Purposeful Faith

Category - grace

Dust off Hurtful Words + Carry on!

good father

When I walk, I am not scared of bugs. I know I walk above them. When I walk though my front yard, I don’t consider what bugs may be underground; I just walk. I am not afraid, I go! I walk above problems. I walk over scary things. I move, anyway.

To be above what lurks, is a big deal. It means you walk fearlessly.
Do you realize that we sit above the mayhem of the world?

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:6)

“Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.”

We are above what issues lurk below. We are above the world that demands constant attention. We are above powers and principalities of the unseen realm because we sit with Jesus.

Even more, we are “even above reproach”. Do you know what “reproach” means?

American Webster Dictionary defines “reproach” as : “To express disapproval of, criticism of, or disappointment in (someone).
Friend, you are above disapproval, criticism, or disappointment.

This is a big deal. It means that people can’t squash you with words. They can’t ruin you with bad actions. The old labels cannot stick any longer. You, my dear one, sit above that. You are over that, with Jesus.

All that cannot hold you back any longer!

Remember where you sit, my friend. Stay all your mind above all that — whether it happened yesterday or today! Give it no claim to yourself. Despise the shame, just like Jesus did (see Heb. 12:2)! You are “before Him in love”.

It means everything to be seated with Jesus! It’s a powerful position.

Prayer: I pray, today, I feel and experience the love of God. I pray that you open the eyes of my heart, Father God, to know the hope of my glorious inheritance and the riches in Christ Jesus. I pray that I gain understanding of where I sit and whom I am seated with. I pray that you give me power to live from that place. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Faith Beyond What’s Comfortable

I don’t like feeling in need. I like to have everything together. I like being the strong one. I like having the right word for the right person at the right time. I like giving. I like handling things well. I like knowing what my day holds. I like convenience. I like knowing what is happening.

Knowing things makes me feel good. Having a handle on life makes me feel comfortable.

But, is comfort what Jesus was after?

I bet many of the disciples didn’t feel comfortable when they left their fishing business behind to follow Jesus.

I bet Paul felt anything but comfortable when he fell off that horse and went blind for three days.

I bet Jesus didn’t feel comfortable when He walked down Calvary Road with a cross.

There are times where the Lord permits a shaking up of our proverbial snow globes in life — to loose us from comfort zones. The Lord, in His All-Knowingness, uses discomfort and awkwardness to provoke great need for Him. Here, rather than relying on our way, our sufficiency, our greatness and our known — we run to rely on Him.

These uncomfortable times of awkwardness can be times of great acceleration if received with open hearts and hands. They can walk us into the greatest, most glorious adventures of life, if we take the risk — to go there with God.

But, not all are willing to go the uncomfortable distance. Not all say yes…to the call, to shedding weight for His great…

Jesus answered (the rich man), ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” (Mt. 19:21-22)

The rich man did not follow Jesus because he was comfortable.

What a pity it is to deny Jesus, to keep comfort.

For “…to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21) Dying to ourselves is not always comfortable, but it is always worth it. Jesus, as The Prince of Peace has peace for us, no matter how hard the bridge there looks. And, all His paths lead to life, for Jesus is Life (see Jo. 14:6). No matter how unorthodox it seems, when Jesus is in it we will find both life and peace when we walk through it with Him. He is true to His nature.

With all this, take courage, my friends, as you walk in these hard places. Gain hope! If Christ has overcome the world (Jo. 16:33), surely He can overcome what you face as you go with Him. He is faithful. Truly, I tell you: You “can do all things through Him who gives you strength.” (Phil. 4:13)

Reflect:
What discomfort may God be using to further holiness, endurance or perseverance in your life?

How might the shaking be making you more into the image of Christ?

How might God be calling you out and will you obey?

Prayer:

Father God, great is your faithfulness. You are so trustworthy. You are so good. You are so mighty. I thank You for Your Son, Jesus. He is worthy of all my life, all my devotion and all my obedience. I ask You for all the grace I need to follow Him. Whether it is to step out into a new calling, out of sin, or into a time of growth through circumstances, I ask for Your equipping and empowerment. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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When You Want To Fix Things

As a mom, it is so easy to keep a mental tally of what the family needs. My son needs new shin guards after practice today. My daughter needs the light turned off on the remote and not on the wall at the end of the night. My husband needs a good dinner.

I anticipate needs and I help.

How might you, like me, anticipate needs? How might you step in to help people when they are down? How might you do for others what they need help doing? How might you emotionally cover others when they are down? How might you step in to save people?

I have tended to think, some of me – added to what others need – makes for a good result. But lately, Christ has been reminding me, Jesus needs none of me, to release the goodness of all of Him.

I cannot help Jesus save me, or others. Only Jesus is Savior.

I cannot add to what He is doing. Only when I move my flesh out of His Way, will He move.

I am unwise to step in between a family member and what God is doing. I am unwise to fix and give advice. I am unwise to stop the process of growth that happens through struggle. This is often pride.

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

When I move into Savior position, I may not even realize that I have a savior-complex. When I get a savior-complex I fix what God alone can work out. When I let my emotions move me more than my trust in God’s ever-working saving power, I get confused, frustrated and upset at people who are trying to work things out with God.

Where are we stepping in when God may be calling us to step out – and pray? Where are we moving by a need to be wanted or valued more than by the Holy Spirit? And, how might we be halting the move of God wanting to move in the lives of those we love.

We are not saviors; there is only One Savior. Let’s turn to Him. He will take care of us. He is the Ultimate Defender and the Best Protector! He has all we need – and all they need too!

Prayer: Father, I confess today my own need for you. Sometimes, I get scared and want to take things into my own hands. I confess I can even use religious words or techniques to accomplish what you want to do. Help me to make room for you in my life and in the lives of those I love. Help me not to step in, to blurt out, or to move in, before you call me to. I trust you to save. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Addressing the Fear of Loving

God's love

A girlfriend, last night, told me, “Kelly, I know you care for me, because you spend time with me.”

She was right; I care for her. Another girl at the table could have said, “Kelly, you love me, because you serve me.” Yet, another, could have noted, “Kelly, you love me because you give gifts to me.”

Loving is giving (giving: words, time, gifts, time, service, hope)…

“For God so loved the world that He gave…” (Jo. 3:16)

Jesus gave His life, so we could experience death-defying love.

Love accomplishes much and it never fails. It takes bold risk. Many have led the way in love…

One woman gave, at least, a year’s worth of savings (some say it could be her life savings), and poured it out as a perfume-offering, a pre-burial anointing, on Jesus’ feet…

“She stood behind Jesus and cried at his feet. And she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair. She kissed them and poured perfume on them.” (Lu. 7:38)

Giving from her heart she gave away her greatest treasure.
Crying, she didn’t care about the Pharisees, who were likely judging.
Letting go, she gave up what she had rights to.
Due to love. Due to honor. Due to someone greater than she.

Another woman, Martha, had her own love-act. She gave up the pressure to please man and to meet societal expectations, by ditching the dinner preparations — to sit at Jesus’ feet. How dare she?!

(But,) Jesus said, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Lu. 10:42)

She knew love was her highest calling.
She focused on a ministry to God’s heart, first.
She kept first-things, first.

Beyond this, this verse strikes me: “And as He rode along, the people kept spreading their garments on the road.” (Luke 19:36)

Again, love and honor, to the very heart of Christ prevailed.

They laid down what they owned, due to love.
They shed layers, because Jesus was greater.
They likely recognized, God in their midst, and honored Him.

I want to love Jesus this way, don’t you? But, sometimes things hold us back from extravagant, courageous, all-out love. What are they?

For me? If I am honest, it is: fear.

Fear that the time I spend reading the Bible will make me miss out on something else.
Fear that giving will leave me high and dry.
Fear that if I’m with God, I won’t get a chance to do important things for God.
Fear that I’ll be judged.

“The greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)
 
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Ro. 8:28)

Love never fails. And, it is the one thing that — endures forever…

“Love never ends.” (1 Cor. 13:8)

Prayer: Father? We want to love more. We want to love Father, Son and Holy Spirit more. We want to give from deep inner reserves. Because all things are from you, to you and through you — will you fill us with love? Will you help us to pay attention and to have great devotion to love? We want to honor you more. You are our greatest ministry. First, we love you! Give us your grace to sit and to talk, to hear and to understand, to minister to your very heart. In Jesus’ All-Powerful, Ever-Saving Name, Amen.

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Down, But Not Out.

good father

Do you feel down? Maybe you are pressed on every side by worries or fear? Maybe you are flustered by what is happening all around you? Maybe people are not being agreeable or hopeful?

We’ve all been there… Life has hard times. Certain days, the pain is potent, the tears are heavy and hope feels flimsy.

Paul, the apostle, understood hardship. Paul, after the resurrection of Jesus, received lashes upon lashes. He was beaten with rods. He was pelted with stones. He was 3 times shipwrecked. He was constantly on the move. He was “in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers”. (2 Cor. 11:26)  He “labored and toiled” and went “without sleep”. He knew “hunger and thirst” and went “without food.” He was “cold and naked.” (2 Cor. 11:27-28) 

Yet, Paul kept going…
Yet, Paul kept believing…
Yet, Paul kept enduring…

…all by the grace of God. It’s amazing isn’t it?

This is the power of our God to sustain us, to keep us, to help us keep going. If He did it for Paul — He can do it for us. If He did it for me (when I felt like giving up on life, when I felt like quitting), He can do it for us.

Where do you need God’s help to keep going?

My friend, no matter what we face today — no matter how bad it looks — Christ offers strength to overcome. Christ grants power to keep going. Christ has a plan of escape. Christ is The Door and The Way. Just as Paul made it through we overcome as trust Christ for the victory.

The Author and The Perfector of our faith is always authoring and perfecting our life, our hearts and our path. He knows. Crooked pictures become craft projects in His hands. Suddenly, through His finishing, something new is created, only it is 1000x better than before.

God makes all things beautiful in HIS time. (see: Ec. 3:11)

We see a mess; He sees opportunity. We see annoyance; He sees new patience growing. We see long roads; He sees endurance and perseverance in our lives like never before. I believe, God treasures our heart  more than our immediate demands. The wonder is, He usually takes care of those demands too, in the long run. This is what I’ve found, at least.

He’s never once let me down. He’s brought me through an eating disorder, depression, illness, health scares, relationship drama, fear, control and so much more. He shows up. His power has been enough to save me time-and-time again. He is that wonderful.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  (2 Cor. 4:8-12 NIV)

We will make it as we trust Him. We will stand strong as we lean on Him. We will come out the other side, better, stronger and wiser as we stay in His love. No, we will not be forsaken. Never. He loves us.

Prayer: Father, pour out your love on every reader, in profound ways. Let every person know how much you care. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Things are Not What They Seem

“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.

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Prayer to Move Mountains

good father

“Where are you, Kelly?”

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.

 

 

Understanding What is Behind Someone’s Words

Just because someone says something doesn’t mean you should receive it. Even if what is said sounds good — filter it.

Not too long ago, a woman gave me some words of warning. She sounded the alarm by letting me know what she had gone through. She wanted me to “be aware”.  I understood her heart; she didn’t want me to go through what she went through.

Not wanting to forgo wisdom, in the moment, I listened. But, later, I asked myself, “Should I receive her words? Are they upbuilding or fear-inducing?”

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph. 4:29)

After talking with her, I felt less built-up. Her words made me want to hide-out and turn away from what God was calling me to do. I felt scared.

Furthermore, I remembered back to another time, years ago, to when one friend shared a hurt about another person. I ended up forming an opinion about the person he talked about. Only recently, did my husband and I realize that we missed a great relationship because of what we believed. Our loss.

Needless to say, when people speak from injury it doesn’t bring life. When people speak from trauma it does not uplift. When people speak gossip it backlashes.

Uplifting rarely comes from one absorbed with unresolved hurts.

This is why we need to use discretion with what we listen to. We cannot absorb sour words.

“Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you” (Prov. 2:11)\

To use discretion and understanding, in receiving other people’s words, ask yourself the following:

–  Is the speaker reaching out for healing or are they just venting?
– Are their words good, true, noble, and of good report or are they questionable, back-biting, and/or gossipy?
– Do they speak of the power of Jesus or are they centered around the limitations, issues, and the hold-ups of man?
– Are the words life-giving or fear-inducing?
– Do I feel full of faith, hope and love after talking with this person or does it seem the words are giving way for the enemy to steal, kill and destroy some of God’s purposes in my life?

Just because we are loving people, doesn’t mean we accept every word that comes from every believer. You must discern what is behind their words. Jealously, comparing and deep hurts give even the best of people stingers. When use discretion and understanding to identify their pain, you can love them more, without owning and taking offense to their words.

Prayer: Father, we all hurt at times. Father, we also need the body to help us see our blind spots and to protect us from harm. Give us wisdom to discern what is from you and what is not. Give us wisdom to know when it is your heart and your Word speaking to us. Give us understanding about how to deal with others, how to excuse ourself and how to love hurting people. Likewise, Father, please help us to receive words that make us more like you. Help us to listen to correction when it is from your heart. Give us the ability to rise above offense and to care for others, even when they have hurt us. We need your wisdom and understanding. Please give it to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Don’t miss the next Breakthrough Retreat via Zoom. Join me May 15 from 10 AM – 1 PM ET as we pray, worship and spend needed time with the Lord. Gain fresh perspective on your life, fresh faith for believing and renewed hope. The cost is $29. Join live or get the recorded version post-event. People have written me to say that this event has changed their life. I am confident God will bless you as you spend time to meet with Him.  Join me. 

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Putting our Trust in Man

Why put your trust in man?

Man gives one day and takes-away the next. Man cheers today, then whispers behind your back the next. The applause of man is waning.

Just think…Jesus was cheered by the people… yet, not too long later, people shouted, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

For the longest time, I wanted man to recognize me. I wanted to be chosen. I wanted to prove I was good enough.  I wanted to climb to new places because people would finally “see” what I carried. I wanted them to give me things. I wanted them to make a way for me to get to some higher place. Yuck.  Writing this is sickening.

Why? Because you can’t really love people when you are constantly wanting from them. You can’t hear them when your mouth is too busy proving things to them. You can’t be about others when you’re all about getting what you need for yourself.

Plus, as I said before, man’s love is fickle, while God’s love is solid.

Even Jesus knew this…

“Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.” (Jo. 2:23-25)

We don’t need a testimony from others about how great we are, for then we will miss the testimony God is working. God is our best portion. We can trust Him to take care of us. We can trust Him to provide for us. We can trust Him to show up for us. We can trust Him to move for us. And, He will — when we trust HIM.

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Ro. 5:5 NIV)

God’s love is so rich that it can more than take care of your every need, want and hope!

Prayer: Father, I confess, I sometimes want man’s approval and validation.  I confess sometimes I have relied on my own self-efforts rather than your providence and sustenance. Please forgive me. I don’t want to exchange your love for love of another. In this, I rely more on them than I do on you. Forgive me for doing this. You are my greatest portion and my highest reward. I thank you that you created us all to love. I thank you that you have created me for relationship. However, please help me to put my trust in you and not in man. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

What A Friend We Have in Jesus

The fog was thick; I couldn’t see out the window. Dazed, because I woke at 3:45 this particular morning, I stared blankly into the grey abyss…and then I let my imagination go..

What if Jesus came to me through that fog right now, arms wide open? In that moment, it was as if I could see Him…approaching me. I imagined how it would feel to see — and be seen — by Jesus. Fully exposed, I wanted to run to Jesus, but then I thought…

Jesus, will you like me when you see me?  Am I enough, flaws and all?

Wow. Coming out of this daydream, I have to admit, my thoughts surprised me. I suppose, subliminally, I haven’t completely accepted that Christ completely accepts me. . . my fear in that moment was that He might reject me.

Yet, I know the truth. The truth is, I don’t have to shape-up, be better, or act perfect to be accepted. Jesus doesn’t want or choose me because of what I do — He wants, chooses, and accepts me because of what He did.  Jesus counted the cost, paid the price, and gave me His righteousness. Sure, I repent as I need to repent, but beyond this — the deal is done. The price is paid. My eternal standing is completed, because of Him.

His blood marks you and I — enough.

I pray this truth might sink in. I pray it may sink into every space and place of inadequacy and fear within us. I pray it might touch both our unconscious and conscious reality. I pray it may increase our ability to receive His love and grace. I pray that it exists as more than a mind-reality, but that it becomes a firm-reality. We stand on the solid-rock of Jesus, not shifty ground. May we know that we know this truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

On that day we meet Jesus, we will run into glorious grace. We will run into grace that loves us, grace that covers us, grace that accepts us and grace that wants us, forever and no matter what. Oh, what a Savior we have in Jesus. All Glory to you, Father.

Jesus said, “…I have called you friends…” (Jo. 15:15)

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