Purposeful Faith

Tag - peace

6 Reasons Why You Can Now Wait Well

Wait Well

Have you ever considered that life is just made up of a series of waits?

You wait to get through school.
You wait to find a spouse.
You wait to hear back from that job.
You wait to know if it is cancer.
You wait to see if your dreams ever will come true.
You wait with hope that a person might do something differently.
You wait and wonder if you will be rejected again.
You wait to go to heaven.
You wait and then you wait some more, nearly agonizing over every moment.

Waiting feels like grueling torture. It feels like a good God went into hiding. It feels like waiting for a hand-out from one who may not. It feels like doors shut. It feels like mountains unscalable. It feels uncertain. It feels like agony. It feels like…if-I-have-to-go-through-this-one-more-time-I-am-gonna…!

Why does a good God torture us?

Even more, why does he seem to love every minute of it?!

Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually. Hos. 12:6

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Ps. 27:14

Wait. He says. Wait again, he says. Wait well. Wait with courage. Wait with strength.

God knows something, we don’t often consider: Waiting is our wrestling ground with faith. It is here, where a believer gets on the mat, dukes it out and gets down to the heart of the situation, “Will I really believe?” 

It is here where one rises up in victory, arms to the sky,
saying, “He is good. He has me. I trust” or
where they fall to the ground saying, “Curse God and die.”

Which way to do things tend to play out in your life?

Do you rise to trust a working God or do you fall
to your own strategies, plans, executions and wounds? 

God is not preparing us for nothing, he is preparing us for his everything.

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation My God will hear me. Mi. 7:7

The more we need God, the more we call on God. 
The more we call on God, the more we lean on God.
The more we lean on God, the more we find God. 
The more we find God, the more we rejoice in his greater gift.

We start to explode with greater vision. It transcends just the here and now, but it reaches out a hand to eternity to clip it and draw it near.

Things like this happen to waiters who are also trusters:

1. They want outta here! They rely on the eternal joy that sits just over the finish line called life.
…even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23

2. They end up hoping in the right thing, rather than their demanded thing.
And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You. Ps. 39:7

3. They sit and see that the Lord is always fighting for them.
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. Ps. 33:20

4. They see God doesn’t give them their best answers, but his.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Ps. 19:21

5. They look back and see, that far beyond what they wanted, was what God wanted. They see that they look a whole bunch more like Jesus.
…knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope… Romans 5:4

6. All of a sudden they see God’s huge dump truck show up. It backs up and unloads, dumping in far greater weights of love than they ever expected.
…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:4

Are you a waiter and a truster or a hater and agonizer? Lean in. Lay back. Let go. Find hope. Great hope. Life-breathing hope…

Hope is waiting and believing – God will.
Hope is knowing he is able – and we are not.
Hope is calling out in prayer and believing.
Hope is knowing God is above our situation rather than smothered and struggling under it.
Hope is knowing his best plan is above ours.
Hope is knowing his nature sees and cares.
Hope is standing confident his timing could not be better.
Hope is moving forward with joy.
Hope is finding peace.
Hope is leaning back and laying down into God’s love.
Hope is not listening to outside voices, but Jesus’.
Hope is not devising and strategizing.
Hope is the greater expectation of God’s exaltation in our lives.
Hope is the grain of longing for that greater thing he’s doing.
Hope is seeing past feelings to the very being of Jesus that is being formed in us.

..those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Is. 40:31

That is hope; it is otherwise known as “waiting and believing well.”

May we do it.

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5 Ways God Cares (More Than You Think)

God Cares

I stared out the window. The outside was about ready to teach my insides a deep lesson.

What caught my eyes were two birds frolicking, jumping and having fun. They didn’t care; they chased, played and enjoyed the beauty of the day. Before not too long, a few friends even joined in. Life seemed to be a blessing not a burden.

I think they had no idea of when the next storm was approaching, but all they same, it didn’t seem to matter.

They didn’t seem worried about what they didn’t have;
they just went about enjoying what they did.

 

What is it you don’t yet have?

What is it that distracts your eyes from beauty?

I know it’s crazy, but wonder if somehow birds have an understanding that we don’t, like:

1. God’s nature is to forever take care of me. It is impossible for him not too.

2. Every season eventually ends and God provides. I will trust that.

3. God is who he is. Just as he makes the sun come up every morning and the moon fall, he will be true to his word.

4. I don’t have to fear I’ll be hungry for my next best thing, God remains my best thing.

5. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

I want to be like these birds – free to fly high. Soaring. Enjoying. Living.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

I try to store away so much: 

Stress.
I fill myself with action plans.

Fear.
I load up on maneuvers to self-protect.

Distraction.
I let it divert my mind from what God wants to heal.

Frustration.
I let my storehouse get shaky because God hasn’t yet shown up.

What do you store in your barn?

When we fill our barns to the brink, we always feel about to sink.
But, when we trust that God will provide the next meal, we are ready to fly. 

We break out of molds. We rise up from our nest. We don’t think about the next storm. We approach the edge of our safety and we jump out to dance in the air of providence.

We remember his voice of faithfulness, the “I will take care of you” voice. We hear it rise to its heights.

It sounds like:

1. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Gen. 28:15

2. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb. 13:8

3. Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

4. And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today… (Ex. 14:13)

5. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

God is calling us to delight in the gap between of uncertainty and his next big gift. Will we?

Will we choose to delight in his faithfulness or die in ungratefulness?

I don’t want to settle for second worst when I have second best. What I want to do is run, jump and fly with God to the places he has set to take me. Care to join me?

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3 Steps: From Pain to Peace

Pain to Peace

Guest Post: By Lisa Murray

It was the tipping point.  The beginning of the fall.  No, it wasn’t a crash, a sudden impact dive that you didn’t see coming.  I saw this coming.  I could feel it making its way toward me and yet, I was entirely helpless to stop it.

It was a slow, distinct unraveling.  That moment where you can feel the wheels teetering ever so slightly out of balance until the whole thing comes unhinged.  My heart, that is.

This was the season of my undoing.

I was quite certain I had never planned for this.  My life was a well-structured agenda of fortitude, perseverance, accomplishments.  They needed me in some misconstrued way, yet I needed them more.

From my earliest memories, I can recall that feeling, deep in my bones, that insane and horrific gnawing that I was not enough.  That I would have to prove myself.  I needed to be special.  I needed to feel worthy.  Loved.

I heard people say,
If you try hard enough, you can accomplish anything.

I believed them.

So I set my face like flint against the wind, I measured my sails, and I set out to prove my worth to the world.

Whatever it takes, that was my motto.

Whether that meant hours of studying or practicing to be good enough.  Whether it meant endless miles running wrapped in plastic wrap to be skinny enough, I did it.  That was me.

I thought there would be some point where I arrived.  Where I would attain.  Where I would be enough.

Yet, inside I knew there was something adrift.  If I was quiet enough, I could hear the tremors begin to quake. I felt the muffled pangs just beneath the surface.

I told myself,
Just keep pushing and everything will turn out fine.

So I kept pushing.  I pushed real good for awhile.  I achieved what many said I’d never achieve.  Nobody noticed the foundation beginning to crumble around me.  I noticed.

I wanted to be healed.  I longed to know what wholeness felt like.  I craved peace more than anything I could imagine.

That must be for someone else, I thought,
but it must not be for me.

I often felt like the woman in Scripture reaching out, desperate to touch the threads that lined the hem of Jesus’ robe.  Surely if I could touch Him, she must have thought, then I would be healed(Mark 5:21-34)

I understood the longing of the blind man, who day after day, hoped and prayed that he would one day see.  How could he have known his Savior, his Healer would come with a little clay and a little spit near the pool of Siloam and give him everything he’d ever hoped for.  How? (John 9:1-12)

I could see myself like Peter, shivering in the waves and wind as he stepped out of the boat onto the Sea of Galilee.  If only I had enough fortitude to keep my eyes on Jesus, I could have walked on water without sinking beneath the waves of doubt and fear that pulled me under.  (Matthew 14:22-33)

And then my healing came.  Not in the way you’d expect.  Jesus ushered me into a sacred place.  A sacred season.  Jesus led me to this season of healing and He never let go.

I heard Him whisper to me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

I needed rest.

God gave me rest and He gave me so much more.  Over the years of my healing journey, I discovered an abundance that was more than I had ever imagined.  God was showing me how to build and live a life of peace.  It was all I had ever hoped for.  Longed for.  To breathe.  To feel solid and sure.  To experience wholeness.  To experience abundance.  Physical abundance, spiritual abundance, emotional abundance.

3 Ways To Walk From Pain to Peace

  1. Embrace Maximized HOPE! – Without a doubt your hope lies first and foremost in the person of Jesus Christ.  He is your foundation spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  As you learn to appropriate His hope, His healing into the emotional area of your life, you will experience the fullness, the abundance of hope He promises.

Jeremiah 29:11(NIV) states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

  1. Discover Complete WHOLENESS! – God wants you to be not only healed, but whole. God doesn’t want his children limping through life, barely surviving.  He wants you to thrive.  He wants you to discover your unique calling, your passion and purpose so that you can make a difference for His kingdom.  As individuals become whole, the entire body of Christ becomes whole.

2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP) tells us that, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well- balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

  1. Enjoy Enduring HARMONY! – You were not meant to live in chaos.  Your relationships were never supposed to be a rollercoaster of pain and disappointment.  God wants us to learn how to foster peace and strength in our relationships so that we can enjoy them without being dependent on them for our happiness or wellbeing.

Romans 15:5-6 (AMP) shares, “Now may the God Who gives the power of patient endurance (steadfastness) and Who supplies encouragement, grant you to live in such mutual harmony and such full sympathy with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may [unanimously] with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

This is the life God has for you.  Don’t settle for anything less than Maximized Hope, Complete Wholeness and Enduring Harmony.  In my book, Peace for a Lifetime – Embracing a Life of Hope, Wholeness, and Harmony through Emotional Abundance, I walk with readers through whatever season of life they are in, and lay out simple, practical life-steps that will help them find healing and will nurture abundance in every area of their lives.

You don’t have to keep trying so hard to prove your worth.  You don’t have to keep pushing, hoping that everything will turn out okay.  Healing isn’t just for someone else.  Healing is for you.

Jesus is whispering to you, Come to me…

Will you come to Him today?  Will you accept the peace He has for you?  Will you let Him walk you from your season of pain right into His peace?

You can experience the love for which you long.
You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine.
You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow.

You can experience peace —for a lifetime.

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About Lisa Murray

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 4.09.48 AMLisa is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, coffee lover, and wife.  Her online community lisamurrayonline.com provides a compassionate place in the midst of the stresses and struggles of life.  While she grew up in the Florida sunshine, she and her husband now live just outside Nashville in Franklin, TN.

 

 

About Peace for a Lifetime

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 4.09.38 AMIn her new book, Peace for a Lifetime, Lisa Murray shares the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Lisa discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with herself, God and others. Through Lisa and other’s stories you’ll realize you can experience peace, not just for today, but you can experience peace —for a lifetime

 

Find Peace for a Lifetime on Amazon.com.
Watch the Book Trailer.
Join Lisa’s Thunderclap campaign.

Miss This View of Faith & You’ll Miss So Much

View of Faith

Don’t forget, because this is vital:
Live your life in a way where you can look back and say – for Jesus – I did everything I could.
Not because you had to, but because you wanted to…
Not because you were earning something, but because you were loving the one thing.

Do it, so that one day you see yourself:
Victorious, dressed in white (Rev. 3:5)
Acknowledged, not blotted out, before Father God and his angels. (Rev. 3:6)
Seated with Jesus, just as Jesus is seated with the Father (Rev. 3:21)

How do you practically live like this? What does this mean for you and me?

It means we hear beyond the sound and the thrills and the notifications of this world. It means we have ears to hear (Rev. 3:6) what God most desires. It means we focus on the limited running of time, the blip that is our life, to see the ongoing riches of the cross.

We stay eternally minded, and remember, we are earthly endangered.

He is “coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Rev. 3:11)
What we have is eternity.

The victorious become part of the temple of God (Rev. 3:12).
Will that be you? Will that be me?

I don’t want to be so lost in this world, that I lose the greater vision of God that will endure forever. I don’t want to bow down to  stress and anxiety only to stand up and realize that I missed greatness, glory and holy. I don’t want to get it all here, and miss it all there.

Do you know what I mean?

There is no hidden agenda or secret formula. The path is clear.
Here’s what it looks like to be a type that can look back and say, “I did everything I could”:

1. Wake up! (Rev. 3:2)
2. “Strengthen what remains and is about to die” – leave no good deed unfinished. (Rev. 3:2)
3. Remember what you have received and heard; hold it fast. (Rev. 3:3)
4. Turn yourself back to face Christ. (Rev. 3:3)
5.  Be ready. I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Rev. 3:3)

He is coming not to hurt us, but to love us.
Not to tear apart believers, but to keep them.

He encourages our heart (Jo. 16:33) with the force of heaven.
The Spirit pleads (Ro. 8:26)  for our win and Jesus does as well (1 Jo. 2:1).
Don’t give up.
Don’t lose hope.
It is a race.
We are winning.
God is for us.
He is helping
We are not alone.
He will lift us when we fall low.
He will guide us when we don’t know where to go.
So, put a stake in the ground and declare,
“Jesus, again, I hand it all to you. I am all in.”

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Standing firm in Faith Over Fear

Standing Firm

Occasionally, you know you met someone with a heart of gold – this is how I feel about Gwen Smith. Her all-in pursuit of Jesus, her authentic spirit and her ability to instantly connect, as both a teacher and a girlfriend, is a gift that is so unique to her. I have gotten a chance to deep dive into her new book, “I Want It All” and her words have helped me grab hold of the fullness of God’s extraordinary that he has uniquely carved out for me. Thanks Gwen.

I am delighted to welcome Gwen Smith to Purposeful Faith. I hope you will too. 

Post by: Gwen Smith

The book of Esther shows us what our lives can look like when we trust in the sovereignty of God and expect Him to be powerful in the midst of desperate circumstances that could cause us to cower in fear. God positioned this young Hebrew girl to be queen of Persia so that she could rise up in His strength and courage when her people, the Jews, faced imminent death. She fasted and humbled herself before the Lord through prayer. And though it was risky to the point of death, she went to the king and courageously spoke up on behalf of the Jews. The result? God used Esther to save her people from genocide.

I want to be brave like that. I want to live with so much God courage that I don’t go soft when life gets hard. So I take note of what Esther did. She didn’t cave in to fear; instead, she fixed her focus on God and His power to save her and His people. She fasted and prayed and asked for Him to intervene.

Like Queen Esther, we can live with great expectations of God because He loves to do amazing things through average people— people with worries and warts and weaknesses, like you and me. If we want it all, we need to be women who stand firm when our emotions threaten to overwhelm us and courageously believe God for big things.

So… how CAN we stand firm in faith like Esther
did when our knees knock?

The first step to standing firm in faith is to know Him.

Generally speaking, I don’t trust someone I don’t know. Plain and simple. I’m guessing you don’t either.

God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about the importance of our knowing Him:

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he under- stands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23–24 ESV)

The apostle Peter also wrote about the importance of knowing God. At the beginning of his first letter, he stated that the grace, peace, and power we need are connected to our knowledge of Christ:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Pet. 1:2–3)

How can you know God? Read your Bible, study His character, and remember the ways He has delivered in the past. Such things are Faith 101. When you are overwhelmed by life, don’t shy away from God. Don’t isolate: investigate. Look to Him. Explore His goodness.

I learned recently about the familiar “trust God” verses in Proverbs 3. You know them. “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” (vv. 5–6 ESV).

The second part never made sense to me. I wondered, Why would my acknowledging God motivate Him to make my paths straight? In the New Testament, even the demons acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God, so why would my acknowledging Him make my paths straight?

I looked up the root word and found a gold mine. The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” is yada’,1 the primitive root of which means “to know.” It means “to understand, to grasp or ascertain; especially to be familiar or acquainted with.” So, “in all of your ways acknowledge him” really means this: in all of your ways yada’ Him; in all of your ways know Him and seek to understand Him; be familiar with Him; be acquainted with Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Ah! Clarity!

The key to a straight path, the key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances and way more about my God.

When we’re intimately familiar with God, when we don’t just know about Him but really know Him, the most crooked roads we travel are made straight. Not because life is easy. Sifting through emotions like anger, depression, hopelessness, insecurity, and so on is hard stuff! But because when we know God, we know all of this as well:

His STRENGTH that is accessible in our weakness

His COMFORT that meets us as we mourn

His MERCY that withholds the punishment our depravity readily deserves

His PEACE that defies our unrest

His JOY that kisses the cheeks of our sorrow

His COURAGE that makes our weary hearts brave and casts away fears

His REDEMPTION that reworks our brokenness into beauty

His LOVE that binds us to eternity and delights over us with singing

Even when the one-two punches come and feelings are frazzled, I can confidently trust God by faith. Not because I understand all the circumstances, or even like them, but because I know Him. And because I know Him, I can trust that He will provide all I need to process pains, heal from wounds, and move forward in strength, grace, and peace.

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Gwen Smith, author of I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact, (March 1, 2016, David C Cook) unapologetically urges her readers to want more. “You and I were born for greatness,” Smith writes. “Not for the world’s greatness, but for eternal greatness: to know God and showcase God.”

Standing firm

Smith is quick to say that she is not saying more is better. More may include setbacks, more may include being misunderstood and discouraged, and more may include suffering. But more also means knowing God more deeply, even in the midst of pain. The deepest question behind this search for more from God is this: Do I trust Jesus? Smith helps readers explore this question in light of disappointment and unmet expectations in life.

Pre-order today: I Want It All: Exchanging Your Average Life for Deeper Faith, Greater Power, and More Impact; it is 40% OFF… plus, Amazon is offering a $5 coupon (found under Special Offers section)! This means, you get a book that retails at $16.99 for only $5.11.

More on I Want It All:

About Gwen:

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 6.47.00 PMGwen Smith is an author and volleyball enthusiast who lives in sunny North Carolina and has been married to her college honey, Brad, for 23 years. They are tired parents to three tall, competitive-sport-playing teens who keep them on their toes and on their knees. Her online friends meet at GwenSmith.net to connect and be encouraged, and her goal is to help women think big thoughts about God and be inspired to live out the grace and truth of Jesus. Gwen’s new book, I Want It All, (David C. Cook) released on March 1, 2016. She speaks, leads worship, and eats potato chips at women’s events everywhere, and she is a cofounder of the conference and devotional ministry Girlfriends in God.

CHANCE TO WIN: Bloggers & readers, Gwen will be selecting one of you at random to win her books and music. Support Gwen today:

    1. Join her Thunderclap!
    2. Share this post.
    3. Tweet the below tweets or Facebook updates about “I Want It All”!

Tweet: I want to live with so much God courage that I don’t go soft when life gets hard. @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall http://ctt.ec/ezUl_+

Tweet: We can live w/ great expectations of God bc He loves to do amazing things thru average people @GwenSmithMusic http://ctt.ec/Yg3cU+

Tweet: “The key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances & way more about my God.” @GwenSmithMusic

Facebook: “If we want it all, we need to be women who stand firm when our emotions threaten to overwhelm us and courageously believe God for big things.” @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall

Facebook: “The key to trusting God when doubt shoves me off balance is way less about my circumstances and way more about my God.” @GwenSmithMusic #iwantitall http://amzn.to/1Tk179P

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How to Really Fight Back using the Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit

What do you do when something terrible, horrible and life-impacting happens –
especially when you are sinking into fear and anxiety?

This is what I was asked as my hard work disappeared before my very eyes. This is what I was asked as my progress was erased. This is what I asked as I thought about the myriad of things flipping, flopping and dying right my very eyes.

In this reflective moment, in the pause right before the full tsunami of tension hit, I had a choice:
Would I stand in the power of God or would I fall to the power of fear?

Ever stood here?

This moment, it is a critical one. If you leave nothing filling that second, you will inevitably succumb to distrust. If you leave it untended by God, you will certainly feel alone. And if you leave it empty, you no doubt fill it with endless thoughts of preposterous scenarios. But, if fill it with truth and life and warrior words, you will wage war – and win –  against what intended to take you down.

Here is how it works: Read a portion of scripture (we will use Psalm 62), personalize it and speak it aloud. Choose to believe it. Believe it over your body, believe it over every relationship that hurts, believe it over your finances, believe it over your family, believe it over you heart, believe it over your discouragement and believe it over anything that is coming against.

When you let the good yeast of God’s truth, rise above the lies –
you find it squeezes out worry.

Psalm 62

My soul finds rest in you, God;
you are my salvation.
You are my only rock and my salvation;
you are my fortress, I will not be shaken..(Psalm 62:1-2)…

My soul, finds rest in you God;
my hope comes from you.
You are my rock and my salvation;
you are my fortress, I will not be shaken.
All my salvation and my honor depend on you, God;
you are my mighty rock, my refuge.
I trust in you at all times, every single time;
I pour out my heart to you,
God, you are my our refuge.

I am but a breath,
Nothing, only a breath.
I will not put vain hope in stolen goods;
I will not make riches the center of my life
nor will I set my heart on them.

For I know:
“Power belongs to you, God,
and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward me
according to what I have done.” (Psalm 62: 5-12)

The more Gods’ Word sits in,
the more thoughts of negativity and disaster are forced to move out.

It simply works like this: You speak it, you believe it and because you believe it, you live it.

The answer to oncoming attacks and injuries is not to wait for the blow to knock you over, it’s to step into it on offense, with the Sword of the Spirit in motion so you can slay what Christ Jesus has already beaten. This doesn’t mean that every single predicament is fixed and tidied up, but what it does mean is every predicament is seen through the power of God’s eyes.

God wants to give us spiritual clarity and he wants to help us fight our battles.

What might God want to slay if you gave his Word a chance to fight on your behalf?

God is your rock, your fortress and your refuge – in him, you cannot be shaken.

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A Change Of Mind

A Change Of Mind

Post by Karina

I’m a worrier.

It’s not something that I’m proud of, but it is very much like second nature. I have always been super independent and that has contributed to me being a worrier. I like things my own way. I like to be able to control everything that is within my power to control. If something is fixable, I fix it. I don’t wait around for someone to offer help, I just handle it. I worry about things past, present and future.

This apparently, goes against the whole being dependent on God lifestyle. He and I are working on that. It’s a slow and steady process. And it’s a process that starts in the mind. That is where all of our motives and actions stem from. My thoughts give way to worry and worry gives way to fear and fear gives way to worry. It is a vicious cycle. And I want out! So, this year, He and I are working on changing my mind.

When I think about how I think, a few questions come up about where the thoughts originate and what direction they are heading. A few verses even stick out to me in those areas.

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

Where is my affection?

One definition of affection is a feeling of fondness or liking. Heaven and earth are complete opposites. The Bible is very clear that all that happens on earth is counter to what goes on in Heaven. Generally, the person or thing or situation we like is where we spend our energy.

Attention always follows affection. 

Do I like the here and now more that I like eternity? Which do I long for more? I’m sure you’d agree with me that we should long for Heaven more. We will spend more time there than we will here on earth. All that is seen is temporary and fleeting. I want my thoughts to fall in line with the life I will live forever, a life spent with my Creator and Father.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

Where am I expecting peace to come from?

Peace is a tricky thing. We, as humans are so prone to think that people or circumstances will bring us peace. But, they don’t. They can’t. It’s a false peace because when they change undesirably, we are now in a state of unrest. Peace is a person and His name is Jesus. The peace He brings transcends understanding and circumstances. It is unchanging and unwavering. It remains constant no matter what is going on around us because it is grounded in the truth of God’s Word and the truth of the nature of Christ.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Do I think as the world does or do I think like Christ?

From the moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are forever changed. We now have a new nature. The only problem is is that we are still wrapped in flesh, flesh that craves old habits and ways. Then, we are still living among broken and lost people in a broken and lost world. When we understand this, we understand that we have some work to do. We have a role to play. It is our job to renew our minds through delving into the well of God’s promises. The more we become acquainted with Him through His word, the more our thoughts align with His. The more our thoughts align with His, the more our actions catch up with our new way of thinking.

So this year, I’m changing my mind! Are you with me? What area of your thinking do you need renewed?

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BjBC4hzUKarina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”

Are you Missing The Point of God’s Word?

Missing The Point

God loves you. Christ loves you.

You may read about it, but do you really know it?

You may remember the stories about it, but do you feel it?

Do you live in a way where love compels you?

Paul says it is one thing “to know”, it is another to experience. 

And I pray that you…(may) grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:17-19)

Love surpasses knowledge.  Imagine that.

Often I run after knowledge, as if it will bring me to where I need to go, but only love compels real progress.

Everything that is monumental in God’s Word boils down to love:

Jesus heals. Love.
Jesus dies. Love.
Jesus washes feet. Love.
Jesus teaches. Love.
Jesus guides. Love.
Eternity awaits. Love.

Jesus created experiences, so that people could experience.  Do we?

Some days, I wake up with a task list, a group of verses I must get through, pages I must turn, knowledge to acquire, but, what I have noticed in doing this is, often, an internal pressure builds.  It wars against peace, saying, “Kelly, increase”. Increase in being knowledgable. Increase in know-how. Increase in doing.

Yet, God is peace. He is the only thing that should increase- and his love found in the power of sitting, being and absorbing truth into the very molecules of my existence.

…That I “may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19)

Word of caution: If you are trying, more than abiding, every time this is a red flag. You likely aren’t getting full of God – you’re probably getting full of yourself.

I see this in myself; when I end up trying to know, I end up failing to grow, but when I let God’s love flow, when I find a new glow.

It is in the seeing, feeling and being that God takes our hands, gently holds it and walks us up to internal healing.

Paul explains to the Ephesians the wealth they will receive from understanding rather than acquiring things of God.

Paul says to know God, rather than just knowing about him is to:

1. Be strengthened with his power (Eph. 3:16)
2. Dwell (or Exist) with Christ in faith (Eph. 3:17)
3. Move with the power to understand (Eph. 3:16)
4. Experience love (Eph. 3:18)
5. Bask in the depths of this love (Eph. 3:17)
6. Be full of life (Eph. 3:19)

Living like this means living no longer running on low, just trying to find new gas to feel good. It means walking into the immersive waters of grace and laying down, knowing that with God, he will protect, guard and keep your life stable in everything that is him.

God’s love is with you.
He is patient;
his leadings are kind.
Not so you can boast,
walk proud,
find honor,
or find fame (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

He knows, this kind of love does not endure.

God is patient,
seeing past wrongs,
not envisioning anger
or keeping bad records (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

His love endures forever (1 Chron. 16:34).

God delights when you let truth takes root in your heart.
He rejoices over his love within.
For you rising up from it.
Protecting.
Trusting.
Hoping.
Persevering (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

So sink down to where love is risky and then just wade in the trust of #God. 

Then you’ll start looking like him.

You know what matters most: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)

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How To Get Past What Drives You Nuts

drives you nuts

Focus for a minute.

Focus on what looks disgusting, deplorable and delinquent of any merit.

What is it in your life?

Perhaps it is a car, you hate.
A child you’ve grown angry at.
Another’s bad habits that annoy.
A person who deeply hurt you.
Shoes that you’re tired of wearing.
A wait that should be long over.
A health that has left you in ruins.
Feelings that always seem to lead you astray.
A spouse who continually leaves you hurt.

When you stop to see the dirt for what it is, you start to see the life could emerge from under it.

It is there, you just can’t see it. There is more; you’re eyes just focus on the filth. Yet, under it is the wealth of the new thing that God wants you to see.

After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. Jo. 13:5

Jesus got on his knees, emerged into the filth, moved along from man-to-man, hands commingling in the water of disgust and offered the ultimate act of love to those least deserving.

Jesus washed the feet of rejection, Judas.
Jesus washed the feet of denial, Peter.
Jesus washed the feet of abandoners.
(as they fled from the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion), the disciples (Mt. 26:56).
Jesus washed the feet of you and me when the blood of Christ spilled over our grime.

Sacrificing, he allowed the nails in.
Enduring, he listened to the jabs.
Giving up, he trusted his Father’s will.
Humbling himself, he gave up his own very life.
Loving, he forgave even in his own worst hour of pain.

Jesus never allowed rejection and abandonment to
block his water of lavish love
that makes hearts sparkle out of the darkness of impossible.

Whose feet do you need to wash?

Perhaps what you see as crud, has been allowed by God above,
because you are just the one to bring God’s love.

Love to yourself. Love to your conditions. Love towards God who has allowed it. Love to that person who feels like a pet peeve. Love to children. Love to aging parents. Love to your heart that fails. Love to that person you can’t forgive.

Love, displaying itself in the most humble form.

Wash the feet.
Forget the offense – and know God is on defense.
Let go of the pride – and see the other side.
Remember Christ cleansed of you – so you can wash with a heart of ministry too.
Watch and see what will come – knowing it is God’s will being done.
Trust by faith in uncertainty – so you can get down on bended knee.
Watch the mountain move – knowing you have nothing to prove.

Let go and let Christ do the work, and he will. He will wash through your hands, love through your eyes, lead through your will, speak through your mouth, guide through your feet, listen to your prayers and hand back cleanliness, in those moments when you yourself fail.

He will empower you so that you can move into the stink, the stench and the repugnant to do what you never expect: hold it close with the heart to repair what is broken. 

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Mt. 19:26

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Can you Change God’s Mind with Prayer?

Change God's Mind

God, I want this. Silence.
God, I need this. Silence.
God, do you hear me? Frustration.
God, answer! Dejection.

Ever noticed? When tiredness sets in, so does discouragement. We, then, set aside prayer because we feel God has set aside our most valuable request.

I guess it is human nature – when we feel shunned, we tend to shun. When someone treats us rudely, we stop talking. When God doesn’t seem to care, we say, what is the use? We give up. 

Yet, I don’t want to give up; I want to go into prayer with deep focus, reliance and fervor. I want to keep pressing in, knowing God hears. I want to believe, even when it feels like there is no use. After all, isn’t that what faith really is?

I can either be faithful in prayer or
prideful in rapid-fire demands.

The ability to wait well seems to make all the difference.

I will be the first to admit to you, I am so much more the latter than the former. Yet, I want to learn; I want to discover prayer that God loves. I want to go deeper, not to just get what I want, but to uncover what he wants, so that I can discover all the spiritual riches he has planned for my life.

5 Ways to Pray Prayers That God Loves

1. Trust your good God has all the power and ability to give you good things.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mt. 21:22

2. Let your motives align with God’s. Then, Let your motivation move with his.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Ja. 4:3

3. Stand in righteousness and trust all things will be added onto you.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Mt. 6:33

4. Keep on keeping on in prayer. Then, pray more.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Mt. 7:8

5. Have confidence in approaching God, knowing he hears.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Can you change God’s mind?

Have you considered that maybe it is more about God
changing your mind than you always changing his?

When we get our heart set right up against his, often we find our heart changes pace. Rather than running a course that we determined was bound to get us to where we want to go, we see a charted path and glorious path. We see miles and miles of opportunity that may look different than we ever expected, but far greater. We find, we get all we really ever wanted, it just wasn’t on our terms.

Prayer changes us – as much as it changes our circumstances.
It steadies believers lives in the hands of their great God.
It offers sweet intimacy between a loving daddy and his beloved child.
It is heard by a God who knows all our deep needs.
It brings back the dead into the very will of God.
It comforts the weak and humbles the proud.
It squeezes in truth to compel service.
It speaks love and signs hope.
It matures our hearts.
It works.

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