God is Compassionate

God is Compassionate

“The Lord, the Lord God, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” – Exodus 34:6

When God reveals Himself to Moses, the first thing God says is that He is compassionate. The thing most central to His character is that He has compassion and mercy toward us.

We don’t serve an angry God. We’re not trying to earn His compassion by good works. He freely gives us what we need even though we don’t deserve it. This is who God is.

Think of the person you love most on this earth. You probably have deep compassion for them when they’re going through a hard time. You feel their pain, and you wish you could help them out. God’s love and compassion for you is infinitely greater than the compassion you feel for anyone on this earth. AND He is God, so He can actually act out of His compassion for us and help us.

God’s compassion for His kids is a deeply rooted love and concern for our well-being. It’s His feeling towards us. Sometimes when we’re going through tough circumstances, we think that God is indifferent towards us. Yeah we know God loves us, but He couldn’t possibly care about this thing I’m going through. Wrong. Actually, indifference is an antonym of compassion. The things that hurt you cause God pain too. He hates to see his kids suffer.

Knowing that God is never indifferent toward your suffering should change the way you pray. You’re not trying to convince God of how terrible your situation is. You don’t need to give Him a list of reasons of why you deserve His help. You already have his full attention. God is gracious by nature, and it gives Him great joy to give to us. So, come before Him with confidence that He wants you to be living in the fullness that He has for you.

Do you realize that when you talk to God, it’s a conversation in relationship with Him? You’re not just leaving Him a voicemail and hoping He might possibly listen to it. He’s sitting face to face with you, listening and speaking out of love. He responds to your prayers. He wants you to partner with Him and ask for His help because that’s who He is. Your prayers change things because you’re in relationship with God. You’re not a peasant presenting your requests to an angry king. You’re a worthy child talking to your loving Father about what you need.

My favorite way to relate to God is to see Him as Father. He is the most perfect Father and I’m His little girl. To receive God’s compassion, I think it’s so important to understand the Father heart of God. God as Father to me means that He is constant. There is nothing I can do for Him to love me any more or less. He is always there. Ready to listen. He is perfectly patient. He is strong, yet gentle and kind. He is comforter, provider, & protector.

So when you come before God, imagine yourself as a little kid sitting with Abba Father. Know that He always has deep compassion for you, He absolutely adores you, and He loves to provide for you in times of need.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7

Author | Sam Forbes

Testimony | Thankfulness

Testimony | Thankfulness

This year has been a process with God for me. It has meant long nights of me just praying and asking God if there was any way to get to where I was going faster than I was going. It means I have had to learn that hard does not always mean bad. I have learned that if people really care that means they are going to say things that are not easy to hear, and they are going to hold your hand while you make the first step toward healing.

Circumstances are not something I can control, though I definitely have tried. Thankfulness for the present, to me, acknowledges that there will only ever be the moment that we are in right now. We can plan and plan for things, but in all actuality, we have no idea if these plans will ever come to fruition, and that is actually out of the kindness of God’s heart for us. This season, I am taking time to acknowledge the goodness in front of me, because I know I will never have another time like right now.

I am thankful for the process. This season has been one of healing and making redemption personal in my life. This process is hard, and there is merit to the saying “sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.” Embracing what this process has looked like has propelled me deeper into what healing looks like for me. Healing has not happened all at once, far from it, but I know it is out of the kindness of God’s heart that it is a step-by-step process.

I am thankful that life does not have to be heavy all the time. There are moments that call for heaviness with God, and those moments are necessary. However, God is so much fun, and joy radiates from the Spirit of God. In the midst of the process, I have had moments with God that are marked by laughter.

I am thankful for the community God has given me to support me during this time. God raises up armies around us in the midst of a battle. I know God cares for me, and He has shown that to me, in that I do not have to fight this battle by myself. God has given me people that care deeply, love boldly, and pursue relentlessly. In this community, it’s hard to feel anything but supported.

I am thankful for the brokenness in my story. In brokenness, there is restoration. God paid everything to be able to shine a light into our brokenness. The heart of the Father for me in this season is that of a perfect God who looked at the darkest parts of my mess and decided to choose me anyway. God does this every day.

I am thankful for the Father’s heart. The Father’s heart is far better than I ever imagined, and I am only beginning to grasp that I will never grasp how good God is to me. The Father wants to clothe us in beauty and righteousness. The Father is always looking for an opportunity to restore, even before something is taken away from us. God has always and will always be for us. We do not have to make ourselves right for God to be for us. God is for us; therefore, God makes us right before himself.

I am thankful that God is an active protector to me. I have always been taught that God is for me, but until this season, I did not realize how God takes an active stance in protecting me. God does not passively stand over me, defending me from a battle He cannot do anything about. God stands over me in a offensive stance while looking for an opportunity to advance our position. I have a part to play in that I move with God, but I am not fighting for myself by myself.

Thankfulness for the season that I am in has been hard at times, but I am deeply convinced of God’s goodness after experiencing this year. God’s plans are so much better than I ever imagined and He is more for me than I think I will ever know. God has shown the depths of his goodness toward me, in that when I could not be kind to myself, he reached into my pit and pulled me out.

Author | Cristina Rosiles

Testimony | Thankfulness

Testimony | Thankfulness

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,” Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV.

For me, it is helpful to have a dedicated time for giving thanks carved out in the calendar. I confess that too often, I miss this important piece of conversation with God in my day to day. Thanksgiving is a celebration of harvest. The things I’m most thankful for this year, the ways that God has brought harvest in my life, are family, health, and provision.

I’m thankful for family.

I’m thankful that I get to see my sister today for the first time since August. I’m thankful that I get to spend the week laughing and playing games with both of my parents. I’m thankful that I can still celebrate with both of my grandparents, and that one whole side of our family will be together, even if just for a while.

I’m thankful for health.

I am thankful to be well. I’m thankful for a recent good report from my doctor. I am thankful that the people I love are healthy. I’m thankful that though my family and I have been through scary seasons with health, this isn’t one of them, and we get to celebrate that.

I’m thankful for provision.

I’m thankful that God meets my financial needs. I’m thankful that no bill has gone unpaid and no meal has been missed. I’m thankful for small miracles in my family’s finances that remind us that God is in the details. I’m thankful that even when I can’t see a way, He always has one.

My prayer is that no matter the season you’re in, you will be able to celebrate and give thanks for specific things. If you’re in the midst of spring, celebrate the ways you are reaping a harvest in your life. If you’re in the middle of winter, celebrate the harvest that has been and the harvest that will be. Even if they are hard to see, there are always things to be thankful for. Thankfulness in all seasons is a posture of the heart, one we have the opportunity to learn and practice at this time of year.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:11-13 ESV.

Author | Kalli Drake

Testimony | Thankfulness

Testimony | Thankfulness

This time of year has been a struggle for me since high school. Something about the darker skies and the colder weather makes me less enthusiastic about each day.

As I started to notice my decline in hope, I began praying for ways I can equip myself to live well despite my changing environment.  Thankfulness was the strategy the Lord put on my heart. I choose to look at the good God has done rather than the things that I don’t enjoy happening around me.  Now I wake up in the mornings and thank God for my warm bed with far too many pillows and blankets. I get up and thank God as I let my dog out and start to feel my excitement for life bubble up again.  I continue throughout my day thanking God for my car, my job, my food, and realize how natural it becomes to thank God for almost everything.  I acknowledged my gratitude for the freedom of religion we have here over dinner with my sister and brother-in-law.  I felt appreciative of the efforts my friends made to be intentional with me or my roommates made to make our house feel like home. 

Thankfulness is many things, but for now I’m learning how thankfulness is a choice. Thankfulness can be a state of mind that enhances our day to day life if we make it that. This mindset overcomes any environment and makes even the coldest, darkest days beautiful.

Author | Savannah Ugan

The Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden.

Revival. It is the word that sparks something in God's children. With heavenly revival, our hearts cry out for those who don't know Him. We want all of His creation to be overcome with His glory. We think of congregations trembling during worship. We think of mass salvation and healing breaking out in the most ordinary places. We think of people experiencing the Lord's glory so thick that they are on the ground worshiping Him.

It is a beautiful picture and nothing to be ashamed of.

A revival dream is something given by God, and He is proud of His children for believing big. However, as we ask for the Holy Spirit's mass power in the world, we must not forget the mission of the Lord. It has always been the Lord's desire to capture our hearts. He wants to have them divinely interlocked with the depths of His character, and as He paints on the hearts of our lives, He is giving us power. As we transform, the revival process begins. He wants us to be sure of Him, because when the light falls in escalated power, darkness will try to counterfeit. We will have to be able to discern the difference. This ability to discern will keep us closely connected to His holy ground and we will walk on it, while treading on the head of the serpent.

"If you say, 'The Lord is my refuge,'

and you make the Most High your dwelling,

no harm will overtake you,

no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you

to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the cobra;

you will trample the great lion and the serpent."

Psalm 91: 9-13

The light will become brighter, and the darkness, darker. The victory is ours, but we are still living in the reality that there are beasts outside of the garden of our heart. They have one purpose; to enter and destroy.

"The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."

Romans 13:12


Lately, I have been getting an image from the Holy Spirit for His Church. I see a wave crashing over us before a wild fire sparks and illuminates the darkness outside of the believer and the body. He is saying that He wants to heal before His power falls in the fullness that we will be prepared to steward. In other words, we aren't quite ready yet. If we aren't walking in a position of spiritual and emotional health, then how will we be able to walk as an army of righteousness? How can we defeat the intensified schemes of the enemy? Of course, there will always need to be further healing and strength to take place, thus never leaving humanity with a "perfect" moment. However, I think the Lord is more concerned with the condition of our hearts at the moment.

It is an increase of strength before power.

In the same vision, the Holy Spirit has been teaching me so sweetly about the luscious garden in the depth of my own heart. It begins with an overwhelming feeling that I have been journeying through a thick forest, like a soldier fighting in a battle. I have open wounds, dirt smudges on my face, a limp in my step, and am desperately seeking to quench my thirst. As I see an open field, after running through the forest, I run to the center. I frantically look for a place to hide beneath the blades of tall grass and rest.

As I begin to feel secure, I instantly close my eyes and see a tall iron gate with a lock. I feel as though I have seen this place before. It is so intricately designed with its inner workings curling in different ways and shinning with sparkling jewels. It shows its initial beauty and what lies beyond at a quick first glance. But as I observe more, I notice that it is firmly designed to be a mechanism of safety. All kinds of flowers, species of butterflies, and birds are full of life, growing out of the gate's entrance. The sweet aroma of the garden spills into the field and into the forest in the distance. Lavender, honey, rose, and cinnamon call out. Roaming travelers and wild beasts of the wilderness are allured, but this place is protected.

Looking in, bewildered at the beauty, I know that the Lord's presence is hovering around the garden. I can hear the slightest whisper,

Come rest with me here for a while.

He sees that I am tired from fighting beasts that aren't my own to fight. He sees that I am striving to build relationships with other travelers in order to survive.

He looks at me with mercy. Tears are in His eyes.

"How do I enter?" I cry out. "I have no key!"

This is yours, my beloved. Speak out, and I will open the gates. Surrender your will with mine. It is perfect and it is good. I know just what you need. Get out of the dirt, it is not where you belong.

I fall to my knees and open my hands.

"Lord, can we enter together? Forgive me for leaving this place untended. Forgive me for fighting others' battles before my own. Forgive me for my lack of faith that you weren't real, that you weren't listening. Forgive me for my lack of trust that you were fighting to uplift me and not wanting me to fall. Forgive me for not believing that you protected this place within me. Would you allow me to enter as I walk with you in its depths?"

I open my eyes and there is a key fastened into the lock. A twist and a turn, and I enter my Holy place. I walk along the path asking the Holy Spirit where to go. As He leads, I see where foxes have entered and stolen fruit. I see the places where gold is interwoven in the trees. I see where roses have died and sunflowers have begun to sprout. I see fallen branches. I see fallen trees. The shrubbery is so thick that some of the wildflowers are being choked. There is glistening water. It hits a display of rocks, and creates a stream of life. It is small, but it is alive.

A lot has happened here. My heart sinks. How beautiful this could have been, how beautiful it still is. I wasn't expecting this. I thought I was supposed to fight. I thought I was strong. I thought He had called me out to the forest time and time again.

The tears begin to fall.

"I'm sorry. I am so sorry."

He smiles and leads me to where the stream becomes more deep and full. We drink. He tells me about Himself. He tells me about our relationship. He tells me about where I am called to stay in the garden and what I am to do in the forest. He tells me to wait. He tells me about this world. Then we move from the stream to a sea of brittle thorns, and he hands me some gloves.

We will start here. Then we will move forward.

"This is not what I expected," I sigh.

He begins to reveal His heart…

My daughter, do not lose hope. This is for your good. You are strong, you are called to go out, and you are my warrior. But do not forget that I am your General, and I have been here the whole time restructuring your orders. This is to strengthen and cultivate even more beauty.

"How did this get here? What did I do?"

I see all, and I want you to know that you had control of the gates the entire journey. When you were out fighting the beasts of the wilderness and when you were striving to find others to help heal your wounds, the prideful position of your heart weakened the iron and your enemies were able to enter. There were even times when you opened the gate yourself to travelers who came in and couldn't drink, because this wasn't their garden. So, they tried to survive on your fruits and make refuge under your blossoming trees. Others tried to enter with a sword and try to cut back the ivy, but ended in entanglements of poison themselves.

This is where you have hardened your heart.

I know you don't remember everything. But I knew this would happen, so I decided to stay and protect its inner most layers. Now, we will go together and I will show you what happened. We will get on our knees and remove the weeds and thorns you see.

There are places where you are overflowing with fountains of life.

Let's delight in the beauty together in every place. Let's enhance it. Even those sweet flowers that are growing over the gates aren't properly contained and will attract the beasts of the field if not protected. We won't hide them, but we will cut them back, because they also attract travelers that will add value to you and you will learn from them. I will allow some to enter, and it will be good.

In deeper places, there are trees in this garden that are black and dead without life that need to be removed completely so that other luscious trees can begin their growth. We will walk together and I will show you how they began to sprout. Some of this isn't your fault, because you were unaware. Other times, you were. Dead seed was spread. Even before you entered, poisonous roots lived under the soil, because of what you inherited. It is okay, my darling. My desire is to rip it all out and plant new seeds. This is a lifetime of walking with me. We are cultivating your garden to look more like Heaven. That is the way I desired it to be.

"How long?"

I am time. You will know in your spirit when it is time to go outside of the gates. I will be speaking to you about how you can conquer what is dwelling outside of your own heart. What you do with me, will give you the ability to do what you have always wanted to do. You will go out. And then you will come back and be with me some more.

Trust me. This process will not always be easy. We are going to refrain from saving others in the forest. We are going to let go, be still, and trust each other. My heart's desire is to cultivate the garden within every traveler that you care for. I am not deserting them. I am God of all.

I am overcome.

"And what will happen when I leave this place? Where will you go? How do I protect my heart?"

Do you trust that when you go out, I will continue to water and cultivate this deep and sacred place? Do you trust that the travelers I allow to enter will help you relish in its beauty and keep it contained? Do you trust that I will send angels and my servants in this place as it grows to remind you of my power and to let beauty grow again in fruitless places? Don't you know that I will never leave you here or in the forest alone?

I am always moving in the world with this very special place in mind. It is my heart to protect it and keep it beautiful.

"Yes, Lord, yes. I believe. I trust."

So, I sit. I stay. I rest. I let Him comfort me. And most importantly, I kneel, because I trust that this place is where He has called me to remain for a while.

I will not survive in the forest alone. I will not survive in the forest depending on others' strength, emotional fulfillment, and experience. A warrior can only truly be strong when he is abiding and is being protected by the Father.


As those who are warriors with the Spirit, we often pray for God to search our hearts and cleanse us because we have a deep desire to know and be more like Him. If we are being honest, it is our heart cry. We ask Him to come and heal the open wounds in our hearts. We ask Him to cut off anything that isn't holy. We ask Him to give us joy, hope, peace, rest, contentment, perseverance, and faith.

On our journey, we ask for all of these beautiful inner desires, however, are we really willing to open our gates and let him continue the process of cultivation so that the virtues are intertwined with our daily thought life and conversations with others? He has what it takes to make His sweet aroma beckon forth within every place and season of life His people enter. But are we willing to surrender, even if His way of making us more beautiful means something different than we originally expected?

Healing, beauty, and power begin with trust.

When you have asked Him to come into the garden of your heart, have you surrendered to how He may choose to cultivate the soil? Are you able to trust Him enough to open your gates and expose the inner most parts of you?

Sometimes, we open our gates up to Him only halfway and let others walk completely through. Other times, we lock our gates inhibiting any life from entering.

Both tendencies are unwise and threaten our ability to feel fully loved by God. The hindrance is the false security in human independence and codependence. We go out into the forest, without the armor of God, and want to tear down the beasts of the world and the beasts threatening our loved ones' gardens. Or, we are at the forefront of our garden letting anyone and everything into its beautiful mess.

Thank you Jesus, for giving us grace and showing us mercy.

The Lord is teaching us through this journey. He is wanting us to become dependent on Him as the general, the gardener, and the gate. His Spirit gives us direction, His Son is invited into the garden to deliver and heal, and His power is able to open and close our hearts if we let Him.

"These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." Revelation 3:7-8

As you spend time in that place of stewardship, He will give you even more access to His gifts and power because He knows the intentions of your heart. That is relationship. Stay with Him. Give yourself grace when you have opened the gate too quickly. Give yourself grace for when you ran out to the forest unclothed. And always know that He makes everything right with what was done wrong.

He delights in this time with you. So forget your pride. Humble yourself to the Almighty and let Him heal you. He will use you in the midst of it, but His power will be more perfect and complete as you surrender.

In our weakness, He is made perfect.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Let Him tell you when to go out into the forest.

When He does, His promise is Isaiah 61, and it will be healthy.

I have anointed you to heal. I am healing you in the process. I am doing this with my people and you need protection around you. Abide in love.

You will proclaim good news to the poor.

You will bind up the broken hearted.

You will bring freedom to captives.

You will release darkness from prisoners.

You will comfort all who mourn.

You will give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.

They will have an oil of joy instead of mourning.

Together, you will be called oaks of righteousness.

Together, you will display His splendor.

"Their descendants will be known among the nations

and their offspring among the peoples.

All who see them will acknowledge

that they are a people the Lord has blessed."

Isaiah 61: 9

As we go back to the garden time and time again, He will do this, and we will stand strong together as an army in the forest stronger than ever before.

But the water must come first, because revival begins in the secret garden.

Author | Emily Helton

Love fiercely. Love deeply. Love unconditionally.

Love fiercely. Love deeply. Love unconditionally.

A father is gracious and kind. A father is willing and ready to help whenever is needed. A father is not reluctant to love. A father does not withhold good things from his children. And God is the greatest father of all. That is why his heart for the oppressed extends farther than many of us are able to understand.

When I think about a time when someone in the Bible was oppressed, my mind is brought to the story of the Good Samaritan. However, he was not the one who was oppressed. It was the man that he helped that was oppressed. But before we talk about the Good Samaritan, let's talk more about the other characters in this story. Let's talk about, who my Bible calls, a priest and a Temple assistant. Other Bibles may refer to them simply as religious people. Either way, they were people who were supposed to represent the church and show love to people. Sadly, that is not what happened.

When we meet this man, we see him traveling from place to place and in the midst of that, he is attacked. He is beaten. His clothes are stripped from him. He is left nearly dead by the side of the road. He is clearly not in good shape. The next thing we see is a priest walking by. Great, right? Someone who would be willing to stop and help this man. Wrong. The priest passes to the other side of the road to avoid the man all together. Next, we see the Temple assistant. Great! Another person who would be willing to help, right? Wrong, yet again. This man investigates the situation and chooses to walk away. Why is this? Why did these men blatantly choose to leave someone in need? Why did they feel as if it were not their job?

This is so relatable to what I feel like we, as a society, express every day. We see people in need and have the means to help them, but we think it's not our job. We see someone who may need a little assistance and we think that it may be an inconvenience to us, or someone else will do it. The lack of love that we typically show is so easy to justify. However, I am here to tell you that is NOT God's heart. God's heart would not turn away.

"He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31 (MSG)

Now let's talk about the Good Samaritan. My Bible calls him a "despised Samaritan". This tells me that his feelings were not sad. They were not full of pity for the hurting man. They were not at all wary. They were angry. He was disgusted by the way that the other men had reacted and responded to a situation like this. And in turn, his disgust sprung him into action. From then, we see him taking care of the man's wounds, bandaging them up and putting healing oils on them. He then puts the man on his own donkey and takes him to a nearby inn and continued to take care of him. Next, we see what happens the next day. I think this is my favorite part. The Samaritan had to leave, but he gave the innkeeper money and told him to continue to take care of the man. Then, he said if his bill was more than what he gave, he would pay when he came back through that town. Y’all! This man wasn't making a one and done kind of sacrifice. He was committed fully to this man's restoration. I know that is what God wants our hearts to look like for the oppressed. How do I know that? Because we are an oppressed people and that is exactly what His heart looks like for us. He doesn't forgive us and then leave us to take on life alone.

For most of us, when we find Jesus, we are broken, hurt, unworthy, and have nothing to give, but God gives us everything He has to restore, refresh, and renew us and bring us into His loving grace and mercy. God is our father and he made the greatest sacrifice for us. He sent his only son to die on the cross for us, even when we were not deserving.

In turn, it is our job to love, serve, and give to those that we encounter who are in need. This could be someone who needs a meal or clothes for the winter. It could be someone who needs a shoulder to cry on. It could look like any kind of sacrifice. All in all, it stems from love. The love that we receive from Jesus should be easily turned into love for others. Whatever the cost. Whatever the sacrifice. We should be willing and ready to exemplify the Father's heart for the oppressed in any and every situation.

My prayer for you today is that you would be willing to buy a meal for someone you see that might not have dinner or you would be willing to listen to someone who is different than you talk about the struggles they have faced. I pray you would be willing to make a committed sacrifice to make a difference in someone's life. And I challenge you to go out of your comfort zone and refuse to walk away from people when they need you. You are so loved. So, I challenge you today to love fiercely. To love deeply. And to love unconditionally.

Author | Morgan Attebery

God’s Heart for the Oppressed

God’s Heart for the Oppressed

“O Lord, You hear the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

-Psalm 10:17-18

To know God’s heart is to know compassion for oppressed people. Throughout scripture, He moves mountains and splits seas for the oppressed. Jesus proclaims several times throughout the gospels that He did not come for the well, but for the sick. He did not come to be served, but to serve.

What does this mean for oppressed populations of our culture?

When everyone from your next-door neighbor to the media to the greater structures of our society seems to hold you back, God promises that He hears you. He promises that He will strengthen your heart. And ultimately, He promises justice.

In one of my favorite undergrad classes, New Testament Theology (shout out to Dr. Foster), we discussed how the word for righteousness in the Bible (used more than 500 times) may more accurately translate to justice. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology promotes the same theory The Greek word, Dikaiosune, is used in classic verses like Matthew 5:6,

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for dikaiosune, for they shall be satisfied.”

And John 16:8,

“And He, when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and dikaiosune and judgment.”

What does this mean for the privileged populations of our culture?

God commands His people to be bearers of justice. If we are to claim His kingdom, if we are to pray for revival, if we are to ask for heaven on earth, we must seek justice for the oppressed. We must open our hearts to those who look, speak, and live differently than us.

If God’s heart is for them, then my heart should be for them. And God desperately wants to bring every last one into the fold.

We can try to throw everything on the table: gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, etc. Jesus wiped the slate clean for all. He leveled the playing field for all. He is running for the hearts of all people.

At the end of the day, can I say the same?


Lord, search my heart and root out prejudice. Forgive my inaction and indifference. Replace it with eternal light and love for all people. Teach me to seek justice - where I am oppressed and where I am privileged. Amen.

Author | Claire Jordan

God's Heart for the Lost

God's Heart for the Lost

It is God’s desire that everyone be saved.

If you need convincing, consider this passage:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him,” John 3:16-17 ESV (emphasis added).

For God so loved the world. Not “For God so loved the chosen ones,” not “For God so loved Israel,” not “For God so loved the saints.” For God so loved the world.

I am certain you could probably recite that passage without error, but we absolutely cannot miss this. If we miss it, our gospel becomes exclusive rather than comprehensive and our commission becomes a suggestion and not an assignment.

To receive His heart for the lost, we have to know His heart toward them.

God’s heart for the lost is big.

In Isaiah 49:6, God says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” ESV.

Every person on this planet, every soul that does not yet know their Father, is a child that Jesus died to save. That’s why it isn’t enough for God to see just one nation saved; it is His desire that all the world would know His saving grace. His heart for the lost is big because He made every single one.

God’s heart for the lost is extravagant.

We cannot even begin to comprehend the eruption of joy in Heaven when one who was lost turns toward their Father and comes running into His arms. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, we see a son who had broken off relationship with his father, wasted all of his wealth, and found himself deeply in need. When the son returned home to the father, prepared to be treated like a servant, this is what the father said:

“Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:22-24 ESV.

This is how God rejoices over His children when they turn to Him. His heart isn’t hard or cold, frustrated or meager. He doesn’t give us the scraps; He is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to lavish His love upon the ones once lost and to bless them with His abundance.

God’s heart for the lost is relentless.

Also in Luke 15, we see the Parable of the Lost Sheep. You probably know this story. The shepherd leaves his 99 sheep to go after his one that is lost. That paints a powerful picture, that each individual means so much to God that He pursues us without hesitation because of what it might cost Him. But there’s a piece of the scripture that speaks to how He pursues that lost sheep:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” Luke 15:4 ESV (emphasis added).

There is no time limit on God’s pursuit of the hearts He is after. He doesn’t give up after days, months, years of seeking them. He goes after them until they are found, and still He pursues them.

God’s heart for the lost is patient.

2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” ESV.

It is out of His desire for all to come to know Him that God is not in a hurry. In constant pursuit, yes, but not in a hurry. While there is urgency to His seeking, He does not become frustrated. He forgives as many times as it takes. He reaches out through as many avenues as it takes. He never runs out of grace.

Maybe the most important part is that God’s heart is for the lost.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 ESV.

Maybe you’ve always known God. Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you were once lost. Maybe you feel like you are lost. If you’ve ever felt God’s heart for you, if you’ve ever even tasted the understanding that He wants relationship with you more than anything you could offer Him, you need to know that He feels the same way about every single person under the sun. If you’ve never felt that, if you’ve never known that God is longing for you and has a celebration waiting for you, you need to know that you’re exactly who He came for.


God, thank you that you are for us and that you are for every person we know and don’t know. Thank you that you’ve never stopped being for us. Help us to see all the world as your children, precious souls that you said were worth dying for. Break us for the ones that don’t know you. Fill us with hope for the rejoicing over them when they have that “yes” in their heart. Let us never forget that there is not one exception to your love. Amen.

Author | Kalli Drake

Evangelism as a Lifestyle

Evangelism as a Lifestyle

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized-whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ-but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” - 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

This is our mission as a body of believers: to become servants to reach a wide range of people in an attempt to lead them into a God-saved life. At times, it's so hard to practically figure out how to live out the mission though.

If we want to live a life on mission or a lifestyle of evangelism, I believe the only place to start is with Jesus. Walking in a lifestyle of evangelism looks a lot like the way Jesus walked in His day to day life. He went city to city, observing people, touching their lives, healing them, praying, seeking, being sought, asking questions, building relationships, sharing stories, being generous, praying and loving the lost, and ministering to their ultimate need: a God sized hole in their heart.

Below are just a couple practical steps based on how Jesus walked that we can take as Christians to live a lifestyle of evangelism:

1) See people

The first thing Jesus did when He went city to city was that He saw people. He saw crowds and had compassion on them (Matthew 9:36-38). He saw Nathanael, one of His disciples, when Nathanael asked, "how do you know about me?" (John 1:47-49). And "as Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth" (John 9:1). Jesus was a man who actually saw people. He saw and felt, he saw and asked, and he saw and recognized pain. It seems like an obvious action, but Jesus was intentional about remaining aware of who was around Him at all times.

If we want to live a life of evangelism the first thing we must do is see people. We aren't hardwired to do this. We are by default hardwired to constantly pay attention to and listen to our internal monologue of thought. To then switch that default, we must make a conscious choice to begin to pay attention to and become aware of the people around us. There has to be a shift in our mentality as Christians to see others and to truly see them. All too often we live our lives just seeing through people. Many times, I find myself passing by people just trying to get to the next thing, when the best chance for us to see people is in the in-betweens. Jesus did this. He was just walking along on His journey to the next city, and because He was aware He saw the blind man. Another thing: Jesus saw people with all their hurt, sin, pain, suffering and went towards them all the same. He saw people who were thirsty. He saw people who had questions. He saw people who needed to be healed. And He didn't shy away from them, or choose to see right through them or past them because He was so focused on the next place He was trying to get to... He saw them, stopped, and entered into a conversation with them. Just imagine if we started to really see people at bus stops, around campus, in class, or even at the store. This world is full of people who are just waiting to be seen, so let's live a life on mission to see people.

2) Get to know people

The second thing Jesus did is He got to know people. He made relationships with no agenda. He talked and shared in conversation. But two very distinct things he did were:

1. He asked a TON of questions

2. He told stories

If you skim over the gospels, you begin to realize something. Jesus asked a lot of questions. Some people have counted and said He asked more than 300 questions across the span of the four gospels. He was THE ultimate question asker. He asked people questions because he understood humans at their core. Jesus was the ultimate communicator and he asked questions because they are a highly effective way to connect. They are a way to get to know people, to understand their desires, dreams, and what do they long for. Questions are also a way to engage, to get people thinking, and to guide people into discovering answers. Naturally, we love to talk about ourselves. So next time you meet someone, start asking questions, get to know who they are and what makes them tick. You'll discover so much about a person by asking questions and listening to understand who they are.

Another thing Jesus did well to get to know people and also share Truth is that He told stories, or parables. Stories are the universal language of the world and everyone has a story to tell. Today, I can look back on my life and see the thread of the Lord in every story and piece of my life. Therefore, the stories I tell people, even without mentioning that I'm a Christian, have that underlying thread of Christ. He's been in my life and always will be, that's the underlying thread in every story I tell. So, go tell your stories, go ask people for theirs. If no one has told you yet, your story matters and it's significant in an eternal since, so please, please please tell it.

One final thought on getting to know people… another key ingredient to this is conversation. The art of conversation has slipped away a bit in our world today. We can blame things like technology, busyness, television, etc. But let's claim this right now, we will be a people of conversation. And it's time it came back. To do this, take what Jesus did, asking questions and telling stories, and use them as building blocks to grow in shaping conversation. Let's start having more conversations with our peers or neighbors. Go grab coffee with someone other than a best friend and see just where the conversation might lead.

3) Be extravagant and generous with people

"And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you" (John 13:14-15)

Here's the thing, I'm not sure how it would pass if we went around Tate offering to wash people's feet. But we can definitely offer to pay for the person behind us in the Tate Chick-fil-A line. Or offer to give someone a ride somewhere. Or give our time to serve a group or community. Despite the poor college kid stereotype that gets laid on us, we have a lot to be generous with. Besides our money, we have our time, our resources, our knowledge, and even our words are things we can be generous with. Let's be extravagant with them. With no restraints, we can live a lifestyle of evangelism by being generous and expecting nothing in return (Luke 6:35).

4) Pray for people

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:2-6, NIV).

Finally, the fourth action we can take as Christians is to pray for people in our own sphere of influence. In every one of our lives, we have access to people and perspectives of them that other people do not. Because we have this particular perspective, we have the chance to bathe the people who surround us in prayer - whether they are Christians or not. When we pray for specific people in our lives and fight for them in a spiritual sense, it is our understanding that the power in living life on mission comes from the Lord and allows us to bring that power into our relationships. Praying for specific people in our lives will prepare us to be ready and enable us to see the connection between ourselves and the people we pray for. When we pray specifically for people in our lives it's like we're raising our hand in heaven saying, "Lord, with your help, I'm going after them". It is an honor to be entrusted by God with the hearts of friends, coworkers, neighbors, sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, peers, fellow committee members, teammates, and others that surround us (1 Corinthians 3:9). So, the next time we are physically in the presence of the people we're praying for, we can have confidence that because of our faithfulness in prayer for them the Lord is at work in their lives.

Author | Kristen Fikse

What is Evangelism?

What is Evangelism?

"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" Jesus answered him, "'Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.' This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: 'You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.' Contained within these commandments to love you will find all the meaning of the Law and the Prophets." -Matthew 22:36-40

"Then Jesus came close to them and said, "All the authority of the universe has been given to me. Now go in my authority and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age." -Matthew 28:18-20

Evangelism is a really intimidating word to many people, so let me break it down a bit more. I believe archbishop William Temple put it best when he said, "Evangelism is to so present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of the church."

It is all about shifting people's perspective toward Jesus. If all that happens from the conversation or relationship is that they accept Jesus to be their Lord and Savior and they are fixing their gaze toward Jesus, that's enough. It is not your job to push them from one degree of glory to another, it is Jesus'. The biggest challenge with embracing a lifestyle of evangelism is that there are so many unfinished stories that are dealt with. You will almost never know if the person you talked to embraced Jesus 5 minutes from your conversation, 5 years from now, or never. There is no other way around it. Your job is to love the person in front of you, show them the aspect of Jesus manifested in you, and trust God to reveal himself.

Evangelism boils down to two aspects: the greatest commandment and the great commission. A heart for the lost overflows from an intimacy with God. An intimacy with God pushes us to love others well. Loving others well means partnering with God's ministry in that moment and trusting God with them.

As Christians, we stand in the authority of the Great Commission with the greatest commandment etched into our hearts. We are commanded to teach others to be disciples of Jesus, and as a body, the Christian church does that well. If Jesus chose the last words he spoke to his disciples before he ascended to heaven to be the Great Commission, that means it is just as important. Discipleship teaches believers how to eat at the table of the Lord, but evangelism shows people that there is a place reserved specifically for them at the table.

Evangelism has nothing to do with how uncomfortable we are, but it has everything to do with God's heart for the one. I don't care if I'm uncomfortable if it means that someone else knows that God's heart is for them. You have to remember that you were lost at one point, and God left everything to find you. If you pursued the lost the way God pursued you, it would change the way you lived your everyday life, and it would change what eternity looks like.

Evangelism is not an event, it is a lifestyle. You will never accidentally choose to evangelize, but as you continue to choose to step into this lifestyle, it will become normal. It will feel uncomfortable at first, and rejection is hard. However, the more times you get rejected, the less you will be afraid of rejection. You do not live for the approval of man, but for the approval of your Heavenly Father. Even if you are not an "Evangelist" who is sent to equip others to live out this lifestyle. You can still show people a glimpse of Heaven in your heart in your job, in your dorm room, or in your friend group.

Your first tries may not be conversions, and that is 100% okay. It's not your job to make their decision, but you can provide the opportunity. Are you willing to be interrupted to partner with God in his ministry to another person? Evangelism is a momentary inconvenience, so someone else can live in eternity with Jesus. Eternity would look radically different without you, and eternity would look radically different without the person in front of you that may not know Jesus.

Think about the person in your life you most want to know Jesus. Now, think of the moment when you realized the impact of what Jesus did for you on the cross. God did not give you the gift of salvation to be locked away. God created you to be a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14). You were always meant to stand out and be seen. You cannot change a world you are not a part of, and God created you intentionally to have the influences in spheres no other Christian would have influence in. A light cannot make the light any more light, a light has to be in the darkness to shine. The same way a Christian cannot help another Christian step more into salvation, they can help someone who is lost find that they have salvation offered to them.

The pressure is not on you though, it's on the Holy Spirit to reveal God. That aspect should be one of the most freeing things. All you have to do is love the person in front of you, and that is enough. Let God be their Savior, all you have to do is love them.

Author | Cristina Rosiles

Remain in My Love

Remain in My Love

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9

In the very next verse Jesus tells His disciples that if they keep His commands then they will remain in His love for them. In verse 12, Jesus reiterates the most important command aside from loving God, “Love each other as I have loved you.” So what Jesus is saying here is that if we love each other as He has loved us, then we will remain in His love. And therein lies, I would argue, one of the greatest mysteries in all of the universe: by loving other human beings we experience and dwell in the unfathomable love God the Father has for God the Son. When we choose to love people as the divine workmanship that they really are, we also partake in a heavenly fellowship that’s existed before the foundation of the world.

More than anything, I want whoever is reading this to know that choosing to love another human being is nothing short of divine. When I read John 15:9 in light of the rest of the chapter, I realize that I cannot remain in the love God has for me unless my life expression is one of love towards humanity. In other words, I can say I love God all I want but it’s all lip service if it’s divorced from love for people. And it’s no wonder God wouldn’t have it any other way. Each person that has ever lived or will ever live on this planet is a fresh expression of His love. He is fiercely jealous for each of their affections. And He desperately wants each person to see the other as the work of love that they truly are.

I could honestly keep dissecting and interpreting this passage, but I really feel like God wants me to voice my heart of intercession for the Wesley body and specifically for those reading this blog. We are meant to dwell on the mystery that is God’s love. There is no amount of writing that any person could do to describe it. The only way that you will ever be able to experience God’s love is dwelling in it. So take this and pray it over yourself. Take time. Give yourself more time than you think you would need. Receive anything the Lord has for you.

Father, we want to remain in your love. I thank you that you are so happy to teach us how to remain in your love. I thank you that you patiently counsel us by your Spirit on how to love each person as the expression of your love that they are. I eagerly desire that each person reading this would be filled with an unquenchable thirst for your love. I ask that the deepest part of who they are wouldn’t be able to be satisfied by anything other than your steadfast love. We desperately want to remain in the love that has existed between You, Your Son and Your Spirit since before the foundation of this world and will exist far beyond the death of this life.

So Father I ask for a grace on us all to remain in your love. Would you show us how to regard loving other human beings as the most heaven-worthy calling on our lives. By your Spirit remind us again and again of the love that is shown to us by Jesus so that we may always be freely receiving so that we may freely give in return. I’m asking for you to set our minds right and to give us clear eyes to see other people more the way you see them. Would we delight in who they are in the same way that you delight in each of us. We confess our need for you to teach us how to remain in your love. Show us by your Spirit. Amen.

Author | Adam Salway

The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

Last Friday I was in a time crunch. Essentially, I had 30 minutes to accomplish an hour’s worth of preparation. I had slept in, and because of that I had the time between class and work to get everything I needed to done. And that wasn’t a lot of time at all. I needed to shower, get ready, drive to Wesley, and walk the seven minutes or so it is from Wesley to Tate.

When I got home, I was dead set on doing all of these things; however, several things were working against my very limited supply of time—namely, the water pressure at my house. See, I live with 11 other guys—and if anyone somewhere else in the house is using any sort of water, my shower won’t work. Thankfully, I was able to finesse my way into the shower before anyone else, but when I went to actually shower there was water already being used somewhere.

In other words, I couldn’t shower, and I really needed to. So I did what any other respectable Wesley intern would do in such a time like this: I got on my knees and prayed for the water pressure to start working.

And God answered my prayer.

Honestly, out of all the prayers I could have had answered, this is one of the most bizarre prayers that could’ve been answered. But it doesn’t change the fact that God did answer the prayer. I use this example to show that our prayers have power. It’s kind of a mundane example—I don’t think anybody’s salvation would be at stake if I had shown up to the fundraising dinner with messy hair or smelly armpits. But I can also point to numerous examples of the prayers not being mundane and God still working in power.

God answers our prayers when we pray in alignment with His heart. As a child of God, we have access to His power, so long as our hearts are following His. He doesn’t just answer spoken prayers; He answers our wordless groans—the Holy Spirit hears these prayers and works through them. Through Christ, we have the Holy Spirit living inside us. Let me put it another way: we have that same world-changing power of God living inside us.

When we pray into things that God’s heart is for—healing, provision, identity, or whatever else you can think of—God honors those prayers. Jesus isn’t a genie in a bottle, but His heart is to provide for His children. John 15:7 says, “If you abide in me [Jesus], and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” When we pray, God listens; and when our prayers align with God’s heart, He moves. Sometimes those movements are spiritual, sometimes they’re physical, and sometimes they’re emotional. Sometimes those movements might just nudge a situation—but nudges can shift an unstoppable force from a path towards destruction to a path towards life abundant.

Prayers can move mountains (Mark 11:23-24). They can heal (Acts 3). They can inform you of things which you’d have never known otherwise (Acts 2). And they can save (Joel 2:32). “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:13-16). Jesus demonstrates His desire for us to pray so many times (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Matthew 7:7-11, Luke 6:27-28). When we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, move in alignment with God’s heart, and pray with faith, there is nothing keeping us from the abundance of life God has promised us. So pray. Pray with confidence, not in yourself—but in the God who makes all things possible and listens.

Lord, I pray that You would convict us all of the power of prayer. Convict us of the gift you have given us through the active, continual presence of Holy Spirit in our lives. Resurrect our dry bones and make us more whole in the power of Your name—and God…show us the ways You listen to our pleas. Show us your caring kindness towards us and all our earthly woes.

And thank you.

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Author | Alex Hinton

Overcoming Discouragement

Overcoming Discouragement

Sometimes we pray for things one time and see immediate results. However, most of the time this isn’t the case. Most of the time when we pray for things, we have to continue to press in and ask God for them. But what do we do when we pray and ask God for things over and over, and still don’t see the results we were hoping for? What seems like unanswered prayers can often lead to discouragement in God and His love for us, but we don’t have to give into that disappointment. We get to choose to trust Him and be faithful, even when it’s hard.

The first step in overcoming discouragement when we don’t see the things we’ve prayed for is resting in biblical truth. We can’t trust God if we don’t know God, and we can’t know God if we don’t know His word. Reading His word and letting that be the foundation of our lives is how we know He loves us, He is faithful, and He has our best interests at heart. We can’t look at God through the lens of our circumstances. Instead, we have to look at our circumstances through the lens of who we know God to be, and we know Him through who He says that He is.

When we read His word, we find verses like Jeremiah 29:12 which says, “‘You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.’” This verse is proof that when we come to God, He doesn’t just hear us speaking, He intently listens to the words we’re saying. When we don’t see the things we pray for, we can easily slip into the thought pattern of believing that God has stopped listening to us. This verse is the biblical truth that allows us to break agreement with that lie. He is listening to us--He knows the sound of our voices and the cry of our hearts. He literally says “I will listen to you.” That is a promise that He makes to us, and it’s promise we can rest in.

When we pray, God promises to listen, but we wouldn’t know this about Him and His character, if we didn’t know His word. A big part of overcoming discouragement when we don’t see the things we’ve prayed for is simply resting in God’s word so that we can know His faithfulness and know that He cares about us. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that, “the word of God is living and active.” If you stay in the word, you cannot be cut-off from God. Staying in the word is a major component to overcoming discouragement, because when we make the choice to stay in the word, we choose against discouragement. Our strength and courage come from the Lord, and knowing the Lord comes from knowing His word.

The second step of overcoming discouragement when we don’t see the things we’ve prayed for is perseverance. Discouragement is not from God. His goal in not answering our prayers the way we think He should or when we think He should is not to hurt us or discourage us, but to get us to where we need to be. The worst thing you can do if you’re feeling discouraged is to give into that discouragement and give up. Don’t give up on God, because you feel like He’s given up on you--He hasn’t. Continue to press into Him, and allow Him to give you peace about His plans. Continue to press into Him, and allow Him to reveal Himself to you. Continue to press into Him, and allow Him to increase your trust in Him to take care of you. Whatever you do, don’t stop pressing in. Stay determined to seek Him, and you will find Him.

When we choose discouragement over determination, we begin agreeing with a lot of lies. The truth is, when we give in to discouragement and let those lies in, we put up walls that keep God and His truth out. However, when we persevere and continue to seek Him, He eventually does prove His love and kindness towards us. Choosing faithfulness here looks like continuing to give God the space to move, and trusting that He will, even if we don’t see it yet. So keep pressing in and pray without ceasing. If we shut ourselves off from God, it’ll be even harder to see His faithfulness.

The third and final step to overcoming discouragement when we don’t see the things we’ve prayed for is super important: You should not expect a certain outcome or result, you should expect God to take care of you. When we pray for things, we often think that we know what the result should be, however, Proverbs 16:9 tells us that God determines our steps. We don’t determine our steps for ourselves. God does not answer our prayers the way we think they should be answered. If we put our expectations in an outcome, and God’s outcome is different, we’re going to end up disappointed and discouraged. If our expectation is simply that God will take care of us, it doesn’t matter how He answers our prayers, we will be satisfied.

So, for those of you who feel like you’ve been stuck in the same place forever and God isn’t answering your prayers--don’t be discouraged. Take Him at His word, don’t give up on Him, and expect Him to take care of you. Your prayers are powerful, and influence God to move. He’s going to come through for you.

Author | Stephanie Stewart

How to Fight in Prayer

How to Fight in Prayer

There's that one thing you want so badly. You just know that if God were to move and do something, everything would change. Maybe it's healing from anxiety or depression, maybe is getting into grad school, or maybe it's victory over a battle you've been fighting for what feels like forever. Whatever it is, we've all been there, at the end of our rope, desperate for God to show up and scared about what will happen if he doesn't.

Jesus spent constant time interceding for humanity. Even on the cross, he begs the father to forgive us, the very ones who put him there. His life was marked by contending prayer. His prayer was fulfilled through the cross, because we have salvation through his death and resurrection. But even though Jesus' prayer was ultimately fulfilled, he didn't see everyone he knew come to believe him. People still rejected his message. That doesn’t mean his prayers were wasted, it means that we get to continue what he started. The call to ask God for salvation, healing, and deliverance is ours to claim through the Holy Spirit. It didn't end with Jesus, it continues with us.

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. - Matthew 7:7 NLT

We are called to be persistent warriors. We have been given the weapon of prayer, and prayer changes everything. Through prayer, we have direct access to our Father, who is the source of all good things. So when we face sickness and defeat, we keep on asking for healing and victory. Jesus didn’t stop asking even when he was staring death in the face. That means, we have the power to keep asking, even when we don’t know if God is going to come through the way we want him to.

So what is that one thing you want to see God do? Ask God to fill you with hope that he is who he says he is, that he is capable. And then, keep asking for breakthrough. Let your persistence bring you closer to God as you learn to rely on him and trust him. Keep on asking, the promise is yours.

Author | Emily Baker

Prayer as a Weapon

Prayer as a Weapon

Imagine standing on a battle field:

You're staring at your enemy ahead of you with no sword, no gun, no weapon of any kind. The first emotion you experience is probably terror - how are you supposed to fight when you have nothing in your hands? Nothing to grasp but the air around you?

Spiritual warfare can feel like much of the same experience. You can't fight the enemy with physical weapons, you can't beat him with your bare hands. So how do you fight when you feel like it's you against a full army ahead of you?

You turn to the Lord in prayer.

The weapons of our warfare - spiritual warfare - aren't of the flesh. Our weapons are much more powerful. They have the divine power and ability to destroy strongholds, to defeat the enemies rising up against us (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).

You may be thinking that prayer doesn't seem like it can hold that much power against the attacks of the enemy. You may be weakened, bruised, tired and hurting. You may feel like you have nothing left within you to fight off the anxiety, the depression, the physical pain, the nightmares - whatever it is that you are experiencing in your moment of warfare. But God says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28, NIV).

You don't have to feel helpless when the Lord is on your side. You don't have to fight in desperation with every last bit of your strength because there is someone greater who will fight for you. You need only to be still. His power is made perfect in your moments of weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In Psalm 28, David talks about the redeemed, saying "they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed" (vv. 28-29). When you cry out to God, he will deliver you. He is the one with the power to end the storms and quiet the seas around you. When you feel like you're surrounded by the enemy with no where left to turn, that's when your greatest weapon is before you: prayer. Cry out to God. The warfare around you will cease, the storms will be still, the waves will be hushed. Your prayers call down God's deliverance. Your prayers bring victory. Your prayers, combined with the word of God, are more powerful than any sword or other weapon you could possibly wield.

Author | Emma Whitmer

Welcome to Waiting

Welcome to Waiting

I’ve been waiting for prayers to be answered for years now, and I haven’t seen many things happen. I’ve been dreaming big with God and setting my hopes up high, and it hurts because I’m holding onto promises unfulfilled— some of which don’t even seem possible. But I’m going to tell you everything I’ve learned and all that I know at this point for what to do in the waiting period.

In seasons of waiting, I try to be intentional about keeping my heart soft because to love is to be vulnerable and I want to love God well. To achieve this vulnerability, I ask God to help me understand or to help me be un-offended regularly. Here’s why:

If I understand what God is doing, then I feel like I have a grip on the situation. I can relax. I can be in the know. I can see the purpose behind the pain.

If I am un-offended by what God is doing, then I can trust him. I can let Him into my anger. I can give Him my deepest fears. I can guard my heart from bitterness.

I’m not going to understand God’s vision for my life or His intentional leadership apart from Him. I’m going to be frustrated when I watch my dreams crash into the ground if I’m not leaning into my relationship with Him. I need God to do a work in my heart to keep me tender when I’m tempted to shut down in offense. When you’re overwhelmed in waiting, ask God to give you the grace to understand or be un-offended.

When in doubt, give thanks. Thankfulness is one of the greatest weapons I have as I wait because some days I have no strength to give anything else. Gratitude shifts our perspective and forces us to focus on the faithfulness of God. It is wise for me to remember that I deserve hell, I received eternal life, and God has brought me to today. I was riding in the car with my mom the other day when she said, “Tell me three green things you see outside.” So I listed off the roof of a nearby building, the grass on the side of the road, and a small gathering of bushes in the distance. Then she asked me to close my eyes and list off three yellow things I saw. I knew there was a yellow line in the road because we were on a two lane road but I couldn’t remember if anything else around was yellow. When I opened my eyes, I saw yellow signs, yellow flowers, a yellow building. She told me she was learning that when we focus on the negative, we only see the negative and it’s hard to remember the positive just like it was hard for me to remember the yellow things around because I was only looking at the green. When you can’t see the positive, think of what you know that is good and focus on that. Don’t forget His goodness for you; give thanks in all things.

Okay, read this whole paragraph. Get yourself in the Word of God. I’m not kidding. Pick a time right now for today that you will read the Bible. Don’t do it because you have to but because you get to. I often hear that it’s boring or it’s hard to understand but we have the Holy Spirit inside of us who reveals the deep things of God so give me a better excuse. The Bible is funny and it’s moving and it’s wisdom. I heard a man earlier this year say that we should weep at the Word of God. I think I literally scoffed at him. But then he told the Gospel in his version and the whole room was crying by the end because we had a new understanding of the heart of God. That didn’t happen because this man is holier than we are, it happened because he believed it could and we gave God the opportunity to let it be true. God reveals Himself through His Word and it’s cool, trust me. God gives us plenty of incentives to go after His Word. Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and these things will be added to you. Remain in me and I’ll make your joy complete. Seek and you will find. Blessed are those who hunger, they’ll be filled. All these verses are essentially saying go after God and God will give Himself to you.

If you don’t know where to start, open your Bible to Zephaniah 3:17. Pick one phrase from that verse and focus on it for an hour. Put your phone out of reach, read the verse, write it, sing it, say it out loud, pray it over yourself. Don’t read the rest of the chapter or even the whole verse, just one little part. Write all your distractions on a piece of paper and come back to them after the hour. I promise you that God will show up for you because God promised you that. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Then find me and tell me what He showed you. Maybe read Psalm 16 every day for six months and see what new revelations you get. Dive into 1 Corinthians 13 once a week and find five cross references that relate to the chapter. Imagine you are Peter or John as you read through the book of John. You don’t need podcasts or blogs to know God. You don’t need Bob or Daniel to learn about His heart or His character. He has given Himself to you because He loves you— go get Him.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick; it feels like an anchor for my soul— but not in the good way. But hope is our way out of the waiting season. Paramore sings, “Hold onto hope if you’ve got it, don’t let it go for nobody, they say that dreaming is free but I wouldn’t care what it cost me.” If that’s not holy enough for you, the Bible says that God put a door of hope in the valley. If that’s too general for you, I had a dream at the beginning of the semester that God was calling us to cling to hope. And if that’s too weird, just ask God for yourself what He is saying about hope. I know hope is hard but it’s going to be worth it. Your reward is worth it.

In Song of Solomon, this Shulamite woman goes through a rough time but by the end of it she’s coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved. My goal in every season is to do the exact same— lean on my Beloved. Depending on God is the safest and smartest thing I can do in every season. The best part is that we have a reward, an inheritance, that cannot be taken away. Regardless of the smaller things we hope for, we will receive God in the end. Remember all the hardships Job went through? He had everything restored to him and was more blessed than he had been at the beginning of his story. But more importantly, he had an encounter with God. Remember the promised land Moses hoped for then died right before he got to enter it? The next time we see him, he’s on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and Elijah in glory. Jesus is actually better than our desired lands flowing with milk and honey. Jesus didn’t come to do away with the law and the prophets but to fulfill them, and Jesus isn’t shaking things up in your life to contradict or dispose of the things He’s told you. He’s going to fulfill them. There is something coming for you that is better than the good you had before or the terrible that you’re enduring now. I pray that your faith does not fail.

My last piece of advice for you is this: live your life during the waiting. God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. You don’t have to be held back in fear that things will keep getting worse or in fear that God won’t show up for you. He is a wall of fire around you and glory within you. He is resurrection power dwelling inside of you. In your weakness, His strength is perfect. You can rest when you need to and you can yell at God if you need to, but don’t give up. Keep pressing in even when it’s hard because your reward is coming. The blessing is coming, the promise is coming, but know that the power He deposited in you is available now. The Bible says that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. So are you going to give into the flesh and ignore your spirit, or give your all to the spirit and ignore the flesh? Jesus gave you everything you needed to persevere when He gave you the Holy Spirit. Ask Holy Ghost to teach you and comfort you. You’re going to do great. Welcome to the waiting.

Author | Savannah Ugan

Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

The Power of God's Word

The word of God is living and active! Wow, these are some powerful words right here. God's word has the ability to change lives and bring people out of darkness.

God said let there be light and just like that there was! Boom! Light! He spoke everything into being by using His words. He put those words into a book for us. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

I think it is interesting that God's word is compared to a sword and coined the Sword of the Spirit. In the armor of God, it is the only offensive weapon listed. This is because the word of God has the capacity to defeat the lies of the enemy, slice through strongholds, trials and temptations in your life.

God's Word is sharp and it cuts deeply, to the very core of our being. You cannot read God's Word or hear it preached without getting cut in the conscience and rethinking your lifestyle choices a bit. Ever go to church or Wesley and the message is exactly what you need to hear? That's because it is… God is speaking directly to you.

One of the primary ways God speaks to us is through His word. It is living and active because the Holy Spirit is living and active. We must equip ourselves with God's word. If a soldier doesn't know how to use his sword, it will not be helpful when the battle comes. Therefore, he practices technique daily so he will be ready for battle. To train yourself in the word looks like memorizing scripture, applying it to your life, knowing the power of the Holy Spirit and understanding what Christ did on the cross for you!

The bible says, "your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). These days we call that a GPS. Our GPS will guide us and provide us with the best path to take. If we don't use our GPS, we risk missing our turn, running into troubles (traffic and road work), or getting completely lost and losing our way.

Importance of Scripture in our Life

Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God stands forever."

God's word is true and never changes. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In a world of uncertainty and where it seems harder and harder to find the truth and know what is right, we can rest in the fact that God's word is right and true. Nothing anyone says can change that.

The word empowers us to live the way God called us to and gives us the ability to discern good from evil. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He is always trying to knock you down, take your attention away from God, and steer you off of God's path for you. It is imperative we know the internal battle we face. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." We cannot take down the devil's schemes without knowing God's word.

How can you stand firm in your faith if you don't know what your faith stands for?

We fight by combating the lies of devil with the truth of Bible. In Matthew 4, Jesus showed us what that looks like. He quotes scripture back at Satan. Satan tries to twist the bible for his own advantage but since Jesus's has a thorough knowledge of scriptures, He is able to stand His ground and fight the lies of the enemy.

"If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

Jesus answered [Satan], "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:

"'He will command his angels concerning you,

and they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."

Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test." Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' (Matthew 4:3-10)

In this spiritual battle between Jesus and Satan, we can see how important it is to keep the sword of the spirit sharp and ready for battle. After every temptation, Jesus replies with "It is written." He stood firm in the only thing he knew would take down the devil… the Sword of the Spirit. What a masterful example of how to use the Sword of the Spirit! We need to be in the word constantly otherwise we will began believing the lies the devil feeds us. Here are a few examples.

Me: It is impossible

God: All things are possible through me (Luke 18:27)

Me: I am anxious

God: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)

Me: Nobody loves me

God: I have loved you with everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)

Me: I am always worried

God: Cast all your cares on me (1 Peter 5:7)

Me: I feel alone

God: I will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5)

Me: I can't break free of this sin

God: I will give you freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Me: I can't figure things out

God: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:6)

Me: My life has no purpose or direction

God: I have a plan for you. To prosper you not to harm you. To give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)

Me: I always feel shame and guilt

God: There is no condemnation for those in me (Romans 8:1)

My grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Me: I am not smart enough

God: I will give you wisdom (1 Cor 1:30)

Me: I am afraid

God: The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid of (Psalm 27:1)

Me: I am not good enough

God: You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139)

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

If you do not know scripture, you will have no defense against these lies and many other lies the devil may try and throw at you. All His promises are yes and amen. There is freedom in Christ to break every chain! To fight your battles, be fully trained in the knowledge, wisdom, and truth of God's word.

Author | Kyle Pickett

Helmet of Salvation

Helmet of Salvation

“...and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” Ephesians 6:17

As we enter the middle of the semester, a fourth of our school year has been written into our history books. Midterms happen, applications are put in for internships, and decisions for long-term plans are made. In this particular time of the school year, our focus isn’t fully on God. However, there is still a very real battle to fight.

This particular fight is not fought through “the power of the flesh”, but instead are much sneakier (2 Corinthians 10:4 ESV). In American culture, we fight and struggle more so with ideals, cultural values, nationalism, and status to name a few. Because of this, we, as followers of Christ, must wage war with weapons of the Spirit of God.

In Ephesians 6, Paul talks about us putting on the armor of God to defend ourselves against the attack of the enemy. Out of the six pieces of armor, five of them are defensive. One of those defensive pieces is the helmet of salvation, which we will focus on today.

1) Power of our minds

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” - Romans 12:2 ESV

God created us in his image and, even though our bodies and minds have been tainted by sin, he has still designed us to tap into the power of his Holy Spirit. Our brains are designed so that through the power of Christ on the cross, we can change the very landscape of our brains. How beautiful is that? Our brain is designed with the hope of salvation already wired in.

Thus, because our minds are built with the hope of salvation from and sanctification of sin through the blood of Christ and power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to choose life. The helmet of salvation is our defensive head gear because it protects our minds from the power of the enemy. Because the Holy Spirit moves lives in us once we are saved from sin, God is able to help us see the power of his love. He sets us free from the power of sin and death.

Through the power of the helmet of salvation, God gives us the power to pursue him through our minds, and it is through his grace that we are given the chance each and every day to choose him. That is great news! Even on days when we fall short of his glory, God still reminds us of his unending love for us. We have the option to choose that each day because of the power of Jesus’ love. How amazing!

2) Choosing obedience

“And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling.” - 2 Corinthians 7:15 ESV

Even though our salvation is final, we have a battle to fight. Daily. Hourly. Sometimes by the second. However, victory is ours “through our lord Jesus Christ”, and that means our victory is final (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV). Nothing can change that. But even though our victory is final, it doesn’t mean that our battle is finished. God still calls us to fight. Finding salvation does not mean that our journey is over. Because we have been adopted by God through Jesus, he becomes our Father, and good fathers lovingly discipline their children, as written in Hebrews 12. And he calls us to obey him, even when its hard.

Obedience is, by definition, submission to someone else’s authority. God deserves authority because of the influence Jesus had on us through love, and from there, God calls us to obedience. This comes through constantly choosing to surrender our wills in our thought lives to God. It may be hard to do for a while, but the more you lay down your sinful ways through salvation.

3) Process of sanctification

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” - Romans 8:16-17

The process of filtering sin out of our lives is the process of sanctification. As previously mentioned, salvation is being broken free from sin. However, it does not mean that sin is suddenly dashed away. The battle that the Bible talks about is being delivered and transformed through the process of sanctification.

Again, our minds are where this battle takes place. Continuously. Powers of heaven and of hell fight to influence us all the time. But continuing to use the power of our minds and obeying God through the power of the Holy Spirit is essential. This means sometimes we have to lay down our expectations of ourselves, God, others, or all of the above to let the Holy Spirit sanctify us. And this is HARD business, folks. Sanctification hurts because it requires painful wounds to be exposed. Lies are exposed. False truths and hopes arise. But our salvation is still final.

In college, we are faced with many different influencing situations. Having job interviews and stressful midterms can influence us to have the mindset of failure and that our worth and value is from our circumstances. But, Jesus has given and continues to give us the power to be sanctified from sin, shame, lies, and death. That is the best news we have. Even when the hopes and dreams we have in this world fail, God shows us his love.

Even though we are fighting a battle, someone has emerged victorious. That is promised for us. Jesus loves us more than we can possibly imagine, and gives us the defense of the helmet of salvation to protect our minds and build strength in Christ. This comes through surrender and relying on the strength of the Holy Spirit to obey the will of God. Even though this is hard, continuing to say yes to letting God transform us leads to our sanctification. The process of sanctification is how we see the beauty of the gospel - seeing that God gives us abundant grace. Especially when that grace favors progress over perfection. You are known by him. You are cherished by him. And most importantly, even though you are still being sanctified, Jesus has already grasped your eternal victory.

Author | Brad Schiebel