fear, faith, trust, oath, preparation, prepared, God’s promises, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Faith Over Preparation: Can Preparation Get in the Way of Trusting God?

Preparation is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. We can have faith beyond our preparation.



Preparation is something I value. But with 4 kids, it can be fleeting. I mean as in impossible

Preparation is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #oath #preparation #trust #promise

Distanced Rally

It was 6:30 in the morning. My daughter was texting me that her load of clothes for school had just come out of the dryer with ink all over them.

“Ruined,” she said. “What can I do?” she asked.

“Is your Dad dead?” I asked.

Silence. 30 minutes later she calls…

“You didn’t order my lunch.”

The lunch she has to order because she is at a charter school that only buys enough food for what is ordered and paid for. Yikes. She is realizing this as she and my husband are walking out the door.

Did I mention I am 10 hours away? I’m about to move her brother out of the hospital, into a Ronald McDonald house to stay for 2 months and I am beyond scared. So, what do I do? I panic, and panic for me looks like a ‘rally the troops’ situation. In an effort to fix the problem, I message, Facebook, and text everybody I know in the county. It’s full-blown attack mode. Solve the problem. Find a solution. Plug somebody into the problem. I can’t figure this out.

Preparation’s Oath

Then I get it. I wanted this problem off my radar because the problem with my son was really demanding my attention. But, if I am honest, this whole situation was really revealing a bigger problem. Could I trust God with even this?

See, my husband and I are really good together. He does a lot of stuff and I do a lot of stuff. I can, however, kind of try to overcompensate. Ok, take over. It starts small and before I know it, I just do it all. He doesn’t ask me to. He doesn’t expect me to. It’s really a subtle irony. Rodney is maybe the easiest-to-please-person I know.

But, I’m not. I want to feel productive, prepared, together. I like knowing I took care of things…10 hours away. I couldn’t take care of things. The fear ruling my heart: Would I be able to replace the clothes if they were ruined? Budget is tight. Things are scarce. God had already had people step up and buy these school clothes once. What was I going to do? Trust that if she needed more clothes that He was and is big enough to supply them again.

God’s Oath

As long as I am responsible for the clothes, or my son’s health for that matter, I will be racked with fear. Fear is not a happy place to be. It says it’s up to me. But thankfully the cross says a different story! God’s oath to us:

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Hebrews 6:18-19, NLT

Jesus tore the veil that stood between God and myself, so I could trust in something greater than the Law. The law, which says I have to measure up and be good enough.

Faith over Preparation

Any time I think that I am about to look less than good enough, I have to remember Who is better than and not just good enough. I think this is summed up beautifully in the hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”:

And though this world, with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us
The Prince of Darkness grim
We tremble not for him
His rage we can endure
For lo his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him.

I know for me, confidence in 3 words is beyond enough. Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished.” Hallelujah! I am grateful that He reminds me over and over. I can trust Him with inky clothes, with a sick child, with being 10 hours away, with my sin, with my future. Thankfully, you can too! Faith over preparation!

Fear is not a happy place to be. It says it’s up to 'me'. But thankfully the cross says a different story! Click To Tweet

Preparation is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #oath #preparation #trust #promise

unsplash-logoPeter Oswald
Faith, focus, perspective, strength, mountains, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Finding Perspective: Focusing Your Eyes on Jesus

Many difficult experiences in life, shift our focus to the chaos around. Finding perspective is key. Keeping our eyes on Jesus gives us the strength to carry on.



Mountain Top Experiences

In Bible times, when someone wanted to fully experience the presence of God, to clearly hear His voice, to embrace His power completely, they took to the mountains. There is just something about being on the peak of a mountain that not only moves you physically closer to God but spiritually as well. You cannot be atop a mountain, walking among the clouds, without being in awe of its Creator and His all-mighty power.

We all have difficult experiences in this life. Finding perspective is key. Keeping our eyes on Jesus gives us the strength to overcome any difficulty. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #faith #focus #perspective #strength #mountain

Finding Your Burning Bush

It was at the top of Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, where Moses first encountered God in the form of a burning bush. On this mountain, God commissioned Moses to lead the people of Israel out of their slavery and oppression (Exodus 3:1-10).

It is this same holy mountain that Moses returned with the Israelites, where he received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 19-20). It is this same mountain that Moses climbed to be in the very presence of God, to seek His guidance for the journey he must make to the Promised Land.

If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor…The Lord replied, ‘I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.’ … ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you…but you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.’

Exodus 33:13-14 & 19-20, NLT

Finding Your Silent Strength

During Jesus’ ministry, He dealt with all of the same stressors that we as humans face today, only to a much greater degree. He frequently retreated to the mountains to pray for strength and guidance; to just be rejuvenated. If Jesus needed time alone to speak with God, how much greater is our need for moments of solitude and solace?

On these mountain tops, Jesus imparted some of His greatest words of wisdom, including the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It was on the top of a high mountain that Jesus was transformed and His glory shown to the disciples.

There He was transfigured before them, his face shown like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

Matthew 17:2, ESV

While that kind of experience was not necessarily my intention when I started my journey up the mountain, that was definitely how it ended.

Finding Your Faith

There have been many great lessons learned at the peak of a mountain, and I am sure that mine is not nearly as profound as some, but I did learn that food poisoning and climbing, or should I say descending, mountains do not really mix. The climb up the mountain was filled with breathtaking views and tranquility. However, the climb down was a much different story, one that was filled with a different kind of beauty. The kind of beauty that can only be felt when you go through the fires and come face-to-face with God.

Shortly after eating our lunch on top of Mt. LeConte, I suddenly began to feel very sick. I later realized that the hummus I had just consumed was maybe not the best choice. Instead of being properly refrigerated, it sat in a hot backpack the day before and overnight. I can tell you, it will probably be a good, long while before I eat hummus again; it is definitely not as good the second time around. Some of you may think it’s not even that good the first time.

Just Keep Walking

I knew there was only one way off that mountain, and it was 6 miles of hiking through treacherous terrain. So, I did what I had to do, I just kept walking, and I prayed–I prayed like someone who has come to the end of themselves and knows that they won’t be able to make it on just their own abilities. I pleaded with God, “Lord, please help me make it down this mountain!” And a verse immediately came to mind:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4, KJV

Jesus Will Meet You Where You Are

I have always been comforted by the story of Peter walking on water. Shortly after Jesus had descended the mountain, where he had been praying alone, He met the disciples who were already out in the middle of the lake. And by met them there, I mean He walked across the stormy waves to where they were tucked safely inside their vessel. Jesus beckoned to Peter:

‘Come,’ He said.

Matthew 14:29, NIV

Keep Your Eyes On Jesus

And Peter cast his fears and anxieties aside and put his faith in Jesus. He left the safety of his boat behind to brave the deadly seas. The world was quite literally crashing down around him. But he remained unscathed as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. However, like most of us, he became paralyzed by the chaos surrounding him.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’

Matthew 14:30, NIV

It was that same calm voice that cried out to Peter that I heard calling out to me:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME.”

It became a chant in my head:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME.”

As I walked over thin strips of land, with only a cable to hold on to on one side and a sheer dropoff on the other:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME.”

While traveling down slick, steep rocks:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME.”

Steep Cliff at Mt. Leconte
Finding Perspective

Finding Perspective

And I did, I kept walking, and I kept my eyes transfixed on Jesus. And after a while, I began to feel better, until I had only a couple of miles left to go, and I again became very ill and weak.

My mouth was parched. I knew I was dehydrated, but every time I tried to take a drink, it only made my stomach start to churn. I sat down and didn’t know how I was going to be able to get back up and finish. Again, that still, small voice returned. Only this time, with a slight difference.

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME. YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!”

So, I shakily got back up and did the only thing I could, I just kept walking and walking and walking…with Jesus’ voice encouraging me until I eventually made it to the crystal clear, flowing stream and serene waterfalls that I enjoyed so much at the beginning of the hike.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Psalm 23:2-3, KJV
Flowing Brook on Alum Cave Trail to Mt. Leconte
Finding Perspective

When we focus on God’s power instead of our problems, we can face even the most treacherous mountain. Finding perspective helps us face our mountains. And we all have our mountains. Times when there are steep cliffs surrounding us, and one false step feels disastrous. Rocky terrain that is difficult to maneuver. A difficult stretch of land that seems like it will never end. Days when we feel we just can’t go on.

In those times, when you just can’t do it on your own, Jesus whispers:

“KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME. YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!”

When we focus on God’s power instead of our problems, we can face even the most treacherous mountain. Finding perspective helps us face our mountains. Click To Tweet

We all have difficult experiences in this life. Finding perspective is key. Keeping our eyes on Jesus gives us the strength to overcome any difficulty. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #faith #focus #perspective #strength #mountain

unsplash-logoWillian Justen de Vasconcellos
Heaven, home, travelers, faith, pain, suffering, hope, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Travelers: Resting in the Truth, This World is not Our Home

Whether we move around or stay in one place, feeling at home can be difficult. As Christians, we are travelers passing through this perishable world, trying to reach our true home.



I am a traveler and an exile. This is not my home, but I can still live in the confidence that my Father is good and just.

Whether we move around or stay in one place, we are travelers passing through this perishable world to reach our true home...Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #home #heaven #earth #faith #travelers #hope

Where is My Home?

This year I will celebrate a milestone. It is the longest time my husband and I have lived in any one location. 8 years and as I think about what it means to have a home and to be a part of a place, I keep coming back to the time I spent in 1 Peter. The exiles, sojourners, and the travelers he wrote to knew what it was like to be in a country that did not want them. Where the political climate felt unnerving at best, and unsafe at its worst.

I have lived away from home in the sense that my husband and I have lived in a few states- Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, South Carolina. So, I learned really quickly to make a home wherever he was and wherever my children slept. I was often “not from around here” and learning the systems spoken and unspoken has taken some time to understand. Some I never did pick up on.

This is not My Home

I am not just a traveler in the earthly sense, though. I am a heavenly traveler too. This is earth not my home and Peter reminds us of this truth over and over again in 1 Peter.

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

1 Peter 1:23

Why do we forget? Why do I make this earth and all that it has to offer so valuable? I think Jesus knew our flesh would be tempted to depend on what we could see, touch and contain. He reminded His disciples…

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

I Forget

Jesus knew we would face temptations and trials. He knew our frame –that we were dust and frail and prone to give up and give in. But, He still called us…

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9

He Reminds Me

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:10

No matter where I lay my head, I am His and I have an eternal home in heaven. As I have gotten older, I long for heaven more. I grow weary of seeing people I love suffer through illness and fear. I see sadness and overwhelming grief. But, I have also seen God’s hand move in ways I would have never dreamed was possible, in spite of me and my unbelief. How can we find hope in the midst of such uncertainty? I think we trust in the example that our Savior gave us…

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

1 Peter 2:23b

While We are Travelers, We Can Trust Him

Jesus had every right to demand better treatment. He was God. He had every reason to want obedience and worship. But, He knew that He had a good Father that He would trust with His very life. And so do I. When my life is not making sense, I can lean into Him. I can trust that He sees the whole picture and knows me and knows best.

This is not blind faith. It is faith informed by His word. What do you need help releasing that is really just perishable, won’t last, can’t satisfy? He bore our sins so we could die to sin and live to righteousness. Jesus is our home.

No matter where we lay our heads, we are His and have an eternal home in heaven. What do you need help releasing that is really just perishable? He bore our sins so we could die to sin and live to righteousness. Jesus is our home. Click To Tweet

Whether we move around or stay in one place, we are travelers passing through this perishable world to reach our true home...Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #home #heaven #earth #faith #travelers #hope

All scripture references come from the English Standard Version.
unsplash-logoGabrielle Rocha Rios
depression, anxiety, love, healing, faith, mental illness, patience, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Survival: Loving Someone with Severe Depression and Anxiety- A Guide

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. God holds us all through the peaks and valleys of depression.



Survival Guide Resume

Before I launch into this guide I first want to give you a glimpse at my resume, so you know that I know a little about what I’m talking about. For ten of the last twelve years of my marriage, I have been the husband of a wonderful woman who has had severe depression and anxiety. It started as postpartum depression after our second child was born and it has never gone away.

I will not go into the symptoms because chances are, if you clicked on the link to this article, you are very familiar with them. Instead, I am going to direct my comments to the depression newbie. The poor soul who has recently woken up to find their spouse (or someone they love) is no longer the happy, fun-loving person they married (or used to be). Who has found that their love has been brought low by some unseen, unimaginable malevolent force for which there seems to be no defense. This is your survival guide from a veteran of this fight. I hope to be able to save you some of the stumblings around in the dark that I have had to do.

Also, to make it fun, I have decided to put it in the form of a list! Because the internet loves lists right? Of course you do.

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #anxiety #love #healing

1.

It’s not about you.

Drop your ego. It’s not about you. Really. It’s not about you. Your spouse has a disease. Unless you are just being horrible to them, his or her depressive episodes are not the result of something you did or did not do. Along those same lines, there is nothing you can do to “fix” them or make the symptoms “go away.” Your spouse is on a rollercoaster.

It is a rollercoaster through a hell so terrifying that neither they nor you would ever have the words to adequately describe it. The only thing you can do during these moments is to honor your vows, board that roller coaster with them, hold their hand and ride that ride. Is it scary? You bet. Does your presence help? Sometimes. Sometimes not. But ride it anyway. It builds empathy in you and, when it is over, gratitude and trust for you in your spouse.

2.

Don’t hide. Be open about it.

Ok, listen. Unless the people in your lives are told what is going on, they can only speculate, and they can’t help. Depression is a terrible and lonely disease. Being married to a depressed person is equally lonely. There is a stigma to depression. Don’t pay attention to it. Your spouse has a disease. If they had cancer, you would tell people, and those people would gather around in a loving and supportive group to help your spouse through the difficult and painful process of treating their cancer.

So, pretend it is cancer. Be open with your friends and family about what is going on. Your spouse needs that extended support group, but almost as important, YOU need that extended support group. YOU CAN’T DO THIS ON YOUR OWN. Don’t try. Also, if you have children, be open with them about it. Explain the illness to them. Obviously, consider their ability to understand based on their age, but don’t exclude them. If they know WHY your spouse is behaving in this way, they will be less likely to blame the behavior on themselves. You need to include them. They have a right to know and to understand.

3.

Treat it.

I am going to keep saying it until you will never forget it. Your spouse has a disease. A disease that could kill them. A disease that continues to kill more and more people every year. Diseases are treated by doctors, specialists, and medicine. Don’t let your spouse tell you they can handle it on their own. They can’t. Get them a doctor or a counselor. The good news is, there are medicines that can help manage the symptoms. The bad news is: scientists know more about the surface of Mars than they do about how the brain actually functions.

So, there is no magic pill that will cure this disease, and treating the symptoms is more akin to throwing paint at the wall and seeing what sticks. You will likely try three or more medicines before finding one that works well for your spouse and manages the symptoms without unacceptable side-effects. After many years, we finally landed on one that gives my wife a semblance of normalcy in her life. There are those that will tell you to not ever use medicine. I disagree. From my experience, it helps immensely.

4.

You are not alone.

Again, being the spouse of someone with depression can be a terribly lonely experience. There will be times where you feel like you are the only one in the world going through this. Times when you feel like you can’t talk to a soul about what you are going through. There will be times when it gets so hard, so dark, so hellishly frustrating that you want to throw your hands up, walk away, and leave them to their own devices.

These are the moments that separate the wheat from the chaff. Stay. Fight. Dig deep. Find that reserve of strength inside of you and keep going. Your love is your spouses best hope of navigating the depths of the darkness inside of themselves and finding their way to the light of joy and happiness on the other side. For better or for worse. Well, this is one of those “worse” times. Ponder the following words:

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? […]Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you…

Matthew 6:26-30, KJV

In more ways than one, you are never alone. Bring God along with you on this journey. Let Him give you comfort, let Him heal you. Surely the Author of all creation can and will soothe the open wounds of your despair with the healing balm of His majesty and love. Let Him. You are never alone. Believe it. Because after all the experiences I have had, I know it.

5.

This journey, if you let it, will strengthen you personally, and teach you what love really means.

When I married my wife, I thought I loved her. Of course, I did. But through this journey, I have learned the breadth and depth of what love really is. Is love, buying flowers for your wife on your anniversary? Yes. But more so, love is holding your trembling spouse as they sob and shake uncontrollably at 3 am due to some unseen and unassailable despair that gripped them suddenly and is making them say things as they would rather be dead than feel this way.

Love is canceling a trip you have been planning and looking forward to for months because your spouse is having a panic attack at the prospect of your absence. Love is enduring the verbal attacks of a spouse who is lashing out at you, not from any fault of your own, but because they are under an unbearable weight and have to let it out somewhere. Love is then forgiving them for that same act. 

A Gift

If you let it, this journey will teach you a lot about YOU. Is it scary? At times, it’s terrifying. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I now have an indescribably deep and abiding love for my spouse. It is so much more than fondness, friendship or physical desire. It is a love that binds our souls together and continually makes me more and more grateful for the gift of each day we get to spend with one another.

Through peaks and valleys, through better or worse, for now and extending into eternity with God, we walk together. And so can you. You can do it. Have patience, have faith, and never give up on them.

Let God give you comfort, let Him heal you. Surely the Author of all creation can and will soothe the open wounds of your despair with the healing balm of His majesty and love. Click To Tweet

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #anxiety #love #healing

Living with a loved one who has severe depression and anxiety can be disorienting. The key to survival and a strengthening love can be found in our Creator. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #depression #anxiety #love #healing

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
courage, faith, confidence, surrender, encourage, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Courage: Strengthening Our Confidence in Christ for What Lies Ahead

Courage can feel unobtainable, but through Christ, our confidence is strengthened for what lies ahead; for the plans the Lord has designed. 



May

A few days ago I was reading through one of my journals and I stumbled across this entry from last year: 

I stuck my toes in the freezing cold water and decided I lacked the courage to jump in. The first of May had brought with it warm sunny weather and the kids were chomping at the bit to get into the pool. So, that is where I found myself the first weekend of May.

Sitting in the lounge chair I watched three girls standing on the edge of the pool. Two had the courage to jump feet first into the freezing water! Meanwhile, I sat and watched the third girl standing timidly on the edge of the pool. Did she have the courage to jump into the frigid water? She stuck her toes in, then ran away squealing. The little girl repeated this action over and over for about 10 minutes. Finally, her courage seemed to be built up, and she jumped in giggling with delight and terror!

  While sitting there watching, the Lord whispered in my ear, “I know you are scared, my child. Where is your courage?”  

Courage can feel unobtainable, but through Christ, our confidence is strengthened for what lies ahead; for the plans the Lord has designed. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #confidence #fear #courage

Courage

I closed my journal and cried. Almost a year later and I still lacked the courage I so desperately needed. The Lord brought this scripture to my mind…

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6, NKJV

What is courage? How can I have courage in the midst of daily battles? How can we, as Christian women, apply the words of Christ to strengthen our courage? So, I began studying and praying the scriptures fervently. This is what God revealed to me…

I am Confident in Christ. I am Optimistic. I am Unwavering and Relentless in my faith. I am Aware of God’s Existence. COURAGE

Confidence in Christ

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew words for confidence and assurance are different forms of the same word. 

In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.

Isaiah 30:15, KJV

As a single mom of three, I am constantly busy and have been reprimanded by several friends and family members for my busyness. When you have multiple children involved in church, school, and sports, one does stay busy. However, there must be a balance of our time.

A plaque hangs behind my desk which reads, Be still and know. Every time I look at it I am reminded of a worship song from my youth. Although I cannot remember all the words, be still and know that I am God are repeated over and over again. When I feel overwhelmed with a hectic schedule, I remind myself to stop and sit with the Lord. This means starting and ending my day tucked away in the quietness of my prayer closet and simply praying with the Lord. 

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalms 46:10, KJV

Optimistic

The dictionary defines optimistic as being “hopeful and confident about the future.” I have always been a glass full kind of girl, but my overly optimistic nature causes me to be hurt by others. Over the years, many troubles and trials later, I have learned to place my confidence in God and have a spirit of optimism. As Christians, we have hope and confidence in our future with the Lord. 

For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11, NIV 

True confidence is a quiet assurance of God’s capabilities and His promises which brings us lasting security.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 118:8, NKJV

Relentless Faith

When I was a young girl, I was very afraid of the dark. One day my parents took me to my pastor. He talked with me about having faith bigger than my fears. He said fear is simply, “False Evidence Appearing to be Real.” When we place our faith in God, no matter what comes our way, we can trust Him. My pastor’s words have stayed with me throughout the years.

be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

I Cornithians 15:58, NKJV

We should be unmoveable, unwavering, steadfast and relentless in our faith and the work we are doing for the Lord. Ephesians 6 refers to an invisible shield which protects us against our enemies’ assaults. The past few years I have carried my shield constantly through the battlefield. I consider it to be one of my greatest weapons against the Devil. 

be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Ephesians 6:10, NKJV

Be strong, Dear Sisters, and have an unwavering and relentless faith! When you do, God will work miracles in you…

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope, without wavering, for He who is promised in faithful.

Hebrews 10:23, NKJV

Aware of God’s Existence

The Lord has been dealing with me for the last nine months, but I have battled with courage for a few years now. At first, I thought if I could only have more courage in dealing with my current trial, then things would be easier…

I had confidence in God and was optimistic about my future (most of the time). My faith was unwavering and relentlessly strong against the Devil’s constant attacks. I was aware of God’s existence and knew there was a purpose and a plan for all the heartache and pain. However, I realized He was using the better part of this last year to help my courage and strength grow immensely. All of this preparation was simply part of His plan to help me reach the point in which I was finally ready…

I traveled very far through a land filled with dangers, treacherous terrain, and storms that never seemed to end. My body and my spirit were beyond tired! I literally felt like the walking dead! Then I stumbled upon a cliff and my heart was beating rapidly in my chest! I could feel the presence of danger and an approaching storm behind me. The choice was clear— I had to JUMP!

I took a deep breath and prayed with an intensity like never before. Then I closed my eyes and gathered all the courage in my soul. I JUMPED! 

Encourage…

Of course, we all know I did not literally jump off an actual cliff, but rather a spiritual cliff. After a very difficult journey, I reached this spiritual cliff God had been preparing me for. The courage to jump is simply the courage to surrender. When we are totally surrendered to the Lord then we are willing to say yes for whatever He has planned for our lives.

He has shown me what it means to have real courage. Let me encourage all of you, Dear Friends, to ask yourselves how much courage you have.

Courage to face your fears? Courage to fight for your marriage? Courage to stand up for what you believe in? Courage to step out in faith to whatever God has called you to do? Courage to say yes? Courage to say no?  

Whatever trial you are facing or storm you are going through, God will give you the courage to make it through. 

The courage to jump is simply the courage to surrender. When we are totally surrendered to the Lord then we are willing to say yes for whatever He has planned for our lives. Click To Tweet

Courage can feel unobtainable, but through Christ, our confidence is strengthened for what lies ahead; for the plans the Lord has designed. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #confidence #fear #courage

Ihor Malytskyi

depression, hope, joy, darkness, faith, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Depression: Fighting for Joy in the Midst of Darkness

As believers, we may think depression and faith could not occur together. But because of the cross, we who face despair can still find hope. 



Depression is something we hear about all the time. I’m here to tell you it is much more than just being sad. Most Christians I know who have struggled with being depressed, have found themselves wracked with guilt and despair. I know I have. I am not an expert, but I know what I have experienced and I want to share about my fight for joy.

As believers we may think depression and faith could not occur together. But because of the cross, we who face despair can still find hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #encouragement #depression #joy #hope

Subtle

It starts with thoughts like: Why try? It builds to: Why bother? It evolves into a feeling of heaviness. For me, it is best described as a hot, wet blanket. It’s like concrete in my shoes.

It’s like my to-do list slipping into Jello. My emotions are on edge. I think everything is about me. I think people believe I am a failure. I can barely function, but just enough.

Complicated

Most people think of the person who is never around or hidden. My friend Brandi and I talk about the active depressed person. I’m involved in my life, but I am dying on the inside. It takes all I have to get my clothes on. All I have to convince myself what I am doing is worth it. What I do matters. That I still have purpose.

I find it hard to believe that anybody notices me. This is not wanting to end life. This is not wanting to hurt anymore or it’s the desire to feel again. You begin to doubt that you will ever be happy again.

Noise

Have you ever tried to have a conversation while someone vacuumed or ran a noisy dishwasher? Did you really hear all the words? Not well, right? Depression is like that.

The words are coming toward you but the thoughts cannot really get through. You read the Bible. You pray. You fight for joy. But the words on the page don’t mean anything. They can’t prick your heart.

If you do feel anything, it’s often guilt at not being more joyful. It’s despair that you will always feel like this… Why bother? You aren’t really worth much. You are a disappointment. You won’t ever have purpose. You did once, but now you are just trouble.

Depression Is Not the Final Say…

I have had multiple issues with depression. I find the winter is usually the worst. Especially gray, rainy ones. My hormones can play a big factor: pregnancy, nursing, middle age. Stress can make it take center stage. But, it’s not the end…

I have seen God do amazing things in the middle of my despair.

Always Hope

How do we face depression as believers?

We continue to look to His word for who we are. Depression tells us we have no purpose and we are worthless. But God’s word can break through and remind us of what is true – He is the one who gives His people purpose. He will never leave us and He is the One who will see us completed to the end.

We can listen to music that glorifies Him and praises Him in spite of what we feel or think. He has not changed and He can be trusted even if our thoughts cannot. This is where I have seen God move in mighty ways. The battles I have fought while depressed, have been the bricks God laid to remind me He is faithful, He is sovereign, He is trustworthy. Even in the darkest days.

We confess what we are feeling to other safe mature believers and ask for prayer. We are tempted to hide what we are experiencing but that only leads to more isolation. This is not how the church works. We can believe that being vulnerable will make Christ look less. But when in actuality I have heard over and over that my willingness to share my neediness has challenged others to do the same. They have seen that God cares about every part of their lives especially their suffering.

We seek out help. This can look differently for different times. I have sought counseling. Medicine was necessary at one point. Every situation will not call for the same solution. But hear me, we do not have to stay in despair and depression.

We can be tempted to hide our experiences but that only leads to more isolation. This is not how the church works. Being vulnerable encourages others. Only then can we see how intricately God cares for our sufferings. Click To Tweet

No More Hiding

I do know one thing that does not work. Hiding. Hiding only makes my life feel worse. We are in a battle for our hearts and minds. We are believers and our eternity is secure. I want more than just security. I want to live a life that finds joy in Christ and in His truths. I am His. Some days that means depression and despair. He is still enough when I have those days. He is still enough.

God hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. I call to you from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy. I will dwell in your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 61:1-4, CSB

As believers we may think depression and faith could not occur together. But because of the cross, we who face despair can still find hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #encouragement #depression #joy #hope
Ian Espinosa

faith, perception, prayer, suffering, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Assurance: When Having Faith Doesn’t Change Our Circumstances

Having big faith doesn’t always mean our circumstances change. We can have assurance in the promises of the Lord, even we do not see His plans. 



Just have faith…

Over time the phrase almost became offensive. Like the squealing of dull brakes. You knew it was coming, but the way each word came grinding upon your heart –every. single. time.– seemed as if you had been caught off guard.

It was a kind sentiment: faith changes things. Indeed, it does.

But, what happens when my faith is strong and my prayers are bold, but my painful circumstance remains unchanged? What happens when my belief is BIG, but it never comes to fruition?

Having big faith doesn't always mean our circumstances change. We can have assurance in the promises of the Lord, even we do not see His plans. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #faith #prayer #trust #suffering

Collision

I never really thought much about the topic, until it began colliding with my life. For me, this pertained to my baby. I had watched her suffer unimaginable pain, seizure after seizure. I had watched her endure testing, blood draws, and EEGS. I had watched the way in which her little body was wrecked each time a seizure took its course.

I had watched her countless times being rushed into an ambulance. I had watched as the life flight helicopter took off with my little person in tow. I had watched her stop breathing, the way in which the physicians grew panicked, though they tried their best not to. I had watched as a machine kept her alive. And, I had watched her little face for hours while seizures overtook her body. All the while I begged God to make it stop.

Just Have It…

When this all started, I would have uttered the same words… faith, just have faith.

And I did have faith, in fact, I still do.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1, NIV

After my child’s first seizure, I believed God would take this away from her. FAITH.

And after her doctors listed the horrendous potential diagnosis, I believed God would not allow it. FAITH.

And every moment of each seizure, I believed that at any time my God could make it stop. FAITH.

Yet, here we are.

True Faith

Some would say my faith isn’t great enough. In fact, some HAVE said this. –In case you’re wondering, that’s never helpful or appropriate for a grieving heart.– Anywaaaaaaayyys…

I tend to disagree. My concept of faith has changed. Through this journey, I have learned that true faith is having faith in the waiting. True faith is having faith when the circumstance remains unchanged. True faith is remaining sure that He can, even when He does not. And, somehow making peace with that.

Yes, true faith DOES change things, though perhaps the circumstance is not what’s changing.

True faith changes hearts.

True faith changes perspectives.

True faith changes my once shallow perception.

It’s somehow being OK with God when He doesn’t fix all my problems in this life. Though I may never understand why He doesn’t, I hold tight to His promise that one day it will ALL be better.

True faith does change things, though perhaps the circumstance is not what’s changing. True faith changes hearts, perspectives, and perceptions. It’s somehow being OK with God when He doesn’t fix all our problems in this life. Click To Tweet

Unchanging Assurance

Today, maybe your circumstance hasn’t changed, despite your desperate pleas. Perhaps your relationship hasn’t changed despite your faithful prayers. Or the healing hasn’t come despite your unwavering belief.

My friend, you are one with true faith. Cling to it all the more tightly, trusting that He has made a way, though we do not yet see it.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19, NIV

»«

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20, ESV

Have you ever experienced a time when God did not change your circumstance? Although the circumstance was unchanged, what positive changes came from that? 

Having big faith doesn't always mean our circumstances change. We can have assurance in the promises of the Lord, even we do not see His plans. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #faith #prayer #trust #suffering


Sarah Lango is a momma of 3, wife, writer, speaker, Jesus follower, and coffee lover from small-town Missouri. She is the founder of Gracefilled Growth, where she writes about her faith, marriage, motherhood journey, and her new experience of being a “sick kids” mom.

Her passion is to inspire others to live authentic lives, learning together, and embracing the grace that God so lovingly offers. You can read more of Sarah’s writing at www.gracefilledgrowth.com or follow her on Facebook and Pinterest

faith, provision, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Provide: Trusting God to Meet our Needs

We all struggle with trusting that God will provide for our needs. What if we decided to live by faith and truly believe that He will sustain us? 



I am a worrier. I always have been. Faith is not one of my spiritual giftings so trusting God to provide for me has been a constant battle. There have been many times where I did not believe God’s promises to meet my needs. While most of the time I associate provision with material needs, it is not always what is lacking.

Surrendering Trust

While I have struggled with not feeling taken care of financially, I have also seen the idea of not feeling provided for play out in other areas: loneliness, discontentment, and healing. I have felt that I didn’t have the relationships I needed, that I wasn’t in the stage of life I should be, and that I wasn’t and those around me weren’t healed in the ways I thought we should be.

Even as I sit here writing this I am worrying. There are three trees leaning on my house and I don’t know how I will afford to get them off. Have I prayed, asking for help? No. Have I trusted that God is going to provide for my needs in this situation? No.

While my heart knows that God will meet my needs and sustain me, most of the time my head forgets. He has shown me time and again that He takes care of me, but I still haven’t learned to completely surrender my trust to Him.

We all struggle with trusting that God will provide for our needs. What if we decided to live by faith and truly believe that He will sustain us? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All Our Needs

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19, NLT

ALL of our needs. Not some, all. God will meet all of our needs. This is so easy for us to forget. Sometimes we get caught up with what He is not doing that we forget to see what He is. Maybe when He isn’t providing something it simply means it isn’t something we need.

A lot of the time we focus on what we think we need and not what God says we need. We don’t consider that His provision may look different than we expect it to. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t provide, it means we aren’t looking outside our own perception of provision.

We often focus on what we think we need and not what God says we need. His provision may look very different. We need to look outside our own perception of provision. Click To Tweet

Faith

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.

Matthew 21:22, NLT

Faith. There’s that word again. I struggle a lot with faith. I recently took a spiritual giftings test and among the lowest ratings was faith. It’s not that I don’t believe in Jesus or that I have no faith. It’s the fact that I don’t always believe I can ask for anything and receive.

Sometimes as Christians we don’t want to get into the habit of treating God like a genie. I think this stops us from even making requests. I have not thought to pray for help with the trees on my house. It seemed like too minor of an ask. I didn’t want to ‘waste’ a request on this when there are so many more things that are more important.

Scripture tells us that we can pray for anything. When we think something is not important enough we are acting like we are God. That we can decide what is important and what isn’t. This is not our right and not our job. We can ask for ANYTHING.

There is a second part to this…“if you have faith, you will receive it.” It is more than asking for something and boom it happens. It takes faith on our part. Faith that God will truly answer our prayer. Faith that He will provide for us. Without faith how can we expect God to answer us?

Do Not Worry

Let these words really sink in as you read this passage…

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

 So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Matthew 6:25-34, NLT

Jesus is very clear. Do not worry. He speaks to the way that God provides for the birds and the flowers and how we are so much more than they. God provides for the creatures around us. The ones we were created to have dominion over. So why do we fret? Why do I worry? God knows our needs and He will provide for them. We must seek and have faith in Him. He is our provider, sustainer, and healer.

Provide

Every day we wake up, we have to choose whether we are going to allow worry to creep in or if we will have faith in God to provide for us. We are constantly surrounded by proof that He will, but we still struggle. What if we changed our thinking? What if every day we woke up and the first thing we did was say “God I have faith that you will provide”? This could change the course of our days and ultimately our lives. Let’s speak our faith into existence, let’s truly believe that He WILL meet all of our needs.

We all struggle with trusting that God will provide for our needs. What if we decided to live by faith and truly believe that He will sustain us? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Ernesta Vala

compassion. emotion, faith, vulnerability, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Vulnerability: Having A Compassionate Heart for Suffering People

The compassion of Jesus should be our posture in the face of vulnerability. His example teaches us to carry the weight of suffering to the throne of God.



Have you ever been informed you were being too vulnerable? Or maybe you’re too much. Alternatively, I would wager we’ve all been in a situation where we have felt uncomfortable with someone falling apart at our feet. Why is that?

This scenario played out in my mind a few mornings ago…

A woman was weeping in front of someone she trusted. She bore her soul. The trusted party uncomfortably responded with “I’m sorry, but you’re being too vulnerable.” The weeping woman countered, “Am I being too vulnerable, or are you uncomfortable with my vulnerability?” Because that’s the question, friends. What does make some of us so uncomfortable with vulnerability?

The compassion of Jesus should be our posture in the face of vulnerability. His example teaches us to carry the weight of suffering to the throne of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Sentiments

When I am tempted to critique someone else, I ask a few questions first. For example, when I think, “Why would they respond like that?” I ask, Well, why should they not? Does their vulnerability really affect me in a negative way? What if I were in that position? Would my reaction be similar to theirs?

In asking myself these questions I move into a position of empathy as opposed to that of a judge. And if I am uncomfortable with the depth of someone’s heartache, for instance, that doesn’t make their grief excessive. It indicates a lack of compassion in my heart.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly been reading through the gospel of John. I must mention how greatly encouraged I am. The fact that, more than once, people sought to arrest Jesus but no one detained or laid a hand on him, “because his hour had not yet come” (John 7:30). Everything happens in the perfect timing of the King!

Then a couple of days ago I read John 11: the story of Lazarus. The chapter begins by giving the backstory. Lazarus is the brother of Mary and Martha. (Mary is the famous lady who doused Jesus’ feet with her expensive perfume in the following chapter.) So, the sisters sent word to Jesus that their brother was seriously ill.

But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

John 11:4-6

Engaging

AGH! I love this. First, Jesus, being one with the Father, knew Lazarus’ illness would not lead to him staying dead but would be the precursor to God revealing His awesomeness. Second, John penned the intimate detail that Jesus loved these three siblings. And third, when Jesus heard Lazarus was about to die, his response was to hang out where He was for another two days. WHAT?! Classic. Isn’t that how it always seems to be? Our King waits past the point when we think He should show up. Then when He does, He knocks our socks off. Wait for it…

A couple of days go by then Jesus said it was time to go to Judea. He told the disciples Lazarus had fallen asleep, but He was going to wake him up. Judea was dangerous territory for Jesus because the Jews there wanted to stone Him.

The disciples tried to persuade Jesus away from going. They reasoned, if Lazarus was only sleeping, he would recuperate. At that point, Jesus bluntly told the disciples Lazarus was actually dead. When Jesus and the disciples arrived at Bethany in Judea, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Martha heard Jesus was coming so she went out to meet Him.

Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

John 11:21-23 [emphasis mine]

Responses

At first, it seems like Martha was accusing Jesus of not showing up. But in actuality, she acknowledged her thorough trust in God’s ability to raise her brother from the dead. Martha’s confidence affirmed the level of intimacy their family shared with Jesus like John said (John 11:5). She completely banked on Jesus being able to accomplish what concerned her. She knew Jesus could have healed Lazarus before he died. Yet now that he was already buried, she also trusted Lazarus would be raised again in the resurrection at the end of time.

After listening to the vulnerability in Martha’s faith-filled plea, Jesus immediately assured her that Lazarus would be back. Not fully understanding, Martha thought He meant in the end times. Then she went to tell Mary Jesus was asking for her.

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.

John 11:32-33

Compassion

Jesus wasn’t annoyed with Mary’s dramatics. Her grief didn’t cause Him to withdraw or cringe. He knew God was going to bring Lazarus back to life that very day. Yet Mary’s weeping had an emotional impact on Jesus. He both knew the outcome and was able to be present with His grieving friend. Jesus had all the answers, but He was still deeply affected by Mary’s agonizing sorrow.

And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’

John 11:34-36

Our Savior wept, shaken up by the mourning of His friend. Mary’s vulnerability wasn’t too much for Him. Jesus drew near. He was distraught for her. The tears He cried weren’t quiet, gentle, or composed. The King of Kings ugly cried. And, He sprung into action. When I read this passage, my eyes fixed on Jesus wept.

I cried.

Vulnerability

My emotions sprung from gratitude that I belong to a gracious Savior who draws near. I also cried for the desire to be the kind of person people can fall apart to without feeling hopeless. I want to engage, believing with confidence that my God has got it. Jesus was totally affected by Mary’s sorrow, but he wasn’t overwhelmed by it. Why? Because He knew His Father’s power. God has that same power today.

Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth.

John 11:40-44a

The Story’s End

Jesus knew the end of the story all along. He wept anyway. We rarely know the outcome, if ever; but regardless, let us be moved with compassion when people show vulnerability. Then we can carry any weight of sorrow to the throne of God.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

We rarely know the outcome of the story; but regardless, let us be moved with compassion when people show vulnerability. We can carry any weight of sorrow to the throne of God. Click To Tweet

The compassion of Jesus should be our posture in the face of vulnerability. His example teaches us to carry the weight of suffering to the throne of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture from the ESV Bible.
faith, salvation, truth, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Save: Having Courage to Share the Truth of God Through Rejection

Sharing the message of Christ can sometimes feel like a lost cause. But, only Christ can save. We must have the courage to share His Truth. Even through rejection. 



Being a teenager, or really any age, in 2018 should be considered an extreme sport. Several gold stars should be awarded to those who are surviving this challenging age. From social media to the ever-present peer pressure and skyrocketing mental health rates, it’s no wonder the church is being pushed further and further to the sidelines!

Sharing the message of Christ can feel like a lost cause. But, only Christ can save. We must have the courage to share His Truth. Even through rejection. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Save the Doubt

There’s nothing new under the sun, but I hope I’m not the only one who feels the gap between the church and those who are not yet a part of the family has grown exponentially in the past few decades. Everything is about doing what feels good and living by your own schedule. ‘You do you’ is classic phrase amongst youngsters today.

With all this being said, why then should anyone have to step away from their ‘kingdom of self’ to live in the kingdom of the one true King? It’s becoming easier to justify rebellion against Christ. Where was your God when this happened? Or maybe How could there be a God amidst all this brokenness?

All fair questions. Some we even ask ourselves. Why would God let this happen? Is this what unfailing love feels like?

As the excuses grow, so does the difficulty of sharing His perfect truth. How do you carry someone to their savior when they’re blind to their need of saving? How do you convince someone Christ is the answer when all they believe in is themselves? Oh dear, I seem to be rambling now… Let’s see where we can take this…

The Walking Dead

Over the summer we moved schools. So, I’ve met several new folks in recent months. And being a high schooler in a ‘You are yours before you are anyone else’s’ world, I’d say the vast majority of these folks want nothing to do with Jesus, God, or anything else tied to Christianity. This makes it extremely difficult to share life with someone who doesn’t know they’re dead.

By God’s good, good grace, He has given me tremendous courage over the last few months. I’ve learned to not be afraid of being slapped down by those who want no part of me due to their lack of interest in Christ. I have been able to hold conversations about the good news with those who’d rather listen to anything else. The assurance that it really is okay if that guy in my math class thinks I’m annoying is so freeing. And it’s okay if the girl I sit next to in history class won’t speak to me again because I attempted to share Christ. I’ve allowed God to speak through me and plant the seed.

I think for me, personally, I selfishly want to be the one to save these lost people. To revive and save the walking dead. But in reality, I was no better. I was just as lost and I’m just as in need of a Savior. I try and remind myself of this when I lose a friend due to my faith. It may suck, but God is humbling me and reminding me that I cannot save anyone. We are not necessary for the fulfillment of His divine plan, but by His great love, He allows us to be a part of it.

It's humbling to remember that WE cannot save anyone. It's through Christ alone and by His great love, He allows us to be a part His divine plan. Click To Tweet

24 Words

How can we doubt the One who knows all things?

It’s easy to tell yourself there’s no use. Why should I try to convince someone of something they want no part in? Oh, they’ll never change their mind, or perhaps, I’m wasting my time on him or her. But, let me ask you a question regarding the story of Paul. If God can take a man who was literally killing people for confessing Christ and turn him into a man suffering greatly for the Christ he once hated, how then can we question the Lord’s ability to transform the heart of a stubborn coworker? Or maybe an annoyingly headstrong classmate?

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Acts 9:5-6, NIV

Twenty four words. That’s all it took. This man who was imprisoning and murdering people for their faith heard 24 words from the Lord and was transformed into a man who would suffer greatly for Christ. This is the primary story I remind myself of when I’m lacking trust that a work can be done in someone.

We must constantly be on fire for Christ and for Truth. This fire and the courage to continue comes only from Christ…

And then he told them, “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.

Mark 16:15, TLB

Sharing the message of Christ can feel like a lost cause. But, only Christ can save. We must have the courage to share His Truth. Even through rejection. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional