at me, talk behind my back and injure me. Why? Because God loves His creation. He is working on them. He is doing something. I don’t need to get my sticky fingers into His artwork. I can trust the masterpiece He is creating without trying to let my bitterness or irritation take control.

5. I wait on God knowing that, nearly half the time, it is by doing nothing I find He’s doing everything. Likewise, I step out when He says it’s go time, no matter how prideful, arrogant or self-serving it may seem to the world. Ultimately, I don’t serve others opinions of me, but Christ’s lordship. I follow it, stay close to it and trust it, no matter how it looks.

The beast dies when we die to our flesh and come alive to Christ. It can’t live when we stay surrendered and in-step with the Spirit. It has no rule when Christ rules. Period. And Amen.

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