Summer Shore

Summer Shore is co-founder of Revive Ministries, a writer, speaker, and co-host of the Experience Revival podcast. She has been an on-air personality in Christian radio for the past 6 years, and you can currently hear her on HOPE 107.9. Summer has been speaking and teaching for 18 years, using humor and real-life experiences to connect with women, speak to their hearts and draw them closer to God. She also enjoys singing and leading worship whenever she can. Summer and her husband, Jake, have been married for almost 20 years and have 3 boys that keep her on her toes! Summer loves spending time traveling and going on adventures with her family, especially if it involves going to her favorite Cuban restaurant. When she’s not on the air or working with Revive, you’ll find her curled up in a fuzzy blanket with mug of chai tea and, you guessed it, a Hallmark movie. You can connect with her on Instagram @summer_shore.

  • More Than We Ask Or Imagine

    For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

    Ephesians 3:14-21

    Looking back over the last five years of ministry for Revive, I am amazed at all that God has done, is doing, and will do. I continue to stand in awe of His goodness, faithfulness, and love as He takes our meager offerings and multiplies them to accomplish Kingdom work before our very eyes. It is nothing short of miraculous. 

    And so much of this Kingdom work began with this prayer from Ephesians 3:14-21. It has been our hearts’ cry for each woman that we encounter at the coffee shop, in our online Bible studies, at church, on social media, at events, or in just the park. 

    We pray that she will be rooted and established in love. That she will experience the love of Christ in tangible ways, and that as her grasp of God’s love for her increases, so will her passion for Christ. 

    We pray that her relationship with Jesus will be the defining relationship in her life, the one that becomes the measure of how she sees herself and others. 

    We pray that her sense of self-worth and value will be wrapped up in who God says she is and how God esteems her, instead of the noisy opinions of the world.

    We pray she would know this love that surpasses knowledge: that she is fearfully and wonderfully made and a beloved daughter of The King.

    We pray that in the security of being fully known and fully loved by God, she will confidently step out in faith, using all the ways that God has uniquely created her to bless God and others. 

    We pray that she will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to live the abundant life that God invites us to and that she will walk confidently in her purpose as a citizen in the unshakable Kingdom of God. 

    In a world that is broken, hurting, and lost, we need God’s daughters to rise up. We need to know God and who we are in Him. We need to shine the light and love of Christ to our families, friends, and to the next generation of women who will follow in our footsteps. We need to be a reflection of God’s love and a beacon of hope that there is more to this life than what the world can offer. Because we know that someone, somewhere will experience revival because of God at work within us. 

    So we pour out our hearts in prayer, confident that God will continue to work powerfully. We pray that He will continue to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, and we thank Him daily for the chance to join Him in the work He is doing. 

    There’s room for more people to join us in this Kingdom work. Pray with us and for us! Pray that as God continues to grow Revive Ministries, more and more women will begin to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who they are in Christ. The power of God is at work through His people, and His love will transform this generation and the generations to come. 

    “To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

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  • Fully Known & Loved

    As my toddler, Daniel explored our backyard, I could feel my leg muscles starting to burn a little as I followed him around in a weird, traveling half-squat. Watch anyone with a toddler at the park and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. As silly as I looked, I wanted to keep Daniel within arms reach in case he ventured into terrain he wouldn’t be able to handle quite yet. At the same time, I also wanted him to enjoy the victory of conquering the yard without too much help from Mom. So I told myself the traveling half-squat would be my workout for the day and around the yard we went.

    I watched him closely, keenly aware of his every move. I anticipated potential trips and stumbles, steered him around obstacles, and was ready at a moment’s notice to scoop him up in my arms or let him take a soft landing so he could learn what he can do under the safety of my watchful eye. It didn’t matter if Daniel was my third kid or my first, nobody knows him better than I do. I’m his mama, and I know him like the back of my hand.

    We played in the yard for a while and after Daniel went down for his nap, I curled up on the couch with my coffee and my Bible. In this rare and precious moment of quiet, I was especially moved as I read Psalm 139:1-5.

    O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

    You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

    You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

    You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.

    You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. (NLT)

    It is a verse I must have read a hundred times, but today, it just struck me in a way that felt more real. You see, there are lots of days when it is easy to feel unseen, invisible, or unappreciated. But I realized reading this passage of Scripture, that today would not be one of them.

    Instead, today would be a day when I could settle down into the truth that God knows everything about me, the good, the bad, and the ugly. While there was a time in my life that would have felt like a scary prospect, today I could rest comfortably in the knowledge that there’s not a moment in my day when I am not seen and loved beyond measure by my Heavenly Father.

    He knows when I am going to sit down or stand up. He sees the obstacles in my path and steers me around them. He’s ready to scoop me up in His arms and rescue me from danger or let me take the soft landing so I can learn under the safety of His watchful eye.

    Because of this, I can lean into the love of a God who knows my every thought, even before I have found the words. I can rest in the comfort of a Father who never gives up, who welcomes me with open arms, even after seasons where I may have wandered far away from Him. He is the God who knows my daily rhythms. He sits with me as I sip my coffee in the stillness before the chaos. He sees me when I am changing diapers, wiping noses, and folding laundry. He is there when I succeed, and when I cry in the shower after a hard day.

    The truth is, I can go through every day secure in the One who goes before me and follows behind me, in a Divine traveling half-squat, lovingly leading me at every turn. And at the end of the day, He places His sweet hand of blessing on my head, as I close my eyes, safe and secure because my God never sleeps. He watches over me day and night and tomorrow, He’ll do it all over again.

    My friend, there is not a moment that God does not see you fully, know you completely, and love you beyond compare. He’s got you, more than you can comprehend. You are safe with Him. You need no explanations with Him. There’s no place too far that He cannot reach you, no height or depth that He cannot go to save you. Lean into His love. Hunker down in that truth, wrap up in it like a warm hug. You are absolutely precious to Him, simply because you are His.

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  • Jesus & Pancakes

    One of the sweetest and most profound conversations I’ve heard was over pancakes at the breakfast table. 

    My oldest son Sam was about 6 when his good friend Josiah came over for a visit. Pancakes are Sam’s favorite, so I whipped up a batch for breakfast and set them on the table for the two buddies to share.

    They carefully poured the syrup over their respective short-stacks, and their little legs swung back and forth in their chairs as they casually chatted about life and their plans for the afternoon.

    I helped myself to a second cup of coffee and leaned on the kitchen counter, smiling and taking in the sweet scene before me. 

    Sam has always been a quiet kid, and Josiah just seemed to get him. He would never interrupt him like other kids often did unintentionally, in their enthusiasm. Josiah just listened intently and then would reply thoughtfully, often with wisdom beyond his years. Sam would listen in turn, and encourage Josiah right back. 

    At one point in their conversation, Josiah turned his whole body in his chair so he could look Sam square in the eye and asked him if he read his Bible and prayed every day. Sam nodded emphatically, and after chewing a huge mouthful of pancakes, assured him that yes, he did every day. 

    “That’s good!” Josiah cheerfully exclaimed. “It’s really important!” 

    Sam asked the same question of Josiah, who affirmed that he also read his Bible and prayed daily. The two finished their pancakes smiling, pleased that they were both living their best lives. 

    I was so inspired by their gentle encouragement of one another and moved by the sweetness of the Lord unfolding in this friendship between first-graders. Even now, ten years later, it brings a smile to my face. 

    Good friends are like that, aren’t they? They shape us to be more like God and spur us on to grow closer to Him. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” It was that same quality that I saw in my son and his friend, iron sharpening iron, not in competition or judgment, but in a heartfelt and caring desire to see the other thriving in their relationship with Christ. 

    Of course, we all want friendships that make us better and encourage us in all the different facets of life, but I think we can all agree that it’s not quite as easy as it was in first grade. 

    Nowadays, cultivating deep and meaningful friendships takes a whole lot of intentionality with a dash of Holy Spirit-fueled bravery. 

    Godly friendships start first with recognizing your own belovedness. I know at a glance that might feel strange, or challenging, or maybe even totally backward, but stick with me. 😉 

    When we acknowledge that we are God’s beloved children, we are recognizing that we are loved simply because we are His. Not on our own merit, but because He knit us together fearfully and wonderfully. There’s nothing we can say or do to earn it or lose it-He is our Abba, our Good Father and we are precious to Him. We can love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

    It is the love of Christ that frees us from insecurity and fear. Because our value and our worth are ultimately in Christ, we don’t have to worry about what others might think or get stuck in our own heads about where to start. We can boldly step out in faith, knowing that the One whose opinion matters most, loves us. 

    When we spend time with God, we realign our perspective with His. We can’t help but be reminded of who He is and how much He loves us. Jesus himself models this in the Gospels by withdrawing by himself to pray and spend time with the Father. He set a powerful and loving example for us to follow so that we could give from the overflow of the love we ourselves receive. 

    So often we try to operate on our own power and wisdom when it comes to relationships. The problem is that our power and wisdom are limited, and we eventually burn out. 

    But spending time with God and being constantly filled and refilled by His limitless love, empowers us to operate from a place of abundance instead of scarcity. We set healthier boundaries, make wiser choices, and speak more kindly to ourselves (and others) because we are more aware that God knows us fully and loves us wholly. 

    Embracing our belovedness and esteeming ourselves the way God does, also changes how we see and esteem others. Suddenly when you look at your friend, you see them first and foremost as a beloved child of God. They have honor and value in the Kingdom of God and are a reflection of God’s own image, just as you are. What a beautiful foundation for a friendship! 

    In the security of a friendship like that, we are able to rejoice when our friend rejoices, and mourn with them when they mourn. We can more easily speak the truth in love when they need encouragement or gentle correction, or simply to be reminded of who they are in Christ.

    Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us.”

    1 John 4:11-12

    There have definitely been times in my life when even if I’m doing all of these things, good friends seem scarce. It is in those seasons, that I turn back toward God in prayer, asking him to show me someone that can be a friend and someone for whom I can be a friend. He has been so faithful to bring people into my life that have blessed me beyond anything I could have imagined. And He has prompted me to notice people in need of His love that I may have never seen otherwise. Oftentimes, those people turn out to be one and the same. 

    In a world where many friendships are mile-wide and puddle-deep, I want to invite you to be bold in praying for the friends that you have and the friends you have yet to meet. 

    Maybe you have been longing for a true friend to link arms with for what feels like ages. We are praying that God leads you to just the right person at just the right time. May He strengthen you and comfort you and help you feel your full worth in Him. And while you wait, may He show you the people in your path that are also longing to experience God’s love through the friendship that only you can offer. Perhaps you are in their life for such a time as this. 

    Maybe you have been blessed with more than one good friend! We are doing a happy dance with you! I want to invite you to pray for those friends and also ask God to keep your eyes open for opportunities to share His love through friendship with others. Ask Him how you can bless your community and love as He loves. Make sure to also take time to withdraw and just be with Jesus, being filled with His love and recognizing your belatedness and the belovedness of others. 

    Finally, wherever you are in your friendships old or new, be intentional, be prayerful and be bold. Intentionally lean into the abundant love God offers, allowing it to fill up your soul to overflowing. Pray for God’s wisdom and tune your heart to His, and follow His lead. Boldly point each other toward God, reminding one another of who we are in Christ, and watch the sweetness of the Lord unfold in your friendships. After all, the joys in life are best when shared with a friend–whether you’re inviting them to coffee or to share a big ol’ stack of pancakes.

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  • After The Empty Tomb

    The last marshmallow peep finally got eaten yesterday. It was the last bit of Easter left in the house except for the tiny shreds of Easter grass I keep finding everywhere, thanks to my 14-month-old son.  

    It’s amazing how quickly holidays can come and go, and then it’s back to the usual packed schedules and hurried rhythms of life. It’s so easy, some 2,000 years later, for the awe and wonder of the resurrection to fade to a comfortable complacency in the familiarity of grace. It can be hard to find a lasting way to relate to the story in a way that connects us intimately to the God of the Universe who gave Himself up for us. 

    But when I think about that very first Easter, I think it would have been impossible to shake the overwhelming experience that the followers of Jesus witnessed so long ago. After walking, talking, and eating with Jesus daily, it would have been so jarring to have Him suddenly gone from the ebb and flow of everyday life together. My mind is especially drawn to Mary Magdalene, grieving in the garden after Jesus died. 

    Here was a woman whose life had been completely transformed by the love of Jesus. She had once been demon-possessed, outcast, and abused by society…until Jesus. He healed her miraculously, restoring her health, her dignity, and her worth. From the moment of her transformation, she followed Him, helping fund His ministry and spreading the good news that the long-awaited Messiah was here to set free the captives and bind up the brokenhearted, just as the prophet Isaiah had foretold. She trusted and loved Jesus with her whole heart, mind, and soul. (Luke 8:1-3, Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1-3

    I can’t imagine her heartache as she knelt in the garden next to His tomb the day after he had been so cruelly killed. The depth of sorrow she must have felt would be overwhelming. The Lamb of God had been sacrificed for the sin of the world, for all our sin. 

    There would be so much she couldn’t know yet, and I think that would have been the hardest part. Not knowing how to make sense of all she had seen and experienced. Not knowing what the future would hold. Maybe there was part of her still holding her breath, hoping for just one more miracle. 

    As she walked again to His tomb the next day, I imagine she had scarcely begun to allow herself to accept that He was gone, when she discovered that the tomb was empty.

    As she sobs by Jesus’ empty tomb, fearing that His body had been taken and that the only part of Jesus she had left was now truly gone, He appears, risen, alive and radiant! The miracle she had been hoping for had come. In her weariness and grief, she doesn’t recognize Him, until she hears Jesus’ voice calling her by name, “Mary.” (John 20:11-16)

    Doesn’t that just give you chills? I can’t wait to hear Jesus say my name someday. I think it will be the prettiest my name has ever sounded. 

    The moment Mary hears His voice she knows the miracle has come. Jesus is alive and standing before her, comforting her in her grief and dispelling every fear in her heart. 

    What Jesus says next is nothing short of incredible. He commissions Mary to go and tell the disciples that He had risen from the dead–to give testimony of what she had just seen and experienced. 

    He commissions Mary, a woman with a messy past, tear-stained cheeks, and eyes wide and wild with hope, to be the first gospel-bearer.

    Jesus doesn’t stop there. He tells her that she is family now, saying, “I’m going to my Father, and your father, to my God and your God.” She is now a co-heir with Christ in the Kingdom of God. In one moment, Mary goes from despair to laying hold of a hope and a future that is unshakable. (John 20:17)

    I don’t know what else Jesus and Mary may have spoken about between verses 17 and 18. But what we do see is that in the very next verse, Mary sets out on her mission. If I were Mary, my legs wouldn’t be able to carry me fast enough.

    I can only imagine that she burst into the room where the disciples were gathered, out of breath, and overjoyed when she shouted, “I have seen the Lord!” 

    I would love to have witnessed firsthand Mary telling the disciples about seeing the resurrected Jesus. I can almost picture the joy spreading like a sunbeam across the disciples’ faces as the reality sets in that Jesus is alive. Death and sin have been defeated and eternal life with Him is now available to all people, for all time. (John 20:18)

    What Mary had experienced in the garden was incredible, but what was more important was that she shared it. She told everyone about what Jesus had done in her life and in the lives of those around her. She didn’t hold back but leaned into Jesus in her story. And because she was there through it all with Him, we have the benefit of knowing about it today. 

    Maybe you’ve had a moment like Mary, standing before the empty tomb, overwhelmed by despair, hoping for a miracle. Maybe you’re wondering how you’ll be able to pay the bills and buy groceries, or you’re waiting for a breakthrough with a child who is struggling just to get through the day. Perhaps it’s a marriage that is hanging on by a thread and you just can’t see how you’ll survive one more argument, or a health crisis that makes it hard to even get out of bed each day. 

    There are so many things in this life that can threaten to overtake us. But just like in the garden, Jesus always shows up. He never fails to come through. And we have the same divine invitation now that Mary did then: to stand with the empty grave behind us and behold the Risen Savior before us. 

    Every day, Jesus calls us by name and commissions us to tell the Good News that the story did not end at the cross. We too can speak of the places in our hearts that once were dead and are now alive through Him.

    We can have confident hope that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and empowers us to live out our purpose in Him. We are co-heirs with Christ, renewed by His love, redeemed, cleansed, and sanctified by His ultimate sacrifice. 

    That means that even if you are waiting for your miracle, praying for Jesus to show up in the middle of your mess, you can have hope. He never leaves us in our brokenness, but rather runs to meet us there, to love us and comfort us, and then calls us forward in faith to new life with Him. 

    So even though the Easter decorations are put away, and the daily hustle and bustle of life has resumed, my calling and commission, my purpose is the same: to be a Gospel Bearer. To tell of Christ crucified and raised again, and to share how He has written and redeemed my story. And like Mary Magdalene, once you’ve experienced the love of Jesus, you can’t help but shout, eyes wide and wild with hope, “I have seen the Lord!”

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  • Dinner With Jesus

    Life before the pandemic seems like such a blur. Not just because of how the world as we knew it completely changed, but because my own life changed so dramatically during the pandemic as well. While on lockdown, my husband and kids and I moved into a new house, had major job changes, and in case that wasn’t exciting enough, we also added a brand new baby to our family! 

    My parents came over to watch the kids and Jake and I drove an hour to a friend’s house for a French-themed dinner party. It was to be the first of several themed dinner parties with the group, with each night inspired by a place we had been or dreamed of going to someday. We were good friends with the host and his wife, but everyone else would be new friends in the making. I was excited and nervous, but most of all, I was totally pumped to be going to a grown-up function with my husband! 

    The evening was perfect. It was like something out of a scene from a romantic comedy. We all ate and laughed, listened to music, and played games. Everyone seemed right at home and everyone felt like they belonged, despite all coming from a broad variety of backgrounds and life experiences. It was the kind of evening that made you forget to check your phone, you were just having so much fun in the moment. 

    And perhaps I’m remembering it with slightly rose-tinted glasses because I know now what I did not then. It would be the last dinner with these friends for a long time. Just a month or two later, the world as we knew it seemed to turn upside down. 

    Even though we only had one evening with that particular group of people, my husband and I still remember it with such affection. There’s just something about breaking bread with folks that breaks down barriers and allows you to connect in a meaningful way. And the experience is one that lingers in your memory the way a sweet perfume hangs in the air. 

    Meals together have been significant from the very beginning. All throughout the Bible, God enters into covenant relationships with His people in order to rescue them. And one of the ways He keeps those covenant promises fresh in the hearts and minds of His people is through meals. 

    God called Israel to observe certain special meals throughout the year to continually remind His people of the covenants He has established with them. Time and time again, even though the Israelites fell woefully short on their end of the covenant, God remained faithful, pouring out His love and forgiveness on an undeserving people. The meals served as an intentional opportunity for God’s people to praise Him, be thankful, remember His love and goodness, and repent of anything that is separating them from life with God. 

    The Passover feast was just such a meal, and the Jewish people celebrated it every year with a symbolic supper of lamb, unleavened bread, and wine to remind them of the Exodus story and how God miraculously rescued them from slavery in Egypt. The lamb was especially symbolic because it was the blood of a lamb painted over the doorways of the Israelites that spared them from death, and from the final plague that convinced their captor Pharaoh to set them free. 

    The night before He was crucified, Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples. These poor guys had no idea that the world as they knew it was about to turn upside down. There was no way they could know then, what we know now: that this would be their Last Supper with Jesus for a long time. 

    But Jesus did, and He was about to introduce a new covenant that would change everything, once and for all. 

    When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

    Luke 22:14-20

    I can picture them all around the table, with the Passover feast spread out on the table, the smell of food and spices hovering in the air. In my mind I can hear the din of several conversations all happening at once, talking and laughing, remembering what the Lord had done long ago in Egypt and how He saved His people, and recalling Jesus’ miracles like that time He calmed the storm or raised Lazarus from the dead. I imagine John pulling up the seat right next to Jesus, scooting in as close as possible to hear what He would say and I can almost see Peter, laughing confidently, believing without a doubt that King Jesus would lead them victoriously through any battle.  After all, he saw Jesus walk on water and even took a few shaky steps of his own on the waves with Jesus. There was nothing Jesus couldn’t do. 

    I don’t think they ever could have imagined that Jesus would soon present Himself as the sacrificial Lamb of God. Or that it would be His blood that would be poured out this time and His body that would be broken like the very bread He shared with them that evening. Had they known what was coming, I wonder if they would have lingered a little longer, or leaned in a little closer, hanging on every word Jesus said.

    Over a simple meal, Jesus invited His disciples to participate in the most incredible covenant God has ever initiated. A new covenant that would give life and freedom like they had never known. Jesus would be the ultimate sacrifice that would forever establish the forgiveness of sins and reconcile all people to God for all time. Through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, death would not just pass over us all, it would be defeated forever. The bondage of sin would be broken and eternal life in the Kingdom of God would be made available once again. 

    But the invitation wasn’t just for the disciples, it is for us as well. As Jesus broke the bread and passed the cup around to His disciples, He invited them to remember Him, knowing one day we would share in this meal and this covenant too.  

    As followers of Christ, when we take the Lord’s Supper, we remember and participate in the power of Jesus’ life. We celebrate this new covenant and are intimately connected to what God has done in the past, is doing now in the present, and will do in the future. The God that transcends all space and time wasn’t just picturing the 12 disciples sitting around that table, He was picturing you, and me. It was His love for us then and now that drove Him willingly to the cross, so we could gather around the supper table each week, and stand in His victory, love, and power. 

    We have been given access to the very same power that brought Jesus back from the dead and we are transformed and renewed to be more and more like Him. It is nothing short of a miracle.  

    And as wonderful as this meal is, it is not the final meal that Jesus has prepared for us. Jesus has promised that He will return and then He will invite people from every nation, tongue and tribe to dinner and we will sit at the table that He has prepared for us all and enjoy an eternally life-giving meal in His presence. 

    And when we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we anticipate that final glorious feast. Shara Drimalla from the Bible Project says it beautifully, “The meal serves as a taste of what is to come—a taste of true life. As we practice this new covenant meal, may it stir within us hope for his return and thankfulness for who he is and what he has done.”

    So this Easter, pull up a seat close to Jesus, hang on His every word and remember what He has done. Sit in sweet fellowship with God’s people and invite others to join you. Laugh, share memories, and look forward to what is coming. Jesus is Risen and He is coming back again with an invitation to dinner.

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  • Be Still and Know

    As the war in Ukraine stretches on, my heart has been heavy for the friends I know there, for the families separated, for those mourning losses, all while fighting for their freedom. I’ve heard countless stories of people helping one another and of God working in their midst through neighbors and friends. Stories of neighborhood women feeding soldiers on the front lines, moms leaving strollers at border train stations for parents who had to leave all their belongings behind, and soldiers throwing a birthday party for a little boy who was waiting with his family to flee to safety. 

    From where I sit, in peace and safety, I feel helpless to intervene, and frustrated and overwhelmed by all I see and hear in the news. My heart breaks for the tragedy I see unfolding and I find myself longing for God’s comfort and reassurance that He is present and working in this terrible situation. 

    A friend of mine in Ukraine was recently sharing how much comfort and hope she, and other people in Ukraine are finding in the Psalms. Another missionary echoed her thoughts, saying  “The heartfelt pleas, angry outbursts, explosions of joy and moments of peaceful stillness -all match the rollercoaster of feelings happening within my own heart.” 

    One of my favorite verses that has brought me comfort and peace is Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God”. In the past it has been a gentle reminder of God’s sovereignty, love, and provision, especially in times of stress and difficulty. When life feels overwhelming and I feel helpless to change my circumstances, this verse invites me to rest before the Lord and remember that God is already powerfully at work.

    Today, however, I read the whole Psalm instead of just my favorite verse and noticed some things I hadn’t noticed before. My favorite verse that brings me so much peace is surrounded by scriptures describing chaos and destruction. In verses 2 and 3, Scripture paints a picture of a world in tumult and crisis—mountains falling down, and oceans roaring and foaming. In verse 6 it speaks of nations in uproar and kingdoms falling. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the state of the world today and all we are witnessing in Ukraine. This part of Psalm 46 that had once felt so removed and abstract in times of peace, now hit hard and close to the heart. 

    But all of this chaos described in Psalm 46 is also contrasted with the true and steady character of God. He is described in verse 1 as an “ever-present help” in trouble, our refuge, our safe place. In verse 7, we are reminded that God is with us. And in verses 8-9 our eyes fall upon the hopeful promise that God will bring about an end to fighting and strife and make wars cease. 

    The truth is, God is far bigger and more powerful than any worst-case scenario we can imagine, and I can imagine a lot! Even when the world seems out of control, God is always in control, so there’s no reason to be afraid. This amazing truth was exactly what my heart needed to remember. 

    In verse 10, God is giving a gentle but powerful command to us to “be still” and know that He is God. He speaks to our frantic hearts with the same loving authority that He commands the winds and the waves. He calls us to surrender, cease striving, and rest assured with absolute certainty, that He is God. 

    So dear friend, when our newsfeed is filled with turmoil and chaos, and we feel helpless against the overwhelming troubles of the world, be still and know that He is God. He is the same God who parted the Red Sea, who freed captives and delivered nations and is at work this very moment. He is a mighty fortress and faithful deliverer. He is an ever-present help and He hears our prayers. We don’t have to fear, He is mighty to save. 

    Almighty God and Father,

    Our world feels chaotic and overwhelming. As war and turmoil continue in Ukraine, our hearts are heavy with sorrow for those who are suffering. We pray for those who are weary and long to find refuge and rest under your wing. Be their ever-present help and hope. Be a fortress around them, and shield them from evil. Make wars cease, that you may be exalted in all the earth.

    When our own anxiety rises, help us to be still, and remember that you are greater than anything we will see or experience in this world. You alone are strong enough to hold us steady when the wind and waves threaten to take us down. Help us to lean into your loving arms and feel the power of your presence and peace. 

    In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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  • Tangible Hope

    Have you ever stayed up way too late reading a good book? You know, those stories where the characters seem to come alive and practically jump off the page? You can picture each one vividly and envision the landscape all around them as if it were painted on a canvas in front of you. That happened to me recently. I was so engaged in the book that time seemed to stand still and before I knew it, it was 1:00 am! 

    If you’ve ever been consumed by a good book like that, you know that by the end of the story, you can almost begin to predict what the characters will say and do. They feel more like familiar friends than just words on a page. And while there may be plot twists and turns, if the author is good, the nature of the characters is consistent throughout the entire book. 

    As Christians, sometimes it can feel challenging to get to know the character of God as well as we know some of the characters in our favorite books. I’ll admit, sitting down to read the whole Bible can feel intimidating. It can seem impossibly long and in many places downright confusing, but ultimately, the Bible is a book that reveals the very nature of God. From beginning to end, the Bible is a story of God’s tireless and unfailing love for us, and His willingness to stop at nothing to secure our future with Him.

    It is through the pages of the Bible, and especially through the life of Jesus, that we see God’s character unfold. We can see it in the way Jesus interacts with people and loves them. We can taste the dust in the air as the crowds shuffle and press in to see Jesus heal another person in desperate need of a miracle. We can smell the salty sea and feel the mist on our faces when Jesus walks on water toward the disciples and pulls Peter up from the waves. We can witness how Jesus turns society upside down, elevating the lowly and championing the marginalized. It’s thrilling when we notice that He is calling people to more than mere survival, He’s inviting them to live abundantly as citizens of God’s Kingdom. And it’s humbling the moment we realize that we are invited to that same abundant Kingdom-life too.

    In Romans 15:4 we read that “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” 

    The Bible was written to help shape us and to give us hope! As we spend time in God’s Word, we begin to know Him better, and we see His character unfold in the scriptures. Before long, we begin to recognize glimpses of Him working in our lives all around us, because we recognize Him. This, my friend, is tangible hope. 

    It’s a hope that is perceptible, we can reach out and grab it and feel it and experience it because our relationship with God is a real one. We are not talking about placing our hope in a pleasant thought, nice idea, or imaginary friend, but in the one true and living God who sees you, and loves you, even as you’re reading this sentence. 

    The word remember means to relive, hold dear, to know by heart. When we keep the truth of God’s character close, we can know Him by heart and look back to see how He has worked in the past and is working now in our lives. Remembering God’s character grounds us in truth and gives us a hope that we can hold on to.

    There are reminders about who God is throughout Scripture:

    God is…Love (1 John 4:8)

    God is…Holy (1 Peter 1:15)

    God is…Steady and unchanging (Hebrews 13:8)

    God is…a promise keeper (2 Peter 3:9)

    God is…strong enough to carry you (Isaiah 41:10)

    God is…the Redeemer (Psalm 103, John 3:17)

    God is…Creator of all things (Isaiah 40:28)

    God is…Giver of all that is good (James 1:17)

    God is…perfect and true (Psalm 18:30)

    God is…present in our circumstances (Isaiah 41:8-10, Matthew 28:20)

    God promises that if we when seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him. He won’t hide, he wants you to find Him. He’s been pursuing you all along. 

    So take a little time this week to learn more about the character of God. If you need a place to start, pick one of the verses or stories in this devotional. Ask God to show you His love that is woven throughout Scripture, and to help you see where He is working in your life. As you spend time with Him, you will begin to know Him by heart, recognize His handiwork, and experience the tangible hope we have in God.

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  • Setting Our Minds On Things Above

    “New Year, New Me”  You’ve probably seen this phrase in several places already, along with other familiar mantras that circulate every time the calendar switches from December to January. ‘Tis the season for goals and resolutions, and regardless of the details, at the root of all of them is a desire and drive to be more intentional. Whether we’re more intentional about what we eat, how often we exercise, doing a regular quiet time, or finally getting the garage cleaned out, we are setting out to make a purposeful change for the better.

    One of the areas that can feel a little more challenging to be intentional about is our thought-life. We aren’t always aware of the tape that’s running through our minds at any given moment throughout the day. Or how what we consume is affecting us over time. But if we pay attention to it, and closely examine what we are setting our minds on, we might be surprised.

    Colossians 3:2 urges us to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.” I know for me, on any given day, it’s way too easy to get distracted running a lap around the social media track, or getting sucked into the latest news headlines and forget completely to open my Bible or pause to pray. If I’m not intentional about what I’m setting my mind on, while also inviting God into my daily rhythms and setting my mind on Him, I wind up feeling spread thin and run down, with foggy thinking and no peace in sight.

    It’s even more challenging when life throws us a curveball. We may find ourselves dealing with a flood of negative or anxious thoughts, struggling with insecurity, or feel stuck in a season of loneliness and despair. But when we set our minds on Christ, He is also hard at work within us to renew and transform us so that we can walk in step with Him.

    Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

    Renewing the mind is an intentional choice that we make to align our thoughts and our spiritual perspective with the mind of God. This leads to a transformation that we cannot simply manufacture on our own. It is the love and grace of God at work in us that brings about radical change for the better in our lives.

    James Bryan Smith coined a term that I love: “mind-discipleship”. So often we think of discipleship as doing– learning to follow Jesus, walking and talking as He did. But when it comes to our thought-life, it’s easy to forget that we need to be just as intentional about how we think, process, and respond inwardly to what is happening to and around us. It begins with an intentional exercise of obedience, first our obedience to God, and then making our thoughts obedient to Christ.

    “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

    In every situation, we have a chance to stop right in our tracks and choose which way we will allow our thoughts to take us. Will we see everything that is going wrong and let our minds wander to the worst case scenario? Or will we zoom out to an eternal perspective and trust that God will never forsake us and has planned ahead for our every need? Will we allow our thoughts to control us, forcing us into a defensive and reactive posture? Or will we capture our thoughts and measure them against what Jesus says is true about who He is and who we are?

    It is in the light of His truth that we can turn our minds away from the tape playing over and over in our heads and focus on Jesus instead. It takes practice and we have to work at it, but the reward is fresh clarity, unrivaled peace, and incomparable joy.

    Philippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

    The first word in the list of things to focus on, is whatever is true. When we hold firmly to the truth about who God is and who we are in Christ, we have freedom, peace, and joy. We are transformed to be more like Christ and we are no longer shackled by insecurity or fear. We are free to love ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. We are free to step into our calling when God says go, and free to say no to the things that are not in step with the Holy Spirit’s lead. We are free to live life abundantly in the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

    I want to encourage you to take some time this week to pray about any areas in your thought-life that could use some renewal and transformation. If you like, play this song and sit still in His presence. Remember that God loves you as his daughter right now. You don’t have to be perfect to come to Him. He is your safe space, your protector and friend. Be open and honest with Him and with yourself. Spend time with Him and see if there are any thoughts that look more like the world than like Christ. As you grow in the practice of “setting our minds on things above”, God will renew and restore you, and bring you wholeness and peace.

    We know this isn’t always easy stuff and we’d love to pray for you too. Drop us a line at prayer@experiencerevival.com and our prayer team will link arms with you in prayer. Together, let’s make this a year of intentionally setting our minds on Christ and being renewed in Him.

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  • Joyful in God

    When I was in second grade, an older kid on the playground tried to push me off the swings. I hollered and protested but to no avail. Thankfully a sixth-grader named Tony heard my pleas for help and crossed the playground with what seemed like a single stride staring down my opponent with a look that no one dared challenge. My bully slinked away defeated, and I was overcome with triumph and pure joy as we celebrated the victory with a triple-under-dog push on the swings. To this day, I don’t remember the fear or trouble of the conflict, only the joy of having found such a friend and defender. 

    Often in the Bible, we see that joy and trouble seem to hold hands. It’s easy sometimes to think that joy is the natural response to everything being alright in our world. But if that were true, we would hardly ever experience any sense of joy. Even though we may have seasons where most things are going right, it’s rare they stay that way for long. Joy doesn’t come only in the absence of trouble but is made all the more meaningful and more pronounced by the presence of trouble.

    But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.”

    Psalm 5:11

    In times of trouble, those who put their trust in Jesus have reason to rejoice—not because the battle is over, but because they are sheltered in the midst of the battle. God doesn’t always eliminate the trouble, but he does give us protection and will defend us in the middle of it. He is faithful to hear our cries and works powerfully on our behalf when we call His name for help. 

    In John 16:33, Jesus acknowledges that there will be trouble in this life, but in the same breath, He reminds us to take heart because He has already overcome anything we could ever face. We can trust Jesus to know what we are going through and to help us in our need. In fact, in the very next chapter, Jesus prays for all believers. That includes us! 

    Let that sink in for a second. Jesus prayed for us. And with Jesus praying for us, there’s no trouble in the world that could dim the joy of being loved by the ultimate Defender, Savior, and Friend. 

    Yes, life is hard. Impossibly hard at times. We can go through seasons where the trouble never seems to end. But when we choose to turn our hearts toward the source of our salvation, instead of focusing solely on our situation, that same trouble and turmoil can serve to push us into the open arms of Jesus where real joy lives. We can rejoice again because God is worthy of our trust. We can shout for joy because we are His children and He defends us. 

    Whatever you are facing today, I pray that you know you are not alone and that there is joy waiting in the arms of our Savior Jesus. Let Him hold you close as He restores your heart, and renews your joy.

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  • Our Prayer For You

    “So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

    We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”

    Colossians 1:9-14

    Did you know that we pray for you? Every time we sit down to write, we pray that God would use our words, our stories, and above all, His Word to reach right into your situation and show you His love that never, ever fails.

    If we were to sum up all our prayers for you, it would be this prayer from the book of Colossians. It is our heart’s desire that you will grow in your faith, in your purpose and in wisdom and understanding of God and His word.

    We pray that you will hold steadfast to your identity as God’s beloved one, and know without a shadow of a doubt that you are deeply loved. As His child, God has given you the Kingdom of Light. He will strengthen you and empower you so that you can live a life of purpose and love. May the world see Christ’s love through you as you allow God to work in your life.

    All this month we will be focusing on the power of prayer to transform our lives and shape us to be more like Christ. Stay tuned for more devotionals about prayer and what that looks like in real life as daughters of the King. Also, if you feel like your prayer life could use a jump start, we’ll be revisiting a special podcast episode with Revive! Conference speaker Amanda Swick on how to Revive Your Prayer Life.

    Finally, if there is something specific we can be praying about with you, please email us and let us know. We want to link arms and pray for you, friend.

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