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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!

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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.

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Forgiveness, Grace

No More Grubby Sin-Clothes

Do you ever see sin like it’s a suit of filthy clothing and wonder whether you’ll ever wash clean?

My kids used to come home dirty after playing outside, but one day in particular was the worst. I eyed them from the door, every inch of them covered in head-to-toe grime.

“We found a mud pit, Mama!” they shrieked, little faces transformed with glee.

My heart tumbled—so much for all the cleaning I’d done that morning.

One by one, I scooped them up and deposited them in my shower. There was so much mud caked on that it took me three shampoos and a loofah scrub-down to get most of it out of their hair and out from under their fingernails, not to mention all the loads of laundry.

That night, as we snuggled up in my son’s room reading bedtime stories, I inhaled their scent, their freshly washed hair and laundered clothes a balm for my senses.

“We were dirty, Mama,” my daughter whispered, giggling. “But it was so much fun.”

My son looked worried. “Is my special shirt ruined forever?”

I kissed his brow. “All the stains came out. It’s as good as new, sweet pea. Just like you two.”

It took a lot of work to get the mud off my kids, not to mention a bunch of stain remover and laundry cycles. But it was true—every bit of filth had been washed away. No more walking swamp monsters.

Reading Zechariah in the Bible today, the prophet’s vision reminds me of my dirty kiddos all those years ago—and what it means for us all today.

In Zechariah’s vision, in Zechariah 3:1-7, an angel had come to him from the Lord, telling him how angry God had been with His people. But God promised He would return to Jerusalem with mercy, cleansing them of their sin if they would walk in His ways and follow His commands.

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’

“Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.’

“Then I said, ‘Put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

“The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here’” (Zechariah 3:1-7 NIV).

Joshua, the high priest of Jerusalem, had been adorned in filth—covered in sin and unworthiness. He and all God’s people wandered far astray, worshipping other gods and forgetting Who they belonged to. But God, in His great compassion, elected to remove that sin and give Joshua new clothes. Not only that, but He promised Joshua a place in His heavenly home if he would walk in obedience to God.

Just like my kids were covered in mud and grime and Joshua wore clothes of filth, we too are adorned in the muck and mire that is sin.

Just like my kids were covered in mud and grime and Joshua wore clothes of filth, we too are adorned in the muck and mire that is sin. Click To Tweet

Others might not be able to see the grubby sin-clothes we wear, but God can. In fact, to God and His holy beings, I imagine we look like my kids did that day after their visit to the mud pit, our sin stinking and caked on for all of heaven to see.

But, through God’s almighty mercy and Fatherly love, He gives us the chance to be washed clean, to put on brand-new clothes, the finest clothing we’ve ever imagined, and take up residence with Him—if only we choose to follow Jesus.

Through God’s almighty mercy and fatherly love, He gives us the chance to be washed clean, to put on brand-new clothes, the finest clothing we’ve ever imagined, and take up residence with Him—if only we choose to follow Jesus. Click To Tweet

God sent His Son to die for us and pay our sin-debt so that we can discover the path to heaven. He offers us His heavenly shower and laundry, effectively rescuing us from the fires of hell and granting us, in His mercy, new life.

Like “a burning stick rescued from the fire,” we are rescued from eternal death when we choose the path of Jesus.

Like 'a burning stick rescued from the fire,' we are rescued from eternal death when we choose the path of Jesus. Click To Tweet

As Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV). And as the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Let’s get rid of those filthy, muddy, sin-caked clothes. Let’s put on new clothes of redemption—and choose life eternal.

Let’s put on new clothes of redemption—and choose life eternal. Click To Tweet

Your turn: Do you ever see your sin like it’s a suit of filthy clothing, or a layer of mud upon your skin? Did confessing and repenting of your sin make you feel like you were fresh and clean?

 

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Hardships and Trials, Intentional growth

God—the Ultimate Coach

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I like to watch American Ninja Warrior, a television show where competitors move through an obstacle course with agility and superhuman strength. Contenders refuse to quit, even when they face their last obstacle—a fourteen-foot wall that curves inward. As they prepare to climb, the crowd urges them from the sidelines like a beloved coach. I watch rapt from the edge of my couch, practically reaching with them. When they make it, the crowd cheers, and I cheer too.

The Ninja course isn’t designed to make competitors fail—it’s designed to make them better. Each athlete brings their own strategies, strengths, and weaknesses to the course. I’m not a Ninja Warrior, but I am a Christian, and my life overflows with obstacles. If I’m not careful, difficulties can leave me feeling like God doesn’t love me. After all, if God really loves me, why not make my life easy? Click To Tweet

Our answer is found in Hebrews 12:7-11. As the writer urges, we shouldn’t falter when the Lord disciplines us, for He’s treating us like a favored daughter. If He didn’t help us grow, He wouldn’t be a father who cared. Don’t we respect authority in our life when it teaches us wisdom? God disciplines us for a short time for our good. Yes, it can be painful in the moment, but if we’re willing to learn from it, our life will produce peace and goodness. When I face a seemingly insurmountable wall, God leads me over it like an expert coach. Click To Tweet

When we go through hard things, we get better. God Coach blog 2

I desire to be a mature Christian. Looking back at challenges I’ve experienced, I thank God for the changes they brought in me. When I face a seemingly insurmountable wall, God leads me over it like an expert coach. Through help from the Holy Spirit and the Bible, He encourages me to remain strong during every obstacle I face.

As God continues to delight in me, His beloved child, He’ll continue to allow circumstances to teach me. When I am willing to trade my comfort and ease for training in godliness, I become a strong woman of God. Like a father who cares for his daughter, God has a remedy for my childish ways.

Are you able to look back and see where God helped you through a tough time? If you’re in a difficult place now, do you have a favorite Bible verse or prayer that reminds you God is coaching you for the greater good?

 

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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.

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Bible studies

New Online Study Coming in October

For many of us, 2020 has felt anything but pleasant, peaceful, and hopeful, leaving many feeling as if their circumstances are hopeless. But Scripture tells us, in Christ, we are more than conquerors. Nothing can separate us from the love we receive from Christ and our eternal hope is held secure. God has such amazing things in store for us. Let’s cultivate hope in one another as, together, we live in the victory of Christ’s freedom.

Join us in October for an online discussion of Bob Hostetler’s 6-week study titled: Life Stinks … And Then You Die: Living Well in a Sick World, led by Jennifer Henn. (Find the Zoom join link HERE; buy the book HERE.)

Where: Zoom

When: Thursday nights at 7pm CST from October 1st-November 5th

From the back cover:

Many people seem to blithely skip through the meadows of this world, with nary a wound or scar. Day after day seems to shine on them. They wake up each morning with a smile on their face. . . . This book is not for them.

There is something dreadfully wrong with this world, and everyone knows it.

Some try to fix it. Some try to ignore it. Some recognize that the same thing that is wrong with the world is wrong with us–and nothing will change until we grasp that reality.

Life Stinks . . . And Then You Die is a gritty, honest look at the world around us and the world inside us. It is based on an ancient book of wisdom that many consider to be the Bible’s most perplexing book, Ecclesiastes, to a man who seemed to have every advantage–wealth, education, and power could possibly offer–but still struggled to find happiness and meaning. It does not offer platitudes. No easy fixes. It doesn’t spackle over the rough reality of life in the twenty-first century. But it does offer perspective. And hope. And a plan for living well in spite of all that’s wrong with the world and with us.

Study leader Jennifer Henn has mentored women through a variety of leadership roles, small group meetings, and now through Wholly Loved online groups.

She also serves the homeschool community through conferences and writing. She shares how you can teach your children at home, while enjoying the freedom to explore their individual interests. Her first book, Take the Mystery Out of Homeschooling: A How-To Guide, takes parents incrementally through the basics of homeschooling and offers practical advice so they can make informed decisions.

Jennifer and her husband live in Metro Atlanta where their nest is down to one chick. Besides writing and speaking, she is the secretary for Christian Authors Guild, a member of Word Weavers Intl, and serves on the mission’s assessment team at her local church. Visit Jennifer online at JenniferHenn.com, connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Instagram, and find her book on Amazon HERE.

We also invite you to join our private online Facebook group where women support, encourage, and pray for one another. You can find us HERE.

Faith, Hardships and Trials

Faith and Healing Amid Turmoil

Robrenna-Heal Post Quote 1(1)

A year ago, as I sat in a church classroom, trying to learn how to heal my wounds, I thought about the woman who bled for twelve years. She went from doctor to doctor, draining her finances to find a cure to stop the bleeding. The woman knew Jesus’s reputation for healing hands, so when she heard He was traversing through town, she wedged her way through the crowd. He was out of reach, and the woman lowered her body to the ground and reached out to touch a piece of His robe. Jesus felt something. The book of Matthew tells her story: Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.  Matthew 9:20-22 (ESV)

The woman feels compelled to touch Jesus to receive healing of her physical — yet invisible — trauma. The woman had become a societal outcast: in her day, women who discharged blood other than or past the time of their period were considered unclean (Leviticus 15:25-27 NIV). Although her wound was physical, I can only imagine what she endured emotionally.

Her wounds were unseen, and so are mine. My emotional scars hide in day to day interactions. No one would suspect the hurt I carry. Some scars are from my choices; others are from the decisions of those around me. My recent wounds stem from living during a pandemic, economic uncertainty, racial tensions, and divisions in our country and the church, not to mention the loss of routine and ability to celebrate life events.

Recently, a friend and I discussed over video chat what to say these days when someone asks, “How are you?” The customary polite answer — “Fine, how are you?” — doesn’t seem entirely correct. The unnamed woman in this story taught me that she knew she wasn’t fine or okay. She knew and admitted to herself that she needed healing. After years of trying to find a remedy, she made it her mission to touch the cloak of Jesus (or, as other translations state, the hem of His robe). She knew that He was the one who could heal her: the One who could provide what she so desperately wanted. I can follow her example and admit these times are hard, and I’m not always okay.I can touch the cloak of Jesus by taking my wounds to him in prayer, worship, and praise. Click To Tweet

As I think back to the church classroom, I now understand the steps I need to take to start the healing process. I can grieve and lament the losses and uncertainty. To heal, I must admit these times are hard, and I’m not always okay. When we hurt, we can cry out to the Lord and touch Jesus’ cloak by taking our wounds to Him in prayer, worship, and praise. I have faith that He sees and hears me, and I can accept the help of those Jesus sends to minister to me. Like the bleeding woman, I have faith that He will turn to me, see me, and say, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has healed you.” Robrenna-Heal Post Quote

A question to ponder:

What are you grieving in these difficult times? Name them.

Lament over each loss, fear, or anxiety.

Offer a prayer of healing to the Lord.

Meet the Author!

Robrenna's Headshot

Robrenna is a real, raw, no-filters, kind of girl. She went from an army brat to a military veteran. A wife to Troy and mom of two teenagers, she has served in women’s, children’s, and middle school ministries.

Robrenna wrote a Bible study for middle school girls based on Identity in Christ. She is the executive administrative assistant for the anti-sex-trafficking organization I’ve Got A Name. Robrenna is the friend you call to walk alongside you in hard, painful places of life as well as the joyful ones. Her passions include mocha coffee, dark chocolate, time with family and friends, and telling others of God’s love, mercy, and grace.

 

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Cover for Anchored and Secure devotionalIf you’re seeking resources that will help you grow closer to Christ, make sure to grab a copy of our latest devotional, Anchored and Secure: 60 Days of Resting in Grace:

Thanks 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 alive and find the power and courage to live as He intended. That’s when we experience true and lasting freedom. This sixty-day devotional helps women reflect on God’s grace and the freedom of living deeply anchored in Him.

Find it HERE.

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.

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