Purposeful Faith

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Overcome Doubt With Faith

Overcome Doubt With Faith

You won’t be able to do that.
No one does that.
It doesn’t happen that way.

Despite my sure belief and confidence in what God had been working – uncertainty crept in.
Was this person right? Was it impossible? Was I wrong to believe?

Waves of doubt filled my heart. With force, they came to topple down my focus on God, my desire to follow and his great purpose for me. They rippled wider than my head and pushed straight into my anxious heart, with thoughts like:

I am on my own, God has left me! What do I do now?
Why did God give only to take away? I better figure a way to fix this myself.
Should I just take flight and run another way? I can’t do this after all.
Why did I believe? It seems now, I was never cared for to begin with.

Swelling up, under all of these fear-ridden thoughts, was a deep undercurrent that I wasn’t capable, valuable or lovable enough to get good from God.

Yet, as I thought of all that God has done for me, He brought me to on of the most valuable questions that we can ever ask ourselves: Who do I trust? The power of God or the power of man?

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. Ps. 118:18

Trust means I fully accept
the promises, the assurances, the life,
the resurrection and security of Jesus Christ. 

It means I don’t see all I can’t do, it means I just see all he DID do.
It means I don’t see others words, I solely see his words guiding my way.
It means I don’t see an overwhelming future, I just see overwhelming past proof of his love for me.

The tide of God’s love is pulling me into the deep waters of Jesus. It brings me back to the place of trust.

I want to rush into his waters, only to come out drenched with his love and purpose.

3 Ways to Pull Yourself Back Into The Current of Faith

1. Seek to See God and His Surrounding Faithfulness.

I have the opportunity to see God. Truly! I can see his invisible qualities, his eternal power an his divine nature. It is all laid out before me in the creation that surrounds me. The more I look into nature the more I find his peace-giving presence. 

The sun proves his consistency.
The thunder proves his power.
The mountains prove his steadfastness towards me.
The sky prove his all-encompassing presence every day.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Ro. 1:20

2. Dive into the Safe-Dwelling Waters of Jesus.  

Like David, as we seek God, dwell on God and pursue his holiness, we start to lay our eyes on the heart of God. The world, voices and messages start to fall away and we start to build a sanctuary of love in our heart. This sanctuary is a temple of God that many are drawn to – it shines God’s glory.

Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the LORD.” 1 Chron. 22:19

3. God brands us with his promises. His promises are marked on us, they never leave our side – and we believe it.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit… Eph. 1:13

As believers, we are sealed in the Lord’s love for us. We are packaged so tightly with his purpose, his seal can never be broken. We are sealed inside of all he has already promised us. Now, we walk believing it.

God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? (Numbers 23:19)

We are held tightly by the power of:

– a hand that holds ours
– a Father that sees
– abundant forgiveness
– unending mercy
– unrelenting love
– unbelievable grace
– a help in a time of trouble
– eternal life

Trust is built – and kept – as we remember our Creator, his holiness and our sealed status in him. Truth and life already available.  Assurance of our faith already exists. The question is – will we choose to believe and seize it? Will we choose to trust God or to trust man?

Because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever. 2 John 1:2

We can overcome doubt with faith in all of God’s abundant promises.

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More Than Enough

More than enough

Do you remember when you bought your first home?
Probably, no matter the price, you put a large bulk of your saved money into the down payment.

That’s how it worked for us.

With no extra money to buy furniture, I felt like it wasn’t just the echoes of empty rooms that were resounded in my heart, but the echoes of not having enough.

I can’t have people over, when the first thing they see is that room!
I can’t even enjoy this house, until we can actually sit down!
No one is walking through that front door, until things change around here!

But, God – he had different plans. His different plans, are always the best plans, for my not-so-well-laid plans.

He had plans to take my “not enough” and exchange it for “more than good enough.” He always seems to do that when we are looking, seeking and praying after his will, doesn’t he?

You see, the word “insufficient” doesn’t reside in Jesus’ vocabulary,

because he entirely defines the word sufficient.

If we have Jesus, we have the all-encompassing sufficient answer to every one of life’s problems. It can just be very hard to see in the whirlwind of pain.  He understands this and, in many cases, gently brings us right into his fold, when we are ready.

In my case, he exchanged my empty room and empty heart for something far greater,
way more hectic and a billion times more exciting.

My empty room, covered with the wallpaper of “not enough”, became “more than enough” as the paper busted at the seams, exposing joy, peace and glory.  We found our nightly ritual – a family worship session on the best dance floor in town – our living room.

We went in that room to dance and sing with all our hearts. We had more than enough!
We ran around with smiles wide and kids raised up. We had more than enough!
We saw our toddlers joy as they ran circles around us.  We had more than enough!
We opened our hearts and eyes to see our great high and lifted God. We had more than enough!

When we look for Jesus, no matter our situation –
whether a small one like mine or a bigger one like death –
we find him.

He is the door to our “more.”
He is the access to our joy.
He is the way to life.
He is the answer of peace.
He is the hope in all.

In my situation, I had much to be thankful for, but still, I was not content. I saw the door that I didn’t want visitors to enter, but what I didn’t realize was that my focus was on the wrong door.

I should have been looking at Jesus as the door.

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

Jesus is always the access point to greater things.

If you have walked through Jesus’ door of salvation, you are saved.
Not just saved for eternity’s joys, but saved to enjoy Christ’s present ones in today.
Are you seeking them?

If you have walked through Jesus’ door, you are gaining access to your calling and mission.
Are you using your gifts, talents and finances for his glory?

If you walk through Jesus’ door, you will find pasture.
Your Father wants to bring you much joy, peace and purpose in life.
Are you relying on him?

If we have chosen to walk through his door, Christ has presented us with eternal riches, his present day glory, focused missions, fulfilling callings, joy-filled songs, enduring character and his ever-present help in a time of trouble.

We no longer live in empty rooms of despair, discouragement and doubt, but our rooms become filled with the love and presence of Jesus Christ.

When we look for him, we realize we have – and always had – more than enough!

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Tim. 6:6-8)

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

Our great shepherd is leading us into his great, powerful and calm-of-heart pastures.
Will we follow him?

We already have “more than enough.”

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Today I am delighted to join #LiveFreeThursday, Five Minute Friday and #DanceWithJesus.

Who Owns Your Known?

Who Owns Your Known?

Post by:  Christy Mobley

I stood at attention like a toy soldier, fisted hands on hips, and a plastered smile so tight the muscles in my jaws twitched. It was there on the floor of the junior high gymnasium, where I awaited my fate.

In Jr High all I wanted be known for was being a duPont Dragon cheerleader.

But on that day when the names were called mine wasn’t among them.

When I wasn’t chosen, I remember feeling  jealous and bitter toward those who were.

That was 44 years ago. Today at 57, do I still want to be known for something?

If I’m totally truthful, yes I do. And you do too.

You might be thinking, No, I really don’t. But stop, and think about it for a minute. We all do.

For me, I want to be known as a good wife, mom, friend, writer, a good dresser, decorator, tennis player, and Bible study leader. And I like to be noticed for my efforts and applauded for a job well done.

We all want people to know us,

approve us,

like us

and sometimes, yes,

even envy us.

We count Facebook likes and our Facebook friends, our Twitter followers, Pinterest pins and our link-ups on LinkedIn.

We want to be known for something or be known by that “somebody” who is known by everybody.

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. It starts in our youth and continues as we age. Wanting to be known is as natural as breathing and we all have an insatiable appetite for both.

But therein lies the problem. Our appetites.

Just like our appetite for food can lead us to gluttony and diseases of the body, our appetite to be known can lead us to diseases of the soul – greed, jealously, hatred and bitterness.

To keep our appetite in check, we need to recognize and understand the three P’s of known.

1. Provider – who owns my known?

2. Purpose – what’s my known for?

3. Perspective – is it mine forever or only a season?

John the Baptist was a man who could handle his known.

He had a huge amount of followers for his day in age, that is until Jesus took the majority of his following. When the disciples of John the Baptist asked him why people were leaving him to follow Jesus, John answered by saying …“A person can receive only what is given him from heaven.” Ah, here in John 3:27, we are reminded that God gave John his position. It was not something he gained himself.

Only God owns our known.
He alone is the Provider.
We may put in the hard labor but it is God who swings the doors open.

The purpose of our being known is not to point to us ( it’s not about us folks) but to point to Jesus. John 1:6-7 says, concerning John the Baptist, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John, He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that thorough him all might believe.” God has a purpose and position for each season of our lives so that we may use it to point to Him.

Most importantly we must keep the proper perspective on our known-ness and not hold too tightly to something we may only temporarily possess. Job 1:21 reminds us, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

In the wake of losing our known-ness, be it followers, friends, a job, our family or whatever else, our perspective should always be one of joy in living under the wings of God’s sovereignty. There are times we must take a backseat to another for the spotlight to shine on Jesus.

John 3: 29-30 says, …“That joy is mine and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.

John the Baptist knew where his position came from,
he knew what his position was for and he was content in letting it go
when his time came to step aside.

This past year I received an extra portion of known-ness but when I started to fill it slip, I tried to hang on. And in doing so, I showed the telltale signs of not watching my P’s. I slid down the slippery slope of known into a selfish pile of actions that did anything but point to God.

Today as you take the kids to school, go to work, or check your Instagram account, ask yourself two questions.

What position has God placed me in?

And, in this position, am I pointing to Him?

Who owns your known?

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Purposeful Faith Contributor
Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. You can find Christy on her blog, Joying in the Journey at www.christymobley.com

Uncover Your Light So You May Shine Bright

Uncover Your Light

Oftentimes, all seems well in my Christian life until one small thing happens to completely knock me down.

It could be an unexpected bill.
An unexpected argument.
An unexpected tantrum.
An unexpected suspecting mole.
An unexpected heartache.
An unexpected injury.

But, no matter what kind of unexpected thing comes to tackle me, it usually takes my eyes right off the ball – right off of Jesus.

As one unexpected issue heads at me straight on, another issue comes to pound me, and then another. It’s like everything is set to force me to the floor. All of life’s opponents are after me. 

In this moment, I wonder,
How can I keep my eyes on Christ
when all I can think about is preserving my life? 

Because all I can only see the weight of the issue from this vantage point; I have no sight beyond that.  I can only see the weight of things on top of me; the things that are loaded one after another, like a big pile of worry. They keep me from seeing the light. They make me feel like I am suffocating.

They avert my eyes from the light of Christ’s glory and grace. They make me want to run – but their heaviness reminds me – I’m stuck.

How do I release myself from the powerful force of these issues?

Because, one thing I know, one covered, can’t be shining.

One loaded under the weight of issues,
can’t be radiating love and light through the earth.

Either I am uncovered by the grace of Jesus
or I am covered by the weight of worry and fear.

This truth calls me to rise above my momentary troubles. It calls me higher than defeat; it calls me to fly high to grace. To fly high above the problems that plague me to see the beauty that I hold.

Not a ball, but Jesus Christ.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Ro. 8:11

Life is always available through Jesus Christ.

If my life is set to his playbook and I seek to run into the world with his light,
doesn’t he call me to more than defensive living?

Doesn’t he call me out to live offensively?
In the light? With his power? Understanding his grace?

I am being called to lay down my fears so that the love of Christ can shine into my dark places and the world’s dark spaces.

You are the salt of the earth. Mt. 5:13

Then, and only then, will I be able to shine the light he gives me.

I won’t be able to contain it.
I will shine it into the hearts that come against.
Into the situations that seek to tumble me.

It will shine as a beacon of his love, calling all to know and love him.
It’s light will cast away my issues, and illuminate the issues of those around me.
It will light the steps towards love, verses the step towards fear.

The light of Christ makes the difference. It guides us in the way we should go. We no longer have to live defensively, because the light of Christ let’s us move offensively.

The more we think of Jesus, the more we see our issues fade and his light takes over. 

We can stop letting the unexpected things throw us down, and instead, let the unextinguishable light of Christ propel us forward.

God says:

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
Like a lighthouse set on a hill, the light of his love will not contain us. We will radiate love.

“Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Phil. 2:15
Like stars, our light testifies to the Creator’s majesty. We will draw awe and wonder at the display of his great beauty. The presence of God is displayed through us through light.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 Jo. 1:7
Light = Fellowship, unity and purity. Light draws out love and extinguishes fear.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Dan. 12:9
As wise children, we shine heaven far and wide to brighten the path to Jesus. We reveal the glory of his eternal destination.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
As torch-bearers, we cast his light into the darkest pits of despair. Glory shines in places where there once was no hope.

“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”1 Thes. 5:5
We stay in the day, where we are safe in his ways.  We are children of the light! Our light can never be put out.

Eternal light can never be covered. It will always shine. There is no opponent who can defeat it or unexpected threat who can beat it. We always have hope.

Even more, we serve as the present day light-carriers of Jesus Christ. There is too much at stake, too much important work to do, to allow our lights to get put out. People are desperate for this light. We need this light to thrive and to revive – the world.

Uncover your light, so you may shine bright in Christ.

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Smile Again: When Someone Hurts You (Linkup)

When Someone Hurts You

I got in a tiff.

This came as a surprise to me. I certainly didn’t mean to go there – to the place where my voice got a little louder and my eyes watered a little greater – only to end pouring out in an avalanche of tears.

Ever been there?
To that place where you hate going?
The one where you regret visiting after all is said and done?

I don’t like that place. It distracts my heart from the day’s duties, it disrupts my sleep and it usually leaves me guilt-ridden for days.

Yet, there I was – feelings busted open. Wide open. Lying on the floor open.

It felt, this person was crippling my authentic heart towards God.

Negating my pure intentions.
Saying I was inadequate.
As if, she was not for me.

I took insult.

And, while forgiveness seemed further than Antarctica yesterday, isn’t it amazing how the gift of time can move our hearts rapidly into God’s light? His light where he brings all truth.

His light exposed my aching and rapidly pulsing heart. Here, I was able to identify a resounding theme – She made me feel ____________ about _____________. 

If God is God – and, I am not…

If God is God – and they are not…

How can another define who I am?

How could they ever define the intentions of my heart?

They can’t. Only God defines me. Only He knows the inner workings of Kelly. Only He knows the deep intentions and the pulse of my life, which no one else is privy to.

So, why did I absorb all her words as if they were greater than His?

Why did I overreact instead of act with love?

When you hold someone accountable for that which Christ has already given you, you wrongly exalt them above your Maker.

Sure, words, instruction and wisdom are vital to a strong Christian walk. We should receive these things. And, indeed, the body of Christ is surely put in place to build up, but one thing is true – people never hold greater authority than the work of God or the Word of God. 

God never gave people make or break status. They don’t have that ability – unless we let them.

Our job is to keep our eyes constantly set on him above, so we can always walk in love.

So doubt doesn’t set in.
So fear doesn’t win.
So, others don’t steal our grin.

Then, God enters in.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Mt. 7:2)

When I think of this friend, I realize I can’t hold her accountable. Likely, she didn’t know how badly I strive to be pure, she didn’t know how much I pray to be used, she didn’t know how much power her words held. She likely didn’t know her words would cripple. How could she?

Her only responsibility is her own heart, before her great God – something I am entirely not responsible for.

But, I am responsible to respond to God. To forgive. To see past. To release. To love. To heal. To build into. To encourage. To see past. To bear under.

God calls me here because forgiveness is often about them,  just as much as it is about me.

We don’t have to approve what happened,
we just have to approve that God is best equipped to handle it.

We don’t have to feel healed,
we just have to trust he will heal us.

We don’t have to fight,
but simply let God fight on our behalf. (Ex. 14:14)

We don’t have to dwell in misery-mode,
God is calling us to ministry-mode.

This is the call of God. The calling of our heart. The calling to lay down arms, in order to pick up an arm to love, to hug and to wrap around the one before us.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

God sees hearts. Only God.

As we seek God, he reveals our hearts to us.  You know what I see when I look deep, deep into my heart? The heart that fought so hard to be right before God? Embarrassingly, I see that nasty word, that mean word, that ugly word  – the one we never want to admit or see – PRIDE.

How many of our arguments are based from this place?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Forgive me Father. I have sought to look good before man. I have sought to win approval from a sister in Christ. Yet, all that matters is your view of me. You know me and you see me. Forgive me for my anger at not being seen by her, because all that matters is  – YOU. Amen.

The Lord changes hearts, with these types of prayer. He replaced my pulsating hot heart with a radiating softened heart of love. When someone hurts you, God will use it as an opportunity to rework you – if only you let him.

Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory. Ro. 15:7

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Dealing With A Scary Future

Scary Future

Just a short while ago, my husband and I were traveling in Texas. We didn’t know the area so well, so when our GPS service broke, we shifted into high-anxiety mode.  We were driving roads that we didn’t know. We had no idea where we were headed, but we most assuredly figured it was all the wrong way.

Have you ever been there? Lost?

In a place of not knowing?

What your future holds?
How God will do it?
Where he will send you?
How he will take you?

The unknown is scary.

It threatens today’s joys with tomorrow’s pain.
It whispers words of fear over faith.
It steals the joy of the moment and replaces it with the stress of questions.

For my family, it wasn’t so much that we thought our life was in danger, but it was that we felt aimless, we felt misdirected and we felt lost.

Underneath the surface worries and anxieties, we felt out of control. We lost our power to handle things, to know, to handle and to plan.

What future seems lost and unknown to you?

A decision?
A living location?
A marriage?
A relationship?
Finances?
Life issues?

God knows.

But, in his all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful way, he decided we shouldn’t.

He hasn’t left us though.
He goes with us.

And, perhaps, what we thought was lost is really found as we turn to God in the midst of uncharted territory.

Because here we get an opportunity to “try on” the glasses of faith. And as we do, our vision sharpens.

Instead of seeing all we can’t grasp, we start seeing the one who grasps everything with perfection – God.
As we see our lack of control, into vision comes the one who controls all our life’s controls.
As we see the maker, we see how he can make all things in our lives work for good.

“I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.” – Amazing Grace 

It’s in the “not knowing” that brings us to our knees in prayer, to lift our hands in honor, to surrender our heart with abandon. Then, we start seeing truth. We start to realize that even when we had sight, we were always lost – without Him.

There is power in admitting you are fully lost without Jesus.

Because then, rather than living lost in the abyss of an unknown future, we can start living lost in the awe of a deeply known Savior.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Ps. 23:4

Imagine:

Through the black darkness of the valley Jesus walks with you saying, “Do not fear.” 

Even though evil seems to lurk around every corner, God rests his hand on your shoulder, saying, “I am the world’s holder.”

As passing shadows, shoot from right to left, Jesus speaks, “These things, too, shall pass, but my love endures forever.”

As death comes in the night, God offers you his rod and his staff.  You know you will find your way, not because you can see, but because you are being led by his always-vision, that sees you through any situation.

The God of comfort is leading, guiding and holding you now – and forevermore.

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. Ps 119.50

We may feel lost, without GPS, but one thing remains true – Jesus will see us through. And, we don’t have to see, in order to believe that God is for us, with us and will never abandon us. No matter what dark roads lurk, we remain secure in Him – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7

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The Incredible Bravery Found in Hiding

The Bravery Found in Hiding

In the past, it’s been easy for me to want to hide.

To say little white lie not to be punished.
To run to my room to avoid wrath.
To cover my head to stop feeling shame.
To not feel so as to not have to deal.  
To cast blame on another so it’s not on me.
To compare so as to hide my faults.
To fight back to protect my vulnerable areas.
To judge to highlight faults.
To avoid prayer when I am deep in sin.
To push the love of God out the door when I feel bad.
To feel he God doesn’t like me when I fail.

I’ve played this game of hide-and-go-seek my entire life. Deep and dark hiding places were intimate spots of coverage. They kept the stampede of critiques, condemning words and criticisms far.

Yet, as alluring as this game appeared – there was one thing I always found true – it’s a flat-out a losing game. The seeker finds the hider. And when they do, the hider comes out exposed, vulnerable and embarrassed.

Isn’t this really just a game of shame
hidden under the disappearing cloak of safety?

We think we are hiding our worst parts, but we never really are.
What we cover for a moment, but are left vulnerable for a lifetime.
We want to go unseen, until we realize we are unseen even from ourselves.
We distance ourselves from the light of God, only to realize we have become acquainted with darkness.
We hide – obstructing us from the love of others.

We are alone.

The crazy part about this game is – as much as we think we hide, we are – and always have been – seen. 

The Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Gen. 3:9-11

God may call out to us, “Where are you?” but please rest assured – he knows where we are.  

How do we answer him? Do we admit our ineffective strategies? Our location? Our true heart? God’s power is best seen in the light and our transformation best occurs with God in sight.

What is he calling you to reveal?

He will take care of you. You see, God understands our need to hide – and, interestingly, he is not against this strategy, he’s just against doing it the wrong way.

He wants us to have cover, protection, a safe home, a guarded spirit.

Here is how the Word instructs us to hide:

You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Ps. 32:7

Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings. Ps. 72:8

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.  Ps. 27:5

Under God, we hide.

Then, we don’t sit cowered in fear, but empowered with his bravery.
We step into the world with courage, rather than retreating discouraged.
We live true to who he made us to be, rather than trying to flee.

God is love. He sees us for who we are and he accepts us. If he didn’t want us, we would have already let us go. But, he didn’t. He sent his one and only son to pave a way to bravery for us.

There is bravery found in hiding. This bravery is found by retreating into the deep, sacred and loving hiding places of God. Only then, do we become brave.

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Today, I join #LiveFreeThursday, #DancewithJesus and Five Minute Friday.

 

Like a Treasure

Treasure Kingdom of Heaven Jesus

Post By: Angela Parlin

What do you desire?

It may be the most important question you’ll ever answer.

Before you respond with the answer you think you should say, give it some thought. Resist the temptation to use the fast-pass. Let these questions help you get to the heart of what you desire most.

  • What makes you happy?
  • What is it you crave, that you’re sure would make you happier?
  • What do you worry about?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • Where do you run for comfort?
  • What do you fear losing, or fear never attaining?
  • What would you never want to live without?

Think about these questions, and you’ll probably yield more than one honest answer. You’ll uncover the truth not only of what you desire, but also what you treasure.

Jesus spoke about treasure in the book of Matthew. He told a mini-parable, comparing the kingdom of heaven to a treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44, NIV)

After this, Jesus moved on. He told another parable, with the same storyline.

Many people think Jesus makes the point that we should treasure the kingdom of heaven so much, that we’d give up everything in order to gain it.

While most of us would agree, that finding the kingdom of heaven is like finding treasure, we struggle with the part about giving up everything.

Let’s be honest, don’t you want to believe Jesus wants you to have it all—and Him too? Yet this parable shows us something different.

In his Joy  he went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Clearly, the man saw something wonderful there. He found joy in the treasure.

We, too have found joy in God’s Presence. But like our mothers used to say, we “want to have our cake and eat it, too.”

We’ve turned our eyes upon Jesus–but for many of us, the things of this earth have not yet grown dim.

We know He’s the only One who satisfies–yet we look to other people and things and involvements and accomplishments and pleasures–to fill our souls.

We need to bring it all to Jesus–to offer Him our worries, dreams, fears, and desires–and then ask Him to BE our greatest desire.

Even so, there’s another interpretation of this parable. It changes the whole conversation.

What if the man in the story who found the treasure is Jesus?

He sold all He had to save the world. With joy, He gave up everything, to reconcile us to God.

But the story didn’t end there.

He endured the cross, with joy, so we could taste and see His goodness. He bought the field, to make us His family.

He gave up all, in order to open wide the door and let us enter. And then everything He owns becomes our own.

The man in the story is Jesus. Which also means WE are the treasure.

And the world grows dim. Does it not?

May the world remain behind us, and the cross before.

 

Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 

Biblical Decision Making That Won’t Steer You Wrong

How Does the Bible Help in Decision Making?

I had an important choice to make.

It was a fork-in-the-road type of choice. Both roads looked equally as enticing for completely different reasons.

One road had my heart written all over it. It was simple. The path seemed light. The way seemed easy.

The other seemed sure. Like it would get me to where I needed to go. Like a way had already been forged. It appeared the head-smart way to go.

But, what do you do when you just don’t know?

What do you do when you stand in front of the fork
feeling like you have been jabbed with the fork of uncertainty?

That is where I stood.

As I looked down the paths, I knew I wanted to go down the one the Lord had set before me. Because, I have learned far too often that if your not on his road of purpose, you are only on the road headed to aggravation, dead-ends and insecurity.

I certainly don’t want that.

So, as I stare at these two roads (both of which were biblically sound by the way), I decided to ask myself 3 important questions.

Biblical Decision Making

Question 1: Which decision will allow the love of Christ to most richly dwell within me?

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. Mt. 22:36

Question 2: Which decision will allow the love and glory of Christ to most richly shine into others’ lives?

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Mt. 22:39-40

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Mt. 28:19

Question 3: Which decision will deepen faith and trust in Jesus Christ?

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. (Col. 2:6-7)

Sometimes it is easy to choose the path of least resistance.
Sometimes it is easy to choose the path of safety.
Sometimes it is easy to choose the path of happiness.
But, often these are not the way of faith, love and discipleship.

God calls us out onto risky paths. He calls us out onto rocky paths. He calls us out onto faith-shaping, trust-building and steep-climbing paths. They don’t always look like our first choice – but they are our best ones – not because of how they appear, but because of how He appears as we walk down them.

He never calls us down sinful or abusive roads. He doesn’t encourage us to make decisions out of shame, guilt or regret. These are not God’s motives. When we move towards Jesus, we always move towards great love. If this isn’t happening, we are wise to question the originator of our plans.

So, where am I today, with my decision?

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. (Ps. 27:14)

I have brought my decisions before the throne, not fearing the unknown and trusting God by not walking on my own. And, it has been amazing! He has made the decision as clear as day for me.

Will this always happen? Likely not.

But, God’s abundant providence will always show up as we seek after his righteousness in decisions. Even if we don’t have clarity through questions, he will provide the ultimate answers because we are diligently seeking his kingdom in the process. 

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Mt. 6:33)

This is Godly assurance.

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Time to Give Up (Linkup)

Giving up

Have you ever heard that small little voice in your head?

The one that says, “You can’t really do that.”
The one that says, “Why try, you won’t be like her.”
“No one really cares.”
“You don’t matter.”

This is the voice sent to knock us down.

To throw us off track and to keep us back.

It has tried that with me – to say that requirements and protocols are greater than God’s great call on my life.
To say that others’ will succeed and I won’t.
To say, no one will really want you.
To say, you need to do things your own way – make things happen.

These thoughts, so often, propel me into self-protection mode.  A mode where I have to strive to be loved. Compare to find encouragement. Delay to protect myself from failure. Or simply waste into the effects of self-doubt.

Jesus speaks of giving up our lives for others.

So, how can I be giving up my life
when I am trying to grab hold of it for myself?

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  John 15:13

“Self thoughts” – are not “God thoughts.” They are simply red flags that show I am off God’s track for me.

Because “Self” weakens courage with words of debilitating doubt and flat-out failure. Self makes us live like leeches: drawing affirmations from others and consuming criticisms that destroy all the same. It makes us reliant on blood, but not the blood of Jesus Christ.

No wonder we don’t really get anywhere. No wonder OUR purpose stagnates. No wonder we feel unsure.

When we break free from God – only to see our self – we break our spirit, our passion and our great mission handed down from God above.

The hard truth, and it is hard to believe sometimes, is that: God’s purpose is not centered around me.

With God, it’s never been centered around one person – except for the one who hung on a cross.
The second we see it is all about Him, is the second we step into God’s great mission.

Then, we don’t lose God’s great vision.
We stop running like a gerbil in a hamster.
We no longer lay claim to discouragement.

God moves in and inadequacy moves out.

God, the supreme dream maker moves in.
The visionary leader moves in.
The requirements shatterer moves in.

To move us into life-lasting and eternal purpose.
His purpose.
A grand master plan created uniquely just for us to live out.
One that transcends us, time, people and the devil.

He send us down roads that he knows will bless us, even though it’s not always about us. Our roads may not look like we planned, they may not send us where we intended to go, but all the same they will drop us down on our knees in complete awe and wonder. They will stagger us.

We can’t begin to fathom. We can’t draw this up ourselves.
And we certainly can’t attain this with voices that are not from God.

As we listen to the right voice, we will see his greatness unfold through us, for us and for others.

As we set our eyes on him,
his unique and well-thought-out mission comes into view.

One that is not defined by our desires.
Or necessarily our dreams.
Or others.

But solely by the power of his loving authoritative hand.
Found through hearts that trust him.

Found by ones who have a deep understanding that God is for them – and not against.

Can you hear the power behind this?

God is at work in us and through us, as he works his grace and love.

In this, we can wave our white white flag wildly in surrender. Over here God! Do you see us? We are the ones who want to go where you want to go. We will follow you, not that small voice of defeat.

We can live wildly, passionately and with fervor. We only need him. He is the only way. He is the ultimate way. He will unfold both our heart’s desires and his “kingdom come” here on earth. He is working all things out. Let’s listen.

***Side note: I couldn’t get this post right today. I tweaked it until the last minute. The voice of self-doubt creeped in the whole time I was writing it. All I could hear was “this really is the worst post you have put up.” I wanted to take it down, but I am fighting that voice and posting it right now.  I am fighting back because Jesus reigns – not self-doubt!

Find encouragement in this amazing song of purpose!

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