12/9/2022 0 Comments
Don't Nod Off!
Suddenly, a loud noise jarred me from my catnap and I looked up. President Clinton’s eyes met mine and I realized the President had witnessed me sleeping just before he took the podium. He smiled his friendly, wide-mouthed smile as if to say, “It’s okay. I understand,” and nodded to me with a wink and stepped up to the microphone. Despite his kind, nonverbal acknowledgement, I was mortified to have been caught sleeping!
In 2 Thessalonians 5: 2-9, Paul tells the church at Thessalonica to be prepared for the Lord’s return as He will come unexpectedly and quickly, like a thief in the night. In verse 6, he drills down on his message, “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.” Just like the assembly on the Capitol lawn that day awaiting an address from the President of the United States, Paul told the church that someone of utmost importance was going to make an appearance and they needed to be prepared. Paul even told the church how to keep vigilant in verse 8, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
The colloquial advice, “Wake up, dress up, show up” isn’t a hard concept. Get out of bed, make yourself presentable, and be where you are supposed to be. Truthfully, that simple phrase has prompted me to keep an appointment when I felt like canceling. It has also caused me to climb onto an elliptical when climbing back in bed felt more appealing. In short, it has caused me to pursue a more disciplined life.
Essentially Paul was saying the same thing to the Thessalonians. Stay awake! Embrace a life of discipline so you can be prepared for what is ahead! Discipline involves training your character to do the right things: obey God, follow through on commitments, live within your means, be a good steward, get wisdom and pursue optimal health. When we are prepared, we have no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed because we will be prepared for Christ’s return. Whether He returns within our lifetime or after, making good use of the time and resources entrusted to us will bring honor and glory to His name.
What can you do today that causes you to be a more alert follower of Christ? Put it on your to-do list right now. Seize the opportunity to focus your energy on staying awake, being alert, and expectantly waiting on Jesus!
Memory Verse: “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” I Thessalonians 5: 8 (NIV)
12/9/2022 0 Comments
Hope in God’s Promises
In John 20, Mary Magdalene visits Jesus’ tomb and sees the stone rolled away and that it’s empty. Her mind immediately thinks his body has been stolen. Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary (Luke 8:2). She followed Jesus closely and listened to his teachings. Yet, when she saw his body gone she did not immediately hope for his resurrection, rather she panicked. She let her grief blind what she already knew and what was right in front of her. She relayed the news that his body was gone and two disciples came to see for themselves. John looked around the tomb and the Bible says “he believed” (John 20:8). There was nothing hindering his sight; he knew Jesus had risen and he didn’t need to see him for the proof.
Just like Mary, instead of feeling hopeful for what God could and would do for my mother-in-law, I let fear and panic cloud my mind. I’m not saying that if I had immediately remembered the full power of God's healing over my mother-in-law that the road to her healing would have been smooth. Finding hope in God’s promises can overshadow the feeling of grief and provide peace during the storm.
I encourage you today to root yourself in God’s word and remember the hope that is waiting for you when you remember the promise He has given us. Take time to pray today for God to lift what is blinding you, to release the blindfold tied over your eyes and to look for the hope of what He can and has done for you. Pray for God to guide you through the grief and fear that grips you and to fill you with the peace that only He can give you.
Memory Verse: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)
12/9/2022 0 Comments
One in Us
Along with that, each individual had their own team who assisted in getting the job done. Each individual had a unique set of talents, working for a common purpose. They were able to make this life changing surprise happen for the family because of their ability to work as a team. Together, they worked tirelessly and efficiently. While the job was not easy, the tears of joy on each family's face as they pulled up to their new home made each moment worth it.
As I watched, I was reminded that this is Jesus’ intentions for the body of Christ—Unity with the purpose of advancing the kingdom. As believers, we were created with our own unique gifts and talents. More importantly, we are meant to use our God given gift to spread the message of Christ. In scripture, we hear Jesus’s prayer for his disciples as the hour of His crucifixion came near. After walking with his disciples and equipping them, He prayed for their safety as they would continue on their journey to spread the Gospel. He also prayed for those who would believe in Him because of their teachings. He prayed for oneness. In John 17:21 Jesus says, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Jesus makes it clear that unity in the body of Christ further advances the kingdom.
As clear as Jesus’s prayer is, it seems we have forgotten His command. Dissension in the body of Christ seems to be on display more than ever. Political disagreements, racial tensions, and our own personal preferences have dismantled the unity that Jesus intently prayed for. As tensions in the body of Christ persist, unbelievers question why they would want to follow Christ if those who believe can’t even love each other well. It is impossible to further the Gospel of Christ to the unsaved in the absence of unity.
How do we display biblical unity as believers? We do so by standing on God’s truth and not our feelings. We also do so by praying for those we don’t agree with and extending God’s unconditional love. The word of God never changes, and remains the only foundation for truth. It is imperative that we use His word as a guide for how we view the world around us. Also, what would it look like to pray for those in the body of Christ we disagree with and extend unconditional love? Oneness is only possible when we set our personal feelings aside and turn to God— our final authority. When we are united and walking in step with God’s truth, it is there that we reach lost souls. I encourage you to take time today to pray about areas in your own life where you could display unity in your community of believers. God has given us all unique gifts and we were made to use them to spread the good news of our salvation!
Memory Verse: “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21 NIV
12/9/2022 0 Comments
Courage to Act
It takes courage to step up for justice. It takes courage to speak up or to take action. This courage was displayed in the words and actions of Zelophehad’s daughters. Zelophehad only had daughters, and by Jewish law, only sons received an inheritance of land. Moses and the leaders of Israel were working to distribute the promised land. Zelophehad’s daughters knew that their father’s name would die along with him without an inheritance, and they would have no provision of their own. They decided to speak up. They brought their case before Moses who then brought their case before the Lord: “The Lord said to him, ‘What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them. Say to the Israelites, “If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter”’” (Num. 27:6-8).
These daughters had courage to speak up, and they brought change that affected each generation to come after them.
As God’s children, we have courage through His Spirit, and through the sacrifice of Jesus, we have been given freedom and new life. Let us point others toward freedom in Christ by speaking up and taking action when we see injustice. As Isaiah the prophet wrote, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isa. 58:6).
The defendant was found guilty and will spend many years in prison. Justice was served for his crime. However, what if someone had intervened when he was younger? What if a man or woman of God had seen his circumstances, stepped in to get to know him, and help “loose his chains” and share in his burdens? What if someone had shared that Jesus could set him free? What if someone had stepped in and spoken about the injustices in our school systems, our societal systems, and our criminal system? When we fast, like Isaiah, let us fast to “loose the chains” of injustice, to free the oppressed, and to break every yoke. As we fast, let our prayers focus on these things.
Memory Verse: “Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” Proverbs 28:5 (NIV)
12/9/2022 0 Comments
Calming the Storm Inside of Us
The gospels of Matthew (8:23-27), Mark (4:35-41) and Luke (8:22-25) detail the miracle of Jesus calming the storm. Sometimes when reading the Bible, it is easy for me to forget that Jesus was fully human as well as fully God. Jesus was weary and tired after a day of teaching so He took a nap. Since He was fully man, think of all the worries that could have kept Jesus awake. He could have worried about His family and the disciples, or the increasing crowds with their overwhelming needs, or the future because He knew what His destiny was. The disciples were frustrated that Jesus was sleeping in the midst of chaos, but He was able to be at peace because He knew God is sovereign.
However, it was the disciples who awoke Jesus, not the wind, the waves, or the rocking of the boat. It was the cry of His disciples. The disciples were aware that even though they were helpless in the storm, Jesus was not, so they went to him. We, too, have the privilege to cry out to God when we feel helpless.
Jesus rebuked the winds and waves saying “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39) The force of the sea was silenced as Jesus restrained it with his sovereign word of authority.
As the world becomes more and more unstable, it’s easy to get sucked into the storm of fear and worry. In this world we will have trouble, but we can hold onto the peace that comes from knowing our good God is still in control. We can cry out to God when the worries mount and have faith knowing that He will hear our cry. He has the authority and power to calm any storm in which we find ourselves.
Jesus was able to sleep because of the peace that was within Him. As a mom, it is easy to worry about my family daily and before I know it, I get wrapped up or distracted in those worries. In order to fully embrace the beautiful moments around that God has given me, I have to have that same peace within me.
In order to have that peace, God has been showing me just how important it is to hand my worries over to Him. First Peter 5:7 says to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” So today, I invite you to do just that. Cry out to God; give Him your worries. Invite Him into your life and ask Him to calm the storm that is raging inside of you.
Memory verse: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
12/9/2022 0 Comments
Dance Like God is Watching
King David, too, made a fool of himself once. To understand why, though, we have to backtrack a little…
The ark of the covenant (described in detail in Exodus 25:10-22) represented the very presence and glory of God to the Israelites. Unfortunately, it became captured by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4). For seven long months God’s own nation was void of His glory. Meanwhile, though, the Philistines were plagued with misfortune. From tumors to toppling idols, they started to understand the message (1 Sam. 5:2-12). So they sent the ark on a cart, loaded up with guilt offerings and pulled by two cows “mooing all the way” (true story, 1 Sam. 6:12, NIrV).
I love that God tucks these reality-show-like stories into scripture. Ahem. Let’s fast-forward…
After a failed attempt to bring the ark home to Jerusalem, David gathered his gumption to try again. This time David’s men succeeded because they did it God’s way. So “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sounds of trumpets” (2 Sam. 6:14).
David was “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). His real-deal zeal for God’s presence and glory led him to dance like no one was watching. However, it turns out his wife, Michal, was watching and she was far from impressed. She not only “despised him in her heart” (2 Sam. 6:16), she was openly vocal about her opinion.
As committed followers of Christ, our zeal may not lead us to dance, but it can lead us to do other “foolish” things such as --
To those who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus and are unable to comprehend His infinite worth, these things can seem downright reckless. When loved ones become vocal about their disapproval, it can be a hard pill to swallow.
I love how David answered His wife though: “It was before the Lord, who chose me… I will become even more undignified than this…” (2 Sam. 6:21-22). Basically, “I’m not living my life for you, I’m living it for the Lord.” I love this confident statement.
Unshakable zeal is a result of a deeply abiding relationship with Christ.
Has your red-hot zeal for God become cold in the attempt to please others? Has your wholehearted obedience waned to half-hearted service unto the Lord?
Unlike my brother’s antics, our “foolishness” is for more than entertainment: it is for the glory of the One who is worthy. If you’re struggling to see Christ as the Prize worthy of your highest affection, ask Him to reveal more of Himself to you today.
Memory Verse: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
12/9/2022 0 Comments
Free to Choose
The more I worried, the more the joy drained from my heart. I fussed. I shushed. I began to panic.
And then, I heard Holy Spirit tell me to step outside the tent. (Don’t you just love it when God puts you in timeout?).
I stepped out into a wide open space where I could feel the wind and I began to sway. Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart again, “The more freedom you are willing to experience, the more freedom your children will enjoy.” So I began to dance and twirl with big, beautiful, awkward movements.
In those moments I made an exchange. I traded in fear and the need to control for the freedom to be joy-filled and carefree.
As I opened my eyes, I saw my little girls playing and my son dancing. I saw the host of the feast running with laughter as children scattered all around her in a game of tag — all of this during worship. When we choose to live out our freedom, it is worship to the One who freed us!
I used to think freedom was something I needed to work hard to maintain. Now I think freedom is an invitation to adventure deeper into the heart of God toward us.
Friends, like Israel we are free but each day we must make choices to walk in that freedom. Walking in freedom takes trust and practice.
You see, Israel was free the moment they walked out of Egypt, but they had to make choices that built upon their trust in God rather than live under the heavy slave master of fear.
As we read in Exodus 16 (and throughout the book), God extended opportunities for Israel to go deeper and to explore his heart toward them. Each time they were hungry, they had a choice to trust God as a Provider or complain. When they needed water, they were free to choose the Well of Living Water or panic.
Sometimes it seems easier to have the predictability of the hard task masters (fear, coping mechanisms, etc.) than to trust in Holy Spirit, who is described as wind (Jn. 3:8). C. S. Lewis put it best in his novel, Prince Caspian. Aslan, who represents Christ, informs Lucy that in His kingdom, “Things never happen the same way twice” (Lewis).
I used to get annoyed with reading Israel's 40 year saga in Exodus, like, “What are y'all doing? Can’t you see He didn’t bring you all the way out of Egypt to let you die in the wilderness?”
Then I realized, I am like Israel. But I am learning to trust, and so are you! One reminder from heaven can settle our hearts and awaken us to freedom - we just have to choose! I don’t know about you but I would rather have the freedom Jesus offers than any counterfeit! Let’s choose to live out our freedom daily as an act of worship to the one who freed us.
Memory Verse: "He has sent me … to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." Isaiah 61:1b
12/9/2022 0 Comments
Set in Stone
I wish I could have heard Jesus’ tone when he spoke these words to Martha. I imagine it sounded similar to my husband's voice in the middle of our laundry room that night; like a gentle hand on top of her shoulder, turning her away from her worries and towards peace.
“Martha, Martha.” The Lord Answered, “ You are worried and upset about many things, but few are needed– or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
He loved Martha just as much as Mary and He didn’t blame her for trying to be a good hostess. However, He used Mary as an example to show her how her priorities may have been out of order. Serving Jesus is important, but our service should be the fruit that comes from being with Him, not the root. Being with Jesus is where our roots begin. Resting in Him and His promises should always be where we start. Like Jesus said to Martha, His promises, love, and His words to us will never be taken away (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 10:38-42 notes).
God doesn’t lose track of things like we humans do. God’s plan has never changed. From the beginning and still in this moment, God’s plan has and is to be with us. It is set in stone. His love is the gift that can never be taken away.
Matthew 6:21 tells us “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”What is your treasure right now and where does it mean your heart is? If I replace the word ‘treasure’ in this verse with ‘wedding ring’ it says my heart is lost.
God is the treasure, and He wants your heart to be with Him.
Today, take a seat at the table and be with Him. Talk to Him about everything on your mind; listen to the words He pours over you. Sit with Him in silence and just be with Him.
P.S. I still haven't found my wedding ring, but I have been given a much more superior truth instead.
Memory verse: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
12/9/2022 2 Comments
Leaving Our Comfort Zones
Only two years have passed, and now I can see that moments like the one I experienced with my family opened the doors for the moments I am living now, like hiking 6 miles up a mountain in the Alaskan wilderness, a far cry from the “hill-like” mountain we climbed together.
Our hike required a heightened awareness of my surroundings, including my children. The same is true when I think about the fact that Jesus is coming back. I cannot think of a phrase that more powerfully calls us to wake up than that. This phrase calls us to repentance, to growth, to commitment to see others come to know Him, and to a deep joy at what is to come. These four words draw us, comfort us, and challenge us. The call to wake up, though, indicates that, in some ways, we are asleep. How easy is it to steer clear of the very challenges that will draw us closer to Him and to our purpose?
Romans 13:11 says “And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Looking into the surrounding verses, we see the actions Paul intended for us to take include “putting off the deeds of darkness (Rom 13:12)” and “clothing ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14).” Likewise, the church in Sardis was warned to wake up and repent, and that if they did not, He would come like a thief (Rev. 3:2-3). Revelation 16:15 mirrors these two sections of Scripture so well: “Look, I come like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
Scripture upon scripture prods us to stay awake while the world around us increasingly tries to lull us back to sleep. I’ve been connected to this idea of awakening since 2020, when I chose the word “awake” for my word of the year. That year’s experiences, like the hike above, woke me up to fears I was mingling with faith and to things I couldn’t have learned about my children or myself without experiencing some turbulence. If we allow ourselves to be lulled to sleep, we won’t make it where He wants to take us.
Being awake is life giving, but not without its fair share of challenges. I know well the desire to check out for a moment of “peace.” But what if we didn’t? What if we didn’t check out but rather stayed awake and kept moving forward? As we start this time of fasting and prayer, let’s seek Him and what He wants to awaken in our lives.
Memory Verse: “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
9/4/2022 0 Comments
Darkness or Light?
Praised for my strength, I internalized:
Maybe you have experienced darkness, too? I must admit, there were times the darkness was so strong, I felt like I was back in that sleeping bag, suffocating with no one coming to help. I think that is why, out of all the wonderful truths and beautiful pictures in Revelation, what stands out to me most, is that there will be no darkness.
Not even any shadows. God’s glory will radiate so strongly, no place will be devoid of light. What a glorious promise eternal life holds! This thought used to be only mildly comforting for me, because eternity is for later, not now. But, as citizens of God’s kingdom, we can walk bathed in light today.
Though we will have to wait to experience the full splendor of Heaven, John records Jesus’s prayer to God the Father where He identifies eternal life as knowing God and believing Jesus as Christ.
Friends! This is great news. We can and do know Him now.
We have access to the Light now.
How? During my struggles, I had to choose beyond accepting Jesus as Redeemer. I had to give Him all access. Intentional thinking and remembering the goodness of God and how He gave it all so I could know Him was finally how my darkness began to break. Knowing God and being known by Him.
A simple concept, hard to implement, but possible. By being relational with God, beginning with belief in Jesus, we can allow the Holy Spirit to radiate light in our lives. And though the enemy may strike at our heels we can crush his head every time.
This is after all, what God wanted from the moment of creation: for us to walk with Him, warmed by His light. Unhindered, unashamed, and unrestrained. To know His love for us, and to return it to Him, fully available to His blessings.
The Biblical account comes full circle, the curse broken, our debt paid in full, and creation restored to its original design. The “Light” once again returns to earth. Knowing this, we can live victoriously in that light even while we await the day when once again mankind will dwell with our Victor. Fully restored and full of promise, for the future and the present.
Will you make a choice to let go of darkness and live in His light today?
Memory Verse: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3 NIV
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Worthy is the Lamb
Every time I read Revelation now, all I’m reminded of is how worthy He really is. He is worth the discomfort or the ridicule. He is worthy of lifting His name, even, and especially, in the midst of the valleys.
In reading Revelation, John speaks of Jesus’ worthiness. He writes, “He is worthy to take the scroll and open that seal” (Rev. 5:9, 12). When John attests to Jesus being worthy to open the seal, think of it as the scroll being a Holy letter addressed to Jesus alone, being the only One worthy of opening it. He alone was worthy of opening this Holy scroll because He alone died on the cross so that you and I might live! He alone is so worthy that every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and on the sea will proclaim, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13).
How appropriate that worth is such a hot topic these days: how much is land worth? A home? Fuel? Milk and eggs? How much is my career worth in comparison to my family, even my faith? What is it that made Jesus worthy? With worth, there's usually a cost and Jesus’s cost for worthiness was death:
Friends, be encouraged in that when you come face to face with the nature of this world, praise Him anyway. When you find persecution in the workplace, or discomfort in standing alone in your faith, be reminded of His worth. Be reminded that He faced not only ridicule, slander and persecution, but death, and was victorious. The victory that made a way for you and I to know what it is to openly step into that secret place found in unhindered, genuine worship, and find that same victory. Praise Him for paying the price of being our worthy sacrifice, even while we were still in the valley. Praising Him anyway because we can know that perseverance breeds faithfulness and “...faithfulness breeds righteousness” (Rom. 1:17).
He paid it all with His Blood, so be heartened to return that sacrifice with praise, no matter what the valley looks like, because HE is worthy, because He is always faithful in our faithfulness, bringing us, every time, from the valley to the mountain top.
Memory Verse: “And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Flirting With Sin
My sin was like an oil that does not mix with the living water that is God. This metaphor is true for sin of any size or stature, sin simply is not of God. We cannot carelessly let sin rule our lives and claim to be in fellowship with Christ, we must align our lives to His.
As I read this week’s scriptures, I couldn’t help but feel convicted. John is addressing heretical teachers that were within the church making false claims regarding Christianity. They claimed to be in step with God, even partnering with Him, but they lived immorally. They rejected the notion that they were sinful by nature and they denied that their sin was displeasing to God! My jaw dropped over the simple truths such “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4) and “If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth” (1 John 1:6).
In 1 John 1:9, John writes “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Confession in its simplest terms is to agree with God. Confession is the cure for sinfulness.
The first change I enacted in my life was that of confession to God and to those I had wronged or led astray. I encourage you today to confess your sins to our Father who is faithful and just to forgive so that He could cleanse you from all your unrighteousness that you could become a new creation in Him (2 Cor. 5:17). Your first prayer of confession can be as simple as, “Lord, I agree I have lived sinfully.” May the words cross your heart before they cross your lips.
Take every new day and each new endeavor with one foot in front of the other, fully relying on God’s strength. With every step in the right direction aligned with Christ, you will become the woman and new creation God destined you to be!
Memory Verse: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Your Today Testimony
As I grew in faith by feasting on God’s Word, I was drawn closer to Christ. Victory over sin is a testimony I could share. It is not the ‘accepting Jesus Christ as my savior’ testimony, but it's a testimony of what He is doing in our lives today; our ‘Today Testimony’ is the evidence of Godly living.
In 1 Peter 3, the apostle is writing to Christians about Godly living. He tells wives to submit to their husbands and husbands to love their wives, according to their God-given roles. Wives are to obey because God commands them to, and husbands will find their prayers hindered if they dishonor their wives. Peter encourages his brethren to love each other, be compassionate, humble, and to turn from evil and do good. Verse 17 of 1 Peter 3 tells us, “It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” The challenge for these believers was to respond in love, even if they should suffer for doing what was right. Living in exile, as aliens in a foreign land, they were facing daily persecution because of their faith in Christ. Despite the hardships they were facing, the way they lived their lives was a testimony to those around them. Each day, they could share a testimony with others of how and why they lived as they did, a ‘Today Testimony.’ Their ‘Today Testimony’ could lead to sharing their saving testimony.
Jesus hung on the cross to save us all, but He, too, began with a ‘Today Testimony’ as He prayed, ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34). This led to one of the criminals who hung beside Him being saved that day (Luke 23:40-43). Because of Jesus’ example, we can share our ‘Today Testimony’ with others.
A Today Testimony is built on a Saving Testimony.
Have you ever struggled with sharing your testimony? Does telling your whole story seem too daunting? Then, how about sharing your ‘Today Testimony’? God is at work in your life every day, in small ways and in great ways. When your little one has a meltdown at the playground and you are able to hug him despite your anger and embarrassment, credit God for giving you patience. When you can joyfully celebrate the birth of your best friend’s fifth child, despite your fourth miscarriage and your ‘still empty arms,’ credit the joy to your growing faith and trust in a sovereign God. Your ‘Today Testimony’ could lead someone to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. What an awesome privilege that would be!
Memory Verse: “...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have….” 1 Peter 3:15
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Don’t ask me why I do these things. (My therapist would probably have an explanation). And when it comes to my history of overcomplicating things, parenting is no exception.
I remember, when my kids were little, being so anxious about getting everything just right. I wanted (and still want) them to walk with Christ more than anything, so I got busy overcomplicating….
I read a plethora of Christian parenting books… which left me feeling like a failure.
I started daily devotionals with my toddlers… which left me frustrated.
I tried to monitor everything they watched and did with perfect precision… and it left me fatigued.
My Bible told me that Jesus’ yoke was easy and His burden was light (Mt. 11:30), but that truth didn’t line up with my experience of feeling like a chronically frustrated, fatigued, failing Christian parent.
Maybe, under the surface, you’ve been feeling the same tension. Maybe you, too, are exhausted from constant striving and overcomplicating.
How do we raise children who grow to love and follow Christ organically, without all the fuss?
In Paul’s latter letters, we meet Timothy, a young faith-filled minister. While we don’t learn much about his personal life, we do get a glimpse of how Timothy came to a personal relationship with God. Paul writes, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Tim. 1:5).
At some point (possibly on one of Paul’s earlier journeys to Lystra) Lois and Eunice had put their faith in Christ. But they didn’t just relegate Jesus to Sundays, or their quiet times— their faith was deep and genuine, so much so that the outer working of it infiltrated every area of their lives.
The power of a mom’s or grandmother’s influence cannot be overstated. Their example had such an impact on the young man that Timothy grew to know and follow Jesus himself. Their living faith lived on in him.
While there’s no way to guarantee salvation for our own children, we can be “salt and light” to them by living out a genuine (unfeigned) faith. The pressure is off, friends— we don’t have to be anxious, strive, and overcomplicate.
As moms, our job is to remain rooted in Christ, and let the fruit attract others. A life overflowing with the presence and goodness of God is simply irresistible.
How do we live out sincere faith? Here are a few examples of what that looks like in my life:
Today, ask God to reveal any anxiety you’re carrying about your children, and any ways you may be overcomplicating. Release your kids to the Lord, knowing He loves them and has good plans for them.
While devotionals and parenting books are good tools, we don’t have to stress and strive. Our kids don’t need our perfection, they need us to show them what living faith looks like.
Memory Verse: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Rest in Faith
The test was given at a testing center a couple of hours from my home. So I made a hotel reservation, packed my suitcase, and headed out with excitement and anticipation. I arrived at the hotel, settled into the room, and went out to treat myself to a steak dinner. When I returned from the restaurant, I thought, “Let me do a little refresher.” I opened my study guide, pulled out my flashcards, and started cramming. Minutes turned into hours, and the daylight faded into night. Nevertheless, I kept on cramming. I did not believe that my careful, methodical preparation was enough to help me pass the test. My unbelief robbed me of adequate rest.
Have you ever spent a sleepless night tossing and turning because swirling, anxious thoughts keep you from drifting off? Maybe you can think of a similar time when your unbelief or lack of faith kept you from getting the rest you needed.
Hebrews 4:1 explains, “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” This good news comes with a sober warning: God’s rest is available! But you can miss it too. The type of rest that the writer of Hebrews is talking about is a literal repose. It is not a euphemism for death or the afterlife; according to Strong’s Concordance its literal Greek translation (katapausis)indicates a cessation from work (The Interlinear Bible).
Hebrews 4:2 repeats the promise and warning, “For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.” Whenever a principle in Scripture repeats, it is important! Back-to-back these verses teach that the same promise of rest was made, yet one group did not combine what they heard with faith. Faith in God’s promises produces rest.
A few hours into my evening cramming, I realized that I needed to stop studying and rest. Even though I finished the exam exhausted, I passed the test the next day! My one regret from that situation is that I should have activated my faith in the careful preparation I made for the test. My unbelief and self-doubt robbed me of the rest I needed. I learned that rest is necessary to do my best at whatever task I face.
The author reminds us in Hebrews 4:4 that after a busy week of creation, God himself rested on the seventh day. If God instituted the pattern for regular rest periods, shouldn’t we as women take his lead? What keeps women from entering into rest? Could it be unbelief or self-doubt? Do you believe that if you stopped serving, cleaning, teaching, cooking, and working, your household would crash down around you? Is your constant busyness a symptom of unbelief? If it is, Hebrews has good news. Mix a little faith with the promise God has extended to you. Rest for a minute. God has offered you rest; take him up on it!
Reference: The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew - Greek - English. Jay P. Green, translator, Hendrickson. 2011.
Memory Verse: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:9-10
8/31/2022 1 Comment
Communication is Key
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he explains to them to “live worthy of the calling they have received” (Eph. 4:1) and to do so with humility, making every effort to stay peacefully unified. Paul later relates this concept to marriage: that as man and wife you should be unified “as one flesh” (Eph. 5:31).
After reading this, I felt called out, rightfully so. In the struggle, I was looking to myself to do everything when I should have been looking to God who would have pointed me to my husband. I was trying my best to live out my calling of being a mother, but I wasn’t putting the same effort into my calling of being a wife. I wasn’t humbling myself or submitting myself to my husband, so how could I expect any sort of peace?
I was sitting in that chair at night wishing my daughter would sleep better or that my husband would read my mind. Instead, I should have been communicating with God on how I could communicate better to my husband. It was easier for the enemy to attack me in my sleep deprived state, feeling alone and upset, because I was cutting myself off from God’s guidance and my husband's support.
God doesn’t want us to do everything ourselves. The Bible explains that we are all part of the body of Christ with different functions and to be able to function properly, we have to work together (1 Cor. 12:12-28). We need our brain to tell our feet to move forward so we can walk. In this way, we need our communication to help our families work as a cohesive unit. When we fail to communicate, it is easier for negativity and resentment to bubble to the surface. The doubts and anger from the enemy start to seep in. Paul encourages the Ephesians to “speak the truth” and not to “give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:25-27).
If you’re feeling alone and unsupported, maybe it’s because you’ve cut yourself off from the other parts of the body within your support system. By not communicating the truth of your feelings and needs, you rob your support system of living within the calling that God has given them. Live worthy of your calling and humble yourself to allow others to live worthy of theirs.
In the quiet moments (and the loud ones), I encourage you to pray fervently. After all, communication is key. Let God’s grace and gentle guidance lead you to those around you when you need help and encouragement. Submit to your spouse in love and respect and feel the peaceful unity God has graced upon both of you.
Memory Verse: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
8/31/2022 0 Comments
An Uncommon Love
We see this mix of both truth and love in Paul’s letter to the Colossians. He extended words of deep and meaningful praise and encouragement, but Paul also exhorted the Colossians toward truth, with the expressed goal that “they might be encouraged in heart and united in love” (Col. 2:2a). When Paul loved, he fought for people to have all the richness offered by a life with the Lord. He reminded them of the truth, warned against things that would draw them away, and pointed them toward Christ and unity. Paul’s love wasn’t fluff, and ours shouldn’t be either.
The Colossians were a group of faithful believers that still had some kinks to work out, just like us. As part of the body of Christ, we have the same ability as Paul to strengthen one another and our relationships. If the truth will set us free, then we must be willing to share it with one another. Love does not exist without truth. While this “truth in love” style of living isn’t common in our culture, the Father has given us the truest definition of love through His Son, Jesus, and it is by this uncommon love that we will be recognized as His.
When we love others, sometimes we have to tell people hard things so that we can grow together. I have wasted a lot of time storing up hurts that were never intended. Maybe you can relate. I can know intent but still hold onto the hurt I felt over some issue like little bricks to make a wall between us. As I’ve sought the Lord in how to handle my relationships, He challenged me to get honest with the people around me and stop trying to cover over things out of love and let love truly cover over all. The world tells us that we should forgive and move on, but that can lead us down a path of further struggle and pain if we never actually address our hurts. The Father, however, shows us a better way, combining grace and truth.
So next time you face a sticky situation with a friend or loved one, seek to handle it immediately so anger doesn’t build and the relationship doesn’t break, because one of the greatest acts of love is telling the truth.
Memory Verse: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Not About Me
But can’t we say the same?
Our culture and our world encourages us to focus on ourselves. We are bombarded with messages around self-care, growing ourselves, improving ourselves, and becoming our very best self. While these things are not necessarily bad, they can quickly replace the thing that is to be center - the person we were created to worship.
In the letter to the Romans, Paul shares what the life of a Christian should look like, and it is the opposite of what the world around us teaches. In Romans 13:14, Paul says, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
In the Christian life, we are to love our neighbor and consider them above ourselves. They may not do as we do, worship God as we worship God, or hold the same expectations that we hold, yet we are to respect our neighbors. Our goal as Christ-followers is not to please ourselves. It is to glorify God and love our neighbor well.
We can easily fall into the trap of self-glorification, especially in our social media driven world. I can quickly think that I deserve more, that I come first, and that my needs are the most important. However, God calls us to so much more. He calls us to crucify our own desires so we can make room for His desires. When we let go of the things of our flesh, we can be filled with His Spirit, used for His kingdom, and shine His light for others to see.
Jesus calls us to a countercultural life. He made it clear in His ministry that choosing to follow Him requires sacrificing the things that we want and desire. Yet following Him is filled with promise and reward.
So how do we let go of these things of the flesh?
For me, it is coming to Jesus daily. When I spend regular time learning from His words and actions, the Holy Spirit brings them to mind just when I need them the most. Our flesh-pleasing desires come so naturally and easily, so I have found that I need to come before Jesus in prayer all throughout the day. When I am tempted to put me first, when my jealousy rears its head, or when I am tempted to act rashly out of my own desires, I find that if I can pause and come to God in prayer, even for just a quick second, it realigns my heart and mind with His.
To live the countercultural life that Christ calls you to, devote yourself to learning more about Him, spending quality time with Him in prayer, and joining Him in His work around you. He will meet you where you are and align your heart and mind to His.
Memory Verse: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:24-25
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Notice, Paul speaks about a mindset. He doesn’t talk about actions that please God.
When we use only our actions to please God, but don’t let Him in to renew our minds, we boil ourselves down to nothing but a religion. When you review your reflection on a surface level, you will easily be fooled. It is easy to appear clean on the outside, but it is far more complicated to have a well kept heart. For example:
On the flip side, when we rest our eyes on the temptations of the world, we disregard God all together, finding no rest at all. You can’t avoid the mirror and expect to avoid problems :
Any of these thoughts sound familiar to you? Me too.
The religious person looks in the mirror and likes what they see because they can’t see any further. The procrastinator avoids the mirror afraid of what they might discover or have to change. What they both fail to realize is that no matter what person stands in front of the mirror, their reflections will always have one thing in common: sin.
We have a flesh mindset because we are sinful, but when we put our faith in God we can see through God's eyes.
So what is the point of the mirror? The point of the mirror is that it shows us where and how we need Jesus in our lives. The mirror can be used as a tool instead of a judge.
I abused the girl in the mirror for far too long. I had failed to mention how loved she was. It was when she stopped acknowledging me and turned to God, her confidence was resurrected.
“You are more than just a body.” He said to her, “Your stretch marks are reminders of the two miracles I have given you and where you see wrinkles, I see growth.” She felt alive again.
Who are you listening to when you look in the mirror? Today, dig into God’s word without hesitation. Look at it with new eyes and ask God to search your heart. Remind yourself of the Holy Spirit that lives within you and draw near to Jesus for it is by Him we are saved.
Memory Verse: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” Romans 3:20
8/31/2022 0 Comments
The Battle Belongs to Him
Spiritual warfare is very real and we are up against it every single day as Christ followers. For me personally, I had never felt the fight so strongly. I sat night after night, tear after tear, trying to control the thoughts overwhelming my mind. So as I read, I was encouraged and felt seen by this timely message Paul shared about the war that we would not win with mere earthly weapons.
He writes in 2 Corinthians, to the church in Corinth for a second time. They were slandering his name and questioning his character, as Satan was doing to me. Paul reminded them to seek God’s word and truth before they were deceived by all the lies. He states, “For though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
I needed this reminder, just as the Corinthians did. As I sat there and argued with Satan, I felt crazy but I could not give into the lies. Lies that I was not good enough, that something was wrong with me, and the flood of guilt for feeling the way I did when I should be standing confident on God’s truths.
I knew what I had to do, suit up in the armor of God by “putting on the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, sandals with the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:14-17). I started praying, reciting scripture, blasting worship music and praying even more.
God’s truths embedded in our hearts prepares us for the battle!
God comforted me during my time of need and reminded me that I was prepared for battle and He will do the same for you!
So, friend, no matter what you are going through, be ready when Satan comes to attack. Pray without ceasing and replace the lies with truth. Worship your way through it and seek your community that will help bear your burdens.
Put on the armor of God daily and He will prepare you for when the battles come. And take heart; He has already won the war!
Memory Verse: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Labor of Love
1 Corinthians 13 is the famous love chapter in the Bible. In verse five we read that love is patient, kind, does not envy, or boast. But if we keep reading into verse six and seven, we notice more characteristics of love. In Charles Spurgeon’s sermon titled “Love’s Labours,” he notes that there are four labors of love: love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. In verse seven, we read that ‘Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” These characteristics give us tangible ways to love the ones around us.
I remember the intense feeling of love when I held my baby for the first time. I also remember the pregnancy pains, non-stop nursing sessions, caring for my colicky infant, potty training, toddler tantrums, terrible twos, and all the work that goes into taking care of my children each day-the labors of love. After reading the passages in 1 Corinthians it made me stop and think. I labor all day long in taking care of my children’s needs, but do I labor well? Do I labor in love?
At first glance I would tally up my imperfections and say, “No.” I don’t feel like I labor in love most days. I lose my temper. I feel frustrated with the limitations of my little ones. And there are days that I feel like I’ve failed. Maybe I was too distracted by my phone to join in a game of cards, or maybe I yelled out of frustration. There are plenty of examples I can come up with when I didn’t respond to my family with love.
I will never be a perfect mother, but I do have a perfect Heavenly Father who will give me help when I ask. Maybe instead of focusing on all my shortcomings as a mother, I should be focusing on asking for more help from God. Praying and asking God to direct my thoughts and actions takes the burden off my shoulders. Because sometimes I don’t understand what’s going on with my children, but God does. And I can ask him for wisdom. I am so glad I am not alone, and neither are you.
Maybe you feel the same way. Perhaps you feel like you’ve let your children down today and made some mistakes. Let me encourage you that we can turn to God’s word and find the truth and encouragement our hearts desperately need. Instead of focusing on perfection, we can rely on the Lord to help us endure all the things we face each day. And in protecting our children’s hearts, trusting in God’s promises for our families, hoping for the best for our kids, and persevering in the hard mothering moments, we are truly loving well.
With God’s love in our hearts, and scripture as our guide, we can know how to love our families well. We are not alone in the daily demands of motherhood. Our Heavenly Father wants to help us labor in love and run the race of motherhood with endurance. And in the persevering we can allow God to shape our hearts and draw us nearer to himself.
So the next time you feel discouraged or tired in the daily labor of love, remind yourself that God wants perseverance over perfection. When you are overwhelmed in the labor and stretched to your limits, remember to ask God for his divine intervention and help. He is our ever present help in time of need and his love endures forever.
Memory Verse: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:6-7
8/31/2022 0 Comments
You Plant, God Grows
Desperately (and frustratingly), I attempted to keep each student on the straight and narrow. At the same time, Iwas also trying to be their mentor, counselor, and friend. The students looked to me for everything and to be honest, it made me feel special. When the burnout set in, I could no longer sustain it and had to step back from doing what I once loved. By looking back, I recognize that the burnout stemmed from pointing the students to myself as their leader, when I should have been pointing them to Christ.
In my struggle to find my place as leader, I wish I took a deeper dive into this week's reading. In 1 Corinthians, we find the Corinthian church struggling with a series of issues from division to sexual immorality. Paul, being the spiritual father and leader he was to the Corinthians, found it imperative to write a letter warning them. One thing he addressed was how leaders should be viewed within the church. At the time, the Corinthians exalted Paul and Apollos as their leaders. So much so, that it caused division between them. They would pride themselves on who they were most loyal to. In 1 Corinthians 3:4, we see some would boastfully profess, “I follow Paul” while others would proudly declare, “I follow Apollos.”
Paul did not take pride in them fighting in such a way. He recognized that without God he and Apollos were nothing. In 1 Corinthians 3:5, Paul states, “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.” He made it very clear that he and Apollos were merely vessels used by God. He further reiterated this by using a planting metaphor. While Paul planted the seed of the gospel and Apollos watered it, it is only through God that there is growth. In 1 Corinthians 3:7 Paul continues by saying, “so neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow.”
Paul’s response to the Corinthians is humbling and unfortunately lost on society today. It is so easy to exalt others and oneself in the name of God. Social media has only highlighted this issue further. How often is it that we see pastors or Bible teachers with multitudes of followers hanging on to their every word? Instead of looking to God’s word in times of trouble, we find ourselves looking to our favorite pastor.
Not only do we see this on social media, but we can also see this in our very own lives. Has there ever been a time where you desperately wanted to lead someone to Christ, but found yourself leading in your own strength or capacity? Have you ever found yourself leading from a place of your own selfish ambition? While serving others is a wonderful thing, we must not forget our purpose in it all. Our purpose in everything we do is to point the lost and hurting back to Jesus, and Jesus alone.
What does this look like? Now as I serve, my prayer specifically is, “God thank you for giving me the ability to be a vessel used by you. As I serve, help me be obedient to you alone. I ask that you go before me, giving me the words to say and the steps to take as I serve my brothers and sisters in Christ.” I also examine my motives. Am I acting in obedience to God, or my own selfish ambition?
When searching for answers, are you looking to God or your favorite Bible teacher? More importantly, when leading others are you pointing them to Christ or yourself? Like Paul, let us humble ourselves by realizing that neither we nor our favorite pastor is God. We never can be. However, He has given us the wonderful privilege as believers to be used by Him for His good works!
Memory Verse: “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7
8/31/2022 0 Comments
The Secret of Simple
In 1 Corinthians chapter 2, Paul proclaims he did not use tactics to gain the attention of his hearers. He came with no persuasive words, no brilliant speech, no pizazz of any kind. It wasn’t because he couldn’t, rather it was because his message was so powerful he dared not hinder it by getting in the way:
“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Paul was known for his oratory skills. He was powerfully persuasive. But he didn’t want people to be drawn to him because of his ability to wow them with his words. Paul wanted to make men followers of Jesus by the power of the Spirit rather than the giftedness of Paul.
With the gospel, the power is in the message not the deliverer or delivery.
The secret is in simplicity. Simple leaves room for the message to marinate in the hearts of the hearers. The simple message and truth allows space to think and respond.
Each of us carries the message of the gospel everywhere we go. We are all ambassadors for Christ, sent to tell the world of His good news (2 Cor. 5:20).
Do you feel ill-equipped to share the good news of Jesus? Maybe you see the endless creativity online when others share their messages. You have a message to share too, but it can feel daunting when we feel we have to resort to creative tactics to draw people in. Remember Paul’s example; he carried the simple gospel so as not to distract. We can rest in the simple gospel knowing it’s all we need to share the good news of Jesus. A simple message faithfully shared is better than an eloquent speech never delivered.
Remember the acronym KISS: Keep it simple, sweetie.
Christ, in and through us, will spread a pleasing aroma (2 Cor. 2:14-15) and draw people toward us. They will be ready to hear the good news we have to share because they will want to know the secret for the joy inside. Remember Christ is working in and through you; all you have to do is spread His sweet aroma and share the simple, powerful message of the cross.
Memory Verse: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Yielding to Yield
Don’t get me wrong! I believe spiritual disciplines help us connect with God and grow in maturity. Oddly enough as I read our passages for this week, I find living in a sacred space and walking by The Spirit is so much deeper and yet, much simpler than I could ever maintain on my own.
In Galatians, Paul cautions Gentile believers about getting bogged down by Jewish law. They had been saved by their faith in Jesus as Messiah. Now, they were allowing themselves to be confused and trapped by others’ ideas of what it would take to maintain their salvation and grow. Paul reminds his readers to stand firm in the freedom that comes from God’s grace (Gal. 5:1).
In a nutshell, Paul teaches us: In order to yield the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we must yield to the Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit - not rule-following or checklist-checking - maintains the ground of hearts in order to produce good fruit. That fruit may or may not include miracles, signs and wonders on a daily basis. (This feels like a bummer for me).
The fruit the Spirit produces is seen in the daily grind and grit of toilet scrubbing. Where childrearing gets rough and where preteen attitudes abound, patience and kindness can be found in a life yielded to the Holy Spirit. Our roots can go down deep into the sacred ground and we can soak up water from the Living well. The Spirit of Jesus within us makes this possible. When we walk close enough to step in rhythm with His heartbeat, near enough to hear His whisper, we can’t help but produce His fruit.
Oh, how my heart longs to truly live this way - free from the rules and checklists, simply saying, “Yes!” to the Holy Spirit. If you feel the same way, consider doing a heart check today. What is one area you are yielding fruit? What is one area you can yield more fully to the work of the Holy Spirit?
Memory Verse: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
8/31/2022 0 Comments
Faith and Action
The message, with smiley faces I taped to each bag of chocolate chip cookies, was simple. It stated that the little bag of cookies was a reminder that Jesus loves them along with this verse, “...the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). I included our names and phone number for prayer. My husband and teenage son passed out dozens of bags to people standing in the lines for assistance all over our city.
A few weeks later this message was on our home answering machine, “I found a bag with your phone number on the floor of a hotel here in New Orleans. I checked into this hotel to commit suicide. I had forgotten that Jesus loved me until I read the message on your bag. I am going to find Jesus again and go on with life, but I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t found your message. I just want to thank you.”
In James chapter 2, the connection between faith and actions is clear. James mentioned that both Abraham and Rahab were considered righteous by God because of their faith and actions. Abraham’s faith and actions worked together when he willingly brought his son Isaac to the altar, “His actions made his faith complete” (Jas. 2:22). Rahab’s faith and actions worked together when she hid the Israelite spies in Jericho (Jas. 2:25). The results of the faith and actions of Abraham and Rahab were amazing, too. Not only did Abraham become the father of the entire Jewish people, but he was also considered a friend of God. Not only was Rahab and her entire household saved when the walls of Jericho fell, but she was mentioned in the lineage of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:5.
Faith and action work together as James explains,“You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone” (Jas. 2:24). True faith ignites a passion for action. Those actions are the fruit of our faith. I consider my act of faith small when compared to the size of the need by the hurricane victims, but it was done for God’s glory. God is the one who orchestrated the amazing result. Honestly, we may never see the results of acting on our faith that does not mean the results were any less amazing.
Let your faith ignite your passion for action. Acting on my faith had an amazing result. Do what God drops into your heart to do. It could be as big as starting a business or moving to another country as a missionary. It could be unimpressively ordinary like stopping to talk to someone who crosses your path. It could be helpful like babysitting or planting flowers. It could be baking chocolate chip cookies. No action that is done for God’s glory is too small. After all, faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains!
Memory Verse: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
Devotionals by Author
All Abby McDonald Angi Morrison Anne Say Audra Powers Breanna Faith Spearman Brenna Kurz Brittany Marlow Caroline Hultgren Courtney Filippin Dana Schaefer Danielle Biddy Debbie Burns Heather Kenny Jannetta Cox Jessica Parker Jess Ridgeway Joan Lavori Katelyn Wilson Katie Gibson Kelly Orlowski Kerri Barfield Keryn Stokes Kristen Williamson Laura Pendley Lindsay McNeely Lonette Baity Martha Rudolph Nancy Ehlinger Renee Robinson Saretta Wells Tara McGill Taylor Watkins Tierney Nashleanas Wendy Gerdes