I have learned something that has changed my family. It is simple and profound.
The learning is founded on these 2 concepts:
One: Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6)
Two: I follow Jesus.
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (My.16:24 ESV)
Note here: Jesus is not the Prince of Conflict. Nor the Prince of Double-Mindedness. Nor Prince of fear.
Here, in the busyness of my day — I can ask myself: Am I following and pursuing peace, or lesser things?
Doing this makes me a wiser decision-maker.
For instance, this helps me to:
– consider if hanging out with the friend with the gossipy-potty mouth will make bring me peace afterwords.
– if saying yes to the 60-hour a week job will create a peace-filled home.
– if debating my husband is increasing peace between us.
The amount or lack of peace in our life often is a good indicator of how we seek and follow Jesus in our lives.
Sometimes, often actually, I have to literally go the other direction from my feelings which seem to scream at me to attend to them. Yet, when I do this, the result is almost always a million times better than the short-term pleasure of reacting. I can benefit in this way, when I take time to consider outcomes.
God is powerful enough to fight my battle!
Do you seek and pursue peace?
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14)
Last Thursday, as the blog post I wrote about “patience” hit your inbox, let me tell you — my patience was running thin. Here I was telling you why you should be patient, yet, I was snapping at my kids…
What I thought I had it figured out when I wrote the post on Tuesday, was an issue again on Thursday!
The fact of the matter is — we don’t get it right, all the time.
Some of us need to hear this loud and clear today: you won’t get it right all the time. You’ll yell when you meant to be sweet. You’ll sweat when you should have stayed cool. You’ll be anxious when you determined to have peace. You’ll doubt when you determined to believe.
You’ll say to yourself, “Why can’t I do better? Be better? Act better?”
You may put your head down, in defeat. Yet, I imagine, God lifts it up again, whispering in your ear, “Child, I still love you. Even though… Always…”
Let that relief sink in… You see, where we are human; God is grace. Where we feel “fed up and ready to head out”; God still wants us. Where we are moody; God is constant.
Oh, how I celebrate this! He wants me, He wants me, He wants me. Even during all my — there I go again… why can’t I… I only wish…moments. He wants you too. It is His love that changes us. His love lifts us out of our pit of condemnation and sets us on a path of transformation, so we don’t do that thing we hate that we do.
Rest under His ever-flowing grace.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
It is not by your work that you change — lest you boast.
Little-by-little, step-by-step, it is God who carries us up and out of our old pit to new actions and reactions. He gets the credit. He owns the work. We meet Him as he prompts our new steps, sure, but he ultimately transforms and conforms us to His image, not to a pattern of repeat-wrongs.
Acceleration comes, in this process, by receiving grace. Otherwise, you strive and then seek to take credit for His glory. Or, you start comparing your self-righteousness against the next girls.
No. Grace is a gift and, through it, all glory belongs to the Lord.
Do you see the beauty here?
There is rest available to you. Accept His grace. Open your hands. Allow God to change you, renew you, free you, form you and fashion you. Obey Him as He leads. You are His masterpiece and His possession. He cares for you.
The Master is at work. Rather than putting your eyes on what you do wrong, confess, and put your eyes back again on Him. He will shape you. Entrust yourself into His hands. And, He will do it.
Friends, while I hate to admit it — this week has been hard. The flesh-side of me wishes I could blame it on my husband, but I can’t. It takes two to tango. I’ve accused him within my mind. I’ve raised my voice in the house. I’ve changed the atmosphere from peaceful to stressful. I’ve taken it out on the kids. I feel bad about all this…
I wonder if things might be hard at home for you too? We are living in a fishbowl, after all. Right on top of those we love, 24/7. Unable to get time alone, like before. It is a condition ripe for conflict.
Yesterday, I took a walk. One house along the path was lined with beautiful blooming flowers. I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a picture of grace. In the midst of virus mayhem is grace-filled beauty. Spring has no mind for the madness.”
Neither does Jesus’ resurrection have a mind for madness. It is the exact opposite of mayhem. Whereas we may argue, panic, or worry, the resurrection of Jesus is righteousness, peace and joy. For, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
Just like those flowers pushed out of the dark ground, to find the bright of day — Jesus, through the resurrection, pushes out darkness to bring new light — by demolishing sin, denying the power of death, and shaming the powers of darkness…
Jesus always brings light to the darkness. He does so, even today. Even, here, in quarantine.
With this, I can’t help but think, there is a boundless nature to what Jesus can do. Even in this time of quarantine, marriages can be healed, hope restored, depression removed, habits renewed, mindsets rewritten, finances helped. Everything is possible through Christ. Think BIG and reach towards Him in BIG ways.
Forget what the world says. The triumphant reign of Jesus is amongst us. The Spirit is in us. The Prince of Peace is present. The King of Glory is in full of glory. Jesus has risen — and is rising up new life in the here and now.
Oh, how we praise you, Jesus! Oh, how we love you! Oh, how we need you! Oh, how we rely on you! Oh, how we surrender to you! Oh, how you are worthy! Oh, how you are everything, Jesus. We want to give you all the worship, this Easter!
Friends, can you see it? We cannot be in the darkness when we are: are in the light. We now stand in the light of an empty tomb, with the stone-rolled back and a risen King over us and — ruling!!!
“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” (Col. 1:13-14)
The transfer already happened. We get eternity forever! Oh, the riches of that. And, thanks to the Lamb of God, the resurrection-life power of Jesus is moving in our homes. Jesus is ever-working, ever-healing and ever-transforming us. Look for him this season. Talk to Him too.
Whatever appears dead in a tomb in your life, is not. Jesus conquered the grave.
Friend, if you feel depressed, if you feel misunderstood, if you feel anxious, if you feel worried, if you feel shameful, if you feel disappointed, if you feel bad, if you feel ruined….I pray you see: new life. Starting today.
Just like those flowers busted out of darkness, in the midst of madness, Jesus can bust through any darkness or madness in your life — to bring beauty.
My son kept asking, “Mom, am I going be okay? How many people are dying? Will Coronavirus get us?” When he asked, his eyes darted left and right and his hands fidgeted with jerk-like motions.
I tried to address every question, but head-knowledge hardly appeases a heart. He needed more… More than a know-it-all momma, he needed a heart-assuring Papa. Papa God.
Fortunately, my little 8-year old found his way to Psalm 91. After reading it, a sense of calm fell over him and, he said, “I am going to memorize this whole thing.” He did. Then, he prayed it over himself and the virus. Quite suddenly, peace, power, and strength returned to him. He was all of a sudden ready to battle, instead of walking like a defeated-foe.
In fact, my son, Michael, was so excited about Psalm 91 he wanted to share his learning with everyone. He did a video on Facebook about Psalm 91. Don’t miss it! I know it will bless you. May it encourage you too!
Beyond this, I am including Psalm 91 here today. I believe it will bring sudden peace, power, and strength as you read it aloud, as you accept it in your heart and as you pray it over yourself. Don’t miss this chance. Join hands with the Prince of Peace to receive his peace. Reach out to him and you’ll find him.
God’s power is enough to keep and protect you. You are not alone. God is with you, my dear friend.
You have this! I believe in you. I am praying for you… I love you.
Psalm 91 (NLT)
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. 4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Be blessed my friends. I love you. I am here for you.
Prayer: Father, may each of us, children, know how much you love, protect and keep us. May we rest in your love. May we run to your shelter. May we trust you to save us. We love you, Jesus. Amen.
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A friend looked at me and said, “With God, the bad is good.”
Hmm…she had my wheels turning now…
I wonder, how many of us can see the truth in her statement?
The bad boyfriend that we, at one time, thought was good for us? We can see now, it is darn good that we didn’t marry him.
The bad health scare that we figured would kill us? Well, it is good that we are still alive and, not only that but, we now have more faith than ever.
The bad news that we lost our job?
It is good that God repositioned us. We hated every minute of that job and now God has us on unique-assignment, impacting specific people.
What bad has become good, in light of your prayers and God’s grace? Think back. Recount. Reflect. Remember. Restore your countenance.
What looks bad, becomes good, with God.
“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. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 2:20-22)
With God, through Christ, it is: “Yes!” It is good. It is God’s promises, delivered. It is God’s grace, right here and now. It is what looks bad, coming into the light of Christ. It is what hope we cannot see, becoming manifest.
See beyond your natural eye and you will see again. See beyond circumstances and issues to hope in Christ, once again. See beyond panic and you will see The Prince of Peace. See beyond what everyone else is doing and you will see Him. By the natural eye, we are blind, but by the Spirit-eye, we see: God’s promises are yes and amen. Jesus is greater. Jesus has conquered. The war is done. We are safe, forever. God is the Pre-eminent Ruler of The World. And, we are His children.
There is goodness waiting for you — right here, right now. Bad becomes good in light of God’s mercy and grace.
Glory to God!
Friends, during this time that can feel scary, panicked or stressful, I am doing more videos on Facebook and on Instagram. Come join me there, as I pray and share God’s Word to encourage your heart.
All four of us turned our head to look out the car window. Dozens of buzzards were feeding on a dead dear. It’s gross, I know.
They devoured it. They were shredding it. They were ruthless.
All this got me to thinking. . . the enemy feeds on death.
Whereas, “Jesus is . . . life.” (John 11:25)
When I am filled with Jesus, I am filled with life. There is nothing for the enemy to feed on. When I am filled with the Spirit, I abounding in the spiritual. There are no wounds for the enemy to gnaw open. When I am praying to the Father, there is no decay the enemy can use against me.
I realize, for many of us the attacks, the discouragement, the devastating news, the demoralization around us, the lay-offs are prevalent around us. I have seen it too. I know it is hard sometimes.
But, some of us need to do an about-face and look at life again — from a different angle. We need to look to Jesus. Because, the enemy is feeding off your despair, discouragement, and doubt. And, you’ve let Him for far too long.
The tide changes when you look full in Jesus’ face. When you access, remember and meditate on His mercy and grace.
Do something new.
Tell your own spirit, “No more. Then, remind yourself: ‘Jesus is resurrection and life. He can bring back, restore or renew anything.”
Then, focus on His names:
King of Kings
Light of the World
Prince of Peace
Son of God
Lamb of God
Remember what He’s done, look full in His face — and let Him bring you, again, new life.
“Jesus said to the dead man, “Young man, I say to thee, arise!” And he who was dead, sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.” (Lu. 7:14-15)
Prayer: God, give me eyes for you. Above all I see, I want to see you. I ask for you to grant me deeper knowledge of your providence and care. Will you help me to take my eyes off of the heaviness that surrounds so that I might see and seek your face, in full? Give me grace to know and love you more. Come to my rescue. Bring life to what appears dead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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).”?
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.
“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 TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries
What do you when you find your 6-year-old son’s drawing of a long-haired woman with a mean, massive frown?
You consider it’s you, of course. You consider you’re a cruddy boar, a horrible attempt at a caring, loving, and generous momma. And you wonder if underneath his smiles and bedtime hugs he might hate you.
Could this be possible?
You think of all the times he’s repeated, “Mommy, didn’t I tell you that already,” “You don’t listen,” and “You don’t cuddle with me.”
You recount that you do indeed cuddle, but you also think of how at the end of your day you’re very tired and this cheek-to-cheek (or as he does, it cheekbone on top of cheekbone) business can’t go on forever.
But still, the thought persists like a gnat.
What if, you’re not good enough? And worst of all, what if he’s busted you for it?
Ever felt this way?
…Like no matter what you say to your spouse, he’s really thinking you don’t match up to the wife he wanted?
…Like no matter how hard you try at work, your boss still isn’t happy?
…Like despite your encouraging words to the woman, she still is cold with you?
…Like you can’t escape being the little girl who let people down?
…Like no matter how hard you try, you can’t win?
Of course, I understand. But what I also understand is this: The goal to perfectly “win” all the time is a warped one. It’s not only warped, but impossible. It’s like keeping a sparkly, gold trophy shiny. The second you clean it, fingerprints arrive again and you’re back wiping again. The only problem is that you can never step back and enjoy the prize, because all you’re doing is keeping up facades. Every flaw sucks you into yourself, and you miss the whole point.
I’ve been there. I am there.
Yet, I suppose I see a little better after writing all this: I can’t love my son when I’m fearing him. Nor can I enjoy him when I’m critiquing myself. Nor can I connect well with him when I’m not setting boundaries.
In the space of accepting my imperfections, he’ll learn to accept his own. In the space of seeing me growing with Christ, he’ll discover how he can grow with Christ. There’s some sort of non-speaking, God-testifying wisdom that will speak here.
What about you? What over-emphasized flaws have stolen the feelings of joy in your moments? What grace have you not afforded yourself? What over-trying attitude is stealing your peace? What new approach could you take to conquer these annoying feeling of self-doubt?
Do you ever think, “Everything is going so well…I wonder when is God going to pull the carpet out from under me?”
Or, “I don’t deserve good stuff.”
Or, “I feel guilty for accepting…”
I think this way sometimes. As if God’s given me too much and suddenly needs to put me in my place. Or as if I’m spoiled by the fact He is good. Or like He is a killjoy who is out to punish me for my happiness.
Why do I do this?
Recently, I asked God for something. It was small, but I prayed for it to “get better”. Amazingly, I immediately did, to a degree. I saw God move in incredible ways. Then, I wanted to ask him for something else, something more. I almost prayed…but then I heard:
Bad Kelly! You want too much.
Bad Kelly! You think God is there to give you everything.
Bad Kelly! You are selfish.
Bad Kelly! You know there are others who have it much harder than you.
Afraid to take too much from God, I almost missed the opportunity to see how much He really loves me. I almost stopped asking. Why? Because I counted the nature of God equivalent with the nature of man.
God gives abundantly. Many give, but then take for themselves.
God does even more than we ask or imagine. Man does and then expects something in return.
God continually pours out the best of who He is on our behalf. Man halfway gives and then gives up.
When we assign the track record of man to God, we always lose. In fact, we close down the opportunity to see the abundant nature of an abundant God. We essentially hold an arm up to God and say, “You’re a little bit good, but not that good.”
What are you believing about God today? In what ways have you held an abundant God back? How have you let the past hurts of man create a false view of God?
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jo. 10:10
“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jo. 6:33
Jesus ministered to every man who needed him. Right?
Jesus never stopped giving, ever. Right?
One evening after sunset the people brought Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. (Mk. 1:32-34)
Notice, Jesus healed “many.” But, as I see it: many is not all.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”(Mark 1:35-38)
Notice, while the crowds of people waited… While people were still searching him out… He did what?!!!
He went off.
He turned away from the demands of man to connect to the voice of God. Away from the calls of man, He could once again to hear the call of God. We see Jesus restating his purpose to the disciples when he said, “This is why I have come.”
Jesus let go of a “very good call” (taking care of every person’s waking need), for a better one: going where the Father desired Him to be and following through on his vision/mission as planned.
What might you be doing today that is thwarting God’s mission for tomorrow?
We are wise to look into our life to see:
If our heart to do things is causing us to lose peace.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
If we feel upset at others for all we’ve done for them.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
If we are so tired, we can hardly love people anymore.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
If we feel God has something new for us to do.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
If others want us to do something more than we can do.
Consider: Stepping away and praying.
Prayer re-centers us, not on the plans of man, but on the purpose of God in our lives.