Friday, December 30, 2016

Fear Fighting: Stomping Out the Image of Perfect


I'm excited to have author Kelly Balarie here today! Kelly's new book Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears comes out on Tuesday, January 3, but you can pre-order it now! 

I had the privilege to read an advance copy, and let me tell you, you will be encouraged! Kelly doesn't pretend to have this fear fighting thing completely figured out - she's right there in the trenches with us. She writes from her heart, sharing stories of her own experiences and Biblical truths.

Please welcome Kelly...

I blame it on TV. I grew up watching the princesses. You know them, right?! They were the ones whose complexions looked like porcelain, whose lips were the color of rose, and whose lives were a hot mess. Until, the prince came in and swooped them up into his arms and forever changed their lives.

They always looked perfect. You see, they had dresses that swooshed in the wind and 90% of the time their voice sounded like an angel sent straight from heaven. Usually, I was jealous of them.

I guess I still am. Because, in so many ways, I try to be them.

I try to doll myself up. I try to show the world there is not a fold in my face. I try to pretend I have Pinterest Christmas when really my focus is on having Christ in Christmas. In reality, I'm the centerfold for T-shirts with yoga pants. I live in the model house of toilet paper adorned floors, little droppings of paper my kids rip up and leave behind like trails of their journey.

Ugh. I fall short.

I don't think I am fooling people either.

My sister came over just the other day. When she got to my porch, she said, "Kelly, you do know that Halloween was over weeks ago?"

The frozen pumpkins on my stoop threw her for a loop, I guess.

Whoops.

I want to fool people though. I want to fool you - real bad. Because then you'll aspire to like me. This is what I tell myself anyway. If I look all great for you, you'll approach me like that prince and you'll want to give me things and bless me with kind words and pour out love on me. I'll take that. Sometimes, I convince myself I need that.

I need your approval. I need to feel good about myself.

Or, do I?

I am not so sure lately. Because, what I am coming to terms with is the fact that - there ain't no woman who can do everything. You find her and I'll buy you whatever material item you've convinced yourself you need to have to finally reach the pinnacle of...dun, dun, dun..."perfect woman."

The lady is imaginary. She's an illusion. Yet, still, we all chase her as if she is worthy of our highest praise.

And, this is what I am realizing - if I am praising this image of the woman I want to be, I can't really be the image of whom Christ has created me to be.

Dang! I could truly spend my whole life chasing carrots, rather than partaking at God's feast? His bounty. His spiritual riches.

I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.
Ephesians 1:18

I wrote the book, Fear Fighting: Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears to find God's truth. In so many ways, God answered. He showed me there is a glorious inheritance awaiting me and it is not found through appearances, airs, or goods.

It is the joy found in the lopsided nature of my nose - a nose God adores.

It is the grace covering the moments I forget things.

It is the peace dug up from a heart that knows God is in charge.

It is the hope God will shape me into the likeness of him.

It is the knowledge God loves me just as He created me.

It is the belief that he chose me.

It is the understanding, in Him, I am secure.

It is in the need, we find our prince, Christ Jesus. Will you let him rescue you?


Interested in fighting fear? Join the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge!

About the book:
Author and Speaker, Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course.

Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel, and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers, anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day. www.fearfightingbook.com.


About Kelly Balarie:
Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear here.


[Photo credit: Kelly Balarie]

Linking up with: Grace & Truth, #FreshMarketFriday, Faith 'n Friends

Monday, December 26, 2016

Jesus is Greater than My Problems


It’s December 26—the day after Christmas. The day life goes back to normal. But not really because the meaning of Christmas—Jesus—is still fresh in my mind and heart.

How do we hold on to the feeling of Christmas all year long? I don’t mean the charitable giving feeling, although that would be great all year too. I’m talking about the emotion that goes with knowing Jesus came to earth for us.

Jesus Christ—Son of God and Son of man. A tiny infant born to a young girl who welcomed God’s calling in her life. Son of a carpenter, who did not leave Mary, but who also answered God’s call in his life.

That’s the feeling I want all year—to remember that Jesus’ sacrifice will always be greater than any, and all, of my problems. Always. {Tweet this}

So, today as I look out the window, thankful for the bright sun on a cold day, I’m resisting the urge to think about the circumstances I cannot control. The details I can’t put in order. And the problems I can’t fix.

Instead, I’m thinking about Jesus’ birth and all of the details God orchestrated for our salvation. I’m remembering how He’s worked in past situations for my good, knowing that He will do so again. I’m thankful for what I do have, and not thinking about what I might see as lacking.

I’m pondering how God called Mary and Joseph by name to be a part of His beautiful plan, and reminding myself that God still calls us today. You and me. He calls us by name. It doesn’t get more personal than that. {Tweet this}

Friends, if today is your first time visiting, or your 101st time here, I thank you. I know there are demands on your time and so many other things you could be doing, but you chose to spend a minute or two here with me, and I thank you. You have been a blessing to me in so many ways and I pray that your time here blesses you as well. May we always remember how much God loves and cares for us. He calls each of us by name…and we are His. (Isaiah 43:1)

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]


Monday, December 19, 2016

The Glory of God


The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

God’s glory is a visible expression of who God is—His absolute reality. In the Old Testament, God’s presence among His people was in the very specifically constructed Tabernacle. No one could fully see God’s glory and live, but sometimes God would give veiled glimpses of His glory.

Moses specifically asked God to see His glory. God agreed, but Moses could not see God’s face and live.

Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

God protected Moses while allowing him to witness His glory.

Where in the Old Testament, God’s presence dwelled in the Tabernacle, in the New Testament, God’s glory was now in Jesus Christ. The Word—Jesus—became human so He could live on earth with us. {Tweet this}

Isn’t that incredible?

God Himself came to this dark and sinful world so He could make His home among us.

Amazing!

With the birth of Christ—Son of God and Son of man, God allowed his people to see His glory and still live.

Jesus is our Light and new life. In Him, we can see the glory of God—the absolute reality of who God is—and live in Him. {Tweet this}

In God’s grace, the birth of a Baby Boy brought us life, light, and hope for all nations, for all of our days.

Lord God, You allowed Moses to see glimpses of You while protecting Him in the cleft in the rock. Thank you for allowing us to see You through Your Son Jesus, not only protecting us, but giving us new life. Through Jesus, full of grace and truth, we see the reality of who You are and how much You love us. May we fix our minds on Your glory and Your love for us during this blessed Christmas season. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Linking up with: Give Me Grace, #DreamTogether, Purposeful Faith, #SmallWonder, #glimpsesofhisbeauty, Coffee for Your Heart, Thought Provoking Thursday

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

God’s Perfect Timing


But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.

When the right time came…

I often wish I could know when the right time is. I mean, I know when the time looks right to me—when it would suit my needs, but I find that my timing rarely matches up with God’s timing.

If only God would see it my way! Right?!? But, while I sometimes think that…and try to convince Him that my timing would really work out pretty well…I know that His timing is best.

My view is so limited to what I know, have experienced, or can imagine. I can only see what is in front of me, whichever way I turn.

But God—He sees so much more—He sees it all. Every little part of the story…He knows it. Each and every detail…He’s planned it. Those secret things I’d like to hide? He sees those too.

There are no secrets with God. Just like Adam and Eve tried to hide their sin, so do we. And still, God loves us.

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

At just the right time, God sent His Son to redeem us. And when God said it was time (even while we were still sinners!) Christ died for us. To set us free for all eternity.

In my day-to-day impatience and frustration, God’s timing can be puzzling. But, His timing is never wrong.

When I grumble about not understanding why the wait is necessary, I still know—His timing is always better than my calendar.

God sees the entire picture. He’s orchestrated the complete plan.

And, His time is always the right time. {Tweet this}

Thank You, Lord, for Your timing in all things. Your children have never liked waiting, and we still don’t. Help us to focus not on our calendars and to-do lists, but on Your Way and Your timing. We can’t always understand why things happen the way they do, but help us to let go of the need to comprehend, and to let You be God. You created the heavens and the earth, and Your timing will always be better than anything we can think of, or plan. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Linking up with: #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, From Messes to Messages, Thought Provoking Thursday, #HeartEncouragement, Faith 'n Friends, #FreshMarketFriday, Grace & Truth

Friday, December 9, 2016

One Expectation for Christmas

I’m joining the Five Minute Friday community with Kate Motaung…5 minutes, no rewriting, and a one word prompt…
Joy


It’s supposed to be the most joyful time of every year. But for many, it’s not. Illness, loneliness, grief, depression, emotional or physical pain, unemployment, and for so many other reasons, December can be a very difficult month.

The truth is, every month can be just as difficult, but the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas come with heavy expectations and extra pressure. And when those expectations of happiness and the perfect Christmas are not met, the letdown takes its toll.

What if we went into the season with only One expectation for a good Christmas?

Joyfulness comes in the One who came to us—Jesus Christ. {Tweet this} He didn’t arrive expecting celebrity fanfare and an overdone celebration. He came as a vulnerable baby boy through Whom we see God’s glory.

December 25 will come and go just as it does every year. Families will get on each other’s nerves and gifts will lose their sparkle. But the Gift of Jesus will never grow old.

What are your expectations during the Christmas season?

In Christ,
Laura  

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Perseverance


I don’t know how Joseph did it. How did he persevere year after year, no matter what came his way?

Remember Joseph? Son of Jacob, beautiful coat owner, second-in-command to Pharaoh.

Joseph—sold into slavery by his own brothers, servant to the Egyptian officer Potiphar, thrown into prison for refusing his master’s wife. (Genesis 37, 39-41)

Remember that Joseph?

I reread his story often, and every time I ponder it a little differently. Joseph’s story is one of faith, strength, obedience, and…perseverance.

That’s what I’m thinking about today—Joseph’s perseverance.

My One Word for this year is persevere, and I find that I’m thinking about it more now than I did at the beginning of the year. Maybe it’s because I’m tired and I’m wondering what I’ve learned. Or perhaps it’s because I’m hoping God shows me a better new word for 2017.

According to my Tyndale NLT Study Bible, to persevere means to endure hardships with patience and steadfastness.

The word alone sounds hard, before even thinking about its implications. Don’t you think?

Persevere.

I wonder if the word ran through Joseph’s mind like it does mine. Surely there had to be a time or two when he wanted to ask Why God?!? Why does this have to be so hard?!?

But the Lord was with Joseph…

Joseph knew it, and others saw it. (Genesis 39) We read about it, and as a story, we see the difficulties and the happy ending. We don’t see the day-to-day.

When I look back on situations from years ago, I can see how God was right there—walking with me, holding me up, and giving me strength to persevere.

But in today’s difficulties, sometimes it’s harder to see God by my side. I know He’s there and He’s never stepped away, but my vision isn’t as clear looking forward as it is when I look back.

I wonder if Joseph had days like this too. He sat in prison for years, and even though he’d found favor with the prison guard, at least some of the days had to be long, dark, and lonely.

Joseph knew God was with him. He endured the hardships and persevered through the mess he was in. My mess is no dirtier than Joseph’s and the hardships are no greater.

I know God is with me like He was with Joseph. Which means…

If Joseph could persevere, so can I.

(And so can you.)

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Linking up with: Moments of Hope, #DreamTogether, #TellHisStory, #RaRaLinkup, Coffee for Your Heart, Thought Provoking Thursday, #HeartEncouragement, Grace & Truth, #FreshMarketFriday, Faith 'n Friends