A Parable for When We Want Clarity

A Master Architect, known worldwide for his dozens of stunning and otherworldly designs scattered across the globe, put the finishing touches on his latest creation. This particular plan was unique because it was not commissioned by anyone; rather, it was a personal project of the Master. For ten years, he had worked on the draft: drawing, critiquing, erasing, redrawing. His commissioned plans always displayed his greatness, but they were designed within the boundaries of another’s purpose and location. This plan though, was an unleashing of all that was in the Architect’s genius mind as well as what was in the depths of his spirit. 

The Master Architect began seeking a builder to work with him to bring his plan to fruition. He advertised the world over, willing to work with anyone who was willing to work with him. He knew many would come to him, but that many would also refuse to work with him. He knew this because there was a catch to his plan: he would only allow the builder to see the precise step of the design that was being worked on at the moment. No one was to see the finished design. This meant that someone would have to agree to begin working on the foundation without knowing what the structure itself would look like.

So, many well respected builders from all over the world came to offer their services to the Architect. And many became troubled when they learned how the Architect desired them to carry out their work – step by step.

One builder looked doubtfully at the Master Architect after learning of this caveat. He wanted to know the plans because he could suggest shortcuts and less expensive or quicker options. Said the Master in reply, “My ways are not of speed and ease. I take time and I have plentiful resources. Slow is my process, excellent is my product.” Troubled by this, the builder turned and walked away.

Another builder came to see what the job of the Master Architect was all about. He told the Master that he was a busy man, in high demand, but that he could fit the Master’s project in between some other projects. Said the Master in reply, “I require full devotion. No other task or project will come between you and this work. Your full dedication, attention, and energy will be required.” Without a moment’s hesitation, the builder scoffed at the Master and left.

A third builder, after hearing that access to the full plans of the build was restricted, began to question incredulously: “It will be for me as if I am blind and no one can work well in darkness!” Says the Master, “Ah! But from the darkness of dirt a seed emerges as a living plant, from the darkness of the womb emerges a life and soul! Though it seems you will work in darkness, my plans and provisions will guide you, even comfort you.” Thinking the Master Architect must be crazy,this builder, too, walked away.

By this time, word of the seemingly ridiculous plan of the Master Architect began to spread. Many builders who had considered an interview with the Master decided not to bother. Still, another builder came to inquire about the Master’s plan. This builder asked of the Master, “What’s your timeline? When will I be done and available to book other jobs?” Said the Master in reply, “You need not worry about ‘after’ – it will be more glorious than you can imagine. You need only to be present to the process. As you remain present, my plans will prove to be timely and exceptional. You will need nothing else in life but to be my builder. Everything else will fit into place. Trust me.” But this builder, jaded by his life’s experiences, trusted no one besides himself, and so he left without glancing back.

Another builder, confident that he would be able to sway the Master’s decision to withhold the plans, approached the Master saying, “I view my work as a partnership with the Architect. I want to know what I’m getting into. After all, my name goes on the finished product too.” Said the Master Architect: “Yes! We will be partners, but partnership isn’t essentially a transaction of information and plans. Partnership, in its truest essence, is trust. It is not simply a joining of minds, but a joining of souls. In this partnership, you must trust the result, the finished product, to Me. You see, partnership isn’t about equality, but about a unified purpose.Trust me, you will not be disappointed!” But this was too difficult for the builder to accept. In fact he was offended by the idea that the Master would not regard him as an equal in this endeavor. He refused to trust his good reputation to this ‘irrational’ Architect and fuming, left immediately.

Just as that builder was storming away, another builder arrived. “Sir,” said he, “you are a Master of Masters. Your work is the greatest the world has ever seen. I am young and inexperienced. I would understand if you chose to have nothing to do with me. But I long to learn from the greatest. I know you’d probably prefer someone far more skilled than I. In fact, you probably see me as just a child! But I am willing.” Rejoicing, the Master exclaimed, “It is you I have been waiting for! Child you are, yes, but you will be as my own child. Inexperienced, yes. Bound to make mistakes, absolutely. But know this: I delight in teaching and making young things grow into mature things. You will have innumerable questions for me; I will only give the answers you need in the moment. I require that you trust me even if you don’t understand my plans – even if my plans seem unnecessary, impossible, or like a mistake. You will learn to trust as you look back and see how the first steps of the building process are leading into the present steps. You will be my servant. I know that’s an uncomfortable thought to some, but you will find no Master as worthy of serving as me. You will help me build something extraordinary. True, it will be your entire life’s work, and even then you may not finish. Another may have to replace you. But forever your name will be inextricably linked with mine. Stay faithful to your service to me, your laboring for me. I will provide all you need for the job – both tangible and intangible. And when you can serve me no longer, we will look back together with joy and I will declare: Well done! You have been a good and faithful servant! Let us rest in joy forever!” So the builder began the work of the Master Architect. And the greatness of the Master is still unfolding today.


Guest Post and a Giveaway!!!

I’m so happy to introduce you to my friend, Erin Mullins! She has graciously accepted my request to share how God is developing her soul. I know you will enjoy what Erin has to say. Be sure to read to the end for a special Christmas Giveaway!!


Guest Post by Erin Mullins

When was the last time you shivered from being cold-to-the-bone? For me it’s those drizzly Pacific Northwest days when the air is damp and I feel chilled and unsettled.

On these days  I want a cup of coffee most, a hot mug cupped between two hands, the heat of ceramic radiating onto my fingers. The nutty-bitterness of coffee mingled with a bit of sweet and smooth creamer seems to comfort and satisfy.

I gave up coffee about six weeks ago. Obviously, I miss it. 

Why did I give up coffee? One morning as I was pouring my regular cup, I felt a spiritual nudge to give it up.  This invitation seemed to come out of nowhere. I ignored it for about three days. Maybe it was just the fog of sleeplessness talking. Doubt creeped in. My desire for coffee in the morning was too strong.

But I couldn’t shake the idea. What did I have to lose? If I believe God is good, then there must be something good to gain by trusting and obeying. Do you know what I discovered? It wasn’t just about giving up something to drink. It was about giving up my first comfort of the morning and the thing I look forward to. It was disrupting my routines. 

Drinking water has never been my strength. I often confuse my body’s cues for thirst with being hungry. So I often grab a snack when I’m actually thirsty. In letting go of coffee, I found my thirst cues coming through more clearly. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, I reached for a tall glass of water, reminding me that Jesus Christ is the only one who satisfies my thirst.

My tastebuds started changing. Honey now tastes sweeter. Sourdough bread tastes more sour. Was I imagining these things? I looked it up and coffee does impact one’s sense of taste!  Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.” This was quite literal in my case.

But the biggest thing I came to admit was that coffee had become an idol. Intellectually, I would tell you that God is my strength. Of course, I can survive without coffee. Functionally, I believed the coffee culture lie that I couldn’t make it through the day without it. In the early morning I would think, “Oh my, I didn’t sleep enough last night, I need coffee in my system ASAP.” Later in the morning, “I am dragging today, I need another cup.” And on especially tiring days I would scrutinize the clock between 2:00 and 2:30 p.m. deciding if it was too late for another mug.

Recently Psalm 62:1-2 began popping up in various places in my life. “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

My soul finds rest in God alone. Soul. What is my soul exactly? I was led to a word study series produced by The Bible Project. This team developed a video that takes a closer examination of the word soul. What I learned fascinated me.

The ancient Hebrew word for soul is “nephesh.” On a basic level it translates to mean throat. However, it doesn’t just mean one’s actual throat, but takes on a larger meaning that one is a living nephesh. Initially that sounds strange, but it makes more sense when you consider that  our whole physical being depends on what goes in and out of our throats: breath, water, and food. Nephesh represents our entire living being.

Now I can see God’s sense of humor at play here. Coffee is the thing I want to chug down my throat on tired days. Here in the midst of giving up coffee, He teaches me about nephesh. “My soul finds rest in God alone.” My throat (my entire being) won’t find rest in coffee, but in God alone.

In the morning, instead of my first thoughts being for coffee, my first thoughts are tending towards God. He is renewing my mind and I can see that it is good. Coffee consumption is so minor in the grand scheme of things, but I am impressed by the big lessons in such a small cup. 

I am learning to surrender to God’s best for me. Practicing faithfulness in small ways is preparation for faithfulness in bigger ways. Exerting discipline over something small like coffee is developing my spiritual muscles. Trusting God in small ways will strengthen me for the greater things God is preparing me to do.

By doing so, when greater things unsettle us, we can respond with an unshakable faith. There will always be cold, rainy days that cause us to shiver. Undesirable things are always going to happen. We are going to encounter a social media post that ruffles our feathers, a car accident that jolts us, or a relational conflict that causes brokenness. Let us practice now, before deeper troubles come, trusting in the unshakable God.

Tapping into the joy of art and the lessons I’m learning, this art-prayer was created: “Her soul’s truest rest is in God alone. Planted by the stream of Living Water, her roots run deep. She will not be shaken.”

Not only did Erin create this beautiful piece of meaningful art, but she is offering to give it away to one of you!! How sweet is that?!? So here’s what you need to do to win: Simply follow this link to subscribe to Aiming at Heaven and you will be entered into the giveaway. If you’re already a subscriber, thank you! Your name will be added automatically so there’s no need for you to do a single thing :). All entries must be in by Monday, December 9, 2019, 12 PM PST. The winner will be selected that same evening.

Merry Christmas! And a huge thank you to Erin for her generosity!

If you’d like to connect with Erin, you can find her on Facebook (@Erin Mullins) and Instagram (@emullinsphotos).

POTUS, the Bride, and the color Purple


Now we know. Trump’s the one we have chosen. The decision between the two candidates has been one that, unfortunately, has brought out far more of our nation’s ugliness than its beauty.

The division of our “One Nation Under God” is painful to witness and experience.

But, what pains me even more, makes my heart ache, is the division I witness and experience among the Bride – the Body of Christ. And this election season has only served to intensify the division.

The divide in our nation politically is nothing new. In fact, it’s this very divisiveness that serves as built in accountability for our leaders.

The divide in the Bride, too, is nothing new. But our division is our destruction; and it’s the destruction of the image of God on the face of the earth.

Many believers on social media have been soothing themselves and others with the reminder that God is sovereign and in control. I’m about to sound heretical, but I don’t believe it’s enough for us as the Bride to simply cling to the truth that God is in control as we wade through these waters.

Yes, God is ultimately in control of all nations.

However, the question of supreme control also begs the question of intimate, personal control. We, the people of the mystical union in Christ Jesus, need to ask ourselves, “Is God in control of me?” Or to state it another way, “Am I submitting to the authority, supremacy, control, and sovereignty of God?” An affirmative answer to this question day by day is the ONLY answer to remedy divisiveness in the Bride.

Call me crazy, but I am one of those people who believe that the Word of God is pertinent to any and every circumstance.

It’s full of wisdom on the topic of unity.

Just a few days ago, I was reading Psalm 133 which starts by saying:

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!”

My soul resounded with an emphatic, Yes!

But how do we get there?

I’m convinced it’s all in the mind – the mind of Christ, that is!

Paul says this:

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,” (Romans 8:6-7)

And Paul again:

“but we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16)

And again:

“Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Philippians 2:2)

We stumble into disunity when we stray from the mind of Christ.


We abound in unity when we ascend to the mind of Christ.

There is no other way.

We must lay down our heart, soul, mind and strength and unite ourselves in love to Christ and as a result to one another.

“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27)


The world needs us to be what we are meant to be – not a particular political regime or agenda – but an example of heavenly unity on earth. The world needs to see the results of the gospel!

So, what does it take? It’s the question I keep asking myself. I know I don’t have all the answers, but here are a few things I’ve been ruminating on:

It takes humility, knowing that we are flawed and don’t have all the right answers. (1 Peter 5:6, Philippians 2)

It takes practiced discernment between God’s economy and the world’s. (Is. 55:8; Rom. 12:2)

It takes seeking His way, rather than the world’s – even if that means the world condemns us. (Matt. 16:23; 1 John 2:15; Col. 3:2)

It takes loving and hoping in God more than we love and hope in the world and it’s schemes. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It takes a personal pursuit of holiness. (1 Peter 1:15-16)

It takes constantly abiding in who we are and Whose we are. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

It takes disciples and disciplemakers. (Matt. 28:18-20)

It takes forgiveness. (Luke 17:4; Ephesians 4:32)

It takes living as Christ lived. (I John 1:6)

If the triune God exists in perfect unity, then we have every reason to hope that those of us who are in Him can walk in unity! I am hopeful! This is our greatest testimony to the world!

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10)

The beauty of this supernatural unity is that it has potential to exists, and does exists, regardless of Obama, Trump, or Clinton, or any other government.

This is the path I choose to pursue.

So, the color purple?

Well, red and blue make purple, right?


And purple is the priestly, kingly color, right?

Unity, in the truest sense, is then the rule of the one true King!

And it’s possible here and now.

Ok, I realize this argument is not exactly airtight, but just a fun little thought nonetheless.


“Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus”

(Romans 15:5)

How My Marriage Saved Me

I was a 22 year old mess when I married my husband. Poor guy hardly knew what he was getting himself into! I had yet to overcome the oppression of fear, insecurity, and anger that seized me in my teen years. 1 John 4:8 says, “He who does not love does not know God.” This was me. I was a Christian, but I didn’t understand God because I didn’t understand His love and I certainly didn’t know how to share it with others.

Twelve years have gone by now. God has taught me so many things about Himself through my marriage. And thankfully, God has used my husband as a key player in His ultimate plan to heal me by His love.

A couple years ago, I sat down to write a note to my husband for our tenth anniversary. I couldn’t help but think about the transforming power of God’s love through him and the tremendous change wrought in my soul as a result.

To  My Dearest Husband,

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear”

[This is 1 John 4:18. Not sure why, back then, I used the version with archaic language……]

For so long, even since childhood, fear has had a strong grip on my life. I would even say at times it has paralyzed me. I so desperately longed for close relationships yet they seemed so elusive because I felt so inept and fearful. This cycle only proved to bring me down and to prevent me from the growth I needed. But God in His kindness has not stopped working in my life. As I grew to better understand His love for me, fear has slowly slipped away. And as God has shown me, through you, that another person can love me just the way I am, even more fear is relieved and is replaced with a sure confidence in who I truly am and what God really thinks of me because of His Son.

Your role in this growth is monumental. Without your unconditional love, I know I would still be the same fearful, angry, hurting teenager that I am so glad to be rid of. Thank you for showing me that I too can love this way. I think this will be my next great challenge – now that I am finally learning to be loved, I can truly begin to love others unconditionally. I am convinced that the most powerful catalyst for change in someone’s life is God’s love, especially when it is manifested through those who love Him.

Please know that I mean this all with the greatest sincerity and that I truly desire to show you even more how much I love you in the 10 years to come!

I love you so much and wouldn’t trade our life together and our family for the world!




God used my marriage to save me. It saved me from a loveless life. It took one person and his unrelenting love and commitment to me to break through the pernicious walls of fear and lies I had constructed to ‘protect’ myself. My husband’s willingness to be a conduit of God’s love served to draw me in, closer to God’s love.  

But he’s not the only one who has shown me God’s love: parents, siblings, extended family, friends – the list is massive – have all contributed too. That’s the beauty of the Body of Christ! We are truest to our identity when we Love. Period.

That’s what it takes for any of us to be healed by Love. It doesn’t have to be marriage. Maybe it’s a brother, a sister, a friend. Whoever it is, God’s love at work in His people changes lives. It changed mine. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Can I offer some encouragement to those of you feeling fearful, insecure, and angry? To those feeling a bit – or a whole lot – of a mess? Tune your minds to the Love around you. It is there. God is living and active in His people. Maybe, like me, it’s been so easy to get wrapped up in your own feelings that you miss the love your spouse, family member, or friend is showing you. They aren’t perfect, but neither are you. Intentionally see the love – and then accept it. You have a responsibility to recognize and reckon with the truth. If you chose to shirk this responsibility, then you are ultimately the one to blame. I can boldly say these things because I have been there. We are not victims to our emotions or to lies, we are culpable for what we choose to believe. Don’t be like the nation of Israel in Malachi 1:2: “‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD. Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’” They dared to say this back to God after his millennia of favor toward them. Have regard for the lavish Love of your Heavenly Father!

And to those of you spouses, friends and family members doing your best to share God’s love with someone like me: Don’t give up. Don’t grow weary in doing good (Gal. 6:9). Keep loving with God’s love. Your love might be returned with injury, but please, please, please, don’t stop! God’s love streaming through you can save a life! And remember, that sometimes love is tough. It doesn’t put up with lies and self-pity and it doesn’t bow to the whim of the loveless person’s emotions. God-love stands firm on God’s truth. My husband does a wonderful job of stopping me in my tracks when I go down the path of lies. He simply won’t let me continue. I can recall many occasions where he left the room when I was spewing caustic insults and lies his way. You don’t have to stand there and take it. But continue to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Stay rooted in your walk with the Lord so you will abide in the resource of His love to pour out to others.

I was sinking deep in sin

Far from the peaceful shore

Very deeply stained within

Sinking to rise no more.

But the master of the sea

Heard my despairing cry

And from the waters lifted me

Now safe am I. 

Love lifted me

Love lifted me

When nothing else could help

Love lifted me!!!

~ James Rowe

Seeing Vaguely

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Cor. 13:12

I remember the first time it hit me. It was one of those things that I should have already realized, something that was easily observable, but had never dawned on me before. After all, I knew a lot, right? I knew most of the answers in Sunday School and Youth group. In fact, I was so far advanced compared to my peers that I pretty much had it all figured out. Ha!

Thankfully, God brought someone along to mention in a passing comment, “You know, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything about God. It only reveals what God wants us to know.” What!?! There is more that I don’t know!? (Let’s be honest, even if the Bible contained everything there is to know about God, I still would NOT know or understand it all).

This meant that all my assumptions had to be reevaluated. My ‘little’  Sunday School story God suddenly became much bigger than I could handle. He became a mystery. He became elusive.

I imagine this may have been how the Israelites felt as they wandered in the wilderness, following the Lord as a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. There was no doubting His presence or His power, yet He had no discernable form. I wonder how many looked intently into that cloud and that fiery pillar hoping to see something more clearly. It is much easier to follow what you can easily discern and understand. Maybe that is one reason the nation continually struggled with idolatry – it is in human nature to want to see clearly, to understand, to know.

But this is not God. God is almighty, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, and altogether too weighty for us to handle. It is because of His grace that He only reveals to us the bits and pieces that we can swallow, otherwise we would surely die.

As I grow and mature in my relationship with the Lord, I am thankful for those moments when, through His Word, the Holy Spirit allows me to see the faintest passing shadow of Himself through the veil. But how I do yearn for that day when in glory I will see Him face to face! Oh, to know Him more!

Still, what comfort it is to be known by Him, more completely than I even know myself. And what merciful kindness He has given us by revealing even more of Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ! And whoever has seen the Son has seen the Father (John 14:9).

Do you understand the mind of God? If so, your God is too small and of your own making. Can you trust Him even though you see dimly?

We are veiled from God, for our own good, not He who is veiled from us. Just as Moses was hidden in the cleft of the rock as the glory of God passed by, we see dimly and are protected from what we cannot bear in this earthly form.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep on following in the path of uncertainty. To keep seeking after a God who is unsearchable. The truth of His abiding in us and our abiding in Him is difficult to pin down and act upon. But what He has chosen to reveal is enough. And there is more to come!

“This age of ours will one day be the distant past. And the Divine Nature can change the past. Nothing yet is in it’s true form” (from C.S. Lewis’ ‘Til We Have Faces’).