Identity in Christ

  • Identity in Christ in Africa

    It’s been a minute since we updated you on our Bible Studies being sent to women around the world! 

    In December 2023 and January of this year, we sent a total of 150 Bible studies to Africa! Over 50 different congregations in Uganda, Kenya, Mombasa, Nairobi, and beyond received copies of Royal: Finding Your Identity in Christ to share with their congregations, families, and communities. 

    Since then we have been amazed and humbled as God is already doing more than we could have dreamed! Not long after the Bible studies arrived in Kenya, we started getting updates on the various women and churches who are growing in God’s Word through this study:

    Sister Shore, this is just a short update. I am having a good and fruitful trip so far. We’ve been visiting three local congregations a day and as of yesterday, we have had 19 souls putting on Christ. Today we will be visiting a congregation with halfway deaf brethren. Also, I’ll be sharing with the deaf women. They can read English luckily enough. The ladies were happy to receive the Finding Your Identity in Christ gospel material and they’re going to study with women in their congregations -Brother Martin

    A sister who is a widow in a congregation I visited in December reported about her work with sharing your studies with other widows and ladies in the area. Such wonderful news. She uses the study material and the Bible to teach and encourage them. It’s such a wonderful joy to know that they are making use of the lessons. Pray for them! These women live difficult lives. Some go without food and medical attention but are glad they can have time to come study and get encouraged. -Brother Martin

    Beatrice (left) & Jennifer (center) are school administrators from Missions of Hope International Area 2 School, in Mathare Valley, Nairobi. They received 50 copies of the Identity in Christ Bible study and have started a study with teachers at the school!

    After sending the first round of Bible Studies, we wanted to create a version that is culturally relevant to women in Africa. We are so thankful to our friends at Village of Hope in Uganda for helping us update the study. The new version is called Daughter of God: Finding Your Identity In Christ, and will better connect with the culture and experiences that women in Africa face. We have also included the full scriptures (instead of just references) throughout the study so that those without Bibles can have the Word of God at their fingertips. Today our friend, Cindy, is traveling to Uganda with the new version and will share it with the women at Village of Hope. 

    We had no idea who would receive the copies of the Bible studies. But God did. He saw the widows group that needed encouragement. He saw the deaf women who may have never heard His spoken Word, but now are reading His words of love, and how they are beautifully and wonderfully made. God saw the teachers at the Missions of Hope school and as these teachers serve and lead their students, they can be reminded of who they are in Christ, and be living examples of Jesus’ love. God sees the women at Village of Hope and meets them in their need, through His people and through His Word.

    While women in Africa are going through the Identity in Christ Bible study, this week we also started going through it online with a group of almost 80 women from all over the United States. It has been incredible knowing that as we do this study, we are not just united with the ladies here, but also across the continents. We are all studying God’s Word together, as daughters in His Kingdom.

    Please join us in praying for all these women, that they will:

    • Know and experience God’s love and grow in their faith as they learn who they are in Christ.
    • Learn how they are uniquely gifted and have a place and a purpose in the Kingdom of God.
    • Be empowered by the Holy Spirit to boldly live out their faith.

    And please pray for us as we continue to follow God’s calling to share His Word with women worldwide—may He be glorified!

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  • Awake To God’s Love For Us

    Are you awake to God’s love for you? If your immediate response was to nod and think “Of course, I know God loves me”, I want to challenge you to dig a little deeper. 

    Many of us are walking around acknowledging in our minds that God loves us, but do we truly believe and know deep in our soul that He loves us? He loves you. Not just the good parts but all of you. He knows everything you’ve ever thought and ever done and He loves you, deeply. That kind of love is hard to comprehend. It can be tough to accept–we can feel so undeserving of this type of love. 

    I think a lot of us want to be loved by God, for Him to be proud of us, and pleased with us. But believing that He does and is already, is a whole different exercise. Much of believing, and experiencing God’s love, is affected by our own limited human perspective. We see ourselves through our own eyes, not through God’s eyes. He created us and knows every hair on our heads. When he looks at you He sees His beautiful daughter.

    “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

    1 John 4:15-19

    God is love and He knows no other way. Just a sweep through the gospels, we can see time and time again how much Jesus loved the people he came to save.

    Through the story of Mary and her sister Martha as he stood with them in their grief, with the woman with ongoing bleeding, and even though he was busy, he took the time to stop and bring restoration to her physically as well as emotionally. He came alongside Mary Magdalene in her grief at the grave and called out her name and gave her great purpose.

    Jesus wasn’t concerned with appearances or what was most efficient, he was concerned about each and every person he encountered. He wanted them to walk away feeling like they were the most precious person in the world and he would do anything for them.

    Jesus came for each one of us. It’s so easy for us to think of God loving the world and forget that He loves each of us. He is a God who would leave the 99 to rescue the one.

    Next time you read through the gospels, notice how Jesus came to each person, listened to them, truly saw them, reached into their situation, and loved them well. Each time, they walked away from an encounter with Jesus completely transformed and changed. For each person, there was life before Jesus and life after. They no longer were defined as one rejected, the outcast one, the one who suffers, or the sinner. They now saw themselves as one whom Jesus loves.

    And His love for us is no different. Before we ever do a thing, whether we mess up or get it right. God loves us first and always. He will always look upon you as the beautiful daughter whom He loves. This is a love we can rely on. 

    “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

    Ephesians 3:19

    In this world we don’t experience this kind of love as often as we should, so it is understandable that we could struggle with fully embracing this type of love. But when we do, it changes us from our very core. It changes how we see ourselves and how we see the world. We find a peace and confidence like no other in being the one loved by God.

    Once you are truly awake to God’s love for you and embrace your identity as the wonderful, beautiful, chosen, daughter of the King whom Jesus died for because of His great love for you, it changes you at your very core. It ripples out into every aspect of your life, including how you see yourself and others. 

    Today, take a minute to think about yourself this way. Picture Jesus looking at you with love in His eyes, feeling that humble confidence that you are His, and He is yours, and He loves you. You are one whom Jesus loves!

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  • Experiencing Purpose and Joy This Christmas

    This time of year is so precious to me. It is a time when the world slows down and we remember when God came down from heaven to earth as a baby to bring light and life to this weary world. As we stare into the brilliant Christmas lights and listen to the soft carols in the background, we revel in the miracle of Jesus and God’s amazing love that went to such great lengths to be with us.

    As I read the Christmas story again this year with my family, I am drawn to Mary’s story of how she experienced the unfolding events of God’s miraculous work in her life. 

    Before that first Christmas, Mary’s people, the Israelites, had been waiting for over 700 years for the prophesied Messiah to come and rescue them–to bring freedom and hope. Mary lived in a world where her people were oppressed by the Romans and hadn’t heard a word from God through the prophets in over 400 years. They felt forgotten and helpless to escape the broken world of oppression, poverty and corruption. 

    Then one ordinary day, a messenger came to Mary and that ordinary day became one of the most extraordinary days of her life. The messenger told her that she, a virgin, would give birth to a son and he would be named Jesus.

    “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means “God with us).” Isaiah 7:14

    The long-awaited day prophesied so long ago had finally arrived and it had come to Mary. She would have the joy of bringing the Messiah into the world. What an awe-inspiring miracle that God would come to earth and draw near to us as a little baby born in a manger!

    In her excitement over the news, Mary hurries to visit her cousin Elizabeth who also is pregnant with her own miracle child, John. Even as Mary arrives, Elizabeth proclaims the good news!

    “She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, ‘God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.’”

    I’m sure Mary couldn’t help but be in wonder over this terrifying, wonderful realization that she is right in the middle of God’s work in the world. She begins to realize the enormity of what is happening and the joy of getting to a part of a moment of history when the world will never be the same. It is in this moment of overwhelming joy that Mary breaks into a prayer of praise:

    “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.

    His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

    What worth Mary must have felt to have been chosen to be a beautiful part of God’s plan to rescue humanity. God gave her a glimpse of the kingdom work He was about to do, and invited her into the story. 

    As I look back on that first Christmas through God’s Word, I can’t help but treasure up in my heart all that this season means and thank God for the glorious gift of His son. My heart swells with joy as I am reminded of my favorite line in the song O Holy Night, “Long lay the world, in sin and error pining. ‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.” 

    For so long humanity was stuck and lost in a world of darkness, lost to the error of our ways, in need of someone to rescue us. We were helpless to help ourselves. Maybe we didn’t even know we needed rescuing. But then, He appeared and our soul now knew its worth. Jesus didn’t just appear that first Christmas but continues to appear in each of our lives to bring hope and joy and love to this broken world.

    It’s in the moment that Jesus appears that the world now knows what true life and light look like. It’s in the moment that Jesus appears that we now know who we are meant to be. It is in God’s immense love for us that we now find our worth. It is in Christ that God is revealed and we find our purpose. How can we not be filled with overflowing joy at the thought of it! 

    It is my prayer that this Christmas you will remember the day that God appeared not just in this world but in your life as well. He draws near to each of us to bring us life and show us His deep and abiding love for us. He invites you into His story and work of redemption in this world. May you feel your worth in Christ as His beloved one, whom He came to save!  

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  • Helping Women in Africa Know Who They Are In Christ!

    I reread the message in my inbox, just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Six years ago, I never would have imagined our ministry would be sending Bible studies across continents to serve women on the other side of the world. But now, here was my friend, Brother Martin, asking if we could help.

    “Will you please help the women at the congregations here in Kenya know who they are in Christ?”

    I had just posted a reel on Instagram about Revive Ministries, and in the video, I mentioned that our Royal: Finding Your Identity in Christ Bible study is now available online year-round. Brother Martin was hoping we could send 50 printed copies of that very Bible study to Kenya so that he could deliver to 8 different churches in the area.

    I felt my heart leap and a smile spread across my face as I began to imagine what God might be doing in this moment. I immediately called Melissa, my bestie and fellow co-founder/director of Revive, and we began preparations to print and ship the Bible studies to Kenya.

    Let me tell you, when God sets His people in motion, it is a collaborative thing of beauty. A couple of local churches and one of our donors came together to help with the costs and the Bible studies were on their way!

    The package finally arrived in Mombasa, and just a few days later we got the first exciting update. What had started as a small trip to a few churches had grown into a 21-church tour to share the gospel and give copies of the Royal: Finding Your Identity In Christ Bible study to each congregation. 

    What was even more exciting was that the women receiving the Bible study would also be teaching and leading other women in their churches, families, and communities, helping them understand who they are in Christ. Each Bible study would impact not just one woman, but many women with the life-changing truth of God’s Word. 

    Tears of joy and affection streamed down my face when I saw these pictures. I just wanted to reach into the photo and hug them and tell them just how loved by God they are. And until I hopefully can someday, that’s exactly what these Bible studies will do. It will tell them about our God who loves them more than they can imagine, who created them beautifully and uniquely for a purpose right where they are. Our God who sees them and cherishes and delights in them. And it will tell them of our God who empowers them through the Holy Spirit to boldly live out a faith that will ripple out for generations to come. 

    Here’s the most amazing thing: not only did God open doors in Kenya, but when we told another friend about our Bible studies in Africa, they asked if they could take 50 copies to Uganda next month to 31 churches there! Friends, that’s over 50 churches in Africa receiving Biblical resources to help women grow in their faith and love for Jesus. 

    The effect is exponential: each woman who gets a copy of the Bible study shares it with multiple people in their churches, families, and communities, and it just keeps growing from there. And I have a feeling that God is just getting started. 

    I pray that someday Revive Ministries can travel in person to the congregations that have received Royal: Finding Your Identity In Christ. It would be incredible to see them and hug them, pray with them, and worship our Almighty and Loving Father together. Until that day, whether on this side of heaven or the next, our prayer remains the same:

    “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 3:17-21)

    Would you consider helping us send more Bible studies to Africa? We are currently raising funds to send 50 more Bible studies to Uganda in January. A gift of $20 will provide one Bible study for a woman in Uganda, who will share it with countless others. 

    Thanks to a generous partner, all donations will be matched up to $1,000 until 11:59 pm December 31, 2023! Anything raised above and beyond our goal will go to continuing to provide Biblical resources to women worldwide. 

    We want as many women to know and experience the love of Christ, and to see it transform their lives. Your gift can make a real difference! Will you help?

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  • You Are More Than Your Mistakes

    As we charge forward into the hustle and bustle of the holidays, my heart hurts for those who do not get to experience some of the blessings of the season. I see them struggling because they don’t feel worthy of relationships with others or even worthy of being loved. Maybe it’s because they have made mistakes in the past, or have been hurt by the mistakes of others. Maybe they have always felt like they were on the outside looking in. 

    I wish I could shout from the mountaintops that they are so much more than their mistakes or the mistakes of others! I would share about my friend, Jesus, who always has my back, and who loves me despite my bruises and hurts. He always reveals my worth to me, even in the moments when I do not see them through my own eyes. 

    I would share how the world viewed the Samaritan Woman, how Jesus saw someone quite different in her, and how He has the power to see something quite different in each of us. 

    Her story is in the book of John 4:1-42, and there we learn that she is a woman who has been defined by her mistakes by her culture and community, and yet is among the first to believe in Jesus. For the Samaritan Woman, the culture of the day rejected her and viewed her as a person to avoid. She had been married five times and was living with a man outside of marriage. Needless to say, no one invited her to tea or asked her to be a mentor. She was an outcast and considered off-limits as a friend.

    But not to my friend, Jesus! He looked upon her with compassion and instead of focusing on her current living situation or her past marriages, he saw beyond her mistakes to the extraordinary potential of what He would do in her life. He saw her heart and knew that in His presence, she would be transformed and become the ultimate candidateto engage the people on his behalf. He knew that her transformation would open the hearts of the people there to an awakening that would make Samaria a key cornerstone of the early church.

    Jesus went on to ask the Samaritan Woman to call her husband to join her and to hear about the living water. Her answer was, “I don’t have a husband.” 

    But Jesus, while acknowledging her mistakes, also didn’t define her by them, because He knows He is about to change her life forever. She continued to ask Jesus questions, showing that she was open to His teaching. And do you know what? She later says, “I know the Messiah is coming, and he will declare all things to us.” 

    Here was a woman beaten down by life and her neighbors, yet she stillheld onto the hope of the coming Messiah, Jesus!

    This was the moment Jesus had been waiting for. Where the world saw brokenness and scandal, He saw a woman of humility, vulnerability, teachability, and hope. Without hesitation, Jesus chose her—this woman at the bottom of everyone’s list, rejected and cast aside, to reveal publicly that He indeed was the promised Messiah.

    Where others saw “sinner,” Jesus saw potential. And after being in the presence of Jesus, she was truly transformed. She dropped her waterpot and ran back to tell her fellow villagers about Jesus. Her faith and Jesus’ love resulted in many people believing in Jesus and choosing to follow Him. The door to Samaria was opened because Jesus saw beyond the surface. He did not define her by her mistakes but as one loved by God.

    What about you? Are you ready to completely open your heart? To leave your bruises, mistakes, and hurt behind you? The reality is we all have hurts under the surface. But Jesus shows us that love can penetrate past the outward mistakes and redeem the inner workings of our hearts and character. He can transform our lives too, and change how we see and define ourselves, not by our mistakes, but by His love for us. 

    I am sure there are moments for all of us when we struggle to see beyond our failures, to the potential God sees in us. We may even have trouble seeing the potential in others. It’s hard for us to imagine what God can do with our limited resources and finite imaginations, but when God looks at us, He sees a bigger picture. He looks at us through the eyes of possibility, how we can grow, and who we can become. He takes our willing hearts and does amazing things. We just need to step back and realize that we are not defined by the sum of our mistakes but by the sum of our potential in Christ!

    When we have hope in Christ, we can better see the possibilities of what the future may hold, and we are empowered by the Holy Spirit not just to lean into our own limited potential, but the unlimited power and potential available to us as God’s beloved children. Like it says in Ephesians 3:20-21, God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us!

    So we can trust that God will guide our path and fill our lives, and the lives of others with joy and hope. Even when life goes differently than we plan, God uses the struggles and the hiccups, to accomplish His will for us. And because of the grace we have been given, we have the ability to show generosity, respect, and compassion for others and for ourselves. 

    Through Jesus, we can bless others, and boldly shout from the mountaintops about what is different in our lives, because we have a friend in Jesus. Like the Samaritan Woman, we can lead people in our own circles to become a cornerstone for God.

    I encourage you all this week to find that person who maybe doesn’t see their full potential in Jesus yet. Help them to see what the future could hold, and the abundant life that He invites them to. God created us each uniquely and for a purpose. As your life is transformed by your relationship with Jesus, show grace to an unsuspecting person, and let your full potential in Jesus shine! You’ll ultimately help them to shine too!

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  • Made For Surrender

    Part of living the “Made For More” life that we have been talking about so much lately, is learning how to trust God no matter what, with everything we have and everything we are. 

    But I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t always an easy thing to do. Especially when we find ourselves facing big, difficult situations that we just can’t see a way through. When we are staring down an impossible situation, one where we are unsure of the outcome or where the money will come from or when the healing will come, we just want to know how it will all work out. We can feel tempted to let despair overtake us. We long for a peace of knowing that it will all be okay.

    In these times, the only solution is to turn to God with our situation and our fears. But, for most of us this can be difficult because we are in essence surrendering everything into God’s hands–including our control over the situation. We like to think we are in control, even if we know deep down that we are not. So, in order to surrender and trust, we must believe that God has our best interest in mind and that His love for us runs deep–that He delights to give us all that He has and all that He is. We must first believe that He is a good God and wants good for us.

    Psalm 34:8-9 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.” 

    Sometimes the best way to see this truth in our lives is to look back on God’s faithfulness to us in the past. When we are in the middle of our current circumstances, it can be easy to forget how God has been there for us or answered our prayers in the past. 

    Leaning on our remembrance of God’s faithfulness to us, helps us to trust Him again when the future is scary and unknown. We can look back on a history of His loving faithfulness and kindness to us–the ways He has gone above and beyond all we asked or imagined. And in times when we can’t even see His hand in our lives, we can look to the ways He has shown up for His people throughout history.

    Just a glimpse through the Bible we see even our Bible heroes didn’t always have it so easy. History is full of adversity and triumph. Suffering and blessing. Even the people of God aren’t immune from facing hardships–it’s become a normal part of living in this broken world. Every person we read about in the Bible faced difficult situations just like we do, and they all had to decide if God was on their side and turn to Him for the outcome of their situation.

    For example, David was a scrawny teen who was the youngest of all his brothers, and yet He trusted God to help him defeat the giant Philistine. 

    Esther was faced with the opportunity to save her people from destruction. Knowing that coming before the King could cost her her life, she sought the Lord and then confidently said, “I will go to the king on behalf of my people, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” 

    Ruth was a woman who had suffered great loss and found herself without a home or security. Yet she chose to trust her future to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and Naomi’s God, and went to a foreign land, believing that God would provide.

    Mary, a young girl who probably wasn’t much over the age of 14, was just told that despite being a virgin, she would now conceive the Son of God. Knowing that this situation would bring judgment, accusations, shame, and rejection, she could have easily said, “Yeah, this sounds too much for me–I’m out.” But instead, confidently said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” 

    Everyone of them faced an uncertain outcome, but they knew enough about God’s character to know that choosing to go with God was better than anything they could do on their own. They might have been young, poor, desperate or scared, but we are still reading their stories today because they are a living example of trusting in God no matter what they faced. 

    Their faith and trust in the Lord is what gave them the strength to face their situation, boldness and courage to know God would provide. They entrusted and surrendered all they were and all they had to their God who could be trusted. They knew that He had everything they needed to face whatever circumstance came their way. He WAS all they needed. They knew this because He was a God that was active in their life and they could recount His past faithfulness and goodness. 

    And He is a God who is active in our lives too. His faithfulness and goodness have followed us all of our lives as well. But at times, we still find ourselves wondering if God is even there, and if good really can come out of what we are going through. When doubts begin to rise and our hearts start to race with questions, we must remember who He is and what is true: God is FOR us and He LOVES us.

    When we are having trouble seeing God working in our situation, we must first ask ourselves, “Have I invited God into my situation? Or have I been engineering my own outcomes, relying on my own strength?” As humans, our first instinct is to try and fix our desperate situation ourselves, but we must remember that God doesn’t need our help, He needs our willingness and surrender, our faith and trust. 

    When we let go and lay it all in God’s hands, willing to say “thy will be done”, that is when we will find the peace and joy we are longing for, because the outcome is now in God’s hands. Laying it all in God’s hands sets us free from our fear and anxiety over our situation. When we realize that God can see the bigger picture and He knows what we do not, that He is infinitely wiser and wants our best, we can confidently know that His way is the best way.

    Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

    Because of Jesus and the future we have in Him, we can face the difficult things in this life with a faith and confidence that just doesn’t make sense to the world. Jesus came to bring us an unshakable kingdom, one that is not moved by the things of this world. He came so that our souls would find a peace and joy that is also unshakable. One that nothing in the world can touch or take away.

    Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

    When we choose to surrender to God’s will and God’s ways, entrusting Him with the outcome, all the provisions of His kingdom are now at our disposal simply because we belong to Him. He guards our hearts and minds and plans ahead for us. This is our reality no matter what new threat appears in our news feed. No matter what happens in this world, this reality is still true. We have nothing to fear, for we have the great King on our side. He loves to provide all we need as we seek to live in His unshakable Kingdom.

    When we choose to lean into this strong and unshakable Kingdom of God, trusting Him with our circumstances, we find that our hope is strengthened and we begin to see God at work in our situation. And when we get to the other side, just like our Bible heroes, we have a story to tell. Just as our faith is bolstered by seeing their faith and trust in the Lord, others will see your story and how you chose to have faith and trust, and be encouraged to do the same. This is all part of what it means to be made for more. 

    When we believe that God is at work even in the difficult situation we are facing, we can begin to see how He will bring glory out of it. It is never easy, but it does get easier when we can keep looking back to God’s character and past faithfulness. 

    You will be able to proclaim God’s faithfulness, because you will have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. And that proclamation becomes an invitation to others.

    Your witness and trust that God is working in even the worst of situations, points a watching world to the One who can bring them hope. Don’t underestimate the impact that your story of faith in times of trial can have on those around you. God will bring good out of the worst situations, and our story can point others to a God that is faithful and loves us deeply. Our job is simply to trust Him. 

    You only need to take a few steps with a willing heart and God will run the rest of the way. He just needs your mustard seed of faith, your few loaves and fishes, and He will do great things.

    Maybe you are in a place where you are so tired of holding it all together. Maybe you are in a circumstance that is leaving you feeling hopeless. We all face trials of various forms each and every day. Please know God is right there with you, waiting for you to turn to Him with all that is troubling you and all that is in your heart. He is a good, good father and nothing is too big or impossible for God.

    Father God, you are so good to us. There are times when we cannot not see your goodness. Help us turn to you. Lord increase our faith. Help us remember your faithfulness to us in the past and that you are faithful still, even when we are not. You never leave us and would never forsake us. Help us to trust you with our whole life. May we seek your will and your glory. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

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  • Made For Freedom

    As a mother of three boys, there was a stage of life, where all conversations revolved around superheroes. I could probably name all the superheroes (both DC and Marvel), but as far as their superpowers, I only know the supernatural giftings of a few. However, my boys knew all the superpowers and were always discussing the pros and cons of one superpower over another. One afternoon, my boys and I had just sat down for lunch. A few bites into the meal, my one son who would rather talk than eat food, asked his other two brothers a question. “Which superpower would you rather have: x-ray vision or the ability to read people’s minds?” I don’t remember how the debate ended up. I just remembered thinking, I hope nobody ever has the ability to read minds, because mine can sometimes be downright toxic, and I don’t want anybody hearing the negative soundtrack that can overwhelm my mind.

    Don’t get me wrong, not every day is like that, but there are seasons in my life when I feel inadequate, anxious about making a mistake, or overwhelmed by my to-do list. In those seasons, my brain does a good job confirming that all those negative thoughts are true. A loud voice in my head tells me, “You didn’t handle that conflict right.” “You are so disorganized; you have no business being in charge of three kids!” “Don’t ask that person out for coffee. What would you talk about anyway?” “That family could use a meal this week, but you aren’t a very good cook, so don’t bother.” And the list goes on and on.

    You know where that soundtrack comes from? It’s Satan on a bullhorn yelling all sorts of doubt in my head. He tries to get me to doubt the goodness of God and the gifts He has given me.He tries to get me to doubt the mission God has called me to do or the promise that God will thoroughly equip me for the task. Sometimes I give in to those doubts and instead of confidently moving forward to bless others, I stay locked in my jail of anxiety, shame, and overwhelm. Rather than living free, I hide away in my protected corner of the world, afraid of someone confirming the self-condemnation that spins around in my head.

    But here’s the deal. Some of the negative thoughts contain a grain of truth. Sometimes I don’t handle the conflict right. Of course, I’m not a perfect parent and I make mistakes. But Christ did not die for me to live in a self-imposed prison of condemnation, and He certainly doesn’t define me by my mistakes. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Did you hear that? No more condemnation. That doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes or need to repent. That doesn’t mean God wants us to ignore the unholy parts of our lives. It means that we no longer worry about suffering the punishment of being separated from God. We no longer have to be shackled by the guilt of sin. We were never made to live that way. Instead, we’re made for freedom. 

    Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ set you free. Stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened by the yoke of slavery.” We were not made to be slaves to crippling condemnation, but to be free to be transformed into who God wants us to be. Now instead of overthinking everything, I am free to make a mistake and learn from it because I no longer live in fear of condemnation. I can know that God will mold me more in His image every time I choose the freedom He has given me over the fear and condemnation Satan tries to shackle me with.

    So if we are supposed to be free from condemnation, what do we do with our freedom? For what purpose did Christ free us?  In Matt 10:8, Jesus told his disciples “Freely you have received, freely give.” Since you have freely received the gift of freedom from sin and condemnation, you are now free to give of yourself. Free to live a life of loving others. 

    Can you imagine what the world would be like, if a host of women, living in the freedom of God’s grace and mercy, walked out of their doors on a mission to use their gifts to love the world? Ladies, we’ve all seen a woman on a mission get things done, and we know the world would be a vastly different place. It would be a much better place. If we live in the freedom and love of Christ, we don’t overthink asking the new person at church out for coffee. When we live in the freedom of Christ, we aren’t afraid to use that amazing art talent God gave us to bring beauty into others’ lives. When we live in the freedom of Christ we are free to encourage hurting people around us because we aren’t afraid of making a mistake.  Many people would be encouraged, loved, and cared for because we would be living in the freedom of God’s love.

    So let’s confidently live a life that honors our God who has given us such a joyous freedom. You weren’t made to be a slave to condemnation and self-doubt. You were made for freedom.

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  • Made For More

    Not too long ago, in a land not so far away, I worked as an on-air radio personality, reporting the local news, weather & traffic every morning on several radio stations. Each night, before I went to bed, I would scan the headlines, and in the morning, I’d check again to catch any of the late-breaking stuff I may have missed while I was sleeping. Sadly, the headlines rarely announced any good news. As the pandemic wore on, and riots rocked many cities, including my own, the majority of the stories I’d find were full of tragedy, crime, or conflict. And after a long day, running in a million directions on too little sleep with no end in sight, my heart and soul would just ache for good news. 

    Have you experienced that feeling? That longing for someone to tell you something good? To tell you that there’s more to this life than the constant struggle and striving, that all the hard stuff you’ve been through wasn’t a waste. To tell you that you were made for more than what this world has to offer and you don’t have to wait until you’re on the other side of heaven to live life abundantly.

    If you’re feeling weary and depleted from the day-to-day fight, my friend, I have good news for you: You’re not alone, and you are made for more. 

    In fact, it’s the whole reason Jesus came. He saw us hurting in our mess and broke through the darkness to rescue us and give us something better. The moment Jesus came, everything was changed forever. That was the beginning of Kingdom life unfolding.  

    We get a sneak peek at the Kingdom of God in Isaiah 61:1-3. It’s no coincidence that Jesus directly quotes this passage in the book of Luke when He reveals His identity as the Son of God and the fulfillment of this very prophecy. 

    “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

    I love this entire verse. Talk about the ultimate mic drop moment! I wish I could unpack all of its amazing goodness right here, but we would need more time. So over the next few weeks, we’ll be digging into more it as we lead up to the Revive Conference on February 25th! (You are totally invited, by the way, and can find out all about it here)

    Right now I want to focus on the very first little bit. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord was on Jesus to bring good news. He himself was and is the ultimate good news. 

    When Jesus walked this earth, He literally did all of the things that we see in Isaiah 61:1-3. And He does them for us still today. He gives good news to the poor and provides for them. When we are at the end of ourselves, He always provides exactly what we need right when we need it. He carries us through the lean times and blesses us in ways we can’t even imagine. 

    He comforts the brokenhearted, holding us when we are weak, and crying with us when we weep. 

    Through His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus releases us from the chokehold of sin and redeems pain and our story, for purpose. Through Him, we have a fresh start as a new creation. 

    He gives hope and justice to those who earnestly ask for it, and one day will come again to set things right once and for all. 

    He takes the ashes of our lives, the messes, and the brokenness and gives us a crown of beauty instead. He takes our despair and mourning, holds and heals our hearts, giving us instead a spirit of praise and joy that transcends our circumstances.

    All we have to do is lean in. Rest in the arms of our Savior and give Him the hurt and broken pieces of our hearts and lives. He does all the rest. You don’t have to earn it and you don’t have to compete for it. You don’t have to run yourself ragged doing all the things. God’s love is not something you can lose, and you don’t have to worry about being perfect. There’s nothing that you can do to mess up His plans. God’s Kingdom does not depend on our ability, strength, perfection, or talent. You just have to say, “Ok, Lord, here I am.” It’s the safest and sweetest surrender you’ll ever know. 

    God could have just stopped there. He could have just rescued and restored us, dusted us off, and set us back on the road. Instead, He invites us to join Him, to be a part of what He is doing to bring about the restoration of His creation. Through the Holy Spirit, we are empowered and mobilized to live out the same kind of Kingdom life we have received, with everyone around us. We get to be bearers of the ultimate Good News about Jesus and invite others to be a part of God’s story unfolding.

    That doesn’t mean the rains and winds won’t blow, or that the hard times won’t come. We will still see heartache and pain in the world because God isn’t finished yet. The Kingdom is unfolding now, but the work is also not complete yet. So we will have our share of trouble, but our identity and security rest in the One who has already overcome the world. God gives us strength, hope, and purpose, and sets us apart to be a light radiating out into the darkness of our world. He commissions us to continue the work that He started through Jesus and to participate through His Spirit in His Kingdom come.

    And even when we feel the full force of the storm, and the sting of the rain on our faces, because of Jesus we can stand firm and steadfast. We can be like a mighty oak tree with our roots planted firmly in the bedrock of faith, as a display of God’s splendor.  And we get to be a safe place of refuge for others searching for solid ground and point them directly to the source of true strength, hope, and peace. 

    We get to work alongside our Heavenly Father binding up the brokenhearted, and reminding them that God is near. 

    We can tell them about freedom in Christ, that they no longer have to be stuck in sin, ruled by circumstances, anxiety or stress. They can be free from the lies that tie them up in knots and lean into the truth of who God says we are and the divine purpose He invites us all to. 

    We can remind them that God sees their suffering and that there is a day coming when God will set things right. A day when His justice will prevail, and their cause will shine like the sun. (Psalm 37:4-6)

    We can point to God at work and help them see beauty rising from the ashes. 

    We can comfort them and help them find their joy. 

    One of the beautiful things about God’s Kingdom is that through the Holy Spirit, we can be both comforted, and offer comfort to others. We can find significance, and divine purpose and know our worth in Christ. And we can help others embrace their significance, purpose, and value as well. There will be seasons when you may not feel like a mighty oak. That’s ok. There will also be seasons where others lean on you because when they look at you, they see Jesus at work. 

    So sweet friend, if you find yourself feeling lost in the darkness, consumed by the bad news of the world, or weary from the stress and strain of life’s hard realities, hold on. God’s not done yet. He has more for you. You are made for more. You are made for Kingdom Life.  

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  • 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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  • 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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