For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace – John 1:16
I'm a wife, a mom of two, and a strong believer in the power of prayer and caffeine. My passion is to encourage others to fall in love with Jesus over and over again by sharing reminders of his undeserved, unmerited, and unending grace.
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
When we think of empty faith, we typically think of this verse in James. Faith without works is dead, but faith that is misplaced is also dead. If we put our faith in our works, instead of our Christ, we can’t become who He made us to be. A picture of this is when Christians stay in their comfort zone, not believing that He can do greater things.
When I was younger, I wanted a love like the movies. I wanted someone to tell me they loved me more than anything. I wanted to be the thing they loved the most. After being in relationships where that was the case, it terrified me to look for a husband who loved Jesus more. What if that didn’t leave enough love for me?
As Christians, we know the war has been won, but there are still battles to fight. We can be victims or victors in these battles, depending on our knowledge and understanding of what we are fighting. God knows the strategies the enemy uses, and He shows them to us in His Word, so that “we are not ignorant of his devices, lest satan should get an advantage” (2 Corinthians 2:11). In this passage, Paul says to forgive those who have grieved us, and comfort them, so that they won’t be swallowed up by sorrow. This implies that the enemy attacks us by reminding us of our sin and our unworthiness. If he has a strategy against us, we need a strategy against him. So what do we do when we are attacked?
This past weekend, I ran my first 5K. I had been doing high intensity workouts for several months, but running was a whole new ballgame. The first time I ran, I felt like I had been going forever and looked down to see that I had gone 0.2 miles. All I could think was You’ve got to be kidding me.
“I believe in God, and I asked Jesus into my life – but how do I know if it worked? How do I know for sure that I am saved?”
In the past several weeks, I’ve had three different people ask me this. And each time, it’s like having a conversation with myself five years ago. Why do we not talk about this more? I think this is one of the enemy’s favorite places to attack believers, especially new believers. The faith is new and fresh, and if he can get even a kernel of doubt in our hearts, we will never be able to live the life God wants for us. If we are not equipped with a way to fight this, we can spend years – or decades – living a life of uncertainty.
The first step in defeating our enemies is recognizing them. Scripture tells us that God told Jesus He would “make His enemies a footstool for His feet” (Luke 20:43). I’ve often heard that verse quoted as a way for Christians to say, “Let God fight your battles”. But in this scripture, who is the enemy?
The moment that Jesus rose from the grave, the devil heard the first tick of a clock.
Before the cross, before the grave, before the ascension… the work had not yet been finished. When Jesus went to the cross for our sins and was raised to life for our justification, the Scriptures were fulfilled and satan lost.
A humble brag is a “self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud”. We have all likely been on both the giving and receiving end of a humble brag.
When is the last time you stood in the gap for someone you loved? Many of us do this daily, praying over our family members and our friends. We might miss a day here and there, or even a week when we are really busy, but we consistently remember to lift them up. Do we have the same faithfulness and persistence to lift up our fellow church members? Our leaders? Our communities? Cities? Nations?
Confession: Most days, if all of my prayers were answered, my kids and husband would stay safe and my food would be blessed, but the world would remain unchanged.
A few months after the arrival of our little girl, my husband casually mentioned something he had been thinking about during his morning time with the Lord. The quote itself was powerful, but the timing of the quote—as a new mom—made it heartbreaking.
“You’ll never understand how much God loves you until you understand how much God loved Jesus.”
Advice we receive about worry can be confusing. I think most people, if asked about worry directly, would tell you not to worry too much and to enjoy the moments. But then we constantly see in the news and on social media those stories that want to raise awareness about <something> because <something awful> happened to them. Those stories absolutely break my heart, but they also cause me to fall into worry.
We know that testimonies can be powerful. Scripture tells us to declare how much God has done for us. Most of us have been deeply moved by testimonies, but have you ever listened to someone’s testimony and felt critical or jealous?
A critical heart would think, “I could present this in a better way” or “My story is more powerful than this”, while a jealous heart might think, “My testimony isn’t that powerful; I might as well never share it because it won’t measure up.”
I was watching old home videos recently and came across one of my younger brother taking his first steps. In the video, I was about four years old. As soon as he took that first step, I yelled to my parents, “He’s doing it!” Then, as my parents began to praise him, I suddenly realized I was no longer the center of attention and proceeded to push my wobbling brother to the side so I could run across the room and do a cartwheel.
I think sometimes we approach working out the same way we approach grace and Christianity. Too often, the main reason we reach out to God is because we think we messed up somehow. “Oh, I sinned again. I need to pray.”
It’s similar with working out – we do it because we want to fix something. “Oh, I messed up my diet again. I need to work out.”
A few months ago, God started speaking to me about great faith and where it comes from. The message I want to share focuses on three men in scripture: Abraham, Elijah and Thomas. My mother-in-law laughed at me when I said that I wanted to talk about Thomas as a man of great faith, but he’s in the lineup all the same.
First let’s look at Abraham, or Abram at the time. In Genesis 15:7, God essentially promises Abram land and Abram responds by asking, “But how will I know for sure?” We know that Abram was a man of faith. In the very verse before this one, God told Abram that he would have a son and Abram believed the Lord because of his great faith, and it was counted as righteousness.
The words sound empty and hollow, even to me.
I’m on autopilot, saying the things I know would get me an A in an English course,
but mean nothing to the one I’m talking to.
I say sorry for the millionth time,
and for the millionth time we both know I would do it again. Maybe even tonight. Repeat. Repent. Repeat. Repent.
Please, God, break this shell. Get through to me.
Forbid me. Punish me.
I was going through an old journal, and found this entry I wrote about prayer when I was in high school. I was struggling with an addiction at the time and felt like repentance was losing its meaning. I would apologize, agonize, and then fall into the same temptation again. The problem was that I had a flawed definition of repentance and I was trying to break an addiction by myself.
When I graduated from college, I was in a relationship with someone I greatly cared for. He had stood by me as a friend and boyfriend for three years as I tried to work my way through a sudden loss of stability. My parents had divorced, my childhood home was being sold, my church had split down the middle and the sense of displacement was staggering at times. However, the boy I loved didn’t believe in the God I was longing for. He would go to church with me and he would sit quietly while I prayed, but he didn’t know how to help me find the peace I was searching for.
I am so incredibly thankful—for my family, for my friends, for my job—but I am also hurting. In this season of grief, God put three things on my heart that I hope might be helpful to others who are also hurting
Two years ago, I was in a Bible study and we were reading in Genesis discussing when God spoke to Abram in Genesis 15:7-8. Abram responds to God’s promise by saying, “But how will I know?” Clearly Abram was a man of great faith; in the very verse before, it says Abram believed the Lord and He credited it to him as righteous and later in Hebrews, Abram makes the Bible’s Hall of Fame because of his great faith. Yet he asks the question, “But how will I know?”