ENSURING FAILURE



If we fail to submit, we submit to fail. 

One of the fundamental questions any organization has to answer is, “who is in charge here.” It may seem like an easy question to answer, but my years as a leader have taught me that this question is often ignored. In our homes, workplaces, and relationships, submitting to leadership is non-negotiable if we want to avoid disfunction and achieve our best. 

If everyone is in charge, no one is in charge.

Even when organizations take the time to develop comprehensive organizational charts, there is always a natural human tendency to drift over time. I believe this drift is a direct result of our struggle to submit to leadership. We all need to be reminded of the danger of blurring the submission lines when they aren’t supposed to be blurred. 

Blurred lines lead to messy lives.

Recently, I was watching a group of kids walk down the halls of our church in a line. Two leadership lessons stood out. First, the teacher was giving clear instructions that the kids were following. Second, a line leader was setting the path and the pace of the group as they walked down the hall together. It was easy to see that the kid at the front was happy to be in the Line Leader’s role. 

All the kids submitted to the Line Leader’s leadership, who submitted to the teacher’s supervision. As a result, the kids successfully walked down the hall in an orderly manner and arrived safely at their destination. Submission is so foundational and straightforward that a group of kids can understand and benefit from it. However, submission is also simple to mess up. 

If we fail to submit, we submit to fail.

Identifying the missing link of submission helps explains why the churches struggle to keep momentum. We are not submitting to Christ. I often tell my church that there is one man in charge of every decision made at our church; that man is not me. Every Pastor and every church in every town reports to the same guy, Jesus Christ. He is the great Teacher, and He calls some to serve as Line Leaders. If we don’t get this simple lesson, we will buy into the lie that ignoring submission issues will make them go away. 

I love these profound words from Dr. Tom Constable, “If God said it, it’s worth listening to.” Through Paul, God spoke about “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” in Ephesians 5:21.

The word “supporting” is a suitable synonym for the concept of “submitting” that Paul has in mind. Our motivation for submitting is built on love and respect. Submission requires that we trust God, respect others, develop Godly character, and do the right thing. The profound mystery of the Gospel calls for submission to Christ by His church. 

When it’s clear, submit. 

Christ modeled this very concept of submission in at least three ways. As you journey through the scriptures that follow, remember, if God said it, it’s worth listening to.

1. Jesus displayed His submission to the Father by quoting scripture.

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:3-4)

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” (Matthew 4:8-10)

2. Jesus displayed His submission to the Father through prayer.

And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)

And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)

3. Jesus displayed His submission to the Father by accomplishing His purpose.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent me. (John 6:38)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name. (Philippians 2:5-9)

As you reflect on Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection this Easter week, I encourage you to identify one way to submit to Christ in the small things. Then, take action! A simple place to start is with prayer.

If we fail to submit, we submit to fail.


STOP. IT.


STOP. IT.

This phrase, “stop it,” may seem counterintuitive since my previous post was titled “DO. NOT. QUIT.” However, the two ideas work together. In order to say “yes” to the right things, we must be willing to say “no” to the wrong things. In order to keep going, we must be willing to let some things go along the way. 

Take a minute and think about all the things you are saying “yes” to right now? You may even want to write it down so you can see the full impact of where your time is spent. Is your list full of a bunch of things that would be considered good, but maybe not RIGHT for you? You may even feel numb with busyness because you aren’t doing the RIGHT THING that God has specifically for you.

I recently learned there is a rare condition called Congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP), in which a person cannot feel (and has never felt) physical pain. Because feeling physical pain is vital for survival, CIP is an extremely dangerous condition.

It is common for people with the condition to die in childhood due to injuries or illnesses going unnoticed. Burn injuries are among the more common injuries. We need the sensation of pain to let us know when our bodies need extra care. It’s an important signal. 

When we sense pain, we pay attention to our bodies and can take steps to fix what hurts. Pain also may prevent us from injuring a body part even more. The sad truth is just because you don’t feel the heat doesn’t mean you won’t get burned! 

This condition can be the same thing with our spiritual life. If you doing all the wrong things to feel important or fill your time to avoid your feelings, you will not be able to sense the signal your body sends that you need to scale back or take care of yourself or refocus your efforts to what God wants for you.

In the same token, it’s like someone saying the same thing to you so much that you tune them out. You are numb to their direction, you aren’t heeding the warning or correction.  Paul had some strong words of correction to the church in Ephesus. “That is not the way you learned.” – Ephesians 4:20

We are not to live the way we used to live because we are not the people we used to be. The Bible was written to be obeyed and not simply studied. This matters because our new life in Christ affects the way we live life. This explains why we have such deep hurts.

How do we move away from our sin and push toward holiness?

I suggest the answer is found in two little words …

STOP. IT. 

  • Stop walking the way you walked.
  • Stop thinking the way you thought.
  • Stop excluding God the way you tried.
  • Stop desiring more and more just to be unsatisfied.

WHY? Because you and I know better! If we don’t get this, we will keep living a broken life, on auto-pilot doing all the things, that aren’t RIGHT for YOU. Remember, just because you don’t feel the heat doesn’t mean you won’t get burned!

TAKE HEART THESE POWERFUL WORDS FROM Charles Spurgeon: “What settings are you in when you fall? AVOID THEM. What props do you have that support your sin? ELIMINATE THEM. What people are you usually with? AVOID THEM. 

There are two equally damning lies Satan wants us to believe and if we take the bait, we will find ourselves in a compromising position leading to a downward spiral: 

  1. Just once won’t hurt. 
  2. Now that you have ruined your life, you are beyond God’s use and might as well enjoy sinning.

LEARN TO SAY NO! It will be of more use to you than being able to read another language. I invite you to meditate on the following (almost 800 years old) prayer For Ordering a Life Wisely by Thomas Aquinas:

“O merciful God, grant that I may desire ardently, search prudently, recognize truly, and bring to perfect completion whatever is pleasing to You for the praise and glory of Your name. Grant to me, O Lord my God, that I may not falter in times of prosperity or adversity, so that I may not be exalted in the former, nor dejected in the latter. May I not rejoice in anything unless it leads me to You; may I not be saddened by anything unless it turns me from You. May I desire to please no one, nor fear to displease anyone, but You.”

If you didn’t evaluate and make a list at the beginning of this post, you should.  Spend some time in prayer and really ask God to highlight HIS MOST IMPORTANT work for YOU!

GET STARTED NOW

  • Stop one bad habit today.
  • Start one good habit today.
  • Ask one person for support and help.

I am praying for you!


DO. NOT. QUIT.


We all have goals, dreams, and achievements that we meticulously plan out in our lifetime. Each new year, resolutions are made, and we get fired up to do new things.

But how often do we quit, sometimes before we ever get started? How often do we let pushback distract us and diminish our drive or the fire God placed inside us?

My challenge to you today …

DO. NOT. QUIT.

If I asked you, “What are you in danger of quitting,” how would you answer?

“Nothing!” OR

“I already quit.” OR

“I’m just so tired; I can’t keep going.”

This video of Heather Dorniden, now Kampf, is a highly decorated runner with an impressive string of accomplishments.

As you see in this video, what’s most impressive was the moment she won first place 
in the 600-meter dash—after falling flat on her face. Now that is what we call making a comeback.

Often, we can be discouraged because we can’t see the results. We expect things to happen quickly and on our terms, but God doesn’t always move quickly. He’s strategic according to the purpose He has for each of us. Whatever the Lord has put in front of you, don’t back down. Keep moving forward, keeping doing the great work.

DO. NOT. QUIT.

Let’s see how Nehemiah responded.

Nehemiah 6:3 “And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?”

We see Nehemiah refusing to come down, refusing to give up. He had enemies looking to distract him and cause him harm, but he knew he wouldn’t leave. He was not going to let any pushback get in his way.

In the same way, you and I have a great work, a divine purpose, a God anointing. When we operate under the will God has for our life, we live under the safety and shelter of His wings. He will strengthen us, give us power through Him, and a firm foundation in Him to be able to press in and press on no matter the circumstances.  

No matter how many times you fall, the obstacles get in your way, or the people intentionally work against you, keep getting back up. Push back is inevitable, but in the words of Winston Churchhill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

DO. NOT. QUIT.

God placed the dream or purpose in your heart for a reason, which means something to Him. So, it should mean something to you too! Quitting shouldn’t be an option.

I love this quote by William Clubertson, “It is important to start right, but it is imperative to end well.” This Clubertson quote models God’s character in excellence and parallels Colossians 3:23-24 beautifully. God calls us into excellence, working heartily for him and not men. When we push on, even against resistance, we are serving Him in excellence. 

Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 

God has given us the Holy Spirit, so we have the strength to endure, but we have to access it daily. We are made strong in Him, and as we work in excellence, we bring glory to God.

But the inheritance in Colossians is our reward too. At the end of your life, all the people who pushed back and distracted you, where will they be? Who’s opinion really matters here? Let’s stay focused on what’s important.

DO. NOT. QUIT.

We know that perspective is everything. This picture of a sumo wrestler and a kid can represent both sides of resistance with a slight change of perspective.

Without God, our problems and pushbacks feel as big and robust as the sumo wrestler.  

BUT with God … we are the sumo wrestler, and our pushbacks are feeling the resistance of His power when trying to push against us! 

This is such a great visual as we look at our obstacles and realize we have the power through Christ to stand firm as people and circumstances push against us.

Let’s be inspired today by Nehemiah. Let’s look at everything in our lives God asks us to do as “great work” for Him and settle in our hearts and minds; we won’t be coming down, we won’t give up. NO MATTER WHAT! Be encouraged, get back up, keep fighting and watch our BIG GOD redeem the time lost and make all things excellent when you’re doing it for Him!

DO. NOT. QUIT.

LIFE APPLICATION: If this is something you’ve struggled with, let’s get a pen and paper.
Write down the work God has asked you to do, but you have lost hope or vision before completing it. I encourage you to spend some time in prayer with Him and ask Him to reignite your fire and passion. Ask Him for big God ideas and let Him cast vision in your heart today.


Give It Time



Tough question for you today … do you think you are making a difference?

I am more and more convinced that we overestimate what can be accomplished in five weeks and underestimate what we can complete in five years. We overestimate what can be accomplished in one season of life and underestimate what we can achieve in a lifetime.  

Are you actually measuring your success to see the difference you’re making? If you aren’t measuring, it may seem like you are spinning a web of busyness, but aren’t getting anywhere. It may even feel fruitless…if you are feeling fruitless, give it time.

I heard a pastor once say, “God doesn’t move slow or fast, He moves strategically.” We can learn a valuable lesson from this; that while He does want us to be fruitful, the planting you are doing today must be strategic even if we never see the fruit.

If we don’t get this, we will confuse being planted with being buried.

Many of the best things in life take time. 

In John 15:1-11, Jesus paints such a beautiful word picture of a vine with branches. The vine is Jesus; we are the branches. The vinedresser is the Father, who prunes us with His Word. 

Let’s not be naive, pruning can be painful! Let me encourage you to abide as God prunes. We know that to abide in Christ means to remain in Him. Trust that there is purpose in the pain. Allow yourself time in the surgery room, being still, waiting on God as He performs surgery.

There is promise in the pain, even if the situation doesn’t make sense, even if you are unable to see Him working. Release your expectations and only expect good in the end. Because if God is doing surgery, His purpose is always to bring you healing.

We all know it is hard to stay still when you’re in pain. I’m reminded of when our oldest daughter, Madi, was little, and we pulled her first tooth. It was tough for her to sit still. She kept squirming around as we tied a string around her tooth. She was scared of the pain, but it had to happen. Once the tooth was out, she was ready for the new tooth to grow into place. 

As branches, we are to bear fruit. Fruit is the gift that keeps on giving because of the seeds, which leads to replication. Paul charged Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

But as we have all experienced, these things take time.

A pastor friend of mine used to say…

“You can’t plant apple seeds in the evening and expect to have apple juice in the morning.”

The truth is, there is no such thing as a fruitless Christian. This is because Christians never work alone. They should never work alone, and in actuality, they can never work alone. If you have been trying to work alone, ask yourself why. 

The reality is, we are never alone because the power of the Holy Spirit is working in us. But we must be willing to submit our lives to His leadership. Submission will be the most humbling experience of your Christian walk, the most necessary act for fruitful ministry, and the only thing that will get you out of what pride trapped you in.

Another reason we can never work alone is the spiritual resistance we experience from the enemy. He is always hanging around waiting to pounce on us when we are down. Jonathan Edwards said, “When the church is revived, so is the devil.” The devil wants nothing more than to steal your hope.

Hal Lindsey, in his best-selling book, The Terminal Generation, observed that “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.” 

As the old hymn says, “our hope is found in nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness … I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life we need in this world and the next. 

Hell has no exit, and Heaven has one door.

Jesus reminded His disciples in John 15:5, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” Warren Wiersbe said, “The fear of the Lord conquers every other fear.”

Remember, there is no such thing as a fruitless Christian.

So let me ask you, what are you planting?

Our challenge this week … protect the seeds in your soil. Then, give it some time while you abide in Him. 


Spiritual Narcissism



Have you ever met a spiritual narcissist?

Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s idealized self-image and attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.

Doing all the religious and right things often gives us a feeling of self-importance. As a result, all the praise and the admiration from others can spin out of control very quickly if we aren’t walking in humility. As Christians, we are IN CHRIST!

It’s not about us … but sometimes we like to make it all about US.

When we do that, we trick ourselves into thinking that we don’t need God’s grace and that we can do it without God’s help. This is called works-based salvation. Works-based salvation is a type of spiritual narcissism that can lead to anxiety, loss of important relationships, and eventually lead to burnout.

Narcissism is the reliance on self or knowledge rather than reliance on God and the Holy Spirit.

Self-righteousness is like a bottomless cup; you can pour and pour, you will never be able to fill it. Why? Because pouring yourself into yourself adds nothing to you.

NOTHING + NOTHING always = NOTHING!

Instead, we should accept God’s righteousness rather than trying to accumulate our own. 2 Corinthians 3:18 tell us, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

If we are to be transformed into Christ’s image we have to take off the mask of self-righteousness and allow the Spirit to lead us.

“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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ~Paul~

Ephesians 2:8-10 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. In just three verses, Paul delivers a powerful message in eleven keywords and phrases. Let’s break it down together:

1. GRACE: By grace, we have the riches of His grace that we could never earn or keep. His Grace is His free gift and His free power available to you as heirs to the Kingdom. So, REJOICE in that!

2. FAITH: The way we receive our salvation is through faith. Faith is not a “work”, it could never be a “work.” It does not merit salvation; it is only the means by which one accepts God’s free gift of salvation.

3. NOT US: There is nothing we could have done or ever could do to receive Him. We need Jesus, even to accept Jesus. He pursues us and calls to us and at the divine moment He set for us, we hear his call and even then we rely on Him to hear about His gift and promise for us.

4. GOD’S GIFT: When a person puts out their hand to take a gift someone else offers, they are doing nothing to earn or deserve that gift. The giver gets credit for the gift, not the receiver. Likewise, faith is the same way.

5. NOT WORKS: Are you trying to work your way into God’s favor, or worse, a never-ending cycle of approval from people? You may even try to stay busy to avoid having to deal with some areas of healing God wants to walk you through. You can do a lot of “right” things, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s THE “God thing” for your life.

6. NO ONE CAN BOAST: All the glory will go to God for accomplishing salvation. As Jesus so graciously reminds us in John 14:6, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s impossible for anyone else to be able to provide salvation.

7. HIS ARTWORK: Rather than salvation being a masterpiece that we have produced, believers are a masterpiece that God has produced. Even though we are all being conformed to His image and walking the same journey through sanctification, we are all different works of art.

8. CREATED IN CHRIST: As a master worker, God has created us in Christ Jesus. It is the kind of work only HE can do. “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.”

9. FOR GOOD WORKS: Good works are not the roots from which salvation grows but the fruit God intends it to bear. When you are led by the Spirit, your tree will be filled with good fruit. 

10. GOD PREPARED WORKS: God knew the plans for our life before the creation of the Earth. Nothing surprises Him, even when we try to take matters into our own hands.

11. WALK IN THEM: God orders our steps and has prepared them beforehand. We should go to Him and seeking His plan for our works. Everything we do for the Kingdom should be us walking out God’s plan for our lives, rather than the works we think we should do.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you trying to do it by yourself? 
  • Have you allowed spiritual narcissism to drive your motivation?

If you have, it’s ok, there is a solution. Seek His face, spend some time in the Secret Place with the Father and ask Him to show you what He wants you doing.

Don’t become a spiritual narcissist!

Let Jesus drive!


Pick Up Your Bible

WRITTEN BY: Wendy Cutchins

bible-1850859_1280Just as you need air to breathe and food to eat, you need the Word of God to sustain you. In 2 Timothy, we are assured that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” so as you study the scriptures, God gives you all the information you need to follow His plan for your life. It is our instruction manual, our road map, our survival guide, so pick up your Bible!

All over the world, children who are dealing with life and death situations are sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This can be a scary experience for those little ones, but one of the special programs there is the mailroom.

For many of the children, this is a bright moment in a dark time. In all the chaos and pain that comes with fighting for their lives, they visit the mailroom each day to receive letters and cards that people send. 

letters-565554_1280Letters of encouragement to keep going even when times get tough. Letters of hope that stress not to give up. Letters of rejoicing in the victories, big or small. Letters of love, so the children know they haven’t been forgotten by the ones who love them. I love that St. Jude has this program because I believe it has a significant impact on those dealing with more than many of us will deal with in our entire lifetimes.

You have a mailroom, too! The Bible is your mailroom. It is filled with letters of encouragement to let you know that you’re not alone when dealing with tough times. It contains letters of hope encouraging you not to give up. It includes powerful letters with messages of the strength and wisdom you can gain from a strong relationship with God.

Most importantly, it contains letters of endless love, grace, and mercy. It’s designed to lead you through the tough times and rejoice with you in the victories, big and small. Without it, we as Christians would be missing a significant tool in the mission of accomplishing God’s will for our lives, so pick up your Bible!

pexels-photo-810036Just like those precious kids at St. Jude in need of life-saving treatments, we are all in need of life-saving assistance from our Heavenly Father. Immersing ourselves in His Word is essential to our survival and how we thrive through all that we experience. In Ephesians 6:17, it says for us to “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.” In Hebrews 4:12, Paul tells us that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.”

If you were going into battle, would you want to go in empty-handed? No! Of course not! You would want protection and a way to fight back. Salvation saves us from eternal death, and the sword of the spirit is our defense, so pick up your Bible! 

This is as much a call to action for me as it is for you. Reading and studying your Bible should be a regular habit. Pray that God reveals Himself and His plan for your life as you pick up your Bible and spend time with Him. We are as close to Him as we want to be. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

Are You a Fraud Like Me?

WRITTEN BY: Wendy Cutchins

Do you ever wonder if you are living up to who everyone else thinks you should be? Do you ever wonder if you are living up to who YOU think you should be? You’re not alone! The truth is, everyone battles with self-confidence, but genuine self-confidence is found in who you are in Christ. 

In a recent sermon, I heard this thought. “No one but God can tell you who you should be.” This statement hit home with me. Despite the things God has orchestrated in me, and through me, I often battle with something called imposter syndrome. I’m a fraud…or at least I believe I am. 

Imposter syndrome is a prevalent issue that many of the most successful people deal with. It is the persistent inability to believe that your success is deserved and legitimately achieved as a result of your God-given talents and skills. Common “symptoms” include negative self-thoughts, dwelling on past mistakes, feeling inadequate, or feelings of not being good enough. Research shows that as much as 70% of people experience it at some point in their lives.

Let me give you an example of how this normally plays out for me. I have twenty years of teaching experience. I am certified in multiple areas and have earned national board certification. My peers have named me Teacher of the Year twice in my career, and I have held several leadership positions that involve mentoring others. You would think that I walk into work every day feeling like an expert. That couldn’t be further from the truth! I question every aspect of my success and whether it is legitimate.Whether it’s imposter syndrome or some other wall that Satan has built to keep you from achieving what God has planned for you, God is greater! Trust that what you have accomplished using the gifts and talents that God has given are legitimate and should be celebrated. Here are a few things to remember…

1. Learn to see yourself as God sees you.

In Psalm 139:13-14, it states that God “knit you together in your mother’s womb” and that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” God does not make mistakes. He has made you exactly as you should be to accomplish his purpose for you. 

2. Genuine self-confidence is found in who we are in Christ.

Because you were created with a purpose, God began a good work in you from the beginning that he will finish in His timing. Paul told the Philippians in Philippians 1:6 that, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Paul had no doubt that God would continue the work he started in them. God has the same plan for you.

3. Do your best and trust that the Lord will use it.

You do not have to be the smartest, strongest, most productive, or most efficient person. You don’t have to stress about your weaknesses or compare yourself to others. You just have to trust that God is in control and has a plan for your life. Jeremiah 17:7 says, “blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” You can have confidence knowing He is there with you, walking with you step by step through it all. Don’t worry about being who you or others think you should be. Be who God wants you to be.

Be the best YOU!

You Can Choose Joy



WRITTEN BY: Wendy Cutchins

Have you ever struggled to have joy in life?

The truth is, you can choose joy. In the first chapter of the book of James, three statements stand out that I want you to consider. Let me start by sharing an experience I had around this same time last year.

My husband and I spend the first week of each year reviewing the previous year’s goals and making new ones. Each year, I have a notebook in which I list all of the things that I want to accomplish or focus on for the following year. In January of 2019, I reviewed my list from 2018 and remembered how I felt at the time. In 2018, I was struggling with anxiety, self-doubt, and exhaustion in almost every area of my life. I even wrote the following statement in my notebook, “I feel bad more than I feel good.” This brings us to the first statement from James that I want you to consider.

cheering young asian woman on grassland with colored balloons

“Count it all joy.” 

Part of the process of reflection and goal-setting was to determine what beliefs I currently had that were limiting me in what I could accomplish. On the very next page of my notebook, I changed the limiting belief into a truth that allowed me to accomplish my goals and be used more powerfully by God.

I replaced “I feel bad more than I feel good” with “I can choose to have joy in everything, good or bad.” This realization changed my whole year and is still impacting how I deal with every situation I encounter. James also helps give us focus on the purpose of tough times.

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“The testing of your faith produces endurance.”

So let’s get some perspective here. The truth is you don’t HAVE to go to work; you GET to go to work. You don’t HAVE to make dinner for your family; you GET to make dinner for your family. You don’t HAVE to do the laundry; you GET to do the laundry.

Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that I am Mrs. Positivity 24/7. That laundry one is tough for me. I have to work at it and consistently pray to ask for God’s help, but it is possible because God has wired us up to have joy in Him.

Despite the challenges and obstacles you encounter in life; God has blessed you. Let me encourage you to guard yourself from allowing the chaos of your situation to blind you from seeing God’s blessings. One way to ensure you see things from God’s perspective is to ask Him for wisdom. James makes a promise about wisdom.

“If you lack wisdom, ask God.”

Have you ever hesitated to ask for something you really wanted? I definitely have, because asking is not always easy. Often I will hesitate to ask for things I really need because I am fearful of rejection. But we can’t let fear slow us down. We all need more wisdom. James says all you have to do is ask. God gives wisdom “generously to all” when we ask in faith.

Remember, your joy doesn’t come from the things of this world. Joy comes from the One who gives wisdom, confidence, assurance, strength, and everything else that you need to navigate through this life. Have you ever struggled to have joy in life? The truth is, you can choose joy.

BROKEN | The Example of Ruth



WRITTEN BY: Wendy Cutchins

I can’t tell you how often I wonder about why God wants me. Some days are better than others, but it doesn’t matter if it is a good day or a bad one. I find myself wondering all the same. As I listen to a worship song on the radio or read a blog about how God loves us all, I can’t help but think, “Why in the world would He want me?” I have made many wrong choices, have many flaws, do many things wrong. I am broken, and yet He died for me, forgave me, loves me.

Recently, I have been studying about women in the Bible and the roles they played in God’s plan. The one recurring theme is how God uses the most unassuming and broken people to do amazing things.

RuthWk2Take Ruth, for example. Her husband died, she lost her home, and she was desolate with nowhere to go. She lost everything. Ruth was broken. However, her faith was so strong that everyone could see it. Her own mother-in-law was encouraged by her faith. Even people who didn’t know her personally knew of her because of her faith.

I can see that Ruth didn’t allow her circumstances to influence her trust that God was in control. You can’t get much more broken than losing everything. How would you feel if you lost everything? I would hope that I would have the faith that Ruth had, but I am not so sure I would. God used Ruth to teach others about faith so many years ago. And today, her example is still strong.


51054-51038-ruth.1200w.tn.1200w.tnFour things stand out to me about Ruth.

  1. Ruth was compassionate. She had every opportunity to leave her mother-in-law behind. She had no obligation to stay with Naomi and care for her. But she did because she loved her and had a compassionate heart.
  2. Ruth was patient. If you know the story, you know it took a lot of time for her to meet her husband, Boaz. She had to patiently wait for opportunities to improve her circumstances.
  3. Ruth was strong. As a woman without a husband, she found herself in a dangerous situation. She could have been taken advantage of, but she found resourceful ways to provide for herself and her family.
  4. Ruth was determined. Despite everything she had going against her, her determination kept her moving forward despite numerous setbacks along the way.

Ruth wasn’t perfect. She was broken, but God chose to use her in mighty ways, and He can use you, too.