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!

Leap of Faith| By T’eoria Murray

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

In the summer before my senior year of college, I felt a tug on my heart to commit to a year of full-time ministry. As I sat before God in my devotions each morning, I heard Him whisper, “Take this leap. I’ll catch you.”

My breath caught in my throat every time I thought of it. The idea was ludicrous. I was an international student. What about my plans to move on to medical school? I was an only child and from a single parent home. How would my family feel about this break in my education? It just was not reasonable. I must have gotten my wires crossed. But the gentle, insistent urging would not go away. 

One morning, I went to a youth Bible study where the speaker got up and simply read Hebrews 11. I would read this chapter myself at least a dozen times, but that day I saw it through different eyes.

I saw each scene in my mind’s eye as the chapter laid out example after example of how faith played a role in a believer’s life. By faith, Abel offered a sacrifice, Enoch was translated, and Noah prepared an ark on dry land. Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. Barren Sarah was able to conceive a child, becoming an ancestor of a great nation. Abraham offered Isaac back to God, being as ready to return the promised son- his only son- as he had been to receive him. Isaac blessed his sons. Moses chose hardship with his Hebrew brothers over a life of sinful ease with the Egyptians. The Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. They marched around Jericho and saw the walls fall flat. Rahab believed in their God and was delivered from the destruction. 

Gideon. Samson. Jephthah. David. Samuel. 

“By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.” Hebrews 11: 33-34 (NLT)

These heroes of the faith held on to God’s promises because they trusted Him. They saw by faith what God saw, often only in part. However, they trusted the heart of the Father, that He would not lead them where He would not sustain them. Of course, this did not always mean a happy ending in this life. 

“Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword… destitute…oppressed…mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.” Hebrews 11:36-38 (NLT)

The apostle Paul continues that while their faith was commendable, they did not see the complete fulfillment of God’s promises. That is because this story is still being written. It continues with those of us who are still carrying on the faith, still holding the banner of Christ in a dark and troubled world. I decided to accept God’s call to dedicate a year to Him in missions and felt a peace and assurance beyond any I had ever experienced. 

The next year was one of triumphs and hard lessons, close fellowship and intense conflict, numerous joys and frustrations. With a team of nine other young people, I was able to travel across the United States ministering at schools, churches, and juvenile detention centers. The year culminated with two unforgettable months in Guyana where dozens of people accepted Christ and were baptized. The experiences of that year will stay with me forever. 

What is God calling you to do for Him today? Is He asking you to make a sacrifice? Abel did that, and his faith still speaks to us today. Has He placed a project on your heart that does not make sense to anyone else? Noah obeyed and his family was saved. Does He seem to be asking you to give up a cherished dream? Abraham obeyed and God provided. Is He calling you to be a voice for an oppressed group? Moses was faithful, and he led Israel out of slavery to the borders of the Promised Land. Has He brought you face to face with what appears to be an impossible obstacle? The Israelites obeyed Him and saw Jericho’s gigantic walls collapse. 

If God has called you to take a leap of faith, do not deny Him the opportunity to work in and through you. Take a leap and His arms will be there to catch you.

“God will make this happen, for He who calls you is faithful.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NLT)

The Tongue is a Flame of Fire| By T’eoria Murray

Here’s a confession: I am a girl who loves a hot shower – rain or shine, summer or winter, springtime or harvest. I need my water pressure high and my shower just short of boiling. As the water flows, I think of the events of the day or plan for the day ahead.


I will stand under my shower head replaying conversations, analyzing interactions, deciding what I could have done or should have said. I feel free to share all of my feelings without biting my tongue.The timid girl from the office is free to have an attitude, to tell off that coworker, to yell out the car window at that inconsiderate driver. And sometimes, this version of myself that lives in my daydream rears her ugly head in the real world.


Do you ever struggle with the tension that exists between saying the right thing versus saying what feels good in the moment?


I certainly have, and too often, I have allowed myself to give in to the temptation to “put someone in their place.” Angry, vicious words have a way of making their way into a room and infecting the air with their invisible influence. Spreading like a sneaky virus, it can almost be impossible to stop those words. This does not only apply to angry words. Criticism, judgement, gossip, slander, sarcasm, cruel jokes, and complaining all have a way of making their way through a room.


It is especially easy to use words as weapons against the people we spend the most time with such as our family, friends, and coworkers. However, in this age of constant interaction via the internet and the ability to hide behind a computer screen, even strangers and people in authority are not exempt. It is a toxic culture where everyone seems to take an offensive posture, because anyone can be a victim.


Though times have changed, human nature has remained the same. Scripture describes this phenomenon in James 3:2, 3:5-6:


“Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” James 3:2 (NLT)


“In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” James 3:5-6 (NLT)


Can you see it? The mean-spirited comment that changes the atmosphere in a room, spreading like wildfire? And just like a fire, once negative words are spoken, the initiator no longer has the power to stop the series of conversations and events that follow.


The gossip or mean-spirited comment has taken on a life of its own. When a person cools down, the comment rages on in another form, on another’s lips. Words said in the heat of the moment can break down friendships that were once solid.


Gossip cannot only destroy a person’s self-image but can ruin a hard-earned good reputation and lead to that person isolating themselves. Because words once spoken cannot be unsaid, this is a situation where an ounce of prevention is better than curing after the situation.


What steps can we take today towards taming our tongues?


Search for the source of the fire


“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:18 (NLT)


Our words reflect our hearts, and fortunately for us, the Lord is an expert at heart work.


Ask Him to show you what is at the root of any patterns of negative speech. Is it insecurity? Bitterness? Pride? Ask Him for discernment to recognize your heart condition and for the desire to lay it down before Him so He can weed it out.


Practice fire safety

“Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.” Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)


Be intentional about speaking life. Keep an eye out for opportunities to encourage, comfort, praise, and build up. A kind word at the right time can change a life. Just as negative words can have a domino effect, so can positive ones.


Train as a firefighter


You may not be the one who started a negative conversation, but peer pressure is powerful and soon you can find yourself joining in with gossip or complaining because it is just easier not to swim against the tide.


Brainstorm ways to subtly redirect a conversation that is headed in the wrong direction. For example, many of us may find ourselves at work when the conversation becomes a session to sound off on everything that dissatisfies them about the job. This can be an opportunity to empower someone about their gifts and how their presence in the workplace can make a difference or make an improvement in the workplace.


Changing our patterns of speech can be uncomfortable and downright difficult at first. It is a lot like choosing to walk through the trees in the forest instead of the well-worn path, but the more we take this new route the easier it gets.


May we pray with the psalmist David daily,


“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

Don’t Get Emotional| By Makayla Durapau

Did you know that God has emotions?

When He sees us,

or thinks about us,

or hears from us,

or looks at us,

it makes Him feel something.

How cool is it that we can affect the heartstrings of the One that created us and everything around us?!

Spending time with Him and having a relationship with Him makes His heart glad even more so than it does ours.

Honestly, I do not feel like emotions get enough appreciation.

I have learned a lot of times that emotions indicate the state of your heart, your motives/intentions, and even the state of your relationships, both with other people and with God.

Unfortunately, a lot of people do not like to talk about emotions, or even what is causing them in the first place. This is mostly because emotions are messy. They are not always wrapped in neat little boxes that can be neatly unpacked and neatly set down somewhere to look pretty or be practical. They do not wait to make themselves known until it is convenient for you. They do not say their peace, then tidy up and go home. Sometimes, they spill… everywhere.

They act irrational.

They demand to be heard and seen.

Sometimes our emotions get, well, emotional.

That does not mean that we should stuff them down and suppress them. It also does not mean we should let them sit in the driver’s seat of our lives and dictate our response to everything life throws at us. However, it does mean our emotions are indicating a deeper reason than simply “I feel angry” or “I feel hurt” or “I feel sad”.

It is kind of like with babies. When they cry, they do not do it as a hobby. They cry because there is something deeper that is bothering them like hunger or needing sleep. Likewise, our feelings many times will let us know that there is more going on than just feeling like you want to cry or feeling like you want to punch the lights out of someone/something.

As a Christian, one of my greatest passions/desires is to see people set free from the bondage in their lives, specifically when it comes to emotional and spiritual freedom. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 61:1, which says,

“The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners;” Isaiah 61:1 (CSB)

I had seen this verse before, but it was not until about a year ago that it really leaped off the pages to me. To me, it speaks of how we are to take up the mantle that Jesus left his followers. God wants to use us to reach the poor, heal the brokenhearted, liberate those in captivity, and free those who are being held prisoner. As believers, we have been enabled to do this with the help of HolySpirit.

One thing that really strikes me about this verse is that to accomplish these things, you have to get your hands a little bit dirty. To free prisoners, you have to go INSIDE the prison. To proclaim liberty, you have to OPEN your mouth. To bring healing, you have to get CLOSE to the one who is hurting. To reach someone, you have to take the risk of CONNECTION. Jesus has not called us to a life of seclusion, reclusiveness, or exclusiveness. He has called us to a life of inclusion, closeness, and connection; both with our creator and with other people.

When we look at the Bible, we start to realize that we are called to love ALL people at ALL times (John 13:34-35; Matthew 22:39). I Peter 4:8 says,

“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8 (CSB)

When we are looking at others through a lens of love, it is easier for us to give others grace in our interactions with them (Proverbs 10:12; James 1:19). Peter knew that when you let love guide your interactions with people, you are more likely to see them how God wants you to see them, and less likely to see them how the devil would like you to see them. It means that despite what they might have done, we still see them as someone Jesus was willing to give his life for. Someone that God wanted a relationship with.

Remember Your Promise| By Chelsea Verdin

The lyrics to “Your Promises Never Fail” (spontaneous version) by Emmy Rose have been my fighting words for months now. And each time I listen to it, I feel greater revelation happening within me about who my God is and how powerful His promises over me are.



“For I know Your thoughts
Your plans for me are good
I know You hold
My future and my hope
Your promises never fail
Your promises never fail
And Your promises never fail
And Your promises never fail
No, no, no”

My heart has cried many times, “God, when will my prayers meet my promise?”

“When will I see what I’ve poured out my soul for come to pass?”

“When will you do it for me?”

Each time I ask these questions I am reminded of Hannah. Her story in 1 Samuel is one of my most favorites. I can relate to Hannah so strongly that I feel as if I am Hannah. She is a woman desperate for a promise to come to pass. She is taunted relentlessly by an enemy. People who loved her, who were in her corner, supporting her, but couldn’t fully grasp what grieved her. Bystanders judged her because they didn’t know her story or her heart. When I look in the mirror, all I see is a weeping, desperate Hannah.

If you are unfamiliar with the story of Hannah, I will give you a paraphrased version. Hannah shared her husband Elkanah with another woman named Peninnah. Peninnah was able to have children and did, but Hannah could not. Each year, Hannah’s husband would take them to the house of the Lord to sacrifice. He would given Hannah a double portion because he loved her even though she could not give him children. He could not understand her pain. Hannah’s rival however taunted her so relentlessly that Hannah was in great sorrow. Just as Hannah is silently pouring her desperate heart out to God, a judging priest approaches her and accuses her of being drunk. Through tears, Hannah explains her heart, and the priest quickly blesses her and sends her on her way.

My most favorite part about this story is in verses 19-20.  “and the Lord remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the Lord.’”

For at least nine more months, Hannah had to be taunted by Peninnah. She had to keep praying. For at least nine more months Hannah had to use her promise as a weapon against Peninnah. She had to remind her heart and her mind what was spoken over her. She had to keep fighting and keep praying and keep singing until her cries were from labor instead of grief. She had to use her promise as a weapon until she could see it. She had to keep praying until she could meet it.

I see you woman, on your knees desperately praying for your promise to pass. I see your family and friends misunderstanding you because they do not understand your promise or your heart. I hear your rival taunting you and beckoning you to give up, to forget your promise and forget your God. I hear the bystander’s whispers and accusations as they watch your life from afar but cannot see your heart.

However, I also see our God wrapping His arms around you in compassion and mercy. I see His heartbreaking for yours and holding you still. And mostly woman of God, I hear your victory cry! Your shout of labor as you birth your promise! I rejoice with you as you continue to war for what is yours!

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” Luke 1:45

Let’s Be Honest| By Chelsea Verdin

I was always afraid of those “TBH” posts that hit the internet some years ago. Giving someone permission to tell you exactly what they thought of you was not the best idea in my opinion. I would intentionally avoid these posts unless I knew I could get a really good response. My strategy was if I just avoided everyone’s honesty of me, then I could pretend everything in our relationship was okay. I could cover up and hide from all the things that I assumed people thought of me.

And if I am being honest, I would rather avoid honesty than confront every ugly lie that has taken root inside of my heart. Not because I prefer to remain some broken girl, but because honesty is painful. It exposes every single motive inside of my heart and causes me to really challenge myself on issues I would rather bury. It brings up past hurts, present pride, and future fears in ways that make me feel attacked.

Honesty is like eating right. We would all rather eat the cake and feel the regret of all the calories we gained, knowing it is the wrong choice, than to eat our veggies that taste like they are trying to kill us even though it provides nutrients. Honesty is the healthy foods we try to avoid, but all know we need more of it.

Recently, Jesus spoke to my heart about the importance of being honest with myself, Him, and others.

Honesty with ourselves reveals our motives and exposes sin at the root in order for us to begin a healing process.

Honesty with God helps us to enter into worship and prayer with authentic intimacy. Not just obligatory seeking, but pure-hearted hunger because we’ve let Him strip us of our masks.

Honesty with others breaks down walls of perfectionism and allows others to see that we are real humans who are figuring out this journey too.

In Lysa Terkeurst’s book “Uninvited”, she states, “Honesty is a suitor with piercing vision who isn’t swayed by pretending and positioning.”

Honesty is not phased by our charm but is moved by vulnerability.

Ephesians 5:13 (ESV)  says “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible.”

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 (ESV)

Lysa goes on to say, “As long as I suspect that honesty’s intention is to expose me and hurt me, it will always feel like a dangerous thing.”

Honesty is a form of light that shines on those areas of darkness that we try to hide from. Honesty calls it as it is. It does not dress it up, but rather it strips it naked. Jesus’s intention was always that we would expose sin and areas that hinder us from walking in His fullness. This way we can address it, make progress to heal it and realign with Him.

This feels painful because we think honesty means looking in a mirror and pointing out every flaw and imperfection we have with the intent of being abandoned, but it really means unwrapping wounds and allowing them to heal so that we can accept the full love of God.

It is easier for me to lie to myself about my motives and the things hindering me than it is to honestly say I need help. It is easier to avoid them and ignore them than to expose what is truly been breaking me. But honesty and vulnerability go hand-in-hand, and when done with the understanding, that honesty is not trying to destroy me, it is actually trying to restore me. I come to realize that honesty is my ally, not my enemy.

Have courage my friends. This is not some overnight fix. It certainly takes lots of practice and dedication to allow the Holy Spirit to work on your heart. If you are in a place of excuses or justifications for the things in your life, maybe it is time to get honest. Maybe it is time to reevaluate your priorities so that you can realign yourself with God’s promises. I know that honesty helps get us one step closer to His perfect will.

No Fear in Love|By Tori Savoy

In just a few days, I will celebrate two years of marriage to my high school sweetheart. As I sit and reflect not only on the two years of marriage but the last 9 years we have spent together, I cannot help but thank God for each and every day.

Everyone asked after the first few months of marriage, have you had your first big fight yet? Has he gotten on your nerves?

Actually, no. A few disagreements maybe, but nothing that has kept us in a bad mood for more than a few minutes.

Some may say I lucked up with a great marriage or found my perfect match. However, fear tells me another story. Fear tells me to wait around every corner for hell to break loose in my marriage.

Marriage has always been the most terrifying thing to me. I grew up surrounded by unsuccessful marriages. Even the ones that did not end in divorce, were nothing but a prison for the two.

“Marriage is for life,” I heard growing up in church. What if I ended up trapped in a marriage that was miserable when I thought I would love this person forever?

God had to heal me a lot before my wedding day in order for me to consider committing my life to Brandon. There was no doubting I loved him. I was just afraid for so long of that love ending.

However, God placed some godly marriages in my life just when I needed it most. He restored hope that marriage could be something beautiful. In these marriages, I saw perseverance through the hard times, and love that did not waver through the decades.

So on March 25, 2017, I took a step out in faith and said “yes” to my best friend. I put on the white dress and walked down the aisle to the promise of God waiting for me at the end of it. As I said my vows, I felt an overwhelming peace. I felt gratitude that God had sent this man into my life to show me what real love was like. To this date, choosing to do life with him has been the best decision I have made (aside from giving my life to Christ).

Although my hope in marriage was restored, the devil still likes to bring back that fear. He tells me I am not good enough for my husband, and one day he will decide to leave me. I sometimes strive to be a better wife out of fear of losing him rather than my love for him.

The enemy attacks the things that are good in life and keeps you from embracing the memories to be had in the here and now.

Every time I become crippled by my fear, God reminds me of the beautiful marriages he placed in the latter part of my life. He has promised to make this marriage beautiful from beginning to end. So when the devil’s lies come, I hold on to the promises of God.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭(ESV)‬‬

When the devil says, “Work harder to keep your husband”,

God says “Work less and let me carry the weight”.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ (‭ESV)‬‬

When the devil says, “Your marriage will only be happy for a season”,

God says, “I renew your marriage daily and make it new”.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ (‭ESV‬‬)

When the devil says, “Your husband may want to leave you for better looking woman”,

God says, “you were created for such a time as this”.

Fear cripples us temporarily, but God’s words are eternal.

Marriage will definitely have its challenges. This I am sure of. However, I also know God’s word stands, and the challenges will not end my marriage. We will walk through life’s challenges with our love still intact.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah‬ ‭43:2‬ ‭(ESV)‬‬

If you find yourself fearful of marriage and love because of the world around you, just know that God is writing your love story. Do not let the lies of the devil distract you from the beauty of what love can be when a relationship is centered around Christ. We need a generation of individuals ready to fight for the sake of love and marriage, not cowering in fear as the devil would have us. Because when two people choose to love like God intended, powerful things unfold.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (ESV)

Label Me Not| By Stephanie Cain

Have you ever lost yourself? You travel through life, days flying past like exits on an interstate, and all of a sudden, you realize you need to Google Map how to find you – the real you.

I think everyone has been there at one point or another. We live in a world where everyone wants to fit into these perfect boxes. The thing is, we are not designed like that. Each person is so multifaceted! We are all complex, beautiful, masterpieces handcrafted in God’s image. (Psalm 139:13-16) So we put on labels to help clarify what is in our box.

Mother. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Caretaker. Housekeeper. Big. Tall. Short. Sassy. Quiet. Bookish. Athletic. Loud. Friendly. Not-so-friendly. Giving. Driven. Selfish. Professional. Hippy. Glamorous. Natural. Happy. Anxious. Funny. Boring. Weird. Popular. Loner.

By the time we put on all these labels that are meant to help “define us”, we cannot even tell what was in the box to begin with.

I struggle with this SO much! I am a relatively newlywed, new part-time working and part-time stay-at-home mom, and the only child to two wonderful parents who have illnesses and need help. I feel the weight of these labels daily. The pressure to be a great mom, and feeling like if I am not, I might ruin this gift God gave me. Wanting so badly to be a loving wife who keeps her house in order for her husband. Knowing that there is work to be done at my house, but also that my parents’ grass needs to be cut soon. Desiring to be fun and outgoing like other young moms even though you are an introvert. Striving to be skinny so the new cute trends will look good on you. Trying to have a meek, quiet spirit with a mouth that runs faster than a cheetah at times.

In the struggle to live up to these labels, I lose sight of me – the me that God made and saw as good. There is no labels, no hoops, no striving. He sees me, knows me deeply, and loves me unconditionally no matter how many dishes are in my sink.


“Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.
Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!” -Ephesians 3:17-19 (TPT)

My Facebook friend Leslie, who happens to be an amazing writer, recently posted something that stopped me in my tracks. She said this:

“We need grace to sit in a space and just BE…to remove the titles and responsibilities and roles and embrace the one identity that brings rest to the soul, ‘Child of God.’ We don’t have to strive with that name. We can fully and overwhelmingly just BE. He welcomes it.”

When I read those words, I realized how weighed down I was feeling from trying to be everything for everyone. When in reality, the most important thing I am is a Child of God. Walking in that calling will make everything else fall in line. So if you are where I was, one step away from asking Alexa how to find you, please take a moment to just BE, to remember who the Lord says you are, and to rest in Him.

When Fear Steals Your Voice| By Tori Savoy

As I sit writing this very blog, I am amazed by how God brought me here. The 25 years that I have been alive, He has spent molding me and preparing me for this very purpose.

Seeing God move through Unveiling Eden has been one of the best experiences. However, so much had to happen in my heart leading up to me joining this team.

I think back to 12-year-old me, writing late at night in my room. I have notebook after notebook filled with words from God, poetry, and even fictional stories. However, each entry was signed by a pen name I created because I was too afraid to ever claim my writing as my own.

Gloria Kingsley (glory to the King) was much more confident, much more talented in my mind. When God spoke to my heart that He was going to use my writing to touch people all over the world, I quickly came up with this name to hide behind. I told myself the name was out of humbleness to put the focus solely on God, but truly it was fear in my heart. Fear of what others would think of me and the words I said. Fear of criticism of my abilities to write or speak.

More often than not, God’s plans for us are scary. It takes a lot of faith and preparations.

God really had to strip me of my fears and show me how to find my voice.

I am always reminded of Moses. He was not well-spoken and begged God to send someone more qualified to free the Israelites.

“But Moses pleaded with the LORD, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.’

Then the LORD asked Moses, ‘Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.’” Exodus 4:10-12 (NLT)

Although He will use our talents in the process, God does not look for people who are perfect. All He asks is for obedience.

Anytime that I have shared my experiences or a word that the Lord has given me, God has used it to reach at least one person.

However, each time I am going to share an important experience, my heart is flooded with fear. The devil knows the power our voice will have when it testifies of God’s goodness. He will do everything in his power to stifle your voice and make you feel unqualified.

Apostles such as Peter and Paul were very outspoken despite the pending threat of imprisonment and even death. Because of them, the name of Jesus was made known to more people than we can imagine.

In the Old Testament, Esther spoke out to save her people from persecution, when it could have ended in her own death.

Because your voice has power, it will always have opposition. However, your faith and obedience to God’s leading will be rewarded.

Your encounters with God are not meant to shape just your life. They can also impact those around you who may be going through something similar.

We should not hoard all of God’s goodness in our hearts but go proclaim it to everyone around us. When the woman at the well met Jesus, she dropped everything she was doing to go spread the word to all she knew.

“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”” John‬ ‭4:28-29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Years ago, I would let fear keep me from proclaiming God’s name. But today, His strength is enough to follow the path He has for me.

Maybe you have talents God wants to use or a story He would like you to share. Do not let the devil tell you that your voice does not matter or your story is insignificant. Turn your eyes to the one who created your mouth, and He will do the rest.

Kind Words are Like Honey| By Jasmine Beard

“You are such an accepting person. I know and feel like I can tell you anything,” my friend said.

I smiled and thought to myself, “If only she knew all the thoughts and judgements I thought of throughout the day. My heart is not pure. I wish I wasn’t judgemental. I’m so far from where I should be in my walk with God.”

You read that correctly. Someone gave me a compliment, and instead of receiving it, I rejected their words and reversed what they spoke over me. Instead of allowing the words of affirmation and blessing to sink into my mind, heart, and spirit, I let who I believed I was to sink into my mind, heart, spirit, and eventually into my identity.

I wish I could say this type of dialogue was a rare happening in my life, but truthfully it is far more common than I would like to admit. And what is even more hard to admit is that I am only now just realizing it.

“I’m so mean to myself and because of the way I view myself, I tend to judge others through that same lens,” I listened on the other end of the phone as another friend shared those words with me. Her words did not resonate with me immediately, but overtime I understood more and more what she meant.

Behaviors, circumstances, and interactions can become familiar to us. And when something becomes familiar, it does not appear abnormal. Take for instance, a woman’s husband has been wearing the same cologne for the last six years. After six years, she may not even smell the fragrance, but simply identify the smell with her husband. However, let’s say that same woman’s husband walked in their home wearing a different cologne than the one he had wore for the past six years, and she’d probably notice instantly.

This same familiarity can be true in our dialogues with ourselves. We can get so use to speaking harsh words to ourselves that we no longer see them as harsh, but as normal. The reality is that the words we speak to ourselves can be anything but normal and are actually cruel and self-loathing behavior.

It was not until my friend mentioned to me how mean she was to herself that I began to notice my very own self-loathing behavior. I have always chalked my inner dialogue with myself to have something to do with my perfectionist mindset and less to do with my self-esteem and value of myself.

The Bible tells us that, “kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

Are your words like honey?

Are they sweet to your soul and bringing nourishment to your body?

Are you the person who can shower others with compliments, but can’t receive one?

Do you smile and immediately disregard the kind comment someone has relayed to you?

This was me, and it may be you today. But friend, I want to encourage you to fall in love with you, the person you are today, not the woman you aspire to become. Fall in love with the journey. And most importantly, fall in love with the King, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

His word tells us that we are made in His image. We are a reflection of His splendor and beauty, and as we fall more in love and awe with the King, the more we reflect His marvelous light.

So when you find that you have nothing kind to say to yourself or about yourself pray what the Psalmist wrote in Psalms 139:14 (TPT)

“I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!”