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The Darling Blog

Welcome to The Darling Blog, a life and style blog by the owner of Darling Boutique, Linnea White. Darling is passionate about empowering women and inspiring strength through fashion to restore dignity and true beauty. Enjoy outfit inspiration and style tips, featured #darlingfinds, local collaborations, and so much more. Live the Darling lifestyle - an altogether beautiful life.

Filtering by Tag: parables devotional series

The Parable of the Sower: Parables Series, Week 8

Linnea White

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When taking a first look at the Parable of the Sower, it is easy to look at the soils and quickly point fingers at people whom we feel could fall into these categories. Let me start by saying this: Jesus did not teach on this to point fingers, and it is not why I am touching on this either. Jesus taught this parable to have us each take a deeper look into our lives and to open up our ears to truly hear what he is saying. I think some people may have experienced multiple types of soil in their life, while for others that may not be the case. However, what is important is that you understand the value in where your seed is placed. I personally think that this parable must be important considering it appears in Matthew 13:3-9, Mark 4:2-9 and Luke 8:11-15.

Jesus used four different scenarios to get this point across.

1. The seed fell among rocky places. The birds ate the seed up quickly. Seeds are not planted in this person’s life. They “listen” to the truth of Jesus without allowing and accepting Jesus. The hard ground the seed is on doesn’t allow the seed to grow. This happens when someone is engulfed in deeply-rooted sin and allows the sin to take over.
2. The seed was placed in rocky places without much soil. The seed sprang up quickly, but later was scorched by the sun due to the lack of a root. Seeds are placed in this person’s life, and they take in some of the truth about who Jesus is and profess they know him. However, because there is no depth, their heart has not changed and their faith disappears.
3. The seed fell among the thorns. The plant grew but was killed by the thorns.

 

This person appears to have received the truth of Jesus, but sin (i.e. sexual sin, greed, lust, etc.) distracts and takes them away from a life with Jesus.
4. The seed fell on good soil. The seed produced crop that multiplied. The person HEARS AND RECEIVES THE WORD OF GOD and their life is for Jesus. This person will have heart and life change and are living vessels for Jesus.

Jesus also cautions us to beware of false prophets in Matthew 7:15-20:

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them… Likewise, good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit… Thus by their fruit you will recognize them."

Here, Jesus explains how a man’s heart must be in ample condition to receive His word.

I challenge you to take time to reflect on your life. If your soil is not in the correct condition to receive the goodness of Jesus, God can till it. He tells us to turn away from sin and He will be there with open arms. I pray that if something is holding you back, or if you are bluntly living in opposition of what you know is right, God will break down those walls and barriers. No matter how big the issue seems or how hard your situation is, it takes the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains with Jesus.

Be blessed, Megan

Read more from this Darling Devotional series on The Parables.

The Parables, Week 7: The Unfruitful Tree

Linnea White

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Can you believe it's 2016? A new year, a fresh perspective on what we hope this year will bring. One thing that remains pivotal is that Jesus will be at the center of this year. As we continue with the Parables devotional series, it is perfect timing for the next one in Luke 13. Here, Jesus taught on the Parable of the Unfruitful Tree. How fitting for this time of year, as we begin a new year, we need to make proactive steps in our trees yielding fruit. This means we need to see what we are watering our trees with and what kind of soil we are grounding them in.

Luke 13 | The Parable of the Unfruitful Tree

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'"

There are three entities in this parable:

  • The owner of the vineyard is God.
  • The man who is the keeper of the tree is Jesus.
  • The tree is symbolic to individuals and Israel.

God does not want to have to cut down the tree. But, he is a God of justice. He sent Jesus to intercede on r behalf, "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)  Jesus desires for us to be with Him. He died on the cross so we could be in relationship with God. He works hard at providing opportunities for us to choose Him. To love Him. To make decisions that further His kingdom. While ultimately everything is in the hands of God and He in is control, He provides opportunities for us to choose Him, to exercise our free will.

In this parable, the owner of the vineyard (God) is frustrated that this tree is not providing any fruit. He knew the keeper of the tree (Jesus) had worked hard at making conditions best for the tree (people) to bear fruit; however, the tree itself did not bear any. The keeper (Jesus) then intervenes pleading with the owner (God) for a little more time for the tree (people) to be fruitful. The owner (God) agrees, but only for one years time.

Seek and Find | Photo by Linnea WhiteSee friends, there is an urgency and a call for us a believers of Jesus to be seeking Him. This seeking is not a checklist. God wants us to be in community with Him daily. The scriptures say, "Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Luke 11:9) Jesus is here, if you are a believer or not - He is always present. Seek Him and you will find Him. I challenge you to get rid of the things in your life that are keeping you from bearing fruit, that are holding you back from what God has for you. Even if whatever you are holding on to seems to give you temporary satisfaction, time is precious and God wants to see your life bearing fruit.

I pray that this year brings much joy to you and that God will reveal Himself in a mighty wonderful way to you.

Read more from this Darling Devotional series on The Parables.

The Parables, Week 6: The Rich Fool

Linnea White

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Luke 12:13-21: The Parable of the Rich Fool

"Then Jesus said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'

And he told them this parable: 'The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'

Then he said, 'This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I'll say to myself, 'You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.'

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God."

Storing Up Your Treasures

I am sure most people have been convicted of loving their things a little too much. As we go into this Christmas season, I want to challenge you to really think about how you are spending your time and how you think about the items you are desiring.

I read an amazing book by Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted, and I highly recommend it. In the book, Jen talks about a moment where she was challenged to give her brand new boots over to a homeless person without any shoes for the winter. She admits that it was a bit too challenging for her to give up her boots (when she had other pairs at home) to someone who had nothing to keep their feet warm.

I can honestly say that this is something I too have struggled with. Their is nothing wrong with liking your things - that is not what I am saying here. But, there is something wrong if you would not willingly give them up. Because the fact of the matter is that if we hold onto our things without having open hands extending them towards God, then we are making idols of those objects. 

God tells us, "Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:20)

Storing Up Your Treasures | Photo by Megan Tiernan

The truth is we have no idea how many days we will have on this earth. What we do know is time is precious and what we want to be storing up are our riches in heaven. 

This past week my sweet friend passed away. She was only 38 years old. It really stopped me in my footsteps and made me think about how short our time is here on earth. It made me think, "Am I spending it in every way possible that is glorifying to God? Am I living each day knowing how precious it really is?"

My prayer for us all is simply Psalm 39:4: "LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered--how fleeting my life is."

Be Blessed this week, friends.

Meg

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Read more from this Darling Devotional series on The Parables.

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The Parables, Week 5: As Jesus Began to Teach

Linnea White

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Luke 12:13-14

“Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?!”

As Jesus Began to Teach

Even Jesus was faced with issues. People wanted to dispute with him about topics and would ask Him to intervene on disputes. Instead of jumping into ANY arguments and proving He was right (because let's face it, He is Jesus the Son of God, so He is right and always will be!), He kept His eyes on the course! This doesn’t mean that Jesus avoided confrontation, because He did make a point when it needed to be made and He did often show the Pharisee’s what was up. But, He discerned when to step in and when other things were distractions.

As you and I can see we have so much to learn from Jesus and I believe that this is a BIG one. We have to be walking in the spirit, always keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. When we walk in His will and in His promises we will able to see distraction and not let it distract us from His goodness. Not walking in the spirit allows distraction to defer us from what God has called us to. If Jesus would have done what the man asked Him to it would have kept Him from what He was called to do. And that was to teach a parable.

This is a perfect example how we as Christians should be with all of the events happening around us. Instead of posting articles or comments that hate and often condemn, we should keep our eyes fixed on what God is doing and is calling us to do.

When we look at the scriptures we can see that it is to "love your neighbor as yourself." I believe there is a reason why the Pharisees tried to stump Jesus when they asked what the greatest commandment was. He did not hesitate and He replied with the Shema: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." And followed it with, "the second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31)

God calls us to keep our eyes fixed on Him and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That means to love them regardless of their sexuality, gender, or religion. Love them - Gay, Straight, Trans, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Black, White, Asian, Syrian, or American. We are to LOVE THEM as ourselves.

Jesus Love Your Enemies | Photo by Megan Tiernan

Jesus also commands us to love our enemies and continues by telling us to do good to those who HATE you. (Luke 6:27) This means that we are called to love those who hate us - not spread lies about them, not gossip about them, not post hateful articles and yell slurs at them, not alienate them and judge them. We are called to LOVE them, and not only that, but to pray for them, to put them in high regard. This does not mean that you have to like what they are doing. This does not mean that your feelings are going to change over night. It does mean that you are being obedient and are glorifying God.

Friends, I encourage you to stay pure in heart and to keep your spirit, eyes, heart, and mind in tune with God. Keep the Shema first in your heart. Love God and know that He alone is God, and fueled with His unconditional love, live each day choosing to love your neighbors as yourself.

Be blessed, Meg

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Read more from this Darling Devotional series on The Parables.

The Parables, Week 4: Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

Linnea White

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Luke 7:36-41

One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him." Jesus said to him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Oh? Tell me." "Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?"

Simon answered, "I suppose the one who was forgiven the most."

"That’s right," said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, "Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal." Then he spoke to her: "I forgive your sins." That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: "Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!" He ignored them and said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

The woman, who most presume to be Mary Magdalene, was filled with a reputation - she was covered in sin. However, she understood her need for Jesus, her need for His grace and forgiveness. Her desire for His forgiveness and for her to be made new in Jesus is what sets her apart. Jesus saw this and recognized her desire to be made clean through Him. He did not push her away and she did not have to be made clean before he welcomed her.

This is something to emphasize, to remember. Many people believe that they are too covered in their messes for Jesus to want them. This is so far from true! Jesus wants you just as you are. When you come to Him understanding the depth of your sin, admitting that you need Jesus, that is when you begin to comprehend the goodness of the love of Jesus and what He has has done for you. Jesus explains to Simon that someone who has sinned much understands the reality of all that He has done by canceling their debts. That is exactly what Jesus did when He laid His life down on the cross. He paid our debts so that we could be made free in Him and Him alone.

To be honest, this scripture is my favorite. I have it tattooed on my right forearm. The beautiful exchange between Mary and Jesus is something that leaves me breathless. How grateful are we to be so deeply loved by our King that He does not define us by our shortcomings, but sees us as His beloved.

Friends, sit in His presence and take a minute to think about the reality of the cross. With open hearts, thank your Father for sending His Son and thank Jesus for dying so that you can have life and life abundantly.

I pray you have a week that is filled with joy and gratitude.

Be Blessed, Meg