My daughter hasn’t played sports before. She thought she wouldn’t like it, but she now loves it. When she played she ran around the field with a huge smile on her face. I couldn’t be happier. This week, I have a conflict with her practice, however, I want so badly to see her. I just want to watch her, enjoy herself.
Yesterday, with my son, it was a similar sort of experience. He tried out for a role in the school play. I was so happy for him. I really wanted to watch him. I called his dad and prayed for him while he was trying out. I ran into the school beforehand with a snack and a hug. My joy was so full, it felt like I might explode.
After this joy of watching my kids, in their moments, I couldn’t help but think: God has joy in watching me, in my moments too. Just as I want to jump around and celebrate my kids successes, God must really be happy when He sees me doing well. He must want to celebrate with me. He wants to be a part of my world.
Our Father God is “El Roi”, meaning, “The God who Sees Me.”
Somehow, knowing that Father God wants to see me, makes me feel loved. He wants to be involved in my world, in my joy and in my excitement. He knows what is happening. He cares to see. He wants to be a part.
In fact, the mere idea that He wants us to continually abide in Him is evidence of how much He wants to see and know us.
“Abide in me, and I in you.” (Jo. 15:4)
God wants us, to be together. He wants us, to be with Him. I think He likes us too.
We are never alone. We are united with a God who not only cares, but who sees, us. Be encouraged — we are not alone or left behind. He loves us. We are His children.
If we delight in our kids, how much more does He delight in our special moments too?
Prayer: Father, I want to be with you. I want to remain in you. I want to feel your love and understand how much you care for me. Will you help me gain greater understanding of this? I love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“You always looked so put together. I didn’t know if I could talk to you or if you would be nice,” said one lady.
The other woman, replied in a similar way, “I wanted to talk to you too but I thought you were…”
Looks are deceiving. That’s all I could think as I sat there listening to these women share perceptions. It seemed, now, they were surprised by how relatable, real, and easy it was to be together. They were becoming fast-friends — all because they got a real chance to know each other, rather than to think things about each other.
How often do we allow what we think we know hold us back from what is truth?
I perceive a lot of things about myself: I haven’t done good at this. I didn’t succeed at that.
I perceive things about people too: They think this about me. They are doing ___. They must want ___.
Yet, like these women, thoughts not founded in truth, hold me back from real things — real relationships, real progress, real breakthrough.
Look at what happened to Elijah in the Old Testament because of his perceptions…
“Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” (1 Kings 19:10)
Elijah was right in his statement. He did served the Lord “zealously” and the people of Israel had “broken their covenant”. But, what He didn’t perceive right was that he was “the only one left”.
He allowed his loneliness and his discouragement cloud his eyes. Others had been faithful too.
Soon after sharing this with the Lord, God told Elijah, “anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet.” (1 Kings 19:16).
I wonder if Elisha’s perception of his situation led to the culmination of his ministry? One can wonder…
But, one thing I do know is that I don’t want to let — things that appears to be — take me down. Do you? Things are not always what they appear.
Just like your rear view mirror says, “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear,” objects in our life are not always as we see them.
Where have perceptions prohibited you from real relationship? Where are you thinking you are defeated, when God had not declared that over you? Where are you thinking thoughts about others that you don’t know to be true?
The easiest way to get rid of a lie is to repent of it and replace it with God’s truth — then you will be back on the path of life again.
Prayer: God, we don’t want any lies to hold us back. We only want to live by your truth, love by your truth and praise you with truth. Help us this way. Forgive us in any way where we have spoken, thought or carried lies about ourselves or about others. We ask you to give us your thoughts and your heart to love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
When I ask my kids to clean the room, yet I find them playing at the top of the stairs 15-minutes later, I get aggravated. When I tell everyone to get in the car, yet they continue to sit watching TV, I wonder if anyone heard me. When I ask the family to put their dishes away, yet come home to find the table full of cups, I feel disregarded. I don’t feel honored.
Often, I tell my kids, “To delay is to disobey.” And, it is true. Delays don’t honor me as mom. In my eyes, they fall into the camp of disobedience.
Recently, when telling my kids, “to delay is to disobey,” I considered my own actions and delays as it pertains to God…
Do I treat Him the way my kids are treating me? Does He feel dishonored by my inaction? I had to stop to think for a moment…
How often do I get thinking of other things, and then I don’t act? How often do I get distracted and forget to call the person God is put on my heart? How often do I wait and then negate what God is speaking to me? How often do I do something else, before answering His call to read the Word?
Our obedience shows much about our love.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” (Jo. 14:15 NIV)
Just like, I feel loved, when my kids obey — it appears — so does God. Radical obedience shows complete reliance on Jesus. It says: God, you are first. It practices our mind in moving against the impulses of our flesh. It reminds us who we really live for.
Here, it’s like we almost say to God: You, above all else. Your ways are higher than mine. Your calling is of paramount importance. It doesn’t matter how inconvenient it is to me, I am alive to you, Christ Jesus.
Of course, no one is perfect in this department. I surely am not. And, I thank God for Jesus, who gives us a fresh start all the time because of His blood and grace. We are continually blessed by His obedience on the cross…
Yet, despite our actions or inactions, it is good to continually remind ourselves to be quick to act when we feel the prompting of God. And, to be ready to obey when the Word of God convicts us.
Because, how much could our world actually change if we followed through on the things God was leading us in? What would it look like if we followed through on the prompting to love, immediately? What would it look like if we allowed our heart to change the way He is trying to mold it?
How much more might the heart of the Father be honored? How much more intimacy might we have with God?
When God calls, let’s listen and answer.
Prayer: Father, I want to love you more. I want to obey you more. Obedience opens up walkways, both into your heart, and into greater callings. Please help me to obey you. Please help me, also, to discern what you are calling me to do. You are an amazing God, worthy of all my heart and action. I honor you. I love you. I submit myself to you today. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
My new house has a blueberry bush. Through our living room window, I see ripening berries. When they get a perfect blue hue, then I’ll know it is time to pluck them off. Yet, there’s one problem to my hypothetical dream…
Birds. Pesky little birds keep stealing my fruit. When I see a berry all blue and ready-to-eat, a bird comes along, sits on a branch – and pluck! My luscious berry is gone. In a split-second, my ripe fruit is stolen right off the vine.
This situation happens in our spiritual life too. Many of us have ripening fruit in our life (God is growing real things), yet there is an enemy who wants to steal our ripening fruit. This can happen without us realizing it.
God is growing patience, yet we fall into self-defeat when an event triggers. We say, “Why bother trying!?”
God is growing endurance, yet a test comes and we figure our pain will never end. “Things will never get better.”
God is growing our love for another, yet a horrible situation happens where, it seems, the person shows no signs of changing. “God won’t really do this.”
The enemy steals fruit when we believe lies. The lies are usually: Things will never change. I am bad, guilty and will never be better (because of this mess-up). God will not come through for me (or them).
Where is the enemy plucking God’s fruit in our lives?
Just because God is allowing us to go through something, doesn’t mean he isn’t doing something, or growing something in us.
“The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.” (Matthew 13:19, NLT).
More than hearing truth is understanding it — where we go about living it. More than knowing a bible verse is having it lay claim to our life. More than seeing a problem is understanding God will show up. Are we only hearing God-stuff or are we understanding that it applies to us?
Remember, Jesus is Teacher. He doesn’t waste problems; He teaches real things through them. . .
It matters less what you know, or what you recite by rote-memory, and far more — what you truly understand in your heart.
A true defense against the enemy starts in our hearts.
As it pertains to that blueberry bush, I took action. After some research, I wrapped aluminum foil around part of the bush to repel pesky fruit eaters.
And, it worked.
Now when I look out my window, I not only see luscious, ripe fruit but I now eat of that fruit. Yet, in order to keep the fruit, I had to stop the enemy in his tracks. I had to set up a defense.
We must do the same — by setting up a defense…
How? We: resist. We resist sneak attacks by taking care of ourselves when we’re tired, hungry, or lonely. We can resist defeat and discouragement by turning on worship music and singing from our heart. We resist becoming a victim when we remember we truly are who God says we are . We resist going downhill when we allow God’s grace (because of Jesus) lift us up again.
When we resist, then we persist – in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to learn from you. I want to grow in true fruitfulness and in understanding. I want to be taught by you. I pray that the enemy of my soul may have no access to my heart, soul, mind or spirit. I pray that I can believe the truth in all things, in all ways and at all times by your grace. I pray that I will trust you to provide and to take care of me. I want you above all else. You are my greatest pursuit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I carry a big beach bag around that says, “Let Go and Let God.”
I love the saying. The more we let go, the more He carries. God is a gentleman, in many ways. He allows us to carry what we insist on carrying. Yet, if we are willing…He will hold for us what we will release.
The more we unload the more God carries our load. We feel lighter. We more easily go with God.
Jesus said, “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.” (Lu. 9:30)
One place I carry (almost) nothing is when I go into the ocean. The water is so soothing. My mom taught me to float on top of the water and to allow the big waves to carry me where they will. I have no strength or movement of my own. I let go. The waves lead me to where I am going. There isn’t much to worry when I let go.
What if we were really to let go to God in this way? To allow the winds of the Spirit to direct us as we follow Jesus?
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (Jo. 3:8)
The less we carry, the more easily we travel where God is taking us. Remember the rich man in the bible? He had too much stuff that He was clinging to…that he couldn’t depart from it. That was a tragedy. He insisted on baggage rather than Jesus. Stuff. Mindsets. Old ways.
Where might God be calling you to lighten your load? Are you weighed down with worry or anxiety? Stressed, because there is much to do? Unsure about how things will turn out? Unwilling to let go of old mindsets? Consumed with the past or people?
What if you were to really let go, and let God?
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)
Prayer: Father, I love you. I thank you that you have good things for me. Forgive me for carrying what you want to help me with. Forgive me for doing things on my own. Forgive me for forging my own way. Today, I admit that I don’t always know my way. I often take things into my own hands. Will you forgive me for that too? I love you so much. I want to truly follow Jesus and to be led by the Holy Spirit. Please teach me and lead me in that way? Please give me all the grace I need today to connect with you and to lean on you, in trust. I really do trust you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Thank you for all you do for me. Your ways are my best ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things…” (Mk. 10:41)
Like Martha, are you worried? Worried about a child who is going the wrong direction? Worried about a world that seems to be upside down? Worried about how things will turn out if you don’t do something? Worried that you can’t handle what lays ahead?”
Worry pretends to be working out a better end. But, all it really works is — us, into a tight-knit ball. We feel squeezed and pressed on every side. One minute we decide to go one way, the next we are headed another. Only to do laps in our mind — one way, then the other, until we are completely worn out. With worry, what we can’t control, controls us and runs us ragged.
God has a better way.
““Be still, and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10)
My friends, may I admit to you today? I am not above worry. In fact, I keep coming back to this one issue, thinking: I should do this. No, I should do that. I already said yes. Now, I am going to say no? What will they think?
Worry speaks and so does peace, if we permit it to.
To be still, is to allow the power of God’s truth to speak over the voice of worry.
We overpower worry when we speak to our soul, by saying:
Be still. God is still God.
Be still. Hope is still there.
Be still. God always has a way-out.
Be still. Jesus is still victorious.
Be still. Nothing will come against me that God won’t give me strength for.”
“…God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. (1 Cor. 10:13 AMPC)
Friends, God can be trusted. God is faithful. God is compassionate. God is true. God is able. And, with God, we too are made capable, strong and powerful. This means, no matter what we face, we have certainty, strength and willpower. We will get-through to what God is calling us to do. We will stand back and see God move. We will trust and lean on the Lord until He carries us where we are meant to go.
Prayer: Father, may I be still in your love. May I have peace in my waiting. May I have joy in simply knowing and loving me. I trust, that in doing this, you will handle all things and fully lead me in the way I should go. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
In the morning, I go outside. I love hearing the birds chirp when the sun rises. I love seeing green land and thinking of who created it. I love swaying trees. What I don’t love is getting attacked by bugs…
This morning, I woke up thinking about some mistakes I had already confessed to God. Grr… I didn’t mean to sin. I want to stop. I need God’s help. To add insult to injury, mid-thought, I looked down at my leg and — a mosquito was biting me. Annoyed, I slapped it hard. And, when I lifted my hand, I saw — blood on my hand.
Father, it’s true, I do have blood on my hands.
I make mistakes. I do what is wrong. I think wrong-thoughts. I hate the ick of what I see myself do sometimes.
But Jesus. But, Jesus removed the blood on my hands when he shed His blood on the cross.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…” (Eph. 1:7)
Here, I am no longer under back-breaking, burdening and self-beating sin any longer. By the blood of Christ I have been freed to new life. I am out from under all that. And, the same goes for you too…
The blood of Jesus washes the blood off our hands.
The blood of Jesus shames the powers of darkness trying to tell us we are bad. (Col. 2:15)
The blood of Jesus disarms evil so its schemes and methods do not have lasting-power. (Col. 2:15)
When I forget the power of the blood, I, in a way, negate the price Jesus paid on the cross. I devalue His blood. Yet, His blood is truly enough to forgive me when I repent. It is enough to save me for eternity. It is enough to lead me into new actions as I walk away from old sin.
Jesus’ blood is enough. It has freed me and it continues to free me! The Living Water washes me and it does again! The body-broken heals me and it always will.
I may see blood on my hands, but the blood of Jesus more than overpowers any mistake I could ever make. It is finished. I am free. Amen. Selah. Breath deep. Let go. He loves me.
Prayer: Father, I repent of anything I have done against you or others. I do choose to go a new way with you, God, as you lead me into all righteousness. I thank you for Jesus. Today, I fully accept His sacrifice. I accept the full price He paid is more than enough. There is nothing else that I — or Jesus — owe. It is finished. Thank you that the blood on my hands is washed off by His mercy and grace. Thank you that it is done. Because of Jesus, I walk in the newness of life. I am so blessed. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I lifted a heavy weight. My arm struggled to reach it all the way to my shoulder. Although the weight training work was hard, I knew the result — down the road — would be significant, good even. There is gain, often, through pain.
After working out, I couldn’t help but think: Sometimes, God permits our pain for His greater gain.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:17)
“Hard” produces something. The grueling, horrible and it-feels-like-you-are-going-to-break pain is not a waste. It is not trash. It is not something we run from. Instead, we hold God’s hand and trust Him to carry us through.
I met with a friend not long ago who experienced major relational pain with a friend. The conversations were painful. The decisions she had to make were even harder. She didn’t know if she could set boundaries. Yet, looking back, I see that her life is now transformed because of what she endured and how she trusted God. There was a greater glory God was working (even when she couldn’t see it). Now, she is serving God and others like never before. God may not have caused her pain (we have an enemy), but He certainly used it for her (and others) good.
Be it on Earth or in Heaven, through pain, God produces something greater than we can explain.
Pain often causes us to:
– draw near God (and He draws nearer to us)
– need a greater rescue (and we gain a testimony)
– pray (and see Him move)
– look beyond what we see in the natural (and trust God by faith and not by sight)
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16)
What looks like it is going to kill us, God uses to renew us. God is always producing something greater…
Need proof? Look back upon your life. What good did God teach you from your hard times of the past? How have you grown? How have you learned to endure and persevere? Give thanks. These are good lessons.
Pray: God, we love you. We know that you are not not evil. You are good, not evil. What you create is good, not evil. At the same time, there are times in life where you allow pain. God, we want to thank you, although it is difficult, for the pain we are going through. We trust you with it. We believe that you will work out a better end, then we can see. It is hard to say this. It is sometimes hard to even believe this. Will you give us faith and hope during these times? We need you more than ever. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
On another note, I need your opinion! Which online course would you be the most interested in?
How to Set Boundaries: Strengthen Relationships & Gain Peace
How to Say No: Let Go and Gain More of What Matters
Receiving Rest: Move Beyond Worry and Fear
I am thinking of doing a multi-part recorded and live workshop on one of the above topics. Which number are you most interested in?
Also, would a weeknight (a), a weekday (b.) or a weekend (c.) work best for you?
Friends, I got your emails. You wanted to know where I was and if I was okay.
Can I tell you? I am more than okay. Friends, despite the fact that masses of people were vying for one listed home…despite the fact that nothing new was listed…despite the fact that my future home was not even put online…
…WE GOT A HOME!
God showed up, like always. He did it, again. He always does that.
Sure, it may have been the 11th hour; it may have looked like there was no way; I may not have done things perfectly or acted perfectly, even so…God came though!
Your prayers moved mountains and, my dear ones, I cannot thank you enough. With this, I want to encourage you the same way…
God will come through for you too!
Can you remember a time when the Lord showed up in your life? A time when, against all odds, He made something — a miracle of sorts — happen?
“It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion’s exiles. We laughed, we sang, we couldn’t believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations— “God was wonderful to them!” God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people.” (Ps. 126: 1-3 MSG)
Can you remember the feelings, the joy, the praise, the wonder at how a Mighty God, showed up? How He changed everything? How He made something out of nothing? Give Him thanks for that time.
And then say, over your needs today, “Do it again, God! Do it again!”
“And now, God, do it again— bring rains to our drought-stricken lives So those who planted their crops in despair will shout “Yes!” at the harvest, So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.” (Ps. 126:4-6 MSG)
Just like I experienced, when you all prayed for me, there is power in numbers. There is movement in masses of prayers.
“If two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 18:19)
Let’s all pray for each other.
Can you even imagine if thousands of us agree for God to address our needs? Can you imagine how many mountains we can move through thousands of collective prayers? I want you to experience mountain-moving prayer too!
So, let’s all pray for our Purposeful Faith family’s needs now — and watch what happens! (Go God, go! We believe in you and we support each other!)
Prayer for all of us: “Father, we thank you that we are the body. Just as the arm needs the head and the legs need the torso — we need each other. With this, we come to you right now, Father God. We usher in front of you — all our needs. We bring to you health requests, family needs, relationship turmoil, hardship, suffering, tears, mourning, grief, mental health issues, job losses and requests, discouragement and doubt, financial issues and marital suffering and we ask to do the impossible. Because you are THE GOD of the impossible, we bring every request before you and we ask for a mass-answer to our massive needs. Why limit you? Why doubt you? Why not, believe? With this, we ask for massive prayer breakthrough and a mass deliverance, God. Like never before. God, you see every child here. You see every need. You know what is on every heart. We pray that you might move. We pray that you might change things. We pray that you might bring heavenly answers and movement to earthly issues. We bring all of it before you. We call on heaven to move for our brothers and sisters in Christ! We ask for your hand, the sovereign hand of God to move with power on everyone’s behalf. We not only agree with each other’s needs, but we believe that it shall be done. Be it on the last hour, or against all odds, or different than we thought — we declare, we trust you. We believe. We thank you for hearing our prayer. We thank you for seeing our need. We thank you that your ways are the best way. We surrender to a good, good Father. Give us peace in any gap of you showing up and showing your goodness, so that we may trust you more and more. We praise your name. You alone are worthy! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Be Encouraged. God loves you. He loves you and He loves you… He wants you and wants you still.. He cares for you and continually cares for you…
Nothing, no nothing, separates you from His love (see: Romans 8:31-39).
We are looking for a new home. With the market as it is, I’ve seen a hundred people vying for the same home. Nothing is available. We applied one place and were beat out. We looked at another; it did not work. We have two weeks to go until we must move and, yet, no home. I can’t stop looking online. I don’t know where are going (thanks for your prayers).
It’s easy to think in this place — where are you God? Did you forget me? It’s even easier to worry.
Yet, to think about God (I mean, to really think about God) and who He is — is to recover peace. Here’s the truth:
God does not forsake or abandon His children.
“…God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”(Heb 13:5)
This means, even if it feels that He is not there, not working, or not available — He’s right there, with us.
God cares for us.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7)
In my situation, I worried. I noticed, as I opened the door to this sin, I started to worry about everything. Yet, God gives us an alternate solution to a mind that can’t stop or that keeps circling the same mountain — He gives us Jesus. Jesus took on all our issues (sin, shame, etc.) on the cross and God still calls us to cast our issues on Him. He is SO good to us. He continually is SO good to us.
God keeps us from shame as we hope in Him.
“No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame…” (Ps. 25:3)
What a promise! My hope in God actually keeps me from what I fear the most — shame. That thought gives a heart rest and leads to fresh hope and faith.
God guards our heart and mind.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7)
As we forgo anxiousness and worry and turn to prayer and petition, the God of Peace shows up. He, like a guard, keeps our heart and mind. His peace protects us. This is powerful and encouraging.
I want God’s peace guarding my heart and my mind, don’t you?
Friends, brothers and sisters, above all know: God cares for you. In this, we can rejoice. In this, we recover hope. In this, we are protected. He will show up. He will help. We are never forgotten children.
Prayer: Father, thank you that you do not give up on me. Thank you that you do not turn your back on me. Thank you that you are for me. Thank you that you lead me. Thank you that I can trust you. Thank you that you provide. Thank you that, right now, I can cast my every worry, fear and issue on you. I am so grateful that you take these things for me. It is inconceivable, actually, after all that Jesus already carried. But, you love me…you love me…you love me. You are amazing. I love you. Forgive me for carrying worry and fear. Thank you, again, for loving me. I am so blessed to be in your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.