When It Is Hard to Believe Jesus

My Good friend and fellow writer, Aimee Imbeau is joining us with these words today:

She was shocked by my words. And a little frightened. If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. That was her understanding, anyway. Probably because I was known for my strong faith.

Friends would say, “When Aimee prays, things happen”. Well, nothing was happening now. In fact, I believed that God was purposely choosing to ignore me.

Yeah, I knew He could help me. He could easily change my circumstances. Making things better would be super easy for Him. It wasn’t that I did not believe He couldn’t. I believed He didn’t want to. Maybe this is something that sounds familiar to you today. Perhaps you just don’t know what to do When It’s Hard To Believe Jesus. If so, you are in the right place.

Not believing Jesus is a very difficult season to be in, friend. It’s even harder when you try to explain how you are feeling and no one seems to understand. They seem to think you are the creator of your circumstances and you have the power to change if you only…

  • Read your Bible more
  • Trust God more
  • Have more faith
  • Just try harder
  • Suck it up
  • That’s life
  • God gives and God takes away
  • Keep praying

It’s like it is entirely up to us and our efforts to believe. And it is entirely our fault if we find it hard to believe. The trite advice is not only unhelpful, but also potetnially damaging.

If we only realized the truth, then maybe these seasons of life would be just a little bit smoother. Maybe we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We would stop believing that we have failed or that there is something wrong with us. Perhaps we would begin to understand that it is in these challenging seasons that our faith is built up.

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Losing My Faith

When I believed that God was holding out on me, I thought I was actually losing my faith. The truth was that my faith was weak – not as strong as people had thought – or what I thought. God wanted me to have an unmovable, unshakable faith. And in order to do that, the old faith had to go. The process took time, but I can tell you now that my faith today is much more mature. Our God is in the business of rebuilding, renovating, and re-purposing our faith. Trust Him in this process. It might look messy as any renovation does, but the end result will be beautiful.

If you are struggling with your faith, trust that He is rebuilding it.

Be Careful What You Believe

There was a popular Christian saying that went something like, “If you feel far from God, guess who moved“. I thought maybe, somehow, I inadvertently moved away from Him. I wasn’t sure how I did it – maybe I didn’t study my Bible enough or pray longer prayers. It took me a while, but eventually, I came to see just how unbiblical that statement was. So often, we hear these things that sound good but simply aren’t true. But they influence our faith, and not for the better. We need to be very careful with whom we listen to, whom we believe.

If you are struggling with your faith, be careful whom you believe.

Not A Surprise To God

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God knew we would struggle with our faith. He knew we would have seasons where believing Him would be difficult for us. He expected this. That’s why He had John write his gospel account. The whole purpose of the book of John is for us to strengthen our faith and belief in Jesus.

Did you know that?

God loves us so much that He took the necessary steps to help us believe Him at His word.

God knew we’d struggle so the book of John was to confirm and secure Christians in our faith. He has given us what we need to build up our faith in Him.

Our God is so good to have done this for us.

If you are struggling with your faith, read the book of John and believe.

The Truth

As I matured in my faith and God rebuilt my trust in Him, I began to see the truth. My faith was not dependent upon how I was feeling or on my circumstances. In fact, it had nothing to do with me at all. My faith has everything to do with Him. He promises to never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He promises to hear and answer my prayers (Psalm 139:1-4, 1 John 5:14-15, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Jeremiah 29:12). And He has good and wonderful plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 1:18, Mark 10:29-30, Philippians 1:6). What a relief it is that I don’t have to strive or work harder to maintain my faith. I just have to choose Him.

I’d like to leave you with Natalie Grant’s new song, More Than Anything. May her words speak deep into your heart today.

If this is a topic you want more guidance in, I have written a study on the book of John called Believe. This study includes video, worksheets, charts, verse cards, Bible reading challenge, and more.

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Photo 2 MEAimee is a home educating support teacher who lives in the sunny Okanagan, BC. Aimee has been blissfully married since 1998 and she still swoons at the sight of her tall, dark and handsome husband, Marcus. When she isn’t home educating her 3 kids, she enjoys sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, baking, writing and hanging out with her family. Aimee is a certified teacher who works from home, supporting and encouraging homeschool families. She blogs over at A Work of Grace. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

 

How We’re Getting Valentine’s Day All Wrong

Valentine’s Day – love it or hate it?

Some say it’s a meaningful day to appreciate our loved ones while others claim the day is nothing more than one marketing ploy after the other.

Recently, I learned the surprising story behind our holiday, and how we’re getting Valentine’s Day all wrong. It’s so revolutionary and counter-cultural that I want to share with pretty much everyone I know.

Because, friends, it’s important!

In our commercialized culture, Valentine’s Day has become all about romantic love, and if you don’t have that kind of love in your life (or if your relationship is strained at the moment), then you’re just plain out of luck.

For this reason, Valentine’s Day often leads to depression and loneliness for many people because, let’s be honest, no relationship is perfect and no one wants to be alone on a day that’s all about love.

But the truth is that the origins of Valentine’s Day tell a completely different story – one that reveals how we’re getting Valentine’s Day all wrong!

We’ve been deceived by a world that would take the most precious gift we have to offer, and the most precious gift offered to us, and make it shallow and somewhat meaningless.

Why We’re Getting Valentine’s Day All Wrong

According to church tradition and historical documents, Saint Valentine was a priest who married couples in secret defiance of the Roman Emperor’s ban on marriage. Valentine believed so strongly in his faith that he demonstrated the ultimate form of love – not eros, or romantic love, but agape – the kind of love that sacrifices self for the sake of another. He put his life on the line in order to help couples who wished to follow God’s ways.

When he was discovered, Valentine faced punishment in the form of imprisonment and torture, eventually laying down his very life for a faith he so firmly believed in.

Did you catch that? He gave his life, for the sake of love and faith.

There is a depth of love to agape that is hard for us to even fathom, friends, and this world would ask us to settle for so much less, whether married or not.

When we feel “less than” because we don’t have a “someone special,” we settle for less than God’s best.

When we feel “unloved” because marriage is hard right now, we settle for less than God’s best.

When we make Valentine’s Day about what we get instead of what we give, we settle for less than God’s best.

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Agape is God’s best.

Agape gives even when it hurts.

Agape is unconditional.

Agape never gives up.

And that agape love is already yours in Christ! All you have to do is receive it.

 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13

Saint Valentine simply followed the example of love he found in Christ, who gave his life on the cross out of love for a sinful and hostile world.

You can walk through this Valentine’s Day focused on cards and chocolates and things of this world, or you can walk through the day focused on the supernatural abundance of love that this world can never, ever give you.

My work-in-progress friends, you can spend Valentine’s Day washed in the truth that you are fully loved, unconditionally loved, eternally loved, by a man who gave his very life for you – Jesus Christ.

And as you’re filled with His love, you can spend this day giving agape love away to others, too. It just might change your whole perspective.

Let’s get the day right instead of getting Valentine’s Day all wrong.

Will you join me now in thinking of how you can make agape the focus of your Valentine’s Day?

A Valentine’s Day Gift

In that same spirit, my friend and co-author Rebekah Hallberg and I decided to host a week of daily giveaways for our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. Our book focuses on the kind of agape love that chooses to stay even when marriage gets tough!

Each day one of us will be giving away a copy of our book (print or ebook depending on where the winner lives) either on our Facebook pages or our Instagram accounts, so be sure to follow us both if you’re not already.

Being Confident of This – Facebook page and Instagram

Rebekah M. Hallberg – Facebook page and Instagram

Stop by Being Confident of This or Rebekah M. Hallberg on Facebook and Instagram for your chance to win a copy! It's our Valentine's Day gift to you! Christian Women | marriage book | Bible study | devotional | Christian Living | Christian marriage | marriage encouragement| spiritual growth| faith

In the mornings, we’ll open up a thread for that day’s entry, and the following day we’ll announce the winner. You can only win once, but unless you’ve already won, you are free to enter every day!

In addition, we have temporarily lowered the price on the print version of Hope for the Hurting Wife on amazon. Even if you’ve already read it, now would be an excellent time to purchase a copy for a friend or loved one in need or maybe for your church library?

And if you love fashion or coffee, then you should definitely head over to the newly opened Hope for Marriage shop hosted on our good friend Alisa’s site. We’ve designed specially themed apparel and mugs just to encourage women like you and I in our faith and our marriages! On Wednesday, I’ll be giving away an item from the shop in addition to the book giveaway!

Click on the pictures below to hop over to the shop. Thanks for helping to support the ministry of our blogs and book. We certainly appreciate you, friends!

Jen :)

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How to Seek Peace in the Holiday Hustle

I stared at the half-dangling greenery, feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

Laundry waited to be washed, presents waited to be purchased and wrapped.

My work schedule was full and our family calendar even more full.

I wanted this Christmas to be different than last year’s holiday. I wanted to really savor the season, but I felt like I was failing.

Where was the peace I longed for?

How was I missing it? Where was I going wrong?

Because the overwhelming emotion ruling my heart lately was an awful lot of stress.

Like the world before Christ’s birth, I felt the reality of “sin and error, pining.”

Between book writing, and client work, and church-planting, and home life, it often seems like there just aren’t enough hours in a day.

But I need some peace.

I need to savor this season because I’ve had oh-so-many reminders this year, friends, that our time here on earth is short, our days and hours and minutes never guaranteed.

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And as our oldest son prepares to head out into the world, I feel that reality all the more keenly.

So, how do we make the most of Christmas without becoming burdened and overwhelmed?

How do we truly seek peace without creating additional stress by adding another thing to the to-do list ?

4 Meaningful Ways to Find Peace in the Holiday Hustle

1. We put first things first for peace in the holiday hustle.

When I feel overwhelmed, I can often pinpoint one of the root causes as a lack of consistent quiet time. Whenever my calendar gets too full, my time with Jesus often becomes less and less. This is a reality we must guard against, friends.

We may even be tempted to justify spending less time in His presence because we’re spending time doing advent activities with our family, attending extra church services, and so forth.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4

Truthfully, nothing can take the place of that one-on-one time with Emmanuel, the God who came to be with us.

We’re literally starving our souls when we neglect this most important relationship, and we will reap the fruit of that neglect in our lives. Stress, lack of motivation, discontent, worry, impatience – all can be indicators of a spiritual problem.

A return to right priorities goes a long way toward helping us regain peace in the holiday hustle!

2. We content ourselves with “good enough” for peace in the holiday hustle.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but perfect holidays don’t exist in reality.

When we fail to reign in our expectations for what a “good Christmas” entails, we set ourselves up for failure every time!

I have to continually remind myself this year that some is better than none.

Some exercise is better than no exercise.

Some Christmas baking is better than no Christmas baking.

Some advent devotions with the kids is better than no advent.

Some planning is better than no planning. You get the idea. :)

It’s all about showing yourself some grace. After all, would your husband and children rather have lots of Christmas goodies but a stressed-out, grumpy mama, or would they prefer less treats and a mama who is at peace? I can guarantee mine would choose the latter every time.

I cannot have a perfect Christmas, and neither can you, friend. Let’s just toss that impossible notion right out into the cold.

What we can have is a meaningful, peaceful Christmas, and that happens when we slow down and savor the season.

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3. We pray for peace in the holiday hustle.

It seems to me that the Enemy works overtime during the Christmas season. As we plan and prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth with our loved ones, he’s planning for our destruction.

But we need not fear his tactics, friends, because his power is limited while our God’s power is limitless. In Christ, we have the power to resist temptation, to choose peace, to choose kindness, to choose love, and all of the other fruit of the Spirit.

Ask the Father for a special covering this Christmas. I know I will be asking the same for our household – that God’s peace will rule our home, that we will be free to joyfully celebrate Jesus’ birth, that we will be free to enjoy loved ones and gift giving and delicious food, and so on.

Peace, Father, give us peace this Christmas!

I’ll be asking for all of these things that I might be able to give God the glory for the kind of supernatural peace that can only come from Him, and trusting that His peace is already ours to claim. :)

4. We seek scripture to give us peace in the holiday hustle.

I can’t tell you how often the Spirit brings a verse to mind that I’ve previously memorized just when I need it most. I’m certain you know what I mean, friends.

God’s Word brings us peace through His promises and His guidance.

So when I was thinking of you all, faithful friends and readers, and wondering what small gift I might be able to give you this Christmas, I thought of what busy women needed most during the holidays.

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Peace.

If you’re already on my subscriber list, you should have received a link to the printable below in your inbox. But if you’re new here, just fill in your information at the bottom of this article to access all of our free resources, as well as join the list for encouraging monthly newsletters.

Above all, take time to seek real peace this Christmas.

The best Peace you’ll ever find came to Earth as a mere babe thousands of years ago, just so He might know us. If you’ve never accepted the gift of His love and salvation, you can do so today. Just cry out to Jesus.

Lay down your burdens.

And let Christ give you peace.

Jen :)

What I Learned from Our Christmas Light Fight and the God Who Is “With You”

This week I received a not-so-subtle reminder of how Christmas used to be around our house.  It started out as an unnamed tension, a small inkling that something just wasn’t right between us.

Eventually, my frustration grew, and with it the realization that my husband and I were quickly heading down a path that neither one of us wished to revisit – the path of Christmas past.

In years past, unresolved issues often flared during the holiday season with the pressure of family functions and high expectations for extra quality togetherness.

Christmas expectations tend to create an unhealthy, doomed-to-fail attitude in my husband who struggles with baggage from the past.

Add to that my equally destructive tendency toward perfectionism (also heightened by Christmas expectations) and desire for magical family moments, and… well… you can imagine the disappointment when things don’t go as planned.

The Christmas Light Fight

It took a strand of Christmas lights for me to finally experience the “Aha!” moment we desperately needed.

Because every single year we argued over those stinkin’ Christmas lights!

Why, why, why?!

Why argue over something so silly and insignificant?

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Because we’re different.

My husband is a get-‘er-done, looks-good-enough-to-me kind of guy while I’m a detail-oriented, slightly OCD perfectionist.

His goal was to get the job done quickly while mine was to get the job done right!

And at Christmastime, of all times, I felt we should be on the same page (which, if I’m honest, really meant I believed he should get on my page). ;)

One year, we found a way around the seemingly inevitable Christmas light argument. Somehow, we managed to work together to get the lights on the tree without losing patience with each other.

It was our very own Christmas miracle!

Not only that, but we also managed to discuss a plan for the outdoor lights that we both agreed upon, and my husband carried out to near perfection.

That Christmas certainly wasn’t perfect, but it demonstrated real progress.

Sometimes, friends, we focus so intently on the standard, on where we desire to be, on the relationship that we desperately long for, that we fail to see the small steps that have carried us away from where we were.

When that happens, when we fail to see the progress, we wrongly believe that we’re stuck, doomed to repeat patterns of failure that we’re sick and tired of repeating.

Like our annual Christmas light fight.

Christmas Expectations & The Enemy

The truth is that Christmas, for all of its joy and light, is also a season of added stress – financial stress, relational stress, physical stress, and mental stress.

It’s enough stress to downright break an already limping marriage relationship like the straw that broke the camel’s back.

For women in particular, we often expect our husbands to be even more family-oriented during holiday seasons.

I can’t believe he’s acting like this at Christmas!

Doesn’t he love me enough not to ruin my holiday?

Can we get just one day without his selfishness – for the kids?!

Our unrealistic Christmas expectations provide fertile ground for the Enemy’s seeds of discontent.

Believe me when I say that the Enemy is keenly aware of the opportunity that added Christmas expectations provides, and he is quick to pounce on every opportunity to grow bitterness and resentment in our hearts, even during, no especially during the season of light.

It must make him incredibly angry to see families working together to decorate their homes in anticipation of the celebration of Christ’s birth.

It must make him seethe with hatred to see the love and joy we experience in the act of giving to one another in honor of the Greatest Gift.

He must burn with rage to see families gathered around to listen to God’s Word, His love story come to life in the babe called Jesus, the God sent to earth to be “with us.”

No wonder he attacks families during the Christmas season.

There’s so much joy that he is determined to steal all that he can, and sometimes… sometimes we let him.

Friends, don’t let your Christmas expectations diminish your joy this year.

Unrealistic expectations add pressure to marriage relationships during the Christmas season! What I learned from a Christmas light fight and the God who is "with" you. Hope for the Hurting Wife sale|Being Confident of This|Christian women|Bible study|encouragement|devotional thought|inspiration|growing in Christ|progress|perfectionism|marriage|marriage help  #marriage #hope #Christianbook

The Setup for Christmas Success

Instead of setting yourself up for Christmas failure, set yourself up for success by:

  1. Lowering expectations. Be realistic! (will the Christmas light setup really matter in years to come? Or that perfect family photo – you know, the one where everyone is smiling but you remember the true feelings that reigned that day).
  2. Focusing on progress rather than perfection. (even baby steps are still steps in the right direction!)
  3. Recognizing the Enemy’s attempts to steal your Christmas joy.
  4. Keeping your mind stayed fast on the hope you have in Christ, the God who is with you!

Don’t let the sorrow of broken relationships or life’s hardships eclipse the light of the Savior’s birth.

After all, He came to be the God who is with us in all our brokenness, in all our sorrow and joy and love and frustration and messiness and wild beauty.

He came to be with us.

That’s the hope we have to offer you this Christmas season, that your God is the God who is “with you.” He never leaves you nor forsakes you, even when you disappoint yourself and your spouse by arguing over Christmas lights.

The God Who Is With You

He loves you with an everlasting love, even when you miss the first fourteen days of your advent plan.

He delights in you even when you fail time and time again.

He lavishes new mercies every morning upon you when you’ve spent half the night worrying about whether or not you and your spouse will make it.

He strengthens you to keep fighting for the healthy, abundant-life kind of marriage that He designed you to experience from the beginning.

He is the God who is with you.

Emmanuel.

And according to His word, nothing can separate you from his love, not even the prowling Enemy.

Believe in His promises today, friend. Cling to the hope that you are not alone!

When those dark thoughts and temptations enter your mind, just whisper His name – Jesus…Jesus…Jesus…

and remember He is the God who is with you, the ultimate, life-giving Gift!

*This post contains affiliate links.* Jen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Jen also participates in affiliate programs for other trusted products. Thank you for helping to support the ministry of this blog!

Hope for Wives This Christmas

Friends, we know the holiday season is rough on marriages, even healthy ones. But it’s especially hard on marriages that have nearly reached the breaking point. We know wives and spouses who are living unloved experience an intense loneliness and sadness during Christmas.

So, as a gift to you, my co-author Rebekah Hallberg and I have scheduled a special one-week Kindle countdown sale on our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife – a 30 day devotional for encouragement in your marriage.

What better gift can we give than the gift of knowing you are not alone, and that real Hope is within your grasp?

It’s the only kind of hope that is guaranteed not to put us to shame!

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5

If you’re living in a broken relationship, if you are a wife who is hurting this holiday season, I encourage you to pick up this book, especially while it’s so affordable.  Or maybe you know a fellow wife who is doing her best to fight for her marriage? Give her the gift of Hope this Christmas.

What I learned from a Christmas light fight and the God who is "with" you. Hope for the Hurting Wife sale|Being Confident of This|Christian women|Bible study|encouragement|devotional thought|inspiration|growing in Christ|progress|perfectionism|marriage|marriage help  #marriage #hope #Christianbook

Please don’t delay because the nature of the countdown sale is that the price increases incrementally as time passes.

Our greatest desire is that no wife should go through this Christmas feeling alone and hopeless!

Whatever your circumstances, choose to celebrate the hope of the God who is with you.

Let’s share that message around this season!

Jen :)

P.S.  My lovely and brave author friend Kaylene Yoder is also “birthing” these babies (below) into the world today. If you’re looking for more marriage and parenting encouragement, please check out her prayer journals! Harness the power of prayer to change your most important family relationships.

8 Verses of Hope for Every Woman (free printable!)

You wake up already weary, thinking of all that you need to accomplish for the day but also keenly aware of the obstacles in your life.

It’s one of those days when adulting feels too hard from the get-go. You’d rather just crawl back in bed and hide from the world.

Your body is weary, your mind overwhelmed, and your spirit oh-so-weak. But you must press on because you are wife, mother, friend, worker, leader…

People are counting on you!

Where do you find hope to persevere when you are overwhelmed by life? How do you find motivation to keep pressing on?

My personal favorite place to start is in the Word – looking for verses of hope to remind my heart and spirit of God’s truth!

Yes, maybe today feels too difficult and I’m tempted to believe Satan’s lie that I’m not enough or that this is too hard for me. However, God’s promise to sustain me remains true. His promise that my hope in Him will not be put to shame remains true. His claim to love me anyways remains true. No matter what my feelings tell me!

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Studying and memorizing verses of hope helps me to remember who I am in Christ: beloved daughter of God Almighty, chosen one, fully equipped for every good work, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, filled with the Spirit, able.

Friend, we can choose hope in Christ despite our current circumstances because we know the power of Christ in us. We believe His Word is true, and we will not let Satan win this battle for our day!

Today I’m sharing with you 8 of my favorite verses for hope to celebrate the launch of our book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. Stop by and enter the giveaway if you haven’t already!

Print these verses of hope out and keep them near you as visual reminders of God’s promises!

Verses of Hope for Every Woman

  1. Psalm 71:14 (NIV)

“As for me, I will always have hope;

I will praise you more and more.”

I’ve been reading in the Psalms lately, and one recurring phrase stands out to me: “let me not be put to shame” (Ps. 22:5). The phrase recurs time and again throughout the early Psalms, and the context is that of crying out to the Lord and not being put to shame. We can be unashamed of our hope in the Lord, friends, because we know our God is faithful!

 

  1. Jude 24,25 (NIV)

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

One of my favorite verses of hope to cling to to in tough times, these verses in Jude remind us that it is God who works in us. He never gives up. He always perseveres. He is still at work in us and in our circumstances (Phil. 1:6).

 

  1. Palm 121:1-2 (NIV)

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Your hope is never in vain when you place it in the Lord alone, friends! We may have trouble in our families, with our children, with our marriages, with our finances, and so forth, but we have a God who cares about us deeply. Cry out to Him for rescue, for strength, for the will to persevere!

 

  1. 1 Cor. 13:7 (NIV)

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

God’s love for you – agape love – is perfect. We can always find hope in His love for us, even when we feel unloved, underappreciated, and totally inadequate Find rest in His perfect love today!

 

  1. Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Sometimes when we feel completely exhausted and at our limits, we don’t sense the Lord’s presence with us. We may even begin to believe that He has forsaken us altogether. But that’s not true, friends. His Word claims that He is close to us, especially when we’re brokenhearted, especially when our spirits are crushed.

Don’t let the Enemy convince you otherwise, friend. Believe these verses of hope and act on them!

 

  1. Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

This verse should probably come first among these verses of hope. Instead of wondering what is wrong with you when you have days of discouragement, recognize that the battle we fight is not against flesh and blood but against a very real Enemy who wants nothing more than to see you fail (Eph 6:12)!

 

  1. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

As a wife who spent the better part of a decade learning how to fight for her marriage instead of against her husband, I often grew weary. Sometimes I even gave up for a time. This verse of hope has been key for me these last several years to keep persevering even when I’m not seeing the fruit that I want to see quickly enough to suit me. ;)

If we persevere in doing God’s work, we will reap a harvest!

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  1. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

My favorite among these verses of hope. The world tells us weakness is humiliating, but God’s Word claims otherwise. Take your weakness straight the the Lord, friend, and let Him demonstrate His power in you!

 Click here for Verses of Hope free printable

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As you spend time with these verses of hope, study them, meditate on them, memorize them. Hang them in your home where you will see them frequently! Pray to the Father who loves you to give you motivation and strength to keep fighting the good fight (Eph. 6:12)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

Press on toward the goal!

Jen

Sharing with: Grace and Truth Link-up

 

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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 :)

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?

As ambassadors of Christ, we need to be cautious of how we portray Christians online. Ask these 4 questions before sharing truth online with others! social media and Christians, Christian witness on social media, facebook, twitter, instagram, faith, sharing faith online, sharing beliefs, judging others, standing up for your faith, bible study, devotional thought

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, too!

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 (concordances, study guides, Bible dictionaries, etc.)
      3. Don’t just read a verse and walk away! Ask questions about that verse.
      4. Find a Bible study method that really works for YOU!

Number 4 is key!

My favorite thing to recommend to women who want MORE out of Bible study is to learn HOW to study the Bible for themselves! And one key to doing just that is finding a way that works for you.

*This post contains affiliate links.* Jen is a participant in affiliate programs for trusted products. Thank you for helping to support the ministry of this blog!

My friend, Arabah Joy, has created this 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!

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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!

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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?