If someone asked you, “What is the Gospel?” Do you feel like you could give a good answer?
Sometimes these Christian words such as grace, salvation, and gospel are so familiar to us that we lose the significance of their meaning, or we never had a good working definition of them rooted in our mind.
1 Peter 3:15 tells us that if
Someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
But how can we effectively communicate the hope that we have as a Christ-follower if we’re not exactly sure what it is that we believe? Good question!
The answer is that we must always go back to the Word as our ultimate source of truth. It’s as simple as opening our Bible app and typing in the word “gospel.” When we do, we find that this beautiful word actually means “Good News!” and the good news is that Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth so that He could die for our sins (which is salvation), even though we didn’t deserve it (which is grace) and that He didn’t stay dead, but that He was resurrected and is coming back again (which is our HOPE as a believer!)
So you see, it’s not so hard to share your faith with others. And the world so desperately needs you to. You just have to always be ready!
Fall is finally here, which means that the helmets are bright and shiny underneath the stadium lights. The question is: Are you ready for some football?
One of our favorite family activities is to meet up with other families at the local university football games. The air is mixed with Louisiana meat pies, cut grass, and of course, leather footballs.
As I watch the players take their positions on the field, I am in awe of how they hold their stance until the ball is snapped. It takes focus and discipline.
However, there are those occasions when a player will move off the line of scrimmage too soon and an offside penalty will be given. I always feel sorry for that player as the ref throws his flag and the offending number is called over the loud-speaker.
Maybe he “thought” he heard the snap. Or maybe there was bee in his helmet. But none of that matters to the referee who is there to make sure that the rules are followed.
Sometimes we jump off the line of scrimmage too soon in our spiritual life. Maybe we thought we heard the Lord say move, but we really were following our own desires. That’s why God’s Word tells us continually to “wait upon the Lord.” When we wait on Him our faith is built so that when we do hear Him say “move,” we can run the play with confidence.
Yes, it takes focus and discipline to wait, but it’s the best way to win the game!
This past weekend, God most certainly was present at The Battle Conference hosted by Heartfelt Ministries. It was a wonderful time to dig into God’s Word as we learned how to surrender, arise, and equip ourselves for spiritual battle.
Attached is a recap of my call to mothers to ARISE to the Battle!
Visit my YouTube Channel for more video clips!
Practical Tools for Battle
Below are links to the books I mentioned at the Battle Conference. Congratulations to Melissa Allen who was the winner of the gift basket!
- For young children, start to teach them that Jesus is THE truth.
Click here to purchase.
- For middle age children, help them learn about the Armor of God.
Click here to purchase.
- For teenagers and above, remember that wrestling with their faith leads to an authentic faith.
Click here to purchase.
- And last, but not least, PRAY for your child!
Click here to purchase.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how comfortable are you saying the name of Jesus?
Imagine you are talking with a new acquaintance, perhaps even a co-worker, and the topic of religion comes up, are you more comfortable saying that you have a relationship with God or are you willing to say that you have a relationship with Jesus?
I ask this question because of a recent conversation I had with a very good friend of mine who is totally sold out for the gospel and is not afraid to share her faith. However, she told me that up until a few years ago she was timid when it came to saying the name of Jesus out loud. She would refer to her faith in God, but didn’t want to be offensive by mentioning Jesus. However, the Holy Spirit convicted her to start bringing the most powerful of names into her conversations and it changed everything for this beautiful Christ-follower.
Philippians 2:10-11 tells us,
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
It’s not just any name. It is the name that is exalted above every name. There is no other name that can save the lives of mankind.
May we be so bold as my wise friend and bring the name of Jesus into our conversations.
There are many things that I love about living in Louisiana.
I love the beauty of the bayou, the friendliness of the people, and the ice-cold sweet tea.
I love that we all understand that “y’all” is a real word and that when we say, “Bless her heart,” it’s really a good thing.
However, I could do without the sweltering heat of the summer. When the forecast for every day is in the 90’s with high humidity it becomes a challenge for even the best of dry shampoos. I can feel myself getting lethargic and a little moody as the days go long.
However, the thing that keeps me loving Louisiana even through the heat is that I know that this season will indeed pass. The cooler weather of fall will start to blow in and all the stickiness I am enduring right now will be a distant memory…at least for another few seasons.
Sometimes I find myself in less than desirable season spiritually as well, where my prayer life is dry and my time in God’s Word is unfocused. I’m going through the motions, but I’m not really present. Yet if I remain in His Word, I usually find that this undesirable season will soon pass. And before long I can feel that cool breeze starting to blow in, reminding me once again of my love for Him.
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love!” John 15:9
Do you ever stop to ponder what it is that God wants from us?
Does He desire our obedience, or is it our faithfulness? Perhaps it is our sacrifice? The answer is yes, yes, and yes! In various circumstances He does desire these things.
Yet sometimes there is a tendency to focus on God as a celestial higher power that can and will strike us down if we make one wrong move rather than our loving Father who just wants us to know and love Him.
God has been teaching me this lesson lately in my walk with Him. In the world of ministry it is sometimes easy to get focused on all the things I am doing FOR Him that I forget to do it WITH Him. Of course, my perceptive Father knows this about me, so He led me straight to this beautiful verse in Hosea 6:6:
April, I desire loyal love from you over your sacrifice.
I want you to really know Me rather than focus on presenting Me your burnt offerings.
How else can I respond to that except with this?
Yes, Lord I understand. You want me to give You my heart and not just my actions. You want me to know You and Your Word and let it change me from the inside out. To allow Your instructions to move so deeply into my soul that obedience and faithfulness and sacrifice will naturally flow out of me BECAUSE of my loyal love for You.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes my heart is overwhelmed by the gracious and extravagant love of the Lord. He is so patient with me and I’ll never get over the fact that the God of the universe wants to have a deep and abiding relationship with me just as He does with you!
Father, thank You for being a God who desires our loyal love. Help each one of us as we seek to know and love You better.
My husband Adams is an excellent drummer. And I have to confess, it’s one of the first things that attracted me to him back in our college days.
Adams played on the drum line for our university and there he learned an important concept in music that he refers to as “staying in the pocket.” Since the drummer leads the rhythm of the song, it is important that he doesn’t play ahead of the beat or behind it, but rather right in the pocket. And when he does, the other musicians can follow the pocket of rhythm and it becomes the natural resting place, making the song flow perfectly. But imagine if the drummer is playing his beat but the bass player starts doing his own thing to a different tempo. It won’t be long before the vocalist is confused and the song is completely off track.
Staying in the pocket is vital if we want to create the very best music possible.
This is an important concept for us to learn in our everyday lives as well. If we want to have this life of ours flow naturally, we have to learn how to follow the lead of the Spirit and not get ahead of Him yet not lag too far behind either. We have to stay in His perfect pocket and resist the temptation to start marching to the beat of our own drum.
David speaks of this exact thing when he says in Psalm 108:1, “My heart, O God, is stayed on You and I will make music with all my soul.”
Such is my prayer today. To be led by the Spirit, staying in the pocket, making the best music possible to my King.
It’s always a little awkward to walk into a new crowd when you don’t know anyone.
It’s even more awkward if no one breaks off from their circle to welcome you or at the very least simply acknowledge that you’re in the room. This happened to me at a social function I recently attended. I am an extrovert by nature and can usually ease myself into the conversation, but for some reason I wasn’t meshing well with this particular group of people. They were a tough crowd and were intent on discussing matters that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with due to my faith in God. I was definitely the outcast of the party, and in that moment, I was extremely thankful for the invention of smartphones! At least I could give off the impression that “someone somewhere” wanted my attention.
Jesus knew what it felt like to be an outcast because of the gospel message that He was teaching, and He even warned the disciples that this would also happen to them as they worked to proclaim the kingdom of God and heal the sick. In Luke 9:5 He gave them these specific instructions:
If they do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.
These instructions are applicable for us in our everyday lives. If we have decided to live gospel-centered lives, then we will not always be welcome in every social setting. We have to resolve ahead of time to be OK with that and know when it’s time to leave the party. It won’t always be easy to live a set-apart life. In fact, Jesus later told the disciples that they were certain to be hated by the world on account of His name, and the same will be true for us. But the rewards are eternal if we are faithful to endure because we will gain our lives!
If you find yourself in one of these awkward situations where you are not welcome because of your faith, then take Jesus’ advice: gather your belongings and move on down the road. There’s someone somewhere who needs to hear some Good News and they’ll welcome you with open arms to join their circle.
Lord, please help me to live this set-apart lifestyle that You have called me to on account of the gospel. I understand that it won’t always be easy, but the reward is eternal life! Keep my feet moving down the path of righteousness.
Summertime is here and there’s only one way to beat the heat and that’s by diving into the swimming pool.
Both of my girls are really strong swimmers. In my former years, I was a lifeguard and swim instructor, so as soon as they could hold their heads up, I had them splashing around in the pool. As the years passed, they became more and more confident in the water as I worked with them. Ready, hold your breath, now kick, move your arms like a clock. That’s it! You’re doing it! And before long they were jumping off the diving board like a boss.
But the thing about a diving board is that it’s best used for dives. Yes, you can make a better splash by doing a cannon ball, but if you want to enter the pool gracefully, you must dive in head first, which is harder by far.
This year my youngest daughter stood hesitantly at the edge of the pool with her arms straight overhead and head down but when the time came to jump, she would lift her head and flop in the water face first. After several times of doing this and me saying over and over again, “Put your head down, Ella. You can do it,” she finally did and glided into the water beautifully. She had a huge smile on her face as she surfaced and said, “I want to do that again!”
Watching Ella learn to dive reminded me of how often I hear the Spirit say, “April, get your head down in my Word. Stop looking around at what other people are doing and dive in.” Sometimes it takes a few face flops before I get it, but once I do glide in gracefully, it feels wonderfully refreshing. And I want to do it over and over again.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. ~ Psalm 19:7
We all have a story to share that can potentially help someone else.
Life is messy but it’s also filled with beauty, isn’t it? Each one of us have gone through various trials and if we allow the Lord to lead us through them, then most likely we can come out with a story that when told will glorify our Father in Heaven.
My entire story can be condensed to three words: God Is Faithful! I have been through some pretty significant valleys of infertility and losing my brother, but God has proved Himself faithful through every valley as well as through every mountaintop.
One of the things that I try to do on a consistent basis is to share my story with someone who may struggling in an area that I’ve gone through. Just the other night my husband and I had dinner with a couple who were undergoing fertility treatments and we were able to share with them our journey, covering the good, the bad, and the ugly. We ended the evening in a powerful time of prayer which bonded us together with this precious couple and it allowed my husband and I to remember God’s faithfulness.
Revelation 12:11 says that the enemy will be defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. How powerful! Christ did the ultimate work to triumph over the accuser, but you and I also have an important part to play in his defeat.
So be brave, my friend, and share your story. Your God will be glorified and you never know who it may help along the way.
Share your story in the comments below!