Purposeful Faith

Tag - glory

The Best Pause When Life Feels Frantic

Blog Post By  Angela Parlin

I love so many things about the month of December.

The memories, the gatherings, the excitement for what’s coming. Twinkle lights everywhere after dark. Remembering the story of Jesus’ birth with the angels and shepherds and a star leading souls toward a newborn King—the one who changed everything.

One of my favorite things is looking back to remember. Another favorite is looking forward. It’s the in-between that trips me up. Do you know what I mean?

I’m at that point in December—like every other year—where I feel buried by the schedule and all the many to-do’s. It’s like I have to keep running, running, running–to make this pick-up time and that deadline and those purchases and these events. None of it is too much, on its own. But add it all together, and I’m one frazzled Mom.  

Today, however, I read a passage that transformed my frantic feelings, and I wondered if you need this too. Do you need to press pause on all the things, in the middle of December, in order to behold the glory of God?   

I know a place where we can always go–not to hide from our lives but to find refuge instead.

I hope you’ll come with me. Let’s dig into the Word of God, and let Him do His beautiful thing in our hearts. Right now. Today. 

I hope you’ll spend some time reading these scriptures, and read the passages around them as well. I like to copy the words by hand, sometimes on a colored card or along the edges of my day planner…yes, I still use paper planners. 😊 You may want to read them repeatedly, even memorize them. Any time you spend focusing on the Lord will be a gift to you.

5 Places to Pause When Life Feels Frantic

There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV)

Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Exodus 15:11

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? 2 Samuel 22:32

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2  

I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:5-6

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.

Getting Past Bad Memories

bad memories

I can’t stop remembering.
I want to, but I can’t.
Already processed words, feelings and hurts remain pressed up in me – concentrated.
Like cars at a landfill, I have squeezed in so much; these memories tower high.

Sure, I want to wave goodbye,
but my mind holds on as if I am losing a long lost friend.

Sure, I want to finally turn my back on the, tears, embarrassment, shame and pain –
but it seems I would negate or excuse all that happened. 

So, I hold on, like one carrying a stinky diaper.
I hold on like one dealing with month-old trash.
I hold on like a 2-year old looking around at who may hit them next.

I keep my stink near, out of fear.

Why?  Yes, I raise my hand, to acknowledge what I am about to tell you is a lie. But it lures me every time.

The Lie:
Tying myself up in yesterday,
will keep my heart from being tied up today.

So, I keep my antennae’s up and out;
threats are analyzed.

My warning bells are working and tested;
safety walls can fly up.

On-demand memories are readily available;
they are the boot camp to my feet, helping me to run as needed.

But, does my strategy even work? Because it seems I spend a lot of time in the landfill – walking over bad waste, smelly pieces and unloved emotions.

I can’t help but ask, does being around the stinky
somehow generate the sacred?

I don’t think so. So, why do I keep doing it?

My delay in demolishing only seems to work in demolishing my heart yet again.

That is what happens to wastelands of bad memories, they only hang out to make things more disgusting.  I don’t want to allow flies to buzz, mold to grow and my heart to grow cold to others because of the garbage that I can’t seem to unload.

The reality is, when I take a hard and fast look:

Reserving these pains doesn’t revive my worth.

Remembering the frustration doesn’t relieve my agony.

Reliving these pinpricks doesn’t reject future hurts.

It just doesn’t. And, God knows it too.

Simply said, he tells us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Is. 48:13

I love what comes next even more:

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honor me,
    the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
    rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
    the people whom I formed for myself. 
that they might declare my praise.
Is. 48:19-21

Notice this: Here, God doesn’t care much about fixing an old thing;
he cares about doing a new thing!

He cares about:

Generating life out of now-dead things.
Making the wild-ones obey and honor him.
Giving water to the souls with holes.
Providing for his chosen people.

When we see past the days of old,
we see the abundance of God.

When we keep our heart in today,
we suddenly step up above the fray.

God wants to give us the essential and the substantial
to fill us with his potential.

Notice the result? It is powerful. God in his wisdom protects our skittish mind from doing what it loves to do best. He prevents us from acting like a pig in a trough – returning to his old stink.

How?
He replaces our precautionary stance with a praised-filled one.

Suddenly our arms move from crossed to open.
Our eyes look from side-to-side, to straight up.
Our heart is laid down at his feet, just trying to inch closer to his goodness, rather than closed up in safety walls.

Our eyes are open to see goodness rather than pain. 
Restoration rather than hardship.
Glory rather than trash.

And, it is beautiful, budding beautiful, sunrise beautiful, springtime beautiful. It captures our eyes with new hopes, new dreams and new what-ifs. It opens up a whole new world – a fresh, exciting and adventurous world.

I guess the choice is mine, it’s ours…
We can choose to sit in the pain of yesterday
or we can choose to sit in the glory of today.

I know which one I am going to pursue.

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2 Notes for Bloggers:
1. Join the Cheerleaders for Christ #RaRalinkup Facebook page.
2. Guest submissions are open through the end of the month.

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Knowing Worship

Knowing Worship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My heart broke.

Just lying there, on the ground.

Slain, undeserving of that pain.

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

We forget that image sometimes. I forget it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

None for him and all for me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Just A Work-In-Progress (Linkup)

A Work-In-Progress

Sometimes I think I act like a fake Christian.

I come on this blog and talk the talk, but then at home, I drop the ball.

I raise my hands to pray, only to turn and go the opposite way.

I say in Jesus’ name, and seconds later, wonder if my name still counts in his book.

I love other people, until it gets inconvenient.

These actions make me feel like an inadequate daughter, a lazy child and a no-good-worthy christian. They make me wonder if Jesus could really love a girl like this?

A girl who is so often just a Christian poser.

While I know Jesus extends me grace (which I gladly receive – in abundance), I still wonder – what rules – the flesh or the Spirit? 

I say, “your will be done,” and then say “I don’t know when He will show up.”
I utter, “you have this God,” only to start to worry.
I seek his face, only to come face to face with the fact that he may not be happy with me.

I have looked at God in all the wrong way, because he is not:
a “convenient” Sovereign god.
a “genie-in-a-bottle” god.
a “call-in-case-of-emergency” god. 
a “I-see-you-from-afar” god.
or a “I’ll-only-love-you-if-your-good” god.

The truth is, the real truth, the I-have-to-cling-to-it truth is: he is the “I-will-always-be-with-you, the I-will never-leave-you, the you-can’t-do-anything-to-make-me-stop-loving-you GOD.

He is the God who doesn’t see me through the face of my mistakes,
but by through the power of his sacrifice.

It’s as if he simply sees through my inadequacies,
straight into the reflection of his heart.

He fully loves. He doesn’t love when all goes well as I am so prone to do – and so prone to expect him to do – but he loves infinitely, incredibly and unduly.

God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ… Eph. 2:4-5

I am not alive to me. I am dead to me. I am alive to Christ.

In this, he doesn’t call me to be put together, he calls me to be broken apart so that he can do his part. His part is creating me into his work of art.

Today, we walk with a work-in-progress sign on, but tomorrow we won’t need a sign. In heaven, all signs will point to the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit – the complete fulfillment of all meaning. Here, God will be faithful to unveil, us, his greatest completed works of art in his perfect glory.

We won’t have to worry about imperfections, inadequacies or incapabilities, because we will be simply in awe of who he made us to be.

God created the earth and that is astounding.  Can you even imagine how astounding we will look as God completes his final strokes? A painting is never completely understood until the very end. It will all become clear.

God is the definition of artistry. We never think of him that way, do we?

All of today, are the small workings of his beauty. Rest, my fellow work-in-progress sign carrier, we will one day be completed.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14

A HUGE PRAISE:

We just fixed the hacking issue this morning!
Comments have been down for the past week,
but please feel free to comment away!!!
God is good!

 

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