Purposeful Faith

Tag - peace

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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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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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.

Letting Go to God

good father

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.

We Need Each Other

I just got off the phone with a girlfriend. I thank God that she shared her truth.

When I first asked her, “How are you?”

She replied something like, “Kelly, honestly? I don’t feel peace and I feel unsettled.”

I could hear the pain in her voice. I could sense the struggle. Not only that, but I knew– she wasn’t looking to complain or to throw a pity-party. She just needed a friend.

Many of us feel bad about being honest. We feel guilty for being truthful. We feel exposed when we allow others to see our real needs. But, the truth is — we all need a friend. We all need support. We all need encouragement.

Life returns when we admit our real needs and faults to others. Then, we see how much we are cared for.

The truth is: all of us go through life with problems and needs. All of us have weaknesses. All of us cannot do this thing called life alone. Even more, we cannot be united with Christ apart from the body of Christ.

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph. 4:16)

As we grow together we are built together into the fullness of the love of Christ.  As the body gets united, the body gets powerful!

Today, I am more convinced than ever that we need the wisdom of people who have walked through tough things, for God teaches us through their words. We need prayer from a sister, for God speaks hope and restoration through their heart. We need encouragement from a friend, for God builds us up through the strength they impart. We need a place to be real, for God heals through through authenticity.

Do you have a place where you can be yourself? Do you have support in your life? Are you feeling encouraged by the body of Christ?

I created the safe-space of the “Breakthrough Retreat” so we can learn together, grow together, pray together, and be together. Every voice matters. All are welcome. Let’s encourage and uplift each other.

After past retreats, people have written to me letting me know their life has been changed; they’ve been encouraged, uplifted and renewed. I couldn’t ask for more.

During the upcoming May 15, Breakthrough Retreat, you will:
– Uncover the heart of God towards you through worship.
– See your own weaknesses and faults in light of God’s glory, grace, and power.
– Learn to rely on the power of God that transcends the work of your hands.
– Meet with a small group to be activated in the teaching.

During this Breakthrough Retreat, you will begin to stop hating all the ways you are not perfect! God’s power is perfected in our weakness. With this, I am confident insecurities will be healed, hopes will be renewed and you will rely and trust in God like you never have before.

To say that I am fired up about what God will do — is an understatement!

Take part in the Breakthrough Retreat via Zoom on May 15 from 10 AM – 1 PM ET. The cost is $29. Join live or get the recorded version post-event.  Join me. 

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Wanting God to Show Up?

There are no woods near my house. So, not knowing where else to go, I found a patch of trees away from my house and sat there.  I wanted to be alone. I felt sad because I had a disagreement with my husband. Today, I can’t remember what I upset me. What bothered then, is unimportant now. It’s funny how arguments go that way…

Anyway, as a cried in the woods, my find-myself-moment-with-God, didn’t work so well. Women walking dogs kept passing by. They kept staring at me. Looking away and trying to stuff the embarrassment down, I really tried not to pay attention to all the  trash around me. It seemed that someone made this a dumping ground for water bottles, old chip bags and paper.

Earlier, I had read in God’s Word how Jacob named a place that meant something to him. In one particular place, God let Jacob know that He would be with Him. He told Jacob that He would “not leave him until (He) had done all that He had told (Jacob). (Gen. 28:15 AMPC)

So, Jacob named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”)… (Gen. 28:19 NLT)

I named the place where I sat, “Where God met Me Amidst a Heap of Trash.”

God did touch my heart that day. There, I realized I was fearing man more than my Maker. Although it felt painful, I wrote the moment off as a win, headed home, and had conversations with my husband.

A week passed. Then, yesterday, I drove past those very sparse woods from the road. I was surprised. The whole like of them bloomed.  I couldn’t believe it. They were now beautiful. The time made them change. The different season made them come to life. The passage of days made something new.

There was another time that Jacob named Bethel, Bethel. It was after Jacob had gone through trials and family issues. This time, at Bethel, God gave Jacob a new name –“Israel”. He also gave Jacob new charge to “be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you and kings shall be born of your stock…” (Gen. 35:11 AMPC)

“So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel (the House of God).” (Gen. 35:15 AMP)

God exchanged what was for something even more beautiful. He did the same for me.

And, He can do the same for you…

You know, only a short time passed by until those cruddy woods were made completely gorgeous. Only days passed until the whole look of thing was radically different. Only God can do that! God can take what looks ugly and work through it until He forges something meaningful, as you meet with Him. Do not think you sit on a heap of trash or in a place of embarrassment. God wants to meet you right there. He will take what you want to name “trash” and make it bloom!

Prayer: God, I want you. I need you. I need help. I ask you to speak to me. I ask you to help me. I ask for your heart to meet mine. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

Not Doing So Good?

As it pertains to mothering. I keep thinking, “What have I done? What have I done to make my child act like this?”

With this line of questioning in my heart, I try to fix myself. I try to act better. I try to talk nicer. I try to hug more. I try to lean in when I talk. I try to soften my voice. I try to share my feelings. I try to listen better.

And, when that doesn’t work, I ask myself again, “Where did I go wrong?”

Ever been there? Ever tried your hardest, only to feel like you’re going nowhere? Not succeeding?

I feel guilty. But, the one simple thing God speaks is: grace.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Cor. 12:9)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

I mess up. God still gives to me…

I don’t handle everything right. God loves me anyway…

I need help. God helps me…

I am not perfect. God shows up for me despite this…

I am not sure about what to do. God leads me to where I need to go…

Jesus meets me in the place of my need. I never need to fix-myself-up for Him.

There He is — perfect and providing.

Here I am — in-need and dependent.

I don’t have to hate my needs. Jesus paid the price so I could take-home all His goodness, without me having to pretend or hate the fact that I am not a better mother. This is grace. And, yes, it is abundant and it is amazing.

I haven’t gone wrong; I have gone right into His arms. What about you? Do you know the face of the loving Father, even when you face a million problems? What does His grace do for you?  What might it want to say to you?

Prayer: Father God? I love you. You are a good Father. And, I am a loved daughter. Will you help me know this — as truth. Real truth. I want it to be more than just mind-truth; I want it to be heart-truth. I want to know your love, more and more. I want to understand your grace, day-by-day. I want to live and breathe from this very place. Help me, God. I love you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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Things are Not What They Seem

Throwing caution to the wind, our family decided to go to an amusement park this past weekend. As we headed in, they did a temperature check. All good.

The lines were long, on some of the rides. As I waited in one line, to go on a bus that would lift me up and down with other kids, I observed a family ahead of us. The boy’s  hair was perfectly done. The girl’s braids were tightly tied together with bows. Their clothes were ironed and perfect. The moms face looked immaculate.  There was no flaw with this crew…

“They must always dress like the perfect family,” I thought. “Everywhere they go, they look amazing. They only wear clothes that are brand new and they have it all together.”

Standing there, I felt like trash next to this woman, in my clunky sneakers and my wind-thrashed hair. Unable to control myself for a moment, my voice chimed up from within me. I started to speak to the woman.

I said, “You all are the picture of a perfect family.  You must always dress amazingly.”

The mom replied back, “Oh no, I am in workout pants most days.” The son said, “And, I am so uncomfortable in this belt; I can’t wait to get it off.” Apparently, they just had their Christmas picture-shoot right before coming to the park.

Things are not always what they seem. Our inner stories and presumptions give us an outer snapshot of what we figure — must be true. But, our automatic truth does not equal autonomous God’s truth. For, what we see on the outside never explains the inner story, behind the walls of someone else’s life.

We see social media and the parties and think: we’re the only one watching movies at home…

We see the woman with the perfect Christmas tree by the fireplace and figure: her family must always be at peace.

We see those with close family and think: they have it made; their life is bliss.

Suddenly, our world is trash and everyone else has it better. But, things are not what they seem. Usually the inner stories we concoct about other people are half-truths, if not outright lies.

This is why Philippians 4:8 tells us to “Fix your thoughts on what is true.”

When we lay down things we figure must be true, we can more easily fix our mind where it is meant to dwell…

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…” (Heb. 12:2)

Who have you been comparing yourself too? How has this been stealing joy from you? Impacting your relationships? What would it look like for you to begin focusing on truth and on Jesus?

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Being Friend’s with Jesus

Have you ever been with a friend who constantly looks at their phone when they’re with you?

My pet peeve is when I meet someone for coffee and they keep looking at their phone. I can’t help but think…is it me? Is it something I’m saying? Am I not good enough to have their full attention?

This also happens on occasion at social gatherings when a person looks behind me or around me, rather than looking at me when I’m talking. I have to admit, I wonder why they’re so distracted.

It is hard to build a relationship with someone who is only half-in. Or, half-way listening. Or, half-way minding what they’re saying to you.

I couldn’t help but think about all this — this very morning, as I made coffee, while trying to pray…

I muttered some words, but as I got the grinds in the cup, I only half-way put my heart into what I was praying. I spoke some things that sounded good, but as I assembled the cups in the right place, I wasn’t much thinking about what I was saying. I tried to think about God, but I was much more thinking, “Where’s the cream?”

My attention was divided two ways. Looking at coffee, I couldn’t  — in actuality, look at God. It’s like trying to drive ahead while looking out your rear window. You can’t look two places at once.

Good friends focus on each other. They are attentive and available, rather than distracted and double-minded.

“…But I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jo. 15:15)

Good friends set down their phones, their to-do lists, their mind, even — and hone in on what’s happening between them. They talk. They make room to listen. They aren’t trying to do 5 things at one time. They rest in each other’s company.

Are you a friend of Jesus or are you far-more a distracted doer? Are you following a million rabbit trails around you and in your mind — or are you attuned to God’s heart?

I’ve noticed as I’ve set things down, or given my thoughts a time-out, I’ve been able to make space for exceptional times with God and for His breakthrough. I’ve noticed as I’ve said no to other things — I have made space for my first love. With this, I’ve come to know Him on such a deeper  heart level. I believe the same is available to you…

Prayer: Father, I want to know, love and be with you more. Will you give me focus? Will you help me be available to you? Will you pour out grace so that I can leave everything else behind as I read your Word? As I pray? You are my treasure of greatest measure. Please help me to treat you this way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

For more on attentiveness and focus on God, consider my newest book, “Rest Now: 7 Ways To Say No, Set Boundaries and Seize Joy.”

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Don’t Give up in Prayer

What do you do when you don’t see results?

If you try a craft and it becomes a hot-glue gun mess, do you keep going? If you phone someone and won’t pick up when you call, do you keep calling? If you communicate with a friend but they never listen, do you keep talking?

It is hard to continue something without results, isn’t it?

Many of us, for this reason, have given up on prayer. We haven’t seen the results we want. God hasn’t answered in time. We question if He’ll come through. So, we give up, before we’ve only just begun.

Are you there now?

Here’s how you know if you’ve given up: 1. You aren’t passionate about what you pray about. 2. Your mind drifts elsewhere when you pray. 3. You forget to pray. 4. You don’t believe your prayers will be answered. 5. You lob up words to some black abyss.

Jesus knows our mind. It’ why in Luke 1:8, it reads, “Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.”

Jesus told the story about the persistent widow (Lu. 18:1-8). She kept asking. She kept “badgering”. She kept pursuing her cause. She did not give up until the answer was what she wanted.

How many of us pursue prayer in this way?

Jesus tells us: Don’t stop. Don’t quiet. Be persistent. Be consistent. It is necessary for us to do this.

You know, I’ve grown a little tired of praying. It seems like I may be talking to the air. Yet, I know this is a lie.

Why? Because of you. Because so many of you have sent me emails telling me that God answered prayers we prayed together in the past. He showed up. You requested, He answered.

You asked me to pray over a year ago.  He showed up.
You needed His providence. He showed up.
You didn’t know how He’d do it. He showed up.

So many of your emails encouraged me. So, whether you are still waiting or He’s answered your prayer, let’s keep asking. Let’s lift every reader up today. Some need breakthrough with their kids, or with health, or in their marriage. Some need support, or help with an aging parent, or wisdom as to which direction to go.

Let’s all support each other today. Beyond this, feel free to email me your request. I will NOT be able to email you back (because of the sheer volume of emails I will get), however I will seek to pray for each one of you by name.

“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Is. 65:24)

“Pray without ceasing…” (1 Thess. 5:17)

“…pray one for another, that ye may be healed….” (Ja. 5:16)

Prayer: Father, you hear us. You care for us. You hear our prayers. We believe that “the heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].” (Ja. 5:16 AMP) We thank you that prayer is not a waste of words, but a move of God. We trust you to do what you think is best. We believe in your power to move mountains. We know that you are working out a best-end. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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