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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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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