Purposeful Faith

Tag - praise

When Storms Come In Like Wrecking Balls

Post By: Angela Parlin

It was Jesus’ idea to row to the other side.

With His disciples, He left the crowd behind, and traveled by boat to a new place on the far side of the lake. A furious storm suddenly raged. Waves crashed over the boat, and they nearly drowned.

Meanwhile, Jesus slept on a cushion in the stern.

If you think about what he had been doing before this little boat ride, his deep sleep makes perfect sense. At least from my introverted (and sometimes-exhausted Mom) perspective. He had been teaching crowds of people, eating meals with people, and traveling about talking with them and healing them.

Mark 4 tells us the disciples took Jesus along in the boat, “just as He was.” And what He was, was completely exhausted. Fully human…

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3 Tips to Worship and Praise God Deeply

Worship and Praise God

We watched her from our car – she walked slowly, cloaked, and hunched over, stepping onto the crosswalk we were sitting in front of. Like magnets, our eyes were drawn to her, her cart was filled with a hodge-podge of materials that glowed and shimmered in the sun. She stared straight ahead but stopped dead, right in front of our car. Mom, looked at me, I looked at mom and, in unison, we moved to the edge of our sticky-leather seats, “What is she up to, we thought?”

Despite the multiple changes of red lights to green and green to red, she didn’t move. She was stuck there. There simply was no moving ahead to the adventure that awaited us ahead there was only – us and this cart-lady. Here eyes met ours inside the car.

Ever noticed? Often, this is how it is with worship. Something moves before our mind and it gets stuck there. It feels that there is no moving it.

Sure, we want to drive ahead and sing God’s glory, yet that cart of worry and distraction stands before us. It is all we see. We miss his glory. We can’t behold the treasure he wants us to see. We can’t move into the joy of his presence.

What are we to do? Well, that day, we paid the lady off. I can’t suggest you do this (it won’t work well with God), but I can suggest you dismiss distraction in a similar fashion.

How to Dismiss Distraction and Drive into God’s Divine Glory:

  1. Pray. Ask God to remove what is pestering you to move in authentically worshiping him.  See yourself hand it to him. Ask him to hold it for you, to tend to it and to bring clarity to that situation.
  2. Surrender. Truly let go of what you just let go of.
  3. Just be. God doesn’t need you to put on a show for him, he just desires your needy heart come to him. Often, worship is the act of saying nothing, while you know he is everything.

Worship is coming needy and unknowing to Him who’s moving and pursuing you passionately with love. It is bringing your poverty before him who is rich. It is letting him hold you as you are.

It is climbing onto the lap of His care. It is looking at his face with awe, admiration and appreciation. It is waiting to see what he will do – with you. It is not performance-based, but heart-abandoning.

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 18:4

Worship is not only about hymns, but it’s about humble openness, willingness and readiness to soak in the Creator, the Author and the Perfector of faith. It is about seeing his glory beyond the alerts, schedules and notifications continually pinging you. It is about getting quiet in the rush. It is about listening for truth over lies. It is about asking for more rather than existing with less.

It is about being with Him.

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Activating the Power of Thank You

Power of Thank You

The poor thing, she had been up all night hacking.

I shut my door.

“I can’t sleep if all I hear – is her,” I thought.

I wasn’t trying to be cruel, but, we all know how mothers end up when sleep gets lost. They turn ugly, mean and tense. I hate being that lady; I get mad at that lady. Anything not to be – that lady.

Hours later, the barks still ensued. Then, an internal battle ensued – do I get up or do I not get up? My mind wrestled: If I get up, I will never get back down. I will never fall back to sweet and delicious sleep again – I know how this game goes.

I climbed out of bed, checked the clock, stubbed my toe and headed to the medicine cabinet. It was the unseen hour that called for more medicine. Moms don’t give up.

power of thanks

Begrudgingly, I kicked open the door, my mind half out of its own mind. I stumbled in, expecting to drop the junk down her throat and stumble out. But, what happened next woke me. It jolted me like coffee.

power of thank youFrom her helpless position, she looked, and said, “Thank you, mommy.”

My heart nearly dropped to the floor. Wow. She sees. She knows. She appreciates.

I felt loved.
 
I felt adored.


I felt alive. I would have gotten up a thousand more times, every single night (well, maybe), just to hear that sweet honey come off her lips.

I mattered.

Do I show God he matters like that? I wonder. I doubt it.


Guilt hits. Then, love arrives. God doesn’t need me to know he matters; but, I need him to know I matter. And, maybe this is the point. It’s probably far less about what he gets from these words and far more about how I feel when I speak these words. It is far more about me seeing the rescues, the panaceas and the answers that arrive out of nowhere. It is far more about me realizing how loved I am and how far out of his way he would go to help me.
Now I see: The small whisper of thank you is the moment you realize you’re daughter – and you’re really cared for.
power of thanks
It is the moment that you realize God would do anything to love you.
It is the joy that comes from receiving instead of striving.
It is the power that unfolds from heaven right in your lap.
It is the realization that kingdom come will come because God gives good things.
It is the inclination to bow down and see how tall God really stands over the world.
It is looking at the might that has might – and acknowledging it.
It is the strong hold of one stronger – that has the power to take hold over your life.
It is you not being you, as you normally are, but being you – with gratefulness.
 It is the uncovering of the jewels you never knew existed.

It is the unwavering trust that he will do it again.

It is seeing him as he is – good.

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Ps. 106:1

Thanks gives legs to greater faith, for it believes in the one who gives – and will give. The giver is daddy. He pours out every time. And in the process, as we trust this, we are changed. We become little balls bursting with humility, dipped in his love, coming out covered in good. We become sweetened by grace and full of excitement about who we are becoming.

Thanks is anticipation of God’s faithfulness. It, frankly, is delicious.

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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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