Purposeful Faith

Tag - love

Wait and Renew Your Strength

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” (Is. 40:31)

When I wait, I usually don’t feel strength rise. Instead, I’m wondering…

“When will you show up, God?”
“Why is this taking so long?”
“How do I do things differently?”

The more I wonder, the more I feel confused. Ever been there?

Well, I asked God about this verse I could not understand. I knew the issue was not with God, but with me. I needed clarity. Ironically in-line with this bible verses whole concept, I didn’t get an answer from for a while…that is, until He provided me clarity in the most unlikely of places… the ocean.

Surrounded by waves, with my son on top of a boogie board, I was looking into the ocean for just the right wave for him. I explained, “You gotta look for the right wave, son.”

I went on, “If you take any old wave, it will be a dud. If it is a dud, you’ll ride that wave and go hardly anywhere, and then you’ll have to fight all the waves to get back out to where you originally were.  That’ll tire you out.

Wait, son, don’t go too early, and when the time is right — go!”

God hit me in that water. I realized, just like riding dud waves, we often let our mind go where it wills when we are waiting. We ride dud emotions and little lies and let them take us where they will. No wonder we feel tired as we have to work our way back; We fight the tides of opposition to get back to a place of faith and trust in God.

Yet, when we stay near to God, keep our eyes on Him and remember that He has the perfect wave of faithfulness coming our way — we stay at peace. We feel renewed. We often see God’s mini-encouragement show up through His Word or people along the way. We stay afloat with God. There, we can enjoy His creation around us and all He is doing.

Here, we rest.  We rest and see His nature. We rest and wonder at what He is about to do. We rest and remember how good He has always been to us.  We rest and wonder what that beautiful wave of His might look like when it comes…

All these things renew strength. And then, at just the right moment — He breaks through and, boy, were we glad that we didn’t follow every little emotion and instinct that came on us along the way…

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How to Return to Trust

trust

Common to man is the subtle inclination to stop trusting God.

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field…” (Gen. 3:1) Just as the snake came subtly to entice Adam and Eve in the garden — out of trust — so his tactics work similarly today. We must be on guard.

We seem to live in an era of confusion. Some things seem right, but they are not. Others seem wrong, and we get angry. In this day, it is easy to become afraid, disoriented, or unsure about the future. It is easy to feel unsure about what is really happening.

With our eyes on all that, we can lose focus on God. With emotions at peak levels, they can flood us and make us feel far from God.

So, what can we do about it?

I always think it is good to examine our own heart, first: Are we trusting God or beginning to take things in our own hands? Are we at peace or are we worried? Are we thinking more about God or ourselves?

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?” (Mt. 7:1-1)

Our own heart tells us heart things about us — apart from the world we live in. It shows us if we trust — or not.

Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.” (Ps. 37:3)

When I see my trust waning, I do three things:

One: Repent from what has distanced me from God, then let it go. To dwell in it too long is to become far too self-focused (aka. self-centered).

Two: Reflect on the lies I have been believing. If it doesn’t line up with God’s Word, it should be out-of-line.

Three:  Re-establish God’s greatness in my mind. I remember who God is and who I am. I remember that He is Mighty, Able, and All-Powerful. I remember nothing can stop my Lord Almighty. I remember He is Conqueror and Overcomer in all ways and at all times. I remember He has good for me, His child.  I speak these things out. I dwell on them.

Trust is not always natural, sometimes it has to be fought for. Just like in any marriage, sometimes you have to fight to keep on loving and believing in the one you most love. Likewise, focused attention gives way to a greater relationship with God, so that lesser offenses and the world around — don’t subtly pull us away.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (Prov. 3:5-6)

 

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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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Staying Strong Like Jesus

My young daughter looks at me and cries, “Mommy, I’m falling!” I know it’s a test. In actuality, her falling-off-the-couch body is just half a foot away from the ground. It doesn’t matter. For her, this is a test. She’s asking, “Mommy, can I trust you to catch me? To really be there for me?”

I’ve asked these very same questions of God during various trials. God, how will You possibly show up when my bank account is tens of thousands of dollars in debt? Will You be there for me when Multiple Sclerosis makes me unable to walk? Will You abandon me too, like those people did? Will You really be able to help me overcome my depression?

God, how can I be sure You’ll do what You promise? Especially when doubts exist.

Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there today, facing fear, doubt, a boss who isn’t nice, a friend who hurt you, a husband who is absent, a daughter who is astray, a home that is too expensive, a dream unmet, or a wait never-ending.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my trials, it’s this: To respond reactively sinks me emotionally. However, to prepare proactively is to triumph. We triumph only through Christ who triumphed.

Why? Because Jesus the victory belongs to the Lord. And, He left us with a battle plan: His Word. We have a clear-plan from God.

I learn a lot from Jesus…

Jesus: Respected and honored appointed times for change. For instance, Jesus began ministry at the age of 30. (Luke 3:23) Why not earlier?
Jesus Did Not: Get to the age of 21 and demand a timing change from God by saying, “I am tired of waiting around. I am tired of seeing all these issues. I need to fix them now by doing something about them. I’ll die right now and save the world.”

Jesus: Trusted His Father’s ultimate plan to fight the battle and to win the war.
Jesus Did Not:
Retaliate, injure or fight the people accosting, intimidating, or threatening Him.

Jesus: Reached out to the convicted sinner next to Him on the cross.
Jesus Did Not: Focus only on Himself as He suffered.

Jesus: Used God’s Word as a shield to block the enemy darts and temptation.
Jesus Did Not
: Listen to the enemy’s talking points.

Jesus: Enlisted and equipped simple fishermen who accomplished unbelievable works.
Jesus Did Not: Enlist only perfect people to be His ministers after His death.

It doesn’t matter how things appear. With God, we’re always just a half-foot above the ground, even if it feels like we’re in a free-fall plummet. He protects. He helps. He calls. He equips. He guides. He answers. He strengthens.

“I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

There is a plan. God knows what He is doing.  We are right in the center of it.

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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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The Art of Patience

We honked. Actually, we didn’t honk, but I really wanted to… The woman ahead of us was — the. slowest. drive-thru. orderer. ever!!!

Add this to the fact that we had hungry kids in the back of the car, and a near brush with a police officer who was still behind us, and people in gloves and masks all around us…and I felt nervous. C’mon lady. Move it.

Is she ever going to go? What is wrong with this person?!

I looked in the rearview mirror and then looked straight ahead trying to see what the issue was. I leaned forward looking for an escape. Tension rose in my chest.

When we finally reached the Chick-Fil-A attendant, she said, “I am going to switch to the passenger side of your car for your order. The woman ahead of you was deaf so I got closer so I could hear her.”

She was — what?! Deaf.

In my impatience, I cursed a woman most in need of — patience. I felt horrible. She was doing a great job “getting out” and here I was critiquing her.

You know, we never know what it is to walk in another’s shoes. We never know the history of someone else’s hurt. We never know all their physical limitations. The details of their day. Why they delay or act wishy-washy or make us wait.

But, God knows… He knows their quirks as much as He knows ours.

In retrospect, I wish I extended patience, instead of getting — pushy. I wish I would have been patient.

Patience is never wrong. Even if it takes time. Even if it slows us down. Even if we listen longer. Even if we have to talk more. Even if we have to get out of our own mind and into someone else’s. Even we delay our mouth or our progress…

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph. 4:2)

Patience is love. It quiets discontent. It softens its response. It lets go of its own personal agenda. It loves by the Spirit. It discerns how to go. It makes space for others’ needs. It waits with a smile on its face. It pauses with the goal of lifting the other person up. It dismisses gripes.

It is kinds to oneself. It extends grace.  It remembers how patient and kind God has been — to us — so it can really love others.4

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Staying Calm and Wise

I was pretty sure: I knew my husband’s problem. I knew what was causing him issues — the thing he couldn’t quite put his finger on… I also knew what would help him and change his ways. All the same, I also knew it wasn’t the time, the place, the hour to tell him.  It wouldn’t go over well.

While my every emotion said, “Tell him, now. Get it out, already.” Wisdom said, “Stay quiet, Kelly. Wait.”

Grr…

Ever been there? You almost certainly have because we are all — living on top of each other! Here, more than ever, we easily see things about people: their quirks, annoyances, little things they need to know, and everything they should do.

In this environment, it can be easy to voice to quick advice. Or, to problem-solve with rapid-fire solutions. Or, to offer missile-like snap-backs at a moment’s notice.

What is annoys you? How do you react and respond? What do you voice and verbalize?

With my husband, in this case…I listened to wisdom; I didn’t speak. Instead, I prayed about God making-known the issue to him. About three days later, my husband approached me and said, “Kelly, what do you think about….?”

I told him everything. He listened and changed course.

I learned something critical here: more important than what I do say is what I don’t say. A withheld-word is wisdom-in-action. It is the difference between a person knowing my opinion and God’s breakthrough.

“A man of knowledge restrains his words, and a man of understanding maintains a calm spirit.” (Prov. 17:27 Berean Bible Study)

More than my knowledge my husband needed God’s breakthrough. More than my kids hearing my complaint, they need a positive environment. More than me having every answer, may my family experience Father God’s leading. More than perfection, may we all embrace grace.

There is so much that doesn’t need to be said — so that Jesus can speak a better word.

The less I say, the more room they have to hear.

Prayer: Father God, may we have the wisdom to know what to speak, when to pray, and how to say what needs to be said. May we be thoughtful about our home environment and how our words affect it. May we be life-bringers instead of hope-stealers. May we walk in an abundance of wisdom. May we trust you to do the work, our mouths are inclined to do. May you breakthrough in every area of need as it pertains to our relationships. You are a much better teacher and instructor than we are. We call for you help today. You have the best answers. We lean on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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Seek The Heart of The Matter

The man got out of his pickup. He ran down the stairs quickly. As he did, as if I was sizing up a suspect, I noticed his cut-off sleeves, his see-through thin white shirt, his scruffy beard, hid tattooed arms and his body that was far too thin. Was he on drugs?

I saw him dispose of something next to the sidewalk. What is he doing? Is there evidence he wants to get rid of?

Suspiciously, I kept my eye on him, as he quickly ran off…back to his car.

What did he do? I was determined to find out. So, as I approached the area of the sidewalk where he “disposed of his stuff”, I looked down. And, right between the side-walk and the water, was the evidence — a little turtle.

This “evil” man had rescued a turtle from the road to bring it to the water. He saved it from death to bring it to life.

And, as I looked at that turtle, I saw the reality of me: I size people up too quickly, by appearance, without knowing the reality of their heart.

My head dropped as I walked on. I am well acquainted with another group — who did a similar thing…the Pharisees.

They accused Jesus of healing on the Sabbath, without considering “the heart” behind Jesus’s motives (see: Mt. 12:15-21)

They misinterpreted Jesus intention to heal, missing His heart, by attributing the power to the devil. (Mt. 12:22-37)

They missed the whole new covenant because they couldn’t perceive the heart of God, through Jesus, in flesh and blood.

Let’s not judge, before we seek to understand — real truth. We are quick to size up what we can’t understand. Our natural mind demands we draw conclusions, rather than to wait on the Lord’s answer. Or His deeper meaning. So, we label people before our heart has come to know their real heart-motivation.

But, what if we were to give those around us “the benefit of the doubt”? What if we were to “believe the best”? Wait before sizing-up?

For instance, rather than judging people different than us, we can suspend our thoughts and pray a blessing over them.

Rather than picking apart our husband’s actions, we can choose to say, “I know he loves me. He is doing his best.”

Rather than assuming a friend doesn’t like us anymore, we can say, “I better call her and see how she is doing. Maybe she is having a hard day.”

Rather than believing God has forgotten us, we can say, “I don’t see answers to my prayers now, but I know God has all my requests in His hands.”

We can do something different: preserve our heart. When we wait on the Lord — He usually has a better answer. There are better heart-interpretations than ones we lean on though instinctive reactions.

What might you need to step back from in order to see from your heart? Where might you need to wait, instead of drawing conclusions?

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Prayer’s We Can Pray

Now, more than ever, we need to pray. We cannot change the climate of this day unless we pray. I am convinced of this. So much so, I feel an urgent need to create a reservoir of prayers to assist us in praying. Be it a daily prayer, a safe-keeping prayer, a repentance prayer, a protection prayer or a night’s end prayer. The goal of these prayers is to help you: persevere, gain courage, fight-the-good-fight and overcome through Christ Jesus.

While this is the first of a multi-part blog post of powerful prayers, it will eventually end up as a dedicated landing page on my blog with all the prayers listed. You can return to the page, to pray (more on that page link, later).

As you pray these, remember: 1. God hears. 2. There is power in persistent prayers. 3. God answers prayers.

Print these pages. Keep them prayers close to you. Share them with others (I will be posting these prayers on FB if you want to share it there).

Prayers to Pray (Part I):

“Accepting Peace” Prayer

Father God, the world is moving 1000 miles an hour. Often, I can’t keep up. I can’t keep track of the news coming at me. I can’t figure out my best way. I can’t manage every detail. I can’t make people do what I want. Things are beyond my control.

I feel restless in waiting. Unsure about what my future holds. Not knowing what to do.

But, Father God? I thank you that you have all control. Jesus, you as my Prince of Peace,  have left me peace. Today, I choose to accept this peace.  I take a moment to truly receive what you have given. I cast my cares on you and receive the peace you have given.

I also choose to stay near you today. I choose to think upon you. For it is written, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Is. 26:3)

Today, Father, give me the grace to keep my eyes on you, my ears attuned to you, my heart in check with you, and my feet following you. Then, I will live peace.

Today, I choose to fix all of me, on all of you!

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“Resting in the Arms of a Good Father” Prayer

My Daddy God, you love me. I am loved by a good, good Father.

This is amazing! Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for keeping me as your own. I am so glad it pleased you to save me. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that I am loved and wanted, but I AM!

My Father God? Will you, today, reveal to me your fathering heart? Will you help me to see the million ways that you take care of me, provide for me and love me? I want to see your ways, above my own. I want to behold your faithfulness and goodness in fresh and life-inspiring ways.

The truth is: you are miles, lengths, widths, and depths — BIGGER  –than my mind can even conceive. I cannot even begin to fathom.

You have small-me in your big-hands. And, your hand IS “the mighty hand of God.” Your hand IS mighty-to-save, mighty-to-move and mighty-to-provide. The bigness of you transcends even my faintest conception of You. Your ways far exceed mine, your goodness is far greater than mine, and your thoughts are galaxies above mine.

Today, I choose to rest all of me, in all of you! I can trust you.

For,

Everything belongs to you!
All kingdoms rest in your hands!
All money is yours!
You rule over everything!
There is nothing you can’t do!

Even more, you ARE faithful! Always and forevermore.

Daddy, I want to be close to you. Will you give me a more complete understanding of your goodness and your vastness? Wil you unveil yourself to me?  Will you give me spiritual understanding so I may go, faithfully walking, by your Word?

In this, I will become more full of life and power that comes from you!  I will more so love others with that same love in which you loved me. I will rest under the cover of you — a good Father — who loves me with love like I’ve never known before.

Fill every place of me, with every bit of your Spirit.

May I, down to the cellular and mind-level, know:
I have nothing left to prove.
I have no work left to do to gain love.
I need no weight of worry, for Jesus already carried the weight of the cross.

Everything has been proven on the cross. It is done.

Praise be to you, Father of Lights and giver of every good gift. I am loved! I am helped! I am protected! I am kept! I am led! I am equipped! I am called! I am whole!

Glory to you, God. And, thanks be to your son, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

“Affirming Your Identity in Christ” Prayer (See: Romans 6)

Father God, I thank you that it is done! Because of your son, I am now dead to sin and alive to Christ Jesus. My sin nature has NO power in my life (Romans 6:6). Praise be to the Lamb! I am dead to sin and now alive to Christ!

Christ is my living-reality. Christ is my vantage-point. Since I am united, with him, in his death, I am also raised with up him to new life (Ro. 6:4). With this, I live new life. I see new life. I believe in new life for all those I reach with his gospel.

This affects — all my life. I am not down and out. I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies. I am not ruined, I have a new heavenly vantage point. I see above earthly realities, for the Holy Spirit in me, illuminates all truth. I live by the Spirit and not my flesh. I am led by the Holy Spirit and not my flesh. Fill me afresh, today, Holy Spirit.

I am alive!

Because of this, in everything, today, I choose to see higher. I choose to see above my problems and my issues. I choose to set my eyes on the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). I am no longer a slave to sin. I am set free from the power of sin and death. I now live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus!

When I make a mistake, I repent and move on, by your grace. It is that simple. I receive forgiveness and I forgive myself too. Your grace always makes way for a new habit or response. I live in the newness of life, not in the old. Not in the past.

I walk in the newness of life, all-the-time! I walk in righteousness and connected to righteousness.

With this, I am completely given-over to you, God. I live my life, through Christ, by Christ, with Christ, and for Christ. I shine the light of Christ.  I am submitted. I am reliant. I trust God in all things, as I move with Him. No forces of hell or schemes of the enemy can stop the life of Christ that is working in and through me.

My body is a tool, unto the glory of God. This is why I choose to: get sleep, eat right and receive rest. I take care of my temple. I honor it. All of me is a worthy vessel, for all of you, my Father.

I also walk by faith and not by sight. I walk in obedience not in self-destructive self-sacrifice. I walk in hope and not disappointment.

Right now, I cast off any sin or hindrances that easily entangle me from moving forward with you.

I receive all the grace I wholeheartedly need today. I boldly approach throne of grace.

Here, I remember: I am adopted. I am a child of God. I am beloved. I am chosen. I am part of God’s royal family. I am free. I am always loved. I am whole. I am thriving. I am showing Jesus to the world. I am unafraid.

Whom the son has set free is free indeed. I am free.

Through God, I produce good fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Good deeds, flow easily through me, as I am submitted to the Holy Spirit working through me. I am not bound by the letter of the law, but free by God’s grace.

Shame has no claim to me.
Fear cannot touch me.
Sin has no weight over me.
Feelings of ‘less-than” don’t rule me.

I abide in Christ. I believe God’s Word is true. I focus on what God says about me. I trust God in all things. I love others with all my heart. I am alive and it is well with my soul!

All glory to God, who is worthy of all my praise, affection and adoration. Worthy is the Lamb!

In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

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Am I Good Enough?

That I would be good if I didn’t encourage everyone…
That I would be good if I didn’t raise my hand to serve…
That I would be good if I had nothing to say…
That I would be good if I was sick for the rest of my life…
That I would be good if I didn’t say wise things…
That I would be good if I was never seen…
That I would be good if I didn’t get everything right…

That I would be good if, aside from doing things or being things for you, I was still loved. The most basic desire is to know: we are still loved, even though. Apart from what we do… Apart from what we say… Apart from what we bring… Apart from how we appear…. We are still — wanted.

Do you ever feel that you have to do, to be, or to have things — to be loved. To feel wanted?
One of the greatest freedoms I’ve ever experienced is to experience: God love — no matter what.

“…Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (Ro. 8:38)

We are so in God’s love, no lack of us can ever pull us out of it. We are still good even when we’re bad. We are still wanted, even when we don’t want to say yes. We are still cared for even when we don’t care to have or be like everyone else. This gift? Jesus’ gift, the leeway to be free, is — lavish.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

When Jesus looks at me, despite my sin, my mistakes, my lack, my situation, my appearance — He sees His righteousness and holiness. It is incredible! I am loved, always. I am wanted, always. I am cared for, no matter what.

This is no license to disobey or to do whatever I want. On the contrary, this is a license to freely love and obey God with all my heart — not from the place of burden but from a heart that is truly blessed. This difference makes all the difference. We’ve seen people serve from burdened obligation. Even when they act their best and do amazing works, they still have a small huff-and-puff about them or high-and-mighty self-righteous attitude. They tell everyone about it. But, one who serves because they are loved and free? Oh, the joy of it! Oh, the heart of it! Oh, the connection with God! No one ever has to know.

Where might you be working out of burden and obligation rather than out of freedom and a loved-position? Have you ever considered that you are not earning, through obedience, favor with God? You already have it.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that we are now, because of you: holy, blameless and righteous in your eyes. We are wholly wanted. We are chosen. We are loved, no matter what. We are positioned in you and you are in us. May we never lose eyes for you, our first love. May we serve and love others from a pure heart, rather than a heart that tries to prove its own worth. We love you Jesus. Even if we do nothing, you still love us. Even if we make mistakes you still love us. Even if we never amount to much, you still love us. You are amazing. You are incredible. You are almost unbelievable, except, we believe. We believe you love, want and have chosen us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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