(The below first posted in the summer of 2016.)

Don’t Despise the Wildnerness
by Julie Arduini

It was 2003. I lived in Upstate NY and the financial consequences from 9/11 hit our small city hard. The main corporation in town, Corning Inc., let go 20% of their workforce. At the time, their stock was worth less than a slice of pizza at the local shop. Most businesses in town were somehow connected to Corning, including my husband’s employer. His work dried up to the point that the employer left the business and told his employees to keep it baby-1178539_640running—without salary or benefits.

Our baby came into our lives that August and I thought for sure my new role as a full-time mom would be the needed turn. Not long after her birth my husband realized he had to get another job. Our health insurance alone was a huge amount per month plus a 20% co-pay. On paper, we never had the amount. In reality, God provided. Yet, something had to give.

Once my husband started working as a temp to help make ends meet, we received news that our daughter’s newborn tests were abnormal. After hearing all was fine, we later learned the office made a mistake and our daughter was not fine. They sat me down and told me that because she lost 8 weeks of needed medicine, we were to prepare our child for mental retardation.

The hits became relentless. Our daughter got sick before Thanksgiving. Although we were changing doctors, we still hadn’t found one, so we went back. He prescribed a medicine with codeine, something I questioned for a three-month baby. He assured me he’d prescribed this for years.

Our daughter nearly died on Thanksgiving Eve.medic-563425_640

As she recovered, we learned my dad had lung cancer. I refused to believe it. He looked so good. They didn’t want anyone to know for fear he’d be treated differently. As Hannah battled RSV and pneumonia and my husband learned his second job was ending and that a company five hours away wanted to hire him—my dad wasn’t getting better. Three weeks after my husband moved to his new job knowing no one in an apartment the company found for him, my dad passed away.

I was grieving while taking care of two small ones, including a chronically sick baby. My mom was beside herself losing her husband and her daughter’s family. Once I sold the house and reunited with my husband, I remember sitting in Ohio, shell-shocked.

I felt completely abandoned by God.

It was in Ohio I found mentors and Bible studies that helped me. One day I was reading Beth Moore and she mentioned Hosea 2:14: 

That verse made this season almost feel like a gift.

A blessing.

As the grief subsided, I realized there were lessons I learned in the wilderness I never could have grasped in the clearing. I was introduced to opportunities that I never imagined I could have been prepared for. Those excruciating times were when God drew me close and taught me things. Showed me secrets and strategies. Most of all, loved me in an intimate way I’d never known.

The wilderness is scary and no one would voluntarily sign up for it. However, I don’t resist it anymore. I know a lot of fruit comes out of the wilderness. I wouldn’t be writing without those times. I hope my story encourages you. Don’t be afraid of your Hosea 2:14 wilderness.

***

“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

entangled2_editedCarla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Buy Entangled on Amazon.

***

profileJulie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the  re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Connect with Julie on her websiteFacebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Before you go, make sure to catch the latest Faith Over Fear podcast episode: 

Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions Faith Over Fear

We all have certain reactions that arise when we feel threatened, whether that threat is real or perceived. We have an innate desire to self-protect. If we aren’t aware of these tendencies, however, we may react in ways that pushes others away and therefore reinforce or deepen our hurts and increases our defensive reactions. In this episode, mental health expert Tina Yeager helps us unpack these potentially destructive responses, what triggers them, and how we can respond to our triggers and our reactions in a grace-filled, healthy way. (Contact Tina through her website provided below to find out how to access the free resource she mentioned in today’s episode.)(Scroll down to find the group discussion questions)Find Tina Yeager: https://www.tinayeager.com/books/https://www.instagram.com/tina.yeager.9/https://www.facebook.com/tina.yeager.9Find Jennifer Slattery at:https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083247680572Find Wholly Loved Ministries at:WhollyLoved.comJoin the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Group Discussion or Personal Journal Questions:1.What resonated with you most in this episode?2.When do you most tend to get defensive? 3.In those particular situations, what story are you telling yourself?4.What are some truths you can reflect upon prior to those types of situations or interactions with that particular person?5.Why is it important to recognize that not everyone is a safe person who will be helpful while you are working to heal? 6.How did you feel when Tina and Jennifer talked about potentially limiting time with unhealthy family members? 7.What were some signs Tina mentioned that can indicate a person is not willing to change? 8.How can recognizing this help you find the healthiest level of involvement with an individual more focused on casting blame than moving toward relational health?9.What is one action step God might be asking you to take after having listened to today’s content?
  1. Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions
  2. Freed From Toxic Relationships to Help Others Break Free (with Carolyn Whitney) – Ep. 131
  3. Thankfulness in Changing Seasons – Ep. 130
  4. Fighting Anxiety and Fear Through Praise (with Becky Harling) – Ep. 129
  5. When Self-Reliance Leads to Addiction (with Carol McCracken) – Ep. 128

Zipline Course

I stood on the platform wearing a harness attached to a long, heavy cord. All I had to do was step off and fly through the air. Across the lake my daughter, Hannah, and husband, Tim, waited for me to glide across the zip line and meet them on the other side.

I’d cheered Tim on as he took the trip just moments before. But for some reason I couldn’t take the leap. It wasn’t like I’d never zipped. I’d ridden this same line a year or so before. And I loved it. But this time, instead of embracing the excitement, fear gripped me. My anxiety peaked. I couldn’t let go. Much to my disappointment, Hannah’s friend and co-worker, Rachel, had to help me out of the harness. I climbed down the steps and trudged around the lake to meet my family.

I’d been defeated by fear, one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. Sad thing is, the fear wasn’t real. I’d ridden the zip line before and had no problems at all. How many times do we create fear in our minds? When this happens the story gets bigger and bigger. Most of the time the very thing we fear is never realized. Have you heard the song Fear is a Liar? How the liar wants to stop us from moving forward. He wants us to doubt God. He wants us to be paralyzed in our tracks unable to follow God’s lead. But guess what. God doesn’t want to let that happen. If we turn our fears over to him through prayer, he will walk us through every single doubt and question.

In Isaiah 41:10-20, the prophet is addressing the people who serve God and assuring them that because they serve faithfully, they have hope. Isaiah reminds them not to fear, because God is in their presence. He encourages faith and reminds them God offers strength and help in all they do as He did for the Israelites.

As a writer, fear of failure haunts me, much like God’s servants in the book of Isaiah. Unwanted chants in my head go something like this, “I’m not good enough.” “Why would anyone care about what I write?”  “Who do I think I’m fooling?” These are all the result of made-up fear, conjured in my mind with no grounding in reality.

Tree and skyline with Isaiah 41:13

When I read verses like Isaiah 41:10 and 13, I’m assured that God has me in His hands. He knows every fear and He pours His strength and help over me, giving me hope.

Whatever you’re afraid of, turn it over to God. He’s just waiting for you to ask.

Get to Know Penny!

If Penny Frost McGinnis could live in a lighthouse or on an island, she would. Instead, she and her husband are content to live in southwest Ohio and visit Lake Erie every chance they get. She adores her family and dog, indulges in dark chocolate, enjoys fiber arts, and grows flowers and herbs in her tiny garden. She pens romance with a dash of mystery and the promise of hope. Her life’s goal is to encourage and uplift through her writing. Visit her blog at Hope for Today’s Heart, where she brings God’s hope to people’s lives through the written word.

Check Out Her Book!

Tired of being a pawn for her father and an emotional punching bag for her ex-boyfriend, Sadie Stewart escapes to Abbott Island where she spent summers with her grandparents. Would the love and faith she learned from them be enough to fuel her new life? She wants to believe God’s promises, yet broken trust holds her back. 

Joel Grayson left the island long enough to train at the Police Academy. The community trusts him, even though he’s failed. When he finds Sadie at her grandparents’ cottages, his heart skips a beat. He’d love to get to know her again, but no one needs to share the hurt he harbors. 

When Sadie discovers someone is sabotaging her future, she seeks Joel’s help. As they are drawn together, will Joel let down his guard and let her in? Will Sadie trust the man who loves her and the Father Who cares? 

Find it HERE.

Before you go, make sure to catch the latest Faith Over Fear podcast. In this episode on embracing risk, my husband joins me for a discussion at the seventeen-ish minute mark.

Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions Faith Over Fear

We all have certain reactions that arise when we feel threatened, whether that threat is real or perceived. We have an innate desire to self-protect. If we aren’t aware of these tendencies, however, we may react in ways that pushes others away and therefore reinforce or deepen our hurts and increases our defensive reactions. In this episode, mental health expert Tina Yeager helps us unpack these potentially destructive responses, what triggers them, and how we can respond to our triggers and our reactions in a grace-filled, healthy way. (Contact Tina through her website provided below to find out how to access the free resource she mentioned in today’s episode.)(Scroll down to find the group discussion questions)Find Tina Yeager: https://www.tinayeager.com/books/https://www.instagram.com/tina.yeager.9/https://www.facebook.com/tina.yeager.9Find Jennifer Slattery at:https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083247680572Find Wholly Loved Ministries at:WhollyLoved.comJoin the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Group Discussion or Personal Journal Questions:1.What resonated with you most in this episode?2.When do you most tend to get defensive? 3.In those particular situations, what story are you telling yourself?4.What are some truths you can reflect upon prior to those types of situations or interactions with that particular person?5.Why is it important to recognize that not everyone is a safe person who will be helpful while you are working to heal? 6.How did you feel when Tina and Jennifer talked about potentially limiting time with unhealthy family members? 7.What were some signs Tina mentioned that can indicate a person is not willing to change? 8.How can recognizing this help you find the healthiest level of involvement with an individual more focused on casting blame than moving toward relational health?9.What is one action step God might be asking you to take after having listened to today’s content?
  1. Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions
  2. Freed From Toxic Relationships to Help Others Break Free (with Carolyn Whitney) – Ep. 131
  3. Thankfulness in Changing Seasons – Ep. 130
  4. Fighting Anxiety and Fear Through Praise (with Becky Harling) – Ep. 129
  5. When Self-Reliance Leads to Addiction (with Carol McCracken) – Ep. 128

This is something we all battle from time to time. But may we always remember, we are not victims to our circumstances or our emotions. In Christ, we can stand strong and choose courage, even when we feel our legs will soon give way. Today’s guest, Shirley Brosius, shares how.

Dark doorway with text on fear.

Facing and Chasing the Lurker

by Shirley Brosius

Fear lurks in the shadows of my life. As a child, I was afraid of the dark. Fortunately, I shared a bedroom with an older sister. Unfortunately, she liked a radio program called “Inner Sanctum.” When I heard the ominous tones introducing horror stories, I huddled under the covers—and listened.

At bedtime, my father sometimes read ghost stories to us. My four older siblings loved hearing about chains rattling on staircases. But those sounds echoed in my head, and I refused to go upstairs alone.

So how do I prevent The Lurker from grabbing me by the throat like the ghost story villains of my childhood? Scripture helps me focus on The Lord and paralyzes The Lurker: “The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear. . .  He will be as a sanctuary” (Isaiah 8:13-14a NKJV).

God is in Control

Moses sent 12 men to scout out Canaan, the land which God had promised to the Israelites after leading them from bondage in Egypt. They found a country with clusters of grapes so huge it took two men to carry them. But Joshua and Caleb were the only men who encouraged the Israelites to forge ahead and conquer the land.

The ten other men were afraid of the giants inhabiting the land. They didn’t trust God to do what He had promised (Numbers 13). And their disobedience started them on a 40-year journey through the wilderness. Except for Joshua and Caleb, only the Israelite children got to enter the Promised Land.

Joshua and Caleb trusted God to live up to His Word, and I am learning to do the same when faced with giants of fear. So, when I’m up in the middle of the night because of physical distress and I fear becoming hospitalized, I turn on a television station that offers scripture and songs throughout the night. I’ve memorized the hymn “Be Still My Soul,” and when worried, I sing it to myself.

I read the book of Philippians. These verses remind me to settle down, talk to God about my worries, and wait for His answers. While that answer may include hospitalization, I know that God controls even this experience.

God is with Me

Same darkened background with a statement regarding God's sovereignty.

After Moses’ death, Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land. Since he had scouted the land, he knew they faced giants. But God guaranteed Joshua success: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NKJV).

God is our powerful ally. God’s presence inhabited the ark of the covenant, so the Israelites knew God was with them. We don’t have that ark, and when we face giants of fear, we often want someone with skin on. So God may touch us through Christian spouses and friends, through caregivers and pastors.

God is for Me

The Lurker is an unwelcome intruder. But God is stronger than our fears. We know He is in control even of world affairs. We know He walks with us. And we know He is for us. Knowing this doesn’t change our circumstances, but it does change us. We learn to rely on God rather than cower under the covers as I once did.

In Romans, Paul reminds me God is on my side (8:31). God loves me so much He sent His Son to die for my sin (John 3:16). Nothing. . . nothing. . . “shall be able to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:39 NKJV).

Join the conversation: How do you deal with fear?

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: 

Shirley Brosius is a writer from Millersburg, PA. She loves to read, write, watch the flowers grow, and keep up with five young adult grandchildren. She is the author of Sisterhood of Faith and coauthor of Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides. Website: shirleybrosius.com and friendsoftheheart.us.

Check out her book, Sisterhood of Faith:

Woman to Woman…Sister to Sister…Friend to Friend…Bound by an Unstoppable Faith…Changing Their World Forever

The forces that bind woman to woman, sister to sister, and friend to friend are among the most powerful in the world. Add to that the strength of faith, and you have a union that transcends all earthly holds. That unique bond is the sisterhood of faith.

The women whose stories are told in this book are the kind of women who wave a hand of dismissal at the obstacles in their paths. The kind who are unstoppable in their mission, stubborn in their resilience. They are women just like you. Women whose lives make a difference because they trusted in their God as they lived their lives in service to Him—women who belong to the sisterhood of faith.

Each daily devotion features an inspirational sister of faith. In addition to Her Story, you’ll find Her Service, Her Message, and My Response.

(Today’s post is taken and adapted from the December 7th Your Daily Bible Verse episode titled Seeking God’s Guidance in Times of Crisis. You can listen to that episode HERE.)

But first, fun news! New Hope Publishers has made Intertwined, one of my backlisted titled, available for free via Kindle from July 25th-29th. Save THIS LINK and mark your calendars!

This is one of the most powerful prayers in Scripture: “God, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You” (2 Chronicles 20:12c, NIV).

Such an honest, humble declaration positions us to receive God’s power, which He loves to display through our weakness. It is in our desperate places, when we feel we have nowhere else to turn, that we most experience Him.

The king who spoke the words recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:12 was in a terrifying place. Shortly after initiating a sweeping religious reform throughout Judah, he learned numerous allied nations had declared war against him and his people.

By the time King Jehoshapat learned about this army, they were only 35 miles from Jerusalem. The King didn’t have a whole lot of options. He and his people could’ve tried to hide in caves and the clefts of mountains, like they had back in Judges chapter 6, when “the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country” (v. 3, NIV). Or he could’ve fled to a neighboring country, forfeiting his throne and abandoning his people.

In a panic, he could’ve sent commanders out to gather all the fighting men they could find, but they’d still be outnumbered, out-skilled, out-weaponed, and outmuscles. 

He could’ve allowed his fear to drive him to increased reliance and chasing after false securities. This inevitably would’ve distanced him from God and distorted his perception, causing the crisis to feel exponentially larger. Making his all-powerful God to simultaneously feel smaller.

That wasn’t how King Jehoshapat responded.

In the middle of his fear, he hit pause. Before he took a single step forward, he turned his face and his heart upward, proclaimed a fast for all of Judah, and cried out to God.

When facing a life or death situation, for him and his nation, the king of Judah immediately turned to God in prayer. And called all his people to do the same. Such a powerful example of God-led, leadership! In a life-or-death situation, he showed everyone what it looked like to live by faith; complete dependence on God. 

And notice the result. Verse four states, “The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.”

Because King Jehoshaphat sought God in his fear, his people did as well. Then, once they’d all gathered, Scripture tells us the King stood in front of the courtyard and spoke an incredibly powerful prayer.  

First, he acknowledged and proclaimed God’s sovereignty and limitless power, a power greater than their worst and most viscous and numerous enemy, saying, “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.”

Then, in verses 7-8, he reminded God, and through this, the people, of who they were to Him. The men, women, children, and soldiers of Judah were God’s chosen people, whom He had placed in and given the land they now occupied. A land that, ultimately, God owned. 

He reminded himself and the people of God’s constant presence. Regardless of how they felt or things appeared, their God was with them and heard them, He stated, in verse 9, “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us” (NIV).

Then, after all this, after remembering and proclaiming God’s power, sovereignty, attentiveness, and presence, knowing that God would hear and respond, he ended with, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 

In other words, guide us, Lord. Tell us what to do here, and whatever that is, we’ll do it. Because we trust You.

The next morning, he and his people put feet to their faith. At God’s command, they appointed men to sing praises to God, and sent them out at the head of the army.

They led with praise.

They entered the battle with praise, singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.” With every step, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love” –His heced in the original Greek, a fierce, steadfast, enduring love– “endures forever” (V. 21, NIV).

God’s love was their armor and their defense. The Israelites advanced in confidence knowing Almighty, all-knowing, sovereign, Creator God loved them and would fight for them. 

And he did. Scripture says, “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another” (V. 22-23, NIV).

Their enemies fought against one another! Not one of them escaped. 

When we find ourselves in frightening situations, often our first response is to react–to shut down, lash out, or to flee. But what if we turned to God first? What if we hit pause, took a breath, and prayed?

What if we fought our battles through surrendered dependence and our hands lifted high in praise? 

And speaking of love, first flowing into us, then flowing from us, make sure to listen to the latest Your Daily Bible Verse podcast episode:

What Does Jesus Say about the Bible (Luke 24:27) Your Daily Bible Verse

Want to listen without the ads? Become a BibleStudyTools.com PLUS Member today: https://www.biblestudytools.com/subscribe/ Meet Our Hosts: JENNIFER SLATTERY is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com Follow Jennifer:https://www.lifeaudio.com/faith-over-fear/https://www.facebook.com/JenSlattehttps://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/ GRACE FOX has published hundreds of articles and authored 10 books including the award-winning devotional, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos. She’s a member of the “First 5” writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a regular contributor to Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus. Grace lives aboard a sailboat in Vancouver, British Columbia. Married in 1982, she and her husband celebrate three grown kids and eleven grandchildren. Check out Grace’s newest book, Keeping Hope Alive: https://www.tyndale.com/p/keeping-hope-alive/9781649380517 Subscribe to her weekly devotional blog and monthly update on her website: http://www.gracefox.com Follow Grace:Facebook: http://www.fb.com/gracefox.authorInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/graceloewenfox/  Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gracefoxauthor QUINNISE PETTWAY is a writer, facilitator, Licensed Professional Counselor, wife, and mother whose mission is to help Christians encounter and embrace God as Father and walk boldly as His beloved children. She's the author of A Glimpse of Our Father: Lessons Parenthood Reveals for All of God's Children and hosts a weekly small group called “Gathering For A Glimpse” where she journeys with participants through the book to dive deeper into the heart of our heavenly Father. Follow Quinnise:Website- https://aglimpseofourfather.com/Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/aglimpseofourfatherInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/quinnisepettway/ Check out her YouVersion Bible App Devotional Plan (Inspired by full book) A Glimpse of Our Father: A 5-Day Devotional Plan for All of God's Children: http://bible.us/r/82J JOSHUA LILLIE is a passionate follower of Jesus, spreadsheet enthusiast, and lover of all kinds of art and music. Joshua has almost a decade of experience in music ministry, and has served both in house church and megachurch environments in pastoral and administrative roles, eager to see every man, woman, and child increasingly surrender their lives to King Jesus. He currently serves on staff with Christ Community Church in Omaha, NE, and as an ordained minister with the Christian & Missionary Alliance, a global denomination of Jesus-followers making Him known among the nations.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
  1. What Does Jesus Say about the Bible (Luke 24:27)
  2. Our Response to Truth (John 7:17)
  3. Love, Trust, Rejoice (1 Peter 1:8)
  4. A Life of Thankfulness (1 Thessalonians 1:2)
  5. Keys to a Blessed Life (Psalm 1:1-2)

What most tends to make you anxious? Where do you find it hard to trust? Your loved ones? Your career? Your health? Some of you may be nodding affirmative to each of those questions. I get it. I know that queazy stomach feeling that comes from watching someone I care about struggle, from stepping into the unknown, or waiting for news that could either allow me to catch my breath or cause my heart to race.

If you can relate, I hope you’ll find encouragement in my friend, Grace Fox’s guest post below.

Deepening Our Trust in God

by Grace Fox

In a recent conversation about trusting God with our concerns, a friend reflected on bygone days when her kids were young. She recalled sleepless nights, laundry piles that multiplied by the minute, and temper tantrums (not hers!) over simple things like broccoli touching macaroni and cheese on one’s lunch plate. “Those times were challenging,” she said, “but they were nothing compared to the challenges I face as the parent of adult children, especially when they make choices that hurt themselves or others. I can’t tell them what to do. I have to just pray and trust God to work in their lives.”

Another friend told me about her dad. Widowed and in his 90s, he’d recently moved into a seniors’ care facility and was finding the transition difficult. “I worry about him,” she said. “The facility is short-staffed. What if Dad’s needs can’t be met adequately? I begin every day by asking God to watch over him. When worry starts to creep in, I have to intentionally choose to trust God with my concerns.”

I just returned from moving my youngest daughter and her family to northern B.C. As a mom, I pray that they’ll adjust well and find friends who not only share common interests but who love the Lord and make His kingdom their first priority. Today I’m heading south to visit my other daughter. My prayers for her focus on persevering with hope through chronic pain. Oh, how I wish I could fix it for her, like in those bygone days when I could kiss my baby’s boo-boo away. But I can’t. I can, however, trust God with my concerns.

The Bible tells us over and over to trust God with our concerns.

Philippians 4:6-7 is one example: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Trusting God with our concerns is easier said than done, but it can be done.

Paul and Barnabas put this into practice. On one particular occasion, they’d been crisscrossing the country to preach the Gospel and encourage believers to continue in their faith despite suffering. They’d also helped churches set up their leadership. They could have hovered over the new leaders to ensure they understood their roles and did things right, but they did not. Here’s what they did: “Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.” (Acts 14:23)

Don’t you love that? Despite the potential for things to go sideways, Paul and Barnabas trusted the elders to God and headed to the next location to continue the work He’d called them to do.

My friend, what concerns are on your heart today?

Are you like me, feeling concerned for your adult kids? Maybe you’re concerned about your marriage, your church family, your financial state, or a major decision coming your way. Isn’t it reassuring to know that we don’t have to carry these alone? God invites us to give them to Him because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) He also commands us to combine prayer with fasting as a way of showing that we depend on Him more than on physical food. (Matthew 6:16-18) There are different types and lengths of fasts, and He’ll teach us what to do when we ask Him for direction in this regard.

No matter what worries weigh us down, let’s acknowledge our need for God’s help, invite His intervention, and expect Him to answer in His way and in His time.

The One who is all-wise and forever faithful knows our hearts and hears our cries. He holds us and those we love in His hands. Our souls crave peace, and trusting God with our concerns is the pathway to finding it.

Here’s a simple but powerful exercise to do today. Take Acts 14:23 and make it personal by filling in the blank: “With prayer and fasting, I will turn _____________ (identify your concerns) over to the care of the Lord, in whom I have put my trust.”

Feel free to post your completed statement here so others can pray for you, okay? Know you are loved.

Get to Know Grace!

Grace Fox is the author of 12 books, a member of the “First 5” writing team (Proverbs 31 Ministries) and a regular contributor to Guideposts’ annual devotional, Mornings With Jesus. She also co-hosts the podcast “Your Daily Bible Verse.” A career missionary for nearly 30 years, Grace lives aboard a sailboat in Vancouver, British Columbia. Married in 1982, she and her husband celebrate three grown kids and eleven grandchildren.

Her latest release, Keeping Hope Alive: Devotions for Strength in the Storm, is available wherever Christian books are sold. https://www.hendricksonrose.com/p/keeping-hope-alive/9781649380517

You can subscribe to Grace’s weekly devotional blog and monthly update on her website – www.gracefox.com/blog

www.fb.com/gracefox.author

https://www.instagram.com/graceloewenfox/

Check Out Her Latest Release!

Keeping Hope Alive: Devotions for Strength in the Storm

The storms of life hurl us into uncertainty and leave us longing for rescue. In times like this, we need the hope God’s Word offers, and we need it in snippets our overloaded minds can absorb. Keeping Hope Alive delivers. Ninety brief meditations offer nuggets of encouragement, a sentence prayer, a point to ponder, and a thoughtful quote by someone who’s survived the storm. Its daily messages and beautifully designed full-color interior soothe the troubled soul and remind readers that God is faithful and sovereign in their circumstances.

Available wherever Christian books are sold.  

Before you go, make sure to check out the latest Faith Over Fear podcast episode!

Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions Faith Over Fear

We all have certain reactions that arise when we feel threatened, whether that threat is real or perceived. We have an innate desire to self-protect. If we aren’t aware of these tendencies, however, we may react in ways that pushes others away and therefore reinforce or deepen our hurts and increases our defensive reactions. In this episode, mental health expert Tina Yeager helps us unpack these potentially destructive responses, what triggers them, and how we can respond to our triggers and our reactions in a grace-filled, healthy way. (Contact Tina through her website provided below to find out how to access the free resource she mentioned in today’s episode.)(Scroll down to find the group discussion questions)Find Tina Yeager: https://www.tinayeager.com/books/https://www.instagram.com/tina.yeager.9/https://www.facebook.com/tina.yeager.9Find Jennifer Slattery at:https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083247680572Find Wholly Loved Ministries at:WhollyLoved.comJoin the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Group Discussion or Personal Journal Questions:1.What resonated with you most in this episode?2.When do you most tend to get defensive? 3.In those particular situations, what story are you telling yourself?4.What are some truths you can reflect upon prior to those types of situations or interactions with that particular person?5.Why is it important to recognize that not everyone is a safe person who will be helpful while you are working to heal? 6.How did you feel when Tina and Jennifer talked about potentially limiting time with unhealthy family members? 7.What were some signs Tina mentioned that can indicate a person is not willing to change? 8.How can recognizing this help you find the healthiest level of involvement with an individual more focused on casting blame than moving toward relational health?9.What is one action step God might be asking you to take after having listened to today’s content?
  1. Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions
  2. Freed From Toxic Relationships to Help Others Break Free (with Carolyn Whitney) – Ep. 131
  3. Thankfulness in Changing Seasons – Ep. 130
  4. Fighting Anxiety and Fear Through Praise (with Becky Harling) – Ep. 129
  5. When Self-Reliance Leads to Addiction (with Carol McCracken) – Ep. 128

sad teenager(This post first published on March 14, 2019.)

Church had become a painful place for our daughter. She loved Jesus and wanted to grow closer to Him, but she’d experienced deep hurt from His people. Hurts that initiated inner lies like, “I’m not good enough. This faith thing isn’t working for me. God must not be pleased with me.”

Every time she entered the sanctuary, those lies played, swirling through her mind and drowning out the songs and proclamations of grace.

I could sense something was wrong, something deep. I saw it in the way she tensed whenever I asked her about her prayer or Bible reading time—really, anything faith related. She grew abrupt, clearly wanting to end the conversation.

Being the … perhaps overly involved mother that I am, I pressed, out of fear. A fear that, when acted upon, could have pushed her away from the faith entirely. Luckily, my husband stepped in and told me to back off. Even more fortunate, I actually listened.

And waited.

And prayed, and prayed, and prayed for God, the only One who knew precisely how my daughter was feeling and thinking, to step in and grab and heal her heart.

A few edgy and frightening months later, He opened the door for conversation, and in the dialogue that followed, He broke my heart nearly as much as my daughter’s had been. She shared years of hurt, of being misjudged, of feeling as if, because she didn’t respond to God (really, to worship music) as her church friends did, that she was unengaged. Uninterested. And not accepted, not just by her peers, but by God.

“What’s wrong with me?” she asked. “I don’t see God in music; I see Him in math!”

To which I responded, “That’s beautiful baby.”

Then I reminded her of Jesus’ words in John 13:35. He didn’t say, “They’ll know you’re My disciple based on how emotional you get during worship service” or “how high you raise your hands.” He said, “By this everyone will know you’re My disciples, if you love one another.”

Friends embracingWhen we love like Jesus, we demonstrate we belong to Him.

And I’d seen His love displayed in her again and again in her school and among her friends. God hadn’t rejected her, nor was she failing in her faith. He’d drawn her near and was working in and through her each time she interacted with the hurting and dismissed. She’d turned to Him for salvation as a child, read her Bible, and did her best to honor Him, but still, at times, she worried somehow, for her, saving faith hadn’t clicked. And, surrounded by other more emotionally driven believers, she felt as if somehow she wasn’t enough.

But, as a friend reminded me, when we allow our emotions to dictate our assurance, we’re actually relying on works-based religion, rather than grace received through faith. Quoting a line from an old hymn that says, “‘I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name,’” she added, “Frame was the old word for feelings. It is so easy to rest on feelings instead of the finished work of Christ, which never changes.”

We are saved through faith in what Christ did on our behalf, regardless of how we feel one moment from the next.

In 1 John chapter four, the author wanted to give ancient believers that same assurance. False teachers had infiltrated the church, were denying vital truths regarding Christ, and claiming to have a special, mysterious, and “secret” knowledge of God that the others didn’t have. In response, John, the apostle who write all three letters bearing his name, wrote a missive refuting this deception and assuring true followers of Christ that they did indeed belong to Him.

They could know, know, know that they truly belonged to Jesus based on what they believed regarding Him (that He was fully human and fully man), that they obeyed what He’d taught, have received the indwelling Holy Spirit, and based on how they loved one another.

“Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God,” John said (1 John 4:7).

And for those who may have been confused as to what this love looked like, he added, “This is how God verse graphics 1 John 4:19showed His love among us: He sent His One and only Son into the world … as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. … 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 4:9-12, NIV).

The love of God is sacrificial and initiating, and when we love others well, as Christ has loved us, His love is made complete, or has reached it’s full expression, in us.

We don’t need some special knowledge to prove to others or ourselves that we belong to Him, nor should we rely on our emotions to assure us of our faith. We simply need to live in, and live out, what we’ve received—through faith.

Have you ever encountered something similar to my daughter, when others gave you the message that you weren’t expressing your faith appropriately or according to their expectations? What are some ways you’ve found assurance in your faith? What are some ways you’ve assured others who, despite a clear belief in Jesus, have expressed doubts regarding their standing with God?

Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

I also encourage you to listen to the latest Faith Over Fear podcast episode. Find it HERE or wherever you access podcast content.

Yancey Quote with blue and green gradient background

What happens when you are certain God is leading you in one direction only to feel as if He’s asking you to take a hard left? Or, when you find yourself on a long dirt road that appears to be leading … nowhere? If that’s where you find yourself now, I hope you’ll find my guest Kathy Harris’s post encouraging.

When God Sends a Detour, Follow Him

by Kathy Harris

Twenty years ago, I had a milestone birthday. My husband and I celebrated by including me on one of his business trips to New Orleans. While he was attending meetings the first day, I ‘celebrated’ with writing time in the hotel room. I rarely had an entire day to devote to writing or, in this case, research, and it was the beginning of a turning point in my life.

I have wanted to write books since I was a little girl and that dream continued through high school. When I went to college, I majored in communications with a minor in English. And after I graduated from Southern Illinois University, I applied for several creative jobs in diverse industries, finally taking two part-time positions. One was teaching literature and poetry for a junior college. The other was teaching music and other studies in a rural elementary school. Neither of those positions fulfilled the need I had to write, but I enjoyed the opportunity to introduce my love of the written word, as well as music, to both children and adults.

Along with writing, music captured my interest at an early age. When I was in high school, I joined the church choir. Soon after that, two friends and I started a gospel trio, which would eventually because a quartet. We spent hours rehearsing, learning new songs, and performing at local churches and ‘old folk’s homes.’ Eventually we were asked to sing in other cities, broadening our outreach and expanding our vision. 

Lewis Quote on gradient teal and blue background.

For three years, I studied communications during the week and then returned home almost every weekend to ride the group tour bus—an old school bus my dad had converted to an over-the-road vehicle outfitted with bunks, a kitchenette, and storage for our gear and clothing. Singing gospel music across three states each weekend and becoming acquainted with exceptional men and women of God played a critical role in the development of my spiritual life, as well as helping direct my goals for the future. 

One year after college graduation, after working those two part-time jobs for a year, I was offered a full-time position in the Christian music industry, and I eagerly moved to Nashville. That decision changed the course of my life. It was, as I often say, a “divine detour.” God still had plans for me to write books—and that weekend in New Orleans, when I was celebrating a milestone birthday, I started walking in that direction again. 

This week, I celebrate, one more time, with the release of my third novel, and I can tell you, from personal experience, that, when God provides a detour, you should trust Him and then follow wherever He leads. He will bless you for it.

Have you ever wanted to give up on a dream because your life appears to have gone off-track? 

Get to Know Kathy

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville music business where she has worked for 30 years as a marketing director. She sold her first Christian nonfiction story in 2007. Her debut novel released in 2012. She writes romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Visit Kathy’s website, read her Divine Detour blog or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Kathy Harris's author photo.

Her Latest Release:

Will they uncover the secrets between them before it becomes deadly?

After fending off a would-be abductor, 27-year-old singer-songwriter Hannah Cassidy hides behind a car in the half-empty parking lot behind Pancake Pantry in Nashville. From there, she watches in horror as her attacker grabs another woman and pushes her into a nearby car. Within seconds, the vehicle speeds away.

TBI Special Agent Jake Matheson may have planned a quiet day off and a date with Shannon―the only name her online profile revealed―for an introductory lunch, but after pulling into a parking space on 21st Avenue South, he hears a scream. He races to the back of the building and finds a frightened young woman bent forward and gasping for breath.

Thrown together by uncanny circumstances and driven by the whys and what-ifs of secrets yet to be revealed, Hannah and Jake set out to find the connection between them before it becomes deadly.

Buy it HERE.

You might also enjoy:

The Courage to Wait (podcast episode)

Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions Faith Over Fear

We all have certain reactions that arise when we feel threatened, whether that threat is real or perceived. We have an innate desire to self-protect. If we aren’t aware of these tendencies, however, we may react in ways that pushes others away and therefore reinforce or deepen our hurts and increases our defensive reactions. In this episode, mental health expert Tina Yeager helps us unpack these potentially destructive responses, what triggers them, and how we can respond to our triggers and our reactions in a grace-filled, healthy way. (Contact Tina through her website provided below to find out how to access the free resource she mentioned in today’s episode.)(Scroll down to find the group discussion questions)Find Tina Yeager: https://www.tinayeager.com/books/https://www.instagram.com/tina.yeager.9/https://www.facebook.com/tina.yeager.9Find Jennifer Slattery at:https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083247680572Find Wholly Loved Ministries at:WhollyLoved.comJoin the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Group Discussion or Personal Journal Questions:1.What resonated with you most in this episode?2.When do you most tend to get defensive? 3.In those particular situations, what story are you telling yourself?4.What are some truths you can reflect upon prior to those types of situations or interactions with that particular person?5.Why is it important to recognize that not everyone is a safe person who will be helpful while you are working to heal? 6.How did you feel when Tina and Jennifer talked about potentially limiting time with unhealthy family members? 7.What were some signs Tina mentioned that can indicate a person is not willing to change? 8.How can recognizing this help you find the healthiest level of involvement with an individual more focused on casting blame than moving toward relational health?9.What is one action step God might be asking you to take after having listened to today’s content?
  1. Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions
  2. Freed From Toxic Relationships to Help Others Break Free (with Carolyn Whitney) – Ep. 131
  3. Thankfulness in Changing Seasons – Ep. 130
  4. Fighting Anxiety and Fear Through Praise (with Becky Harling) – Ep. 129
  5. When Self-Reliance Leads to Addiction (with Carol McCracken) – Ep. 128

Quote on faith by Watchman Nee

I’ve learned, in my ongoing fight against fear, I won’t experience the peace of Christ in my own strength.  I can’t take my anxious, and often snowballing, thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5) without supernatural help. But I’ve also learned, I can live in the victory of Christ, during my most hectic and uncertain moments included, if I’ll actively and consistently pursue Him. When my world feels chaotic and like I’m being whipped about in a never-ending cyclone, I prayed for reprieve, yes, but even more so, I prayed against the storm raging within me. That was when I began taking my greatest steps toward freedom. 

As some of you know, 2011 was an incredibly rough year for me, for so many reasons. We’d recently moved, which meant saying goodbye to some close friends, uprooting ourselves from faith communities, grieving the loss of both while battling loneliness. That was also the year I got sick with what was, initially, an unknown illness. This triggered my anxiety, my anxiety fed my desire for control, and that desire led to an obsession with myself, my illness, and germs. The worse I felt, the more I cleaned. 

Soon, one thought dominated my thinking: what was or wasn’t making me sick. Bit by bit, one handwashing at a time, germaphobia developed. Eventually, I became completely enslaved to my fear. But then one day, as I was walking to the laundry room, a realization silenced my normally loud brain: This is not how God wants me to live. He promised me freedom. 

And I knew, with the certainty that can only come from the Holy Spirit, that the same God who called me to live in freedom would give me the tools to do so. 

Quote pulled from post on decorative background.

That was my call to action moment, where I sensed God challenging me to make a choice. I could remain stuck in my gunk, slipping further and further into fear. Or I could follow His lead, however He led, in this battle for freedom. Praise God, and by His grace alone, I chose the latter and began actively, persistently, and consistently praying against my fear. Every time I felt that knot in my gut, I paused to seek God’s help and His strength. I asked Him to break the power my fear had over me, which at the time felt insurmountable, and in its place, to flood my soul with peace.  

I was following the biblical example of the father who began in fear and anguish, but received that which he desperately sought. We read his story in Mark chapter 9, which we discussed in relation to praying versus arguing, a couple months ago. To refresh your memory, Scripture tells us, one day Jesus took Peter, James, and John up onto a mountain where He revealed to them His glory in an unforgettable, awe-inspiring way. 

While they were gone, a deeply distressed father came searching for Jesus. Not finding Him, he sought help from His disciples, maybe because he’d heard about all the miracles they’d performed not long before (Matthew 10:1-20). His situation, it seemed, was simply too hard; the disciples failed. But then Jesus arrived, and, noticing a conflict between His followers and the teachers of the law, asked what they were arguing about. 

Scripture says, “A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought You my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked Your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not'” (V. 17-18).

Then Jesus summoned the child, and the demon “threw the boy into a convulsion.” The child “fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth” (v. 20). 

After a short explanation, the father said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (v. 21).

To which Jesus responded,  “‘If you can’? Everything is possible for one who believes” (v. 22).

Hearing this, the father let out a guttural, shriek-like cry, krazo in the original Greek, perhaps because he feared his son’s healing depended on his faith. He exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (v. 24).

Here’s what I find encouraging. Jesus didn’t get upset at the man. He didn’t rebuke him and send him away for his weak faith. Instead, He responded to the father and son in love and grace. He commanded the demon to leave the boy, never to return again.

This passage reminds me to bring my anxieties to Jesus, and to seek Him in the midst of my doubts, knowing He won’t chastise or reject me. Instead, He’ll give me precisely what I need–increased intimacy with the only One whose love has the power to cast out my fears. (1 John 4:18).

Friends, He’s been so faithful. That fall when I began actively and persistently praying against my fears? That was a life-changer for me. I didn’t notice much difference at first, and there were times I wondered if my constant requests were doing any good. But I kept praying, day after day, sometimes moment by moment, month after month. Then, one day some six months later, I realized a situation that had once triggered intense anxiety barely bothered me anymore, and other situations no longer bothered me at all. God indeed had been working. 

He was working on a spiritual level, using His supernatural power to break the chains that kept me bound. He was also teaching me how to grab hold of His freedom, step by step. To turn to Him in times of fear. Through this, I practiced stopping my anxious thoughts before they gained moment and rerouting them onto the good, in essence, onto God. 

Lessons I probably wouldn’t have learned, had God immediately eradicated my anxiety. 

Let’s talk about this! Do you suffer from anxiety? And if so, how often do you pray against your fear specifically? 

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and make sure to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.

Ministry leaders, if you feel this message would resonate with your women, consider booking Jennifer for your next event. Find out more about her 3-part message on fighting fear to grab hold of God’s peace HERE.

Check out the Faith Over Fear Bible reading plan HERE.

I also encourage you to check out the latest Faith Over Fear episode. In it Philip Yancey shares his experience with religious abuse and his journey of untangling the false to find authentic faith.

Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions Faith Over Fear

We all have certain reactions that arise when we feel threatened, whether that threat is real or perceived. We have an innate desire to self-protect. If we aren’t aware of these tendencies, however, we may react in ways that pushes others away and therefore reinforce or deepen our hurts and increases our defensive reactions. In this episode, mental health expert Tina Yeager helps us unpack these potentially destructive responses, what triggers them, and how we can respond to our triggers and our reactions in a grace-filled, healthy way. (Contact Tina through her website provided below to find out how to access the free resource she mentioned in today’s episode.)(Scroll down to find the group discussion questions)Find Tina Yeager: https://www.tinayeager.com/books/https://www.instagram.com/tina.yeager.9/https://www.facebook.com/tina.yeager.9Find Jennifer Slattery at:https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083247680572Find Wholly Loved Ministries at:WhollyLoved.comJoin the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Group Discussion or Personal Journal Questions:1.What resonated with you most in this episode?2.When do you most tend to get defensive? 3.In those particular situations, what story are you telling yourself?4.What are some truths you can reflect upon prior to those types of situations or interactions with that particular person?5.Why is it important to recognize that not everyone is a safe person who will be helpful while you are working to heal? 6.How did you feel when Tina and Jennifer talked about potentially limiting time with unhealthy family members? 7.What were some signs Tina mentioned that can indicate a person is not willing to change? 8.How can recognizing this help you find the healthiest level of involvement with an individual more focused on casting blame than moving toward relational health?9.What is one action step God might be asking you to take after having listened to today’s content?
  1. Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions
  2. Freed From Toxic Relationships to Help Others Break Free (with Carolyn Whitney) – Ep. 131
  3. Thankfulness in Changing Seasons – Ep. 130
  4. Fighting Anxiety and Fear Through Praise (with Becky Harling) – Ep. 129
  5. When Self-Reliance Leads to Addiction (with Carol McCracken) – Ep. 128

Guest Post by the Heroes 2 Team

Quote on Christ feeding a hungry soul on an image of a woman gazing upward.

In a world of rush, will we still be able to find what really matters? 

I grew up in a family with high regard for education. My parents told me this was  our key to success and the only inheritance they could give us. But there were no books in our home, the kind my classmates used to bring at school–tales and fiction! We only had Bibles and handed-down devotionals from my uncle who was a pastor.

As a young person, I learned the verse, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33, KJV). I felt it was beautiful! I loved the “all these things shall be added unto you” part and realized I found the formula to success!

Or so I thought.

I studied hard, prayed hard, and asked God for blessings in all that I did. I thought I was invincible! Well, how could I fail right? The Lord was my ally! However, my heart wasn’t in the right place. I was seeking personal honor and success, not to  glorify God or advance His kingdom.

We all have a tendency to seek for something we don’t have. Don’t we? Wealth, position, or influence. We think if we achieve that award, get a salary increase, or increase our following on social media, maybe then we can be truly happy. 

But when we’re lost or caught in the middle of a crossroad, we often find ourselves looking for a sign, a miracle, or divine intervention. When things aren’t going our way, we want answers. We check out all other routes except for the Lord.

Sadly, many souls today are spiritually malnourished. While we’re often in a  rush to feed the body and can fail to feed our souls.

The Earthly Manna 

Scripture tells us of a time when Jesus miraculously provided for a large, hungry group of men, women, and children. The next day, they went looking for Jesus. After Jesus fed the five thousand, men came looking after Him.


The Savior knew their hearts. They were looking for Him to satisfy their physical needs. But Jesus was offering a superior Bread. The Bread of eternal life.

He told them, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval” (John 6:26, 27, ESV).

Jesus offers us the same invitation. 

The Bread of Life

In a world of hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to hush for a while, to pause, to ponder, and to realign ourselves with our  real purpose. It’s easy to get lost and disoriented amidst life’s pressures; we tend to focus too much on the physical, temporal, and visible.

Although there is nothing wrong with attending to one’s needs, But no one but Jesus can satisfy the hunger of our souls. As He said in Matthew 4:4, In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (ESV).

In giving His body for the world, God made a way for us to be saved from eternal death. Christ promised, in John 11:26 that, “everyone who lives and believes in [Him] shall never die” (ESV).

Jesus cares for our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and we can trust Him to provide. 

to worry about many things and to cling to false securities. This hinders our trust in and dependence on Christ. 

God is not indifferent to the wants of His children. He who calls us by name and  numbers the hairs on our head knows our needs and longings of our heart.

He reminds His children, Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matthew 7:8, ESV).

Today may we remind ourselves that the God who multiplied the loaves and fishes  is the same God who will provide us too.

In Him we will receive what we truly need.

More about Heroes 2

Heroes 2 is a Bible trivia game released by the Hope Channel. It is a sequel to the game, Heroes, which was released way back in 2013. The latest game version is in its new 3D animation, comes with unique features, and has more challenging Bible questions in four languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. The game is available on both iOS and Android.

Find them HERE, and make sure to tell others about this app!

For those following our Chronological New Testament reading plan …

Bible plan image

Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions Faith Over Fear

We all have certain reactions that arise when we feel threatened, whether that threat is real or perceived. We have an innate desire to self-protect. If we aren’t aware of these tendencies, however, we may react in ways that pushes others away and therefore reinforce or deepen our hurts and increases our defensive reactions. In this episode, mental health expert Tina Yeager helps us unpack these potentially destructive responses, what triggers them, and how we can respond to our triggers and our reactions in a grace-filled, healthy way. (Contact Tina through her website provided below to find out how to access the free resource she mentioned in today’s episode.)(Scroll down to find the group discussion questions)Find Tina Yeager: https://www.tinayeager.com/books/https://www.instagram.com/tina.yeager.9/https://www.facebook.com/tina.yeager.9Find Jennifer Slattery at:https://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com/https://www.instagram.com/slatteryjennifer/https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100083247680572Find Wholly Loved Ministries at:WhollyLoved.comJoin the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Group Discussion or Personal Journal Questions:1.What resonated with you most in this episode?2.When do you most tend to get defensive? 3.In those particular situations, what story are you telling yourself?4.What are some truths you can reflect upon prior to those types of situations or interactions with that particular person?5.Why is it important to recognize that not everyone is a safe person who will be helpful while you are working to heal? 6.How did you feel when Tina and Jennifer talked about potentially limiting time with unhealthy family members? 7.What were some signs Tina mentioned that can indicate a person is not willing to change? 8.How can recognizing this help you find the healthiest level of involvement with an individual more focused on casting blame than moving toward relational health?9.What is one action step God might be asking you to take after having listened to today’s content?
  1. Break Free from Relationally Harmful Reactions
  2. Freed From Toxic Relationships to Help Others Break Free (with Carolyn Whitney) – Ep. 131
  3. Thankfulness in Changing Seasons – Ep. 130
  4. Fighting Anxiety and Fear Through Praise (with Becky Harling) – Ep. 129
  5. When Self-Reliance Leads to Addiction (with Carol McCracken) – Ep. 128