I AM| By Tori Savoy

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:14 (KJV)

There are multiple passages in the Bible that God is referred to as “I AM”. An english teacher may look at that sentence and say it is incomplete. But God finishes it. He is God, the Almighty, the omnipotent, the omnipresent, Jehovah, Immanuel, and so forth. God embodies all that is good. He is truly all in all. 

In order to fully understand who God is, we must understand who we are. We are the opposite of good, overwhelmed by our sins and incomplete without the great “I AM.” 

We live in a society that encourages us to self-promote whether for job interviews, when trying to make friends or impress family.

 “I am a good person.”

“I am a successful entrepreneur.”

Yet, we are still incomplete. Until we can humble ourselves and see ourselves for what we truly are, God cannot reign in our lives.

The Psalmists realize their inabilities and worthlessness without the grace of a Savior. 

“I am a worm, and no man” (Psalm 22:6).

“I am poor and needy” (Psalm 40:17).

“I am . . . a stranger unto my brethren” (Psalm 69:8).

“I am full of heaviness” (Psalm 69:20).

“I am poor and sorrowful” (Psalm 69:29).

“I . . . am as a sparrow alone upon the house top” (Psalm 102:7).

“I am withered like grass” (Psalm 102:11).

Fortunately, the Lord is the answer to any problem we have. He fills every emptiness and longing our hearts desire. Whatever we need in our life, HE IS.  When we need financial provisions, God says I AM. When we are searching deep for love and happiness, God says I AM. When we need courage in the face of fear, God says I AM. When we are searching for hope and comfort in the midst of tragedy, God says I AM.  He is EVERYTHING.  

“After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Gen. 15:1 (KJV)

Like a shield, He protects us from harm that may face us. When we have faced our giants and have gone through tribulations for his name, He is our great reward.  What greater reward is their in life than the one who created us and knows exactly what we need?

“…I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed..” Gen 26:24 (KJV)

We have no need to fear because HE IS. He will be the courage that are feeble hearts lack. When we let God be everything in our lives, He is able to bless us in mighty ways.  

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect.” Gen 17:1 (KJV)

If God is everything, we should be spending every moment serving Him.  Walk every step in obedience to Him, seeking to be like Him. His ways are perfect and our only chance of being such is walking in His guidance. 

No matter how our circumstances change, the Lord never changes. We can always count on Him to be everything we need.

“I am the Lord, I change not..” Malachi 3:6 (KJV)

“The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore, my heart greatly rejoiceth, and with my song will I praise Him.” Psalm 28:7 (KJV)

It Gets Better: A Letter to the Old Me| By Emily Lawson

Dear Old Me,

I see you. I feel your anxiousness. I feel your worry; how deep it goes in your chest. I know that your head tries to tell you that you need to lose that weight. I know it tells you that you are not as pretty as her. I know it tells you that you do not have the skills. 

I know it tells you that they do not care. 

And I also know it keeps those words on a repeat soundtrack at all hours. Day and night. 

I also know what you have been through. You have overcome so many things already. You’ve been to the darkest of days and back in your life.

Yet, that lonely feeling stands. It reminds you every day of the times you have failed and been failed by others. Your mind tells you that God has no idea where you are. You are one in millions. There is no way that He can feel the need to help you. 

But, honey, God sees you as ‘one in a million’. You are unique and perfect. He created the you that you are and cares enough to send His only son to die on a cross for YOU. God is so much greater than the thoughts that the devil puts in your head. 

My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV)

That means YOUR weakness.

His strength is the PERFECT thing that comes from admitting the weakness you feel. 

Your significant other is not always available. Your best friend needs sleep, too. Your social media friends will not quite get it on the level you need.

Your mind is a dangerous prison, love.

Mentally: It holds you in a controlled environment and in some ways that provides comfort. You are in a place that is familiar, and you have grown used to the numbness. It is mostly in your control. But on bad days, you just need to reach a little further than it is letting you, and the chains around your neck dig a little deeper. That restraint makes you feel like you are never going to make it out alive. 

Physically: You are tired. And not an “Oh I couldn’t sleep last night” tired, but an “I can feel it in my bones, and it isn’t going to change” tired. You are tired of faking the smile for others. You are tired of trying so hard to be “normal”, and it is weighing down your shoulders and making it harder to get out of bed. 

You need help.

And asking for help does not mean that you have failed. It means that you have WON. It means that you have finally stepped back, let go of control, and held to the hand of Jesus to drag you out of the pit that your head has held you captive in all this time.

Now, listen to Him. 

Rebuke the devil from off your back. Tell him he has no place. Take hold of your Savior’s hand and let him break those chains. 

Get out there. Seek the help. Talk to the doctor. Take the medication. Get on the path that helps you be the best you. 

For your family. 

For yourself.

For Jesus.

Recovery is a road, but you have got a friend to walk down it with you. Through each step, He will place your foot. Each bump, He catches your arm. Trust in Him.  

It can and WILL get better. I am telling you from the other side.

Your mental health is so important, and you are worth every bit of effort. 

Never forget that. 

Love, New Me

Follow Emily’s Instagram @the_modest_wife and/or email her at modest.wife@gmail.com.

Satisfy Your Thirst| By Lindsey Douglas

What is the world searching for? 

As Christians, we believe Jesus is what every soul on this Earth is looking for, whether it be intentional or unintentional. 

For a moment, I would like us to pause and think about this next question. 

How many of us truly believe that we have found everything we are looking for in Jesus? 

When I first heard this question in my spirit, I was immediately ready to respond. However, I heard God tell me to STOP and take a moment before responding.

The truth is there was still a thirst inside of me despite all that Jesus gives me. 

Have you accepted and received the gift of salvation but for some reason are just not fully satisfied? That hole in your heart or a certain area of your life just does not seem to have been filled – not all the way at least. 

You may have said in your heart “Well, I do have a thirst, but at least I am not smoking, drinking or sexing it away.” 

Maybe you do not exactly do all of the following, but what about on a Friday night when depression and loneliness kicks in?

Could our means of satisfying our thirst be more private right now instead of visible to the world?  

Maybe masturbation, binge eating, isolation, oversleeping, or doing drugs is your means to quiet your thirst. Or maybe even the sense of company and doing things helps you to avoid the reality of your thirst. 

For years, I have struggled with a thirst called the validation of man. One minute I feel like I have been delivered, and the next, there I am again longing for man’s affirmation. Why do I allow it to control my emotions and leave me feeling defeated? Why do I exalt “IT” and give it so much authority over my life?

The reality of this thirst sickens me to my stomach. The further I go into my purpose there it goes reminding me that:

“You don’t know the big dogs, you’ll never make it.” 

You don’t have a big enough support system, so how are you going to change the world through this gospel message you are so passionate about?” 

“Look at the post you create, no one pays them any attention. Nobody is calling you and no one knows you. You’re nobody. You don’t even have that many friends. You don’t even have a platform. You don’t need God, You need MAN.”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 (ESV)

I do not doubt for a moment that our adversary has taken so many opportunities to take his shot. The biggest mistake of my life was allowing myself to consider a view that the enemy presented.  I somehow managed to move from a place of certainty in Christ to feeling that I just do not have enough. 

Before I knew it, there I was surrounded with blessings from God, but it just was not enough for me. Every time God would prompt me to do something my first response was “How? I do not have enough.”

Looking to those around me, I have noticed their amazing support systems. These people are writing books, leading worship, preaching to thousands, starting women’s groups, mentorship programs and more. People have even bought into their vision. They have resources everywhere you look. 

Here I am, a girl with a big dream, filled with passion and purpose to change the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I am left thirsty, feeling like I am missing something. I am a Christian who is supposed to be filled by God, but still I am thirsty

It was not until I developed a fight on the inside of me and made up my mind to intentionally allow Christ to satisfy every thirst within me that I began to move out of that place of darkness. Every day, I do my best to be intentional about choosing to allow Christ to satisfy every thirst within me. 

Some days when I am not doing so well I avoid compliments to the fullest. If someone attempts to compliment me, I quickly try and change the subject because I know a part of my flesh desires these things. The validation of man sometimes can feel like food to my flesh and the last thing I want to do is feed it. 

When people come up to me and say things like “Oh you are so anointed. God is going to do so many things in your life….,” immediately my head goes down. It is because I am trying to keep a monster tamed that is seeking to take my life little by little. I don not want to gratify the desires of my flesh not even for a second.

Honestly, some days I am deeply saddened when I feel this thirst inside of me that wants man to see me and notice me.  Some days, I am prostrate on my face asking God to completely take this desire away.  

When I hear the thoughts of comparison and thirst, I fall to my knees and in His presence I stay. Even if it is mere silence as I weep my eyes out, I do not move until He meets me. And there goes my Daddy, laying his hand on my head and comforting me. When He does this, I melt in His peace. He reminds me that I am not the thoughts that I wrestle with in my head and in my heart. He reminds me that though that temptation may come and go, if I daily come to Him for my portion He will always fill me. His sweet communion is what I long for daily. 

Daily, I bring a gift to the altar of the Lord. My gift is me, and on the altar I lay, where God consumes me so that I may forever burn for Him. 

Where there is no communion with God, it is impossible to be sustained by Him. Allow Christ to satisfy every thirst within you. Doing so means we have to come face to face with the ugly reality of our thirst. The enemy comes to sow seeds in us by planting a kind of thirst in our hearts and feeding off of that. However, he needs permission to do so

The only way to fully guard you heart is to consistently and continually lay it upon the altar, where it is always fully open to God and the sanctifying work of His precious Holy Spirit.

Walk With Purpose| By Chelsea Verdin

It was day two at my new job, and frankly, I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the information my brain was trying to absorb and process at the same time. 

I could remember thinking to myself, “You were not created for this extreme amount of multi-tasking. You are going to hurt yourself with information overload.”

I was feeling a little pressured by the amount of expectation that had already been placed on me with this new title.

Then, like a gentle reminder from heaven, my new boss said to me, “I like the way you walk. You walk with purpose.”

I stopped for a moment and turned to thank him with a smile. I imagined God’s voice whispering these words to me and felt my anxious spirit soften. I had only heard this phrase said one other time when my Pastor told a story a few weeks earlier. I had in no way imagined hearing it here, in my new work space. However, I needed to hear those words more than anything. I needed the refreshing reminder that my life is not mine. It is not working or living for the simple act of happiness. I am alive because God created great purpose within me. It was not earned, gained, or learned, but wired inside of my DNA.  

Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows the plans He has for us-to prosper us and give us hope and a future.

John 10:10 says that the enemies purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy, but that Jesus’ purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says that there is a season for everything under heaven.

When I read these verses, I hear the word PURPOSE. God has created a purpose for us. Jesus’s purpose was to give us life. Everything under heaven has a purpose. You, me, the animals, the plants, the galaxies, we all have a purpose in life. 

I used to believe that we only had one purpose. Each person was granted one purpose that they had to fulfill. However, I do not know how correct that is anymore. If we are in one season of our life, there is a particular kind of purpose that goes with that season. And as we change seasons, so do our purposes. Of course, we all have a giant purpose that is exactly the same – the great commission from Jesus to make disciples. 

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” -Matthew 28:19 (NLT)

However, I believe we each are destined to fulfill temporary purposes as we achieve the great big one. I believe they intertwine and connect us to the greater one. Whether we are studying for our future professions, working full time, taking care of sweet babies, or creating a home, somehow, someway our “smaller” purposes will set us up for the bigger one. 

We are not walking just to get to study hall, just to finish our shift, just to pick up the crying baby, and just to make sure the house is clean. We are walking because there is a purpose to our lives. There is a purpose in our steps, and each one of us is walking into the bigger picture of God’s glory, something that we could never get closer to by sitting still. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 

A lot of us are walking to fulfill an unsatisfied happiness that could never be accomplished because happiness is based on feelings. I believe that if we walk because we know there is great purpose in where we are going, who we are around and what we are doing, then great joy will begin to flow from our lives. Not happiness that is fleeting, but great joy because we are fulfilling that which has been wired inside of us. 

Maybe your boots were made for walking, but you, you were made for something bigger than you could ever imagine. And each step, each act, each encounter sets you up to fulfill that. Keep walking, friends. You are getting there.

A Long Now| By Jasmine Beard

Have you ever been right on the cusp of something?

Right on the brink of breakthrough?

And boom! 

A road block, an unexpected bolder, comes between you and your dream, your promise, and that thing you have longed for for so long?

I have been there.. far too many times to count.

Waiting has at times been the first symptom of me falling into a pattern of depressed thoughts. I would think maybe God loves the girl next to me a little bit more.

This is not true, but it can really, really feel this way at times.

I had marked June as the month of promises in my mind because that is what I thought God was telling me.

When I found out it was my month of promises, I wanted to strive to make all those things I have waited so long for come to pass. This left me feeling anxious, running out of breath, and confused as to why I could not make anything happen.

God is full of infinite wisdom. I am so thankful that He is not confined by time nor space and that He protects us from things we cannot handle when they are not in the proper season or not right for us at all.

In the midst of my anxiety and my own efforts, I became hopeless. It was not the normal hopelessness that leads to moping around and believing God had no plan for me, but it was a hopelessness that made me cry out to God like never before.

I confessed to Him,

“I don’t believe in your promises because they have not manifested in my life. Because of unbelief in that area, I get anxious and want to know the end result of everything. When I grow tired of anxiety, I cut the cord to what I don’t know the answers to and try to heal from my own self inflicted wounds of unfulfilled expectations. Then I find myself on the same vicious cycle of trying to rush the healing process and repeat the cycle in another situation in my life.”

This freed me in a way that I never knew existed. I could feel in my spirit how happy God was that I brought my truth and shattered heart to Him to heal and to nurture.

Living a life of a repeated pattern of depression when things do not go my way or the way I expected is a hard one to break.

I have once heard of waiting as “a long now. While waiting could end tomorrow or ten years from now, it is still a long now.

Instead of throwing a fit about how long I have waited or how much longer I have to wait, I am now focusing on the long now that allows God to work on me and heal me from the inside out.

We have never arrived or ever gotten too mature in the Lord that will make Him not want to continue to mature, deliver, and heal us.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

So June did not turn out like I had expected, but I can now say it turned out even better!

I had long ago prayed that I would be different from the past generations in my family. I prayed that I would not fall into the same patterns and traps in my life as other family members. I prayed that I would set a new standard and that I would not pass certain things along to my one day children and grandchildren.

God has answered that promise in freeing me from a cycle of hopelessness that led to depression. I will no longer pass  this onto my children.

Not to long ago, I received a prophetic word that blessed me that I want to share with you.

“I see you being a legacy changer. I feel like you are changing legacy in your family. You’re saying the ball stops here and from here on out your generations, your legacy is going to be so highlighted in your life. You are going to leave a legacy for your children, and I just see generations of generations of generations passed from you. It’s like God is setting a new course for the generations. Generations that will know the Lord and will walk with Him and that would just be set apart.”

I hope that word blessed you as much as it blesses me. You may be in a long wait right now, but I want to encourage you to see what God is doing right now and what dreams He is making come true no matter how big or small they may seem.

Dream Bigger| By Tori Savoy

Do you ever look back to when you were 16 and think about all the plans you were making for your life? 

Most of those plans probably included prince charming, a grand wedding, and then happily ever after.

At 16 years old, my only dream was to one day become a wife and mother. That was to be my calling, and nothing else would ever be as important. 

It is definitely an important role to minister through our marriage and influence the next generation for Christ. However, I am so glad God did not stop my plans and dreams there.

During my prayer time one day, I told God, “Marriage and motherhood is the thumb print I want to leave in this world.”

God replied, “Of course, but you still have nine other fingers I want to use.”

Our plans can sometimes put God in a box. God does see your dreams and wants to bring them to completion. However, we must realize that there are many other dreams He wants to birth through each one of us. Imagine the places we can go if we let the Maker dream for us. 

Mary had dreams of marrying Joseph and starting a family. However, before God brought that dream to completion, He chose her to be the mother of His only Son, Jesus.

David dreamed of becoming a mighty shephard. God had better plans in store for him. David slew a giant and became God’s chosen King for Israel.

Some of Jesus’ disciples set out for a life as fishermen. God changed their course and made them “fishers of men”, and they were able to travel witnessing all the wonders of Jesus.

Had God allowed me to only to pursue my personal dream, I would not have gone to college and experienced having a career. I would not be a part of Unveiling Eden, seeing God grow it from the beginning. I would not currently be working on multiple books He has placed in my heart, or had a vision for a future ministry that He still has in the works. 

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)

I still steward my marriage the way God designed, and I plan to raise my future children to be on fire for God. I cannot wait for that day! However, I will continue to chase each and every dream God has for my life. 

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Girls, while you wait on your husband, see what dreams God has for while you wait. Marriage is not the beginning and end of the life God has for you. Let Him birth multiple dreams in your heart. 

To the mommas who work so hard to make their children’s lives everything it should be, do not be afraid to start that Bible study or YouTube Channel God has put on your heart.

I am not saying to neglect your marriage and children. That is a crucial part of who God designed us to be as women. However, be open to the fact that God may want to do even more in your life than you could have ever imagined. Let God dream for you. He has so many plans for your life. 

May your dreams be as big as the God who gave you the ability to do so. Do not just offer your thumbprint to God. Offer both hands, completely empty and ready to go where God sends you. He has called you to dream bigger than our carnal minds could ever go.

Revival Starts With You| By Jasmine Beard


“Lord, I want to see revival.” 

This is often the basis of some of my most passionate prayers.

If you have been in church for any amount of time, you have heard the word revival. Maybe when you hear the word revival, you think of worship nights at your church lasting for weeks on end, or maybe, you think of an entire city or nation coming into a relationship with Christ.

I think most Christians in America will admit that they mostly think of revival when they are in a church building. You know, when the pastor shares a passionate message about reaching your city and nation, but then that is it. You leave excited, but that passion and zeal never gets you excited enough to see revival or believe for real change.

We can feel this way about our own lives. We can get super passionate about a job venture or business idea, and right before the idea is about to take off, we give up.

Do you remember when you were a child, and you felt truly free?  

You had the freedom to create, the freedom to dream, the freedom to explore all of your gifts, talents, and interests.

Perhaps, you felt this freedom when you first got saved, but you do not feel it anymore.

We tend to feel less free as we get older. We grow up, and while we may dream, it is more confined, more realistic, more boxy, more status quo, and more like what everyone else is doing.

This is not the way God intended for us to live our lives.  

If we are going to see revival in our cities or in our nation, we have to stop settling, start doing, and be all God has called us to be and do.

There is a promised land on the other side of us settling. We serve a God that surpasses the colors of the rainbow in variety and hue. He is the dreamer of all dreamers, and He desires for you to be alive and awake, to dream, and to step into a great awakening in your life like never before.  

Just in the last month, I found myself busy and unable to say “no” to commitments in my life (can we say boundaries needed?!). I had become more overwhelmed in life than ever before.

Maybe you feel like this today.  You are doing things (lots of things), but you are not really dreaming or walking in what God has called you to do.

Sometimes, we are aimlessly running so fast that we do not even hear the voice of God speaking to us or beckoning our hearts. Sometimes, we even ignore his beckoning of our hearts due to inconvenience or fear.

1 Samuel 3:8-10 (NLT):

8 A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy.

9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 

Today, I want to encourage you to be like Samuel – lie down when he calls to you. Stop what you are doing and pause. Allow God to speak to you. Let go of all of your plans and to-do lists, and recognize that God is speaking to you about a dream on His heart that will awaken you to bring light to a broken and desolate world. 

Samuel was a promise, a dream before he was born. We are all God’s dream, and He ravishes over us in awe of His work and His plan. However, we were made to be in communion with God. We are not called to just read a daily devotional each morning or just attend a church service on Sunday morning. God is longing to speak to us when we least expect it even in the midst of our busy, busy lives.

If we want to see revival, we have to be okay with doing things that are uncomfortable. We have to follow the dreams that we feel unqualified to do or feel like we don’t have enough time for. If we do not chase the dreams God has placed on our hearts, we cannot expect Susie in the grocery store to want to know Jesus either.

We must be awakened if we wish to see a world awakened.

My prayer for us is this : “Father, awaken those things in us that are dead. Awaken us to the color, joy, and creativity of Your soul. So people will know that to serve You is not to be in a box, but to be set free and awakened into the essence of true love which is only found in You. In Jesus’ name, amen!”

Surrender it All| By Bethany Anding

“Then he walked a short distance away, and overcome with grief, he threw himself face down on the ground and prayed, ’My Father, if there is any way you can deliver me from this suffering, please take it from me. Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared to strengthen him.” Matthew 26:39 (TPT)

This scripture has great significance because it shows that even though He did not want to, Jesus still surrendered to God and His will. 

I used to struggle in the area of surrender because my circumstances may not have been perfect, and I wanted to take control. I would always wind up letting my emotions take over, which lead to bad decisions and eventually to condemnation from the enemy. It was a vicious cycle. I was a woman with one foot in the world and one in the church.

Eventually, I knew something had to give. One day, I was scrolling through YouTube, and I found this song that caught my eye. Something told me to click on it so I decided to give it a listen. The second verse really grabbed a hold of me.

 It said: “I confess I still get scared sometimes, but perfect love comes rushing in. And all the lies that screamed inside go silent the moment you begin.”

Then I wondered to myself, “I don’t understand. When fear gets a hold of me, all that comes in is more fear. How do I get the lies to go silent?” 

The next lyrics were “I’m letting go.”

That was the sign I needed at that exact moment. That was the answer. I needed to let go of my problems. I needed to surrender my life to Jesus. I needed to give my whole heart, all my desires, all my wants and needs, all of it. 

So in that moment, I lifted my hands with tears rolling down my cheeks as I cried out to God. I told Him I was sorry that I had not done this sooner, and that I was making a decision from there on out that I was surrendering my whole life to Him.

Some wonder why they should surrender. Some believe they are doing everything right. They go to church on Sunday then go home and live life how they want, not surrendered. Some are happy and content on the outside, but on the inside, they suffer with torment from the enemy.

“Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.” Romans 12:1 (TPT)

The Bible tells us to surrender ourselves as living sacrifices for that is what genuine, real worship is. Surrender is not easy. In fact, it may be pretty hard sometimes. It may be hard to give up some things in life. I recently surrendered something to God that was very hard, but now that I have done it, I am a much happier person. One thing about surrender is that it lifts a huge burden off of our backs.

“So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you.” James 4:7 (TPT)

I would like to conclude with this thought: Let’s say I have a half-filled bottle of coke, but I want water. What do I have to do before I fill the bottle with water? If I leave the coke in the bottle, and pour water in it, it will just be a nasty mess, right? We first have to get rid of the coke, so when the water goes in, it will be pure and will taste good and refreshing. 

In order to receive the fullness of God, we must first surrender our worldly desires, so when we do receive the fullness of God, that is all we are consumed with. The enemy gets a “no vacancy” sign, and there is no room for him to torment us.

Choosing God Over Porn|By Gabby Jones

Shame is a touchy subject in my life. I have carried shame on my shoulders since I was 11 years old. It was around that age that I began looking at porn. Nothing or no one led me to look at it, I was just a curious little girl who happened to click on the wrong link. 

Back then, I was not saved. However, I was still full of shame because it was unheard of for a woman to look at porn. After I received Christ, when I was 15, a completely different shame came over me. 

How could a CHRISTIAN WOMAN look at such vulgar material. Only men struggle with that. You are supposed to be a Christian. You are not supposed to watch stuff like that. 

Those thoughts went through and are still going through my head. It took me 14 years to admit I was a porn addict, but it also took me 14 years to realize I do not have to do this alone.

There are very few people who know about my addiction because I was so ashamed and afraid to tell anyone, even my family. Porn is one of those things you can do in private, and no one would ever know just by looking at you. Unlike other addictions (alcohol, drugs, food), porn is easier to hide on the outside, but it does more damage on the inside. Due to my damaged insides, I felt hopeless for so long. I did not think I could ever get over this one hill. If I could just win this one battle, I could do anything. I then began to get angry. I was angry at myself and God. I was angry at myself because I could not stop, and I blamed God for allowing this in my life. 

Then I heard God speak, “You have free will. You chose to look at it; you chose to continuously choose porn over me.” 

That shook me up. I did not want anything getting in the way of my relationship with God, yet I kept choosing this sin over Him, time and time again. Yet, each time, He would speak to me gently and welcome me back in His love. That night, I made a choice to choose Him every time. 

“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need.” Psalms 23:1 (GNB)

I started going to a group after that, but I still carried a dark cloud of shame because I knew I would be the only person in my group who struggled with porn. As a woman, it was embarrassing, but as a Christian, I knew they would welcome me with open arms. I did not speak about my addiction for a while, but when I did, they told me how they prayed for someone who would open that door to help other women with the same issue. Ladies, that door is open, and the conversation is on. It does not matter what sin you go back to again and again, there is no shame or condemnation in Christ. 

The God of many chances is calling your name, and He is calling you out of your sin, addiction, guilt and shame. There is nothing you have done, are doing, or going to do, that will change God’s mind about how much He loves you. Drop those shame chains and run freely to the love, strength and freedom God has for you.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10 (NIV)

Although I still struggle with porn today, it is easier to fight back with God as my strength and with the women who are surrounding me. Do not fight this fight alone. Call on God’s strength and get a rock solid support system. Your freedom is waiting.

“Freedom is what we have — Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.” Galatians 5:1 (GNB)

Choose Love| By Jasmine Beard

Five hours into my family vacation, I had parked the car, got out of the driver’s seat, and flung myself into the backseat with my arms folded.

Traveling with family is never an easy feat. However, add three frustrated and confused adults to the mix and it makes for quite the ordeal. 

We were already tense due to some arguing earlier that morning between my mother and I.

As I sat in the backseat and begged for someone else to take the wheel, my mom fussed, and my dad complained.

None of our attitudes were helping the situation.

We were all tired, lost, hot, and, did I mention, hangry?!

This is not what I had in mind when I planned this trip two months ago. I knew the vacation would be taxing, but I did not expect conflict so soon into the trip.

Sometimes, when we experience conflict with a loved one, we tend to blame the Devil.

“Ugh, that stupid devil is trying to bring division in our family.”

Maybe you have thought that before and that is very true, but as Christians we are still accountable for our actions.

“…remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say,  ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’ Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God.” Romans 14:10-14 (NLT)

Before the time of creation, humans were created to be relational. We all have a deep desire to be loved and to be known. Paired with that desire, we long to know others intimately.

Unlike some relationships, we cannot choose who our parents are or who our siblings are. Whether we have chosen them or they have chosen us, relationships take work, sacrifice, and an abundance of love.

Throughout my vacation with my family, I was reminded that love is a choice. Did I feel like swallowing my pride and getting back into the driver’s seat? No, but I did because I chose to show love where others had not.

Through this venture, I was also reminded that love is sacrifice. On our 4-day excursion, I did nothing I planned to do on vacation, and everything my parents desired. All because I love them.

Sometimes you feel love, and it is like you are dancing on a cloud of daisies. You are enjoying every moment of serving and loving the other person. Other times, you do not feel love at all.

I may have sacrificed a lot on my family vacation and showed grace, but it is because I know someone who chooses to love me no matter my behavior or whether I reciprocate His love.

His name is Jesus and He is the very essence of what love is.

{Jesus} is patient and kind. 

{Jesus} is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.

{Jesus} does not demand its own way.

{Jesus}  not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 

{Jesus}  does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 

{Jesus} never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love verses 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)

If we take the word love and abandon all that we know from the world’s definition of the word, we find that love is God because God is love. As a believer, the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us, and the essence and embodiment of love is a part of our DNA.

How cool is that?!

Are you having trouble showing love today?

Is it because you do not feel it? Or because the other person does not deserve it?

I want to encourage you today to let go of all records of wrongs and choose to love.

Choose to love your mom.

Choose to love that father that abandoned you.

Choose to love your siblings who maybe never call you.

Choose to love your spouse even when they have an attitude.

And most importantly, choose to love yourself.

“‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT)