Purposeful Faith

Author - purposefulfaith

10 Reasons to Stop Being Hard on Yourself

Hard on Yourself

I should have done better.
Why did I do that?
I am such an idiot.

Ever spoken these words over yourself? I have.

I take all the things I have done and I judge them for my performance, my worth and my value.

As if these things are the summation of all that I am, can do and will be.

As if these things determine my day, my faith walk and my feelings.

I am hard, oh so hard on myself – hit-myself-with-a-2×4 hard sometimes.

But, is this even godly?

Is this even biblical?

The truth is:

1. He already handled them as he poured them all out over Jesus on the cross. (Is. 53:6)

2. He seizes them up and throws them out. (Jo. 1:29)

3. They are taken and covered by his holiness, grace and righteousness. (Ro. 4:7)

4. God moves my sin as far away as my hometown is from Chinatown. (Ps. 103:12)

5. They are lost, not to be found. Pardoned, for those he has saved. (Jer. 50:20)

6. Like a dead body thrown in the water, never to be seen again, God throws our old sins into the depth of the sea. (Mic. 7:19)

7. He remembers no word of them. (Heb. 10:17)

8. He blesses us in the process of removing our sin. (Ro. 4:8)

9. The guilt, the shame, the part that we feel responsible for – he nailed to that cross. (Col. 2:14)

10. He leaves us white, holy, renewed, revived, whole, complete, righteous, pardoned, sanctified and justified in him. (Ps. 51:17)

As the weight of sin moves out the weight of hope can move in.

A weight of hope that shows us:

  • We are holding the hand of the innocent lamb, until the day his kingdom comes.
  • There is a future, a plan and a glory awaiting us
    because we belong the one to whom all our sin belonged.
  • There is nothing that can come against us,
    because the deal is done, the war has been waged and the victory belongs to Jesus Christ.
  • The power of love is as attached to us as an arm-brand marking us as owned.
    Jesus’ love is forever ours.
  • We have still-water peace always available through the power of knowing God,
    not striving for him, but simply knowing.

Jesus died so we didn’t have to.
He sent the Spirit so we could live day-by-day with a new and living hope.
This power is alive and active – in us.

Do we rely on it?

Do we see it?

Or, do we operate by pounds and pounds, weight over weight of shame and guilt?

When we let the power of shame, guilt and discontentment take hold, the power of God is squelched. Yet, when we see God’s power for what it is – powerful – and his sin bashing skills for what they are – working, we live free to walk in the hope, love and grace that is Jesus. 

I think I hear God calling me today, to let go of performance, praise and perfectionism. I pray, that with humble hearts, we all can let go of what we are not, to grab hold of all that Christ is (death that ends our death so that we can have life).  The truth is that he rejoices over us and wants us to believe and activate the power he has already handed over.

“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17

Linking with #DanceWithJesus and #FiveMinuteFriday.

You Are Not Safe

not safe

It’s the thing we are on a constant pursuit of – but can never quite grab.
The thing that promises peace, yet looks miles away.
The carrot we run after but can’t seem to touch.

We dream of being armored up, impenetrable, uncompromised,
so we save up our bank account money,
we get alarms to keep bad people out,
we put up internal walls to keep other bad people out,
we run from love,
we hide from ourself,
we pick up vices,
we seek a way out…

..all to feel safe.

I know that I have done many of these things.
Finding safety in a man.
A hope.
A dream.
Finances.
People.
Compulsive habits.
Controlling pursuits.

Somehow I thought if I could only help God out just a little, maybe he would do the same for me, maybe I could make all things right and maybe I could avoid all the crud that constantly comes after me.

But, my best attempts always prove out my biggest flaw (I hate that): I simply have no control. Like a drug addict, I take another hit – seeking more control to fill the empty hole that shows I have no control.

It’s like I know the truth, but as one chasing the wrong hope, I move from pain to pain.

It seems, the more I seek to play the hand of God,
the more I play into the hand of the devil
(he wrote the book on control-seeking after all).

He has a field day with hearts in right field, the ones looking all around, rather than looking up to see the ball God launched to save the day, to make us cheer and to help us win. 

When we aren’t looking, sometimes God lets us get hit by the ball to learn who really had the ball all along.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8

You see, without God, we will likely be shaken. We will likely feel lost. We will feel like the inside of us is rocking and we have no control over it.

David knew this.

He seemed to know the more he pushed out his shaky feelings to his steady God,
the more his shaky feelings would be unshaken.

David had every reason to feel unsafe, but he leaned on all the reasons God would make him safe.
He spoke it to himself like a man trying to pound belief into himself. And, it worked.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Ps. 4:8

He also knew this verse to be true: My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Ps. 121:1

Perhaps this is why God had declared him: ‘…a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22

How did he do it?
He believed in unstoppable power of God’s lightning ability to save –
and acted accordingly.

Like David, how often do we face the dire with God’s fire?

Words of fire that says:

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:7–8).

Safety is never a feeling.
Safety is never a circumstance.
A result.
A change of heart in another.
A structure that protects you.
A gift in life that makes it all ok.
A physical condition.

All of that can go in a blink of an eye.

It is simply knowing that God is the only structure that will one day bring complete eternal safety – and, until then, he is the only house that keeps guard over your inner shell protecting it from the pain of the outer world.

He can always keep your heart safe. Surely, sometimes he changes circumstances, but, what he always does protect is your heart – if you just let him.

And isn’t that really what we are after – at the core?
Hearts that feel ok?
That know they have the ultimate way?
That can be at rest.

God has you. You are safe in him. He will lead you on the way you should go. He is for you, with you and in you. Be encouraged – you are armored up in his protection, his love and his grace.

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

Linking with Suzie Eller.

Are you Ashamed of the Gospel?

Are you Ashamed of the Gospel?

4-years old and on fire for God, who can say that isn’t a great thing?
It’s all find and dandy until your son starts to push the small parameters of your own faith.
Then things start getting sticky.

Just yesterday, although this certainly is not the first time, he ran up to me saying, “See those kids playing over there? I am going to ask them if they know God. Is that ok mommy?”

He loves to do this. He tells them about God. About Jesus. About the bible (like I said, he loves God).

Shouldn’t I be happy?

Yet, my first reaction is often:
Their mom is going to hate me.
My son is going to get hurt one day.
I am going to feel embarrassed.

Part of me wants to protect him from feeling alone and cornered for what he believes.
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Tim. 3:12

Part of me thinks that I must protect his faith and his feelings, like a mother bird guards a nest.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 1 Cor. 16:13

Part of me wants to protect myself from how his words and Christianity make me feel.
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mk. 8:38

But this kid and my “self”, don’t even belong to me,they belong to God,
so how can I let them rule me?

God is the only one in control
and it is his Word and his will that will rule, reign and refine forever.

My efforts are fruitless; his Word is fruitful.

I don’t want my heart boiling with the fire of God
while my actions are cool with the complacency of social correctness.

I don’t think that is cool with God.

So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–
I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev. 3:16

How can God’s Word slice and dice broken hearts
into powerful, new and free creations 

when we tremble over the cutting process?

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mk. 16:15

Perhaps, God is calling us to see the world, much through the same eyes of my 4-year old.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 18:3

Through eyes that see:

A world needing the joy and love that he knows.
Friends who we want to meet in heaven.
People in need of Jesus.

My son doesn’t seem to care too much about the smiles, the cordial greetings or the good gossip spoken over him, but simply the heart that stands before him.

He seems to have not been jaded yet.

Somewhere along the way though, I have.

I have let people’s opinions become as valuable as gold,
while letting God’s standard go beneath the fold.

Have you?

Perhaps instead, we refine our first thoughts to ask, “Do they know Jesus?”

Of course, it may not be the first question we ask, but perhaps now we will recognize it as their first need. Then we can ask ourself, “How might I first speak Jesus into their heart?”

To internalize this question is to verbalize life-defining words that endure the test of time. 

Did you like “Are you Ashamed of the Gospel?” Get more Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Linking with Holley Gerth and Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Are you a blogger, don’t miss yesterday’s #RaRalinkup.

Staying Faithful When Issues Mount

When Issues Mount

They start small until they climb on your back and squeeze the air of faith right out of you.

They have a way of making the stack of  bills reign higher than the power of God.

The medical issues stand taller than God’s capacity to care.

The relational problems break you into tears rather than into submission to the One who knows.

They are called mounting issues. Personal. Medical. Relational. Financial. Mental.

They take you on a ride like this:

1. You start with faith, looking straight ahead at God.
2. You talk with people, think of the issue and dwell on the problem and get afraid.
3. Your eyes start to look left, and right and left and right.
4. Your worst nightmare starts to take form.
5. You become sure of it’s overwhelming power to take you down.

Then they make you feel like this:

I’m going down.
It will never work out.
God, where are you?
They will always hate me.
I will never recover.
I will never be left the same.
I can’t do it.
I am horrible.

Problems of today have a way, of making us fear the feelings of yesterday.

I remember the fortress of my school.
The incapability of one girl who was powerless to change anything.
Who was uncertain about the next pain that may come my way.
Who felt the result of people’s issues rather than a product of their love.
I remember the embarrassment.

That past mocks all my dreams.
It reminds me that pain will repeat.

It reminds me I either need to fight or flight. 

What does the past claim true about you – today?

The reality is – it’s gone,
and fighting proves worthless
because you can’t fight something that isn’t real;
if it’s not truth it simply doesn’t exist.

But, hushing away feelings never works. The only way to go is to see the one who sees far more than the stalker of fear living in your mind. To see the one who waits, looking, hoping, believing that you will see him – the one who is always following you.

And, while you may think it is over, he doesn’t.

He knows it has only just begun.

Because he is ready to come close, to know, to stay with. He is ready and willing to aid and assist.

He is amazing that way.

He sees the inadequate, unable, and unsure one and says, “You can do it with me, because of me and for me. Stay right there with that truth. You will be okay.”

He spoke these same kind of words to Joshua -the second string, the rookie.
He spoke belief into a man who had monumental issues in front of him: uncertainty, a sea that stood in his way and a towering fortress shining his incapabilities.
He said, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Josh 1:5

What if God was to show up and to say that to you?

“Hey (fill in name here),
I was with Moses,
so I will be with you (name),
I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Might these words make a difference?

Might you remember the bush, the manna, the Red Sea, the God, the hope,
the promises, God’s faithfulness to you?
Not if you just heard them, but if you really believed them.

Perhaps, then, you, like Joshua, might think,
“Wow, this God is really for me.”

Perhaps then you would have the courage to open your sea of despair to allow a new heart of courage to carry you to your promised hope.
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Josh. 3:5

Perhaps then, you might set your forehead-to-floor knowing one stands higher than all your perceptions.
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” Josh. 5:14

You might even hear the way to go, the heart to have and the whispers of truth
rise above the status of your bank account, your health check-up or your kid’s report card.

You might even have the heart to march around what stands against you to shout the truth of God over it, around it and before it to see God work through it.  And to, even, maybe, see it all fall down (if that is what God has planned for you).

On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Josh 6:4-5

Imagine seeing the walls of pain and piles of grief standing before you crumble. They aren’t bigger than your God.

The truth is that in all cases he may not make them completely disappear, but God has the power to crumble circumstances authority over your feelings. He has the authority to set you on a new path, to forge a new way to bring you into the promised land of his peace.

Hear the words the Lord said to Joshua as he was preparing to be courageous and do not let them lightly pass over you (seize them as he seized the city): “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:9)

Mounting issues, the past and our feelings are not our inheritance, God’s promises are – and we have already made it to the Promised Land, let’s lay claim to it much like the Israelites.

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

3 #RaRalinkup Updates:
1.  Sign up for the NEW Cheerleaders 4 Christ #RaRa Facebook group page (this is different than the prayer one I set up). We will be rolling out a new element to the #RaRalinkup that I want you to be a part of. Details are forthcoming soon. Join here.

2. RSVP for the #RaRalinkup breakfast at She Speaks. Exciting news, prizes and challenges will be shared at this event.

3. Visit next Monday. All of the bloggers who submitted guest posts will be featured on July 13. I couldn’t pick just one, this is not the spirit of the #RaRalinkup or this blog. All win, all are chosen, all are loved! Mark this day in your calendars. Support your sisters by retweeting and mentioning them on Twitter. 🙂

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Grace Changes Hearts

Grace Changes Hearts

I did everything all wrong.

And when I mean wrong, I mean – wrong. Really wrong. Horribly wrong.

Wrong where it makes your heart beat out of your chest because you are a good Christian blogger girl and those type of good girls aren’t supposed to act in these types of bad ways – in a mean-girl kind of way, in a self-righteous kind of way.

Whoops.

This person was loaded to the brim with a huge loss and I let their response to my prayer throw me off the my clear running pattern of love.

To add insult to this horrible injury, I also retaliated. I retaliated with vengeance over a mean dispute about – (brace yourself) – prayer.

I can only imaging God’s delight
as I fought so vehemently for his truth, can’t you
(please sense the sarcasm)?

Instead of arguing over theology,
what if I was set on praying for humility?

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Tim. 2:23-24

I let my pride walk like a bully
in front of another’s aching need to vent a pain-ridden heart.

I let her shot take me down,
completely missing the fact that she just needed a straight shot of love.

Her words weren’t ever about me, they were all about her and her dire situation.

Why is it that sometimes in the moment we can’t see?

I can’t help but think, this is why our wise God so often instructs us
to listen more than we talk.

When we can see that others piercing words are really just responses to their own threats, we can act in compassion. 

How can we get angry with those people who are in deep pain, frustration and irritation?

So often people block what they most need, because the severity, the weight and the presence of their issue is suffocating. And, sometimes, coming above water means miles of vulnerability that is frankly too scary to swim through. The distance can seem daunting and shoreline can seem unreachable, so they act in fear.

And, fear is never known for staying contained, it seeps out to reach its gnarly arms around all those it encounters, it hurts those it never intended to. It causes pain.

Yet, when grace meets another’s fear, God’s supernatural placating abilities are activated.

When we:

die to self no matter how the opposing side treats us,
see another’s needs above our own,
remember that we have acted much in the same way,
grab on to the truth that God has placed us in this person’s path for such a time as this,
extend a hand when it looks like the other person might cut it off
and we believe, hope and trust that he will forge truth in the unsaid…
we are operating from grace-power accessed at God’s throne.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16

Christ’s grace is the lifeline to hope.
It’s the split-second that a person has to find the light of Christ through their moment of need.

Not by our rescues, or by our insults, or our control or our power, but through his small words spoken in the silence of need.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Pet. 4:10

Then, the door to safety, truth and fearlessness appear – to us and to them. All are granted an opportunity to see the way, the truth and life of Christ in this moment.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11

Grace changes hearts – including ours.

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Being a Perfect Christian

perfect christian

Proud, happy and all buttoned up, I’ve been the good-girl Christian skipping along my merry way.

Moving just a little faster.
Standing just a little taller.

That is, until my face meets the concrete and a land flat on my face, bruising my image.

Injured and shocked, the impact of the hit
impacts my heart with the truth, I’ve been missing Christ.

Have you ever gotten so concerned with your image that you missed His?

Believed your faith is what makes others want his?

Or, let your high standing in Christ’s family, make you feel just that – high and better off?

When performance leads our charge, when we think we have all our stuff packed perfectly, tightly and detailed into our favorite bible of choice, when we parade a little taller, a little higher, with a little more insight, when others are not doing things right all the time – we better yell, “Stop” to our heart, because we are about to fall.

I know I should have done that.

Perhaps, I would have saw things more clearly, before letting the critiques of others spill out on the floor. Perhaps then, my contents wouldn’t have displayed a load of pride and a pound of judgement and a dash of negativity. These things don’t taste good and they certainly don’t go down with feelings of Christ’s love.

For the most part, others turn and run at their stench.

Oh Lord, let this not be me.

Yet, somewhere along my way, I mistakenly began believing that godliness equates to giftedness, goodness and greater access. 

I became that unfavorite person I so often look down on.

A Litmus Test: Are You Better-Than-Thou?

Do our prayers sound more like this? 
‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ Lu. 18: 12

Or do we come and pray more like this?
“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” Lu. 18:13

When we see our sin nature as a worldwide epidemic that hasn’t left us spared, we see we really are just like the taxman slumped in the corner of mistakes, turmoil and pain.

We see we are that jacked up. No better or worse than others – just saved.

Saved, not from neediness, but from eternal fallenness.
Our embrace of this truth gives legs to humility
not a heart set on growing in earthly nobility. 

Perhaps this is why Christ looks at the first man, the Pharisee, and says, “If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Luke 18:14

I learned the hard-knock way.

I am more a Pharisee than a needy sinner, and it feels good to see. Christ does not condemn me. He loves me. This realization returns my heart to Jesus like the slumped man needing a fresh touch. It returns me to the place of need, where I, like all my fellow man, sit.

This place is a place of unity, togetherness, hand-holding, anticipation of Christ’s work.

A place of relief; it removes my show-off, to turn the power of God on.

It brings Christ to the places that I can’t deal with –
leading me to the most downtrodden, contagious and dirty people.

It brings him into my weakness, into my pain.

perfect Christian

May I boast only in my weakness.
Paul knew this is the power prayer.

May it be one of our favorites too: God, help us to boast only in weakness. Forgive us God, sinners. We miss you and need you. Teach us your ways God and lead us in your paths, lest we fall on our face. May our humility be the artery that allows your work to flow to us and through us. Amen.

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Linking with #DanceWithJesus and Five Minute Friday.

Need Rescuing?

Need Rescuing

I remember the times when I didn’t know who I was or where I was going.
I certainly didn’t think I had the power to hold firm, fast and strong in the face of big waves.
My life bounced left, right, up and down and I seemed to move with the winds.

I felt out-of-control and as lost as a shipwrecked vessel looking for it’s next savior.

And, then I found him.
He showed up.
And anchored me.

He set my feet on new paths, through new ways, giving me a new hope.

But, what is so amazing about his anchor that it is not like a traditional anchor. What history proves is that anchors of yesterday are made of solid rock.

And, this makes a whole lot of sense to me, because as one who was pulled from the meaningless sea of nothingness and turmoil and fear and hopelessness, I remember where my security was derived. I remember that rock; I know it well.

It is him. 
The rock who is precious.
Bursting at the seams with hope.
Expanding my view with his power.
Exploding with virtue to continually rescue.
The corner stone.

For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 1 Pet. 2:6

Oh, how once I was disappointed, but now I am not.

This stone gives new strength in the winds of failure, of not being, of not knowing.

This stone, time and time again, gives us a chance to see new places, new people (and old for that matter) from new sight. In our safety we can see their heart wrestling through their own storms, verses solely focusing on ours. It revises our view of the world as we burrow deep down into his safety.

His anchor holds normal anchor power, but at a magnified rate. His rope is always attached, confirming we are taken, owned. This rock can’t leave us. It is always nearby. It sometimes steadies us for a time of enjoyment, of pleasure and other times it steadies us to prepare us for something greater, something bigger – like preparing our heart, fishing for men, or for traveling afar to bring good news.

The solid rock of Christ doesn’t always remove us from the storm,
but it always secures us as we get through it.

The point is – it is hope encapsulated.

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? Ro. 8:24

It sums up the definition of hope; this rock has hit death in the face and knocked down it’s power to fight us back from eternity. Hope is resurrected.

Plus, it is certainly the only way to endure a storm to encounter, not just peaceful, but joyful and celebrating waters.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Heb. 6:19

It can’t be untied from our bow; if we know that rock, he is forever tethered to our soul.
This rock is as present as the reality of the pains that hit us; they can’t take us down.
It secures the deepest places that shake inside of us, so we become steadfast in his will.

The eye of the storm has no power of the rock that holds our lives together.

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Knowing Worship

Knowing Worship

This may be the oddest blog post you have ever read, but I am just going to go with it – brace yourself…

My writing chair, is more of a writing chaise, it faces my patio where I watch birds peck around for their next God-promised meal, pesky groundhogs graze on my grass and raccoons duck their heads into the light.

But, what my eye is drawn to the most is that small, sweet little chipmunk – the one that so often pounces around my (ahem, dead) flowers.

I love these little chipmunks. They are so sweet, so precious, so free of long tails, glowing night eyes and stinky smells. They touch my heart because when I look at them – I see innocence.  Pure, humble innocence. Not savage instinct, but a joyful presence. They are the good amidst the smelly. The humble amidst the powerful.

Christ kind of looks this way too – the spotless lamb that shines out among dirty humanity.
The pure vessel amidst the ugliness of sin.
The joy to behold in a world that has a ravage hunger for everything it can consume.

“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 1 Pet. 2:22

Singular purity.
All-encompassing morality.
The definition of unity.

Jesus – a walking breathing sacrifice, always giving, completely offering, genuinely treading earth for those who need his touch – a spotless, sweet, pure and whole example.

And, while the chipmunk is no equal to the Savior of the World, the chipmunk surely has been created by him. And, he shines his glory all the same, because all creation has been made in adoration.

all things have been created through him and for him. 1 Col. 1:16

I guess this is why God kind of stopped me in my tracks this morning (literally).

You see, as I drove my car, I saw him. Right in the center of the road – my chipmunk.

Dead. Pure. Humble. Small. Run over by the world.

My heart broke.

Just lying there, on the ground.

Slain, undeserving of that pain.

Like the pure one. The beaten one. Driven over by our sin. Thrust down even though he offered so much. White as snow and humble down the road to death. 

We forget that image sometimes. I forget it.

But, I don’t want to forget. I want to remember. I want to hold it like a locket over my heart that protects all the goodness, the love and the renewal packaged within.

I want to hold it so tightly that it seeps right out of me into the savagery of this world.

To the customer service lady who drives me up the wall.
To the husband who had too quick of a retort.
To the bills that stack high.
To the children who need a little too much.
To the poor who I would rather not see.
To the friend who really does need a helping hand.
To the coveted time I don’t want to dole out.

To my heart that can’t forgive – or forgive itself for that matter.

May his purity laid down for us, seep right into us and out of us. He loves us that much.

Cleanliness, slain – to reach our pain.
Hope, released – and purpose gained.
Life, secured – so we may endure.

None for him and all for me.

Today, let’s join the impending orchestra of all creation as we sing his truth:

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” Rev. 5:13

One day, every knee will bow, tongue confess, mouth sing, heart see, eye understand who is King.

One day all will know,
until then, let’s live today like we do.

Knowing, not just saying…
Giving, not just mouthing…

…to the one and only. To the one who deserved royalty, a crown, an 11-course tasting menu, the heights of glory, the strength of power, but who endured the status of the worst sinner, the ridiculed idiot and the lowly donkey rider.

Let’s lift our hands to him today.
Let’s see his glory reign today.

To the one who lives, holds all power and waits for our much-anticipated arrival.

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When People Look Like Trees

People Look Like Trees Sight

Today, I am delighted to have Angela Parlin, a regular contributor to Purposeful Faith, posting today. Angela is full of wisdom, grace and truth. Her words have a delicate tone that gently guide my eyes to God every time. I hope you delight in her words today as much as I do.

Post by: Angela Parlin

“God won’t stop until we can see everything clearly.”

~David Lomas, The Truest Thing About You

Just when you start to think you have Jesus figured out, He spits in a man’s eyes to heal him in an unconventional way.

It’s the only gradual healing we find in the gospels. Typically, Jesus touched someone, or they touched Him, and His touch healed them instantly. At other times, He simply said the word, and a person was healed.

In Mark chapter 8, Jesus healed a blind man in a two-stage process. First, Jesus led the man outside of town and spit in his eyes.

I’m not even joking. And the oddness only increases. Because this is Jesus–who holds the power to heal anyone in any way—and it almost seems as if He messes up the miracle, at least the first time around. Read it for yourself:

…When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

He looked up and said,

“I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes.

Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:23-25)

Now we all know Jesus didn’t mess up the miracle. He is able to do anything He wants, in any way He chooses. I think He healed the man in this unusual way in order to teach us some things about our spiritual sight.

Just before this healing, Jesus fed thousands of people with a tiny amount of food. He also walked on water, calmed a storm, healed many others, and cast out demons by the handful.

His disciples were near Him, and they watched it all. Yet they still didn’t see.

They still didn’t understand.

Jesus reminded them what He had done, right before their eyes. You can almost see Him shaking His head and asking,

Do you still not understand?” (verse 21)

We can be really slow learners. We can be near the Lord, and still not see Him for who He really is. Things are still blurred.

We see something, a glimpse, and think we understand. Because we comprehend more now than we did before.

But maybe what we see is the equivalent of people who look like trees walking around.

Most of the opening of the eyes of our hearts, occurs progressively, over time.

Most of our spiritual progress can’t be measured by leaps or bounds.

Every conversion is different. Every restoration is unique. But many of us only see dimly when we come to Christ. Then He continues to touch us and restore our sight until it becomes clear.

This miracle illustrates the way He opened my eyes, and continues to open them to new and deeper truths year after year.

As Jesus heals our spiritual sight, we will see Him more and more.

He’s not done yet. He will be faithful to complete this good work He’s begun in each of us.

Does that stir up hope in your heart the way it does for me?

Dear Jesus, Make us see…

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the fullness of day. Proverbs 4:18

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.

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Beating Shame to The Ground

beating shame

I took down the pillars of protection to share my heart – and she trampled it.
She said, you really need to get over that feeling, you have to fix that.

It was a “What’s wrong with you?” comeback, to an “I already feel terrible” confession.

It hurt.

Was she right that I needed to change? Of course.
But did it make me want to? No way.

It made me want to add more and more pillars so that no person, no way, no how could knock the walls of my heart down again.

But should I?

Does it benefit me to become just as wrapped up
as a present heading off to some distant land?

Wont this kind of approach keep me just that – distant?

I am tired of distance. I long for closeness. I long for unity. I long to see beyond name brands of clothes and schedules of kids and discussions on traffic. I long to know someone deeply, so deeply that they can speak in to my heart and that I may speak into theirs – empowered by God’s truth laser focused into deep needs.

I long for this and God does too. He tells me to be truthful.

But what do I do when the responses of others
want to shut me up as tight as a submarine in 800-foot waters?

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Prov. 12:19

A moment is pretty much a waste – a momentary smile, a momentary cheer, a momentary friend.

I want what lasts, what counts, what heals, what works, what transforms. The answer is always Jesus.  And Jesus was never so concerned with buttoning up his vest to hide that he missed all the opportunities to love.

Because of that, his love is always available to me…
As others batter me.
When the world comes against.
When I feel like running away.

His resurrection power awaits, when I feel body slammed to the ground of shamefulness.

Perhaps the greater lesson in sharing is learning that
my heart is not set on the ups-and-downs of others words,
but on the solid-rock of Christ.

Then I can follow through on God’s calling, which is to:

1. Encourage each other.
We feel most encouraged as we share and others see the real person God created us to be.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11

2. Confess to one another.
Sharing is the starting point to confession.
Therefore confess your sins to each other… Ja. 5:16

3. Pray over healing.
You can’t heal what you don’t know about.
…pray for each other so that you may be healed. Ja. 5:16

To breathe in the power of God, we must exhale the truth of our heart. As our spiritual hunger surfaces, his healing, love and power will seep into our deepest reaching infections.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. Mt. 7:6

Certainly, there is wisdom in this great unveiling. We share with those who understand the delicate nature of pearls. With people, who don’t reside in stinky places that want to make our stuff stink too. 

May we have the wisdom to know the difference. May we see their dwelling places (trough or temple?), as we share the dwelling place of our heart.

We won’t always be protected from shame, but we will know God has us all the same.

And, perhaps we will see that:

The leap of spiritual growth is well worth the moment of vulnerable uncertainty and insanity.
Although we may feel naked, God sees us as we are – and loves us anyway.
Intimacy is the greatest way into the heart of God.

Deeper love. Deeper pursuit of God’s hole-filling abilities and a more powerful pursuit of Christ – this is all ours as we take down our pillars of protection to see through God’s eyes.

In a way – we can’t lose. 

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Gal 6:2

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