Purposeful Faith

Tag - Joy

Do You Have Childlike Faith?

childlike

We make things far more complex — when, in so many ways, the Kingdom of God is simple.

My kids ran around my car last night like kids. It was simple. They had fun chasing each other down. The driveway was a playground. They were not worried about what dinner would be. They were not thinking about what they needed to do next, for bedtime.  They were present in the fun, in the joy, in the moment. Complexities did not weigh them down.

“Truly I tell you anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Lu. 18:17)

The practice of receiving the Kingdom of God is not a heavy task; it is light. Childlike.

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt. 11:30)

Some of us love to weigh down the Christian walk. It’s so hard. I have to do this…. I’ve gotta wake up and spend time with Jesus. I don’t know how to obey. I’m always…(doing such and such).

With such a heavy burden on oneself to accomplish and figure out God’s work, one almost — can’t…

Kids, with good parents, don’t fixate on self-issues. They know dinner comes. There’s an excitement about what’s to come. Worry isn’t necessary; they’ll be taken care of. Children believe God on face-value. Faith is easy.

Are you a child or do you feel weighed down by religious expectations that feel impossible to meet?

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things….” (Ro. 11:36)

“(Now the God of peace)…make you perfect in every good work to do his will…” (Heb. 13:21)

Somewhere along the lines, we picked up a bag of “self-effort” and began to think the work was up to us. But, every work of God belongs to the Lord. It starts from Him, it is by Him, and then, it is back to Him.

Let’s not get confused, lest a yoke of heaviness weigh us down.

Prayer of Repentance: Father, forgive me for carrying a heavy burden that is not mine to carry. This is pride. I repent of thinking that I have to do more or be more to be loved more by you. Jesus, you died for me while I was yet a sinner. I receive your grace today. Equip me and Empower me to be like a child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Good Father

good father

I stood looking over a box filled with cash. Should I give her two dollars or should I give her five?

Earlier in the day, my daughter said, “Mommy, mommy, please give me a five-dollar bill tonight — for the tooth under my pillow.”

I replied, “Madison, this is your third tooth you’ve lost. For the first tooth, you get a lot but for ones after, you get a little less. Don’t expect a five-dollar bill, you’ll maybe get a couple dollars.”

She asked me again for the $5 bill and then I shuffled her off to do other things…

Yet, when night came, and I stood looking over the cash box…I realized how badly I — wanted — to give her more. I wanted to delight her. I wanted my daughter to have the very best. I just love her so much.

I grabbed the $5 bill, snuck up to her room, and tucked it under her pillow, with joy.

“If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.” (Mt. 11:7 AMP)

If I love to give what is good, how much more does my Father in heaven want to give good, to me? If I want what is advantageous for my little one — and I’m not even nearly half as amazing as God is — how much more does God give what is advantageous?

Sometimes I long to do the most amazing things for my kids… I desire so deeply that hard situations change… I want, absolutely, their best…

This makes me see, the enemy has been telling me lies. Namely that: God doesn’t give me good things, God doesn’t want to give, and that He won’t help me. He might be busy with other people. I’m last on the list.

What lies have you been hearing?

The truth is that God has a heart to give: He gave His son. He gave us eternal life. He gave us the flowers, the birds, and the stars out of kindness.

He gave everything for us. He loves us, incredibly, absolutely, and eternally.

Believing we have a Father who gives is important.

If we don’t believe God is good and that He gives, we will keep our head down and miss all the goodness He has set before us. We may even develop a victim-mindset. I think I’ve missed God’s good gifts before. I’ve likely walked right by them, but I am determined on lifting my head and seeing what He has for me now!

What about you?

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Little Foxes

little foxes

We just had a fire-drill in my house!

A must-act-now email popped up in my inbox demanding my immediate attention… I got flustered because of what it was requiring me to do. My son was demanding that I play chess with him now. The world needed everything I had in that very milli-second. I couldn’t take it.

Can’t you just wait a second, son?!  Give me a break!

I was so aggravated, both at what was coming at me, and because of this needy child, I lost my composure. Then, I felt guilty about it.

Grr… A stupid email set my house on fire.

Small things cause big damage just as little foxes spoil whole vineyards…

“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” (SOS 2:15)

What little fox tries to attack you? Is it a mistimed word from a family member? Is it your boss’ critiques? Is it a house out of order? Is it people with different political points of view.

The enemy desires to use small things to create big havoc. If we let him… But, we don’t have to.

““Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.” (Mt. 5:9 AMP)

When I keep the peace I literally express God’s character. When I maintain calm, I am blessed with life and joy and God’s favor. When I remain calm, I am a child who trusts God.

I want all to see the character of God being expressed through me. For then, He will calm them. He will heal the situation. He will add himself to my situation, whereas before my anger and frustration would have stopped me from seeing Him. This is favor.

Where is God calling you to new calm and peace?

 

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God Fights For You

There’s nothing worse than believing God for victory, only to experience defeat.

Has that ever happened to you?

Recently, I prayed and prayed, without change. I praised, without a breakthrough.  I hoped, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere.

Even now, I need God for everything, yet I wonder how he can possibly show up — in this situation. What if I am left with nothing? 

Fear wants to grip me. It tries to make me focus on the natural over God’s supernatural power.

God, will you really provide? Show up? Help? Can I trust You, God?

The Israelites are a bit like me: They saw the Egyptian troops chasing them down. They got overwhelmingly terrified. They must have figured they were incapable.. They were seemingly angry at their leader, Moses.

Upset with themselves and unable to hold-it-in they even griped, “What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:11-12, NIV)

Slavery was more appealing than trusting God for victory.

I’m like them when I say:

Why am I here, God? Where are you, God? Why haven’t you ____, God? This doesn’t make any sense, God!

Moses replied to the Israelites, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV)

As I’m still, God fights. Wow. This is incredible. Beyond natural sight is God’s greater fight. Far more effective than worry is my Warrior, God. He is bigger than any big issue I face. And stronger than the very definition of the word — strong, as I understand it.

God can accomplish more in a split-second than I can produce in my whole life. I want the work to be His, not mine. He can do anything at any time.

Our God, while we are still — fights on our behalf. Are we letting Him fight for us or are we griping, opining, complaining, and doubting?

God is working, even when you can’t see it.

It doesn’t matter if it looks like God is late. Or, if you would have done it another way. Or, if you can’t really understand. Still, God’s way is the best way.

A kid can’t understand why he gets a novocaine shot at the dentist, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t good reason.

You know, when the Israelites lost faith, God instructed Moses to tell them something. He said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to move on.” (Exodus 14:15) I believe God is saying the same today:

Move on from unbelief.
Move on from fearing your battle.
Move on from counting everything as a deterrent.
Move on from your old outlooks.
Move on from your self-limiting beliefs.
Move on from the idea there is no good plan.

And, trust God to fight your battle. You do this by: making space for God, listening to His heartbeat through His Words, and through ‘saying yes’.

God’s plan is good. Even here, in this instance, He had good reason for doing what He did.  It was so He could gain glory.

“Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground…And I will gain glory through…The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” (Exodus 14:16-18, NIV)

And so the Israelites moved. The miracle happened. The sea parted. And God got all His glory. The Egyptians knew who was God.

Friend, don’t lose hope; there is a good plan in motion.

 

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You’re More Loved than you Know

love

We tend to either think, “I am so bad”, or “God is so good”.

It can be easy to go down the “I am so bad” track. I am sinful. I make mistakes. I am not perfect. I don’t have great relationships. I am not ___ enough.  I ____ (fill in your own despicable blank). We’ve all thought this way one time or another. Here, we allow the crushing weight of how things seem, overpower the great price Jesus paid for us. We get focused on us when it is all about — HIM!

When this happens, we don’t have to stay here. We can consciously break through the static of mind and thoughts — and return back to “God is so good” land — by remembering two words: But God.

But God is greater than my emotions.
But God still loves me.
But God sent Jesus and this changes everything.

But God showed His great love for (me) by sending Christ to die (for me and to save me) while (I) was still a sinner.” (Ro. 5:8)

But God, despite all of my flaws, still wants me.
But God, eternally and faithfully says, “She’s still mine…”
But God shows us He still wants us.

Nothing. No power, no scheme, no circumstance, no condition, no angel, no demon, no height, no depth, no worry, no fear, nothing — can separate us from Christ’s love.  (see Ro. 8:38) Nothing.

God is faithful to love me, always. To keep me, eternally. To help me, continually. To want me, entirely.

I am not disowned, dismissed, dejected or denied.

I am His. He is mine.
You are His, child of God. He is yours.
Forever. Completely. Entirely.
Wanted. Loved. Cherished. Chosen.

These words are not just words; they are absolute ownable truth for sons and daughters of the Highest Ruling King. King Jesus.

This changes everything. To know God more than a hypothesis, beyond theology, deeper than words…allows the very heartbeat of Christ to resound within you. It beats like unconditional, incredible love that never ends. It brings both security and significance that cannot be altered by men or circumstances. Because you own it, it can’t be sold away, taken or stolen.

And, if you don’t yet know Jesus? He wants to love you like this… Give Him your heart today. Tell him, “God, I want to know your love. The truth is: I sin. I mess up. I haven’t always done the best things. But, today, I ask for your forgiveness for all these things. Thank you that you freely forgive because Jesus freely gave His life on the cross, for me. With this, I am now free to receive all of your love. With this, I accept Jesus into my heart as my Lord, My Savior, My King, and The Lover of My Soul. I want you, above all!  I surrender all of me, to all of you, so I can receive your best for my life and so I  can live-out your most incredible plans. Thank you that your saving-grace now allows me to know your unconditional and unwavering love, forever…”

Friend? If you prayed this…please comment on this post and let me know. All of heaven and all of us — celebrate with all of you. May the rich and lavish love of Christ so flood your heart that nothing is ever left the same!

I love you all.

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Are You Headed the Wrong Way?

Today, I completely missed my turn. I took a new route to the supermarket and, because I thought the entrance would look the same as before, I drove right past it. I knew the store would be on the left. However, because I  came from a different direction, it was on the right.

Because I expected an old thing, I missed the new. Likewise, many of us — looking for an old thing — miss God’s new. We expect people to hurt us like yesterday, so we stay in our house, away from relationship and, yet again — we are hurt. We expect our finances to never change, so we don’t bother changing anything and live continually strapped. We expect our kids to never change so we dismiss them because they’ve hurt us and God’s love doesn’t reach them.

We go our way, yet God has — His way. One we may not even be able to perceive.

Today, what if we were to open our eyes up to perceive that God may have for us — a new way?

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Is. 43:19)

Be it yesterday or today, Isaiah or Romans, Moses or Paul, God continually does new things. He breaks through. He restores. He transforms. He offers new life. New opportunities. Healing. Help.

The question is not — “Is God Healer, Helper, and Restorer?” The question is — “Do we believe Him to be these things?”

Where might God want you to perceive His new? If you have been banging your head in one particular area, this is a sign that God may be calling you to do things a new way. If you feel constantly stuck, look out for His new way. If you feel like there must be more, expect Him to show you something new.

All His ways are good.

Prayer:

God, help me to perceive your leading and direction. I don’t want to be so stuck in an old thing that I can’t walk into your new thing for me. I thank you that transition and change are part of your heart. I thank you that as I wait on you that you will renew my strength. Today, I choose to trust your leading and guidance. I trust you to provide and to help me. I ask that all I do, think and say might bring glory to you. Help me to trust and love you even more. Thank you that I can do this by laying down my ways and by trusting yours. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen

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Attack-Proof

He said, “You may want to invest in some snake boots.”

Snake boots? Who’s heard of such a thing? I certainly hadn’t. I had no idea snake-proof boots even existed. But, apparently, in this part of the country you don’t want to go near water without them. You just might find a Copperhead attached to your ankle.

The whole way to our trip location, all I could think about was — these snake boots… We’ve got to be safe…

Finally, we pulled off the highway to head into an outdoor store. Handling the boot, I noted — it was heavy. The material was tough and strong, thick and heavy. So much so, a snake couldn’t penetrate.  Nothing would harm my kids with that boot on. Because of the foresight put into it — it was bulletproof, or fang-proof for that matter.

Foresight is not only protection for snake predicaments but for life’s problems and attacks.

Ephesians 6 emphasizes this:

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:11-12)

These days, we MUST put on God’s armor:

The belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.

If you’re wearing truth, you won’t be overrun with worry and fear. If you remember that you have right standing with Christ, your every wrong won’t try to ruin you. You’ll remember nothing can steal your eternal position with God.

The shoes of peace that come from the Good News.

Jesus defeated death. He has overcome the power of sin. He is ruling and reigning. His kingdom has no end. There is good news available to us, all the time. This is peace.

Peace guards it’s heart and mind in Christ Jesus, remembering — there is always hope.

“Take heart! (Jesus has) overcome the world.” (Jo. 16:33)

The shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

Doubt opens us up to enemy assaults. Here, we question what we are doing, why we are doing it and we wonder if God really will…

Faith in God pleases God. Faith believes. It hopes. It prays. It often sees God show up in amazing ways! It is the answer to many of our problems.

Salvation as a helmet, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (see Ephesians 6)

The more we fill our mind with truth of God’s Word, the more arsenal we have to kill the lies of the enemy. Truth not only establishes us — but to reestablish a brother or a sister in need. We are strong when we are strongly rooted and founded in God’s Word.

God’s Word will never fail; God’s word stands forever.

When we remember that salvation is our destiny, we find real and present rest. Nothing can steal the joy of knowing where we’re going. We live for eternity rather than here and now.

Ultimately, we are strong in the power of the Lord’s might. We don’t need snake boots; we have the armor of God!

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Beware of Being Battle Worn & Weary

He offended me. The fighting words my husband launched hours ago were now causing my entire afternoon to be thrown off.  It wasn’t my fault, or so I thought. But, now, rather than being nice to my kids, I was snappy. Rather than being present, I kept thinking of how he was so wrong. Rather than tidying the house and helping out, I went on a silent protest in my room. Rather than dwelling on love, I wanted to release my own missiles.

In retrospect: His words were an attack sent by the enemy (one point for team-enemy!).

Usually we can recognize attacks. They are:
– issues that pop up out of nowhere.
– people problems that seem completely random (or odd).
– sin that makes you feel so guilty that you are unlovable (this issue starts with us and is leveraged by the enemy).
– past wounds that are intentionally re-hit.
– old tapes that get repeated by people to keep us stuck.

There is wisdom in asking: Is my unconfessed sin or my unrepentant heart holding on to what the enemy will use to his advantage?

Think for a moment. Judas got here…: “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Mt. 27:5)

…even though He said this: “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” 

Indeed, he was “seized with remorse”, but He failed to go to the Redeemer who could heal him. Sadly, he died by his own hand.

Beware of confessing to others, but not to God. Beware of carrying burdens, only Jesus was meant to carry. Beware of leaving unforgiveness untidy and unruly within your heart. Even the most specially-chosen disciple can fall. 

If someone so close to Jesus could go down, so could we.

Today is the day to let go and let live with Jesus.

Do you need to ask God, “Will you forgive me?”
Do you need to tell God, “I forgive _____?”
Do you need to say to God, “Today, I let go of this (offense).”?

Do it.

The price of holding on to guilt, shame and pain is death. The price Jesus paid to free us from it, becomes our new life.

Be Battle Ready today, by letting go of what pain you cannot manage any longer and putting it into the arms of Jesus. What will come about is restored connection and renewed hope.

Be Battle Ready.

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“The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us. We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!”

Lysa TerKeurstNew York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Available now wherever books are sold.

Amazon comments:

“This book inspired me to make positive changes in my life!”

“It’s more of a reference tool—a guide, a manual. It’s one of those books you stick on your bedside table and refer to often throughout the ups and downs of life.”

“Finally, someone put together a book containing actual tools to help you face life’s trials and tribulations. 

“It is not meant to be read and put on your bookshelf, it is meant to be a companion to The Bible.”

Be Battle Ready.

Seriously, let’s not act like satan

act like satan

Imagine your heart wanting to protect Jesus.

You’ve been with him for so long now. You know, love and treasure Him. He is God. Jesus cannot be harmed by common men who aren’t God. You must protect Him. You must keep Him from harm. He must remain with you.

You pull Jesus aside to address his comment that He must suffer. You say, “Jesus, far be it with you. This will never happen with you.”

You’re only trying to help. You’re only trying to save Him. You’re only trying to preserve Him from harm.

Jesus replies to you, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt. 16:23)

You were a stumbling block. Why?

You had good intentions, but you injected yourself where you weren’t invited to intervene.

The plan was owned by Father & Son , not Father & Son + disciple.

We can do the same thing in the lives of those we love. The plan is between Father & son or Father & daughter. Yet, we weasel our way right in, saying, “Nope this right here is about Father & Son + me + my opinions + my fear!” We take out our chisel and crack into God’s good plan. Woe to us who break what God is building in others.

We often break God’s good plan in others when we:

1. Tell people what to do.

2. Decide how people should think.

3. Instruct people based on our opinions.

4. Try to run in and fix bad situations.

5. Demand others think well of us.

6. Rescue people from their feelings of sadness, loneliness, etc.

7. Excuse away people’s issues, rather then letting them confront them.

I assure you: when a lesson is delivered by us, it’s forgettable. But delivered by God, it is unforgettable, undeniable and unbelievably life-changing.

Let’s make room for what God is doing. He has things handled.

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Growing Love

love

I love that I love each of you.

I also love that as I love you, I get a chance to learn who you really are. You send me emails and thank yous and little stories of the giant hurdles you’ve made in life. And yes, even though you call them small, God and I know they’re giant.

You all are great. You make me smile. You make me shed tears. You make me pray. And while I can’t always respond to every email via the computer I always try to respond with God. I ask him for the best for you, for your situations and for your heart. I ask him to show his lavish love in your life.

You are amazing. You gift me a lot more than I gift you. Daily, so many of you give to my heart. Quietly, I know others inwardly offer up thanks. Readily, I know there are prayers going out for the wider community of gals who read these words.

To know we are fighting together, battling through our hang-ups, and sticking to the King of Kings on this road is beyond helpful to my heart.

We rage on – in love.

I once thought this blog was about me “getting my healing.” Now I know it is about all of us “becoming healed” and supporting each other along the way. Thank you for helping me realize I need you just as much as I need God.

You are often a vessel for His voice. A voice of encouragement that pops up via email at just the right time. A prayer note that I needed. A living testimony of what you are reading.

All glory to God! He is working right here. We read and write only holy ground, together. And I love it! I cherish it. I rejoice in the fullness of what He has prepared for such a time as this.

While social media rages with hate, anger and dissension, we pull together in love. We smile and keep on with Jesus. We do our part to do our best to change our little slice of the world one small act of love at a time.

I am grateful for you. I want you all to know that. God has given me so much in this community of lovers. I praise Him for you today.

My prayer for you: Sweet Jesus, thank you for the reader of this post today. Thank you that you see her heart. Thank you that she pursues, loves and follows you. I ask you to open every door unto her, so that she can meet and know you with immense passion. I ask that there would never be a question in her mind as to how much you love her. I ask that there would never be a question in her mind about how immensely loved she is. I ask for an increase of your heart on this very blog that reaches hearts day-in and day-out. I ask for your activating faith to pour out on every reader in profound ways in the coming days. I ask for your will to be done in all ways. We thank you Jesus. Amen.

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