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Walking With Child Like Faith| By Bethany Anding

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most devastating natural disasters in history. Homes were flooded, and trees were knocked down on lawns.

This was a rough time for me, not because of the disaster taking place in New Orleans, but the disaster taking place in my family. My parents were separated. I did not really understand what was going on. I just knew it was bad. I knew deep down that things were going to get better; I just was not sure when.

Christmas of 2005 – I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad called my mom saying he wanted to see us for Christmas, and that he would cover her airfare. So, we packed up and went back home to New Orleans for the holidays. I remember my dad giving me a big hug Christmas night. As I was hugging him, I could feel his throat tighten up because he was crying, due to losing me and my mom. This was the moment that I knew in my heart of hearts that my dad genuinely loved us.

After Christmas, I stayed with my dad, and my mom went back to North Carolina. A few days after my mom left, my dad told me to get in the car because he had a “big, big Christmas present” waiting for me. Trustfully, I got in the car, and we drove to the airport.  

“Why are we at the airport?” I asked my dad.“You’ll see!’ He responded.

So, we got out and waited inside the airport until I saw my mom coming up the escalator with all her bags. I knew at that moment that all my prayers about my parents reconciling had been answered. I was ecstatic and on the verge of crying.

The point of me telling this story was to show an example of child like faith. Children believe what they are told. Sometimes it is good while other times, not so much. Regardless, as people grow, they begin to build walls in their hearts, blocking things the Holy Spirit may have for us, because it may seem “illogical” or “unreasonable”. 

Now the obvious question would be “Where do the walls come from?” 

Well, when we are hurt by others, the devil likes to put thoughts in our minds such as “they just want to hurt you, you should never talk to them again!”

If one chooses to believe the lie, they build an imaginary wall in their mind. Eventually, as the process repeats itself, these walls turn into a prison that holds the person who built it captive.  Not only does it trap them, it locks people out who want to love and minister to them. It also prevents God from doing a work in them. It blocks the wounded person from receiving healing from God that they need.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting arguments that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)

This means that we must shut down the lies of the enemy by fighting with the weapons of our warfare (meaning the sword of the spirit, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and so on). I believe it is very important to hold up the shield of faith when the enemy tries to argue that God is wrong, or that He does not love everyone unconditionally, that some are loved, and some are not. The enemy wants everyone to believe that because one is going through a rough situation, they are no longer worthy to be in the presence of God. 

This is where practicing faith comes in.  When people choose to not look at their circumstances, and choose to believe the promises of God, that is when the walls come down.

When the walls that were created from a place of hurt come down, the hardened heart created long ago by the enemy can then be healed by God. Once the wounds are healed, a pure heart of flesh remains, where there was once a heart of stone.

I will conclude with a word that was given to me in a rough season. I went up for an altar call one day, and a pastor came up to me and told me he saw me in a field of flowers as a little girl in a white dress. I was holding hands with Jesus and dancing with Him in the field. He confirmed something in me that I was questioning. He proceeded to tell me that I was not a reject or an outcast, that I was God’s girl. That day a healing took place in me. Strongholds were broken, and I caught a glimpse of that childlike faith I had lost sight of so long ago. It was almost as if God took all my broken pieces and put me back together the way I am supposed to be. When I am in a rough season and questioning my faith, I always look back to that day. The day God restored me.

His Daughter| By Gabby Jones

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 (NIV)

When things have been taken from you, and you lose yourself, what do you do? Who do you turn to? Who do you become?

Many of us go through seasons that rock us to our core. When we lose someone or something, we forget how we operated before tragedy struck. Who we are can get so wrapped up into a person or idea that once they are gone, we become different people to compensate for the pain.

We are not meant to operate like this. When we come to the end of ourselves, that is where God begins. 

Growing up, I never had any major identity issues. Usually my identity was based on the group of friends I hung around at that time, but it rarely changed until I got saved. When God stole my heart, my identity was in Him, and it was simple; I was His daughter. Anything I did or said after that usually reflected the fact that I was the precious daughter of the most High. Once I planted my roots in that identity, God began overflowing my life with unique gifts and seasons.

After years of operating and training in the gifts God had given me, I started to lose that simple ‘daughter’ handle and picked up other identities that were given to me by friends, mentors, and pastors. These other identities were never negative, but they piled up and gave me the sense that if I did not continue to be the person I was to everyone, then who was I? God was still using me and training me, but I became so wrapped up in the idea that I was doing all of this work for people, that I forgot that it was being done for God. 

During the season that I was depressed, I still pushed myself to continue to be there for people and do many things, but I became exhausted. Month by month, I stopped serving in different areas and ultimately stopped leading at my church’s college ministry. I stopped using the gifts God gave me, and I let the sun set on the things I used to do for people, myself, and God.

Now that I am no longer depressed, I am still in a season where even thinking about doing the things I used to do for people makes me completely exhausted. I do miss how outgoing and extremely loving I used to be, but now I feel like people need to take a ticket just to hang out with me. 

Lately, I have not been embracing the woman I am now, but I am steadily trying to cling onto everything I was a few years ago. I recently spoke to one of my mentors, and she opened my eyes to realize that I do not remember who I was before all of the gifts, the tasks, and the positions I was put in.

Before God placed me in those different seasons, I was first and foremost HIS daughter. When I sit and worship, pray, or simply wake up in the morning, I am His daughter first before any other label.

After this stunning realization, I began to ask God to strip away any and everything from me that was not of Him, everything I tried to hold on to, and everything that tried to hold on to me. I wanted it to be just me and Him; Father and daughter; back to the beginning.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:4‭-‬5 (NIV)

This is not a one-time prayer, and you have to face it everyday.

Before you go out into the world today, tomorrow, and every day, pray for God to remind you that you are His before you are anyone else’s.

The title of being HIS child will triumph over any president, king, or CEO. Whatever season you are in, cling to the hope that God does not just see you as you are. He sees you as His precious child, and there is nothing you can do or will be that will change His mind otherwise. 

You are His child.

I am His daughter.

Overcoming Insecurities| By Christina DePino

Insecure

adjective 

1. not firmly fixed; liable to give way or break.

2. (of a person) not confident or assured; uncertain and anxious.

No one likes to admit to feeling insecure. But for many of us, it is a daily struggle. 

Social Media is probably one of the biggest contributors to these feelings of inadequacy. We see the seemingly perfect lives portrayed on our screens and begin to wonder where we went wrong. 

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steven Furtick 

Recently, there has been a movement for transparency on social media. It has become trendy for social influencers to show the un-edited sides of their lives.This movement is meant to promote self-love and acceptance. It encourages everyone to feel confident that their best is good enough.

While this movement is certainly a step in the right direction, the reality is that our best is not good enough. (Romans 7:18) However, the good news of the gospel is that we do not have to be good enough because it is not about works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) 

The battle we are fighting was already won, through the work done by Jesus on the cross. The only thing left for us to do is to accept the gift of freedom that we have been given. (Acts 13:39, Romans 3:24-26, Romans 6:23) 

When we come to the realization that our works are not good enough, we stop trying to earn our way. We learn to rely on God. That sure takes the pressure off, doesn’t it? We don’t have to struggle with anxiety, depression or insecurity. All we have to do is hand it over to God.

So you may be saying “That’s great and all, but how do we go from knowing this, to actually putting it into practice?”

For many of us, our insecurities began because of something that someone said to us. It may have been an off-handed comment or intentional verbal abuse, but those words have no real power over us until we begin to dwell on them. 

The things we say to ourselves hold more power than anything that anyone else could ever speak over us.

So what do you do when you feel that you are not good enough? 

Overcoming insecurities is about simply speaking God’s truth over our lives. We have to start replacing these negative self-thoughts with truth from God’s word. 

LIE: I am unlovable. 

TRUTH: I am exceedingly loved: Romans 5:8, John 3:16-17

LIE: I have made too many mistakes in the past, there is no hope for me. 

TRUTH: I am free from condemnation: Romans 8:1

LIE: I’m stupid / I’m not smart enough. 

TRUTH: I have the mind of Christ: 1 Cor. 2:16, Phil 2:5

LIE: I am all alone.

TRUTH: The maker of the universe has chosen me to be his friend: John 15:15 

The key to overcoming insecurity is simply this: Are you going to believe God when He tells you who you are?

I love the new song “I Am Who You Say” by Hillsong Worship. The chorus is right in line with what we are talking about here, and I love singing this song as a reminder of who God says I am.  

Chorus: “I am chosen not forsaken, I am who you say I am.”

I created the below graphic as a daily reminder. If you’re reading this on your phone, take a screenshot and pull it out whenever you need a reminder.

A Healthy Spiritual Appetite| T’eoria Murray

Have you ever found it difficult to maintain a healthy diet? If so, welcome to the club! I have been a member since elementary school, and junk food was a pleasure I never denied myself. 

French fries? Yes please. Chicken nuggets? Yes, everyday! Chips, cookies, ice cream, cake? Of course, all of the above! 

The more I indulged in these treats, the less appealing healthier foods looked. After eating a double cheeseburger, salad tasted like notebook paper in comparison. When I was 16, I realized I was not happy with my health. 

Wanting to make a change,  I switched over to a vegetarian diet and cut back on processed food. Those first three months were so hard! I would watch my family eat all the things I loved and feel my mouth watering. However, I resisted, until eventually the foods I had desired most held no appeal to me at all. 

When I went to college and new friends noticed my dietary preferences, there would always be a surprised silence followed by statements of incredulity. “What? You mean you don’t eat ____? I could never…”

Some of them would jokingly try to tempt me with their meals, but I would laugh it off. I could not be tempted with things I did not want. 

This same principle holds true in my walk with God. The more I consume worldly things, the more I desire them. I can never watch just one episode of a Netflix show I like, even if that is my intention when I start. Before I know it, I am six episodes in and cannot seem to stop myself. Themes of dishonesty, sexual sin, unbelief, and violence are threaded through every plot, but it’s just so entertaining!

I think to myself, I have to see how it ends. I’ll just finish this season. Actually, the series is not that long so once I make it to the end my curiosity will be satisfied. 

But there is always another show or movie that everyone is talking about. What about that popular music artist? The lyrics are offensive, but the tune is just so catchy and the artists are so talented. I do not believe what they are saying, but what harm does it do? 

“And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from one degree of glory to even more glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP)

We are changed by what we behold. Just as we become more like Christ by spending time with Him, our minds are changed by the television we watch, the music we listen to, the things we observe on the internet. Every day we are flooded with images that promote a secular worldview. Even when we do not actively seek them out, we can become saturated with them if we are not intentional about setting our eyes on Christ. Just like an unhealthy diet, we develop a taste for it. Subtly, almost imperceptibly, spiritual things become less palatable. It becomes harder to focus on prayer and Bible study, to exert the mental effort required to explore the deep truths of God. If this has been your experience, you know how frustrating it can be. God wants to renew our minds. Today, you can begin the journey to a healthier Christian walk. Like the transformation of our physical health, it’s a gradual process and requires committed effort.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:7.8 (NLT)

A good rule of thumb is to evaluate any form of recreation with thoughtful questions. What will this prompt me to think about? To what does it steer my affections? Can I maintain an awareness of God’s presence in the midst of it? As Christians who are set apart for Christ, the ungodly things common in our culture should never feel comfortable to us. Impurity should not entertain us but disturb us. Consider prayerfully evaluating your media intake to see if there is anything polluting your relationship with Christ. The Lord wants us to be pure in every aspect of our lives – the entertainment we consume, the words we speak, the places we go, even our very thoughts. Then we will be able to say like the psalmist David,

“I will set no worthless or wicked thing before my eyes. I hate the practice of those who fall away from the right path. It will not grasp hold of me. A perverse heart shall depart from me. I will not tolerate evil.”  Psalms 101:3-4 (AMP)

God honors the desire to be more like Him and will help us to love the things that He loves and hate the things He hates, until following His will becomes our first instinct. May we present ourselves to Him today and everyday willing to lay at His feet everything that separates us from Him, until we are holy as He is holy.

Not Dressed to Impress| By Tori Savoy

Do you ever notice that anytime you step out in public looking disheveled, you will run into every single person you know? It seems to almost be a proven fact – at least that is what I am going with.

During one of my frequent trips to Target, I thought I saw an old friend in the parking lot as I began to walk inside. 

Before I could make out whether or not it was her, I quickly diverted eye contact by pulling out my phone so that I would not be noticed. My hair was dirty and a little wild. My face did not have a lick of makeup. And of course, I was several pounds heavier than the last time I had seen this person.

On top of my appearance, I was having a rough day that had me in not the best attitude. I was not in a place to “perform” and could not avoid coming across as the awkward person I am deep down. 

Instant regret hit me once I made it inside the store. I am unsure if it was even her walking through the parking lot, but I possibly missed out on seeing a friend I would have loved to catch up with because I was so worried about how I was not looking or feeling my best. 

How many times have I missed wonderful encounters with God because I was not “dressed to impress”? 

When I am on a spiritual high and feel as if I fit the makeup of an “ideal Christian”, I will talk to God in a confident way.

On the other hand, when I do not have things together the way I think I should, I tend to talk to Him less. If my attitudes and actions are not exactly perfect, I want to pull out my phone and ignore God. 

“Maybe I will talk with Him tomorrow when I am feeling more spiritually sound,” I basically convince myself.

However, He just wants me to come to Him as I am. We do not have to perform in front of God or put on the appearance of perfection to come before His presence. He wants the raw, naked side of our soul. 

I have probably had so many missed opportunities in His presence because of my tendency to perform and dress up for Him. 

Sure, I have a duty as a Christian to live a holy life, but I do need to be polished before entering His presence. My prayers do not need to be embellished with intelligent words. I do not need to mask my true feelings. I do not need to accomplish a certain number of good deeds before I am worthy of speaking to HIm.  I just need to come as I am so that He can meet me there. 

“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6:37 (NIV)

Don’t miss out on all the new things God wants to share with you just because you do not feel put together enough. There is no shame in the presence of our Father. Our brokenness is where His power and presence will shine through the brightest.

“God doesn’t want something from us, He simply wants us.” -C.S. Lewis

Why We Need the Church| By Emily Lawson

This world is all about identity.

“Don’t put a label on me, but if you refer to me incorrectly, I’ll be upset.”

Everyone wants to be there own person – unique in their own way.

And while I think we should never try to conform to be someone else, God does not call us to be a singular person!

He calls us “the flock”. We are a peculiar “people”.

Yes, each of us is seen individually in His eyes, but if we go out on our own, we do not have the protection of the united front with all His children!

“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:14‭-‬20 (KJV)

You are a leg, and I am an arm. Without each other, we are not going to get very far.

The church is such an important part of our Christian walk. It is about the fellowship that we gain, the support system that comes with it, and the cheerleaders rooting for us. These all allow us to walk confidently among those of the world.

The church helps us to grow, when we learn from the preacher who is lead by the Holy Spirit. It helps lift us up when surrounded by prayer warriors, and it helps keep us connected to His people by allowing us to pray for others!

At my church, our covenant ends by saying that when we feel led to find a new church that we will seek a new church as soon as possible to be able to carry out “the principles of God’s word.”

This is such an important point to remember, because sitting out on one church service can seem simple. With your second missed service, you feel guilt, but you have that excuse ready. By the third and fourth, you do not feel AS bad. It is a slippery slope.

If we stick with God’s teachings and choose to be in His presence and with His people, we grow, and it becomes easier to hear His calling for our life.

So, where are you finding your identity? Is it in your style? Is it in your job? Your label of mom/dad?

What if you seek to find your identity within the church? Within the community God has placed around us to keep us strong?

God gives us a community so that they can lift us up to find our personal calling in His kingdom. The world around us only wants to drag us further and further away from Him.

This “Me” focused world is not, and cannot be, a “God” focused world!

Be the peculiar people. Stand out from the world and stand strong with the Kingdom!

Endure to the End| By Jasmine Beard

How do you wait?

Do you wait patiently with a smile on your face dreaming of your promise to come to pass, or do you pout, fuss, and complain about it?

Most of the time, I believe I am considerably good at waiting.

Other times, I find myself getting tired of waiting, tired of enduring through a season that seems prolonged for a reason unbeknownst to me.

There is an old cliche that says, “Anything worth pursuing takes time.”

This is mostly true to everyone’s life. After all, it takes everyone time to grow up, time to get their dream career, time to have children, time to be able to traveI the world. 

But when is our waiting enough?

Waiting is not so bad until it turns from time passing by, to trial after trial, and difficulty after difficulty. Waiting can become a test of endurance and willpower instead of just lazily staying put or delaying action.

Life is full of ups, downs, and many curveballs in the physical and spiritual realm.

I recently started taking workout classes a few mornings a week.

I workout pretty regularly, but let me tell you, it is nothing in comparison to the high intensity interval training I am doing in these classes in addition to the early wake-up call.

During this class, we focus on building strength in our physical bodies with an emphasis on our spirits, minds, and souls as well.

This may seem weird to you, but our bodies house the Holy Spirit. We are His dwelling place, and He desires for us to be healthy and strong in all areas of His temple..

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)

On the first day of class, the word “endurance” and the scripture Hebrews 12:2 were written on the white board in the front of the room.

Before entering class that first day, I felt tired of waiting for certain transitions to take place in my life. I knew it was not quite time to take a leap of faith into the next chapter in my life but remaining still seemed impossible.

When I saw that word endurance on that white board, I knew I was not to just sit still and delay action, but God was calling me to endure until He gave me the green light to jump into the next phase of my life.

Endurance is the power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. Throughout every season, I feel as though I have done that. It was not always easy, but I would endure.

However, before I walked into that class that day, I was tired of enduring and believed I had endured long enough. 

Jesus endured the cross for us. He did not stop as the pain progressed. He stayed there pierced, bruised, bleeding, and dying because He knew that being a living sacrifice was to be God’s promise fulfilled to the world.

I am called to endure.

You are called to endure!

Enduring is not easy, but trust that God is building your character, strengthening your weak parts, trimming the fat of your spiritual life, so that you can finish this race well and see the promise waiting for you at the end of the finish line.

“We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!” Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭(TPT‬‬)

How Bad Do You Want It?| By Chelsea Verdin

What does desperate faith look like?

For me, it is the story of the paralyzed man in the gospels. 

“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” Mark 2:1-5 (NIV)

Most recently, after hearing this story for what seemed like the millionth time in service, I could hear Jesus ask me, “How desperate are you? How far are you willing to go?” 

It was kind of like a “what would you do for a Klondike bar” moment. 

What would I do to meet with Jesus? How far would I go to see His glory? How desperate am I for His presence? 

I was baffled, and honestly, I wanted to say “Lord, I would do anything, go anywhere just to be with you.” 

That was my heart’s intentions and cries because of how much I love Jesus, but as I have looked at my life, I have seen where I have fallen short. It has made me reevaluate my desperation for Christ.

You see the level of our desperation depends on the level of our want. How bad do we want it? 

If a drug addict can sell everything they own for something that ultimately destroys their body, then why are we not more desperate for Christ who is good and ultimately the giver of life? 

Maybe our problem as Christians is not that we are addicted to Christ’s goodness and the work of His glory, (it is very easy for most of us to pray about things we need or want), but maybe it is that we have not spent enough time with Jesus to have developed an addiction for more of Him. Just more of what He can give us.

Just as the four friends who carried their friend on a mat showed Jesus their faith, we must also be willing to go the extra mile in our actions. They could have spoken their desperation and later brought Jesus to their friend, but that was not good enough for them. They needed Jesus to see him, to see their hunger, to feel the intensity of how badly they wanted their friend healed. When our actions match the intent of our heart, we have stepped into pure desperation.

Those friends could have seen the crowd and the impossibility to get through, but they reasoned in their minds that turning back seemed more impossible than getting to Jesus. We have to come to a point when we are so utterly desperate for the presence and glory of Jesus that the impossible seems logical.

We have to be willing to climb those mountains, dig those openings, and lay ourselves paralyzed by the world, but desperate to sit at the feet of Jesus.

Your Will be Done| By Zuzana Niedelova

Looking for a job can be lots of hard work. Most of us have been there. Our enthusiasm at the beginning slowly drops and changes to discouragement, and suddenly, we are only a step away from frustration.

That is what happened to me a few weeks ago. After a dreadfully difficult season, I came to a point when I was applying for any and every job that I came across, but nothing seemed to work out in my favor. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, an ad popped up in my browser saying a Christian youth working organization was hiring.

The position seemed like all I ever wanted – working with young people from various backgrounds and organizing projects to bring a bit of Jesus into their lives. It would even work around my part-time studies and the other job I do – perfect. So I applied and started praying: 

“Lord, I’ll be honest. This job looks amazing, and I’d absolutely love to do it, but if it’s not something you want for me, make it clear. Your will be done!”

The time went by, and I still had that prayer in the back of my head – you know the best, Lord, do your work.

A day before the application deadline, I was hanging out with a friend who happened to be looking for a job too. She was a youth worker as well. As her friend, I told her about this opportunity. Long story short, she got the job, and I did not.

Did I know it was not the most strategic move? Of course I did. Did I help her find the application and figure out what to do? You bet I did. Was I upset when she told me she got the job? Well, how could I be?

Throughout the whole time I was praying, “Lord, I trust you, do it your way.”

So when I had that chat trying to convince her to apply, I knew it was not lowering my chances to get the position.

I knew if God wanted me to work with those specific young people, I would. If He had someone better than me, great! I would not want to be in God’s way of blessing others. So when she came to me with a deep regret in her eyes and told me she was offered the position, I was filled with joy, not only because she needed this kind of change, but because God’s will for the place was to use my good friend who I became so proud of.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 (NKJV)

Often, it is so easy to pray for God’s will to be done here on earth, but how many times do we actually trust Him as strongly as we proclaim we do? To be honest, my reaction surprised me a little bit too. I thought I would have been hurt much more if I had not gotten the job, let alone if my friend got it instead.

But you know what? It does not matter.

It does not matter because if we pray for God’s will to be done, we give up all of our expectations, humble ourselves and choose to trust no matter what happens.

We give up the right to think we know what is the best; we are willing to follow God even if it does not match our own plan. Praying for God’s will to be done does not mean everything will work out for us, but we can be sure it will work out for His Kingdom, if we only trust Him enough to rejoice in that.

Take a minute now, close your eyes if you can and pretend you are all alone. Forget everything you need to do or what you have just done. It is only you and the Lord.

Can you see how good He is?

How mighty and loving He is?

That He is on your side?

Are you going to trust him and pray for His will to be done, leaving your hopes and ideas behind? Do not worry. He is a good Father, and He is holding you in His mighty hand. His will be done.

Heart of Worship| By Tori Savoy

Growing up in the church, you would find 5-year-old me standing with my hands raised at church singing one of my favorite songs, “The Heart of Worship.”

“And it’s all about you, it’s all about you, Jesus,” I would sing with a large smile on my face.

Worship was always my favorite, but somewhere along my journey with Christianity, I complicated the once so simple act of praise and worship. 

This year, prayer became a big part of my life, and it transformed my life in more than one way. One thing God placed on my heart to pray with expectation for was my fertility, and boy did he show up. I am currently expecting a sweet baby boy in February 2020.

The week following my positive pregnancy test, the only words I could utter were “God, you are so good.”

I found myself always praising His mighty name for the miracle He worked in my life, the promise He had brought to pass. I felt like I had “A Heart of Worship.”

However, a few weeks later something changed. I am not sure whether it was pregnancy hormones or just a rut, but I became emotionally numb. I tried to read and would not comprehend a single word. I would pray and easily get side tracked before completing a sentence. I would put worship music on and felt absolutely nothing. 

Here I was with the ideal circumstances, and I could not find the heart to worship the one who controlled those circumstances. I felt immediate guilt. I had been so adamant in pursuing God while praying for my blessings. Now that I had my blessings, it seemed the passionate flame in my heart had been stifled. So there I was, numb and guilty.

The devil came at me saying God was going to take my child from my ungrateful heart and that I had earned my blessings only to lose them.

Thankfully, God’s blessings are not dependent on our actions because then none of us would receive them. His blessings are a gift that comes from being in God’s will and trusting His hand (but that is a whole other topic).

My guilt made it difficult to worship because it put the focus on ME, my actions and my worth. I had forgotten about 5-year-old me at church singing, “It is all about you, Jesus.”

Worship and praise focuses not on our abilities, our emotions or even our circumstances. It focuses on the one who created every one of those and remains good until the end. 

Psalms 136:1 (NLT) says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.”

The psalmist continues to repeat the last phrase a couple dozen times in that single chapter. His worship focused solely on who God is.

When my emotions go numb, God’s love and goodness still endures. Whether my circumstances are good or bad, His love and goodness endures. 

In my recent devotional on the She Reads Truth App, the writer made a statement that hit me hard. 

“In corporate worship, in private prayer, in the smallest moments, and in the most earth-shattering ones, we always have reason to thank God for what He has done and what we know He will do. Whether or not we feel grateful or not, whether or not we feel worshipful, there is always a reason to worship in gratitude: because His faithful love endures forever.”

The Heart of Worship is not about the emotions we feel in our heart. It is about choosing in our hearts to recognize who God is and what He is capable of. 

We can choose to worship our circumstances and live according to our current state of emotions, or choose to worship the God who is more constant than our ever changing emotions and circumstances. 

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15(NIV)

Worship is not a feeling that comes when the music reaches a crescendo, or the amount of tears we shed as we do it. It is not about how high we raise our hands, how loud our voices echo or how much we dance. Worship is simply a heart that recognizes the goodness and love of God.

Let us make it all about Jesus. Because, “His Faithful Love Endures Forever.”