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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What does it look like to be led by the Spirit?

What does it look like for the Holy Spirit to lead in the Christian’s life?

From the onset, I believe it is helpful to define Biblically as it relates to human experience, the work of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:7-8, we see that the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement. With this being established, in the life of the Christian, we are continually being conformed by God’s grace, to the likeness of His Son. We seek to obey the commands of scripture and live our lives in obedience to Christ. Being led by the Spirit is the antithesis to being led by the flesh (Galatians 5:17-18). When we are being led by the Spirit, it means that we are putting to death the ways of the flesh because the sins and desires of the flesh are against the Spirit. 

Being led by the Spirit is not a passive or mysterious leading or “subjective feeling,” but rather an active, ever-present fight in the life of the Christian. Some believe they are led by the Spirit by the dreams they have as they believe that God is trying to tell them something or that they saw a butterfly flying in a certain direction and that’s “how they knew God was leading them” vs. the Bible. Unfortunately, this subjective, experience-based reliance leads to many misunderstandings of what it looks like to be led by the Spirit. Therefore, Bible study and prayer time is critical. 

Thankfully, we as disciples of Christ are not left to human subjectivity and confusion, we have God’s Word as a lamp to our feet in a world of darkness and sin. The Spirit will always use the Word to guide us.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, NKJV).

If we need direction in our life, the best way is to fill our heart and mind with God’s Word. This will increase our trust in God, and we will no longer live in fear of the “what ifs” of life but rely solely on His divine providence to overshadow every step we take. As we study the scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth to us, we learn to rest in God’s sovereignty, trusting He is in control and will care for every detail, give you wisdom, and help you resist the temptation of the flesh. 

Father God, I need direction in my life. I often want some type of external, tangible evidence or sign that will give me the answer or show me the way. I know You have called me to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. I trust that the Holy Spirit guides me by the Truth that is found in Your Holy written Word. I repent for looking to signs, omens, and dreams, which are subjective, and build my life upon Your Word that is a strong foundation that cannot be shaken or changed. Give me a hunger to study the scriptures so that I may know You and Your will and walk in wisdom to make righteous decisions that please only You. Please strengthen my faith and trust in Your sovereignty so that I can rest in knowing that Your providential hand leads me every day even when I cannot always see it or understand it. Thank You for Your Word that is a light to my path and lamp to my feet so I can see the narrow way clearly that You are calling me to walk on. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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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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Hope for the Hopeless

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness”

(Romans 8:24-26, ESV).

My husband, Paul, and I recently celebrated twelve years of marriage. Although I enjoy reflecting and focusing on all the wonderful and joyous memories together over these last twelve years, it can be said that our faith has been tested under waves of chaos and storms and under the weight and pressures of life.

It would be amazing to have a life full of happy times only, but it’s in the fire, the trials, and the storms of life that we are truly strengthened. We can choose to rise above the chaos or allow hopelessness and despair to overtake us. 

Our faith in Jesus Christ has given us hope to remain steadfast because we know He is faithful. This hope is what has been our anchor through all. 

This anchor is what holds you to your trust and faith in the Lord. Hope isn’t something that can be created or conjured up. Sure, we can give ourselves a pep-talk when we are feeling downcast or be encouraged by a friend to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but true hope is given to us by the Holy Spirit. He endows us with the faith that God’s promises are true; He is not a liar- He can be trusted completely and that ultimately, His sovereign hand is working in our life; we will not be put to shame.  

Having an eternal perspective lifts your eyes from the cares of this life and helps you move forward when you are going through a storm to remind you that ultimately, this place is not our home; Being heavenly minded during earthly trials is what fuels your hope in God.

Romans 8 speaks of this kind of hope:

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness”

(24-26, ESV).

We eagerly wait for the return of Christ and the day we will abide with God forever in our heavenly home. No matter how dark things may become around us in our world or in our personal lives, we must ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with hope. We must renew our minds with God’s Word so we will be able to seek and understand God’s perfect will in our lives more clearly. He has a purpose for us to fulfill here on earth and that is to share with others His glorious Gospel so that they may also find the hope that is available to God’s children.

As a child of God, we may feel hopelessness in our heart, but we must move beyond our feelings and remind our heart of the great hope we have in Christ. The Holy Spirit can help us in our weakness. Let us ask Him for help when hopelessness tries to overwhelm us, moving beyond what we see and connecting ourselves to the hope that is attached to our trust in God’s promise of eternal life in Christ.

Father God, 

I am experiencing a heaviness, a weariness in my soul. Our world is in a constant state of chaos it seems, and my own soul is in turmoil from the weight of the cares of this life. But I refuse to live by what I feel for I know You are faithful and will not let me drown in the waves of the storms of life. Holy Spirit, fill my heart with a hope that can only come from heaven. Help me fix my eyes on eternity and give me the boldness to share the Gospel with others so they would know of this hope that heaven awaits those who repent of their sin and put their full trust in Christ alone. Thank You for never leaving me in my weakness and for strengthening me with Your grace each day. 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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Come Out of Hiding

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV).

A few months ago, my eyes were opened to the stark reality that I was struggling with an area of my past…

… the pain of rejection.

This continues to be a battle for me, yet I realize that healing from the pain of rejection is a partnership and most definitely, a process. Thankfully, I am not alone in this fight.

One thing for sure is that the Lord fights for me and the Holy Spirit guides me into all truth, illuminating and highlighting lies that I was believing that are rooted in rejection.

Rejection had overwhelmed so much of me that I wasn’t being fully honest with people in my life. The lie I believed was that I would be rejected if my sin or wrong-doing was discovered. Therefore, I chose to either keep silent or tell a lie to keep my secret hidden so that I wouldn’t be a disappointment.

That lifestyle was keeping me from being fully transparent and honest with my husband and most importantly, with God. I believe this is why 1 John 1 reminds us of the importance of confessing our sin:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV).

Hiding our sin causes us to hide from God, similar to Adam and Eve when the first sin entered the world. They felt ashamed, and shame made them feel rejected. Because of Jesus and the finished work of the cross, we are forever made righteous in our position as we stand before the Father and are forever forgiven, yet when we sin, it causes our fellowship with God to be hindered, and then we can very easily stray from Him. God’s love toward me never changes when I sin, yet I may still experience consequences and correction for my disobedience. Repentance, as a believer, is for our benefit to keep fellowship with our Father open and unhindered. Sin can often cause our hearts to grow callous, and we may not be as sensitive toward the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy wants you either in pride thinking you are better off doing life your own way or in isolation, bound in a pit of depression, unable to receive love or give out love, feeling like no one loves you or cares about you, especially God. But God’s love is unconditional and perfect, and nothing can stop His pursuit toward you. He wants us to be honest with Him so that we can see real transformation happen in our life, as He conforms us into the image of His Son.

Like I said above, positionally, in Christ, you stand before God forgiven and righteous, but experientially, sanctification is a process because our flesh is weak. Although as born-again believers, we continue to sin against God because we are constantly at war with our flesh in this life, the good news is that we have a great advocate, Jesus Christ, who is forever our righteousness. To be sure, our position in Him as declared righteous before God will never change, yet, we are still called to confess our sin, which purifies our conscious before the Lord.  Is there a particular sin that you have been struggling with? Pause and take some time to write it/them down and repent before the Lord, laying it all down at His feet. 1 John 1:9 says Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Let us come out of hiding and rejoice in the truth that Jesus is forever our righteousness despite our shortcomings!

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I Was That Girl

I was only 12 years old when I began giving myself away, piece by piece.  First it was pornography and cybersex; then it slowly moved toward physical sexual encounters. I continued this behavior for a whole decade of my life, until I was about 22.

For most of my youth, I never felt my dad loved me. He was an on-again-off-again alcoholic, and I know it was that missing piece in my life that made me long for genuine love and acceptance.  And as I grew up, I constantly pursued approval and attention from boys.

I dealt with rejection, depression, anxiety and a giant void in my heart I didn’t know how to fill.  I quickly became ensnared by alcohol abuse and did many dangerous things that only served to create glue-strong attachments to other people — things like an adulterous relationship with a married man and countless one-night stands with random men I followed home from the bar.

Filling the Void

In college, my love for theater and acting became my means of escaping my desire to be truly accepted. I tried to find fulfillment in the fantasy relationships I had with others on stage and attempted to make real off stage. But my pride caused me to fall in love with myself, trying to satisfy the emptiness that refused to be filled.

I knew John 3:16 by heart, but I didn’t fully understand it. I knew Jesus died so that I may be forgiven and restored back to the Father, but I just couldn’t shake the religious upbringing that taught me only about a vengeful, angry God who would smite me down if I were not perfect.

I still felt like I had to work for forgiveness and acceptance. And love. That performance-driven mentality affected all areas of my life. No matter how hard I tried to be perfect, I never felt good enough.

I reached a point where I stopped trying and just lived. I made plans to run away to Los Angeles. I would be an actress and prove to the world my worth, talent, beauty and charm. But, one Sunday morning, only a couple months after I graduated from college, my eyes were truly opened to my selfish and sinful existence.

I hadn’t been to church in years, but one morning I went with my mom and sister. During the worship service, I began to experience this deep conviction that I was living a reckless and selfish life and that I had been running away from God. It was my prodigal son moment…I came to my senses and the end of myself (Luke 15). Immediately, I knew I needed to repent and start running toward Him, back into the Father’s arms. In that moment, I realized where I truly belonged. Right there, with hands lifted in worship, and tears streaming down my face, I repented of my pride and rebellion; I told God that I didn’t want to live this life on my own anymore, and that I wanted to surrender to His plan.

Faith at a Crossroad

As I began to loosen my grip on my plans for my life one finger at a time, God began showing me that His plans were so much better than my own. I finally laid down my prideful desires to become an actress in Los Angeles and committed to truly follow Jesus, wherever that led, for the first time in my life.

But only a few short months after this change began in my heart, I received some traumatic news- someone murdered my father outside of a strip club. His lifestyle landed him in the wrong crowd, and it tragically cost him his life.

That’s when my faith reached a crossroad.

I could either believe Jesus was my solid rock, my firm foundation, or allow my father’s murder to completely shake me and destroy me. God gave me the strength to believe. At my father’s funeral, I read one of his favorite poems, “Footprints in the Sand,” and I told my family to trust in Jesus; He would be the One to carry us through this tragedy.

Total Healing

Since my father’s passing, I have not stopped running toward God. I find refuge in His presence, and I ask daily for help to walk in His will. I try my best to make it a priority to study His Word, and spend time in worship and prayer, but only by His grace am I able to do that.

God has completely healed me, delivered me, transformed me and overwhelmed me with His great love. He is the Father I always wanted — the One who will never leave me or reject me.

I don’t work for forgiveness anymore; now I fully receive His grace and forgiveness. I know I have been forgiven of so much, and I long to be so filled with God’s love that it pours out of me to everyone I meet. I want others to know they can never outrun His love. I know I sure tried that, and I learned that no one can ever be too far gone for God to fulfill His purpose in me.

I speak from experience when I say nothing in this world will ever be able to satisfy like God’s love does. Now I get it: Nothing can ever separate us from Him. Nothing. We don’t have to work for His love or prove ourselves worthy of it. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

I once struggled to find my identity in Christ, and I know I’m not the only one. But let me tell you, the greatest position you will ever stand in is being a child of God.

I once struggled to find my identity in Christ, and I know I’m not the only one. But let me tell you, the greatest position you will ever stand in is being a child of God.


“I Was That Girl” was first featured in Shattered Magazine (Fall 2015 issue, print edition).

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March on in truth!

Charles Spurgeon once said,

“Controversy is never a very happy element for the child of God: he would far rather be in communion with his Lord than be engaged in defending the faith, or in attacking error. But the soldier of Christ knows no choice in his Master’s commands. He may feel it to be better for him to lie upon the bed of rest than to stand covered with the sweat and dust of battle; but, as a soldier, he has learned to obey, and the rule of his obedience is not his personal comfort, but his Lord’s absolute command. The servant of God must endeavor to maintain all the truth which his Master has revealed to him, because, as a Christian soldier, this is part of his duty. But while he does so, he accords to others the liberty which he himself enjoys.”

Over this past year, my husband, Paul, and I have experienced a sense of urgency and heavy burden to preach truth in love and call out error through our online platform. We wouldn’t call it “fun.” It’s uncomfortable, but as followers of Christ, we know we are called to stand in boldness when God’s Word is being distorted. 

In the epistle of Jude, he exhorts believers to be defenders of the faith, to hold fast to our message as Christians, the glorious gospel.  

“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

Jude 1:3, NASB

Engaging in Christian apologetics in today’s culture is desperately needed when defending the faith, even within the Church and especially in America because error abounds. We must stand for truth and become defenders of the Christian faith that has stood the test of time for thousands of years, even when wolves come in to devour the flock (Matthew 7).

It isn’t about a single person being right. It is about God being right because He is. He is Truth. If we are His, we will want to grow in that truth, boldly proclaim it, and protect it from error, even if it makes us uncomfortable or even experience pain and rejection at times. 

The gospel is offensive.

Truth can cut deep and point out things in us that we don’t want to see, but if we want to be conformed to the image of Christ, we must believe and follow truth. 

We should not have to apologize for our zeal for God’s Word and His glorious gospel because without those precious gifts from the Lord to us, we would not be able to revel in the benefits of the good news or share it with others so that their fellowship with their Heavenly Father is restored.

As God’s children, we have been transformed by God’s love and mercy. We can live forgiven and free because of that. We should long to share that love with others by sharing truth found in the Bible, whether they have never heard the gospel, or they have strayed from its pure message and have begun following a false gospel.

We should never feel ashamed to share the hope of our message as believers, turning from our life in sin to turning to Christ alone who offers us new eternal life in Him that was purchased for us by His own blood. In Christ, we are forgiven. In Christ, we are God’s precious children. This is the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints of old and we must continue to pass it down to each generation and protect it from those who would want to twist its message. 

Do you have a desire to share truth with a loved one who may be caught up in deception of a false gospel or on your social media platform to reach others for the gospel?

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the boldness and ask Him for a greater desire for His Word. It is so important to become a diligent student of God’s Word so that when the opportunity presents itself you are able to give a response for the hope that you have inside of you (1 Peter 3:15).

Stand firm, and march on in truth, soldier.


If you would like to learn more about my husband and I’s ministry, you can visit, www.wewouldratherhavejesus.com.

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Avoiding an Upkept Heart

When I was in high school, I was involved in countless clubs and activities outside of class. One of my favorite experiences was performing in the Spring musicals every year. Since I became a follower of Christ as a teenager, I was elated to discover that production that was chosen for our Senior year was Godspell by Stephen Schwartz. This musical is structured as a series of parables, primarily based on the Gospel of Matthew. One of my favorite scenes in that show was the parable of the sower. 

The parable of the sower is found in Luke 8:4-15, Matthew 13:1-8, and Mark 4:1-9. In this parable, it explains to us that the Word of God must be sown into the heart of a person. In other words, the heart is the ground or soil.

Four types of soil Jesus discusses:

  1. The Wayside/Foot path
  2. The Rock/Stony places
  3. Thorns/Weeds
  4. Good Ground/Soil

Obviously, the best soil for the Word of God is good ground.

What is good ground?

In the natural, this would be soil that has been tilled and ready to receive the seed that the farmer is spreading. The farmer makes sure that it is cultivated and kept moist.

The worst thing that the farmer could allow to happen is for the ground to become hardened or full of weeds.

Jesus explains good ground as “those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15, NKJV).

There is a key word in that scripture that sticks out to me: “keep.”

This word is also found in another part of that Bible that gives instruction about of our heart.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to:

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life”

NKJV

When I reflect on what the word “keep” means in this verse, I often think of the opposite word “unkept.”

If something is unkept, it is usually a mess and not cared for- an upkept room, an unkept flower patch, or unkept nails.

So if we are to keep our heart with all diligence, we are supposed to continually care for it, protect it, and make sure it is pure and ready to receive God’s Word at all times. 

What comes out of your mouth is the first indicator of what condition your heart is in (See Matthew 12:34; Proverbs 10:11). The words you speak should build up and encourage others, honorable and wholesome, and full of compassion; they should always line up with what God’s speaks of in His Word and should always point others to Jesus and bring glory to Him.

Sometimes this is easier for us when everything in life is going well: all our bills are paid and we have plenty of money in the bank, we have great health, and our relationships are strong.

Regardless of our circumstances, we should always be yielding good fruit. In the storms and trials, the fruit that is reflected in our lives should be vibrant and fresh to “eat” for all we come in contact with. After all, the fruit we produce is not for us, but for others.

Are you making sure your heart is kept and cultivated for the seed of the Word to grow and bear good fruit?

Are you allowing the enemy to immediately steal the Word you just heard by yielding to him and his ways?

Are you making sure your heart remains soft and pliable, guarding it from bitterness or un-forgiveness?

Are you allowing the cares of this world, the riches of this world, and the pleasures of this life crowd your heart with nasty weeds that choke out the potential fruit?

If you can answer yes to the last three questions, chances are you are not guarding your heart with all diligence like Proverbs 4:23 exhorts us to do. Not only do you have to keep weeds from choking out the seed of God’s word, you just must care for the fruit that you do have.

Again, it is so important to protect your heart from cares of the world and bitterness and unforgiveness. If upkept, spiritual growth in your life will be stunted. Remember, keeping and guarding your heart bearing lasting, good fruit is a lifetime process! But keep abiding in the life source, the Vine, Christ Jesus!

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Longing for the whole Truth!

Today, I’m simply here to just write.

Vent, I guess you could say…

…gracefully vent.

*Sigh*

I’m going through something right now. Actually, my husband and I are both going through something right now.

Little by little, we have been placed in situations of surrender and letting go of things we were holding onto for security and comfort and learning how to fully trust God alone.

The house.

The furniture.

The freedom of being a stay-at-home mom to then take on a side job to help out some friends.

And now our place of Sunday worship.

Over the last several months, everything that has been the foundation of our faith has been challenged, and we are left unlearning a lot of things once again. We are searching out the scriptures to discover why we believe what we believe. And what we have discovered is that we don’t believe, or agree with, much of what we have been taught.

Needless to say, it’s been challenging…

…especially for my husband, Paul, since he sat under the same teaching for 20 plus years of his life (almost 25), and after we left the church he grew up at in 2010, we were led to a church whose pastor also sat under that very same teaching for years.

When you hear the same teaching for 20 plus years of your life and you trust your pastor more than God, you embrace what you are being told as truth.

And sometimes as the only truth.

But there’s a problem with that- we need to find truth in the Word of God alone and not necessarily an interpretation of what you are being told is truth. It becomes a danger because we never line up what is being said from the pulpit with what the Word of God really says. We should trust the Holy Spirit to be our teacher. We cannot just embrace everything that proceeds out of the pastor’s mouth because, honestly, he should know more than us, right?

Sadly, this happens more often than not in the churches of America. Many people do not read their Bible, and we put all the responsibility on the pastor to feed us, teach us, guide us. His job is to definitely help us learn, but most importantly, encourage us and equip us to go home and study out what we just heard. He was never supposed to walk out our walk with God for us.

A scripture taken out of context and twisted to fit our methods, principles, main points, and often, our fleshly desires, has been genetically modified, my friends. #SayNoToGMO

We can’t just embrace everything we hear from people. It must line up with the totality of God’s Word, what is called the whole counsel of God. Not just one scripture…the WHOLE THING! Much of what is heard on a Sunday morning is out of context. We have experienced this first hand, and the Lord had to reveal it to us the more we studied out His Word for ourselves!

I don’t write all of this as a jab at any pastor or man/woman of God in particular, I’m just simply expressing where we are in our walk. We have been disappointed countless times by numerous teachers of God’s Word, whether those we have sat under, or those we have listened to through the information super-highway.

We aren’t giving up on the Church. Although we are disappointed, we aren’t surprised. The Word of God explains to us that this is going to happen in the Last Days. And clearly, we are in the Last Days!

My husband is responsible for our family. I am responsible for my own heart and what my son hears and has sown into his heart until he is old enough to guard his own heart.

Above all, we must always judge what we are hearing, even if it is coming from the pulpit.

Don’t allow people to tell you that you are not supposed to judge…

…that’s a real popular topic among believers and non-believers alike.

Jesus tells us:

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

John 7:24, NKJV

What is “righteous judgment?”

“Judgment” in Greek in this particular verse means “the concept of determining the correctness of a matter.”

Use the word of God to discern what is false and what is unrighteous (Hebrews 4:12).

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”

1 Timothy 6:3-5, ESV

Let the Word of God light your way, every single step. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth and peace.

I’m holding onto the Word, who is also Jesus, the Word made flesh! He’s our only hope in these times of testing and times of deception we all face!

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