Purposeful Faith

Tag - #grace

If He’s Calling you to Wait, Wait.

The football coach proclaimed something like, “You’re out!! You just won’t wait in the pocket, like I want you to!”

The quarterback was afraid of getting hit, so rather than obeying the coach’s command to stay back, he moved out from behind the line to throw or to run, even though the coach’s clear command was — stay put.

The quarterback didn’t want a huge linebacker to pummel him, so he kept fearing and disobeying — by moving out — rather than trusting and waiting to throw the touchdown pass.

Likewise, many of us are afraid of waiting on the Lord. Many times, we fear that in our wait, we will: miss out on something; get hurt by our inaction; miss an opportunity; or be proven a fool. So, we don’t trust God and we move.

Have you ever been there? Maybe God is nudging your heart to wait on Him before applying to new jobs? To sit with Him before speaking out to your spouse? To keep in prayer before putting your house on the market? To rest in Him before moving your mouth?

How are you afraid of getting hit?

In this quarterback’s situation, in the movie, American Underdog, the coach set him up — to repeatedly get hit. Why? So he could learn to courageously wait and overcome.

Bam. I can do this.
Bam. I’m still alive.
Bam. After being hit 20 times, I now know I can take a hit or two.

Friends, I don’t know if you are at all like me, but I’ve been hit a time or two, too. I can’t say that God caused these hits, but I can certainly say my disobedience did. Hits were things like arguments, discouragement, defeat, or bad outcomes. Each hit hurt, but also, each hit taught me: it is a better strategy to trust the Lord than to move out on my time in my way.

“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act…” (Ps. 37:7)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” (Is. 55:8)

Better is it to stay with God, to wait in His presence, than to go my own way.

Prayer: Father God, if you are calling me to wait, please give me the perseverance and endurance to do so. Please give me strength in the wait. May I feel your nearness and your presence. May I gain a greater understanding of knowing and loving you. May I rest in the fact that you fight for me while I am still. May I trust you more and more, even when I don’t understand or can’t figure out what you are doing. Truly, you are weaving a tapestry of the greatest story ever. Help me to trust your plan. 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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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.

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Does God Feel Far or Near?

I remember when I went to college. Suddenly, the nearness of my parents was gone. Because of distance, I did things I would never have done infront of them (drink, etc.). Rather than talk with my mom and dad, I got wisdom from friends. Rather, than seeking help, I acted independently.

When someone is distant, they are hard to reach, out of touch. You don’t consult with them as much, you feel disconnected and, sometimes, even alone. You do what you  normally wouldn’t do if they were infront of you.

When a Father is distant, children go awry: They’re fending for themselves, fixing problems alone, doing what they wouldn’t do at home, finding answers in other places.

Friends, can I admit today? I have allowed Father God to feel distant. But, the truth is — He isn’t..

“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.” (Ps. 78:23)

“I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Ps. 16:8)

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.” (Ps. 145:18)

The truth is — to all who call to be near, they come near. To all who make God they’re refuge, they are right in Him. To all who want Him, they get him.

We can’t let the enemy tell us God is far away. That’s a lie. He is right with us. He cares for us. He sees the path we are on. He has a good plan for us. He is not holding back from us. He wants us, likely, more than we want Him.

He is 100% fully prepared to lead us, guide us, be with us, instruct us and show us our way. God isn’t distant — He’s close and knowing that makes all the difference.

Prayer: Father, I draw near to you and I know, here, you will draw near to me. I want to know your closeness. I want to remain in your love. I want to see you before me in all I do. Pour out all the grace I need today to be near to you, in all my ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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.

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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!

Is Something Wrong With Me?

Have you ever started a recipe only to find that you are missing one ingredient?

This can be frustrating. You don’t have all you need to make your dream dish. You’re left short. You can’t proceed forward — or so you think.

Some of us feel this way in faith… We feel we keep coming up short. We don’t have giftings others have. We don’t pray like Mary Sue. We feel weak. We can’t overcome that one sin. We keep fearing and worrying. We are missing  one ingredient, our breakthrough to peace and joy.  Grr…

Ever been there? Have you ever felt like you don’t have all you need? That something is wrong with you?

Friends, I come to you to tell you: There is nothing wrong with you.

Scripture says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3; NIV).”

His power — has given everything we need for life (in the here and now). His power has given us all the godliness (righteousness and overcoming) we need. This is HUGE. We have it in-hand. Here. Right now.

We are not lacking or sinking, as the enemy would love for us to believe. We have the ingredient we need – Christ’s power. Through our knowing God and by his super abundant and extravagant glory and goodness — we have what we need. It’s all available to you. Just believe.

Don’t allow the enemy liar to lie anymore and to tell you otherwise!

Overcoming is far more easy when you believe this truth — is truth. When you take God’s Word as His Word.

It, then, becomes as easy as getting on Google and searching, “Canola oil replacement.” Here you find jazzy solutions display, like Apple Sauce or Maple Syrup.

When you believe you have all you need- and that there are resources available – you will, by God’s goodness, uncover new paths and new ways. Your hope in the Lord will open up new things, new sight, new paradigms. This concept is huge. Do not read this fast and pass it by. Some of you (myself included), need to more greatly understand this.

I love you all. Merry Christmas to my fabulous friends that I would love to meet in person one day! Big hugs. I love you all so much. I pray many blessings on you this season, in particular the joy of the Lord, In Jesus’ Mighty-to-Save Name. Amen.

Let’s pray: Father, I break off the lie that I don’t have what I need. I repent of believing a lie of the enemy. I submit to you and your word. I have all I need for godliness and righteousness in Christ Jesus. I am loved. I am helped. I am equipped. You are the Shepherd of my soul (1 Pet. 2:25). I thank you. I praise you. I lay down my way to find yours. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Losing Something or Someone You Love

stir it up

I lost a brother in Christ today.

I so badly wanted him to live. I prayed while he was in the hospital. I hoped from my bedroom. I fought with deep words and loud cries. I believed he would remain on Earth, but, this morning, I got a text saying…

“He passed.”

My friend is gone now.

This sits heavy. Life is short.

The veil between here and there is thinner than it appears. We never know our time. We never know when the curtains close here. Yet, when a loved one faces death, it’s a stark reminder to us who live — that the only time we have  — is now! Right now. This very moment is a gift from God and the fact that we have it is HUGE.

This is our moment on His grand-stage. Heaven watches (Heb. 12:1). There is a purpose to our existence. Our words matter. Our love matters. Our prayers matter. This is our time to impact the world for Jesus. God assigned us to this hour, in this season of His appointed world. He has a plan and a use for our existence. We are not just bidding time, or wasting away until our crossover day; there is His will to see forth. There is His pleasure to attend to. There is His glory to cast.

You know, I can’t say why my prayers didn’t get answered as it pertains to my friend, only God knows, but I do know this — God still answers prayers and faith still moves mountains. There’s no arguing about that. God is true and His Word is more truth than my thoughts. Period.

Maybe some of you have lost someone or something… Maybe some of you don’t know the why’s or the how’s… Maybe some of you feel a heaviness about what didn’t happen…

God knows what He is doing.

Sometimes our theology need stop right here. Eve (of Adam and Eve) tried to figure out the whole world and the details of not only evil, but also of good, as she bit that apple — and look where that got her (and all of us for that matter…)?

We don’t always have to know. But, we can know this: we serve a good God.
We don’t always have to understand. But, we can continually stand under His grace.
God is good to one and all; everything he does is soaked through with grace.” (Ps. 145:9 MSG)

God is good.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Ps. 34:8 ESV)
The safest place for our searching heart is under God’s care.

These days, it’s easy to get caught up in — should I use this bow or that for the Christmas wreath? Should I get this gift for the kids? Oh, what horrible news there is online.

My dear friends, this world is like a mirage. But, one thing remains, God — along with faith, hope and love. These will never pass away.

“Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love.  (1 Cor. 13:12-13)

This season, let’s press past the mundane and into something more transcendent and everlasting…faith in God and His character, hope that He is who He says He is and love for all those around us. These things will not fail us. They produce no regrets in life, well-lived.

Faith, hope and love are the wisest life-investments we can make. They last.

And, as it pertains to my friend? He was full of these three things — faith, hope and love. This I know — He is not lost — He is a BIG gain to heaven.

Prayer: Father, fill us with faith to trust on you, to believe you and to trust your character. Give us hope, like we have never had before. Even more, we want to love you and others in wild and incredible ways. We ask for you to fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we may gush forth the fullness of you, everywhere we go. We thank you that we are alive. We thank you that you have good plans for us. We lean on you today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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.

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.