Purposeful Faith

Tag - peace

Are you Missing The Point of God’s Word?

Missing The Point

God loves you. Christ loves you.

You may read about it, but do you really know it?

You may remember the stories about it, but do you feel it?

Do you live in a way where love compels you?

Paul says it is one thing “to know”, it is another to experience. 

And I pray that you…(may) grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:17-19)

Love surpasses knowledge.  Imagine that.

Often I run after knowledge, as if it will bring me to where I need to go, but only love compels real progress.

Everything that is monumental in God’s Word boils down to love:

Jesus heals. Love.
Jesus dies. Love.
Jesus washes feet. Love.
Jesus teaches. Love.
Jesus guides. Love.
Eternity awaits. Love.

Jesus created experiences, so that people could experience.  Do we?

Some days, I wake up with a task list, a group of verses I must get through, pages I must turn, knowledge to acquire, but, what I have noticed in doing this is, often, an internal pressure builds.  It wars against peace, saying, “Kelly, increase”. Increase in being knowledgable. Increase in know-how. Increase in doing.

Yet, God is peace. He is the only thing that should increase- and his love found in the power of sitting, being and absorbing truth into the very molecules of my existence.

…That I “may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:19)

Word of caution: If you are trying, more than abiding, every time this is a red flag. You likely aren’t getting full of God – you’re probably getting full of yourself.

I see this in myself; when I end up trying to know, I end up failing to grow, but when I let God’s love flow, when I find a new glow.

It is in the seeing, feeling and being that God takes our hands, gently holds it and walks us up to internal healing.

Paul explains to the Ephesians the wealth they will receive from understanding rather than acquiring things of God.

Paul says to know God, rather than just knowing about him is to:

1. Be strengthened with his power (Eph. 3:16)
2. Dwell (or Exist) with Christ in faith (Eph. 3:17)
3. Move with the power to understand (Eph. 3:16)
4. Experience love (Eph. 3:18)
5. Bask in the depths of this love (Eph. 3:17)
6. Be full of life (Eph. 3:19)

Living like this means living no longer running on low, just trying to find new gas to feel good. It means walking into the immersive waters of grace and laying down, knowing that with God, he will protect, guard and keep your life stable in everything that is him.

God’s love is with you.
He is patient;
his leadings are kind.
Not so you can boast,
walk proud,
find honor,
or find fame (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

He knows, this kind of love does not endure.

God is patient,
seeing past wrongs,
not envisioning anger
or keeping bad records (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

His love endures forever (1 Chron. 16:34).

God delights when you let truth takes root in your heart.
He rejoices over his love within.
For you rising up from it.
Protecting.
Trusting.
Hoping.
Persevering (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

So sink down to where love is risky and then just wade in the trust of #God. 

Then you’ll start looking like him.

You know what matters most: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

How To Get Past What Drives You Nuts

drives you nuts

Focus for a minute.

Focus on what looks disgusting, deplorable and delinquent of any merit.

What is it in your life?

Perhaps it is a car, you hate.
A child you’ve grown angry at.
Another’s bad habits that annoy.
A person who deeply hurt you.
Shoes that you’re tired of wearing.
A wait that should be long over.
A health that has left you in ruins.
Feelings that always seem to lead you astray.
A spouse who continually leaves you hurt.

When you stop to see the dirt for what it is, you start to see the life could emerge from under it.

It is there, you just can’t see it. There is more; you’re eyes just focus on the filth. Yet, under it is the wealth of the new thing that God wants you to see.

After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. Jo. 13:5

Jesus got on his knees, emerged into the filth, moved along from man-to-man, hands commingling in the water of disgust and offered the ultimate act of love to those least deserving.

Jesus washed the feet of rejection, Judas.
Jesus washed the feet of denial, Peter.
Jesus washed the feet of abandoners.
(as they fled from the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion), the disciples (Mt. 26:56).
Jesus washed the feet of you and me when the blood of Christ spilled over our grime.

Sacrificing, he allowed the nails in.
Enduring, he listened to the jabs.
Giving up, he trusted his Father’s will.
Humbling himself, he gave up his own very life.
Loving, he forgave even in his own worst hour of pain.

Jesus never allowed rejection and abandonment to
block his water of lavish love
that makes hearts sparkle out of the darkness of impossible.

Whose feet do you need to wash?

Perhaps what you see as crud, has been allowed by God above,
because you are just the one to bring God’s love.

Love to yourself. Love to your conditions. Love towards God who has allowed it. Love to that person who feels like a pet peeve. Love to children. Love to aging parents. Love to your heart that fails. Love to that person you can’t forgive.

Love, displaying itself in the most humble form.

Wash the feet.
Forget the offense – and know God is on defense.
Let go of the pride – and see the other side.
Remember Christ cleansed of you – so you can wash with a heart of ministry too.
Watch and see what will come – knowing it is God’s will being done.
Trust by faith in uncertainty – so you can get down on bended knee.
Watch the mountain move – knowing you have nothing to prove.

Let go and let Christ do the work, and he will. He will wash through your hands, love through your eyes, lead through your will, speak through your mouth, guide through your feet, listen to your prayers and hand back cleanliness, in those moments when you yourself fail.

He will empower you so that you can move into the stink, the stench and the repugnant to do what you never expect: hold it close with the heart to repair what is broken. 

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Mt. 19:26

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Can you Change God’s Mind with Prayer?

Change God's Mind

God, I want this. Silence.
God, I need this. Silence.
God, do you hear me? Frustration.
God, answer! Dejection.

Ever noticed? When tiredness sets in, so does discouragement. We, then, set aside prayer because we feel God has set aside our most valuable request.

I guess it is human nature – when we feel shunned, we tend to shun. When someone treats us rudely, we stop talking. When God doesn’t seem to care, we say, what is the use? We give up. 

Yet, I don’t want to give up; I want to go into prayer with deep focus, reliance and fervor. I want to keep pressing in, knowing God hears. I want to believe, even when it feels like there is no use. After all, isn’t that what faith really is?

I can either be faithful in prayer or
prideful in rapid-fire demands.

The ability to wait well seems to make all the difference.

I will be the first to admit to you, I am so much more the latter than the former. Yet, I want to learn; I want to discover prayer that God loves. I want to go deeper, not to just get what I want, but to uncover what he wants, so that I can discover all the spiritual riches he has planned for my life.

5 Ways to Pray Prayers That God Loves

1. Trust your good God has all the power and ability to give you good things.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mt. 21:22

2. Let your motives align with God’s. Then, Let your motivation move with his.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Ja. 4:3

3. Stand in righteousness and trust all things will be added onto you.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Mt. 6:33

4. Keep on keeping on in prayer. Then, pray more.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Mt. 7:8

5. Have confidence in approaching God, knowing he hears.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Can you change God’s mind?

Have you considered that maybe it is more about God
changing your mind than you always changing his?

When we get our heart set right up against his, often we find our heart changes pace. Rather than running a course that we determined was bound to get us to where we want to go, we see a charted path and glorious path. We see miles and miles of opportunity that may look different than we ever expected, but far greater. We find, we get all we really ever wanted, it just wasn’t on our terms.

Prayer changes us – as much as it changes our circumstances.
It steadies believers lives in the hands of their great God.
It offers sweet intimacy between a loving daddy and his beloved child.
It is heard by a God who knows all our deep needs.
It brings back the dead into the very will of God.
It comforts the weak and humbles the proud.
It squeezes in truth to compel service.
It speaks love and signs hope.
It matures our hearts.
It works.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Whose Reflection Do You See?

reflection

Post by: Christy Mobley

A few weeks ago, after a long morning at the hospital with my mom and sister, I came home to take a shower, wash my hair and get my second wind.

As I picked up the blow dryer I stared into the mirror. For one split second the reflection I saw was that of my mother. It was weird. I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again and then shook the event off as simple exhaustion. Turning back to the mirror I pulled up a strand of hair  and proceeded to go off on a ridiculous tirade about frizz and gray and such. And that’s when it me.

Oh my gosh, I look like my mother and sound like my sister!

I. AM. THEM.

Freaky!

Was I caught up in some twisted episode of the Twilight Zone?

Click here to read more and to #RaRalinkup on Christy’s blog…

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Guard your Heart Like America’s Best Soldier

guard your heart

Lately, I have been pondering maybe the most important question of Christian faith:
How do you successfully guard your heart? 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov. 4:23

Above all else = the most important thing.
Everything you do = every single small and solitary thing
Flows from it = it is the blood supply to our spiritual existence

The heart is the command center to your life.

An unguarded heart is a compromised life.

Using this line of reasoning, we can figure: If we are straying from God, we’ve been displaying our heart open for attack.

So how do we truly guard it?

Guard it in a way where bad thoughts bounce off?
Guard it in a way where lockdown is secure?
Guard it in a way where attackers don’t even give it a passing glance?

This is what my heart has been sitting on lately. Wondering. Strategizing. And sure didn’t want a quick-fix answer of “try better”, “work harder” or “just do it”; these are the type of answers that always keep me failing.

So, while I considered not failing, I watched the snow falling on morning news – until one image nearly sent me falling right out of my chair. It was the answer to my wonderings.

21 steps forward.
21 steps back.
Guarding.
Protecting.
The presence of who was.
No sleep.
No rest.
Back.
Forth.
Diligence.
Perseverance.
Dedication.

The sentinel. He moved with purpose as the high winds of cold hit his face. He moved with discipline as snow ravaged around him. He moved with confidence next to the most important cause in his life. He moved to guard the presence of one unknown by so many; just as our Savior was and is today.

He moves, then another one moves, and then another, on 24 hour shifts, but, make no mistake, someone is always moving at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. It is never left unmanned, untouched and unprotected.

During storms – armed.
When everything seems shut down – manned.
When things are quiet – protected.
When the place gets hectic – watched.
When the face gets frostbitten – defended.

Do we guard our hearts in such a way?

Do we see it of such value that we keep 24-hour vigilance
on what takes aim around it? 

Guns blazing, gloves moistened, to aide in grip,
are we protecting with discipline, dedication and decisiveness?

Back and forth, do we run over our mind to see
if there is any way unpleasing to the Lord?

21 steps forward, 21 steps back,
do we give pause for prayer to ensure we are effective?

The Sentinel does not do an about face when reaching the end of 21 steps, he turns and looks at the tomb.

Do we? Do we turn to look at the tomb consistently and continually throughout our day? The tomb of Jesus that is empty? The one that reminds us of who we are fighting for? The one that tells us to keep on 21-stepping?

When stop to look at Jesus’ tomb,  we see the tomb of emptiness found in anything
and everything else put above him.  

Lives that pace on his goodness, dance with his freedom.
Feet that walk back and forth on righteousness, find life.
Soldiers who see guarding their hearts as paramount, mount up on wings like eagles.
They find hope, flight and new might,
for enemies flee at the sight of real duty.

Guard your heart like nothing else matters.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

When We Smother God’s Fire With Well-Meaning Activity

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I poked at the fire, frustrated that it wouldn’t stay aflame. This girl was no scout. The temperatures outside had reached single digits, and our furnace was having a hard time keeping up.

After spending an hour trying different techniques, adding wood, scraps of paper, and using more fire starters than any person should, the flame blazed hot enough for the wood stove’s fan to cut on, circulating the heat throughout the house. My mouth spread into a victorious smile.

The problem was, I didn’t know what I’d done right.

Later, after my husband returned from a business trip, he explained the basics of fire building to this city girl. I listened intently, determined not to have the predicament repeat itself.

Even my son, the cub scout, knew the basics of fire 101. I guess I should have asked him, right?

As any seasoned camper may know, fires need three basic components: heat, fuel, and oxygen.

It turns out, I had given my fire plenty of heat and fuel, but I’d neglected oxygen almost altogether. Instead of giving my flame room to breath by spreading the wood in a triangular shape, I’d smothered it.

Fires need room to breathe. And much like the flame I’d suffocated with its own fuel, I often adapt the same pattern in my spiritual life.

I know my heat comes from the Holy Spirit living inside me. I feed the flame with his Word and plenty of good reading material, podcasts and worship.

I gather with other believers. I lead and serve.

But often, I don’t allow space to breathe. To digest what he’s teaching me. To sit in his presence and be still with no agenda, no checklist or index of requests I need to present.

While we fixate on the lines of our life story, God often speaks in the margins.

In the spaces in-between the carpools, the play dates and the prayer meetings. In the moments where we slow down, we sit and we wait. Because the voice of God is always worth waiting for.

“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10 NIV

So instead of piling more stuff onto my never-ending to-do list, I’m carving out time to listen. Even if it starts with fifteen minutes before my kids roll out of bed, it will be worth it.

I’m creating a space to not simply read the Word, but hear from the Word.

Have you stacked too many scraps on your fire, suffocating it so it has no room to breathe? Have you placed a list of chores on the altar of life, forgetting what God wants most is our hearts?

I have. I am guilty. But thanks be to God, his mercies are new every morning.

It is never to late to realign our priorities, to make a change or create a new beginning. Today is the day.

Fan the flame.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Snapping Beauty, Crushing Vision and Tiny Stitches

Snapping Beauty

Snapping Beauty

I probably would be the girl that you’d least like to walk behind on a busy street. I might even be the one that you’d silently curse under your breath (although not too loudly or discernibly because you are Christian, after all), but all the same I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. You might even step on my heels a little to give me a quick signal I am being slow, rude and indignant.

Heck, I may even deserve it.

But, would I stop doing it? No way. Would I stop listening to the small voice that speaks about 2 feet below me. I don’t think so.

You see, I think that little voice of immaturity is on to something all the rest of us have been missing. He is on to something that in our pursuit of destination we miss. He is on to the small meaning of life, the beauty in the cracks of a sidewalk and the peculiarities in a bird with a beak of an different variety.

He is mesmerized by creation and affirmed
in God’s determination to show love.

We call it a sidewalk. He calls it a God-walk. 
We call it a place where you move from one place to another. He calls it a place you see one glory to another.
We call it a stroll, he calls it God being on a roll.

Snapping Beauty

“Stop mommy, you gotta see those birds over there. Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see that little flower sticking out of the wall? Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see the way the sun is coming out of the clouds? Take a picture!”

Snapping Beauty

Snap that shot mommy and don’t let me ever forget about this little slice of moment where what God showed is greater than the crazy, mundane and forced things in this world.  Capture the moment of greatness that only those who have the small eye seeking beauty can find. Get that and let me hold on to it so I can remember how God wanted me to see him above the scary, freaky and dark things of world.

Snapping Beauty

Snap.
Beauty.

Snap.
Meaning.

Snap.
A moment that will last forever.

Crushing Vision

How often do I look at the world like one waiting to be mesmerized?
How often do you?

I always thought I could see, but now I see, I was always becoming blind.

Maybe it happens to others like me. The ones who pull “drive” out of their back pocket and put on the glasses of determination to try to get themselves somewhere. Ones who believe they’ll end up seeing peace, joy and life from goals, plans and agendas. These types, they run a fast race; they move like a panther in hot pursuit of prey (work, spouses, cleanliness, promotions, money, vacations, internal value (fill in blank), yet tired and panting, huffing and puffing they always land in the same place –  in the alley called dead end, dead life and dead weight.

I should know, busted my head in that alley.  I told myself I needed to be best in my class (fail.). I told myself I needed to get the best job ever out of college (I went bust at the job after a year). I told myself I needed to press through an abusive situation (nightmares plagued me).

Dead-locked vision left me for dead and on lock down with discouragement.

Tunnel vision drive, driving towards anything but God’s goals leaves you driving into a head-on collision where you feel like you can’t breathe and you are not sure if you can return to normal life.

I thought those who try hard – win big.  Where did I go wrong?

Tiny Stitches

Blind folk start to see again, when they aren’t afraid to see themselves as dirty.

After saying this, (Jesus) spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. Jo. 9:6

Untitled design (8)Yet, I don’t think it is only this. It is not just saying, “Hey God, go ahead, put that stinking muck on me. I am okay with it. I am okay with seeing myself as tarnished, hurt, powerless and needing the reality of myself to cleanse me.”

Nope. I think it transcends this.

“Go,” (Jesus) told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. Jo. 9:7

Be willing to wear the grime of your self, your past, your wrongs, and your traumas – and then allow yourself to be sent out. See those things in a way where they earned your masters degree of life learning.

You let the dirt sit afresh on your eyes, you feel the muck and the yuck, and then you let the word “sent” compel your whole being to move to greater insight, vision and power; you move with them and beyond them all at the same time.

Then you start to see. As the grime of what you really are, the disgust of what you have been and the pain of shame wash off, you finally get somewhere.

“I went and washed, and then I could see.” Jo. 9:11

I could see innocence.
I could see through eyes untarnished.
I could see roads untainted.
I could see the slow movement of ordinary things.
I could see worry dissipate and fears calm.
I could see people – pained people.
I could see glory – in sunrises, sunsets, grime and grit.
I could see beauty – in grace extended.
I could see growth – by offering space.
I could see life – budding in the small forging of patience.
I could see flowers – protrude from the cracks of pain.
I could see longing, desire and hope.

Snapping Beauty

It is a picture that even words fall short of explaining. So, you just stop, drop your jaw at what you see, then you look for someone that doesn’t have their head stuck in automated zombie-zone, and together, you snap a picture. Usually with the child, the innocent one who gets the greatness of God. And, then, you go about carrying on in the mayhem called planet earth until God staggers yet again with all he has stored up in the unseen places of the world.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here. 

Learning to Love Your Purpose, Even When It’s Painful

love your purpose

I am delighted to have Mary Carver join us today for this #RaRalinkup post!

Last night I messaged two friends. I asked them if I was a bad person for getting upset to see other people get attention and accolades for something I had also done (but for which I certainly wasn’t receiving that attention).

Honestly I wanted them to yell and point fingers and join me in my indignation at being left out and overlooked. Instead, they did what good friends do and reminded me that I wasn’t in this business or this life for either attention or accolades.

They also admitted that my feelings didn’t make me a bad person, simply human – but they were right about my focus. I had forgotten that my ministry and work and life are about obeying God and serving Him the best I can. Not pats on the backs and plastic trophies, not awards and atta-girls. But trust and obedience, love and service.

We can easily get distracted from our mission, can’t we? One minute we’re all about following God, no matter where He leads us, loving Him and loving others, doing whatever it takes to help people see Him. And then…bam! Before we even know what’s happening, we’ve heard about someone else’s mission – and all the perks that come with it, and we’re simmering with envy, wishing our call looked like theirs.

My friend and co-author, Sara Frankl, knew something about that. The call on her life was one that was full of beauty and joy – but it was also full of pain and loss. Trusting God and loving what He had given her was a challenge, but she managed to do it with a grace and wisdom that encourages me and teaches me every day.

——————-

I remember the first time I really understood the parable of the vineyard workers. I had heard this Bible story all my life, but it finally clicked in college.

In Matthew 20, Jesus is recorded telling the story of a man who needed help with his harvest. He hired some men for the day, telling them the day’s wage, which they accepted and began working. Throughout the day, he realized he needed more help to get the work completed, so he went out multiple times and hired more workers. Each time he offered the wage to his new workers, they accepted and set out to work.

At the end of the day, he called all the workers together and paid them the same day’s wage. It was the wage he had offered to them, the one they had all accepted. But the men who had worked all day laboring in the fields were angry. They said they were cheated because they worked harder and longer than the others, and should be paid more than those who had worked only the last few hours.

In reality, the problem wasn’t the amount they were paid for the work they did. He gave the workers what was promised to them. The problem was in the worker who only felt cheated when he compared his life to someone else’s. The problem arose when the worker took his eyes off of his own mission, the one he agreed to gladly – and decided he wanted the easier task that was promised to someone else.

I have to remind myself of this story because it’s hard for me not to feel cheated. It’s hard for me to be thankful on a holiday weekend when I have to be alone in this condo. When there is no bustle of family or friends, when I can’t enjoy a turkey dinner, when I have no one to talk with and laugh with and reminisce with and grieve with. It’s hard when I compare my isolated existence with what I know is happening everywhere else.

But that’s not the deal I made with God. I promised Him my whole life, and He promised He would love me, never leave me, and take me home to have eternal life in Heaven someday. It was the wage He promised me, the wage I accepted – and it’s only when I take my eyes off of that promise that I feel cheated. God is honoring His deal. It’s me who looks at life and says, “I’ll have what she’s having, please.”

Does going back to that Bible story make all the hard-to-deal-with feelings disappear? Of course not. It’s still brutal. But it reminds me of what I believe. I believe that God has a purpose for me, and that my job is to be faithful to whatever comes with my life. I will do my daily task and honor Him as I believe He is honoring me.

I believe it. Even when it doesn’t feel good. Even when it hurts and is lonely and feels unfair and requires me to grieve a life I was never promised.

The truth is that my life is no better or worse than I wanted. It’s just completely and utterly different. The wisdom comes in knowing that it is exactly as it should be. The joy comes in learning to love it, not despite all I’ve lost, but because of all that it has brought to me.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Excerpt, Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts by Sara Frankl & Mary Carver

——————-

Mary and SaraMary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life, at www.givinguponperfect.com. Mary is the co-author of a new book called, Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. Released by the Hachette Book Group in 2016, CHOOSE JOY is a must-have for those searching for meaning and beauty in a world full of tragedy. Sara’s words breathe with vitality and life, and her stories will inspire smiles, tears, and the desire to choose joy. To learn more about CHOOSE JOY.

 Loading InLinkz ...

The Sneaky and Subtle Sin That May Be Ruling You

Sneaky and Subtle Sin

This sneaky sin. . . let me just tell you something. It’s under the radar, it’s pulling the covers over your eyes and it’s having a field day in your life – and, likely, you don’t even realize it.

For many of you, you actually think it helps you. You actually think you are better off, smarter, more capable and resourceful for pulling this little trick out of your bag of hats.

Do you know what I am talking about yet? (Clue: it is man’s greatest downfall)

Here’s how it looks in my life:

It makes me a super-speed, crazed, mess cleaner.
It transforms me into a female Dyson; I develop routes and measures to ensure every crevice is “handled.”
It levies the weight of the world on my shoulder and tells me, “You can handle it.”
It shuns advice, instruction and wisdom.
It tells people you better get on my highway, turn left and then arrive on time, or else.
It pushes me towards ambition and drive, without concern for the little guys.
It places one hand over God’s mouth, so I can speak just a little big louder than him.
It passes along the unsaid message, “Stay back God, I’ve got this.”

When I consider why I do it, much of it boils down to this:

If I am not controlling the world, it seems the world is controlling me.
If I don’t use my ammo, I become the target.
If I am just standing there, I risk getting run over.

Add that to the fact that the world hands out a bunch of cliched garbage (like this), and you can see how one can start acting like a maniacal lunatic:

“If you don’t make a way, you’ll have no way.”
“Fend for yourself.”
“Eat or be eaten.”
“Get ahead.”
“Get a leg up.”
“Work harder.”
“Reach for the stars.”
“Figure it out.”
“Watch your back.”
“Don’t give up.”

Self-sufficiency, otherwise known as pride, is gangrene to a body of Christ. It takes his blood, oxygen and flow and blocks it in a way where his mighty providence is dead. We flow by our own accord, our own merits and our own will. So, naturally, our limbs of love, of reliance and of hope, they die. They wither away. For, we have no need for them. We don’t use them. You see, we exchanged God’s sufficiency, for our self-sufficiency and then, we lose.

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. Jo. 15:6

Limbless, lifeless and loveless we stand, duped. We stand as tall temples of places where hope is not required, where need is useless and where one bows down only to self. The incense of stink rises and fills the air near those around us.

What we can produce by self,
is nothing in comparison to light scent of love
that is always ours to inhale.

It is not a mantra, a self-help phrase or a lift-me-up status that says, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” -A.A. Milne from Winnie the Pooh

It’s nothing like this. Because that kind of statement is a lie – it is poo from Pooh. The truth is, we are worse off than we think we are. We are weaker than we admit and we are a whole lot less wise than we walk around pretending to be.

Even more, we are wasteful without his purpose and lacking without his cause. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (Jo. 15:5).

But, here is the thing: with him, we can do everything.  

I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13

When we get to the end of self, we get to the start of life. It is an exchange.

We hand over our ways.
He gives us his.
In the empty, he fills.
In the wanting, he restores. 
In the empty, he sits.
In the cant’s, he can.
The dreams, he makes.
For the low, he lifts.
The unseen, he sees.
The marginal, he magnifies.
The insecure, he holds.
The offering, he transforms.

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Mt. 16:24-25

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by emailclick here.

5 Ways The Devil is Scheming To Nab You

Devil

Hey, little child of God, I have something to tell you, so listen up.

Happiness is over there. Do you see it? Go ahead, suck in what it could be. Feel it. Relish in it. Why not? Don’t you deserve it – for all you have suffered? Aren’t you tired of being stuck?

I mean, look at you! You idiot!

You marginal fool, why aren’t you doing anything,
something,
to change everything?

You are stuck in a church that is not ideal.
You are stuck in a house you don’t want to be in.
You are stuck with a family who doesn’t get you.
You are stuck with a job that is horrible.
You are stuck with friends that don’t really care.
You are stuck in a life that constrains.
You are stuck with kids who are unruly and disobedient.
You are stuck with a spouse who irritates.
You are stuck with a body that is ugly.
You are stuck with health issues that you can’t beat.
You are stuck with pressures and problems.
You are stuck being overweight.

Look at you, your life is horrible. I think, I really think, you should have so much more.

Psst…did you know? It doesn’t have to stay this way…you can do things about it. Now listen up before your whole life is ruined, before all the marbles are dumped on your head and before you find yourself in a burnt heap of ashes, here is my charge for you:

1. Take control. What God hasn’t stepped in to do, you can do. Those he hasn’t changed, force them to change. Drive your power in.

2. Seek happy at all costs. If something doesn’t make you happy, flee from it to find frolicking fun elsewhere. You only live once, you don’t want to sit around missing out. Fulfill your desires and feel good.

3. Remind yourself of all you don’t have. 

“You dumb idiot. While everyone else is getting ahead, you are falling backwards. Do something about it. It’s not like you are that good of a Christian anyway; you always mess up. You failure. Give up.”

Speak like this to yourself and you will be bound to get somewhere.

4. If you can’t get what you want, find another way to make yourself feel good.

Drugs, sex, alcohol, shopping, porn, controlling, demoralizing, taunting, instigating, stealing, worry, abusing – it doesn’t really matter – just fill your deep need to numb the real belief you are unloved, uncared for and shipwrecked. The moment of controlled power will feel intoxicating.

5. Put yourself first. You are the only one who can fulfill your deep needs. You have to fight hard to get what you want. Defend yourself, arm yourself, distance yourself and put up an armored stronghold around your body. You are a walking fortress; keep it that way or you will be ruined. Shoot, if necessary.

Other quick tips:

– Keep your eyes on what you see before you; make a snap judgement and abide by feelings.
– Don’t let the word “patience” fool; God really isn’t working for you.
– Don’t serve anything, or anyone, that doesn’t lead to success.
– There’s no one who can come through – like you can.
– You’ll miss out if you don’t grab the world’s cup tightly – and suck it up.
– Put yourself first, no one else will take care of you.
– Get super wise and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
– Mock those who are poor in spirit, “Weaklings!”
– Doubt “hope” and stick with “despair” and you’ll fill up with indulgences of the world, for sure.
– Embrace shades of grey and blurred lines between good and evil – you can rationalize things that way.

devil

With this, applause to you! Cheers for you! Great glory to your work! Great progress to your name! Great power to your charge! Great impact to your step! You will do it; you will find pleasure in all you ever wanted, in the enticements and in the lure of your eye.

You know you want it.
So, step in, grab it and bite –
it is the best apple you will ever eat,
even it it makes your blood run cold,
even if 10 minutes after you feel nauseated,
even if the shame adds thirty layers of chains to your hide,
even if you trap yourself into a box you can’t seem to claw your chained way out of,
at least you will have joy for a moment, ecstasy for a minute and rule for an hour.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Jo. 10:10

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.