Hearing from God

I wonder if trusting in God is easier when a situation is far out of our control. 

When my heart is really troubled and I’m super upset, I run to God because there is nowhere else to go, because I have no idea what to do. But if my heart is only partially troubled, then I can solve for myself. I run elsewhere: Starbucks, my phone, the freezer door where I keep the chocolate… 

Every day I face “partially troubled” moments. Less often, I face moments of complete despair.

In John 10, Jesus talks about being the Good Shepherd, the One who cares for us, his sheep. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10: 27).

It’s easy to dismiss everyday stresses and fill my life with coffee, screen time and chocolate (specifically, Reese’s pieces cookies from Aldi…). But if I turn to those things instead of turning to God and trusting in Him, then his voice will grow fainter, and worse, I’ll become less familiar with Him. 

I know, it’s so basic and might seem so obvious, but I find myself needing this reminder over and over again. Turning to things other than God is just so much easier and provides such immediate gratification.

But like with anyone you turn away from when things get tough – it ruins the relationship.

Years ago, I did a summer mission trip. Upon arrival, I sat in a large room with about 120 other college students, and a leader told us that by the end of summer, we would be able to recognize each person’s voice. Yeah right, I thought. 

But as that summer came to a close, I would sit in that same large room with my eyes closed, playing a game with myself to see if I could name each person as they spoke. And the leader was right. I had spent so much time with that group of students that summer that I could discern each of their voices.

This is what I have learned – God speaks to us in a lot of different ways: through his Word, sermons, prayer, wisdom in others, life events, dreams… he can communicate however he wants. But like all those students’ voices were so unfamiliar to me at the beginning of that summer, God’s voice will remain unfamiliar to us if we aren’t regularly spending time with Him.

God cares about every detail of our lives. He wants us to come to him, always, for everything. He wants to lead us. He wants to shepherd us. 

Before Jesus died, he told his disciples to not let their hearts be troubled. He told them to trust God. To trust Him. Because he was going to prepare a place in Heaven for his people. But it didn’t mean fluffy comforters and cute throw pillows. It meant standing in their place, bearing the weight of God’s wrath for their sin. For our sin. 

Though it cost him everything, he went all the way for us. 

Guaranteed, we will mess things up. But praise God because the work is already finished. For anyone who receives him, Jesus wipes away our sins and fills the resume with his righteous deeds. The point of us coming to the Lord is not so we get it right or earn favor or repair what’s broken. The point is relationship. Worship. To enjoy God. To love him because we are already loved by him. 

Starbucks, my phone, the decadent soft cookies from Aldi… they don’t care about me. But Jesus? He cares. And he calls us to not let our hearts be troubled. He calls us to counter the trouble with trust. 

Trust him, go to him, learn his voice and be shepherded by him.

And from the opposite end – To the one who is doing everything they can, all the studies, all the prayers, all the “things” and still feeling lost:

I was sitting outside one night, half praying, half thinking, worrying about missing God’s direction. What if I wasn’t praying enough? What if I wasn’t listening enough? What if I was blinded by a sin I didn’t even realize?

And as I sat there, God reminded me – there is nothing I could ever do to silence his voice.

The love that God has for us is so vastly more than we can even grasp. And it isn’t based on the greatness of our faith or the efforts of our Bible and book studies. His love is based on his character – his character that doesn’t falter and doesn’t change. 

Rest in his love. Believe the things he has said. Love him and pour your heart out to him. Do it again and again and again. And trust him. Trust his timing, trust the knowledge and wisdom he’s already given you, and let him shepherd you. He will not let you get lost.

Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered… the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O Lord… let it be known today that you are God in Israel… Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice…
– 1 Kings 18:26, 36-38

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:11

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:13-14

Pray continually – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” – Psalm 16:2

Read: John 10:1-21
Consider: What stands out to you? What does this passage teach you about Jesus? 
Think back, how have you seen the Lord “go ahead” of you (vs 4)?
What does it mean to be known by Jesus (vs 14)?
What impact does it make to consider Jesus’ authority (vs 18) and what he did with his authority?
Spend some time discussing this passage with a small group.

Sing: Good Grace, Hillsong United
Make Room, Community Music

Do you see anything?

It’s so interesting that Jesus asks the man, “Do you see anything?” Jesus is God. He knew that the man’s sight was not entirely restored. I wonder if it was a test. I wonder if he asked the man if he saw anything to test the man’s faith, to see if the man believed that Jesus could and would heal him. 

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” (Mark 8:24)

The man had seen before. He knew what people and trees looked like, what they were supposed to look like. 

Maybe he thought restoration of sight was all Jesus could do. Maybe he only thought the gift of an encounter with Jesus was to be able to see like he used to be able to.

But shouldn’t an encounter with Jesus do so much more for us than simply restore what once was? 

Jesus asked if the man saw anything, and ironically, the man missed what mattered most. He missed Jesus. He looked around at people walking, people uninvested in his life, uninvested in the miracle as they went about their business. The man looked and saw them instead of looking into the face of the Son of God, right in front of him. 

But the man stayed by Jesus. And Jesus stayed by the man. Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes once more, and “then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly” (Mark 8:25).

Surely, this time, the man must have seen Jesus, must have looked into the eyes of his Savior that second time. He must have seen Jesus, and he must have seen Jesus seeing him. And then everything else would have been clear. 

What is it for you?

Jesus is so near, so personal to care to ask, “Do you see anything?”
Do you see him working anywhere? Do you see even a partial miracle? 
Do you see him

Because the heart of the gospel is that Jesus sees you. He sees you in need of healing, he sees you in need of a miracle. And though it cost him everything, he made a way. He came to your rescue.

Lost in sin, unable to tip the scale so the good outweighs the bad, every single one of us is in need of a Savior. We need someone to step in for us – someone to accomplish all the good things we fail to achieve, and someone to take the burden of the punishment we deserve. We need someone to grant us access to the Father, to make us right before God. 

And Jesus did. 

But it becomes personal to us when we let Him take us by the hand and away from the crowd, away from the chaos of this life. It becomes personal when we have an encounter ourselves and see Him in our own lives. It becomes personal when we let him open our eyes. 

Get alone with Jesus. Do you see anything?

If I need any reminders lately, it’s to keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. It’s to turn to him, to meditate on his character, to believe his words, to trust his love. I write this in nearly every post and could never stress enough – again and again, it is always about Jesus.

However long it takes us to see, however long we look around at our circumstances or the lives of others who seem to have it all together, however long we continue to mess things up and miss the point, Jesus is right there. He wants to give us sight, he wants to heal us, and he wants to satisfy us. He wants us to see him. And he wants us to see him seeing us. We just have to shift our gaze.


Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth with grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace


Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. – Hebrews 3:1

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. – Psalm 105:4

But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge – do not give me over to death. – Psalm 141:8

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. – Psalm 27:8


Read: Mark 8:22-25
Consider: What stands out to you from this passage? 

Spend some time in prayer. Write out a response to Jesus’ question to you, “Do you see anything?”

Related Posts: Eyes to See
El Roi, The God Who Sees
The Gospel of El Roi

The Sale of the Gospel

“I started giving more and more of my life back to Jesus, and in Him, I have found freedom, joy and stability that I could not find anywhere else.”

That’s what I originally had written in my last post. And it’s true. It’s also not constant. This side of salvation, I have freedom, joy and stability in Christ, unlike anything I’ve experienced elsewhere. And this side of eternity, there are also times I feel trapped, angry and insecure. 

Recently, I’ve been studying the Gospel of Mark. Jesus regularly heals people and regularly tells them to keep quiet, to not tell anyone about what he did. At face value, it seems strange, especially when you know the great commission is to go and tell about what Jesus has done.

But before Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see him encouraging people to keep quiet about his miracles because he doesn’t want that to be the reason people come to him.

All of Jesus’ earthly miracles pointed to a greater miracle, to the gospel, to himself. The best was still to come. Jesus didn’t want to just give people temporary healing, temporary relief. He wanted to heal their souls, to give them eternal relief. He wanted to give them himself.

I can get so caught up wanting the fruit of knowing Jesus (love, joy, peace, patience…) that I forget to simply stay tethered to the Vine. And I can get so caught up in wanting others to have that fruit that I fear I can unintentionally offer it over the Giver himself.

The gift of the Gospel isn’t joy, it’s Jesus. In Him, we will bear fruit, we will have joy, because the Vine is healthy, the Vine is secure. Fruit will come. It will come this side of Heaven, and it will come in it’s fullness for all eternity. 

But I’ve found myself so challenged lately – do I come to Jesus just because I want joy, freedom and stability? Or do I come to Jesus because I want him?

And when my emotions are absent those good feelings, is Jesus enough? Is his presence, his promise, his gospel sufficient? 

I fear too many of us come to Jesus only because we want something from him, and not because we want him. I fear too many people come to Jesus to escape hell, opposed to coming to Jesus for restoration with the One whom a relationship with matters most. 

Heaven isn’t the sale of the Gospel. 

John Piper is quoted, “Could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?”

The first time I heard this, years ago, I knew the right answer was “no”, but I also couldn’t figure out why heaven wouldn’t satisfy if it held every other good thing. 

Yet ironically, the concept is such a fundamental part of my story. I had everything I ever wanted. And I was not satisfied because the one thing I was missing was Jesus.

I stayed up late the night before my last post was scheduled to publish, editing and praying for the words to be clear that He is the reward, He is the one who brings satisfaction to our souls and graciously gives good things out of our relationship with him. 

My prayer remains the same now – for myself, for any reader, and for the Church across the nations. May he satisfy us because he is Sufficient. He is El Shaddai. Whatever our circumstance, whatever our situation, whatever our emotions, He is enough. 

“The most important (commandment),” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” – ‭‭Mark‬ ‭12:29-30‬ ‭NIV‬‬

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22

Related Posts: El Shaddai, Lord Almighty, All Sufficient

But alas, how little fit for heaven are many who talk of going to heaven, when they die, while they manifestly have no saving faith and no real acquaintance with Christ. You give Christ no honor here. You have no communion with Him. You do not love Him. Alas, what could you do in heaven? It would be no place for you. Its joys would be no joys for you. Its happiness would be a happiness into which you could not enter. Its employments would be a weariness and a burden to your heart. Oh, repent and change before it be too late! —J. C. Ryle, from his sermon “Christ Is All” (on Col. 3:11)

Additional Resource: The Critical Question for Our Generation, The Gospel Coalition

Stepping in: What does the Bible say about Heaven? Read – Revelation 4 & 5. Spend some time in prayer and in worship as you read and reflect on the verses.

Journeying further: What do you say when you share your faith? Do you share your faith? Spend some time in prayer, asking God to remind you of what he’s done and who he is, praising him for his work and his character, and asking God to give you opportunities and people to share the Good News with.

A challenge to dig deeper – Why? Part 2

Why do you believe what you believe?

Why do I believe the Bible?

As I wrote and thought about this post, a whole lot of reasons came to mind. But there are two that have had the biggest influence: a personal reason and a practical reason.

Personally – nothing has changed my life more than the Gospel. When my husband and I were living in Chicago years ago, I had everything I ever wanted. I had the guy, the big city, the social life and the best wardrobe and shoe collection I could ask for. 

But I wasn’t happy. I felt so hollow. None of my stuff was actually that great. I knew something was missing, and I knew exactly what it was because I had had it before. I had Him before. I started giving more and more of my life back to Jesus, and as I did, it rekindled a relationship unlike anything else I’ve ever known. My sin, my love for myself and the things of this brief and temporary world had long overpowered my love for God. There was no denying my wrong choices and gaps in morality, which ruined my relationship with God and left me sentenced to Hell. But on the cross, Jesus took all that sin and selfishness and took my punishment for me. He stood in my place that I might have a restored relationship with the Father, for now and for all time.

The Gospel has changed my life.

But some might argue that all that is just “good for me”, to which I would agree, unless the Bible is actually true. 

Growing up, I used to believe in the validity of the Bible because I was so captivated by creation. I just couldn’t believe that we came to existence from nothing. My dad was a big influence, as well. One of the smartest people I know, he was a big reader of apologetics, or reasoning arguments, so my interest in the subject would grow as he shared things he learned with me. It led me to my own research, which included a high school paper on creation versus evolution. I was blown away. These were a few highlights:

  • Evolution violates basic laws of thermodynamics. The first law states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. The popular Big Bang theory would have needed some extraordinary supernatural occurrence to produce the amount of energy it would have taken to create an entire universe. The second law states that every system moves from order to disorder, in a degenerating direction to increase the total entropy of the universe. After the Big Bang, there would have been a substantial amount of disorder to overcome. 
  • Some of the oldest evidence of life was rock thought to be 3.8 billion years old. Upon closer examination, these rocks proved to be formed only from weathered crystals. The method of carbon-14 dating has given living snails an age of 2300 years as well as growing trees an age of 10,000 years.
  • From perspiration to blood clots, the body always knows what to do, when to act and how long to perform in order to continue functioning. With an unfathomable number of chemical reactions occurring every second, the body is the most incredibly crafted machine
  • The giraffe has a neck that can stretch six feet high. In order to get blood to the brain, blood must pump viciously against the forces of gravity. Contrarily, when the giraffe bends its head down to get a drink of water, the blood must flow with the force of gravity. To prevent the brain from exploding, the giraffe has valves in its neck that close and reduce blood flow as well as an extra compartment that acts like a sponge to soak up other blood.
  • Between each peck, the woodpecker opens its eyes, focuses, and then pecks again. If it did not open its eyes between pecks, the force would be so great that its eyeballs would pop out. 

So fascinating!

But ultimately, as I continued to grow in my faith and figure out for myself exactly what I believe and if I think it’s worth giving my life over to, I came to rest on the cross. Scholars don’t have a lot of debate over Jesus’ existence, but the reality of the grave is what makes or breaks the entire Gospel.

The grave was empty. 

The grave was empty after Jesus died and was buried in it. There was no chance the Roman officers would have taken him down alive. And he would have been so brutally beaten that he would never have been able to recover in a tomb. 

Jesus appeared to hundreds of people after his crucifixion. He sat with them, he walked with them, and he ate with them. And many of those people lost their lives to their testimony of the resurrection, because they would not stop telling people about this man Jesus, who was killed and then was alive. Jesus, the Savior of the world. The one who took their place, the one who took our place. 

There is much, much to be said about this topic, so I have some of my favorite resources linked below. But ultimately – Jesus proved his deity when he walked out of that grave. The prophecies were fulfilled, death was conquered. Nothing in all this world has impacted my life as much as believing in this man, my Savior, my Lord. And that impact will last for all eternity, forever worshipping the One I call Father, the King of all Kings.


Years ago, I went on a mission trip to Ocean City, New Jersey. I walked the boardwalk daily, talking with people that summer about life, death and religion. Every time I asked people why they believed what they did, or asked what it would take for them to believe in God, they had no answer. 

What is it for you? Why do you believe the things about life that you believe? If it’s possible to have confidence about what happens after death, wouldn’t you want it?


Resources – 
(This is of course not an exhaustive list – just a few that have impacted me the most)

The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel
The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel
The Case for Easter, Lee Strobel (short, significant read)
Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
God’s Crime Scene, J. Warner Wallace

– God’s Not Dead – this is a movie, so it’s less content-rich, but still addresses basic arguments, trailer
The American Gospel – a documentary, significant for believers and those searching
Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution – there are 3 in this series

The Bible and History, Tim Keller
Doubt, Joy and Power, Tim Keller

What’s Happening in Afghanistan? Jennie Allen
I don’t know any other religion that transcends nations the way that the Gospel does. It makes me think of the words in Acts – “Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But If this is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

Sunday Worship

I just wanted to post a quick “pause” on here – I write a lot of things about how great God is and how much he has changed my life, given me a new life. But I want to be so clear that “I” am never the point of any of this. 

My last post was a challenge to live for more than this world has to offer. And then I found myself, in the very same week, dreaming of wasting my life on this world, dreaming of pouring myself into throw pillows and fall decor and HGTV shows instead of into God himself. Because it just sounded so much easier. 

I am on this journey too. 

I know going back to living for myself would never be worth it, I know new throw pillows won’t actually fix anything in my life. But sometimes it’s tempting. LIfe gets hard, and sometimes “easy” just sounds so appealing.

I could point to a hundred things about my circumstances last week, but I know the common denominator under it all is me. The problem wasn’t around me, it was within me. 

I went out for a run Saturday morning and made it a point to only worship while I ran. Every time other thoughts or ideas crept in, I would restart my song and focus solely on the Lord. It wasn’t perfect, it never will be this side of Heaven, but it was the first time in way too long that I just simply worshipped. That I just sang to God, that I just meditated on Him. 

The run didn’t solve anything, but it brought me back home. It reoriented me back to true north, to the One who will always matter most.

The point of sharing this or anything I write, ever, is always to exalt the name of Jesus, and to encourage others to do the same. 

Turn your eyes to Him. Be found by Him. Worship Him. See him seeing you, and see him loving you. 

And love him back. Not just more than than everything else, but love him with everything you have. He is so abundantly worthy.


Spend some time just simply worshipping God today, meditating on who He is and praising his Name. Below are a few verses and a few songs, if you want to start with these. Turn off any of the noise around you, go for a run or for a walk, sit in a room or closet where there is no distraction… whatever it looks like. If only for a moment, just give yourself in worship, and praise the God of Heaven. 

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. – Deuteronomy 6:4-6

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. – Psalm 46:1-3

Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. – Psalm 73:1-3, 16-17, 23-28

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. – Psalm 95:1-3

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3

And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. – Jeremiah 32:38-41

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven!… behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder… and the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” – Revelation 4:1-8


Heart of Worship, Nothing Else, Gateway Worship

Only Wanna Sing, Hillsong Young and Free

Psalm 46, Shane & Shane

Goodness of God, Jenn Johnson

The Prodigal Song, Cory Asbury

Good Good Father, Chris Tomlin

A challenge to dig deeper – what are you living for? Part 1

I’m devastated for the condition of the world and my own nation right now. It’s shocking, it’s horrific, it’s tragic. And yet it also fires me up to be as serious about my faith as ever, because I believe every word of the Bible is true. And I believe it changes everything. It changes the way we live now, and it changes the way we hope for the future. 

There is so much going on and so much mixed information available. It’s stressful, it’s confusing, it’s frustrating. But one thing I know – there is a truth that has always stood firm. The world was made through him, by him and for him – and His name is Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life. And he is the hope of the world. He took our place on Calvary and gives us the opportunity to be made right with a Holy and Just God. Not because of anything we do, but because of everything he has done.

This Gospel still stands. The Word of God still stands, and the great commission still stands. 

These things are all still true, and they have been so anchoring for me lately because I have found myself spinning in the chaos of the world. I’ve found myself talking more about politics than about Jesus. I have found myself praying more for safety and health than for salvation and sanctification. And worst of all, I have found myself replacing worship of the God I love with worship of my own thoughts and opinions. 

A time will come when we will lose everything here. But if the Bible is true, then there is something that will last forever. One name that will endure for all time: Jesus. Again and again and again, it is all about Him

He is the Almighty God, the One who created the universe and who is Sovereign over all things, and He is also the one who calls us friend. The one who welcomes us into his family. The one who stepped out of heaven to take the punishment that we deserve. And He is the one who is joyful to crown us with the eternal inheritance he earned by his own righteousness. 

Jesus is all that will matter in the end. Do we know Him? Do we choose to stand in him, covered by his life and sacrifice, or do we choose to stand on our own? 

He promises that one day the tears of the redeemed will be wiped away and death and crying will be no more. He promises an eternity that will be so infinitely better than we can imagine, because He is so infinitely better than we can imagine. But for those who chose to stand apart – there will be a wrath, and there will be a fire of judgement. And there will be a final separation. 

Who we belong to matters. How we live matters. And if everything we give our lives over to now dies with us, then what are we doing? This world is not our final destiny. And this is not the time for any of us to be casual about what we believe. 


“But what about you?” (Jesus) asked. “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15).

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

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. – Jim Elliot

I believe the greatest form of tragedy is going to be some people that are successful in everything that doesn’t matter. – Tim Tebow

That’s my king

Read: Luke 7:36-50
What are you pouring your life out on? 

Related: Why should we know God?
Do you know who you serve?


Podcast: What’s happening in Afghanistan?

Sinners, the Gospel and a charge for the Church

In God’s kingdom, people are all sinners. Everyone. We are all sinners, and we all need a Savior. 

Because we are all led astray. Everyone messes up. And it’s not about who messes up more or whose faults are greatest – we don’t get to be the judge of that. Only God gets that title, because only He is wise enough to judge correctly. Only He knows the whole story – the details, the circumstances, the background information. And only He can rule out of absolute purity and absolute truth.

And his verdict is guilty – over every one of us. Which means we are all sentenced to the same eternal damnation, the same lake of fire, the same separation from the Father who created us. We are that bad, that sinful, that hopeless. 

Except when the Judge brought the gavel down to close the case and send the guilty to sentencing, the Judge himself stepped in to take our place, to endure our punishment. His love is that great, that righteous, that hopeful.

This has to change us. This foundation has to separate the Church from the rest of the world. 

As the truth of the Gospel sinks into our hearts, we begin to see life the way our Father does. We begin to have a true perspective of who we are, who we were created by, what He did for us and why he did it. 

In a generation of so much hostility, the Gospel levels the playing field. No longer can we snap to judgement over an opposing view on masks, vaccines or politics. No longer can we assume things about another person based on skin color or clothing attire. No longer can we amplify our ego and pat ourselves on the back for our morality or our Bible knowledge while turning our noses down to someone else who has different theology or religious background.

Deep down within us, I think what sits quietly behind it all is a subtle but powerful force – pride. 

“According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

Our pride makes us believe we are okay to be in the judgement seat. Our pride makes us believe it is okay to condemn someone else, to harbor unforgiveness, or even to shut them out entirely. 

C. S. Lewis goes on to say –

“The real black, diabolical Pride, comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you. Of course, it is very right, and often our duty, not to care what people think of us, if we do so for the right reason; namely, because we care so incomparably more what God thinks. But the Proud man has a different reason for not caring. He says, “Why should I care for the applause of that rabble as if their opinion were worth anything?”” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

I think the problem we see across our nation, maybe even across our world is that we have so much pride rooted in ourselves, pride in what we’ve accomplished and in the name we’ve made for ourselves. We have pride in our self-righteousness, believing we have somehow justified even a bit of ourselves by our great choices.

But the Gospel of Jesus shatters that ideology. The Gospel says that our good deeds are like filthy rags. That who we are, on our own, is so bad that we need to die and be reborn. The Gospel says that we are like sheep, one of the dumbest of animals, foolish and unwise in our flesh, prone to disobedience and deserving of consequence. And yet we are so passionately loved and valuable that though it cost the Shepherd his own life, he would hold nothing back from rescuing us.

We are all sinners. And we all need a Savior. And we have one. 

I can’t help but think that if the Church, the body of believers, were to take the lead on this, were to meditate on the Gospel continually, were to worship God without ceasing, were to preach the Good News like it was really true, then it would drastically change the culture we live in. Because we would be so obsessed with our Savior and so grateful for his covering of righteousness over us that we would want everyone else to be obsessed with him too, to experience the freedom of his justification as well. We’d understand just how significant each and every life is, and we’d engage, listen, share stories and share things in common. And we’d stay filled with hope, because we would know just how radically life-changing it is to know your Savior and to be known by Him.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:22-24

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. – James 2:10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:26-28

But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord. – Jonah 2:9

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. – Psalm 95:1

I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. – Psalm 118:21

He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. – Isaiah 59:16

Read: Isaiah 51

Who accomplishes salvation? For whom? For how long?

Spend some time in prayer, meditating over the verses given, the ones in Isaiah 51 and any other favorites! Confess any pride and praise Jesus for being our Savior, for laying his life down for his people. Praise him for taking on the wrath of God, for seeing you, for welcoming you into his family. And ask him who you might be able to share a bit of his goodness with – a piece of your story, a Bible verse that’s impacted your life, anything. 

Sing: Spirit of the Living God 

In Christ and In Airplanes

I always joke that I will write a book someday called, “It’s not about me”. Because if there is one main theme throughout my life, that is it. Sometimes it’s innocent, and sometimes it’s deliberate, but my focus always comes back to myself. And it always needs shifting back to Jesus.

As a kid, my mom would constantly remind me, “remember whose child you are.” 
Yep, ok mom… I would respond, mentally or verbally, as I would run off with friends, to school, or into sports practice. The thought didn’t get a whole ton of extra attention.

But decades and a whole lot of my mom’s prayers later, and I’m finally starting to get it. 

As believers, it’s a pretty big deal to consider “Christ in us”. The idea tends to get a lot of attention, and rightfully so – we should be amazed that the Spirit of the living God would make his home in us, that he would dwell within anyone who chooses to call upon the name of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19).

But for years, this was the basis of my identity as a believer, the single perspective of “Christ in me”. And I frequently found myself overwhelmed by the pressure. I tried so hard to “be good” and felt awful when I failed. I spent so much time focusing on what I should be doing, worrying about what other people thought of me and critiquing whether or not they could see the Christ that was in me. I didn’t spend nearly enough time focusing on what had been done for me. 

I had already made a decision to follow Christ. Therefore, my identity in him was rock solid – not ever because of anything I had done or would do, but simply because of what had been done for me. 

I was never actually the point, nor the one to collect the attention. Christ is “in me”, but maybe more importantly, I am “in him”. 

This is where I am finding tremendous freedom. 

I can hold up my hands in surrender so much sooner when I consider the fact that He has already got me. I can’t mess up his plans, I’m not dictated by what others think, and I can’t ruin someone’s path to salvation. 

It’s not about living carelessly, nor is it about doing life however I want – that’s foolishness, and that’s sin. But it is about living freely. Because I am In Christ. So I can say yes to whatever he has for me, I can wait patiently whenever he calls me to wait, and I can say no wherever he tells me a job is not for me. Because he’s got me. And he’s not going to let go. 

When his voice seems faint, I can walk in the wisdom he’s already given. And when his voice is loud but opposite my own plans for myself, I can walk in trust that he already has the details figured out. 

If Christ is in me and I am in him, then I am sealed, inside and out. 

In Christ, I am a child of God, a daughter of the King, bought at a price and adopted into His family. He chose me

He chooses all his people. We don’t have to prove it with our performance, we don’t have to earn it with our right choices. And we don’t risk losing anything when we misread or misstep. 

I heard an analogy once about being on an airplane. When you are in the plane, you go wherever the airplane goes. Whatever is true of the plane is true of you: if the plane is in the air, you are in the air; if the plane lands, you land; if the plane is in Africa, you are in Africa. And when we are in Christ, whatever is true of Him becomes true of us. 

It’s mind-blowing. I find myself asking God all the time, “are you sure?” 
To which he always responds, “Yes, I’m sure.” 

I continue to be reminded, a bit too frequently, that my life isn’t about me, but as I’m reminded, I also learn to rest in the identity my Father has given me, the identity my mom always encouraged me to focus on. I am His child. Christ is in me, and I am in Christ. So I am secure. There is no one who is able to snatch me from his hand.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:27

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? – 1 Corinthians 6:19

… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… – Romans 8:1

… nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:39

… to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy… – 1 Corinthians 1:2

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way… – 1 Corinthians 1:4-5

… you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God… – 1 Corinthians 1:30

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17

In him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

Read: Ephesians 1-2; Read it again and note each time it mentions “in Christ”. Make a list – what are things that are true of us when we are in Christ?

What does Jesus say about being “in him”?
John 14:17-20
John 15:1-17
John 16:33

Pray: Spend some time in prayer, thanking God for salvation, for Jesus, and for the abundance of blessing he so generously hands over to us.

If you haven’t made a decision to follow Christ and want to do so – you can pray something like this:

Lord, I want in. I want you to be my Father. I want to be welcomed into your family. I want to be in Christ. I’m sorry for my sins, sorry for the times I’ve done life my own way. I want that to change – I want to follow you. I trust you, Jesus, to cover my sins and to take over my life. Please lead me and guide me. Amen

There is nothing magic in the words, but there is absolutely something supernatural in the repentance of heart and surrender to the Savior, the lover of our souls. 

I write to teach and to share the little bit of all I know and am learning, and I would be so happy to answer any questions, pray or provide support however possible. Contact me if there is anything I can do!

Sing: The Rock Won’t Move, Vertical Worship – This has been one of my favorite songs for a while. I play it on repeat and blast it in the car. “The rock won’t move”, and we are in the rock. He has such a fierce and unshakeable grip on us.

Additional Resource: This podcast is packed – Knowing Faith, #36 – A Lesson in Pronouns: The Doctrine of Union with Christ

The sufficiency of insufficiency

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I used to beat myself up with this verse. I would say things to myself like, you have to honor God with your body. If you really loved him, you wouldn’t eat the way you do.

There’s a lot to be said about these verses, but it’s mind-blowing to me that I could grow up in the Church, memorize verses like John 3:16, make wordless book Gospel bracelets at VBS, profess faith in Christ and still not fully grasp the Gospel. 

I was never saved on my own accord. My salvation never rested in my ability to perform or demonstrate my great love for God. No, Jesus did it. That’s the whole point. Salvation is of the Lord. He stretched out his arm to accomplish it for himself. 

A few years back, I remember feeling similarly discouraged. I was reading an excellent book, Kisses from Katie (highly recommend! in addition to her book Daring to Hope). And again I was condemning myself – I wasn’t living in another country, I hadn’t given up all my stuff to teach the Bible overseas, I wasn’t doing enough. As I sat in my car, driving through my subdivision, I confessed to God with so much sorrow, “I just don’t love you enough.”

And God said, “But my love for you is enough.”

That is the Gospel. The wild and crazy, radically different from every other religion Gospel. It is Good News. Like headlines today report things that have been done, the Good News about Jesus Christ is what he has done. He conquered death, he paid the price, he satisfied his own wrath, he created a way. It’s the only religion where God comes down, humbles himself and completes for himself what no man could ever come close to completing. 

Ironically, that moment, driving that morning and hearing from God became such a big catalyst for why I blog today – because God saw me. And if God sees little me, living in America, staying home with my babies, doing nothing extraordinary with my life, then maybe he can use my story to encourage and see anyone else who feels insufficient. To remind them of his greatness. Of his sufficiency. Of his complete disregard for all things the world holds dear. Maybe he can use the holes and the gaps in my story to remind anyone who will listen how Great and Good he is. How majestic and mighty his hand is to save all who might draw near.

And that’s exactly what I wish I had spent more of my life concerning myself over. What he has done opposed to what I think I need to do. He didn’t just die up on that cross to save the world. He saved me. So now, instead of beating myself up with verses about what I don’t think I’m doing well enough, I can first focus on what’s done. And I can first meditate on the earlier words of that chapter in Corinthians: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). 

I don’t believe that some Scripture is more relevant than other Scripture, but I do believe that the Bible needs to be taken in context of the Bible. And if the whole thing is about Jesus, then let us always start there. When we put our trust in Him, we get a new identity. And no longer are we about us, we are now about Him – because of what He has accomplished for us.

The reason I had had such a bad relationship with food had nothing to do with the food itself. It had to do with my identity. I was trying to justify myself with my looks. I was trying to make myself right by being a certain number on a scale. 

But in Christ, it is no longer about what I should do, because I can rest in what’s been done. I was justified in the name of Jesus. I was made right because of him and what He did. 

So now, the way I treat my body and enjoy food is a fruit of my relationship with Him. It’s the fruit of a whole lot of years of conversations and help and prayers and Scripture. And it’s the beautiful fruit of simply believing that what God says is true. 


The other day, my husband sent me to the store for mashed potatoes. Like anyone who makes the terrible choice to go to the store hungry, I came home with much more than mashed potatoes. The sweet checkout woman laughed at my assortment of sushi, potato chips, candy bars and oatmeal cream pies. And then she became my best friend when she assured me that no calories count on the weekend. 

But here’s the thing – some 10 years ago, I would have bought those foods and eaten it all at once, all by myself. And I would have been filled with shame and regret. I remember thinking I would never be able to just enjoy food “normally”. But my testimony is this – Jesus changed me. He saved me, and while my habits didn’t change overnight or without a lot of work, they did change. Because he justified me. He gave me a new identity.


For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  – John 3:17-18

For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. – John 12:47

Tearing down and building up

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to tear down and a time to build… He has made everything beautiful in its time. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

It’s okay to tear down. It’s not particularly fun when it’s something you built. In fact, it’s usually humiliating. But when the behavior, relationship, career, lifestyle, etc. has been assembled on a foundation that is not firm, that is not steady, there comes a time to tear down if you ever want the chance of stability on something that will weather all storms. 

It hurts to tear down. It may feel confusing and may lead to misunderstanding by the people around you, but feelings can’t be our guide. Hurt doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is wrong. 

“So you like to feel hurt?” someone asked me once. No, I surely don’t. But the same way I am willing to tear muscles in my body, to be sore and uncomfortable for days after a workout because I know that the muscle will rebuild and make my body stronger, so am I willing to tear down things in my life when it’s necessary to rebuild for something sturdy. 

It may be humiliating, it may be painful, but it will be worth it. So worth it.

We will not be left disappointed when we work with the master Creator himself. He takes what’s broken and makes something new.

This whole world – made and declared good, yet only a short time later, broken, infected by the disease of sin with only one option for cure.

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days,” (John 2:18-19).

But nobody understood what he was talking about. Hanging on the cross, exposed and beaten, they ridiculed him, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself!” (Matthew 27:40), when ironically he wasn’t even the one who needed saving. 

He stood in our place, making right what we had made wrong, That we might become the righteousness of God. That we might be built up, that we might become a temple of His very Spirit. 

For me, I think one of the hardest things about tearing down is the way that things can be so misunderstood by others. But Jesus was misunderstood. And the misunderstanding was entirely necessary – because it got him to the cross. The most broken of all places, and yet the only spot that would allow for healing and building in souls of those he cares most about. Me. You. His people.  

When we stay close to Him, we can have full assurance that what’s torn down won’t stay down. God is not a God who leaves things undone. He is a God who makes things beautiful.


But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. – John 2:21-22

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? – 1 Corinthians 6:19

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.” – Revelation 21:1-3


Read: John 2:13-20, Matthew 27:41-54
Luke 6:46-49
2 Corinthians 5:17

What has Jesus accomplished? How has it affected your life? How does his finished work on the cross give you hope for the brokenness you see around you?