Purposeful Faith

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Against all Hope

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Post by: Karina Allen

I’m not sure if any of you are like me. I have seasons where I am thinking all of the deep thoughts. I’m not sure what it has been about this summer, but my thoughts have weighed heavy on me. Since the Spring, I have felt a bit tormented in my thought life. It has come in waves and at times has overtaken me.

I have never really been one to deal with a scattered and heavy thought life, but here we are. I can’t help but think that the enemy can sense that the Lord has something of significance awaiting me.

I am also not one to look at the world around me and be so discouraged and yet, here I am. It seems as though there is attack and opposition and hate and oppression at every turn. The enemy is working overtime to destroy us.

I don’t know about you, but I never want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he beat me. As far as I know, our God calls us overcomers. He says that we are more than conquerors. He calls us to continue to fight the good fight and hold on to hope. Hope’s name is Jesus.

What does it look like to be an overcomer and to have hope when all appears hopeless?

We stand on the promises of God.

“…so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

God’s Word is the ONLY the thing that has stood the test of time. Leaders and kingdoms have risen and fallen. Buildings and monuments have been built and have toppled to the ground. Religions have arrived and faded away. But, the everlasting God has never changed or left or lost His power. He is the same God who was before the foundations of the world. He is the same God that will reign for eternity when the world has burned away. This very God spoke and creation came to be. His word is a firm foundation. It doesn’t waver or fail. It is alive and active. It goes forth and accomplishes what He set out for it to accomplish. It does not return void. His Word instructs us to live by faith and not by sight. That requires us to hope despite what we can see.

We surround ourselves with truth tellers and encouragers.

 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-17

The world and all of its voices are unstable to say the least. Fair weather is the name of the game. One moment the crowd is for something and in the very next breath, they are against it. It’s honestly quite exhausting. I am ridiculously blessed to be surrounded by a strong community that is rooted in God’s Word. They have convictions and are not prone to compromise. They speak truth with all authority and call me up higher in my thinking and my doing. When I am hopeless, they have hope for me. They speak hope into my spirit. They remind me that my hope is in Christ and not in my circumstances.

We proclaim the grace of God boldly.

“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:11

The blood of Jesus and the Word of God are meant for salvation and changing lives. His Word is meant to bring hope to a hurting and hopeless world. And we were meant to conquer…to conquer the enemy, our flesh, fear. We were designed to be ambassadors and witnesses across the earth. But, how will the world around us ever come to know the hope we have in Christ? We must shed our fear and doubt and proclaim boldly His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness for His creation. We must declare that He is trustworthy and that He is the bringer of hope and the lifter of our heads.

“In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” Romans 4:18

Abraham was the king of hope. He followed an unseen God to an unknown land. He believed the promises of this unseen God decades before the promises was fulfilled.

Oh, that we would be a people of God…

Who hope when our flesh is weak.

Who hope when others tell us to give up.

Who hope when the enemy is waging war.

Who courageously hope against all hope.

If you are in a hopeless situation, I’d love to pray for you!

About Karina Allen

Karina AllenKarina 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.”

 

How to Combat Mean Words

Mean Words

“So, what is your life worth, anyway? Doesn’t look like much…”

Yes, that is what the person said to me. And, yes, it took everything in me, not to hit back with…

Well, hotshot, what’s your life worth? 

Because, how do you reply after a question like this?

I didn’t answer. Instead, I sat there dumbfounded with a pocket knife hanging out my side. Like a victim. Bloody. All I could do was stare at it. Then, it hurt more.

And, while I knew, these words were insult-fueled, they were all I could think of…

Am I a waste?
Am I no good?
Does God think I am a failure?

Insults become attached to us – and come alive in us. 

I wonder, has someone insulted you? Maybe they’re insulting you today? Maybe they won’t shut up in your mind.

Insults often hit like this:

“You’re sin caused this to happen.”
“You are no good.”
“You are ugly.”
“You are selfish.”
“You are rude.”
“You don’t ever ____.”
“You are worthless.”
(Add your own)

You know the words, but how do you know how to protect yourself? This is what has eluded me for decades.

Until recently…

Let me tell you about that, but before I do, let me tell you about my daughter.

She has this saying. It is one she speaks if she really doesn’t like, want, or consider something good to hear. When something comes at her like this, she pushes her hands towards you as if she’s handing back what she doesn’t want.

Then, she sings, “Take it, take it, I don’t want to bake it.”

She doesn’t receive it.  She hands it back. And, so should we…

If words spoken, are only meant for insult, not to build, grow or transform…if they are only meant to hurt…we should do what my daughter does… push with our hands and mind and say, “Take it, take it, I don’t want to bake it.”

We don’t have to bake in our heart ungodly words deep in our soul. We don’t have to receive kill-words. We don’t have to permit someone’s injury to become ours.

Because then we get hurt and hurt others a similar way.

Instead, we can repent (if necessary) and not accept mean and hurtful words. Take it, take it, we don’t want to bake it!

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” (Eph. 4:29)

 

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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Renew Your Weary Perspective

A few years ago, I thought I wanted a big house. I wanted massive square feet. I wanted a big yard, a long driveway and grass to plant flowers. I wanted it all. At least I thought. Until, I realized what I didn’t want: I didn’t want house problems, like leaks. I didn’t want snow plowing, every winter. I didn’t want, lawn mowing bills every week. I didn’t want house cleaning all the time. I didn’t want furniture bills up to my neck. I didn’t want housework without kid playtime. I didn’t want to live far away from friends. And, I didn’t want to feel like I was drowning under house chores.

That year, we sold the house – at a huge loss.

In retrospect, I realize, after selling the house, I stood at a decision point…

I could either wallow in my misery, thinking, I always lose money. I wasted so much cash on furniture I didn’t need. I cannot figure things out. I’ll always be lost. I’ll forever feel I don’t belong.

Or, I could recognize the issue, bring it to God, reframe my situation, and think differently. Like this:

Money comes and goes, but God’s care and providence for me endure forever.

Worth is what I invest in heaven, not what I see here.

My value is not my home, but God’s vast love for me.

What issue do you face? What seems to impossible to fix? How might you reframe it?

Begin by infusing into your problem what you’re thankful for. Then, move to praising your God for who he is thru your problem. End by requesting from God for eyes to see your problem afresh.

And always remember: There is no victory Christ can’t bring.

 

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.

Yes, It’s true, God Sees You.

weary perspective

Yesterday, was the “day of all days” for my little 3-year old, turning 4. Her birthday!  The girl wasn’t asking for much…no toys, no gifts…she only wanted one thing: to be like mommy. And, she only had one request: to get her nails painted. So, although I figured she was way too young for this, I scuttled her off in the car, expectant of what God would do for her – only later, becoming completely surprised about what he did – for me.

At the nail store, little sweetheart was mesmerized by all the rainbow colors, the nail tools and her mom – she kept smiling, giving me the thumbs up and delighting in how all the “big” people in the salon were saying hi to her.

All was happy. But, then they moved her chair – and rather than her being right next to me, she was across the store.

All I could think was:

I’m missing her moment!
I’ve got to see my daughter!
Can I smile at her from here?

Leaning my head to the left and right, trying to view her through a slat, aiming to give her my best look, I suddenly was struck…

God looks at me the same way: he wants to see me, delight with me and enjoy my moments.

Just as I want to bless my daughter, God wants to bless me too.
Just as I want to delight in her special moments, God wants to delight with me.
Just as I am thrilled to see her joy, God is thrilled over my joy as well.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Mt. 7:7)

Later, after we got home and she showed off her nails to her brother and daddy, I thought about the little gift, the one wrapped all up in the top of the: a new dress. Specifically the one I told her in the store was, “too expensive.”

I bought it for her. And all my mind kept returning to was the moment she opened it: her face, her delight, her life, her thrill.

God sees us too, as we open his best gifts: our face, our delight, our life, our thrill.

There is no shame in enjoying his good things. Our good, good daddy delights in the giving and he loves our receiving his very best.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from (our) Father…” (Ja. 1:17)

 

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.

A Big Blog Correction from Kelly Balarie

Last week, at the end of my blog post, I wrote, “He who saves just might show up.” I want each and every one of you to know, I spoke a LIE. I was wrong. Dead wrong.

I completely botched that message– right on the last line. Nothing could be further from the truth.

So, here is my correction: “He who saves just might (WILL) show up.”

There is a 0% chance that God “might” show up in your life. There is a 100% chance God will show up. Revise this in your mind. Cross it out and post this one on the doors of your heart.

Because:

  • God is faithful.
  • God is true to his Word.
  • God redeems all, today, tomorrow or in heaven.
  • God is Savior and he keeps saving.
  • God is aware of everything you are going through.
  • God draws near to the brokenhearted.
  • God cares about those who are suffering.
  • God has a plan.
  • God knows your way.
  • God is in the details of your life.

None of this is dependent on you. Not anything.

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13)

Faithful even if we’re faithless, that is our God. Working, even if we haven’t the faintest idea how, that is our God. Mending, even if we don’t know where to even begin, that is our God.

He loves us anyway. He’s there for us always. And, our God? He WILL show up. No matter what you are facing, doing or believing. Faithful and True is faithful and true.

 

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.

Note: To the Unforgiven and Condemned Gals Like Me

To the daughter who can’t forgive herself for years past. . .God already has.
To the person frustrated they do nothing right. . . Christ Jesus sees himself – purity and righteousness – in you.
To the gal repeating I’m sorry to God. . .Your debt is as good as gone; God keeps no record of your wrong.
To the lady who only half believes in her new identity. . . there is no half-way “you” in God’s handbook.
To the person who feels miles less than free, who the son sets free, is free indeed.
To the child who feels under the microscope, God looks at you and is well pleased.

To want to be more, to try hard for God, to give it our all, to push with all our hearts, these can be good noble things. Yet, trouble comes, when we believe the job belongs to us. When we pull out brute strength. When we expect to muscle our way into some kind of new-glory. God deserves all glory.

Likewise, relief comes when we know this: Our sanctification belongs to God. Our growth is his to impart. Our spiritual strength is His to build or rebuild.

Knowing this, is paramount, because then, when we scuff a knee, or get in a tiff, or injure a loved one by accident, our world doesn’t explode like Hiroshima. “He who is all strength” is still for us.

Keeping our minds stayed, in rest, with God is our highest calling.

We do this by:

  1. Allowing our hearts and minds to be “rooted and established in love” (Eph. 3:17)
  2. Praying we would know “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Eph. 3:18)
  3. Opening our heart to need God’s nourishment, truth and direction.
    “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. (Jo. 15:4)
  4. Confessing and believing – what is done is done.
    “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Mi. 7:19)

God is at work. He knows you. He has destined you for his greatness and he is conforming you to his image: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image.” (Ro. 8:29)

The work belongs to him, the freedom belongs to us. It is his timeline, not our stopwatch and this realization = freedom.

 

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 You Hate What God Gave

God Gave

My 3-year old daughter and I were playing a game. She was behind a box “counter”, I stood in front of it: ordering. I was supposed to buy some food, because, this was a restaurant.

I told her I wanted a salad and ice-cream. Trying to be good, but wanting to indulge, this was my kind of order. Add a chocolate dip to the ice cream and this is what summers are made of. I digress…

Anyway, daughter fixed up my food, looked me in the eye, while handing over my imaginary goodies, and declared “Now, you get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

My jaw dropped. She nailed it.

So many of us internally chide our self with this same kind of diatribe, as if God says this to us. As if this is how we are supposed to cope with life. As if, we are meant to get a crumb and tell our stomach to feel okay with it. Now don’t get upset!!!

Surely, I know this verse: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Phil. 4:12)

Yet, somehow I think we’ve got it all wrong. God never told us to lie.

Yet, we’re convinced we must show the world we are strong, we tell our self, “We get what we get and we don’t get upset.”

Outside we look like a gracious kid at a candy shop, while inside we are throwing a fit like an irate toddler because we’re unseen by the world, unrecognized for who we are and uncared for.

I notice Paul, in the verse above, mentions the words, “I have learned. . .”  Why are we ashamed of learning? Of journeying? Of admitting we feel the struggle?

So often, we already can sense when this is the case with someone. Why do we hide so?

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Today, consider this: In the light of God’s glory, there is no shame in transforming.

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.

Give a Lift to Your Heart

At church, I was feeling unmotivated. Call it one of those mornings: you drive into the church lot with a frown on your face, kids screaming up a storm an, an argument brewing. It’s frustrating.

That’s where I was.

Once in the service, worship started, and I worried: I am not feeling this. I feel far. Disconnected. Demotivated. Blah.

My mind bounced to different topics like: I haven’t heard her sing before. I like how she smiles so big when she sings. I wonder if that cross was always on that wall or if they ever had it in the front of the church? Why do they always use that stand when they sing? It can easily tip over. . .

. . . until. . .

. . . a lady, a beautiful, tall and full-bodied hair woman completely interrupted my train of thought. The strength of her voice sounded stronger than the band. She belted out the words to the song, “God is good…so good,” and she belted them loud. She sang “His faithfulness endures forever…” to the rafters.

I wasn’t sure if I should move, hide or shoot her the evil eye. Her voice was moving into my atmosphere of annoyance, and it continued to. Until she shifted my atmosphere of annoyance to one of utter awe: She believes in God that much. She doesn’t care how she looks. She loves her God so much. She has such wild faith in what she is singing.

And, what she put out from her mouth, seemed to land in my heart. I took her strength on as my strength. And, then, I sang with her. And, as I did, as I let her heart encourage mine, I found my own song.

“I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see…”

I could see 2 things:

  1. Our actions have the ability to lift others up or tear them down. We often don’t realize what an impact we are making, but make an impact, we do, when we pour out love.
  2. We have the ability to lean on the faith of others. If we get near someone strong, their testimony, faith and fervor often rubs off on us. We just have to pick up the phone, send the email or show up on their doorstep for connection.

We need each other. God designed us as – better together. And, this day, I thank God for the lady who knew how to belt out her love to Jesus.

How might you reach out to the world with lyrics that belt out?

 

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.

Does God See Me?

Air conditioning. It is such a beautiful thing, such a wonderful reprieve from sweltering heat. I was glad to be in it and away from the heat that had been dripping down my skin. Plus, we were finally in the car, me and my two toddlers. In my victory place. . . I call it this, because it means I’ve dressed them well, ensuring their underwear are on their bodies and not their heads. It also means I’ve successfully harnessed them in the seats with octopus tentacles, I mean, straps. . .

All this to say, now we could successfully move from point A, home, to point B, camp. I clocked in my speed exactly 5 acceptable miles over the speed limit and fell into my thoughts. How does one find God when life gets moving so fast? 

In the morning, before life started going and hustling, I was all rock-solid-in-Christ. In the quiet I was full, sure, readied and bible-loaded. But, then, somewhere into the first 10-minutes of morningtime momma-ing, I was depleted.

I drove on, letting my mind wrap its arms around this ongoing struggle. I’m all alone. I have to do everything myself. Where’s the love for the woman who works so hard? Where’s the replenishment in these places of “worn out”?

My eyes surveyed the flat, long road ahead, all the way down the next 5 stop lights. If I drive a little faster I can make that light. If I switch lanes I can get ahead to do it. If I get the kids unbuckling by the time I hit the parking lot of the school, I can more quickly transition them at the door. 

My eyes stared off into the sweltering horizon down the grey asphalt road, but what they never did, at least not for a long time, was – look up. This, I later realized, this was my problem. It often is: I see what is in front of me, missing the God above me.  I manage, control, fix, suppose and compound issues. God just waits to be found.

Yet, by shifting my mind to see what’s above I can actually see. In this case, I could see  light pink, hot pink, off white and splashes of every color. . . painted accross the sky. God is awesome!

His light reached towards my car.

God does see me.
He is always here.
He knows my situation.
He sees my way.

Encouraged, I searched out more. I noticed the birds. They weren’t all flying around; they were relaxed, sitting and surveying the glory from a phone line. Turned towards the sun. At peace.

Rest is here.
God is rest.
I can choose to rest in him.

His love waits for me. 

This situation stood as the perfect reminder: if instead of dwelling on what is in front of me, I dwell on what is above, I will find God as I seek him.

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

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Mt. 17:7)

 

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.

A Power Boost in Christ Jesus

We can be like tires, after a lot of mileage, we run down. We loose our traction to God’s Word. We slip and slide into worldliness. We can feel it happening, we sense the tug, we know we are a little out of control, the problem is, sometimes, we are not so sure what to do about it.

I feel it in my life. I’ve had a series of frustrating situations: the babysitter backed our car into the mailbox, my feelings got hurt by a friend, and my prayer life with God landed in the doldrums.

Fortunately, I’m beginning to get eyes to see, if I don’t change something at the first sign of a slide, I’ll land in a ditch of faith.  I don’t want this. Neither do you, I bet.

And, what about you? Are you, like me, slipping and sliding today?

– Letting arguments or distance with another dictate your worth.
– Finding yourself alone, tired and doubtful in your house.
– Resting on your own abilities to accomplish things, and not God’s.
– Endlessly worrying about your “situation” and having a hard time giving it to God.
– Recounting all that went wrong and not knowing how to get your mind off it.
– Returning to the sense that you are not really cared for by God.
– Battling your own will to avoid the temptation before you.
– Forgetting your quiet time or prayer time with God.

No matter where you stand, even if you feel completely on fire for the Lord, our goal is to boost your traction. So you cling on to the King of Kings, grip his paths, and stay on them.

The first step along this path is to:

  1. Offer Forgiveness: Even if you need to forgive the same person 50 times. God endorses this behavior. He tells us to forgive 77 times – times 7 (Mt. 18:22).
  2. Ask God: Will you help me to receive your Words and believe your words in a way where they relieve my heart?
  3. Proclaim Godliness: Speak the truth (out loud). Speak it over yourself. Now, don’t fear, while you might feel dumb, you don’t look dumb to God, you look quite wise, actually, for getting your little self back on his path.

    Speak this:I am beloved; I am God’s child and nothing can ever change that.

    I am chosen; Father God never turns his back on those he wants.

    I am helped; in everything I do, God will help me.

    I am equipped; the Lord gives me what I need to accomplish his will.

    I am restored; Jesus didn’t come to earth to leave mankind broken and he won’t leave me this way either.

    I am forgiven; what was done on the cross is as permanent as marker
    there is no erasing its power.

    I am renewed; I am being transformed into the image of Christ Jesus.

    I am not perfect; I am growing and moving from glory to glory.

    I am strong. In Christ Jesus, I have all I need to walk into this life;
    his grace is more than enough.

    I am able. There is nothing that God can’t help me do;
    there is no mountain I can’t move, through prayer.

    I am destined. I am destined to the fullness of heaven and
    no scheme of the enemy can take that from me.

    I am alive. This is my one life to go all out for God – and I will.

    I am talented. God has given me works to do in advance,
    not so I can doubt them, but so I can unleash them.

    I am in love. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are my affection. Through them, I spread love.

    I am called. I will go as God calls me to go.

    I will lay it all down to follow my King, Master and Prince of Peace.

    I am daughter; I am cared for in the kindest ways.

    I am covered; God’s faithfulness will bring me through.

    I am safe; God’s protection never breaks.

    I am whole in Christ Jesus and if he is for me – no one can be against.

    Believing and speaking these words restores tread and traction in our heart. We reattach to the vine and abide in his love, so much so, our mind realizes, we are not operating in this world but in HIS world. Getting to this place, to the place of spiritual eyes, is what brings us back to a heart that is on fire for God. It is what makes us go out in the world and pass the torch to another person. Rest here.

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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