Purposeful Faith

Category - awe

Overcoming on Hard Days

I said to the pilot, “What is the best learning you have from flying high in the skies?”

His answer, “There is always, always, sun above the rain clouds. If it looks dark and dim when you take off, you just have to go higher. There, the sun is bright!”

The man had a point. What he said was not only a lesson in the natural, but in the spiritual. Above every dark cloud of uncertainty about the future, above every relational problems, above financial concerns, above health issues, remains the Son. The glorious, bright and ever awe-inspiring Son.

When we fly higher than problems, we see Him. The Sovereign One is always reigning when it is raining.

But, so often, my problem is — I don’t look up. Friends, while it is hard to admit, in recent days, I have made a habit of looking at the rain, more than the Rain Maker. Internally, I keep griping, “Ugh, isn’t this over yet? How long can I take going through this?”

I see what hasn’t happened.
I look at what isn’t right.
I see what people aren’t doing.
I am upset at what I am not doing.

Somewhere along the line, I got earthly-focused instead of heavenly-minded. The result? Faith dwindled. Frustration mounted. Anxiety increased. I worried. I sinned.

I sinned by taking my eyes off of God and putting them onto my problems, people and circumstances.

We are told not to do this:

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Cor. 4:8 NLT)

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col. 3:2 NIV)

When we set our mind above, we remember King of Kings and the Lord of Lords reigns above it all! When we fix our eyes on Him, we see His glory and power despite our problems and issues. When we think about heavenly things; love comes in right order.

How have you been focusing on what is earthly, instead of Him, who is heavenly? How might you need to let go of your grasp of worry, for the better gain of knowing and loving Him?

Prayer: Father, I thank you for every single person here. I thank you that you know what each and every person is going through. Jesus, you understand the hardships. You empathize. You know. I also ask that you would give us a grace to keep our heart and minds set on you. I ask that you would equip us to rise above problems and people and to glorify your name. Forgive us of self-focus and self-pity. Give us mouths of praise and eyes love. Give us faith and hope. Give us the ability to keep our eyes on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

***Subscribe for all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Have you heard the song, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus?”   This morning, the song’s lyrics resonated in my spirit: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face…and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim…in light of His glory and grace.”

When I turn my eyes upon Jesus…all else fades. The worries. The problems. The fears. The stress. The burdens.

There remains Jesus, the One who saves.  There remains Jesus, the One who paid it all. There remains Jesus, the One who empathizes with my pain and struggle. There remains Jesus, The Way, The Truth and The Life.

But, so often, other things distract me from Him. The schedule of the day clouds my vision. The pressure of people’s needs fills my eyes. Things another woman is doing, pull me, almost subconsciously, in another direction.

What do we do – when we want Him, but get distracted by everything else?

This morning, as I closed my eyes, somewhat pondering this thought with God, what came to mind was: Horses wear blinders for a reason.

What was the reason? I got out my phone to look deeper.

Apparently, horses have 350-degree vision. This means that they can see everywhere but directly behind them. This also means that they can get extremely distracted. A neighboring horse can pull them off track. A plowing machine hooked on them, can appear to them as a predator and cause them to react. A wild and cheering stadium can make a race horse go berserk.

They must have a narrow and limited view on what matters so they don’t get thrown off by what doesn’t matter.

So must we!

How might God be calling us to limit our view today? What vision is actually distracting us more than helping us?

Is seeing social media images leaving us discouraged and sad or is it uplifting us and filling us with things of God?

Is that gossipy neighbor someone God wants us continually looking at and listening to?

Is focusing on portending doom actually helping our mind, or is worry zapping us of faith?

Is our well-laid-out fix it scheme the way, or is prayer?

Is seeing offense our way, or is becoming blind to offense and full of love, a more prosperous road?

Often, as we blind negative things we gain greater vision pertaining to things of God.

Paul, in the Bible, became blind for three days before he gained sight that opened a radical ministry of the Lord.   Are you, like Paul, willing to put blinders on in order to see more of God?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. The things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in light of His glory and grace.

Prayer: Father God, You are what I want. You are what I need. You are what I want to fix my mind on. You say, you keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on the Lord. Let that be said of me. Let that be known of me. More of You and less of what I think I need. Be my vision. Be my hearing. Be my hope. Be my all in all. I want you more than anything else. Give me all the grace I need today to keep my eyes, ears and focus on you and show me what I might need to let go of. Show me what I might need to become blind to in order to see more of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

***Subscribe for all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Perspective on Tough Problems

The mountains were beautiful, idyllic really. Driving, high up, makes you realize huge things can actually — be little. The big mountains in our lives aren’t really as big as we make them. Perspective is everything. To God? From this vantage point, we understand how He can move every mountain. Driving on mountains makes you ponder things like that. . .

Unless, something happens, and jerks you out of your deep thoughts, which is what happened to me…

My husband jerked the car, hard, right.  The decline to the right of us was steep. There was no guardrail, no safety net, just a fall. For a second, he lost control.

But, another One hadn’t.

A second later, my husband declared, “Family? The angels must have just protected us. We should have gone over the side of this road down a mountain, but we didn’t.”

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (Ps. 91:11-12)

As a family we took a collective sigh of relief, then my 10-year old son blurted out, “You know, when you realize that God really will protect you, you realize that you really have nothing at all to fear.”

My son was absolutely, unequivocally right: What do we have to be afraid of when we know God will protect us? Help us? Save us?

Miles above us is one greater than us. One who sees before we do. One who knows before we know. One who acts before we even conceptualize there is a problem.

When life feels out of control… When you know you should see a ruined relationship… When you believe you should have made a different choice… When you fear you have messed up parenting… Remember. Remember, God has all control to save us from any and all cliffs — despite us.

Isn’t God amazing? Isn’t His protection astounding?

What are you afraid of today? What if you recognized that you have a saving God that is mightier, taller and bigger than any force coming against you? What if you were to look as the mountain as small and your saving-God as HUGE?

Prayer: Father, than you that you are Father. Thank you that you are Protector. Thank you that you keep us in so many ways, we probably can’t even count them all. We are grateful for your protection and we ask for more of it. We love you. We honor you. Help us to trust you more. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

***Subscribe for all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

 

 

 

 

For One You Love…

God's love

For one you love, you do anything to spend time with them…
For one you love, you travel miles to get to…
For one you love, you think of them through the day…
For one you love, you share hidden secrets…
For one you love, you listen closely…

“Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Mt 22:37)

For one you love, you trust them with all your heart…
For one you love, you lean on in hard times…
For one you love, you do silly things for and please them…
For one you love, you put their life ahead of yours…
For one you love, you probably would die for…

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Mt. 22:36)

For one you love, you know their voice…
For one you love, you seek to understand them…
For one you love, you desire to know them more…
For one you love, you listen when they ask you to do something…
For one you love, you do things to bless them…

“Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Mt 22:37)

All. All our heart. All our soul. All our mind.

There Jesus is. The love of our life. Do we love Him with our all – or is our love small?

In a world that constantly interrupts us, where our is dinging, where our schedule is raging, where people are interrupting, where fast-service is beckoning, where the internet is always going — it can be hard to be all-in, fully invested in love. I know.

There is wisdom in remembering: To turn off the world is to prepare yourself to intimately connect with God.

This can be in your mind, as you commute to work.
This can be at home, as you turn off your phone.
This can be on a walk, as you talk to Jesus.
This can be doing laundry, as you smile and let Father God know that you love Him.

Where are little places of love that you can carve out in your life? What would intentional love look like?

Prayer: Father, we want to love you more. We want to honor you more. We want to love you with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength. Please help us in this. We need your grace to love you more. Will you remind us? You are everything to us! You are deserving of all our love! Don’t let our love run cold or our hearts grow hard. Give us a supple and soft heart. Cleanse our heart and show us any wrong way within us. In Jesus’ All-Mighty Name, Amen.

***Subscribe for all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

The post God Above All Else appeared first on Purposeful Faith.

God Above All Else

Have you ever determined that you want something? I have. I have determined that I want a specific recipe for dinner. So, I do everything in my power to make it to the grocery store for the three items I don’t have at home. I have determined that I need a new outfit for an event, so I make it to the clothing store, no matter what. If I don’t find what I need there, I head somewhere else. I have determined that my kids need to be active, so I waste no time and immediately get on the internet to find them sports classes to be in.

When we set our mind that we want something, we go after it.

“Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” (Mt. 22:37)

What does it look like to love Him with all of us?

I believe it looks like — determining. Determining to get up early. Determining that you want more of Him. Determining that all of Him needs to fill all of you. Determining to know the fullness of Him that extends beyond the fullness of the life you think you already have…

“And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent.”

This is eternal life! Why not start now? To know God is to know all we need to know. It is to be filled with all the goodness of life? It is to gain perspective that heals all our perspectives.

To hunger and thirst for earthly things leads to carnality, sin and lusts that can’t be filled, but to hunger and thirst for God and His righteousness, leads to a well that keeps on giving.

What are we thirsting for? More stuff? More good food? More material things? More from a spouse? More answers? Or, more of God?

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (Ja. 4:8)

What happens when we want God above all else?

He is so close. We know Him. We love Him. We let go of lesser things. We desire to read the Bible more. We hunger to understand His love more. We are full of love, joy and peace…

How do we do this? We make simple steps to spend time with Him before our mind pulls us elsewhere. We press in. We ask.

Father, I want to love you more! I want to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Teach me what this looks like. Grow me in love and in knowing you. Grow me in perceiving and understanding you. Show me how to draw near. Give me the courage to say no to lesser things. I love you. Please draw near to my heart that hungers and thirsts for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Beating Fear

One of the worst things to deal with is fear.

Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and what hits me is: What if you’re not eating the right things? What if you aren’t teaching your kids well enough that they follow the Lord? What if you are missing God’s plan for your life? What if you don’t make it through? What if…(this). What if (that). 

Do you deal with fear? Are you afraid of getting sick? Of getting hurt? Of being left high and dry?

We must know how to conquer fear. For, if we don’t conquer fear, it will conquer us. It will beat us into submission. Rather than fulfilling God’s big callings to love, we will hide-out. Rather than reaching big mission fields, we will excuse ourselves to the safety of our own homes. Rather than having real conversations, we will act on impulse and shut down what God is doing.

We don’t want this.

Now, more than ever, we need to know how to stand strong and firm for Christ. We need to be brave to speak. Braver, to take a stand. And, most brave, to die to our flesh in order to become alive to Christ.

This doesn’t come naturally to us. But, it is a choice. Otherwise, we would not have been told so many times in scripture to, “Fear not.” We have power to — fear not. We have the ability to say, “No” to what wants to rule us.

When we lay up the size of our problem against the height of our God, suddenly everything comes into perspective. What looks like a giant, becomes beatable, when we look at our Savior.

“For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Is. 14:27)

No one can thwart our God.

Do you know this on your insides? If you deal with fear, worry, anxiety or if you want to know God’s heights even more, I invite you to attend our second breakthrough workshop on fear.

Sign up today.

Days & Multiple-ways to Attend (via live/recorded ZOOM):
1. Live Breakthrough Workshop 2 (Maintaining Fearlessness) – Tue. Feb 8, 6:30-8:30 PM ET
2. Via recording (also get the shame event recording too!)

Register now!

The workshop cost is $19. I lowered the price (while covering costs), to help as many people attend as possible!

Defeating the Enemy

Last night, I turned to my husband and said, “I feel like I hate myself.”

Wow. These were bold and uncharacteristic words. Why was I thinking like this? Why did I feel so down this day? Why was the world was coming down on me?

Not that much had changed from yesterday. In this moment, everything was heavy, my outlook was bleak and I didn’t have answers for my problems. I was angry — at me.

Ever been there?

You know there is a real enemy who is really coming against our soul, mind and heart in Christ Jesus. He doesn’t just play-lightly, he isn’t out there blowing bubbles or playing jacks.

He is vicious. He is ravenous.

“For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” (Rev. 12:10)

Scripture tells us, the accuser is accusing us nearly all the time — day and night. Can you imagine? That’s a lot of attack that comes our way. That’s a lot to stand up against, sometimes.

I should know. I sometimes wake up in the night with hurls of accusation coming at me.

How do we stand against this? How do we stand strong when one day we feel great and the next we are attacked?

We don’t have to wage the war alone. Christ is with us and in us (Col. 1:27). Jesus is the Overcomer. The issue is: we have to turn to Him, rather than shirking away in defeat or disillusion. We cannot allow him who is defeated to triumph over HIM who has already overcome.

Sadly, I didn’t turn to Jesus. There are real consequences to that (such as: a bad night sleep, arguments, being on edge, snap judgements, etc.)

Many times I do, though, and these are a couple of my strategies to overcome…

One: I say, “get away from me accuser. Whom the Son set free is free indeed. I am not listening to attacks.”
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Ja. 4:7)

Two: I repent of believing lies and only speak what is true and positive.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (Jo 8:32)

Three: I worship and praise God’s name.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.” (Ps. 28:7)

When we take a stand against darkness, darkness has no chance against the light of Christ.

If you feel the enemy, or  your flesh, pulling you away from God — I believe this 2-part breakthrough workshop (that starts tomorrow, Saturday) will be a help to you. I want to pray, connect, talk about God’s truth and give you strategies to stand firm.

Sign up today.

2 Days & Multiple-ways to Attend (via live/recorded ZOOM):
1. Live Breakthrough Workshop 1 (Practices to Defeat Shame) – (Tomorrow) Sat. Feb 5, 10:00 AM -11:45 PM ET
2. Live Breakthrough Workshop 2 (Maintaining Fearlessness) – Tue. Feb 8, 6:30-8:30 PM ET
3. Recorded version  – Both events will be sent post-event.
Register now!

The morning retreat cost is $19. I lowered the price (while covering costs), to help as many people attend as possible!

The Huge Mess I Found Myself In

I never knew sparkles could do so much damage…

Well, I take that back. . . I did know that sparkles could do damage, which was part of my stress to begin with. I didn’t want sparkles all over my house and in every floor crevice and stuck deep in the dark recesses of my rug. I didn’t want sparkles tracked everywhere by my shoe and stuck to my hair and dangling off my eyebrow, but lo and behold, this is exactly what happened.

The second I got home from being out, my kids implored, “C’mon mom! C’mon mom, craft-time.”

I wanted to say, “I need a few minutes. I need to pray; sparkles stress me out,” but my son was already dumping the pint-sized jug of sparkles on the table. And, there I was — wanting to be the best mom I could be.

Ignoring my insides, I dove in head-first, “Okay, kids, here mom comes.”

At the table, my insides were throwing a tantrum: It’s going to be a mess. The table will be ruined. The craft time won’t be fun.  And, worst of all, what if these crafts end up looking horrible and none of them sell at my kids craft show?

The idea of a big-, horrible-, icky-mess was plaguing me. And, frankly, I didn’t know how to control it, fix it, or manage it — while sparkles began to get dropped outside the foil, then on my white dining chairs, then into the glue pile that was supposed to have no sparkles in it if we wanted the other ornaments to look good.

Everything. felt. completely. out. of. control.
My insides were anxious.
I started barking orders.
My kids were having no fun.
My son went to his room and said, “Maybe I should just do the crafts with dad.”
And, my whole idea of fun — went kaput.

Inhale. Exhale.

Friend, like me, are you ever afraid of messes? Does the idea of mess ever create stress? Does the stress tend to make a bigger mess?

Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Christ already won my freedom. Yet, the second I start worrying about things being perfect is the second I yoke to stress.  It is the fear of messiness actually welcomes anxiousness. Any obligation where we rely on man rather than God becomes a burden, not a blessing.

I can’t enjoy sparkles with my kids when I fear mess. I can’t be armed up in prayer, when I feel obligated to be ready at man’s notice. I can’t enjoy the moment, when I’m fearing the outcome.

How do you need to let go today? Are you seeking to control something or someone? Or, are you afraid of feelings you can’t manage?

You know, Jesus entered the mess of this world to save the likes of you and me. He wasn’t so afraid of the mess, that He couldn’t enter in to it. While we were yet a sinner, Christ died for us. He sees everything we face. He is not as afraid of it, as we are.

He has an answer. He has a door of escape. He is a ready-help in time of trouble. What if we were to turn towards Him and ask for all the grace we need in our times of trouble?

Maybe, then, we’d throw sparkles up in the air and dance under them!

Prayer: Father, I am letting go of ___. I can’t do it alone. I need you. Help me. Give me grace, abundant grace. Show me the way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Things are Not As You Think

“Oh no! Why did you do that? Why did you bring your drinks downstairs?” My mom groaned.

Apparently, my kids spilled lemonade on her brand new carpet.

“But, Nana, we have water and we didn’t spill anything!” They said.

“Yes, you did. I see that big splotch on the ground.” My mom pointed at a big dark circle on the ground.

“But, Nana, that’s only a shadow.”

The closer mom got, the more she could see. The kids were right. What my mom was stressing about was only a shadow, not a spill.

How often do we see things that are only shadows? How often do we misconstrue words into something that another is not even saying? How often do we perceive what people are thinking, when they are not? How often does what we worry about not even come true? How often do our perceptions become projections onto others?

Jesus is wise.

Instead of worry, Jesus essentially says, “Hey you! Don’t run ahead… Don’t get ahead of yourself, or me, for that matter.”

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mt. 6:34)

We never really know what we face until we come face-to-face with the reality of it. That’s why we can’t make a mole into cancer. Or, a child’s actions into a proclamation of their life. Or, a husband’s lack of timeliness as a determination of who He is or, who we are. Or, our yesterday into a predictor of our today.

We do not know — until Jesus says it is time for us to know. There is no benefit to trying to figure things out, either.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Mt. 6:27)

When we run ahead of God, we run out of grace. We run out from under grace’s cover. This is why worry, fear and anxiety mount. But, to stay with the Holy Spirit, in the present moment — is to keep peace and to walk in the ever-present help of God.

How is your mind prone to run ahead? Where do you lose peace?

What might God want you to know in your here-and-now?

Consider: Has God ever let you down? Has He ever stopped helping you? What did you worry about 3 years ago? How are things going now.

Take an opportunity to: Thank God. Release your worry to Him. Repent of fear. Renew your heart and mind in Christ Jesus, for He cares for you.

Things are not always as they appear. Darkness tries to fool us sometimes. Things are not as dim as the enemy wants to make them look. Raise up your head to see — where your light comes from — and you may get a whole new outlook as you do.

Prayer: Father, I know where my help comes from. My help comes from the Maker, the Creator and the Author of Life. Forgive me for looking left and right, into the past and way-ahead into the future. Holy Spirit is here with me, right-here, right now. I want to walk with you and talk with you. I want to be united with you, without stress and burdens. Will you comfort me and help me? I trust you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Use Your Voice

good father

I was too tired. “I can’t. Not now, my dear.”

Have you ever been so tired by night’s end you can’t do a solitary thing, but plop on your bed?

My daughter wanted me to wash her knotted-up hair at the sink. It’s a big ordeal. Although I wanted to help her, I knew if I said yes, I also risked being in a horrid mood and things ending up 100o times worse.

“I can’t, my love.”

“But mom. . . ” she persisted.

“I can’t.”

“But, you can. The knots at the back of my neck hurt me when I sleep,” she replied.

She was pulling at my heartstrings now. I didn’t want to her to be uncomfortable; I care for her. I want to help her. I love her.

You know, God loves us the same way. He hears our repeated requests. He understands our difficult position. He is moved by our asking — be it for little or big things. Don’t give up making your heart known to God and your voice heard. He cares for you…

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Mt. 7:7-8)

Just as my daughter kept asking by, persistent asking, opens something up. I believe our repeated asking, using our voice, must move God’s heart, similar to how it moved mine. It’s hard to say no, to one you really love. It’s hard to say no, when the one you love so wants your help. It’s hard to back away when the sound of your child, moves you.

God loves us too. He showcases His love by how He sent His very own son, for us, even while we were yet sinners. If God did that for us, how much more does He want to help us?

His heart isn’t to abandon us, but to help us.

Eventually, I told my daughter, “Yes, I’ll help you!”

I answered her request not because it was easiest for me, but because I had compassion for her situation (and, well, she kept asking using that persistent voice). At the same time, I answered a little different than she expected. All the same, her end goal was accomplished.

And, isn’t this how God works with us?” We say, “I want my hair washed at the sink!” He nearly says, “Well, after you take a shower, then I’ll come with the de-tangler.”

Our part is obedience. His part is faithfulness.

Has God asked you to do something? Do you feel called to move a certain direction on an issue? Don’t ignore those nudges. Follow them.

Simple acts of obedience often opens up answered prayers through persistence. But, we must get going and keep knocking — and not give up!

Don’t get discouraged by what you haven’t seen or what you aren’t seeing. God hears. And, if like me, you forget to pray at times — that’s okay too. God never despises a small beginning. In fact, that’s how all great things begin. Just start. Just ask. Know He loves you. God IS love! He wants what is best for you. He cares. He IS Provider too. That means — He is faithful.

Make your heart and voice known to God, for He cares for you.

Prayer: Father, thank you that you hear us. You really do! You love us too. We are so thankful to be loved by a good father. You are always ready to help. You may do things different than we think, but in the end you know what is good for us. We thank you for this. Your timing is right, even if we can’t always understand. Father? Will you help us in the way we need today — (ask specifics here)? We lift this up with great expectation of your help. You are Faithful and True. You are a rescuing God. You are Deliverer. Your ways are so far greater than ours. We love you. We thank you. In Jesu’s name. Amen.