Purposeful Faith

Tag - God

The Heart Behind the Fear-Fighting Book (Interview)

Fly away from fear with faith quote for Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

It is my pleasure to interview Kelly about her newly released book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears.

Interview with Kelly Balarie

1. Why did you decide to tackle the subject of fear for your book?

Frankly, I got sick and tired of living more fearful than faithful. It takes work. Hard work. It takes a whole lot of jealousy, comparing, striving, and procrastinating –  to cover the deep fear I’m the bad apple in God’s bunch. And, it takes a whole lot of protecting, worrying, and controlling – to keep my mind thinking I am safe and sound.

I didn’t embrace the state of peace, but instead, a state of constant panic.

Under the cover of my smile, I couldn’t figure out why, either:

I’d done Christmas x 20.
I’d gone to church and memorized John 3:16 and Phil. 4:6-7.
I was up on Christianese terminolgy – and good theology.
I was in a church community group.
I was repenting and trying not to sin.

So, why did I feel like a holy roller at church, yet wholly loser at home? Why did I fear my house was about to explode and, my kids, upon arrival of dinner, would have ketchup rocket-launchers exploding on just-cleaned windows? Why could I see my heart being thrust into cardiac arrest if people didn’t abide by my commands? Why did I envision ailments, Google them and figure I’d die before even being able to Facebook the world?

If God is as powerful as he says he is; I needed a rescue – in a big way. They say don’t put God to the test, but I guess I did. I wanted to see if he loved me. I found out he did. That’s what saved me. And that’s the hope I offer to readers in Fear-Fighting.

2. What is something that you are afraid of? How has God helped you face that particular fear?

Ordinarily, I’d be desperately afraid you’d:

1. Hate this post.

2. Judge me for writing it.

3. Think I was a bad writer, mother, woman or child of God.

I’d imagine you silently writing my name down on a list that you carry around in your head – the one that you reserve for the people who are extraordinarily stupid or exceedingly faithless. I’d fear you, then I’d steer clear of you.

Truth is, you may continually judge me, but God doesn’t operate that way. You may hate me, but I have discovered that I am loved by God. You may disagree with me, but there is no changing the promises of God. I’ve learned to fight fear by wielding truth.

Head over to katiemreid.com for the rest of this interview and to add your post of encouragement to the #RaRaLinkup. (Starting at 6 AM ET)

We Can Make Our Plans

plans

Post By: Angela Parlin

I had a plan for the weekend.

I stuffed an entire suitcase. I packed outfits and shoes for each day. I gathered journals & pens & vitamins & snacks. I confirmed a hotel room. I cleaned the car, inside and out.

I looked forward to enjoying the company of some long-distance friends. I was all ready—to run out the door, to drive down the road with a friend, and to soak up all kinds of help I needed at this weekend retreat.

I’ll be honest, it had been a long week at home. First, some of the kids were home from school a few days with coughs, and then my oldest struggled through a high fever for days.

And then something worse happened. I–the Mama taking care of everyone else–started to feel sick.

At first I tried to deny it and told myself I was okay. Mind over matter, right? I tried to stick to the plan. To not be sick.

But hours later, I knew. I was not heading out the door for anything, especially a fun weekend retreat.

Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Jeremiah 10:23

I may have had a plan, but my plan was not going to happen.

I’m a fan of making plans. I think we all are, really. We may not all be the Type-A, schedule all the hours, write-it-all-down kind of planners, but we all make plans. It’s a part of life.

I’m also a fan of my plans working out the way I plan. Anybody else? {Sidenote: So God made me a Mom—to give me lots of practice dealing with the opposite.}

These last few weeks of sickness were a good reminder that I have so little control over my days, my plans, and the steps I take. But even more than that, it reminded me that I am fully dependent on the Lord.

And this we will do, if God permits. Hebrews 6:3

In the verse above, the writer of Hebrews declares our complete dependence on the Lord, in 8 little words.

Just before this verse, he encouraged the believers to move forward toward maturity, so that they wouldn’t need to be taught the basic foundations of their faith repeatedly. God’s plan for each of us includes growth and maturity, and we each play a part in our growth.

But it’s also true that we don’t completely control it.

Instead, we depend on God, even in the area of our spiritual growth. He is the One who opens our hearts and ultimately causes us to grow.

So we purpose to move forward; we plan to do this, and we will, if and when God permits.

We are completely dependent on the God who gives us breath, and sometimes that’s easy to forget.

In our day-to-day lives, especially these days, we have so many tools for self-sufficiency at our disposal, tools like the internet and vehicles and finances and opportunities and planners in our hands.

Even so, our lives are not our own. We live and move and breathe by the will of the Lord our God.

Even when we don’t understand what He’s allowing in our lives, His will triumphs over our own.

Even when we believe the Lord is leading us one way or another, He has the final say.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9, NLT

On the other side of this illness, once again I am certain. He is good. He is in control. And He is worthy of my trust. Praise the Lord.

///////////

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15, ESV

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.

Peace & Leaving the World Behind

peace wild rest

Post By: Angela Parlin

We should all spend time outside each day. I don’t know about you, but I spend too many hours indoors.

As a remedy, sometimes I work at the kitchen table near the propped-open door to the deck. Hearing the wind rustling through the trees and birds fighting over seeds at the feeder does something for my heart. It’s not all the way outside, but it’s close.

Long ago, I posted this poem, one of my favorites, on the bulletin board at my desk, the one I don’t actually work at very often.

The Peace of Wild Things 

By Wendell Berry

“When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be.

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

I wonder if so often when we misplace our peace, if the answer is simply to spend more time outside.

I say I wonder, but I already know what kind of person I become when I spend extended minutes under the sky. There I see the rest of the beauty, and it’s not that I forget the chaos of the day. It’s not that the challenges disappear or the discouragement dissipates.

Out there, we realize we can walk away for a bit and the whole thing doesn’t all fall down.

Ohhh, right–it wasn’t really me holding everything together.

In the presence of still water or even angry waves, we remember again we have no control over the things we fear.

We remember Who does control all things—He Who is good and true and beautiful and eternal.

Who is acquainted with all this growing old and wearing away and falling down and rising up again. He Who endures forever and ever, Who is seen at the center of all this worldly beauty.

The Lord is God, and He has made His light shine on us. Psalm 118:27

It takes a few minutes, but I confess the truth. I’ve been taxing my life again, imagining losses that haven’t even happened. Why do I continue to repeat this?

Once again, I return to the wild. I take a walk in the woods past the yard, thick with green and a melody of snapping sticks underfoot. I imagine snakes hiding out like sharks in the ocean, while hoping they’re at least as rare.

Somehow I’ve left the rest of the world behind me. I come into the peace of wild things, and their holy message sinks ever deeper to my core.

Like Berry, I rest in the grace of the world—and I’m free.

///////////

From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2

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.

When You Wax & Wane

gospel truth remain

Post By: Angela Parlin

From her bedroom window, the full moon glows.

Rays bounce to the north, south, east, and west, painting a cross of light over a pitch dark sky. Supermoon circles large in the center of a bright, shining, old, rugged cross.

I sit on the corner of her bed, watch my sleeping beauty breathe, and I stare at the moon.

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” –Martin Luther

Tonight, God wrote the gospel on the moon, and I needed it more than I knew.

Many days, I gulp down living water early.

But then I run through days, where the gospel feels lost on me.

Some days start on a high note, but tangle up in chaos before we reach the middle. Some days, I have to convince myself to try get on top of it all. Instead, I feel irritated. I can’t stop moving, but I’m only running in circles.

When I finally sit down for a few minutes without little people asking for more pieces of me, I ask God really mature and selfless questions.

Why won’t they ever leave me alone?

It’s not what I really want, other than the opportunity to pause and re-center.

The night of the supermoon, it hit me.

The way of the moon is to wax and wane, and the light can all but disappear sometimes.

My light can all but disappear, in the jumble of kids and school and endless meals and the house with its dirt and projects and always so many things to do.

My light disappears in the way I react to their childishness and stubbornness and rips and smudges and everywhere messes.

I want to remain in Jesus, to be a light that shines His love day in and day out, even when it’s only for my little crew.

I also want to be left alone sometimes.

I want to stay on schedule.

I want my house all put together.

I want to complete things when I start them.

And since none of these are entirely possible, some days my light goes out. Or at least grows dim.

How is it so hard to remain in Him, when I do take the time to begin in Him?

The night I saw Him cross the moon, my heart welled up with this visible shot of gospel, in the middle of my own frustrations and failures.

His cross was brighter.

His love was stronger.

His work outlasted my own.

Once my eyes were fixed on Jesus again, I could see it all more clearly.

There is so much beauty in and around and through the chaos of our days.

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone. This doesn’t diminish the importance of the Bible. Nothing compares to opening the pages of His Word and hearing from the Lord.

But God surrounded us with all this beauty, His own glory. It fixes our minds on Him again, and maybe there’s always more to see.

So when you look up at the sky today or the stars tonight, or when the wind blows through your backyard trees, I hope you will remember.

I hope you will look and see Jesus above the roar of your life’s chaos, and you will continue in Him. And you will remain in Him.

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

View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015Angela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to being 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 each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.

The Way to Handle Life

pray handle life

Years ago, I took one of those 20-question quizzes, which used to populate our email inboxes. Before Facebook took over, we replied to all and read our friends’ answers one by one as they replied to ours. Remember that?

This quiz included questions about your favorite fruit, your most embarrassing moment, and how many days a week you cry. Random.

Guess what I learned?

Most people don’t shed tears every day.

Or at least that group of my friends didn’t. After I sent out my answers, some of them wondered if I was depressed. But I didn’t have anything to hide—I’ve just always been an easy cry.

I’ve been studying the book of Hebrews, where we see Jesus as superior to angels and prophets and the law that came through Moses. He’s our High Priest who gives us continual access to God’s Presence.

But we also see Jesus living out of his humanity, displaying strong emotion.

We see Him crying and praying fervently about what was to come.

We see Him struggle and still obey God, even through suffering.

We see Him fully dependent on God His Father day after day.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Hebrews 5:7

It’s the emotion here that stops me—fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him.

This points to His time in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus asked His Abba, Father to take this cup from Him. He was asking God to not let Him die in such agony–with the sins of the world heaped upon Him.

He didn’t want His Father to turn away from Him.

And He was heard because of His reverent submission. This last part of the verse is important.

Jesus asked for a different way, but He submitted to the Father’s will.

Yet not what I will, but what you will. Mark 14:36b

Is this the attitude you carry into your prayers?

It’s often not where my heart is, when I come to God with a need. I’m thinking, MY will, Lord, just say yes! I’m assuming I can see far enough ahead to know my way will work out best. I’m sure I know what I need.

But often, God shows me that what I need more than anything is to walk with Him and depend on Him.

What I need most is to lay my requests at His feet and say, Not what I will, but what you will.

Jesus endured His life on earth with regular time away from everyone else, praying to His Father–even though there were endless people to help and things to do.

Our lives, also, are meant to be handled with prayer.

May we follow Christ’s example to actively trust in God and depend on our Father through prayer. May we pray as an offering, sometimes including tears. Every day if needed.

View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015

Angela Parlin is Dan’s 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 each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.

Can you Change God’s Mind with Prayer?

Change God's Mind

God, I want this. Silence.
God, I need this. Silence.
God, do you hear me? Frustration.
God, answer! Dejection.

Ever noticed? When tiredness sets in, so does discouragement. We, then, set aside prayer because we feel God has set aside our most valuable request.

I guess it is human nature – when we feel shunned, we tend to shun. When someone treats us rudely, we stop talking. When God doesn’t seem to care, we say, what is the use? We give up. 

Yet, I don’t want to give up; I want to go into prayer with deep focus, reliance and fervor. I want to keep pressing in, knowing God hears. I want to believe, even when it feels like there is no use. After all, isn’t that what faith really is?

I can either be faithful in prayer or
prideful in rapid-fire demands.

The ability to wait well seems to make all the difference.

I will be the first to admit to you, I am so much more the latter than the former. Yet, I want to learn; I want to discover prayer that God loves. I want to go deeper, not to just get what I want, but to uncover what he wants, so that I can discover all the spiritual riches he has planned for my life.

5 Ways to Pray Prayers That God Loves

1. Trust your good God has all the power and ability to give you good things.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mt. 21:22

2. Let your motives align with God’s. Then, Let your motivation move with his.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Ja. 4:3

3. Stand in righteousness and trust all things will be added onto you.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Mt. 6:33

4. Keep on keeping on in prayer. Then, pray more.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Mt. 7:8

5. Have confidence in approaching God, knowing he hears.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Can you change God’s mind?

Have you considered that maybe it is more about God
changing your mind than you always changing his?

When we get our heart set right up against his, often we find our heart changes pace. Rather than running a course that we determined was bound to get us to where we want to go, we see a charted path and glorious path. We see miles and miles of opportunity that may look different than we ever expected, but far greater. We find, we get all we really ever wanted, it just wasn’t on our terms.

Prayer changes us – as much as it changes our circumstances.
It steadies believers lives in the hands of their great God.
It offers sweet intimacy between a loving daddy and his beloved child.
It is heard by a God who knows all our deep needs.
It brings back the dead into the very will of God.
It comforts the weak and humbles the proud.
It squeezes in truth to compel service.
It speaks love and signs hope.
It matures our hearts.
It works.

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

5 Transformational Tips: Make God’s Word Come Alive

Come Alive

Another day.
Another bible reading.

Skimming. I’ve read it before.
Half listening. I know what to expect.
Not discovering. I know the punchline.

Does the bible ever fall flat because you have flattened out
and read its pages so many times?

 

Does your mind have a hard time idling on God’s Word,
because the world speeds too fast around it?

 

I can’t seem to keep my heart in the place where the heart of God is – and that is the problem.

This problem, if not addressed, will, before long – stamp and deliver my heart to destinations I never intended to arrive at.  Frustrationville or Aggravationmount or some place like that. It could just as easily bring me to Jealoustown or Pridebury. Either way, they are places that reek of self and shame and guilt. Their roads are rocky and tumultuous. Every time, they leave me with a stomach turning knots over itself.

I’d rather not.

So, how do you dive into God’s Word, like a fresh glass of lemonade on a hot day? How do you dive into it, knowing that you have had it one hundred and one times, but still, wanting and needing it? Craving and desiring it? Thirsting and salivating over it?

5 ways to make the Word of God come alive:

1. Let your senses sense what the sentiment was.

Imagine being the lead role in the story. See yourself there. Sense your sin and the idea that you or your family has done something terribly wrong. Feel the judgement of the Pharisees upon you. Wonder if God really can and will heal you. Let your heart beat.

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. Jo. 9:6

2. Take your part in the redemption story.

Hear the words of Jesus leave his mouth. Feel the mud in your hand. Experience vision. Look amazed at what surrounds you. Set your eyes on Jesus.

Then, see yourself run to the masses to share the glory of the only one who could heal in this way. Take a snapshot of the story with your senses. Know that while this was his story, it is also your story.

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Jo. 9:25

3.  Ask yourself, “What about this experience is calling me to think, do or say differently?”

When you take a moment to think of all God has done, you can’t help but think of all he wants to do. His will makes your will jump up and down just at the thought of serving him.

The (once blind) man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.”  Jo. 9: 30-31

4.  Believe: He loves you, just as much as he loved them.

Just because you feel less than, doesn’t mean that God sees you that way. Believing that you are worthy of his gifts, love and encouragement, will allow your heart to receive them. Rather than keeping up defenses to his Word, you will lay them down and He will enter in.

The Once- Blind Man: “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.” Jo. 9:32

5. Avoid boxing God in (and you might just find your way out of your box).

When you believe in you heart, what Jesus did through Scriptures, you’ll find in your mind you can conceive the great things he wants to do through your life.

It sounds simple, but simple belief is so often what it comes down to.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. Jo. 14:12

When you approach God’s Word in this way, you realize you hold living water that is not bitter, old or common. Instead, you taste the fruit of what God has done and is about to do. It fills, it satiates and it refreshes. Like lemonade on a parched day – it’s a drink you can’t wait to indulge in, lap up and embrace word by word. It is peace and replenishment all in one.

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

God’s Love Letter for You

love letter

Dear Father God,

I am struggling.
My heart is ripping in two with the thought of how I hurt you.
My defensiveness is boiling, spilling over, with the burning effect of protect or be harmed.
My guilt is cascading onto those I love.
My fears seem to keep me stuck immobile, feeling more like a pillar of salt than the salt of the earth.

There is a insidious inclination to look at myself, in these moments, and to say, “I hate you.”

“I hate how you can’t get things right.
I hate how you don’t love properly. I hate how you make others feel.”

In these moments, it seems like I’m riding a roller coaster that is only descending, that is only heading into the swamplands of no movement, no progress and eternal frustration. I don’t want to go…still though, I move there, even despite my best efforts.

God, why can’t I be all you want me to be?
Why can’t I do better and be better?
Why do I fall into my own traps of defeat?
Why can’t I beat my mind so I can be a “good” follower of you?

Kelly

Dear Child,

Love. Do you feel it? Do you know it? This is all I have reserved for you. It is the only seat I offer you, it is front row to my unending offering of everything I have. For you are mine and I am yours. Love. Move in and let it sink in.

Even when you may feel like you are pulling up the covers, turning off the lights and laying down in disappointment and discouragement, flick the switch, see the light and dead-stare into my eyes. I wait, not to give you the evil eye, but to let you know that you are mine. 

Inhale.

I want all of you. I delight in all of you. The places where you are falling, are the places I am uprising. Will you trust? You see the skinned knees, I see the miraculous renewal. I don’t just bandage and regrow, but heal and remake a zillion times more abundant than your smallest comprehension of new.

My work transcends earthly and rebounds into the spiritual
which far surpasses what you consider – natural.

For nothing will be impossible with me (God). Lu. 1:37

So, dear child, don’t be angry at yourself, for this is all part of the process. Don’t cast your efforts into class “loser”. Don’t tell yourself you need to go to bed with no dinner. You will fail, fall and falter. But, here is the truth:

I don’t want to return you to the orphanage and wipe my hands of you.
I don’t want to drop you off on the side of the road, unless you put a smile on your face.
I don’t want you to know that you better – shape up or ship out. 

I just want you, all of you, in my hands, moldable, breakable, pliable, makeable and malleabe so that I can make you incredible as you lay back into the warmth of my will.

Stay with me.
    Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
    Stay with me.

Ps. 27:14 MSG

Don’t fear my process of remake, but open yourself up to it. Let love sink in – into the cracks, into the chaffed edges and into the unseen – so I can revive every cell you believe is of disrepair. I promise, I work wonders for beauty.

You see, my love is the healing point of all pain.
My love is the answer to your lash-outs.
My indwelling love is the answer to your out-dwelling peace.
My love is the end of condemnation and the beginning of affirmation. 
My love is the termination of avoidance and the conception of acceptance.
My love is arms around you when agony is too.
My love is the only current that removes the constant buzz of unbelonging.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again;
rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Ro. 8:15

Will you give it a chance? A chance to just – be? A chance to sit on your heart as you sit quiet on your couch? A chance to change you? A chance to remake you?

Cherished child, don’t let love become cliche. Common. Normal. Ordinary. See it afresh. Consider it anew. Resign yourself to know that you can never know the fullness of my love; there is always more and more to it.

So, step back, hold on tight and let it flood your insides so that it floods your world, not with proper actions, but with me.  

You will be astonished at what comes out when you let my love move in.

Forever yours,

Daddy

 

Daddy,

When I find your heart, things change. What was up is down and what was down is up, meaning you, God, move down, and the enemy moves far, far, away. Rather than feeling like all the walls are caving in, rather than feeling suffocated by sub-par Christianity, I feel young again. I feel uninhibited, released and restructured. I feel like running downhill, arms wide open, body receiving, will disappearing, all the same emerging. Emerging into a better me, not because of me, but because of you.

The wind of your gentle Spirit strips away the old, the useless and the unneeded, to pack in new, useful and entirely needed. You bring me to your destination and, as I trust you God, it is great adventure, with great joy and great power in distinct and purposeful movement. God, keep me there. Keep me in the place where my heart says let’s go! Let’s go wild and free down your journey of adventure.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25

You love me, oh how you love me,

Your daughter

 

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

Bloggers,

  1. Exciting news! We will now be linking up #periscopes every Friday. I have created a new Facebook group for this. I will share tips, tricks and insights on Periscope with encouragement along the way. Join now! Invite friends. Get linking!

  2. Join the linkup Facebook group, Cheerleaders for Christ.
 Loading InLinkz ...

How I Saw God Last Night (and you can too)!

I Saw God

Do you miss it?
It is right before your eyes.
Waiting for your astonishment…

It is God showing off.

If you are head down in iPhone…you won’t see it.
If you are worrying your pants off about what is to come…you won’t see it.
If you are yelling to that person next to you in traffic…you won’t see it.
If you are looking at what everyone else is wearing…you won’t see it.
If you are more concerned with your ways than his…you won’t see it.
Not because he doesn’t care for you, because he absolutely does.
Not because you aren’t his loved son or daughter, which you hopefully are.
Not because he is angry at you, because he is not, he just waiting for you to run back to him in repentance.

You won’t see, because you don’t allow yourself to see.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13 

Eyes that are looking for God, find him. Eyes that are distracted, miss him.

Last night, my son ran into my room with a mid-night dream he wanted to share. I hushed him up and pushed him back to his bed, deathly afraid I would turn into a walking-zombie mother the next day from lack of sleep. Success! He returned to bed.

Until, he came back. He woke me again, but this time I hugged him. I loved on him as Christ might. I enjoyed the quietness of the moment. Then, I looked out the window…and saw it. Bright as day, as close as the breath of my own child, as bold as a phone call in the middle of the night – it stood. It was the moon, except for one thing…this moon’s rays shined only two ways – horizontal above the earth, and vertical – ground to heaven.

This moon was emitting rays in the shape – of a cross.  A cross that owned the world.

FullSizeRender (2)

(This picture does the cross no justice, because its rays extended far and wide, long and distanced, crisp and sword-like, prominent and powerful. They went straight down to the ground and straight up to the sky…it was gigantic and breathtaking.)

This moon declared Jesus’ victory over the plains of the fearful and the plans of evil.
It proclaimed the earth as belonging to God.
It blazed like a victory flag over our mayhem-ridden land.
It shined eternal sovereignty, which will never, ever, fade.
It confirmed it can’t beat the the sacrifice that will always endure.
It magnified Jesus’ ability and desire to cleanse the world of all pain, agony and hatred.

But, what if I had missed it?

What if instead of stopping to let my eyes adjust to the light of God outside,
I let sleep lure me inside?

Awaken! God is all around, but when our eyes look down, we miss the exact places where he is found.

Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. Ps. 33:8

If we stop in the middle of rush, we will see – that it is us that God wants to touch.
If we look for wonder, we will find ourself wondering how we have such a great God.
If we pray to see, God will open our eyes up wider than they are after our third drink of coffee.

God waits to awe our socks off!FullSizeRender (3)

Nature testifies to the natural goodness of God. It is the present testament declaring both testaments of our living King. It confirms his majesty, administration and intentions.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Ro. 1:20

If you only see the white noise hum of “bore” before you – you’ll miss the “tremendously more” that God has – for you.

Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Ps. 2:11

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

Letting Go of Imaginary Worries

Worries

Post By: Angela Parlin

I used to think I didn’t struggle much with worry.

And then I became a Mom a decade ago. Suddenly there were so many what ifs to contend with. My imagination easily ran off to terrifying places, thinking two steps ahead of them, often fearing the worst.

Sometimes still, I get caught up in a whirlwind of worry, even though I know I don’t get to control things. Even though my trust in God has grown.

Shakespeare said cowards die a thousand deaths, and the brave die only one. I’ve heard a variation of his quote, which rings true for me:

“Some people die a thousand deaths before they die one.”

(Author Unknown)

I know the truth of my thoughts and my imaginations. I don’t tend toward bravery, but fear. How many deaths have I died in my head, or how many deaths have I feared for my loved ones?

What about you? Do you get trapped in worry? Have you grieved for those you haven’t even lost? Do you try to figure out the future, even though you have no power there?

When I’m stuck in worry, my best response is to turn each concern into a prayer, and to listen.

I am God, He says.

I am a good God, He says.

Trust me, He says.

He calls me to hand over all of my concerns to Him, each time they find their way back into my mind.

He calls me to bring my life before Him, to bring my loved ones’ lives before Him, day after day, and to place them in His hands.

He calls me to come to Him in prayer, to lay out the pieces of my life, to entrust it all to Him.

He calls you to all of the same.

When worry takes over, what we need most is to find our way back to the quiet, to fix our eyes upon Jesus once more. There, He speaks kindly to us, transforming and renewing our minds.

There, peace takes over, and worry morphs into trust.

We stop trying to carry our hurts, our struggles, our pain on our own.

We stop trying to bear our burdens–both our real ones and our imaginary ones–apart from the God who holds the whole world in His hands.

And when the worries return, as they often do, the Lord invites us to trust Him again, because He is God and He is good.

Some people die a thousand deaths before they die one, and I don’t want to be that person anymore. Lord, help us to live in peace instead of worry, to trust you with all the pieces of our lives.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you; I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Easy Subscribe! 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.