Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

How to Fight to Win

Fight to Win

It is that thing that pretty much all of us hate.

It’s what we would rather run from than run straight into.

It’s what makes us speak accusations
instead of affirmations.

It’s what drives us bat crazy,
feeling like we are chasing a shifting shadows of ever changing goals and needs.

It’s what sends us to mindsets of sin rather than pastures of holiness.

It is called conflict.

It is that thing that we don’t know why, we as Christians have to deal with – yet, we do. Somehow and sometimes, we just hit it. And as ugly as it is, we often stand, right in the midst of it, wondering how something so icky, so yucky and so unsavory, could exist in one who is trying to pursue God so wholly? 

How a God seeker could turn into more of a raging lunatic than a calming saint?

How this very growth of mold could threaten to swallow God’s very light shining on it?

But, yet, if we stop and think, sometimes our heart actually lands at the truth, doesn’t it?

God’s light is still shining – even when our heart isn’t.

There is no amount of disgrace, shame and darkness that can remove the ray of light shining on you. Like the rays that follow your tin can of transport, so does God go. Like the light that reflect off the tiny pieces of dirt on the side of the road, so does God go. Like the moon that shines even in the darkness, so does God go.  You can’t stop the places his light shine.

God’s light shines hope into every endless pit of death and decay –
it can’t help but make things grow.

The glow of repair is always available – and the glow is a He and he waits for our call, so that he can run to our rescue, operating tools and all, to reshape us into glory, faster than one can mutter “Thank you.”

God didn’t save his glow for the perfect, he shines it on the sinners.

The only hindrance for us receiving it, is us believing dirty rotten scoundrels can really handle it without ruining everything.

It is moving in, rather than running away.
It is waiting, rather than hiding.
It is believing grace rather than fear.
It is relaxing into his work, rather than resisting it.

Conflict is the great body shop of God’s repair,
for it is here that he points out the greatest defects of our hearts.

The amazing part is – when those who are defected,
continually run to him who is resurrected,
we can’t help but find ourselves more and more perfected. 

So, be not discouraged, he is helping us.
Be not dismayed, he is with us in the heat of the moment, despite the coldness of our heart.
Be not disgraced, he calls us to see, not our bad moves, but his great ones.
Be not downright angry, he leads us to listen, so then we can understand.
Be not debased, he calls us to set our ways down, so we can come alive to his.
Be not defeated, he calls us to victory in Christ, so then we may be free.
Be not dejected, he calls us to new ways of thinking, so we don’t live furious.
Be not defamed, you are always loved in his eyes.
Be not defensive, his correction spoken might be your ticket to fullness.
Be not down and out, you are permanently Christ’s new creation.
Be not disqualified, nothing can remove you from the hand of God.
Be not denied, Christ already died to fully accept you.

The key is to pray so we don’t fall prey, but so we find God’s way. His way is the greatest cease and desist order to the devil and the most potent concoction of peace there is.

Suddenly, what we find is – it’s not so much about winning, but much more about letting Christ win our hearts over in love – so everything flows according to HIS plan.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col. 3:12

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The Myth Of Control

I am more than delighted to welcome a true woman of the Lord, Karina, to the Purposeful Faith blog. From the minute I met her, I could see love, joy and passion written all over her. Karina is an example of transparency and authentic pursuit of God. I couldn’t be more happy to have her on Purposeful Faith as a regular contributor. I hope you enjoy her heart as much as I do.

Post by Karina

I have this struggle. I’m sure I am probably the only person who struggles with this issue. I kind of, sort of, maybe, like to be in control. Just a little bit. When a say a little, I mean a lot!

The last 6 months or so have been a bit paradoxical in nature. What I mean is that many amazing things have happened to me! I went out of town several times, have had a few exciting writing opportunities, connected with dear friends and met some new ones! During those exact same months, I have been searching for a roommate. I’m 35 and single and living alone is ridiculously expensive. I normally have a sense from God in which direction to go in when making decisions, but this time around, I had no direction.

I, under no circumstances, like the way that feels! I did my part. I exhausted every avenue to find a roommate and searched high and low for other housing. Nothing made sense. Countless options came and went. No other housing option fit my budget. Again, still no direction. My sweet friend Holly prayed for me one night a couple of months ago after small group. She told me the Lord wanted me to know that this situation was not my fault. I hadn’t done anything wrong. That filled me with such peace and yet still, there was no direction.

Over the past few weeks, the Lord has been so faithful to remind me of the truths that I so easily forget.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

God is God. I am not. He is omniscient.

He know all things…the past, the present and the future. His timing and mine are rarely the same thing. After all, He is the one who created time itself. I can effortlessly believe the lie that what I see is all there is or that my time line is perfect. That is NEVER the case. There is a great deal happening in the supernatural that I cannot see and may never see. I am learning to embrace the mystery in knowing God and trusting His ways and His heart especially when I can’t see Him at work.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

The never changing truth is that God loves me deeply and He loves you deeply. What He does or doesn’t do, what He says or doesn’t say is always for our good. That is what He does and who He is as our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t send pain or suffering or doubt or confusion. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. When our circumstances are not good and perfect, it breaks His heart. And His desire is to come in and bring healing, purpose and restoration to our lives. I am learning to let Him do just that.

Are you? Is there an area of your life where you have been believing the myth that you are in control?

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Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”

I Lied To You. Getting Serious About Sin.

Serious About Sin

I lied to you all.

Last week, I said I wouldn’t look…I made a pledge, a promise and an oath that I was going to breakaway from a specific sin – and move to breakthrough. Remember? I made a commitment to each of you. I said, I wasn’t going to look at my blog numbers. I said, I would avoid them, so as not to set my heart on them. That is all fine and dandy, except for one thing – I didn’t.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Ro. 7:15

Because I hate what I do, I tend to:

1. Blame – “Every time I opened my page to post the numbers were right there on the right hand side and I couldn’t help but take a gander.”
2. Excuse – “It’s no big deal I looked, more than once.”
3. Deny – “Friends, I have been doing great. No issues over here.”
4. Give up – “Ahh..oh well God, guess this one isn’t going to work.”
5. Get guilty – “I can’t believe I couldn’t follow through on this one small thing.”

And yes, absolutely, my friends, there is a grace for a poor soul like me, for a woman who falls down far more often than she stands up. Thank you Jesus for that! But we don’t just chalk up an image of amazing grace and turn our backs, we chalk repentance on the dashboard of our will so we don’t slam into that dang dashboard yet again, bruising and battering our face.

Where do you find your face ends up
bruised and battered from a repeated sin?

Are you walking in spirit and truth,
or are you walking in flesh and failure?

My friends, don’t be like I am, often afraid to consider #1-5 above (and therefore landing in #3). There is no condemnation. There is no shame. That was simply ruled out when Christ ruled on the cross. But, what is not ruled out is the fact that Jesus is not okay with grey areas of sin. 

Be angry, and yet, do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. (Eph. 4:27)

Sin is serious; Jesus said if our hand causes us to sin we gotta get the machete and cut that thing off (well, not literally, but you get the idea). (Mt. 5:30) His point is this process may hurt. It may hurt our insides to change, it may hurt as others deny or reject us and it may hurt normalcy. Jesus never said it wouldn’t hurt, but he boldly said we must get proactive to cut it off.

Failure to do so, is like putting a kid in a candy shop and telling him that he can smell but not bite. It is not happening, fellow sinners! That kid is going to jump in to devour disobedience faster than a gooey gummy bear can slide down his small throat.

What sin we sit around looking at, we will eventually grab, unwrap, salivate over and then eat – hook line full of guilt, sinking us to shame.

You can’t hang around lurking sin and think it won’t attack you. It will.

But, it’s likelihood of entry is far lower if you have set
the alarm system of wisdom to protect you.

Wisdom is foresight that considers what is about to trip.
Wisdom is the intellect that looks at weaknesses, so it can stand strong.
Wisdom is the smarts that stockpiles truth so, when evil arrives, it is prepared.
Wisdom is the brain that sets boundaries and lines around what is most sacred.
Wisdom is the fortitude that seeks to pressure wash it’s temple through prayer.
Wisdom is the mindset that gets active about what it has set its mind on.
Wisdom is the one that knows small things will become big sins in not too long.
Wisdom is the verses that are written all over (whatever) to keep steadfast.
Wisdom is the friend that is a phone call away to help one stay strong.
Wisdom is the stillness established in a day to keep going the right way.
Wisdom is the reliance on the Word that keeps one focused like a champion ping pong player.
Wisdom is the will to have no other will than the will of God.

Wisdom is one who makes a change before sin makes a fool out of them.

It is one who knows that change without pre-set barriers, or safeguards,
is like a bird without wings.

A bird that simply can’t fly towards real spiritual growth.

What boundary do you need to define
so that you don’t end up defined by failure?

I removed my statistics plug-in on my blog. The only way to not look at what you shouldn’t look at, whether alcohol, porn, or online shopping, is to simply cut it off, cut the cord, cut the plug-in or cut whatever – so you don’t get cut. And that is what I decided to do.

You can’t sin if you don’t leave yourself any room to.

Since getting proactive, I haven’t seemingly deactivated my faith by my failure. So, I guess we can consider this a win for Jesus and move on.

What does God want you to move on to as you let go of what holds you back? Consider #1-5 and take flight to new heights of spiritual growth.

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  1. Thursday, I am announcing a new Purposeful Faith Contributor. Stay tuned here and on Facebook.
  2. Submit your guest post to Purposeful Faith by Nov. 16. Details here.
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Breaking Normal to Find Phenomenal

Breaking Normal

The coach stopped me in my tracks with this soccer drill. It was meant for toddlers, but it was sent by God for me. It burst my bubble of known, it tossed out the waste of old and it rolled in eye-opening insight that would redecorate my heart with truth.

Who knew soccer was so good for mental health?!

4 cones.
One square.
No space.
3 Kids.

“Go!”

My son tried to move, no dice (or rather, no goal!). He tried to inch forward, but couldn’t gain traction. He tried to kick, but his ball bounced off his companions’. He tried to run, but, the two collided like blind bulls. Boing!!!

Yet, amidst the mayhem and the maniacal movements of the inept, the coach broke through “crazy” with two words, “Break Out!”

And so they did.  Kids, ran left, right and nearly out of sight! Like bees set free they could chart a destination on a course that was possible, feasible and liberating all at the same.  If I could have I would have cheered this moment, saying, “Go, free ones, go. Now you can fly!”

The coach would too and, together, we would breathe a sigh of relief.

What small confines are you stuck in –
trying to plow your way through?

What is not giving you an iota of movement,
yet still, you fight for tooth and nail?

When we are so pressed against everything, we can’t enter the huge field of opportunity the Lord has set before us. We see the Promised Land, but our eyes keep us kicking around in the small perimeter of everyone else’s movements.

They are set on our competition.
They become obsessed with personal performance.
They see each kick like an eternal report card of worth.
Moves become belabored and burdensome.
Irritation mounts.
Aggravation scores.
We lose!

God becomes distant.

“He’s out in left-field somewhere!”

Break Out! 

When we get hyper-focused on numbers, feedback, criticisms, critiques, God says, “Break out!”
When we start looking at everyone else’s progress, toys and accomplishments, God says, “Break out!”
When we start fearing our ability to succeed, God says, “Break out!”
When we start feeling our chest constrict into the fist of anxiety, God says, “Break out!”
When we start to be man’s responses, God says, “Break out!”
When we are obeying strategies and growth plans first and foremost, God says, “Break out!”
When we are sure we will surely be marginal at best, God says, “Break out!”
When we start making the past the predictor of our future, God says, “Break out!”
When we see the bad surrounding, the pressing in indwelling, God says, “Break out!”
When we doubt calling, God says, “Break out!”
When we wonder if we are any good, God says, “Break out!”
When we box ourself into sameness, God says, “Break out!”
When we look at boundaries and limitations, God says, “Break out!”

Get out of the box, push over the boundary and fly to the place where God is.

If you’re goal is to be with him, it is a goal that can’t be blocked.

It’s a goal that wins the game every time – heck, it wins the World Cup, for that matter!

Run into the freedom of open air.
Bask in the place of his prompting.
Skip to the place of true calling.
Jump to the heights of unrestrained love.
Fall into the depths of incalculable peace.
Sit in the field of rest.
Move to the new places, no one has transversed.
Win there! That is where you win!

We find our little slice of heaven on earth, carved out for us in the here and now,
in the freedom found, not in doing what the world and demands and people tell us,
but found in the unusual, uncharted and unknown callings of him.

No one ever got anywhere by kicking around in the complacent and crazy confines of controlled chaos. Just ponder. Many of the “Great Remarkables” became remarkable because they stopped caring if the world called them remarkable and they just followed God.

Simple. He is speaking. Are we listening?

Look at the woman at the well. She became well because she broke free from confines at the well – so her mouth could not confine her truth of liberation.

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” Jo. 4:30

She had to break out of world-made form though. Do you see this power yet?

She had to trample form that told her Jews don’t talk with Samaritans.
She had to push through the fact that talking women should have husbands present.
She had to push away the fact that rabbis shouldn’t speak to sluts.

She had to break out!

To step out of the box of confines to be unconfined.

What is God ready to break out on your behalf as you break out?

God isn’t found in the small boxes of safe, of expected, of normal, of man and of “steps for success”, he is found in the wild land of adventure, pursuit and nonconformity in him, by faith and through Christ.

Break out! Today, see what holds you in and push past it in the name of Jesus. Zig and zag his way. Run arms open. Sprint into his fields of purpose.

Don’t just read this and move on, but listen and press in. Promise me that. If you don’t think this is for you, think again, it is, especially for you. What is he calling you to?

My break out: I will not intentionally look at post or visitor statistics. My words are an incense being released solely on behalf of his beauty – from my heart to his, uncensored, untouched and unchangeable by man. And so they will be. And so I will go into the field of his providence, trusting.

What is yours?

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Our 5 Go-To Defensive Stances Against God

Defensive Stances

I just go along my merry day, skipping and jumping and hiking through life, until. . . BANG! I hit a roadblock, a stumbling point or a detour to everything that I had thought, planned and willed.

This just happened to me recently. My husband and I were convinced of what our family needed to do. We investigated, we prayed, we hoped, we looked, but no matter how hard we pushed, God wasn’t opening up a single door for us to move through.

We were stuck, children, without a way.
Isolated, kept in a barren land.
Roaming, unsure of our next step.

It’s normally just about this point when things get ugly.

When we start whispering things under our breath, when we get that under-the-skin-feeling of annoyance, when our good god and his powers seem to have taken the next flight to Siberia.

Ever felt this way?

There are five defenses that push a child of God away,
faster than you can say, “orphan”,  they are:

1. Believing God doesn’t care about your meaningless situation and that the grand scheme of the world takes precedence.

Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Notice that God does not say, “Only cast God-worthy anxiety on me,” instead he says cast all anxiety on me.

2. Telling yourself, “Pull it together and act better.”

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Ps. 62:8

Let your heart’s pain pour out at the foot of the cross so that his love can co-mingle and release you from their overwhelming power.

3. Uncertainty that God will really answer you. This means you pray a little, worry much and then give up.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Mt. 7:7

God hears and he delights in giving his children good gifts. He hears every prayer.

4. Walking distracted rather than engaged.

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Ps. 119:15

If you are thinking about world things, you will be ruled by it’s ways, not God’s all rescuing truths.

5. Wrapping your arms around worries and your detailed plans that go with them.

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. Ps. 37:4-5

Delight beats up worry then walks you over to your deepest desires.

Will we fortify our lives with man-made defenses
or will we fortify our lives with God’s truth
and move arms open into his great purposes,
believing he is commanding the war?

It is a choice. But, the direction we choose, determines the fullness of our calmness, satisfaction, peace and wellbeing.

The truth is God doesn’t hate us and berate us. He doesn’t restrict us, to inhibit us. He doesn’t withhold pleasure to displeasure us. He guides us to revive us, to indwell us and to compel us.  He brings us from the barrenness of apprehensive and ineffective, to plains of impressive and courageous.

As we learn to take down our defenses, we end up remaining where God is. We dwell in his camp, which means we dwell in a place of complete love.

Here, he calls us to more. He beckons us to greater. He pulls us to insight. And relieves us in truth. He approves of our heart to know him. He delights in our will to rethink things. He enjoys our journey of discovery. He receives our heart to move differently. He answers our call to change. He throws out the crutches of condemnation and removes the splinters of failure. He stands arms wide open, ready to receive our changed heart. He longs that we fear not, and we don’t, instead we draw near.

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How Judging Can Bring Worship

Bring Worship

He was spinning slowly with a gigantic smile.
He was raising his fists, tightly pressed towards his stomach with pointing motions to the sky.
He was leaning in and jumping up.
Smiling.
Moving.
Doing all kinds of crazy stuff.

“Why does he have to distract so many?
Is he making a show for himself or a show of God’s honor?
Is this kind of worship worthwhile?”

Completely distracted from God, my eyes were wallpapered. But, the more I looked, the more his background shined, just like the raindrop tattoo below his left eye. The more I looked, the more hardship, gangs, and possibly prison sentences were likely. The more I looked, the more I saw the real joy of absolute freedom, applicable grace and abundant peace written on his face of admiration and adoration.

I saw all of this. And then I saw him start to spin circles, eyes wide open, with me standing right behind him. The smile wouldn’t stop.

Circles?
Eye contact?
Awkward. Odd.

You couldn’t miss this one, so I didn’t. I watched even more.

And what I eventually noticed was this: for this man, it didn’t seem to be about showing off, or grabbing attention, but simply about celebrating his now set-free love with his full being, his entire body and all his emotions because one, far greater than himself, saved him. He appeared to be almost in the very throne room of Christ, simply enjoying the lavish love of his Savior.

Perhaps, he relished in the love that was always so hard to obtain? Moved into the acceptance that might have always turned the other direction? Basked in light that eluded him, crying “Amazing Grace” from a heart that lived anything but amazing – and probably agonizing in comparison?

Perhaps this man really got the point of worship.

Worship is the satiating wellspring of what never had a chance to spring up before Christ.

It is the power of a Savior to save you again in your moment of need.

It is celebrating the light of day,
despite the dark of night you lived because of your crime-laden past.

Does my heart move in tandem with Jesus’ in reckless, all-out, arms-open, heart-heeded abandon?

I don’t have to spin wild circles and make hand-gestures like a catcher, but the point is, would I or could I? In an outpouring of thanks, in the name of Jesus, could I pour out my heart through worship without worrying and fearing that I was embarrassing myself?

Would I go to those lengths to show him outlandish love?

  • To offer an outpouring of my best self and my highest worth, just as the woman washed Jesus’ feet in undressed affection: A woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. Mt. 26:7

Others probably thought she was crazy.

  • Judas, the one who eventually walked right up to betrayal, shook hands with it and fell to its power, had this to say about the moment: “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” Jo. 12:5

Why does this worship-dancer have to be so crazy?
Why does he have to draw attention?
Why does he have to make a show?

Maybe the issue is not him – but me. I think I am far to comfortable with being comfortable. I am far too complacent in my complacent worship. I am far too judgy with Christian judgements.

Is this attitude bringing me closer to God’s heart?

Or is it simply pushing me out of God’s ring, to stand on the sidelines with a pointed finger?

Perhaps the things I want to judge are the things God is using to give me a nudge.

Perhaps the people that I look to mock,
are those that should make me take stock over my spiritual walk.

Perhaps what I resist, is exactly where God wants me to persist.

You see, this man taught me a lesson.  By taking a short second-break from analyzing and critiquing, I could see the heart of God revealing and beating.

I remembered how much Jesus loves outlandish outpourings
of everything on to him.

But, how often are we too far consumed with the action’s of others, that the lessons of God fall on a path of concrete and grow no roots?

This man, he taught me how to give it all over. He taught me how to smile the words, “Worthy is the lamb,” and to mean it from every cell of one’s soul. He taught me, that the best gifts are the ones that are offered to God through a heart that is only outpouring for him. He taught me, don’t judge the ones who are different, because their “different” may be what brings us into “oneness” with God. He taught me to accept what is outside of my God-parameters. He taught me to be a little bit more open to other’s interpretive movements of surrendered love.

He taught me that my judgements are cause for greater worship,
because they are already forgiven.

So, as they ushered him out of the church aisle, and escorted him out of the church, I said, “Thank you God for this man, you see, what was lost, is now found for him – and he knows it. But, more importantly, he is not afraid to show it. Help me to be like him – not just to know, but to celebrate every cell of goodness stored up in the gift of you.  Help me to love you freely and fanatically today.”

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When You Hit A Wall and Love Breaks

Love Breaks

He built a tower. 

The effort that he put into it was great.
The focus he had was serious.
The progress he made was tremendous.
The magnetic blocks were stacked high into a sculpture of uniqueness, creativity and awe.
Then, he placed the last block on the top, and a section of it crashed to the ground.

My son, lost of all joy, looked at his partially destroyed tower, angry, frustrated, and dejected. He leaned back, lifted his hand up and destroyed the entire creation.

How often are we just like my son?

How often does a portion of our well-constructed earthly tower fall, only leaving us ready to lean back and swipe away the idea that God really cares?

We construct our family.
Add in the focus of good words.
Build into saving our finances.
Add the block of doing things right for God.
Stack on prayer.
We love what we have, the way we had it and how it was – and then, it comes down.

A portion of our tower, crumbles.

Why do you allow this God?

Whey do you let the good fall?

Didn’t you see how hard I was trying for you?

Don’t you get how much this meant to me?

Yet, what if we look at what stands against us differently. What if, rather than if a wall of unscalability comes before us or a falling wall of unpredictability, we still see a land of opportunity?

What if we realized, the things that are falling, are just the preparation for our great calling?

Think about Joshua, so many years ago.

The Israelites finally pushed through wandering and doubting
to make it to the so-called “Promised Land.”

They spent 40-years pushing on to make it to this place of “milk and honey.”

They built a mission that was ready to celebrate the victory,
to see the beauty and to bask in what they had.

They were probably so excited, eager and hungry to see the fruits of their labor.
I bet they imagined greatness.

But, guess what they were confronted with upon arrival?
Just guess?

A big ole’ ugly and tall wall!

A wall that was the barrier to their progress of family.
A wall that would hold them back from living well financially.
A wall that would not allow the sick to get help.
A wall that would seem to keep relationships stuck, people frustrated and temperatures high in their hearts.

A wall that could almost make them want to turn back around, say “What is the use?” and return to slavery.

God, though, he doesn’t leave us useless standing hopeless
before barriers and broken dreams. 

God is ready to offer a plan, so those who will seek it.
He is ready to offer instruction to those, who read his instructions.

He is ready to offer a fix, to those who leave the fixing to him.

God to Joshua: “I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Josh. 6:2-5

God claims the victory. The walls fall.

He handles the situations that look like hopeless situations to make them hopeful.

We may look like marching idiots in the process of his whispered plan,
and we may feel like we are simply standing in front of defeat,
but if we follow through, whether on earth or in heaven, God will win our behalf.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. Heb. 11:30

Let us not look at gigantic barricades or the fallen towers of our life in defeat, for what God is building will be reconstructed a million times better than what our small hands could do on our own. 

Where is God calling you to keep the faith? March on, dear friend.

For he is building something the best way, not our way.
He is building character that lasts, not falls.
He is creating spirits that can go the length, and not tumble at every tumbling.
He is giving wisdom that lasts beyond our confronted problem, not evaporating.
He is working progress into the areas of our defeat, so that he is the victor, not us.

And then, joy is ours, because what we see at the end, much like my son, is that what was rebuilt with God’s help, is the best thing we really could have asked for. My son? He jumped up and down. He cheered. He loved his new creation. He celebrated, much like the Israelites probably did when they had their breakthrough.

God has good stored up for you.

Until then, let’s just believe – and keep marching wildly on.

***Don’t miss my post today on Sacred Ground Sticky Floors! This is a site, I just love! Today I talk about the one thing I wish people would stop saying to me. It really gets to me. I hope you enjoy it.

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10 Ways to Know: Are You Listening to God or the Devil?

Listening to God

I go about my day, but sometimes my day goes about wrecking me. It goes about making me overwhelmed in a moment of frustration, angry at others, beaten by circumstances, discouraged by my actions and frustrated that I am not more of a “halo” Christian.

Ever felt this way?

When I come to think about it, I think it has much to do with what I am thinking about.

Because what we think, we live.

Are you listening to the conviction of the Spirit
or the condemnation of the devil?

10 Ways to Know:

1. The Spirit infuses love, the devil accuses with shame.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Ro. 8:16 

2. God draws us near, the devil pushes us lonely into fear.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears”  Psalm 34:4

3. The Spirit hands out an invitation, the devil speaks accusations. The Spirit invites us to life-change and liberation while the devil invites us to death.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Cor. 3:1

4. The Spirit makes us new, the devil makes us dwell in the old. The Spirit works in the now, the devil reinforces yesterday.
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor. 3:6

5. The Spirit speaks correction, the devil speaks destruction.
The Spirit reinforces the Word of Life, while the devil rips it apart, reworks it and denies it to suit his needs to destroy us.
When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. Jo. 16:8

6. The Spirit reveals, the devil steals.
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 1 Cor. 2:10

7. The devil pushes legalistic law, the Spirit pushes life-giving liberation.
If the devil can make you work hard to be loved, he will. The Spirit is always at work to confirm your position as child.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Ro. 8:15

8. The devil sends us on a parade of feelings, the Spirit sends us into a journey through God’s Word. 
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph. 6:17

9. The devil reminds us how bad we were, the Spirit reminds us of how secure and significant we will be as we turn back to God. 
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph. 2:8

10. The Spirit brings self-denial, the devil encourages self-will, self-promotion and selfishness.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Gal. 2:20

The Spirit is a force of freedom, a revealer of God’s wisdom and an offerer of love, the devil comes simply to steal, kill and destroy. May we walk bad voices right out the door, so the peace of God may walk in. Then, our temples will shine Christ far and wide.

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The Love Of God You Probably Don’t Know

The Love Of God

Sometimes, I look at my family and think, “I want to give you so much more. I want to love you more. I want to be there for you more.”

I have this longing, but then the action seems far from me. I grew up believing that you just work harder, you try harder and you push harder to do the right thing. You simply give your best effort and then God will love you, then you might be good enough, then you might make it through those pearly gates of glory.

But, striving only ends up producing in an overworked blown-out child.

Striving gives us the false belief salvation is on our shoulders and not God’s.

Striving pushes the need for love far and the will of self first and foremost.

Amidst all this striving, it is almost impossible to let the love of Christ’s sacrifice pour over you? Just think, there is no sitting with working. No relying with striving. No space for grace.  It is called captive service.

You serve and do and be for God–or you don’t get in!

This makes me think, where is the love?

Even more, no matter how amazing our parents were, no matter how fantastic their love – the plain ‘ole fashioned truth is that they can never love us like Jesus did. They have flaws. And because of their inadequacies and flaws, we learn an inadequately flawed love too. We walk receiving, knowing and giving partial love.

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child,
God has made you also an heir. Gal 4:7

Even God gets this point. This is why he tells us we are not a slave: a captive striver, an excessive worker, a ruled-over peon, an owned tool or a beaten serf. No. God tells us rather, that we sit in the full glory of who he is.

We are fully loved by the only one who created the definition of love. We are God’s child.
We get the glorious inheritance that is only stored away for God’s own. We are heirs.
We have the same love line as Christ running through us. His DNA is power. We are God’s child.
We are secure in what our father wants to bestow on us; our laziness can’t push it away. We are heirs.
We are new creations, being reformed into the full image of Jesus Christ. We are God’s child.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Ro. 8:17

May your sufferings not be seen as agony,
but as gifts that confirm your destiny.

May your pain not be run away from,
but held as the ticket that shows how loved you are.


May your agony not be lived in agony,
for it is simply a precursor to the glory that will shine on you.

Why?

Because your whole self is sealed in a way that can never be torn apart. The Spirit lives in you. You can never eliminate his presence or the temple in you, as a child of God.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” Eph 1:13

The Spirit confirms your belonging.

The Spirit speaks to your very heart.

The Spirit leads you in all truth.

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Ro. 8:16

No matter what turn we make, as a child of God, we are united with the Spirit that confirms our Father’s love. It holds us in all love, safety and significance. This eternal kingdom, belonging to “the children”, cannot be undone. Or erased. It is finished, on our behalf, by Jesus Christ.

Now, we can walk love. We can be love. Real love. Not from a place of doing, but simply from a place of being. Being a son or daughter of the most high king.

We love because he first loved us. 1 Jo. 4:19

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Living Encouraged Not Discouraged

Living Encouraged Not Discouraged

I see so many things called “impossibilities” right now. Blockades to progress. Markers of all I haven’t been able to push through. Barricades of defeat. A funny thing happens with these things. Maybe you have noticed? The more we pass them, ponder them and pay attention to them, the less they look like barriers and the more they look like graven images.

They normally are the things God didn’t fulfill. Things left undone. Things that torture a soul with the word, “unknown.”

They exist and then they start to rule over us, like this:
I deserve to live in defeat.
I can’t do it.
I will never find days “better”.
Quicksand is my destiny.
God doesn’t really care that I am stuck.
He won’t help me out.
I can’t make it.
I can’t do this thing before me.
I will fall down and get hurt.
Others have it easier.

Yet, when we know the end from the beginning, we know we will end up okay. Just consider this...

  • It is easy to look at our kids and say, “Trust me, when you get older, it will get better, people won’t be as mean.”
  • Or to be stuck in traffic and say, “I am dead stopped, but soon enough I will get moving.”
  • Or to watch a movie and know, “I will be okay at the end of this show, this ordeal will end.”

Never give up.
Our bodies may be dying, but our spirits are being renewed every day.
For troubles are small and won’t last,
but they are producing great glory that will last forever!
So don’t look at the trouble you see,
look at what you have not seen.
Your troubles will soon be over,
but ur joys will last forever.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

When we really know the “agony” will end,
we don’t agonize.

When we stop relying on what we see, we start seeing 
God’s predictable and promised outcome. We feel safe.

When we see the finish line of pain,
we start to live in courage, rather than discouraged.

When we believe in what will come together, we consider less what never has.

I wonder, how are you living? His Word is sure-fire. More sure-fire than any of those circumstances above. We can’t always see his workings, but we can be certain they will fire through to change the landscape of everything, always.

It’s not so much about what we see and it is always about what we don’t. It is not so much about what we “get,” but always about what he is working to give. It is not so much about there here and now, but much more about the “will come” – and the holiness that also arrives in our own heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Prov 3:5-6

We don’t have to understand,
we just have to stand to believe he is working
under the gears of our lives.

Stand to know encouragement: that the pain that stands before you – will end.
Not discouragement: that what you are confronted with will always be.

Where are you dwelling? In lands of possibilities or impossibilities?

Are you looking at what will never change or at what God has all power to change?

When we fear the unknown, we actually fear the idea of being out of control. We fear that we are losing our ability to impact a darn think – and we actually are. This is the point; God doesn’t want you in control – he wants you to know he is. Not once. Not twice. But all the time. 

Yesterday, I offered a challenge of losing “control”. Of walking in greater surrender. I would love for you to join me in this pursuit to “let go and let God.” For 31 days, we will push through a slice of control we continually want to eat. What is it for you? Might you consider releasing? If so, join in.  The bloggers who take part in this will be writing about it on November 9. I am excited to share a portion of their journey too.

Let go. What we let go of, can’t rule us inside. The hole that it leaves is replaced by more of God. More hope. More renewal. More encouragement. More life.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

Enjoyed “Living Encouraged”? Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Bloggers, I have moved the guest post submission deadline out to November 16. I know many of you have a busy October.

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