Testimony | Missions

Bailey Davidson’s testimony about her mission trip to Guatemala

A Disciple of Jesus

A Disciple of Jesus

Becoming a disciple of Jesus is a life-long process. As we learn what the truth is, we align our hearts with that knowledge so that we can live it out. Knowing the truth takes our “yes” to God deeper than a one-time decision and transforms it into a lifestyle of saying “yes”. If we want to be more like Jesus, we have to consistently pursue Him in everything we do.

The act of being a disciple has to be intentional. While God can reveal truth to us, we have to take it a step further by actively applying that truth to our lives. In order to truly live in truth, we have to be honest about where we are in our walk with God. Psalm 139 says, “You have examined my heart and know everything about me” (Ps. 139:1 NLT). God already knows the state of our hearts, so in order to let him change us, we have to be honest about what we are feeling and experiencing. Being transparent requires humility and vulnerability, but when we allow ourselves to engage with it, God meets us in it.

Paul gives us a really clear view of what this kind of discipleship looks like in 2 Timothy 2:2. He says, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” This simply means that discipleship is about learning the truth and then telling it to others. When we let God into the vulnerable places of our hearts, He takes us deeper into who He is. There, we experience healing, freedom, and restoration. When we experience victory over sin struggles, we learn about God’s heart towards us. Then, we get to take what we learned through that process and share it with others. That is what discipleship is all about: freely giving what you have freely received.

Author | Emily Baker

In the Garden

In the Garden

In the beginning, God created the world. It was His masterpiece- His very good masterpiece. Of course, we know that sin would enter the world, perverting the perfect world God had created. But that’s the part of the story where we usually get stuck. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We know all too well our sin, and all too well the broken world in which we live. And that’s important. We must bridge that gap to gain understanding of our need for salvation. But there’s much to be learned if we go a little further back- to the Garden. To God’s ideal plan for creation. There we can see the way God has called us to live in an ideal world without sin. The garden is our model for living a life of intentionality in pursuing Christ.

In the garden, God walked hand in hand with man. His physical presence was able to coexist with us, not yet mortals- still unmarked by sin or blemish. Later in the Old Testament, God would reveal his fullness to Moses, given that Moses did not look at His face. God knew that the fullness of His glory would strike Moses dead, but in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were able to be with God. They walked with Him, and they talked with Him. They were in perfect community with God. After the fall of man, we could no longer walk hand in hand with God, and chat with Him as we would a close friend. Now, in order to have community with God we must communicate through prayer.

It is easy for prayer feel like second best. We tend to think standing face-to-face with God would be a much more rewarding and fulfilling experience, especially when we struggle to recognize God’s voice speaking back to us. The yearning to meet God face-to-face isn’t a bad one; it’s a holy desire that we know will be fulfilled because of the standard set in the Garden of Eden.

Several centuries after humanity’s fall into sin, there was another Garden- the Garden of Gethsemane. It was there that Jesus went on the night He would be betrayed by one of the men in his inner circle and turned over to Roman authorities to be crucified on a criminal’s cross, where He would bear the sins of humanity. On the night before all of this occurred, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed.

Jesus lived a life without sin. He also was God made human. If anyone on earth could withstand the tangible presence of God, it was Jesus. But in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed. The presence of God didn’t appear in physical form, but Jesus entered communication with God in the very same way we do now. If prayer were second best, I have no doubt that God would have appeared before his son that night to answer his pleas. His failure to manifest on Earth gives me faith that God sees prayer as just as valuable as communicating with us face to face.

With that in mind, it’s important that our prayer life is cultivated with the same virtues as our real-life relationships. If we look at it the way that Jesus prayed, we can see that transparency and hunger are vital to building intentional and fruitful prayer lives. Jesus knew what was coming when he prayed at Gethsemane. In verse 39, and again in verse 42, we see a side of Jesus that is very human. Scared of what’s to come, he cries out to God and asks Him to spare his life. In that moment we see Jesus being vulnerable and honest before God. He doesn’t try to have the strength for what’s to come. He plainly asks his Father to take away his pain, and if that cannot be done, then he asks for his will to be aligned with God’s.

It can be easy to hide our weaknesses and failures from God. So often we feel like we have to approach Him with all our flaws neatly tucked away so that we don’t offend Him or scare Him with our mess. But God never intended for us to hide ourselves out of shame. In Genesis 3:10, Adam admits that he hid from God out of shame at his nakedness. In Genesis 3:21, God creates clothes for Adam and Eve, not as an affirmation of Adam’s shame at his nudity, but as a provision for Adam’s needs. When Adam admitted his fear to God, God provided a remedy for that fear. Rather than encouraging Adam to hide, God gave him the covering of clothes that granted freedom in the face of his shame. Likewise, when we pour our most vulnerable selves out to God, He dignifies us rather than leaving us in our brokenness.

The overflow of the dignity given to us by God in spite of our brokenness is hunger. We become desperate for more of Him in our life. Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, we begin to beg for our will to align with God’s. In the Garden, Jesus prayed for hours. He prayed for so long that his disciples fell asleep. Yet all he did was awaken them, ask them to join him, and pray again- that same prayer repeated over and over again. “Not as I will, but as You will.” We see Jesus’s hunger for prayer all throughout the New Testament. In Matthew 14:23, Jesus retreats to a mountain to pray after teaching crowds, and in Mark 1:35 Jesus rises before dawn to retreat to a place alone and pray. This hunger for prayer is unleashed within us by the experience of God’s grace that gives us the power and courage to pursue prayer with intention.

At the root of it all lies God’s grace. Once we have decided to pursue intentionality and are humble and vulnerable in our prayers, God’s love and mercy lavished upon us does the work of setting our hearts on a path to Him. So all we have to do is start.

Prayer

God, I ask that You would unleash a hunger and passion for prayer within my life. Only You can light the fire that cannot be put out. I come before You knowing that I have nothing to give, but everything to receive from You. I pray that You would begin to align my heart with Your will, that my desires would look like the desires of heaven. I pray that the mercies You have already poured into my life would inspire confidence, not in my abilities but in Your provision through my weakness. Amen.

Author | Sarah Savoie

The Significance of Worship

The Significance of Worship

As we enter the fourth week of the series Ups & Downs, we have talked about trust, obedience, and following God even when it is hard. Another topic that is very important even in the pruning and harvesting seasons of our lives is the significance of worship.

When we think of worship, the first example that comes to mind might be someone raising their hands in a church or campus ministry service. Maybe it is even somebody kneeling in prayer. But it can also be forms of serving, tithing, or even managing your time well in school. It can be all of these things, but worship’s significance in your life carries more weight than most anything else in a relationship with God other than prayer. Worship becomes significant to God through humility, honesty & vulnerability, and hunger for him.

  1. Humility

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” - Ephesians 4:1-3

God will honor us when we approach him in a position of humility. Humility is an interesting topic because it is multi-dimensional - it involves a healthy level of awareness, knowledge of how the Holy Spirit moves in our individual lives, and a choice to submit ourselves willingly to God. As we humble ourselves before God, we admit our need for Jesus because of our innately sinful nature. Through that place, we are putting Romans 12:1 into action, offering ourselves as living sacrifices to God.

The reason why God honors us when we present ourselves as sacrifices to God is because he wants to transform us from our former selves, conformed by sin and death, into the image of Christ, which is life and peace. Even though this is difficult, because it requires us doing things that we don’t want to do, such as group projects or tedious homework, God honors that! He loves when we lay down our desires for the sake of being faithful to what he wants to do in and through us.

  1. Honesty & Vulnerability

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” - James 5:15-16

Submitting ourselves to God through humility means that we must be honest and vulnerable with both him and the people in our lives. We live in a society that thrives off the idea of being self-dependent and a self-made man or woman. Oftentimes, American cultural values suggest that the strongest people are the ones who don’t depend on anyone to help us through trying times. However, this isn’t how God calls us to live. We are called to be honest and transparent regarding the sins and struggles we think have stained our self-image.

God loves to bless people who come to the cross, being completely transparent and honest about areas in our lives we may not be proud of. This might be one of the most difficult components of following Jesus, especially with the cultural values of being a self-made person constantly being taught in American culture. However, as students and followers of Christ, admitting our need for a savior shows us that Jesus truly does carry the weight of our temptations and doubts. The process of honest confession is an example of worship because we are willing to allow God to move in us.

Transparency is the best way to live out a life based on Psalm 139:13-14. Acknowledging God created us on purpose and for a reason is so freeing. He created us to be in relationship with him and worship him. Although we have sinned and fallen short of his glory, confessing our sins to both God and other people is one of the best things we can do in order to be transparent and worship our Heavenly Father.

  1. Hunger

“...but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:31

Before worshipping God through humility and honesty, we must desire to follow and glorify him in his splendor. He is the one who is giving us strength to fight the battles we fight living in a fallen world. Desiring God and his kingdom gives us strength, as we see through Scripture. Sometimes desiring God’s glory for your life means being willing to wait on things you need or want. Through the process of waiting, God is still making himself known to you each day you decide to pursue him.

To hunger for God doesn’t, by any means, require you to deny that there have been hard circumstances in our lives that have caused us to sin. Those areas mean we have pain we must deal with. Acknowledging pain’s weight in our lives pushes us to desire more for Jesus’ grace to be sufficient for us. Even though we may not get the picture of the finished promise the first time we are in the secret place doesn’t mean that what we’re doing isn’t worship. It just means that God acknowledges our pain and wants to bring us comfort. To bring us peace. To bring us hope. To exemplify his love through the cross.

Worshipping God occurs through a number of different scenarios. It serves as a way for us to be a living sacrifice to God, and acknowledge our need for him as our Lord and Savior because of sin and shame. The act of worship allows us to surrender ourselves completely in humility and transparency.

As a closing thought, think of your life as a student and your place in other people’s lives and how you can be completely surrendered and transparent about God’s place in your life. Think of how you already glorify God and also ways that you could improve in worshipping him. And be hungry! God is mysterious but is so kind to respond to a humble, transparent, and hungry heart, especially when surrendering everything about your life in an act of worship through the changes and seasons of your life.

Author | Brad Schiebel

God’s Love Languages Pt. 2

God’s Love Languages Pt. 2

If you read my last blog post, you would see that it was all about intimacy and obedience. Well, I feel strongly that I’m supposed to revisit these two things and perhaps provide more of a framework around how they’re related. They might, after all, seem like two disparate topics to some of us. The ideas of being intimate and being obedient often conjure up very different things in our minds. For me, intimacy often brings to mind this deep feeling of being known whereas obedience sometimes makes me think of things like, “I better do this so the worst case scenario doesn’t happen.” So at what point do the ideas of intimacy with God and obedience to God actually connect?

Look at the scripture John 15:12-15 in which Jesus says,

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

In one of His final exhortations to His disciples, Jesus is making it known that intimacy is found in obedience.

Jesus commanded His disciples to love each other as He had loved them. He goes on to explain in the next verse that the greatest expression of love is laying down your life for your friends, which He does a few chapters later. And what He says next is something you cannot miss. In verse 14 Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” He links His friendship with the disciples to His commandments of them. He links intimacy to obedience. He goes on to elaborate in verse 15 by saying that we are not his servants who simply do His bidding. But rather it’s us knowing His business (His commands) that proves that we are friends of Jesus. Again, linking intimacy with obedience .

This reality that Jesus presents to us needs to be heard and internalized by every one of us. Whether we tend to strive and perform for God, or whether we tend to only receive and never serve, Jesus is calling us to find intimacy in obedience. It’s a sweet place of belonging to find yourself knowing what the living God is doing and then choosing to co-labor with Him to see it come to pass.

And sometimes we know what God wants us to do, but we just struggle to do it. I once thought of it like this. Imagine a door being flung wide open in front of you and on the other side of it is a hallway. You know you have to walk down the hallway because there is no other way out of the building. Only issue is that the hallway looks like something straight out of The Walking Dead. The lights are flickering, you can’t see what’s further down and it’s honestly just kind of frustrating that this is the only way out of the building. You sit there wishing the lights would come on and you even become desperate and start looking for another hallway or door out of this place. When you realize there are none, you slowly step towards the open door. You tentatively step across the threshold holding your breath and… boom. The lights come on. The hallway is lit up. Turns out it’s a really normal looking hallway with the exit to the building at the end of it. Your fear has left and all of a sudden you’re excited about having finally found your way out.

Many times, I feel like we want God to turn the lights on in the hallway before we ever step out. When really God’s promise to us is that He’ll light it up as we step out. God’s often opened a door wide for us, but we sit there looking for another way out. And even when we realize we have to walk through that door we still want God to show us what’s at the end of it. But it’s never about knowing what’s down the hallway. It’s about faith. And if there’s one thing I know about God, it’s that He honors faith. When we step out in faithful obedience, His Spirit fills us with all power and comfort. He’s just waiting for us to take that step across the threshold.

I believe a huge part of knowing God wants us to walk down that hallway is found in hearing His voice. In John 10:4 Jesus speaks of a good shepherd and says, “and his sheep follow him because they knew his voice.” Later in that parable Jesus says He is that Good Shepherd. This is Jesus’ way of saying that you don’t have to guess how to love those around you. If you simply believe that Jesus speaks and that you can hear Him (pro tip: He speaks through the Bible and your good thoughts probably more than you realize), then you will begin to learn how to follow Him as He leads you to love those around you.

That’s intimacy being found in obedience. He’s not a God shouting directions at you. He’s a God who decrees just commands and then demonstrates for you how to live them out. That’s a big reason why Jesus came. He told His disciples to love those around you with no regard for yourself and then He went and actually did it by dying on the Cross. And I guarantee you there was such sweet intimacy between God the Father and God the Son on the other side of that glorious Resurrection. As a proud Father looked upon His obedient Son and welcomed Him back to the throne.

Prayer:

God, we want to connect with you. We want to hear what you’re saying and then we want to do it. And we want to know you more intimately as we are more obedient to you. Show us how to walk in your ways and give us the grace to do so. Show us what you want us to step towards, and I ask that we would do it boldly as soon as we know it’s what you’re asking of us. We love you. Amen.

Author | Adam Salway

Joy and Obedience

Joy and Obedience

Our joy in and after obedience is God. More of Him. A greater understanding of His presence or goodness. Experiential knowledge of His heart and the way He works in and through our lives.

Every time God asks us to do something difficult (something we are afraid of doing) or something that might not seem that attractive in our eyes (possibly giving up a sinful pleasure), He is offering us a chance to trust Him. He offers us a chance to see Him do what He does best: take situations that aren’t good and make them good. To me, getting to see that happen, in whatever context and way that God deems best, is a great source of joy.

As you take steps of obedience and see the faithfulness of God in response to those steps, I believe obedience itself becomes more and more of a joy rather than some kind of burden because we see more of God, and we see He is good.

For example, He only asks that we be obedient because He desires connection with us.  

Disobedience separates us from Him. Lack of trust separates us from Him. And it’s not God that pulls back. It’s us. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when we disobey God, it’s a natural human tendency to try to run and hide. And God more than anything wants to be connected to us, so He asks us to obey Him so there is nothing in our lives that would cause us to want to run and hide from Him.

God shows us His great faithfulness as we are obedient to Him. He is so patient, even when we struggle. His patience will never run out. If you are struggling to take a step of obedience in any way, take some time to reflect on His goodness and how much He just absolutely loves you. Shaming yourself into obedience will not work.

As we are more and more faithful to God, He shows us more and more of Himself. He leads us into deeper places of His heart and trusts us with His assignments in the world. Getting to, one, be in communion with God and, two, be a part of His processes of loving the people on this Earth is probably the greatest joy of being obedient to God.       

“Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me,” (Exodus 19:5).

Author | Lindsay Conway

Endurance: How to Follow God When We Don’t Want To

Endurance: How to Follow God When We Don’t Want To

When you’re growing up, parents have this natural tendency to tell us to do things we don’t want to do. It’s just a given. And without fail, when you ask them why they give that dreaded answer of “because I said so” or “because I’m the parent.” But the thing is, as we get older and wiser, we can see that in the end those things were more often than not for our benefit. When they asked us to do what was best for us, it was never just a way for them to mess with us or be in control - even if we couldn’t see that in the moment. Often, following God looks the same. He calls you to something you don’t want to do, and when you ask why, his answer tends to be vague or hard to understand. Sometimes when He answers, it’s not the one you want to hear, leading you to disregard His word altogether. But there’s assurance in the fact that no matter where He leads you, He will remain faithful.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 says, “but the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” He isn’t going to lead you down this path to emptiness, or death, or any number of bad things. He will uphold you. He will protect you against the attacks of the enemy. He will guide you and guard your heart. But just like with your parents in the past: in the moment you can’t see the good things that will come out of God’s will, so you get caught up in the idea of not wanting to follow Him. In the times where God is calling you some place that you don’t want to follow, it’s important to look back at the times where He’s been faithful in the past. Look at the Israelites in Exodus: God delivered them from the Egyptians, He performed miracles including parting the Red Sea to let them cross, yet they did not want to follow into the wilderness for fear that He wouldn’t provide for them in their wandering. God told them, though, “behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you” (Exodus 16:4). He proved Himself faithful time and time again, yet they succumbed to fear rather than faith that He would carry them through the things He was calling them to. They did not know then that the manna He provided would be exactly what they needed to sustain them, but God called them to faithfulness and gave them the tools they needed to survive. Eventually, they did follow Him, and despite their mistakes and shortcomings, God made a covenant with the people of Israel and brought them into righteousness.

The process of following God isn’t always going to be a glamorous time. Sometimes it will look like eating bread day in and day out while wandering for 40 years through the wilderness. It will feel bland and unexciting. But over and over again, we are reminded that if we seek first the Kingdom and follow the Lord, we will reap a great reward in Heaven. I’m not telling you to only follow God for the things He will give you. Instead, sometimes you just have to humble yourself. You’ve got to suck it up and follow God into the unknown, into the wilderness, in order for you to come out on the other side with God’s grace and the blessings He promises to those who follow him. In the times when that is hard, however, keep this verse in your heart, put it on your mirror, write it on every notebook/journal you have in your possession, do whatever you need to do to remember the words it says: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act” (Psalm 37:4-5).

The more that you seek out God, the more time you spend in His presence, following His callings on your life, the more your heart and your desires will align with His own. It may be difficult now to see the purpose He is calling you to, it may be hard to want to follow Him into the dark and desolate-looking places. But He has begun a process within you that He will carry out until His day of completion. He will not abandon you if you fall back or behind. He will guide you through this calling and provide you with the tools you need to follow Him. It won’t always be easy, but it will be fulfilling, and you will be told some day, “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

So, keep pressing forward. Pick up those crosses you want to leave standing. Die to yourself and follow God. It will be the most worthwhile task you will take in this life.


Author | Emma Whitmer

Doubting God

Doubting God

In the church today, we are always told to have faith.  I know I’m not the only one who thinks this is infuriating.  Having faith is hard, especially in a culture which teaches us to be skeptical of anything and everything — especially of the things we can’t see.

In other words, doubt is easy and faith is tough.

Whether we are 20 or more years along in our faith, or barely straddling month one of trusting Jesus, doubt is something that, as humans, we will never be able to escape.  I don’t say that to discourage, but to be realistic.  Just as a brief recap, let me explain our faith: Christians believe a Jewish carpenter was actually God who came to earth to die for our sins; that death and our subsequent acceptance of Jesus’ role as Messiah and Lord of our lives lets us live forever in the presence of Holiness and be forgiven for a centuries-past rejection of Him.

Let’s be honest here.  It’s a little wacky to believe that.  Yet we do.  I believe it with every ounce and fiber of my being.  But let me be honest again: I’m a former atheist, and I fall back into those old questions of faith easily.  Why should I believe that Jesus is God? What makes God faithful? How do I know He will fulfill His promises?

I’m not going to get into those existential questions right now.  Those answers can come at a different time in a different conversation.  But what is common between all of those questions is two things: doubt is at the core of the questions, and faith is at the core of the answers of each and every one.

I like to think of faith as the opposite of doubt.  This isn’t because doubt can’t exist in the middle of faith, but because faith denies doubt its power.  It’s saying, “My brain/culture/experiences are telling me this, but I am choosing to believe this.” A quick internet search can reveal that faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something.  We can be confident that a friend will answer our call, but still have doubt that they actually will.  We can trust our dog really loves us, but still have doubt that it actually is just reliant on us for food.  Likewise, we can trust and be confident that God is good, that He loves us, and that He will move in and through us—but still have doubts that He actually will. The test of our faith isn’t whether we have doubt; rather, it is whether or not we persevere through that doubt.  That perseverance includes during times when our experiences say our faith is wrong.  That looks like being intentional one more time, even though your best friend has flaked every time for the past month.  That looks like going through with that one interview, even though you’ve been turned down for every job you’ve ever applied for.  That looks like praying for your mom to be healed miraculously, even though praying has never seemed to work before.  Our doubt can be a very real stumbling block to persevering in faith, but it isn’t impossible to overcome.

In the Bible, there are several accounts of faith in spite of doubt.  In Daniel 3:16-18, the author describes the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  If you’re not familiar with the story, the TLDR of the account is that the King of Babylon was requiring everyone to worship idols, but these three men refused because they knew Yahweh was God.  Yet even in their confidence, they were not 100% sure God would save them when King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to throw them into the blazing furnace: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV, emphasis added).  

Even the disciples doubted Jesus’ sovereignty after He rose.  In Matthew 28, just before Jesus gives the Great Commission, it says, “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted” (Matthew 28:17 NIV, emphasis added).  Jesus had risen from the dead, He was in front of the (now) 11 disciples, and the disciples worshiped Him; but some still doubted.  The world’s largest religion was built on the backs of 11 men who still doubted the Lord when He stood in front of them, resurrected.  It should be reassuring for us, then, when we doubt knowing the men who actually lived with Jesus doubted Him.  

We’re not called to be perfect in our denial of doubt.  Having faith, according to Hebrews 11, is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).  We’re called to trust God’s heart and intentions for our life, and to follow Him wholeheartedly even when we don’t think He’ll respond to our faithfulness.  The heart of God is to be faithful, so He will always be faithful even when our human nature calls His Faithfulness into doubt. God knows we will fail, and He doesn’t punish us for that.  He called Peter onto the water knowing he was going to doubt Jesus—but Jesus still came to Peter’s rescue.  He does the same for us: even when we doubt, He will be faithful to us and the promises He’s made.

“‘…for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and [if it is God’s will] it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you’” (Matthew 17:20 AMP).  Jesus says this after His disciples were discouraged that they couldn’t drive a demon out of a suffering boy.  Sometimes we will fall flat on our face when it comes to faith; something we pray for won’t come to pass, or we’ll just flat out doubt.  But when we have just an inkling of trust and/or confidence in the power of God—even when we have the smallest faith in Him and His power—even mountains can move.

To sum this up, we believers have two opportunities.  We can trust God’s faithfulness and step out in faith even if we doubt, or we can give our doubt power and let our disbelief rule our belief.  It’s okay to not be perfect with our faith, but to deny the power of faith is to deny the power of Christ.  We always have the ability to follow Christ, even when we don’t know if it will work out in our favor.  But here’s a fun spoiler: it will.

Author | Alex Hinton

We are Brave

We are Brave

“If you will go where you’ve never gone before, you will see God like you’ve never seen him before.” ― Annie F. Downs, Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have

One of the biggest things God is teaching me about in this season is bravery. One of my mentors gave me the phrase “Be Brave” as a mantra for my year, and those words seem to be following me around. I have a keychain with them on it, I have them pinned to a bulletin board in my room, even the random wifi password assigned by my cable company has the word “brave” in it.

It’s safe to say that I knew bravery would be a big deal this year. I think a small part of my heart hoped God would just teach me about bravery rather than ask me to actually be brave, but He quickly showed me that the only way to learn bravery is to take brave steps. So for the past several months, decision by decision, He has been coaxing me into a place of deeper trust in Him and proving Himself worthy of that trust. In this place, I have to rely on Him fully to give me a future, satisfy my dreams, and provide for my needs.

God began building a foundation of trust and bravery in me that He knew I would need later. Recently, someone very close to me began to experience a deep struggle, one that I have absolutely no control over. It often brings me to the point of tears and has stirred up fears in me that I didn’t know I had. I don’t know about you, but it is so much easier for me to trust God with my future and the things I need than it is to trust Him with my people. Do I believe He is powerful enough to make the path straight for my life? Sure. Do I believe His power can bring breakthrough when a person I love is experiencing so much darkness? I don’t know.

It’s with that situation that my year of being brave took on a whole new meaning. I don’t know all of what God is doing, but I do know that He has called me to pray and intercede for this person, going to battle against the enemy and the work he is trying to do in their life. This means fighting for this person harder than I’ve ever fought for anyone and being more aware of what the enemy wants to do than I ever have been. That’s scary, and it’s confronted me with questions like “What if God isn’t actually big enough for this?” or “What if His power isn’t strong enough to intervene?”

When we’re up against things and our minds start to ask those questions, we’ve lost sight of who we are and who God is. Instead, we’ve chosen to focus on the object of our fear, in my case, what will happen if the enemy has his way. When we do that, we’ve started to accept defeat in a battle God has already won for us! Knowing God and receiving His love means we get to stand in the victory He has claimed. Amanda Cook’s song “You Make Me Brave” comes to mind here. His love crashes over us in wave after wave, which enables us to be brave, so brave that “no fear can hinder now the love that made a way.”

In Deuteronomy 31:23, The Lord is commissioning Joshua and says “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.” There is grace over us to go bravely into places we’ve never gone before because we know we are headed into the Promised Land. God’s promise is to be with us in times of struggle. He will not forsake us as we fight for ourselves and for the ones we love.

In spite of my fears, I am choosing each day to be brave. I pray bravely, fight bravely, and love bravely, and the coolest thing is that I have seen God do so much that I had never seen Him do. He is increasing the giftings He has placed within me, He has given me a much greater awareness of His Holy Spirit, and He has made Himself more real to me than I’ve ever felt Him before. I believe He is honoring my bravery and prayers by moving in the situation I am asking Him to move in. I have seen little glimpses of it already, and I have faith that He will respond to my every prayer by leading me into the Promised Land, which means freedom for the person I’m fighting for.

If God is calling you to be brave in this season, put on the armor of God and fight. Ephesians 6:16-17 says “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Let this be your anchor. Faith, salvation, the Holy Spirit, and the word of God are all you need to be brave.

Prayer:

Lord, I pray that you would increase our faith in your power. When we are faced with daunting situations, would you convince us of your strength and fill us with the bravery to boldly move forward. Show us what it means to trust you with everything in our lives, even the things closest to our hearts. I pray that we would keep our eyes fixed on who you are and that no distraction from the enemy would enter into our thoughts. We believe that you will come through. Amen.

Author | Kalli Drake

Overcoming Fear in Trust

Overcoming Fear in Trust

Our society, particularly younger generations, is centered around an underlying culture of fear. In fact, fear is such a fundamental piece of our society, that we have become numb to its presence. Having anxiety or having doubts has become a new normal, and honestly, fear is normal, but letting it control our lives is not. We were not made to live in bondage to fear, but to live out of trust in the Lord.

Two of the biggest fears in our culture today are the fear of failure and the fear of rejection. The truth is, we will fail and people will reject us. We don’t have to wonder about it, those things will happen at some point in our lives. The bigger truth, though, is that Jesus knew that we would fail and still chose to die for us in order to cover our failure, and any God willing to die for us will never reject us.

That being said, we do not trust God in place of fear, but in spite of fear. Psalm 56:3 says “But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you and trust in you with all my heart.” The first thing this verse does is normalize fear as a human experience. This verse is proof that people have been experiencing fear since the beginning of time. There is no shame or condemnation in having fear, it’s a natural feeling. The second thing this verse does is tells us what our response to fear should be. Our response should be to surrender those fears to the Lord and trust Him to take care of us.

For many of us, this seems easier said than done. How do we surrender our fears to God? How do we trust Him? The answer is faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is belief, hope, and confidence in the things we cannot see. Meaning, we believe God is who is say He is, and keeps His promises. God says He is trustworthy, and He promises to take care of us.

So, the next question is how do we have faith? We have faith through relationship with Jesus. When we spend time with God--in prayer, reading His word, listening to what He wants to tell us--we become more aware of His presence in our lives, even when we can’t physically see Him. The more awareness we have of Him, the more faith we have in His realness, His existence, and His promises. The more faith we have in Him, the more we can trust Him, and the more we trust Him, the less we submit to our fears.

So, an important question to ask ourselves is, “Is there an area of my life where I’m living out of and being controlled by fear?” And if the answer is yes, the second question should be, “What does the condition of my relationship with the Lord look like?” The reality is that if the answer to the first question is yes, the answer to the second question will be something along the lines of, “the condition of my relationship with the Lord is poor, because I’m not spending time with Him.” If we don’t spend time with Him and form a relationship with Him, we will see the fruit of that in our lives--meaning, we will see a lack of trust in our lives, leading to a submission to fear.

However, sometimes the answer to the first question is yes, and the answer to the second question is that our relationship with God is good, and we’re spending fruitful time with Him, and reading His word, and “doing everything right.” So from there we need to ask ourselves “What lies about myself and about God am I believing that are leading to fear?” Going back to the earlier example of the fear of rejection, maybe you believe that people always reject you or will reject you, and that fear carries over into your relationship with God and turns into maybe God will reject you. The first step is identifying the lie, which in this case is “God will reject me.” The second step is telling God you fear He’s going to reject you and allowing Him speak into that place and replace that lie with truth, which here would be “even when people reject you, God never will.”

Most of our fears come out of a lack of trust in God and lies that we believe about Him or ourselves. When we spend time with Him and we learn that we can surrender our fears to Him, He will meet us there. Spending time with Him, results in trust in Him, and trust in God takes away the power and control that we give the fear in our lives, and puts that power and control back in the hands of Jesus.

Author | Stephanie Stewart

How Do We Trust Him?

How Do We Trust Him?

How do we trust Him? Well, to learn how we can trust in God we first need to know what trust is. Google says that trust is “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” I think, like Google says, the foundation of trust is a belief in the truth. I believe trust is an outflowing expression of the faith we have in the truth of God and the truth of His word. So how do we begin to trust in Him?

The first step to trusting God is intimacy. I mean, how many of you would trust your life to a stranger? You need to build your trust on the character of God, His word, and His promises. Proverbs 3:7 (TPT) says “for wisdom comes when you adore Him with undivided devotion.” Trust comes when a true relationship is formed. When you know who He is and can rely on what He says. So spend time with Him. Ask Him questions. Study His word. He is always available, always willing to let you know Him.

As I have grown in intimacy with the Lord, I have come to realize that the world that we can see is not necessarily the reality in which we live. That’s why I think God tells us to trust Him with all of our hearts. How? By leaning not on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) Our perspective is limited; our understanding is bounded.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 puts it this way, “outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

In order to trust God we need to be humble enough to accept that we don’t know everything, and we don’t know what is best, but we can choose to believe that God does.

That is where faith and wisdom come in. Faith is the evidence of things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). Faith shifts our perspective and allows us to believe in the grander view. It is what allows us to believe that we are made clean by the blood of Jesus and that all of God’s promises are yes and amen. It is what gives fuel to our trust. Wisdom is what helps us gain a heavenly understanding.

Proverbs 3:13 says, “happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godly Wisdom, and the man who gets understanding [drawing it forth from God’s Word and life’s experiences].”

So how do we grow in faith and wisdom? We ask God! He says “call to me, and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known (Jeremiah 33:3)! It is His great joy to go deeper with us. We just have to make ourselves willing.

You might still be asking how can I grow in trust? What can I do? I think that we can look back at our lives and identify the times when we have seen God show up for us. People are always saying trust is earned...so how has God earned your trust? How has God been faithful to you? Has he proven Himself trustworthy? Maybe you don’t trust Him at all. Maybe you feel like you have no reason to. Maybe you feel like He hasn’t shown up for you in the past. Maybe you are trying to build up trust with Him again. To you I would say start small. Begin to try and trust Him with the little things. Then as you grow more confident in Him you can begin to trust Him with the big things. Remember that we are putting our trust in God’s character, not the outcome of decisions or our expectations. Trust brings action to our faith. It is our reaction to having faith. I believe God is ______, so I will trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense.

“If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13 (amp)

Author | Ashlyn Williams

Why Can We Trust God?

Why Can We Trust God?

We can’t physically see God.  We don’t know what he’ll do next.  We can’t see his facial expressions.  So why would we trust this God that we can’t see?

Our ability to trust God comes from his character.  We can trust him because he is always who he says he is.  In Exodus 3, Moses asks God what his name is, and God replies, “I am who I am” aka Yahweh.  Then in verse 15 God says, “This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.”  How cool is that? God identifies himself by his character and he tells Moses that he will remain the same for all generations.  God’s identity never changes.  He is always the same.  

Trusting God isn’t always easy, so don’t be frustrated when you feel like you can’t trust him.  Trust comes out of relationship.  The more you get to know him, the more you will trust him.  There are so many ways to get to know God, but one that I want to spend time talking about is the bible.  We established that God’s character never changes, so he is the same God now as he was in the bible.  We have a whole book to tell us who God is and why he is trustworthy!

There are countless stories in the bible about God keeping his promises.  God makes promises to people throughout the bible that seem impossible by human standards, and a lot of times the people don’t even believe that God will keep his promise.  And yet God comes through.  every. single. time.  

God’s character is not dependent on if we trust him or not.  He’s still the same, good Father.  In Luke 1, Zechariah and Elizabeth are very old and have been unable to have a child.  An angel comes to Zechariah and tells him that they will have a son and they should name him John.  Zechariah immediately doubts this promise.  He asks the angel how this could be because he and Elizabeth were very old.  Nevertheless, God fulfills his promise and they have a son.  

God isn’t afraid of your doubt.  

Your lack of trust doesn’t affect God’s trustworthiness.  

He remains the same.  

I think God knows how hard it is for us to trust him sometimes.  I think that’s one of the reasons he gave us Jesus.  Jesus is God in human form.  If you want to know more about God’s character, just look at Jesus.  I would challenge you to read through the four gospels and really pay attention to who Jesus is.  After every story that you read, write down what it reveals about Jesus’s character.  And guess what, all those things you know to be true about Jesus are true about God because Jesus is a mirror image of his Father.  

How would you live differently if you truly believed God for who he is?

What if you trusted that he wants to give you good things, rejoices when you rejoice, weeps with you when you’re sad, loves you deeply at all times, is healer, is provider, is who he is, always God is patiently waiting for you to come to him.

Yahweh has fulfilled promises generations before us, and he will continue to come through for generations to come because that’s who he is.

We trust because of who God is.

Author | Sam Forbes

My Secret Place

My Secret Place

 Imagine yourself, sitting on the porch of a tiny cabin that’s kind of old but still miraculously in pristine condition.  This cabin is nestled in between two mountains covered by the most green grass.  The weather is the perfect combination of brisk fall air and a warm breeze on your face.  There’s music playing ever so slightly in the background, birds are chirping, and in your hand is a warm cup of coffee with a splash of creamer. 

Welcome to my secret place with Jesus.

Finding this place was not easy. It was not neat and tidy.  It looked like taking time to write a letter to myself from God, sitting in a Cuban hotel, trying to practice hearing His voice, and being okay with Him calling things out in me that were not on my list of favorites. 

The first thing I think we have to understand is that no one has to have the same secret place.  It can be as unique and different as every person you’ve ever met. It also doesn’t have to be a physical place, unless it is easier for you to speak to God when He feels more like a human. 

It is also so important to remember that God can present himself in three very distinct ways:

God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

 Though all full of love and mimicking the same characteristics, we can find comfort in knowing that we can approach each part of the trinity in a different way.  

For me, it looks like approaching God as an extremely wise grandpa who has so much to teach me, so much knowledge to share, and a lap for me to crawl into when I am afraid.

When I am approaching Jesus, I come back to the cabin and I am welcomed in by a loving father who reminds me how beautiful I am and how much he loves me, but He also calls out things in my life that are both good and bad.  My favorite thing that He does is give me things to help me in the season of my life that I am in.

When I approach the Holy Spirit, it is in extreme reverence and I feel as if I am never worthy enough to enter His presence, but He forever reminds me how worthy I am by calling out gifts in me and teaching me how to use them. The Holy Spirit is a nurturer.  

“You made a way for me to enter the holy place”

I think the most important thing for us to remember is that there was not always access to the spirit of God.  By Jesus dying on the cross, the veil being torn, He made a way.  We can now enter into the Holy of Holies whenever we want to or need to.  

We can ask to hear God’s voice every day.  Sometimes this looks like going to a physical place, like the cabin, and sitting down with Jesus for a conversation. Or sometimes, it might look like sitting completely still and quiet and just listening. Sometimes, it looks like getting completely lost in worship.  Sometimes, it feel like getting hit by a ton of bricks during a message.  Whatever it may be, I only have one prayer for you: that you would find your secret place and you would visit often.  God really loves when you do. 

Author | Morgan Attebery

The Secret Place

The Secret Place

“One thing I have asked of the Lord, and that I will seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord in His presence all the days of my life,

To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and meditate in His temple.

For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter;

In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;

He will lift me up on a rock.”

Psalms 27: 4-5

Prayer is the basis for relationship with God. It is the foundation that we use to both talk to God and to hear from Him. In the Old Testament, God spoke to the prophets on mountains and manifested his presence through burning bushes and pillars of fire, but now we have access to God’s presence all the time through the power of the Holy Spirit. Since we now have constant access to the Lord, we come to the secret place to meet with Him.

So what exactly is the secret place?

The secret place is simply the place of prayer that we feel most at home at with God.

It is in the secret place that we bring our worries, concerns and questions to God. It is where we come to be ministered to by our Heavenly Father; a place to sing praises and be renewed with peace. It is also the place we come to to wrestle with truth and replace lies. Most importantly though, the secret place is the place we come to encounter God and understand more of His character.

The Psalms are filled with references to the secret place. Psalms 32:7 calls the secret place a place of hiding and safety; Psalms 27 calls it a shelter. It is in these safe places of prayer that the Lord reveals truth to us through His word and speaks to us. In the secret place, we are totally secure because it is in the secret place that we meet with God. And where the Lord is, darkness and lies cannot exist. Psalms 91 says “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

How can we use this sanctuary of prayer to go deeper in our relationship with Christ?

The secret place is where we develop greater intimacy with the Lord. We won’t know God if we don’t choose to come into His presence or to speak with Him to get to know His character, so we must convene with the Lord daily in our place of prayer. When we seek Him daily in the secret place, what we are really doing is building relationship. We learn to come to Him when we need a friend, or a father, or a wise counselor, and as we dive deeper into His character we build trust in Him. We learn that we always have someone fighting for us, working on our behalf and constantly showing His love and kindness to us. Most importantly, we learn to retreat to the secret place when circumstances tempt us to question God’s character.

Matthew 6:6 says “But when you pray, go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees you what is done in secret will reward you.” So whether it is your bedroom, the park, or just a place in your mind you like to visit, meet with the Lord in your secret place daily and let Him lead you into deeper relationship with your Father.

Author | Katie Pilson

What is Prayer?

What is Prayer?

Think about your relationships in life. Think about your closest friendships. How did you develop such a deep bond with them? How did you begin to trust someone who, at one time, you never knew at all?

There were probably many things that created trust between you and your closest friends. One of those was probably just spending time talking and getting to know each other, opening up about yourself and learning about your friend.

Imagine trying to have a relationship with someone you never talked to. At that, imagine trying to trust someone you never talked to at all. It’s just not possible, right?

Then why would we think developing a relationship with and learning to trust God would be any different? We have to talk to God to know and be known by Him.

We have a name for talking to God—it’s prayer! Sometimes, prayer can seem like a big, confusing, maybe mystical topic. Maybe you never thought it was something you could do. Maybe you grew up in a church where only priests prayed.

But really prayer is very simple.

God so desires to hear from you. He loves it when you talk to Him. In Ephesians 3, Paul tells us that through Jesus we have access to God, and we can approach Him with a bold confidence.

At the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, Jesus shows us that we can approach God as our Heavenly Father, and we can expect Him to act as a good father toward us.

Think about your best friend again. If they asked you to do something, you wouldn’t do the exact opposite. No, you would want to serve them well by doing what they asked, unless you knew what they were asking would hurt them.

If this is how we, as broken people feel toward our friends, then God—who is perfect and infinitely loves and cares about you—will do what you ask or will do what He knows is best for you.

God wants us to be honest. You can tell Him about yourself, the things you desire in your life or the things you wish weren’t there. You can tell Him the things that make you happy, sad, scared, excited or mad. He’s always listening and always present. Read Psalm 139, and you will know exactly what I mean. He already loves you, so there’s no reason to be afraid to open up to Him.

If prayer still seems a tad confusing, if you don’t know where to start or you feel prayer is dry or boring. Take a quick look at the Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6:

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.”

Here are a few examples of things we can pray for:

-We can praise God in our prayers. {Hallowed be your name.}

-We can ask for His kingdom to invade Earth. {That might look like asking for God to show up in miracles, to heal the sick or restore the brokenhearted.}

-We can ask for His will to be done.

-We can ask for His provision. {For our daily bread.}

-We can ask for our salvation, for forgiveness and for the same thing for others.  

-We can ask for help facing sin and temptation.

Author | Lindsey Conway

Breaking Off Agreement with Shame

Breaking Off Agreement with Shame

“You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
    and in
kindness you follow behind me
    to spare me from the harm of my past
    With your hand of love upon my life,
    you impart a blessing to me.”

Psalm 139:5 (TPT)

Shame is something that I have been thinking a lot about in the recent weeks. The dictionary definition of shame is “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” The odd thing is that as Christians we often feel the most shame, not about the things we can control, but the things that we can’t. Shame tends to come from a wrong understanding of what it means to have needs.

Christians too often feel shame about having a mental illness, expressing too many emotions, or even taking time to take care of their needs. Meanwhile, God is in their corner almost screaming, “I created you to have needs. Don’t fight it, let me and the people I have placed in your life fill them!!” He wants us to rely on Him for a reason. He wants us to rely on the people placed in our lives. Relying on the people He has guided into our lives is a variation of trusting God. We were never meant to be independent. This idea was his design from the beginning. After all, the name of the Holy Spirit is the Paraclete or counselor/advocate.

You, as a human being, were created to need things more than you were created to be needed. We equate having needs with being needy when that is not the case. There is no shame in having needs whether that is emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical. Mental and emotional needs are just as valid as physical needs. You need to take time for yourself as much as you need to take the time to sleep, eat, and exercise. We act like it is either/or when both are necessary.

The wrong things we do to meet our needs are a consequence of the wrong understanding we have of what God says about our needs. When we act out of our misunderstanding, the enemy will try to use shame to make us think the shackles Jesus broke still carry weight. Our instinct when we have done something wrong is to hide from ourselves, others, and most of all, from God. We ascribe the title of unworthy to ourselves before we allow anyone else to have a say. We give ourselves the final say, and essentially, we try to take the power away from God that was His from the start. We hide because we somehow think we are less than for having made a mistake.

But God is not looking at our past as a definition of who we are. God is not looking at our past as a qualification for what our future holds. God is not asking you to erase every mistake you have ever felt like you made. Instead, God is asking you to take his hand and to walk with him. The same God that called Peter a rock long before he was stable enough to lead the early church calls you out by name. Shame comes in the picture by shifting our gaze from the loving eyes of God and onto our own works. Righteousness does not come from our works, otherwise, it would be called self-righteousness. Your faith as someone who believes in God’s character is what has declared you righteous (Romans 5:1).

On this side of heaven, we will not know perfection outside of encountering God. Our standards are not God’s standards. God asks us to earnestly pursue him with a pure heart, but He is the only one that can make us pure of heart. We cannot make our hearts pure, we have never been able to. The entire Old Testament is a history of how we cannot make ourselves right with God. He declared us righteous, we cannot do so ourselves. We can only offer a willingness in surrender for him to rewrite our stories.

Therefore, the root of shame only has the power that we give it. God has given us right standing with him. All the power that Jesus walked in on this Earth now lives inside of us. We can choose to agree with shame and hide, or we can choose to agree with what God has already declared us to be, sons and daughters.

Author | Cristina Rosiles

There is More | Hope for the Future

There is More | Hope for the Future

“Every area in your thinking that glistens with hope in God is an area which is being liberated by Christ. But any system of thinking that does not have hope, which feels hopeless, is a stronghold which must be pulled down.”  - Francis Frangipane 

Hope is our greatest but most underused tool as Christians. 

We can be chronically bad hope-ers. 

It is all too easy to give in to the world’s gravitational pull of despair. 

But we know that Christ came to turn the tables, flip the script, tear the veil and reveal a kingdom - a kingdom glistening with hope. 

We live in the chasm between these two realities: 1. A crippled world 2. A glorious savior

It is hard to keep the faith. It is hard to fight unbelief. It is hard to remain in love. 

Hope is there when our other friends (faith, belief, love) fail.  

We may have lost all faith, but we can hope for faith again.
We may forget why we believe what we believe, but we can hope for belief again.
We may feel as though our love has run out, but we can hope to love again. 

It is truly the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19). 

But hope is also the imagination of the soul. 

With hope, we get to dream with God about what every circumstance in our life could be. 

I love what Frangipane recommends - that every area of our lives glistens with hope. 

There are situations, strongholds, and stories that circle my mind daily without a glimmer of this hope. 

As Christians, we get to talk to Jesus about these areas. We get to ask Him to introduce His cosmic hope into these desperate worlds we bear. 

We also get to remember the places of the past that are now glistening with hope.

Where has Christ brought you from death to life? Where has His divine dream become reality in your life?

Reflect, remember and realize - He can do the same, He will do the same for whatever desperate circumstance tempts you to forsake hope. 

A few years ago I was wrestling with hopelessness and unbelief, but God gave me a word through prayer and journaling. 

I believe this is what our good God speaks over our desperation: 

"You are and you are becoming more than you can imagine. Your desires pile to the skies but I am giving you the galaxies. The horizon tells of my love and the starts of my power. I may be a matter of mystery but that doesn’t mean I don’t mend. I may demand what grieves you but rest assured I will give. Hold fast to my joy, hold fast to my peace. They may be moments but measure them with infinite scales. For when you exclaim “Alright, already!” I sing over you - Yes you are alright already, but not yet too."

Prayer
Lord, forgive me for the places in my life where I have given up hope. Reintroduce hope into these areas. I ask for a great hope, a glistening vision of the future. Thank you for making that possible. Amen. 

Author | Claire Jordan