Have you ever wanted to share the good news of Christ, but didn’t know where to start? My last blog “Overcoming Concerns about Sharing the Gospel” encouraged people to tell others about Jesus, and now I want to equip you to do so. In my previous evangelism group, we always reviewed the “Romans Road,” a series of Scriptures from Romans that outline mankind’s depravity and how to be saved. I suggest marking these verses in your Bible and memorizing them to explain the gospel. We use God’s words instead of our own because His word is powerful and accomplishes His purposes (Isaiah 55:11).
The Romans Road
1. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (NKJV)*.
We are all sinners. No “good people” live on planet Earth. No human being is righteous (Romans 3:10). Every person (other than Jesus) to ever walk the earth had fallen short of perfection, which is God’s standard.
2. Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God loved us when we were His enemies. Most people don’t try to show kindness to their enemies. At the clear opposite end of the spectrum is God. Even when we were still sinners, God sent Jesus to die for us. He loved us that much. God made a way to reconcile us to Himself by pouring out His wrath that on Jesus instead of us. We deserved death because of our iniquities, but Jesus took our place.
3. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The penalty of sin is death. The paycheck we earn for our transgressions equates to separation from God forever. Fortunately, God gave us a gift we could never repay by sending His Son so we can receive eternal life.
4. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
We can’t save ourselves. We humans think we are independent. We don’t need anyone else and can do it all by ourselves. We are “good” people. However, because God’s standard is perfection, no amount of good works we do as humans will ever measure up to God’s requirements. We can’t brag about our actions and think we can save ourselves. Salvation is a gift from God. We are saved by grace through faith alone.
5. Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Confess and believe in Jesus to be saved. Our salvation includes both a verbal profession of Jesus as Lord and a heart belief that that God raised Jesus from the dead. I’ve had times when I knew in my head that something was true, but it didn’t “feel” accurate. Both our heads and our hearts must engage in requesting salvation. We have both a mental and spiritual agreement when we acknowledge that we can’t save ourselves and receive the free gift of God.
6. Romans 10:13, “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
God made salvation available for everyone. God loved people so much that He sent His Son to die for everyone. Jesus didn’t sacrifice Himself for a few chosen people, but for everyone to roam the earth: past, present, and future. The New Covenant He established was with all mankind, not just the children of Israel. God desires everyone to repent from their sins and come into relationship with Him.
How about you? Have you ever admitted that you were sinner and called on the name of the Lord to be saved? If not, what holds you back from receiving the gift of eternal life from the Father today? Call on Him and be saved.
If you have a relationship with Christ, have you ever memorized the Romans Road? Having Scripture in our spiritual backpack prepares us to share the gospel in all seasons (1 Peter 3:15). These verses show a logical progression of our sin that separates us from God how He made a way by sending Jesus to take the punishment we deserve. When we confess our sins and call on Him, we will be saved. Let’s share that good news today.
*All Scriptures are NKJV.
I grit my teeth and smiled as small hands yanked my hair into a braid. I was on mission trip in Jamaica to share the love of Jesus. Drawn by the novelty of my long blond hair, the neighborhood girls surrounded me as soon as I entered. Tears squeezed through my eyes as I prayed God would leave a few strands on my head while I honored Him in becoming all things to all people. The pain was worth the gain of loving these attention-starved little ones.
Before I set out to the Caribbean, our missions group held many training sessions. Our leaders instilled our team verses into us:
“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Chronicles 9:19-22 NKJV)
Paul was not admonishing believers to change their personality or alter the gospel to trick people into following the Lord. Instead, he wanted Christians to find areas of commonality with others so they could connect. People don’t care what I have to say until they know I care about them. When I listen to people, I can find ways to reach them in their hurt. God longs to restore the brokenhearted. When I serve others in love, their wounds begin to heal.
I don’t have to travel to another country to go on a mission trip. Every time I leave the house, I encounter people different than me. Yet, we all are created in the image of God with spirits that scream the need for something more than just this life. I can choose to join in their suffering or walk on by and ignore them.
Instead of using my freedom in Christ to justify obedience to God and obligation to no one else, I discover that loving God means loving people. Showing God’s grace towards others by meeting them where they are at does not excuse sin, but points them to the remedy found in Christ alone.
Paul put it this way in Galatians 5:13, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (NIV). I’m not to abuse my freedom as a new creation in Christ to fill my human desires. Rather, I must die to self to serve others because of Christ’s love shown on the cross.
I lost some hair that day in Jamaica, but the Lord loved those braids. While they played, I told the girls about the greatness of God and His grace for them. Though no one accepted the gospel that day, I planted seeds that I pray will grow up into righteousness. May God show us how to use the freedom He bought for us to serve all others selflessly.
Access to the Bible is so prevalent in America, why should anyone memorize verses? The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. We can find it in any local book store, hotel, or hospital room. One can even read the Bible online and cross-reference against at least a dozen versions to understand the Scripture better. Our Constitution upholds a freedom of religion so believers can go to church and hear the truth.
Not all countries have ready access to the Word of God. In his book “The Heavenly Man,” Brother Yun describes how when he read the book of Matthew, he memorized the whole thing and later shared it with his family and neighbors. In China, they didn’t have Bibles lying around to read at one’s leisure.
During the Soviet Union, a group of young adults met in secret in Moscow to see how much of the Bible they could reconstruct from what they had memorized. In the course of the week, they wrote down the four gospels, much of the Psalms, and many hymns.
How could these young people memorize whole books of the Bible? One verse at a time.
The key to learning anything is starting small. I love God’s Word, but am nowhere near able to recite an entire gospel like these people in closed countries. I spent one year memorizing the book of Philippians, but it took the entire year. Learning God’s Word takes effort, but the time invested will yield eternal rewards. Here are a few reasons we should learn Scriptures:
Love for God
If someone you loved wrote you a letter, wouldn’t you read it? And if it included encouraging words, maybe you would even repeat those words to yourself. When I love God, I will not only want to read His Word, but commit it to memory.
Desire for Obedience
Since God’s love language is obedience (John 14:15), if I want to obey God, I need to know the Word. Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” The Holy Spirit uses each verse I treasure to help me not to succumb to temptation.
Memorized verses are strong weapons in my spiritual arsenal to undermine the attacks of the enemy. First Corinthians 10:13 that says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” God won’t tempt me, instead He will create a way for me to escape if I look for the exit ramp.
An example would be when I want to snap at someone irritating. The Holy Spirit reminds me of Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (NKJV). I have a choice in how I respond. I can answer with soft words or makes things worse by countering with frustration. Thinking about the verse slows my reaction time and helps me respond with kindness that dissipates tense moments. All because I knew the verse.
Importance of Learning the Whole Verse
One problem I face is memorizing Scripture references. In writing this blog, I forgot that the verse I just used was found in Proverbs 15:1. Fortunately, I used a concordance, but that is not always an option. Once while doing missions overseas, I tried to find a Bible verse for someone in a foreign language. I couldn’t whip out my Russian concordance because I didn’t have one. I missed the chance to share the gospel to an interested soul because I focused on memorizing just the words in the verse. Knowing where the passage is from is just as important.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the benefits of committing God’s Word to heart, will you join me in memorizing Scripture? On my social media, I used to post a verse of the day. The Lord placed on my heart a desire to share a memory verse of the week. I write the same verse every day for a week so that repeated exposure helps the truth stick in people’s minds. Here’s this week’s memory verse:
Proverbs 3:3, “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Proverbs 3:3 admonishes us to tie mercy and truth around our necks and write them on my hearts, wearing them wherever we go. When we keep God’s truth nearby, we won’t rush into sin from deceit because truth outshines the lies. Mercy will catch us if we fall and usher us back into the light of the Lord.
Each post includes short notes of commentary or memorization tips. If you are like me, especially since the invention of smart phones, I find it tough to remember anything. Here is a list of ten ways to help you memorize Bible verses.
Ten Scripture Memory Techniques:
This week's guest blog is by Jennifer Thayer Knight. We both recently attended the Flourish Writer's Retreat online and connected virtually. We share a desire to encourage believers as they deepen their relationships with Christ. I pray her words bless you.
Spring Is In The Air
Jennifer Thayer Knight
As I sit on my porch on this early spring day in Montana, I am delighted at the sound of fluttering wings as the birds play in the bushes beside me. Their warbling is a welcome addition, as you do not hear it for months. The snow has cleared in the valley, at least for today, and the grass is turning its lovely shade of green. The sun’s rays warm my skin, and I am captured by the beauty of the snow-capped mountains that surround me. Spring is in the air.
In Montana, we experience three to five springs, a brief summer, and then four to six autumns. The winter fights for its place and often wins. Most of the time, spring starts in May and comes and goes through June, but this year was a surprise. Spring started in late March.
Each season brings its own treasures, but spring offers hope for new beginnings. The trees and bushes bud, bunnies hop around the yard, and everything becomes alive. Do you ever desire an awakening in your spirit?
For I Am About To Do Something New
During hard seasons of life, I long for a fresh start. Challenges get overwhelming and I believe I cannot handle one more thing thrown my way. I wait for God to present me with something new.
Isaiah 43:19 says, “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland” (NLT).
Does this verse spark a sense of hope within you? It does for me. When Isaiah penned God’s words, the Israelite people were in captivity in Babylon. He prayed for freedom, and to return to the promised land. God answered by saying He was already working and asked, “Do you not see it?”
God is always working in our lives, even when we cannot see it. He is moving and making a way for you and me. This is where faith must come in. Faith is having complete trust in what we cannot see. We have to believe God has our best interest at heart, because He does. Sometimes we feel like Job, stuck in the mud and the mire, but know God is working behind the scenes. He did not promise life with Him would be easy, but He promised that He would be by our side the entire time.
God asked, “Do you not see it?” It makes me ponder the things I miss that He wants me to see. I have started studying the Hebrew alphabet and the meanings behind each letter. The letter ך, known as the Daleth, has multiple definitions, but one meaning it represents is a door into the spiritual world.
Chaim Bentorah in his book, “Hebrew Word Study, Beyond The Lexicon,” says, “We are often so hurried in our lives and so focused on the material that we miss out on the many ordinary doorways to the spiritual world which offer us a knowledge of God. We can interpret a little bird dancing and singing on our porch as a distraction which may leave a mess that we must clean up, or we can pause and pass through the Daleth and realize that here is a small part of the creation of God presenting to us beauty, peace, and serenity. We must pause in our busy lives to anticipate the little Daleths, or doorways, that God will open to share with us the things of the spirit, fill what is lacking or deficient in the physical world, to take the poverty of this physical world and fill it with the blessings of God’s spirit.”
Don’t Miss The Miracles
Most of us do not want to miss these miracles in our daily lives. I have attempted to slow down and observe what God has placed around me. I prayed for God to not let me miss what He is doing so that it will grow my faith to sustain me through the hard times. Please join me in this and ask God to not let you miss what He is doing, even amid trouble.
God also reminds us in Isaiah 43:19 that He will make a way. He will provide rivers in the desert wasteland. When we come to the Father asking for Him to get us through, or out of, the trials, sometimes it is an immediate change. Yet, more often than not, it is a process. He will lead you out, but you must walk through the desert to get there. He assures you that He will provide for you every step of the way.
Matthew Henry says in his commentary, “He promises not only to deliver them out of Babylon, but to conduct them safely and comfortably to their own land… the same power that made a way in the sea (parting of the red sea) can make a way in the wilderness. And He can produce waters in the driest land, in such abundance as not only to give drink to His people, His chosen, but to the beasts of the field, also the dragons and the ostriches, who are therefore said to honor God for it.”
I want to finish with words to encourage you. No matter where you are in your walk with God, maybe you're on the mountaintop, or maybe you're in the valley: stop, breathe, and look around. Watch for opportunities for the Lord to speak, to draw you closer, offer you peace and allow Him to show you what He is doing in your life. The place you are in may be hard, but it will be for His glory to shine.
Jennifer Thayer Knight, aka Jen, grew up in Orange, Texas, a small town bordering Louisiana. As a relatively new Christian, Jen met and married Sam, thereby entering the whirlwind of being a pastor’s wife. Now more than two decades later, they have served at four churches, lived in three states, and had three amazing children, plus too many pets to count.
In 2017, Jen began her battle with Lyme disease. This illness inspires creativity in her writing, new ways to serve God, and innovative discipleship methods. Jen seeks to share her experiences to draw others into a deeper, experiential relationship with Christ.
When she is not writing, Jen loves knitting, reading, and spending time with her family, her dogs and her horse. Discover more about Jennifer Thayer Knight at her website: http://jenniferthayerknight.com/
Our world is starving for love. People feel empty inside and search for someone to complete them. Online dating and apps provide modern options to hanging around bars to meet someone, but they can also lead to frustration. People want lasting relationships, but many are willing to settle for one-night stands.
Valentine’s Day can hold a strong sting for singles because society pushes relationships as the norm. Yet some people in relationships aren’t feeling fulfilled. They put all their expectations for love, joy, and happiness in one person, which winds up in disaster.
What happens when he doesn’t bring flowers anymore? What about when she quits fussing with her hair and makeup to look her best? The infatuation stage only lasts so long before people take off their masks.
Even in committed relationships, no one can ever fulfill all the other person’s expectations. What if he misses his daughter’s piano recital because he is late at work—again? What if she refuses to cook dinner because she has other competing priorities? People are fallible and will let us down at some point, whether they want to or not. They can’t help it. They are human.
The only One who can truly fill all our hopes and dreams is God. First John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us” (NKJV). We have the capacity to love God and others only because our Creator us loved us first. He intimately knit us in our mother’s wombs so that we could grow to worship Him. We were made with God sized holes in our heart that only He can fill. When we try to fill our hearts with anything but God, it is like trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. It won’t fit.
God has a bigger heart for us than we could ever deserve. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (NKJV). He knows the depths of our hearts and loves us the same.
When we realize how much God loves us despite all our sins, we can’t help but love Him back. We can never earn God’s love. All our righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Even if we tried our best every day to be perfect, we’d fail. Reality shows that we are fallen beings, under the curse of sin and death. So, we confess our need for a Savior and experience a love like no other.
God’s love floods our every fiber when we surrender our hearts to Jesus. Then, we discover the love we have fruitlessly sought for elsewhere. Even though life won’t always be easy after receiving Christ’s forgiveness, He will never drop us on our heads. If we want true love, we need to put all our hopes and expectations in Christ. Only God can complete us.
May we grow in love for God and others. Let’s make Him our first love because He first loved us.
Our world experienced a lot of upheaval over the last year. A global pandemic followed by race riots followed by a contested election did not leave much space for peace. Some of my friends are speculating that the end times have come and Jesus is coming back soon. I honestly have no idea when He is returning. Matthew 25:13 says, ““Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (NKJV). However, I do know is that Jesus is coming one day sooner today than He was yesterday. And I need to be ready.
Sharing Christ is one way I can prepare for the Lord’s return. With the new year, I realize the urgency in sharing the good news of Jesus with my family, friends, and everyone I meet. My life is to serve as an arrow to point people to Christ. Without Him there’s no purpose and no hope. I pray for the spread the gospel, not COVID.
Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (NKJV). Jesus commands us to make disciples of all nations. This goes beyond trying to save souls from hell to ensuring that they know what they believe and why. Discipleship teaches people how to study the God’s Word and apply it so they can know and grow in Christ.
Personally, I started to study the Bible with a few friends last year who were interested in knowing more about Jesus. I pray I remain open to whoever God puts in my path to share the gospel with this year, because we can’t share enough. We must always be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) since the world will know we are Christians by our love.
Unfortunately, some Christians can come across as overzealous, and have tried to beat the truth into people’s heads by banging their Bibles. I've been guilty of this myself, but realize I can’t argue someone into salvation. Instead, Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (NKJV). I like the idea of combining grace with salt. It’s the sweet and salty combo of a salted caramel hot chocolate. We need the love from grace, but the salt adds truth to enhance the flavor.
Where will you begin? Who has God put on your heart to share the gospel with in 2021? May the Lord make us ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us and share the best news ever with those around us. May His Spirit guide us each day so that as many people as possible can enter God’s kingdom when the Lord returns.
One evening while teaching children at my church, I walked by a little boy Jesse who looked sad. I asked him what was wrong. He just shook his head. Since he wouldn't share his problems, I switched tactics. I put my hand out and asked him to count my fingers. His eyebrows went up. I asked him again to count my fingers.
“One, two, three, four, five.” His eyes scanned across my fingertips as he counted.
I asked him to stick out his hand. I touched the tops of his fingers and said, “Jesus, family, friends, food, and books.” I explained that listing things you are thankful for helps you feel better when you are sad. No matter how bad things were, you can remember that there are good things too. Then I had him list five things that he was grateful to have.
“Mom, dad, candy, presents, and fun.” A small smile cracked the edge of his mouth.
“See, that wasn’t so hard.” I smiled back at him.
Honestly, I’d never counted my blessings on my hands before that night, but I’ve found it encouraging ever since. Whenever I saw Jesse after that, I stuck out my hand and had him count his blessings. The exercise brought both of us joy.
Psalm 107:1 says, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” When we realize that God’s mercy never ends, we rejoice to thank God for how good He is to us. Jesse didn’t always list the same five things every time, but he always found something to be thankful for.
My list of things I am thankful for has also changed over the years. Sometimes I just list the first things I think of, but other times I take a more sophisticated approach. I call it a handful of gratitude.
First, I wiggle my thumb. The thumb is the anchor finger to thank God for creating us and writing our stories. For this finger I express gratitude for the greatness of God in the beauty of creation. I look at trees, rivers, or a beautiful sunset to drink in His beauty. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” If God took so much effort to paint beauty across the skies, then He can write the story of my life with loveliness too.
Next, I move my pointer finger. I think of something that points me to back to joy and truth. I thank God for His Word that brings truth into my life. Colossians 2:6-7 says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (NKJV). When I abide in the Word of God, His truth keeps me firmly grounded so I can overflow in joy for His character and His love.
My middle finger reminds me of the things that stand above me. Psalm 36:5 says, “Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds” (NKJV). God’s mercy stretches high above me and is vaster than I can conceive. When I rest in the assurance of a love that big, nothing that can out match God’s love.
Then my ring finger stands for commitment. Thank God for the new covenant where my relationship with Him doesn’t depend on me providing animal sacrifices over and over again. Hebrews 9:15 says, “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (NKJV). Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled to God once for all through His death on the cross. God’s love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8) and even when I am not faithful to Him, He will still be faithful to me (2 Timothy 2:13). God’s commitment to me once I surrender to Him ensures me a place in heaven and an abundant life on earth.
Last comes the pinky. This finger represents being thankful for small things I take for granted. Psalm 92:1, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High” (NKJV). During COVID, my church sent its worship sets over YouTube for us to sing at home. I realized all those times I had sung at church had been a big blessing. Even if it wasn’t the same, I would sing praise to God and glorify His name wherever I was.
In this season of gratitude with Thanksgiving around the corner, I realize that thankfulness is always a necessity. This year has held a lot of unexpected heartache and hurt for me, as I am sure it has for many others. Despite the hardships, God has blessed me so much. My hand is literally attached to my body so I can put it in front of my face for a reality check to thank God instead of focusing on what I lack. May we feel God’s hand on ours as we count our blessings every day.
This week's blog is a Bible study I wrote for Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, Collection 1, a banquet of 30 short Bible studies.
God may take us to uncharted places, but He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Several years ago, I was excited about a work opportunity to move overseas. I discovered a position I was qualified for in my favorite city in Europe. Some friends from church had already relocated there, so it meant built-in community. I’d lived abroad before and was very lonely. I dreaded repeating that.
For the application process, we ranked our job preferences. That didn’t faze me. Surely God wanted me with fellow believers. I submitted the form with a flippant statement “You can’t outdo the sovereignty of God.” All my friends and family prayed for me to get the job. I bragged about the prospect for weeks. My heart was set on that particular city.
When the assignments were issued, my heart sank. I didn’t get my top pick. I couldn’t understand. Everyone had prayed. I had never even visited the place, yet I would have to live there for two years. What happened to the sovereignty of God? I had equated God’s sovereignty with Him granting my desires. I thought more about my wishes than the Lord’s will.
James 4:13-16 (NKJV*) says,
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
My arrogant boasting backfired. I had tried to manipulate God with my prayers. I was positive I was going to such and such a city, but the Lord had other ideas. He knew how to use my short life best, though it didn’t fit into my master plan.
Submitting to God’s will instead of demanding my own way was challenging. Though I didn’t understand what God was doing, I took the job. After a while, my new city became home. I attended an international church and found a Bible study where I made close friends. I sang karaoke at a wedding shower and ran relay races in my living room for a baby shower. We did life together. After I left, a friend invited me back to be in her wedding.
More importantly, I wound up a mere four-hour trip away from my youngest sister. God had called my sister to missions overseas. She did not receive her first choice either, but God knew what He was doing. We celebrated holidays together and often met to travel. Our relationship deepened, and we supported each other.
God even used my home as a safe haven. Various missionaries stayed with me while they were transitioning back from the field or when they needed respite. My brother also lived with me for six weeks during a stressful period.
Proverbs 16:9 says, A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. I love to plan and try to organize everything into neat little boxes of two-year increments. However, I can’t even control what will happen tomorrow. Fortunately, God sees the bigger picture. He does exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). When I let go of my death grip of control and surrender to Him, He surpasses what my finite mind could even begin to dream. Now I say “Lord willing” and mean it. I can trust God even when I don’t understand Him. I hold my demands more loosely, which frees me to receive His unimaginable good gifts.
Have you ever made plans you were certain would happen, yet they never materialized? It might not have been a move, but perhaps it was a job or a relationship. Instead of being stumped, remember, You ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” (James 4:15). It’s God’s will, not ours, that matters.
When God redirects your paths with sharp turns into unknown territories, instead of cowering in fear, start rejoicing. The God of the universe who sees and knows all, is about to do great things. Initially, the scene may look foreign, scary, or even dull. But look closer, and you will uncover the opportunities God has preordained for you to give glory to His name. So don’t boast like I did when I thought I was moving to my favorite city. God may take you elsewhere. We live for His kingdom, and His plans are best. May the Lord free you to say “Lord willing” with eager anticipation and joy.
Father, Thank You for caring about each one of us, and working in our lives to fulfill the plans You have for us. Help us to remember the many reasons that we have to trust You, and submit our will to Yours. When disappointments come or when we must change the plans we have made, help us to look forward to the good that You have in store for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1. Have you ever made certain plans, but God had a better idea?
2. In what areas of life is it the most difficult for you to submit to God’s will?
3. Has God ever given you more than you ever could have dreamed or planned for?
4. Are there any truths or life experiences that help you to trust God’s will above your own?
*All Scripture verses are taken from the NKJV.
Check out Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, Collection 1 on the Lighthouse Bible Studies website or Amazon.
Used with permission by Lighthouse Bible Studies.
Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. Netflix. The average American in 2015 took in 34 GB of information every day. That’s 100,000 words! My mind hurts just thinking about it.
Because of the deluge of data, our brains are becoming overloaded. We spend so much time trying to focus that we can’t. Our minds can only process so much at once. Though it may sound counterintuitive, to focus better, it helps to take regular mental rests. Taking breaks from thinking frees up space so the brain can think creatively. We need to erase the junk and clear our minds so we can process what is important to dwell on.
Personally, trying to tear myself away from my desk is difficult. Putting alerts on my calendar at work to pop up and remind me to give my mind a breather has helped me refocus. I am not recommending scrolling the internet all day or streaming movies on YouTube when it’s time to work. We need to do everything to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). But when we take the time to mentally unwind, we don’t hit tunnel vision where creativity and productivity end. Instead, stand up and stretch. This can be invigorating as it gets blood (and thoughts) flowing again.
Other suggestions for mental rests include:
These breaks don’t have to be long. Five to ten minutes is fine. But the little space you give opens the door to mental renewal.
Not only do we need to rest our minds, we also need to conduct regular mental resets. Mark 12:30 says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment” (NKJV). We are supposed to love the Lord with all of our mind. If we aren’t aware of our thoughts, how can we love God with our minds?
Every morning I recite Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (NKJV). When the deep thoughts inside me please God, the things that come out of my mouth will also honor God.
I’ve learned that instead of letting my thoughts stream freely, I must slow them down and inspect them. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (NKJV). The enemy inserts evil thoughts into my mind. If I am not attentive, those thoughts will take root and choke out the truth. When I examine my thoughts, I can determine if they match God’s Word. If they don’t, my job is to uproot them like a weed, and replace them with truths from the Bible.
I am growing in how I love the Lord with my mind. Through His strength, I am stepping away from the onslaught of information to clear my head, and taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. No matter how much data enters, if it doesn’t match Scriptures, I need to delete it. I pray our minds conform to the mind of Christ each and every day.
Have you ever considered getting an accountability partner, but had no idea what to discuss? This practical checklist covers physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial questions you can cover with your accountability partner during monthly meetings. It is not exhaustive, so feel free to add more. You know best which areas are struggles for you and where you need more encouragement.
If you meet with your accountability partner on a monthly basis, I suggest tackling no more than a few goals each month so you don’t get overwhelmed. Sometimes I chose one goal from each area, but other times I need to focus on a specific category more than others. That works. You drive where you need to grow so that you get the most from the experience.
What other things would you add? Please post your suggestions below. Thanks!
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over twenty years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people grow in Christ. Joanna enjoys coffee and reading, and currently lives in Florida.