Boldness for Christ Beyond Our Screens

Dear Christian social media users, do we delight in making Christian content more than we delight in making disciples? As a blogger myself, this is a question that has been on my heart lately, followed up with am I too intimated to evangelize for Christ outside of social media and face to face with those around me? Perhaps I am hiding behind my screen when God is calling me to step out of my comfort zone and reach those He has physically (not just virtually) put in my path.  

I know that the Lord can use our online content to evangelize and disciple others, especially if we are sharing His truth with others, but if we are not careful, our eyes (and time) can become so fixated on “pumping out good content” that we lose the focus of investing in others’ lives to truly take spiritual responsibility for each other as followers of Christ. This happens primarily in our day-to-day relationships with the people physically around us but can also be fruitful online if we make the time to build relationships that way. 

We must remember that we don’t want to be a part of creating information consumers, but truth pursuers who long to follow Jesus. God can use your content that you post on social media to help others learn about the Lord and His Word, absolutely. We just need to be careful that we are not giving our heart and time to the disciplines of social media content curation more than the dedication of true evangelism and disciple making. Let us not become distracted by a good thing that might lead us to forsake the main thing that Jesus has called us to do.

 Jesus gives us an important command to His disciples in “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:

“…“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, ESV). 

God cares more about souls, not about “the squares” or even what strategy may increase the numbers of “followers,” “likes,” “shares,” or video views on your platform…and we should too. So much good can come from what we share online, but we must make sure it has its proper place in our life. This means that we must guard our time on social media so that we can prioritize time for in-depth Bible study and prayer too. We can be a light for Christ on social media, but if we are neglecting spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study, we will quickly become dry spiritually, and soon evangelism and discipleship will not be a priority in our life either. Let us ask the Father for boldness to share truth with others and be able to balance our virtual connections and face-to-face relationships so that we can grow closer to God and so that others may know Jesus in a more life-changing way. 

Heavenly Father,Thank You for the gift of technology that allows us to reach others with Your gospel both far and wide, all over the globe. The connections we make online can be so fruitful and impactful, but often, it becomes so much easier to get swept away by the virtual world and neglect the people truly in front of our nose. I ask that You would help me prioritize my time spent on social media. I want to share Your truth with everyone both online and in person, but I don’t want to allow my screen to keep me from reaching out to those who are physically around me. I ask for Your boldness when I feel intimated or embarrassed. I trust Your Spirit will empower me to share the gospel with those who need it. Thank You for the believers You have placed in my life. May I take discipleship more seriously so that I can grow closer to You with others as we continue to learn more about You and Your Word, which will fuel our passion to evangelize to those who need the hope that only exists 

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Our Life Starts with Death

Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I worked in a small medical office for four and a half years. That job was difficult for me because I came into contact with a lot of hurting people. And as we all know, “hurt people hurt people.” There were many days that I would drive home crying and collapse on my bed because of the exhausting day of what felt like being a human punching bag.

I constantly asked the Lord to get me out of there, but He had other plans for me. I longed for the day when I would be used in ministry, but what God was trying to get me to understand was that my ministry was right in front of me!

Every single patient who walked into our office was an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with. Once my eyes were opened to that truth, my experience in that office changed and the Lord, in turn, changed me. I would pray every single morning that God would bring someone across my path who I could pray for or share truth with. And guess what? God always provided! I was given countless opportunities to pray for people and share truth with. If I would have stayed in my selfishness, wanting to escape the uncomfortable, I would have missed out on real life- that only comes from denying ourselves and following Christ’s ways over our own. 

It is human nature to seek after what our hearts and flesh crave, but we do not have to give into that kind of nature for we have a new nature in Christ Jesus (Colossians 3:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24). Jesus told his disciples a better way to live if we truly want to be a Christ follower:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 16: 24-25, ESV

Jesus died to bring us life, our life starts with our death. In dying to self, we feel pain and joy, as the light of God shows up in other peoples’ lives, so that He would receive Glory. His Resurrection life leads to our resurrection life and power; our resurrection life and power is an ongoing commitment to death to self. Although we have been given this command from our Lord, He does not leave us to our own strength to follow through. The Holy Spirit empowers us to set aside our selfishness and learn how to surrender our desires and be selfless like Jesus, preferring others above ourselves. We are then empowered to fully surrender and die to self. This lifestyle of surrendering our love for self helps us bear much fruit, and we will see others come to Christ as well.  How have your freedoms/prosperity made you comfortable? Have your freedoms and prosperity in life made you a comfort-seeking consumer? Is it a joy for you to die daily and come after Jesus? If this is a struggle for you, let us go boldly to the throne of grace and ask Him for help to surrender to dying to self and following Christ where true life is found. 

Father God, I repent for trying to hold onto my life when you have asked your followers to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow you. I surrender my love of self and lean on Your grace to walk in Your ways, preferring others more than myself. I set aside my desire to be comfortable and avoid pain, and trust that you have joy for me in a life of selflessness and service. Help me have boldness to tell others about You and share Your love and truth with whoever comes my way. Thank You for laying Your life down for me to find true life eternal. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Raising Tiny Disciples

I have been studying parenting styles recently, and it has helped me better understand myself as how I grew up and how I want to raise my three boys. In my understanding, raising kids with an intentional lack of guidance (“do whatever makes you happy” kind of mentality) causes more harm to them in the end. Children need guidance from their parents, especially when they are young and don’t fully understand the world around them yet. “Free-range”-style parenting is actually quite harmful to the psyche of a child; they are children, not chickens.  

Parents, we should not be afraid to lovingly, yet firmly, set boundaries and tell our kids no and why, especially if you know it may become harmful or damaging to them now and even later in life, as small habits can form into behavior and behavior can form into lifestyle.

They may be frustrated at you for a time, but honestly, it is the most loving thing a parent can do. I truly believe your children will thank you for it when they get older. We are raising the next generation…what do we want our world to look like as our children grow up?

It is our job as parents to teach and guide our children and protect them the best we can. I know for me, as a mom, I most definitely cannot do this without God’s grace and wisdom. Learning from what He has to say about parenting has been so much better than all the world’s advice could offer me. The book of

Proverbs is full of wisdom and a familiar verse from chapter 22 gives us direction as parents:

Train up a child [d]in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6, NASB

There is only one right way and that is God’s way, which is the way of life. Early training secures lifelong habits and parents must be diligent to guide their children, teaching them God’s Word and enforcing it with loving discipline raising the child in the admonition of the Lord. The world is ready and willing to disciple your children, especially when are young and impressionable. It is best that they are discipled by you as the parent instead. It is loving to give your children boundaries and rules to follow, which will help shape their independence so they can make good decisions while they are still young. You are not alone in your parenting journey. There will be hard days and simple, strife-free days. May the Lord give you wisdom so you can steward the lives He has entrusted to your care! 

Heavenly Father, I know that You do not want children to raise themselves. You have given children parents to train them in good, godly habits that will help shape them as adults. Most importantly, help me teach them more about You and glorious gospel. My hope is that they will long to love You and live for You all the days of their lives, spreading Your truth and love to the world and raising up the next godly generation. I lean on Your grace and ask for Your wisdom every single day. Thank You for guiding me and caring for me as 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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God’s Work in Progress

I have always been a list maker and fueled by accomplishment. Being successful and driven became the meaning behind every breath I took; I found purpose in my performance and productivity. I loved the high from “the hustle” and having my schedule full to the brim. I spent years upon year upon years crowding the margins of my existence with:

Dance class, gymnastics, cheerleading, running track, Student Council, Marching Band, Pep Band, Concert Band, Art Club, Peers Group, musicals & plays (“I can’t. I have rehearsal.”), auditions, performances, church choir practice, tutoring, youth ministry, college and career ministry, worship team rehearsals, Bible studies, prayer meetings, church leadership meetings, drama practices, event planning committees, speaking engagements…

…just to name a few.

This vicious cycle of constant hustle-mode was all I knew for well over 20 years of my life. I still wrestle with temptation to find my worth in my productivity and seeking my happiness when everything is “perfect.” I am what you may call a recovering “Type A” person. 

Then came the day, a little over five years ago, that my husband and I decided it was best for our family for me to leave my job after our first son was born and become a stay-at-home mom. Even though there was always a daily task-list before me:

Laundry, feeding, burping, diaper-changing, vacuuming, mopping, dishes, feeding, burping, diaper-changing, lunch, emails, phone-calls, feeding, burping, diaper-changing, dinner, feeding, burping, diaper-changing…

…I didn’t feel accomplished at all.

It felt like a non-stop whirlwind of tasks that never got crossed off. My days felt like a constant work-in-progress and I felt so defeated and disappointed in myself for not working harder to get it all done.

That is an exhausting way to live and if you are not careful, that type of mentality will creep into your spiritual life and soon you will be trying to work to earn God’s favor and love. Have you ever experienced these thoughts when it comes to your walk with God?

 I didn’t pray enough today. I haven’t read my Bible in over a week! Man, why can’t I get over this sin?! I am such a failure! Am I even saved?

But as Ephesians 2: 8-9 tells us, we know that we cannot earn our salvation because it is a gift from God:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

NIV

Just as God is sovereign in salvation, He is also sovereign in our sanctification. He is the one who is in charge of seeing us mature on our walk with Him.

The same grace that saved us is the very same grace that keeps us and molds us into the image of Christ, day by day.

From the moment of your conversion, you became God’s work-in-progress and the greatest news of all is that He doesn’t grow weary, stressed or exhausted with you. He will complete the work He began in us!

That is why I love this encouragement from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:

“….being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6, NIV

Your salvation has been gifted to you for the sake of Christ, for His glory, not ours. The gift to have faith in Jesus… He began that work!

Your inconsistences and failures are not going to change. Your disobedience, your lack in trust…none of that is going to change the work nor thwart God’s plan in your life. God starts it, God finishes it.

We simply need to lean on His strength and grace and ask for wisdom to walk in obedience. The Holy Spirit is our Helper and He will help you walk in God’s will. You don’t have to muster up your faith muscles to see that happen. You simply need to trust that God’s plan with your life will be accomplished, not because there is anything good in you, but because of His goodness and faithfulness! 

Do you struggle with trying to earn God’s love?

When you fail and sin, do you hide from God or try to fix it yourself by “trying to do better?”

Beloved, you do not have to run away from God. He sees it all and knows that you are going to undoubtably mess up. That is why He sent His Son Jesus to earth to live the perfect life for you; to fulfill the law completely for you. His death on the cross paid for your punishment of the curse of the law that you will never be able to uphold.

Come boldy to the throne of grace today and receive new mercies that Christ died for you to have. Lean on His strength and grace today and see the work that He started in you continue until His glorious return or when you meet Him face to face. Trust that He is working and yield to it. 

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Created to Worship

Did you know that everyone was created to worship?

Yes, even those who would not consider themselves religious worship something or someone. 

Worship is ascribing worth to something or someone.

It is what you devote your time, your devotion, your affection, your finances, your heart to. If you allow yourself to really reflect on this, you will know in your heart where all of those things in your life are going to. 

As humans, we were created to worship God, but once sin came into the world, we started to worship anything but God. This tension, to worship God vs anything/anyone else, exists in the heart of every single man, woman, and child.

If you worship anyone or anything besides God Almighty, the Bible calls those people or those things idols. And when it comes to God, He doesn’t want you to give yourself away fully to anything or anyone but Him. He’s not egotistical or prideful, He just loves us so much and wants us to see the world and people like He does.

Worshiping God creates an atmosphere in our hearts that is conducive to see God mold us more and more into the image of Jesus Christ, His Son. We are fixing our attention and affections on giving God the upmost glory in and through our lives. Seeking God first and foremost in our life, means our hearts begin to long for the things of God versus the things of this world more and more each day that we walk with God.

The more we worship God by giving Him first place in our lives, our heart then becomes a breeding ground for selfless love to be produced in us and through us.

When the Lord begins to sanctify us and mold us and change our hearts, we are then able to love others with the Father’s love. 

In Matthew 22, Jesus responds to a group of Pharisees and Sadducees when he is asked what was the greatest commandment in the law:

“And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’38 This is the great and [o]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets’”

Matthew 22:37-40, NASB

In prayer one day, as I was pondering this, I began singing this simple chorus:
Cultivate the ground of my heart

Til it yields a harvest of lasting fruit

For Your purpose

For Your plan…

How does God cultivate the ground of your heart?

Through worship- seeking God Almighty first and foremost and surrendering your life completely to Him more and more every day.

Worship is not just singing to the Lord (although that’s important). It is denying yourself and saying “yes” to Him every single day of your life. From seeking Him in prayer or by sharing the gospel with those God places in your path or by praying for those who are hurting, every “yes” to God is worship. When we love God with all that we are, our hearts can’t help but overflow with His love for others. 

Worship is a lifestyle.

It is constantly telling God “More of You and less of me” every day. Every time we obey God and say “yes” to Him, we give Him glory. We give Him worth with our words and our actions. Every father wants to see their children mature and succeed their love walk, and our Heavenly Father wants the same for us.

Take some time to reflect upon what is getting all of your attention, affections, and time. Who or what do you worship? Yourself? Your plans? Your job? Money? Nice clothes? Everything in this world will pass away, except for love (1 Corinthians 13). Are there areas in your life that you are holding back from God?

The more we say “yes” to God, the more He molds our hearts and they will overflow with His perfect Love. 

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