Is it wrong to compare to others?

Is it wrong to compare to others?

This week I decided to make some soup. It was the kind that you just use what you have leftover from different things. I grew up watching my mom make soup this way. We were pretty poor growing up and often didn’t have food in the house, so every little scrap that could be used was used, and more often than not we got a “leftover soup”. This week we had some different odds and ends of things that I decided to turn into a “leftover soup” of my own.

I used my handy-dandy Instapot, added some beef, assorted veggies, broth I’d saved from a recent pot roast, and a little bit of lentils and quinoa I had been saving for such a time as this. The soup had cooked, it was still pretty brothy (totally a word), and I decided to add a little more quinoa and lentils. When it had cooked some more… it was no longer soup! I ended up with a sludge-looking goup. It smelled delicious, but MAN did it look nasty! Who would want to eat this goupy (again, totally a word) looking mess?

Seeing myself in this goupy mess

Here I am staring at this not-soup-goup and, as silly as it sounds, I saw myself. I look at this soup and say to myself “it should look different”, “this couldn’t be very good”, “this is not worth having”, “my mom’s always looked so much better”, “if I had just done something different…”.

In reality, I ate some not-soup-goup and what’d you know? It was delicious, filled with nutrition, and will feed my family all week. This felt so much like God’s work in my life. So often I feel like the different struggles, experiences, pains, joys, and in-betweens have nothing to do with each other. How could this heartache have anything to do with that joy over there? How could this blessing have to do with that struggle? How could these pieces possibly fit together? Simple.

28 We know that all things work together[a] for the good[b] of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 CSB

For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 CSB

God works in everything, every circumstance, every pain, every joy, every gain, every loss. God planned you and took pleasure in you before He even made the universe. You are exactly who God made you to be, where He called you to be, and He has a plan for your life that was made specifically for you. Every detail of your life is used for His purposes. All the experiences of your life; past, present, and future, God uses to grow, steep, stew, and brew you into the complete creation He intends you to become. It may look like a goupy mess now, but remember that God’s not done with you yet.

For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.[a]5 He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.

Ephesians 1:4-6 CSB

13 For it was you who created my inward parts;[a]
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13 CSB

22 “The Lord formed me from the beginning,

    before he created anything else.

Proverbs 8:22 NLT

God crafted us on purpose for His purpose

God sent His Son to die for each and every one of us. Christ said that you, me, and everyone else are worth dying for. Looking at myself and seeing what I have been trained, taught, and told by the world to see; a mucky, goupy mess of a person, I have to stop and remember that is not how God sees me. God sees me as His handiwork, and when I look at the peas and carrots of my life I see God’s work in my life coming together in an unexpected way to make me into what He designed me to be – His child, His creation, His image-bearer. God sees me and all my sins and flaws and said “you are worth saving”.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 CSB

16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17 ESV

Is it wrong to compare compare to others?
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Comparison tells God His design isn’t good enough

Reading Luke 18 this week I was struck. Jesus is telling us about a Pharisee and a tax collector who were both praying. The Pharisee thanked God that he was not like “other men”, while the tax collector prayed for God to have mercy on him.

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

Luke 18:11 ESV

Have you looked at someone and thought “at least I am not as bad as them”, “at least I have this and not that”, “thank you God that I am not like that person”, “I may mess up, but at least I haven’t messed up as bad as them”?

Do you tend to beat yourself up thinking, “I’m not good enough”, “I can’t be useful to God”, “I’m not nearly as good as them”, “their life looks so perfect, I want their life, car, home, husband, friends, job,” “I want that body, I need to be thinner, taller, shorter, larger”?

When we compare, we in our pride are telling God that His design is not good enough. We place God in a box and say His sacrifice wasn’t enough, and His plan isn’t good enough. When we don’t put on the identity we have in Christ, we slap God in the face and tell Him He made a mistake.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13 ESV

Rest in who, what and where God made you to be

Comparisons are dangerous and tell God “the way you made me, and the life you have called me to isn’t enough”. It tells Christ that His blood that was shed for you wasn’t enough.

Judgment and comparison affect the heart and blinds us to our sin. Like the tax collector, we must acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of repentance, forgiveness, grace, and mercy and likewise are called to show forgiveness, grace, and mercy. We are called to imitate Christ and lead others to Him through our lives and testimonies. Grace and mercy leave no room for prideful comparisons. In being imitators of Christ, we should bear the fruit of His gracious Spirit rather than the sinful fruits of this dark world.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

Knowing you are a sinner is important, and also knowing in your heart and soul that Christ is enough is vital. If you find yourself comparing your not-soup-goup with someone else’s delicious-looking gourmet stew you will miss out on the blessing and grace given to you, and find yourself rejecting the salvation you have been offered and neglecting the peace and rest we can only have in Christ.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

Where do you need to rest in the life God has blessed you with? Where do you need to repent, to be grateful, to forgive, to extend grace? Where do you need to let God in and turn the goup into a delicious, satisfying, eternal relationship with Him? Where do you need to stop comparing and start glorifying?

Give it all to God today and thank Him for the life you’re in. He is making you into a beautiful masterpiece and loves you just the way you are, goup and all.

How to find comfort in 1 Peter 5:6-7 when you feel alone

How to find comfort in 1 Peter 5:6-7 when you feel alone

What does 1 Peter 5:6-7 tell me to do in tough circumstances?

1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 is a great lesson for me this week. This week has been off to a really tough start. We’ve had such an insane heat wave it has broken records. For someone like me who is highly heat sensitive these temperatures have been dangerous. I’ve had a hard time focusing, have tried to stop myself from complaining, and truly strive to thank God even in this discomfort.

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.

1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 CSB
1 Peter 5:6-7
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Sometimes we face difficulties and discomforts in life that seem too small for God to be bothered with. As I lay here at 9:30pm, it’s still over 90 degrees and theres no escaping it. The ice maker stopped making ice, kiddo is sleeping on our floor because her room is dangerously hot, and I’ve had ups and downs of heat exhaustion for days.

I can hear some of you saying “oh boy now that’s a good reason to complain!” But here’s what 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 reminded me of.

Humility isn’t just for when it’s easy or convenient

Humility is for all circumstances. In this extreme heat I have a choice. I can keep complaining, talk about how miserable I am, brcome a grouch to my family, or I can praise God, pray for endurance, and focus on the blessings and ways He has exalted me.

I can choose to cast my cares, no matter how petty, small or mundane they may seem, and allow Him to work in and through me.

Remember that everything we face is an opportunity to learn and grow closer to God.

1 Peter 5:6-7
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Is there an extreme heat blowing through or even settling into your life?

How can you humble yourself and cast it to the Lord today?

I encourage you to remember who is in control, who provides, and who cares for you more than you could imagine. Lift your heart, eyes and words up to the Lord and seek Him in all circumstances. Let Him bring you the comfort that only He can provide.

How to find comfort in John 16:33 when you can’t find peace

How to find comfort in John 16:33 when you can’t find peace

How can we find comfort while we suffer?

Finding comfort in difficult times can feel impossible. In John 16:33, Jesus is speaking and tells His followers that “In the world you will have tribulation.” This word “tribulation” in John 16:33 is also translated as “suffering” (CSB) and “trials and sorrows” (NLT). The original Greek word is thlipsis (G2347) which, in context, means oppression, affliction, or distress. This same word is also translated as trouble, anguish, and persecution in other verses throughout scripture.

In this world, we will have tribulation – we will suffer.

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 ESV

What do we do when we suffer?

I love that while Jesus is telling us we will suffer in this world, He sandwiches this painful statement with two additional truths that should be an encouragement to every believer.

Right before Jesus tells His believers that in this world we will have trouble, He begins by telling us that it is in Him we will have peace.

This peace, eirēnē (G1515), is “a state of tranquility; exemption from the rage and havoc of war”.
Jesus brings us to a state of tranquility, quietness, and rest. This is spiritual peace. While the world rages and life is chaos, the soul rests in Jesus Christ.

Comfort in John 16_33
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In Jesus, followers of Christ can find spiritual comfort and rest.

This isn’t the only encouragement He gives us, though.

Before Jesus tells us we will suffer in this world, He tells us that in Him we will have peace.

After what feels like two contrasting statements, He then tells us to “take heart” because He has “overcome the world”.

This right here is vital. We must remember that Jesus Christ died and rose again so that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). He sacrificed Himself so that we could have peace in Him. He conquered this world so that we may come into a relationship with God through Him.

This is the ultimate comfort – that if we trust in Jesus, He will give us spiritual peace in this crazy and painful world which He has already conquered.

How to finding comfort in Matthew 5:4 when you are consumed with grief

How to finding comfort in Matthew 5:4 when you are consumed with grief

Lately, I have heard many people ask “if God is good, why is there so much suffering in my life?” Comfort doesn’t always seem easy to come by in a world so filled with sorrow.

I asked this same question most of my life as I went through incredible pain for over 20 years. I wondered how God could love me if my life was so painful. Why would a loving God make me suffer so much?

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4 ESV

Just over 7 years ago that question changed. I changed. I recognized God reaching out to me, and I remember the exact moment I grabbed hold and let God pick me up. My life was in shambles, I was a wreck, I was emotionally broken, physically scarred, but God lit a fire in my soul and ignited me in such intense faith in Him I have never been the same.

Matthew 5:4 is a reminder to me of what it felt like to be picked up and plucked out of my despair. I mourned, I struggled to understand the pain I’d endured, and even further, I struggled to comprehend that I’d been pulled out of it. I continued to struggle, but the incredible difference was that this newfound faith in God put me into the arms of my Heavenly Father.

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God is good even when our circumstances are terrible

Through the struggles, pain, and suffering we have an opportunity to grow in faith and relationship with our Heavenly Father and grow in our reliance on Him. We have an opportunity to seek and find comfort in the Lord and trust Him with the pain.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV

God is:

God is good even when our circumstances are terrible. We have to resist becoming slaves to our circumstances and instead release the pain to God and trust Him to see us through it all as the One who can comfort us through whatever we may experience.

We need to let God teach us and grow us through even the deepest pains and sufferings we will face.

30 Bible verses for comfort
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Even when Satan whispers “that’s not possible” God says “all things are possible through Me and I’ve already conquered the world.”

26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26 ESV

37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Luke 1:37 ESV

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 ESV

God is not naive to your pain

He is not laughing, mocking, or enjoying your mourning, your hurt, or your agony. God is there, ready to comfort you and show you how much He loves you. The Lord is asking you to trust Him and seek your comfort with Him, the only true source of comfort.

I lived most of my life thinking I’d never feel anything but all-consuming darkness and depression and pain. Coming to Christ changed that and now I understand that it is only with Him that it’s possible to live in the light, to be truly comforted and healed and blessed. God is good and I know that even though I went through so many years of pain.

My question changed from “if God is good, why is there so much suffering in my life?” to “what does God want to teach me through this pain?”

I have learned to focus on the lesson and how I can grow and become stronger in my faith through all that I experience. What started as the tiniest of tiny faith like a mustard seed has grown over the years into seeing God move mountains I had lived convinced were unmovable.

20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.

Matthew 17:20 ESV
Comfort in Matthew 5_4
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I have healed from wounds I never thought would ever heal and have forgiven where I never thought I could forgive. I have trusted God where I never thought I could.

10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV

In all of this, I have learned that God is for me. God strengthens me, upholds me, and comforts me.

What do you need to give to God and trust Him to handle?

Where do you need to let God comfort you, guide you and teach you?

I pray you will empty yourself of whatever bitterness, hurt, mistrust, and anger you have to our God who understands and is ready with arms wide open for you just like He was with me, and still is even when I continue to miss the mark. We all fall short, but God is there to forgive, fill us up, and comfort us with immeasurable love, peace, and joy.

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 ESV
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How to find comfort in Psalm 23:4 in the midst of depression

How to find comfort in Psalm 23:4 in the midst of depression

When was the last time you went through a dark valley in your life?

Are you in the midst of one right now?

What does it even mean to “go through the darkest valley”?

Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. Psalms 23:4 CSB

When I was growing up I lived through many years in the darkest valley of my life. For me, it felt like complete depression, helplessness, and hopelessness. I was in such agony I just wanted to feel anything but the all-consuming darkness.

Psalm 23:4
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At that point in my life, I didn’t know the Lord. I was raised going to church, but honestly the more I learn and grow in my faith the more I look back and realize how trapped and blinded I was by the enemy. Satan wants to consume and destroy us. He wants to separate us from God and convince us the Bible is false, that there is no God or that if there is He couldn’t love or forgive us, that we are all alone, that life is meaningless.

Satan wants to destroy you in your dark valleys

8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8 ESV

Does that sound familiar? Do you know what utter hopelessness feels like? Yeh, me too.

…[the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44 ESV

The truth is that the devil is full of lies. All that darkness he surrounds us with is deception. All the whispers he tells us are false. For so many years I was convinced I was alone, that I was unlovable, that my life was pointless except to be used and abused by those around me. I was convinced peace didn’t exist, that comfort was a lie, that love was just pain.

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 ESV

This was my darkest valley. I felt like I was drowning like the mountain peaks were closing in on me, and that eventually the crashing waves and closing caverns were going to devour me – until God broke through and showed me He had been with me all along.

30 Bible verses for comfort
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God is the true source of comfort, and He is with you in every dark valley

One day, I felt His hand reach out to me in my dark valley and I finally reached back. It was an inch but He took me a thousand miles. At that moment I had faith the size of a mustard seed and God moved those mountains and parted the sea for me. I was free in Him, I was saved by His grace, I was given His light to show me the way through the darkness.

7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV

The darkness didn’t vanish – the devil will constantly be there waiting to pounce, desiring nothing more than your destruction – but God is with us through even the darkest valleys. His truth stands firm no matter what our hearts believe.

God has pulled me through my darkest valley and now every dark valley I must walk through I know He is there with me. I know I have nothing to fear with Him on my side. There is evil all around but I can rest in the safety and strength of my God. I am comforted, guided, protected, and corrected by the Lord. I definitely stumble and fall – we all fall short of the glory of God – but I trust in my salvation, knowing that through repentance and confession I am forgiven again and made stronger every time.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm23:4 ESV

Where do you need the Lord’s comfort today?

Let the Lord be your strength through every dark valley. Let Him guide you, provide for you, correct you, teach you, and grow you. He is our source of comfort in all that we face, and as He comforts us He strengthens us so we can strengthen others in their dark valleys.

How can we pray for you? What dark valley are you facing or even healing from? Let God surround you with His peace and His people. Seek comfort in the Lord first and above all, and let us pray over you in your struggles and pains.

Comfort in Psalm 23_4
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How Proverbs 31:15 encourages the godly woman to begin her day

How Proverbs 31:15 encourages the godly woman to begin her day

As a woman, a wife, mom, and homemaker I have been really convicted by Proverbs 31:15, and this verse in particular. This passage is about a Godly Woman, and v. 15 declares that “she rises while it is still night” to take care of her household. The last time I studied Proverbs 31, and I have studied this many times over the last many years in different stages of my faith and life, this really stuck with me.

She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her female servants.

Proverbs 31:15 CSB
Proverbs 31:15
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Now, the point isn’t necessarily that the godly woman must get up in the middle of the night. The point is that there is godly wisdom in rising early to tend to the needs of the household. There is wisdom in taking quiet time at the beginning of the day to prepare for the day ahead.

One thing to remember is that we are ALL, men and women alike, the Bride of Christ, and should take the example and wisdom of the Proverbs 31 woman upon ourselves. We can discern that there is wisdom in rising early to prepare ourselves and our household for the day ahead. Being intentional about how we begin our day has a great impact on an entire day.

I encourage all of us to heed this wisdom and begin each day with intention, focusing on actively preparing for the day the Lord has made for us. Pray over what this means for you today and every day, and give the day to Him and His plans for you, your home, household, whatever the dynamic and circumstances. Prayerfully begin your day set on God and His plans for you.

Godly wisdom from Proverbs 31_15
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Read through the book of Proverbs in our 31 day Bible reading plan. Learn more about who God is, and what He has to say about wisdom. Let it sink in and resonate with you every day, rekindling that fire for Him in your heart.

How to speak attractively according to Proverbs 15:2

How to speak attractively according to Proverbs 15:2

Have you ever found yourself with a figurative foot in your mouth? Yeh, me too. Our words have power – the power to hurt or heal, mock or teach, divide or bring together (Proverbs 18:21; Ephesians 4:29; Proverbs 12:18; Colossians 3:8; Proverbs 15:1; Proverbs 16:24; Colossians 3:8). Proverbs 15:2 encourages us that our words matter.

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness. –

Proverbs 15:2 CSB

When we choose to speak kindness, love, and truth we are wise. We speak attractively when we speak wisely.

Proverbs 15:2
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What does Proverbs 15:2 teach me about what I say?

God teaches us through His Word that we should be filled with the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and that we will be known by our fruits (Matt 7:16).

Are you known for your kind and loving words, or for your foul mouth?

Are you easily instigated and quick to complain or lash out?

Do you bridle your tongue and speak with patience and wisdom?

By leaning into the Lord at all times and allowing His Spirit to fill us, guide us, and lead our reactions and words we can speak wisdom and not folly. Don’t be caught blurting out unattractive foolishness. Instead be found harnessing God’s Spirit that lives within you, allowing His wisdom to flow from your lips.

Godly wisdom from Proverbs 15_2
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Read through the book of Proverbs in our 31 day Bible reading plan. Learn more about who God is, and what He has to say about wisdom. Let it sink in and resonate with you every day, rekindling that fire for Him in your heart.

Godly Wisdom from Proverbs 9:10

Godly Wisdom from Proverbs 9:10

The pivotal truth reinforced in Proverbs 9:10 is that true wisdom is from God and begins with the fear of the Lord. Our world is filled with opinions and what culture likes to call “objective truth”, which basically means that what one person believes to be true can be true for them, and what another person believes to be true can be true for them. This is completely counter to God’s Word that declares His is the only Truth there is.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 9:10 CSB

Half-truths, partial truths, objective truths, human truths are not truth but falsehoods the enemy likes us to believe so that we will be deceived against the only real truth that only comes from God.

Proverbs 9:10
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If we are not seeking God’s wisdom, truth and knowledge then we are living in falsehoods and believing lies.

Seek God and His truth above all else and you will find it and be blessed with the knowledge it brings. God will reveal understanding to those who trust in His truth. Those who lean on human and worldly “truth” will find deception and destruction.

Godly wisdom from Proverbs 9_10
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Read through the book of Proverbs in our 31 day Bible reading plan. Learn more about who God is, and what He has to say about wisdom. Let it sink in and resonate with you every day, rekindling that fire for Him in your heart.

How listening to God’s instructions help you live wisely according to Proverbs 1:23

How listening to God’s instructions help you live wisely according to Proverbs 1:23

Proverbs 1:23 instructs us in the ways of wise and godly living. King Solomon, the wisest man in his time, imparts on us the call of wisdom and encourages us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (v. 7). We are called out of “simplicity” and told that “fools hate knowledge” (v. 22).

If you respond to my warning, then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words.

Proverbs 1:23 CSB
Proverbs 1:23
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What does Proverbs 1:23 teach about wisdom?

Wisdom comes from God. To live a wise and godly life is to live in the ways of the Lord. If we choose to abide in the wisdom of God, striving to live a righteous life, we will seek God’s true wisdom. The consequences of rejecting God’s wisdom are grave and clear, but there is great reward in fearing the Lord and His holy righteousness.

We should never be wise in our own eyes or lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), but lean into and trust the instruction of the Lord in all things. His is the only truth and the only trustworthy Word to live by and abide in. Heed His warning and let Him teach you His ways so that you, too, may live a wise and godly life.

Godly wisdom from Proverbs 1_23

Sign up for our mailing list and Download the Free Printable Bible Reading Plan

Read through the book of Proverbs in our 31 day Bible reading plan. Learn more about who God is, and what He has to say about wisdom. Let it sink in and resonate with you every day, rekindling that fire for Him in your heart.

How to know the difference between opinion and fact according to Proverbs 2:6

How to know the difference between opinion and fact according to Proverbs 2:6

Our world that prides in having endless information at its fingertips. We boast about the things we know, the education we have received, the experiences that have taught us, and strive to put our own wisdom forward to launch ourselves up the totem poles of the social structures of culture. We think we can lean on what we know and our own opinions, gain more wisdom, and somehow make a prosperous life for ourselves on this basis. Proverbs 2:6 cuts to the truth of this dangerous way of living.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 CSB

As Christians, we learn that the only true wisdom comes from God. It is a gift from our Heavenly Father, who speaks His knowledge to us and gives us the understanding He wants us to have. All that we have, all that we know, all that we have experienced and learned and been through… all of it is from Him, and so that we can use it to serve Him.

Proverbs 2:6
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Do you use what God has blessed you with to bring Him glory, or to bring glory to yourself?

Are you striving to launch yourself into the world, or launch the gospel?

Do you strive to be a vessel or in the spotlight?

Today, remember where all wisdom comes from. Remember where all that knowledge you have stockpiled came from. Remember who gives you an understanding about any and all of it. Don’t forget who gave you all you have, including the very information at your fingertips, in your memories, used in your workplace or at home. You name it, He gave it.

Use it all to serve and honor the one who gives it all for us.

Godly wisdom from Proverbs 2_6

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Read through the book of Proverbs in our 31 day Bible reading plan. Learn more about who God is, and what He has to say about wisdom. Let it sink in and resonate with you every day, rekindling that fire for Him in your heart.

What Luke 24:46-47 teaches about renewal

What Luke 24:46-47 teaches about renewal

Growing up I don’t remember being taught about Jesus’ sacrifice. As I read the Bible more, I remember little blips I learned in Sunday school about Jesus dying on the cross, but I don’t ever recall learning why. As I grew up I suffered a lot. Tragedy after tragedy, and I cried out to God only partly believing He was there, and I remember asking Him time and again why He would make me suffer so much. I didn’t understand why anyone would want to love let alone believe in a God who could leave me like that. Luke 24:46-47 was an eye-opening passage that has been a huge encouragement and has brought immense renewal to my life.

and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Luke 24:46-47 ESV

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When I learned why Jesus died I’d not only been hurt, but I’d hurt a lot of people by that time and begun living life as if there was no God. I was fighting an inward turmoil of knowing what I was doing was not right but not really knowing why.

How did Luke 24:46-47 encourage me?

Everyone in my life at the time encouraged me to live in the way I knew in my soul was wrong, but I couldn’t understand the feeling. I remember being drawn to the Bible after several years of being forcibly kept from it. I went to the local bookstore and several times I went through the Christian section. I’d literally walked through it like I was just passing through.

A half dozen times later I finally built up the courage to look at the many Bibles available. Eventually, I picked out an ESV Thinline Bible with a brown and blue cover, small and discreet, I thought. ESV was basic and easy to ready. I then spent every night secretly reading it when I was alone. I don’t think I told anyone I had it for quite a while.

Luke 24:46-47
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When I started reading the Bible, though, something immediately sparked in me. I began to understand what Luke was talking about. I began to learn that my suffering wasn’t pointless, that the pull I felt to discover what I was missing was real, and I learned the most incredible truth – that Jesus died for me.

“What?” I remember being dumbfounded and enthralled by scripture. It humbled me so much that I cried. I finally understood that I wasn’t crazy, I wasn’t alone, and I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. I finally understood that the way I was encouraged to live was wrong. Finally, I learned that I had a choice and an ally to do what was right.

What did Luke 24:46-47 teach me about renewal?

I learned that I could be forgiven because Jesus died for me. Jesus died so I could escape the consuming darkness. He died and rose to set me free. And not just me, ALL people, all nations, all of creation.

Jesus died and rose again three days later. Christ did this to defeat the darkness we are trapped and enslaved to before we come to know, believe and accept Him. Before I learned the truth I was in darkness. When I picked up scripture and sought out the Truth I found more than I could have ever imagined. I found freedom, forgiveness, love, and light. I found my Savior, and you can too.

Luke 24_46-47 Renewal
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Will I suffer once I’m saved?

Choosing Christ is a daily, moment-by-moment choice. Allowing Him to be our strength, our light, our guide – allowing Him to be our Savior every single day, living as though we’ve been saved, is really challenging.

The suffering didn’t all just fade away, but ever since I accepted Christ He has flooded me with light from the inside, He chased away the darkness of depression, anxiety, and healed me from the many years of abuse. He forgave me and released me from the power of sin and darkness over me, and as I continue to choose Him He continues to strengthen me against it. Life goes on, and I am stronger through it with my Savior.

Choose Christ today. Let His light fill up all the dark spaces. Accept the salvation He died and rose to give you, and let Him be your strength through the ups and downs of life ahead. Believe in Christ, His works on the cross, and resurrection from the dead for your sake and enter into His family today, forgiven and redeemed.

Dear Lord, I pray that you enter my heart today and forgive me of all my sins against You. Against You alone have I sinned, and I pray you will wash me clean of all unrighteousness. Forgive me, heal me, and strengthen me against the darkness I face every day. Today I choose to believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as my Savior. I believe He died on the cross and rose again three days later to defeat the power of sin so that I may be forgiven and come into a relationship with You, God. I pray, Jesus, that You save me from the penalty of my sins, forgive me, and redeem me. Help me to live in a way that brings You honor and glory, giving praises to Your name always. Thank you, Lord for this incredible gift. Amen.

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What John 16:33 teaches about renewal

What John 16:33 teaches about renewal

Have you ever wondered why you have gone through the difficulties, pains, and tragedies you have or are going through? Ever fought temptation, discontentment, and struggled to remain focused on God? John 16:33 provides both insight and encouragement in times of suffering.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 ESV

For over 20 years I cried out to God not knowing if He was there, if He was real, or if He cared. I struggled to believe there could be a God who could let me go through the pain I was in. Now I can look back and see what He was doing all along.

John 16:33
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Jesus says “in me you may have peace”. He also tells us throughout scripture to not fear, that He is with us, that He loves us – not only did He say it, but He also showed it in sacrificing Himself for all our sake’s.

Jesus knew the world was a sinful broken place full of sinful broken people, just like you, me, and those who have hurt you. Yet, Jesus went to the cross and died for all of us anyway. He overcame the world, He took on the penalty – He defeated sin.

How does John 16:33 renew our spirits in times of suffering?

We are sinful people. Even so, we are called into the family of an Almighty God who loves us so much He gave His only Son to die on the cross. He did this so that we may accept Him in faith and be reconciled to our Heavenly Father. Now we may be saved through Him and have peace with God, who will guide us through this darkness.

The tribulations, difficulties, pain, and suffering doesn’t end when we enter into our relationship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ, BUT we are made new in Him. He lifts us by His strength, filled up with His love. We are given a mission and purpose to serve Him with the time, resources, and circumstances we are blessed with.

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All that we have is a gift from God and should be used in service for His great commission, out of love and gratitude to Him who redeemed us through the blood of His Son. Today, choose to be content with whatever you are facing.

Choose to rest in the peace that only the Lord can provide. See all that you have (or don’t have) as a blessed gift. Turn a grateful heart to Heaven and focus your attention and devotion on Him and away from the unsatisfying things of this world that will soon pass away. Give your heart to the Eternal One, who is love, who is all-powerful – who is the One True God of all creation who has overcome the world through His great sacrifice for our sakes.

Choose the peace offered to you in Christ.

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What Mark 14:38 teaches about renewal

What Mark 14:38 teaches about renewal

Temptation. It’s a word that triggers differently for each person, yet the same for so many of us. We’re not alone in our experiences fighting temptation, nor are we alone in failing to resist it. All of us, every one of us, struggles with temptation. Mark 14:38 tells us clearly how to fight temptation and seek renewal.

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Mark 14:38 ESV

The thing about temptation is that Satan knows what you struggle with and will exploit it, and he also knows that we so often rely on our own fleshly strength to resist it, which means we fail to resist an awful lot. Only when we trust the spirit God has given us, His Spirit He has filled us with, to fight these temptations and give us His strength can we do so.

Mark 14:38
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We must remain watchful of Satan’s schemes, and pray for God to fill us again and again with all we lack on our own to fight against temptation. Through this watching and praying we grow closer to Him, stronger against sin, and deeper in our faith. Keep watching, keep praying, keep trusting His Spirit to resist the temptations that lure you into sin.

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What Matthew 16:24 teaches about renewal

What Matthew 16:24 teaches about renewal

Matthew 16:24 provides necessary instruction from Jesus that came right after Peter rebuked Jesus when He told the disciples about his upcoming death and resurrection. Jesus answered Peter in v. 23“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Jesus told Peter that he was a hindrance to Him because Peter was focusing on earthly things versus Heavenly things. He was in the way because he was focused on the wrong things.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:24 ESV
Matthew 16:24
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How many times have you rebuked God for something you felt He had done wrong?

Maybe you have felt like He placed you in an unfair situation, led you to the wrong friends, the wrong spouse, the wrong place, the wrong timing, the short end of the stick.

You’ve maybe been tempted to cling to your own desires and plans instead of seeking His.

You might have put yourself before God, family, friends, strangers, or the needy.

Maybe you have sought what you wanted, only willing to make sacrifices for your own gains.

How does Matthew 16:24 teach us to react when life feels out of control?

Peter and the other disciples were told God’s plan. Instead of Peter accepting that it was God’s will he sought to take matters into his own hands as if he, a human being like you and I, could stop the plans of the Almighty God. Jesus then went on to teach them that to follow Jesus means to deny yourself, sacrifice your desires, carry the weight of your cross. It means to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and be willing to lay down your life for God’s will as Jesus was and Jesus did.

Matthew 16+24 renewal
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To follow Christ, we must be willing to sacrifice all that we have to serve and follow our Savior. He must come first, and our hearts and minds must stay focused on things of God. Don’t let the troubles, temptations, and things of this world hold you captive and prevent you from following His will for your life and sharing His Truth with the world. Surrender it all to Him, and follow Him willingly, denying yourself, and you will find yourself in following Christ.

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What Psalm 51:10 teaches about renewal

What Psalm 51:10 teaches about renewal

Sometimes when I make a mistake, overreact, hurt someone, forget something, or blatantly sin I feel like a genuinely horrible person unworthy of God. It makes me feel unworthy of forgiveness from Him, or someone I’ve upset. I often feel like it can never be made right and I blame myself, overanalyze, and beat myself up. Sometimes I apologize immediately, and sometimes I stay angry and grow bitter. Other times I seek to fix it, and but occasionally I hide from it. Feeling so unworthy makes it difficult to bring it to God. Psalm 51:10 is one of my favorite verses for times such as this.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10 NKJV
Psalm 51:10
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How is Psalm 51:10 about renewal?

Psalm 51 was written right after David had committed adultery with someone else’s wife and then had the husband killed upon finding she was pregnant. The prophet Nathan then came to David to tell David to seek God and repent of his sins.

David didn’t get offended at being called out or try to defend or excuse himself. He didn’t lash out at Nathan for warning him and didn’t try to hide his sin or hide from God.

When David realized his sin he went straight to God with a repentant heart and pleaded with God for forgiveness, asking God to “create in [him] a clean heart” and to “renew a right spirit within him.” He did what we all need to do when we’ve messed up; humbly seek God, confess, repent, and surrender to Him knowing He is the only one that can purify and renew us.

Psalm 51_10 renewal
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Just as David sought God for renewal so should we.

Whatever you’re struggling to bring to God, to confess, to surrender control of, to seek His help with, to do His way… I’ve been there, and so has every other human being. Today, seek the renewal of your spirit that only God can give. Come to Jesus, accept His sacrifice for your sins, accept His salvation, and rest in the Father.

Lay it all at His feet and allow Him to fill you up and renew you by His grace, mercy, and forgiveness over and over again. Never forget that forgiveness and renewal awaits all who come to Him in repentance.

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