Diligently Asking for God’s Sustaining Grace

When we are taking strides to walk in obedience to God, the resistance to push forward gets stronger, and it feels like we are treading through mud just to take a step. My husband, Paul, and I have been experiencing this since starting to lead a new ministry at our church, in addition to juggling all the rest of our responsibilities caring for our boys and our own individual lives.  

Even though it’s exhausting and sometimes discouraging when things feel so chaotic and stressful, I must remind my heart that our God is stronger and will use whatever seems to be standing against us (especially our own sinful flesh!) to grow and deepen our faith and sanctify us. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t painful or that I am quick to learn how to depend on Him!

For me, personally, I am working on resting in the new mercies of today and being quick to repent and ask for forgiveness. I feel like I have failed a lot in my behavior towards Paul and my boys these last few weeks. I don’t want to blame it on hormones and lack of sleep (although I know this adds fuel to the fire so to speak). Because God’s grace is available to me. But am I asking for it diligently? Probably not as much as I should.

If His grace is truly sufficient (and it is), do I live like I’m dependent upon it daily and praying without ceasing throughout my day? The book of James is a wonderful book of instructions for believers. In chapter 4, we discover that we must protect our hearts from worldly thinking. Often when we are trying to take control of our life and not rest in God’s grace and provision daily, we resort to either neglecting God’s ever-presenting help or asking God with wrong motives:

“…You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:2b-3, ESV). 


James 4 merely tells us that, if there is something we want, we need to ask God for it, instead of resorting to sinful means. It stands to reason that there are some things that we will not get unless we ask for them, but, if we ask, we will receive them. So, if there is something that we want, we need to ask. Christians should be praying and asking God, especially for His supernatural grace.

Instead of trying to control what feels so uncontrollable in our lives and allowing our circumstances to dictate our mood or behavior, let us boldly come to the throne of grace and ask our Father for His unwavering and sustaining grace. He is faithful to provide.

Father God,

I know that Your grace is sufficient and that You are my ever-present help in time of need, but sometimes my actions do not reflect these truths. It’s much easier for me to either complain about my stressful and difficult circumstances or try to take matters into my own hands to try to fix or change what seems to be causing me to feel so overwhelmed. But I know that I need to come to You and ask for grace when I have reached my limit. You are faithful to provide all things that I need because You are a gracious Father who cares deeply for Your children. I come to You as Your child today, boldly and humbling asking for Your sustaining and powerful grace carry me through each challenging moment. You are faithful in every season, and I thank You for reminding me to come to You first and foremost and pray without ceasing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Guarding Against Grumbling

When it comes to sin in our life, sometimes we attempt to overlook or give excuses for our behavior if we feel like our actions are justified because of our circumstances. For example, when I am sleep deprived, my flesh thinks it perfectly acceptable for me to deal out a hefty dose of sarcasm to my seven-year-old who has asked me the same question twelve times before my morning coffee or to murmur under my breath that I can’t believe my husband left his glass of milk from the night before on the floor again and, of course, the toddler just dumped it all over the living room right on cue.

But those actions do not glorify God, and they are rooted in sin. If I am a child of God, His Spirit will bring conviction to my heart with His word because it is my heart that needs attention and change. When I’m tempted to complain, which we are all naturally prone to every single day, this passage from Philippians 2 comes to mind to bring truth to my heart:

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:14-15, ESV).

As God’s children, we are not to grumble. We must remember that, ultimately, grumbling is complaining against the sovereign God of the universe and saying He isn’t good, which is sinful. When we complain, we should repent, reset our mind by thinking on things above, and rejoice and give thanks to God for His graciousness towards us. There are new mercies available to us every single morning. Perhaps it would be a beneficial habit to create a daily list of things that you are grateful for to help cultivate a heart of contentment and gratitude. Despite hardships and inconveniences in our life and relationships, we are called to rejoice and find our joy in Christ. It all comes down to the attitude and posture of our heart. 

How about your attitude when you disagree with someone, or they have offended you? When you are in a disagreement with someone, do you want to be right more than you want to pursue unity with that person? Do you allow a bad attitude to drag you into unnecessary arguments or even gossip to complain to someone else instead of going directly to the person who you are annoyed or upset with? Disagreements are inevitable, but most of all, God cares about our attitude during disagreements and doesn’t want us to be swept up in foolish arguments constantly. We can disagree with others without being disagreeable or prideful.

If we are entangled in senseless disputing and complaining, the world has trouble seeing the light of Christ in our life. We see in verse 15 of Philippians 2 that the Lord wants Christ followers to shine bright in a culture full of darkness. Our lives are to be a brilliant beacon of light in the darkness as we stand as God’s children against the wickedness of the world. 

“…that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:15, ESV).

One way we can protect ourselves against complaining and empower our hearts to shine bright for Christ is to be diligent to cling daily to the Word of life so that we can thrust it into a dark world. The Word of God helps us to renew our mind so we can cultivate the fruit of the Spirit and stand out in the world, pointing others to the hope that we know in Jesus. In addition to our daily time in the Word, we must abide in the Vine by communing with Him daily. We can call upon the name of the Lord to cry out for help when we are tempted to complain and grumble. He is our ever-present help in time of need and is faithful to strengthen us.

Father God,

Although it is easy to find excuses for the reasons of my behavior, I know Your Word is very clear about the posture of our heart and attitude, especially when it comes to circumstances that are difficult, stressful, or even painful. You care about the condition of our heart and the attitude that we exude because as Christ followers we are to look and behave differently. People are watching all the time how we react when we are offended or struggling under the weight of the cares of life. I ask that You would first and foremost, give me a hunger for more of Your Word. I know that is where my mind is renewed; The Word helps me cultivate the fruit of the Spirit and walk in obedience. Help me to guard my heart and avoid grumbling and complaining and arguing with others. I ask for a spirit of gentleness and peace with others so that I can pursue unity and be grateful for all the good gifts from You. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Taming the Tongue

In college, although I was a professing Christian, out of curiosity to learn more about my own spirituality, I began to study things that I now know were a part of New Age teaching. Some of the books that I was reading did mention God and even quoted the Bible, so I believed this new information on how to live out my faith to see progress and success in my life would strengthen my Christianity. One of the major teachings, called The Law of Attraction, centered around my thought-life; making sure to focus on positive things versus negative things. These positive thoughts would act like a magnet to draw to myself positive outcomes and results regarding my dreams, aspirations, and even material possessions that I desired. 

A step further would be to speak out loud positive declarations and affirmations about myself and what I would like to see happen to shape my future for the better. After I graduated college, when I met my husband at the church he grew up at, there was a lot of emphasis on this very same teaching (although they never called it The Law of Attraction) as well as being very cautious on what words you spoke. We were told that we needed to pay attention to our tongue- our words needed to be “in faith” and “in line with God’s Word.” 

We now know that these teachings are rooted in what is called the ‘Word of Faith’ movement, which was influenced by a metaphysical movement called ‘New Thought.’ Thus, Word of Faith doctrine essentially embraces New Age’s Law of Attraction and is contrary to sound, Christian doctrine. Sadly, scriptures on the tongue were taken out of context to promote the idea that you can attract what you say and declare. God alone, not man, is the One who calls things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17). The Bible does have much to say about the power of our words, but it has a lot more to do with reflecting Christ in our speech, words filled with the fruit of the Spirit, than attracting things or situations to you or “manifesting” the things you are declaring “in Jesus’ name.” Let us be wise to know the difference and understand these verses in their proper context.

James 1:26 offers us a sobering statement about our speech:

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

(James 1:26, ESV)

A religion is simply a particular system of faith and worship. If you are a believer in Christ, your religion is Christianity. James equates your profession of faith in Christ to how you choose to use your tongue. Our words point to what we truly believe and live by.  

Are your words pointing others to God and His truth, always giving Him glory, or do your words always seem to point to yourself and the things and systems of this world? Do you control your tongue, or do you let your mouth rule you or cause you to puff yourself up in pride or get you into trouble with others? Our speech should reflect Christ and be seasoned with grace, humility, and love. If we confess our faith in Christ, there should be evidence of our changed speech as well as our changed life and behavior. When people meet us, they should hear and see something different than the rest of the world who does not follow the Lord.

Even in disagreements, we should continue to speak with a heart of love for others and not use profanity or offensive remarks that would hurt or cause pain. We should also be careful to not grumble or complain, but to use our tongue to proclaim our thankfulness unto the Lord. Taming the tongue is something we must grow in each day as the Lord sanctifies us. The good news is that we are never left on our own to walk in that type of self-control regarding our words. It is not something we can do apart from the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. The temptation to use our tongue for our own benefit and reputation is strong but let us be quick to ask the Lord for His help daily as we continue to grow in the likeness of Him, especially in our speech.

Father, without realizing it, I may have embraced a very self-centered and self-gratifying teaching on the importance of how we speak. I repent for using my tongue to puff myself up above others or hurting others with painful words that cut deep to the heart. I need Your help to control my tongue in times of strife or disagreement with others. I want my words to glorify You and share Your truth and gospel. I pray that my actions would also reflect my speech. I long for my walk with You to match my profession of faith. I do not want be self-deceived; I do not want my Christianity to be called “worthless” in Your eyes. Thank You for continually working in me and through me, so that I may look more and more like Jesus in word and deed. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Weeping in the night, Joy in the Morning

I am convinced that sleep deprivation from the baby/toddler phase is the mom version of fasting. My flesh becomes so weakened and my reliance upon God becomes absolutely everything. I cannot help but rely on His grace to do pretty much anything. If you count third trimester lack of sleep from the uncomfortableness and countless trips of waddling to the bathroom, I literally haven’t slept through the night in almost two years. This isn’t hyperbole- my 17-month-old has NEVER slept through the night. My middle son took 25 months to do so- which was only six months before my youngest was born. It’s been an extremely physically and mentally (and often emotionally) trying season that has lasted years.

I don’t share all of this to complain or receive sympathy or ask for advice. I share to remind you (and myself) that the Lord is near to those suffering and in that suffering, He brings unspeakable joy that is not dependent upon our circumstances. No matter how overwhelming it may feel, His grace is sufficient in your weakness. Lean upon Him, and He will strengthen you and transform you in your suffering to look more like Him.

When I was praying the other night in the midnight hours during the on and off wakings (awakened every one-two hours because of his teething pain and what I can assume is the 18 month sleep regression), I said “God, I know he is a gift…please help me.” And as I reflect upon this trying season, I’m realizing the ways my son is a gift from the Father, along with all my children, of course. I cannot help but praise God in the midst of my pain for the Lord’s faithfulness to me. Even though my circumstances have not changed, He is changing me. I am encouraged by these verses in Psalm 30 to give thanks and remember that joy always comes in the morning:

“Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.”

Psalm 30:4-5, NASB

When my flesh is weak because of the difficulties that come with this season of motherhood, and I am humbled to my knees, by God’s grace, I am able to bear fruit and walk in the Spirit in a way that pleases the Lord. Instead of asking God to rescue me from my weeping and struggles with my son’s sleep, I find myself thanking God through tears of joy for this sleep deprivation. Suffering is a gift and with it comes joy and a heart full of praise to God for His faithfulness. May we ask the Lord for eyes to see our suffering in that way.

Heavenly Father, I’m weary and hurting. I have asked so many times for this suffering to be removed and for You to rescue me from this storm. I feel depleted. I feel like I’m drowning. But I realize that You have not called me to live by my feelings or by what I see happening around me; You have called me to walk by faith. And as my faith in You rises up in me, I trust that You have me exactly where I am supposed to be- totally dependent upon Your grace. In my weakness, I know that You are my strength. I praise You in my pain, and I ask that You would use this trial, this suffering, this storm to change me to look more like Christ- all for Your glory. I know that I may endure weeping in the night, but Your joy always comes- a joy that is not dependent upon my circumstances but is everlasting and sustaining even in the darkest of nights. Thank You for Your nearness to me in my greatest time of need and pain. You are a faithful Father, and I am so thankful to receive Your mercy and be called Your child. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Where are my Titus 2 ladies at?

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled”

(Titus 2:3-5, ESV).

I am the only born-again Christian in my immediate family. Although we did have a Bible in our home, it was more of a centerpiece on the coffee table; It was occasionally wiped down when dust collected on it; it wasn’t ever opened or read, obviously. I don’t have memories of my family praying before meals or hearing about Jesus from any of my relatives or grandparents. Sadly, I didn’t have a “praying grandma” who lead me in the faith. 

So, when I became a follower of Christ at age 22, the road was definitely a lonely one for me. I felt very misunderstood and different from the rest of my family members for a very long time, and still do to be quite frank. I’m so thankful for the Christians friends the Lord placed in my life who encouraged me and prayed for me on my journey with Christ, but I have always longed for someone older in the faith to mentor me and this still seems to be the case in my life, sadly.

I read Titus 2 with a longing in my heart, wondering if I could ever have a mentor relationship with a woman like this:

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled”

(Titus 2:3-5, ESV).

You can hit Google, YouTube, and social media for older women in the faith, of course, but I want to move beyond online connections and would love a one-on-one personal mentor that I can enjoy conversation about Jesus and the Bible over coffee. It seems that our generation is settling for online connections (which are wonderful too) but there is more to be found in doing life together. Where are the Titus 2 women, I find myself asking.

Since it is something that should be found in the context of the local church, and we are once again new members at our current church because we recently moved to a new state. Instead of being tempted to complain about this lack in my life, I am reminded that I must go to God in prayer, especially when it seems so out of reach for me to find a mentor who can come alongside of me and teach me to love my husband and children and love Jesus and His Word even more. 

We are living in a very isolated time all over the world. So many of us are lonely and looking for connection. We were created to be in relationship with one another, especially in the Body of Christ. The “metaverse” will never replace the real-life universe where we are there for one another to bear one another’s burdens, pray for each other, and spur each other on in the faith, face-to-face.

The call for women in Titus 2 is one that is important within the church and one that our society desperately needs. We need godly women strong in the faith to raise strong, godly children with strong, godly marriages. Families like this could change the world for Christ! 

Do you find yourself longing for a mentor who has walked with Jesus for a long time, maybe decades longer than yourself? Does it seem impossible to meet someone like this? Well, let me remind you that nothing is impossible for God! The Father knows the desires of our heart, especially desires that line up with His Word, and He wants those desires to become reality for you. Instead of growing discouraged and tempted to complain, let us run to the Father and pray that we would see this relationship of a mentor fulfilled in our life, not just for us but to ultimately, give Him glory and see the Gospel advanced.

Father God,

I am finding myself lonely on my walk with Christ. I look for others to encourage, evangelize, and disciple who may be younger in the faith, but I long for a mentor who can come alongside me and teach me more about You and how to be a godly woman, one who loves her husband and children so deeply. It may feel impossible to find, but I trust that nothing is impossible for You, God. Thank You for hearing my prayer and I believe I will see this desire of my heart fulfilled because it is something that you call women to do for each other. I pray You would raise up women who reflect those found in Titus 2 all for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Asking the Holy Spirit to Teach Us

In high school, I was gifted a Bible when I became a member of my new church. I was so excited to start reading it and learn more about God, but as time went on, I became more and more intimated by its pages. Where do I begin? Do I start in Genesis and just read through it beginning to end? Do I need to spend time memorizing what I’m reading? What does this word mean?

These thoughts circled my teenage mind, and I was so hesitant to even dive in for fear that I wouldn’t understand what I was reading. It didn’t take long for schoolwork and all of the extracurricular activities I was involved in to crowd out any down time to make space to read my Bible. Soon enough, that Bible would find a permanent home on my bookshelf, left untouched. I hate to admit it, but the intimidation and distractions would follow me all through college as well. When I was stressed out, I would glance at my neglected Bible and randomly open it and try to soak up some hope for my weary soul.

Although I heard the gospel as a teen, and was a professing Christian for six years, it wasn’t until after I graduated college that God granted me genuine repentance from my sin and rebellion and gave me the faith to fully surrender my life to Christ and trust Him completely. One Sunday, I stepped foot in a church service for the first time in a few years, and I believe I was born again that day, as the reality of offending a Holy God and my desperate need to turn to Jesus, take up my cross, and follow Him overwhelmed me for the first time in my life. After that moment, my whole world changed, and I suddenly had a deep desire to read my Bible and obey God. I look back and see the difference between my high school and college days was that I was trying to understand what I was reading without the help of the Holy Spirit. Once I became born again at the age of twenty-two, I was given the gift of the Holy Spirit- Jesus describes Him as a Comforter as well as a Helper and Teacher in John 14:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26, ESV).

As born-again believers, when we open the pages of scripture, we are not left on our own to understand what we are reading. We have a Helper and a great Teacher, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in our pursuit of growing in the knowledge of the Lord. He illuminates the truth to us over time and will bring what we have read to our remembrance. This is why it is so important to consistently be reading our Bibles, so that we can store what we are studying in our hearts. The Bible is a gift from God to help us in our daily lives- to be able to learn of God’s ways and learn who God truly is so that we can grow closer to Him and worship Him rightly. 

I have to admit that I sometimes still struggle with intimidation and distraction when it comes to reading my Bible, but after walking with the Lord for over ten years now, I know that I am not left alone on this journey. I have a Helper who guides me into all truth and supernaturally helps me understand the words I am reading- words that are spirit and life (John 6:63). He is always with me and I can always ask Him for help.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Not only does He convict me of my sin when I daily fall short, He is my ever-present Help in time of need who also guides me into all truth. I admit that I need help understanding your Holy written Word. Holy Spirit, will you give me a hunger to daily read the Bible? May You supernaturally illuminate what I am reading and give me the ability to comprehend what I am studying, not just for head knowledge, but to help me know You in a deeper way so that I give You the worship You deserve. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Live Not By Feelings

A few years ago, after lovingly warning a friend of the dangers of a particular false teacher she was going to see at a conference, she got offended with me and said something along the lines of “Don’t you think I have discernment?? I have the Holy Spirit! I will be able to discern or sense conviction if something’s not right??”

In this instance, my friend was putting an emphasis on what she believed the Holy Spirit was telling her by how it made her feel at the time and calling it discernment and conviction.

Beloved, that is not how we as Christians are to live. We are to walk in the Spirit and the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16) which is found in the Word of God. Relying on our feelings means we are putting our confidence in our flesh, and our flesh will only lead us away from righteousness and God’s truth. Since the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), it can lead us astray if we rely on or try to follow its sometimes emotional leadings. 

If the Word of God has spoken on something, you have been convicted. You don’t need to wait to feel conviction to obey, you have been led by the instruction of God-breathed scriptures to obey. We must search the scriptures to be able to learn how to walk in God’s ways.

Studying the Bible is how our mind is renewed and how we are sanctified as believers. We cannot walk in righteousness by how we feel if something is right or wrong and call it conviction.

I am sure there are ways I am accidentally or unknowingly violating God’s perfect law even though I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit- I still wrestle with a sin nature even as a believer. I must abide in Christ and die to self daily. We abide in Christ through faith by abiding in His Word by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Faith in Christ comes by hearing the Word of God after all:

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word [k]of Christ”

(Romans 10:17, NASB).

Since we cannot fully depend on our feelings to determine if something is sinful or not, we also cannot depend on our feelings to determine if something is true or false either.

In regards to discernment, are you testing against scripture?  That is where we gain knowledge to be able to test all things and judge righteously. We must make sure everything we are hearing preached in the name of Christ lines up with His Holy written Word.

Friends, if I were just to depend on feelings, I would be wrong quite a lot. As believers we do not “sense it in our spirit”…that’s called human intuition.

intuition

nounSave Word

in·​tu·​i·​tion |  \ ˌin-tü-ˈi-shən   , -tyü-  \

Definition of intuition

1a: the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference

b: immediate apprehension or cognition

c: knowledge or conviction gained by intuition

2: quick and ready insight

We don’t rely on intuition; we walk in the Spirit, dear ones. 

Unless you are testing what the Holy Spirit is guiding you into by God’s Holy Word, you can’t be certain you aren’t being misled by Satan.

“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

(2 Corinthians 11:14, NASB).

Let us stand firm upon God’s Word and trust He has given us all we need in it for life and godliness as we lean upon the help of the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth that conforms us day by day into the image of Christ. 

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Encountering God’s Power

Years ago, I used to believe that encountering the power of God was limited to a financial breakthrough or witnessing someone walk out of a wheelchair or being moved so deeply in His presence while worshiping Him in song that I was moved to tears and fell to my knees or danced for joy before my King…

…yes, those were powerful moments in my life that impacted my faith in God in a very real way, but the more I have walked with the Lord and spent time in His Word getting to know who He is, I have come to realize the power of God extends far beyond those moments; God reveals His mighty power when He takes a rebellious sinner and purifies his wicked heart and conforms his life to look more and more like Christ day by day. Talk about witnessing the miraculous!

In last chapter of his first letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul, prays for the believers’ walk with the Lord to be strengthened and experience this kind of life-changing power from the God of peace.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass”

(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, NASB).

This passage of scripture is speaking of sanctification, which is the process of being made holy only through the merits and justification of Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit that are then reflected in man. Sanctification cannot be attained by any works-based process, but only through the works and power God Almighty.  It is the Lord who will bring your sanctification to completion, as we learn to yield our lives over to His grace and strength to walk in obedience to His Holy Word. The same grace that saves us is the same grace that empowers us to live holy and set apart as a witness to this fallen world. 

To be sure, as far as a powerful encounter with the Lord, I still sense His nearness when I weep on my knees in prayer and sing of His goodness and faithfulness on Sunday mornings with my church family, but there is nothing quite like knowing the Holy Spirit is with me every day sanctifying this selfish heart to look more like Jesus. I look back on how much He has changed my sinful life and strengthened me to learn how to choose obedience when my flesh wants to reign…that, my friends, is powerful. What a mighty God we serve!

Father, many of us cry out for an encounter with You. Perhaps that is some tangible experience where we sense Your nearness or witness a miracle, but what if that powerful encounter with You is not something we see or feel, but it is the very work that You are doing in our heart? Lord, I pray that I would experience that kind of powerful encounter with You where you take this hard heart, soften it, and mold it to look like Jesus. I pray that You would give me a deeper hunger for Your Word that would help me renew my mind. Holy Spirit give me the strength to not only walk in wisdom from what I learn in the Bible, but that You would empower me to continue to obey what I am learning so that my life would be a reflection of Your glorious Kingdom. May my life bring You glory, Jesus. I thank You for the grace that has saved this rebellious sinner and the grace that continues to keep me and guide me in truth and in obedience, learning to walk in Your perfect ways. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Re-adjusting Our Focus

I saw a sign the other day that said: “I saw it. I liked it. I bought it. Now hide it!”

You know, it is often a joke among women that we hide our Amazon Prime packages or shopping bags from our husbands like it is a secret behavior that all women do that is normal. But sister, this is so wrong. And quite frankly, it is a sin. How can we be in unity with our spouse if we are literally hiding something from them? Why do we make jokes about that? We need to call this what it is, and admit we have a problem. This behavior is materialistic and can often be rooted in covetousness, and it is not a joking matter to God. This saying above isn’t cute and should reveal to us the matter of our heart. It seems where our eyes wander, our heart follows and can become fixated upon whatever has our gaze. We need to readjust our focus and if we are not able to overcome the temptation, we need the Lord’s help, especially if we are continually tempted by material possessions and give into hiding our addiction to “more stuff.” 


Do you wrestle with impulsively buying things you don’t need? I do, big time.


But I have been convicted of this sin and do not want to grieve God nor my husband with this widely accepted behavior in our society. There is a verse in Psalms that is a cry to the Lord for helping turn our focus from temporal things that don’t matter:

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways”

(Psalm 119:37, ESV).

We find life in God’s ways, not in the world’s ways of accumulation of more material possessions. Our possessions should be a blessing to us and others and not turn into idolatry, leading our hearts away from God and the things of God. Although we live here on earth, as believers, we are citizens of heaven, and we should lift our gaze to heavenly things more than earthly things. In a culture that jokes about shopaholics hiding their problem of impulsive buying, let us be different by pointing others to Christ and His ways where true abundant life is found.

Let’s hold each other accountable, friends. The temptation is strong, but God can help us overcome. He always provides a way out. Let us ask the Lord to help us keep our eyes on Him and that escape and ask the Him for strength when temptation comes. May we also ask Him to turn our eyes to what is eternal and more precious than worthless material possessions where moth and rust eat at them. 

Father, my eyes have wandered onto obsessing over material possessions. When I scroll social media, I feel the pressure to own what others own that they are often trying to market to me. I ask for Your help to guard my heart from materialism and covetousness. I also repent for perhaps giving into the temptation of hiding this struggle that seemingly feels too difficult to overcome. I know that You always provide a way of escaping every temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to act upon that temptation. I long to walk in Your ways because I want to obey You, and I know Your ways provide life abundantly. Thank You for Your grace and mercy that is new every morning that gives me a new focus upon You and Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Seeking Self-Control

2 AM. 

There I was, scrolling Instagram mindlessly once again and getting sucked into the black hole of the pages of “influencers” advertising product after product, sale after sale, deal after deal. It was getting so out of hand that I was finding myself clicking “add to cart” and hiding the packages from my husband when the boxes showed up on our doorstep a few days later. I knew it was wrong, but it felt like the temptation was too strong to stop this familiar cycle of impulsive buying. But this was a lie. No temptation is too strong for us to overcome. 

It is important to remember that we don’t base truth off our feelings. We must look to what God’s Word says to renew our minds with His truth and gain wisdom on making healthy and righteous choices. When it comes to self-control and overcoming any temptation that we face, we can find truth in 1 Corinthians. The apostle Paul states:

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

(1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV).

God is faithful to help us walk in righteousness. He gives us the grace to walk in freedom from alluring and enticing nature of sinful habits. If we allow our flesh to rule us, we will follow it into a pit of unrighteousness. There is forgiveness for us in Christ, but we must repent when we find ourselves continuing on a path of unrighteous choices. We may feel like the temptation is too much to bear, but God always provides us a way of escape; we must ask the Lord to give us wisdom and spiritual eyes to see the way out. For me, personally, the wisdom was to unfollow these influencers’ Instagram pages so that the temptation of what they were sharing was no longer before my eyes continually. 

The Holy Spirit is faithful to continue to give us wisdom and guidance and strengthen us when we submit our ways to Him. He will convict our hearts, remind us of what the Bible says, and cultivate the fruit that we have received, especially the fruit of self-control. As believers, we have received the fruit of the Spirit, and just like fruit in the natural, it must be cultivated. The longer we walk with the Lord and study His Word, the more our fruit is developed and strengthened within us. May we continually ask for God’s help when we are tempted and trust that He will help us overcome sin when we are struggling. 

Father God,

This life on earth comes with many trials and many temptations. We are not promised a life free from temptations, but we are promised that You will always give us the strength and grace to overcome those temptations, as well as a way of escape to make Godly choices in obedience to You. I am not able to walk in obedience without Your Spirit. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for convicting my heart when I am walking in disobedience and giving into what satisfies my flesh. I long to be obedient to You, Lord. Help me cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, especially the fruit of self-control. You are a God of self-control, and I long to look like You in everything I say and do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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