Purposeful Faith

Tag - Jesus

Sometimes, Failing Precedes Blessings

failing precedes blessings

There he was, Jesus, tugging the weight of the world on his shoulders, straight up the road to his demise. He trudged along, weighted. He proceeded by faith, bent over. Heart and body, likely splintered. By all accounts, Jesus, looked like he was failing and failing badly, very badly. His Messiah mission fell, His name apparently couldn’t save, His cause was causing people to laugh, mock and taunt him.

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” Mt. 27:39-40

People anti-worshipped him by outpouring disgust.

“Fix it!” they screamed.
“If you are so great, why do you look so bad?” they yelled.
“If you trust your God, why has he let you down so badly?” they ensued.

Are you hearing the same?

Does it look like you’ve been left on the side carrying failure?

That you are destined to be hurt?

That God isn’t coming through for you?

Sometimes, I feel I am falling into the great abyss of obscurity and aloneness. I see the black storm. I see myself as homeless.

These storms make our future look dim.

We continue to drink, even though we wanted to quit.
We figure we will never shed that last 10 pounds.
We react in anger and try no different.
We gossip, then do it again and again.
We figure we will always be stuck in a dead-end job.
We have no hope for our marraige.
We decide our kids will always be ingrates.
We accept rejection at work and no longer try.
We feel like a sub-par Christian and accept that as truth.
We believe we will always be in debt.
And on and on it goes…but, no doubt about it – it will never end well – for us.

What if Jesus, by all accounts,
saw the circumstances and declared himself destined to be a loser?

He could have –
if he lived by the comments, claims and convictions of the world around him.
If he chose to believe doubts over faith.
If he didn’t believe in a good, good daddy.
If he didn’t know that a Saving God, always saves.

But, he didn’t.

Jesus believed victory was on the brink and didn’t let his mind sink.  

He kept walking…even though.
He kept ministering…even though.
He kept his mind on heavenly…even though.
He thought about forgiving us…even though.
Even though, he was hanging on a limb in gut-wrenching agony.

He thought of us.
He is still is.
He is thinking of you and where you stand.
He is thinking of that standing place as his victory-place.

Will you sink by how you think
or will you rise keeping your eyes on the prize?

I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8

Jesus’ situation looked bleak.
It looked heavy.
It looks so bad the ones he loved ran away in fear.

But here is how it turned out, here is what he was right on the brink of:
He was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures—and is still alive! (1 Cor. 15:4)

He is still alive and still saving us.
He is still alive and still pleading for us.
He is still alive and still making a way for us.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
And so through 
him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 1:20)

His answer to your heart is – yes! Yes, he will do the amazing for you, according to his will, if only you believe.

And we all say, Amen.

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Believe

Post by: Jami Amerine

I believe.
I believe in Jesus Christ, only son of the Father.
I believe He died for me.
I believe He rose from the dead.
I believe He ascended into Heaven.
I believe He will come again.

I believe.

But sometimes, I forget that this belief means so much more because of who it is I believe.

Recently our oldest son, who is severely dyslexic, decided he wants to go to medical school.  He came to my husband and me and said, “I think I am supposed to be a doctor.”

Not for one moment did I doubt him.

I homeschooled John for the better part of his academic career this far.

I know.

I know first-hand that the road he just ventured onto will be hard. When I say hard, I mean “reads at a 5th grade level” hard, or so the test makers tell me. But I have seen the work of this man-baby, I have witnessed a determination in him like no other.

I believe.

It is one thing for John to believe he can do all things through Christ who is his strength. It is another thing for someone else to believe he can do it.  And on the evening after John’s announcement I made arrangements for him to test into the university near our home, my alma mater.  A tightness grew in my chest as I recounted the days of dreaded placement and diagnostic testing. For just a moment I entertained, “what if…”

I quickly shook off the thought.

I believe.

And somewhere on the still evening air, a warm sound swept over me.

I was bathed in peace.
I was slain by love.
I was certain the sound was audible.
The breath of my Lord comforted me and I heard Him say, I believed first.

Yes.

The Alpha and the Omega, the God of Isreal, Maker of Heaven and Earth believes in my boy’s abilities to be fulfilled, the good work that this God created him for cannot be impossible.  It cannot be measured by human standards.  And in that moment, I am further struck with the reality – He believes in me too.

As much as I strive to love and serve this Mighty and Mysterious God, as many times as I have proclaimed my adoration, as often as I have shouted “YES LORD! I believe!”

He believed first.

He believed all those years ago on a hill, nailed to a cross.
He believed as He descended into the abyss.
He continued to believe as He walked that road to Emmaus.
And when He ascended back to the Father, He believed without a doubt.
He believed in me at the dawn of my conception.
He believed in me as I took my first steps.
He believed when I fell away from Him, when I rejected Him.
He believed in my daughter-ship, He believed I would return.

He still believes. He believes even when I am at my worst.

He believes.

He believes that the good work He began in me will be carried through to bring Him glory.

This is magnificent to me.  When I am in doubt, when I am afraid, when I can’t bring myself to believe, He who dwells in me… believes.

So great His belief he took His petition, His deep and unshakable beliefs, and died for me on the Cross.

Who am I that He who measures the depth of the sea

and counts the feathers on the songbird,

believes in me?

I believe I am the daughter of the God of All.

I believe my son, a newly accepted Pre-Med student at my alma mater, is the son of the God of all.

I believe I am a foster mom, when I was the most terrified woman on the planet.  Afraid I would get hurt, afraid of the brokenness, I believed in the calling from my God.

I believe I am an adoptive mom of two precious boys, I believe in all seven of my children.

I believe I am an author, when everyone said, “It’s too hard to get published.”

I believe I am a sinner, desperate for a goodness I am incapable of on my own.

I believe in an unseen God who first believed.

Who am I that He believes in me?  I am a believer in Him.  He is mighty to save. He is mighty to deliver.  He believes in the impossible for He was able to conquer death, death on the cross – for me.

And for you.

He believes in us, dear friend.  He believed so greatly in us – and His Father loved us so, that He took it to the grave.  Meet Him there. Crumpled at the foot of the cross cry out the hurt, the disappointment, and the fear. For even if the only words you can muster are… I believe.  Know He will honor and care for you. He will deliver you and conquer that which terrorizes you.  He will make all things new. He will make it all work together for good.

The great I am, your Father in Heaven… He who first believed.

Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)

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Doing Less in Order to Gain More

Doing less
Post by: Katie M. Reid

Do more, be more.

You’re not enough, you must work harder.

Do more, be more.

You have value if you produce.

Do more, be more.

You are worthy if you succeed.

These are the chants I live by.

Tightly-wound tendencies, cultural demands, and lies from the pit—that’s what they are.

When I listen, which is far too often, I get stuck in a pattern of striving, driving, and running out of gas. I get cranky, I don’t get enough sleep, and I’m left feeling discouraged.

I’m on a vicious cycle straight towards burnout when I live this way.

My brother Brian has Down Syndrome. He has great purpose even if he can’t contribute to society in typical ways. He lives a simple life. His routine is quite structured and predictable.

Brian is a gift. He knows when to give a timely word like, “You’re great,” or “I love you-oo”.

Brian also has a knack for picking out just the right Scripture that summarizes the sermon being preached. Just the other day, as the pastor was speaking about not giving up, Brain quickly turned to Isaiah 40:31:

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” -NLT

Brian doesn’t have to work harder to be deemed enough. So, why does his big sis struggle to apply what she believes is true about him?

I feel handicapped in my ability to change. My head listens to the lies and yet my heart knows the truth. Somewhere between the short distance from brain to heart I have lost the ability to grasp grace. I have exchanged dependence for self-reliance. I keep trying to do more and be more so that I feel like enough, valuable, and worthy.

So the other day, I finally said, Okay God, I can’t make these changes on my own. I feel helpless. I do what I don’t want to do, but I can’t seem to find my way out of this unhealthy pattern. Would You please help me?

It seemed that Jesus responded with a knowing smile and something like this, Well, My child, it’s about time you acknowledged that you can’t do this without My help. Now we can make real progress.

You see, self-sufficiency is my go-to sin that doesn’t usually work out so well. I try and try and try a little harder but I eventually end up ready to give up…and then I go to Jesus for help—realizing that I don’t really have what it takes.

Why do I wait to give the S.O.S until it’s too much? Why don’t I go to Jesus first and admit my need?

We often have a false perception that we can handle it, manage it, and produce it on our own strength, intellect, and know-how. But He is truly the Sufficient and Capable One.

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

-Matt Maher, Lord I Need You

We are studying the book of Matthew in Bible study this semester and it struck me how Jesus was led by the Spirit. He was also intentional, faithful, and completed tasks. However, He wasn’t harried, hurried or hustled. He didn’t seem to rush.

I want to be more like Jesus—purposeful yet full of peace.

Since the “do more, be more” mantra isn’t working out so well, I want to adopt a new chant to undergird my days.

Do less, gain more.

Trust God to work even when you’re not.

Do less, gain more.

Stay hidden in Him while He fights for you.

Do less, gain more.

Give God room to make you bloom.

As God cocoons us in His love we stop striving and let Him work. At the right time we emerge, a new creation, ready to glorify Him.

We don’t have to muster up worth through tasks upon tasks. We are enough because Christ is enough. We don’t have to produce to be valuable. We have value because Jesus died on our behalf. We don’t have to be enough. We have a God who is enough for us.

Let’s do less striving and let’s gain what truly matters—a dependent relationship on the One who came to set us free from the rat race of sin.

As we hide ourselves in Him we are found. As we let go we find peace. As we life the surrendered life, led by the Spirit, and secure in Jesus’ love, we are home.

P.S. Jesus loves you-oo.

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Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

Women’s Ministry Monday: A Televised Awakening

televised awakening

I am delighted today to welcome Diane Maudsley, both a friend and a passionate women’s ministry director to share her story for Ministry Monday. As you will see, God proves he can reach anyone at anytime. Who are you hoping he reaches?  Don’t lose hope…

When the time is right, God will get the right message in front of their sight.

Diane’s story proves this…

It was Easter Sunday, 27 years ago, when the grace of God visited my small apartment living room as I knelt in front of the television listening to an evangelist teaching about forgiveness.

That day was by far one of the most, if not THE most, impactful days in my spiritual walk with God.

I had grown up learning about God, hearing about His magnificence and power, learning in Church and in Christian schools that He created me and this great world, and I knew all about His Son, Jesus, …but did I, really?

My soul was lost and desperate – it was searching the TV airwaves (there was no internet or iPhone then of course) for a glimmer of hope for my wretched life.

The man on TV called it “Resurrection Sunday”!
He was looking right into the camera (into MY eyes).
He told me Jesus died on the cross to forgive ME of MY sins…!!!

Why had I felt like I have never heard that before?

Why did it feel like I was hearing this for the very first time???

27 years later I can tell you why, spoken best by the words of Paul the apostle: “Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation…” (Eph. 3:2-3)

I was given a gift, a “revelation,” as I tuned to the right place at the right time for my heart, my soul, and my mind to receive this free gift of grace from heaven!

It was MY day of visitation!

Have you experienced yours?

When you open your heart to welcome God in,
surprisingly you find he walks right in.

Just as the veil or curtain was torn in the temple when Jesus died on the cross, the veil was removed from my eyes so I could see the Lord’s true forgiveness and grace!

Before this moment, while my life’s journey had taken me on many shallow roads of “doing good,” I was not standing on the solid ground of salvation, therefore I strayed from the “path of righteousness,” being easily swayed by temptation.

Do you subtly stray?

Does temptation often call your name?

Does that thought scare you?

Today I am the mother of 3 amazing gifts from God, my daughter who is 23, a son who is 20 and another son, who is 17.

Sure, it is scary, knee-worthy even, but because of my experience with a saving knowledge of God and His Son’s sacrifice on the cross and glorious Resurrection, I can rest assured that God is in control of their lives, just like He is in control of mine. I pray that they will have great testimonies of redemption and grace in their lives as they find Christ and follow Him to their destinies.

Resurrection always waits: “Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)

It calls us to more: “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies” (Psalm 107:2)

Will you answer?

When I was set on the path of righteousness my life truly began anew. The road was not easy, but it was alive and hopeful and I declare to you today that I have been redeemed from the enemies of shame, guilt and regret.

Let’s remain awake and alive, shining the light of Christ everywhere we go.

God used a television evangelist that morning in my life. May He awaken the sleepers and use our testimonies to raise up a shining army that brings hope to those dwelling in darkness!

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About Diane Maudsley

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 10.23.51 AM
Diane has been Women’s Ministry Director for Hope Church in Wilton, CT for 6 years and loves the women she gets to serve! She thrives on seeing a woman’s faith grow and come alive through the reading and study of God’s Word.
When she isn’t serving at her church, she is  teaching horseback riding to children, most of whom have special needs. She is a PATH certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor since 2011 and loves seeing the children come to life on the back of a horse!

Seizing Resurrection Power

Resurrection Power

What looks without light in your life?

What looks buried over so much that you are convinced is impossible to dig out? 

If you came up with nothing, think deeper. What is it you believe you can’t do?

Remember this thing. 

I am face-to-face with impossible these days. What I want to do, I have tried to do, yet no matter what, I just can’t seem to do it. To make matters worse, the problem sources within me. If it was others – their circumstances, problems or things – those wouldn’t be so offensive, you know, you can more easily brush those off, but what is internal it feels eternal sometimes.

Sure, I said I have forgiven, but truly forgiving is hard when someone keeps on offending.  It is hard when you feel abandoned and ignored. It is hard when those feelings rise to the surface and make you remember stuff.

So I go deep…

I cover my irritation in the darkness, but there it sits.
The pain was a time ago, but irritation sits heavy.
The relationship waits, and I lay immobile to feelings.
The rock lays over me, and I am closed up into myself.
I am tightly wrapped, in my own thoughts about how things should go.
I can’t breathe, I feel upset at myself for not being able to move on.

I feel like I am stuck in a hole. A deep, unscalable, deathly, waterless hole.

But, here is the kicker – so is Jesus.
And, here is the double kicker – he rose from it and will raise you up too! 

In the tomb, where you feel dead,
Christ is ready to rise up in you – to make you alive.

In the tomb where all things seem lost, 
Christ already won that battle.

It is called resurrection power!

“But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb…and did not find the body.” (Luke 24:2-3)
Resurrection power!

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5) Resurrection power!

“He is not here, He is risen.” (Mark 16:6)
Resurrection power!

What looks dead, comes alive.
What seems impossible, becomes possible.
What seems unbearable, becomes bearable.
What seems hopeless, finds hopefulness.

What is it for you that looks dead, dank and dying before you?

Jesus is raising it up to new life. By his stripes you are healed and by his resurrection a new answer to your situation is being revealed.

Jesus both tells and asks you something. Something pointed, like he did to Martha not so long ago, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Do you believe this?

See your situation and believe this verse over it. Grab it like a lifeline. Call it yours.

As you do, he will lift you up out of the pit. You simply: 1.)hand it over to him 2.) let his resurrecting forgiveness wash over it and 3.) feel the promises clean your shame-soaked body.

Here’s what happens – He saturates it with so much light, it nearly blinds you to what was of old. Then, as he raises you to new heights, you move from trauma to transformation (and it doesn’t even feel that hard). Why? Because the power of resurrection sinks right into you…

…if only you believe.

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Waking to the Personal Power of the Cross

Power of the cross

Easter popped up on us this year. I am not prepared. I am not ready.

But, was anyone ready for what was to come? Where the disciples? Was Mary, mother of Christ, ready?

I am sure, none of Christ loved ones were ready to see the son of God, the lamb, the truth, the light, the way, all hope, bread of life and shepherd go.

What did they feel? Was it fear? They did not know what his road held. Sometimes we don’t know what our road holds…

Like them, we want to hold on to Jesus, his all things good- for he is our everything. We want to say, “Jesus stay near, – and let evil stay far. Let us be with you. Give us good, good things!”

We know that he is “called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and we want the fullness of it.

May we know the joy of Jesus, but may we also know his pain. For it is the pain that proves he knows our pain. It is his pain that proves we will one day arrive at gain. And it is through his pain that the whole world, for those who believe are delivered from shame.

May we see, and rely on Christ through:

The mockery: When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Mt. 27:35

The pain: The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe. John 19:2

The cost: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We will be mocked. We will have pain. There is a cost.

Have we considered this?

Because of the cross, we no longer have to fear what comes to injure us, because Jesus lives in us. If he is in us, his power to overcome is extended to everything we face. Imagine that.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Gal. 2:20

So, today, no matter where our hearts have been this week, or this season, let’s bow down, lay low, praise Jesus and thank him for the sweat, the tears and the willpower to stick it through. Let’s look at his crown-laden, bloodied face – and see his victory just moments away. Let’s see our pain too, and our victory awaiting, because the truth is – through Jesus – we are now truly alive!

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ,
and Him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:2

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The Way to Handle Life

pray handle life

Years ago, I took one of those 20-question quizzes, which used to populate our email inboxes. Before Facebook took over, we replied to all and read our friends’ answers one by one as they replied to ours. Remember that?

This quiz included questions about your favorite fruit, your most embarrassing moment, and how many days a week you cry. Random.

Guess what I learned?

Most people don’t shed tears every day.

Or at least that group of my friends didn’t. After I sent out my answers, some of them wondered if I was depressed. But I didn’t have anything to hide—I’ve just always been an easy cry.

I’ve been studying the book of Hebrews, where we see Jesus as superior to angels and prophets and the law that came through Moses. He’s our High Priest who gives us continual access to God’s Presence.

But we also see Jesus living out of his humanity, displaying strong emotion.

We see Him crying and praying fervently about what was to come.

We see Him struggle and still obey God, even through suffering.

We see Him fully dependent on God His Father day after day.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Hebrews 5:7

It’s the emotion here that stops me—fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him.

This points to His time in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus asked His Abba, Father to take this cup from Him. He was asking God to not let Him die in such agony–with the sins of the world heaped upon Him.

He didn’t want His Father to turn away from Him.

And He was heard because of His reverent submission. This last part of the verse is important.

Jesus asked for a different way, but He submitted to the Father’s will.

Yet not what I will, but what you will. Mark 14:36b

Is this the attitude you carry into your prayers?

It’s often not where my heart is, when I come to God with a need. I’m thinking, MY will, Lord, just say yes! I’m assuming I can see far enough ahead to know my way will work out best. I’m sure I know what I need.

But often, God shows me that what I need more than anything is to walk with Him and depend on Him.

What I need most is to lay my requests at His feet and say, Not what I will, but what you will.

Jesus endured His life on earth with regular time away from everyone else, praying to His Father–even though there were endless people to help and things to do.

Our lives, also, are meant to be handled with prayer.

May we follow Christ’s example to actively trust in God and depend on our Father through prayer. May we pray as an offering, sometimes including tears. Every day if needed.

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Angela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.

Gyms, Playgrounds & Pushing Into Jesus

Pushing Into Jesus

Gyms

Something inside me was brewing. I could hear the voices. I could sense the excitement. It was all around me. I wanted to jump in, I wanted to participate; but, all I could do was stand and stare. Like a frozen spectator, the reflection of the gym class mirror gripped me. Giggles. Smiles. Connections.

Loneliness. Wishes. Sadness.

The were living everything I wanted, the everything I was somehow was not a part of. I was the lone wolf.

Untitled design (10)

I stood smack dab in the middle of the class, but knew I much more belonged on planet Jupiter.

Every inch of me felt vulnerable, “Will they notice that no one is talking with me?”
Every ounce felt embarrassed, “Why don’t I have a friend here too?”
Every bit of me wondered, “Do I look okay?”

Everything in me, made me feel like I was reliving yesterday…

Playgrounds

Playgrounds are places where kids play, except for when you are me. Then they are places where you sit out. They are places where you are left behind. They are places where you watch from the safety of a curb, from a position of arms crossed or from a nurses office for safe keeping, because what you know is: on these grounds everything you believe about yourself is being determined. 

Things like:

1. I must not be likable.
2. I have some weird gene that excludes me.
3. I think differently.

I reached out my hand to be friends with one of the girls. I tried; I tried so hard to extend myself beyond myself. I looked in her eyes – and she looked back too.  There was hope!

Then, her friend walked by, reached out for her arm and said, “Don’t be friends with her.”

pushing into Jesus

Said and done – from that point on everyone acted cold. Standing on that field, playing whatever sports game we where playing, a little piece of determination and a little piece of resolution was lost. I kicked softly and felt horribly. And walked home solemnly figuring there was something wrong with me.

I wonder if Jesus ever felt like me?

A moral, good and righteous odd-ball-out kind of kid?
Without sin, yet having to dwell in sin (Heb. 4:15)?
Immersed in a world of pain, when he was used to the wealth of paradise?
Hated by those he loved and shamed by those he came to save?
Might those he loved felt awkward and restrained near him in sight of his greatness, his perfection?

And what about when Jesus was about to head to the cross? No one could understand his grief. No one could fathom the far depths of his love. No one could walk in the shoes that would cleanse the whole world with righteousness. No one could understand what it feels like to be “forsaken” (Mt. 27:46).

Surely, I am not nearly like Jesus, but I think Jesus might have felt a little like me – alone. Not understood. Weary.

Pushing Into Jesus

When I step back from all this – to look at Jesus and myself, I start to see something emerge.

What strikes me is: How often am I like those who stood around Jesus – just a little scared of him?

How often do I believe Jesus looks at me and says,
“Her, no…. you don’t want to be friends with her”
and then he grabs all his love and walks out the door?

When we feel like Jesus is ready to abandon us,
we become hyper-aware that the world will too.

Deflect his love and you will deflect all love.
Intersect with Jesus’ love and you’ll be resurrected by it.

Do you ever feel unable to receive the fullness of God’s love?

5 Ways to Tell if You are a Love-Deflecter:

1. You feel guilty beyond guilty when you make a mistake. You can’t get over it.
2. You sometimes fall trapped to believing: God is too big and too mighty to hear your small prayers – or answer them.
3. When you close your eyes and imagine meeting Jesus in heaven, you see him squinty eyed as he greets you.
4. You figure a way out of trials, verses letting God’s love hold you through them.
5. The past makes you think he runs from your past too.

There is no ounce of shame, that disqualifies you from the power of his name.
There is no ounce of shame, that disqualifies me from the power of his name.
Say it aloud if you need to.

Jesus knows our pain and loves us the same.
pushing into Jesus

He felt pain and won the game.
He knows our cries – and cries with us.
He bring us to the sinking point of love,
found at the foot of the cross.
Where the past has bounds,
but the future is boundless,
where pain exists,
but where love swallows its power.
Where life is made new again,
and past handicaps become moot.
Where the compassion goes on and on and on,
and where small kids are made whole again.

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Learning to Tango with a Trustworthy Partner

Trust is Required in order to be Led by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

I love to dance with my husband. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but I treasure the times it does. We’re invited to an April wedding, so I’m counting on a dance or two then.

Back in college Adam and I used to swing dance. I had trouble letting him lead me. I was tense and tried to control the moves—that doesn’t work when you aren’t supposed to be taking the lead.

Someone had to follow. It didn’t mean I was less talented or capable, it just meant that in order for our dance to be effective, I needed to learn to be led so that our moves would be in harmony instead of working against each other.

A New Direction

As most of you know I am pregnant. We were planning on adopting again but God had another plan. This miracle answered many prayers I had for my heart returning home.

But here’s the thing God has been showing me recently, I can’t keep trying to do all the things I am currently doing and add another child to the mix.

He isn’t asking me to stop dancing but He’s asking me to follow His lead as He spins me around—turning me a different way than I expected.

I can fight this new direction, and most likely end up tripping and looking foolish, or I can lean in to His trustworthy arms and see where He leads.

Learning to follow does not come naturally to this first-born leader. I like to be in charge. It feels scary and off balance to bend to the leadership of another. It is challenging for me to trust another’s lead because I don’t know where it will take me. And oh how I like to be in the know!

Just the other day a conference host asked me to submit a proposal to teach a workshop at writing conference this fall. I had been waiting for an invitation like this! I was honored, yet I knew I needed to pray about it and talk it over with hubby.

I soon realized that our baby will only be four months old when this conference takes place.

I had a choice.

I could fight the way the Lord is writing my story with this new life or I could yield to His direction and trust that He will provide another opportunity to teach when my daughter is older.

By His grace I chose the latter. And I feel great peace and relief.

The Loving Lead

Are you fighting His lead in your life?
Are you pulling against His leadership instead of learning to move in harmony with His Spirit?
Have you handed over your right to control to the Only One who is truly in control?

Learn to be led so that your moves will be in harmony instead of working against each other.

He is a loving leader. And He is a fabulous dance partner.

Sometimes He takes us to places that we weren’t expecting. He spins us around and takes us to another spot on the dance floor than what we are used to.

Will we lean in close to His heart and feel His arms holding us near?
Will we let ourselves dip into His strength and bow to His Majesty?

Put on those dancing shoes, sister. There is a stirring tango that calls your name. It’s the dance of your life with Your Loving Savior.

Webster defines the tango as, “a ballroom dance of Latin-American origin in 2⁄4 time with a basic pattern of step-step-step-step-close and characterized by long pauses…”

May the steps we take each day lead us closer to Jesus. Even when there are long pauses of waiting or rerouting on this journey may we remain near to the One who doesn’t leave—even when He is quiet.

May we stay close even when He takes us in a different direction that anticipated.

Follow Jesus’ lead. It won’t always be easy or graceful, but I know it will be beautiful.

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Katie M. Reid Author

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com.

 

5 Transformational Tips: Make God’s Word Come Alive

Come Alive

Another day.
Another bible reading.

Skimming. I’ve read it before.
Half listening. I know what to expect.
Not discovering. I know the punchline.

Does the bible ever fall flat because you have flattened out
and read its pages so many times?

 

Does your mind have a hard time idling on God’s Word,
because the world speeds too fast around it?

 

I can’t seem to keep my heart in the place where the heart of God is – and that is the problem.

This problem, if not addressed, will, before long – stamp and deliver my heart to destinations I never intended to arrive at.  Frustrationville or Aggravationmount or some place like that. It could just as easily bring me to Jealoustown or Pridebury. Either way, they are places that reek of self and shame and guilt. Their roads are rocky and tumultuous. Every time, they leave me with a stomach turning knots over itself.

I’d rather not.

So, how do you dive into God’s Word, like a fresh glass of lemonade on a hot day? How do you dive into it, knowing that you have had it one hundred and one times, but still, wanting and needing it? Craving and desiring it? Thirsting and salivating over it?

5 ways to make the Word of God come alive:

1. Let your senses sense what the sentiment was.

Imagine being the lead role in the story. See yourself there. Sense your sin and the idea that you or your family has done something terribly wrong. Feel the judgement of the Pharisees upon you. Wonder if God really can and will heal you. Let your heart beat.

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. Jo. 9:6

2. Take your part in the redemption story.

Hear the words of Jesus leave his mouth. Feel the mud in your hand. Experience vision. Look amazed at what surrounds you. Set your eyes on Jesus.

Then, see yourself run to the masses to share the glory of the only one who could heal in this way. Take a snapshot of the story with your senses. Know that while this was his story, it is also your story.

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Jo. 9:25

3.  Ask yourself, “What about this experience is calling me to think, do or say differently?”

When you take a moment to think of all God has done, you can’t help but think of all he wants to do. His will makes your will jump up and down just at the thought of serving him.

The (once blind) man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.”  Jo. 9: 30-31

4.  Believe: He loves you, just as much as he loved them.

Just because you feel less than, doesn’t mean that God sees you that way. Believing that you are worthy of his gifts, love and encouragement, will allow your heart to receive them. Rather than keeping up defenses to his Word, you will lay them down and He will enter in.

The Once- Blind Man: “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.” Jo. 9:32

5. Avoid boxing God in (and you might just find your way out of your box).

When you believe in you heart, what Jesus did through Scriptures, you’ll find in your mind you can conceive the great things he wants to do through your life.

It sounds simple, but simple belief is so often what it comes down to.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. Jo. 14:12

When you approach God’s Word in this way, you realize you hold living water that is not bitter, old or common. Instead, you taste the fruit of what God has done and is about to do. It fills, it satiates and it refreshes. Like lemonade on a parched day – it’s a drink you can’t wait to indulge in, lap up and embrace word by word. It is peace and replenishment all in one.

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