Purposeful Faith

Tag - peace

Staying Calm and Wise

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

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

Grr…

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

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

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

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

I told him everything. He listened and changed course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Easter Resurrection Power

“You aren’t listening.”
“I don’t feel loved.”
“I’m alone.”

Friends, while I hate to admit it — this week has been hard. The flesh-side of me wishes I could blame it on my husband, but I can’t. It takes two to tango.  I’ve accused him within my mind. I’ve raised my voice in the house. I’ve changed the atmosphere from peaceful to stressful. I’ve taken it out on the kids. I feel bad about all this…

I wonder if things might be hard at home for you too? We are living in a fishbowl, after all. Right on top of those we love, 24/7. Unable to get time alone, like before. It is a condition ripe for conflict.

Yesterday, I took a walk. One house along the path was lined with beautiful blooming flowers.  I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s a picture of grace. In the midst of virus mayhem is grace-filled beauty. Spring has no mind for the madness.”

Neither does Jesus’ resurrection have a mind for madness. It is the exact opposite of mayhem. Whereas we may argue, panic, or worry, the resurrection of Jesus is righteousness, peace and joy. For, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Just like those flowers pushed out of the dark ground, to find the bright of day — Jesus, through the resurrection, pushes out darkness to bring new light — by demolishing sin, denying the power of death, and shaming the powers of darkness…

Jesus always brings light to the darkness. He does so, even today. Even, here, in quarantine.

With this, I can’t help but think, there is a boundless nature to what Jesus can do.  Even in this time of quarantine, marriages can be healed, hope restored, depression removed, habits renewed, mindsets rewritten, finances helped. Everything is possible through Christ. Think BIG and reach towards Him in BIG ways.

Forget what the world says. The triumphant reign of Jesus is amongst us. The Spirit is in us. The Prince of Peace is present. The King of Glory is in full of glory.  Jesus has risen — and is rising up new life in the here and now.

Oh, how we praise you, Jesus! Oh, how we love you! Oh, how we need you! Oh, how we rely on you! Oh, how we surrender to you! Oh, how you are worthy! Oh, how you are everything, Jesus. We want to give you all the worship, this Easter!

Friends, can you see it? We cannot be in the darkness when we are: are in the light. We now stand in the light of an empty tomb, with the stone-rolled back and a risen King over us and — ruling!!!

“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” (Col. 1:13-14)

The transfer already happened. We get eternity forever! Oh, the riches of that. And, thanks to the Lamb of God, the resurrection-life power of Jesus is moving in our homes. Jesus is ever-working, ever-healing and ever-transforming us. Look for him this season. Talk to Him too.

Whatever appears dead in a tomb in your life, is not. Jesus conquered the grave.

Friend, if you feel depressed, if you feel misunderstood, if you feel anxious, if you feel worried, if you feel shameful, if you feel disappointed, if you feel bad, if you feel ruined….I pray you see: new life. Starting today.

Just like those flowers busted out of darkness, in the midst of madness, Jesus can bust through any darkness or madness in your life — to bring beauty.

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God’s Divine Protection

peace

I was amazed. My daughter didn’t fall once; she fell two times, nearly unscathed. In both instances, she rounded a turn on her bike and skidded out. Her wheels flipped over and her body hit the ground, with force. Tears welled up in her eyes.

She had been riding fast. Her helmet flew off her head. But, when I asked her where she was hurt, she didn’t know. There was only but the smallest scrape on her. She escaped, nearly untouched…

“For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.” (Ps. 27:5)

For in the day of trouble, in the hour of trouble, in the moment of trouble…God is here. Emanuel. God with us.

“God with us” sends His angels to guard us. His power to keep us.  His wisdom to guide us. He is over all and in all.

We don’t know every detail of how He protects us. Or, why He doesn’t protect others.  We don’t fear what has come upon other men. We don’t fear the plague that may befall us. Don’t get entrapped with another man’s story. God deals with each of us as He chooses.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” (Prov. 29:25)

Keep your eyes on your own lane. Keep your attention on your own family. Keep your words headed up to heaven. Trust God’s provision and protection to fall down on you. He has you covered. Choose to stay under the protection of his wing and not to wander elsewhere.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you are above all. You are over all. You are ruling all. We declare you as Lord over everything we face and see. We are not wavered by the news, by people or by fear. We stand under the shadow of your wing. We choose to place ourselves under your loving-care and put ourselves under your protection. You have us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

You are a blessing, brothers and sisters in Christ. I love you, beyond measure. My hope is that I can bring much of His treasure, back to you… XOXO!

 

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Am I Good Enough?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Peace-Bringing Psalm

My son kept asking, “Mom, am I going be okay? How many people are dying? Will Coronavirus get us?” When he asked, his eyes darted left and right and his hands fidgeted with jerk-like motions.

I tried to address every question, but head-knowledge hardly appeases a heart. He needed more… More than a know-it-all momma, he needed a heart-assuring Papa. Papa God.

Fortunately, my little 8-year old found his way to Psalm 91. After reading it, a sense of calm fell over him and, he said, “I am going to memorize this whole thing.” He did. Then, he prayed it over himself and the virus. Quite suddenly, peace, power, and strength returned to him. He was all of a sudden ready to battle, instead of walking like a defeated-foe.

In fact, my son, Michael, was so excited about Psalm 91 he wanted to share his learning with everyone. He did a video on Facebook about Psalm 91.  Don’t miss it! I know it will bless you. May it encourage you too!

Beyond this, I am including Psalm 91 here today. I believe it will bring sudden peace, power, and strength as you read it aloud, as you accept it in your heart and as you pray it over yourself. Don’t miss this chance. Join hands with the Prince of Peace to receive his peace. Reach out to him and you’ll find him.

God’s power is enough to keep and protect you. You are not alone. God is with you, my dear friend.

You have this! I believe in you. I am praying for you… I love you.

Psalm 91 (NLT)

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

Be blessed my friends. I love you. I am here for you.

Prayer: Father, may each of us, children, know how much you love, protect and keep us. May we rest in your love. May we run to your shelter. May we trust you to save us. We love you, Jesus. Amen.

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The Bad is Good

bad is good

A friend looked at me and said, “With God, the bad is good.”

Hmm…she had my wheels turning now…

I wonder, how many of us can see the truth in her statement?

The bad boyfriend that we, at one time, thought was good for us?
We can see now, it is darn good that we didn’t marry him.

The bad health scare that we figured would kill us?
Well, it is good that we are still alive and, not only that but, we now have more faith than ever.

The bad news that we lost our job?

It is good that God repositioned us. We hated every minute of that job and now God has us on unique-assignment, impacting specific people.

What bad has become good, in light of your prayers and God’s grace? Think back. Recount. Reflect. Remember. Restore your countenance.

What looks bad, becomes good, with God.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 2:20-22)

With God, through Christ, it is: “Yes!” It is good. It is God’s promises, delivered. It is God’s grace, right here and now. It is what looks bad, coming into the light of Christ. It is what hope we cannot see, becoming manifest.

See beyond your natural eye and you will see again. See beyond circumstances and issues to hope in Christ, once again. See beyond panic and you will see The Prince of Peace. See beyond what everyone else is doing and you will see Him. By the natural eye, we are blind, but by the Spirit-eye, we see: God’s promises are yes and amen. Jesus is greater. Jesus has conquered. The war is done. We are safe, forever. God is the Pre-eminent Ruler of The World. And, we are His children.

There is goodness waiting for you — right here, right now. Bad becomes good in light of God’s mercy and grace.

Glory to God!

Friends, during this time that can feel scary, panicked or stressful, I am doing more videos on Facebook and on Instagram. Come join me there, as I pray and share God’s Word to encourage your heart.

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Beware of Being Battle Worn & Weary

He offended me. The fighting words my husband launched hours ago were now causing my entire afternoon to be thrown off.  It wasn’t my fault, or so I thought. But, now, rather than being nice to my kids, I was snappy. Rather than being present, I kept thinking of how he was so wrong. Rather than tidying the house and helping out, I went on a silent protest in my room. Rather than dwelling on love, I wanted to release my own missiles.

In retrospect: His words were an attack sent by the enemy (one point for team-enemy!).

Usually we can recognize attacks. They are:
– issues that pop up out of nowhere.
– people problems that seem completely random (or odd).
– sin that makes you feel so guilty that you are unlovable (this issue starts with us and is leveraged by the enemy).
– past wounds that are intentionally re-hit.
– old tapes that get repeated by people to keep us stuck.

There is wisdom in asking: Is my unconfessed sin or my unrepentant heart holding on to what the enemy will use to his advantage?

Think for a moment. Judas got here…: “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Mt. 27:5)

…even though He said this: “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” 

Indeed, he was “seized with remorse”, but He failed to go to the Redeemer who could heal him. Sadly, he died by his own hand.

Beware of confessing to others, but not to God. Beware of carrying burdens, only Jesus was meant to carry. Beware of leaving unforgiveness untidy and unruly within your heart. Even the most specially-chosen disciple can fall. 

If someone so close to Jesus could go down, so could we.

Today is the day to let go and let live with Jesus.

Do you need to ask God, “Will you forgive me?”
Do you need to tell God, “I forgive _____?”
Do you need to say to God, “Today, I let go of this (offense).”?

Do it.

The price of holding on to guilt, shame and pain is death. The price Jesus paid to free us from it, becomes our new life.

Be Battle Ready today, by letting go of what pain you cannot manage any longer and putting it into the arms of Jesus. What will come about is restored connection and renewed hope.

Be Battle Ready.

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“The best time to be strengthened against the Enemy’s tactics of doubt, disappointment, and devastation is before he makes his first move toward us. We all desperately need the biblical guidance and preparation found in Battle Ready!”

Lysa TerKeurstNew York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries

Available now wherever books are sold.

Amazon comments:

“This book inspired me to make positive changes in my life!”

“It’s more of a reference tool—a guide, a manual. It’s one of those books you stick on your bedside table and refer to often throughout the ups and downs of life.”

“Finally, someone put together a book containing actual tools to help you face life’s trials and tribulations. 

“It is not meant to be read and put on your bookshelf, it is meant to be a companion to The Bible.”

Be Battle Ready.

He Knows Your Name…Even If I Can’t Remember It

POST BY: Kendra Broekhuis

It takes roughly 2.7 seconds after meeting someone new for me to forget his or her name.

I’m certain that when people tell me what they are called, that information goes in one ear and bounces off a fluffy cloud out the other ear. Because I fear the embarrassment of not remembering this critical detail, I’ve become hyper-sensitive to sparing other people from the same potential embarrassment upon meeting them a second time:

“Hi! Nice to see you again. I’m Kendra.”

Now please do me a solid and follow suit.

Some days I consider giving up on trying to acquire this skill I so greatly lack. It sounds way easier to just become that person who greets everyone with a, “Hey there, Sport!”

I mean, what’s all the fuss about remembering a person’s name anyway?

“The Fuss” became clear when my husband and I tried to pick names for our children. We argued for no less than nine months over what to call them. We knew that whatever label we chose would stay with them their entire lives. Their names would be tied to their faces, which would be tied to their personhood, which would be tied to memories and deep meaning.

Their names would be the first way they were known.

I was recently reminded of this when I read John 10. Jesus described Himself as the Good shepherd, and His people as His sheep. At first skim, that description might not seem comforting – like we’re all just a bunch of ambiguous animals gathered in a flock of millions.

But the way Jesus explains His relationship with His sheep is incredibly tender: He leads us closely enough to feel the warmth of His presence. Engaged enough that we can distinguish His voice from that of a stranger or a thief. Nurturing enough to bring us to pastures of abundant life. Protecting enough to lay down His life to the wolves that come to snatch and scatter. Treasuring enough to know each of us by name.

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. {John 10:3}

Our world can feel incredibly cold and impersonal at times – like we really are ambiguous among billions.

But when those days come, may you remember that the Good Shepherd not only sees you, but He knows your name.

He knows you.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that you will help us remember that we are not only loved as an entire church, but also as individuals. In times that we feel lonely, insecure, or worried, remind us that You are close enough to know each of us by name. Thank you for being our very Good Shepherd. Amen.

 

Bio:

Kendra is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her NeighborThe book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’s “I love you’s” in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’s “I love you’s” to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee. Kendra’s love language is Dove chocolate.

 

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Seriously, let’s not act like satan

act like satan

Imagine your heart wanting to protect Jesus.

You’ve been with him for so long now. You know, love and treasure Him. He is God. Jesus cannot be harmed by common men who aren’t God. You must protect Him. You must keep Him from harm. He must remain with you.

You pull Jesus aside to address his comment that He must suffer. You say, “Jesus, far be it with you. This will never happen with you.”

You’re only trying to help. You’re only trying to save Him. You’re only trying to preserve Him from harm.

Jesus replies to you, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Mt. 16:23)

You were a stumbling block. Why?

You had good intentions, but you injected yourself where you weren’t invited to intervene.

The plan was owned by Father & Son , not Father & Son + disciple.

We can do the same thing in the lives of those we love. The plan is between Father & son or Father & daughter. Yet, we weasel our way right in, saying, “Nope this right here is about Father & Son + me + my opinions + my fear!” We take out our chisel and crack into God’s good plan. Woe to us who break what God is building in others.

We often break God’s good plan in others when we:

1. Tell people what to do.

2. Decide how people should think.

3. Instruct people based on our opinions.

4. Try to run in and fix bad situations.

5. Demand others think well of us.

6. Rescue people from their feelings of sadness, loneliness, etc.

7. Excuse away people’s issues, rather then letting them confront them.

I assure you: when a lesson is delivered by us, it’s forgettable. But delivered by God, it is unforgettable, undeniable and unbelievably life-changing.

Let’s make room for what God is doing. He has things handled.

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At Least I am Not Like Her

For weeks, months even, I observed this gal on social media. Because she regularly posted, I could easily keep track of her. As I saw it, every picture was a sob story about her life. Every post seemed to be a call to the world saying, “See me! See me! Pay attention to what I am doing!” She prickled my nerves.

“At least I’m not like her,” I thought.

I thought this way for a very long time. Until. Until I discovered the reality. Reality is not social media. Reality is the voice behind it. And when I heard her voice on the telephone, I discovered the true pain of her recent struggles. I saw her heart to come to the aide of others and saw the true line of Jesus’ love running right through her.

I thought wrong.

A friend came to my house. To every question I asked her she replied with a one word Humph-like answer. She wasn’t a very good friend. She must be angry at me.

At least I’m not like her.

Only later, when I asked how I could pray for her did she share, “Please pray for my marriage.”

I thought wrong, again.

“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’” Lu. 18:11

Oh really, Mr. Pharisee? You are not like them? Certainly, you “must be” a whole bunch more godly, more wise, more thoughtful, more successful, more holy…but, there is only one issue: You carry around brick-heavy weights of pride.

Yes, pride. It is the thing that makes you judge others without knowing the full story. It is the thing that makes you see one side but not the other. It is the thing that makes you consider others’ sin at a moments notice, while missing your own.

“I tell you that this (tax collector) man, rather than the (Pharisee), went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Lu. 18:14

Today, my aim is new: I will not judge what I don’t know. I can never know the inner story behind a person’s outer persona. The pain that resides inside usually works its way out. My job is not to pin it to the wall in condemnation. My job is to love until its appearance smoothes under the love of Christ.

I can do this with myself, and with others.

 

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