Purposeful Faith

Let Go and Let God

Let Go and Let God

I needed this time; I needed a way to release the little kinks from my aching back, a time to find refreshment and a time to let go.

So when my husband gave me the opportunity to get a massage, I jumped at the idea. I saw it as the opportune time to just “be” – to let go.

Although, as I lay on that table, I couldn’t quite accomplish the “let go” part. I couldn’t relax.  It was almost like I felt afraid to let myself be at the will of someone else.

Even the masseuse could tell.

She looked at me and said, “Kelly, if you want me to really work, then you’ve got to let go so I can release the tension and the pain. Trust me to do my work. You will be better off in the long run if you relax and trust me.  When you do, I can get into the deep issues and handle the stress.”

Wow.  This really got me to thinking.

There is power in the ability to let go.

If I can just breathe, exhale and let myself rest as she does her work, the result will be amazing.

Isn’t this true with God too?  

If we can just let go of our ways, our tension, our plans, won’t he be faithful to work out all the kinks?  

Won’t he leave us better off than we ever could have imagined?

Won’t he find a way to release our life stresses better than we ever could
– as we trust him with all things, in all ways?

But, why is control so hard to let go?  

Why is it so hard to be completely open and malleable to another’s work?

Why?

Because “Control” lures us in, and says:

With me, you have charge over your life.  No one can hold you back. You reign.
With me, you have the advantage, so that others don’t take advantage of you.
With me, you don’t have to worry about the unknown, because you can fight to make it known.
With me, you can make others do what you need them to do.
With me, you are working towards something, not wasting time waiting.
With me, you have a well-known friend -we have always walked together.

With control, we want all that God has to offer us, but we demand it by our own merits.
With control, we feel we deserve control.
With control, we miss God’s voice.

Oh, how control lies to us. We exchange God’s ultimate control with self-seeking control in our lives.  Our controlling ways are a counterfeit for God’s charge.

A counterfeit that is not from God…

The Devil loves life-sucking counterfeit replacements for God’s life giving solutions. We don’t want to be tricked.  We don’t want to give the devil a foothold. (Eph. 4:27)

The Counterfeit for God’s Sovereign Control:

– Tells us we can rule on high, instead of God.
– Continually makes us work to achieve good things.
– Fosters pride.
– Makes us fearful of the unknown.
– Consumes us with our work.
– Encourages us to rule over people, instead of being under the rule of our master.
– Discourages and demotivates us when things don’t go our way.
– Builds feelings of anger and bitterness in those we try to control.
– Fosters a distrust of God, as we never get a chance to see Gods’ work when we control.

Does this sound like God at work?  Does this sound like healing, rebuilding and restorative work?

I don’t want this.  I don’t want to lay it all out on the table and not be able to let go of things. I don’t want to hold on to life with a death grip.  I don’t want to miss God’s healing power in my life, in my circumstances and in my trials because I am so tightly spun that I can’t see his hand.

What a waste.

I know God has so much more in store for me – and he has so much more in store for you.  He wants us to lay down at the foot of the cross and to trust him.  He wants us to breathe in grace and to exhale peace.  He wants us to let him work, to let him knead the deep aches, hurts and tensions. He wants to work those out.

Oh how badly he wants to repair us.  He wants to heal us.  Will we let him?

We have to be open, willing and ready vessels.

Because when we stop working, stop controlling and start letting go – we find Him.

When we stop achieving and start receiving, we find life.

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)

When we surrender our ways, when we lay it all down before him, he will be faithful to restore us.

I am ready to let go and let God. Are you?

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When the Work is Hard (Linkup)

Today I am delighted to have Katy McCown post and host the linkup. Katy is a super-mom of 6 and a NFL wife. She is also an inspiration to us all.

In Isaiah 43, God’s people prepared for a journey.

A long journey. A challenging journey.

One sure to present danger and hardships. A journey much like the one we face every day. Our destination is a heavenly home with no pain or sadness or hurt … but we’re not there yet. Today, we travel.

But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.”’ Isaiah 43:1 (NLT)

I think there’s something special about making God’s words personal. Every night one of my boys requests we sing the familiar words of “Jesus loves me” before he shuts his eyes, except even at his young age, he won’t settle for a blanket promise. He asks, instead, “Will you sing Jesus loves Isaiah?” I smile and sing replacing every “me” with his own, unique name. And he smiles knowing God’s promises are true for him.

Click here to read more and join the link-up!

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When You Feel Stuck

When you feel stuck

Do you ever feel stagnant? Like you are trying to accelerate, but going nowhere? What do you do when you feel stuck?

I know I can sometimes feel this way, I wonder, “Am I making a difference? Serving a purpose? Changing lives? Impacting the world? Is my life adding up to anything meaningful?”

Normally it’s when I have been rejected and I feel dejected,
or when I am down and start looking around,
or when I see the progress of man and start feeling like a scam.

It’s these times that I feel like a car just spinning it’s wheels – spinning round and round – but getting nowhere. I push and I push – but somehow I still stay stuck. No matter how hard I slam that gas pedal, I still have no idea where I am headed.

It’s aggravating. Frustrating. Demoralizing.

It doesn’t matter if I steer in the right direction, because the only direction I feel I am headed is – nowhere.

For much of my life, I sludged around in the mud. I worked in jobs that never satisfied. I arrived with a smile – and left 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, is a personal insult.

But, this is not how God intends us to live. God desires us to be authentic, patient and enduring. 

Yet, so many days, I 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 deeper relationships. Or I want to feel closer to God.

Often, I just feel stuck.

But, God’s best sermons aren’t delivered at church they are delivered during these moments – these moments of “stuck”.

It is here where we are forced to wait and be still.
It is here where we can focus – on Him.

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 transforms us and 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)

It’s here we grow and sow. As we grow in patience we sow faith. As we let go of fear (often the fear of mediocrity), true purpose surfaces. It is here we find – our calling.  

The bottom line of any true calling is pleasing and serving the Lord.

The second we let go of fear and indifference – we start making a difference.

We start to understand that he is at work –
in us – instead of us demanding to have him work – through us.  

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)

God is training you for greatness.
He is sovereign over all.
He is working his plan from beginning to end even when you can’t see it.
He is always at work.
Just because you can’t see doesn’t mean he can’t.
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 call out to the Lord. He will help us. His words will guide us.

Because when we stop focusing on us, and our circumstances – and we start focusing on him and his glory – this is when we see things through a new light.

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)

Our wheels will stop spinning, our gas pedal finally gets a brake and our lives start moving forward, because God is at work to move us to destinations we never expected.

 


Be The Right Kind of Warrior

Be the right kind of warrior

Instinctively, I am one who loves to fight back.

I resurrect walls to keep others from hurting me.
I walk with a shield to keep things from getting past me.
I respond with defensiveness to make sure the fortress stays secure.
I grab my weapons so others know that I am a well-protected woman.

Bottom line, I am a fighter. I am a regular defender of my own causes.

But, God is calling me to surrender.
He is calling me to wave my white flag.
To lay it all down.

It’s not so much that he doesn’t want me to be a warrior, but it is that I have been going about it the wrong way.

While I have thought, arm up, he says, “Lay it down.”
While I have thought, keep safe, he says, “Go risky.”
While I have thought, protect, he says, “Let me be the protector.

He requests one position of me that is the ultimate military gambit.  It is one condition that changes the whole battlefield. He calls me to it.

Will I lay down my plans? My armors to make this change?

Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the LORD. (2 Kings 22:19)

What is this condition the Lord desires?

It is an open, vulnerable, humbled and receptive heart.

It is a heart where walls are down, where weapons are abandoned
and doors lay wide open so the Lord can enter in and best do his work.

It is a heart where God teaches us the moves
and the tactics that will change our lives.

It is a heart where our arms learn to embrace
the Father like we never have before.

In this, we no longer need to wage war on our own because the ultimate Warrior is directing us. Why do you need yourself, when you have someone far greater than you leading you? What use are your weapons when you now have his?

We can trust that this ultimate General knows the best way for us and can take care of us better than we could ever take care of our selves.

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14)

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I am delighted to linkup today with Suzanne Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

 


Just Do It Scared

Post by: Christy Mobley

And without faith it’s impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6

I stood at the bottom my friend’s staircase as we discussed what to do. Give it away or keep it? Give it away or keep it?

I said, “Just do it. Give it away.”

With some hesitation she relinquished her excuses and then boldly stated, “I’m going to do it.  I’m going to give it away.” And then sheepishly added, ” But not today.”

She needed to get rid of some old clothes that were cluttering her house and driving her crazy. I guess her struggle was not so much in the giving away, but in the fear of giving away. Fear of the doing.

Fear forbids us to move forward.
It keeps us from doing what we know we should.

Her situation seemed easy enough to me. Cut and dry.  I’m a throw away girl. I can’t stand clutter, so it’s easy for me to get rid of extra stuff. Give it away, or throw it away. I don’t fear I’ll need it later.

Like NIKE, I can just do it.

Ah, but I’m not that way with everything.

As a matter of fact, recently I felt God tugging at me to make a couple of phone calls but I had a hard time picking up the phone.

I was paralyzed with fear.

It’s wasn’t like God was asking me to do anything so dramatic as when He asked Mark Batterson to kneel down in the middle of an airport like Batterson recounts in his book, Draw the Circle or brush some old man’s long gray hair, like Beth Moore talks about in one of her videos. (I think that was in an airport too.) It was just a couple of phone calls for heaven’s sake.  No, these phones calls weren’t dramatic, for me they were traumatic. Somewhere I had drummed up an irrational fear.  But everyone has their own “hang up’s” right?

Fear takes hold when our perception of reality gets skewed.

On this particular day the devil had planted an irrational fear in me and the more I dwelled on it, the more skewed my reality became.

When something like this happens how do we walk through it, and just do it?

I shared my feelings with my friend Danya, and she told me something she heard Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter) say. “If you’re feeling God leading you to act and you feel fearful… do it anyway.  Do it scared.”

Most people think doubt is the opposite of faith, but it’s not. Fear is.

Fear stands on the opposite side of faith.

The devil wants us full of fear.
God desires us to be full of faith.

The devil wants to keep us trapped.
God wants to set us free.

Fear traps us.
Faith frees us.

The reality is, God stands by us in our fear and in us as we step into our faith.

When we just do it scared, we cross over the boundary that separates our faith from fear.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it’s impossible to please God. But dear friends, God is gracious and gives each one of us our own measure of faith, (Romans 12:3) and we are expected to use it.

I’m not sure if my friend ever got rid of those clothes cluttering her house, but because of the encouragement I received, I made two very important phone calls. And when I did my anxiety was squelched. It was freeing.

And, I bet God smiled. ( :

Is God prompting you to step out in faith today but you feel a tinge of fear?

If so, let me challenge you to just do it. Do it scared.

Put a smile on God’s face by stepping over the fear and into your faith.

 

Purposeful Faith Contributor

Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. You can catch up with Christy at Joying in the Journey


When You Keep Messing Up

When you Keep Messing up

I messed up again.

I had planned to act a certain way and then I did the exact opposite in the moment.

Has this ever happened to you?

It’s frustrating, irritating – and it kind of feels demoralizing. I want to act better, do better and be better. But I try, and fail.

Sometimes I look at myself and start to say, “Get it together girl.  You aren’t doing anything right.”

But, as I see my reflection, I start to see a different reflection – the reflection of the image of Christ. A reflection of a girl that he proclaims is fearfully and wonderfully made.

I see one who he created just as he wanted her to be. I see me.

And, I realize that when he looks at me, he doesn’t think about me the way I do. He doesn’t say the things I say to myself.

He does not look down on me and say, “Get it together, girl.”
He doesn’t say, “There you go – messing up again.”
He doesn’t say, “You’re always dropping the ball.”
He doesn’t say, “You can’t do anything right…”

This is not the heart of Jesus.

Instead, his heart says:

“Seek me and I will handle the rest.”
“Trust me, I have a plan.”
“When you are weak, I am strong.”
“I use sinners to accomplish my plans.”
“I don’t call the perfect, I call the imperfect to go in my perfect way.”
“You are more than a conqueror through me.”
“Today you are weak, but it is exactly your weakness that will grow you.”
“I knew your weaknesses when I called you and I still wanted you.”
“I see your failings and I still love you.”
“You are only one ‘I’m sorry’ away from my forgiveness.”
“Shame may read on the last line, but the book is closed upon my forgiveness.”
“Nothing you do can separate you from my love.”

God doesn’t see the reflection of a bad girl who can’t do right;
he sees the reflection of his love.

A love he is prepared to send forth through an imperfect broken vessel. Because, it is through the broken pieces that we seek him and need him to put us back together again.  In this pursuit, we find his glory, his majesty and his sanctifying power.

Our weaknesses don’t hold back his work.

The bottom line is I am loved. I am always in his love. I will mess up, but Jesus has risen up so that I can rise up with him as I lay it all down for him.

so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Cor. 2:5)

I can lay down my shame, my regret, my fears, my condemnation. I don’t need those things with Jesus. He paid for those things already.

I praise his glorious name! I give him all glory. Let us bow down to the one who has high and lifted as the greatest sacrifice – in the name of love. He effectively casts out all fear.

My weaknesses simply become points where his glory may be radiantly displayed – as he transforms me. In that, I can walk proud.

…I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. (2 Cor. 12:5)


When What You Have Is Not Enough (Linkup)

When What You Have Is Not Enough

I have a condition.

It makes my heart pump.
My fists clench.
My pulse quicken.

It makes my eyes squeeze and my head shake.
It makes me frustrated and irritated.

Just when I think I have been healed from this plague, it shows up again.  It doesn’t seem to care that I am tired of it.

It doesn’t seem to care that it burdens me.
It comes and tells me that I will be stuck with it forever.
That others will always be better off than me.
That God doesn’t really have anything for me.

This condition is jealousy.

Just the other day, I visited a big, prominent and influential author’s blog. I looked at it. I critiqued it. I analyzed it for flaws. I reviewed it for strengths. I judged its colors, its words, its layout, its stories and its (fill in the blank). I considered how unfair it is that she has so much, but I have so little.

…and you can see where this was leading me.  What was meant to be a time of learning from this person, became a playground for judgement and envy to run wild.

My mind was reading,
but my heart was sliding right away from God.

My pride swung high,
only to swing low the next as I considered the reality of my sin.

Foot by foot, I climbed a ladder of inabilities,
where I perceived my inabilities from new heights.

Playgrounds of jealousy are not blacktops full of smiles, laughter and encouragement. Rather, these playgrounds, plain and simple, are dark, isolating and hurtful playgrounds – playgrounds where envy and discontentment hold hands and where the evil lurks.

Truly, dear friend, let me tell you a little secret: these playgrounds are places where the devil leads children of God astray. He entices them and grabs their hand only to lead them away from God’s loving purposes.  He takes them and focuses their hearts on prideful, conceited and worldly intentions. He pulls them right away from their loving Father and distracts them with a candy that never pleases.

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

Let’s join hands, scream out to our Father, and run the other way.

Because it’s impossible to be loving and giving when you are judging and critiquing.

It’s impossible to be trusting when you are coveting.

It’s impossible to be witnessing all God wants to do for you,
when you are only witnessing all you don’t have.

The bottom line, my friends, is that when we covet another’s gifts, we end up ungrateful for our ours. We negate our all-loving, all-powerful and all-giving Father, who has a unique plan – that he created beforehand just for us.

Instead, we look at him and say, “I think your plan for that person is better.”

Do you notice the pride here?

We debate and act irate.

The sad thing is that we never win when we compare our average with another’s “amazing”;
it rips us apart.

The truth is – God is not done with us yet. He has his own plans for us. He is the only one who knows how our story ends – and in his perfection, he has crafted it – from beginning to end.

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him… (1 Cor. 2:9)

No two people have the same path.
No two people are prepared in the same way.
No two people are given the same insights.
No two people does God uniquely answer the same way.
No two people will be led down the same extraordinary roads.
But, both people will be led down amazing roads – if they love God.

It is not a game of one gets and the other doesn’t. Our God can – and will – give uniquely to both.

So why do we look at each other and want to be the same – and get the same?
Why do we think he gives to one – but he will leave us with none?

When we do this, we look to them and see all they have, 
but not all they are dealing with.

We look at their apparent gifts
and trash ours.

We look to the light of their glory
and hate our story.

We look to them as objects,
and miss their pain.

When the disciples questioned who among them would be the greatest, Jesus answered “But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” (Luke 22:26)

Jesus pulls us near, he draws us close to whisper:

It is not about greatness.
It is not about goals.
It is not about progress.
Blog posts.
Performance.
Position – or lack thereof.
Others.
Recognition.
Accolades.
Who has what.

It is solely about Jesus Christ.
It is solely about his glory.
It is solely about his story.
It is all about his will.
Not our skill.

It is all for him, through him and by him that we are where we are today.

He’s the only way. In him, we can rest and stay. He will guide us day by day.

It is always been about least of these.

Jesus runs to the weary. He lifts the weak. He comforts the heartbroken. He gives power to the powerless. He exalts the humble. May we always realize our status as “least of these”.

May we reside in the place of humble adoration and humble exaltation of others.

We are lowly, he is lifted.
We are small, he is high.
We are servants, he is master.
We are created, he is Creator.

All things pale in comparison to him.

And the more we see him, the more we see life – meaningful life. We see the one who provides us all things according to his glorious riches. We have no need to look elsewhere because all we need is alive in us.

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How To Renew Your Strength

How to Renew Your Strength

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On one hand I feel tired, worn and overwhelmed. On the other, I feel excited and raring to go.

God has called me to something and I want to see it through. It is hard work. It is depleting. It is a lot, but it is amazing.

In this,  I no longer have to live purposeless, passionless and powerless. I no longer have to live driving from thing to thing, hoping to pass joy along the road – because joy is now the fuel to my drive.

To the cross I aim,
to exalt his name is my claim
and, in this, I will never be left the same.

I have never felt more joy – and more power – in Him.

So, I’ve adopted a go, go, go mentality
with push, push, push tenacity.

And, it is here where my mental battle begins.  I start to wonder, “Is this right to do?”

Is God calling me to rest?
Or, is he calling me to abide in him as I work hard by faith?

Because people say:

“God’s load is light. You shouldn’t feel tired.”
“If it is wearing on you, you are taking on a load that God has not called you to take.”
“If it is beyond your strength, or abilities, then it is too much and not where God wants you to be.”
“If your strength is not 100% then you are doing it by your own might.”

I see where they are coming from, but I am not so sure I agree.

Yes, Christ does say this, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)

But, there is also this to contend with:

And let us not grow weary of doing good,
for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9)

And as for you, brothers and sisters,
never tire of doing what is good. (2 Thess. 3:13)

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. (Prov. 13:4)

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. (Prov. 12:11)

Do not be slothful in zeal,
be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11)

My mind may lays conflicted, but Christ’s love is never restricted. So, he draws my heart close and extends his love to a weary heart.

He simply says,

“Power down your mind and power up in me.
Behold me, perceive me and wait on my leading.
I will not misguide you or hide from you; instead I will come alongside you.
I will renew your strength.”

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Ps. 27:14)

We don’t have to walk by fate, because we can walk by faith.

Faith means we stop to see what the Lord has for us to do. It means we wait for his leading.  Then, our heart is renewed, revived and restored in strength – because we have heard from God.  What is more restorative than that?

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)

It is hope that carries our heart forward.

Hope almost grows little legs on our heart so that all we want to do is run into the world to heal, help and harvest souls.

In this, we are not called to back down, we are called to fuel up with his hope.

Because, when we see hope,
we see how vital it is that we carry his cross far and wide.

When we see the hope of eternal glory and rewards,
we gain the strength to go unforeseen distances.

When we believe the hope of his promises,
we know all we do is secure in Him because He is for us.

There is no backing down – no slowing up.
Hope doesn’t come to make us pause in God, it comes to give us legs to bring God to all.

In a sense, hope comes right up against us like a bumper car and pushes us lengths we never intended to go . We can’t help but move.

And, the more we hope, the more we run towards him and towards others.

Our joy becomes unceasing – our lives transformed. There is no fear because the perfect love of Jesus Christ extinguishes any fear. We stand in line with the maker, and he makes a way for us.

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Is. 41:13)

So, what does this mean for me? It means, I know where to gas up on strength. I know who to go to for renewal. 

God readily supplies a never-ending outpouring of hope – and it is this never-ending supply that will drive me to new lengths – and new heights- in Christ Jesus.

He will renew my strength.
He will instruct my spirit.
He will guide my ways.
Lead me in truth.
Help me in my weakness.
Offer me new mercies every morning.
And, he will do that for you too.

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How God Makes All Things New

God Makes All Things New

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There was a woman sent from God. Her name is Kelly.

When once she was sad, lonely and afraid,
today she’s found peace.

When once she used to fear dark land mines set in her room,
today she only hears the whisper of Jesus confirming, “You’re mine.”

When once she used to look to anyone to confirm her worth,
today her worth is found in the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ.

When once she used to try to be the Savior to a family of 8,
today she is a simple mom of 2 – with a Savior of One.

When once she lived afraid of whom she was, what she would become
and what others might do to her,
today she walks with confidence of God’s purpose set before her.

When once she crafted her words and actions to meet other’s needs and desires,
today she crafts her heart around the one who crafted hers.

When once she held herself to the standard of perfection,
today she let’s walls fall so Jesus can address her imperfections.

No doubt, I am this Kelly.
I am the Kelly that was lost – lost to fear.

Lost from life. Lost from love. Lost from hope. Lost from purpose.

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. (Luke 15:32)

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because (Kelly) was dead and is alive again; (Kelly) was lost and is found.'”

My knight and shining armor came – and rescued me – and he will come again. He will come in on a white horse to save the day…

…to more and more set us free.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. (Rev 19:11)

When once we were in the world, surrounded by darkness,
one day we will rejoice with our maker in the eternal light of significance and security.

On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. (Rev 21:25)

When once pain, cancer, conflict and wars prevailed,
one day we will Jesus Christ prevail at the right hand of God on his mercy seat,
reigning and pleading in all power and might.

Who then is the one who condemns? No one.
Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Ro. 8:34)

When once we sang songs of earthly despair crying tears of agony,
one day the angels will sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” and every tear will be no more.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away. (Rev. 21:4)

When once we ached to find more,
one day we will learn what the definition of “more” really means.

…To be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment-
-to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (Eph. 1:10)

From freedom to freedom.
From power to power.
From love to love.

God is always moving us deeper and deeper into his love.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor. 5:17)

Jesus erases the power of “once” to delight us in the power of “new”. God makes all things new.

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Today I am linking up on #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.


Living From A New Identity

By: Angela Parlin

As a preschooler, I learned I had a sin problem and needed Jesus to save me from it. When I asked Him to be my rescue, I became dead to sin and alive to God. I learned the old had gone, and the new had come. But I was also encouraged to put off sin and put on Christ.

Just one little problem. How exactly do you put Christ on? That was a hard idea to wrap my head around.

Then I grew up a bit and realized–I really don’t feel so dead to sin.

So I managed my sin by trying to hide it, trying to look the way I was supposed to, or pretending it wasn’t there. Back then, there was a Sin Rating System floating around, and for the most part, my sins stayed off the really naughty list.

To be honest, sin didn’t grieve me. I didn’t think holiness was possible, for me or anyone else. And so I occasionally asked God to forgive me of “all my sins”–without owning any of them.

When I grew closer to the Lord as an adult, I started to care more about holiness. I didn’t want sin to control me, to be my master, in any way. I wanted to live in victory, and began striving for it. But that didn’t work out so well.

Victory over sin begins with belief. Not only belief in Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life. But also belief in our new identity in Christ.

Romans 6 says,

Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

To count yourself means to accept it as true, believe it, and act as if it were true.

Once we call out to Jesus for salvation, we are IN Christ. We identify with Him. This is our position—our status before God: dead to sin.

We have been baptized with Christ. We have died with Christ and been raised with Him to a new way of life. Sin no longer controls us. It has no power over us.

Now we can LIVE FROM a place of victory, instead of trying to attain victory.  

But our position often does not match our practice. The Bible says we have been made new (positionally), but we are being made new (practically). For the rest of our lives, the way we live should grow closer and closer to our position IN Christ.

I struggled to believe my position, my new identity in Christ, because I knew what was in me. I lived out of that reality, which I could see and measure—more than I lived by faith out of my position in Christ.

Even as new creations, sin deceives us. We get entangled in it sometimes. We forget who we are, and we need to remember our identity in Christ.

IN Christ, we are dead to sin and ALIVE to God.

We are new, but we are also in the process of being made new.

So put on Christ and learn to see yourself this way. Offer yourself to God day after day, and He will enable you to live the life you were meant for.

 

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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