4-years old and on fire for God, who can say that isn’t a great thing? It’s all find and dandy until your son starts to push the small parameters of your own faith.
Then things start getting sticky.
Just yesterday, although this certainly is not the first time, he ran up to me saying, “See those kids playing over there? I am going to ask them if they know God. Is that ok mommy?”
He loves to do this. He tells them about God. About Jesus. About the bible (like I said, he loves God).
Shouldn’t I be happy?
Yet, my first reaction is often:
Their mom is going to hate me.
My son is going to get hurt one day.
I am going to feel embarrassed.
Part of me wants to protect him from feeling alone and cornered for what he believes. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Tim. 3:12
Part of me thinks that I must protect his faith and his feelings, like a mother bird guards a nest. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 1 Cor. 16:13
Part of me wants to protect myself from how his words and Christianity make me feel. If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mk. 8:38
But this kid and my “self”, don’t even belong to me,they belong to God,
so how can I let them rule me?
God is the only one in control
and it is his Word and his will that will rule, reign and refine forever.
My efforts are fruitless; his Word is fruitful.
I don’t want my heart boiling with the fire of God while my actions are cool with the complacency of social correctness.
I don’t think that is cool with God.
So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold– I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev. 3:16
How can God’s Word slice and dice broken hearts
into powerful, new and free creations when we tremble over the cutting process?
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mk. 16:15
Perhaps, God is calling us to see the world, much through the same eyes of my 4-year old. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 18:3
Through eyes that see:
A world needing the joy and love that he knows.
Friends who we want to meet in heaven.
People in need of Jesus.
My son doesn’t seem to care too much about the smiles, the cordial greetings or the good gossip spoken over him, but simply the heart that stands before him.
He seems to have not been jaded yet.
Somewhere along the way though, I have.
I have let people’s opinions become as valuable as gold,
while letting God’s standard go beneath the fold.
Perhaps instead, we refine our first thoughts to ask, “Do they know Jesus?”
Of course, it may not be the first question we ask, but perhaps now we will recognize it as their first need. Then we can ask ourself, “How might I first speak Jesus into their heart?”
To internalize this question is to verbalize life-defining words that endure the test of time.
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I remember the times when I didn’t know who I was or where I was going.
I certainly didn’t think I had the power to hold firm, fast and strong in the face of big waves.
My life bounced left, right, up and down and I seemed to move with the winds.
I felt out-of-control and as lost as a shipwrecked vessel looking for it’s next savior.
And, then I found him.
He showed up. And anchored me.
He set my feet on new paths, through new ways, giving me a new hope.
But, what is so amazing about his anchor that it is not like a traditional anchor. What history proves is that anchors of yesterday are made of solid rock.
And, this makes a whole lot of sense to me, because as one who was pulled from the meaningless sea of nothingness and turmoil and fear and hopelessness, I remember where my security was derived. I remember that rock; I know it well.
It is him. The rock who is precious. Bursting at the seams with hope. Expanding my view with his power. Exploding with virtue to continually rescue. The corner stone.
For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 1 Pet. 2:6
Oh, how once I was disappointed, but now I am not.
This stone gives new strength in the winds of failure, of not being, of not knowing.
This stone, time and time again, gives us a chance to see new places, new people (and old for that matter) from new sight. In our safety we can see their heart wrestling through their own storms, verses solely focusing on ours. It revises our view of the world as we burrow deep down into his safety.
His anchor holds normal anchor power, but at a magnified rate. Hisrope is always attached, confirming we are taken, owned. This rock can’t leave us. It is always nearby. It sometimes steadies us for a time of enjoyment, of pleasure and other times it steadies us to prepare us for something greater, something bigger – like preparing our heart, fishing for men, or for traveling afar to bring good news.
The solid rock of Christ doesn’t always remove us from the storm,
but it always secures us as we get through it.
The point is – it is hope encapsulated.
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? Ro. 8:24
It sums up the definition of hope; this rock has hit death in the face and knocked down it’s power to fight us back from eternity. Hope is resurrected.
Plus, it is certainly the only way to endure a storm to encounter, not just peaceful, but joyful and celebrating waters.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Heb. 6:19
It can’t be untied from our bow; if we know that rock, he is forever tethered to our soul.
This rock is as present as the reality of the pains that hit us; they can’t take us down.
It secures the deepest places that shake inside of us, so we become steadfast in his will.
The eye of the storm has no power of the rock that holds our lives together.
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I have been on a wild and crazy hunt to figure out how to get more of God – into me.
It’s wild because I often live in the wilderness – in the rocky ups and downs of faith. It’s just wild that a great God like him would want to dive into the disobedient heart of a girl like me. My head says yes, but sometimes, my heart says, it’s too off his beaten path.
It’s crazy because, I can’t even conceive how someone so “everywhere” and “always”, so above-it-all and so robe-laden, someone who made everything and with so much to do, could want to reside in measly me? Aren’t there a lot more exciting and missional places that he wants to focus?
But, it’s true.
God practically offers us all of him on a golden platter saying, I give you my heart. Will you take it? He doesn’t offer a part, a sliver, a shard, a splinter; he takes his whole body and throws it on the table for us, for vulture-like beings who did nothing to earn his gift of death.
“Take and eat; this is my body.” Mt. 26:26
He offers, but do I even value his gift?
The truth is the presence of his body, his life and his power is the greatest gift I could ever receive.
But, I must make a choice to eat his spiritual nourishment.
When my stomach turns in knots,
when holes trip me up,
when I shake in the darkness,
I must look up, verses looking around and see the one who is always ready to be found.
He is always ready to lead me in right ways.
His hand leads to truth.
Truth leads to love.
Love leads to fearlessness.
Fearlessness leads to passion and joy.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 Jo. 4:8
I wonder how often I hold back me – from God?
I wonder how much I fear his presence in me
because he seems too great above me?
How often I fear condemnation?
Even though I know his condemnation doesn’t even exist for me (Ro 8:1).
I forget “he who began a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)
How often do you hold back because you feel unworthy?
Or try to gain worthiness?
Even though it’s impossible to be the weight lifter of his power.
Only one can carry (and carried) that weight.
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Eph. 3:16-17
The reality is, we need to the strength of the Spirit so that we can welcome in the strength of the Savior.
Then, the strength of the Savior more and more pushes out
the strength of the sinner.
It’s like the Spirit does the internal cleaning,
so the temple is clean, prepared and ready to be inhabited.
Jesus silences sins through surrendered faith. The sinner is siphoned away and more and more the new creation takes over. The sinner’s fears are left in the dust; the Spirit and Jesus become the only ones to trust.
I want this to happen more and more for me, don’t you? This happens when we call on the power of the Spirit to expand the territory of the Savior.
It doesn’t matter where you live – in the wilderness, in trials, in temptation, in sin – confess and call. That’s it.
Then we will find the power of God will move in – to move out – all that keeps us from him.
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Just yesterday, I watched my husband and son in the pool. For them, it was fun and games. Laughs flew left, water flew right, my son bounced up, yet all that splashed into my heart was fear.
Cold, bitter, shiver-inducing fear.
Fear that erases smiles and creates armors of protection.
Fear that ruins snap-shot moments in families.
“I am not as good of a mother as he is a dad.” “My son really doesn’t like being with me that much.” “I stink at connecting.” “I can’t seem to approach him right.” “He will never love me.” “Let’s be honest, I am not really that good of a mother.”
Drenched with inadequacy, my fears were ready to send me out to fight or on a far-off flight.
All that seemed to bubble out of my heart was the idea that I am not lovable, not worthy and not good enough. It made me want to march right out to say, “Hey, what about me? Do you all even see me? I am good too! (imagine the hands on the hips)”
And, let me tell you, there would be consequences if I wasn’t acknowledged.
That’s how demands of “what about me” work. These ploys serve as the antithesis, the foil and the opposite of love. They topple down opinions, values and truths of others to erect their own statues of needs.
They basically say:
Hey, you, it’s all about me.
If I can’t fill that hole inside me, I will beat around the bush until I get what I need.
You better or I’ll ___________ .
If all else fails, I’ll simply shut down shop and take off!
Far from any cooler soaked victory, my feelings place me on the sidelines as if I play for team “better luck next time.”
Better luck, loser momma!
Why must I always be the winner? The SUPER MOM to the rescue?!
Perhaps, luck isn’t what I need, Jesus is.
It’s not super amazing, double with a half-twist dive into family praises that transforms me, but God’s entire wrapping over my life, my heart and all the steps I take. Because, the hard and fast truth is that some days, I will feel like a Super-loser (_____) (momma, worker, friend, spouse, sister, daughter, church member).
But, I can’t help but think that there are other loser _____s out there who need an understanding shoulder on which to rest their head. I know I need theirs. Because, there will be days, I won’t feel good enough and there will be days they won’t be good enough too.
When we open up our hearts to share “I-am-not-good-enough” moments, they become the passing point to the love of Christ.It is as if the doors of the drawbridge open and Jesus sails straight through to our precise destination of need.
Yet, so often we shut this part down. We say, “I am a loser today, I better put on some makeup.”
But, Jesus never said he cared much for makeup. And, he doesn’t care much for us making ourselves over with fake products to get what we need. They don’t work to well at covering shame anyway!
Winning status’ aren’t on his play board either- unless it’s about pouring out the victory that has already been won in Christ.
He has heard our prayers, now he wants our heart.
Jesus, convicts my heart. The truth is it’s not about my feeling good, looking good or winning good, but it’s about you loving good through me.
“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Mt. 20:16
Jesus models this so well.
He takes the those limping like the least of these,
to make them the most of these.
He rides in on a donkey, with the power of God behind him, to save the world.
He gets down onto a dirty floor, cuddles up next to the grime of another’s feet
and shows us the way.
Jesus never said, “Yo! Over here! See me! See my height, my stature, my awesomeness.”
He never said, “You better be perfect.”
He never said, “You will never feel bad.”
He simply says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
So, as I start to put on that can-never-match-up cape, I hope I can stop to remember:
1. The Word of God drowns inadequacy with the promises of God.
2. Jesus tramples the idea that we should beat ourselves down for who we are today. He came to rescue us this way.
3. Less makeup = more chances to make up with our faith-floundering heart. Then, we can send it out to make up the world with the markings of Jesus’ love.
4. I would be a loser if it wasn’t for Jesus, but he stripped me of that status when he died on the cross, forever securing my title of “victorious in him.”
Bottom line: Jesus doesn’t care so much about feelings of superiority or even adequacy, as much as he does about his all-nourishing adequacy.
There is no one like him,
no one above him,
no one who can match him, or beat him or control him,
no other name reigns like his.
He is the everything of all we want to be…
he is the gate that opens to the humble road
that leads to the ultimate filling place of our deepest desires.
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If you are going to She Speaks, there are 2 things to do:
1. Please RSVP here for the morning #RaRalinkup get together/breakfast.
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When I saw it, I immediately knew something was wrong.
The A, B, Cs where there. I was anxious, burdened and out-of-control as I cast my eyes on what was asymmetrical, border-weird and color not-normal.
My days of laughs in the sun,
felt like they were being exchanged for tears at the mirror
as I looked at my back from every angle known by man.
The possibility of cancer, the pain of removal and the fear how long it had been there swung like a wrecking ball in my chest. Whatever was resurrected for Jesus, was all broken today.
Have you ever noticed that, a heart that dwells on the looming possibilities of fear,
tumbles down the great possibilities of God?
It’s a pack-up-your bags, furious move from residing under the shadow of God’s wing to living in a battle-soaked village of doom and gloom.
The more I looked at that mole, the more I knew I had to do something. So, I picked at it. Then, I started to rub. With no progress, I grabbed the great tool of exfoliating cream and dug into it.
This thing was coming off!
I rubbed some more…
Until all that remained was the bloodied marker of all that was threatening me
and an open sore filled with discouragement and embarrassment.
That’s how it is with worry, isn’t it?
The more we move the chair of our thoughts back and forth over that same spot,
the more we dig deep tracks of distrust into our heart.
We rub, and rub and rub – the same spot.
The more we dig deep these tracks of distrust, the more we follow these ill-conceived tracks to illogical solutions.
We rub with exfoliating cream.
We ruin the floor of our faith with the imaginations of our future. We take action to things only God had the best action for. What ruminates in our mind, dominates in our life.
Then we ask:
God, where are you? God, why did you let this happen? God, do you not care? God, are you going to let _____ happen?
It’s like we allow our all-powerful problems
convict our seemingly low-power god –
a god who is entirely lacking in the love department.
We get squinty-eyed at the one who loves us most. We do what we don’t want to do.
God, return my heart and my presence back to you. I am sorry.
Confession is the flashlight to clarity.
Worry doesn’t stop what destroys, it just steals joy.
Worry self-centers us. People, needs and ministry move to the outskirts.
Worry erases the idea that we are living for God’s glory, his plan and his will.
It makes invisible the prayer, “Thy Will be done.”
Worry is like a bouncy ball stuck in a box, it will keep you up all night and get you nowhere.
Worry places our eyes on our present problems, rather than our present God.
What do I really believe?
Do I believe God is an all-sufficient problem handler or do I believe that he is absent, I am all alone, in the woods, by myself, fending against all my worst fears by the strength of my own might?
Is God the warrior or am I?
The truth is: God has us, he won’t let us go, he has a plan, he will bring us through all pain, he will provide for our every need, he will not forsake us, he will never let us go, he will not let our foot slip, he will pick us up if we fall, he will guide us through suffering as he has suffered, he will bring glory to our pain, he will lead others to know him through our trials.
But the real question is, do I believe this deep down -where it counts?
Hearts that believe God is good, give thanks for their good God.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil. 4:6
Thanks breathes in God and exhales bitterness. Thanks makes us see all we have versus all we could lose. Thanks brings into remembrance all of his past faithfulness.
Thanks puts into perspective our present perspective.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7
What can you find to be thankful for?
What praise can you immerse your one-track mind in
so that you don’t rub yourself raw
with feelings of God-has-left-me?
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My mouth says I want to “run with endurance the race that is set before (me)”, (Heb. 12:1), but my feet often go in the opposite direction.
I get set, and ready to go, until I fall and am ready to cry.
It’s a dichotomy I just can’t beat.
I snap back at my husbandwhen I know a kind word turns away wrath.
I think bad thoughts towards a rude personwhen I need to forgive as I have been forgiven. Col. 3:13
I yell at my children, when God says to bear up under one another in love.
I judge a sister in Christwhen God tells me to first look at the log in my own eye.
I take pride in my workwhen God tells me at the proper time I will be exalted.
1 Pet. 5:6
While my mind says, it’s all for you God, I am running hard and fast for you, my actions say, “it’s still kind of all about me.” I can’t let go. I can’t break through. I can’t succeed with God.”
The pounding of my feet on the sidewalk of God’s mission, start to turn into fists pounding on my heart, saying “Why can’t you just do better?”
Pound. You gotta get it together. Pound. People won’t see Christ in you. Pound. Are you really a Christ follower when you mess up so much? Pound. You are selfish.
And one who is beaten to the ground, can’t be running a good race for Jesus.
One who is pounding themselves, can’t be pounding the ground.
One fallen, can’t be encouraging others.
They can’t “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Cor. 9:24)
As I investigate my heart, my sin, and my desire, I am coming to see that God understands this roadblock too.
In order to run, run, run, we are instructed to unload, unload, unload: “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance…” (Heb 12:1)
so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Phil 2:6)
Jesus understands the struggle of a heart striving towards him. He doesn’t come to point our our lagger tendencies. He tells us to unload and rise up. To let go, and to move our feet. To say I am sorry, and to speed into his love. To send the failure fits to the sidelines and to move forward in faithful fury.
I’ve noticed, as I can let that go, I no longer feel like a girl running in circles, I no longer feel like the big loser on Olympics day, but instead I start to move forward – in a straight line – gliding into forgiveness, forging into peace, wholeheartedly striding into hope and joyfully pumping into the cheering applause of my loving Savior who roots me on with all that he is.
So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 1 Cor. 9:26
The question is not will I fall, because I will. The question, is – will I unload, confess and believe the promises of God (aka – get back up again), because this is where the race is won. This is where I stop pounding myself for every bad action and start pounding the streets with the message of Jesus Christ crucified and glorified.
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Purposeful Faith has been delighted to have Katy McCown join us as a guest contributor. Her insights have compelled our heart to love God more and more. We wish her only the best as she follows God in the next chapter of her life. Katie, thank you for being you. You glorify God in a powerful way!
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)
And the hearts of all God’s girls say, Yes, please!
But deep down we wonder, Is this really attainable? Does her newspaper tell the same stories mine tells? No way she considers college costs and laughs.
Before we talk about the laugh we long for, let’s assess our current condition.
How does your sentence end?
She ________ ?
To help you fill in the blank, consider how you might respond in this moment:
You expect your husband (or friend, sister, mom, etc.) to meet you for dinner. You wait 30 minutes and he’s a no-show. What thoughts race through your head while you wait?
He’s hurt. Your heart beats faster and your palms begin to sweat. What route did he take to get here? You check your phone for a missed call from a number you don’t know and consider grabbing your keys to bolt for the car and re-trace the path he would have driven to the restaurant.
He doesn’t care. While you wait you replay all the ways you don’t measure up. Your head drops and a tear may even cloud your eye as you pick yourself apart and tear yourself to shreds. No wonder he’s not here.
He’s not worth it. Your fingers drum the table as your blood pressure rises. You run through the long list of demands still on your plate. How dare he waste my time.
If number one is your instinctive response, your blank may be filled with words like: She worries. She fears. She panics.
If you identify with number two, maybe these words strike a chord: She compares. She doubts.
If option three nails you on the head, then maybe you describe yourself as: She erupts. She controls.
Maybe you’re like me (and Goldilocks) and you’ve tested all three seats, but still haven’t found the one that’s just right. The bad news is that leaves us all scared, sad or sorta mean. But there is good news!
In her book Living So That, Wendy Blight writes,
“Emotionally, our faith is often muddled by fear, hesitancy, and doubt. But our feelings become irrelevant when Jesus is the object of our faith – when He alone is the One in whom we trust.”
Our faith hangs not on the future, but on the One who holds the future.
The woman God paints in Proverbs 31 fears nothing – not because of earthly security or stable emotions, but because of the position and condition of her heart.
She laughs, because she trusts.
“My friends, we are not those who give up hope and so are lost; but we are of the company who live by faith and so are saved.” Hebrews 10:39 (The Voice)
A few days ago all the stars aligned and every, single, one of my six children.
Fell asleep at the exact, same, time during the afternoon.
I tip-toed to my room as fast as tip-toes can carry a tired mama and nestled into the pillows with a smile from one ear to the other. Thank you, God, for the blessing of these few minutes. Thank you, God, for rest. Thank you, God, for
Bzzz … Bzzz … Bzzzzzzzzzz!
Get out! I screamed to the fly as I fanned my hand in circles. I tried to sink back into my tranquil state but to no avail.
Someone left the door open and let a pest in the house.
Bzzz … Bzzz … Bzzzzzzzzzz!
Strategy #1: Ignore it.
Failed. How does one tiny fly know just where to buzz to drive a person millions of times bigger than him CRAZY.
Strategy #2: Avoid it.
Success! Or so I thought. With the help of some spare pillows, I erected a teepee-type structure around my head. And it worked. No more fly. No more buzzing. Back to sweet dreams and silence.
The only problem … I painted myself into a corner. Even the slightest shift of an arm would bring the teepee tumbling down.
Instead of freeing myself from the problem, I trapped myself with a faulty solution.
Is there a pest wreaking havoc in your heart? In your haste to handle the problem, have you set up walls that prevent growth instead of providing protection?
If we want to laugh without fear of the future it’s time to clean house … or heart. Drive out the pests that torment & trap.
If you’ve ever tried to get a fly to do anything you know the dilemma. It reminds me of Shakespeare, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.“
The pests in our hearts put up a fierce fight. Sometimes they outwit. Sometimes they hide or blend into the surroundings. Sometimes they outlast us.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
The pest in your heart has a name. The devil pursues you. He waits for the crack in the door. He invades and attacks with relentless force. Something tells me you know this already.
Defeating the devil requires you to do more than ignore or avoid.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23
To actively keep my heart, I employ 3 Strategies:
Be Alert! Identify the poison Satan feeds your heart and slam on the brakes (1 Peter 5:8).
Replace lies with Truth! Make every thought obedient to God’s Word (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Choose Faith! Show your belief by what you do (Jame 2:18-24).
So, how would the lady who laughs at the future approach the problem at the restaurant? I bet she prays. She tells God her fears, doubts or anger and begs for His truth to take over. She re-directs her toxic path to one focused on His Words and filled with His promises. And as she chooses to believe Him, she laughs.
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:23-24 (NLT)
She laughs without fear of the future. Is this attainable?
I have to believe it is and, more than that, anything less is a life not suited for the daughter of the King.
Special thanks to Meagan at Ancient Verse for donating the artwork in the photo at the top of this post.
I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife’s life at www.katymccown.com and I’d love for you to visit me!
My blog was hit by a brute force hacker who brutely forced fear straight into my heart.
They attempted to hack and whack the message of God.
To halt the images leading the way to the way, the truth and the life.
To hammer my functionality.
To halt images portraying the way, the truth and life.
I panicked. I emailed help like a mad woman. I fretted and feared.
But, nothing can stop the truth of God.
We may fall, sites may fall, finances may fall, buildings may fall, jobs may fall, kids may fall, feelings may fall, but nothing can make our all-powerful Jesus fall from the right hand of God.
Nothing can make us fall from grace. Nothing can make us fall from our eternal standing with Christ Jesus.
We are not falling victims of senseless attacks, but rising sinners headed to heaven.
God has secured our future no matter what attacks come our way.
With God, we rise above attacks.
What the enemy uses to take us down, God uses to raise us up,
to a greater enlightenment,
to a deeper truth,
to a more powerful resolve to push through obstacles.
Nothing can take Jesus down, because he has already risen up!
The devil might attempt to bring us to our knees, but God uses to reinforce our faith to a greater degree.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. (Gen. 50:20)
Lately, I have been getting vulnerable – real vulnerable. This attack has showed me that the more we become vulnerable, the more we lay ourselves wide open to attack.
But, God never promised we wouldn’t be persecuted, he promised us we would have eternal rewards when we are.
We are open and ready to receive from God. We raise our arms in surrender, we lift up our heads, we close our eyes, but this is also the perfect position for the enemy to come right in to shove us over. We aren’t looking at him, afterall. It’s hard to see the onslaught coming.
Can you remember a time where you were going head-on right into the heart of Jesus with complete abandon, only to feel the weight of the world come crashing down?
Can you remember feelings of doubt, discouragement and despair throwing you off track?
Vulnerability and surrendered hearts are open to a brute force attack, if we don’t add safety guards.
For my site, it is extra walls of security and additional plug-ins. We need to plug-in too. We need to plug-in to the armor of God “so that (we) can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Eph. 6:11
This means we add a little extra security to our holy temples.
We dress up a bit.
We wear our accessories daily.
We protect our open hearts.
We put on:
1. The “belt of truth buckled around (our) waist.” Eph. 6:14
Just as a belt is the center point of our body, so is the Word of God the center point of our lives. All truth flows and knowledge flows from God’s Word that brings life.
2. The “with the breastplate of righteousness in place” Eph. 6:15
No matter how open your heart is to God, when we act in righteous ways, we wear an armor that protects us from getting hurt. It makes all darts against us bounce off.
3. “Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Eph. 6:16
If we are ready and willing, we can’t be stopped. There is resolution in the face of trials. Put on readiness so you may grow and go according to Christ’s purpose.
4. “The shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Eph. 6:17
When we believe in what we cannot see, the troubles we can see don’t deter us in the moment – we walk with a higher mission.
5. “The helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph. 6:17
We can cover our head with the protective helmet of eternal salvation. Our mind can rest secure under it because we have eternal standing that can never be removed.
We wear our armor, but we live/worship/surrender as “wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove”. Mt. 10:16
This means we worship with hands raised and one eye open.
We share discerning if we may be throwing our valuable pearls to the swine. Mt. 7:6
We pray, knowing that is not by our might, but by God’s that we are protected. Eph. 6:18
Because, otherwise, we are just as vulnerable to an attack as we are to God.
Otherwise, we walk with our heads in the clouds, ready to be hacked right back down to earth.
Let’s get up, wise up and start plugging in to God’s protective armor. We are fighting a greater battle.
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“I don’t want you to do that. You better not go there.” “I walked down a path and I saw the bad things that resulted.” “You may get hurt.” “I will have to carry your load.”
When we speak fear, we speak death into another person’s joy. We speak the emotions of worst case scenarios into what could be another’s best. We rain on another’s parade.
I don’t want to be that kind of person.
The kind of person that sees a child with a new balloon – and who then sucks the life right out of it.
I can try to justify it in love:
I don’t want them to be hurt.
I am saving us future pain.
They should know the truth.
But speaking fear is just criticism wrapped with a thin bow of “care”. The “care” bow doesn’t last, but often it’s the underlying words of fear that endure.
Are you raining on a parade?
Are you letting fear dictate your words to another?
To a spouse?
I am guilty. I look at my 3-year old son, carrying big bucket of water and a huge smile, only to say, “Don’t spill that. I really don’t want to clean that up.”
While I know this is a small example, and it won’t ruin his life forever, it still conveys the point. What if, instead, I was to say, “Wow! That looks like fun. You are up to something cool. I want to be a part of that! Let’s take it outside.”
Instead of stealing joy, I am building into it.
I know, so often, I run so fast to fear…
Fear that ruins.
Fear that cripples.
Fear that overshadows emotions.
Fear stands for:
Fun Ends And you’re left… Rejected
What’s the other alternative? Love.
Love stands for:
Letting Obstacles Vanish and Enduring Faith Win
Love doesn’t see issues, but sees hope.
Love doesn’t see threats, but sees opportunity.
Love doesn’t see differences, but common pain.
Love doesn’t see the words “you can’t”, but encourages through the words “you can.”
Love doesn’t see the potential downfall, but a chance for greater faith to be forged.
Love doesn’t run to save, but trusts Jesus to.
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You won’t be able to do that. No one does that. It doesn’t happen that way.
Despite my sure belief and confidence in what God had been working – uncertainty crept in.
Was this person right? Was it impossible? Was I wrong to believe?
Waves of doubt filled my heart. With force, they came to topple down my focus on God, my desire to follow and his great purpose for me. They rippled wider than my head and pushed straight into my anxious heart, with thoughts like:
I am on my own, God has left me! What do I do now?
Why did God give only to take away? I better figure a way to fix this myself.
Should I just take flight and run another way? I can’t do this after all.
Why did I believe? It seems now, I was never cared for to begin with.
Swelling up, under all of these fear-ridden thoughts, was a deep undercurrent that I wasn’t capable, valuable or lovable enough to get good from God.
Yet, as I thought of all that God has done for me, He brought me to on of the most valuable questions that we can ever ask ourselves: Who do I trust? The power of God or the power of man?
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. Ps. 118:18
Trust means I fully accept
the promises, the assurances, the life,
the resurrection and security of Jesus Christ.
It means I don’t see all I can’t do, it means I just see all he DID do.
It means I don’t see others words, I solely see his words guiding my way.
It means I don’t see an overwhelming future, I just see overwhelming past proof of his love for me.
The tide of God’s love is pulling me into the deep waters of Jesus. It brings me back to the place of trust.
I want to rush into his waters, only to come out drenched with his love and purpose.
3 Ways to Pull Yourself Back Into The Current of Faith
1. Seek to See God and His Surrounding Faithfulness.
I have the opportunity to see God. Truly! I can see his invisible qualities, his eternal power an his divine nature. It is all laid out before me in the creation that surrounds me. The more I look into nature the more I find his peace-giving presence.
The sun proves his consistency.
The thunder proves his power.
The mountains prove his steadfastness towards me.
The sky prove his all-encompassing presence every day.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Ro. 1:20
2. Dive into the Safe-Dwelling Waters of Jesus.
Like David, as we seek God, dwell on God and pursue his holiness, we start to lay our eyes on the heart of God. The world, voices and messages start to fall away and we start to build a sanctuary of love in our heart. This sanctuary is a temple of God that many are drawn to – it shines God’s glory.
Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD.” 1 Chron. 22:19
3. God brands us with his promises. His promises are marked on us, they never leave our side – and we believe it.
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
As believers, we are sealed in the Lord’s love for us. We are packaged so tightly with his purpose, his seal can never be broken. We are sealed inside of all he has already promised us. Now, we walk believing it.
God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? (Numbers 23:19)
We are held tightly by the power of:
– a hand that holds ours
– a Father that sees
– abundant forgiveness
– unending mercy
– unrelenting love
– unbelievable grace
– a help in a time of trouble
– eternal life
Trust is built – and kept – as we remember our Creator, his holiness and our sealed status in him. Truth and life already available. Assurance of our faith already exists. The question is – will we choose to believe and seize it? Will we choose to trust God or to trust man?
Because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever. 2 John 1:2
We can overcome doubt with faith in all of God’s abundant promises.