Purposeful Faith

Tag - truth

When Fear and Truth Collide

Fear and Truth

I am delighted to welcome Jessica Van Roekel as a guest blogger today. Jessica is faithful, diligent and obedient. I am proud to feature her words.

I’m good at bravado, but not so much at living brave. I know how to stand tall and smile with the best of them, but inside I’m cowering, hiding tears, insecure, wondering if I belong or even if I’m wanted.

I know verses. I know that if I’m full of God then there’s no room for anything else. I know that my song is God’s song. I know that he is my refuge, my shield, and my fortress. I know he holds me close and sings songs over me. I know he calls me chosen, beloved, secure, approved, and beautiful. I know all these things and I was so mad at myself for the disconnect between my head and my heart.

So there I sat—alone, with no one beside me—listening to the melody, learning my part or trying—all the while fighting back tears. It was absolutely ridiculous and I was furious with myself. And to be totally honest, furious with God. Why would he compel me to audition for this musical and then humiliate me in this way? It didn’t make any sense.

Have you felt this way? Has God ever shown you a truth and set you free from your bondage and then in an instant you were in bondage again or so it seemed? Have you ever felt you utterly failed God and yourself?

May I offer you and I this encouragement: God is not disappointed with you or me. God is not going to send us into a situation and then leave us to work it out in our own strength. He will provide us with opportunities to exercise our faith in the work he’s doing in our lives. And just like with regular exercise, we will stumble until we figure out the rhythm or the sequence, but if we keep practicing we get better, we grow stronger, we become more fluid, and it becomes second nature because we’ve trusted him and let him work through us.

Freedom from fear of man came for me through one definitive moment a few years ago, and since that moment God has been showing me how to live free. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worthwhile. My perspective has shifted from being afraid of people to being settled in God’s thoughts towards me.

You know, I wanted to run from that audition room and never, ever look back. In fact, I walked out of rehearsal that night determined to quit and planned on letting the director know my decision the next morning.

I didn’t though. I leaned into the pain because I’ve learned that sometimes healing comes through the pain, not by avoiding the pain. So I took my younger self by the hand and let her feel the pain. I let her remember and shed her tears, and then I walked her through forgiveness. Was it easy? Uh, absolutely not. Is it over? No, but the cleaning out of the wound has happened, the salve of God’s truth has been applied, and the wound is tender, but it’s healing.

Sometimes we have to experience the hard so that God’s word becomes alive, and once the revelation of his truth, his freedom, and his healing has been revealed, it’s  not ever to be taken away by someone’s words, approval, disapproval, memories, or event.

Becoming fear fighters happens when we’re transformed from the inside out and it requires us to keep taking steps towards faith and bravery, clinging to truth and always, always trusting God’s heart for us.

***Get the book Fear Fighting, by Kelly Balarie today.

Take part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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Jessica Van Roekel is a woman on the journey to wholeness through brokenness. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future. Her greatest desire is to see people live this ‘God-life’ with all the power and grace that God provides. Jessica lives in a rural community with her husband and four children. She leads worship on Sundays, but seeks to be a worshiper every day. You can connect with her at www.welcomegrace.com  and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourJessicaVanRoekel

 

 

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The Care and Keeping of a Mean Girl

Post by: Jami Amerine

At a recent doctor’s appointment, I learned my physician suspected that the greatest health crisis I was facing was… dehydration.  That’s right, I am thirsty.

I consider myself fairly intelligent when it comes to health and nutrition.  I confess, I am embarrassed by this diagnosis.  Alas, I knew he was correct.  And the fact of the matter is, I don’t have time to drink eight, 8 oz. glasses of water a day.  On the days I do get that much water in my thirsty body, I don’t have time to make it to the bathroom in an efficient ratio of water in, urine out… so I am fairly miserable for 90% of the 64 ounces.

Needless to say, I left my doctor’s office feeling defeated, depleted and discouraged. There isn’t any way that my scale can be ten pounds lower than his. Is he just a vindictive mad scientist?  I sat in my car and had a hale and hearty cry and then as I examined myself in the mirror, I began to multitask. I reapplied mascara and lip gloss while listing all things I find most awful about myself.

Fat.
Loser.
Lazy.
Dehydrated.
Whiner.

Horrible at math, mostly weights and measures.

Exasperated.
Phoney.

And the worst of all… mean.

I am a very mean girl.

I called the friend who was babysitting our young son and two foster placements and told her I would be there in an hour. I went to the store and bought her a lovely fall floral arrangement and the ingredients to put a fragrant squash soup in her crock pot for dinner. Crusty bread and an apple pie were added to my basket.

I would take great care of my friend for helping me.

On my way to the checkout, I stopped and grabbed chocolates for my sister, my husband’s favorite cookies, and the children’s favored frozen pizza.  I scurried to the other side of the store and thoughtfully picked lovely greeting cards to bless my friends, our foster-daughter’s birth mom and her caseworker too.  Just before I checked out, I filled my basket with an abundance of toiletries for our three oldest children  who are at college. Then I made my way to the gift wrapping aisle to find bright colored bags to put the shampoos, shaving gels, creams, lotions, and deodorants in;  if I hurried I could leave the bags at their dorms before I picked up my babies.

When I climbed back in my car, quite pleased with the purchases, I would bless my darlings with, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Immediately I began to admonish myself, I forgot to grab myself any water.  I rehashed the list of my faults:

Chubby.

Dumb.

Slothful.

Parched.

Grumbler.

Frustrated.

Fake.

And the worst of all… mean.

I am a very mean girl.

About that time my daughter called to ask about my doctor appointment. I reported to her my struggle and she chirped, “OH MY GOSH MOM!  You must get this new app!  It’s called plant nanny!”

I followed her instructions and downloaded the app. I picked a cute little cartoon plant and begrudgingly entered my weight and read my results. The plant nanny decided how much water I must drink to keep my little imaginary plant conscious alive. The little seedling blinked at me with trusting animated eyes and I cooed at the psychological entrapment that would force me to drink enough water to nurture the cybernetic life into a blooming dependant illusion.

Over the next few days, I became more diligent in my pursuit of water. My iPhone would alert, my little make-believe Japanese succulent would bat her eyes at me and I would drink, click, and apply “water” to my H2O conscious companion.  I treated that animated being like royalty, then on the 4th day, a tragedy arose.

I lost my phone.

I turned the house upside down, it was nowhere to be found.  Later that evening, I recovered my phone between the  couch cushions.  When I opened the plant nanny app I knew immediately, the app had died of thirst.

Fat.

Loser.

Lazy.

Dehydrated.

Killer of simulated Japanese succulents…

And the familiar voice hummed in my ears, “You are so mean… you were so good to tend to that imaginary plant.  You are so kind to your neighbors, orphans, and case workers. You observe such careful and tedious attention to everyone, but you are so mean to My girl.”

I know this to be true.

The things that come out of my mouth toward myself are brutal. The TLC I afford those around me is stellar. The attention I bestowed upon the animated succulent … was criminal compared to the neglected efforts I make to grab myself, His girl – an artless glass of water.

I am most convicted of this, I may look as though I love my neighbor… but how could I possibly when I so blatantly despise myself?  How can I be so hard and ugly to the daughter of the Most High?  How can I spend so much energy on what I deem righteous and be so cruel to myself?  He who died for me, that I might be called blameless… His girl. I agreed with Him. It was not what He wanted for me. He wants me to recognize, I am clothed in His goodness. He sees me as perfected. He adores me as His own.

I have neglected the gift of my inheritance, daughter of Jehovah.  I deleted my plant nanny app.  I applied mascara and powdered my nose.  I grabbed my glass off the table and filled it with new water.

Water that this beautiful girl needs to bless the nations with wealth, prosperity and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

A champion for the little guy, a woman on a mission. Refreshed and adequately warned, don’t mess with His girl.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God – a sweet fragrance. Ephesians 5: 2

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547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami 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.

 

 

 

Courageous Authenticity (Linkup)

Authenticity is rooted in courage by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post By: Katie M. Reid

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. Psalm 32:1-2

The air was musty as I sat in the balcony of the old theater, turned church. I had heard the pastor speak before, but tonight was different.

He confessed how he and his wife had struggled to remain pure in their dating years—while he was on staff at another church. He explained they had come clean to the Lord but they’d never revealed their sin to that congregation. They now felt the need to confess their past sin to this church.

You could hear a pin drop and the furnace thumping below in an effort to warm the old building. I listened attentively from my vantage point, impressed by his courage to reveal this hidden part of his life.

After the pastor finished his confession, he asked the crowd to forgive him.

As impacting as this was, something else happened that night that I will never forget.

The pastor said something to this effect, “In a group this size, I am sure there are others who have secret sins also. We want to provide an opportunity for you to confess those things to the Lord and also to those gathered here, if that is needed. I am going to open the mic up and, if you feel led, you can come and confess those things. This is a safe place to share.”

No one came, at first…

Head over to katiemreid.com  for the rest of the story and to add your post of encouragement to the #RaRaLinkup.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Pursue peace image by Katie M. Reid for purposefulfaith.com

Post By: Katie M. Reid

I’m in denial that it’s August already. I’m thankful we live in a tourist state (Michigan) and don’t start school until after Labor Day. Many of my southern friends are sending their kiddos off to school this month.

Our summer has been a whirlwind and I desperately want it to slow down. I had plans to savor, linger, and slow down—but it feels like I’m trying to swim upstream in a river of gooey molasses.

After deliberations with my sister-in-law, I reinstated allowance in our home. The offspring now receive $3 a week—hey, Hubby and I used to receive 50 cents a week, so it’s an upgrade.

I instructed the children that they should save up for something special and not just fill our home with dollar store treasures (a.k.a. cheap junk). They had their eyes set on larger items until the cash started burning a hole in their pockets. They begged me to stop by the store in the midst of a million-things-to-do kind of day. They would not relent even though I tried to explain how much there was to do.

Much to their dismay we ran out of time and I ran out of energy—lugging the handful of kids around town.

So, I said that we would go the next day. I said it matter-of-fact, with every intent of it happening.

And then it didn’t.

I was achy from trying to do too much, the baby needed to eat, the toddler wouldn’t sleep, I couldn’t nap, and so on.

We ran out of time and steam.

I think there was steam coming out of the kids’ ears as I delivered the world-crushing news that we didn’t have time, again, to stop at the store.

They stomped, they screamed, and they called me a liar (more than once).

While their behavior was less-than-stellar, I felt guilty. I hadn’t mean to lie. It wasn’t my intent to not take them. Life happened and plans changed and flexibility and empathy were needed but not offered.

Mom, you always lie.

You say we’re going to do something and we don’t do it!

You are a liar.

I was mad about the unfair accusations but also convicted that often times I unintentionally don’t keep my word. I wanted to remedy the situation so I apologized for what I could.

Kids, I’m really sorry it didn’t work out to take you to the store. I did say that we were going to go, but I should have said something like, ‘We will try our best to go. Or we will most likely go. Or we’ll see if it works out.’ Will you forgive me?

I want my kids to trust me. I need to more careful when I hand out promises. I want them to believe my words.

It’s no fun to feel like a “liar, liar, pants of fire”.

I pleased to say the next day we went to the store, even though it still wasn’t convenient and we didn’t have very much time—but I kept my word and peace was restored.

Here are 3 ways to pursue peace instead of burning down walls of trust:

  1. Be realistic with what you can offer. Many times you might want to help others but when the time comes to make good on your promise, you are unable to fulfill it. It’s hard to know what life will look like months from now. Be careful that you are not ensnaring yourself with your words. Don’t use this as an excuse to be non-committal but ask God to help you be realistic with what you have time for in this present season. It’s easier to be able to help out when the times comes vs. letting someone down because you can’t make good on what you offered a long time ago.
  2. Don’t burn bridges. You want people to be able to trust you. Even if you’ve done something wrong unintentionally, go to the person and apologize for the way that you’ve let them down. Clear the air of offense and be willing to lay down the need to be right for the sake of the relationship (yeah, this one is really hard, but worth it). I’m not talking about issues of sin here, but letting go of the need to be top dog or have the upper hand. Try a little love and logic, like I do with our tween, I love you too much to argue.
  3. Protect the margins on your calendar. Has your summer been like ours? Many of our commitments were unavoidable, but we need to do a better job of protecting margins. When schedules are busting at the seams, frustration seeps out and peace is compromised. Take a look at the rest of the month. Are there any obligations or activities that can be eliminated or delegated? Make some room to breathe and protect your white space. Some seasons require more commitments than others, but make sure your norm isn’t like a hamster in a wheel—spinning round and round but going nowhere in particular. As we rest we communicate trust that God knew what He was doing when he instituted Sabbath.

So the next time $3 is burning a hole in my kids’ pockets, I don’t want to find my own pants on fire because I’m acting like a liar.

Let’s pursue peace with God and family by being true to the Word and keeping our word.

Let’s choose to apologize when we’ve lied and seek to make amends for the sake of our relationship with the Lord and others.

Let’s stop stuffing schedules to the brim and ask God to help us create margin so we can enjoy Him and be recharged.

Psalm 34:14 “Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.”

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Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

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Take Courage

Take Courage

Post by: Karina Allen

We live in a beautiful world. But, we live in a scary world that appears to be becoming increasingly so. To be honest, it has been a bit difficult to navigate but I must. We must. We cannot rely on our emotions or even our perceptions of what is going on around us. We cannot allow that to dictate our lives/behavior. We are only to rely on the God who never changes and whose Word is a sure foundation.

The world we live in and actually my very city is in a state of pain and anger and frustration. I don’t have any answers or advice to offer but I do know that I am not to fear. I am to rise up and stand strong in the midst of confusion. I am to be a light in the midst of darkness.

How we do this is simple, not easy, but simple. We look to God. It sounds cliche but really, it’s not. Jesus is the solution to EVERY problem.

He is our anchor.

He is our hope.

He is our truth.

The key to not living in fear is to remember the truth of who the Lord is in spite of circumstances that surround us.

Trust the nature of God.

John 4:8 says that God is love. Ephesians 2:4 says that God is merciful. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that God is gracious. And Psalm 136:1  says that God is good. The nature of God never wavers or falters. He cannot be anything other than Himself. I love that! He doesn’t change according to circumstances or moods. He is not a man that He should lie. He is who He is and that’s all there is to it. He is peace in the middle of our storms. He is our rock when all around us is shaking.

Trust the faithfulness of God.

“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3

There are countless verses about the Lord’s faithfulness but this is one of my favorites! I live in Baton Rouge and as you’ve probably seen on every media outlet, the atmosphere here has been tense and angry and hostile at times. I need to remember this. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but Satan. It is God who works within His children and gives us strength and causes us to stand strong in the face of any opposition. He never leaves us to fight battles alone. He encamps us on all sides.

Trust the sovereignty of God.

“I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.” Isaiah 46:10

This one of those verses that blows my mind! God knows the end from the beginning. He’s knows everything that would ever happen before even the foundations of the world. I don’t know about you, but that can be trusted. Nothing in our lives or in the world around us comes as a surprise to Him. He is faithful to make a way when there is no way. Often times, our pain and struggles and hardships catch us off guard and we wander around dazed and confused. The Father isn’t. He knows every detail inside and out, upside down and right side up. He never causes tragedy, but He does sometimes allow it. I’m not sure we’ll ever know why but I am willing to live in that mystery knowing that He will bring about the outcome that brings Him the most glory and is for our good.

He is our anchor.

He is our hope.

He is our truth.

He is our very present help in our time of need. Let’s praise Him! And let’s stand up boldly and take courage…not in our our own strength, but in the strength of the one who placed it inside of us.

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


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.”

A Pep Rally For Those in a Bad Mood

Bad Mood

Hey you, things not going well?

Hey you, struggling again?

Hey you, people driving you batty?

bad mood

I am so sorry it feels everything is working against you, I know how that is. I really do. It’s tiring. It’s hard. This world has rough edges. It is not gentle with them either.

I also want to say, “God is for you.” I can almost hear your response, “Ya, ya, ya, Kelly, we’ve heard that one before. It sounds nice in theory.” 

Let me tell you something – you can know it – and not live it. But, when you live it – you more and more start to know it.

What takes voice is not vile or vitriol but, love, grace and hope; it heals.

It may look something like this:

Screamers in the car? “God is for me. God wants this to work out. God will equip me with patience.”
Waiting around for something to happen? “God is readying all the players, so his game can be won.”
Enduring a trial that won’t quit trying you? “God is training me. He molding me and making me more like Christ.”
Deathly tired? “Today is #anightmare, tomorrow is #newmercies.”

What if rather than seeing how life is fixin to ruin me
I sought to see how God is renewing me?

To let the weight of God’s love sit heavy, is to not allow worry to break your back.

What if we saw things differently?bad mood

Sure, it may feel we are on our last leg, about to tumble over. Sure, we may feel tired. Sure,we may feel like our emotions are a hot mess. But, what if we chose to give a little hat nod to all that and then determined to fix our eyes somewhere else?

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:18-19)

Notice this, it says: “My foot is slipping.”
Notice the fell-swoop rescue: “Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.”

Daddy-bird protects his young; God lifts us from our injury through the power of love. 

Notice this: “When anxiety was great…
Notice this: “Your consolation brought me joy.”

Anxiety was plentiful, but joy was available.

What does joy in distress look like?

5 Little Glimmers of Joy against Distress

1. It looks like, “Thank You.” God, thank you that you love me. God, thank you that you are with me. God, thank you that in every single moment, you are singularly focused on helping me. Thank you that Jesus proves it isn’t always easy, but you are always faithful. Thank you that there is life beyond this wretched life.

2. It looks like, “Worship.” God, you are mighty. You are strong. You are capable. Where I cannot, you can. You will redeem, because that is who you are. You are Redeemer. Faithful and true. High and lofty. Holy and worthy. Greater and stronger. I am small, you are big and, because of this, you can do the impossible. I see a mountain, you just see a molehill.

3. It looks like, “I trust you anyway.”  God, let the chips fall where they may, because where they fall is just where you want them to land. And, when they do, it will be your jackpot that rings out. For what you are working, is greater than what I am seeing. And where we are going, is greater than where I feel my emotions stand today.

4. It looks like, “Help me.” God, I need you. Restore my joy. Hear my cry. Answer my call. I need you.

5. It looks like, “I will go with you.” God, I choose to see you in my day. I choose to see the little gifts of joy – the smiles on my kid’s faces, the butterfly passing by, the river that rolls on steady, the sun that is ever at my back. I choose to let you in, when darkness abounds. You are there. I will search you – and then, find you.

bad mood

Bad Mood Prayer:
I don’t have to, God – for you will. I don’t need to God, for you are. It is okay that I feel down. It is okay to struggle. It is okay to have a hard day. God, you can handle my worst day. You will be faithful to me. Restore me, bring me back to the place of love, of consolation – for that is all I need. Amen.

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Confession Is Good For The Soul

Confession Is Good

Post by: Karina Allen

I feel like confession is one of those topics that is wildly misunderstood and feared. I grew up in the really traditional religion of Catholicism. I went to Catholic schools all of my life and every week, we went to confession. I never had a super firm grasp as to why we needed to go to a Priest and confess our sins, but I did it. It was what we did. It was all I knew. I didn’t question it, I just went with the flow.

During those times of confession, I never really had any new or concerning issues. I was a very compliant child. To this day, that still holds true. I pretty much stated the same list of sins to the Priest. My main one, was that I didn’t speak respectfully to my grandmother. I tend to be a bit sarcastic. I never seemed to have any new struggles.

Today, is a different story. I have struggle on top of sin on top of struggle. I need help and I recognize that I need help. That’s the first step, right? Now, I have no issue with thinking of all of the ways I fail and fall short. I’m sure you do too.

There are two main areas where confession must happen in our lives…with God and with others.

Jesus is our great High Priest.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

The idea of confessing our sin to the Lord should never scare us or intimidate us. We should never feel embarrassed or ashamed. We can trust Him with every sin. He is a safe place for us. God is a loving Father who never brings condemnation. He knows everything there is to know about us and loves us still. Our confession to Him is not for His benefit. It is for ours. He sheds the light of His truth on our dark places and ushers in hope and healing. The enemy of our souls wants to keep us bound to our sin. The Lord wants us free!

Confession in community is God’s design.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Don’t let this freak you out. This is not a call for us to share every intimate detail of our lives with everyone we meet. But, it is a call for us to get brave and to get intimate with a chosen few.

Guard your heart out there. All are love-worthy. Not all are trustworthy. Authenticity with all. Transparency with most. Intimacy with some.” Beth Moore

God’s intent for us was never to live in isolation. We were created for one another. This verse in James clearly states for us to confess to and pray for each other. We don’t do this with everyone but we do do this with a select few.

There is a healing that only comes when we confess to one another.

Jesus had the 12. He had the 3. Then, He had the 1. He modeled what covenant friendships are supposed to look like. If He believed these relationships were important. How could we believe anything less?

Do you feel safe to confess to God and others? I’d love to pray for you today.

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

BjBC4hzUKarina 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.”

Waking to the Personal Power of the Cross

Power of the cross

Easter popped up on us this year. I am not prepared. I am not ready.

But, was anyone ready for what was to come? Where the disciples? Was Mary, mother of Christ, ready?

I am sure, none of Christ loved ones were ready to see the son of God, the lamb, the truth, the light, the way, all hope, bread of life and shepherd go.

What did they feel? Was it fear? They did not know what his road held. Sometimes we don’t know what our road holds…

Like them, we want to hold on to Jesus, his all things good- for he is our everything. We want to say, “Jesus stay near, – and let evil stay far. Let us be with you. Give us good, good things!”

We know that he is “called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and we want the fullness of it.

May we know the joy of Jesus, but may we also know his pain. For it is the pain that proves he knows our pain. It is his pain that proves we will one day arrive at gain. And it is through his pain that the whole world, for those who believe are delivered from shame.

May we see, and rely on Christ through:

The mockery: When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Mt. 27:35

The pain: The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe. John 19:2

The cost: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We will be mocked. We will have pain. There is a cost.

Have we considered this?

Because of the cross, we no longer have to fear what comes to injure us, because Jesus lives in us. If he is in us, his power to overcome is extended to everything we face. Imagine that.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Gal. 2:20

So, today, no matter where our hearts have been this week, or this season, let’s bow down, lay low, praise Jesus and thank him for the sweat, the tears and the willpower to stick it through. Let’s look at his crown-laden, bloodied face – and see his victory just moments away. Let’s see our pain too, and our victory awaiting, because the truth is – through Jesus – we are now truly alive!

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ,
and Him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:2

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Learn How to Grow Effectively in Faith

Learn how to grow and be set free to bloom by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

Grow in Faith

Spring is just around the corner and I’m so glad. What a thrill it will be to see daffodils peeking their heads through the once barren ground.

As this new season emerges I want to be ready to enter it—ready for what’s coming next—not just Spring but for the plans my Savior has for new life.

But how do we effectively grow in our faith?

When we focus on these four areas, I think we will be in great shape for what’s coming.

G- Grace

R- Rest

O- Outside Help

W- Worship

Step 1: Grace

When we receive God’s grace and extend it to ourselves and others we position ourselves to live unhindered by the weeds of sin that threaten to choke us. The enemy likes to wrap his lies around our roots and stunt our growth with his schemes. Let’s says “no” to the sins that easily entangle and expose the culprit that tries to trip us.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. –Hebrews 12:1

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. –Ephesians 6:11

Maybe the weeds that overwhelm are stubborn things like discouragement, doubt or fear?

Maybe the schemes sent to stunt growth are sneaky things like pride, legalism or isolation?

As we sow in grace we lay the ground work for growth.

Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen. –2 Peter 3:18

Step 2: Rest

It might seem counterintuitive to rest, but it is necessary in order to facilitate optimal growth. My tween daughter is growing up and she requires more rest as her limbs are stretching and lengthening, and her emotions are swelling in greater ways than before.

Rest is important to prepare us for what’s coming. If we neglect it I believe we stunt our growth. As we rest we communicate trust in the One who makes each beautiful blossom, in His time.

Let’s bend to God’s ways of doing things.

Step 3: Outside help

Are we depending on the Lord to grow us or mustering up gumption to become something great?

Are we insistent on being a lone bloom or do we gather near to those who have gone before us, to help us blossom more beautifully?

As we allow the Master Gardener to cultivate and others to support, uplift and help us see blind spots, we become more fragrant and strong.

Don’t go it alone. Learn to depend on the One—and the ones He gives you—to help you stay the course and emerge in full bloom with the coming of Spring.

Step 4: Worship

We grow in important ways when we acknowledge where our beauty and strength originate. When we offer ourselves as living sacrifices and lift our limbs in worship to Jesus, we become properly aligned and rightly focused on the Son.

It’s tempting to let ourselves overshadow the true Light. Don’t be tricked into worshiping the creation instead of the Creator (see Romans 1:25). As we allow our roots to go deep—grounded in His Truth—and bend with the wind of His Spirit, we become firmly planted in soil that sustains.

As we worship, even through rainy times, we offer up a fragrant aroma to the One we made us from seed.

Through grace, rest, outside help and worship…we learn how to GROW and are set free to BLOOM.

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Katie M. Reid AuthorKatie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com.

Who You Are In the Light

identity who you are in the light

Post By: Angela Parlin

Do you know who you really are?

A friend told me recently that her Mom used to have her stand in front of the mirror and recite truths about who God says she is. Isn’t that great? I’ll save it in my parenting toolbox, but the truth is, I’ve needed it myself.

Not long ago, I knew certain facts regarding who God says I am—but I didn’t feel like they were true.

Have you been there?

There’s an identity crisis, within the church. It begins with our understanding of God, and our understanding of who we are in light of Him.

We can name details about God, but do we really know Him?

And if we don’t KNOW the God who created us,
then how do we know our own selves?

I grew up in the church, so I learned numerous truths about God and about myself through the years. I also live in a world where I heard an abundance of lies about us both. There were those labels people gave me, those labels I gave myself, and the experiences that told me things I couldn’t forget.

But more often, I was oblivious to what was going on around me. The world and the devil did their thing, and I failed to see the false and fiery arrows shot my way.

While my foundation was forming,
the enemy worked to confuse my identity.

I didn’t know deep down in my heart who I really was–because of Jesus Christ. I didn’t live confidently out of the truth.

When you don’t have a firm grasp on who you are in God’s eyes (your identity in Christ)—
start with who God is.

Find Him in the quiet. Seek Him through His Word. Get to know Him more.

Meditate on who God is. Focus on who He says you are.

Look to the Word–not to the world–for daily affirmations.

Let Him change your view of Him and your view of you.

Let Him set you free from the lies that hold you down.

In time, God will transform your mind completely, giving you a whole new view.

You will understand who God is and who you are in light of Him.

May these scriptures be a starting place, pointing the way to the truth.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. Psalm 28:7

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

Before I was born, the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb He has spoken my name. Isaiah 49:1b

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me.” Genesis 16:13a

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

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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 each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.