The Words Your Child Really Needs to Hear

“You’re the best Mom ever!” She proclaims, as she grins and squeezes me with her small arms, and my mama heart expands to near bursting.

“Well, you’re the best daughter ever!” I smile back down at her.

And it’s true. She may be my only daughter at this time, but she is also the best.

It may sound like a simple, sweet exchange between mother and daughter, come and gone in just a few breaths. But I know better. I know these words are building a foundation in her, one sweet word at a time.

I say all the words that need telling because I know she needs to hear those words; I know she needs me to tell them to her.  I know because I need those words, too.

I need the “I love you”s, and the “you’re the best”s, and the “you’re the beautifulest mom ever”s, and the “I missed you”s. If I, a grown woman, need all the words that need telling, how much more does a child need to hear these same words?

So much more. So much more.

They are the words your child really needs to hear.

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So I tell her all the words that need telling – the words about love, the words about like, the words about her character, and the words about her Savior – because she needs to hear all of those important words. She needs to hear them often.

She needs to hear them often.

She may be little now, but soon enough she’ll be heading into her senior year of high school just like her oldest brother. And then she’ll leave for college (Lord-willing), and who will tell her all the words that she needs to hear then?

When she leaves the safety of our home to venture out on her own, she’ll find plenty of messages about how she’s not enough, how she’s no good, how she’s less than.

Those words are enough to crush a person, especially if she lacks a secure foundation.

The Words Your Child Really Needs to Hear

We’ve only a few years, friends, a few short years to speak the words your child really needs to hear.  Only a few years to tell of our love for them.  Only a few years to tell of the Savior’s love, too.

And they need to hear them because love is so central to the Gospel, so important.

That foundation of faith and love (or lack of one) can help determine your child’s life course. Such a foundation is a refuge in life’s storms, a comfort when staring down rejection, a balm when wounded.

The words your child really needs to hear develop a confidence in them that isn’t easily shaken.

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Don’t be shy; don’t hesitate, friend.

Even if the words don’t come naturally to you, tell the words today, the words your child really needs to hear, because we are never guaranteed tomorrow.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut. 11:18-19

Speak words of life to your family today, friend. Make the most of every opportunity.

Tell all the words your child really needs to hear.

Tell Love

and Truth

and Kindness

and Peace.

Don’t wait!

Jen

For When You Just Want to Give Up

It was bound to happen eventually.

I didn’t really have much experience to go on, but it felt like maybe the honeymoon was over, like maybe I just want to give up already.

Like all new ventures in life, blogging was fascinating and exciting at first.

Every page view was cherished, every comment celebrated.

Some days I would check the blog first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.  It’s the truth; I became just a tiny bit obsessed.

Maybe, just maybe, I even made an idol of it, to my shame.

Then somewhere along the line, the new thing stopped being quite so much fun and started to feel more like work, like just another burden to carry.

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Some people may say, it’s just a blog – let it go! But it’s not “just a blog” to me. These words are part of me that I’ve put on display for the world to see.  And there are these nifty little graphs that measure that part of me day by day by day…

And some days they just don’t measure up to what I’d like to see.

Even when they do measure up, no matter how high the bars of the graph reach, there’s this insatiable desire for more.

And the inspiration isn’t always there.

And busy schedules get in the way.

And sometimes…

I just want to give up.

Let’s be honest – it happens to all of us!

When that new baby comes home smelling so sweet, and everyone is exclaiming “how perfect”…

when that new job is so exciting that you just can’t wait to go to work, and people tell you how happy they are to have you there…

when that new ministry that you’ve been planning for and dreaming of finally comes to fruition…

when you make that purchase that you’ve been saving up for and it’s just. so. amazing….

when that mountaintop experience leads you to a faith-high that just can’t be matched…

Inevitably, a valley follows, and you just want to give up.

That perfect baby that slept so well in the hospital cries all night long, night after endless night.

That new job has its own set of challenges.  That new ministry has flaws, too.

That new purchase grows old or outdated.

Thus the mountain gives way to a valley, and those feelings that had us on cloud nine dissipate like mist burned off by the morning sun, so we wish for more.

But friends, our lives are not lived just on the mountain tops.  In fact, those mountain tops most likely add up to a very small part of our faith journey here on Earth.

The truth is that the valleys often naturally follow the mountains, not because anything has changed but because our physiology is built that way.

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Our bodies cannot sustain a constant state of “high,” so we must experience a “low” to bring us back to equilibrium.  Perhaps even more because we were not meant for this imperfect world, so we yearn for something better.

While I know that my faith isn’t meant to be built on feelings, as a woman emotions do come into play!  How often I’ve wished those pesky emotions away even though I know they serve a purpose. :)

So what’s a girl to do when she just gets a case of the blahs and the honeymoon seems to be over?

What’s a girl to do when her daily refrain becomes “I just want to give up”?

She recognizes the valley for what it is – temporary.

She remembers that she is not a citizen of this world.

She blogs/serves/works/mothers anyways because that’s what God led her to do. She loves anyways, she trusts anyways, she clings to His promises anyways, she speaks truth anyways, she leads anyways, and she hopes anyways.

She keeps seeking.

Sometimes she even stumbles and falls, and she’s so ashamed of her weakness.  But He’s right there to help her back up again.

Along the way, she learns a little more of the unfathomable depth of God’s grace.   She grows a little more confident in an overwhelming, unconditional love. She grows a little more confident in His timely provision. She grows a little more confident in the work He’s doing within her.

Because He promised that one day, one glorious day, that work would be complete (Phil. 1:6).

On that day the valleys will cease to exist.

And the mountain top lasts for all eternity.

And we see His face.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Heb. 12:1-3

When we just want to give up, we don’t.

So we wait, like so many others before us,

And we do not lose heart.

Jen :)

How to Overcome Food Fixation

Every evening around 9 p.m. the cravings begin.

I want chocolate. I want Cherry Pepsi. I want All The Things that are not good for my body, especially that late at night.

Looking back, I see how that habit developed. When our children were younger and my husband worked second shift, I would reward myself for getting through the tough evening hours alone with some “me time” in front of the tv.

Of course, I couldn’t leave out a bedtime sweet, or two, also part of the reward.

Thus food became intimately connected to my idea of relaxation.

It’s taken years of the Lord dealing with me in this area of satisfaction and contentment for me to realize that I use food in all of the wrong ways a majority of the time! And to be honest, I’m still learning.

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*Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book Full in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This post also contains affiliate links*

I recently finished reading Full by Asheritah CiuCiu, who writes about my very struggle – to find satisfaction in Christ alone.

This particular book took me three times as long to finish as it should have because at first, I just plain didn’t want to read it.

In fact, I spent the first half of this year in full out rebellion against what the Lord had previously taught me about caring for my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. I ate whatever I wanted. I exercised only when really motivated.

And I picked up and put down Full about ten times over the course of several months.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I decided that I didn’t want to submit to the Lord in the area of healthy eating.

It was just too hard!

Enter Full and Asheritah CiuCiu’s humble yet truth-filled approach to “Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction.”

It’s easy to relate to the author because I am her, the woman who can’t stop putting brownies in her mouth even when she’s full. I’m also the woman who sometimes feels confused about the role of food in my life.

I recognize that food is a gift from our Heavenly Father and that all things are permissible in moderation, but how that plays out in my life isn’t always clear-cut.

Is it okay to eat this chocolate today or not okay?

In fact, often avoiding sugary sweets results in an unhealthy obsession about when I might be able to have them next!

This is precisely the conundrum that Asheritah describes in her book, and she rightly refers to it as “food fixation.”

According to CiuCiu, Full isn’t just for those struggling to honor God with their food choices, but it’s also for those who have an unhealthy obsession with food in general – the crunchy mama who will only eat organic, the woman fighting against gluttony, the one obsessed with body image and every morsel she puts in her mouth.

The author points out that any type of food fixation (whether the fixation is on brownies or wheat grass) leads us into slavery – it’s a form of idolatry that even committed Christians often fail to recognize.

By the time I came across the sentence “Food is not the enemy,” I understood that this was a book I desperately needed.

My battle to overcome in the area of my health and weight led me to a place of extreme control rather than a place of freedom, which explains my six-month rebellion.

The battle to overcome food fixation

Rather than succumbing to food fixation, Asheritah suggests that we learn to find satisfaction in Christ, to take in the Bread of Life and to be full. Her research into food addiction and the Bible itself help us to see that food fixation is, at its core, a spiritual issue rather than a physical one.

As a spiritual issue, we must learn to address the root causes of our food fixation. We must learn how to find fullness and satisfaction in Christ alone, how to meet everyday temptations with spiritual truth.

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The final section of this book, in particular, teaches many practical ways to overcome food fixation:

  • learning to recognize past patterns
  • overcoming temptation through scripture memory and prayer
  • celebrating every little victory

Aside from the first few chapters, this was my favorite section of the book. With these tools and the power of the Spirit, we can break the chains of addiction and find our way to freedom!

If any type of food fixation keeps you in bondage, if you long for food freedom, be sure to pick up a copy of Asheritah CiuCiu’s book Full.

Above all, keep seeking your Heavenly Father and invite Him to release you from the bonds of food fixation once and for all.

He is able!

Jen :)

A Case for Transformed People (and a word about judging)

I’m sure sometime within the last week or so, you’ve read a facebook meme or social media post along the lines of “Don’t judge me.” It’s a relatively popular way to shut down any form of disagreement with any person’s lifestyle choices.

Unfortunately, being a Bible-believing, truth-defending, Christ-follower is no longer popular even in many Christian circles.

Somewhere along the line, some of us Christ-followers have become so conformed to this world that we are afraid and/or unwilling to take a stand on issues that the Bible clearly addresses.

Some believers even go so far as to throw their total support behind worldly ideology, political correctness, tolerance  – whatever you want to call it – and then condemn their fellow believers for being judgmental, close-minded, or intolerant.

They’ve decided that man’s wisdom outweighs God’s Holy Word.

While criticism from the world about our biblically based beliefs is to be expected, criticism from fellow believers often catches us by surprise.

We are not accustomed to being labeled (dare I say “judged”?) by those who should be our support.

How warped is it that Satan has convinced some of us that simply standing on the truth of God’s Word is being judgmental, and is therefore wrong and un-Christian?

Allow me to clarify: the Bible does speak strongly against judging others and becoming self-righteous. We are all familiar with the words of this verse that is usually taken out of context:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1

And of course the following verses in this passage that reference the plank and the speck, and so on.

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However, those who quote the verse above often fail to mention the remainder of that chapter. From verse 13 of this Matthew passage and beyond, much more time is spent addressing the fact that the gate to Heaven is narrow, and not all who call themselves Christians will enter it (v. 21)!

For a chapter that starts off with “Do not judge,” it turns out to be what the world would call pretty judgmental.

Yet only God can rightly see, and therefore judge, the motives of the heart. Therefore, we should not pre-occupy ourselves with the sin of others; rather we should be busy dealing with our own sin.

At the same time, God also calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and to be bold in our witness as transformed people.

How then do we confront in truth and love while avoiding acting like a Pharisee?

How do we uphold God’s Word without incorrectly “judging?”

Unfortunately, so-called Christian extremists (like Westboro Baptist Church) have often given others good reason to cry “foul.” Their hatred toward sinners has given Christian living a bad name.  Furthermore, we often see Christian brothers and sisters actively ridiculing those with differing beliefs on social media, adding to the world’s negative perception.

While I fully support upholding God’s Truth, when we haughtily share truth with a sarcastic turn of phrase, a witty cartoon, or a picture that belittles others, we end up conforming to the world and looking just like it.

How can we then be salt or light to a world that is in dire need of God’s truth?

I believe Satan has seized hold of this shame over others’ behavior. He uses it to confuse believers (as well as the world!) and convince many of us that upholding God’s truth is wrong in and of itself, when the reality is that the fault lies in the method of delivery.

We have only to study Christ’s example to see how he gently revealed truth to people, often with a single phrase or sentence (“Go and sin no more.” Jn. 8:11), and always while caring for their needs, whether physical or spiritual.

Jesus did not skirt sin issues, neither did he humiliate the lost.

And when it comes to believers who are mired in sin, the Bible makes a clear case for confronting fellow Christians in the hopes of restoring them into right relationship, too.

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” Mt. 18:15

We must follow Christ’s example in our efforts to live as transformed people.

When the Bible speaks clearly on issues of right and wrong, we are called to uphold God’s Truth with – and this is the key – both love AND respect.

The key lies in our delivery – a delivery which requires a balance between Truth and Grace, not the absence of either or both. A total-grace perspective leads to conformity, while a total-truth perspective leads to self-righteous bullying .

Is it wrong to bully others into sharing our beliefs?  Yes!

Is it also wrong to be silent on issues that the Bible clearly addresses?  Yes!

Why then have we allowed the world, the Great Deceiver, and even fellow Christians to tell us that it is un-Christian-like to uphold Christian beliefs? Ironic, isn’t it?

 

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My purpose is this: consider carefully how your life and your actions or statements appear to others (especially in regards to social media). Do they see a difference in you?

Are you being transformed by Christ, or are you choosing to conform to the world?  There is no middle ground!

We cannot claim the power of a risen Savior while simultaneously dismissing His written Word, for if His Word is somehow untrue, then He cannot possibly save us!

I recognize the risk in voicing the unpopular Biblical perspective on many current issues, but then Christ wasn’t all that popular with the worldly and falsely religious leaders of his day, either.

You may lose friends.

You may even be judged by the very people who accuse you of “ being too judgmental.”

Have the courage that Paul wrote of:

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…” Phil. 3:7-18

Amen?! :)

If at the moment you find that you’ve been conforming to the world (and haven’t we all at some point or another??), remember that God’s grace is immediate and His power to provoke change in us is immeasurable.

On the other hand, if you are already actively trying to live out a transformed life, take heart. You are not alone!

I encourage you to look to God’s Word and the Word alone to form your opinions and allow the Holy Spirit to transform your thinking.

4 questions to ask before sharing a “truth” statement via social media:

  1. Is your audience one you love and one who loves you in return? In other words, will your message be received in the manner in which it was intended?
  2. Is your message one of God’s truth rather than man’s truth? In other words, do you have contextual biblical support for your message or is it merely your opinion?
  3. Is God leading you to share this truth at this particular time in this particular fashion? In other words, has the prompting come from Him or do you just love your soap box? (ouch – yes, I know – it pains me, too!)
  4. Have you achieved a balance between truth and grace? In other words, how is your method of delivery – gentle or smug?

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Telling the truth in grace and love is such a delicate balance to achieve, but as Christ’s image-bearers, we must work toward that balance!

We have amazing technology and a unique opportunity to show the world what Christ-like love truly is, so let’s allow Christ’s love to shine through us without diminishing the light of His message.

Don’t conform.  Be transformed.

Because of His love,

Jen :)

Sharing with: Salt and Light

Make Your Life Count: How One Ordinary Life Lived Well Can Make a Difference

It’s been just over a week since we first heard the news, a week full of seeing her picture online and knowing that she’s not here on this earth anymore; having perished in a terrible house fire last week, she and most of her family are now in Heaven.

I guess you could say that Mandy Kelly and I were friends, but not close friends. We worked together and encouraged one another in a small group of Christian bloggers, but I never spoke with her in person, never hugged her neck.

Nevertheless, her sudden death has impacted me in unexpected ways.

The day before Mandy’s passing, my church-planting husband and I attended the bi-annual Northeast Indiana Baptist Association meeting, where we heard testimonies of God’s work in our area and received encouragement to keep up the good work “while it is still day.”

“As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5

In context, we see that Jesus is speaking to his disciples, encouraging them.

He knows His time is limited.

He makes the most of every opportunity and encourages His followers to do the same.

The next morning, I went to Ladies Bible Study and told them about an article I had read about John Piper’s now-famous sermon on how to not waste your life. As Piper stands before thousands and thousands of college-aged students, he pleads with them not to chase the American dream, but to live a life that counts!

And it weighed heavy on my heart. “Make your life count.”

Yes, I want my life to count, too.

It was only moments after I returned home that I received the news that our blogging friend Mandy perished in a house fire overnight along with most of her family – only two of their four children survived.

It was shocking.

It still is shocking.

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But Piper wouldn’t have called her death a tragedy – no – because even in her death, Mandy’s witness for the Lord continues to live on.

In the days following, I was overjoyed to read message after message on social media about the impact Mandy had on the people around her. Countless women, young and old, influenced by her passion for the Lord and her compassion for others.

Not only that, but so many mentioned following her blog and listening to her videos.

What an example her life was, but not for her own glory!

Mandy wasn’t famous.

She wasn’t a big name blogger or Bible teacher that would be recognized worldwide.

She was an ordinary wife and a mom and a leader at church and a writer who was faithful in her everyday life.

Because she knew the key – the way to make your life count – lies in those everyday choices to put Christ first.

According to Piper, “You don’t have to know a lot of things in order to make a huge difference for the Lord in the world, but you do need to know a few things that are great and be willing to live for them and die for them. People who make a difference in the world are not people who have mastered a lot of things. They are people who have been mastered by a very few things that are very, very great.”

Mandy was a woman of God who recognized the value in being a fool for Christ, a woman who aimed to “finish well.”

Listen to her own words around minute 12:00.

Yes, Mandy understood the need to keep working “while it is still day.” She wasn’t a perfect woman, none of us are, but she was a woman who was willing to put one thing above all others – the kingdom of God.

She called this Worshipful Living.

I find her ordinary life both inspiring and convicting.

The truth is that we all have a choice when it comes down to how we spend this one life we have.

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:13-14

According to the Bible, we are not guaranteed one moment more on this Earth, friends. So along with Piper and Mandy, I beg you to make your life count!

 

Because whether we realize it or not, tomorrow could be too late.

Make that decision for Christ that you’ve been putting off for so long…

Forgive the person who wounded you so deeply…

Love others well even when it comes at great cost to you…

Be willing to be a fool for Christ…

Don’t wait another moment to tell others that Jesus came to set us all free from sin, to give us new life!

We must finish well. We must do the good work while it is still day. We must live for His glory.

According to Piper, the only alternative is akin to collecting seashells.

Don’t waste your one life.

Make your life count.

All for His glory,

Jen

If you’d like to help support the Kelly family and her two surviving children, you can donate here:

Trinity Baptist Church
2003 Charleston Hwy.
Cayce, SC 29033

You can also donate via their church’s website. In the top right corner, click on the green Give button. Then choose “Kelly Fund” from the drop-down menu.

http://www.tbccayce.com

A bunch of us are gathering today to share what we’ve learned from Mandy’s life and death – what better way to honor her memory than to lift high the name of Jesus?! :)

 


Why Reading Isn’t Enough ~ Study the Bible

As work-in-progress Christians, we have several tools at our disposal to help us grow closer to God and bear more fruit.

The one tool we often fail to use to its full potential is the Bible!

Some of you may be thinking that you use your Bibles daily or even weekly, so why would I say the Bible is under-utilized?

I say the Bible is under-utilized because I’ve experienced that in my own life as a young Christian.

At the age of fourteen, I moved with my family to a third-world country so that my parents could do missionary work. As you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy move for a teenager, especially considering that I lived away from my parents during the school year.

At that age, I often read the Bible because I knew I was supposed to, but I didn’t feel like I was getting much out of it.

Bible reading simply became an item to check off on my to-do list.

However, after the move overseas, though, I really struggled with being separated from my parents and adjusting to a new life in a foreign country. I felt alone and uncertain. In my teenage awkwardness, I lacked confidence in myself and in my faith.

I wrestled with some deep, unanswered questions – like why? Why was God allowing this hardship in my life?

I began to turn to my Bible for comfort and understanding rather than just as a daily chore. My mom would send me verses that spoke to my circumstances, and I would read them over and over again.

Instead of just reading the Word and then walking away from it, I began to actually study the Bible.

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I began to read with questions, meditate on verses that stuck out to me, write notes and look up cross-references. The more time I spent studying, the more I realized the very real power of God’s Word to transform me, to comfort me, to give me wisdom for real life!

During that time of hardship, my faith became real to me because instead of simply believing what others had told me about God and His Word, I discovered those truths for myself.

My new appreciation for God’s Word led to a period of tremendous spiritual growth that formed the foundation of the faith I have today.

When I look back over my life, I see how the times I felt most connected to the Lord were also times when I really dug into His Word.

Likewise, the seasons when I struggled the most in my faith were often marked by a reluctance to study the Bible or perhaps even a busyness that kept me preoccupied with little time to really dig in.

Consider these verses from Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You. (NIV)

When you study the Bible, you don’t just gain knowledge about God’s characters or how to make wise choices. According to this Psalm, studying the Bible actually helps to keep us from sin!

I have to admit, taking time to study the Bible is still a work-in-progress in me – an area that can use constant improvement.

I wonder if you might be able to relate, friend?

Maybe you’re a work-in-progress woman who isn’t getting much from the Bible lately. Maybe you find it hard to understand or just wish that you knew the Bible better. I’ve been there, friend!

Or maybe you’re really struggling in your faith right now, feeling distant from the Lord, and you’re not even trying to study the Bible? I’ve been there, too.

What I can tell you is that the more you invest your time and energy into studying the Word rather than just reading it out of a sense of duty, the more you’ll experience the abundant Christian life that God has planned for you. 

Matthew 4:4 claims that the Word of God gives life itself – it sustains us!

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

That sounds like a good reason to study the Bible!

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So here’s my best advice on how to really study the Bible – treat it like you would any other text that you are going to be studying.

Get serious about it!

  1. Grab a notebook and highlighters. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible, either
  2. Grab tools that can help you understand what you are reading, such as concordances, Bible dictionaries, Hebrew-Greek keyword study Bibles, parallel Bibles, etc. (You can actually find many resources for these tools for FREE online at sites like biblehub and biblegateway.)
  3. Don’t just read a verse and walk away! Ask questions about the background for that verse. Read the surrounding context (verses before and after). Find out the audience that particular book was written to so that you can understand the purpose of the words on the page.
  4. Learn how to do verse-mapping (one of my new favorite methods!) and other methods of bible study until you find one or two that work best for you.

And if you need help doing those things, I highly recommend the Bible Study Methods course!

My friend, Arabah Joy, has created a spectacular course to help people around the world learn to study God’s Word for themselves – it’s called Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days. (Disclosure – this is my affiliate link. Should you choose to purchase through this link, I will receive a commission. Thanks for helping to support the ministry of Being Confident of This!)

This practical, self-paced course comes with a printable workbook and teaching videos to show you exactly how to use the various methods being taught so that those of us who are visual learners or who need a little hand-holding can actually see how the methods work!

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Chirst
You can expect this course to:

  • teach you 7 different Bible study methods
  • streamline the learning process so you don’t spend weeks or months figuring it out
  • give you tools for going deep into God’s word in as little as ten minutes a day (perfect for busy moms!)
  • provide ready-made templates and printables you can choose from
  • show you exactly how to do each method with the daily videos
  • revolutionize your time in God’s word and discover fresh intimacy with God in the process.
  • equip you to nourish yourself with the Scriptures
  • teach you how to develop your spiritual senses
  • help you establish a Bible study habit!

Do you feel like you're not getting much when you read the Bible? Is it hard to understand, or are you not really sure where to start? This Bible study course will teach you how to find a method that works for you. Don't just read it - instead, really study the Bible!  better bible study, christian women, how to study the bible, study God's Word, how to read the Bible, ways to study the bible, spiritual growth, growing in Chirst

If this is your first time here at Being Confident of This, you should know I’m very picky about the resources I recommend to my readers because I value your trust (that’s why you won’t see ads all over this site). However, I’m happy to recommend this course because I know Arabah Joy has spent years refining these methods as a missionary overseas and now a writer at arabahjoy.com. Since I’ve known her for several years, I also know her motives are genuine – to help children of God grow in their faith so that they can live out their God-given purpose in this world!

Friend, whether you decide to purchase this course or not, I pray you will seek to study the Word for yourself. I firmly believe that if more Christians better utilized the living Word of God, we would all have the confidence we need to live out the plans God has for us.

Bottom line: don’t just read your Bible, really dig into it.

Study the Bible for yourself!

All because of Christ,

Jen :)

Sharing with: Salt and Light

Why Tomorrow Could Be Too Late ~ Death and Jesus

You think it won’t happen to you, at least not yet. Death.

But it happened to a friend of mine just last night; a fellow blogger and most of her family passed from this life to the next as their home burned around them.

You think you have plenty of time.

As I prepared my children for bed this evening, we read a chapter from one of our Trailblazer books about the Salvation Army. This particular story happens to be about two orphans who sought refuge from the faith-based group.

And I thought of my friend Mandy’s surviving children, how they would be going to bed this evening for the first time without any parents. My heart broke for them all over again.

Without thinking about whether it was a good time or not, I told my kiddos about my friend’s tragic death right then and there. We talked about and prayed for the surviving children who I am sure feel left behind. My daughter even asked if we could adopt them, which brought a small smile to my face.

We talked about Jesus and how happy I was to know my friend and her family were now in Heaven even though I’m shocked and saddened to realize she will no longer live in this world.

Her death is the most recent in a string of deaths that have occurred in our lives this year.

And I keep thinking, all day long, we just don’t know how much time we have left.

I’m thinking of a man who sat in front of my church-planting husband and I last week, a man who heard the gospel clearly explained, a man who told us he knew he was headed for Hell. But when we asked if he was ready to accept Christ as his Savior, he responded with an honest, “No.”

He’s not ready. He thinks he has more time.

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I’m thinking of another man who recently passed away, a man who was laying in a hospital bed, a man who would never return to his earthly home. This man, this father, he too heard the gospel message, but this man said “yes” to God. And I’m confident that he now resides in Heaven.

I’m remembering a woman we spoke with a over a year ago now who has attended church her entire life, but when asked if she knew she was going to Heaven, her best answer was, “I hope so.”

I’m thinking that lost people are all around us here and wondering what are we really doing, I mean really doing, to make sure they have that same opportunity to know Jesus Christ?

What have I done here in this space to make sure you have that opportunity, too?

You think you have plenty of time…. until you don’t.

Life is fragile and temporary, but a vapor in the wind (James 4:14).

So in light of my friend’s unexpected passing, I’m appreciating my spouse more, and I’m holding my children tighter and telling them how much I love them.

But, friend, there are things in this world that matter even more than love for family and friends, things that matter beyond this life and for eternity.

So all day long I;ve had this burden to tell you what you need to hear most in the world.

God loves you and it’s His greatest desire to have a relationship with you. He created you for a purpose.

But sin creates a gap that we cannot overcome on our own.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23

We like to think of sin as the really bad things – like murder and rape and theft, etc. But sin is anytime we choose our way over God’s way. It’s missing the mark of perfection, and I don’t know about you, but I know for certain I am not perfect.

According to the first part of Romans 6:23, the consequence of our sin is death, separation from God both here on earth and for all of eternity.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

The Good News, also called the gospel, is that God desires relationship with us so much that He made a plan for our redemption. He provided a substitute who would pay the price of death for our sin – His one and only son, Jesus Christ, who bled red on the old rugged cross so that we might live!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8

Not only that, but Jesus didn’t stay dead. No! He rose again, proving his power over death and His ability to keep the promise of new life (1 Cor. 15:1-8).

Here’s the part some of us fail to understand – we cannot earn salvation on our own. We cannot make ourselves acceptable to God. As a pastor’s wife, I’ve seen many who falsely believe that they need to clean their acts up first and then come to Christ.

That’s putting the cart before the horse, friend, for two reasons.

First, we can never be “good” enough or righteous enough to please God on our own.

Second, we need Jesus to help us make changes in our lives. It’s only by allowing Christ to work in and through us that we can be the people we need to be, the people we were created to be from the beginning of time.

Are there broken areas in your life?

Do you struggle to overcome addiction?

Do you seek help to forgive others and heal from old wounds?

Do you wish for whole and healthy relationships?

Do you feel like a failure who can’t seem to do anything right?

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Christ alone is the answer to those struggles. He alone has the power to transform us from the inside out!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Cor. 5:17

But that power is only for those who accept Him. Accepting Christ means acknowledging your own sin problem, and recognizing and believing in Jesus as the only solution.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Rom. 10:9-10

The Bible is clear that salvation is as simple as a choice to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to reconcile yourself with God and to ask for forgiveness. There are no magic prayers to pray, no special words – just a confession that you are a sinner in need of saving, and that you believe Jesus alone can save you.

Let me offer another word of caution. Many people falsely believe that they have faith in God when what they really have is just a belief that there is a God. The two are not one and the same.

According to God’s Word, even the demons believe that God exists, and they recognize that Jesus is the Son of God. Yet we know they will not receive eternal life in Heaven. Instead, they will remain separated from God and destined for Hell.

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:19
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Mt. 7:21

Real faith in God is characterized by a belief that you are a helpless sinner, and a personal trust in Jesus’s work on the cross as a payment for your sin. Real faith humbly submits to Jesus, the son of God.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6

If you are a visual learner, then please watch this video for a clear explanation!

The truth is that none of us are guaranteed even another hour, and this is one decision you cannot afford to put off.

I’m asking you, friend, do you know Christ?

If you’ve never put your faith in Christ as your Savior, would you do so today? I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have – email me at jstults@beingconfidentofthis.com .

If you’ve already taken that step to trust Christ, are you living out His plan for your life? Are you telling others of the Good News?

Because the truth is that it could happen to you; in fact, someday it will happen to you.

Use your time wisely, friends.

Live a life that matters.

Jen

For more on this subject, please visit these trusted sources:

How to Begin a Relationship With God

How Do I Become a Christian?

Who Is God and What Does He Have to Do with Me?

 

 

 

Christ-centered Easter: Resources for the Whole Family

With all of the excitement over the Easter bunny or Easter eggs, it’s all too easy for kids to get distracted from the real reason why we celebrate Easter – Jesus! Over the years, my husband and I have tried quite a few different ways to have a Christ-centered Easter that highlights the gospel message.

What better gift could we give our family than a better understanding of what Easter is truly about?

Here are a few of the resources we love for maintaining a Christ-centered Easter:

*This post makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please visit the Being Confident of This about page. Thank you for helping to support the ministry of this site!

1. The Lamb by John Cross

This beautifully illustrated book works as a year-round resource, but we’ve found that its gospel message is especially poignant for both children and adults during the Lent and Easter season. The Lamb is a chronological, creation-to-Christ approach to the Bible that helps readers understand the significance of the Passover Lamb and why Jesus’ death on the cross was necessary.

The gospel message is central to the book, so we like to start it well before Easter and read a chapter a week! You could also read a chapter a day leading up to Easter Sunday. This year, we are even using it as our Children’s Church curriculum since each chapter contains discussion questions at the end. If you can’t tell by now, I really love this book. Aside from the Bible, you really can’t find a better Christ-centered Easter resource. :)

Make the most of Easter with these Christ-centered Easter resources! Use devotionals, activities, books, movies, etc. to point your family to Jesus.  keep Christ in Easter, Easter and Jesus, Christian Easter resources, Christian family

 

2. Resurrection Eggs

I actually discovered this delightful way of telling the Easter story via pinterest several years ago, and it has since become a yearly tradition that our four children look forward to. With my background in education, I really appreciate the interactive teaching method that gets the kids involved in discovering the story for themselves. And for our special needs guy, being able to touch the symbolic objects helps the lesson to sink in even deeper. For those reasons, Resurrection Eggs are probably my second favorite Christ-centered Easter resource.

We’ve also used these eggs as part of our church’s Easter egg hunt. We hide them with the regular eggs, then use them to teach the Gospel by having the children who found them bring them up one at a time. It’s a really fun way to keep kids engaged.

And the best part is that if the budget is tight, you can actually make them yourself! Find examples here on my Christ-centered Easter pinterest board.

 

3. The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story by Mike Berenstain

Because we love the Berenstain Bears, we bought this book a few years ago on sale. I was happy to see how the book addressed the commercialism of Easter in a way that children can easily understand. This is another solid addition to our Christ-centered Easter library!

4. Veggietales: An Easter Carol

Another favorite in our home is any and all things having to do with Veggietales! We love the funny voices, quirky characters, and silly storylines, but most of all we love how these veggies teach us biblical truth. Pick up this dvd to add to your Christ-centered Easter resources, and your children will learn once again that Easter is about so much more than bunnies.

And if you love Veggietales as much as you do, you might also want to check out ‘Twas the Night Before Easter.

5. Praying the Promises of the Cross

As much as I love the family-oriented Easter books and movies listed above, many parents long for a little more meat to dig into when it comes to having a Christ-centered Easter.  If that’s you, then you’ll want to consider this downloadable, printable resource – a 40-day journey of praying God’s promises that is specifically targeted to point you to the cross.  This is the perfect devotional to lead up to Easter Sunday.

Want your Easter to be more Christ-centered? Use this journal to pray the promises of the Cross. Each daily devotional is scripture-based and points us to our Savior! Easter devotional, praying the promises, Christ-centered Easter, Easter advent, Lent, preparing for Easter

Each day includes a brief devotional to read, as well as a scripture to read, write, and pray over. You can write your prayer right in the journal space provided. What better way to prepare your heart for Easter than to spend time in the Word and in prayer? :)

6. Easter Scavenger Hunt

Want your Easter to be more Christ-centered? Check out this list of top Christ-centered Easter resources for the whole family!  keep Christ in Easter, Easter and Jesus, Christian Easter resources, Christian family

My friend Arabah Joy has spent many years creating discipleship resources for all ages, and this is one that she shares for free over at her blog. This photo-scavenger hunt combines scripture with the fun of searching for objects both indoors and outdoors. It’s a unique resource for helping children to actively discover the power of the Easter story for themselves.

Just follow this link over to Arabah Joy’s place to print out a copy for each child and you are ready to go.

This stress-free, Christ-centered Easter resource is a quick and simple way for parents to remind their children of what really matters this Easter!

Help your family understand the deep meaning of Easter and why we celebrate! Use these Christ-centered Easter resources to teach them the gospel in fun ways.   keep Christ in Easter, Easter and Jesus, Christian Easter resources, Christian family, Easter activities, Easter books for kids, Easter devotionals

 

Make the most of Easter by teaching your family more about Jesus Christ this year!

Jen :)

Check out this great list for more ideas on how to celebrate Easter with your family!

 

How to Have Life-changing Faith

Very few of us will have a book written or a movie made about our lives. Most of us will go from day to day living out a normal (whatever that means) life with its undulating highs and lows. The vast majority of us will never have even as much as a one-column newspaper article written about the space between our birth and our death.

So, why should we be too jacked up over our legacy?

I believe the answer lies between Hebrews 10 and Hebrews 12. In Hebrews chapter 11 we find what most Christians know as God’s Hall of Faith. A beautiful recounting of the lives of God’s servants beginning with Abel and ending with nameless individuals whose acts of faith were worthy of mention in Scripture.

Check out a few:

Abel offered a sacrifice that pleased God’s heart. (11:4)

Enoch pleased God and was raptured. (11:5)

Noah acted in faith when God told him about the coming flood. (11:7)

Abraham, whew, Abraham just flat out left home and family and set out to only-God-knew-where on faith. Abe also set the bar high for obedience when he was willing to sacrifice Isaac, just because God said so. (Try that one on for size!) (11:8-12, 17-19)

Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Israelites, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, David and so many others acted in faith and believed that God was who He said He was and that He was able to do what He said He would do.

Heart-pounding, life-changing faith.

Legacy-building, life-changing faith isn't just for the biblical heroes of old, it's for us today, too! Find out how everyday, ordinary faith leaves a godly legacy that lasts!  christian faith, godly legacy, leaving a legacy. faith legacy

 

The thing about all of the folks named in Hebrews 11 is that they were just ordinary people going about their ordinary lives doing ordinary things when God said, “Hey you!”

These people were not stained-glass saints when God called them. For heaven’s sake, Rahab was a prostitute, Moses was a murderer, and Gideon was a wimp. These were people, exactly like you and me, who had a heart set on obedience to God. They were willing to trust that God knew what He was doing and had a plan that was for their good, even when it was crazy-scary.

Heart-pounding, life-changing faith.

It is what God calls us to when we decide to set Jesus up as Lord and Savior over our lives. Jesus said that all we need is faith as tiny as a mustard seed in order to do the impossible (Matthew 17:20). Do you know how small a mustard seed is? It is teeny tiny, yet that is all the faith we need….just enough to say ‘yes’ to whatever God is calling us to, then He will add to our faith so we can do the thing in obedience.

Heart-pounding, life-changing, legacy-building FAITH.

Faith that just might one day have our portrait hanging on the walls of heaven.

Faith that might encourage someone else to use their mustard seed.

Faith that pleases the God of heaven immensely.

Faith that leaves a legacy for those who come behind us.

Where is God asking you to use your mustard seed of faith today? Share about it in the comments. I would love to pray for you.

Speaker, Author, Mentor. Bible teacher. Jesus-follower. Wife. Mom. Friend. Daughter of the King.  Leah Adams writes at leahadams.org to point others to Jesus. You can also connect with her on social media: Facebook (Leah Adams), Twitter (LeahCAdams), Instagram (leahadams64), and Pinterest (leahcadams).

*Being Confident of This makes use of affiliate links. For more information, please see the about page. Thank you for helping to support the ministry of this site!

Enter below for a chance to win a free copy of Legacy!

Leah is generously offering the readers of Being Confident of This a chance to win a free copy of her newly released Bible study, Legacy: It’s What You Leave Behind. Woohoo!

legacy FRONT COVER

Let me tell you why I’m excited about this study. First, I have known Leah for several years now and have witnessed her passion for reaching women for Jesus, particularly through sound teaching and lots of grace! Second, I worked closely with Leah on the design of Legacy, so I’m very familiar with the material contained within these pages – it’s meaty, grounded in scripture, and exactly the message we need to be spreading in the world today!

Leah’s book uses scripture to teach you how life-changing faith leaves a lasting legacy.

So, who wants to win a free copy?? :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Finding Hope for Your Marriage ~ and a Free Gift

My heart is heavy today for the many wives who feel stuck in a difficult marriage. For the last couple of months, the top google search word that led people to this site has been the word “unloved.” How unfortunate that during the month of February, when we highlight and celebrate love, so many of us feel it is lacking!

Maybe you, too, are searching for hope for your marriage?

As a wife myself, I spent many years fearing the reality of divorce. In fact, it’s only been the last few years that I’ve begun to find confidence in our marriage. So I feel qualified to tell you that you can still find hope for your marriage!

No marriage is too messy, no life too destroyed, for our Father God to work a transformation that leads to new life.

The real question is, how badly do you want it?

Are you willing to fight for hope?

Are you willing to cling to truth?

Are you willing to spend time praying for and loving someone who may not act loving toward you in return?

Perhaps even daring to hope sounds too painful to you at the moment – I’ve been there before, too, friend.

Are you searching for marriage encouragement? It's possible to find hope for your marriage, and we want to make that easier through this free ebook! The authors understand what a burden a troubled marriage relationship can be, but they also know the power of God's redeeming work.  Christian wife, hope for marriage, troubled marriage, difficult marriage, marriage problems, marriage encouragement, strong marriage, healthy marriage, god-centered marriage, godly wife, good wife

Yet our Father redeemed those broken places for me, and He desperately wants to do the same for you.

My friend Rebekah Hallberg and I have spent the last year writing about marriage and family life for each other’s blogs, attempting to share our stories that they might encourage women from all walks of life who really want to stay married but are weary of the struggle, women who have nearly lost hope.

We’ve been working for the last month or so to bring you a gift, a marriage resource that will hep you find renewed hope for your marriage. What we ended up with exceeded even our own expectations!

The best part is that for a short time, we are offering this gift to you at no cost – absolutely free (please read update below – this offer has expired)! We firmly believe that God wants to use these words to encourage wives across the globe to persevere when it comes to having a marriage that lasts.

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*UPDATE* Due to the enthusiastic response from you, our cherished readers, we have temporarily pulled Hope for the Hurting Wife because we’ve decided to add to it! My friend and co-author Rebekah Hallberg and I are very excited about this opportunity to develop the devotional into a 30-day journey that will include fresh content that has never been seen before and will even be available in bound, book form!

However, we still need your help!

The input that matters most to us is that of our loyal readers.

We need to hear from you about Help for the Hurting Wife. We need testimonials from real women in real marriages who are doing their best to overcome.

If you’re willing to share your stories, suggestions, comments, etc. with us, we may even include them in the new version of the book (so be sure to let us know if you do NOT want your comments published or if you wish to share them without your name attached). Let us know how Hope for the Hurting Wife helped to bring to life new hope for your marriage!

Here’s how to help:

Email me at jstults@beingconfidentofthis.com with your feedback ASAP!

Also, if you haven’t done it already, make sure you are signed up for our newsletter so that you can be the first to receive notice when the new book is ready (you’ll receive a bi-weekly newsletter with encouraging words, helpful tips, and other free resources, as well as the bonuses we have planned for the launch of the new book – loyal subscribers are the best, so they receive the best perks!)

Hope for the Hurting Wife: 30 Days of Practical Encouragement for Your Marriage. Coming Soon! marriage book|difficult marriage|husband|wife|hard times in marriage|marriage encouragement

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Our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife, is a devotional that will meet you right where you are at and gently lead you toward the only hope that has the power to transform your marriage.

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • personal stories from women who understand the struggle
  • evidence that you are not alone
  • comfort and encouragement from God’s Word
  • practical steps to take
  • resources for further help
  • bonus content

Our hope is that God can use our painful pasts to bring new life to other married women.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Cor. 2:3-5

There is hope for your marriage if you are willing to seek it!

Jen :)

To join a community of women determined to cling to hope for their marriages, sign up below! We’ll send you a bi-weekly newsletter with helpful articles, encouraging words, free resources, and you’ll also be the first to know when the new book releases. :)

Join the community of hopeful wives today!

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Sharing with: Grace and Truth