Pride, prideful, temptation, forgiveness, prayer, humility, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Prideful: Resisting Temptation and Following Christ’s Example of Humility

To our core, humans find it easy to slip into prideful character traits. We must resist the temptation to wear pride and follow Christ’s example of humility.



My husband and I closed on our first home on June 7. It’s a beautiful fixer-upper, built in 1920. We knew going in this would be a lot of work, but I think we underestimated just how much work.

For weeks now, we’ve been cutting, drilling and demolishing in that house every spare minute we have. It’s been challenging and growing, to say the least. But I knew it would be. I knew we would be exhausted. I knew our communication as husband and wife would be challenged and given opportunity to flourish.

But what I didn’t expect was something inside of me to crawl its way to the surface, revealing an ugly, sinful aspect of my personality: pride.

Humans find it easy to slip into prideful character traits. We must resist the temptation to wear pride and follow Christ's example of humility. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #pride #humility #prayer #temptation

Doing vs. Hearing

I am a fairly independent creature. I love knowing how to get a job done and then just going and doing it. But I’m also a hands-on learner. Which means in order for the knowledge of how to do something to lodge in my brain, it’s a whole lot easier for me to physically walk through it than it is for me to listen to someone explain how to do it.

Let me tell you, when it comes to renovating a house, there’s a lot I don’t know. My husband has been gracious with me as I learn on the go, but I hate that I have to ask him so many questions. I hate that I have to wait for him to give a direction for certain things like roughing in the electric and creating framing for our new, beautifully-big kitchen window. 

But that’s not even where my pride has reared its ugly head. The situations where that sinful little character flaw reveals itself has been in my meeting with contractors. With male contractors, I should add.

Prideful Scream

Now, I’m not the person who is all up in arms over women’s rights. I believe women are equal in intelligence and value to men, that we should have equal opportunity, but I’m not going to be protesting or arguing that the world is out to devalue women.

But what I will take a stand against is men assuming I don’t know what I’m talking about in a male-dominated field. That just gets me! I’ve met with a few different contractors during the day by myself, as I work from home and have the flexibility to do so. 

What I’m realizing is that most of these men I speak with give my prideful nature a frustratingly simple path to the surface of my emotions. When they say things like, “You can have your husband call me if he has questions” or, “Do you know what I mean by this?” I simply want to scream.

And those are moments my pride sneers in success as I shrink back in failure.

“What Would Jesus Do?”

Allowing a prideful attitude to take control is something I know saddens the heart of Jesus. I could easily give excuses for why I feel the way I do. But to borrow from the old, Christian phrase, I must ask, “What would Jesus do?” 

Jesus, the King of the universe, the One who created heaven and earth with the breath of His lungs and the words of His mouth — this Jesus was mocked, scorned, beaten and put to death. Evil, nasty men hurled insults at Him… At the Son of the Almighty God.

And what did He do? Did He scream back at them? Did He defend His Name and His knowledge and His power? No, He didn’t. Jesus didn’t allow the pride of who He is to tempt Him into sin.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7, NIV

If Jesus didn’t feel the need to defend Himself against His accusers, why should I feel the need to defend my knowledge and experience?

I shouldn’t, is the simple answer.

But it’s never that simple for us mere mortals, is it?

God is Faithful

We can easily say “What would Jesus do?” Yet that’s a phrase easier said than put into practice. But if I desire to look more like Christ each day, if I desire to glorify God with every fiber of my being, then I must set aside the pride that rises each time people assume I don’t know something simply because I’m a woman.

I don’t know what circumstances you face that cause your prideful nature to flood your emotions, but one thing I do know: We can rise above this temptation. We can not only push back our pride, but we can pluck it from the very core of our being.

How? By remembering God is faithful.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV

Enduring Temptation

God has given us an amazing promise when it comes to the temptation of pride. We can know, because of His faithfulness, He will always provide a way out for us. He will help us to endure the temptation. 

But here’s the thing: We have to accept His help. Just because God provides a way doesn’t mean He pulls us kicking and screaming. We must acknowledge His faithfulness, take His hand, and accept His endurance.

We can do this through prayer and through repeating truth whenever faced with a temptation. Instead of allowing instant frustration at these men who assume I’m simply my husband’s puppet in regards to the renovation of our house, I need to ask God for help. I need to praise Him for His faithfulness. And I need to seek the way out that He will provide for me.

Christ’s Humility

I wish I could give you a step-by-step guide to what this looks like. But what I can do is promise you that the more you seek God, and the more you remember Christ’s humility, the more you will begin to reflect His character. And the more you reflect His character, the more your prideful nature will feel foreign and unneeded.

For God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But you must follow His lead when He provides a way out for you. At least that’s what I plan on doing tomorrow when I meet with another contractor. No more prideful screams. I’m following Jesus’ example this time.

The more we seek God, and the more we remember Christ’s humility, the more we will begin to reflect His character. The more we reflect His character, the more our prideful nature will feel foreign and unneeded. Click To Tweet

Humans find it easy to slip into prideful character traits. We must resist the temptation to wear pride and follow Christ's example of humility. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #pride #humility #prayer #temptation


Emily Saxe was born and raised on the east coast but currently resides in Indiana with her husband. Working as a full-time freelance writer and editor, her heart and her pen are drawn to stories of faith as she helps people share how God is working in their lives. Everyone has a story to tell, and Emily loves helping to give people a voice to share their own story.

Read more of Emily’s articles on her website, To Unearth. You can also find Emily here: Pinterest Instagram Facebook

unsplash-logoEvie S.
friends, friendship, foundation, prayer, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Friends: Strengthening Our Friendship Foundations through Christ

We often take our friends for granted, creating a sandy foundation. We must strengthen our friendship foundations through Christ.



Have you ever considered the parable of the builder in Matthew 7:24-27 as an allegory on friendship? When you spend time with your friends, share your life with them, and depend on each other you are building on a strong rock foundation. However, if you don’t talk often or only share the good stuff, you’re building on sandy soil. I tend to have some shifting sand. I need to work on this.

We often take our friends for granted, creating a sandy foundation. We must strengthen our friendship foundations through Christ. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #friends #friendship #prayer #foundation

Friends in Sandy Soil

I love my friends. They are amazing. But sometimes I totally take them for granted. God has blessed me by putting a few wonderful people in my life and I am sure He doesn’t want me to neglect them.

As a mom, my life is always on the go, usually at 90 miles an hour. No matter how often I tell myself I need to slow down, or dream about an idyllic life of green fields, gurgling streams and slow relaxed days…it is highly unlikely to happen.

What does usually happen is I get so busy I neglect my friends for days, weeks, or months. It can be hard to find more than a few minutes to talk on the phone or send a text. Dropping by for a visit, meeting up for a cup of coffee, or taking a walk together can escape my weekly plans. For this, I feel extremely guilty.

God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken; good leaders also delight in their friendship.

Proverbs 22:11, MSG

Asking for Help

So what can I do? What should I do? First (and maybe one of the hardest things to do), give it over to God. Ask for guidance in strengthening my relationships in meaningful ways. Creating a firmer foundation is necessary. As a servant to my Father, I should be there for my friends when they are in need. And I should also be able to go to them when I am in need.

It has been a super hard week. My son and I have left for school early almost every day this week due to testing, end of the year meetings, and my need to have everything prepared before my students come through the door. That in and of itself isn’t unusual. But we have had an amazing VBS at church this week.

Our main church campus is about 5 miles from school. Rather than trek 30-45 minutes home and then back, we stayed at school. Three days I brought dinner from home and heated it up. Two days we went out to eat. While VBS was going on, I worked on end of year paperwork, finished up a class for my teacher license renewal, and graded papers.

Shoring Up the Foundation

I didn’t want to put anyone “out” so I didn’t ask for the help that I really needed. It turns out that when you try to be superwoman you can end up exhausted and crabby and overly emotional. My weekend was spent with me hiding from my family by binge watching tv shows, and praying for silence.

Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshed the soul.

Proverbs 27:9, MSG

Here is the kicker…if someone had asked me for help I would have been there for them (well maybe not last week, but in general I wouldn’t think twice). I know I need to start working on building a better definition of friendship and allowing myself to be vulnerable…or I really don’t have any real friends.

Prayer for Strength

So what do I do? I work on my friendships? Prayer is always a great place to start:

Dear God,

Help! I am so lost and can’t seem to get up from this spot. You made us to live together but I have isolated myself out of pride. Thank you for providing me the time and opportunity to reflect. I feel uncomfortable and unsure of myself. I have tried for too long to ignore my place in friendships and I worry I have destroyed more than I have built. Please give me the vulnerability to ask my friends for help when I need it. Let me humble myself and lighten my burden so I can be a light to the world for You.

love,

me

Rock Solid Foundation

God desires us to build strong foundations in all our relations to glorify Him. He tells us this time again throughout the Bible. God, Himself, desires our friendship. Isn’t that incredible! I love my God and am so happy He reaches out to me and holds me tightly.

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14, MSG
God desires us to build strong foundations in all our relationships in order to glorify Him. Even God longs for our friendship. Click To Tweet

We often take our friends for granted, creating a sandy foundation. We must strengthen our friendship foundations through Christ. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #friends #friendship #prayer #foundation

unsplash-logoAnita Austvika
even if, prayer, healing, Holy Spirit, capable, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Even If: Remembering that God is Always Faithful, Able, and Mighty

Sometimes it seems that the answer to our long awaited prayer is no. It is important to remember in these times that even if it is no, God is still good.



Last night I was driving home from one of many meetings of the day. As I was driving I was listening to a local Christian station. This is something I rarely do because I generally use my phone for music. This night, though, I somehow forgot, or didn’t care enough. Looking back this was a God-ordained moment to remind me even if… He is good.

You see, while I was driving the song “Even If” by MercyMe came on. I have heard this song before, but never truly listened to it. The song is about how God is still faithful, even if –insert prayer request here– doesn’t come. I sat and listened to this song and concentrated on every word.

As I sat in the car crying my eyes out (and driving like a crazy person I’m sure), I realized how much I needed to hear it. I have been in a season of looking for healing and actively praying long and hard for it to come. This song showed me that even if the answer is no or not yet, God is still good.

Sometimes it seems that the answer to our long awaited prayer is no. It is important to remember in these times that even if it is no, God is still good. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #prayer #HolySpirit #EvenIf #capable

The Holy Spirit

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

Romans 8:26, NLT

The Holy Spirit is our connection with God. That is where the source of our prayers should come from. I believe that sometimes the answer we are looking for doesn’t come because we are not praying through the Holy Spirit. We, when using our human power, do not know what to pray. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to be a part of our prayer life.

What we can be sure of is even when we don’t know what to pray, or are praying the wrong thing, the Holy Spirit prays for us. Wow, how amazing is that? The Holy Spirit prays for us.

I read this verse, which I never read in this way before, and was overwhelmed by the love of God for us. He loves us so much that He gave us the Holy Spirit to not only guide us but to intercede for us. When we don’t know what to say the Holy Spirit prays with a prayer that is beyond words.

Even If: No

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

1 John 5:14-15, NLT

I know this verse says, “he will give us what we ask for.” That makes it sound as though we will get whatever we want. However, this verse is often misunderstood. You see, people tend to leave the prior verse out where it says “anything that pleases Him.”

Like I said before, many times we are not asking with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. This is likely the most common reason we do not get what we ask for every time.

Another reason this could be the case is that we misinterpret the response. Maybe God said yes, but it wasn’t in the way you expected. For me, this happened when my grandmother passed away. We prayed and prayed for her to be healed, but she passed away. It wasn’t that God said no. He healed her, but he did this by bringing her home. This was not what we wanted but it was a yes. A yes that pleased God.

Even If: Not Yet

‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’

Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT

Lastly, the reason we may think that God has told us no is because His answer is not yet. We have to be patient and remember that God’s timing is not our timing. His ways are far better, His thoughts are far better, and His timing is far better than our own.

Even If

So, even if healing doesn’t come, even if our relationships are crumbling, even if we don’t know what will happen next… God is faithful. He is able. And He is mighty.

So whatever your even if is, keep in mind that thought and remember the role the Holy Spirit is playing.

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

MercyMe, “Even If”
Even if healing doesn't come, even if our relationships are crumbling, even if we don't know what will happen next… God is faithful. He is able. And He is mighty. Click To Tweet

Sometimes it seems that the answer to our long awaited prayer is no. It is important to remember in these times that even if it is no, God is still good. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #prayer #HolySpirit #EvenIf #capable

unsplash-logoOhTilly
care, Holy Spirit, prayer, renew, silence, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Care: Caring for Our Whole Selves in a Godly Way

Self-care is a hot topic these days. It is difficult to assess what it looks like to take care of ourselves in a Godly way, but when we practice self-care we honor God and His incredible blessings. 



There are days when I do not feel like taking care of myself. Taking a shower doesn’t seem important, eating is not a priority, and even getting things done that will help relieve stress don’t happen. A lot of times I know that I need to be doing more to take care of myself, but I still choose to prioritize other things.

We hear so much every day about “self-care”, but what does that actually mean and what does that look like for a believer?

It is difficult to assess what taking care of ourselves in a Godly way is, but when we practice self-care we honor God and His incredible blessings. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #care #prayer #self-care #renew #scripture #devotional

Physical Care

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own

1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV

When we make the decision to be a Christian, we sacrifice our bodies. Our bodies become a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. When we look at our bodies as a temple, our perspective should change. We should crave to take care of our bodies. When we live in the mindset that our body is essentially the house of God we are forced to take care of it.

Caring for our temple comes by eating well, exercising, and having good hygiene. I am not saying that we all need to start dieting and going to the gym every single day. Trust me, I am the first to admit that I have terrible habits I need to work on. This message is as much for me as it is for you. What I am saying is that we need to all take steps to ensure that we are caring for the body that God gave and that the Holy Spirit dwells in.

Spiritual Care

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Mark 1:35, NIV

After a long day of preaching, healing, and casting out demons, Christ knew he needed to take care of himself spiritually. In that moment He practiced solitude and went to a place to pray. Jesus needed to be filled spiritually so that He could continue preaching and feeding into others the next day.

We must do the same. Part of everyday life is pouring into others. While that takes root in many ways, there is one thing that remains the same… We can not give from an empty cup. If we are not filled spiritually, we cannot lead spiritually. We have to take time to be alone with God. We need to hear from God on a regular basis. This not only gives us the ability to fill others, but it also helps us learn to hear the voice of God.

If we do not practice solitude and take care of ourselves spiritually, we can’t hear God’s voice. Listening requires attention and quiet. When we talk to a friend we don’t constantly look at our phone or interrupt the conversation to do something else, so why do we do this when spending time with God? We have to spend time with Him in order to be healthy and care for ourselves.

Mental Care

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test what God’s will is: his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2, NIV

Our mind should not be like that of the world’s we have to renew our minds. This leads to transformation, which leads to being able to know what God’s will is. Every minute of every day our mind has the opportunity to be distracted by something of the world. Whether it be a negative thought about ourselves, an advertisement, or something on social media, there is always a distraction available.

We need to practice mental self-care by freeing our mind from those distractions. When a lie pops into our head, we can replace it with God’s truth. As we watch TV and see an advertisement with a beautiful model, we can remember that we are uniquely created. When we see people’s picture perfect life on social media, we can remember that nobody is perfect and everyone has struggles. Our minds need to be focused on things of God that we may have a healthy mind.

Godly Self-Care

Caring for ourselves is crucial. There are many things out there that teach a skewed version of self-care. We need to focus on Godly self-care. When we take care of ourselves, we take care of the gift God gave us. Not caring for ourselves is a disservice to our Creator. How can you take care of yourself today?

There's a lot of confusion and skewed versions of self-care. We need to focus on Godly self-care and nurture the gift God gave us. Not caring for ourselves is a disservice to our Creator. Click To Tweet

It is difficult to assess what taking care of ourselves in a Godly way is, but when we practice self-care we honor God and His incredible blessings. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #care #prayer #self-care #renew #scripture #devotional
Evie Shaffer

discernment, God’s guidance, peace, prayer, reckless, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Prayer: Avoid Living Recklessly by Inviting the Lord’s Daily Leading

When prayer isn’t a daily part of our lives, it causes us to live recklessly. Lacking prayer causes us to fall asleep to the Lord’s leading. 



I was standing in Home Depot with my husband when I received a text from our daughter. She relayed a glorious, long-awaited answer to prayer for a beloved friend. I wanted to shout HALLELUJAH and dance a happy dance in praise to our almighty, merciful God! (We didn’t shout, but Gary and I had us a little praise service in the hardware aisle.) 

I wonder, sometimes, why we don’t pray more than we do…

When prayer isn't a daily part of our lives, it causes us to live recklessly. Lacking prayer causes us to fall asleep to the Lord's leading. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #discernment #guidance #peace #prayer

Necessity

As I was pondering this topic my mind was taken back to an article I read years ago by Ruth Graham, wife of Rev. Billy Graham. The Grahams had five children and Rev. Graham traveled around the world preaching the gospel the majority of each year.

For many years, Mrs. Graham did not have an hour or two per day for prayer. Instead, Mrs. Graham prayed as she washed dishes, prayed as she cooked meals or vacuumed. She prayed without ceasing, at all times, during every part of the day. Prayer had been a vital part of her life since she was a young teen; she was convinced it was a necessity.

In Matthew 26, after the Lord’s Supper takes place, Jesus takes the disciples out to Gethsemane.

‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”

Matthew 26:36, ESV

Most of you know this story. Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John while the other disciples were expected to pray, (minus Judas, who had left the supper to betray Jesus). Jesus became very troubled and sorrowful, even to death. He asked the three, the men who were closest to Him, to watch with Him. Jesus then went a bit further still, and fell on his face before the Father, wrestling in prayer.

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.’

Matthew 26:40-42, ESV

Friends Who Pray

You’ve guessed where this is going, haven’t you? Even if you didn’t know this story, you’re fairly familiar with even the best of human intentions.

Sadly, when Jesus returned the third time, He found them sleeping. So, Jesus went back to prayer alone, “saying the same words again” to His Father. When He returned to His disciples, He said to them:

‘Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.’

Matthew 26:45-46, ESV

It is a difficult concept to ponder – Jesus wanting company, Jesus wanting His friends to be near Him as He struggled with conflict in prayer. We can’t fathom Him wrestling with His will about doing His Father’s will. After all – He was God.

But Jesus was also man. The Man, Jesus, knew taking on the sins of the world meant separation from His Father. Asking for that must have felt like more than He could bear. Jesus needed His friends to pray with Him, to be near Him. We, too, have experienced the need of friends praying with us.

But they fell asleep…and one could ask, who could blame them, really? It was Passover Celebration. They were exhausted. Jesus was doing and saying strange things to them, (He actually washed their feet!) Now He, their Teacher and Master, was behaving as though He was troubled about something. The cumulative effect was overwhelming to the point of – well – physical shutdown.

What Lay Ahead

If the Holy Spirit decided to run a video of me revealing each time I fell asleep, either literally or figuratively, when He has instructed me to pray, I would be deeply ashamed. Or what about the times I told someone else I would pray for them and then forgot?

However, the beauty of this story is not that Jesus berated the disciples or shamed them. Aside from inviting them to join Him as His friends, He was attempting to warn them. They still needed to learn that only through prayer would they be prepared to face what lay ahead; that night and the days to come.

Because without prayer, we are powerless, (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 6:10-18). Without prayer, we can be reckless.

What better example can I offer than Peter? Peter, who had been snoozing, was still rubbing the sleep from his eyes when traitorous Judas arrived with the band of soldiers and officers of the chief priests and Pharisees to arrest Jesus. Despite repeated warnings from Jesus, like us, unprepared Peter did not expect the lightning strike of the serpent. Therefore, he responded in his flesh…

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that  the Father has given me?’

John 18:10-11, ESV

Reckless

Sometimes recklessness can feel like boldness. Peter probably felt courageous pulling out a sword to protect Jesus! However, Jesus rebuked him and healed the ear. Had Peter been in prayer, He would have known the mission of our Lord.

We’re no different. We can mistake courage and boldness for recklessness, but in our hearts, we know. How do we know? If we have a relationship with the Father, and His Spirit lives within, He isn’t going to keep it a secret, girl! Believe me! There will be no peace within.

Without prayer we respond to shame and failure with sin and denial.

Without prayer, we respond to shame and failure with sin and denial. But if we have a relationship with the Father, He isn't going to keep silent! He will guide us! Click To Tweet

Purpose for Prayer

Then they seized Him and led Him away, bringing Him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not”…another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about”…and the Lord turned and looked at Peter…and he went out and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:54-62, ESV

What a revealing picture we have here! Peter, missing Jesus’ purpose for praying, behaving recklessly, now following at a distance. He’s ashamed and frightened; he’s feeling like a failure.

Then Peter, brash, impetuous, proud Peter denies his Lord and Master… not once, but three times – the same number of times that Jesus reminded him to pray.

Can we dare not pray, dear sisters? Do we dare risk living without God’s discernment in this present evil age?

How can we take the chance of our daily actions becoming reckless? And risk denying our Lord?

There is too much at stake.

When prayer isn't a daily part of our lives, it causes us to live recklessly. Lacking prayer causes us to fall asleep to the Lord's leading. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #discernment #guidance #peace #prayer

Evie Shaffer

Bible, God’s Word, meditation, prayer, scripture, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Tools: Reading, Meditating On, and Praying God’s Word

Have you ever opened up about something to a fellow Jesus follower, and without skipping a beat they ask, “Are you reading your Bible? Have you been praying?” The thing is, they’re not wrong to ask that. But there is so much more to it. What tools do we have? 



We were on our way to pick up a friend when my son asked, “How do I stop myself from being so angry when people make fun of me? I break pencils to calm down, but I know that’s not the best thing to do. And really, I don’t want to get to the place where I’m so mad that…” He trailed off and I inserted, “…that you want to start breaking other things.” He hung his head and said sadly, “Yeah. Pretty much.” I immediately told him I was proud of him for being bold enough to ask me that question. And I told him it is brave to be vulnerable, and it is wise to ask for help.

Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Proverbs 11:14, NASB

Confided in a fellow Jesus follower and they immediately ask if you are reading your Bible and praying? They're not wrong but there is so much more to it... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #prayer #meditation #Bible

Gathering Tools

I told my son, “The church will say ‘read your Bible and pray’ as an answer to every single one of your problems. And that is the answer, my love. But it goes beyond; there are more layers.”

What if we are reading the Bible? What if we are praying, but we still face the same giants every day with no victory in sight? I went on to tell him, “It sounds like good advice to read your Bible and pray because it is good! But it’s helpful to know how to read it to where you’re able to understand it. It’s also helpful to know how to pray! I’ll share with you some of the tools I’ve been learning so you can dig a little deeper and find some peace.”

Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.

Psalm 4:4, NKJV

Meditate on What?

Meditation is totally trending these days. Perhaps you’ve seen these hashtags in your Instagram feed…

  • #meditate
  • #mindright
  • #reflection

Meditation has been described as thoughtlessness for the purpose of achieving calmness over mind and body. Thoughtlessness. Emptying the mind. I admit I spent some time in the past, practicing this concept. I can report to you that I was unsuccessful. Honestly, thoughtlessness doesn’t even happen in my sleep! My goal was to de-stress; but Sis, the only truly proven stress relief in my life is meditating on the words of God.

How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the company of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2, CSB

Here’s the Tea

Dr. Donald S. Whitney likened reading Scripture to the process of steeping tea (another trending topic!). The more a verse or passage is poured over and soaked in, the richer its color and flavor. Dr. Whitney was using the analogy in relation to Bible reading, but I believe it applies to meditating on Scripture as well. You may be asking the same thing I was: What’s the difference between reading and meditating on what you read from the Bible?

Biblical meditation is the process of taking time to reflect and dwell on passages in God’s Word. There are many ways to do this, but my favorite is to read it out loud with as much inflection as I can muster. I’ve found meditating on the truths of Scripture leads to a better understanding of the Bible and what God is communicating to His people. It’s created an opportunity for me to retain what I read and has enabled a deeper knowing—much more so than merely reading and moving on with my day. Consequently, it has amped the way I talk to God.

Praying on Purpose

There have been times in the past when my communication with God seemed selfish. The only time I would go to Him was when I needed something. I started to feel guilty for treating God like a magic genie. Sadly, instead of allowing the conviction to incite change, I stopped going to Him for anything at all. I told myself the lie that if His will was going to be done eventually anyway, He certainly didn’t need me bombarding Him with requests all the time.

I have also experienced the feeling of having mediocre prayers. They had all the right churchy phrases in them like “thank You for Your grace,” “pour out Your Spirit on us,” and “be glorified.” And those are not bad things to say in prayer; yet when I spoke them, they lacked an intimate knowing of my Maker. Nor did they mirror an understanding of being known by my Father.

I felt the disconnect. It was like having a piece of the puzzle, but no finished picture for direction. I didn’t recognize the Bible as sufficient guidance for rich communion with God. Now, by His amazing grace, I am learning to utilize specific verses from the Bible as a basis for prayer. When I don’t have words, Scripture provides them.

The Bible speaks the language of the Spirit who originally breathed out all the words of Scripture. Praying the Bible has helped to illuminate God’s intentions, love, purposes, and faithfulness. It has also created an ability to recall God’s Word in times of rejoicing and sorrow, which has ushered in a peace and joy I had not previously known or understood!

That’s Delightful

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4, ESV

This verse completely changed my understanding of what it means to get my heart’s desires. If we are taking delight in the Lord, our motivation will be to bring glory to Him. Then our desires align with His! As we go through our days, whether in seasons of rejoicing or sorrow, I pray we will practice reading, meditating on, and praying the Bible. 

The Bible speaks the language of the Spirit who originally breathed out all the words of Scripture. Praying the Bible helps to illuminate God's intentions, love, purposes, and faithfulness. Click To Tweet

Confided in a fellow Jesus follower and they immediately ask if you are reading your Bible and praying? They're not wrong but there is so much more to it... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #prayer #meditation #Bible

Neven Krcmarek

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

transformation, mess, Oh Lord Help Us, women, mentoring, Christian, ministry

Transformation: Allowing God’s Guidance to Use Us Where We Are

The transformation of Paul is a great reminder that God can use us, no matter what. When feelings of “I am not good enough for God to use me” sneak in, remember it is NOT true!



Power, righteousness, absolution, and control. Those were the coveted virtues of Saul of Tarsus. He wielded his certainty of righteousness like a sword, which would cut through the flesh of early Christians. This includes poor Stephen, who is considered the first martyr for God.

Saul extolled his power over the ringleaders of Christ’s church as he imprisoned not just men but women too. Saul tore families apart. He was assured of absolution from all this murder and mayhem because the Hebrew leaders told him he was holy in deeds.

The transformation of Paul is a great reminder that God can use us, no matter what. When feelings of "I am not good enough for God to use me" sneak in, remember it is NOT true! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

One Story Ends

Then an amazing miracle occurred: transformation.

As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

Acts 9:3

God stepped in and changed Saul to Paul. Paul who became one of the most influential leaders of the early church, who is responsible for writing between eight and thirteen books of the New Testament. He received grace, mercy, love, and direction. In the end, these were the virtues that led him to eternal life.

Do you feel like me? Too broken, too tired, too useless or too far gone for God to use?

I am so out of sorts right now. Some days I don’t even want to crawl out from under the covers. Laying in bed, eating popcorn, watching Hallmark movies, and daydreaming I am anywhere other than where I am. Being overscheduled, having children, being a wife and teacher can drive me to think I should just give up.

The Transformation Begins

Just last week, in a moment like this, God spoke Paul’s story of transformation to me and reminded me that all is well. I am broken, messy, tired, and self-involved. BUT I am exactly the creation that God can use to spread His word. Hey, I’m talking to you, aren’t I? Amazing!

There is no sin too great, despair too deep, or emptiness too vast in a life that God cannot restore and use for the glory of His Kingdom. My goodness, a scribe of the Word was a murderer, blasphemer, and persecutor of the early church. Saul literally tried to put God’s bride, the Church, to death. And instead, Paul became her champion.

The whole group kept quiet and listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.

Acts 15:12

A recent sermon at church was centered around Paul and his good works and motivation to move the early church forward. I admit, I totally checked out as I felt compelled to read the “before” story. How did Paul get to be such a paragon of the church?  That’s when God told me… “I will always be able to use you. You are broken, messy, and sinful. But, if I can use Saul, oh how I can use you.” Maybe not out loud, but in a soft whisper in my heart.

There is no sin too great, despair too deep, or emptiness too vast in a life that God cannot restore and use for the glory of His Kingdom. Click To Tweet

Keep Moving Toward God

So, if that is possible, I must submit to the awesome plans of my God and allow Him to be my guide. I can’t give up, though I can rest. I shouldn’t spend so much time regretting where I’m not, but reveling in where I am.

God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time, but he has also placed ignorance in the human heart so that people cannot discover what God has ordained, from the beginning to the end of their lives.

Ecclsiastes 3:11

So how do I do that? How can I find the courage to confess my sins of self-indulgence, coveting, and a myriad of other issues I see reflecting back at me on my worst days? How can I feel so worthless and still be an instrument for God?

He Has All the Answers

Starting where I always do with prayer, reflection, and acknowledgment, my transformation can begin…

I will cry out to God and call for help! I will cry out to God and he will pay attention to me.

Psalms 77:1

August 27

Dear God,

Please be with me today. I feel super cranky, and don’t even want to get out of bed. I want to lose my patience, yell and cry out that life isn’t fair. Really do I even have to “do” today? I can’t keep up with all of this and the kids, co-workers, family, ALL of IT is more than I can do. I feel like I am failing and falling. Please take it away.

Pity party, that is what I am having. I am focusing on the tasks and not the outcome. You’re right. If my mantra is to be a reflection of Your light in my everyday walk, I need to suck it up.

Forgive me for wishing my circumstances away. Help me use Your gift of today to do better, be better and give better.

Love,

me

The transformation of Paul is a great reminder that God can use us, no matter what. Think you are not good enough for God to use? It's NOT true! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture references come from the NET Bible.
constant, unchanging, hope, Oh Lord Help Us, women, Christian, ministry

Constant: Hopeful in the Waiting Because Jesus is Unchanging

Hope is challenging when our lives are full of waiting. Jesus is our hope and deliverer even when nothing may ever change. He is our constant.



My friend had a broken heart. I’m done she wrote. Done praying, hoping, waiting. What kind of father allows his children to suffer and hurt when he has the power to change and heal hearts? He hides behind this idea that we are to learn lessons and become stronger. It’s cruel and I want no part of it.

As I read my friend’s words, I knew I too had felt these very thoughts and more as I suffered through long periods of waiting. What is a believer to do in the midst of extreme despair? As believers our only answer is hope.

Hope is challenging when our lives are full of waiting. Jesus is our hope and deliverer even when nothing may ever change. He is our constant. #hope, #constant, #givemeJesus

He is Our Hope

The weight of situations have left me feeling broken, alone, vulnerable, and angry. While listening to preachers talk about peace and comfort and better times, I have rarely connected better times with being in God’s presence. I know I have attributed better times with better circumstances; the problem would be resolved and the weight would fall off. Yet, Scripture is full of those who saw long times of waiting. Moses in the desert – not one time but twice, Joseph in prison, and David in hiding. And us his church waiting for his return. If I am honest, I do not want to be one of the waiting. I want to be one of the delivered.

How can I find hope and even believe there is anything to hope for in the face of so much pain? In the face of impossible situations and ones that may not change?

He is Our Deliverer

Hebrews 11, while it speaks of so many who were faithful and saw victory, also talks about suffering, mocking, flogging, sawn in two, stoned, killed by the sword. Destitute, afflicted, mistreated- of whom the world was unworthy.  While many today want to make Jesus into some wise teacher, He is and was so much more.

He is the great deliverer. For some, that will be here on earth. They will see healing and change. But, many may never see deliverance until heaven. Regardless of when the hope that we long for is fulfilled, we can all stand sure of one thing- His presence. He has promised us His presence. Jesus said he was sending us a comforter. What does that mean but that we would require comfort? This world has trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.

Regardless of when the hope that we long for is fulfilled, we can all stand sure of one thing- His presence. Click To Tweet

leather, wrap, bracelet, redeemed, cuff

He is Our Constant

I can see the weight of worry and despair fall off because He is my peace, who has broken down every wall. My problem will not go away. Some of my worries may never get better or even change until I walk the gates of heaven. But, He is constant. I can trust him with my agony knowing that He too, understands what it is like to suffer. I can lay my despair at the feet of Jesus and know if not now, then one day all will be redeemed. All will be made new. All will be as He intended.

Jesus too, suffered knowing that the only relief would be the cross. I can take comfort that in whatever I face He, who knew no sin, suffered in my place so that I will not face eternity with no hope. This is a different kind of hope than the one who does not know Jesus, our great high priest who, though was tempted, was without sin. I will forget this truth often and I hope that I can reach out to those who will gently remind me of what is good and true. I can pray and take time to train my heart to remember and meditate on His constancy.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:3, NIV

Hope is challenging when our lives are full of waiting. Jesus is our hope and deliverer even when nothing may ever change. He is our constant. #hope, #constant, #givemeJesus

eberhard grossgasteiger

prayer, giver, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, Women, ministry

Giver: Surprising Answers to Our Secret Heart Prayers

God is the giver Who gives what we don’t even know we need. He knows the depths of our hearts and answers the secret prayers within us, surprising us with His blessings.



I want to share with you my first prayer I wrote a little over a year ago when I started writing my prayers down with some regularity.

Dear God,

Thank you for Your messages in my life. You are moving mountains and have held my hand, comforted, and carried me. Thank you seems less… insincere. Your mighty works are awesome and great to be praised. Continue to help me accept the next challenge You are asking me to accept. I love to write and I keep feeling a pull from You to tell a story. Please guide my pen, words, and desires so that the story I tell is pleasing to You. Let me keep You as my truth and light. Bless my beautiful children. Guide them to find Your will in this season of their lives.

Love,
me

God is the giver Who gives what we don't even know we need. He knows the depths of our hearts and answers the secret prayers within us, surprising us with His blessings. #giver #prayer #spiritualgrowth #ChristianWomen

Answered prayer…

About six months later I mentioned in our church small group that I was feeling God pulling me to share my love and experiences. Rachael implored me to share what that meant exactly. I really didn’t want to say more, so I hemmed and hawed. Used some big words that meant nothing. She took my hands in hers and she said, “I need to hear the words. What is in you heart?”

“I want to write.”

“I’m going to share an opportunity. You can join in, or go a different way and I will be your biggest cheerleader…”

Can you imagine? I am tearing up thinking of it now. God answered a prayer, guided me on a path, and brought me an awesome new friend.

In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9, NIV

Unknown prayer…

I have felt so free and my spirit has been opened in ways I didn’t know could happen. Writing and sharing it with others has brought so, so much to my life. I have connected to my friends and family, my co-workers and small group members in deeper ways. People ask me to pray WITH them now. I think that has been the biggest privilege God has created for me. I still feel a little self conscious when I do, but that is more of wanting to find the right words.

A verse that has been helping me be more comfortable praying out loud with people is, If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7, ESV)

When this verse showed up on my Facebook timeline back in January, I wrote this prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for your answers to prayers, Thank you for guidance and direction, Thank you for opening my heart and ears. Miracles surround us. Thank you!

Love,
me

Surprise prayer…

All this has lead to several talks with you, lovely readers, who have brought so much hope and inspiration to my life. You have shared words that have buoyed me. Comments that boosted me when the dark side of depression has tried to wheel its way into my life. I have felt love and connection when parts of my story have resonated with you. And I have reconnected with friends and family that I had resigned myself to losing.

Right before I wrote my story about my grandmother and grandfather, I saw the verse, Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV). As I reflected on this, I prayed:

Dear God,

Surprise me with ways I can influence others in Your light. I feel you talking to me, but there is so much, I’m not sure what is me and what is You. Help me to discern the difference. Let the Holy Spirit speak to me and let my heart hear.

Love,
me

Heart prayer…

A few days after that post, I had the most amazing conversation with my brother. We connected in a way that we haven’t since we both became grown ups. Life becomes busy, families grow, distance, both literal and figurative, pushed us apart. No, we never fought. We see each other a few times a year. Have been on vacation together a few times, but never spent time sharing what was on our hearts. God is so good; He gives us what we didn’t even know we need.

God is so good; He gives us what we don't even know we need. Click To Tweet

God is amazing. If you let Him speak to you, your life will become fuller. Mine is far from perfect, but the ugly parts are so much more bearable and the good parts are so much more glorious. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. Allow Him in. You will be so glad you did.

God is the giver Who gives what we don't even know we need. He knows the depths of our hearts and answers the secret prayers within us, surprising us with His blessings. #giver #prayer #spiritualgrowth #ChristianWomen

 

Sammie Vasquez