Purposeful Faith

Category - dreams

What Are You Waiting For?

waiting king of world

Post By: Angela Parlin

My last semester of college, I moved to North Carolina for an internship at a giant computer corporation.

I hated to leave school early, but they offered me a chance to work into my first real job, and I couldn’t pass it up. Just before I moved, my boyfriend proposed, and we decided to get married less than 6 months later. Just after college graduation. It was an exciting time, to say the least.

So I transitioned into a new job, and moved into what would become our first apartment. I learned our new city and made some new friends. And after setting up our apartment with just the basics, I laid out pieces of wedding paraphernalia on the nightstand beside my bed. It was a daily reminder of my new life to come, the life I was eagerly waiting for.

Do you remember a time when you longed for something new, just around the bend?

I studied a verse earlier this week, and it reminded me of this anticipation.

“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:28, ESV

Let’s talk about that last phrase for a minute. To save those who are EAGERLY WAITING for Him.

Jesus will come again, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.

I have a question for you, and it’s probably going to hurt a little. But I hope it brings you to a better place, and a new perspective.

Are you eagerly waiting for Jesus?

He is coming to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. But there’s just one problem.

We love the world instead.

We are eagerly waiting for all our dreams to come true in this life. We are waiting, for everything we love right here—for the work and accomplishments and people and events and promotions and possessions and all the plans we desire for our families, for our lives. Right here.

I hate to admit it, but my desires and dreams for this life compete with my desire for Jesus.

I’ve been involved in a love affair with this world, and it has prevented me from waiting eagerly for Jesus to come again. But the Holy Spirit used this passage to make me aware, and to lead me to repentance. There’s no better place to be, because repentance brings refreshment.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

I don’t want to be waiting on all the amazing possibilities of this world.

I want to be waiting for the King of the world.

Let’s hope He finds us waiting for a new life to come. Waiting eagerly for Jesus.

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.

Add Life to Your Life

Life

When I got home, I noticed one remaining trash can. Apparently, my husband didn’t pull it to the end of the driveway for pickup. Approaching it, I could see why…maggots climbed up, down and all over it. Yuck! I looked inside, only to see, at the bottom, a half eaten box of chicken legs.

And, seeing this, brought a valuable insight: Death leads to more death.

Death leads to more death because, what life – sin has killed, the enemy, like a maggot – feeds on. He brings more death.

Now, sweet friends, I am fully aware all this talk sound highly disgusting. But, I also believe it can be highly transforming, this is why we are venturing into the depths of trash.

Consider this: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 6:23

Sin leads to death.
Then, death leads to death.
Jesus leads to life.
Then, life leads to life.

Where have you allowed sin to produce death in your life? How is the enemy feeding on you, only to produce more death – death of joy, peace, productivity, power, grace, hope, love, mercy – in your life? Death of relationships? Death of belief?

While through the Spirit, we are being transformed into the image of Christ with ever-increasing glory (2 Cor. 3:18), I am convinced the enemy’s operating procedure is to move us to ever-diminishing glory. So we don’t look like Christ.

Today, I didn’t want to touch that maggot-box. I didn’t want to drag it down the driveway, but I knew, it had to go or the death would stay.

What today, do you need to drag in front of Jesus – and let go in order to remove the death that is settling in around you?

Be not afraid, my brothers and sisters, our God is a gentle God, slow to anger, abounding in grace, mercy and new life. When you come and encounter his face, the face of your sin will change.

Perhaps, you do this today. Rather than continuing in excusing, rationalizing, permitting, blaming or smearing – today, perhaps you approach the one who loves you – so he can.

This is my prayer for you – and for me…

Dearest Father, you love us. You love us, then you love us, then you love us…and love us some more. May we know, in the place where we feel death, we are only a confession away from your life. May we know you want us. May we know you always welcome us. We confess, God, we have fallen into sin. It looks like this: _______. It has hurt us in this way: _____.  We hand it to you, into your loving hands. We are sorry. What new way can we go when we are prone to do it, Father God? ____. We thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

 

 

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Stepping Into Your Calling

Your Calling

What is God calling you to?

It’s a very important question to consider.  Knowing the answer can make the difference between ongoing fulfillment and unending misguidance. This answer can radically shift the purpose of your life.

Have you asked God? And listened. Observed. Noticed.

And then asked Him again. Listened. Observed. Noticed.

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

Things are in the works my friends, on my end. I have something VERY exciting to announce in the next couple of weeks (and, no, it is not a baby…why do I always have to preface things with that?!). It is something that increases unity, brings restoration and that will change your life. I am sure of it. Oh, I can’t wait for you to know. To be a part of it.

But, I could have missed this calling altogether. I really could have. I was just considering this very thought this morning as I sat on my patio. I love to go out there in the mornings. I seek God, read scripture and absorb the Lord’s goodness. Well, this morning, as I tried to place my mind on Him above, I couldn’t. All I could hear was a consistent…SQUAWK!!! SQUAWK!!!

Get out of here!!! You are so annoying.

Try as I may to focus on how God wanted me to proceed with every He’d called me to, how to…SQUAWK! SQUAWK!

The shrill voice of the crows butted in once again.

And, I couldn’t: I couldn’t think. I couldn’t listen. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get my mind off the annoyance.

What is squawking in your life right now? Making you believe you can’t hear God?

God never leaves us; it is usually our mind that leaves him. We always have the opportunity to return back.

Today, I sit with fresh resolve: I will not allow what is making noise around me – other’s voices, distractions of the iPhone, bad news on TV, uncertainty in the world, aggravation with a friend – keep me away from this question any longer –  “What is God calling me to?”

I’ll fight to hear him. Will you?

There is a very real enemy, with a very real plan to hold you back from God’s real good stuff. Are you letting him win?

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

When Make Believe Isn’t an Option…

Post by: Jami Amerine

Our youngest vandal son came into our room early this morning for a cuddle.

He climbed in the bed and whispered, “Good mowning mommy.”

He smelled of warm sleep and I was happy to have a moment alone with him before the chaos of the day erupted with the rising sun.

I tickled his back and stroked his blonde hair.  And then, I noticed a terrible scratch on his neck.

“What happened Charlie?”  I inquired.

Charlie elaborated. “I spent da night in da jungle wif my fwend Ashwee.  A big wion scrwatched me.  Ashwee killed da wion five times!”

I tried not to giggle, “Oh my, I think that was a dream baby!”

Charlie’s brow furrowed, “Den how comes I gots dis scrwatch?”

Uh.

Well.

Good point.

It wasn’t long and the day imploded… as suspected.  It got bad fast.  A horrible argument ensued with a semi-adult-baby, a checking debacle, a missed opportunity, a leaking trash bag, a blown-out diaper, and a stalled-out vehicle… I checked my watch, it was only 9:45 am.

I wanted to crawl back in the bed and pretend with Charlie.

Frankly, being chased by a lion seemed like more fun than the day unfolding before me.

My fairy godmother, AKA, my mommy helper Bobbi took over the three littles and I escaped to my office.

I stared at my screen.

Nothing.

I drank four cups of coffee.

Nothing.  Well, heartburn and the jitters.

Again, it would be nice, some days to be an author of fiction.  Fantasy, where my mind might escape the non-fiction reality of sticky floors, parking tickets, and the pursuit of some form of normalcy.

What that would look like I do not know.  I wandered to the bathroom to blow my runny nose and blot my sodden eyes.  It was then I noticed the toilet lid partially shut.

I opened the closure.

The toilet was packed full of toys; a stuffed purple bunny, a roller skate, 10 blocks, 44 Legos, a Jedi, a dump truck and a baby doll.

I shut the lid and climbed back into bed.

I willed my eyes closed and pictured a lion chasing me through the jungle.  It was a relief.

Perhaps a creative mind is more burdensome, alas sometimes it is my greatest reprieve.

Make that, most times. 

My brain, fingertips, and caffeine charged imagination couldn’t resist and I climbed out from my sheets to face what was left of my day.

The unbelievable is my inspiration, the death and resurrection of a hero.  A hero who died for me, saving me from the bondage of my folly.  Setting my feet on the pure path of righteousness… glass slippers.  Despite all the ick, I delight in the yoke of He who saved me.  A yoke that is easy, whose burden is light.  A protective lion,  gentle as a lamb.  He lies with me in the high grass.

I stare at mystical clouds that make shapes, shapes I imagine are visions of peace, hope, joy, love, and I delight in this future with Him by my side.  I tug at a piece of cool grass, with my head nestled closely to his course fur I feel the rise and fall of His mighty breath and I hear the rumble of His word, a purr.

He stretches and yawns, proving His majestic ability to rest in the work already accomplished.  At His movement, as if on cue, butterflies erupt in the breeze and I am swamped… with peace.

I have no proof.

No scratch.

No resolve to the toilet calamity still soaking in the commode in the master suite.

Yet, I am okay.

It is well.

My mind is free from the burden of worry.  He knows every hair on my head.  This is the place where He calls me to rest.  This is the promise He made, “come you who are weary.

Indeed this is me.

You may inquire, “I think that’s a dream… a fantasy you created.”

And I have only one question for you, “Then how comes I got all this peace?”

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

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

Jami AmerineJami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

Dream a Little Dream

Not to Judge

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:18-19

I have a dream.

Ever had one of those? A ridiculous thing? A hope? A wish? A prayer? Something you want, but feels impossible to have? Something that if it came true, you’d feel like – you made it, you lived out what you were created for?

I have this dream, much of it revolves around Ephesians 3:18-19:

  1. That we, as American women, would stand like tall oaks, unwavering, because we are rooted in God’s love.
  2. That we, together, would be planted, with power to mobilize, migrate and make a difference.
  3. That we would extend love that surpasses – knowledge.
  4. That we would be filled with the full measure of God, thereby never being the same again.

I don’t know how this all looks, but something in me sees something uprising and I’m just going to walk by faith. I believe if I plant my seed into fertile soil, God will sink the beginnings of roots right into his love. Love grows things.

So, here I’ll stand. Holding my seed, waiting. Trusting, his love. Believing, He’ll grow it. I expect to return back to this post, smiling. I expect to have remembered the start of a big dream. I expect to encounter trials of many varieties, but I also expect to encounter a triumphant God who always wins. I expect to press on and to press in. I expect to come out different, with new light, His light.

This is faith, I’m learning.

What faith do you need to execute your dream?

Let me tell you what you don’t need: You don’t need people to act a certain way. You don’t need to handle all those excuses. You don’t need more strength. You don’t need to lose that job. You don’t need to wipe clean your errors of the past. You don’t need to know “how”. You don’t need to know “when”. You don’t need people to “get it”. You don’t need new resources. You don’t need more qualifications.  Nope.

God, nearly every time, uses the least exemplary of these to do the most extraordinary things. Moses. Noah. David. Mary.

Dream a little dream, friend.

And go easy on it, for a dream is just a vapor. You hold it up to God. He breathes on it. It forms, grows limbs, moves, speaks and then guides.

All you need is Him. The pressure is off you. All you need is faith. Faith activates great.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory…forever and ever!  (Eph. 3:20-21)

We don’t need to know,  He does.
We need only pray, He’ll have his way.
We need only trust, He’s bigger than us.
We need a giant belief He’ll pull through.
We need a bit of grace to take us.
We need eyes for everlasting glory, not our own fleeting glory.
We need reliance on Jesus Christ.
We need praise, worship and thanks.
We need to return all glory to our maker.
We need to make it all about love.
We need wild faith.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

What Gives, God? Where are You?

Where are You

What is stuck in your mind? What hassles you?

We all have our thing. Don’t tell me you don’t. It’s what you gravitate to in silence. It is what makes your heart nervous because, no matter how you strategize, you can’t figure out the puzzle. You can’t figure how you’ll be delivered to peaceful, serene. There are no answers. God hasn’t pulled through.

Moses was a little puzzled too.

God told Moses at the burning bush to lead the Israelites out of slavery.

Ummm? What??? ME!!???

Yes, you!

“And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.” (Ex. 3:21)

Okay, God, maybe this is possible…you have my back. God will do this! I am bustin’ my people outta here!!!

I wonder if Moses was thinking the same? If excitement coursed through him, an eagerness to do God’s will?

In any case, Moses proceeds forward all obedient, faithful and bold. He approaches Pharoah and declares, (I imagine him standing all upright, strong and rock-solid, confident God will speak out of a local bush on his behalf if need-be), “Let my people go.”

Pharaoh’s response? “Make(s) the work harder for the people…” (Ex. 5:9)

What?!! The outcome was the opposite of the promise.

What gives, God???

Maybe you’re asking God that too.  What gives, God???

Why did you call me to something huge, only to not make it happen?
Why did you lead me to respond in this way, when it is backfiring in my face?
Why did you promise and not deliver?

What gives, God???

God’s response to Moses, speaks profoundly to our very own questions. God says, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord….and I have remembered my covenant.” (Ex. 6:1-2, 5)

Here are 5 points we can take away from this:

1. God speaks to us similarly, saying “you will see…”

Oftentimes, the long wait is because God is preparing something great.

2. God is still Lord.

God might not do things like us, but then again, would we want him to? What God is working, will eventually amount to blessing.

3. God will do what he has promised to do.

He will “remember his covenant.” If God said it, He will see it through.

4. Often, we need to know our progress is because of God’s “mighty hand.” Twice God repeats this line to Moses.

Our wait might be because others need to see that God is great. When his light shines through the darkness of a long cavernous agony, it appears even brighter from the outside.

5. God responds to our pain as we call on his name.

God didn’t leave Moses at the burning bush to figure out captivity and release all by himself. He returned to Moses, he instructed him and he assured him. As we call out to God, God can’t help but approach our hearts with love and compassion. Because it is who he is and what he does.

So, what gives? God is giving you something better. He is giving you a chance to get to know his nature. He is giving you a chance to see something miraculous. He giving you deeper faith. That’s what gives.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

 

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When You’re Not the Favorite

favorite beauty from chaos

Post By: Angela Parlin

They were the sparkly people.

This was my secret definition for the beautiful people who surrounded me growing up. My sisters, my best friends, the cheerleaders I wanted to grow up and be like. People with big personalities, who turned eyes without trying.

People watched them.

People listened to them.

People laughed at whatever they said.

People wanted to be with them.

They didn’t fear being seen, because they knew it was true—everybody wanted to hear whatever they had to say. They were the beautiful people through and through.

And I wasn’t one of them, at least in my perception.

So I was reading through Genesis again a few years ago, and I came to the story of Joseph. The part where his father loved him more than his other sons. I knew all about people like Joseph. I’d spent decades observing them. The sparkly people. The beautiful ones. People with big dreams, and all the pieces coming together into a perfect picture.

The truth is, my parents didn’t play favorites at home. I grew up with 3 sisters, and we were all entirely different, yet deeply loved. But beyond the walls of our home, another story unfolded. People responded differently to each of us, and the only problem with that? I noticed all these things. And as I stored them up in my heart, it broke.

I had never been a Joseph. I could only identify with his brothers—the other kids, the ones less chosen. The only thing I could understand was that longing for a coat of many colors made for me. Something to show I was picked, that I was also a favorite.

So my view of Joseph’s story had always been colored by my own story.

Do you ever find yourself so focused on one piece of the story, that you miss the whole rest of it?

I know I sound like Ms. Obvious, but there’s a whole lot more to the story about Joseph. His brothers threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave. And when the sight of him had his master’s wife all hot and bothered, her desire for him landed him in prison. But the Lord was with him, through it all. Even in prison, Joseph was put in charge. He continued to take what he was handed in life and do the next right thing. God repeatedly elevated him to places of honor.

Even so, Joseph spent years in prison, and when he interpreted dreams for some of the king’s former servants, he asked them to remember him when serving the king again. But they did not remember Joseph. 

This time around, I sat with these words, and I felt like I owed Joseph an apology.

I’d looked at his blessings—the way he was favored and handsome and put in charge. But what about his suffering? He was also trafficked, sold, imprisoned unfairly, and forgotten.

For the first time, I looked at Joseph’s story and saw his blessings and tragedies. I saw how the Lord was with him—from his original home to the pit, in slavery, at the king’s house, in prison, and in power.

The Lord remained with Joseph through it all, and He promises the same for you and me.

Joseph was chosen by God for specific purposes. But we are also created for specific purposes and the Lord also remains with us. We’re not so different from Joseph. Look long enough at your life and you’ll see where our Father is making beauty out of chaos. You’ll see that He’s working good even where harm was intended.

You’ll see He only makes beautiful, sparkly people. And that we’re all His favorites.

Favorites who once had blind eyes, but now we see.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50

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.

 

This is for You: Get Up!

Get Up

Get up.

Someone sitting on a couch of complacency, who now grabs a remote more than the Word of God, whose heart feels let down by God – needs to hear this. It is why I am dedicating this blog post to this very person.

Get back up again.

You have not been forgotten. You’ve not been left behind. Just because you’ve pulled away, does not mean that God is pulling away from you. He’s not. He’s pulling even closer. He’s chasing you down, pursuing you, on this very blog page. He’s letting you know that he sees. He sees your tightly clenched jaw. He sees the way you’re shying away from talking to him. He sees your insides that ache. He sees your loss. Your grief. Your shame. He sees your feelings that say – I cannot continue. 

He knows when you lay down or when you get up.
He’s got every single move, all your thoughts,
all your ways and all your actions in his hands.
He’s deeply familiar with you (Ps. 139:1-2).

You are not outside His vision. You have not journeyed to wild places where God doesn’t exist, lost friend. That’s impossible! It’s simply impossible to go where he isn’t. He’s everywhere.

I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going. Ps. 139

It’s about here, you say: But, Kelly, it’s my shame that keeps me from him. I feel too embarrassed. I’ve gone too far away now, you say.

I say, no one is ever too far for God. We were far, but now are close. Jesus dropped from the paradise of heaven to hit the grime- and stink-laden earth. Why? He came close so we don’t have to live far forever. He took our shame and owned it, to annihilate forever shame. His body broke, so ours could be repaired, restored and renewed according to his glorious riches. He felt agony, so we could learn peace. Jesus cried out so one day we will cry no more, our every tear will be wiped away by Him.

My friend, when you’re in Him, you’re in righteousness – not temporary, but permanent; not moody, but consistent; not dependent on you, but independent of you.  He is in you. Period.

Remind yourself of these 3 things:
1. It is done.
2. It is finished.
3. I am secure today and tomorrow, in this minute and the next, in this situation or the next.

When we remember Jesus won our security, we can, once again, get up in victory.

Then Jesus said to him,
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Jo. 5:8

Friend, pick yourself up and walk. You’re not as incapacitated as you’ve told yourself. You’re not as sick as you want to believe. You’re not as ruined as circumstances say. You’re not as done as the enemy says. Forget all that…

Walk, I say!
Walk, He says!

Enough is enough, because God is enough. What He gives is enough.

And, time is awastin’, days are a progressin’ yet, better said, God’s love endures forever. It is behind you, with you and moving for you. Go with it. Head to the great places He’s prepared in advance for you. Don’t miss the chance!  Step in! Grab Jesus. You’ll come alive in ways you’ve never experienced on your safety mat. Get up!

And go….today is the start of your new day.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

 

***Bloggers…When I wrote this, I felt sure there was someone who desperately needed this message. Perhaps it is one of your readers. I pray we reach that person so their heart can be restored in truth, love and security. May your heart feel blessed too. Much love to you all!

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On Secret Sins and the Secret Place

Secret Sins

Post by Karina

Sin. It’s a tricky thin, isn’t it? Those of us in Christ don’t want to participate in it, but somehow we easily fall prey to it. We all know there is no hierarchy when it comes to sin. Lust is just as wrong as adultery. Anger is just as wrong as murder. It all quenches the Holy Spirit and it all breaks the Father’s heart.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15

Recently, I had 3 consecutive weekends of attending 3 ridiculously dynamic women’s conferences. I was literally on the highest of highs. It was amazing! I am very much still processing all that God spoke to me and all that He did during those 3 weeks. He marked me beyond words.

After all of that spiritual activity, the enemy hit me hard. I don’t normally attribute much to him, but this was nothing but him. He was waging war for my soul in the worst way. He attacked my mind with no holds barred.

I don’t tend to deal with outward sins as much as I do with inward ones. You know the ones I’m talking about…envy, comparison, anger, bitterness, apathy, etc… The list really could go on and on. If you’re anything like me, those inward sins can bring more shame and guilt than the outward ones. It’s quite easy to hide these sins from the world. Honestly, the shame and guilt came very close to knocking me out for the count. I felt as though I was spiraling out of control. The past few weeks of battle came out of nowhere. I had been beautifully walking out my calling. God had been opening many doors of connection and I had experienced some of the sweetest times of prayer and worship.

One of the events I attended was Beth Moore’s conference called LIT. It was geared to women in their 20s and 30s. Christy Nockels led Heaven touching worship. And Beth, along with Jennie Allen, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine and Melissa Moore all shared about this call to communicate. Everyone spoke to the fact that it is a weighty call and there is a cost to it. In order to fulfill this call, we need to first be filled. This filling ONLY comes from time spent in the secret place of God and us. This time with God is not reserved for those who may minister from a public platform. It is for EVERY believer because we all minister and share Christ in some way. We all have a measure of influence.

I’ve been contemplating how such a door was opened in my life for the enemy to slip in could have occurred. I know I’m a flawed human, but I never want that to be an excuse for me to be comfortable living in sin.

Realize the enemy will attack who God has created you to be.

A week ago, I heard a sermon about how the enemy will specifically come for us in direct opposition to who we are. I hadn’t ever thought of that before. If we are a person of faith, He will bring doubt. If we are pure in heart, he will bring corrupt thoughts. If we have the gift of healing, he will bring illness. He sees our potential. He wants to destroy that potential by whatever means necessary. He wants to destroy the impact that God wants to accomplish through us.

The key to fighting this is to pray against him breaking any strongholds he is using to keep us bound. And then, we replace those thoughts with Scriptures that call out our identity and God’s desire for us.

Don’t let the enemy bring dissension.

I am all about community, but over the past few months, the enemy has been working overtime to create division among several friends and me. He has authored confusion and offense and all manner of hurt feelings. In those times, we are to pursue unity despite our emotions. Our emotions say isolate. The enemy wants us to isolate. But the Lord’s heart is for us to be in fellowship.

We must have brave, hard communication. We speak truth in love and always share our hearts in grace.

Camp out in the secret place.

Everything flows out of the secret place. Everything we do. Everything we say. All that we are flows from this place. Anything done in our own strength will falter and fail. The Holy Spirit must be our strength. He is the only source of power in our lives. Much of that power is harnessed when we allow Him to renew our minds in His promises. This power can only be accessed when we have spent time alone with Him in prayer, worship and studying His Word.

This time is non-negotiable. If we forgo it, we forgo everything. We forfeit the word He wants to speak to our hearts. We forfeit all of the good works He prepared for us. We forfeit the ministry that would touch the lives of others so that they may come to know Him. This time in the secret place is how we overcome and walk in victory.

I want to live in such a way where I am aware of the enemy’s schemes and where He doesn’t have such easy access to me. I don’t ever want him to think he can easily deter me from my calling and purpose.

Let us live in the overflow of the secret place…

Overwhelmed by His presence
Over our heads in His Word
Overcome by His wonder

Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”

When Things Look Dull and Dreary

I kick myself. Again, things seem to be falling on me. It’s not so much the entire world, this time, but it is much more – me. I know, with God, he always calls me out from under my awning of darkness. There is nothing holding me back really. But, sometimes it is easier to stay in self-pity and self-reproach than it is to move into something new.

What dark awning of guilt, shame and frustration are you staying stuck under?

You stay there when you berate your endless bad actions.
You stay there when you sum up all the ways you look dumb.
You stay there when you think that girl is miles ahead of you.
You stay there when you tell your mind it’s useless.
You stay there when you ruminate on yesterday.
When you overthink things.
When you feel caught by man.
When you declare your mistakes your identity.
When you let bitterness, anger and frustration reign in your heart.

We don’t have to stay in the dark.

If we take only 1 step, just one step – out…we’ll move somewhere new. We’ll move somewhere blessed, whole and free.

I know, it feels risky, unknown even, as we place one foot down on new ground.  Sometimes we don’t even have thoughts formed about these areas. I understand.

But, here, right here, as we step out, we can see. Light above us.

It was always there, it was just hard to see when covered by the weight of wrongs. But, now, right here, we notice the immensity of a great God overhead. We look up. Stars. Lots of stars. A show, millions of them. Ahh!

We soak it in.

We are small, but he is so great.

He loves us, oh he loves us!

His face does shine upon us.

We understand if he could create this masterpiece, he can create a masterpiece out of us too.

We marvel at the vast lengths of his care that reaches further than eye can see. It reaches deep.

We notice how God extends beyond our vision. He reaches nebulas and galaxies and things far out there.

We ponder how faithful God is.

Every night – God is. Yet, some days, the clouds cover God’s best. Then, we can’t see. We run to the portico because we believe rain is coming, we are ruined.  All we see is clouds.

But, no longer, do we have to hide. God’s brilliance, his flowing faithfulness -is still there – a covering of it, is overhead.

It is there on our good days and on our bad.
It is there in our best moments and at our worst.
It is there through the thick and through the thin.
It is there when people are mean and when they’re nice.
It is there when we’re mean to our self or kind.

A beautiful display of glory is. It just – is. Whether we see it or not. The goodness of God remains. HIs faithfulness never ends. His love endures forever.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called A must read, Breathtakingly honest and a Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear. Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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