Purposeful Faith

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Is Your 1-Word Resolution Holding You Back? (Linkup)

Resolution holding you back

When I found myself getting irritated at the wide pronouncements of one-word resolutions, I started to wonder, “What’s my issue?”

How can someone not like words like:

Why am I so frustrated as others passionately pursue the Lord?

Sure, I picked a word – it’s “patience.” It was wisely given to my by a friend.

Patience in writing.
Patience with my husband.
Patience with my kids.
Patience in growth.
Patience in relationships.

Yes, I see the value.

But, what I can’t handle seeing – at the end of my year – is failure. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see the shame, regret, fear and embarrassment tied into that. Why should I set myself up for this?

So I find, it’s simpler to get annoyed and to avoid.
It’s easier to hate than to embrace.
It’s safer to go protected than to become dejected.

So, I push goals, dreams and hopes out of the way to protect a heart that could break along the way.

Truth is, I know I will fail in many ways.

I won’t be patient. I will get irritated. I will blow up at my kids and probably my husband. I will drop the ball. I will mess up. I just know it – and I hate that.

I hate that I can’t reach out to all I want to be – and grab hold of it.

And, underneath it all, I guess this is what really aggravates me about 1-word resolutions.  We will all fail in our own way.  We will all do the exact opposite of what our 1-word is.

Good luck on that 1-word friends!

For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)

And, he is not content with stagnant hearts that hide from his life-giving, love-producing, purpose-provoking truth.

So he says to me, “Kelly, running from failure is running from me.”

And, who can argue with that?

Failure is the beginning of something new.

Failure is the meeting point of love.
Failure is the hidden treasure – we let go of self and grab hold of Christ.
Failure is the heart of growth.
And the starting point of hope.

Jesus doesn’t stand as a judge of 1-word resolutions.
He doesn’t demand a 1-year illusion – here today and gone tomorrow.
He is not a master of confusion.
Ready to throw us into seclusion.

This is not our Lord. He never withholds love –
and he doesn’t shame us based on failures.

In this, I realize our resolutions don’t stand as a barrier to his love –
but as a conduit for it. 

I realize if I stop aiming to please him, I can start aiming to just behold him.
Because a student best receives, when she isn’t trying to do things her own way.

failed resolutions

Deeply, so deeply, I want to remember:

  • We are safe in his sacrifice. Held tightly, cupped in his loving hands.
  • Secure. So secure in our position as children of the most high King.
  • In the safety of his love – and the finality of his sacrifice – we can embrace grace and all the gifts extended through it.

A grace that doesn’t stop at our failings.
A love that is never given to be taken away.
An eternal position that can never be snatched.
A God that doesn’t give to steal away.

What kind of God would that be?

Truly, all wrath is gone.
All that remains is love.

Because of Jesus, I am safe – safe to move forward in perfect love. Love that casts out all my fear. Love that conquers all.  Love that makes me an overcomer. Love that let’s the Spirit of God pour out from me. I can’t even comprehend the start and end of this grace.

So, the Lord just says to me…

Patience, Kelly. Patience.
You are my work in progress.
It is not you that is at work – but it is me.
At the proper time, you will be exalted.
Do you trust me?
In my good time (which may well be more than a year), you will be patient.
You are my work, my craftsmanship, my love.”

And, in these truths, I can rest. I can rest because there is no condemnation left for me. It’s gone. It is gone for me and it is gone for you.

So for now, it just becomes a journey to his destination. In his timing. In his way. Until the day until he flings open the gate to welcome in his new creation – that he made me to be.

Until then, I will rely on him during the process of being patient.

And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 JB)

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How to Go with Jesus

How to Go with Jesus

Life gets so hectic. It gets busy. It gets overwhelming.

Many times, I sit with two children screaming their heads off and I don’t even know what to do. Or, I look at a pile of work that needs to be done, but I have no time. Or, look at the Mount Everest of trials and I have no idea how to ski down.

In these moments, I have to wonder – what do I send?

Do I send love?

Or, do I send irritation, aggravation and frustration?

Because a lot of the time, the world seems to act on me. It seems to send me into a tailspin. One where I just spin in circles trying to grab hold of a tail I can never quite reach.

And, my aggravation, at my lack of control, often sends me on a rampage to dump frustration on those I love.

My environment becomes a result of my circumstances.

I know God calls me to rise above this, but why can’t I? What holds me back?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

Is it that I send my mind down roads of thought that they shouldn’t be traveling on?

When life breaks down, when circumstances come to topple – I can choose to send my heart to Jesus. I can choose to send my thoughts to the Word of God. I can choose to send out to others a heart that ministers to their needs, instead of one that is being swallowed up with mine.

Jesus will help me.
He understands trials.
He knows the chaos of life.
He has the right answer for me.
He can get me through.

Jesus, you have told me to go. Send me down your paths, send my according to your ways. Send me, so that I may find true, joyful and meaningful life – because when you send, no one who is encountered by you is ever the same.

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Pray Without Multitasking

By: Angela Parlin

We are two weeks into the new year, and I’m ready now to declare my word.

Near the end of last year, I thought it might be strength—as in living in God’s strength and not my own. I wrote it on the front page of a new journal, but it didn’t feel like “the one”.

As I studied strength, it took a backseat to prayer.

Because there’s no living in God’s strength without wholehearted, earnest prayer.

So this year my commitment is simply to Pray–in a consistent, intentional, wholehearted way.

I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but I think some prayers are easy. Many years ago, I read about practicing the presence of God, and started a habit of talking to Him throughout the day, believing He’s near.

I whisper lines of thanks or requests for help to God throughout the day. I ask Him regularly for wisdom, especially as a Mom. I keep a list of family and friends’ needs, knowing He waits for us to come to Him, and He listens.

I trust that God is able to do more than all we ask or imagine. 

We have needs, and God is able to meet them. Furthermore, we are busy, so these throughout-the-day, on-the-go prayers work for us.

But other times, prayer feels hard, even unnatural. Other times, prayer requires us to put down everything else we’d like to do at the same time.

That’s the kind of prayer I struggle with. To put that more honestly–that’s the prayer I often don’t pray. The one where I close the door to my world, and enter the presence of God, with only God and nothing else.

What about you? Do you regularly slow down to be with God alone?

I don’t think it comes naturally to most of us, to make a full stop in our lives and stay with Him a while.

We tend to do everything in our power, first.

We rely on ourselves instead of relying on God.

We value self-sufficiency, and pride ourselves on independence.

Or we’re rarely alone, and when we are, we turn on something noisy, so we don’t feel alone.

In my quiet times, I love studying books of the Bible. But the hard part? Pouring out my heart to God and listening for Him through the silence. Which is to say–I like to learn about God, to get to know Him through His Word, but I struggle to just sit with Him.

Back in December, I wrote down a few goals for this year. Since then, I’ve realized my goal above all goals for 2015 is to spend time each day, praying without multitasking.

I commit to daily adore God, thank Him, confess my sins, and lay my requests before Him. And then to wait in the silence for His Holy fire to fall upon my heart.

At each and every sunrise you will hear my voice as I prepare my sacrifice of prayer to you. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on the altar and wait for your fire to fall upon my heart. Psalm 5:3, Passion Translation

Will you join me? If the Spirit is calling you to spend time daily, praying without multitasking, let me know and I’ll be praying for YOU. Come, Holy Fire…

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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.

Let the Lord Fill your Inadequacies

Let the Lord fill your inadequacies

Lately, I feel like I have been operating in the weeds.
I can’t seem to catch up with the constant list of to-dos in my mind.
I can’t seem to organize my disorganized life.
I can’t seem to find peace amidst the shuffle of bills that need to be paid.

How do you do it all?

I feel like I am running after the impossible, yet I know the Lord has called me to run towards Him. I have heard his call loud and clear.

So, I run towards my calling. I run to offer soul-quenching words to weary hearts. I run to be a full-time mom to two kids. I run to be a great wife to an extraordinary husband.  I run to be a strong bible leader in my community.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:14)

I want to live my life in a way, where at the finish line called heaven, I fall down at Jesus’ feet knowing I gave it all to him – and for him. I want to run this race with my whole heart. I want to run this race with power. I want to run this race with focus.

I won’t back down on this. God has placed this desire in my heart for a reason. I won’t pretend that who he made me to be is not good enough.

Because, really, aren’t my organizational deficits just eternal badges of honor for the heart work that I am laying for the Kingdom of the Lord?
Aren’t the to-do’s that I can’t seem to do, just things that are in the peripheral view?
Aren’t they things that I will eventually get around to do?

Why let them rule me?

Why let them define my worth?

Why let them dictate my effectiveness?

Because, momma can’t do it all. She can’t do it perfect, all the time.
It’s impossible.
God doesn’t call us to that.

And, perhaps it’s ok to feel overwhelmed sometimes, because feeling flooded by the waters of life, gives us the chance to walk on the waters by faith. It gives us the chance to reach our hand out to Jesus so that he can help us supernaturally walk on water. Here, we can rise above the flood. Here, we can trust the living water.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid. (Mt. 14:27)

And, maybe, it’s much more about trusting than doing.
And, maybe, it’s much more about being than striving.
And, maybe it’s much more about being filled than being skilled.

Because the Lord says, when we pour out, he will pour right back in to us.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

So we can give up our hearts. He will fill them.
We can give up our time. He will hand it back to us.
We can give up our closets. He will return us something much greater.
We can give up our perfection. He will pour into us his love.
We can give up our anxieties. He will dump peace all over us.
We can give up our fears. He will measure back courage.
We can give up our own ways. He will return to us His.
We can give up our best efforts. He will shower us with his love. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:13)

Let us fill up on Him. Let us fill up with his ways. Let us fill up so we can run hard. Because, when we do this, we will be filled with joy and peace – ready to be poured out abundantly, on others, as we run our race for the Lord.

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Actually Keep your New Year Resolutions

Keep Your New Year Resolutions

Lose weight. Work out. Be patient. Act kind. Grow closer to God. Stop a bad habit. Is it possible to actually keep your New Year resolutions?

We all want to be better, act better and do better – but often our well-intentioned resolutions – end up as New Year illusions, leaving us tied up in confusion.  We wonder where we went wrong? How we dropped the ball?

Many times, it’s easier to altogether avoid New Year claims then to deal with the fear of their pending shame.

But, Christ doesn’t model stagnant living.
And, he certainly doesn’t call us to avoid improving because we fear losing.

So, how can we truly change?

In my mind, I want to change, but my heart fears that I can’t. I fear I’ll drop the ball. I fear that my dreams will become just that – dreams – unattainable distant images. So I raise a wall of indifference out of fear that I’ll let both God and myself down down.

As always, the Lord doesn’t remain silent when truth needs to be grasped. And, in his always-faithful way, he answers saying, “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.” (Is. 28:16)

And, it’s just this cornerstone that makes all the difference. It’s this stone that holds it all together.  It’s the foundation.  The stone that prevents everything from falling.

It’s the stone that holds me together. It’s the stone that will be my foundation. It’s the stone that cements all resolutions.  The one that allows the entire structure to stand firm. The one that we can build upon safely. The cornerstone – Christ Jesus.  

What is the foundation of your resolutions?  Is it your own work?  Your own might?  Your own strength?

Or, do you rely on the stone that will never let you be put to shame (1 Peter 2:6)?

The stone that let’s hard work stand.

Because the truth is, without Christ, all resolutions disintegrate.
By ourselves, we will crack, chip and crumble.
In our own strength, we’ll build foundations of quicksand.
Quicksand that will swallow up all our well-intentioned efforts.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 3:11)

Many of my own works, desires and New Year pursuits have been built on my own goals, ideas and dreams – rather than the foundation of the Lord. In this, they were almost all destined to fail.

Build your Resolutions Upon a Firm Foundation

This year, my resolutions will be built upon a firm foundation. A foundation that is completely reliant on the chief cornerstone. A foundation of intentions that are derived from him, focused on him and rooted in my trust of him.

Because if they aren’t – all resolutions will quake to the floor – and the only resolution that I will be left with is a resolution to clean up a mess of well-intentioned goals.  

Christ changes it all though. With Christ as a foundation, our buildings are secure, established and indestructible. Yet, without him, our work is in vain.

“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” (Ps. 127:1)

  • We can safely build upon the cornerstone, by seeking the will of the cornerstone – Christ Jesus – in our lives.
  • We can safely build upon the cornerstone by submitting ourselves to his work.
  • We can safely build upon the cornerstone by asking for his help daily.
  • We can safely build upon the cornerstone by embracing his grace when we start to slip.

Then, at the end of the day – when we gaze at the Lord’s work, we will marvel at it’s beauty. Rightfully and naturally, all glory and honor will go to him – the master carpenter, who builds in perfection.  

It won’t be vain or about our glory – or our demise – but it will be all about the ultimate builder.  The one who builds beauty, holiness and eternal structures of significance.

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Immanuel “God is with us”

Post by Christy Mobley

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, God with us.” Matthew 1:23

It was the week before Christmas and I was feeling the stress, instead of Christmas, I felt more like Chris-mess.

Yes, I was knee-deep in wrapping paper strewn clear across the floor, with boxes and ribbons and bows and more.

It looked like the world’s kind of Christmas to me and less like the one I thought Christmas should be.

You might say I was bah-hum-bug at this time of year, all I really wanted was to feel God was near…

It was early Saturday morning and I was already stressed. It didn’t help that I neglected my time alone with God. Somehow on this day, my to-do-list which was already a mile long, got a VIP slot on  my morning schedule. I had people to shop for, a party to plan, and for sanity’s sake, I needed to clean up the ginormous mess on the floor where I had been wrapping gifts the night before.  And, I knew if I got organized I might even find those pesky scissors I was sure were hiding somewhere beneath that pile of gift wrap and tangled ribbon!

The whistle on my phone, alerting me to a text, momentarily distracted me from the tasks at hand.

The text was from a new friend. I say new, because Sheri had started visiting  our life group at church a few months ago. As a group we had been praying for her mother who had been in and out of the hospital for cancer treatments. Other than church, we didn’t communicate.

But recently that all changed. She started sending  me texts to keep me up-to-date on her mom’s progress, and in the back and forth we forged a friendship.

On this particular morning she texted me to let me know her mom had taken a turn for the worse. I had never felt prompted to visit Sheri before,  but when I read the text that Saturday, I heard God whisper into my heart, “Go. Go be with her now”.

Though, I instinctively knew this whisper was from God, I have to admit I texted Sheri back, asking which hospital her mom was in, half hoping it would be on the other side of the universe so I’d have an excuse to get back to my mile long to-do-list which didn’t include a hospital visit.

However, as God would have it, Sheri was close by. Little did I know, God would have my new friend change my Christmas from stressed to a Christmas blessed.

I rallied my husband and off we went.  We arrived at the hospital room just as another couple were leaving. I was relieved to see Sheri was not alone. We visited for a while, and before we left, David and I prayed for her and her sweet mama. Sheri seemed at peace, and I was glad I had put my to-do-list aside for a while.

Later that afternoon, I heard from Sheri again, this time her text gave me goose bumps.

It read:

“Thank you for coming to the hospital….cool story. Early in the morning, about 1:30, the nurse tried to reposition my mom.  It was heartbreaking to see her in so much pain.  I left and went to the hospital chapel to pray.

I got on my knees and prayed for my mom, and I prayed for God to please not leave me alone. I feared the dark abyss I fell into after my divorce.  I slept for about two hours from 2:00-4:00 and was awakened by an audible voice saying, ‘I am here’.

I looked around, but no one was there. I wasn’t dreaming, I knew what I heard.

About 7:00 a.m. a friend responded to a Facebook post and asked if she could come to the hospital. Then one of my old neighbors came by, then you and David. Later, my friend Harrison from NY called, and then Diane.

My heart was full. It was God, He heard my prayer and didn’t leave me to be alone.

God was near. God was here.

For the 400 years prior to the birth of Christ, God was silent. His people didn’t hear from Him. They felt alone.  Galatians 4:4 says, ” … when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son…”  and Matthew 2:3 says that his son “….will be called Immanuel, God with us.”  God sent His son, at just the right time, to be with us so that we would never have to be alone again.

God heard Sheri and was there for her.

He heard my longing and was there for me.

In allowing me to take part in this Saturday morning miracle, He brought the real reason back into this Christmas season and changed my Christmas mess to a  Christmas blessed.

At just the right time He blessed us with the gift of His presence.

Immanuel, God is with us.

Christmas is not about tinsel and bows, it’s about God sending Jesus to earth’s humble abode.

He came so we’d never again be alone. He came so we could one day call  heaven our home.

 Merry Christmas friends!

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. If you would like to connect with Christy you can find her at www.christymobley.com

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3 Encouraging Truths When You Feel Stuck

When you feel stuck

Do you feel stagnant? Like you are trying to accelerate, but your car is going nowhere? There are truths when you feel stuck.  Do you know them?

At times, we all feel stuck. We wonder, “Are we making a difference? Serving a purpose? Changing lives? Impacting the world? Is our life adding up to anything meaningful?”

Like a car spinning its wheels, we feel the same. Round and round we go – going nowhere. Pushing and pushing with all our might – but we stay suck. Pressing and pressing our gas pedals – but our wheels dig in deeper.

It’s aggravating. Frustrating. Demoralizing.

It doesn’t matter if we steer in the right direction, because we aren’t going anywhere. So, we look up to God, and ask, “Why?” We feel like giving up.

I sludged around in the mud for so long. I spent much of my life working in jobs that never satisfied. I often arrived to work with a smile – and left for home with a frown. I felt purposeless. Passionless. And, disappointed in myself.

During this time, I realized:
To live without cause is to feel like a fraud.
To not make a difference is to become indifferent.
To fake like you’re okay is to put on a good play.
To not see results feels like an insult.

I believed – and still believe – this is not how God intends us to live. God desires us to be authentic, patient and enduring.

Yet, so many days, I can return to this place of “stuck”. I may want bigger progress. More lives changed. I may want to do better spiritually. Or to be a better mom. Or to have circumstances improve. I may just want to feel closer to God.

Often, I just feel stuck.

But, God is faithfully teaching me that, many times, he is diligently at work to get me unstuck from life’s muck. Even more, we tend to best receive the Lord’s sermons when we are stuck in muck.

It is here where we can’t move, where we have to wait, where we must be still. And, we hear the Lord in profound ways.

The Lord has 3 critical lessons he wants us to grab hold of, instead of our life’s steering wheel:

1. God has us just where he wants us to be.

He knows where we are. He sees us. He has not forgotten about us. This place of frustration is a place of transformation. It is in this place, where we must stop and wait on him.  It is here where we can find his love, his direction and his guidance.

It’s in these places of “wait” where God’s work really gets started. This muddy ground is his best working ground. It is here, where he molds us – growing us in patience, endurance and perseverance.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

2. He is preparing, reforming and transforming us to do his work.

Fear not. Even though we feel stuck, it doesn’t mean our lives have gone amuck. Because it’s here we can choose to trust, grow and sow. As we sow faith, we let go of fear. As we let go of fear (sometimes the fear of mediocrity), true purpose surfaces – it is here we find – our calling.

The bottom line of true calling is pleasing and serving the Lord.
When we let go of fear and indifference – we start making a difference.
We understand that he is at work – in us – instead of us demanding to have him work – through us.

We spin our wheels less and he produces more and more fruit. Fruit that we can go share with others. In this, we find rest, encouragement and renewed passion.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)

3. God put a calling in our hearts. Listen and follow.

God made us with a purpose and for a purpose. Perhaps we are still in the training stages. An Olympian cannot just walk out on the track and get the gold. Likewise, there are hard training days that accompany our work for the Lord. We have to put the hard work in. Work that is endless, tiring and ongoing.

God is sovereign; he decides the proper time to exalt us. We can wait on him. Even if that time of exaltation is at heavens door, we can still trust in his plan.

Let’s not miss the moment. Because the most important calling for our lives is not the one we dream of – but the one that he has already placed in front of us – for this exact moment. Let’s not miss it.

Let’s call out to the Lord.
He will help us.
His words will guide us in our way.

When we stop focusing on our circumstances and start focusing on him – things start to happen.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Ps. 32:8)

We can’t give up our drive; this was placed in us by God. But, we must keep our eyes on the one who provides “the way”. Then, in God’s perfect timing, our wheels will stop spinning – and start moving us to destinations we never dreamed.

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The Gift of God-With-Us

Post by: Angela Parlin

For a couple months, we’ve looked forward to hosting two sisters, who are orphans, in our home this Christmas. We selected clothes for them to wear, rearranged bedrooms, stocked up on groceries, and scheduled outings. We shopped for Christmas gifts, wrapped them all in red and black glittery paper, and hid them in a closet.

It’s been great fun, preparing for Christmas and getting ready to welcome these little ones into our family for a month.

But then, this week happened, the last week before they arrive. You wouldn’t believe how many things went wrong. (As in, not according to plan.) My stomach feels knotted up. I’ve had to remind myself to breathe. I’m having a really hard time slowing down, especially enough to pray.

We’ve known all along that this could be an amazing month–or it could be a very difficult month. But it’s like this news just now caught up to my insides, for the first time. All the concerns, what ifs, and fears floated to the surface.

I want to look forward with faith, to anticipate great things from God. I don’t want to feel so incapable, or worry about details. I don’t want to give fear some big, shouty platform in my life.

But I don’t feel I have much control over my anxiety right now. So last night, I put myself to bed early. But first, I read a chapter of Luke, where an angel tells Mary she’ll give birth to Immanuel (God With Us). And then I fell asleep thinking about something he told her:

The Lord is with you.

We need that reminder, don’t we? Because sometimes, we know it in our heads, but we live as if we’ve completely forgotten.

Today, I’m still fighting anxiety, so I looked up some places where the Bible repeats this truth, The Lord is with you.

I read about Jacob, who dreamed of a stairway between heaven and earth, where the Lord stood and clearly said to him, I am with you. He woke up and realized, The Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. (Genesis 28)

I can relate. Can you? I have not felt the Lord with me this week. I’ve fixed my eyes on my concerns and to-do lists, more than I’ve fixed my eyes on Jesus. But the Lord is in this place, in this week, even when I don’t feel that way.

I read about Moses, when he considered himself unqualified to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God said, I will be with you (Exodus 3), and then showed Himself to Moses in so many visible and miraculous ways.

I found numerous reminders of God’s nearness in the Psalms. The Lord is near to His children; The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. (34) God is an ever-present help in trouble. (46) The Lord is near to all who call on Him. (145)

I read parts of Isaiah, where the prophet shares these words from the Lord—So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41)

I read about when Jesus arrived in this world, as God-With-Us in the flesh. And then before He left again, He told His followers–Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28)

I could keep going, keep on finding this truth repeated.

The Word of God offers us this beautiful gift—The Lord is with you. It’s a truth we need to remember, and a truth we need to act on.

Whatever your struggle this Christmas, whatever your anxiety, whatever your pain, whatever difficulties you face, please remember this, friend–the Lord is with you. So take your concerns to Him!

God’s Word promises:

  • He will give you rest.
  • He will fill you with peace.
  • He will help you.
  • He will strengthen you.
  • He will give you what you need.
  • He will uphold you.

May we remember, the Lord is with us. Let’s unwrap the gift of God-With-Us this Christmas.

~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. 

5 Truths to Replace The Lies Servants Believe

Lies Servants Believe

I love writing.  I love sharing. I love encouraging.  I love following the call of the Lord so that I can call others to know the Lord more. I love giving it all for the one who gave it all.

Yet, sometimes, when my eyes stray from the Ultimate Servant, I start to think I am the ultimate giver.

When this happens two things normally happen:

1.) I start feeling insecure, because I think results rely on my shoulders.
2.) I attempt to steal the Lord’s glory.

Tired. Worn. Weary. My eyes wander from Christ. I desire appreciation and require affirmation.

It’s so easy for the servant to be replaced with one wanting to be served.

With just the slightest perspective change, we are lured in. Why? Because serving is hard. Being less than is hard. Ministry is hard. It’s tireless. It’s sacrificial.  It’s never ending. 

It’s easy to think, “I have given so much, what about me?”

Have you ever felt this way?

Often, we servants have 5 predominate lies that grow thick and take over our mind.   God stands ready to cut them down with his awesome two-edged sword of truth.

1. “I should be doing more. My work isn’t enough.”  

We wrongly think that God values big things, big endeavors and huge results. We feel marginalized by God. Less than. We believe our work won’t count until it is bigger and better.  Sometimes, we can wonder why we are even trying…

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much… (Luke 16:10)

 TRUTH: If you are being faithful with what God has given you to do, you are being faithful. Period. The big – or small – the Lord has set before you is just what he wants you to tackle.  At our days end, we will be valued – not by how big we did things – but by how we loved, how we believed and how we trusted God with what we were given.

‘Well-done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Mt. 25:23)

 2. “Look what they’re doing. They are so much better than I am.”

The second we take our eyes off of Christ is the second we start getting big eyes for other’s accomplishments. We see. We want. We envy.  

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Phil. 2:3)

TRUTH: We are all working for the Lord.  We have the same boss – and the same goals. True joy is found when we co-labor with our neighbor.  God desires community, relationships and teamwork. He never intended for us to mark our territories – as we pursue our agenda’s. 

Instead, he tells us to consider others better than ourselves.  Why?  Because he wants us to experience the full joy of serving, working and loving others.

3. “I feel worn down. I can’t find strength.”

Tired. Worn. Weak. Weary.  We feel that ministry has become a daily grind.

…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Is. 40:31)

TRUTH: We renew our strength by renewing our relationship with the Lord.  Meaning: we remember why we are doing this, whom we are doing it for and why we have been called.  If he called us, he will clear a way for us.  We can stop striving and start resting in his plan. As we do this, he will renew our strength.

4. “Does what I do, even matter? I am not making a difference.”

We doubt the difference we are making.  We question our purpose.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Mt. 25:40)

TRUTH: If we affected one, we have pleased One.  God values the least of these. He is not looking for numbers; he is looking for changed hearts.  What you are doing does matter.  If someone has been changed, your work has had huge impact.  And, imagine all the people you have impacted who have never even told you.

5. “No one has affirmed me.  I am not any good.”

We can feel discouraged, waiting to be encouraged. We need people to fill us up, in order to feel full.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt. 6:33)

 TRUTH: When we seek after God, his kingdom, and his righteousness, we don’t need to gas up on approval. Because know we are already approved. In this, we can stand secure.  This means we don’t have to spin wheels seeking approval and affirmation. He has everything covered. 

The Lord sees us. And, as he sees fit – he gives.  He gives it right to us as we are seeking after him.  He makes it easy, he just tells us, “Seek after me and I will give you all the rest.”  

We were created to serve. When we serve based on the promises of God, we can serve from a whole-hearted place, instead of an insecure place.  It makes all the difference in the world.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk. 10:45)

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Cheerleading Link Up –

Hey Bloggers, I hope you had fun encouraging each other yesterday on Twitter (#RaRaLinkup). I sure had a blast. Click the button below to participate in the Cheerleading Linkup.  Be sure to return every Tuesday as the fun continues.

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Will They Love My Gift?

By: Katy

“Hey when ya get a chance today, find one of those big empty boxes in the garage and have the kids start getting stuff to give away.”

A text from my hubby on his way to work one morning just before Christmas last year. How sweet. How noble. What a great Dad. None of those, however, crossed my mind. Instead, I kinda went, “Ugggggghhhhhh.”

Doesn’t he know we all still have the flu? Doesn’t he know I have disinfecting to do? Doesn’t he know the kids all have attitudes?

But in the spirit of Christmas I turned off the television, grabbed a box, and sat our little army all in a row.

“It’s time to clean out the toy box.”

They know the drill. We do it bi-annually. Once before birthdays. Once before Christmas. Clear out the clutter before we add more. I know what stays and what goes before we begin. Toys on top we play with on a regular basis. Those stay. Toys on the bottom – those are the forgotten, broken or replaced toys the kids are willing to part with.

Except for last year ….


Micah Sean, my rough and tough 3rd born with a hard head and a soft heart, sat on the rug with his little legs crossed. One of the first toys out of the box – Dad the Moose. Micah named him. Micah loves his Daddy and loves his moose, so it seemed appropriate.

Dad the Moose sleeps tucked under Micah’s arm. Dad the Moose travels with us wherever we go. Dad the Moose is Micah’s buddy, maybe even his best buddy.

So when I pulled the moose out of the box and said, “Give or keep,” I already knew the answer. “Keep!” Micah yelped and squeezed Dad the Moose close. We continued with several more “keeps.” Then,

“Wait,” Micah said with urgency. “I want to give Dad the Moose.”

And he tossed him into the box. I looked at Micah. Did he really mean it? Does he know what he’s doing? He’ll miss that moose! A few minutes later Micah changed his mind and dug the moose back out of the box. Three times this happened. Moose in. Moose out. Moose in. Moose out.

I watched this little boy struggle. Something inside him said give. Give away your moose. But something inside him also ached. Dad the Moose belonged to Micah. He chose that moose. He named him. He loved him.

And then he did it. Once and for all, he gave his moose away.

“Mom, someone else can have Dad the Moose.”

Elijah, our resident animal lover and stuffed animal collector, warned, “Micah, another boy or girl may not call him Dad.”

For fear of Micah’s tender heart breaking any more than it already had I jumped in … “But that’s okay. Because when we give, we also trust, that whoever gets our gift will love it as much as we did.”

I put my hand on Micah’s little leg and through tears I praised him for his selfless act. I told him about the boys and girls who won’t have much on Christmas and how happy they will be to receive this special gift.

Then I watched … as one gift of love spilled over.

“Okay, Mom, I’ll give Louie.”

Louie, Elijah’s stuffed owl. Just a few weeks earlier, Elijah walked all over the store, carefully considering every option before he picked Louie. He chose him. He named him. He loved him.

“I’ll give away pythor too, Mom.” And here came Jonah with his prize python. Jonah didn’t even like his siblings to play with this stuffed animal. Pythor morphed into a jump rope or super hero sling. His scales were blue, Jonah’s favorite color. Jonah chose him. He named him. He loved him.

But Louie and Pythor joined Dad the Moose in the box.

photo 2  photo 1

All of a sudden this box seemed so cold. How could these gifts given from such a tender place land in a torn, dirty, plain, brown box? They mean too much. They don’t belong here …….

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)

For God so loved the world, he gave. He gave his Son.

He chose Him. He named Him. He loved Him.

Did He really mean it? Does He know what He’s doing?

God knew some would not call him by his Name. Some would not call him Savior. King. Emmanuel. But still, God gave.

He means too much. He doesn’t belong here. How could His gift land in such a torn, dirty, plain world? 

But Jesus did.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (ESV)

Our box filled up pretty quick after that.

Turns out once you give away what you hold dear, everything else is easy to release.

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8 (ESV)

God gave it all, because He loves you and me. May that truth grace your heart in a new way today. And by His grace, may this greatest gift of love ever conceived spill out of your life into the hearts that surround you.


I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it's safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don't look quite like they did ten years ago, but I've learned along the way dreams do come true ... even if you're not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife's life at www.katymccown.com and I'd love for you to visit me!

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife’s life at www.katymccown.com, and I’d love for you to visit me!

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