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.

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.

When Religion Fails| By Tori Savoy


Religion.

There is more than likely one of two responses people have to this word. They either feel peace in it, or cringe at the thought of what religion has done to their lives.

Now half-way through my 20s, my success of moving into adulthood has come down to finding freedom from religion. Yes, I am no longer bound to religion.

Do not get me wrong. I am a Christian. I have not turned my back on God or Christianity. I have just learned to let go of all the legalism and rules that hindered me from walking free alongside my loving Father.

I have found Christianity is not a set of rules to follow. It is a love story with your Heavenly Father. It requires knowing and understanding the mind of the Lord through intimate conversations. It is not about man, it is about THE man, Jesus Christ.

The love of God has given me more happiness and peace than religion ever did for me.

In the book of Jeremiah, a man by the name of Jehonadab ordered his descendants to not drink wine. For generations to follow, all of his descendants upheld this rule. They continued to be a family of morality.

However, morality does not equal holiness.

God sent Jeremiah to Jehonadab’s descendants expressing his displeasure in their ability to obey His words while continuing to uphold the laws man had created.

“But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me. Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, ‘Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have give to you and your ancestors.’ But you have not paid attention or listened to me. The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the commands their forefathers gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.” Jeremiah 35:15-16

Growing up in the church, it was so easy for me to see Christianity as merely the teachings of the pastor or the congregation. It was so easy to just accept what was taught rather than seeking God for what my Christian walk should look like.

If we get so caught up in man-made ideas of religion, it will drown out the voice of what God is telling us to do. Just as Jehonadab’s descendants, we have not “paid attention or listened” to all that God is trying to reveal to us.

“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?” – Jeremiah 23:16-18

I encourage you to soak in the presence of the Lord and listen to what he has to say. There are so many things I was raised to believe growing up that I no longer stand for. I will not express what my views are because I want to encourage you to search the scriptures and seek the Lord for yourself. Maybe everything we have been taught in the church growing up is the thing that is keeping us from experiencing Christianity to its fullest. Stop clinging to religion and cling to the Father.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

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

When I Am Weak He Is Strong| By Jasmine Beard

“I don’t want to strive for your love anymore God.


I am so sick and tired of wanting you to be proud of me because of my actions.


Am I doing a good job?


Maybe if I could stop being such a screw up, you’d love me.”

This was me less than a month ago gushing out my heart in bewilderment to God. I had a commitment to share for a ministry in less than two days, and I felt as though I was literally about to lose my mind.

Why you may ask? The answer is simple I felt inadequate and as though I had nothing to share. On top of this, I felt distant from God.

I thought of how someone else could do so much of a better job at sharing for this ministry than myself.

I knew my feelings were rooted in the spirit of pride, but I asked the Lord “where does my insecurity stem from?”

I remember growing up in school and having no problem sharing in front of the class

(I was quite the ham), but after grade school and into college years, I had become more reserved, more self-aware, and more insecure than I had ever been before.

As I pondered on that thought, the Holy Spirit told me, “when you feel inadequate it’s because you are not leaning into the reliance of the Holy Spirit.”

For as long as I can remember, my life verse, or the verse that the Holy Spirit whispers to my heart the most often, is Proverbs 3:5-6 it says,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

You would think with how many times the Lord has whispered that into my spirit, I would have it down pat by now, but nope.

In my mind, all I could think about was how I was not doing all of the things..

You know, the praying for hours soaking in His presence kind of things.

Or reading the Bible for hours on end.

I have always been a perfectionist, a doer, a striver, a hard worker, a go-getter of sorts. While at times this mindset has helped me throughout my life, other times it has been one of my biggest downfalls, especially in my walk with Christ.

You may be thinking what is wrong with wanting to be perfect or being a hard worker? Essentially, nothing is wrong with either of those qualities, but the truth is I am not perfect, and there is nothing I can do to become perfect.

When I feel the need to perform or to be perfect, it is because I have stepped away from simply abiding in the Father. Abiding in Him means I take off all of the pressure I place on myself to be perfect and lean into the Perfect God who has infinite love, wisdom and strength for all of life’s circumstances.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NLT)

There is so much safety in relying on God and not myself. The Bible tells us in our weakness He is strong. The truth is we are all screw-ups, but God loves us in the midst of all of our garbage, setbacks, and failures.

So those two days came and went, it was finally my turn to share with the women of that ministry. I walked into that opportunity with no nerves, and no sense to perform. I simply shared of God’s goodness, relied on Him, and gave Him all the glory He deserves.

Girlfriend, let me tell you, it is not about you. It has never been about you, and it will never be about you. So do that thing that scares you, do that thing that God has called you to, do that thing that requires you to step out of your own reasoning and strength and rely on God to do the work.

If we are going to accomplish anything for God, we have to remember it is for His name’s sake. It is so His name will be glorified and that all will know of His unwavering love for them.

But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly! Romans 5:8 (TPT)

Refusing to Drown in Worry| By Zuzana Niedelová

You know that feeling when everything just works out, God is providing and you don’t have to worry too much about anything? That genuine happiness and thankfulness for all that you have?

That is what I felt, or at least, what I thought I felt. When people asked how I was doing, I would talk about the great job I have, or my ministry that is going so well. I would say I had an assurance of knowing I am in the right place even though not everything is perfect, and of God’s guidance and peace.

I truly meant all that I said, but I had not yet realized there was more to everything that I had not yet seen.

It was only when my mentor mentioned something small that he noticed and valued about me that I could not hold back the tears. It was in that moment that I realized there was something more, something deeper that I was holding back not only from others but from myself as well.

I realized I felt unappreciated, overlooked, undervalued, not known or wanted by anyone and most of all lonely. As if it that is not enough, God revealed even more; He showed me I was also hiding this from Him too. I did not want to disappoint Him after He gave me so much! I felt like I had to be thankful for all I have and hopeful for what is coming.

It was unacceptable in my mind to not enjoy my life after being brought to a stream while wandering in the desert. I knew what I needed to do – God had been teaching me this for a long time. I had to be honest with Him and to know He loves to hear how I am and what my desires are. So there I was, kneeling in front of God, crying my eyes out, and telling Him all about how I felt. I did not know what was to come, but once again, I trusted that He has me in His hands.

To be honest, not much has changed. I am still insecure about my future in my job. I still long for seeing more growth in my ministry. I still miss having close friends who live at least in the same country, and I am desperate for the freedom to be myself without being misunderstood or judged by everyone.

However, one thing has changed. I am no longer alone for all this. I have my good Father by my side who is ready to fight for me, to take care of me and to give me everything I need even if it is not exactly what I asked for.

With God, we have the freedom to feel our feelings whatever they might be. Freedom to come to Him with everything that we are and pour our hearts out to Him because only He knows how to turn our worries into blessings and our battles into praise.

A while ago, God gave me a picture of me drowning in deep waters, gasping for air between the currents pulling me down and letting me go again and hopelessly reaching out for someone – anyone to take me out. Right after, there was a different picture. I was enjoying a gentle rain coming down on me during a hot summer day. Every one of us desires that rain that comes in just the right moment, so refreshing and joy bringing. Drowning, however, is not so pleasant at all.

God does not want us to drown in the worries this life brings. He wants to refresh us with the water but by His own terms not ours. He wants it to be life-bringing and easy. Although the outcome of drowning and the rain is the same (you’re soaking wet), the process makes a difference between death and life.

Maybe your desires are good and Godly, but if we try to force the blessings to come into our lives, if we try to do it all alone, if we pretend we are alright and if we deny our need for God, we are willingly jumping into the deep waters, willingly drowning just for the sake of getting to that water.

God invites us into a deep relationship with Him. In this relationship we can be real and open without any fear of judgement or disappointment. He invites us to look up to Him first and to trust Him that He will let the water come down in just the right time and in the right form, that will not be harmful but will bring us life in all its fullness.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

When Following Christ Becomes Hard| By Tori Savoy

Christianity has been a part of my life since I accepted Christ into my heart at the age of five. Yet, sometimes being a Christian is still difficult for me.

From the outside looking in, it may appear I have it all together and that I am happy. Yes, I have unspeakable joy my Savior has given me, but I still have my off days, or sometimes months.  

Sometimes I catch myself going through dry spells where I am not as devout to spending time with God as I would like to. I will begin to compare myself to other Christians around me and feel as if I am not as good at this “Christian thing” as I have led myself to believe. My failure consumes my mind and makes me want to run away and never return. However, my faithful and loving Savior always ushers me back in.

I have found since becoming part of a ministry that the enemy likes to attack me all the more in this area and tell me I am not fit to be sharing my testimonies with the world. His attacks make me feel as if I am not a good model of what Christianity is suppose to be.

However, God tells me differently. Christianity is merely a sinner making the choice every day to lay their sins at the feet of Jesus and share His love and forgiveness with the world.

Jesus’ disciples are a prime example that being a follower of Him is not always easy, but that we do not have to be perfect to be transformed and used by Him.

I have often time caught myself embracing my failures like Judas, who betrayed Jesus for worldly treasure. Judas’ regret following the betrayal drove him to the point of taking his own life.

Sometimes, my guilt for not being a “better” Christian causes me to avoid any contact with God.  This results in severe depression for me when all I need to do is bring my failures before a forgiving Savior to start all over – just as the apostle Peter did.

Peter is one of my biggest reminders of God’s faithfulness to use someone imperfect like me. He was one of God’s most devout followers, and yet, He failed God on numerous occasions.

He walked on water with God in the midst of the storm, but began to sink as soon as His doubt set in. Still, He was the only disciple who even tried to step on the water in the middle of the storm.

Despite being warned of God of his upcoming unfaithfulness, Peter still denied having any association to Christ. Although I have never denied my Christianity, I know many times I may sugar coat it or just not mention my Christianity to those around me.

Luckily, we are never too far gone or have made so many mistakes that God cannot shape and mold us to use you and me for His glory.

After Jesus ascended into Heaven following the crucifixion and resurrection, Peter preached to people from all over and won many souls to Christ. He died a martyr for the name of Jesus.

“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 (NIV)

Just because you started off making mistakes does not mean that is where it ends for you. We can let our failures define us or give them to God and let Him define us. We can let our failures become a testimony, or allow them consume us to the point of spiritual death.

God never asked for perfection, but that we continue to follow him. Yes, following Him will be hard, and we will have to pick up our cross daily. However, He can turn our mess into a great message.

Today, I challenge you to be open with God about your shortcomings so he can make something beautiful with them. Do not try to outrun a Savior that is standing there for you with arms wide open.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

Being Still in the Midst of Anxiety| By Jasmine Beard

Heart pounding, thoughts going a mile a minute, scared, terrified for no apparent reason.

I was 18 when I had my last major panic attack. I was leaving college and was headed on my way home when I was hit with sheer panic and confusion. It may have been 8 years ago, but I still remember my thoughts directly after the incident. I thought:

“what’s wrong with me?”

“What is this?”

“Will it happen again?”

“What if something really bad happens when/if it happens again?”

If you cannot tell, I was a bit of a worrier at that age, and if I am not careful, I can still go into a cycle of worrying, fear and eventual panic attacks. I like order, plans, and control, but life is simply not predictable.

Honestly, anxiety makes sense in our world because of the sheer pressure we put on ourselves and on other people. My days are filled with ever ending lists, juggling jobs, ministry, bills, starting a non-profit organization, trying to maintain a normal social life for a 20-something  year-old woman, and much much more, but I will spare you.

On top of all of our ever growing to-do lists, throw in unplanned life happenings, and it can turn some of us into the biggest worrywarts and anxiety-ridden folks. I cannot tell you the amount of acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and relatives I know who battle anxiety on a regular if not on a daily basis.

One day recently in the midst of my ever growing lists and unforeseen situations, I heard the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart for a slower pace and for a season of rest.

If you are anything like me, you cringe when you hear that word. I cringe not because I do not want to rest (because trust me, I really do, like really.) But my question was, how?!

How was I supposed to rest when my world was spinning? That’s when Psalms 46:10 began to ring in my ear, it says:

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalms 46:10 (ESV)

I have always loved this passage of scripture, but up until recently, I have never dug deep into the meaning of this.

Most of us have heard this scripture before. Maybe when you read it you picture yourself waiting quietly and expectantly waiting for a whisper from Heaven. Although that is not a bad thing, when we dig deeper into this scripture we learn that the Hebrew root of be still is not “to be quiet”, but rather “to let go”.

This may sound crazy if you are a planner, a doer, and maybe even a worrier like me. Even with knowing scriptures like “who has ever added a day to their life by worrying? (Matthew 6:27)”, I still find that worry can be my initial reaction instead of faith.

Maybe you feel like that today. You worry about the big stuff and even the little things that maybe do not matter as much. I want to encourage you to let go of your anxieties and worries and place them into the hands of your Heavenly Father.

It is all little stuff to Him and fails in comparison to how BIG our God is.

So let’s position in our hearts to be still and to know…..

To know that God is making a way for that light bill to be payed.

To know God is making a way for your baby to be healed.

To know God is making a way for you to get that raise at work.

To know that God is making a way for YOU.

He is making a way that allows you to let go of every anxiety, worry, and pain, and for you to trust Him at His word that “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Remember that God is walking through every step of life with you holding your hand, longing to carry your burdens and guide your every step. Let go of the pressure you place on yourself. You are not called to carry the weight of your burdens one little bit. Just let go and know that God is trustworthy and faithful to work all of our anxieties out all on His own if we just trust Him.

“Many put their hope in chariots, others in horses, but we place our trust in the name of the Eternal One, our True God.” Psalms 20:7 (Voice)

Love Without Boundaries| By Gabby Jones

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37‭-‬39

Many of my friends tell me, “I love the way you love!”

Honestly, if they were to tell me that years ago, I would not know what they were talking about. I do take this as a compliment and give all thanks to God for opening up my heart to love, but it has not always been this easy…

When I was 7-years old, my mom and dad went through a rough patch in their marriage and ended up getting a divorce. Even though I was really young, that was the beginning of my world war with love. For almost ten years, I looked at love as if it were my enemy and not worth dealing with because I saw how conditional it was with my parents. I tried to dodge love in relationships or look for it in the wrong places when I thought I knew what it was. It was not until Jesus wrecked my heart that I knew what true love was.

Growing up in church, I was always taught about the obedience side of Christianity, and rarely did I hear the love and mercy side of it. I only read my Bible because I HAD to; I only went to church because I HAD to; I only prayed because I HAD to. I did not enjoy it most of the time, and I did not love it.

The night I gave my heart to Christ, I was not fully expecting to surrender my entire life. I thought I would be a Christian around similar people and be “myself” around my other friends, but I was quite wrong.

That night, they showed a clip of Christ dying on the cross and stated, “Jesus died for your sins and because He fully loves you and your heart, no matter where it is.”

I was expecting them to say He died so we would love Him and obey Him, not because He LOVED US (1 John 4:19).

For many years after that night, I began to really open myself up to loving others, but only at a cost. That cost was: I will love you with the love of Christ, but what can you do for me? I was in the right place with the wrong mindset. We don’t love others because they love us or can do something for us. We love DESPITE what others may feel or do for us. That means loving your sister who despises your very existence; loving your fellow church goers even when they judge your every move; loving your disabled neighbor who cannot give you anything. Love is not easy, but it is worth it.

I am 24 years old, but it was not until I was 22 when I really began to love hard and without restraints.

Also, just because you love someone, it does not mean you have to agree with everything they do or say. That is not the love of Christ and that is not reality.

God has taught me to love in truth and love like I have never been hurt. However, it is hard, and I would not recommend that you do it in your own strength.

There have been times where I was hurt by guys, my family, or friends, and I turned my back on those that I loved. I have pushed away friends that have taken my love for granted or who did not reciprocate like I wanted them to do. I have never loved perfectly, but I have strived to love like Jesus every single day. When you begin to love without fear, boundaries, and judgement, God will open your eyes and heart to a new world. Nothing will be brighter or greener on the other side. However, you will see a world who is hungry for the love of Christ but does not know where to go to fulfill it.

Let us step out and love others with courage, truth, and Christ in us. Start with your closest friends and family and watch how Jesus begins to take their heart of stone and make it into a heart of Flesh. (Ezekiel 11:19)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” John 13:34 (NIV)