Purposeful Faith

Dodging The Arrows of Life

arrows of life

Here I am.
This is me, Lord.
I am waiting.
And just trying to dodge the arrows of life.

Will you run to my rescue and save the day?

I stand in a field of open vulnerability – arms wide open, head lifted, hoping. The darkness is thick and the opponents are many. I can cut the weight of circumstances with a knife and it seems they might cut me too. 

Am I going to get hurt?  Much like the good samaritan,
will I be left crying, on the side of the road?

They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. Lu. 10:30

Why do you leave good people, with bad problems God?

My beating chest is unsure,
but you say – what comes to beat me, you’ve already beaten.

What terrorizes to take me down,
was already taken down when you were lifted up.

What appears to be breaking will not only be fully molded and made, but also fully established.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 
1 Pet. 5:10

So, though my heart feels arms wide open to pain, my soul relishes in the idea that I am rescued from it.

I wrap my arms around the here, the now and say, if I don’t have faith, I don’t have anything – except fear.

Faith makes God my primary weapon.

It hushes “I can’t” and loudens “I can.”

It restores what life tries to steal: Peace in you, through you and for you.

It takes hold and makes you go.

So, I tell myself: God will do it.

He won’t abandon me to fear.
He’ll make a way for hope.
He won’t let peace go.
He will shield me from the arsenal of arrows.
If they seem to hit me, he will seemingly restore me one day.

God is closer than the pain – if I really let him reign.

He flips bad circumstances so they never look the same.
What seemed down, gives us new meaning as we look up.
What looked dark, becomes light.
What wanted to leave me for dead, leaves me with new life.

He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. Lu. 10: 34

As the good samaritan is rescued, so am I.

Do you see your rescue? Do you believe in it?

Like the good samaritan, left for dead, you are being brought back to life:

He was despised & forsaken. 
A man of sorrows & grief.
One from whom men hide their face – despised.
We did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried; 
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken…
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, 
He was crushed for our iniquities; 
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, 
And by His scourging we are healed.  
Is. 53:3-12

The more we hook up to this truth, the more we strengthen in the recharging power of amazing grace.

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Rest & Life & Everything Else

Rest Life Jesus Christ

Post By: Angela Parlin

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

(Matthew 11:28)

This verse follows me around these days, everywhere I go.

From a series I wrote last year to a recent sermon at church to a card from a new friend with this verse painted on the front. Two books I read this summer discussed it at length, and last week, our community group sat around the living room, talking about ways we need to listen to these words.

Do scriptures sometimes chase you around like that?

Like arrows, they point the way to things we need to see.

Since I know these words well, I almost read past them. But there’s gospel wrapped up in them, and they’re worth listening to again.

Come to me.

This means, first of all, to believe and receive Jesus Christ as Savior.

To come is to eat the bread of life and drink His living water, to enter through the Door and spend time being with Him.

Come to who?

Come to Jesus. Our faith should never be wrapped up in a church or other believers or even ourselves. Salvation is found in a Person—Jesus Christ.

Who should come to Jesus?

All you who are weary and burdened.

This means all of us. We are universally burdened by the weight of our sin. When we come to Jesus, we admit we are chained and He is the only way to freedom.

He desires to set all of us free from sin–if we will come to Him, humble to admit our sin.

There are other ways we are weary and burdened.

The people Jesus spoke to were spiritually weary. The Pharisees placed heavy loads on their shoulders and insisted on a legalistic reading of the law, causing unnecessary spiritual anxiety.

They were weary, and this was not the way of Jesus.

These days, many of us are weary because we rarely stop striving. Maybe we’ve swallowed the lie that we are not enough, we need to prove ourselves, and God is just waiting for us to get our junk together and DO something for Him. Also, it better be big. Flashy. Measurable.

Maybe we’re trying to keep up with what EVERYONE ELSE is already doing, or there’s another reason we work so hard. Either way, we are tired from all we’re doing. We’re burdened by commitments we take upon ourselves unnecessarily.

We may also be burdened by the demands of others, because sometimes the people we care for DO need more. Sometimes, others place loads upon us that we weren’t meant to bear. Other times, we carry wounds caused by others’ sins against us.

Jesus sees all of this. He sees the reasons we are weary and burdened, and He cares.

Jesus—the way, the truth, and the life—offers a better way.

He wants to give us true spiritual and physical rest. He offers eternal rest, as in salvation, and then He gives us even more. The Greek word here carries with it the idea of relief, refreshment, ease, blessed quiet, and even recreation.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)

We may daily enter into the rest of Christ, but this is not something we can earn. It is His gift to us, as we come to Him for life.

At first, we come to Jesus as sinners in need of salvation.

Once we know the way, we come to Him AS the way to life.

We take His yoke upon us, instead of our own. Instead of what everyone else says we need or we need to do. We learn from Him.

In Jesus Christ, we find rest for our souls. With Him, we live out the beauty of the gospel. In Christ, we find rest and life and everything we need.

I’m praying that rest is yours today,

~Angela

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 Lies You Believe (Yet May Not Realize)

lies you believe

What if I told you that as you walked outside there was a predator looming in your bushes? He not only wanted to take a bite of your skin, but entirely rip it off – savor it and devour it.

Sound creepy? Yes, I completely realize it does.

But, if this were the case, would you keep your eyes a little more open?
Might you look a little more left and right?
Prepare yourself in case of attack?

Might you do everything you could to find out who had the power to get rid of this creeper?

Of course you would.

But, do you?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8

Usually, we live more like busy-bodies than watch dogs.

We don’t look up – or around – we only look down – at our iPhones. 

We look to our extensive to-do’s, rather than our exponential God.
Destination rules on high.

Feelings of worthlessness, uselessness and hopelessness often whip us around.
Meanwhile, we don’t see the abuser standing next to us.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Jo. 8:44

When the devil lies, he often makes us lie down in defeat.  Are you discerning is voice?

5 Lies the Devil Wants you To Believe (and you usually do)

1. God doesn’t really love you that much.
How could a god that big, love one who is so small?

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Jo. 15:3
God’s love is the only thing that is always permanent and always present.

2. Your scars of the past will always blind your eyes in shame (abortion, alcohol, depression, anger, mental issues, insecurity).
You messed up so bad, you’re marked as forever bad.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
God doesn’t blind us with what we did wrong, he binds us up in what he did right.

3.  You will be destroyed by your circumstances, your relationships and your trials.
That thing is going to take you down and ruin your life; you won’t be okay.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps. 118:6
If God is on your side, you are on the winning side – walk in His stride.

4. You deserve no trials.
A good god would never let you hit bad trials.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jo. 16:33
Your good God knows bad trials will make you even better.

5.  The bible doesn’t really say that. That would negatively impact your happy meter.
God wants all happy, happy, joy, joy feelings for you – go and get it (under breath: you spoiled little brat). Consume it – the world is your oyster.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Lu. 9:23
God doesn’t say consume, he says exhume your ways and reassume his.

The devil almost always says, “God can’t – and you can’t – unless you can –  with sin. The world will eat you up, the bible will fake you out and your past will kick you out of God’s purpose.”

The devil offers: same lie, different day.
But we have: the same God, everyday.

Our best defense is knowing God is on offense.

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
​Nu. 23:19

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Filling Your Discouragement Hole

Discouragement Hole

God do you see me?

I know you say:
You are with me,
you strengthen me,
you help me,
you take my hand and keep me from falling. (Is. 41:10)

I know you say these things, I do.

But, do you really see me? Because sometimes I feel alone.

And sometimes, I look for your uplifting voice to be carried in by a messenger of your life-giving word. Sometimes I look for that. I watch for it. I wait for it’s arrival.

Is that bad God?

Certainly, I don’t want to get all of man’s approval only to lose yours.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10

If we are seeking our utmost for our highest,
we won’t demand utmost from our neighbor.

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Mt. 6:1

With God, our plays to be seen, only result in us being unseen.
Our dreams to look good, only steal our good robes and crowns.
A heart that is set on the scale of perceptions, is simply led in deception.

Yet, the crumb-size difference between reliance on man and reliance on God resides in the heart. Its always here that we can magnify our intentions to see if there is any true value in our pursuits. 

The heart that says, “God you are my master. I am serving you at all times” is the heart that God pours into. God uses all of his resources to healthily build into this kind of person: two of which are his Word and the word of others.

And, boy, you know I need it, sometimes, don’t you God?

God has placed us in a world among man for a reason.  God is the author of a timely spoken word for a reason, because he wants to fill our heart – with him.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Heb. 10:24-26

Sometimes, it’s that detailed word or a shared celebratory victory dance
that beats off despair, discouragement and doubt.

It’s the fist bump with a co-laborer
that often brings God’s next big dream to the surface.

It’s that small word of love that wipes away
the tears of “I can’t do this anymore.”

At times when you feel like you can’t lift another foot.
When you don’t know if your making a difference.
When you can’t understand how God could use a person as jacked-up as you.
When you are unsure if his great purpose will ever be fulfilled.

It’s those times, encouragement is vital, called for and a great power play in the toolbox of God.

If we need these words, these confirmations, then how much more might others need them too?

The other day, God dropped this at my feet (literally), as I was walking my son to his Vacation Bible School. A cross was lying on the floor by the door, it said:

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands. Ps. 138:8

God will fulfill it. He will do it. He will bring us through.

But, how often do we listen to the other voice, “God won’t do it. He will drop us. He will leave us. We can’t do it.”

Who reminds us of this truth-line? 
Do you remind others? They are dying for it.

God calls us to broadcast this truth with a megaphone – not in a shy, guilty or self-seeking way, but in a loud, proud and glory-inducing way.

For, the time is now. The stakes are high. The purpose is huge. The call is great. The hands must unite. The people must pull together. The sisters and brothers must live like sisters and brothers, because God’s church is waiting.

The bottom line is, I need you sisters and brothers. If I want to keep going on this thing called perseverance of faith, I can’t do it alone. You can’t either.

We all need that little push to push us beyond our own self. Christ did it when he died on the cross to push us into the unreachable places of hope and he calls us to do the same here on earth – to push others into new hope.

Hope that spreads faith,
then spreads his power,
to spread new purpose.

The more we spread it, the more God ends up spreading his own love on the slice of our heart that needs it most.

discourgement hole

So, I ask you all with the most humble heart, will you come alongside me?
Will you come alongside others?

Will you upbuild the most prized possession of God – the church –
the most active movement of Jesus Christ on earth?

This means speaking thank you to that person who can’t do it alone.
This means sharing how a message impacted you.
This means offering a small act of kindness to the one who constantly gives week after week.
This means sending a verse of love to one who may be on their last leg.
This means keeping in prayer those who always keep you in the faith.
This means generating faith in those who are starting to feel weary.

Encouragement is more than lip service
it is active service to those in need.

ANNOUNCING #UROCK!
It is your way to get involved in building the church up so high that it reaches the full heights of heaven.  #UROCK is a day of encouraging the encouragers. Whether it is your pastor, women’s minsitry director, worship leader, bible study teacher, mentor, favorite radio host or whomever, send them a tweet, FB message or email using #UROCK to tell them how much they mean to you. Offer them a prayer, a hope or a verse – it may make all the difference. Learn more.

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The Thing You Know, But Do Not Believe

Do Not Believe

There is one small shiny nugget that will make all the difference in your faith walk if you truly dig down and find it.

Not in a cliched,
I have known this forever,
of course it’s truth,
I say I believe it…kind of way.

But in a real, 
I seizing it,
I am rushing to it,
I will never depart from it
or let go of it –
kind of way.

Moving this foundational truth from background noise to real and present truth, changes it all. Moving it from head to heart will transform your faith.

You’ll more easily move from claimed by the past to claimed by God.
From owned by people’s words to owned by the owner of it all.
From feeling guilty forever to feeling exalted forever.

The small nugget is: knowing, not just thinking, God loves you.

So many times, I have lost my way without this deep-down heart-felt belief (usually when trials hit me 100-mi/min). Yet, when every morsel of my being, and every part in my heart feels unsure, unsteady and unable, I am starting to tap into God’s unbelievable strength. It stands waiting to become my fall back position, resuscitating my life – if only I give it that chance.

Is God’s real and valid love your fall back position? 

Does it catch you from landing in pits of fear, anxiety and depression?

Does it fly you high to new levels of peace and security? 

As we fall into this iron clad truth, the lies explode, and combust.

Lies can’t exist amidst the full power of peace.

Knowing this, I want to seek God’s love like a gold rush. I want to go after it. It is that valuable. I need it. I almost can’t live without it; I certainly can’t live joyfully.

May we rush after God’s love as much as we rush after plans to fix and change the things that ail us. Perhaps, then we will find the greater gift.

As we park ourselves in God’s heart of love – as we sit down in it –
we rest under the safe-covering of his hand.

When the burdens of life smother, sit down in his love.
When the feelings of I can’t come at you a mile a minute, sit down in his love.
When the weight of finances crush like a 100-pound gorilla, sit down in his love.

Love that says:

I engraved your name on my hand. Is. 49:16
I know how many hairs are on your head. Mt. 10:30
I love you in an everlasting way. Jer. 31:3
You sinned, I eagerly died for you. Ro. 5:8
I sent my own kid to rescue you. 1 Jo. 4:10
You may fall, but you can’t fall from me. Ro. 8:39

His love is best summarized as this: freeing handcuffs that lock you as forever his, not because of what you did, but because of what he did.

His love can’t be undone. Not when you remember back, not when you feel like you left God, not when you said that thing, not when you did that thing, not when you accept him at the last minute, not when you feel shame, not when regrets hit you, not when problems surface.

It always is. It always is – for you.

God wants you to have it.
Nothing can thwart it.
It belongs to you.

Life can’t hold you back from it.
Trials can’t keep you from it.
God defines it.
Yet, He waits for you to receive it.

Keep in God’s love.

Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 1:21

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Wrecking Trying

Wrecking Trying

I am wrecked by this one idea. It throws me off every time. It surprises me in its truth. I almost can’t accept it and so many times have difficulty doing so. It’s the one thing that rains down and can never be blocked with the umbrella of self. 

When I spew that nasty comeback. Its rain flows.
When I yell at that innocent face of the 4-year old before me. Its rain flows.
When I bark orders like a militant leader in need of children followers. Its rain flows.
When I let the house problems send my soul into a tizzy. Its rain flows.

No matter how hard I try to look the other way. It flows. It pounds.

It downpours on my soul, knocking my umbrella of self-condemnation and mutilation away. This rain wrecks my heart in the wild oceans of love, in the turbulent seas of Christ’s sacrifice and calms it by God’s rushing still water of his forgiveness.

to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Eph 1:6

Even when I slap God’s hand, it is still given.

Grace is not just given, but unlike normal dealings, it comes with no strings attached, no paybacks, no debts owed and no loan shark trying to chase me down for what it appears I stole.

What sweet relief Jesus! Without you, Jesus, I couldn’t, I wouldn’t…

I am simply wrecked by the idea that you are not wrecking me.
I am floored by the idea that you are not pressing me to the floor.
I am humbled by your humility in your approach towards me.

Who am I to get your best?

Best of all, I don’t even have to try to win your smiles, hugs and applause. Without my lame attempts, war plans and business objectives, it is still effective!

Grace:

1. Moves us from orphanhood to sonship.
It’s not earned through trial and error, but through believing and receiving his grace.
No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. Acts 15:11

2. Makes a construction zone out of our heart.
The more grace showers down and seeps inside the more we look up and are changed inside.
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up… Acts 20:32

3. Has benefits that never end.
It is the only free gift that keeps on giving, again and again and again – and forevermore.
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32

4. Gives us VIP access to God.
The door swings open so we may converse, confide and collaborate with the author and perfecter of faith.
through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Romans 5:2

5. Sets warring hearts at complete peace with God.
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  Romans 5:1-2

Grace is not a trying zone, but a high-flying zone for people that are anything but ship-wrecked.

They are just wrecked by the word of grace and God’s power to never stop loving, working, pleading, helping, shielding and revealing on our behalf.

Grace moves to friend status, instead of foe.

And, for that, in the unending downpour of rain we will forever dance – free, uncharged and unobstructed.

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When You Cannot Have It

You Cannot Have it
I am delighted to welcome a new regular contributor, Angela Nazworth. She is not only a friend, who I adore, but an eloquent writer who always teaches me a lesson about God’s goodness. I hope you relish in her words the same way I do. Welcome Angela!
My hair has issues. Or perhaps the more honest statement to make would be for me to write that I have issues with my hair. I always have. Not even when I was five  and my golden locks rivaled those of Rupunzel did I like my mane. Oh, I liked the length, and when it was properly curled and styled I pretended to be a princess, but I did not like the tangles. Even less did I enjoy the pain and aggravation caused by the untangling process.

My mom, being the one who had to listen to my whining protests, decided that my long hair had to go. This decision was made when I was in the fourth-grade, and it was one with which I agreed.

There was a downside. It was the year of the mullet. Not only is the mullet an eye sore, it’s a lot of work. My hair still easily knotted in the back and a brush was no longer the sole implement required to style my baby fine tresses. Each morning my mom had to stand over me with a hot curling iron to make the top portion of my head look more feminine, which in 1984 meant high and fluffy.

Fast-forward 30 years and you will still find me complaining about my hair. I have dyed it various shades. In my attempts for the perfect color, my hair has been green, pastel orange, purple, gray, and pink. All unintended. I have also tried myriad styles: short and bobbed, long and spiral permed, short and spiral permed, pixie, etc.

Once, as I sat in the salon chair of a former stylist eagerly waiting for her to transform me into a super model with just a few clips from her scissors, (I tend to have high expectations) she said the most peculiar thing to me.

“You are so lucky to have straight, fine hair.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said with surprise. “I wouldn’t wish this hair on anyone, plus what is with my crazy hair line in the back that grows upward and that hideous cowlick?”

“It’s much better than having hair like mine,” she bemoaned.  “It’s so thick and coarse.”

I looked at her long, voluminous, perfectly coiffed blonde hair and giggled.

“This is too funny,” I said. “You have my dream hair!”

“Well, I guess we all want what we don’t have,” she replied.

How true that is. For sheep, the grass is always greener on the other side. For women, the hair is always prettier on the other head!

Moreover, it doesn’t stop with hairstyles.  I will be perfectly happy with my blog’s design until I see the makeover another writer’s site recently got and then, suddenly, I determine that my online space needs spiffing up. I will feel content in my house until I overhear the sales rep at Home Depot tell another customer that “Aqua Chiffon,” is the most popular color for living room walls and I realize that I don’t even have anything close to that shade anywhere in my home.

It’s easy for me to brush off this cycle of comparison as innocent, human nature, but in reality it’s unhealthy and emotionally dangerous. Disparaging what belongs to me opens the gates of envy, coveting, and bitterness. Focus shifts from God and His goodness to selfish desires and I begin to lose sight of blessings that surround me. When I’m in the mode of comparison, discontentment and want, the vision of my heart blurs and I open myself up to being more susceptible to commit other sins in the name of pride.

Why is it so much easier for me to want something I cannot have than to thank my savior for the many gifts I possess?

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. – Colossians 2:6-10

So while the grass may appear greener, hair prettier, furniture grander, homes bigger, and figures thinner … I now try extra hard to not be so interested in the proverbial other side. I am going to focus on how to make my inside look more like Jesus and foster a spirit of thankfulness for all He has given me.

What about you? Please use the comment section to share something about your life for which you are thankful and no longer desire to change.

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Angela Nazworth is a flawed and forgiven recovering perfection who writes mostly about the beauty of grace, faith, friendship, vulnerability and community at angelanazworth.com. She is a wife and a mother of two, who manages philanthropic communications for a nonprofit, national healthcare association. Angela’s also an encourager, a lover of good books, coffee, girl’s night out, sunshine, and waterfalls. She believes the creator of the universe is both the author of and lead character in her life story. With every experience she learns more about who she is in Him … and takes another step on her journey to love others better. You can also chat with Angela via Twitter.


Finding Holiness When You Feel Unholy

Finding Holiness

I went in praying, but I left repenting.

It was supposed to be a time of joy, connectedness and unity, but everything went wrong. My heart didn’t want to align with God. It didn’t want to follow his marching orders, and instead marched to it’s own beat: a beat of I have to figure this out, I have to work to get right with God, I have to be better than myself and I have to stop sinning.

Sure, God does tell us to put off our old self, which is “being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22-24

There is a taking off of the stinky, the putrid and the worn out shirt of self and a putting on of the new, sparkly, purposeful and intentional dress of holiness and righteousness.

Sounds amazing right?

Certainly, I knew what I wanted to wear, but somehow it seemed like that new dress was out of my price range. It was out of my reach. It wasn’t so easy to obtain.

Why try?

My ears became so focused on my bad self-talk, that I couldn’t hear God talk. His small promptings passed right over my shoulder.

I was so so focused on, “I have got to figure out the mess than I am, God” rather than the “Come with me, Kelly, I have something for you.”

We speak words of condemnation,
but God stands ready to hand out words of consolation.

When we get to the end of our self, we get to the start of God – and that is what happened to me.

It’s not just about not sinning – about removing the old stink and putting on the new outfit – but it’s about the renewal of the mind. Only then, can we walk forward in the new.

We renew our mind by:

Bringing it to the altar of transformation, which is prayer.
Immersing it in the irrevocable truth of God’s Word.
Knowing that the one in us is greater than the world around us.
Making it new in the promises of God.
Finding a space with God when we feel like we have no space for him.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Jo. 15:5

I listened.
I stopped.
I prayed.
I asked.
I humbled myself.
I waited.
I listened.
I heard.

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14 
God rests my soul, as I find rest in him.

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Ps. 55:2
As I hand my burdens over, God hands me his hand that holds me upright.

The answer to putting on the shiny dress of new self is giving God the first chance to suffocate the old. Then, we leave clothed in promised robes of righteousness and holiness.

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You Are Welcome Here

Come As You Are by Katie M Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

Have you ever tried on a dress that was just not your style—ill-fitted for the shape God gave you?

I have been “blessed” with a pear shape figure, smaller on top and curvy on bottom; literally.

Straight, fitted dresses are a death sentence for my body type. I need extra material down south to cover the bulk.

Last week I tried to wear a style that was not flattering on me. No, it wasn’t a dress style, it was a writing style. I tried to pull on a style that looked good on others, but it was not a good fit for who God has made me to be.

I was trying to wear something shiny and sleek so that I would gain attention and maximize impact.

But, it didn’t lay nicely and it felt uncomfortable.

I was conflicted. I was trying so hard for it to fit, but it just wouldn’t. It did not complement how I was made, much to my dismay.

But here’s the thing, God made each of us a certain way, completely on purpose.

While we might be irritated with the largeness or smallness of our mold, Our Creator was intentional when He spun us on the Potter’s Wheel.

Come on over for the rest of the story as Katie hosts the #RaRaLinkup over at her place, katiemreid.com, today


Breaking Under Pressure

Breaking Under Pressure

Like a teenager under the overwhelming weight of pressure – I did not choose the right road.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. Gal. 5:19-20

I let my internal pursuit for feelings of acceptance compel my feet right to the place of wanting more for myself.

I wanted to get from God rather than enjoy him.

His blessings, rather than his presence.
Big confirmations, rather than his small dispensations of love.
Doors open and people to push me forward.
Only His best – for my advancement.

I wanted God “my way”.

Super-sized god.

An I-will-do-it-all-for-you god.

A tailor-made god that fit my needs.

But, my teenage tantrum to feel good, ended with the repercussions that always come when we bend in to disobedience. 

I slammed the door to my room and locked myself away from God, scolding myself for doing the wrong thing, in the wrong way. I didn’t want to look at him; I had done so wrong – I acted badly and was deeply afraid to admit it.

Yet, Jesus is the door and he has all access to our rebellious hearts as we say we are sorry. 

He walked in to comfort me with his love and the words, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Phil 2:12-13

Praise you God!

You take us out of us, and give us you – so we know what to do.
As we work to know and fear you, you work to help and heal us.
The presence of the Spirit in us is greater than power of the flesh over us.

The truth is God that I can never work hard enough to remove my flesh; God never gave me that ability – the actual act would hurt far too much. To wrip off my flesh by myself is to live in a constant mode of chastising self-finger wagging.

Only God has the power.

He releases us on the inside so we can act right on the outside.

Then, we “do not use our freedom to indulge the flesh”.  Rather, we “serve one another humbly (not pridefully) in love. Gal. 5:13

Humble love says, “God your face is all I need.
Rather than, “God, pour out what I want.”

Lord, as your Spirit guides,
your faithful servant will obey,
because your ways are greater than mine.
Give me a heart to endure what you did on the cross,
so my life may reflect the magnitude of your love.
Amen.

As we release our life to God, we find it.  He works, and we, like needy children drawing instruction – listen. And, he leads us.

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