Daily devotionals to draw us closer to the ONE Who is devoted to us.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Growing up, my twin brother used to love his Air Jordan shoe collection. Yes, I said collection. Every time a pair came out, he had to have it. He would neatly organize them under his bed, tucked away in their boxes until a pair was ready to be worn. When one lucky pair was chosen to be worn (can you hear my sarcasm smh lol) he would take it out the night before and make sure it was clean, brushing off any imperfection with a toothbrush.
He guarded and protected those shoes like walking in them would rid every problem and make him untouchable. Of course, we would make fun of him for how foolish it was to be so attached to his shoes. However, in that phase, he didn’t care. He cared about his shoes and how they looked on him and how he looked in them.
Fast-forward many years, my brother isn’t in that phase anymore! (somebody give God a praise!) He finds it quite humorous thinking about it today. We see the foolishness in investing and guarding so much time in what is bound to get dirty because they were made for walking. Sadly, we see the level of investment and guarding over material things every day in our society. Do we find foolishness in that or do we justify it?
When we grow in our knowledge of God, His word reveals to us the foolishness of setting our hearts on things of this earth, which are created to fade and pass away (Col. 3:2, 1 Cor. 7:31, 1 John 2:17). He calls us to not guard those things but guard what is more precious than anything. Paul tells us this:
“Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1: 14).
Paul writes this letter to his mentee Timothy to remind him that the world and its pull will do anything to keep you from holding on tightly to the Word of God and its life giving message found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Many temptations will come to water it down, and to compromise it. However, through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we can guard this eternal treasure, not for the purpose of hoarding it for ourselves, but for the purpose of sharing it with conviction and soberness because of its seriousness.
This Gospel saves souls. We should not treat it so casually. We should marvel at its work in us to sanctify us and make us Christ-like and marvel at the reality that it can do the same for the people we love and those we want to see come to that saving knowledge.
Have you been guarding this treasure? Have you been marveling at this treasure? Have you been sharing this treasure?
I pray we learn to guard This Gospel of Jesus Christ with all diligence by not allowing our hearts to wander and drift. I pray we rightly discern what or who we allow to speak into our lives and make sure it’s not contrary to the Word. I pray we daily reflect on the sanctifying work of Jesus Christ in our lives and be grateful of His love towards us. I pray that we would not hoard this treasure to ourselves but ask God to open our eyes to see who needs to hear it and to be bold in sharing it.
Guard this treasure ladies.
Peace, love & blessings,
(P.S if you know my twin brother, I give you permission to make fun of him lol)
By Brittney Robinson (WITHIN Member)
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5
I contemplated a metaphor driving home from work last week. It began the moment I noticed a light, subtly euphoric feeling about me. It was a sudden sensation so out of my norm that I couldn’t help question it. Accepting the spiritual nature of the moment, I asked God what was going on. What I took for His answer was just one word. It appeared calmly on the screen of my mind: “Expectation”.
My thoughts went wild and I concluded that my spiritual life had a serious vitamin E deficiency. For years, I’d been living with little to no expectation. This became my norm after experiencing a few setbacks which obviously stuck with me beyond the moment. Through disappointment, discouragement and pain I unconsciously learned to lower my expectations of God, life and myself.
In our bodies, vitamin E aids the healing process, it helps our eyesight, it promotes healthy skin. You see where I’m going don’t you? Just a little bit of expectation in our lives can help us heal from soul wounds, faith falls and/or whatever else you are dealing with. A lack of vitamin E can cause cataracts on the eyes. Cataracts make things dark. It creates tunnel vision by degenerating one’s peripheral vision. I know I’ve had a case of spiritual cataracts lately. Jesus says it like this, “Seeing, you don’t see.” (Matt. 13:13)
Expectancy opens our spiritual eyes by causing us to focus on what’s ahead. It helps us see those around us who could benefit from our gifts and abilities today. Lastly, a vitamin E deficiency promotes healthy skin. Isn’t it strange how what’s on the inside of you is noticeable on the outside? When we live in hopeful, faith-filled, patient expectation our countenance is directly affected.
In that moment in my car, I simply received this expectation through the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to work ourselves up. I will continue to pray that God will give me a spirit of expectation for my future. I will continue to receive this expectation as I hear and read His word. Won’t you join me, if just for this week, this day or the entire month to be intentional about cultivating a spirit of expectation? Not wishful thinking, but Holy Ghost inspired hope for the future.
It’s interesting that it’s not hard to stand out in this day in age as Believers even though the opposition towards the Faith is increasing. The question is are we willing to stand out in the midst of the opposition? Do people in your work place, in your school, in your family know that you are a Believer?
It’s easy for us to stay silent as Believers rather than being intentional with our words in letting people know that we believe in God. And not just God but we believe that Jesus is Lord & Savior. Our lives are meant to be lived in a way that testifies to this Truth and conviction in Him.
I was challenged this past week after attending a church retreat that I have not been intentional with my words and taking up opportunities to share the Gospel. I was reminded that our chief ambition as Christians should be seeing souls come into the Kingdom of God. He wants to use us in His work. But I’ve often been afraid of rejection by man but here’s a question to consider:
Do I shrink back from sharing this GOOD NEWS that is the Power for salvation because I am afraid of the world or is it because I am in love with the world?
That is a piercing question and one worth coming before the Lord and asking Him to reveal where the root of our fear comes from in sharing the Gospel with others.
Opportunities present themselves every day. We can give praise to God if we are honored in our work place or our school or wherever. We can praise God and live in Hope when we face trials and tribulations and tell people of this Hope. We can let people know that we go to church on Sundays if ever asked to commit to something that day and even extend an invitation. We can be bold with our convictions on moral issues when we are talking about them with those who don’t believe.
I pray that we take this seriously in our lives. There is a quote that says, “Christianity is a beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”
Are we being stingy and ashamed of this Bread of Life?
May God give us boldness, wisdom, direction, opportunities and open hearts to declare the Gospel with words and with our lives!
The world is waiting sisters.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)
Peace, love and blessings,
By Kay Warren
“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].” Philippians 4:13(AMPC)
Growing up, my family moved a lot. My dad was a pastor, and it seemed like every few years we changed churches, homes, neighborhoods and schools. I was always the new kid.
By temperament, I’m an introvert, and regular upheaval to routine and familiarity only increased my sense of being on the outside, of not fitting in.
To make things worse, I saw myself as just an average person; there was nothing special about me. Actually, I felt average in every way — so ordinary. I wasn’t ugly, but I wasn’t beautiful. I could play the piano, but I wasn’t great. I did OK in school, but I don’t think I ever made the honor roll even though I tried hard. I had a few good friends, but I was certainly never one of the “cool” kids.
By the time I reached college, I was fairly certain that although I loved God with all my heart, He probably wouldn’t be able to use me for anything significant in His kingdom.
Then I met this guy — Rick Warren — and for some unknown reason (at least to me!), he thought I was wonderful. Shortly after, he proposed, we got engaged and within a year and a half, we were married. He was studying to be a pastor, so I transferred my dreams of being something other than ordinary in the world of academics or music to being the best pastor’s wife EVER.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that once again, I was just average. I couldn’t even tell Bible stories accurately to the toddlers in the nursery. My husband was amazing; I was ordinary.
Driving in my car one day, I turned on a Christian radio station to distract myself from the deep sadness, dissatisfaction and disappointment I felt about myself. I was seeking a message of hope or a song that would encourage me, and an old gospel song, Ordinary People, was playing. The lyrics said that God chooses and uses ordinary people — those who are willing to give Him their all. The song continued with “little becomes much when you place it in the Master’s hands.”
That moment radically altered my perception of who God was and who He had made me to be. I sobbed with relief and gratitude; my long search for identity and purpose had found an answer. It was God who had chosen me to be an average, ordinary woman. He could have made me prettier, smarter, more talented, more popular or more gifted, but He didn’t. Instead, His intention was for me to bring Him glory by giving Him my little — my averageness, my ordinariness — and then allowing Him to multiply it in ways far beyond what I had ever dreamed of.
My pursuit of being “special” was shelved. My earnest quest to be the best at something was put aside. My focus shifted to accepting and enjoying who God made me to be: an average, ordinary woman who was willing to give her all to the One whose hands lovingly formed and shaped her.
I began to entrust myself — who I am and who I’m not — to God. If He opened doors of opportunity, I would walk through them. If He didn’t, then so be it. What mattered then and what matters now, is that in all things, I am His to do with as He pleases.
I had some relearning to do; I had to adjust my perception of myself. Instead of seeing myself as inadequate or incapable — too shy, too much of an introvert, not smart enough, not gifted enough — I began to believe and apply the truth of Philippians 4:13, “I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses His strength into me.” Anything. Anything. In my strength? No! Only in His strength poured in me.
Dear God, I delight in the knowledge that You have chosen me to be who I am and that You love me exactly as I am. Every day may I be willing to give You my small offering, believing You will multiply it in ways that bring glory to Your name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you’ve ever been in a competition where there's a prize to win, then you know the joy of receiving a prize. It feels good. It feels very deserving. After all, the hard work that we’ve put in to participate in that competition [whatever it is for you] has been recognized. It’s been awarded and that prize is reflective of your determination, fortitude, & hard work. That prize is your pride. That prize is your sense of achievement.
Wouldn’t you say it’s against our nature to believe that we should receive a prize for something that we didn’t work hard for? Doesn’t it feel undeserving? Unfair? Wouldn’t you feel like a fraud if you were given a prize for first place in a competition where you actually came in last?
I think we would agree we would. It’s against our nature, but it’s not the reality of what we experience in Christ, our greatest Prize- our greatest Possession. We did no work to receive Him and the salvation He gives (Eph. 2:10). He, in His great love and mercy, received us first and caused our eyes to be opened to our sin so that we can rightly see His redemption. We can fully accept His forgiveness and we can freely live by His Spirit. This great Prize becomes our identity.
However, the greatest enemy of our soul, Satan, works overtime to make us believe that we must work for this great Prize to keep it. He seeks to cheapen this Prize as if man’s merit, intellect, traditions or hard work can attain it. How foolish he is!
Colossians 2:18-19 (NASB) tells us:
Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.
Paul is warning us that there are even people within the Church who falsely teach us that Christ isn’t enough. That although we have this Prize, they want us to feel as if there’s more to add to this Prize; there’s more work to make this Prize complete. This couldn’t be further from the truth ladies.
Christ is complete and knowing Him makes us complete (Col 2:10).
I pray you will know that the great Prize of Jesus Christ far surpasses anything this world can offer and it can’t be attained or maintained by our own efforts. His love draws us and His love keeps us. Our awareness pushes us closer.
Peace, love & blessings,
***For the next 22 weeks, we will be praying Psalm 119 as we look at each stanza weekly. May we hide His Word within us that we would not sin against Him***
How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the Lord.
2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.
3 They also do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.
4 You have ordained Your precepts,
That we should keep them diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be established
To keep Your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be ashamed
When I look upon all Your commandments.
7 I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.
8 I shall keep Your statutes;
Do not forsake me utterly!
In Jesus Name,
Every day that we wake up,
There is an enemy of our soul
who desires to sift us as wheat.
There is nothing more he wants than for us to know about You
but not KNOW You.
Father, let us guard our hearts towards the distractions that he throws at us.
We pray that we would not be
enticed by his schemes.
Schemes that tells us the more we do, the more we are loved.
Schemes that causes us to put our hands to things that have no eternal value.
Schemes that lead us to have a form of godliness, but no power.
Let us not lose the desire to spend
time in Your presence.
Let us not grow weary in waiting
on Your Word.
Let us know Your heart towards us.
You love and adore us
And You sustain us in the midst of our enemy.
Let us hold fast to the words You spoke,
"Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38)
Keep us Lord.
We love you.
In Jesus’ Name,
I love Sundays. I love being in the house of the Lord. Worshipping. Hearing the Word and being challenged and encouraged to apply what I’ve learned. I always leave excited and determined to spend more time with God. Read more. Pray more. Apply His word more. I always feel ready to take on the week.
Then Monday comes.
All of a sudden, all that I anticipated on doing is thrown off by perhaps a small argument or I didn’t wake up when I wanted to so I didn’t get time to read as much or pray as much. And now I’m just feeling like blah!
Have you been there?
These are the realities of what take place when we come down from mountain top experiences.
The days of the week determine our growth more than the Sundays (or conferences, retreats, etc) we experience. And what I’m learning is we must not beat ourselves up. What we experience on Sundays is necessary but what’s even more necessary is to rely on His grace to help us walk through the week standing on His word and the new mercies He provides daily.
God isn’t looking for me to be sustained by my Sunday (mountain top) experience. He is looking for me to be sustained by Him and Him only.
So what I get into an argument? Have I consulted Him and His word to respond in love and to forgive thoroughly? (Eph. 4)
So what I woke up late? Have I still made the time to invite Him into my day and to rely on His mercy to get me through or have I thought that I am earning His approval based on how much time I’ve spent with Him?
The point is…our mountain top experiences are always great. But if we fall into a pit when we have to come back to the valley, we are relying on ourselves and not God. He sustains us every. Single. Day.
Call upon Him and not your strength.
"The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning." (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Each day we have a choice to take hold of Him. Take hold of His mercies. Take hold of His grace. Take hold of His faithfulness. Our days will reflect these decisions.
Peace, love and mercy,
By Lina Padilla (WITHIN Member)
"Despite her frailties, little faith, and self reliance, God accomplished His purpose."
-Katie Davis talking about Sarah from the Bible
If you haven't read the book Kisses from Katie, I highly suggest that you read it. It will wreck you in the best way possible.
Her faith will move you to tears and it will remind you of God's grace.
You will read it and be filled with a desire to do more, be more, and to love more the way God intended.
In Genesis 15 and 16 we read about how Abraham and Sarah received a promise of a son (and many descendants) from the Lord. Sarah heard this promise from God, believed it to an extent, and then had a better idea.
Instant gratification isn't a new phenomenon. Sarah had a servant, Hagar, and used her as a surrogate. Sarah thought this idea was better because she could control it. She was in charge of the timeline. She was calling the shots and could see the results in HER way.
But this isn't what God intended. Sarah wasn't promised to be a mother to only Hagar's kid. She was promised to be a mother to her own child and the mother of many descendants. God promised HER, her own child.
"Despite her frailties, her little faith, and her self reliance, God accomplished his purpose."
What has God promised you that you are trying to control? It sounds so cliché but His timing is perfect. His timing is right. Maybe before we can have the promise, we have to learn something. Grow. Or maybe there is something we just can't see ahead.
If you are in this place of frustration, panic, and even stress I pray that you take all of that to God. He cares for you but will you trust Him with your worries? He can take your anger and frustration because He already knows how you feel. He'll give you peace to endure the day ahead of you.
It is so hard to let go and give God the control. It's hard to let go because we can't see it in the way we understand. But try. I pray God gives you the strength and courage to choose to believe in the promises He made to you and to believe he WILL carry them out.
What God starts in us He will finish.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6)
Today, all over the world we celebrate the tenacity, resilience, brilliance, courage, beauty, grace, strength, intellect, wisdom, and every word that means “WOMAN.”
Today we celebrate YOU, woman of God!
Since the very beginning, the enemy has diligently and relentlessly sought after what God has created to glorify Him: Women.
It started in the Garden when Satan lied to Eve and made her believe that what God had created in her wasn’t enough. She needed more. She could be like God so why not strive to be Him.
In essence, Satan was tempting Eve to be something she wasn’t meant to be: God.
God had intended purposes but the enemy, in his craftiness, used a question to make her doubt.
God simply wanted her to be who He made her to be: Eve. Suitable. Right. Intended. Purposeful. Helper. Image bearer. A solution to the Lord’s declaration, “It is not good for man to be alone…” (Genesis 2: 18)
You see, it’s not new that we have been made to believe we aren't enough. It’s not new that society has made us believe we are problems instead of solutions. It started then and it continues today. And days like today are set to remind us that we must celebrate and honor what the enemy tries to destroy and confuse with deception.
Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ who reconciled us back to that rightful place where we no longer have to believe and be bound by the lies. We have the Spirit of Christ in us that allows us to see ourselves the way He’s always seen us:
ENOUGH. LOVED. FORGIVEN. REDEEMED. WHOLE. WISE. GENTLE. FIERCE. FIGHTER. PROTECTOR. LIFE GIVER.
[Verses that speak to your identity in Christ]
Women, I thank God for His intentions for us. And today, and everyday, may we believe His Word over the lies of the enemy.
You are WOMAN. You are ENOUGH.
Happy International Women’s Day!