Scripture Reading: Courage

Courage is faith in action. We are called to step out in faith, regardless of opposition. Please join me for August Scripture Reading: Courage.

scripture reading courage
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I need courage. I’m terrified at failing at this blog. Deep down, I wonder if I’m tough enough to handle all the crazy curveballs parenthood throws. Did I ever mention that my marriage to Dan is actually my second marriage? Yup, my first marriage failed after he left me for another woman. I get sick to my stomach if I entertain the possibility of this one ever failing. Here is another big secret – I’m in the market for new mom tribe, but too scared to actually go out and make friends. Right now, my husband is unemployed and I don’t work. God has promised us a job and we are trusting in him to provide. I need courage.

Don’t we all need a little courage? We all have things that we either too scared to set out and do or situations that leave us cowered in a corner. We need courage. Well, we’re blessed because Christ provides it. The bible is full of examples of courage.

Joshua & Caleb

One of my favorite stories about courage in the bible is about Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve spies sent to scout the promise land. Here we find the people of Israel, they’ve been led out of Egypt and finally they found themselves at the threshold of their new home. The spies came back with a report and proof of plentifulness of the land. “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is the fruit.” There was just one catch. The current inhabitants were formidable and giant. “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so were in their sight.”

That was all the people of Israel needed to hear. They immediately became despondent and began to whine and complain. After all they had suffered they were overwhelmed by the thought of having another obstacle in front of them. Even though God had promised to give them the land and victory, the Israelites began to rebel. Only Joshua and Caleb remained faithful – and God was watching.

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors.

God ordered that all the non-believers over the age of twenty to remain in the wilderness. Those over twenty, along with Joshua and Caleb were permitted to enter. The disobedience of the Israelites cost them their promised land.

Choose Courage

I like to think of courage as the physical manifestation of faith. In other words, courage is faith in action. Throughout scripture God encourages us to “fear not” and ” be courageous.” He tells us “do not be discouraged.” Courage is how we obey those commands. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is feeling fear and doing it anyway.

Faith is a choice. We choose to either take God at his word or disbelieve him. God never lies. So when he says he will not leave or forsake us, we can count on that. If he promises a victory, he will ensure a win. When he promises to provide, we won’t go hungry.

Peter and John

After the death of Christ, the apostles continued performing miracles in the name of Jesus. John and Peter are subsequently arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, the very council of holy men responsible for crucifying Christ. First they are interrogated. Then the Sanhedrin forbade them from healing in the name of Jesus Christ. In holy courage, Peter and John stand up against the council and stand in faith refusing to stop. The Sanhedrin, faced with the healed man and a growing crowd of support for Peter and John, agree to release the apostles. As a Christian, you can expect to be told to stay silent or reject the teachings of Christ.

Of all heroes in scripture, I find Paul the most inspiring. Paul faced numerous threats of imprisonment (Acts 20:23, 21:11) and death (Acts 20:3, 23:12-14) and refused to yield. In fact, Paul wrote about half the New Testament imprisoned, surrounded by a sewer. During his imprisonment he even dared to evangelize to his captors (Acts 23:1-10, 24:21-26, 26:32, 28:30-31). Regardless of circumstances, he reminds us we are “more than conquerors.” This kind of steadfast courage is not generated by the flesh, but rather manifested by the Holy Spirit.

Pray everyday for God to bless you with holy courage.

Courage & Conviction

Don’t think that persecution was only in the time of Christ. Christians today are facing immense opposition. The world (society at large) will always try to promote and normalize sin. Christians should not only remain obedient to God’s word, but to continue to speak light into the world. However, this is both unwelcome and unpopular. Christians can expect to ridiculed, humiliated, ostracized, and mocked for our beliefs. In these moments, we will have to find holy courage to remain convicted. Jesus told us that most of the world is fleshly and on a path to destruction. Doing the right thing is a lonely road. Most of the world, won’t agree with you.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

When we endure humiliation or persecution for His sake, we should remember that we have the great reward of heaven. Earthly persecution is temporary.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:10

Scripture Reading: Courage

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Scripture Reading – Faith

Cataclysmic events can shake our faith. But don’t stay in doubt too long. Pray this month long scripture reading – Faith and watch your faith grow.

Scripture Reading - Faith
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Hello, friend. I’m glad you’re here. Before we begin, let me pray over you. I pray that the Holy Spirit blesses you with the spiritual gift of wisdom – that what you’re about to read increases your faith and trust in the Lord. If you are struggling with faith today, I pray that he breaks the spiritual stronghold of doubt. Amen.

This has been a huge area of testing recently in my life. It’s easy to feel full of faith until something knocks the wind out of you. So since I’m also being stretched in this area, I thought I’d share with you how God is guiding my heart.

What is Faith

What exactly is faith? Paul explains in his letter to the Hebrews, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for – the conviction of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)” THE ASSURANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR.

Hope is the happy anticipation of good. Therefore, faith is the assurance of good, but in particular – when it is not seen. It is the conviction, the belief, that regardless of the current appearance or evidence, good is coming. To me, faith is built upon two pillars – hope and trust. You can’t have one without the other. The combination equates to faith.

Faith After Disappointment

“But what if I’ve been disappointed? I had faith and was disappointed!” Maybe you had a prayer you didn’t feel was answered or a situation that didn’t change. I know the feeling. In fact, over the last few months, I’ve struggled with this. In fact, today I experienced another very big disappointment…again! It’s very hard to get back to trusting God. But this is where you have to dig deep in TRUTH instead of fickle emotions.

If you feel stuck in disappointment, I encourage you to read my post How to Handle Disappointment in God.

How Do We Strengthen Our Faith

Abide in Christ

I had often heard pastors and priests talk about “abiding in Christ.” For years, I thought it meant to surround myself in the warm, basking love of our savior. Almost like a warm blanket, I was to wrap myself up in him and his presence. But that isn’t what the word abide means.

The word abide actually means to “obey – to follow, to heed, conform to, consent to, acquiesce, pay attention to, agree to.” This takes on an entirely different meaning. To abide is a command of obedience. More directly, it means yielding our will to His.

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?

Luke 6:46

Don’t misunderstand this as legalism, which is putting law above the gospel and reducing it down to rigid moral codes. Rather, our obedience is an act of love (John 14:15) and allows us to be malleable to God’s great plan for us. We shouldn’t expect full blessing in exchange for partial obedience.

Ask

If there is one valuable lesson I’ve learned as an adult Christian, it’s that I am incapable of anything in my own flesh. Trying to do things on our own – including following Christ, is all but impossible in our own humanness. Even with our best intentions, we are riddled with imperfections and shortcomings. That’s why it’s important that we ask God for help – including help with trust and the gift of faith.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

Ask God to increase your faith. You have not, because you ask not. Ask! And be bold!

Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you: for everyone that asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

Start Small

While I would love for you to take a grandiose, blind, leap of faith, I know how hard it is to be afraid of doing so. After all, if you could do that, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. So if you have to, start small. Just take the first step in faith – believe He hears you! Then believe He cares about you. Next, believe that he is good. Keep taking those baby steps towards believing! Over time, with prayer and scripture, your faith will mature.

scripture reading faith

Remember God’s Promises

God has given us the greatest spiritual food for faith – His word. His word is full of promises for when we are struggling with faith. Clutch to them like a life raft! Hold on to them and don’t let them go. Write them on sticky notes and put them on your fridge if you have to, but keep God’s promises in front of you! Remind yourself daily, that God’s ultimate plan won’t disappoint. He has something better for you.

Pray scripture aloud. I found this to be a powerful tool to increase faith and ward off the enemy. As Paul writes to the Romans, “so faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Hearing the living word of God increases faith.

Hebrews 11:6

Remember There is a Battle Going On

It’s easy to forget that there is a real life battle going on for your soul. We have an adversary. Scripture calls him “the accuser,” “a deceiver,” and a “murderer.” The very introduction of Satan as the serpent has him causing Adam and Eve to doubt God and his command. Jesus himself called Satan the “father of lies” (John 8:44).

When he lies, he speaks according to his nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44

Renounce doubt! Doubt is a tool of the enemy. More to the point, doubt is the enemy of faith. Satan will tempt you by planting seeds of doubt, but you decide if you water it, root it, nurture it, and tend to it. Doubt must be dealt with like a weed. As soon as you see it popping up, yank it out by the root. Don’t allow it to grow in you.

Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which was sown in them.

Romans 10:17

Simply put, Satan hates faith, which is produced by the word of God. The good news is this – Satan will not win.

Scripture Reading – Faith

  1. Mark 11:22-24
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:5
  3. Matthew 21:22
  4. Luke 1:37
  5. 1 Corinthians 16:13
  6. Romans 5:1-2
  7. Psalm 119:30
  8. Romans 1:17
  9. James 1:5-6
  10. Hebrews 11:1
  11. Psalm 46:10
  12. John 8:24
  13. John 7:38
  14. Romans 10:17
  15. Mark 5:36
  16. 1 John 5:5
  17. Romans 10:9
  18. 2 Corinthians 5:7
  19. Hebrews 11:6
  20. Psalm 29:11
  21. Psalm 16:8
  22. Galatians 2:16
  23. Romans 8:24
  24. Hebrews 10:39
  25. 2 Corinthians 4:18
  26. Hebrews 3:6
  27. Ephesians 2:8-9
  28. Hebrews 11:7
  29. Hebrews 11:27
  30. Ephesians 3:16-17

In closing

Thank you for joining me today. If you’ve missed previous scripture readings, I encourage you to read them here:

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Scripture Reading: When to Be Quiet

Not everything requires our comment or opinion. Let’s take a look at how the bible instructs us. Please join me for May’s scripture reading: When to be quiet.

scripture reading when to stay quiet

I have a major problem keeping my mouth shut. My mouth has placed me in trouble more times than I care to admit.

I overstep boundaries. I give my opinion where none is needed. I’ve been sanctimonious, arrogant, and rebellious. Cantankerous, venomous words have escaped my lips. I have a problem keeping my mouth shut. The truth is, most people struggle with this. We tend to think too highly of our own opinions.

This month, we’re going to take a look at scripture to guide us when to speak and when to bite our tongue.

Scripture Reading: When to be quiet

Never Quiet the Gospel

First, let’s take a moment and look at when the bible commands us to speak up. As Christians, we are called to bring darkness into light by spreading the Gospel.

To Defend Our Faith

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” – 1 Peter 3:15-16

To Proclaim the Gospel

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” – Romans 1:16

To Lovingly Correct Other Christians

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” – Galatians 6:1 

To Repair a Hurt or Disagreement

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. -Matthew 18:15

For Praise & Thanksgiving

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.” – Hebrews 13:15

To Expose Darkness Including Apostasy

“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;” – Ephesians 5:8

To Confess

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” – Romans 10:9

The bible

How To Speak Up

When we are instructed to speak up, it should always be with love. This includes any admonishment. Once corrected, we should be quick to extend the mercy of God.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Ephesians 4:!5

Scripture Reading: When to Stay Quiet

Thank you for joining me this month for Scripture Reading: When to Be Quiet. I know correction isn’t always easy to hear, but it’s important in our walk with Christ. Please and take a moment and read some of my other Scripture Readings like Depression & Grief.In the comments below, I’d love to hear how I can pray for you.

April Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief

Overcome depression, sorrow, and grief with these powerful scriptures. Speak truth into your life with the Holy living word of God. Join me for April Scripture Reading: Depression and Grief

SCRIPTURE READING: depression and grief

A Season of Sadness

I live with depression. I know well the feeling of complete hopelessness. Depression and grief has a way of stopping time. The moment can feel endless. You may find it hard to believe that situations or feelings will ever change or improve. I promise you friend, it will. It’s a season – and seasons don’t last. Read what the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) says:

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
            A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;
            A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;
            A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
            A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
            A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
            A time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate;
            A time for war and a time for peace.

Depression, sorrow, grief is for an appointed time. We have seasons of abundance and seasons of loss. I love what the Psalmist says: “Weeping may endure the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) The good news is this: this season of your life is temporary. One day, it won’t hurt like this. One day this will be over. God will bring you out of the pit (Psalm 103:4).

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A Time to Cry

When calamity strikes, it is our nature to wonder why. We want answers, no – we demand them. Our humanness wants explanations in order to process loss. But sometimes there are no answers. There are no reasons, at least not earthly ones.

In times like these, we must remember that all things that happen in our lives are designed to draw us closer to Him. And our trials? What about our hurt, pain and suffering? Yes, that too. He wants us to fervently seek Him. Secondly, our weakness, our tears, our hardships all exist to magnify His glory. In order to be our Savior, we must first need saving. See what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians:

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10

Not convinced? Read what the Psalmist writes in 50:15:

“Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”

Simply put, God uses our pain to show non-believers how He saves.

Death

Maybe you are struggling with a loved one who has passed on. I encourage you to comfort yourself with the living word of God. He has promised that we will be reunited with those we love. We will see them again. Therefore, death is not the end.

I have learned that grief comes in waves. Like the ebb and flow of an ocean, grief subsides allowing you to catch your breath for a moment, then it seems to overcome you again all at once. One minute you think you’re doing better. Then a reminder or a memory will surface and the thought of having to live the rest of your life without them seems unbearable.

Perhaps it is not the physical death of a person you are grieving, but the death of something else. Your dream, health, a job, a friendship, a marriage. Maybe you are so overcome by disappointment you can’t see a happy future. There is one. He has promised it.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

despair
Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

Battling Feelings of Grief

Remember Who God Is

Compassionate

I count at least 20 times in scripture where God and Jesus are described as compassionate. Paul writes in Hebrews, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Jesus understands our suffering. He empathizes with us. He is compassionate towards our troubles.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

Psalm 145:8-9

Unchanging

The character of God is unchanging. “I am the Lord. I change not.” (Malachi 3:6). Everything is subject to change except for God. Read that again. God does not change. Therefore neither do His promises. I love an easily overlooked verse in Psalm 11. “When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v. 3). In other words, when the floor beneath you gives way, what should we do? The answer can be found in the next verse. “The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord sits on his throne in Heaven.” This declaration reminds us: when all that is good falls apart, God is still in control. He is still on his throne. He is not shaken by our troubles. God does not change.

Put Your Hope In God

The Psalms are a wonderful comfort in times of trouble. The Psalms demonstrate the cry of someone in need of help and refuge. They echo our troubled hearts. They also model how we should pray (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication). But Psalm 42 also describes what we should do when we are sorrowful and disturbed.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5

The Psalmist tells us to put our hope in the Lord. Hope is the happy anticipation of good. It is the belief that God is a good God and He has good things in store for us (Jer 29:11) . We get hope by praising God in the midst of our sorrow and by comforting ourselves with His promises.

praying over him

Give Up Your Ashes

One of my favorite verses in the bible is Isaiah 61:3. It is the messianic prophesy of why Christ came and died for us. This lone scripture has brought me so much peace when I’ve been overcome with depression and grief. Here is the truth:

to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” “Then people will call them “Oaks of Righteousness”, “The Planting of the LORD”, in order to display his splendor.

Isaiah 61:3

Beauty instead of ashes. Ashes represent what is left over after something has burned away. The leftovers. The broken pieces. But here is the rub. An exchange has to take place. Note that scripture says, “instead of.” Some translations say “for.” You must give your ashes to God. Give Him the brokenness and remains. Give Him the ashes and He’ll give you restoration.

Remain Thankful

Another way to pull ourselves out of sadness is to try and get the focus off ourselves and on our creator. You can do this by praising God through thanksgiving. It is hard to be downtrodden when you are remembering all the good God has already done for you. This is why Paul says to “set your mind on the higher things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief

Thank you for joining me for April Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief. In the comments below, I’d love to hear how I can pray for you. In case you missed it, see also March Scripture Reading: Fear & Anxiety.

March Scripture Reading: Anxiety & Fear

Anxiety and fear are two emotions constantly clawing their way into our minds. Battle those negative feelings with March Scripture Reading: Anxiety & Fear

March scripture reading

Spiritual Amnesia

There is something unique about fear, anxiety, and worry. It creates in us spiritual amnesia. We forget about all the times God has rescued us in the past. We fail to remember that God has worked out our problems again and again. Fear creates spiritual amnesia. In other words, we forget how good God really is! But don’t think you’re alone. The apostles went through it too.

Jesus Calms The Storm

I love the book Fearless by Max Lucado. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. The first chapter uses a bible story we all know very well – Jesus calming the storm. The story can be found in three of the four gospels. Each one says Jesus is asleep in the boat and stays asleep even as a great storm arises. Why is he asleep? Because He’s in control of it! Our “storms” don’t scare Him. Furthermore, there is something unique in the gospel of Mark. As waves crash into the boat, the apostles cry out in fear.

“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

As Lucado points out, these men have been traveling with Jesus for years. By this time, they have seen Him cast out demons and heal the blind. He has raised Lazarus from the dead and fed a crowd of 5,000 with just a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. And yet, as soon as they were fearful, the spiritual amnesia sets in. It’s like they totally forget that He is Lord. They don’t ask Him to calm the storm. Instead, they question his character. “Don’t you care if we drown?” And don’t we do the same? When fear overtakes us, don’t we forget that He is Lord and in control of it all?

Our Small Prayers

The truth is, we limit God with our prayers. Allow me to share something deeply personal. My husband and I are currently going through a season of anxiety and fear. In August, my husband will be losing his job. His employer is closing down his office. Currently, we are scrambling to find an engineering job, but in particular one that will not uproot us from my hometown.

So I began praying, asking God to send us something here that would match his salary. After a few weeks of praying, God revealed truth to me. – one that I had forgotten. I was limiting God by my prayer. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask God for what we specifically want, but we limit God when we do so.

You Do Not Have, Because You Do Not Ask

Read what the apostle Paul writes :

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Boldly! Some translations say “confidently.” To be confident means with no doubt. That is the first point I want to make – that we can confidently go directly to God and ask for help and be assured that He will indeed help us.

But wait, it gets better. One of my favorite verses in the bible is Ephesians 3:20. This verse is why I say we limit God with our prayer. Ephesians 3:20 is why we should pray “Your will be done, Lord.” Here is the truth: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”

Ephesians 3:20

That’s right. God can do more for you than you can possibly imagine. Even better, He wants to! And if you don’t believe me, read John 10:10: A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

This doesn’t just mean in heaven. Eternity has already started, my friend. His will is the best for you! It’s bigger and better than you can imagine. When you get scared or anxious, don’t run away. Instead, run to God and listen to Him comfort you in these scriptures.

Scripture Reading Anxiety & Fear

This month, I’d love for you to join me in scripture reading, anxiety and fear. I pray these verses bring your peace and remember that God loves you, He is in control and wants the best for you.

Anxiety & Fear

Colossians 3:15
Mark 5:36
1 Peter 3:14
Deuteronomy 3:22
Zephaniah 3:17
Psalm 34:7
Isaiah 35:4
Psalm 55:22
Proverbs 12:25
1 Peter 5:6-8
Psalm 56:3
Romans 8:38-39
Revelation 1:17
Exodus 14:14
Psalm 118:6Isaiah 41:10
Philippians 4:6-7
Isaiah 35:4
Psalm 34:4
Proverbs 3:5-6
Luke 12:22
John 14:1
Joshua 1:9
2 Timothy 1:7
Isaiah 41:10
John 14:1
Psalm 94:19
Jeremiah 17:7-8
Matthew 11:28-30
John 14:27
Psalm 23

In the comment section below, please tell me how I can pray for you in this season of anxiety & fear and I’ll add you to my prayer list.

Join me next month for April’s Scripture Reading: Grief and Depression. Also, if you missed it, see also February’s Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness

February Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness

Love and kindness, go hand-in-hand. Love should be the primary quality of a Christian. Connect with God and other people through my February Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness

Love is a remarkable thing. The world is moved by love. Love is the motivator that causes a man to fight in combat for his country or a woman to give up her life for her child. Love caused God to become a man and lay his life down for our salvation. Today, we are going to talk about love & kindness.

February Scripture Reading

What Love Is

Scripture, in the Greek text, has three words to describe love. Eros, phileo, and agape (pronounced ah-ga-pay). Eros is used to describe romantic love. Phileo is friendly or brotherly love. While agape is the great love – the unconditional love. Agape is the kind of love God has for his children and the kind of love we are called to show to one another. Why does Christ command us to love? Because he knows people can be “unlovable,” at least according to the world’s standards. Scripture touches on it so much, because God knew it would be a daily struggle.

Kindness is just an extension of love. I like to think of kindness as “love in action.” Kindness is patience, mercy, and tenderness. When we choose to be kind, we are willing to endure things and people in patience. We choose to extend mercy, even when it is undeserved. Furthermore, kindness means choosing to be tender instead of callous.

February Scripture Reading

God’s Call to Love

Don’t be mistaken. Love isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice. It’s easy to love someone who loves you back. We all love those who are good to us. That is not what God means in his commandment. The real measure of love is when there is little or no motivation to do so. Some people are hard to love. Then there will be times in life when someone you love hurts you and you will be tempted to stop loving them. Above all, we are called as Christians to emulate God’s unstoppable love (Rom 8:38-39).

Praying woman

You see, God loves us even at our worst- even when we are bearing our teeth, gnashing at everything around us. When we are at rock bottom, He loves us. When we have failed over and over again, He loves us. He is kind to us (patient, merciful and tender).

So how do we love like Christ? First, we must understand we are incapable of perfect, unconditional love. To be clear, we are incapable in our own flesh. We do it, by calling upon the Holy Spirit and thereby abiding in the love of Christ. Therefore, the more time we spend in the presence of Christ, the greater the works of Christ through us.

Romans 5:8

Join me this February, to discover what to Lord has to say to us about Love and Kindness.

February Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness

  1. John 3:16
  2. Revelation 3:19
  3. Hebrews 13:1-2
  4. Matthew 5:44
  5. Proverbs 10:12
  6. 1 Corinthians 10:24
  7. Proverbs 3:3-4
  8. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
  9. 1 Corinthians 16:14
  10. Ephesians 4:2
  11. 1 John 4:19
  12. 1 Corinthians 2:9
  13. Isaiah 43:4
  14. John 15:13
  15. 1 John 4:20
  16. 1 Corinthians 13:7
  17. 1 John 4:18
  18. 1 John 4:8
  19. 1 Peter 3:10-11
  20. 1 John 2:15
  21. 1 Corinthians 13:8
  22. John 14:23
  23. John 13:35
  24. Galatians 5:13
  25. Romans 8:38-39
  26. 2 Corinthians 13:11
  27. 1 Corinthians 13:6
  28. 2 Timothy 1:7

The post, February Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Join me in March for Anxiety & Fear scripture reading. Looking for more prayer devotionals? Learn more in the post She Does Him Good

January Scripture Reading: Identity in Christ

Are you struggling with self-esteem and confidence? Maybe you are disappointed in yourself or struggling to forgive yourself. In those moments, it helps to remember who God says you are. This year, I’ll be offering a monthly scripture reading plan. Join me for the January Scripture Reading Plan: Identity In Christ

Identity in Christ

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Today, I’m sharing something close to my heart – our identity in Christ. I wish I could say that 2018 had been kind to me, but honestly it was a hard year. First, I had a complicated pregnancy, followed by a hard birth and my son’s club foot treatments. Secondly, I’ve had severe postpartum depression. Lastly, I experienced a toxic friendship which ultimately left me without friends or my beloved mom’s support group.

Harsh words were exchanged and sadly, the situation made me question every aspect of my personality, my qualities, and my identity. In those moments, we can believe the enemy’s lies or we can choose to remember our identity in Christ.

Losing Our Identity

It is very easy to get caught up in what the world thinks about you. Our image and reputation becomes important to us starting as children. It’s formed by assumptions, accusations, criticism, popularity, and rejection. Soon, it becomes our inner voice and how we see ourselves. It’s the ground work for insecurity, negative self-talk, and low self-esteem.

Maybe a parent or teacher didn’t think much of us. Those words have a way of haunting us even years afterwards. But here is the good news. Our non-Christian identity is not our true identity.

The world is quick to label us. For example, the world says I’m a woman. I’m a minority. I’m middle class. The world has called me a “know-it-all,” fat, an overachiever, and condescending. According to the world, I’m not normal because I have bi-polar. The world will say I don’t measure up and that I’m unworthy of love and acceptance. Maybe you have heard similar things. But your identity in Christ is far from what the world thinks.

God’s Unstoppable Love For Us

The beauty about our identity in Christ is that it is not dependent upon our accomplishments or failures. The love and acceptance we have in Christ is not dependent upon us or our deeds. It is freely given by a loving and perfect God.

It’s hard to remember, especially when we don’t have the love of the world. After all, if people can’t love us as we are, how can a perfect God? He sees everything I do. He watches me when I’m haughty and self-righteous. He knows when my tongue goes from surly to downright venomous.

Thankfully, God does not love as people love. His love is unconditional. He loves us even when fail to measure up. Mankind revokes grace and mercy when we repeatedly fail. But His grace is new every day (Lam 3:22-23).

Certainly, I have asked if God truly loves me at my worst. Isn’t that what we all want to know? How much does God love us and does He love us when we fail at everything we touch? When Paul asks, “can anything separate us from the love of Christ,” haven’t we all wondered that?

The apostle Paul professes in Romans 8:38-39 (NLT):

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Enemy’s Voice

People are going to say mean, hate-filled things to us and over us. We will never be able to stop people from doing that, but the enemy will try use it against us. He knows how insecure we can be and therefore, he will remind us of every fault, mistake and flaw to keep us trapped in a web of self-loathing. He wants us paralyzed, convinced we are unloved.

It’s almost embarrassing to say, but I was there. Over the last several months those words haunted me every day. I truly felt hated – like I was the worst person alive and I just wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. That’s just what the devil is hoping for too.

The enemy wants to steal your joy, kill your confidence and destroy your spirit. He wants you broken, confused, defeated, desperate and exhausted. Christ however, wants to give you goodness and give it in abundance. If you doubt that for one second, read John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the fullest.

God has good plans for us (Jer 29:11). To clarify, this does not mean we never experience hardships or cruelty from others. It means those things no longer have power over us.

Remember this – no matter what someone calls you, no matter what someone says you are – God says different!

Who God Says You Are

Finding these scriptures was a fun exercise, because honestly, I could have done this for a year! The more I read, the more excited I get.

God says you are:

  • Anointed (1 John 2:27)
  • His child (1 John 3:1-2)
  • Accepted (Rm 15:7)
  • Included (Eph 1:13)
  • Forgiven (1 John 1:9)
  • Justified (Rm 3:24)
  • Adopted (Eph 1:5)
  • Blessed when you come and go (Deut 28:6)
  • An oak of righteousness (Is 61:3)
  • Marked with His Seal (Eph 1:13)
  • Chosen (1 Pet 2:9)
  • Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13)
  • Worth dying for (Rm 5:8)
  • A conqueror (Rm 8:37)
  • A soldier in the army of Christ (2 Tim 2:3-4)
  • Ordained and Sanctified (Jeremiah1:5)
  • A citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20)
  • Appointed (John 15:16)
  • His heir (Eph 1:11)
  • Free (Heb 9:15)
  • A priest (or Priestess) (1 Pet 2:5)
  • Redeemed (Is 44:22 / Ps 111:9)
  • Precious (Is 43:4)
  • A Saint (Eph 2:19)
  • An Ambassador (2 Cor 5:18-30
  • Without blemish (Col 1:22)
  • A temple of the Holy Spirit (1 For 6:19-20)
  • Reconciled (Eph 2:8-9)

Feel better? Me too.

Though my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will take me in. (Psalm 27:10)

The post January Scripture Reading: Identity in Christ first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Join me in February for Love and Kindness Scripture Reading. In the meantime, learn more about making wellness a priority in the post 30 Day Wellness Challenge