Purposeful Faith

Tag - love

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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Special Invite for You (Read to the end!)

Have you ever said yes, then hated yourself later? Or, wanted to spend time with God, only to lose track of time to something else? Perhaps, you’ve done what people wanted and completely lost any sense of inner rest…

Long ago, I had no ability to say no. I remember one instance, years ago, where everyone was ordering one type of food. It was unhealthy and, at this point in life, I had made a conscious decision to become more healthy. I knew, with better health, comes making wise decisions. But, because everyone ordered a type of food, I felt obligated too.

They all said, “Come on, Kelly…have it too!”

I gave in and then hated myself later. Afterward, I had such inner-turmoil for not standing strong. My mind wouldn’t let it go.

…Thus, why the invitation at the end of this email is so vitally important.

But, before we get to the invite, let me ask you — what things are forcing you into a state of unrest?

It may not be food for you like it was for me.  For you — it may be you doing more housework when you need to sit down with God. Or, working longer hours when you really need to spend time with your kids. Or, allowing a family member to suck the life out of you, because you can’t separate yourself.

The inability to say no causes exhaustion, stress, and tiredness. Are you there now?

Jesus says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life…” (Mt. 11:28 MSG)

The beginnings of every good “no” — is simply saying yes to Jesus. The more you meet Jesus, the more you want Him. The more you want him, the less things block His joy and peace.  The more you rest, the more you understand you are blessed.

Today, I want to invite you to find this sort of rest. Rest beyond people’s demands…rest beyond up-and-down circumstances…rest beyond insane world happenings and rest beyond a busy life. Does this sound like something you may need?

If you have been blessed by this blog…if these messages have resonated with your heart, might you consider blessing me? How? By pre-ordering the book Rest Now and joining “the Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries, and Seize Joy” launch team.

With a supportive, loving group who are seeking rest, much like you, you’ll learn how to

– create boundaries that allow you to overflow with love
– say no so you don’t hate yourself later
– ditch passive-aggressive behaviors in favor of healthy conversations
– embrace permission-giving thoughts to create mental space for God

Only when we receive God’s rest can we most effectively bring God’s peace.

Launch Team Details
Timeline: Starting Now to Mid-October.
Gifts for you: Get all the Pre-order Bonus’
(25 practical ways to rest with God, rest-filled prayers, and more..)
Exclusive videos: Have an inside track to Kelly’s learnings, wisdom, and wealth of resources.
Gain: Support as you walk out rest, peace, and new boundaries in your life.
Your part: read the book, share the book, and review the book.

Anyone — can join no matter who you are!  Have a friend who may want to join? Simply forward this message. All that’s needed is to pre-order “Rest Now” and fill out this spreadsheet to join today.

I love you all and thank you for your support. I could not do this without all the prayers, love and heartfelt messages I get from each of you. This book is a product of you — too!

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I Can’t Keep Going

keep going

Rushed. Pressured. Little time. Ever experienced being under the gun?

People. Distractions. Problems. Does it seem like there’s no way for you?

Right now, I am in a coffee shop, trying to write the devotional that you will read tomorrow… It is noisy; I can’t think. People came up to me; they wanted to talk. I couldn’t pull away. Now, I have no time left to write. I need to leave soon. I can’t, not under these conditions. I can’t work for Jesus, like this.  There’s every reason why I should — quit.

There is every rationalization as to why lack will hold me back.

What lack are you experiencing? No time? No money? No way? No people who understand? No resources?

As I sit here, I can’t help but think: Jesus didn’t quit. No. He kept walking with that cross. He kept His eye on the prize. He kept going, even though many of his close friends, the disciples, abandoned him. Even though those He loved, abandoned Him. Even though He was wrongly accused. Even though He went down a torturous, hard road…

Still. Jesus moved.

Jesus walked.
Jesus went.
Jesus loved.
Jesus persevered.
Jesus triumphed.

The many-million reasons why Jesus couldn’t did not ruin the will of the Father, letting Him know: He could.

If Jesus persisted in love, with all the offenses of man all up in His face, can’t I — persist.

Actually…I think I just did. This is nearly the end of the blog post. I persisted in moving my fingers — and God completed the work.

And, you will persist too — because God is equipping you, enabling you and energizing you in all His ways. He will give you strength, no matter what lack you face. It doesn’t matter.

Keep loving.
Keep walking.
Keep praising.
Keep worshipping.
Keep going.

God is for you and helping you.

My prayer for you: “May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith.” (Eph. 3:16-17 AMP)

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He’s Already There

The group was going one way; I was intent on going another. I wasn’t about to eat ice cream this late. That was fattening and I still wasn’t over my eating disorder.

Walking away from the retreat group, I headed back to the cabin. That was –until I felt God stop me in my tracks. It was as if I got hit by a 2×4. God placed on my heart, “Turn around. Go back with the group.” I knew to ignore His pull would be direct disobedience. Direct disobedience comes with consequences.

So, I turned around and, somewhat begrudgingly, walked all 23-years of me back into that line. And, as I met up with a group of girls I recognized, I discovered — He was already there.

The man I would marry. He was already there. He saw me pass Him and that’s when he caught up with me to get to know me. Thank God I obeyed God. Not only that, but Jesus was already there too. After that weekend, I accepted Him into my heart.

Jesus was already there. Do you know that whatever boat you may find yourself in today — in singleness, in financial ruin, in hopelessness, in defeat, in confusion — that Jesus is already there?

“So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them. Other boats were there too.” (Mk. 4:36)

Jesus was already in the boat where a wretched storm was about to hit…. He was already there. He knew. He could see. He was aware of what was to come. He was already a step ahead.

“Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves began to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow.” (Mk. 4:37)

Just because a storm is raging doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t already there.

The disciples woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?” (Mk. 4:38)

Maybe you are saying… don’t you care God? Why am I here? What is happening?

Jesus hasn’t fallen asleep on you. He hasn’t lost touch on what you are going through. He goes ahead of you.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)

God is already there — His love goes ahead of you. Be not afraid, my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world (1 Jo. 4:4). This isn’t a cheap line, but truth.

Prayer: God, you are amazing. You go ahead of us. You care for us. You are with us. You strengthen us. You empower us. We say thank you, thank you, thank you. Please add all these things to us as we come into loving you more and more and more. Great is your faithfulness! We do not waver, but trust you today. You have not fallen asleep on us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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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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