Breaking Free From Shame: Hope for the Woman Struggling to Find Her Worth

Hey all you lovely, precious God-fearing women out there! A few weeks ago, I created this video on Youtube, as the Lord was breaking strongholds of shame in my life and showing me His perfect love. I hope and pray it blesses you, and that Jesus brings freedom, hope, and healing into your life as well! ❤

P.S. This video certainly applies to women very much, but there may be bits and pieces for the men to glean from as well. 🙂 God bless!

Speaking the Truth In Love

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My last post was on the topic of gentleness. Gentleness can easily be misinterpreted as tolerating people’s beliefs to the point of not pointing out their error. Thus, the Lord led me to write this post to explain that while we are in dire need of gentleness in our day and age, we are also in dire need of speaking the truth in power and love and conviction from the Holy Spirit.

People seem to go to one extreme or another: being too sensitive to hurting a person’s feelings so they don’t speak truth, or yelling truth hatefully in someone’s face. Both of these ways stem from fear. Fear that the person’s feelings will be hurt, or fear that the person won’t “get it” unless you say it louder or more strongly.

God’s way is better. His ways stem from a heart of faith in Him. He teaches us to be gentle and respectful in all the ways we need to be, and He shows us when it’s time to rise up and speak bold truths with full love in your heart for the person.

Paul talks about this in 1 Thessalonians 1:5, “…because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”

Jesus did not waver in speaking the truth. He confronted people head on. He never compromised in order to please the other side, show toleration, or avoid offending. The world has a skewed view of love, so much so that some people may interpret my last post about gentleness as a post encouraging people to be so gentle with others they do not speak the truth. As I mentioned above, that isn’t true gentleness; that’s fear. True gentleness speaks the truth.

True love, on the other hand, goes far deeper. And as we know, love is in the two greatest commandments: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30-33). So, how do we love our neighbor as we love ourselves? True love speaks the truth in whatever ways the person needs to hear it. True love isn’t about what giving a person what they want; it is about giving them what they need. Don’t you want someone to let you know if you are in a destructive habit that is keeping you from sweet intimacy and abundant life with God? Don’t you want to know the truth, so you will be set free?

Then go, go speak truth to others.

In order to speak uncompromised truth, sometimes God calls you to do it with boldness rather than gentleness. This is why He brought the tongues of fire come on the believers during Pentecost, in order to empower them to share the gospel in various tongues with all boldness (Acts 2:3-4). It all comes down to: you have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to understand what He wants for you in each situation. Always talk to God. Always be open to what He wants you to say and how He wants you to say it.

If someone is standing on a train track thinking they won’t get run over and you see the trains coming, are you going to gently say “hey, maybe you should move because, you know, like there might be a train coming that I might be looking at right now and that might sort of have a belief that it is going to run over you…”

Is this even true belief? That’s why in the above passage Paul mentions “with full conviction.”

If you truly believe something, you’re going to shout it from the mountain tops no matter whose whose ego it hurts. Why? Because there is NOTHING better than the truth. The truth is worth more than anything the earth has to offer: friends, family, jobs, school, money, success, fame, pleasure, you name it. It’s worth SO MUCH MORE.

True love points people to the truth. True love is fearless at pointing out the faults of others in order to bring healing and transformation. True love is willing to go the extra mile in reaching out to the person with the truth that they need to hear in order for them to grab hold of Jesus’ hand and be rescued from the pit of darkness they are in.

When you are speaking the truth under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, it isn’t going to come off as cruel or harsh, it will come off as loving, unless the enemy blinds the person to interpreting it as otherwise. I know that even when people give me hard, uncompromised truth, I can sense that they are being so bold with me because they love me and they want me to be more free, healed, and in unity with God. True love is FIERCE in speaking the exact truth a person needs to here.

This world is so corrupt, and so many churches especially in America are just existing to puff up people’s egos, giving them a false delusion of having a relationship with God when in real life they still cling to alcohol, to fornication, to sexual immortality, to love of money, to pride, to religion, to family, to friends…

None of that matters. Leave every idol in your heart aside and follow Jesus. Don’t turn back. Jesus Himself warned against this.

“Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'” Matthew 8:21-22

This must be your attitude in being uncompromised in the truth. Cling to Jesus rather than the idol of people-pleasing or the fear you will lose a friend. And challenge others with this radical gospel message of surrender and trust in order for the Holy Spirit’s conviction to fall on them. Challenge others to lay everything else aside and follow Him, too.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” Matthew 16:24

Speaking the truth in love is actually laying yourself aside in order for Jesus to get the glory and speak through you into the other person’s life. And the power of the Holy Spirit speaking through you allows that person to hear Jesus confronting them in their hearts: “Will you choose self or Me?”

Jesus is always drawing people to Himself. He uses us, His broken vessels, to get people’s attention and help them to hear what Jesus may have already been telling them or nudging at them about. Pray the person before, during, and after you talk with them. You need prayer and you need the Word of God in order to be true prophet as well. (But that’s another topic for another time…)

There is usually some area or multiple areas of a person’s life they aren’t willing to give up in order to follow Jesus. Ask the Spirit’s guidance to show you what questions to ask to get to the heart of that person to find out why their heart isn’t truly surrendered. You can do this even with people who believe they are Christians but whose lives do not reflect their professed beliefs. You will know them by their fruit. Ask God for discernment about what to say to people and how to say it.

So while I advocate for speaking the truth in gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15), that by no means means you cannot be bold. If the Holy Spirit is telling you to say something bold, SAY IT. Don’t back down. The enemy would like you to say all the nice things about Jesus and avoid saying the harder things. But the harder things are the things that actually bring freedom, purity, deliverance and salvation. The harder things are actually what lead a dead person into new life in Christ Jesus. And they are what lead to believers into great freedom, intimacy, and purity in the Lord.

This is what true prophecy is. Paul says we are to eagerly desire the gift of prophecy, and to be a true prophet of God is to be uncompromised in the truths and wisdom God reveals to you to tell others.

“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” 1 Corinthians 5:1

Desiring after prophecy is actually where “following the way of love” leads you to. Speaking true wisdom from God to share with others is one of the most loving things you can do for a person. Ask God for more of the gift of prophecy, and see how He enables you to speak wisdom and truth into people’s lives.

I have been so grateful for those in my life who have spoken hard truths to me. While at first I may feel a little taken a back, uncertain, offended, or hurt, I always have (to my knowledge) ended up receiving the things that were true and from God and as a result I have always been led to greater freedom, intimacy, and purity in the Lord. It’s amazing when you have a love for the truth how God takes the scales off your eyes and gives you spiritual glasses to see things the way He sees them.

Truly, a corrected person is a more transformed person. Learn to receive and embrace true godly correction. Seek out the truth. Seek out others who will tell you the truth. And always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit of when to speak truth, what to speak, and how to speak it.

Jesus is God, and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). God is love (1 John 4:8). So, when your heart is sold out for the Truth, only then, can you know what love really is.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” Ephesians 4:15

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,” 1 Peter 1:22

“Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” Proverbs 9:8

Faith Over Fear, part 9: A Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrath

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I have been going through a series about the fruits of the Holy Spirit and how they counteract fear in our lives. So far, I have done: Be filled with the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and faithfulness. This second-to-last post in the series is about one of my favorite fruits: gentleness.

What does it mean to be gentle?

Does it mean simply politeness, or something more? Where has gentleness gone in this day and age of social media, “say it like you mean it” angst, and hate speech?* Has our culture lost the art of gentleness?

While there is a place for speaking truth firmly and boldly in love, there is also a dire need to speak truth in gentleness or extend love to others with gentleness. Harsh talk is damaging to relationships and to our witness of Christ.

Gentleness changes things. I remember talking with someone one time (well, there are many times such as this), and this person getting very mad at me for something which I did not deserve such intense accusation for. I almost responded back with anger, but instead felt the nudging of God to soften my voice and say something kind which she did not deserve.

To my surprise, instead of continuing on showering her wrath on me, a calm settled over her and she responded with the same gentleness.

I don’t want to say this to show that I’m some sort of expert at being gentle (I’m not!); rather, I want to say this to show how gentle Jesus is, and how His Spirit living inside each one of us can change the atmosphere when we listen to His promptings. Though people lash out at us when do not deserve such accusation, we must respond to them in the gentleness which they themselves do not deserve. In the same way, Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, suffering punishment He did not deserve in place of us who did not deserve such grace.

As Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Guys, this is HUGE! Think of how much better of a world we would live in if people responded to someone’s anger with gentleness rather than with more anger? With Christ living in us as believers, we can touch people’s heart and lives by living radically gentle lives.

As Christians, there are many areas of life we are called to be gentle. To get more of an idea of what gentleness is, when to use it, and how it is used, here are some Bible verses that caught my attention about gentleness:

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:1-2

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20

Thus, gentleness softens the hearts of the ungodly, avoids quarrelling, points errors out lovingly in other believers, and is “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

The point of today, folks, is that gentleness stands out in a world of hard and bitter speech. In these dark times, Beloved, choose to be gentle as Christ himself was gentle.

The thing about gentleness is that it is the opposite of fear. Fear drives people towards anger. If you are afraid of not getting to work on time, you might lash out at your spouse if they keep asking you questions about something in the morning. If you are afraid you will gain weight, you might reprimand your mother harshly for serving you hamburgers and fries for dinner.

Nevertheless, when we choose to trust in God, we don’t need to be fearful, and therefore there is no need to be angry. God is in control; and the truth of the whole matter is that the person in front of you matters more than your own agenda. That person is so precious to God; and their hearts are really yearning for love. Their own anger evidences just that–they are hurt and are in need of assurance they everything is okay. Because of the love of Christ inside you, therefore, your only option to respond to them is gentleness.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” Proverbs 3:5

This means your simple faith in the Lord allows you to respond in a supernaturally gentle way to those around you.

How can you be gentle today, Beloved?

Surrender your fears about your own plans and forgive those who have interrupted or upset your agenda. Go to them and forgive them, if need be. Ask Jesus to pour His love into your heart and make you pure and gentle once again.

A song for you to receive the gentleness of Jesus:

*this is not a political reference or meant to suggest anything political.

Faith Over Fear, Part 8: Be Faithful in the Little Things

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I have been going through a series about the fruits of the Holy Spirit and how they counteract fear in our lives. So far, I have done: Be filled with the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. Today’s post is about the fruit of faithfulness.

There is such a lack of faithfulness in today’s culture. So many are content with living below average lives, just working the bare minimum to pay the bills, just studying the bare minimum to pass the class. So little motivation for living a thriving, healthy lifestyle.

I can’t say I’m totally exempt from this attitude. I feel so dragged down by college schoolwork, so I overly distract myself with social media, YouTube, and other various things, leaving schoolwork in the backburner and letting ugly procrastination rule my life.

Ouch. Lord, help me.

The other day, He told me: Do small things with great joy.

This reminded me of when Jesus said:

“Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” Mark 9:41

Wow! We will get a reward for doing just that? Giving someone a cup of water in Jesus’ name? Incredible. This goes to show how watchful our Father is over each one of us, and how He delights in every act of faith, no matter how small. What a good Father!

Speaking for myself personally, I have long struggled with doing every day things joyfully and eagerly. It all stems back from fear–fear that our actions don’t matter in light of eternity. Fear that this whole thing is a waste of time. Fear that we could be doing something better and more satisfying with our time.

All of these fears are lies. As we see in the verse earlier about giving a cup of water, every little action matters for eternity when we set our hearts on Christ and do it for His glory, as His followers. Every action for Jesus stores for ourselves a reward in heaven!

If that isn’t enough, when we choose to let Christ be with us in the little things and do it for Him, we find a life far more satisfying than wasting our time on the Internet, which leaves us miserable and regretful. We aren’t wasting our time. We are connecting with Christ, glorifying Him, and storing for ourselves a future reward in heaven.

Sometimes it feels the smallest things are the hardest and most tedious to do. But if we do not have faith in Jesus in the small things we do, we will not have faith in Him into the big things we do for His kingdom’s sake. And even in the small things, we can experience God’s presence—which after all, is what our heart’s ache for, isn’t it?

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10

The truth is, we can live a satisfying life when we allow God’s grace to fuel us in even the small tasks of every day living. When we enjoy His presence at work, school, or talking with friends. When we delight in Him as we drive to run errands or as we wash dishes. And in turn, these small things prepare us for larger moments of acts of faith God may have for us in the future.

Even in these miniscule moments, God is able to come through for us in making ever moment count and every moment significant for the Kingdom of God. He can use anything and everything to grow us to be more like Him and draw us in an ever more intimate relationship with Him.

God wants us to be faithful. It’s one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, so that tells us He can empower us to be faithful in ever task.

So how can we be faithful? The simple answer is this: Have faith in Him.

Rather than bowing to fear of wasting time, trust that He who gave this task to you will strengthen you and satisfy you through it. He can teach us how to be organize and clean for His glory. He can teach us to be committed to meetings, appointments, and the like. He can show us how to get to places on time and prioritize the right tasks to make for fruitful living that glorifies Him and shines a light for Him for all the world to see.

Every moment counts as a Christian. Even if no one is watching, God is always with you watching over you, cheering you on to live every moment in His presence, His freedom, and His grace. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Truthfully, we must invite Him into our small tasks and let Him strengthen us in order to find rest for ourselves even in our labor.

So, how can we be faithful in the small things?

Stay connected with Him. Keep in mind this verse: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

See, this is God’s will for your life! To be rejoicing always in the Lord – that Christ died for you, even you, a sinner, and rose again on the third day to give you eternal life. To be praying always – living and abiding in His presence, staying in constant communion with God. To give thanks in all circumstances – thanking God for His mercy, grace, and compassion. He is slow to anger and abounding in love!

As rejoicing, praying, and thanking God activates the Holy Spirit within you, you will have all the strength you need to remain faithful to the tasks God has set before you.

Work with all your heart, dear brothers and sisters. Know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.


“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

What are struggling with being faithful in right now? School? Work? Commitments? Time management? Cleaning?

Ask the Lord to be with you and give you great joy for the tasks ahead of you. He will strengthen you and help you (Isaiah 41:10). You can always be sure of that. ❤

Faith Over Fear, Part 7: Do Not Grow Weary in Doing Good

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I have been reflecting on how to go about writing about the last four fruits of the spirit: goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Honestly, it seems daunting. We can’t just muster out of us these fruits of the spirit. There aren’t five practical steps for how to exhibit these fruits of the spirit. If we tried to be good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled on our own strength, we would fail. The only way for the fruits to spring up in our lives is if we are connected to the vine: Jesus Christ.

It all goes back to abiding. Resting. Remaining in Him. Staying in Him. Sticking with Jesus. You can read my article about abiding here.

So in the following articles I write, I am going to express, by the grace of God, how these fruits of the spirit can naturally spring up in your life as you connect with the true Vine. To check out the first six articles about the Holy Spirit counteracting fear click on these links: Be filled with the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness

What does it mean to be good? In today’s society, people have all kinds of different definitions of what it means to be a good person. Most people consider those who are against murdering to be pretty decent humans. But God’s standard is so much higher.

I asked some people over Instagram how they would define “being good”, and I got some interesting answers from pretty solid Christians.

What it means to be good:

A deep connection with God where we are constantly trying to align our thoughts and everything with Him

Centered on God

Abide in Him, and trust Him to do the rest

I find these answers fascinating and pointing me back to the idea of abiding in Christ once again. After all, Jesus Himself says in Luke 18:19b, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”

Thus, we don’t even know how to be good. God’s goodness is so far above us and far beyond our understanding. His goodness is so much “more good” than our idea of at least not wanting to kill anyone. Have you stolen anything? Have you lied? Have you lusted after someone in your heart? Have you gossiped? Have you hated someone in your heart? Jesus says that anger towards a person (vs. anger towards their sin) is the equivalent of murder.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:20-22 (ESV)

Scripture cuts through our self-righteous ideas of goodness and gets straight to the heart. We are not good. Only God is good. And by His grace, His righteousness lives inside us to will and to act according to His good purpose.

The more I grow in the Lord, the more I realize the depravity of my sinful nature and that I truly have no righteousness on my own. I must be completely helpless and weak before Christ, totally dependent on Him to live through me. And I must let Him do it. Then, by the grace of God, my actions will proclaim to the world that God is good.

Invite Jesus into every situation. I am learning more and more how vital this is. Take every time you spend with family or friends as an opportunity to cry to Jesus “Your will be done in this time” and watch how God works out His will and surprises you because of your dependence on Him. His will, His ways, and His plans are perfect. Trust in Him! Don’t waste your life getting distracted by these situations and forgetting about Jesus in your social interactions. Stay in close communication with Jesus and watch how He moves in you and works in others’ live as well.

Bring Jesus into your social times, your work times, your school times, your relaxed times. Every moment of every day choose Jesus. Seek His face. Seek for His glory to be known to all people. Ask Him what’s on His heart. Make the most of every opportunity to do good to all people.

Keep choosing to obey Jesus by doing good to others. Don’t let fear hold you back to reach out to that one friend, or to share the gospel with that stranger, or to start a hard conversation with a family member. Don’t let fear hold you back from offering a helping hand, for serving others, for doing the little things for God’s glory.

When you feel that nudge to do something, do it. Be bold, dear brothers and sisters! Take risks. Doing good is what the Holy Spirit nudges us to do, and failing to take those opportunities brings conviction on the Christian’s soul.

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” – James 4:17

Keep listening to the Holy Spirit and take every opportunity to do good. Don’t give up, Beloved! You may not understand it now, but there is boundless joy in choosing Jesus in every situation.

Each time you do so, light shines brightly into the dark world, and people notice it, and some–even some–will realize it is beautiful.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

What do you feel God is nudging you to do? What is holding you back from doing it?

Faith Over Fear, Part 6: Clothe Yourselves With Kindness

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I’m back!!! Back from where? Back from about a month long break from blogging. It’s been a journey, for sure, of God teaching me and growing me in many ways. Most of all, He has humbled me to see the depths of His grace and mercy and how much more deeply than I thought I needed to be totally dependent on Him each and every day. The gospel is NOT a one-time gift to receive, it is a gift we get to receive each and every day as believers! With that being said, here is my new post about how choosing kindness can counteract fear in your life. Check out my other posts about the fruit of the Holy Spirit here: Be filled with the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience

In our society, we see and hear the message “Be kind” everywhere we go. People endeavor to perform sweet gestures as “random acts of kindness.” Kindness certainly makes the world a better place. But did you know, that as a son or daughter of God, kindness should be something that you don’t just exercise, but that defines you?

Why? Because, my friends, God has been abundantly kind to you.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:4-7 (ESV)

So, we know God has been abundantly kind to us in lavishing on us mercy we don’t deserve. Wow! And we also know that “Love is kind” (1 Cor. 13:4) and that one of the fruits of the spirit is kindness (Gal. 5:22).

And when we look at Colossians 3:12 we also know God calls us to clothe ourselves with kindness:


“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (NIV)

 

So God is Love, and Love is Kind, and the ability to be Kind is within us as the Holy Spirit resides in us. And now, we see that as Beloved sons and daughters, it is our choice to dress ourselves up in Kindness every day.

I know it is easy to be rude to people, particularly family members or reckless drivers on the street. Rudeness stems from fear, (fear we won’t get our way, fear we won’t be understood, etc.) but as children of God who have faith in Jesus, we are called to a higher standard. We can have faith which expresses itself in love (Gal. 5:60.

To be honest, it isn’t easy for me to be kind all the time. One thing I have noticed, is that when I hoard any unforgiveness in my heart towards my family, it is impossible to be truly and genuinely kind to them. I am learning to continually express to my Heavenly Father about what is bothering me, and then let Him continually prune my heart and fill me with lovingkindness towards my family members. I am learning to live in constant forgiveness towards my family members, because of God’s constant grace and mercy poured out onto me. Can you forgive those who constantly bother you, constantly?

This is exactly what Jesus calls us to:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

Wow! That is a high standard of forgiveness, but it is NOTHING compared to how much God forgives us, “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). Jesus Christ is always there to intercede for us and provides us access to our loving Father, no matter what we have done (Hebrews 7:25)! Praise God! He is so good and so faithful!

And God never chose to be kind to us for any reason other than that it is in His very nature to be kind. In the same way, He would not require us to be kind if He did not give us access to His Spirit which enables us to have kindness in our new, redeemed nature.

In order to be kind, Beloved, we must learn to be real. Yes, kindness is in our redeemed nature, but oftentimes we have feelings we have to acknowledge in order to be really, truly kind. As Niel T. Anderson says in his book Victory Over the Darkness, “You must be real to be right.” Take off the mask and be vulnerable with God, and in turn kindness will be your natural response towards others.

“Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8 

As you trust God with your heart, He is kind and gentle with you there and He begins His healing process. His love fills you up and kindness naturally flows out of you towards others. “Being kind” isn’t just an exercise anymore, it is who you are, because of Christ living in you.

I am learning to be myself around my family members, rather than put on a mask to protect myself from pain or in response to my bitterness. This isn’t a flippant “be yourself” where you just don’t care about how you act anymore. This is being yourself out of an abiding relationship with God. As you learn to constantly commune with the Holy Spirit, telling Him everything that is going on, and letting Him love you, kindness begins to be a natural part of your life. Rudeness becomes a foreigner to you, and you begin to live the kind-hearted life God has always called you to live in your relationships with people!

Today, Beloved, take action and find ways to show kindness to your friends, family, or strangers. Clothe yourself with kindness everyday, and keep your clothes on even when others are rude to you (weird metaphor–but hey, it works!). Because the Lord never stops being kind to us, let us never stop being kind to others, no matter how rude they are to us!

Have a blessed day, Beloved, and enjoy this song that speaks of our Savior’s kindness!

What Editing Has Taught Me Spiritually

A new post over on my author blog!

Grace Caylor

In my last post, I talked about some practical tips editing has really grounded in me more as a writer.

Now, to move on, I would like to share what editing The Thrall’s Sword has taught me spiritually. (If you would like to learn more about my soon-to-be-published novel itself, click here.)

I have realized many things about God through this editing journey. I have learned that Jesus is the best Author whom I can totally trust and rely on to make my life into a beautiful masterpiece. When I trust in the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse my soul, He deletes all the bad stuff out of me bit by bit and adds good stuff to me to make me more like Himself–holy and righteous before God the Father.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we…

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Faith Over Fear, Part 5: The Sacrifice of Patience

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Check out my other fruits of the Holy Spirit posts here: Being filled with the Spirit, love, joy, peace

How does patience counteract fear in our lives? It is an interesting question to ask, and actually very relevant to our current age if you think about it. With all this technology, we have learned to be quickly and easily gratified by one tap of the finger. We rush around trying to earn money to make a living. We rarely have time—or make the time—to just slow down for people.

Fear of lack of time or fear of vulnerability can get us to rush past important things in relationships in order to gratify ourselves, meanwhile dismissing the needs and wishes of another, like their desire to be listened to.

The famous love chapter, in 1 Corinthians 13, describes love right from the beginning as patient (v. 4). Why is patience so important in learning to love others?

Because impatient people show by their behavior that they don’t care about the person in front of them and they want to get on with their lives. Ouch. Haha!

You see, exercising patience reveals the deep value and care God has for people. God slows down for people because He knows that they matter more than “the next thing.” People’s hearts matter to God more than getting things done.

Real success isn’t finishing that work project, it is taking the time to listen to a friend or neighbor pour out their frustration about their finance issue. Real success is choosing to go deeper with a teenager when they say they’re fine but you know they don’t really mean it. Real success is listening to a coworker talk about what they are passionate about even though you don’t totally get why they like sports so much. Real success is intimacy, not efficiency.

(I heard something similar to the last statement one time somewhere, at a conference I think. So I don’t get full credit for it! :P)

Sometimes, though, people aren’t opening up their hearts to you in a heart-to-heart way, but more in a fist-to-fist way. They have no interest in being intimate with you. Your boss yells at you to work faster even though you already are going as fast as you can. Your parent tells you you can’t go out and meet your friends today. Your friend or sibling talks about you behind your back.

Being patient with people who are just flat out behaving badly is pretty hard. While irritation may come easy to many people, the Lord calls us to a different standard. Ephesians 4:1-3 says, “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Being patient in the face of difficult people is a tremendous task, but one that can be done with the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a high calling the Lord invites us into, but it is totally possible through Jesus to bear with even the most difficult people in love. To live in constant forgiveness towards others and always desire and aim to have peaceful relationships with others.

Patience counteracts fear because through patience you can choose to care, slow down, and see the value of the person in front of you in spite of all their flaws and in spite of all you have to get done. Choosing to be patient with someone is trusting God’s love reaches to this person so deeply that nothing else matters. It’s refusing the fear that leads to frustration and choosing the love that leads to peace and harmony.

This is what denying ourselves as Christians looks like in everyday life! It’s saying “no” to what we want and saying “yes” to what Jesus wants for that person. And He wants them to know how deeply and truly He cares for them through our living, breathing example.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” – Matthew 16:24

Today, Beloved, choose to be patient with a friend, family member, coworker, or someone else you encounter. Ask Jesus for the patience you need to deal with him or her graciously and lovingly. God wants this person to know how loved they are by Him, and rushing past things won’t bring the message across. You are God’s vessel, and He wants to use you to show love that surpasses all fear, a love that chooses patience at the cost of your own preferences and desires. Watch and see how your patience towards someone leads to joy and blessing!

Be blessed today, as you make the sacrifice of patience and choose love over fear in your life!

 

Update: Editing Editing Editing! My Editing Journey + 3 Helpful Writing Tips

Check out what I’m learning as I edit my soon-to-be-published novel! 🙂

Grace Caylor

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Hello everyone!

I hope you all are doing well. In spite of all that’s going on in this world, God is still good and life is still worth enjoying.

I certainly have been able to enjoy myself, editing my novel these past few weeks. Getting lost in a fictional world is one of the joys of both reading and writing a novel. Even so, the real truths of fiction conveys can help one cope with reality.

An editor from the publishing company, Ambassador International, got back to me in April with her feedback on my novel. After I finished my finals for my college sophomore semester, I set to work.

At first I was overwhelmed by the amount of comments and changes she made or suggested. But gradually I realized how helpful they were and how needed. Through editing this manuscript, I have…

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