Purposeful Faith

Tag - peace

We Need Each Other

I just got off the phone with a girlfriend. I thank God that she shared her truth.

When I first asked her, “How are you?”

She replied something like, “Kelly, honestly? I don’t feel peace and I feel unsettled.”

I could hear the pain in her voice. I could sense the struggle. Not only that, but I knew– she wasn’t looking to complain or to throw a pity-party. She just needed a friend.

Many of us feel bad about being honest. We feel guilty for being truthful. We feel exposed when we allow others to see our real needs. But, the truth is — we all need a friend. We all need support. We all need encouragement.

Life returns when we admit our real needs and faults to others. Then, we see how much we are cared for.

The truth is: all of us go through life with problems and needs. All of us have weaknesses. All of us cannot do this thing called life alone. Even more, we cannot be united with Christ apart from the body of Christ.

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph. 4:16)

As we grow together we are built together into the fullness of the love of Christ.  As the body gets united, the body gets powerful!

Today, I am more convinced than ever that we need the wisdom of people who have walked through tough things, for God teaches us through their words. We need prayer from a sister, for God speaks hope and restoration through their heart. We need encouragement from a friend, for God builds us up through the strength they impart. We need a place to be real, for God heals through through authenticity.

Do you have a place where you can be yourself? Do you have support in your life? Are you feeling encouraged by the body of Christ?

I created the safe-space of the “Breakthrough Retreat” so we can learn together, grow together, pray together, and be together. Every voice matters. All are welcome. Let’s encourage and uplift each other.

After past retreats, people have written to me letting me know their life has been changed; they’ve been encouraged, uplifted and renewed. I couldn’t ask for more.

During the upcoming May 15, Breakthrough Retreat, you will:
– Uncover the heart of God towards you through worship.
– See your own weaknesses and faults in light of God’s glory, grace, and power.
– Learn to rely on the power of God that transcends the work of your hands.
– Meet with a small group to be activated in the teaching.

During this Breakthrough Retreat, you will begin to stop hating all the ways you are not perfect! God’s power is perfected in our weakness. With this, I am confident insecurities will be healed, hopes will be renewed and you will rely and trust in God like you never have before.

To say that I am fired up about what God will do — is an understatement!

Take part in the Breakthrough Retreat via Zoom on May 15 from 10 AM – 1 PM ET. The cost is $29. Join live or get the recorded version post-event.  Join me. 

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Wanting God to Show Up?

There are no woods near my house. So, not knowing where else to go, I found a patch of trees away from my house and sat there.  I wanted to be alone. I felt sad because I had a disagreement with my husband. Today, I can’t remember what I upset me. What bothered then, is unimportant now. It’s funny how arguments go that way…

Anyway, as a cried in the woods, my find-myself-moment-with-God, didn’t work so well. Women walking dogs kept passing by. They kept staring at me. Looking away and trying to stuff the embarrassment down, I really tried not to pay attention to all the  trash around me. It seemed that someone made this a dumping ground for water bottles, old chip bags and paper.

Earlier, I had read in God’s Word how Jacob named a place that meant something to him. In one particular place, God let Jacob know that He would be with Him. He told Jacob that He would “not leave him until (He) had done all that He had told (Jacob). (Gen. 28:15 AMPC)

So, Jacob named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”)… (Gen. 28:19 NLT)

I named the place where I sat, “Where God met Me Amidst a Heap of Trash.”

God did touch my heart that day. There, I realized I was fearing man more than my Maker. Although it felt painful, I wrote the moment off as a win, headed home, and had conversations with my husband.

A week passed. Then, yesterday, I drove past those very sparse woods from the road. I was surprised. The whole like of them bloomed.  I couldn’t believe it. They were now beautiful. The time made them change. The different season made them come to life. The passage of days made something new.

There was another time that Jacob named Bethel, Bethel. It was after Jacob had gone through trials and family issues. This time, at Bethel, God gave Jacob a new name –“Israel”. He also gave Jacob new charge to “be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you and kings shall be born of your stock…” (Gen. 35:11 AMPC)

“So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel (the House of God).” (Gen. 35:15 AMP)

God exchanged what was for something even more beautiful. He did the same for me.

And, He can do the same for you…

You know, only a short time passed by until those cruddy woods were made completely gorgeous. Only days passed until the whole look of thing was radically different. Only God can do that! God can take what looks ugly and work through it until He forges something meaningful, as you meet with Him. Do not think you sit on a heap of trash or in a place of embarrassment. God wants to meet you right there. He will take what you want to name “trash” and make it bloom!

Prayer: God, I want you. I need you. I need help. I ask you to speak to me. I ask you to help me. I ask for your heart to meet mine. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

Not Doing So Good?

As it pertains to mothering. I keep thinking, “What have I done? What have I done to make my child act like this?”

With this line of questioning in my heart, I try to fix myself. I try to act better. I try to talk nicer. I try to hug more. I try to lean in when I talk. I try to soften my voice. I try to share my feelings. I try to listen better.

And, when that doesn’t work, I ask myself again, “Where did I go wrong?”

Ever been there? Ever tried your hardest, only to feel like you’re going nowhere? Not succeeding?

I feel guilty. But, the one simple thing God speaks is: grace.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Cor. 12:9)

“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)

I mess up. God still gives to me…

I don’t handle everything right. God loves me anyway…

I need help. God helps me…

I am not perfect. God shows up for me despite this…

I am not sure about what to do. God leads me to where I need to go…

Jesus meets me in the place of my need. I never need to fix-myself-up for Him.

There He is — perfect and providing.

Here I am — in-need and dependent.

I don’t have to hate my needs. Jesus paid the price so I could take-home all His goodness, without me having to pretend or hate the fact that I am not a better mother. This is grace. And, yes, it is abundant and it is amazing.

I haven’t gone wrong; I have gone right into His arms. What about you? Do you know the face of the loving Father, even when you face a million problems? What does His grace do for you?  What might it want to say to you?

Prayer: Father God? I love you. You are a good Father. And, I am a loved daughter. Will you help me know this — as truth. Real truth. I want it to be more than just mind-truth; I want it to be heart-truth. I want to know your love, more and more. I want to understand your grace, day-by-day. I want to live and breathe from this very place. Help me, God. I love you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Things are Not What They Seem

Throwing caution to the wind, our family decided to go to an amusement park this past weekend. As we headed in, they did a temperature check. All good.

The lines were long, on some of the rides. As I waited in one line, to go on a bus that would lift me up and down with other kids, I observed a family ahead of us. The boy’s  hair was perfectly done. The girl’s braids were tightly tied together with bows. Their clothes were ironed and perfect. The moms face looked immaculate.  There was no flaw with this crew…

“They must always dress like the perfect family,” I thought. “Everywhere they go, they look amazing. They only wear clothes that are brand new and they have it all together.”

Standing there, I felt like trash next to this woman, in my clunky sneakers and my wind-thrashed hair. Unable to control myself for a moment, my voice chimed up from within me. I started to speak to the woman.

I said, “You all are the picture of a perfect family.  You must always dress amazingly.”

The mom replied back, “Oh no, I am in workout pants most days.” The son said, “And, I am so uncomfortable in this belt; I can’t wait to get it off.” Apparently, they just had their Christmas picture-shoot right before coming to the park.

Things are not always what they seem. Our inner stories and presumptions give us an outer snapshot of what we figure — must be true. But, our automatic truth does not equal autonomous God’s truth. For, what we see on the outside never explains the inner story, behind the walls of someone else’s life.

We see social media and the parties and think: we’re the only one watching movies at home…

We see the woman with the perfect Christmas tree by the fireplace and figure: her family must always be at peace.

We see those with close family and think: they have it made; their life is bliss.

Suddenly, our world is trash and everyone else has it better. But, things are not what they seem. Usually the inner stories we concoct about other people are half-truths, if not outright lies.

This is why Philippians 4:8 tells us to “Fix your thoughts on what is true.”

When we lay down things we figure must be true, we can more easily fix our mind where it is meant to dwell…

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…” (Heb. 12:2)

Who have you been comparing yourself too? How has this been stealing joy from you? Impacting your relationships? What would it look like for you to begin focusing on truth and on Jesus?

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Being Friend’s with Jesus

Have you ever been with a friend who constantly looks at their phone when they’re with you?

My pet peeve is when I meet someone for coffee and they keep looking at their phone. I can’t help but think…is it me? Is it something I’m saying? Am I not good enough to have their full attention?

This also happens on occasion at social gatherings when a person looks behind me or around me, rather than looking at me when I’m talking. I have to admit, I wonder why they’re so distracted.

It is hard to build a relationship with someone who is only half-in. Or, half-way listening. Or, half-way minding what they’re saying to you.

I couldn’t help but think about all this — this very morning, as I made coffee, while trying to pray…

I muttered some words, but as I got the grinds in the cup, I only half-way put my heart into what I was praying. I spoke some things that sounded good, but as I assembled the cups in the right place, I wasn’t much thinking about what I was saying. I tried to think about God, but I was much more thinking, “Where’s the cream?”

My attention was divided two ways. Looking at coffee, I couldn’t  — in actuality, look at God. It’s like trying to drive ahead while looking out your rear window. You can’t look two places at once.

Good friends focus on each other. They are attentive and available, rather than distracted and double-minded.

“…But I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jo. 15:15)

Good friends set down their phones, their to-do lists, their mind, even — and hone in on what’s happening between them. They talk. They make room to listen. They aren’t trying to do 5 things at one time. They rest in each other’s company.

Are you a friend of Jesus or are you far-more a distracted doer? Are you following a million rabbit trails around you and in your mind — or are you attuned to God’s heart?

I’ve noticed as I’ve set things down, or given my thoughts a time-out, I’ve been able to make space for exceptional times with God and for His breakthrough. I’ve noticed as I’ve said no to other things — I have made space for my first love. With this, I’ve come to know Him on such a deeper  heart level. I believe the same is available to you…

Prayer: Father, I want to know, love and be with you more. Will you give me focus? Will you help me be available to you? Will you pour out grace so that I can leave everything else behind as I read your Word? As I pray? You are my treasure of greatest measure. Please help me to treat you this way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

For more on attentiveness and focus on God, consider my newest book, “Rest Now: 7 Ways To Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy.”

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Don’t Give up in Prayer

What do you do when you don’t see results?

If you try a craft and it becomes a hot-glue gun mess, do you keep going? If you phone someone and won’t pick up when you call, do you keep calling? If you communicate with a friend but they never listen, do you keep talking?

It is hard to continue something without results, isn’t it?

Many of us, for this reason, have given up on prayer. We haven’t seen the results we want. God hasn’t answered in time. We question if He’ll come through. So, we give up, before we’ve only just begun.

Are you there now?

Here’s how you know if you’ve given up: 1. You aren’t passionate about what you pray about. 2. Your mind drifts elsewhere when you pray. 3. You forget to pray. 4. You don’t believe your prayers will be answered. 5. You lob up words to some black abyss.

Jesus knows our mind. It’ why in Luke 1:8, it reads, “Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.”

Jesus told the story about the persistent widow (Lu. 18:1-8). She kept asking. She kept “badgering”. She kept pursuing her cause. She did not give up until the answer was what she wanted.

How many of us pursue prayer in this way?

Jesus tells us: Don’t stop. Don’t quiet. Be persistent. Be consistent. It is necessary for us to do this.

You know, I’ve grown a little tired of praying. It seems like I may be talking to the air. Yet, I know this is a lie.

Why? Because of you. Because so many of you have sent me emails telling me that God answered prayers we prayed together in the past. He showed up. You requested, He answered.

You asked me to pray over a year ago.  He showed up.
You needed His providence. He showed up.
You didn’t know how He’d do it. He showed up.

So many of your emails encouraged me. So, whether you are still waiting or He’s answered your prayer, let’s keep asking. Let’s lift every reader up today. Some need breakthrough with their kids, or with health, or in their marriage. Some need support, or help with an aging parent, or wisdom as to which direction to go.

Let’s all support each other today. Beyond this, feel free to email me your request. I will NOT be able to email you back (because of the sheer volume of emails I will get), however I will seek to pray for each one of you by name.

“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Is. 65:24)

“Pray without ceasing…” (1 Thess. 5:17)

“…pray one for another, that ye may be healed….” (Ja. 5:16)

Prayer: Father, you hear us. You care for us. You hear our prayers. We believe that “the heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].” (Ja. 5:16 AMP) We thank you that prayer is not a waste of words, but a move of God. We trust you to do what you think is best. We believe in your power to move mountains. We know that you are working out a best-end. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Peace, Be Still

peace

More than anything else I think, today, we need peace.

Many of us are beyond concerned. Everyone had an opinion online. The TV is telling us this or that. We wonder where things are headed?

More than anything else, today, we need: peace and prayer.

Tackling prayer is easy, we ask: Father, you will be done.

Peace can feel more elusive. This my reasoning for including 7 verses of peace for you today. I advise that you read them aloud and that you pray them over yourself.

7 Verses that Bring Peace

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps. 46:10)

Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. (Ps. 100:3)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. (Is. 26:3)

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful. (Col. 3:15)

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Nu. 6:26)

Prayer:  May the peace of God reign in your heart today, no matter what you face, no matter what you see. May you remember who you are in Christ and whose you are.  May you remember that God is in charge. May you rest in knowing that He has the whole world in His hands. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Don’t Lose Hope

take advantage

This is a funny story. A turtle showed up on my doorstep. Can I tell you all? He was the cutest turtle. His back had all these fun little stripes and lines and I just loved the little fellow the second I saw him… But, before long, I knew we’d have to return him back to the wild, much to my son’s disappointment.

When we released him, I felt like I was watching some sort of kids movie. The little guy swam off into the lake behind our house and there was nearly a dry-eye. There should have been sad music playing in the background. The second he was gone, we all wanted him back.

My son prayed just that, “God, bring me a turtle back.”

About a week later, my boy came into the kitchen from a playdate at a friend’s house. He said, “Mom, I have a surprise for you!” He led me outside with my eyes closed.

“Open them!”

I looked down and saw, not one, but two turtles. God hadn’t just addressed my son’s loss by answering His prayer, but He’d given him a double-portion.

Some of us, like what happened with my son, are experiencing loss. We have lost a relationship, a person, a dream or a hope and it seems it is long gone. We miss — what was. We want to cry. We feel so — at a loss…

I understand this. However, what looks like loss, through Christ is gain. What looks like defeat, through Christ, is resurrection life. What looks like the end, through Christ, is only a new beginning.

Just as God brought back — not one, but two — turtles for my son, God can bring back life, hope and joy to you, in a double portion.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21)

Our God is prepared to do: more than we can ask, more than we can imagine, more than we can understand.

Today, what would it look like for you to get beyond your own understanding, to leave the past in the past, and to hope again?

Find Rest: Order “Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy” today.

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Pursued with Love

When I was a little girl I loved the story of Cinderella. She was the most unlikely candidate, yet chosen. She was raised from a low-standing to a royal position. She was pursued by one and she found love.

Stories like this capture us, don’t they? We love to see the one who is down and out, lifted up. The unlovable, loved. The unlikely, redeemed.

I wonder if you feel like Cinderella before she went to the palace? If you feel unloved? Down and out? Unseen? Unwanted?  Perhaps, your marriage feels dead and you feel left behind.

May I encourage you for a moment? The Cinderella story is yours…

“By the purpose and choice of God”, (Eph. 1:1 AMPC) you are wanted.
By Jesus you have been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. (see Eph. 1:3)
By His love, He chose you.

He “[actually picked you out for Himself as His own] in Christ, before the foundation of the world.” Now you are “holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4 AMPC)

Radiant.

Because of Jesus, you are fully seen and fully wanted.  In fact, He “[desinted, planned in love (for you)] to be adopted (revealed) as His own…” (Eph. 1:5 AMPC)

God is not ashamed to reveal you. Just like the prince revealed Cinderella as his own, with proudness…Ephesians 1:5 says, “it pleased (God) and was His kind intent”— to reveal you.

You are His, radiant daughter of the High King. And, God is yours too. He wants you, has adopted you and He freely bestows this love on (you), His beloved. (Eph. 1:6)

Let this all soak in. You are a princess. The daughter of the Most High King. Can you be any more wanted than that?

Prayer: May the truth of this love overwhelm you today. May the fullness of His desire for you — be made known to you. May the beauty of the work of His hands (which is: who He created you to be) be appreciated, as you think of how much He loves you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Do you want to learn to rest more in the love of God? Consider my new book: “Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy.”

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Your Good Father

good father

The woman, sitting with me at the conference table, did an extraordinary thing…

It all started with my saying, “I love your bible.”

On the spine, I noticed the words “Amplified version” printed. I love the Amplified Version. It gives rich context to the original Hebrew and Greek words in the Word.  I admired her treasure. Yet, what this woman didn’t know was my hunt in the last year to find, not just an “Amplified Version” bible, but a “Classic Amplified” version bible.

“Classic Amplified” bibles are out-of-print and not so easily found. I’ve looked here and there online, without much success. I’ve thought about how I want this translation on multiple occasions.

So, needless to say, I was surprised when she responded, “Well, this is actually a Classic Amplified Version.”

I didn’t want to covet. Yet inside, I wondered if coveting a bible is okay?? I didn’t know. Either way, I oohed and ahhed a little louder.

“Oh my goodness, that is a Classic Amplified Bible?” I said. “I’ve searched far and wide for that very book.”

Then, the conference started up, proceeded on, and before I knew it, it was over.

Looking longingly at her treasure, I waved goodbye to my fellow seatmate saying, “Hey. It was nice meeting you. I hope you really enjoy that bible.”

I wasn’t about 5 steps away when I heard her call my name. I looked back, and I saw her plucking papers out the book.

She extended it towards me. A tear formed in my eye. This woman was giving me her treasure so I could treasure it.

My heart was touched. God knew what I wanted– and He gave it to me. God saw.

My friend, God sees your heart. He knows what you need. He is aware of what you desire. He is a good Father.

If you then, evil 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 good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him! (Mt. 7:11 AMPC — Classic!!!)

The Lord has good and advantageous things to give to you.

Are you asking? Seeking? Hoping? Or, have you lost hope that you have a good Father who cares for you? I’m sure of it — He loves to hear your voice.

My dear friend, I feel strongly led to say: do not give up with your requests. Do not back down. Keep asking. Ask more. Ask louder. Knock more. Talk to your Father; He loves you.

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