Purposeful Faith

Category - Jesus

Shooting Back Fear (Response to San Bernardino)

Shooting Back Fear

San Bernardino.
17 dead.
14 injured.
Me…
Questioning.
Wondering.
Asking..

How everything around me moved from the safety of
white-picket fences and neighborhood playgrounds
to a territory where the wild things are?

What will happen to me?
Is this world going to eat me alive?
Will my kids be okay?
Will I be punished for my beliefs?
Stripped of my goods?
Hurt?

Today, we seem to live in risky territory. Raw territory. Hunt and be hunted territory. Even a head in the sand can’t hide this fact. It can’t take away the feeling that we don’t know what to do or, really, how to even prepare.

Fuzziness ingrains fearfulness.
Panic invokes more panic.
Rage makes us rage.

Then the unknown makes us certain our demise will become known.
The potential of “anything” swirls like a reality-bomb ready to explode.
The people against us become big and the people with us – become little.

Even when we tell ourselves “we are getting extreme again” and try to check ourselves in to a better mindset, we still don’t do well, for our mind comes undone, yet again, at the next catastrophic world blow-up.

We return to square one at this point, asking God, “Why do you allow this stuff?”

His answer looks something like this: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:12)

God doesn’t hide the truth from those who want to hide their head under the blanket of this-all-can’t-really-be-happening. And, maybe, just maybe this is the point.

It is what it is. And God is who he is.
And fear is profitable when channeled properly.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling… (Phil. 2:12)

When I start to fear my big God, that stands over all world problems – I find peace. I find hope. I find resolve.

Hope that looks like:

He will save us
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
 He will cover us with his feathers,
    and under his wings we will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be our shield and rampart.
 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday. (Ps. 91:3-6)

Open your eyes and turn from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God, makes way for forgiveness of sins and a secure inheritance among the sanctified (Acts 28:18).

Protect us, God will. Because he loves, he will rescue. Why? Because we acknowledge his name. We will call on him and he will answer. He will be with us in trouble. He will deliver us as we honor him. As we satisfy him all of our days, he will show his salvation to us (Ps 91:14-16).

Eternal glory in Christ Jesus will be ours, after we have suffered a little while, for he will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Pet. 5:10

Hope that leads to RESOLVE. RESOLVE to believe. RESOLVE to stand, no matter what. RESOLVE with fear. But, RESOLVE, nonetheless. Not in a fake way, not in a shallow way, not in a comfortable way, but in a I-can-only-do-it-with-you way. In a you-won’t-abandon-me-way. In a if-I-stay-in-your-truth-you-have-me-covered-way.

RESOLVE.

Reaching to a God who saves.
Expecting him to fulfill his promises.
Searching for his teaching amidst the terror.
Obedient to his steady promises above wavering feelings.
Leading our mind to his dwelling not the dwelling of the agonizing, torturing and demoralizing.
Vindicating and convicting, left to him.
Entering the holy dwelling place of the Spirit to reside with the comforter, the leader, the teacher and speaker of all truth.

Resolve in the name of Jesus. Resolve in the name of true belief. Solid gold, unbendable, unbreakable and untorchable belief. Believe that he is protector. Believe he is mightier. Believe he is more powerful.

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

Pray with me today on Periscope – click here.

Some Things Are Meant For Unfolding

Unfolding God's Word light

Post By: Angela Parlin

We’ve been working on folding shirts a new way, in my two younger kids’ rooms, because the old way, Mom’s way, was not working.

Our new fold is really a cross between rolling and folding. Instead of stacking shirts flat, we place them in their drawers almost upright. The kids are able to see which shirt they’re pulling out before they move anything around, and so the rest of the drawer stays neat. I like neat. 🙂

Our littlest is five, a great age for being a helper. This new fold is something he does well, and he’s excited because he does it all by himself. He often says, “You HAVE TO come see this, Mom! My shirts are so good!”

I gasp and tell him, “I’ve never seen anything so neat (especially in this room)!” And he nods his head, proudly.

We get a little excited around here about new systems for keeping things neat and tidy and well-managed. But there are some things which were never meant to be kept in a drawer, out of the way, folded up tight, and managed.

Psalm 119:30 says, The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

I wonder, what is this unfolding, and how often do we approach God’s Word this way?

Do you come to this ancient book, ready to unfold the words and let them unfold upon you?

Do you sit long enough to allow layer upon layer to open before your eyes,
lighting the path of your life? Lighting the way to life?

I love to study God’s Word, yet I’m convicted. Sometimes I allow myself to get swept up in the busyness of life, much of that busyness my own making. Then I approach God’s Word as a super-quick fill-up. I know I need it to get through the days, but I don’t always spend the time.

I don’t always approach the Word the way I’d approach a person I love.

I come rushed, asking for what I need, and please, God, drop it on me fast, because I also need to be out the door in a minute.

I hope you don’t hear any condemnation here. I believe God honors any minute we give Him, just as He honors the hours. But sometimes I see a pattern in me, and I wonder if you see the same.

Sometimes I forget this book is a treasure waiting to be unfolded, waiting to give us light.

His Word is alive and divides me in two. It lifts my eyes beyond everything I can see. It lifts my eyes to heaven. It grows my love for Jesus, for others, and even my love for me–as His work of art, His chosen, His beloved, His sister.

Do you unfold His words, and let them unfold upon you?

To unfold means to open. That’s a pretty straightforward starting place. We open His Word and let His words enter into our hearts.

To unfold is also to reveal, which is something the Lord does for us. He unfolds His words upon us, reminding us of truth or revealing truth in a new way.

Finally, to unfold is to interpret or expound, which takes time and the effort to dig in.

God’s Word is a treasure, and any effort we spend unfolding it, manifests in our lives as light and understanding and wisdom.

Lord, Your Word is perfect, and it refreshes our souls. Your Word is trustworthy, making us wise. Your Word is right, giving joy to our hearts. Your Word is radiant, giving light to our eyes. Your Word is righteous and pure. It is firm and endures forever. Your words are more precious than gold. Help us to treasure them, to treasure You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. {adapted from Psalm 19}

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

Angela Parlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 at www.angelaparlin.com, Eyes on Jesus.  

 

Speed Blogging: A Quick Injection of Encouragement

7 Bloggers. 7 Heart-Inspiring Mini-Posts. 7 New Bloggers to Check Out.

Join me today as I welcome mini-guest posts on my blog. We can’t read everything online, so I hope to provide a quick rundown of some great words being written. Check them out!

Rosie Jensing
Follow on Twitter

Stepping into an environment that is bigger than what we know and are familiar with, forces us to expand our knowledge and stretch our thoughts.

As uncomfortable as it is to step beyond the place of familiarity, true growth can only take place when we reach the end of our abilities and enter into the beginning of God’s.  For me, this is the place where I rely on Him to show up in order to be successful.  It is the place where my heart flutters in uncertainty of what lies ahead.  It is the place where the shoe is a little big for me, but I chose to wear it anyway and trust that God will help me grow into it.

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9  Read More.

Susan B. Mead
Follow on Twitter

Where do I look, Lord?
How do I do this, Lord?
Who do I to turn to for help, Lord?

I need you, Lord, to guide me through this puzzle called life.

Holding my hand
So I can take the next step

Feeding and filling me with Your Word
So I can share it with others

Loving me – missing pieces and all
So I can love others in spite of their “missing pieces”

They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words. Luke 24:4-8 (The Message)

And

The chief of the Temple police and the high priests were puzzled. “What’s going on here anyway?” Acts 5:24 (The Message)

Even Jesus’ disciples, the Temple police and the high priests were puzzled…  Read more…

Alyssa Howard
Follow me on Twitter

A funny thing happened when I finally let go of my reputation – God intervened. First of all, I learned that God cares about how others perceive those who are His. He will always defend His children because He understands our pain. Jesus knows all too well what it’s like to have a reputation destroy you. He was perfect and without sin, yet He was laughed at and mocked to the point of death.

He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. – Isaiah 53:3 (NLT)

Secondly, God taught me what it means to seek Him first in all things… including my reputation. When we hold on to things and choose to use our own strength to defend ourselves, we aren’t allowing God and His strength to take over. God wanted to renew my reputation, but I refused to trust Him with it.

Finally, God taught me… More.

Doris Swift
Follow me on Twitter

I felt like what I did made me who I was, “that pregnant girl.” Then I met Jesus, and the truth set me free.

What we did in the past doesn’t make us who we are; it’s what Jesus did for us that confirms our identity.Jesus had already taken my shame to the cross, it just took me a while to find that out. When Jesus overcame our shame, years of disgrace were replaced by grace.

I shared this story while speaking at a women’s event. After stepping from the stage, countless women couldn’t wait to say “me too.” This is why we need to tell our stories; because we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

When we share how God brings beauty from ashes, our past story becomes part of our grace story.

So goodbye shame, Jesus took you away, and I will gladly step into the light and tell others about it.

Read more.

Anna Seeley
Follow me on Twitter

We need to stop fighting and be still.

I was so focused on trying to run away from my fear that I just made myself busier and busier.  I was afraid to be still because I knew it would overwhelm me. So I tried to fight my own battle by doing everything but sit still and silent in the presence of God.  But it wasn’t my battle to fight.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. Ex. 14:14

We must claim our freedom daily.

Joshua was nervous to carry out all the big things God told him he was to do.  God constantly reminded him that he had no reason to fear! There is no shame in going to God daily, moment by moment for reminders and encouragement.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deut. 31:6

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Josh. 1:9

We are called to freedom for a purpose. God has something already set in motion for you to do!  Don’t let your past, fears, or mistakes hold you back in chains!  Use your freedom to serve Him and others.

Read More. 

Linda Perkins
Follow on Twitter

When I opened my Bible the other day and ran across this verse: “And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.”

Say whaaat??

Clearly, Paul, the writer of Philippians must have been mistaken. How can anyone think of suffering as a gift? Surely, suffering is not God’s will for us, right? Wrong. Maybe suffering is our own fault, and it will go away as soon as we turn back to God. Nope. Oh, OK, then perhaps God only allows us to suffer temporarily, so He can then show His healing power. Well, sometimes yes, sometimes no.

The Bible says that suffering, not just the release from it, is a gift from God.

How in the world could this be true? I dug deeper. What I found was a God who cares deeply about our suffering (Exodus 3:7) and hears our cries for help. And while sometimes He does rescue us, He more often delivers us in our suffering and speaks to us in our affliction (Job 36:15).

His purpose for allowing suffering is not to harm us, but to draw us closer to Him.

Read More. 

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

When You’ve Pushed God To the Point of No Return

Point of No Return

By: Angela Nazworth

The busy highway turned into a parking lot. I gripped the steering wheel and willed the cars ahead of me to move. Not one budged. I was going to be very late picking up my daughter from preschool and I worried that she was feeling sad and scared as she waited for me. When I finally arrived at her school, I found her sitting alone at her table. She was wearing her pink coat with a matching hat; her princess themed back pack was resting over her slumped shoulders. When I called out her name, her little head popped up like a gopher emerging from its tunnel.

“Mommy,” she exclaimed!

Reaching out for my embrace, she turned her head slightly toward her teacher and confidently said, “I just knowed my mommy would never leave me.”

Do you hold such confidence in your heavenly Father?

Do you know that He’ll never leave you?

I ask because deep down in my soul, I didn’t always believe this truth. I believed it in part, but not in whole. I believed that God, the creator of the universe, was always present in His creation. I believed that if I were oppressed, victimized, or sick, He would be with me in those dark hours. I also believed that He celebrated each milestone and victory in my life.

What I had trouble believing is that God
would stay by my side during the times I failed.

When people or the stuff of this world hurt me, I found my strength in knowing that I was a child of God and that He would not forsake me. Yet, when I was the promise-breaker, liar and the selfish hoarder, I felt not only shame and sorrow for my actions, I felt alone. That perceived desolation, which was stationed on a lie and wrapped with guilt, often kept me from crying out to my Savior.

I took God’s promises from John 3:16-17 and added  the word “unless.”

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Unless you mess up in a big way.

With the added unless, I completely ignored John 3:17

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

I rewrote the meaning of grace and lived as if it didn’t apply to me. But Grace is without limits. Grace blatantly steps over our human-made boundaries and says I haven’t left you. I will never leave you. Rest in me. Trust me. Live for Me, because I will never let you go.

Scripture does not read, He will never leave you or forsake you unless you take the Lord’s name in vain, or unless you commit adultery, or unless you yell at your kids, or unless covet your neighbor’s house.

Yes, our actions have consequences. No, God does not want us to chose our sinful desires over His perfect gifts. But once we’re His, he won’t leave us. He never longs for us to self destruct. Instead, He hears our cries and invites us into His open arms.

Point of No Return

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35-38.

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

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

6 Ways to Talk Like Jesus, Not Yourself

Talk Like Jesus

Like an inspector, I spot the clues that lead to wrong. I can see the details of the injury and I must find out who did it. I must know the who’s, what, why’s and when’s. If I know, it will add up to a greater picture to create a greater plan.  Then, I can really put my thinking cap on, add up the details and get busy with repairing what went wrong.

Ever been there?

Ever nodded your head yes to your inner inspector
believing your top cap holds all the rights to another’s wrongs?

Ever become the investigator,
the mediator
(and eventually the intimidator),

rather than the relater to pain?

Jesus models an image of perfect communication; while he never came across as a Mr. Fix it, fixing was naturally accomplished.

6 Ways to Effectively Communicate like Jesus:

1. Know who you are talking to, what they need and how to listen.

He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. Jo. 2:25
Know what is inside, outside, around and under a person, so you can see how to sit with, not preach to, a heart in need.

2. Understand that you could stand where that person stands.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Heb 4:15
There, but for the grace of God, go I.

3. Let the Spirit be the orchestrator of your words. Speak from God’s righteousness, verses your Godly righteousness.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Cor. 2:4-6
When leader, the confirmer and the sealer of Christ’s work, the Spirit, guides your words, your words become meaningful.

4. Believe in your words and your words will become believable.

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:28-29).
All the authority of Jesus Christ has been handed you to you for present day purposes – act like it.

5. Encourage others in life application of their faith – so they figure it out, without you figuring it out.

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. Lu. 8:32
You might be sending someone into a monsoon, but soon they’ll likely find God.

6. Ask questions and then ask more(from the depths of love). Questions lead people to their own answers.

Where is your faith?” Luke 8:25
When a person comes up with their own answer, they come up with their own plan of action, which will always work one hundred times better than ours. 

Rather than relying on our inspector and fixer habits, we can rely on the Savior’s and healer’s habits. In the end, our mouths will speak not answers and solutions, but a glorious “Amen”, “God is working” and “Yes, yes yes!”

Yes to a calm heart that understands the Master is the master over all problems.

Yes to a deeper faith that trusts God’s needed working space between the major problem and a hurting person.

Yes to insightful prayer that go to the altar, before going to the table of action plans, contracts and how-to’s.

Yes to expectancy at how God may show up to Shalom, or welcome, one into his family, his truth and his love.

Yes to truth, wild truth, spoken with wild belief that seems to test the yes intention of our own heart to all Godly intentions.

What happens is glorious and marvelous – we see the Lord at work. We see his ways prevail in another’s heart a million times better than our policies, procedures and programs could have ever reigned.

We see his glory fall – and one who sees glory – sees God.

And, what we find, oftentimes, is the other one with stronger faith in the end – is us.

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

Linking with #LiveFreeThursday, #FiveMinuteFriday and #DanceWithJesus.

Learning to Find Rest

Find Rest

My 4-year old son asks me a million questions a minute. Rapid fire, it’s like a barrage of bullets that I feel I can’t dodge sometimes. But, he wants to know, he must know. He won’t quit until he DOES know.

It’s a personal pursuit for him; he is trying to figure out how he fits into this grand ole thing called – the world.

I answer.
He always believes. 
And asks more. 
And is eager. 
Hungry. 
Hopeful. 
Listening. 
Ready.

Willing to learn. Expecting to hear.

My son makes me think…

We love to focus on this verse: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Mt. 11:28-29

We jump up and down when we read this one: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Mt. 11:30

But, we hardly consider the verse just a couple lines above it: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; Mt. 11:25

Could it be that verses are related?

Might we not feel our burden is light,
because we haven’t really established God as our sight?

Perhaps, we haven’t fought after God’s ways like a child would – like my son would.

A child might beg, “What things do I need to learn? How do I do it? Tell me. Tell me. Tell me. Show me too. I want to learn! I want to do it!”

Do we want to learn? Not in a heady, heavy and show-offy sort of way, (like the wise and understanding ones that God hid truth from), but like the hungry, listening, watching and active children that are rambunctious for truth.

God easily hands out rest to those seeking children; they need it – they tire themselves out with their relentless pursuits. He lays them down in the comfort of his safe pastures, under the wings of eagles and in the safe refuge of his mighty tower.

God lets the hungry be full – with his nourishment that never stops filling.

They seek God and they find him.
They hope for an answer and they hear one.
They wait and they receive the power of his Word.

Hungry. Hopeful. Listening. Ready. Eager to know the one driving them around all the time, leading the way, staying close minute by minute to make sure they stay in good health. 

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Mt. 11:27

The Father knows the son, the Son knows the Father.

How can we expect to know the Son, without asking to see him?

Pleading to see him,
leaning in to know him and
crying for a chance to behold him.

God picks up the whiney children wailing for more,
and carries us to make our loads lighter.

Then, we lay up against rest and lean on trust.

Gone, is the weight of striving and, present, is the hope found in abiding.

Our daddy takes good care of us, as he always does for a loved child. Our souls find the rest after listening to the answers for our million questions we were always hungry for. 

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

Linking with #DanceWithJesus and #FiveMinuteFriday.

Rest & Life & Everything Else

Rest Life Jesus Christ

Post By: Angela Parlin

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

(Matthew 11:28)

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

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

Do scriptures sometimes chase you around like that?

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

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

Come to me.

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

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

Come to who?

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

Who should come to Jesus?

All you who are weary and burdened.

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

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

There are other ways we are weary and burdened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m praying that rest is yours today,

~Angela

Angela Parlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 

The Thing You Know, But Do Not Believe

Do Not Believe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love that says:

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

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

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

It always is. It always is – for you.

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

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

Keep in God’s love.

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

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

When You Cannot Have It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______________________________________________________________________

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

When People Look Like Trees

People Look Like Trees Sight

Today, I am delighted to have Angela Parlin, a regular contributor to Purposeful Faith, posting today. Angela is full of wisdom, grace and truth. Her words have a delicate tone that gently guide my eyes to God every time. I hope you delight in her words today as much as I do.

Post by: Angela Parlin

“God won’t stop until we can see everything clearly.”

~David Lomas, The Truest Thing About You

Just when you start to think you have Jesus figured out, He spits in a man’s eyes to heal him in an unconventional way.

It’s the only gradual healing we find in the gospels. Typically, Jesus touched someone, or they touched Him, and His touch healed them instantly. At other times, He simply said the word, and a person was healed.

In Mark chapter 8, Jesus healed a blind man in a two-stage process. First, Jesus led the man outside of town and spit in his eyes.

I’m not even joking. And the oddness only increases. Because this is Jesus–who holds the power to heal anyone in any way—and it almost seems as if He messes up the miracle, at least the first time around. Read it for yourself:

…When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

He looked up and said,

“I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes.

Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:23-25)

Now we all know Jesus didn’t mess up the miracle. He is able to do anything He wants, in any way He chooses. I think He healed the man in this unusual way in order to teach us some things about our spiritual sight.

Just before this healing, Jesus fed thousands of people with a tiny amount of food. He also walked on water, calmed a storm, healed many others, and cast out demons by the handful.

His disciples were near Him, and they watched it all. Yet they still didn’t see.

They still didn’t understand.

Jesus reminded them what He had done, right before their eyes. You can almost see Him shaking His head and asking,

Do you still not understand?” (verse 21)

We can be really slow learners. We can be near the Lord, and still not see Him for who He really is. Things are still blurred.

We see something, a glimpse, and think we understand. Because we comprehend more now than we did before.

But maybe what we see is the equivalent of people who look like trees walking around.

Most of the opening of the eyes of our hearts, occurs progressively, over time.

Most of our spiritual progress can’t be measured by leaps or bounds.

Every conversion is different. Every restoration is unique. But many of us only see dimly when we come to Christ. Then He continues to touch us and restore our sight until it becomes clear.

This miracle illustrates the way He opened my eyes, and continues to open them to new and deeper truths year after year.

As Jesus heals our spiritual sight, we will see Him more and more.

He’s not done yet. He will be faithful to complete this good work He’s begun in each of us.

Does that stir up hope in your heart the way it does for me?

Dear Jesus, Make us see…

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the fullness of day. Proverbs 4:18

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.

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

 Loading InLinkz ...