Purposeful Faith

Category - Regular Contributor

When You’re Cheering On the Sidelines

cheering on the sidelines

Post By: Katie M. Reid

My dad said that if I got a tattoo or was a cheerleader he wouldn’t pay for college.

Years after I graduated, I almost caved and got a tattoo, but backed out at the last minute. It was going to say something like, “Follow the Way of Love”.

I didn’t exactly avoid the cheerleading thing though—cheering for others is something that naturally springs forth from within.

No, I don’t cheer on the sidelines for sporting events—except when our kids are playing soccer, then my husband and I are completely obnoxious and embarrassing, we’re so competitive!

But I do cheer for others as they pursue their dreams. I love to inspire others to take the next steps and to jump higher. I enjoy celebrating like a fool when a writing friend gets a book deal or a speaking friend gets an invitation to a national conference.

I am genuinely happy for my friends when they succeed, and I would do a back handspring for them, if I could—I tried to master one in gymnastics but never did get the hang of it.

But here’s the thing, when I see others sailing through the air—reaching new heights—it’s easy to feel left behind, grounded and insecure.

Recently, I confided in a few friends about how I was feeling as I saw others soar. It was embarrassing to admit that I was having a 38 year old temper tantrum—this first-born over-achiever doesn’t like to be left-out or passed by.

One of these friends prayed that God would give me clarity in my mission so that, regardless of what others are doing, I will feel peace pursuing the things that He has put in my heart (thanks Kelly!).

So I prayed this prayer. And you know what I felt like He said? Help others be successful.

I’m not going to lie, this was not really what I wanted to hear! It was, and is, such a pride-buster to my striving and driving self.

And maybe that’s exactly the point.

God knows what I need and that truly, deep down, I want to be more like Him than be liked by the masses—it’s buried down deep in there somewhere.

I read this the other day and it hit home, right in the epicenter of my success-driven self,

“Do I want to make a difference or do I want to be famous?” -Kimberly D. Henderson

That’ll shut you up—or at least me up—as it speaks to the heart of the matter.

Do I want to climb the ladder or am I willing to hold the ladder for others?

Do I want the accolades, the fame and the win, or will I stoop, support and assist in order to hoist others to the heights that He has prepared for them?

Are you sure God? So basically You want me to be a cheerleader, so that others have a greater chance at V-I-C-T-O-R-Y? This is hard on my pride God, but I trust that You know what is best. And, thank You, for wiring me to cheer and come alongside others. It hurts sometimes as I’m stretched and bruised but it is a privilege. Forgive my unbecoming greed for gain and help me to be committed to holding the ladder so that others can climb.

Follow the way of love. I didn’t tattoo it on my foot, but He wants to write it on my heart and help me walk it out.

Jesus stooped down—from His royal throne—to come to earth and be the ladder between us and God.

Jesus made a way for us by serving, sacrificing and surrendering so that we could be restored to a right relationship with Father God, if we choose to believe and make Him Lord.

He offered Himself—holding nothing back—out of Love for us.
Oh, how I fall short of this kind of love.

May we make Jesus famous in our lives as we bend to exalt Him.
May we trust Him with our dreams and let His Spirit lead each step of the way.
May we care more about connecting with Jesus and being known by Him than we are about gaining connections to be known by others.
May we celebrate well when God brings others success—and maybe even learn how to do a back-handspring too.

Katie M. Reid Headshot

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com

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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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Let’s Choose Humility Over Pride

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I turned from the swing and saw him standing there, fresh cut flowers in hand and a smile on his face.

“I’m sorry. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

I embedded my face in his chest and wrapped my arms around him. An apology and flowers weren’t what I was expecting, but I was grateful for both. I breathed in the soft, earthy scent of the lilies and took them inside.

He wasn’t sleeping well, and I knew the early wake up call from our son didn’t help. We’d exchanged some harsh words and tones that morning, and our day hadn’t gotten off to a good start.

But instead of trying to justify himself that afternoon and push the issue, he chose to extend love and grace. He chose humility.

As I stood over the kitchen counter, trimming the stems and arranging the buds in a tall vase, I thought about my husband’s actions. How much better would our relationships be if we chose to grace over our need to be right?

So often, I feel like I’ve lost my ability to breathe if I can’t get someone to see things my way. But the longer I’m married and the more I work to build strong, thriving relationships, the more I see it’s often the way we respond to conflict which makes us grow.

Can you imagine how boring life would be if everyone thought exactly the same way you did? Many times I think it would make things easier, but it is our differences which stretch and grow us.

As often as I find myself in the world of black and white, there is much grey. There are areas where we have to let the Spirit give us discernment and wisdom.

When I dig into the word, it does not tell me how the wise person is the one who asserts her view of every situation and proclaims it as the ultimate truth.

No, James speaks of a different kind of wisdom.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13 NIV

Wisdom is shown through humility and service, not the loudness of our voice.

A wise pastor once told me Jesus didn’t go through his earthly ministry proclaiming, “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong, and follow me.” Although there were times, such with the Pharisees, when Jesus pointed out the immorality of people’s actions, he spent much more time healing the sick, binding up the brokenhearted, and leading by example.

There will be times when conflict is necessary and we must speak the truth in love, many disputes are best handled with a simple apology. Even if you are not the person in the wrong, sometimes God calls us to put aside our pride and put the relationship first.

When my husband left work one Tuesday afternoon, he chose humility. He exemplified the very nature of Christ, and chose grace over his need to be right.

And as his wife and someone who often picks the wrong path, I am inspired to follow his example.

I pray God will fill me with his Spirit, so I can extend grace in my time of need.

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

Guest Contributor

 

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

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

The River of Delights

River of Delights

Post by Angela Parlin

This is my view all week, sunup to sundown.

It’s summer vacation, and our family loves to spend these days at the beach, just a couple hours from home. Our first morning here this year, I opened my Bible to these fitting and beautiful words:

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!

People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;

You give them drink from your river of delights.

(Psalm 36)

From this day forward, I think I’ll refer to the Atlantic as–The River of Delights.

Which makes me feel like Anne Shirley, but it’s true. Is there anything so irresistible? Crowds pour onto the sand each day in agreement.

The ocean overwhelms me, with shades of blue as far as the eye can see. Something about standing in front of this vast body of water lulls me home inside. When I’m here, I remember–this power is God, this beauty is His, these constant waves roll in like good gifts He’s always giving.

God serves up drinks, from His river of delights. He lays out a feast, from the abundance of His house.

Other scriptures say:

  • He shows us the path to life.
  • He fills us with joy and eternal pleasures.
  • He blesses us.
  • He fills us with good things.
  • It is good to be near God.

We could fill pages with similar lines from Scripture.

Is this how you see God?

Sometimes I’m oblivious to His delights. I miss this part of Him. Yet joy and abundance and life are part of who He is and what He offers us.

I wonder how we ever walk through days without this consciousness.

Maybe delight is crowded out by a critical spirit or cynicism or complaint. Maybe we’re focused on what we bring to the table instead of who God is. Maybe we fail to understand the whole picture of Him or we simply forget.

His living and active Word and His stunning creation repeatedly remind us. We feast on the abundance of His house; we drink from His river of delights. But who?

Who enjoys this abundance? People who take refuge in the shadow of His wings.

When I think of taking refuge in God, I assume there’s danger–some kind of storm. A cancer scare, a searing loss, a terrifying fall or some other difficult trial. Many verses speak of taking refuge in God as our shelter from danger or sickness or troubles.

But I find an interesting connection between taking refuge in the shadow of His wings—and joy + delight + abundance.

What does it mean to take refuge under His wings? Some versions call this hiding ourselves in Him or putting our trust in Him. It also means we find JOY in Him. We seek Him above all else, and we see all these earthly pleasures as gifts He sets before us.

Every sunrise, every sunset. Every ocean. Every mountaintop experience. Every encounter with people we love. Every delicious meal. Every ordinary day. Every vacation or adventure.

It all comes from the abundance of His house, another satisfying drink from His river of delights.

In sickness and in health, through storms or sunny days, may we revel in His gifts, with hearts turned toward God.

May we live, deeply grateful as we hide in Him, taking refuge in the shadow of His wings.

For with you is the fountain of life ~ in your light we see light. Psalm 36:9

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

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.

Linking with 3D Lessons and Faith Barista.

Pay Attention to Road Signs

Pay Attention to Road Signs

Post by Katie M. Reid

As I dropped off my kids at Vacation Bible School I could hardly stand up. I was depleted. It felt like work to walk up the stairs, to have a conversation and to drive home. In fact, I didn’t go home but went to my husband’s office and crashed on the couch there.

Four months of staying up too late—burning the midnight oil to chase a dream—had taken its toil on my body. I was exhausted and sapped of energy.

I had sacrificed the hallow for the hollow.
I had ignored the warning signs and worn myself out.
I had neglected my post at home in order to type out another post here.
I had left the secure to grasp at the wind.
I had traded the best in pursuit of the good.

Running ragged and on the brink of shut-down, I had to recharge immediately or my battery might die.

I was disappointed in myself for thinking I was invincible. I needed more sleep but had ignored the wise counsel of God, my husband, and others.

I plowed forward, at breakneck speed, right into a heap of exhaustion.

My marriage suffered, my kids felt ignored but it was like I couldn’t stop, even though I knew I was driving in a danger zone.

I had once judged others for being workaholics, but, as I devoted more time to creative things—writing my heart out, recording an album, capturing beauty all around—I saw never-stop-working tendencies rise within me. I was a workaholic but few people knew it because I worked from home.

Hypocrite.

Yet, a strange thing happened. His grace found me in the unraveling.

When my reckless acceleration caused me to swerve—through days, nights and months of striving—He provided an escape ramp to keep me safe.

God used my weary body to get my attention.

Through feeling lousy He woke me up.
Through past mistakes He showed me a better way.
Through almost losing it He provided another chance.

His kindness, in letting my body suffer, revealed my need for repentance, to go His way, not speeding ahead nor lagging behind.

The enemy likes to mess with us, using whatever strategies he can to keep us off course.

He might try to freeze us with fear so we don’t offer what’s in our hands.
Or, if we do offer, he likes to turn our offering into an idol.
Or if we keep offering anyway, he likes to breed jealousy, insecurity or pride in our hearts as we lift up what God gave us, to reflect His glory.

Be mindful of his schemes (see 2 Corinthians 2:11).
Examine yourself to see if your motives are driving you straight towards destruction (see Proverbs 14:12 and Lamentations 3:40).

Release your grip on trying to make things happen.

Learn to unwind in His Presence and trust His timing.

You can experience that wind-in-your-hair freedom that comes from driving down open roads, and pursuing the places and spaces that He gives you. However, please learn from my mistakes, don’t turn down a path that leads to unnecessary injury to you and those with you.

Pay attention to the signs that He posts along the way.

Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”

Dear God: Oh how we need you. It’s easy to get side-tracked on this earthly journey. Help us to hold fast to Your Word and not wander away. Forgive us for running ahead of You, grieving Your Spirit by thinking we know best. Help us not get hung up on past mistakes but freely accept your grace and walk forward with You. Thank You for protecting us from the enemy. Thank You for shining Your light on our sin. Thank You that as we acknowledge You, You make our ways straight (Proverbs 3:5-8). Amen.

Katie M. Reid Headshot

Katie M. Reid is a Tightly Wound Woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in  the everyday moments of life. She delights in her hubby and four children and their life in ministry. Some of Katie’s favorite things are writing, singing, speaking and photography. She is a contributing writer for Purposeful Faith, God-sized Dreams and enjoys helping others take the next step in their relationship with Jesus and their God-given purpose. Katie would love to connect with you over on her blog, katiemreid.com.

For the Not-So-Shiny Days

Post by: Angela Parlin

Some days, the sun shines, and I jump out of bed early. I slept enough hours without any interruptions, and I feel good. I start the day with the Lord and a run and then the kids come trickling out of their rooms, ready for the eggs I’ve made. Then I head upstairs for a quick shower with some great music to help me get happily ready to start the homeschool day.

Some days.

Other days, it’s much harder to see beauty–because other days look a lot more like chaos. Can you relate?

Maybe someone needed me in the night, or I stayed up late with Jimmy Fallon.

Maybe the kids leave their rooms an hour before the time we’ve set. They forget to complete their morning chores, and so the laundry piles up and the bedrooms are a mess.

Maybe I’m tired and it’s a cloudy day and I don’t have time for quiet time and I didn’t get a run and I haven’t made breakfast and I don’t feel well.

Maybe.

Do you ever think about the back-and-forth of our lives? The up-and-down? Does it frustrate you the way it frustrates me?

I can get on such a roll of seeing-the-beauty days–of good, productive mornings, of day-before preparation, of starting the day out right. But then–something changes. Often, I don’t even see it coming. A cold. A sick kid. A misunderstanding. A big disappointment. Hard work that doesn’t yield results. Whatever it might be.

Then I get on a roll of seeing more chaos than beauty.

The kids are still waiting on me, so I have to quickly figure out how to deal.

How do you deal with days that look more like chaos,
with the cloudy days and your own clouded mind?

Last week, on one of the not-so-shiny days of my life, I learned that I have developed an unfortunate habit. That instead of dealing with the chaos, I try to escape.

After trudging through a rotten morning, I sent the kids off to read in their bedrooms in the afternoon. I was discouraged, and I spent a few minutes praying to the Lord about my problems, asking Him for help.

And then I moved on.

I COULD NOT WAIT to sit down on my comfy sofa to turn on Gilmore Girls, and so I fixed a glass of iced tea and resumed my position.

But as I sat there, I felt a holy conviction.

I knew it wasn’t my own voice, because my voice said–There’s nothing wrong with this!

And that’s true. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Netflix, or many other forms of escape.

But there’s a problem sometimes with the way we use them.

I felt the Spirit saying, Run to Me. Seek Me. Look to Me. And I saw my error.

I realized how often I seek the Lord—and then run off to my own fix.

My fix, which feels comforting at first, always leaves me wanting.

I saw that I was trying to escape my life rather than working through the hard parts, while looking to the Lord for His strength.

So by God’s grace, I started a new habit. I hope it will continue to be the way I deal with the not-so-shiny days.

I’ll seek the Lord, and then I’ll wait on Him alone—especially on the difficult days.

Because as Lamentations 3:25 says, The Lord is good to those who WAIT for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. (ESV)

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. Isaiah 40:31, AMP

 

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.

 

Find Beauty in the Restlessness

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

The feeling swept in with the morning rain clouds, as I sat by the window drinking coffee. Restlessness.

There were no defining edges to it. I couldn’t quite grasp where the emotion came from. It was just there. And it consumed me.

I daydreamed about moving to another town. We’d lived here four years so it was time, right? There were plenty of good reasons to migrate further south.

Like my mom’s stroke last year. Being over five hundred miles away was not ideal, and my parents weren’t getting any younger.

And I won’t even dwell on the winters here. This southern girl learned how to use a snow shovel a few years ago and purchased a new set of all-season tires, but I’d prefer not to have to use either.

Yes, I change of location was exactly what we needed. Wasn’t it? I was sure my restless ache would stop when the scenery became white sand and Palmetto trees.

But as the sun set later that evening and I watched my boys soaking up the last daylight hours, I sensed God speak.

Look for the beauty. Right here. Right now.

I saw the way the rim of the mountains slowly transformed in pink and deep blue right before nightfall. I felt the crisp evening breeze I often longed for on the sultry, humid evenings down south.

I watched the boys play and laugh with friends they’d made at church and smiled when the teacher bragged about my oldest son at a school fundraiser.

Later that week at dinner, I listened to women I’d grown to love share their kids’ latest antics and make plans for summer camping trips, trips to the pool, and marshmallow roasts.

Yes, there was beauty here. In all my restlessness and longing, I was missing it.

Sometimes instead of changing my situation, God changes me.

He wants me to see with his eyes and notice the blessings right in front of me. He is molding me and transforming me, and the some of the biggest, most life-changing transformations start with gratitude.

A full life isn’t made of moments counting down to the next major event. It is made of the moments we count our blessings.

 There may come a time when God moves us closer to my family. He knows how much I miss them during their absence and how I long to savor the time I have left with them.

But he also has an assignment and a ministry for me right here, within the walls of my home and in the community around me. When we are faithful right where we are, God is honored.

 He is glorified when instead of counting the days until my next trip south, I am present in the now.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 NIV

Today, if you’re feeling restless and cannot seem to pinpoint why, I encourage you to count. But don’t count the minutes until vacation or naptime or bedtime.

Count blessings.

Instead of counting the minutes, let’s savor the day.

Guest Contributor

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

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

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

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.

 

The Change Starts Here

Blog post by Abby McDonald

For months I wondered what would happen if one of the city’s homeless graced the doorstep of our church. Would the lady I’d often seen walking the streets be welcomed in with warm smiles?

Her tattered comforter was always wrapped tightly around her like a cape. It seemed to be her only source of security as she made her way from one location to another.

What would occur if she came to this place which could bring her hope not just for this life, but for eternity? Would she be given looks of disapproval?

My husband and I had spoken with her before, asking how we could help, but were turned away. She continued wandering around the canal, setting up a small camp of belongings here and there. I couldn’t get the picture of her out of my mind, the way she always seemed to be talking to no one in particular.

Then one day she was there.

She stood at the doorway to our small church as worship began. Instead of being given looks of disdain she was invited in not once, but three times by various people.

She politely refused.

As I heard about the interaction she’d had with the church, I uttered praises to God. Whether she’d chosen to come inside or not, a seed was planted that day.

It was a Sunday just like any other. But that Sunday she saw a little bit of Jesus here on earth.

He said,

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least one of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:45 NIV

It isn’t about you and me, friends. It never was. Whatever we do to those who are lost, hurting, and wandering the streets, we do to Jesus Christ.

If Jesus stood at the doorway of your church, would you invite him in? Would you recognize him?

Every day, we have the opportunity to bring a little bit of heaven down to earth.

Many times, we choose to go about with our everyday lives, blinded to the world and the great need around us. And we don’t have to travel across oceans to find it.

We can simply look across the street or in our back yard. We can look into the eyes of a depressed new mom who needs a friend or a young soul who’s been transplanted so many times she lost her anchor somewhere along the way.

The desperate and hurting are everywhere around us. We simply have to open our eyes.

I wish I could say the homeless woman had some miraculous salvation experience that Sunday morning. I wish she’d accepted the invitation to come inside and had felt the warmth of Christ’s body around her. However, that isn’t what happened.

Our job is simply to plant a seed. Often, we don’t see the results on this side of eternity, but we plant them nonetheless. It is God who makes the seed thrive and flourish into something beautiful.

Today, my prayer is that the Spirit will soften my heart just a little bit. I pray my vision will be widened beyond the walls of my rancher to the widow next door, the lonely down the street, and the callous around the corner. Whether I deliver a meal or simply engage in conversation, I can make a difference.

Change starts when we move from an attitude of “I’m only one” to “I’m the one.”

Guest Contributor

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

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

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Why We Need Revival (Linkup)

Truth Lies Rooted In Him

By Angela Parlin

Even with truth living in and around me, somehow the lie came along too.

I believed in Jesus so young. No major questions, just a big Yes, I believe. I don’t ever remember saying yes to the lie, but it followed me anyway.

It’s the oldest lie on the books, the same lie that poisoned Eden. It wears the mask of something more, something better. But it spoils. After it weasels in to take root in our hearts.

God doesn’t truly love you, not enough. You need more. That’s the lie.

Did you know we can hold the truth in one hand, and reach for something better with the other?…

Continue reading this post at Angela’s blog – click here. And don’t miss the #RaRaLinkup today as Angela Parlin hosts it on her blog!

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