That day’s adventure was setting up the trampoline, a task we weren’t sure we would be able to do without my husband …but we thought we’d give it a girl power try. After confusing a few steps and taking a few breaks, we finally got a system of attaching the springs down.
The springs can’t be put on one right after another. After the first spring is on, we ran over to the opposite side of the trampoline and put a spring on over there. They have to be spaced out so that the pressure of the stretch is even throughout the whole thing.
Trying to take a spring off that had been put into the wrong slot took more strength than I had, so I went around to the other side and took springs off to release the pressure …and then back to move the one I’d miscounted. It was a painstaking process!
Today’s verse reminds us that, no matter what painful and particular processes we endure in this life, we needn’t be afraid. Calm and deep, Christ-led breaths will get us through this life. It’s not always easy, and sometimes we make a mistake and have to unravel the progress we’ve made. There’s loss along the way, forever good-byes and discomforting pain.
“Why should I be afraid?”
We shouldn’t. Not when we trust God. Not when Christ resides in our hearts and the Spirit lights our way. His love cannot be swayed or diminished by any hardship we go through. He promises that we will get through, and get to, Him. Through a life of walking, following, and keeping on …we will arrive home.
Father, Praise You for the promise that we will make it through this life and into Your arms in heaven. Thank You for Jesus’ death on the cross, and our belief in Him that assures that final destination.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
Safe ears to speak to are treasures on this earth. Another person to embrace our mess and point us back to grace is soothing balm to the soul.
In today’s verse, finding safe ears to speak of Jesus were a matter of life and death. Early followers of Jesus sacrificed much to stand for their faith. Expulsion from life as they knew it, cast away from family and friends. Even some who believed dare not let on that they did, for fear of being kicked out and away from everything they knew.
New can be scary …
American life is full of religious freedom that we take for granted more than we want to let on. Across the ocean, others who believe in the same Jesus that we do suffer. They sacrifice everything. They are kicked out of circles they know …lives they have built …and are separated from those they love …for all time.
From the freedom we reside in, we must keep fighting for our circle, wherever they may be. There are missions and humanitarian movements …and we must keep praying and fighting to encircle the disconnected …the hurt …the displaced …if only in whispers, but prayerfully shouting.
Fear, or phobos,in the NT can mean “fear, fright, alarm,” but also “awe.” (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary)
The same fear that can cause us to whisper and hide, is the same fear that can produce loud echoes of awe-stricken worship for our God. The world is scary. There is much to fear. But as Christians, we are privy to the ending. In the meantime, we look to the One who gracefully swooped down to save us.
When we bump into conversation with someone about Jesus …will we brave the nudge in awe of our Lord, or fearfully whisper…
Father, Praise You the fear that scares us …but also inspires us. Thank You for the opportunity to openly worship You. We confess how much we take that for granted, and pray for all of those in this world who do not share such freedoms. Bless them, uphold them, and keep them fearless of whispers, and fearfully awestricken by You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
“I think I’m ready for a nice bag,” I told my husband when he asked for Christmas ideas. This thrift store gal feels like paying half price is splurging, and sure enough, when I opened that big designer box for Christmas …I could finally say I owned something really valuable.
Listen. I’ve used that bag a handful of times. The rest of the time it sits in my closet and looks really pretty. I like to look at it, but I’m nervous using it. I don’t want to be the one to break it in. Second hand purchases are way less stressful.
“To meditate on the Scriptures is to think about them, turning them over in our minds, and applying them to our life’s situations.” Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness
The other issue lodged in my heart was guilt. There are hungry people, and I’m carrying this bag. Bleh. Just makes me feel all sorts of ugly.
Then, there’s worrying about what people will think. “Oh, she has that bag …hmmmm.. must be nice.”
“Train yourself to be godly…” todays’ verse says. What does that mean?
“godliness-Reverence for or devotion to God, producing a practical awareness of God in every aspect of life….in this verse’s context …godly living demands self-discipline.” Dictionary of Bible Themes.
Grace is not afraid of our worthiness. When we accept more than we deserve with a thankful heart, it displays gratitude …which is a discipline of the heart. To be thankful. I’m not sure how much I’ll use that bag, but I do know myself. I requested a neutral, timeless color that wouldn’t drift out of season or style. I may grow into it.
Grace, on the other hand, is one size fits all and for all seasons and walks of life.
Father, Praise You for grace. Thank You for blessing us with nice things on this earth, even though they will fade away along with the life we live here. Forgive us for valuing any ‘thing’ beyond Your grace. Bless us with grateful, disciplined, hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is your favorite thing to look at “up close?” Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
Wetness went dropped onto my left arm, and my right rib was cradling a pokey little elbow. My feet were blocked in by our warm puppy, and I was sweating with no way to get out of the covers. Normally, I have no problem drifting off to sleep in that heavenly little scene, but this night was different. This evening, fear wafted in the crack of the window and threatened to steal more peace than the claustrophobia that leaves it open in of January.
“Can you come home?” I texted my husband, out watching football with friends while I snuggled my daughters to sleep. “I have one of those weird feelings…”
Every once in a while I nudge my husband awake because I’ve been nudged awake. Not knowing why, I listen for any sound that could be deemed the suspicious source of the fear, and then beg my husband to go downstairs and check everything for “suspiciousness.” He hates it. It really aggravates him. He feels no sense of bravado at all for protecting me and really loathes me yanking him out of a deep sleep.
There is an inference of wisdom in today’s verse that soothes my out of control soul’s grasp for it in the middle of the night. This particular wisdom has a name …sophia.
sophia is a word meaning “wisdom.” It denotes the capacity to not only understand something (Acts 7:22) but also to act accordingly (Col 1:9; 4:5). It is the latter that separates wisdom from knowledge.
‘Sophia’ should quiet the false alarm that intrusion is inevitable. So, why do I still stir?
…There is a natural wisdom; Moses was instructed in “the wisdom of Egypt” (Acts 7:22). But there is also a special wisdom that can come only from God, especially through the Holy Spirit. -Mouce’s Complete Expository Dictionary
That’s it right there. That’s why the only way I can fall back asleep is through prayer. When we activate the Holy Spirit of God living within us as a product of Jesus’ gift of grace on the cross, we have the ability to remain calm …even in the face of real fear …but especially through the overreactive middle-of-the-night-creepy-sound fear.
“Who would have dreamed? God lit up the earth with the brilliant display of Holy Spirit! And in an instant, God is now within us. We walk with every might and magnificence of God in our core. We are filled with his instruction. The Word of God brings power in our heart. We can worship in Spirit. Oh yes, Jesus knew He was leaving us His very best. No wonder He spoke so confidently.” Kelly Balarie, Fear Fighting
I hope my fear never comes to fruition, and please don’t disregard creepy sounds on my account. Wake them up and make them check! But wisdom is knowing that the feeling of fear is only frightened away by the Power that lies within.
Father, Praise You for equipping us to fight our fears. Some are very real, and others just a possibility that scares us. Thank you for sending Your Spirit to help us know the difference. And forgive us when we allow fear to carry us out of control. Bless us to seek You first when we are scared. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What scares you awake? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
Tears quickly collected in the brim of my girl’s eyes as disappointment sunk into her heart. Whether eight or eighty-eight, the sting of discouragement stinks.
“If you feel you should be included, ask …” I encouraged, and handed her my phone.
It’s the tiny bits of fear that need to be squashed before they have a chance to take root and destroy a dream. We prayed over my tiny dancer before she got out of the car, and when she skipped back happily with a piece of her heart restored, I knew the work God was doing in me had more than one purpose.
The agonous worries that shake us awake in the middle of the night are meek to those that snatch joy. Jesus grants peace. Fear hunts it down in attempt to convince us we were unworthy of it in the first place …in the hope that we’ll simply forget that we have nothing to worry about. Fear teases us with the solitude of control. It beckons us to keep up appearances and disassociations.
Fear will fill and hijack life, unless pulled up close enough to kick out. “Fear Fighting” is a powerful punch in fear’s face.
One year ago I picked the word “resolve” to bring my goals for the new year into fruition. I prayed into that word and it held on by the tiniest thread as fear tried to shut every opening door. The thread didn’t snap, but my grace cracked. The “Fear Fighting” journey has illuminated my dire need for it’s restoration.
Fear wants us to circle our dreams like a vulture waiting for it to get hit by a car and die, relieving us from chasing after it’s assured “road-kill” ending. The bigger the dream, the stronger fear grips. Satan doesn’t play fair, he injects fear …hoping we’ll become addicted to a pain numbing consolation prize.
The Bible warns us we’ll be harassed. “Fear Fighting” provides an applicable solution to flicking fear out of our daily lives.
Forgo.Ignite. Give. Help. Treasure.
Insecurity …quitting …overcommitting …comparison. Issues make us plainly aware of our earthly deficiency. But fear drives them all.
Each everyday worry written out in prayer and tossed into a vase released the pressure point of a struggle …a less-than …a not-good-enough. A simple activity from a heart full of fright-empathy ushered little pieces of freedom and simplistic joy back into my heart like a warm wave of salty sea air. Fourteen things I worry about everyday. The vase was filled. I was glad to be interrupted by my six-year old to paint her “other hand’s nails.”
That’s the eye-opening power of derailing fear. It stops in it’s tracks …and leaves.
This book is a #lifechanger, freeing kidnapped corners of fear-fighting souls in each pair of hands that hold it.
Father, Praise You for Kelly, and her Spirit inspired message. You are powerful to reach into hearts that need healing through the simple pages of a book. Thank You for knowing the spaces that need to be cleared of fear, and loving us regardless. We confess our worry and fear, and lift it up to Your capable hands. Bless our hearts with courage, and bless this book to hearts that long to be freed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I highly recommend “Fear Fighting,” to anyone who struggles with anxiety, insecurity, and control. It’s a #lifechanger. Stand up and fight back, with Kelly Balarie’s relatable struggle and Spirit filled conquering of her own battle with fear.
Kelly, a heartfelt thanks to you for your faithfulness to write this book. It set the small, everyday courses of my life, on His track. Praise for you. Catch Kelly on her blog, www.purposefulfaith.com, and be encouraged!
(Just a friendly promo for a book I believe will change your life. No affiliate kickbacks, here.)
It’s my honor to host a post from one of my favorite writers, Kelly Balarie. Praise God for her
faithfulness to bring this amazing message on conquering fear out into the world! Sit back and get ready to soak up some courage …
When I thought about fighting as a child, it was normally with my siblings. I’d sink my nails into them, they’d shriek. I’d see a injustice, like them taking my pile of lego’s and I’d tackle them. I was the oldest, so I could always win. I liked it that way.
Yet, somewhere along the lines, I think I’ve lost my power. I like winning position; I’m strong there. Yet, now, I feel like people, life, and situations are acting on me, more than I’m acting on them. For a girl who harnesses the idea of being in control, this makes me feel – well, out of control. I deeply dislike that.
Do you feel out of control? Do you feel all alone, fighting for a life that you can’t seem to wrangle to order?
I know the ache. I feel the helplessness. I relate to the struggle.
Certainly, I am well aware of the fact I’m not supposed to be running my life. Certainly, I know that Jesus rules. Certainly, I know that he is the one who holds power, even when I mistakenly think I do. The bible is clear on this.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Prov. 19:21
I know I am out of control, but my mind still tells me I’m in control.
Where does a woman go when she is stuck in this place?
Just yesterday, I was frustrated at myself for over-managing my children, yet again. I’d spoken too sternly, punished too heavily and disconnected my heart immensely. The drive home from school-drop off was painful. “I’ve just got to let go of control,” I thought to myself.
My car stopped. A bus had put out its “stop” sign. Into the bus went the children. It wasn’t the children, my eye was drawn to, however, it was the parents. There they stood, arms waving, madly. Kisses blowing, in rapid succession. Bodies running after the bus as it took off. Sadness, filling their face as their little pieces of joy took off.
I realized something: God wants me to know He is with me on my journey.
He doesn’t just tell me to do and abandon me. He doesn’t kick me out the door to hustle, alone in the cold, to his purposes. He runs up, alongside me. He cheers me on as I go – with Him. He delights in the journey of us going together. He wishes me well. Like a good daddy, he has good plans for me.
He meets me and moves with me – he runs alongside me. He even goes before me.
The fight with control is not about battling it to the ground; it is knowing that God covers my future ground with me. It is realizing that as I give up my ways, He presents his. I’m not left for ruin. I’m not left alone. I’m not left behind.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut. 31:8
About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:
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.
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 at http://www.fearfightingbook.com/.
My little girl’s tears streamed onto my cheeks as she hugged me tight. Fearful that in the darkness of night our house would catch on fire, unreasonable emotion gripped her blotchy red face. Her pierced blue eyes searched mine for an answer …for comfort …for reassurance …all of which I was unqualified to promise her.
The anxieties we answer to in this life grab us much like Lauren’s sweet six-year-old heart, that can’t bear the thought of being separated from her teddy bear. Life is fragile. We want to look around and depend on each other to get through things that may never happen. We want to believe that everything is going to be ok, but it’s simply not always going to be. In fact, we’re promised that it will get much worse.
We can help our children cope with fear and anxiety by teaching them to pray these Words of God:
“Do not worry.” Matthew 6:34
“Do not fear.” Isaiah 41:10
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)
Our duty as parents is not to have all the answers, but to point to the One who does. We can aim to protect our children but we cannot promise them safety. Only God is sovereign to make good on the assured direction of their future.
“Lauren, can I pray for you?”
She nodded ‘yes’ through slowing sobs.
“Lord, you tell us not to fear, and not to worry. But that’s hard. We need Your help. Help Lauren not to worry, and not to be afraid. Let her rest in knowing how much you love her. God we pray that You protect and bless our home. Keep it and us safe. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
My godly duty as her mother is to reassure that she is loved …not just by me, but far greater. Her little heart needs to hear that He is good, that she can trust Him, and that He he cares about her fears and worries.
“Jesus explains the futility of such worry for one’s life (Mt 6:25), time (6:27, 34), clothes (6:28), and even what one will eat (6:31). Such a focus is not only a wasted effort on something that one cannot change (cf. Lk 12:25), but it leads to unhealthy anxiety.” Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary
If the thing I want to be able to promise will never harm a hair on her head singes her life, He will get her through. He will love her. He will grow her. He will never leave her side.
Through the calamity of this world, God does not promise Christians a free pass from pain. He gifts us the grace, peace and hope to keep walking through it. We grip Him in fear, look to Him in awe, and trust Him with it all …through it all.
“So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Night after night my little Lo cried at bedtime, afraid our house would catch on fire. Night after night we prayed together, and repeated those truths to her tiny heart and my overwhelmed one. Until one night, her brave blue eyes stared right into mine and with a small, still voice, wondered:
“Mom, can I say a special prayer?” I nodded, misty-eyed.
“Dear God, Please bless us and don’t let our house catch on fire. Keep everyone in our family safe, and my teddy and blankie and all of my toys. We love you God and Jesus, Amen.”
Our great God hears the prayers of tender little hearts, and understands their fears.
Sometimes it takes months, years, decades, lifetimes …before the discipline to turn to God first replaces our knee-jerk reaction to solve humanity’s dysfunctional fears and worries. But I believe that when God’s truth repeated is alive, powerful, and in motion.
My greatest prayer as a mother is that my daughters will know that God loves them perfectly, even when I do not.
“The scope of these verses is to silence the fears, and encourage the faith, of the servants of God in their distresses.“ Matthew Henry Commentary on Isaiah 41:10-20
Prayer becomes powerful conversation. The grace of accepting Jesus’ sacrifice as allows us to experience a power that is not of this world. Discernment of text that is much more that black and white letters on a page. It’s much more than a good story. He is God. He was here. And now His Spirit lives in us.
Invisible fire, indeed.
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Failure to control my kids’ exposure scares me, and lending it’s parameters up to the One
who’s wise to the legit limit is the only way I manage to keep the wall up. The waxing and waning of what I’m supposed to hold to and let go of perplexes my parental instincts. Many voices weigh in, but only One cuts through the noise.
“Control- to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command; to hold in check; curb” –dictionary.com
Our butts were stuck to the seat, and the warm breeze wafted by as we tried to beat the heat to our ice cream. Sun-beat cheeks burst wide with giggles in between spoonfuls. As the kid-table full of little girls erupted into innocent laughter over inside jokes, and a little blurb of nonsense perked-up the parent ears sitting at the adjoining table with a,“What-did-you-say?!”
All of the girls… in unison… at the highest volume they could maintain while dying laughing, repeated, “TOM HAS A SMALL WEINER!!!!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!”
Not sure whether to laugh, cry, or die of embarrassment … I let the contagious cackling catch me, too.”Tom has a small wiener,” scratched into the table at the local ice cream factory, is definitely not in the prepared parent handbook.
I was pretty sure my princesses weren’t privy to the down low; but as my friend marched up to management, I wondered how aware of the world they really were.
“Oh, mom, I started that…” stated my calm, rule-following first child, as we cruised down the high-way home.
“I sounded it out,” she said, as I braced my grip on the steering wheel little tighter.
“Why would someone write about their wiener-dog on a table…” she trailed off and into
hysterics again, no doubt recalling how all of her friends roared in laughter over ice cream.
Phew. She had no idea, and I left it that way.
There are things in this world that are impossible to control. Bits of exposure creep into kid’s minds beyond our ability to rewind. Terrible tragedy scares society into lockdowns and loud mouths. How do parents protect children amidst an increasingly illusive grasp on control?
God is in control of all that alludes us. Faith allows us to live in peace, amidst engulfing calamity. In “table scratch” moments, I say…“Word up.” #wordup
“Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
There is a miracle recorded in the Gospel of Mark that reveals God’s sovereign care beyond our parental scope. Jarius, a synagogue leader, sought Jesus out to heal his daughter, but while in route she died. “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Jesus said, and He raised his daughter from the dead.
I believe the Word came alive for Jarius that day.
Read the Bible. Let the living Word come alive in your life. The situations of our hearts differ, but the omnipotent voice is the same. When we listen to these lessons, we can hear hope. By preparing our hearts with wise words, pressing parenting conversations are relieved by a story, a “who God is,” or “what would Jesus would do.” Applying Biblical truths to everyday occurrences plant “wall building” seeds.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Get up and look up… everyday. Talk up. Pray up. Listen for what’s up. I can’t be everywhere my daughters are, but He can. I won’t always understand, but He does. Prayer
accumulates, God hears, and I trust He’s on board. Scholarly proof alludes me, but as Sunday seeds sown are watered and grown, bits of evidential wisdom bleed out of my heart. #faith
“Please bless Brianne and Lauren.
Keep them physically safe from harm,
and guard their hearts and minds
…today, and always.”
My girls are six and eight, and everyday I pray that prayer …in earnest hope, and forthright faith. I have a lot to learn, and many miles of parenting left to wander. But I routinely yield the mysteries of the world to their Author, believing most ardently that He answers prayer.
My littlest girl loves to quote Tinkerbell’s infamous motto, “Faith, trust, and pixie dust.” Have faith in the Word and earnestly pray. Trust that life will water His seeds in our kin. And pixie dust? Keep your eye out for answered prayers …sometimes they look like miracles.