Heart Issues, Showing love

Heart Condition Change

gerbera-flower

Did you know today’s children and young adults are the least Christian generation our nation has ever had?

It’s true.

So recently, when my daughter came crying to me about “fake” friends who consistently lie (about big and small things) and have no follow-through on what they say they’ll do, I reminded her about the fact above.

Because, see, my daughter isn’t a perfect friend. Neither am I! We’ve both messed up numerous times and had to ask for forgiveness from God and those we’ve wronged. But we do have conviction, which is not the same as condemnation which refers to guilt and shame. Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit, who lives within us and keeps us from sin and stirs repentance when we fail. The Holy Spirit is just that: holy. Therefore, any sin ruffles His feathers, so to speak. All sin breaks the Almighty’s heart.As Christ followers, the Holy Spirit who lives within us convicts us of sin. The Holy Spirit is just that, HOLY. Click To Tweet

But those without the Holy Spirit don’t feel conviction the same way when they hurt someone else, whether intentionally or unintentionally. They don’t receive the same prompt or drive from their soul to be loyal, truthful, or forgiving.Without the Holy Spirit, people don’t feel conviction the same way when they hurt someone else, whether intentionally or unintentionally. They don’t receive the same prompt from their soul to be loyal, truthful, or forgiving. Click To Tweet

Satan blinds and deceives non-believers and entices them to sin. They have no power to resist it, but believers do.

This deception affects our young generation and blinds humanity to atrocities. It hinders our boldness to speak out and gains generations of footholds to keep us in bondage to the devil and his schemes of dissension, hurt, pain, abuse, and death. The lack of the Holy Spirit or the stuffing of Him down has blinded us to atrocities, made us uncomfortable so as to keep us quiet, and gained generations of footholds to keep us in bondage to the devil. Click To TweetIt’s no wonder these young people aren’t turning to God when they see their elders acting the way they do. How can we expect right reactions to injustices, abuse, or lies if our heart is already in a state of sadness and disorder? How can we expect those who cause the abuse, distresses, and disagreements in our country to see their own faults if their heart is also diseased? And what if we’re the ones causing this heartache and don’t see it?

Kristen Quote

Only the Holy Spirit can change our young generation and our world. God needs to transform the heart to affect systematic change. We can’t expect others to respond correctly if they’re unaware of a problem. We must call upon Jesus for revival and awakening—for how can we be only revived if we’ve never awakened to God in the first place? Our youth must recognize their heart disease, challenge it, fix it, heal it, and then move forth, serving God in His Kingdom work.

We must recognize our own heart disease, challenge it, and invite God to fix it, and heal it, then we must move forth, serving God in His Kingdom work. Click To TweetHow? We start by inviting people into our homes. Those of all ages, including those who don’t look like you. Love them well. Care about them. Listen to them. Be someone they can count on in a world that lets them down. With God’s guidance, we can help soften hearts through Christian love.

So, as I try with meager parenting skills to guide my daughter in relationships, I can invest in her generation. I can welcome her friends into my home and care for them in tangible ways like cooking and transporting. I can always invite them to church with us, support their activities, and say, “I love you.”

What can we all do to affectively change hearts around us? Let us know in the comments below!

Make sure to connect with us on Instagram and Facebook!

Join Wholly Loved’s Jennifer Henn for this great study.
Join through Zoom’s online video conferencing here: ttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/6706857130

Wholly Loved Ministries is a non-profit organization that exists to help women live in Christ’s freedom. Donate now to support our mission or contact us to learn more.

Paypal donation button
Hardships and Trials

How I Exposed the Sneaky Death Trap of Fear

women's eyes-205339-unsplash

Fear is a sneaky prowler.

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you may be able to recite 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV): “God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” I, personally, have recalled and repeated this verse many times. Like when my little sister was diagnosed with brain cancer. Or when our home was going through a short sale and we had to move. We had nowhere to go and would be taking my daughter out of school in the middle the year.

2 Timothy 1:17

I recognized my need for God to help with my fear during these life-alternating events, when my future looked bleak, or dread paralyzed me. In those moments, I could confess my lack of faith that God was in the midst of my hardships alongside me and had a plan for my family’s future.

 

But fear is also a silent, creeping death trap. It’s like a slow breeze caressing your face that you don’t realize is there. Click To Tweet

Recently, the spirit of fear snuck into my life. I have a teenage daughter in middle school—some of you sent up a silent prayer for me just then—and a few weeks ago I had to help her navigate some heavy stuff. Think social media at its worst, and you’ll probably be close to imagining what we were battling. And in truth, she seemed to get through it smoothly, to snap out the sadness and hurt quickly. But what about me?

This incident wrecked me—made me physically sick. It felt as if the pit of my stomach was caving in on itself, and I could think of nothing else for days. I walked around in constant, nagging pain. I prayed over and over for God to move in this situation. I prayed for our kids, their friends, their influences, for protection over their lives. I wrote all of this off as a normal part of parenting, a part of the journey.

Then, I ran into a friend. I knew she’d been dealing with some tough situations pertaining to her teenager and asked her how she was doing. She said something along the lines of, “I’m doing okay. I had to release her to God. I can’t be fearful. I have to trust and have faith He’s working.”

In that moment, I realized all my symptoms—physical and emotional—were really fear, masked as what I thought was a standard part of being a mother. The enemy was causing havoc and keeping me bound like a slave. The devil had used my love for my daughter to weaken my faith in God, and that’s exactly what happened. I didn’t trust enough and believe enough that once I’d prayed about the situation, He would respond.I realized all my symptoms—physical and emotional—were really fear, masked as what I thought was a standard part of being a mother. The enemy was causing havoc and keeping me bound like a slave. Click To Tweet

Don’t allow the spirit of fear trap you in faithlessness. After I went to God with my pain and lack of wisdom over how to help my daughter, I should’ve trusted that He’d set into motion a plan. And then kept praying that I got out of the way to let Him do His thing and claimed victory over the situation.

We must be careful not to allow fear to control our minds. Recite 2 Timothy 1:7 often, not just in the big events and hardships of life, but in the day-to-day struggles as well. When you feel anxious, pray to God and release the fear to Him. He’s got an outcome, one way better than you could orchestrate for yourself. Continue to pray for faith, direction, and wisdom, but never allow fear to seep in. Claim it’s not allowed to live within you in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s talk about this! When have you allowed fear to sneak up on you? How did you deal with removing it from your life?

If you enjoyed today’s post, would like more inspirational content, check out our new devotional book, Anchored & Secure!

Cover for Anchored and Secure devotionalThanks to Christ’s death and resurrection, we don’t have to stress, strive, or perform. We simply need to rest in what Christ has already done. That is when we begin to come; to live as He intended. That’s when we discover true and lasting freedom.

You can purchase the book here.

And make sure to connect with us on Instagram and Facebook!

Worship

An Untapped Way to Worship

I’m convinced exercise is the most underrated way we can tap into worshipping God.

woman's feet, walking
Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash

Some of you just decided to quit reading but hear me out.

Have you seen superstar country singer Carrie Underwood’s latest commercial for her athletic clothing brand, Calia? In it, she talks about putting herself first when it comes to exercise then feeling guilty when she takes the time to get a workout in but also when she doesn’t train. Though, ultimately, she’s decided to stay committed to her fitness journey. (Search #StaythePath and #FindYourPath to see this campaign.)

Now, trust me, I look nothing like Mrs. Underwood, but her sentiments resonate because I am also an avid exerciser. My workouts have changed over the years in accordance to body limitations, injuries, and time, but the constant is that I always follow some form of exercise routine five to six days a week. And honestly, I’m as addicted to it as I am Oreos which is saying a lot (and yet another reason I exercise).

Why has it developed into something I will not sacrifice in my schedule?

Because it’s become mine and God’s time.Why has it developed into something I will not sacrifice in my schedule? Because it’s become mine and God’s time. Click To Tweet Going for a run excites me because it’s such a valuable period of prayer and worship. I’m able to retreat to nature with my favorite worship music and draw close to Him in a way I can’t as easily at home when the chores beg to be done, or my computer calls me to write just a few more pages. The days I go to the gym are different but still worship as I better my body and mind in a Pilates class or pray while on the stationary bike.

In fact, I’m confident I’d be a monster without two things on a daily repeat. Connecting with God and exercise. Really! No one would want to be around me because my stress and anxiety levels would be astronomical, and I’d become a complainer and naysayer. I also know my personality leans toward irritation and impatience but with time have seen the discipline of exercise helps to alleviate impulsive reactions when I come up against things that annoy me.

So, not only can exercise provide stress relief and precious moments spent with God, it also helps us better our physical health.Not only can exercise relieve stress and become precious time spent with God, it also helps us better care for our bodies. Click To Tweet 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” The benefits of regular exercise outweigh the pain. And once your routine becomes a habit, it may become a healthy addiction. With that, you may find yourself pushing through the uncomfortable just to get the workout in.

You were bought at a price

So where can you start? I’m convinced anyone going from no exercise to simply walking (as fast as you can) or riding a stationary bike at least thirty minutes a day five times a week will see their health improve. Start there. Get outside to check out His beautiful nature if possible. But do something. Use it as a prayer time. Sing along to gospel music. Listen to a podcast from your favorite pastor, presenter, or Bible teacher. Just take time to honor God in mind, body, and spirit.

A lady, easily in her eighties, runs in my neighborhood. Whenever I pass her, I can’t help but think, “Go girl!” I want to be just like her—maybe not running at that age—but getting outside hiking, walking, or working my garden. Getting my heart rate up, challenging my muscles and expanding my lungs, all the while tapping into the worship that can happen while doing it. Imagine me rooting you on, saying, “Go girl!”

Let’s talk about this! Where can you start in using exercise as a time of reverence for God? Do you already? If so, what are some tricks you’ve used to keep it up?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram.

Also, make sure to check out our latest Bible reading plan, available for free on the YouVersion Bible Reading App:

Grace Reading Plan ImageChrist’s grace has the power to change everything. We don’t have to strive, to compete, or compare, or question whether or not we measure up. We’re enough because Christ in us is enough. The cross of Christ sets us free.

Find it HERE.

 

Resting in Christ

Resting in God’s Grace is Sufficient for Me

What does it mean to rest in God’s grace? Does that sound theological and religious to anyone else?

Consider 2 Corinthians 12. Paul asked Jesus to remove a thorn in his side, something Scripture doesn’t reveal but that made Paul feel weak. Jesus response: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul concludes, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (v.9)

Said a different way: Jesus’ undeserved favor is complete and adequate enough for me. His authority over all shines faultlessly in our flaws and feebleness. His unmatched control over the entire universe adjoins with my lowly self and supplies a lifeline to cling to, a safety net to relax in. Because of my weakness, God can vividly display His divine power.

After Paul heard from the Lord, he decided that his inadequacy was worth it. When he truly surrendered, God could shine brightly through him— which wouldn’t be seen when he relied on himself.When Apostle Paul truly surrendered, God could shine brightly through him— which wouldn’t be seen when he relied on himself... Click To Tweet

But what does “resting in God’s grace” mean for me? Was I doing a good job at letting Jesus take over when I was weak, allowing His power to fix and heal and love?

I contemplated this as I finally got around to something I’d dreaded for weeks—dealing with my son’s behavior and inability to focus at school. I began researching doctors in our network. I called with questions, made appointments, and emailed my son’s former teacher for more information. All in an attempt to get the ball rolling towards a possible diagnosis.

And I’ll be honest, even looking up doctors who might help my son broke my heart. I felt weak, unknowledgeable, inadequate, and scared. The idea of getting him help should bring me hope, yet, I kept thinking, does this mean something’s wrong with him? Surely not, because God made him exactly the way He wanted him to be…

Jesus’ words came back to me. My grace is sufficient for you. Jesus’ favor, or blessing, for me is undeserved and enough to get me through anything. And more, when I am weak, His power rests on me.Jesus’ favor, or blessing, for me is undeserved and enough to get me through anything. And more, when I am weak, His power rests on me. Click To Tweet To “rest on” means to lean on, adjoin to, combine as one. So, if Christ’s power rests on me, then His power is now on me. KristenQuoteGrace I can be sure that God will help me figure out the best steps to take as a mother, knowing God loves my son even more than I do and will hold on to him tightly. I can relax because if God can take my weakness and use it for His glory and power, then He can also do the same for my son’s weakness. He can turn what is hard for him and make it shine somehow.

I will hold on to this verse as we navigate what’s challenging.

What trial or limitation do you need to surrender to Jesus? Claim His power in your weakness and walk forward knowing He’s resting His grace and mercy on you.

If you enjoyed today’s post, would like more inspirational content sent directly to your inbox, and want to stay up-to-date regarding what’s new with us, make sure to sign up for our free quarterly e-mailing. You can do that HERE. 

And make sure to connect with us on Instagram and Facebook!

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(R), NIV(R) Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. (R) Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

wisdom

Seeking God’s Wisdom

Image of woman reading her Bible
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Knowledge may fill our minds and  puff up our pride, but wisdom can save relationships, careers, and lives. It’s using what we’ve learned or know to make decisions, and though bookstores are filled with titles claiming to offer the perfect guidance for practically any situation, only the Bible can make good on that promise. 

Colossians 2:2b-3 says we look to “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and quote pulled from post with sunrise in the backgroundknowledge” (ESV). As we grow closer to Jesus, our spiritual understanding increases. Our thoughts and perspectives change, and because thoughts determine behavior, we began to act as He did—wisely.

Scripture invites us to seek God’s guidance, especially during difficult times. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (ESV).

This summer, I served on a South Dakota reservation teaching Vacation Bible School. One of my favorite days came when a friend introduced the kids to the parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders from Matthew 7:24-27. You may know the story. The wise man set his house on a rock, cutting into it deeply and securing a strong foundation. But the foolish man built on sand, leaving his foundation weak and vulnerable.

It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Don’t be foolish! I’ve given you everything you need to stand strong and secure.”

God’s wisdom can help us navigate the crazy twists and turns of life.

But how?

When we apply what we learn from Scripture to our lives, that knowledge becomes wisdom.

The world tells us to read a self-help or leadership book, attend a seminar, or return to school. And these may be good things, but what if we do all this and are still without answers? What if tragedy comes and we feel lost and confused?

Or, consider the converse. What if we’ve filled our hearts and minds with the truths of God and He uses it, in the middle of our pain, to comfort, guide, and strengthen us? What if He whispers those truths to our heart as we sleep, like we read in Psalm 16:7.

If we build our security on things of this lifetime, sadly, be like the builder who built on the sand and our foundation will crumble. It can’t stand against the storm of life. But if our foundation is built on Jesus and His Word, we’ll be like the wise builder who built on the rock. Storms will come, we may be bruised up, but we will stand firm and not be destroyed.

Teaching those children at Pine Ridge about wisdom reminded me of my own need to invest greatly into reading, learning, studying, memorizing, and meditating on His Word. I don’t want to be caught off guard and make choices based on my limited knowledge. I want His never-changing wisdom to guide me.

Let us ask Jesus for wisdom today. And then immerse ourselves in Scripture, so He can open up our minds to His way, not the world’s.

Did this devotion encourage you?

If so, make sure to check out our Bible reading plan available now on the YouVersion app! You can find Cover image for Bible study devotionalit HERE! And make sure to grab a copy of our 90-day devotional, Drawing Near. You can find that HERE. And check out our FREE Bible study, Becoming His Princess, HERE.