Grief, anger, infertility, pain, suffering, truth, devotional, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Grief: Learning to Praise God in Times of Acute Pain

Grief is crippling. Often times our physical bodies heal faster than our spirits. In these times we must learn to praise God through the pain.



Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in anguish. How long, LORD, how long?
Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave ?
I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping.
The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.

Psalm 6:2-9, NIV

Grief is crippling. Often times our physical bodies heal faster than our spirits. In these times we must learn to praise God through the pain. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #grief #anger #infertility #pain

Spiritual and Physical Anguish

The moment after the ultrasound that showed that our supposed “miracle baby” was meant for Heaven rather than earth, my body ached with devastating grief. Sorrow is insidious, seeping in and replicating like a virus or cancer. It hits fast and hard — starting at the chest, knocking the wind out of you, and quickly traveling to every muscle, joint, bone, and nerve.  

The bodily pain mended more quickly than my broken spirit, and that pain comes back now and then: when a friend has a baby, when I see the baby pictures of other people’s children, when I have none of mine, when I think of how my due date is fast approaching every November. It has been in those moments–those breathless, agonizing moments, where my faith has been tested. Would this be the time that I fell to my knees to pray for healing? Or would I shake my fist to rail at my Heavenly Father for His cruelty, His neglect, His silence?

Directing Our Anger

I’d like to tell you that I always ended up on my knees, but I have raised my fist towards God in anger more times than I would like to admit. Luckily for me, God has always been capable of taking the brunt of my anger. Fortunately for me, He has already forgiven my rage and impertinence. Thankfully, He has always guided me back to dedicated prayer and relationship with Him.  

I know God has delivered me. He has saved me because of His undying, steadfast love. He always hears my weeping, my cries for mercy. God patiently listens to my pleas and accepts my prayers. His silence isn’t a sign of neglect. This silence has a purpose which He will reveal to me in His time.

Pain of Grief

I think it is important to remember this Psalm, even in the darkest depths of grief. The Psalmist cries out to God just as any one of us does on any given day. He feels the bodily pain of his grief and the weariness from enduring so much sadness. He wonders how long God will allow him to withstand his anguish.

My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long?

Psalm 6:3, NIV

This is a familiar refrain. But the Psalmist remembers that no matter how his body aches, how much his soul anguishes, he is blessed with God’s unfailing love. 

These Feelings are Natural

I think we, especially as women, find shame in lifting our frustration and rage up and directing it at God. We know that we are supposed to find solace in Him, to trust in His plans, His timing, His goodness. But the world presents us with such indefinable suffering that there is no tangible “who” to place our blame upon. God, then, becomes the logical culpability bearer.

This is natural. It’s normal. You are no different than I am in this transgression. Plus, God has proven time and time again to be long-suffering with our misplaced anger and doubt in Him. He hasn’t broken off relationship with us in the past, so why would He in our present or future?

This is the comfort we can seek, this unity in our weakness and assurance that our Father will love us through it all. Sit in that for a moment. But don’t stay comfortable too long, because comfortable people do not change. God tells us time and time again in Scripture, we are to be transformed by our relationship with Him. So, now that we have cast away the shame we feel in misplacing our anger in Him…

Seeking a Different Way

We have to seek a different path. Every time I misplace my anger at my circumstances and place it firmly on His shoulders, I go back to the question my small group leader always asks: “What do I know to be true?”

I know God is good beyond my capability to comprehend. I am assured that He loves me with an unfathomable love. I know that His Word bears evidence of His goodness through generation, upon generation who came before me. I know that His way is always best and that I never regret His way once the conclusion has played out in my life. I am certain that what I do not understand today, I will understand when I am in Heaven.

This knowledge should transform how I react. It should impact how I respond to my suffering. I should look to Job and Joseph and see how they embraced God in the midst of their troubles.

Job praised God. His wife wanted him to curse God and die. I know that feeling. I cannot judge her for having that resentment without living at the height of my own hypocrisy. But I can aspire to be more like Job.

Joseph had been so maligned by his brothers that no one could blame him had he cast his brothers out of Egypt without food. He, however, saw the good God did in the midst of his travails and was able to show genuine forgiveness to his bullies and assailants.

Praising through Pain

It seems counterintuitive. We know bad things happen despite our faith and God’s goodness, but in the midst of our suffering, it does not seem like God deserves our praise. That is exactly when we need to get out of our broken hearts into our heads.

What do we know to be true?

He is always worthy.

He is always good.

We must praise Him always.

In the end, we will endure our burdens much more easily when our eyes are set on Him in adoration. The trust we have in what we know to be true about our Father is a buffer that shields us from the harshest parts of our suffering. It won’t remove the stress and pain altogether, but it will shield us from the worst of it and allow us to see how God works in spite of the pain, because of it, and alongside it.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5, ESV
We endure our burdens when our eyes are set on God in adoration. The trust we have in what we know to be true about our Father is a buffer shielding us from the harshest parts of our suffering. Click To Tweet

Grief is crippling. Often times our physical bodies heal faster than our spirits. In these times we must learn to praise God through the pain. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #grief #anger #infertility #pain

unsplash-logoKirill Pershin
freedom, God’s love, identity, loved, truth, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Loved: Knowing God Desires Us for Who We Were Created to Be

We believe so many lies. One of the easiest to believe is that we cannot be loved. But God desires and loves us for who He created us to be!



I’m a pretty good driver. The only accident I’ve ever been in was entirely not my fault. I’ve never received a ticket. Never even been pulled over. So I really believe God intervened the night I ran over a raccoon and hit a deer within a 20-minute time span.

The few months leading up to that life-changing drive were some of the worst months of my life. I was working as the middle school director for a summer camp. A job I loved but caused me to endure some vicious slander from a young woman I lived with at the time. A sister in Christ.

Her verbal attacks made me believe maybe I wasn’t a good leader, a good friend, a good follower of Jesus. Her accusations wore me down emotionally and even spiritually.

We believe so many lies. One of the easiest to believe is that we cannot be loved. But God desires and loves us for who He created us to be! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #freedom #identity #loved #truth

Attacked and Abused

Then our summer staff came to camp. I always enjoyed the weeks of training new staff and seeing how God brought us all together to teach His truth to campers. What I didn’t enjoy, though, were the two young men who flirted rather heavily with me. Two young men with girlfriends, I might add.

I remember the disgust I felt as I attempted to dissuade their flirtatious interactions. Here they were, men who claimed Christ as their Savior, using me for some fun without care for my feelings or, of course, their girlfriends’ feelings. 

The few weeks leading up to that fateful drive, my days consisted of listening to a fellow Christian attack my character and attempting to ward off flirting games.

I was sickened. I felt used and abused. 

The Ugly Anti-truth

From then on, I allowed Satan to take their words and actions and twist them into an ugly version of truth. This ugly anti-truth didn’t stop at crushing my character, though. It placed the words and actions I was receiving from sinful humans over God’s character. Before I realized what had happened, I began to struggle with believing the truth that God fully and uniquely loved me.

I knew Christ loves all people equally, but I struggled. If He truly loves us all the same, how was I special to Him? How was I unique to Him? How could I be loved by Him?

I prayed over this lie. My friends did, too. I sought wisdom from others. I saw Satan’s schemes for what they were. Yet I couldn’t move past the thought of, But what if he’s right? 

Freedom

It was on that drive when I found freedom. God revealed His answer to my prayers. I had tears threatening to spill as I drove home from Bible study. I cried out to God, asking Him why these fellow Christians were treating me like an afterthought. Why wouldn’t He remove this lie from my heart about who He was and how He loved me?

And that’s when I hit the raccoon. He had run out in front of me so quickly, I had barely seen him… I felt the thud, and I just burst into tears. This was not what I needed.

But as I wept, I decided enough was enough. So I numbed myself from the pain of my attackers. I took all my emotions and pushed them as far away from my heart as possible. I wiped my tears, set my jaw, and would fight back by simply not caring.

And that’s when I hit the deer. I remember looking at my speedometer for half a second. When I looked up, he was just standing there, right in front of me…

Overwhelmingly Loved

As the impact — physical and emotional — of what just happened tore through me, I once again began to weep. I cried out again and again, Why?? Why now? But instead of silence and my continued sobbing, I heard God’s answer…

He reminded me of the many ways He physically protects me. My love language is touch, and He had kept me safe from harm my whole life. There were different scenes that played out in my mind’s eye of moments when I should’ve been seriously injured — the current one included — but instead, I had not a scratch. 

For reasons I know as the Holy Spirit, my mind was released from the lie that God doesn’t love me perfectly and exactly the way I need love. The evidence overwhelmed me. 

His love overwhelmed me. 

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Isaiah 41:9, NIV

The Only One

God reminded me how He knows every part of me, even the ugly parts, yet He still loves me. While human love will never satisfy, His will. While human love will always love flawed, His love never will. In fact, He rejoices over me.

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17, NIV

You might be facing this same lie or a number of other ugly anti-truths. But know, God has chosen you and not rejected you. He has engraved you on the palms of His hands. And if you were the only human on earth, He still would’ve sacrificed Himself for you. That’s how much He loves you.

No matter what others say about you or how people treat you, the perfect, unique love of our Savior is ready to wash you clean from your wounds. He is the only One who sees every aspect of you and loves you more than you can imagine.

Rejoicing in Truth

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19, NIV

His love surpasses our understanding and knowledge. Yet we can rest in the truth that His love is not measured in human standards. How we love one another should reflect God’s love for us, not the other way around. 

So whatever lie you face this day, continue to give it to Jesus. Continue to hold it up to the truth of Scripture, knowing He rejoices over you with singing. 

And my prayer is that it won’t take hitting a raccoon and a deer, for you to know the truth that will set you free.

God's love surpasses our understanding and knowledge. We can rest in the truth that His love is not measured in human standards. Click To Tweet

We believe so many lies. One of the easiest to believe is that we cannot be loved. But God desires and loves us for who He created us to be! Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #freedom #identity #loved #truth


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-logoAnita Austvika
God’s Word, truth, align, life, thoughts, speak, heart, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Align: Thinking Thoughts and Speaking Words of Truth

When our thoughts about ourselves and others align with the truth of God’s Word, the words we speak will be life-giving to those around us. 



As is so often the case, recently I’ve been learning a lot about this walk of faith through parenting my children. I have an eight-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter, who are precious, funny, and…challenging!

We just wrapped up a three-week track out period–on the year-round school calendar, this is the break that follows each nine-week quarter. The first week of track out went smashingly well…mainly because both kids went to a week-long, all-day camp that they love! However, for weeks two and three, the camp was full. So, the kids stayed home for two…entire…weeks! As a courtesy to the reader, I’ll spare the gory details and just say: it did not go so well.

When our thoughts about ourselves and others align with the truth of God's Word, the words we speak will be life giving to those around us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #thoughts #truth #godsword #scripture #devotional

Dangerous Declarations…

There was yelling, hurt feelings, toy fights, and fussing and whining over…well…just about everything! At one point, I heard myself say in exasperation: “Nothing can ever just be easy with you two, can it?!” Immediately when I said this, a pit formed in my throat.

I realized that, as I was speaking, in essence, I was making some dangerous declarations about my kids and about myself. They were too difficult. I couldn’t handle them. Spending time with them was a chore I did not enjoy… And sadly, these are only some of the many negative declarations I made that week. (The final week went much more smoothly…more on that later.)

When I think and speak negatively about my kids, I create expectations and behaviors that I don’t want to be true of my family. Although they felt very true in the moment, none of the declarations I made align with God’s true desires for me or my children. So, in an effort to better shepherd these two little souls the Lord has given me, I’m more closely examining the thoughts I’m thinking. As well as the words I’m speaking. Ultimately, I’m finding that the interplay between these two critical areas directly affects not only my parenting but my entire life.

Thoughts…

The harsh comments I was making to my kids originated from the negative thoughts I was thinking about them. Each morning, I awoke dreading the long hours of the day which lay ahead. And trying to fill the time with creative activities to keep them both peacefully engaged, proved too daunting a task. I was constantly bracing myself for the next explosive outburst or heated bout of sibling rivalry. And as my thoughts were filtering for the bad, my mouth was following suit.

Constant preemptive refereeing ensued: “No, don’t play in the same room! I’m not going to listen to another argument from you two this morning. Stop throwing that in the house. You’re going to break something or hurt your sister again! Quit bothering your brother!…”

And because I was expecting them to behave poorly, indeed I saw a bunch of negative behavior from my kids. Scripture clearly describes how this happens. That which we hold in our hearts and minds determines the words we speak and the reality we see.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Luke 6:45

Align…

After the disastrous first week’s tremors subsided, I began to sort through the rubble. I picked up shards of cutting words I had spoken, sorted through broken remnants of hope for time well spent together, and took one last look at fading images of defeated thoughts that had been on replay in my mind. Sensing that the storm had passed, I now had a choice to make: I could either dwell on the previous week’s devastating losses, or I could look ahead to the next week as a fresh start. A new opportunity to align my thoughts and words to the truth about my kids and myself as a mom.

So, on Sunday night, I intentionally set my mind to have a better week. And how does one follow through on this kind of decision? Perhaps you’ve studied Joyce Meyer’s wonderful book The Battlefield of the Mind or meditated on the following scripture. If so, you know that it all begins with first noticing and then choosing which thoughts we allow to take root in our minds and hearts.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5

On Monday morning, the same heavy thoughts tried to take the stage yet again. But they were like an unwanted encore performance after the audience has left the building. I began to take each thought captive to see whether it lined up with the truth of the Word.

Paying closer attention to the ways my kids were playing well together, I began to praise their efforts–no matter how small– to cooperate and share with one another. And when I began looking for the good, guess what I saw? A great deal more positive interactions between my kiddos. And guess what I did a lot less of? Frazzled policing of their every move. By the end of the week, we had hit our stride. And for the first time, in what felt like a long time, I actually found myself thoroughly enjoying playing with my kids!

He’s Thinking Good Thoughts…

This might all sound like easy, Positive Parenting 101 stuff. But when we’re in the middle of what feels like an earthquake, sometimes it’s hard to remember the basics: find less fault, give more praise. And isn’t this how our heavenly Father guides us?

He isn’t constantly hovering over us, just waiting for our next mistake so He can bring down the hammer. Not at all. He’s a good Father who put His Holy Spirit within us as our constant comforter and counselor. And He’s quietly cheering us on. Looking for ways to praise and encourage us. Delighting in His children. And all the while, He’s thinking good thoughts about us!

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11

So, here’s to thinking good thoughts that align with God’s truth about who we are. Beloved, when what we think aligns with His Word, we will speak life to our own hearts and to those in our midst. So, let this be our prayer:

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalms 19:14

What kinds of thoughts have you been thinking lately? Are the words you’re speaking giving life to those around you?

God doesn’t constantly hover over us, waiting for our next mistake. He's a good Father who put His comforting Holy Spirit within us; He's quietly cheering us on, delighting in His children! Click To Tweet

When our thoughts about ourselves and others align with the truth of God's Word, the words we speak will be life giving to those around us. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #thoughts #truth #godsword #scripture #devotional

Aaron Burden

All scripture references are from The King James Version of The 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

Thirst, Quench, spiritual growth, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentoring

Thirst: Quenching the Desire Deep Within Our Soul

We are thirsty creatures. There are different types of thirst and we search for a drink all of our lives. Some people are quenched while others are not…



During the month of May and early June, my husband and I devoted the Sabbath to visiting my older brother and only sibling. Each week we witnessed his life ebb away as his breathing became increasingly ragged and his body more skeletal. Cancer was winning another soldier in a long-fought battle.

Eternal Thirst

My brother lived a life of deep yearning and disappointment, which led to cynicism and bitterness. Until a decade earlier, he had attempted to quench his thirst with alcohol, different wives, and adventures in nature, but nothing satisfied. He blamed his thirst on our mother (who certainly had some culpability), God, a tragic accident he had as a child, or our “gene pool.” Until near the end, he seldom considered his personal responsibility.

In the weeks leading up to his death, we talked about eternity. He had never been interested before – concerning Jesus – had always strong-armed or insulted me away. But Hospice had been called and death was imminent. I’ve found that people are more willing to talk about eternity when death is looming larger than life. I asked if the chaplain had spoken to him about God and received a less than satisfying answer. “God loves you,” I said many times… I’m not sure he believed it. Finally, a week before he died, I asked if he was ready to meet God. He assured me that he and God ‘had an understanding.’

I don’t know what that means… but God does. He has known my brother since before he was born. From the beginning He has known his thirst and known how to quench it. I pray that He did.

Physical Thirst

Have you ever been thirsty, physically thirsty? I mean, tongue-stuck-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth thirsty? If you’ve worked outside on a sultry summer day, or exercised past your limit, you know what I mean. Quenching the thirst becomes tantamount to everything else. We’ll leap over tall buildings in a single bound for a drink! Approximately 60% of the human body is water, so it’s safe to say it’s important to stay hydrated lest we become weak and disoriented. Every health website/magazine I’ve ever read stressed the importance of drinking plenty of water.

But does it stop the thirst? For a while… until I’m thirsty again.

Soul Thirst

The same phenomenon occurs in our souls.

It shall even be as when a hungry man dreams, And look – he eats; But he awakes, and his soul is still empty; Or as when a thirsty man dreams, And look – he drinks; But he awakes, and indeed he is faint, And his soul still craves:…

Isaiah 29:8, NKJV

It’s no accident that God often uses thirst as a word picture in Scripture. David and the sons of Korah are eloquent in several Psalms in their usage of the word:

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:1, NKJV

Oh God, You are my God; early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1, NKJV

I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.

Psalm 143: 6, NKJV

Are you feeling parched? Craving a bottle of water about now? I have one more:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of the hearing the words of the Lord…In that day the fair virgins and strong young men shall faint from thirst.”

Amos 8:11-13, NKJV

As author and Christian counselor Dr. Larry Crabb stated:

We cannot stop wanting to be happy – our souls long for whatever we think will provide the greatest possible pleasure. Our problem is that we are not yet fully aware that an “intimate relationship with God” is that greatest pleasure. In our foolishness we look for that experience in all the wrong places. We dig “broken cisterns” to satisfy our thirst and walk right by the fresh spring of water that is God.

An encounter with God is what we really want – we just don’t know it.  We dream “lower dreams” and think there are none higher.

Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams

Prescription for Quenching

There are a myriad of things in this world offering to satisfy our thirsty souls. Thoughts quickly turn to drugs, alcohol, and sex, but what about workaholism, religiosity, being addicted to exercise or the praise of man? The Israelites sampled everything available. Humans have sought to follow their example to this day. Each generation erroneously believes we’re more sophisticated, intelligent, savvy, connected…yeah, even the hip, ‘culture-current’ churches, (which is evident by recent ‘fall-out’ in megachurches across the land). But the Truth God spoke to His children then is the same Truth that quenches the thirst in dry, brittle souls today:

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread…Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food [abundance].

Isaiah 55:1-2, ESV (parenthesis added to add NKJV emphasis)

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

John 4:13-14, NKJV

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Matthew 5:6, NKJV

We are thirsty creatures. There are different types of thirst and we search for a drink all of our lives. Some people are quenched while others are not... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Christian Mentoring

Everlasting Satisfaction

I wonder sometimes if Christians really believe this stuff…more honestly, I wonder if I believe it. We proclaim it, but we too often inhabit thirsty lives, ever searching, as Crabb said, “for whatever will provide the greatest pleasure.”

Be honest. What provides that for you right now, today?

This post has formed slowly, as it has etched across desert places of my own soul while my fingers have typed. My thirst is never quenched when I drink from broken cisterns (Jeremiah 2:13). But I must admit I return to them, again and again, looking for a quick fix.

Jesus said:

“For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

John 6:33-36, NKJV

Are you thirsty? I am…and He promised to fill us with Living Water, over and over again.

Are you thirsty? I am...and He promised to fill us with Living Water, over and over again. Click To Tweet

We are thirsty creatures. There are different types of thirst and we search for a drink all of our lives. Some people are quenched while others are not... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Christian Mentoring

Giacomo Buzzao

Oh Lord Help Us, video, honesty, truth, purpose, mission, influence

Honesty and Truth: You Have Purpose, Pursue Your Mission!

We can often feel that we have no purpose, or that there is no reason to pursue what we feel passionate about. This is a lie!



Honesty and Truth

Ready for some honesty and truth? Here’s the honest: I often feel that I have no influence. I feel like the message that I am sharing, that I am so passionate about has already been said, and it has been said way better than I could say it. So why bother?

But here’s the truth. We do have influence. God gives us a passion, a mission, a dream, a purpose. In Titus chapter 2, verse 11, it says…

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people…”

All people need to hear God’s good news, and it takes all of us to get that message out. It says a few verses later, in verse 15…

“Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

If you are feeling that you don’t have purpose, and that you don’t have influence… dear lady! You are so mistaken, just like I am. Let’s not believe this lie that our words don’t matter. We are to share the good news, spreading God’s truth. So go out there and pursue your mission.

Hero, God, glory, Oh Lord Help Us, ministry, women, scripture

Hero: We Are Not the Main Character of this Story

God’s word is applicable to our lives, but this cannot be where we start. We must begin by acknowledging the true Hero of the story.



I grew up in a family that attended church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I heard a lot of preaching. But, it was only until college I began to systematically study the scriptures for myself. It was stunning, what I began to discover. Well-meaning teachers had added information to the Biblical stories. I am not sure of their motives but I want to believe they were wanting to motivate a desire to make the Bible interesting or to promote a character trait they were hoping to emphasize. The hard truth was they made up details.

The one that was perhaps the most shocking to me was the story of Noah. I had heard over and over again about Noah’s impassioned plea to his neighbors to repent and believe and come on the ark. Over and over Noah’s neighbors laughed at him and denied that the rain was coming. Or so I was told. But, that’s not really how the story goes.

And those that entered male and female of all flesh went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.

Genesis 7:16

Noah did not try to convince his neighbors. He did not try to defend God or discuss the coming rain. He built the ark and gathered his family and the animals and he waited for God to close the door.

That’s a pretty big difference.

God's word is applicable to our lives, but this cannot be where we start. We must begin by acknowledging the true Hero of the story. #GodsGlory #worship #hero

The Main Character…

And there were lots of other stories just like that. In fact, I even have had a bent for adding emphasis to certain details from the Bible and leaving other details out. My biggest problem however was even more subtle. I was reading the Bible always looking for application. How would this affect me? How would this scripture influence my life? What was God telling me to do and how could I be like the human character mentioned in this story?

The Hero…

While these are all good goals to wrestle with as we study God’s word, if it’s where we start, it’s pretty flawed. Just like those Sunday school teachers I had 30 years ago. The emphasis of every story is a hero. And that hero is God. He begins in the beginning and creates. He comes in the form of Jesus to be crucified and resurrected. And He returns again to come take his bride. Every story is whispering his name. Every story is declaring his glory. This is not new news to us. If we have spent any time in scripture, we know this. But we still don’t look for Him.

We look for us. And we come away from scripture more convinced that we don’t have what it takes (we don’t in the flesh), and we come away more discouraged and defeated. God’s word is active and living – a two edged sword. It is meant to divide us from our thoughts of lies and unbelief. Yet, we can’t be the hero. He has to be the hero of every page. He’s there. I will admit, I forget this. I forget this a lot. And when I remember who I am reading about and what He is capable of and whose I am… Well, I find my heart soaring and my lips praising and praying. I can’t help myself. As I meditate on his truths and on Him, I find peace, I find joy, I find hope. I can’t find hope in myself.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

If this has been an encouragement, please share the love with others…

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God's word is applicable to our lives, but this cannot be where we start. We must begin by acknowledging the true Hero of the story. #GodsGlory #worship #hero

Jon Tyson

friendship, love, sacrifice, unique

Friendship: A Practice in Sacrificial Love

Worldly standards on friendship can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. In our quest to become the “truest” friend, we often stretch our personal boundaries and limits to the point of breaking. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.



I have the worst habit of telling new, potential friends that I am a “bad” friend. I began believing this idea when I started comparing what my friendships looked like with other friendships.

Surely a good friend should be able to drop anything at a moment’s notice. Isn’t a true friend able to carry the other through any darkness with strength and perseverance? Aren’t you “supposed to” go shopping, do lunch dates, talk on the phone?

I figured, since I wasn’t able to follow through on these standards 100% of the time, it meant I was not a “good” friend.

Well, that’s a load of junk.

Friendship: The Honest Truth

In my experience, stereotypical norms discourage Godly friendships from thriving. The world standards of “girl-friends” doesn’t always align with my personality type. I am not one for getting excited about shopping dates. I sometimes cringe at the thought of play dates. Socializing leaves me feeling exhausted. Typically, I get heavy after long conversations. Not by the subject matter, but by over analyzing my words and interactions.

Most people cannot commit to answering the phone WHENEVER the call comes; work, sleep,  and alone time are extremely important. Many of us can say that we will not ALWAYS make that coffee date; life happens and money is sometimes tight. We cannot ALWAYS keep it together while the other is going through a valley; pretending to have it all together is tiring, and quite frankly, insincere.

So, are these the reasons friendships go awry? Does lack of perfection cause us to feel guilt and give up?

Worldly standards can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.

Friendship: Where We Go Wrong

When thinking back on fizzled out friendships, I was surprised to find they were completely within my control. Instead of enriching relationships inside my own God-given strengths, I shook them off. I compared and belittled what I brought to the table.

Having a successful relationship, doesn’t usually fit into obvious standards. Feeding into the lie that we have to be like all the other friendships, is where we go wrong. God created us to be exactly who we are: unique. Thus, our friendships will be unique.

You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17, MSG

God ordains friendships knowing that each person has what the other needs. When we try to operate outside of this knowledge, we mess it all up. When we refuse to allow God’s love to fill in the empty spaces, our friendships die.

Worldly standards can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.

Friendship: What the Bible Says

The Bible emphasizes love as the greatest way to be a friend. When we come together IN love, TO love, we are committing our hearts to serving the Lord.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

1 Peter 4:8-9, NIV

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 12:10-12, NIV

Jesus spoke the most significant advice on friendship…

This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you.

John 15:13-14, MSG

Friendship: The Promise

Jesus’ sacrifice gives us the greatest example of how to truly be a friend. Laying down our lives doesn’t necessarily mean our hearts stop. Sacrificing our lives looks like prayer. It looks like following through, being trustworthy, showing respect. Sacrificing ourselves resembles grace in the midst of pain; love in spite of selfishness. Love looks like 1 Corinthians 13.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will always be in a state of progress. I will never, ever be a “perfect” friend because I am not Jesus. Understanding and accepting these truths, has made me realize, I’m not a “bad” friend just because I’m not a “perfect” friend. I may not commit to every coffee date, phone call, or outing. But, I can promise, from the depths of my being, that I will love fiercely.

If we can become comfortable with who we are and what we have to offer, I believe we would see less broken relationships/friendships. Striving to love in friendship, honors God more than striving to do and be all the things.


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Worldly standards can hinder our ability to be a Godly friend. The Bible offers a multitude of advice on friendship and why sacrificial love is key.

Don Ross III

respond, last days, tragedy, truth

Respond: What Are We To Do In These Last Days?

Tragedy is occurring all around us at an alarming rate. How are we to respond to the devastation? What are we to do in these last days?



An earthquake in Iraq kills over 400 people.

A driver mows down people on a cycling path in New York city, killing 8.

A crazed gunman enters a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, his gun blazing, killing anyone who made a noise…including babies. He slaughtered 26 people.

After leaving a relative’s home, located in one of the nicer neighborhoods of the city, a young couple was accosted by two armed teens. Shots were fired. The 30 year old husband of 9 days gave his life to protect his bride. They attended my church.

The young man who killed the cyclists with a box truck believed he was doing it for his god.

It is reported that the mentally ill gunman had a grudge against his mother-in-law, who is a member of the church he decimated. She wasn’t attending that day.

The two 15 year old boys who shot the young groom wanted money. “Random robbery,” the police said.

Tragedy is occurring all around us at an alarming rate. How are we to respond to the devastation? What are we to do in these last days?

Respond: Living With Tragedy

Tragedy…it’s happening on a regular basis now, occurring so often that we’re numbed by the news stories of death and loss. Until it hits in our home turf.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

2 Timothy 3:1-4, NKJV

Is this world losing its mind?

Every generation since Christ walked the earth has asked, “Are these the last days?” Even the disciples questioned Jesus about it!

As He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray…And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains…

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away…And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end; will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24:3-14, NKJV

Respond: What To Do Amidst Tragedy

Would it surprise you to know that Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world? I’m not quoting a Christian magazine or organization; even secular news has taken note. Increasingly, Christians are hated in America, but they are dying for the gospel around the world.

What is our response to these last days occurrences? To this evil that lives in our midst? Should we quake in fear? Sometimes it does feel frightening.

Or, conversely, go to the mission field? Be part of proclaiming the gospel to other countries? If you are called, go, but we’re living in a mission field.

Perhaps the most difficult thing to do is Paul’s charge to Timothy…

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:14-15, NKJV

Tragedy is occurring all around us at an alarming rate. How are we to respond to the devastation? What are we to do in these last days?

I don’t know about you, but in the face of crisis, I want to go DO SOMETHING!  Point me in the right direction and I will charge! However, I’ve been known to make a few messes in that state of mind; Paul has a different message.

But you…continue in the things you know are true. Continue in the Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus.

In these last days, let’s covenant together to persevere… to continue in the truth… which will make us wise.


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Tragedy is occurring all around us at an alarming rate. How are we to respond to the devastation? What are we to do in these last days?

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is from the English Standard Version.
photo credit:
Wil Stewart

Heard: Embodying Godly Virtues While Speaking Truth

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.



My 30th birthday is fast approaching. Yes, yes… I’ve heard it all… “You’re so young!” “You’re just a baby!” “Wait, what!? You’re not 30 yet?” I have been the subject of these phrases a lot, lately. At first I laughed, then I felt a bit fired up and defensive, but now I’m feeling encouraged!

Being perceived as “young” has a few negative connotations. Some have a hard time taking stock in what you say. Some categorize you into your “generation name” (I will spare my opinions on that). Some, just simply do not show much respect toward those younger.

My attitude about my age was encouraged when I read through the entire book of Job. Please do this if you haven’t in a while or ever. I also encourage you to switch between NIV and MSG versions, as both can help you understand the intense conversations between Job and his friends.

Encouraged reading Job? Job is depressing and what in the world does that have anything to do with age?

The back and forth between the three friends had me all sorts of confused! Rightfully so. These men were “old” and “wise”, right? Should I side with the friends? Should I side with Job? I had lost all sense of “hope”, then this fiery young fella, Elihu, rises up and lays in to them all! Who the heck is Elihu? He was not the subject of any Sunday school lessons. What makes him worthy of 6 chapters in the book of Job?

“You have my attention Elihu!”

Heard: Show Respect

Elihu is the youngest of the men gathered, and he acknowledges that fact first. He also makes it known that because of his youth, he has held his tongue while the old guys banter.

I’m a young man, and you are all old and experienced. That’s why I kept quiet and held back from joining the discussion.

Job 32:6, MSG

I hung on your words while you spoke, listened carefully to your arguments. While you searched for the right words, I was all ears.

Job 32:11, MSG

This is one of the best character traits we see in Elihu. He is the embodiment of respecting your elders. He showed respect, thus, his words were received. Elihu waited his turn; not interrupting those he did not side with. He did not belittle their opinions by making fun or laughing at them. He waited patiently, really listening to their words.

Heard: Confidence Through Truth

I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell. The longer you live, the wiser you become. But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible.

Job 32:7-8, MSG

Elihu was not afraid to speak his feelings to his elders because he knew his words were true; truth, Spirit prompted from the innermost of his heart. The same should be true, when we write or speak against anyone’s personal opinions and feelings. We must make sure we do it from a position of knowledge. Whether it’s in God’s word, or extensive research on the matter. Above all, our argument should not be from a place of anger or animosity.

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.

Heard: Be Reasonable

Elihu was extremely passionate about what he was saying. However, in the midst of the intensity, he was also reasonable.

My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know. The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me then, if you can; stand up and argue your case before me. I am the same as you in God’s sight;

Job 33:3-6, NIV

He was reasonable enough to acknowledge that he was fired up, but that he should not be held in a higher regard than any other. Particularly, he recognized that his words were not his own, but from the Spirit of God.

 

Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.

Heard: All-Inclusive

Hear my words, you wise men; listen to me, you men of learning. For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.

Job 34:2-4, NIV

I believe this is one of the most important characteristics to learn from Elihu. Elihu included everyone listening, in his argument. He truly invited all of the men to enter in to his speech. To learn, together, the power of God. Elihu spoke from the ground with the others, not from a lofty, high above pedestal. In other words, he spoke from a posture of equality, not from a know-it-all angle.

Heard: What God Speaks

When God finally spoke, he scolds Job, all three of his friends, but makes no mention of Elihu. I believe Elihu ushered in the Spirit of God while he was speaking. Although he was the youngest of the men, he was the most impactful. He spoke with passionate truth, humility, and love for God.

Elihu has me encouraged for the future. Yes, I may be the youngest of most of those I hang around, but I believe, if I can embody the characteristics of Elihu, I can make a lasting impact. How humbled I would be, if the Lord chose me to usher in his Spirit so those with closed hearts would hear and know His truth!

What about you? Have you ever heard of Elihu? Do you find these characteristics helpful when approaching an intense subject with differing opinions?


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Everyone has an opinion, and not all opinions exist from truth. It can be difficult to embody Godly virtues while trying to be heard.